Law: Following Like Sheep

August 31, 2007

A while ago I was surfing the net and came across an article about the self-perpetuating nature of law school rankings (and most other school rankings for that matter).  I tried to find a link to the article but couldn’t, I apologize.  The article basically asserted that, barring any massive changes in school policies, law schools keep about the same desirability level to students from year to year and since many rankings rely heavily on student selected factors (namely by trying to measure where the highly qualified students are tending to go, often by using GPA and LSAT as indicators) this lack of change also leads to a lack of change in the rankings of schools.   This phenomenon, if true, would help to explain the stagnation at the top of the rankings for the last 20 years (namely that, since USNews started ranking schools, the same 14 schools have occupied the top spots every year.   Similarly, this helps to explain many recent changes in the rankings, for example the quick rise of Wash U in recent years (due largely to offering significant scholarships to students with high LSAT scores, thus making Wash U more desirable to top students) and the fall of the University of Chicago from a tie for fourth with Columbia to its current position (which I will assert has something to do with their reputation for rigor and the demanding quarter system, but of which were turn-offs to me and others I know during the admissions process).  This also helps to explain how overrated schools like Cornell continue to maintain a high ranking for no clear reason other than students feel like the “Top 14” are significantly better than the next set of school. So if this is true, three important questions must be asked:   

  1. What accounts for the original rankings, that is, how did the “top schools” once become the “top schools”?
  2. Is this lack of change a good thing, bad thing, or neither?
  3. Does this represent a flaw in the method of ranking, or does it tell us something about these schools and law students?

 When I started this article, I intended to deal with each of these questions in this entry, but now that I look at them, I feel I would be doing everybody a disservice to tough briefly on each one, so instead I will make these three questions topics in my next few posts.  In the mean time, I welcome your feedback on these three questions.

Law: No Easing In (I Hope)

August 29, 2007

Well I now have my day on assignments for every class I am taking other than Criminal Law.  I must say, I hope they don’t “ease us into law school” like Kurzman was being “eased into Med School.”  Each day featurs multiple LONG reading assingments.  I will hopefully start on Sunday, but if the weekend brings more of nothing I will start earlier. 

People keep asking how the school is and how the people are.  To be honest, I have yet to meet many people.  There was one event designed to get us to mix, but I was still moving in, so I wasn’t able to attend.  Hopefully things pick up soon, I can’t imagine going through this process without lots of people to talk to. 

I’ll keep you posted. 

For those interested, I have the following classes this semester:

First Year Legal Research and Writing

Torts

Criminal Law

Civil Procedure

Property

Law: The Move

August 28, 2007

First of all, I want to say props to Kurzman for his work to make the website more complete and for working to get site traffic up.  Nice work dude.

Now for what I believe will be the last of my posts for a while that is not really law school related.  I have a confession:  I am a terrible flyer.  Last October I flew from my UG to Newark for a conference on ethics at West Point.  On that flight I experienced the worst shaking I have ever been involved in on an airplane.  I do not get motion sick, but I wanted to puke for about thirty five minutes.  Since then, I have not been a good flyer.  Combine this with exploding planes and a generally strange world, and I am a really really bad flyer.  Needless to say, I am nervous about tomorrow and can think of little else.

 That said, I finished packing today, mostly warm weather clothes and electronics, I would not be shocked if airport security stops me, frisks me, then frisks me again.  I have so many wires and electronics flying with me that I could open a radio shack on the plane. 

I’ll post something of substance before orientation starts, but until then, wish me luck and I hope things go well for all of you.

The “About” Page

August 27, 2007

So we just realized we had left the “About” page of our blog blank since we started up–that’s all fixed now. Our bad.

Med: Powerful Moment

August 26, 2007

Dr. Ho–the main course instructor for biochemistry–is a wonderful professor. He makes sure to mix in his share of funny anecdotes throughout what is otherwise rather dry material. While I have actually been quite happy with all of the instructors that we’ve had, he stands out above the rest. It is very clear that he cares about his students.

Friday was our first day with an afternoon lecture–we”d only been going from 8:30-12:30 up until then. I contemplated leaving during the lunch hour and beginning my weekend, but thought better of it–and I’m glad I did.

