Saturday, February 09, 2008

Don't let this happen to you

I was reading a post on a law student blog and the author, in her second semester of law school, was wondering why several of her otherwise perfectly normal classmates have suddenly become asshats.

Little did she know its a common disorder seen among the law student population.

Sudden Asshat Syndrome: afflicts otherwise ok but insecure law students who keep their heads down and work hard first semester and don't draw attention to themselves. Until... they get a couple of good grades and decide what they have to say is more important than what other people have to say.

1) Interrupting professor to correct a misstatement about the facts. Because its mission critical to recall exactly how many feet Mrs. Palzgraff was from the explosion.
2) Raising hand to tell rambling personal stories only tangentially related to anything. Unless it begins, "This one time, at band camp" AND ends with the blue-haired professor passing out from shock, skip it.
3) Spinnging irrelevant hypotheticals: Ok, so I get why he gets the fox, but what if it was a beaver? And instead of shooting it, he clubbed it to death? Would that make a difference?

Cure: none. Because even future bad grades tend not to make them shut up. Once the beast is loosed, its never going back in the cage.

Remedial measures: ear plugs.


John said...

Odd -- I stumbled on this blog today, after just having finished the following letter to my alumni contact at my school. I can't find your e-mail link so I'm posting it here, I hope that's not offensive (of course you can delete it if it is). As you can see from the letter, I went to a VERY non tier one law school, got a great legal education, and would like to share this with students who are looking for the "I wish I would have known" advice --

Hi Darryl,

When I was graduating, Pat Corbett asked me if I could offer any advice for Cooley that would help more students succeed -- and now, four years later, I think I can.

I'm not sure how to get that advice out, though, so I thought I'd write it up as a letter to students, send it to you and to some of other Cooley folks I know and ask that you make any use of it that you can.

John Gear

Looking back
by John Gear

Recently, I ran across an online article and a book, both of which helped me to understand how I managed to earn grades that were much better than those of students much smarter than me (and who worked at least as hard as I did). I thought I would send a note back to Lansing in hopes that some of you might be able to benefit from these ideas too.

First, an important article at 90-minute daytime naps significantly help consolidate long-term memory of new learning. I napped throughout law school -- daily when I could. Turns out I had stumbled on a way to help my memory work better. I think naps and about five hours a week of regular, hard exercise are the two superweapons of the law student who wants to graduate in good standing, good spirits, and good health.

Second, there’s a great book that tells a great story and, along the way, lays out a very effective method for absorbing a massive amount of information in a short time and being able to recall it quickly. Hmmmm, where might that be useful?

Comedian and author Bob Harris,, is one of the most successful Jeopardy! contestants ever, and his book does a great job explaining how he managed to become a big winner after initially being unable to even qualify as a contestant.

Every “Intro to Law” student should read his book, Prisoner of Trebekistan: My decade in Jeopardy! -- and if that’s too late for you, 2Ls and 3Ls can still benefit from it for their remaining classes and for the bar exam. My wife said she recognized a lot of Harris’ study ideas from my seven terms at Cooley and my studies for the Michigan and Oregon bar exams.

I can’t explain the approach here -- not only is Harris a much better writer than I am, but it will do you far more good to read his book than any short summary I could offer. But although the book is quite funny in spots, I am quite serious about it: I think Cooley should make Prisoner of Trebekistan required reading for all new 1Ls, put copies in the Brennan Library, and, heck, invite Harris to speak at the school. I can guarantee that, if you give the book a chance then, at worst, you will have enjoyed the story --- and at best you will have found a way to make your whole career go better. Good luck!

John Gear graduated second in the Cross Class in January 2004 and has been admitted to practice in Michigan and Oregon.

Butterflyfish said...

Ummmm.... yeah?

The Lay Judge said...

Oddly enough, I've tried out for Jeopardy before (unsuccessfully- but I still contend that had to do with staying out drinking until 4 am the night before) and read that book after the fact.

It was an interesting read and focuses mostly on mnemonics and associations.

The Lay Judge said...

Sorry, also meant to say thank you to Butterflyfish for the insight and the laughs.

Meow said...

SO TRUE! god, make them go back to their insecure caves and leave me in peace.