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

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More on the Fulbright & Jaworksi N-word incident

I posted my reaction to the n-word incident at Duke – Fulbright & Jaworski Partner Drops N-Word in Interview; Sky Falls – having only read the early reports based on Dean Bartlett’s interview. A big thanks to Hans Bader for alerting me to the more recent developments. His comment appears in full below my first post. F&J’s executive committee issued the following response, which I find very illuminating:

Because you may hear about or be asked about a recent situation at a law school where attorneys participated in training interviews of students, we want to bring it to your attention. One of our lawyers recounted a story about Leon Jaworski’s defense of an African-American man in a murder trial in Waco, Texas in the 1920s. During the retelling, in an effort to display the depth of racial hostility that Jaworski and his client faced, the attorney used a racial term that characterized what the district attorney in the case said about the defendant. After review of the situation, all involved concluded that such terms, although recounted without ill intentions, are inappropriate for our firm, which values diversity and strives for inclusiveness. We are addressing the situation, and Steve Pfeiffer and other senior partners are en route to meet with the students. One of the other attorneys who participated in the training session acted immediately when the incident was called to his attention and responded with an electronic letter of explanation and appropriate apology. Any inquiries should be directed to the firm’s Hiring Partner, Gerry Lowry. Executive Committee

Dean Bartlett’s only explanation of what actually transpired is as follows:

A Duke student reported that a partner from Fulbright & Jaworski who was meeting students on campus told a story in which “the n word” was attributed to one of the characters in the story. Understandably, the use of the word offended the student.

“Attributed to one of the characters in the story” could take many plausible forms, many of which are particularly damaging. To me that phrase implies something along the lines of an off-color joke, certainly not giving an example of an opposing prosecutor’s actual racism. Indeed, context is everything. If those facts are right, then I find Bartlett’s description is misleading if not dishonest. Her description invites the reader to imply a much more sinister context than what seems to have actually taken place.

Fulbright & Jaworski Partner Drops N-Word in Interview; Sky Falls

Apparently a Fulbright & Jaworski Partner on a recruiting trip to Duke let the dreaded N-word fly in a story he or she was telling to a student. As might be expected, except by the offending F&J Partner apparently, the shit has hit the proverbial fan.

Duke Law Dean Kate Barlett sent out a campus-wide e-mail which found it’s way to legal tabloid The letter contained, in relevant part –

Upon learning about this episode, pursuant to the Law School’s Anti-discrimination Policy, the Career Center staff immediately asked the student if they could approach the employer to investigate the incident. The student agreed, and Tia Barnes called the recruiting manager to say that this was a serious situation that needed to be promptly addressed.

The hiring partner called back within minutes, clearly upset at the behavior of his partner. Shortly thereafter he reported back that he raised the issue to the highest levels of the firm, that the firm was taking internal measures dealing with the individual involved, and that the offending lawyer will not be permitted to return to Duke to meet with students.

The offending lawyer admitted his use of the word in question and reportedly recognizes that it was wrong to do so. The firm also sent an official apology to the student through us, as the student wished to remain anonymous.

As part of its remediation efforts, a partner at the law firm has asked to come to Duke to meet with students to describe the incident, to apologize to the community publicly, and to explain the measures that the firm has taken. Breaking: Fulbright & Jaworski Partner Drops the N-Bomb During A Recruiting Interview! (check the comments for a very enlightening discussion)

This is an excellent opportunity for a little mental exercise I think. Take a moment, whip out your legal pad and list in order of social horrificness the things that the F&J Partner could have done or said that would gotten him into more hot water. Confine your brainstorm to things which are not illegal. Ready? Go!


So how you doing yet? Got much? Me neither. Aside from denying the holocaust, professing allegiance to Al-Qaeda, or revealing that his middle name is Osama-Hussein there’s not much he could have done to earn more moral approbation than to drop the ‘n-bomb.’ Now there’s more to be learned of the context in which the admitted n-bomb dropping took place, but since when has that mattered once the internet gets its dander up?

More on this later…

I just noticed Fulbright is flashing its NAACP-Houston’s President’s award on its home page now. I got to wonder if that was there yesterday. What do you say google cache? Ouch, yesterday it was a little different.

Law Student Defames Self With Ridiculous Complaint

via WSJ law blog: Slow Typist Sues His Law School

Certain exams taken by [plaintiff] that required students to be skilled touch-typists in order to produce a competitive response resulted in borderline failing grades by virtue of the low volume of prose [plaintiff] could type in the time allotted as compared with other students.

Oh and he also sued a firm that fired him from a summer associateship for defamation and violation of due process rights. Can’t imagine why they did that.

Return of the Jamail “Big Boy” Deposition Video

I swear I’m the only person in my section not to have seen this thing. Until now.

Sex in the Stacks


According to legal tabloid some students at Washington University School of Law decided to deal with the stress of impending finals the old fashioned way. In an e-mail from SBA President Kenley Maddux forwarded a warning from the Dean and admonishing his fellow students to stop having sex in the library. And I thought the fools trying to have covert cellphone conversations were distracting. If that weren’t enough these stack-bunnies seem particularly brazen -

Today we were alerted by an Aramark supervisor that some of their employees have noted sex acts occurring at Olin Library and AB Hall. [Ed. note: AB Hall is Anheuser-Busch Hall, the law school building.]

The students usually do not have the common sense or the decency to stop when they are confronted, and seem to expect the Aramark employees to leave and come back later to do their work….

Later in the note Maddux warns that “necessity is not a defense” – only in law school. Sex in Your Law School Library Is Illegal, and “Necessity Is Not a Defense”

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