Adjunct Accused of Misblawgary
Ordinarily, I don't bother to check out the adjunct lawprof blog because, well, it's generally underwhelming (if you catch my drift). But when Susan Cartier Liebel posts about something, it's worth a look.
This challenge was a great source of amusement to begin with, and just got better as the writer was challenged by the adjunct he criticized, and then claimed he didn't criticize, after he got nailed for it. It's like adjunct professor mud-wrestling, and who could resist that?
So Mitchell Rubenstein (the editor of the blawg) posts about another adjunct, Marc John Randazza (note the use of the middle name, usually reserved for death row inmates). Randazza includes in his course syllabus a requirement that students blog, worth "10 points." Fairly novel approach to student writing, but a great way to push students to demonstrate their ability to express their interests and thoughts in writing.
Susan loves this idea, but she's an outside the box kinda gal to begin with, so she's unlikely to be scared off by anything that enhances a law students education because it wasn't done by Kingsfield in the Paper Chase.
Rubenstein, on the other hand, is less generous.
This raises some important issues. Is posting on a blog the same as class participation? Will students compete with each other for the most blog postings? Should we encourage this? Is the professor simply trying to increase his traffic? What if students do not have access to the internet?
Uh oh. Trouble in paradise. And so comes the lashing from Susan:
I think you may be overreacting. Marc is a First Amendment rights lawyer and is getting his students positioned in marketing, the good, the bad and the ugly of internet, privacy, reputation and the like. It think it is highly progressive and interactive and should be applauded. As for your questions re: drive traffic to his site? Please. And what if students don't have access to the internet? I don't know of any law student not carting around their laptop typing away and ignoring their torts professors. But even if the isolated student does not, the law school provides it. Don't knock creativity and forward-thinking activities which engage the students in practical experience.
And then Marc Randazza shows up. Showing a level of collegiality that was denied him, he opens with
With respect to the question "Is the professor simply trying to increase his traffic?"... it may smell petty, but I don't think that Prof. Rubenstein was being as petty and small as the statement might suggest. I'll speak in his defense. It appears that he just didn't really read beyond the passage he quoted. We are all busy, and sometimes we miss details that make us seem foolish later on... so, for as long as I live in the same glass house, I'll cast no stone at Rubenstein.
There's probably no better way to rip somebody than by excusing this silly attack as a product of missing "details that make us seem foolish later on." Foolish indeed.
Oh, but I forgot the law student who chimed in between the two. I love this comment.
Take it from a student that has been in classes with required posting (on a Lexis web-course)... it lead to a horse-race for just how many times a student could have their name shown for posting (usually consisting of links to New York Times articles, which does not require analytical thinking... http://www.nytimes.com/opinion (that took 2 seconds without thought; OR student posting without actually anything substantive to say).
Mandatory leads to nothing but drivel. The more voluntary, the better, thought-provoking posts there will be.
No. drivel leads to nothing but drivel. And I'm guessing that you don't have a bright future at Biglaw, because simply linking to the New York Times editorial page is not blogging and it's unlikely you're going to fool anybody that way.
But getting back to the adjunct mud-wrestling match, Rubenstein realizes the error of his ways and tries, in an act of blatant desperation, to backtrack and claim that his original attack on Randazza was no attack at all, but merely a question:
The first commentator [that would be Susan] read the purpose of my posting totally wrong. I actually commend Prof. Randazza for using his blog for academic purposes. Simply because a Prof. raises a question, does not indicate that they disagree. After all, thats what we Profs do.
Yeah, that's right. When he asked if Randazza was trying to use students to pad his traffic, he meant it in the positive sense. You know, good padding, not that bad evil padding. Holy cow, did he think he was going to pull his chestnuts out of the fire with that lame crap?
Nobody would fault you for asking questions, but it's all in the questions you ask. It's bad enough that you went after him in the first place (come on now, be honest), but your subsequent attempt to cover yourself was just pathetic. Own up to it and take your lumps. Like Marc John says, sometimes we all look foolish. This was your turn.
Is it just me, or does this sound remarkably like our clients who jump at the chance to try to "explain" their way out of a bust with some ridiculous excuse that later comes back to bite them in the butt? My advice, Mitch (from one ILRie to another) is bite the bullet. But thanks for the laugh.