Bricks on the Brain

UM Law

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Symposiums Schmymposiums

What is a Symposium?

1. A group hug for obscure law professors who pat each other on the back for delivering unintelligible speeches highlighting portions of obscure and unintelligible law articles, posing unintelligible questions, and receiving unintelligible answers. Oh yeah, nowadays a little Bush-bashing is thrown in for good measure. Then they drink free cocktails.

2. A chance for students to pad their resumes with claims to having organized said group hugs, and for the brave among them a chance to impose their own unintelligible question of their own after the unintelligible lecture. Usually a student asks a stupid question, but unlike in the classroom, the tradition at symposiums is for the lecturer to ignore the question and diffuse the awkwardness by giving an unrelated unintelligible answer. Bonus points for Bush-bashing. Then they drink free cocktails.


For those of us who had no clue what BarBri was as 1L's, we now face the fact its time to shell out another $2K for Bar review courses. More if you sign up for PMBR. Excuse me? Umm....exactly what did I shell out $90K for? How many law students graduate from UM? How many from Florida law schools generally? You do the math. Worse, students who can't find the money to pay for a review course will probably (or so the conventional wisdom goes) fail the bar on the first try. When that happens, UM Law looses precious ranking and we all suffer as a result.

Is there any legitimate reason why Florida law schools can't collaborate to produce free (or nearly free) bar preparation materials and lectures? I have a few guesses:

1. BarBri pays select professors to prepare materials and give recorded lectures. Those professors thus have an incentive to suppress their respective schools from offering a free alternative. I'm guessing in addition to the money they pay the lecturers, at some point there is the opportunity for drinking free cocktails.

2. Professors are too busy fawning over eachother's unintelligible blather and drinking free cocktails at all of these useless symposiums to bother with the practical needs of the students.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps we could get UM and other law schools to take action and offer a free bar prep program if we somehow combine it with drinking free cocktails.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Don't Hold it Against Me

One semester of law school left...I can smell the finish line and I've finally begun peddling my resume. I've noticed that outside of Florida, many employers are not all that familiar with Miami Law. They are familiar with Miami's social and political scene, and sometimes they impute these qualities to the law school and its students. In short, there is a presumption that one leans toward liberal rather than conservative viewpoints.

Although this presumption does not apply to me, I am neither offended by it nor has it been a significant barrier to consideration by most firms. That is, unless the statements and acts of other UM students, faculty, or alumni begin having a tendency to portray UM Law as extreme left-wing.

I have said it before, and say it again, that the overall atmosphere at UM Law is what I would call "moderately liberal". However, a TINY MINORITY of professors have crossed the line into liberal lunacy, characterized by partisan character assasinations of conservatives cloaked by carefully worded legal "hypotheticals" so as to deny their true motives. These attacks have increased in frequency with the recent affirmation of Alito and the NSA wiretap investigations.

As one familiar with the zeitgeist of the Bricks (the law "quad" of buildings), I can say with certainty that the opinions expressed by these radicals are not in congruence with the general student body. UM law students have a healthy interest in the wiretap issue, as it presents relevant issues that affect our lives both as lawyers and as citizens.

Opinions on the interplay of congressional and presidential power vary among students. But whatever the legal issues, no UM Law students that I know think the President is "evil" because he thought it might be a good idea to listen in on terrorist phone calls. Reasonable minds might disagree on how it ought to be done, but all agree it should be.

So to all potential employers and UM Law applicants, should you stumble upon one of these crackpots, rest assured they do not represent the general views of UM Law. If you are one of these kinds of thinkers (as is your right), you will probably be disappointed by the lack of radical liberalism at UM Law and ought to apply elsewhere.