Friday, February 23, 2007

First Lesson I Learned in Law School

Today at lunch, the boys and I had margaritas and shared law school stories. This was mine.

It was in Civil Procedure during my second week of law school. Class had just started and I lifted the tab to open my Diet Coke. It sounded like a cannon shot in the otherwise quiet classroom. The professor glared at me but continued his lecture.

Then came time for recitation. In recitation, a student is called on to state the facts, the procedural history, the issue before the court, and the reasoning behind the court's holding on one of the cases assigned for class. This is sometimes known as "leading the helpless lamb to slaughter". At some point, the professor will begin pummeling the student with questions in an effort to bring out the more important aspects of the case.

This particular professor randomly called on students to stand and recite. It was the second week of law school. No one was comfortable reciting and we all tried to blend into the scenery when he was deciding on whom to call upon to recite.

For the first case, he called on the person sitting to my right.
For the second case, he called on the person sitting to my left.
For the third case, he called on the person sitting in front of me.
For the fourth and final case, he called on the person sitting behind me.

Then he called my name. I stood up on shaking legs, not knowing what to expect because there were no cases left. All he said was “Ms. Addict, I’d like to see you after class.”

After class, the professor just told me that he would appreciate it if I opened my soda before he began his lecture. The four people who were called on to recite because of my "Diet Coke incident" never let me forget about it. I was teased about it whenever I was spotted with a beverage in my hand, in class or out.

I didn’t realize it at the time but I got off very lucky. The professor could have thrown me out of his class. Or made me stand and recite during the entire class. Or he could have called on me to recite and then embarrassed and humiliated me to the point of wanting the ground to open up and swallow me. All of the above would happen to me at various times during my law school career. But I never again took a canned drink into the classroom.

21 comments:

jmb said...

Is terrorizing students in law school supposed to toughen you up for later when you go before judges? Is it supposed to drive out the weak?
Med students seem to suffer the same fate. I can't see how it fosters learning, myself. Although you have to appreciate the subtle game of psychological torture he put you through. Well years later, of course, not at the time, for sure.
jmb

#1 Dinosaur said...

That is abuse, plain and simple; a phenomenon that also happens in med school, but is finally being recognized and vilified for its inappropriateness.

Do you suppose that accepting and perpetuating that kind of shit is why lawyers are such pricks? (present company totally excepted, of course)

Sid Schwab said...

Did it help you decide what soda lawyer you wanted to be?

Lynn Price said...

Under the circumstances, I imagine it would have been a bad time to ask who died and appointed him God.

Medblog Addict said...

It’s strange. When I told the story at lunch yesterday, it was funny. I guess the tone changed when I was writing it down. Like I said, it could have been a lot worse. After class, the professor joked around with me . . . he had already made his point. It turned out to be one of my favorite classes in law school.

I guess the process does toughen you up. I’m not sure whether law school turns you into an asshole. At least ¾ of the people I went to law school with were pricks to start with. Heh.

Thanks for your comments.

Not Nurse Ratched said...

Are all professional schools like this? It sounds like nursing school, where public shaming is the order of the day every day. Worst example so far: we have to take a medications test and get 100% or we have to leave the program. After the test, they CALLED OUT THE NAMES of the people who failed. I thought this was so heinous.

Medblog Addict said...

Dr. S -- arrrgggg. that's bad.

Not Nurse R -- I didn't realize nursing school was like that. And I can't believe they called out the names of the people who failed.

Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

My favorite trick was the appropriately-timed "cough", but unfortunately I usually couldn't syncronize it properly.

Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

And about nursing school humiliation: my convent/hospital nursing school posted every test grade on the hall wall for the entire 2-year program.

SeaSpray said...

I think sometimes some of our best lessons come from people who make things tougher for us. You know, they expect more of you and they set the bar high? (no pun intended) Also, your story was amusing, although must've been quite unnerving at the time. :)

The Angry Medic said...

Whoa. That was a GOOD tale. The nursing school tales in the comments above were also interesting. Though after being in the med school I'm in for this long, I've seen most of the humiliating tactics there are (on account of having been on the receiving end of all of them; once I was chided in front of a group of girls for not being a girl, by a very sexist dirty-old-man professor. The things they think of).

I like the new look of the blog!

SeaSpray said...

I agree with A.M. - new blog looks great! :)

P.S. Thanks for the blogroll. :)

Have a fun day! :)

Patient Anonymous said...

