This blog was my first attempt at blogging about issues that I felt were important to legal studies education. However, it has since become inactive. As I progressed along the blogging learning curve, I have moved forward with the Legal Studies Classroom Blog. I invite readers of Errors of Law to look at the new blog and share their comments.
This final (for now) installment in the "Songs About Law School Series comes from Singapore, where first year associates in the firm of Drew & Napier, LLC give advice to first year law students at SMU (Singapore Management University). The video entitled "All The Law Things" is a parody of the song "All The Small Things" by Blink 182 (both videos are below).The advice is predictable: as law school was all consuming, so too is law practice (although they seem so suprisingly happy about it!).
Well, there's not a lot of substance to this next installment of the Songs About Law School series, but it is a lot of fun. Unlike the prior songs which exuded either the trepidation of the entering law student or the endless toil of the 1L, BarBri Girl by the NYU Law Revue is infused with the enthusiastic optimism of the graduating law student turning his/her attention to preparation for the bar exam. BarBri is a bar review preparation service popular in New York, Massachusetts and other states. I am a BarBri alum, myself and I confess that my (then) 16 year old BarBri outlines served as the basis for my first lecture outlines as an Adjunct Business Law instructor many years ago. BarBri girl is a spoof of the song Barbie Girl by the Danish pop group Aqua. There is an interesting legal connection to Barbie Girl in that Aqua's record company, MCA, was unsuccessfully sued by Mattel for trademark infringement on their Barbie doll product line. BarBri girl is a bit of Legally Blonde meets Delta House, part social commentary and part mindless emotional release. I see it as moving beyond the trivialization of womanhood evident in the original Barbie Girl to more of a celebration of accomplishment.
Below are first, BarBri Girl by the NYU Law Revue and, further below, Barbie Girl, by Aqua.
The next installment in the Law School Songs series is Texas Wesleyan law student, Danielle Rupp's, submission for the Access Group's "One Less Worry" Contest. What I like about Danielle's unique expression of her law school experience is that it reminds prospective law students that they are stepping out of the cozy confines of their undergraduate cocoons and entering a place where there are other people from the "real world." When I was a law student I had the greatest respect for people who worked all day long and then went to class and somehow found time to prepare for the next day's classes. Yes, law school is hard; and it is harder for those juggling work and family and other real world responsibiities at the same time. But, LIFE is hard and the juggling act never really ends once it begins. Remember, students, to steal a line from Rudy Baylor in The Rainmaker, "There are all kinds of lawyers." And there all "all kinds" of ways to be involved in the practice of law or use of your law degree after law school. You don't need to throw yourself into the "Big Business model, 3,000 billable hour/year, owe your soul to the company store" type of law firm just because other law students are pursuing those positions. You need to be true to yourselves and the things that are important to you in your lives. Money is a poor substitute for peace of mind and a life richly shared with family.
Kudos to Danielle for her creativity and talent and the best of wishes for juggling law school and life.
The next installment in the "Songs About Law School" series features Lindsey Myers's submission to the Access Group "One Less Worry" contest. In a lighthearted way, Lindsey touches on most of the basic entering law student concerns - including money, grades, appearances, competition and moral degradation. I think that Lindsey is ahead of the game. As I have stated here before, going into law school understanding what you are about to experience will help you to get through it intact. Law schools typically make much of their mission to "train you to think like a lawyer." This is all well and good and certainly a necessary skill for the practice of law. But it should not be misinterpreted as some higher state of intellectual pursuit. It is, ultimately, occupational training. A law student needs to learn to be able to "think like a lawyer" when lawyering and "think like a person" when not lawyering. Lawyers live in a world of relative truth. "Truth" in law is nothing more than an evaluation of what evidence exists that is more likely than not to prove the existence of the fact. However, when relating to your spouse, children, family, friends, employers or employees and co-workers (in short, everyone who has importance in your life) truth is not and should not be dependent on the existence of evidence. Logical, analytical analysis has its value in its proper place. But so do sympathy,empathy, and irrational emotion.
Thanks to Lindsey for sharing. If you're reading, Lindsey, I have no doubt that your sense of humor and insight will serve you well. And who could't help but admire a cheese-head wearing accordian player?
Have you ever wondered exactly what was contained in the "Left Wing Manifesto" that Gitlow was distributing when the State of New York busted him? While the majority of the Supreme Court thought it had a "bad tendency," Justice Holmes, in dissent was dismissive of it stating, "[W]hatever may be thought of the redundant discourse before us it had no chance of starting a present conflagration." Here is an opportunity to read the original Left Wing Manifesto for yourself, along with the original documents that were the subject of a couple of dozen First Amendment cases. The site "First Amendment Online" is hosted by the University of Minnesota Law School. The link here is to the home page. Click on "Primary Sources" to see the Left Wing Manifesto and other documents. Credit should be given to the Volokh Conspiracy Blog which is where I found the link. I hope that readers will find theses resources helpful in the classroom.
Professor Harry Flechtner at the University of Pittsburgh Law School performs a song about the United Nations Conference on International Contracts for the Sale of Goods. While it is not my area of expertise, it strikes me as quite a good song (pun intended). This is not, strictly speaking, a popular cultural representation of the law. Although Prof. Flechtner's song is clever and catchy, it isn't likely to capture the attention of those outside of law circles. It is, however, the kind of song that can be used in the classroom - similar to the Law Lessongs available on my web page. Thank you, Prof. Flechtner for sharing your creativity and providing another valuable and innovative resource for the law classroom.
I feel that the greatest challenge in the undergraduate law classroom is overcoming durable yet misleading impressions of the law created in popular culture. I will post here and invite your comments on:
- Teaching law to undergraduates - Popular culture's images of law, lawyers and the legal system - Using popular culture constructively in the classroom