Thursday, February 22, 2007

I'll Show You "Higher Level of Discourse"

Wow, about half a dozen people from three different Bay Area law schools have forwarded me this e-mail exchange between a Hastings 1L and his property professor. It's a gem. I post it in its entirety in the comments below. One of the forwards notes that this guy wore "a corduroy blazer with elbow patches, spectacles and a leather tote, raising his hand in every class and attempting to squeeze in the biggest word he could in his commentary." Apprently his e-mails are no exception.

Who does he remind you of? Any words to describe him? I vote on Kenny Bania. As an aside, when things like this get out, it always makes my decision to come to Boalt all the wiser. I just love all you guys so much!!!! At least you're way too smart to create an anonymous gmail account with your name.

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70 Comments:

Blogger Armen said...

Professor [Property]:

I'll limit myself to one initial caveat. I intend this to be an attempt to engage in a good faith conversation about the state of our Property class. I have concerns about the way the course is being conducted, and I feel the need to express these concerns to you directly with the hope that it will effectuate a change in the way the course is being managed and alleviate some of the anxiety that I, and many others, have been feeling. I hope that this communication is interpreted not as an attack, but as a honest effort to confront some issues which are proving to be troubling to me and many of my colleagues. Although I know that there are at least a dozen others who share my concerns, I will limit what I say to my opinions and observations alone.

With that said, here goes:

My primary concern is with the level of discourse the class is being taught at. While Hastings is admittedly no Boalt or Stanford, I feel your approach to the class evinces a lowest-common denominator approach that undermines both the intellectual rigor and critical thought that lawschool [sic.] is supposed to cultivate in those who incur large debts to attend it. I feel that you laud comments from students that reflect only the most cursory readings of the material, and deflect or defer comments and questions when they reach any level of sophistication or complexity. This [sic.] come across at best as paternalistic, and at worst as insulting. In anticipation of a response that points to participation as the only measure available to you to gauge where the students are at, I absolutely agree that there is a shortage of tools at your disposal to discern where the students are, and what their level of understanding is. I can tell you from experience in other classes, and I have mixed feelings about this, that the student body (or at least our section) varies widely in terms of how quick they understand the material, and what level of complexity they can tolerate before getting lost. I can only imagine the difficulty in trying to tailor your pedagogy to this fact - keeping it interesting enough and complex enough to do justice to those students at the top, while ensuring that the most basic ideas and concepts get across to those at the bottom. So far though, I don't think this balance has been achieved.

For example, in today's class [] brought up the question of whether or not using the land for storage, rather than for classroom use, was sufficient to satisfy the 'for school purposes' provision in the deed. Your response was to point out what an interesting point that was, and that it had not been raised. As it was then pointed out, in fact the opinion did address that point, and others. This, among other things, can only lead me to believe that you did not read the opinion in its entirety, and I cannot find any means of justifying that. I know that your primary interests, and your numerous articles and books clearly evince this, lie outside of property, and that you are most likely incredibly busy working on other things. I cannot admit to know what the attitude towards 1L classes is among academics of your caliber, but I do not find it acceptable that, at least on appearances, you only skim the material before teaching it.

You chose to use another Professor's syllabus, and the materials she pulled together on her own in lieu of a case book. The benefit of case books is that they provide readers with commentary, notes, historical information, etc. which helps fill in the gaps and explain the material, while providing questions which are meant to provoke the students to think critically about what they are learning. Presumably this feature also can help professors in teaching their courses. Working without the benefit of such a resource, you are in the sole position of providing us with this kind of material. I know students who took Property with Feldman last semester, and it was among the hardest courses they took. I cannot reconcile that fact with the way the course, on my account at least, has been conducted thus far.

Again, I do not intend this as a personal attack. I have the highest regard for your work (I've actually read many of your articles during class), and you are undoubtedly a tremendous asset for Hastings. I am concerned though that you are not preparing for class, and that the manner in which you lead discussions is deleterious for us both intellectually, i.e. in terms of incentivizing cursory readings (you do laud 'extremely close readings,' but the comments that have merited that response did not evince a 'close' reading, they were simply parsing the text itself - a close reading is one which unveils discrepancies or inconsistencies, or something that does more than just repeat the gist of the opinion) and discouraging comments/questions which display a level of sophistication or critical thought (even []’s question today, the one the court did address, was lauded because of its 'insight' - it was not insightful, although [] is an incredibly bright guy, but rather displayed a lack of reading which should have merited a correction, or for some professors, a reprimand), and practically, insofar as we are not being prepared for the real work of lawyers, which is intellectually arduous and demands a high level of competence and attention to detail.