The lecture itself was about various diseases that come about as a result of protein folding problems–things like Alzheimer’s and Mad Cow Disease. During the Alzheimer’s section, he displayed a picture of a brain cell entering into a diseased state–a picture having come from a deceased patient. After changing the tone from jovial (his status quo) to serious–telling us his father in law passed away from Alzheimer’s quite recently–he said the following memorable quote that I will carry with me throughout my medical career:

“For all of you here today, I want you to remember the following–especially when you want to skip class. A lot of human suffering had to happen for you to be able to learn what you will in medical school. Remember that.”

I found myself quite affected by this quote; truly, it was demonstrative of the gravitas with which our profession deals. I can hardly put into words the connection you begin to feel toward humanity during medical school–even this early in my journey.

And that’s why I’m here and not in law school.

Law: LEEWS II

August 24, 2007

After an extended break, I finally finished the second of 8 LEEWS discs.  As with the first one, I learned a little bit, but still am undecided about the value of LEEWS.  I’m going to continue to plug on because so many people have said such good things about LEEWS, but we will see.

LEEWS Lesson 2:  The main thing I learned here is to write out all of the conflicts in a hypothetical, then use these conflicts as the basis for finding major issues.  I am hoping/guessing that the method will expand upon this use of “conflict pairings” in the next section.

I’ll keep you posted.

School hasn’t started yet, so I still don’t have anything productive to write about, so instead, I will write about two random other things real quick.

 First, I wonder if this completely stupid statement would have been issued if this was Manning and not Mike Vick.  This article shows just  how stupid people get when other issues that don’t really exist cloud their judgement.

On a slightly more on topic note, Kurzman talked about how shots were taken at Law School students during one of his orientationish sessions.  First off, I wanna say THANK GOD.  I really hope we don’t have as much work as med school students, and I would want my Dr to have had a harder road than my counselor.  That said, I don’t know how most law students feel about these coments, but I will say that last year, whenever I started to feel bad about how messed up my life would be this upcomming year, an episode of Grey’s Anatomy always cheered me up by providing a healthy dash of “at least it could be worse.

Also, I don’t spell well.  If you haven’t noticed then you must not spell well either.  If you have noticed, I appologize, but deal with it.

So today we were having another “welcome to med school” lecture to help introduce us to the field as we also begin our classes. Dr. Mayer, our instructor, made a funny comment that made me think of Clegal, this blog, and Clegal’s lack of sympathy for me and my future work given his future case memorization:

“Many of you, I’m sure, have friends going to law school. And they’re going to try and commiserate with you, claiming that they are working just as hard and just as long as you are. Don’t listen to them–they’re wrong. They truly have no idea what you’re about to go through. It’s not even close.”

So THERE.

EDIT: I must remember, however, that Clegal is at Harvard–not exactly your run-of-the-mill law school. 🙂

Speaking of (not) working hard…here’s another dorky med school video I found. It actually comes from the University of Cincinnati medical school–the home of my now-former roommate. Enjoy. 🙂

As I mentioned in an earlier post Kurzman and I don’t see eye to eye on everything with politics being a good example.  I want to follow that up by saying we agree on a decent number of political issues, we just have different priorities and those priorities tend to focus on things that put us at odds about some things.  That said, I very much respect his opinion.

 Another area where he is clearly better informed than me yet we clearly disagree is technology.  There is no doubt in my mind that Kurzman knows vastly more about all things tech than I do, and again we disagree significantly.  In the computer world there are two types of people, PC people and Mac people.  Kuzman, like a large portion of the high tech community (and a large portion of the liberal community) is a Mac person.  I, like a lot of conservatives and people without a large knowledge of electronics, am a PC person.

If you asked me when I like PC’s I would give you an extremely random explination, most likly about ease of use.  Even afer Bootcamp and whatever else Mac has done to become more friendly in this nature, you cannot dispute that a PC is the computer of business (unless you are into graphics stuff) and that when I start work, odds are it will be on a computer with windows.  For that reason alone, I see no need to ever get a Mac, but who knows what the future will bring.

