Law Profs and Students

In asking the relevant and useful question “What is/should be a law student?,” Professor Morrison begins ill: “Actual and potential law students are arguably the most powerful parties in this system.”

This claim doesn’t warrant a response, but the professor ironically comes away seeming dignified when it combines with the generally unserious tenor of his post to provoke an array of juvenile criticisms — to which he naturally does not deign to respond.

Prof. Morrison concludes that a law student is/should be:

  • A well informed, intelligent agent who can make informed choices prior to entering law school regarding debt load, job prospects, and the like
  • A student who is actively engaged in class work, extracurricular activities, networking, skills building, etc.  A student, in short, who takes ownership of her education and uses the school, the faculty, and their resources to self-direct her career.

A charming sentiment, to be sure, but the current legal education system requires that “Who is a law student?” be answered in substance “Somebody who pays law professors.”

Veronica Mars Film

It’s possible that no representation made therein as to law, law school, or lawyering is accurate.
But I quite enjoyed it as the fitting send off to a great series.

State of the Prawf: “WOC” Edition

Professor Baradaran has a good post over at Prawf’s Blawg on the topic of what a female professor ought to do to secure control of her classroom early in the course. She seems to have a pretty good handle on the situation and I expect that her advice is quite sound for those to whom she directs it.

But far more interesting than the post itself are the comments, particularly those authored by “women of color” (WOC) professors (WAWCs?).

There’s so much of note here that it’s difficult to fit into a single post under a heading more specific than “Minority Female Law Professors Confess Anonymously to Wide-Ranging Bias Against White Male Law Students.” Nonetheless, I feel compelled to address a few highlights.

First of all, some of this stuff is really pretty extraordinary, if only one imagines that prejudice against white males is as inappropriate as against anyone else. And remember that the prejudiced individuals here are figures of authority. Take just a single phrase for instance: “misbehaving, entitled white men,” and replace white with black, such that you have “misbehaving, entitled [black] men.” This is, I think, shocking to most self-selecting people of conscience. Do the same with men/women and these same will be less shocked but not less outraged. The poster, “Depends on the School?” might think it unfair of me to post this quotation out of context (although the context does not obviously improve upon it), but I shan’t concern myself. An author of the modified version above would be pilloried no matter the context and I see no reason to vary the standard here.

Second, although I believe it’s likely that students “test” female professors more than male professors because all people are biologically programmed to interpret certain masculine characteristics like height and deep voice as authoritative (it’s not clear to me that this is exacerbated by the professor being “of color,” except possibly as to black women), I also wonder whether some “WOC” professors1 might be hired based in some part on their Critical credentials. I don’t know enough about the hiring process to more than conceive of this as a possibility, but it’s not an extraordinary stretch to imagine a feminist/critical race studies professor being less well-versed in doctrine than a professor with relevant scholarly interests. Or perhaps better put, since many professors teach (especially 1L) courses outside their area of expertise, I think it’s possible that crit-focused professors might tend in classroom discussions to stray from relevant doctrine toward areas not concededly of interest to people outside of the critical fields. It doesn’t take a genius (or even a 2L) to notice when this is going on, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable for an xL to object when that stuff is bandied about outside of appropriately titled courses.

Third, both male and female professors complain about receiving sartorial comments in their end-of-semester reviews. To the extent (entire, I think) that these professors perceive such commentary to proceed from white males, a bit of incredulity is in order. I submit that students discussing clothing in their reviews are, in order of descending likelihood:

  • (a) For female professors: (1) girls; (2) gay guys; (3) straight guys.
  • (b) For male professors: (1) girls; (2) gay guys.

And really, anyone whose clothing provokes commentary not in the order above ought to consider spending at least as much time on their wardrobe as they do complaining about said commentary on law prof blogs.

  1. Not Prof. Baradaran, to be sure, though I cannot second her support for postal banking. 

Do bossy girls make good leaders?

Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chavez (CEO of the Girl Scouts, apparently) say yes in another tiresome essay. They’re leading the campaign to “ban bossy” — “That girl’s not bossy. She has executive leadership skills.”

I’m bored with silly studies conducted by feminist organizations purporting to show that female board members increase alpha, etc., and will say only one thing here:

Bossiness is not leadership. It is perhaps the very opposite of leadership.

The people we call good leaders are the ones whom others follow willingly. And great leaders are so compelling that people will follow them even where doing so literally means charging to their deaths while the leader stays behind. A bossy person gives orders; bossy girls demand, but they do not command.

Bossiness is (at least among children) predominantly a quality of females. Why? Because a boy who tries to control the actions of other boys (which is to say, exercise dominion over them) ultimately faces the reality of physical confrontation and intimidation. In this fairly unavoidable crucible, the demanding boy who does not become either a leader or a bully learns to moderate his bossy behavior. The sense of entitlement to have his demands obeyed is learned away, at least to a certain extent. That’s not a bad thing; we’re entitled generally to be free from the control of others, a right substantially at odds with an undiminished sense of entitlement to obedience.

Bossiness is bad and leadership good no matter the relation between bossy and bossed. A bossy colleague is an irritant; a bossy boss is a dictator. Leaders inspire and motivate whether they’re co-workers or managers.

Solar Power Plant Also an Oven

This seems to have taken some proponents of the project by surprise, and we’re warned that “it’s far too early in the process to draw any definitive conclusions about long-term impacts” of these immense solar plants (which use square miles of mirrors to focus solar energy against a 40-story high boiler, sort of like a reverse magnifying glass) “on avian or other species.”

But judging by the rapid accumulation of dead birds with “singed or burned feathers,” the short-term impacts of heating the nearby atmosphere to about 1000 degrees Fahrenheit seem to be pretty much what one would expect.

Conflicted Policy Preferences of the Tech Community

I submit that:

  1. The tech community favors libertarian policy outcomes.
  2. The tech community endorses liberal policies.

Restated, the tech community favors accomplishing free-market outcomes through government regulation of markets.

I have a few ideas about what’s going on here, but principally I think the reason for this is that the experiences of many tech professionals with non-technological social orderings are almost entirely theoretical. As a result, they apply ill-fitting theories derived from e.g., approaches to software development to government policy and arrive at nonsensical results.

Not Tomorrow, But Soon Enough

Among the articles we may expect to see in the coming troubles:
1. Rolling Stone, Communism: The Revolutionary New Idea That’s Saving the World and Making Us Hip Again (2015) (“The solution to all society’s problems may be as simple as abolishing the private ownership of property, says groundbreaking theory’s youthful founder and proponent.”).


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