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I’ve commented before on the depressing state of lawyer humor, but Blackacre deserves its own entry. If you’re not aware, Blackacre is a placeholder name when discussing property questions, and the ownership of Blackacre is typically unclear or in dispute, creating the question “Who owns Blackacre?”
If you go to law school, not only will you encounter the profoundly unfunny meme of “I own Blackacre,” but you will also encounter someone who thinks this is both hilarious and creative. It’s neither. Yet, there’s still a I Own Blackacre Facebook group with over 6400 members. Here’s just a sampling of how incredibly unfunny Blackacre jokes are:
Rebecca S. (New England): “I got two family members to deed Blackacre to me in FSA [fee simple absolute]. Unfortunately, neither owned Blackacre, so I could only take a conveyance.”
Anthony W. (Massachusetts): “I don’t know how any of your can own own something, that I adversely possessed…and then blew-up!”
In 1628, Edward Coke made use the term Blackacre in a property treatise. In 1629 all jokes about Blackacre ceased being funny. It’s played out, get over it already and stop trying to make your sad little world appear amusing.
You’re too smart/stupid to be a lawyer.
Students who get into the top law schools are generally quite intelligent (or the beneficiaries of outdated affirmative action programs). A score in the 95th percentile on the LSAT will qualify you for Mensa; this is about a 165-166.
The Duke Law class of 2010 had a 75/25 LSAT of 170/167. If you’re unfamiliar with 75/25 stats, that means the 75th percentile got a 170 and the 25th percentile got a 167. Given that there are several alternative routes to Mensa membership, virtually everyone at Duke could, if so inclined, become a member. Duke is only ranked #10.
I don’t think Mensa membership is the first and last word on what constitutes genius, but I think this gives a pretty decent taste of how smart lawyers at the top schools are. Even freaking Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia thinks we’re wasting too many smart people on law:
“Well, you know, two chiefs ago, Chief Justice Burger, used to complain about the low quality of counsel. I used to have just the opposite reaction. I used to be disappointed that so many of the best minds in the country were being devoted to this enterprise.
I mean there’d be a, you know, a defense or public defender from Podunk, you know, and this woman is really brilliant, you know. Why isn’t she out inventing the automobile or, you know, doing something productive for this society?
I mean lawyers, after all, don’t produce anything. They enable other people to produce and to go on with their lives efficiently and in an atmosphere of freedom. That’s important, but it doesn’t put food on the table and there have to be other people who are doing that. And I worry that we are devoting too many of our very best minds to this enterprise.
And they appear here in the Court, I mean, even the ones who will only argue here once and will never come again. I’m usually impressed with how good they are. Sometimes you get one who’s not so good. But, no, by and large I don’t have any complaint about the quality of counsel, except maybe we’re wasting some of our best minds.”
Now, not many lawyers have the engineering or mathematical aptitude to become great inventors, but surely there is something more productive and meaningful all these intelligent people could be doing with their time, like working in microfinance or inventing Settlers of Catan.
The flip side of the problem is that many law students are just too damn stupid to be trusted as attorneys. For example, a girl I know who goes to a lower ranked Tier 1 law school in New Jersey came to me with a very serious situation. Her neighbor had gone out of town for a few weeks, and had parked on the street in such a way that his car slightly blocked her drive way. Well, one day she didn’t quite clear the car and ended up putting a minor scratch on it.
She did nothing about it and let several days pass. Then, she came to be, completely freaking out, thinking that she could potentially be prosecuted for hit and run. I decided to screw with her and say that she could. But, any reasonable person would have two ways of quickly finding out that a criminal prosecution was not in the cards.
First, you could Google “New Jersey hit and run law” and figure out in about two minutes that one of the elements of hit and run is that someone has to be seriously injured. When you scrape an unoccupied car, that’s not very likely to happen.
Second, you could tap into your general knowledge about American culture and remember the remedy for scratching a car: you leave a note, the owner calls you, you pay to fix the paint or whatever. What doesn’t happen is you leave a note and the owner calls the cops and they throw you in prison for 18 months.
