lukegilman.com : The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at www.lukegilman.com

Teaching the Law

On the University of Houston Law Center Faculty Blog Professors Crump & Bush have been debating Cameron Stracher’s recent piece in the Opinion Journal – Meet the Clients: Law schools rarely teach students how to be lawyers.

Stracher uses the recent Brian-Valery-paralegal-posing-as-lawyer debacle and a recent report critical of law school teaching methods to trot out the hoary “law schools don’t teach students how to be lawyers” horse carcass of a debate.

Sigh. I’m tiring of it. Perhaps I’m on the shady side of the bell curve, but I don’t really expect law school to teach me how to be a lawyer. I expect to learn how to lawyer by becoming a lawyer; law school, I hope, will lay the necessary foundation, but is there really an alternative to bootstrapping on the job? I have never yet gotten a degree which on its own qualified me to do something useful, so I don’t really find anything to bemoan in this fact.

I’m also a little skeptical of the assumption that law school actually is all that fixated on intellectual debate. Nearly all the professors I’ve had have been primarily concerned with teaching the law as it’s applied. It’s discussed at a theoretical level to be sure, but it’s theory with a purpose. No feminist-marxist-postcolonial-deconstructive-semiotic mumbo-jumbo yet, thank God. But perhaps I’m deluded and was never meant to be driven to law school in the first place -

By giving students the false idea that being a lawyer is all about intellectual debate, we also drive the wrong students to law school in the first place. The hordes of English majors who fill our classes might think twice if they knew that economics and mathematics–with their emphasis on problem-solving–are the best preparation for a career in law. Flowery prose is seldom valued by an overburdened judiciary.

Silly me. I spent all that time as an English major learning how to write flowery prose, my only goal of my studies to learn how to devise methods of making my prose more florid and baroque. Of course that is the sole purpose and goal of studying the English language. Now I learn I should have majored in math because math is about problem solving and studying English teaches one nothing of problem solving and only how to be flowery. Thou dost protest too much Mr. Cameron “M.F.A. in creative writing” Stracher.

Despite those irksome presumptions, Stracher is right to call for raised expectations in the need for law students to learn practical skills before they are thrust upon unwitting clients. Though I wonder if law schools are really the people to pull this off? I chose a part-time program precisely because I can’t stand academia. I worked full-time throughout undergrad and found the work/school dichotomy to be an immensely enriching and rewarding experience. The same has proven true in law school. Evening students are accepted and valued at Houston; this is not true at very many institutions from what I’ve heard. This gives us the opportunity however, to get a challenging academic education AND practical experience. Many of us work in the same paralegal jobs that gave Valery the wherewithall to pass himself off as a lawyer. Instead of reinventing the wheel, perhaps law schools could simply recognize what’s already going on in their evening programs.

Legally Punk’d: Lawyer pranked on first day on the job

On YouTube, an endless fount of procrastination. My “Law” Playlist.

Bar/Bri class action Yields Settlement

Above the Law Says: You Are Probably $125 Richer Right Now

According to the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the Bar/Bri class action settled for $36 million, to be paid out to 290,000 clients. Each client will get $125.

It must be wonderful having lawyers for clients…

A call to all exalted gentlemen to raise my guard for Holliday and U.S. Du Pont from pillaging my gorgeous wealth

There’s spam and then there’s Spam that calls me an exalted gentleman and warns me of people who may be trying to pillage my gorgeous wealth. Well done young spammer!

Indecent unshamed DuPont Refused Payment!

A Public Letter to All World

Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen:

After Du Pont Chemical Company of United States pessessed an effective and innoxious agricultural pesicide technology of Mr. Huang during 1995 and 1998, it constantly refused to pay Mr. Huang for patent fee and license fee (or total compensation fee) according to Du Pont’s active committment in Article 5 of 1995 Protocol. This is called refusing to pay after getting goods, then whether they will not provide goods after receiving money? Or providing fake goods or defected goods? Who will be the next victim? And when? How much will the pillaged possessions be (surely it will not be a small figure)? Who can guarantee? Therefore, Mr. Huang appealed to honorable ladies, gentlemen, presidents, technical experts and all exalted gentlemen to raise your guard for Holliday and U.S. Du Pont from pillaging your gorgeous wealth. Although you are capable enough of crashing their conspiracy of refusing paying their bill, you don’t have to waste your precious energy, time and money. Try your best to keep away from them and never or seldom conduct various transactions with them! Please tell your relatives, friends and colleagues to check whether they were trapped by Du Pont and Holliday. If so, please ask them for compensation as soon as possible. Otherwise, if the time limit of law expires, it can be considered as automatic abstention.

Best Wishes

Universal Agent: SXF

(If you consider it is a junk mail, please send inquiries to the Email address below. This is not a junk mail because Du Pont does not dare deny the facts I provided above.

Poetry

Contracting Shrinkage

From the Wired GC – Contracting Shrinkage

We seem to have sunk to a kind of playground system of forming contracts. Tag, you agree! Lawyers will tell you that you can form a binding agreement just by following a link, stepping into a store, buying a product, or receiving an email. By standing there, shaking your head, and shouting “NO NO NO I DO NOT AGREE,” you agree to let the other guy come over to your house, clean out your fridge, wear your underwear and make some long-distance calls.

Continuing – “(I think this is an example of the objective theory of contracts my professor made me aware of through a Socractic bludgeoning with Lucy v. Zehmer).”

I try to read most of my EULAs, I really do, it’s just that my mind shuts itself off in self-preservation about half-way through and I end up wandering around in a haze wondering where I’ve been the last 24 hours. Have I had a meeting of the minds with Microsoft? Has anyone? Something to look forward to in contracts…

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