This is not doing justice to those of us, very possibly a majority, who can engage the readings (which are incredibly sparse anyway, and demand very little time relative to other classes to get through) at a higher level of discourse, nor is it doing justice to those at the bottom who are being falsely encouraged. I understand that the paradigm of law school as a brutal experience predicated on shame and fear is history, and that there are feasible alternatives to the Socratic method, but the benefit of that method is that it entices students to read and engage the material - to spend time with it, and think about it comparatively and critically.

I understand and sympathize with your desire to encourage and help students with the material. However, when that help and encouragement comes at the expense of alienating many if not most of your students, and admits of an unwillingness to answer some of the tougher questions or shed light on the historical reasons why the law is the way it is,
I cannot see the benefit. Again, I know that there is the participation problem - which is a problem that extends well beyond the confines or your class - but I cannot see that as a sufficient excuse.

I fully anticipate coming across as arrogant and elitist, and I have no means of addressing those charges save denial. In either case, this reaction would be unwarranted and beside the point, as it would not obviate my observations nor the frustration of many of my colleagues. Suffice to say that I simply have no other recourse of which to avail myself, and I feel that an anonymous effort to correspond with you about these matters - again, a good faith effort - would be the best thing.

I mean no disrespect, but I feel like this is becoming untenable, and I would like to converse with you (albeit anonymously, forgive my cowardice) and see if there is light to be shed on your pedagogy or on available alternatives, if any exist. I know that your recent seminar was remarkably well received, so I have no doubt as to your capacities as a professor nor as a scholar (and even less doubt as to your character and disposition). My concerns are limited to this class, but my concerns are serious, they are shared by many, and I feel that not reading the opinions before you lead classroom discussions, particularly when they are mere pages in length, is grossly unprofessional and far below the standard of care. I need not point out (though obviously, I am) that you are handsomely compensated, and we pay a great deal, to make this an educative enterprise that is competitive (or at least tries to be competitive) with Boalt and Stanford, and so far I do not think that this class is commensurate with what is accorded other Property classes, here or at either of those institutions.

I sincerely hope that you respond to this email with your comments; undoubtedly you have a response, even if it is a purely negative one, and I would greatly appreciate hearing it.

Best Regards,

Anon.

***


Dear [],

I appreciate your letter and your decision to approach me so directly. Several points:

1) In terms of the materials, until last year I used the property casebook I co-wrote. Because it had grown out of date, I taught from a different casebook last year. It was, of course, more work for me to change materials for the third year in a row, but I was dissatisfied with that casebook. I recognize that Professor Feldman's materials are much shorter than the "normal" amount of reading. This was one thing that attracted me to them. I was intrigued by her approach of teaching only a few cases in a given class period, which is what I did at the start of my career. In more recent years, I typically assigned 20 – 35 pages of reading for a 2-hour class. But inevitably, with that much reading, much of the material is barely discussed, and there is a breathless pace that makes it impossible to really engage with students in a way that I come to know their individual strengths and weaknesses, which is what I have been able to do in Property this semester.

2) One challenge of teaching a first year course is that students engage with the materials at very different levels. This is true of all the schools I have taught at, including Harvard. Different people have different strengths and different learning styles, and this plays into my teaching style. I have in the past sometimes mistaken the level of the class by engaging only with the students who seem to "get" a given point most quickly, and have been surprised and disappointed when I see the exams to learn that a hefty number of students understood neither the materials nor the basic legal skills I was trying to teach.

3) Let me reassure you that I prepare 3 - 4 hours for each class session regardless of my other responsibilities. My first duty is to my students, and to the taxpayers of California who help pay my salary. Alas, whenever I teach new materials (and even sometimes when the materials are not new) I do make mistakes. This stems from the fact that I don't have a rigidly pre-scripted class, and things emerge in a different way from what I anticipated, or when students focus on points different from those I focused on. I know that some people feel more comfortable with a more tightly controlled class, and the projection of infallibility that technique permits. I feel that is not worth the cost in terms of intellectual engagement. I strive to avoid mistakes – making errors in public is never fun -- but errors are a part of life. I make them; other students make them; as your letter shows, you make them, too. Lawyers are embarrassed in oral argument all the time, and they must carry on. That is an important message for law students.

4) I would urge to stop reading my articles and pay closer attention to the class, and to participate. My records indicate that you have not once volunteered, and the one time I called on you, last class, you were unprepared. Your letter suggests that you are not fully aware of the various levels at which the discussion is taking place. I am, of course, teaching property doctrine, but I am also teaching: the methodology lawyers turn to when using a case as precedent; jurisprudence, including the distinction between formalism and functionalism (also called consequentialism and legal realism); how to interpret statutes; how to interpret deeds and other real estate documents; how lawyers seek to persuade, including the resources they mobilize for making a persuasive argument when the law seems to cut against you, as well as how different strategies for responding to your opponent's strongest arguments; and the rhetorical traditions judges and lawyers turn to when arguing property cases in the context of legal uncertainty. I know that the class would be enriched by your participation, and I suspect your legal education would, too.