If you can’t manage a simple Google search, or understand extremely basic policy concepts, you shouldn’t be a lawyer. And, if you’re reading this and think that you’re smarter than that, odds are you aren’t. Her school is ranked in the 40-50 range, which is probably higher than your school. You just think you’re smarter, but you’re too dumb to know you’re wrong.
Maybe there are some people who are just smart enough to handle the reading comprehension and logical reasoning law requires, but aren’t smart enough to do anything truly useful in society, but they probably account for less than 10% of current law students.
At first I thought it was pretty stupid people were getting depressed over not being able to live on the fictional planet of North America Pandora. But then I read the news this morning. Apparently there’s been a surge in people naming their children Pocahontas Neytiri, maze Turok, and Jamestown Pandora.
When I saw the headline that there was a surge in Pandora inspired names, I was honestly expecting to see a spike in John Rolfe Jake. But if there was one, it didn’t make the news. Apparently it’s not unusual for a $100 million movie to create a naming surge, but these names are particularly retarded. Just imagine kids being asked to explain their namesake.
Random Shlub: “Neytiri, that’s an unusual name, how’d you get it?”
Neytiri: “I was named after a character from this weird SciFi movie.”
Random Shlub: “Oh, neat. Can you describe the character’s personality?”
Random Shlub: “What about you Turok?”
Turok: “I was named after a giant flying creature from the same movie.”
Random Shlub: “Oh, interesting, does it have any special powers?”
Turok: “Um…it’s a little bit bigger than the other flying creatures, I guess.”
Random Shlub: “What about you Pandora, how’d you get your name?”
Pandora: “I was named after the planet from that movie.”
Random Shlub: “But not the far more famous Greek figure?”
Pandora: “The who?”
Random Shlub: “You know, the woman? With the box? Kinda…screws everything up for mankind.”
Pandora: “No, Pandora is a planet in a movie by the same name. My parents never mentioned a story about a box.”
Random Shlub: “Are your parents ignorant dumbasses?”
Pandora: “I don’t think so. They must read a lot, because they keep their reading glasses on the table next to the couch.”
Random Shlub: “Are they 3D reading glasses?”
Pandora: “Yeah, for the subtitles.”
Random Shlub: “Well, this has been interesting. Nice meeting you three, but I have to run off and meet my friends Raptor, Titanic, and Green Goblin.”
Whiny minority kids.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Race to Be Offended is a pretty popular sport among ultra left-wing politically correct types, and law school is a breeding ground for them. Normally people say dumb things when they’re in too much of a hurry to consider facts, such as a President calling a police officer stupid for investigating what appeared to be an obvious break in.
Now, imagine combining that level of stupidity with the drunken revelry that takes place on the last day of a semester’s exams in law school.
After the last exams of my 3L Fall semester, I was on the balcony of one of our dorms for the traditional drink-till-your-face-falls-off. Towards the end, a black student and Jewish student got into a rather bizarre argument: who was treated worse, blacks or Jews.
Aside from the fact that it’s strange for anyone to even bother arguing over who’s discriminated against more (they couldn’t just agree that discrimination is bad; everyone wants to be special), what made this particularly bizarre was that they were arguing over which group was most discriminated against in universities.
They went to different schools, but no surprise, black student reported his school treated black students worse and Jewish student reported his school treated Jewish students worse. Both of these students went to mother-freaking Ivy League schools for undergrad.
I knew both students, and neither one was a rags-to-riches story. Both came from wealthy, influential families. They were seriously arguing over who suffered the most from the discriminatory effects of education opportunities afforded to less than .01% of population.
Wal-Mart shoppers have a pretty awful, yet well-deserved, reputation. Fat, unkept, camo-clothed, uneducated hill-billies. Of course, most people there are just regular people; the reputation is more a result of confirmation bias. You just don’t even bother noticing the regular folk, and the stereotypes stand out in your memory.
