The Speed of Mediocrity? Zoom

As law school closings smacked prawfs and law students in the head, schools scrambled to figure out a way to make school work essentially overnight. Zoom ended up as the most likely, and hence most used, app of the moment. At the moment, it was unclear how long this would last, how serious it would be and what alternatives were available. As some prawf friends questioned how they were going to pull this off, there was only one answer and it was obvious: the best you can.

In an emergency, you make do. Prawfs weren’t prepared for online teaching (or distance learning, as some prefer as it sounds less unseemly), but they’re trying. Josh Blackman has been chronicling his experience, which is somewhat unfair as he’s young, a digital native and finds this more “intuitive” than some of his, ahem, more senior colleagues. But on the whole, he says it’s going well. Continue reading

The Dull Ache Of A Fool’s Voice

When Donald Trump was elected president, I urged people not to spend their every waking moment shrieking the sky is falling. There was no doubt in my mind that a time would come when he would do something so wrong, so dangerously stupid, so narcissistically bizarre, that it would be time to drop the hammer. But if it was a constant shrieking, we would be inured to it in days.

Stalin’s admonition came to mind, a single death is a tragedy but a million deaths is a statistic. All Trump had to do was spew lies and nonsense constantly and they would become background noise.

Since he began holding daily coronavirus press briefings, which would likely have been conducted by Drs. Fauci or Brix, or perhaps some other spokesperson from the Centers for Disease Control under any other president but are led by the president because how else is he supposed to run for re-election during a pandemic, he has persisted in doing what he’s done regularly from the start: Spewed idiocy. Called names (“nasty” being a perpetual favorite, whether as noun or adjective). Contradicted himself with neither the slightest recognition nor shame. Lied. What else is new? Continue reading

Seaton: When Title IX Meets COVID-19

Prefatory Note: Sticky sent me something interesting this week. I leave it here for the SJ readership to analyze. Sticky also asked me to pass along a message: if you’re using Zoom to work from home, make sure you’re not sharing any sensitive information on that platform.—CLS


[Five faces appear in the Zoom meeting. One screen is distorted.]

DEAN WORMER: All right, it appears as all parties are here for this campus misconduct proceeding pursuant to Title IX. This hearing is In re Roger Strait, regarding sexual misconduct allegations filed by a party who for the purposes of this proceeding will be addressed as “Jane Doe.” We appreciate all parties participating in this proceeding. For the visually impaired, the parties are using jazz hands to signal their support. Continue reading

Dunning-Kushner Syndrome

It’s unfortunate and ironic that Michelle Goldberg can’t get out of the trap of inherently believing her fellow travelers, but the opening anecdote about a quote from Vanity Fair’s Gabe Sherman doesn’t really challenge the public narrative enough to present a problem.

According to Sherman, when New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, said that the state would need 30,000 ventilators at the apex of the coronavirus outbreak, Kushner decided that Cuomo was being alarmist. “I have all this data about I.C.U. capacity,” Kushner reportedly said. “I’m doing my own projections, and I’ve gotten a lot smarter about this. New York doesn’t need all the ventilators.” (Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top expert on infectious diseases, has said he trusts Cuomo’s estimate.)

In what great nation does a kid of no particular competence get to be in charge of life or death? Continue reading

When Therapist Becomes Title IX Adviser

Of this, there can be little doubt:

“When someone in the psychotherapist community gets wind of this, they’ll go off,” Lake said.

How dare a judge require the notes of a therapist for the female “victim” to be disclosed in a federal suit by the accused male student? Outrageous! Except the therapist and Syracuse University created their own problem.

Syracuse itself created the risk of having to disclose counseling records by combining the “therapeutic role of counselors” with “the procedural role of advisors” in its counseling center’s Sexual and Relationship Violence Response Team, or SRVRT, wrote Michael Thad Allen, the accused student’s attorney, in a February brief to Baxter.

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COVID Meets Culture

Can a virus be sexist? Racist? What sort of idiot would even ask such questions in the midst of a pandemic? The questions might not be timely in the sense that we have bigger issues, such as survival, to address at the moment, but having run through the first 10,000 coronavirus issues and run out of otherwise useful things to discuss, it was only natural that the culture war would find its moment to shine.

With more and more people working from home, it is likely that many families will find themselves in a situation where both parents are trying to work from the kitchen table while also attempting to home-school the children.

This, on top of the regular household chores as well as cooking and cleaning can feel like an extra load for many parents at this time. The likelihood is though that despite both parents now being at home, much of the “domestic” work will still land squarely on the shoulders of the women of the house. So much like the 1950s housewife, women will not only be expected to make exciting meals, keep the house clean and tidy and the children entertained – but she’ll also have to do all this while working from home.

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Short Take: Victims Of The One-Trick Ponies

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, what else is worthy of our concern? How about the victims of crime, or in this particular instance, gunshots.

My pager goes off again: The police are en route to my hospital. They’re bringing a gunshot victim. E.T.A.? Right now.

People are still shooting people. I know, there are no outraged anecdotes by criminal reform activists about this, even though there is a non-strop stream of stories of how jails and prisons are incubators for disease and will result in mass havoc. And they are and they will. But in this time of playing the emotions of the intellectually puny, everybody seems to forget that there are still bad people out there doing bad things to other people. Continue reading

The Law School Class of 2020

The law school class of 2009 did everything right. They went to college and did sufficiently well to be admitted to law school. They went to law school and did sufficiently well to graduate. They took the bar exam and did sufficiently well to pass and be admitted as lawyers. And for far too many, that’s where doing everything right came to a crashing halt.

There were no jobs. They were out their tuition, or accumulated significant debt. They were out years of their life. They were out their dream of practicing law. They graduated into the Great Recession and there was nothing they could do about it. It wasn’t their fault. It took years before the job market got better, but for the class of 2009, there was no salvation. They were lost and, eventually, mostly forgotten. Continue reading