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

MPRE

I will be flexing my ethical muscles today. It won’t be pretty. Anonymous girlfriend duped me into signing up for the MPRE since she enjoys sharing misery. It didn’t occur to me at the time that with my second-half summer course final looming in a week I would be in no mood to brush up on the finer points of conflicts of interest and fee division. That final I can’t retake in November, the MPRE I can. So the extent of my preparation has been flipping through my professional responsibility outline and doing some practice questions I bummed off someone with it enough to do the BarBri session. So off to reap the fruits of my lack of labor…

I have a feeling I’m not alone. Law Ingenue is hallucinating about it. Nontraditional Law Student seems to be taking a healthy approach of fear and motivation. Namby Pamby has an even more active imagination than I do (and reinforces my secret hope that there is such a thing minimally sufficient studying). Jeremy Blachman (anonymous lawyer guy) lays seige to the MPRE with irony (but see Raffi Melkonian). Peanut Butter Burrito has no worries. Western Justice proffers the What Would Jesus Do? method, but doing the opposite, because we’re, you know, thinking like lawyers.

Susan M. Case, the Director of Testing for the National Conference of Bar Examiners, gives us the straight dope in the article The Testing Column: Standards on the MPRE (.pdf) (via the Legal Profession Blog)>, noting that many people believe the standard for passing is higher than it actually is, providing the nugget of hope that “even in the toughest states, one would only need to answer 27 of 50 right on that exam.”

For the November 2005 MPRE, these standards required the following percent correct scores:

75 48% (lowest standard jurisdiction)
77 50%
79 51%
80 52%
85 53% (Texas)
86 54% (highest standard jurisdiction)

A discussion of statistical basis for the scaling model ensues here and here, noting that even the examining boards “don’t really know what score, if any, predicts a career of ethical practice” and that the numbers equate to little more concrete predictors than failure rates – for instance “a score of 85 passes roughly 75% of the takers, a score of 80 passes a little more than 85%, and a score of 75 passes about 90% of all takers.”

Does anyone else find it odd that each state picks its own passing rate to set the baseline for professional ethics? Apparently the appropriate response to arbitrariness is … arbitrariness.

Dilbert: We find in favor of the plaintiff dude

Classic.

Neuroscience and the Law Conference on Video

Via Grits I notice that video from the proceedings of the excellent Neuroscience and the Law Conference I attended in May at Baylor College of Medicine is now available on the web. Dr. David Eagleman, who directs the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law also conducts a seminar on neuroscience and the law and will no doubt have more in the near future.


Introductory Remarks – Dr. Michael Friedlander, PhD [Neuroscience and Law Conference 2008] from Initiative for Neuroscience&Law on Vimeo.


Neuroscience and Law – Dr. David Eagleman, PhD [Neuroscience and Law Conference 2008] from Initiative for Neuroscience&Law on Vimeo.


Neuroscience: Witness on the Stand – Dr. J. Ray Hays, JD, PhD [Neuroscience and Law Conference 2008] from Initiative for Neuroscience&Law on Vimeo.


The Biology of Behavior: Lessons from Genetics – Dr. Amy McGuire, JD, PhD [Neuroscience and Law Conference 2008] from Initiative for Neuroscience&Law on Vimeo.


Capacity to Consent: Lessons from Traumatic Brain Injury – Dr. Joseph Kass, JD, MD [Neuroscience and Law Conference 2008] from Initiative for Neuroscience&Law on Vimeo.


Memory Fingerprinting and the Risks of Undue Prejudice – Daniel Goldberg, JD [Neuroscience and Law Conference 2008] from Initiative for Neuroscience&Law on Vimeo.


Brain Death: A Current View of the Law, Science, and Ethics – Dr. Amir Halevy, MD, JD [Neuroscience and Law Conference 2008] from Initiative for Neuroscience&Law on Vimeo.


Manipulating Hormones to Change Criminal Behavior: Lessons from Castration – William Winsdale, JD, PhD [Neuroscience and Law Con from Initiative for Neuroscience&Law on Vimeo.


Panel Discussion [Neuroscience and Law Conference 2008] from Initiative for Neuroscience&Law on Vimeo.

Indecent Exposure, Defined and Illustrated, Helpful Chart

Take a moment to ponder the implications of this image. This sort of informational graphic requires the kind of reasoning that can only seem sensible in a bureaucratic environment, idiocy aforethought, we might call it. It requires a regulatory judgment (gasp! even legislative perhaps? oh, for a crack at that brief…) which gives definitions to the degree of buttock exposure that constitutes ‘indecency’. Lastly this was professionally rendered, requiring someone to explain and hire an illustrator on the basis of his skill at exposed-buttock-rendering (cheek-aroscuro?) and even a round of proofs and revisions – ‘oh no, this is entirely too much buttock’ or ‘yes, I think you’ve captured the essence of the offense nicely here.’ Sigh…

via ffffound

Bar Exam Debriefing

I’m fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) not all that close to taking the bar yet. In any event, the following definitions might be useful for anyone who has spent time in close proximity with a recent bar exam taker:

Brief Psychotic Disorder

  • The patient has at least one of the following that is not a culturally sanctioned response:
    • Delusions
    • Hallucinations
    • Speech that is markedly disorganized
    • Behavior that is markedly disorganized or catatonic
  • The patient has symptoms from 1 to 30 days and eventually recovers completely.
  • The symptoms are not due to a Mood Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder.
  • This disorder is not directly caused by a general medical condition or the use of substances, including prescription medications.

With Marked Stressor(s). The stressors must appear to cause the symptoms, occur shortly before their onset and be severe enough that nearly anyone of that culture would feel markedly stressed.

The DSM-IV also contains this definition, which you may find useful to determine if you have unwittingly stumbled into the territory of a study group:

Shared Psychotic Disorder

  • Someone who is closely associated with a delusional person also develops a delusion.
  • The content of this new delusion is similar to that of the first person’s delusion.
  • The disorder is not explained better by another psychotic disorder, such as Schizophrenia or Mood Disorder with Psychotic Features.
  • This disorder is not directly caused by a general medical condition or the use of substances, including prescription medications.

I also hope everyone had designated drivers because there is apparently such a thing as a “law alcohol level” in which consumption of mnemonics in excess impairs motor coordination and impulse control, at least from what I witnessed.

Some posts from survivors around the blogosphere – Anastasia is finally free. LagLiv entertained herself with the ‘desperation google searches‘ that brought people to her blog. Divine Angst is human again. David Lat hosts an open thread at Above the Law; consider it group therapy.

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