But, the city I live in now is not like most Southern cities. We have one of the largest research parks in the world and one of the highest concentrations of college graduates. The two big industries are NASA and the Air Force. So, with all the engineers (almost 10% of the work force) and military types, you’d think Wal-Marts here would be well-oiled retail machines. So very much not the case. In fact, the less like a stereotypical Wal-Mart shopper someone looks, it seems the more likely they are to be a terrible customer. I guess the Wal-Mart regulars have figured out the basic protocol for shopping in a big box store. If you’re not aware, here are some of the basic rules (all of which I saw violated today, some of them multiple times):
1. Use normal driving rules. Push your cart as though you were driving a car. Stay on the right hand side, pull over when you want to stop, and obey the right of way. If you are turning off an aisle and someone else is going straight, they have the right of way, don’t cut them off.
2. If an aisle is crowded, park your cart at the end, walk down the aisle to pick up what you want, and then carry it back to your cart. The only exceptions are when you’re picking up something that’s very heavy (kitty litter, multiple 3 liter Coke bottles, etc), or when you have a baby in the cart. Don’t want to leave your purse unattended? Carry it with you.
3. If you decide you don’t want something you picked up, return it to where it belongs. Don’t put products back on the wrong shelves, and don’t leave a mother fracking steak on top of the candy in the check out lane.
4. If the store is giving out samples, dispose of your cup, napkin, toothpick, etc in a trash can. Either consume the sample right where it is being given away and use the trash can located there, or place it in the top basket part of your cart and then give it to the cashier when you check out.
5. WATCH YOUR GOD DAMN KIDS! I think that’s all I need to say about that.
Keep in mind that these are only a few of the many rules of shopping in a post-industrial society. There are many other rules beyond these, but you won’t break them if you follow the three basic principles of courtesy, respect, and not being a God damn fracking idiot.
Now, I know some of you might be wondering what’s with the picture. Definitely not representative of your average Wal-Mart shopper, or even your average Target shopper. Not even your average Whole Foods shopper. Nope, just a gratuitous hottie. You’re welcome.
I mentioned this yesterday, but I just really feel like it’s needs some elaboration. Pace Law professor Bridget Crawford is calling for a boycott of an NYSBA panel in which several prominent male members of the legal industry will give advice to women on how they can advance their careers. About the panel, Crawford said:
“Men have been telling us FOR YEARS how we don’t measure up. To have a panel of men, endorsed by the New York State Bar Association, discussing our “strengths and weaknesses,” is a regression and an insult to all women in the legal profession.”
First, a quick note…Professor Crawford is not a member of the legal profession. She is not a legal professional. She is a member of the academic profession, and just happens to teach law. Though, as far as academics and scholarship go, she mostly focuses on feminism, so she’s not really even teaching that much law. She’s basically a sociology or gender studies professor.
But, on to the real issue. I doubt Crawford objects to male attorneys interviewing female law students for summer jobs. And, I doubt she objects to male attorneys being on law firm hiring committees, even when those committees make decisions about women. And certainly she would allow a male partner for whom a female associate worked to provide a performance evaluation of that associate. And, I bet she’d even be okay with male partners voting in partner meetings to decide whether a female associate should be promoted into the partnership.
So if men are already quite properly discussing the strengths and weaknesses of female attorneys, what’s so wrong with men giving insight into what they perceive as the strengths and weaknesses of their female coworkers? Even if the men have completely ass-backwards ideas about women, it would be incredibly useful for women to know this.
I think what’s really going on here is that Professor Crawford saw that men were talking about women and decided to be offended. The Race to be Offended is a popular pastime among feminists (and some other groups), but too often the race is won before anyone stops to consider whether they really ought to be offended in the first place.
Also, interesting factoid that might get lost in this whole mess: Pace University has a law school. With dumbass professors like Ms. Crawford, it’s no wonder Pace is ranked a whole order of magnitude lower than the Third Tier Toilets.