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News Briefs—Dumbest Lawyer of the Week; Seven-Year Itch; and More

Vivia Chen

January 17, 2013

It's only mid January, and already there are strong contenders for this year's award for dumbest lawyer, most pointless academic research, and most overhyped moment in law:

%c2%a9%20ilolab%20-%20Fotolia.com1. Stupidity or chutzpah? I guess it's both, but I think stupidity is ultimately the winner in the case of Oklahoma lawyer Amy McTeer. Here's how Leigh Jones of The National Law Journal describes McTeer's odyssey:

McTeer, 40, was arrested in 2011 for helping her boyfriend, a former client, escape from a correctional facility where he was being held for possession of methamphetamine while on probation. The two were taken into custody after police found them having lunch in a downtown Oklahoma City restaurant, a few hours after she had uploaded postescape photos of them onto her Facebook page, according to local news reports at the time. Police said they found the boyfriend's prison uniform in McTeer's home.

McTeer, who has since resigned from the state bar, has a troubled history. Above the Law reported last year that she had been "charged with methamphetamine possession, public intoxication, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia." Ironic and sad that she started her career as an assistant district attorney. Still, if you break the law, you should know better than to crow about it on Facebook.

2. Did we really need a study about the benefits of sucking up? If you don't know this by now, you probably don't belong in law school—and, certainly, not in Big Law (or the government or academia, etc.). The NLJ 's Karen Sloan reports that Indiana University's Center for Postsecondary Research recently released its survey of more than 25,000 students at 81 law schools (Law School Survey of Student Engagement):

"Our analysis reveals that interaction with faculty relates significantly to students' perceptions of their own gains in both academic and personal dimensions," the authors wrote. 

So what exactly does that mean? "Not only did these interactions help students develop key legal skills; they also helped them earn better grades." And guess what? As a result, the "students who reported more interaction with their professors tended to be more satisfied with their law school experience."

In other words, schmooze and brown-nose law professors, and you'll likely get better grades—which means you'll get a better job, and be "more satisfied" with your time in law school. Have I not been telling you that kissing up is the most surefire way to success every step along the food chain? 

3. For this, we waited seven years? By now, you've surely have heard how Justice Clarence Thomas finally broke his seven years of silence during arguments at the high court by uttering these four words:

"Well—he did not—"

What was he saying? What was the context? I've read a handful of interpretations, and I'm still not sure. And it seems The Washington Post, The New York Times, and a slew of other publications are equally confused. The best, though, comes from Jon Stewart's Daily Show: Trust me, it will make your day.

But really, who cares? Personally, I don't know what's more anticlimactic: Thomas's verbal eruption or Lance Armstrong's admission that he doped up before his races.

Comments

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Not totally anonymous. As I recall, some students were able to get a grade adjustment afterwards. And certainly not anonymous in the smaller classes after first year.

Interacting with faculty may be characterized as "schmoozing" but your implication that it is the "brown-nosing" effect that leads to a better grade is unfair. Most law school grades are based on anonymous exams.


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About The Careerist

The Careerist takes an inside look at how lawyers shape their careers and manage their lives. The blog aims to dissect developments in the profession, provide useful information and advice, and give lawyers a platform to voice their views. The goal is to provide a fresh, provocative take on the state of lawyering.

About Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen

Vivia Chen, The Careerist's chief blogger, has been covering the business and culture of law firms for a decade. A former corporate lawyer, Chen is fascinated by those who thrive (as well as those who don't) in the legal profession. Her take: Success in the law (and life) doesn't always travel a linear path. If you have topics you'd like to discuss or information to share, contact her: [email protected]

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