Thanks again for your comments. I would be happy to talk with you further, by email, in person or by phone.

[Prof. Property]

***
My last response:

Professor [Property]:

I only have a moment in between classes to respond to your email, but there are two clarifications I would like to make at the outset of this dialogue.

1) With respect to your assertion that I was unprepared last class, please note that there is another [], as you well know, sitting two seats in front of me. It was unclear who you were calling on, which accounts for my silence. In the future, please discern, either by last name or some other indicator, to whom your questions are addressed to avoid this confusion. I know that calling on unprepared students feels lousy, and in my view constitutes an insult to the professor, so I apologize if that was what was connoted by my silence and bewildered look.

2) I am aware of the multiple dimensions of the law being explored in your class, from methodology, competing schools of thought, matters of substative [sic.] law, advocacy, etc. My objection is not that your treatment of the material ignores these crucial aspects (I can't imagine what law school would consist in if not this), but that your treatment ignores the capabilities of the vast majority of the class to treat the material with a degree of sophistication that exceeds what you seem to be willing to address. Since sending the letter, I have spoken with a number of classmates (beyond those who I had discused [sic.] this matter with prior to writing you) who agree that the class comes across as 'remedial' - which was the word that came up the most.

Class is about to begin, so I will leave this here. I appreciate your response, and when I have the time I will try and respond more fully.

Best Regards,

2/22/2007 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like Hastings.

2/22/2007 6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

possibly the worst written letter i've ever read. no wonder he's at hastinks. and the professor's not that great either, although his response was easier to follow. the student needs a college level writing course stat.

anyway, how'd this email get out? did the kid CC a lot of people or something?

2/22/2007 6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOLZ, HASTTTINGS IS A SHITTY TTT!

2/22/2007 6:34 PM  
Blogger Mad.J.D. said...

Oh. My. God.

That first email is the longest thing I've ever read. Here's my main impression: I CAN'T IMAGINE having to take classes with this guy. The worst rocket-hands gunners at our school don't even approach this kind of douchebaggery.

A couple things I noticed: I can go two years without using the word "evince" one time and this blowhard can't go one email without using it THREE times. Jesus. My laugh-out-loud moment: The guy refers to reading assignments being "mere pages in length." That kills me! How else should reading assignments be measured?!

That is all. Please forgive me for my comment being mere sentences in length.

2/22/2007 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Jenna said...

Oh this is just sad. Unfortunately, I'd be surprise if there has not been a Boalt student or two (or more) who have sent (or at least considered sending) our profs similar complaints. I don't think being a blowhard or having an extremely well-developed sense of self-importance is solely the province of those attending Hastings or other non-"top" law schools. I'm also hopefully assuming that most Hastings students are as repulsed by this as I and the rest of the above commenters appear to be.

Which brings me to my point--what was the purpose of posting this? To make fun of someone anonymously? I don't think he or she needs Armen's help to look like an ass.

2/22/2007 7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on folks, let's not be snobby about our friends across the Bay. I'm sure that there's at least one such douchebag of equal caliber as above at Boalt.

2/22/2007 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:49 - There probably is, but when have we ever refused the opportunity to make fun of Hastings?

2/22/2007 7:59 PM  
Blogger MRP said...

So wait, didn't McWho post this earlier today (around 12:30) and then take it down?

2/22/2007 8:37 PM  
Blogger Disco Stu said...

DS is taking a Hastings class now. The professor is good. The students are about the same as Boalt, i.e. there is one red hot, a few DS would characterize as not quite getting the material when they ask a question, and the rest have interesting things to say.

He likes the class and the students. Don't blast Hastings for this one db.

2/22/2007 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's Hastings?

2/22/2007 10:04 PM  
Blogger La Mitotera said...

Thanks Armen. I needed a good laugh.

2/22/2007 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:04--
Zing!

2/22/2007 11:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as long as Hastings continues to beat Boalt with form-over-substance b.s. at moot court competitions, i think making fun of them for any such transgression is FAIR GAME. pretty people w/ heads the size of texas and the ability to b.s. their way through complicated arguments. blech. mock away, in my mind. and 10:04, SNAP! way to go.

2/23/2007 9:07 AM  
Blogger McWho said...

Yes I did post/remove. I took it down on request; My source was concerned about getting outed. It is pretty clear at this point that it was already out of the bag. I've heard about it from several sources myself, separate from Armen.

I didn't intend to blast Hastings with it either, but God this guy was a tool. He deserves this in its entirety.

