Friday, August 17, 2012

Yale Don't Wanna Hear From No Dumb Ass Legal Writing Teachers and Paul Ryan

Give me your hungry, your tired your poor I'll piss on 'em,
Lou Reed

This (below, not up there)  is lifted from a  post on Prawfblawg   that quoted another blog which quoted a letter of advice from the Director of Admission at Yale to a transfer student wannabe.  I really don't like putting in all the links but you can find it. It's quite creepy but don't blame the Director. She is telling it the way it is.

 "The other part of your application that is going to carry a significant amount of weight is your law school recommendations (we require two).  We use these references to place your grades in context and also to determine what kind of student you are.  A common mistake on this front is to make one of your two required recommendations from a legal writing instructor -- most students do this because they've usually had much more one-on-one interaction with their legal writing instructor than with their other professors, and so the instructor usually knows them well.  There's nothing wrong with this per se, but the Admissions Committee generally likes to have at least two letters from one of your first year core subject area professors, who can speak to your ability to keep up with the subject material, contribute to class discussion, and think through difficult concepts (a third letter from your legal writing instructor is fine).  Letters from professors who went to YLS -- who as you probably know are ubiquitous in the legal academy-- are often especially helpful, since they usually discuss why the applicant would fit into the academic and cultural experience here.  But don't go stalking a Yale alum just for this purpose -- just pick professors from classes in which you have performed very well and you'll be on the right track."

There are so many things wrong with this that I do not know where to begin. First, it is a tremendous dis of Legal Writing instructors many of whom are excellent, are grads of elite schools, and are teaching legal writing because they have limited geographic options due to one factor or another.  In fact, one of the people in the chain through which I received this quote teaches legal writing, went to an elite school, and could teach the pants off most people I know. So, Yale elites cannot even get it straight when trying to make sure no riff-raff gets through.

That riff-raff, by the way, would be students at non elite schools  who, according to the author of the letter, must have had the misfortune of having Yale grad profs. Why misfortune? Yale professors must be awful teachers because none of their students at those schools, when they become legal writing teachers, are good enough for a letter of recommendation that counts.

Second, it tells you what Yale folks think of writing. They don't want to hear from the person most informed about writing and speaking. Opps, isn't that what lawyers do?! Not all Yale grads can find  jobs writing incomprehensible law review articles that are never read.

Third, there is the "get Yale prof letters if you can" suggestion. Why? The answer is because they know whether you will fit into Yale's "academic and cultural experience." (Excuse me for a sec. I am barfing as I type this. . . . Ok, I am fine now.)  Now talk about a disaster. Is she saying what I think? We sure as hell do not want any diversity here. We want people who fit.  Only a Yale grad now in law teaching would know  if the candidate is sufficiently boring, one-dimensional,  Yale ass kissing, grade grubbing, and underachieving enough to fit in at Yale.

What does this have to do with Paul Ryan. It's easy, the Director's letter describes classism in full bloom. We do not trust someone who is not already in our cozy little class. And what do we know about huge numbers of people in that class. They're always circling the wagons because they know that they got there through connections and mommy and daddy's money. They are largely privileged people with an insatiable sense of entitlement. Actually, they are Paul except for some superficial political views.


Anonymous said...

Uhh, or Barack Obama.

Your turn for the partisan is distracting from otherwise good points about the classholes in the legal academy.

Jeffrey Harrison said...

I doubt many would regard Obama as coming from a privileged background.