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July 29, 2003

Tuesday Law Links

Just when I learn for sure I didn't get into a top-10 school, Sua Sponte warns future law students to apply to and attend the highest-ranked school to which they can possibly gain admission. A lively discussion has ensued in the comments section about the value of rankings and how important they should be to your choice of law schools, and the most recent comment links to this alternative ranking that, while a bit heavy on the frat-boy pick-up scene mentality, manages to make the point that there's a lot more to life than rank. Specifically, I agree that the availability of Fat Tire Amber Ale, hiking, mountain biking, and skiing should all be somehow figured into the next U.S. News rankings. Since all of those things are most readily available in the Rockies, my advice would be to apply to any school in Colorado or Montana. Idaho would work pretty well, too.

(Aside: Sua Sponte has been making noises about moving to MT; I hope she can transfer her archives and comments, because she's built up a great repository of opinions and information for 1-Ls and pre-1-Ls.)

But a bit more seriously, i hate stupid people (ihsp) and effinchamp have both offered some wise thoughts on how to choose a law school. ihsp's advice is eminently quotable; first:

Do not ever pick anything in your life just because it has the most gold stars. Figure out why the stars are there, and if you even like the things the star represents.

The U.S. News Rankings may end up giving you some pretty empty stars. But ihsp continues:

I suggest that you can't figure out where you want to be until you figure out what you want. Take as a given (for shits and giggles; just do it) that you will end up hating the law you think you want to practice, you will not return to the jurisdiction where you wish to practice, you will not get a coveted large firm internship and you will not understand half of what is said in at least three of your classes. If that all happens, will you still be happy in your choice of school? Is the city cool enough to hang out in? Are the professors smart/interesting/helpful people? Are there other options for employment than the large firm three ring circus of fun? Are there enough large firms in the area if you wanted to play that game?

Like I said: Great stuff. Now where was ihsp with this advice four months ago?!?

On a completely different topic, Professor Cooper links to Dwight Meredith (also here) and Kevin Drum on "tort reform." Together, the posts form a convincing antidote to the periodic media droning about multi-million dollar jury awards for "frivolous lawsuits" that are driving doctors out of practice and raising prices and insurance rates for all of us, etc. I just started reading Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush, which is at once fascinating, entertaining, and horrifying in its prescience. I mention it because its authors, Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose, have some choice things to say about Bush's "almost amusing loathing for trial lawyers" (xxiv), which leads to his obsession with "tort reform." The gist seems to be fairly obvious: As someone "perfectly comfortable, perfectly at home, doing the bidding of big bidness" (xvii), Bush hates trial lawyers because they do, occasionally, end up forcing "big bidness" to pay for its mistakes and abuses of public trust and resources. The brilliance of the Bush administration's campaign for tort reform is that they're selling it as a way to help the average American, when really this "reform" will almost certainly benefit corporate America more than anyone else. But then, as far as Yubbledew and Co. are concerned, what's good for corporate America is good for the world. Strike that: For Yubbledew and Co., corporate America is the world.

Posted July 29, 2003 12:37 PM | law general law school

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