2/23/2007 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:04, let me help.

Hastings: (Noun) A school full of competitive people who want to go to Boalt but couldn't get in.

2/23/2007 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

or.. Hastings: (Noun) A school full of competitive people who just partied and drank 10 times as much as Boalt students did in undergraduate.

2/23/2007 8:45 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Yeah I like that second definition. I mean the letter reads like the mindless rantings of a former Sig Ep party chair. Yup...good ole party animal/socialite magnet that is Hastings.

2/23/2007 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

therefore.. Hastings = better looking girls

2/23/2007 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guy who wrote that is obviously a douchebag. I'd have to agree with some of the other commenters, though, that Boalt also has a few douchebags. Don't get me wrong--I like the vast majority of people here. I would just hate to think that someone outside Boalt would meet one of these people (or get ahold of an email like this, if one exists) and judge our entire student body for it.

2/23/2007 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the email makes some good points.

Some professors do reflexively praise almost every student comment or question, no matter how uninteresting. And some professors do try to teach to the students who don't even bother to do the reading, wasting the time of those who do.

I can't speak for the Property class in the email, but the author does highlight a common problem in law classes.

2/24/2007 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, I think we are better than this. And if we aren't, we have absolutely no right to be offended when Stanford students crack jokes about our inability to get admitted there.

2/24/2007 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous commenter, shame on everyone who made fun of Hastings students.

2/24/2007 11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who wasn't able to get into Stanfurd? Lots of us Boalt students got into the school across the Bay and decided to come to Boalt instead. And lots of good people are at Hastings too. For example, Kamala Harris went there. If I wanted to be in SF politics instead of a corporate law drone, I would probably even choose Hastings over Stanford.

2/25/2007 1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"therefore.. Hastings = better looking girls"

I would hate to see the girls at Boalt knowing this...

2/26/2007 3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen girls from both schools, and yes Hastings girls are better looking.

2/26/2007 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahhahahahahhahaha... well at least boalt girls are smarter.. everything a guy looks for in a mate =p

2/26/2007 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this guy is an unhappy, lonely mess on the inside...
poor guy...but im sure this isnt helping!

2/27/2007 8:48 AM  
Anonymous anonymous said...

As the kid who wrote this email to begin with, I think a response is in order:

1) I wrote this email because I, and many of my classmates, felt the class was not on par with our other classes and that some sort of critical mass had been reached. On the day I wrote this, the prof had clearly not read the three page opinion assigned, and yes, that pissed me off. When a professor has clearly not prepared for class, it is a waste of my time to be there. If only I played solitaire and followed celebrity gossip, I'm sure this wouldn't have been a problem.

2) The professor has since added a supplement with notes (god forbid there's supplemental material for the cases), and changed her teaching style. Just because I had the balls to call a professor on their shit does not make me a douchebag.

3) I wrote the email anonymously, or tried to (I was pissed, and the whole thing only took about half an hour), and had I known that it would be broadcast for a public audience I would have written it differently. I only emailed it to one kid, so it's pretty damn obvious where this came from.

4) Pardon me for giving a shit about my legal education, and for my writing style. Pardon me for using big words and long sentences.

5) I spoke with a helluva lot of people in that class about what they thought of it, and the overwhelming word that came back was 'insulting.' The email was an attempt to be diplomatic. If I were a gunner, as one of you wrote, I would be happy to have property as a bullshit class that would require no effort to ace. As it is, there are things that are more important to me: like class not being a waste of my time, and the professor being prepared.

6) Since it's obvious that no one who posted was in the class, I fail to see how any of you have standing to comment on this at all. This was an extremely context-sensitive exchange. I could have, as some other students suggested, gone to the dean, but I chose a different route. Thanks for making me regret it.

7) I do not wear corduroy jackets, I rarely talk in class, but yes, I do use 'big' scary words like 'evince.' Heaven forbid. None of you know me, none of you have standing to make character attacks, and after re-reading the email I wrote, I still stand by most of it. I fail to see what it is about it that is so utterly offensive to you all, aside from the fact that I chose to act on something that was bothering me, effectuated (oh, sorry, should I use a smaller word?) some positive results, and felt better about the whole process as a result.

8) Thanks for the character attacks. It feels great to have a private exchange made public, and be humiliated as a result. I only found out about this blog today, in an email from a student in another section. While your blog so benevolently refuses to name names, that does nothing to insulate me from the negative I will now be dealing with from fellow students. So thanks, really.

9) "an unhappy, lonely mess on the inside" - what the fuck is this.

10) None of you addressed any of the substance in the exchange, period, save one person. The problems addressed were real, valid concerns shared by many of my colleagues, and for you 'across the bay' to smirk at students who care about their education, without bothering to consult the context in which this whole exchange was made, is beyond fucked up.