What really bothers me about Macs though is the group of people that comprise their client base.  Again, a quick recognition:  there are plenty or really nice Mac owners and the vast majority of people I know I would never place in this group, but there is a very specific, very annoying group of people that are diehard Mac owners and they annoy the heck out of me.  I have yet to see any similar group frequenting PC’s.

I am talking about people like those described in this article.  The type of “We Hate Corporate America” “We Like Mac Because It Is Different” “Steve Jobs is God” types.  Every time I meet or read about one of these people, I can’t help but think they are the Yuppie version of the “Goth Kids” I saw in high school.  They embrace things because they are different and build their love around hatred for the opposition, attacking others as blind and shortsighted but lacking any superior justification of their own.  Like the Goths these yuppies remind me of, they love being different than the norm, but decide to conform to some new “Same/norm” in the process of being different and like the “Goth” kids in high school, even these Mac Yuppies clearly show some of the same “mainstream” tastes of the PC people, otherwise they would go all the way and use LINUX or something truely “free from corporate america”. 

 Anyway, back to my Mac Rant.  Get over yourself iphone people.  The iphone doesn’t owe you ANYTHING.  Its a product.  You aren’t entitled to it. If you want it, but it and read the conditions.  If you but it and dont follow the conditions and are left with a product you cant use, too friggin bad.  I wouldn’t buy a car, break the law with it, then get pissed at the car dealer that I paid a lot of money for a car I now cannot use because it is government property so why should you complain about having the service on your phone turned off for breaking the law? Get over yourself and your sense of self-entitlement.

If you don’t like at&t, dont get the iphone but don’t be angry at a company for knowing a good marketing decision when they see one.  Seriously, I cannot imagine what is going on in your head for you to feel “wronged” because you do not like the terms of a consumable good.  Fine, you don’t like the way iphone is being sold, shut the hell up and don’t buy one.  Go get a Treo or Crackberry or something else, but stop your whinning Apple doesn’t owe you anything, at&t doesn’t owe you anything, and Steve Jobs doesn’t owe you anything.  The only person with ANY obligation in this situation is the person who buys the phone.  That person has an obligation to at&t not to violate the terms of the contract, so as I see it, the only people doing anything wrong are the people crying about how they are being harmed.

Hey everyone,

Unlike Clegal and his wisdom teeth, I lack a legit reason for not posting lately. My bad. Orientation HAS been really busy, but come on…it doesn’t take much effort to write some words. So this is me rectifying the situation.

Orientation was pretty much what I expected it to be beforehand: lots of speeches, lots of “how to be a med student,” and lots of meeting people in hopes that names will not be forgotten. You know…like every other orientation ever. I must say, though, that I really enjoy the student body here at our school. For the most part, people seem extra chill and very down to Earth (as opposed to say, the student population at duke save for the friend group with whom I surrounded myself). Granted, I’m coming to this conclusion during the relaxed part of the year, and we WERE told that “med school can bring out the worst in people,” but this first week was spectacular. From that first night on Taylor Street to the open bar at the Cubby Bear and many fun interactions in between, I really feel that I’m going to like my fellow students.

We also had a WONDERFUL keynote speaker during orientation–a man named Dr. Art Jones–who spoke about using the medical profession to enact positive changes within a community. Specifically, he talked about the establishment of the Lawndale Christian Health Center in Chicago’s Lawndale community, an historically impoverished neighborhood on the west side. Over the past 27 years, he has worked within the community–living there himself with his white family in a 50% African-American/50% Hispanic community–to build up many positive health-related programs for this underserved area. As many of my friends know, this is one type of work that I am particularly interested in; however, I never in my wildest dreams saw myself accomplishing what he has done. I simply cannot do justice with my words to just how powerful I found his story to be. If you’re interested, you can check out his center @ http://www.lawndale.org/index.html.

Finally on Saturday, I received my first “White Coat” to wear during hospital activities throughout my medical school career. It was a very nice ceremony–more speeches, the students recited an oath, and helped one another put on our coats to symbolize team/community building–and was more than anything the official “Welcome to the medical profession.” I now have almost all the necessary tools:

-Scrubs

-White Coat

-Stethoscope

-Reflex Hammer

Now I suppose I should actually LEARN some medicine. With that in mind, I need to end this entry…I’ve got class tomorrow. 🙂