I'm trying to think of *humiliating* school experiences (well as far as teachers go) but my mind/memory is well...murky at best. But I do recall my final year of high school English where I would continally bust my ass and continually get no result--or poor result.

I didn't understand. My work was quite acceptable.

Finally at the end of the year, I received my "A." I asked my teacher what it was all about. He told me he was just "pushing me." I just about pushed him! Literally!

As far as PA goes, that is now how she "learns." Don't keep marking her lower in a subjective environment/course without proper guidance or feedback in order to somehow try and trick her to producing better. I could have killed him. Stupid smirk on his face as I sat there stunned.

Oh, and thanks for the blogroll haha.

SeaSpray said...

I can't believe that I totally forgot to watch survivor last night! I used to love survivor and the apprentice and i am just not as in to them as in the past. Amazing race - awesome!!!

Sorry - off topic.

Why are you MIA? You are missed. :)

Medblog Addict said...

I'm around. Busy at work. Also trying not to spend so much time on the computer when I am at home. I know what you mean about Survivor and The Apprentice. I think this Amazing Race might be the best one yet. What do you think about Rob and Amber? I can't wait until they have a run in with the blondes.

SeaSpray said...

I know people don't like them, but I have always looked at it like they are playing the game to win. I enjoy watching them because they are good competitors and I would like the challenge of going up against the top people. Yes - it will be interesting to see them up against the blondes. I hope they make it toward the end because with The Amazing race - you really can be the best but it takes one stupid mistake (like getting lost) to totally blow the race.

I was amused at Mrs. Kentucky being offended because the other team drove past them in a RACE! She took it personally! I really like Kentucky as a couple but they need to get their GAME on.

During the last season,I think the Cho brothers would've done better if they stopped being so ridiculously "nice" in the game although they did have an awful sense of direction. Although, I respected them tremendously when they did risk the game to pay tribute to Senator McCain's uniform that was on display at the Hanoi Hilton in Vietnam.

Personally, when I play a game - I do play to win. I can not stand to play with someone that says "oh.. you can have that, etc...' and I hate playing with them for the rest of the game. i never let on - but yuk - where IS the fun in that. it's fun to win when you know you have played your best. If you lose you be a good sport and try harder the next time.

I also don't understand cheaters. Why cheat? A cheater doesn't really win either and they know they didn't really win. What is the fun in that?

I just don't get the point of competing if your not really going to compete and do so fair and square.

When Rob and Amber were on the race the last time, they drove past a team member that had an mva, ascertained they were ok and kept driving. I do think they should have stopped because what if something were worse than they had determined while passing by?

I wonder what their former survivor
contestants think of them on these shows and the televised wedding. they seem to be a well matched and very happy married couple and I think they are going to have some great stories to tell their grandkids someday. :)

jmb said...

What happened to the Cookie Post, I read it, was going to comment but went off to answer an email and when I came back it had disappeared. Am I going crazy or are you polishing it up for a rerun?
Missing you. Work gets in the way of life, doesn't it?
Regards
jmb

Anonymous said...

counselor.
i'm posting anonymously because you read my medblog and i wish to remain a bit hard to identify. i left law school after one year to go to med school. what about you? you certainly appear to have the interest.
secret doc

Medblog Addict said...

I went to law school because there was no math/science on the LSAT. There is no way I could overcome those obstacles. That's interesting about your switch after the first year. Did you just hate it or was it because the calling to be a doctor was stronger.

Anonymous said...

it was both. in a class of over two hundred law students i had exactly three friends. i clearly was a bad fit. a summer clerkship for a large law firm in a large city was even worse (though they paid me well for nothing).

i had always wanted to be a doctor and law school was a second choice, but one i thought was a good one at the time. i did not think i could face four more years of school and then at least three years after that as a resident, which, as i was warned, was absolute hell.

i loved medical school. fit right in. there are very few folks who enjoy residency. still, it was the right choice for me and i never looked back.

oh, and regarding the humorous medical blogs that you can't seem to locate, well, the one i write with some friends from med school is usually humorous. check out the last few posts. wishing to maintain my anonymity i will have to let you find it (you have posted there before)

secret doc.

Medblog Addict said...

I LOVE your blog. It was one of the first medblogs I stumbled across and I became an instant fan. I am so happy to see y'all posting more frequently. It is definitely a daily read now.