11) oh shit, is this too long? Have I worn out your attention spans?

12) Most of the professors at Hastings have been outstanding. And truthfully, I think the professor in question is impressive too. My objection concerned the approach she took to the class and her pedagogy.

13) I know this is vitriolic as all hell, but I'm incredibly pissed that this got out in the first place, and that rather than instigating some kind of constructive dialogue, it turned into an opportunity for people to simply insult me, anonymously, from afar. I was already disappointed by the proliferation of gossip in law school, but this takes the cake. Apparently, I had wrongly assumed that people in law school were grown up and yes, cared about a 'higher level of discourse.' If anything, I would have assumed that this getting out would have fostered some sort of debate about the relationship between students and professors, law school pedagogy, or something else of substance. As it is, I am beyond disappointed.


So go back and read your perezhilton blogs or whatever it is you people do instead of taking shit seriously. Again, I am hugely disappointed that this was the result of what I still feel was a valid attempt to address a problem with a class. How none, save one, of you could see the merits of this exchange is completely beyond me.

Best Regards,

2/27/2007 12:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a classmate of this gent, I can tell you that he did not intend it for mass public distribution and mistakenly allowed it to get out.

While we may draw laughs (and rightly so) out of various aspects of the exchange, I'd just respectfully request that the post be removed as it's causing this poor guy a lot of anguish.

As we all know, being a first year law student is a stressful experience and there's always going to be somebody who helps us enjoy a good laugh at their expense. That is fine, right up until the point where it becomes painful for the poor bastard who figures out that everybody is laughing at him.

We're at that point, and now it's time to grow up and act like adults. Consider this a request for a little bit of humanity.

2/27/2007 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a classmate of this gent, I can tell you that he did not intend it for mass public distribution and mistakenly allowed it to get out.

While we may draw laughs (and rightly so) out of various aspects of the exchange, I'd just respectfully request that the post be removed as it's causing this poor guy a lot of anguish.

As we all know, being a first year law student is a stressful experience and there's always going to be somebody who helps us enjoy a good laugh at their expense. That is fine, right up until the point where it becomes painful for the poor bastard who figures out that everybody is laughing at him.

We're at that point, and now it's time to grow up and act like adults. Consider this a request for a little bit of humanity.

2/27/2007 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

goddamn dude, this is just too savage.

2/27/2007 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a student from Hastings, and I am appalled to see that some of you people at Boalt are acting so immaturely and judging people by the school they go to. Over generalizations about a group of people is as bad as generalizing about someone just because they are black, asian, or hispanic. I thought we came to law school for a reason, and that is not to act like we are still in high school, where people were fueled by alcohol and ego.

I appreciate the fact that not all of you guys at Boalt act and feel like a damn elitist.

2/27/2007 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Hastings' 2L. It sucks. The administration sucks. Every time a student tries to effectuate meaningful change to improve the school, the administration kills the effort.

It's fucking pathetic. My advice to you, Mr. Long-Winded Letter-Writing 1L is to quit giving a shit.

Fuck Hastings. Fuck the other Hastings' students. Give a shit about yourself and getting yourself a good job. I did. Fuck the rest.

Is that fucked up? Yes. But bear in mind, your colleagues at Hastings will do the same shit to you.

Sucks dick here, doesn't it?

Bet you wish you went somewhere else, huh?

2/27/2007 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and one last note from a Hastings' 2L.

For those of you at Boalt (some of whom I am sure I know).

If you're going to talk shit about Hastings, then have the fucking balls to not post anonymously. Ripping on Hastings while not having the dick to stand by your statement is the same pussy-ass shit this 1L did by writing that anon letter.

But, fuck, future lawyers being hypocritical fucking elitist dicks?

Gee, didn't see that coming.

Sarcastic, in case you couldn't read that in.

2/27/2007 1:34 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

And just so I'm not accused of being a hypocrite, the last two anonymous posts (from a Hastings' 2L) are mine.

Want to bitch about it?

rbng(at)ucla(dot)edu.

You might be at the better law school with better job prospects, but at least I have the fucking courage to stand by what I say.

Pussies.

2/27/2007 1:36 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Brad, you will always be my underling.

2/27/2007 1:41 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

[Brad's SN]: well I appreciate underling
[Brad's SN]: at least you didn't make me sound gay
[Brad's SN]: from you I would expect something to the effect of
[Brad's SN]: "Brad, you will always be the Smithers to my Mr. Burns"

2/27/2007 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:29, I think the distinguishing factor between Boalt and Hastings students is not that we (Boalt students) are elitist, but rather that we know that "overgeneralizations" is one word.

