I just found a nominee. . .

. . . for "Stupidest Harvard Law Student of the Year."

This student complains that law schools are suffering "intellectual homogeneity."

http://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-law-student-liberal-law-schools-are-making-students-dumber-2013-5

Apparently, this student failed to realize that he was signing up to receive training in a trade where having the same knowledge as the other guys and gals is pretty much a necessity. I can only conclude that Harvard Law is making its students dumber, or that its admission standards ahve dropped.

Replies

  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 9,815 Senior Member
    Yes, but.

    At a top tier law school it is a truism that they spend three years debating Constitutional law and then take a bar exam prep course and cram. I get the impression he refers to interpretation and policy, not the nuts and bolts of process and precedents.
    Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 0
    George K wrote: »
    Yes, but.

    At a top tier law school it is a truism that they spend three years debating Constitutional law and then take a bar exam prep course and cram. I get the impression he refers to interpretation and policy, not the nuts and bolts of process and precedents.

    George, law school exists solely to teach a particular method of analysis. It's rational, logical, linear, and it's endpoint is simply identifying where you've crossed the line into policy. (Interpretation, done properly, is simply another logical exercise, until it crosses into policy). Law schools don't teach what is good or bad policy, they merely teach how to identify policy, and, just barely, what consideratoins should be included in an analysis of policy. That Joel Alicea hasn't figured this out is why he gets the nomination for Dumbest Harvard Law Student of the year. That all of his professors and students appear to disagree with his poilicy conclusions is not evidence that they are all taught by liberals, it is evidence that Joel Alicea has reached indefensible conclusions.

    They also teach some history, including the history of prior policy decisions made in (mostly) American courts. But you'd have to be the Dumbest Harvard Law Student of the Year to think that just because your professor taught you about Thurgood Marshall's impact on American jurisprudence that your conservative ideals are somehow being squashed. You'd have to be a further idiot to conclude that because the history of American jurisprudence, as a factual matter, reflects the classical liberal tradition, and because your professors teach you that history, that they are therefore only teaching liberalism.

    Finally, law students are morons. At least as to the law, and generally as to policy also, but that's beside the point. I was a legal moron as a law student. No offense to sherb, but even as a 3rd year, he was a legal moron. So was every body else in the student body. The difference between a college senior and a third year law student, is three more years of the unreality of full-time schooling. The only real intelligence among law students is from those who had some other career or even just a full-time job before going to law school.
  • fishingcomicfishingcomic Senior Member Posts: 23,580 Senior Member
    Jamespio wrote: »
    . . . for "Stupidest Harvard Law Student of the Year."

    This student complains that law schools are suffering "intellectual homogeneity."

    http://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-law-student-liberal-law-schools-are-making-students-dumber-2013-5

    Apparently, this student failed to realize that he was signing up to receive training in a trade where having the same knowledge as the other guys and gals is pretty much a necessity. I can only conclude that Harvard Law is making its students dumber, or that its admission standards ahve dropped.


    Didn't Ted Cruz go there?
    'I've spoken of the Shining City all my political life. …In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still.'" Ronald Reagan
  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 9,815 Senior Member
    James,

    I'm not a lawyer but know a lot of them. The ones who went to top law schools all say they spent three years mostly debating the Constitution; the ones who went to the other end of the scale schools spent three years mostly preparing for the bar exam. This is only a slight exaggeration.
    Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 0
    There was another article linked there about the 21 most impressive students at HLS.

    They were impressive. Very impressive. I'm proud to say that there were some veterans in the bunch.

    But as impressive as they were, none of them know **** either.

    P.S. I'm proud to say that we hired four n00bs last month and two of them were veterans.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 0
    George K wrote: »
    James,

    I'm not a lawyer but know a lot of them. The ones who went to top law schools all say they spent three years mostly debating the Constitution; the ones who went to the other end of the scale schools spent three years mostly preparing for the bar exam. This is only a slight exaggeration.

    I would say most law students spend their time debating constitutional issues because there's not much else to debate, unless you get someone really fired up about the rule against perpetuities or whatever.

