A Word to the Wise

I’m continually amazed at how little my students know about Microsoft Word.  It’s gotten so bad that one of my colleagues has explored offering some kind of training course for the students.  I think that in any law office or organization where our students will work after graduation, there will be an expectation that everyone working there knows the basics of Word.  You should know what track changes are and how they work, what the red and green underlining means, how to indent a paragraph, how to create one-inch margins, etc.  None of this is difficult, but not knowing this stuff really affects the quality of a legal document.

Scott Walker: Winning

If you’re having trouble falling asleep tonight, this WaPo piece on Scott Walker should do the trick.  The Post went digging through Gov. Walker’s past, including talking to a bunch of people who knew him thirty years ago.  What did they learn?  Well, it seems our next President was late for French class in college.  VERY late.  And not just once, but several times.

Assuming Walker’s campaign can recover from this shocking revelation, he will eventually need to explain the central mystery explored in the article:  what kind of person running for student-body president has a campaign manager?  Seriously, is this really a thing?  Did he have a press secretary too?  A body man?  Bundlers?

Anyway, if Walker really is going to be the GOP nominee, as some of the talking heads claim to believe, the next 21 months are going to be incredibly boring.

Notes on a scandal (or eight)

Lock your doors, fellow citizens.

The National Law Journal is all over a major crime wave–an epidemic, I daresay–visited upon this great nation by its law school administrators and professors.  In just the last fifteen years, no less than eight (!) such persons have been accused of offenses ranging from child abuse to reporting inflated data about incoming students to U.S. News & World Report.  (Yes, those two things are mentioned in the same article.)

Four of the eight “scandals” mentioned in the article involved some variation of soliciting a prostitute.  (Next time somebody offers you money for sex, consider asking him what subject he teaches.)  100% of the hardened criminals profiled are male, so it appears that our female employees are behaving themselves, at least for now.

When will the next shoe drop?  If history is any guide, we won’t have to wait long.  Eight scandals in fifteen years projects to one every 1.875 years.  The SMU scandal is only a few weeks old, so by my projections, an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute will likely be solicited by a law professor sometime around December of 2016.

You’ve been warned, America.


Bossy or Brilliant?

Interesting piece in the Times today about how students evaluate professors.  Most of this is likely familiar to anyone in academia:  for example, male professors are more likely to be described as smart, brilliant, knowledgeable, etc., while females are more likely to be described as bossy or disorganized.  The most interesting thing to me is the study where male and female professors returned papers at the exact same time, and yet the students gave the male professors higher marks for “promptness.”

There is some good news in the article.  The guy who did the study was “surprised that relatively few people commented on female professors’ clothing or looks.”

I’m often struck by how much confidence my students have in me.  Based on the questions they ask in class, they really think I know everything, when the truth is I only practiced law for six years.  I haven’t practiced in nearly five years, I’ve tried one case in my life, I know next to nothing about criminal law, and my knowledge of substantive civil law is limited to the relatively few areas encountered by a BIGLAW associate.  The students’ perception that “he must know something” (or everything!) is probably partly attributable to the fact that, as an almost-middle-aged white guy in a suit, I at least look like a lawyer to them.

Correction of the day

Quite the doozy of a correction in this New York Times article on Republican Presidential candidates and vaccines:

Correction:  February 3, 2015
An earlier version of this article gave incomplete context for a quote by President Obama. When he said of autism and other disorders among children, “Some people are suspicious that it’s connected to the vaccines, this person included,” he was not referring to himself, he was pointing to a member of the crowd. An earlier version also misattributed a quote. It was Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, who said on the ABC News program “This Week” that the science was clear and convincing. “Study after study has shown that there are no negative long-term consequences. And the more kids who are not vaccinated, the more they’re at risk and the more they put their neighbors’ kids at risk as well.” It was not Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a possible 2016 presidential candidate who also appeared on the show. Also, because of an editing error, a previous version of the article misstated the TV show on which Mr. Obama was appearing when he urged parents to “get your kids vaccinated.” It was the “Today Show,” not “Meet the Press.”

I read the article yesterday, before all the corrections, and I was quite shocked to hear that in 2008 Barack Obama expressed “suspicion” that autism is connected to vaccines, and that Scott Walker (of all people!) gave perhaps the greatest response to a vaccination question ever given by a politician.  Well, it turns out that Obama was referring to an audience member who is “suspicious,” and the quote attributed to Walker actually came from Dr. Thomas Frieden.  Oh well.  Maybe Thomas Frieden should be President of the United States.