2/27/2007 1:57 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Anon,

Watch how concise sentences are more effective:

You are a douchebag. Your response to this blog was repetitive and boring. You act like your anonymous email was noble but it was a chicken shit attempt at approaching a teacher. How about this for a 1950's idea: GO TALK TO HER! If you were so worried about being embarrassed then don't be a arrogant prick and have a face to face.

Also, my name is Dave. I do not go to Boalt. I do not care to insult anyone on this blog. I think partying in college is fun. Have a good day.

2/27/2007 2:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who would have thought that a google search of "dick" and "pussy" would lead me to a law school blog.

nice post on the democratic candidate debate, by the way.

2/27/2007 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

boalt is waaay tight, we're super jealous.
i got into both but was tired of kip's and bear's lair, decided to bone down with the host of other ladies here in the city.
your library smells anyway and zeb sucks butthole.

2/27/2007 2:23 PM  
Blogger Tom Fletcher said...

Thank god our Hastings friend hasn't read the Salinger case yet.

2/27/2007 2:37 PM  
Blogger colin said...

"Pardon me for giving a shit about my legal education, and for my writing style. Pardon me for using big words and long sentences."

What a vain, petty and transparent attempt to garner some respect, you gunner douche.

If you stand by what you wrote so assuredly, why are you simultaneously hurt and regretful of writing the email? How is that possible?

ps im not a law student, but am TOTALLY interested in this whole circus.

2/27/2007 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life will always be like high school... get used to it.

2/27/2007 2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems all of the Boalt students are getting quite a good laugh out of this email and using it massage their already bloated egos. Your behavior on this board is rather ironic when you consider that for all your posturing, you've really only replicated the same 'douche' mentality you associate with and reject about Hastings. I am in no way defending my classmate, whose behavior was cowardly and disrespectful. I only intend to point out that in your pretension, you mimic the same attitude which makes the email so utterly obnoxious, because you assume that you because you are a Boalt student, that gives you some entitlement to disparage and disrespect others. In sum, stop being such assholes.
Furthermore, did it ever occur to any of you that not everyone is a slave to the rankings when choosing a law school? There are other reasons to attend a different school, for instance, an emphasis on public interest or government law, or even something as trivial as the presence of more than three bars within the city limits. So take down the ego a notch. Only you think you're that cool.

2/27/2007 4:03 PM  
Blogger socallocal said...

It's distressing that more people aren't upset by the fact that he spoke that way toward a professor, the lack of respect, class, and dignity afforded to a person who's proven themselves professionally to the degree she has is inexcusable. Does he think he'll be able to talk to his boss like that? It's disgusting, that this guy has such an ego to think that he's proven himself worthy of undertaking that kind of discourse with a Law School professor is beyond the pale.

2/27/2007 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is the douchebag again:

I'm finished being defensive, and I'm finished trying to stand up for myself.

at bottom, the primary feeling I have is regret and remorse. I felt bad about sending the email from the outset, and the fact that it has garnered this much publicity (it is now reflected on my section's blog, with classmates who sit in the row in front of me posting vitriol) has simply been devastating.

I meant no disrespect, and I acknowledge that it was an act of cowardice and arrogance. I thought that what I was doing was the intellectually responsible thing to do, even if the execution was abhorrent, and I recognize that it was a mistake.

As a result of making this private exchange public, I have been ostracized, humiliated and been subject to treatment which I honestly don't fully understand. As the previous post suggests, the most salient feature of the email (and the one I regret most) was the disrespect I showed the professor. It was uncalled for, and I've paid dearly for my intemperance.

I sincerely and deeply apologize for any disrespect shown to my classmates and to my professor.

I don't know what purpose was served by making this whole thing public, and I politely request that this post be removed from the site. I know this has cropped up on some other sites as well, and again, I politely request that all references to this letter be removed.

2/27/2007 5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure we can all agree on one thing: Boalt and Hastings are both incredibly shitty TTTs.

2/27/2007 5:19 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

5:15, don't bother reposting...if you have anything personal with the e-mail author take it up with him at Hastings. This isn't a forum to gossip about your classmates.

2/27/2007 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, will no one defend this poor fellow?

I think his email was not the most tactful, but I think it's ludicrous to mock either 1) the sentiment or 2) the fact that he dared cross a professor.

As to #1, I don't see what's so bad about thinking your class is horseshit and being dragged down by the professor's lack of prep and the students' lack of interest. He paid a lot of money for his seat. He has the right to expect quality.

And, per #2, he has the right to bring it up with the professor. Who are these professors -- gliding in on air and lifetime employment that doesn't exist in the real world -- to be so sheltered from criticism? Insofar as a) the administration doesn't give a shit about teaching and b) hiring committees don't give a shit about teaching and c) profs don't give a shit about other profs' teaching, then who is left to call them on it?