    My conlaw class was by far the most contentious class at the law school. But that's only because that was the only thing worth talking about.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 0
    George, arguing about Con Law is the pedagogical method used to teach legal analysis and constitutaionl history. If you're going to practice law n America you need to know what the courts have decided, and why they decided it that way. Imagine you're a law school dean. You've busted your **** to find the smartest students you can, and you want to keep them. Are you going to have professors spend 3 years lecturing history and logic at them? No, you spend three years puttin gthem through guided debate wherein they learn what Justices Cardozo and Brandeis and Frankfurter actually did (thereby teaching the law) and they actually practice arguinjg against the positions of th efinest legal minds of our nation (thereby learning the method). Thrown in some legal research and writing and you've got law school. The foolks who actually believe that all they did was spend three years arguing Con Law simpoly haven't seen past the program to understand the pedagogy.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 0
    sherb, we're goign to be seeing a lot more vets in all walks of life, simply because for the past 10 years we've been creating a lot more vets. I had a law student veteran working part time at my firm during the fall semester. She was more interesting than your run of the mill, fresh out of college law student, but she was still, in many ways, a typical law student who was overly wowed by studying the law, and by her own new knowledge. That said, I have little doubt that she'll be a fine lawyer, better than average. And I told her I'd recommend her to you if she decided she was serious about working in the criminal law.
  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 9,815 Senior Member
    Disagreements on pedagogy and the differences among law schools aside, how are fledgling lawyers straight out of school different from their peers in any other profession or job in terms of not knowing squat about how the working world actually functions?
    Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.
  • ricinusricinus Senior Member Posts: 6,214 Senior Member
    Is SaltyDave an example of someone who studied too much Constitutional law???

    Mike
    My new goal in life is to become an Alter Kaker...
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 0
    I suspect they are not different at all, though I don't have the experience in accounting, or medicine, or teaching or any other profession to know firsthand. I only suspect that recent law graduates are even more arrogant than recent grads in other fields, I don't actually know this.

    Which gets right back to my point that I may have found the dumbest HLS Student of the year, because I found one dumvb enough to try to take his personal conclusions to a national audience, an act of rather extreme hubris.
  • George KGeorge K Super Moderator Posts: 9,815 Senior Member
    Which gets right back to my point that I may have found the dumbest HLS Student of the year, because I found one dumvb enough to try to take his personal conclusions to a national audience, an act of rather extreme hubris.

    He's getting his 15 minutes of fame early on.
    Keep your stinkin' government hands off my Medicare.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 0
    George K wrote: »
    Disagreements on pedagogy and the differences among law schools aside, how are fledgling lawyers straight out of school different from their peers in any other profession or job in terms of not knowing squat about how the working world actually functions?

    If straight out of school means straight out of grad school, then the vast majority of prospective MBAs have been in the corporate world. I was one of only two at Cal that went straight from undergrad to grad.
  • creekguycreekguy Senior Member Posts: 3,905 Senior Member
    Where is professor Charles W. Kingsfield Jr. (John Houseman) when we need him.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 0
    creekguy, professor Kingsfield is busy making his money the old-fashioned way.

    Steven, I think George was tryign to ask about recent grad school grads. In the law, even those who had a career o fsome sort prior to law school, are crappy lawyers for their first few years. At least the ones with experience are more likely to know this about themselves, but the majority still fail to know what it is that they don't know, and what difference experience is actually going to make. Is the same true of newly minted MBA's? Do they tend to think they know more and are worth more than they really are?
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 0
    Getting into HBS or Stanford, I'd guess the typical person is going to have a high view of themselves just because they got in (Silvercreek excepted).

    Outside of that issue, I'd say no. So many of the students have work experience already I don't think they're learning anything new - just maybe having it explained to them in a certain way or learning to think about it differently. I didn't see it as anything special...just two years of more school work for something I had to have on my resume.
  • JulietJuliet Posts: 0
    On the topic of Harvard and ego....
    During B-school I had an interview with one of the bulge bracket investment banks. The interviewer was giving me a hard time because I was at Cal rather than Harvard - where he went.

    He kept going on an on, and eventually I, all 23 years old of me, quoted Vonnegut - "Even Harvard men go to jail."

    That job didn't happen.

    That said, I know some wonderful people who went there.
  • creekguycreekguy Senior Member Posts: 3,905 Senior Member
    The student would probably find that (and should already know) that the "liberal faculty" bicker and argue as much with each other as much as they might with conservatives. It comes with being a liberal academic: it's your job.

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