Yeah, maybe he should have been more tacful. Yeah, maybe he should have waited until the end of the semester. Yeah, maybe he should have gone to the dean.

But nothing here is so out of bounds. Rather, it seems like the hostility derives from the anti-intellectualism that pervades all too much of Boalt and (I'd guess) Hastings too.

What a strange, strange world we've come to when hyper-competitive mania for a 160k firm job is perfectly acceptable, normal behavior -- but the hyper-manic hope for a stimulating class is now declasse. Talk about inverting the idea of a university.

Anyway, this is a sordid affair. As for the original Hastings student: My advice to you, sir, is to do what your parents did: transfer to Yale sir.

2/27/2007 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. I can't believe a student would write something this obnoxious and insulting to a professor. I'm amazed the response was as civil as it was, given the complete lack of respect that was shown.

2/27/2007 6:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. The guy has gone from arrogant to defensive to remorseful. Maybe we could all benefit by having our emails published in an open forum. I shudder to think of how I would come off.

That being said, it might be time to take it down, Armen. It looks like it's becoming a Boalt v. hastings showdown, and we all know that in the end it'll be just like the day those hastings kids didn't get in. sad. see? how do I come off?

2/27/2007 7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I always thought the Boalt v. Hastings thing was a rather friendly, high-minded rivalry (kind of like Cal v. Stanford, except to a certain subset of Cal losers.)

But then I landed at a Hastings party a few weeks ago and--whoa, nellie. I made the mistake of answering the question, "What do you do?" with "I'm a law student at Boalt."

The person then called me an asshole and walked off.

After another 5 minutes -- having concluded the women were NOT all that much to look at -- I decided to meet 10 more people in 10 minutes and fish for the "what do you do line." Nothing too untoward. Just typical party conversation.

8 hurled some variation of an epithet at me. 1 confessed she wanted to yell at me but was hoping to transfer and that would jinx it. The last said going to Boalt was really cool and...well, party problems solved.

2/27/2007 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Hastings v. Boalt stuff is rather unfortunate. I know for a fact that people at Hastings have lobbied for making our events like Barrister's Ball open to Boalt students as well or even for organizing parties for all law schools in the area because of complaints from friends at Boalt that you guys don't have many social events.
The arrogance and attitude expressed by the Boalt students on this site though lead me to believe that it's not a good idea.

2/27/2007 7:39 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

To the e-mail author,

I'm taking your polite request under advisement. This is spinning way out of control. I'm only considering it, however, because it's getting way too personal.

But I want to speak to you as one law student to another...not a Boaltie to a Hastingsie or a 3L to a 1L...just law student to law student (and to the readers of this blog). I think what's being lost in all this is WHY this thread and the e-mail are so popular. This might sound a bit preachy, it might sound "elitist," but we're all still in the very early stages of our legal careers, and the sharing of information should always be welcome.

The legal profession is a very small world. VERY small. I mean within a few hours this e-mail was in my inbox from several different people at DIFFERENT law schools. The same thing happened to the Boston attorney who dismissed the hiring attorney's remarks with the now famous "bla bla bla" heard 'round the world. If you weren't willing to slap your name to the e-mail to begin with, chances are you shouldn't have e-mailed it. Even on this blog, I always have my name attached to everything I write. Sometimes I agree with Brad's point about anonymous insults...especially when they're directed at me or my co-bloggers. Other times, they're a way of getting valuable comments that would never see the light of day but for anonymity. Take them with a grain of salt.

As far as how your classmates are reacting to it, that I'm afraid would have happened with or without this post given the speed with which the e-mail spread. And this goes back to the earlier point. You insulted two important constituents of law school: your professor and your classmates. This is why this e-mail is up here. It's an example of how not to treat those around you. It's an example of how not to refer to those around. The comments on this thread are pretty fine examples of that also. No law school can teach politeness, kindness, and integrity. But the absence of those will doom your career. Unless you work for Kirkland. (Kidding).

Anyway, your latest comment seems genuine, and it sounds like you get it. When I posted this I had some reservations, and I certainly didn't mean it to be personal, but the entertainment value was just too high. Now that it is getting personal, I'll sleep on the idea of deleting the post.

Good luck in your endeavours.

2/27/2007 8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Between all the insults here, just remember the reason this e-mail flew around the Bay like lightening last Thursday (I got it): no one likes an arrogant prick, and when you catch one red-handed like this, it is oh-so-difficult to take the high road and ignore it. Hell, I immediately forwarded it to 5 friends. Armen, you're a great guy, and I'm a big fan of this blog and admire the fact that you are willing to post with your name. On that note, I kindly add to the original e-mailer's request that you take the post down - it was big of him to admit that he's humiliated and bewildered and I'm sure he's learned a very valuable lesson - to keep his arrogance to himself. Taking this post down is the right thing to do. -Boalt 2L

2/27/2007 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

forgive the guy for being fucking honest...

2/27/2007 9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone in the class, I can say that his comments were misguided. Don't give him credit for being honest. And the issue people have is with his rhetoric.

2/27/2007 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone also in the class, I give him credit for being honest. It's rare in law school to see someone so exposed and vulnerable. But I don't think his responses were necessary. He should just let time pass and let this whole fiasco slowly fade away. Even though he was in the wrong, I'd like to think that we can all forgive and forget. So it goes.

2/27/2007 10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Law Bloggers,

Thanks for airing all your laundry and personal insecurities/vanities about where you go to school.

Thanks also to all you long posters. I really need something to read during class. LOL at your self-importance.

Cheers to pettiness! For everyone else at Boalt and Hastings who can actually play well with others, let's hug it out. And share our hot students.

I am available. Call me.
-Hastings Student

2/27/2007 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who's also in this guy's class, I think this whole "discussion" is appalling.

I can't see any reason why this even made it to the blogs, Armen's comments notwithstanding, aside from pure malice. Not a value that any of us, I should think, would uphold.

The idea that airing this in public serves the purpose of showing him the error of his ways is beyond me. All I see here is a bunch of assholes eager to pounce on someone for asserting something that many of his classmates agreed with. Yeah, he came across as arrogant and elitist, but I do think he was being honest. He did ask me what I thought about the class, and my response was not too far off from what he wrote.

Shame on you.

2/27/2007 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

damn... an anonymous blogger shaming "you"

that's powerful stuff

i, for one, have learned my lesson

2/27/2007 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Hastings Students:

Please do not take the people who post on this blog as representative of Boalt students and the Boalt community. Most Boalt students do not read this blog on a regular basis. Some really nasty stuff gets posted here but most Boalties are not down with holding others up to ridicule on the internet or trashing other law schools (except for the occassional joking anti-Stanford comment, of course).

2/27/2007 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please do not take the people who post on this blog as representative of Hastings students and the Hastings community also. Most of us are very chill and actually like Berkeley. Nobody likes douchebags though because they are stinky. And that is okay. What is with the earthquakes and hail lately though? Is the poster making God angry?

2/28/2007 12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Armen please take it down! If only so n&b can go back to being a haven for boalt students bored during class. most of the people posting are hastings people posting about some guy who goes to hastings. who cares? can we get a new topic, please? i've got class tomorrow so by then would be great, thanks!

2/28/2007 12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You motherfucker. I like the Hastings/Boalt congregation. Good quality networking.

2/28/2007 12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please do not think people who whine about this blog not being "representaitve" are in any way representative of "Boalt students and the Boalt community" (way to be spare in your phrasing there; is there a difference between the two?).

There's something uniquely sad about someone coming to a site to scream, "No one comes to this site anymore!" Or who wants everyone reading this blog to know that most people don't read this blog.

It's a free speech forum, and you get the bad with the good and the ugly. Armen seems to understand that. So why oh why does anyone think people need to be "protected" from too much speech, or that we need qualifiers so everyone knows this "isn't the Boalt community," or that Boalt students "really aren't like this." You'd think this blog had hijacked the law.berkeley.edu website and was using it to make fun of retarded ten year-olds. So chill the fuck out, stop your embarassingly plaintive pleadings, and get back to the back of the fucking library where you belong. Just b/c it's closed for the night doesn't mean you can't quietly study somewhere else!

2/28/2007 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Boalt 1L, and I'm going to reiterate some of the comments above about this blog not being representative of most people here. Most of us are nice, are aware of the crapshoot that is law school admissions (and thus don't really think we're "better" than someone who didn't get in), and don't even read this blog. Clearly, a substantial number of people at Boalt do read/post here, but I know tons of people who don't even know what is going on here or have never even heard of the blog.

Anyway, overall, everyone that has posted nasty comments on here needs to grow the hell up. I don't care what school you go to, there is no need to senselessly bash people you've never even met (or only met a few people who go to the school). I like my classmates, but the first couple I met I didn't like, so I was really worried that everyone at Boalt sucked. And I was really, really wrong.

2/28/2007 12:41 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

I hereby rule that from here on I'm disallowing comments to this thread. Rather than deleting the entire thing, it will blow over like any of my other brilliant, Shakespearean posts. Don't bother posting any comments related to this thread anywhere else on the blog.

And 12:41, there's a lot of things 1Ls don't know about. But ask them again about this blog during OCIP next year ;)

2/28/2007 9:18 AM  

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