Joe and Elie debate the Clinton Foundation, back to school issues, and the efficacy of taking classes with “famous” professors, just so you can name drop at parties.
Above the Law
Thinking Like a Lawyer: Access and Name Dropping
Intro: Welcome to ‘Thinking Like a Lawyer’ with your hosts Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice talking about legal news and top culture all while thinking like a lawyer, here on Legal Talk Network.
Joe Patrice: Hello. Welcome to another edition of ‘Thinking Like a Lawyer’. I am Joe Patrice from Above the Law, and with me, though not physically here, is Elie Mystal.
Elie Mystal: How are you doing, Joe?
Joe Patrice: I am good, I am good. You know, pretty fair. How are you?
Elie Mystal: I have got a one-year-old’s birthday party at like 2 a.m. on Saturday morning, so I am already preparing for that, detoxing for that.
Joe Patrice: 10 a.m., does not sound like a fun time for a birthday party.
Elie Mystal: Yeah, well you know, kids, schedules, naps. Being a parent means that everything that you liked about your life is over anyway, so what’s wrong with 10 a.m.?
Joe Patrice: Also I just don’t get the first birthday, it’s not like the kid is going to remember it.
Elie Mystal: Oh, but the parents do, the parents do for memories that will last a lifetime. My youngest had his first birthday two weekends ago, and boy, will my wife remember it?
Joe Patrice: See now with that though I kind of get it, because he has an older brother and that for the older brother it’s a fun.
Elie Mystal: For the older brother it was like the worst day of his goddamn life because it was three hours of the younger one getting awesome presents and him having a sit there and clap. He had a rough time of it.
Joe Patrice: Well, no, right, and that’s like one of the most important lessons for someone to learn that other people are always going to get better things and you are just going to have to sit there and pretend to like it.
Elie Mystal: All right, can I grab my gears because I have a thing that I am sick of sitting here pretending that I am okay with that.
Joe Patrice: Sure, go ahead.
Elie Mystal: Dude, I am kind of done playing nice about The Clinton Foundation. I understand that the right liberal thing to do right now is to be like, oh, well, you know, maybe the optics of their foundation were bad. This is the most fake made up stupid controversy of the entire election so far.
Look, I am from New York, and in New York when we call our politicians corrupt we are not throwing that term out ideally to score political points. When we call our politicians corrupt, they go to jail, we have actual evidence against them of high-level political corruption.
Sheldon Silver, in jail, massive kickback scheme; Dean Skelos, in jail, massive kickback scheme; Eliot Spitzer put a prostitute on a credit card, all right, if we are going to talk about moral corruption here. Hillary Clinton, the accusations against her are — she took some meetings and maybe like a rich person definitely got to call her, oh my gosh, there’s no actual evidence of high-level political corruption. So I honestly don’t know why this is a huge story.
I wrote on the Bubble Law that if The Clinton Foundation had been invested in giving people puppies, that this wouldn’t even be a story because nobody would say, oh my God, why did Saudi Arabian princess save millions of puppies? Corruption? It’s ridiculous. And I picked this topic particularly because you, Sanders’ guy, I am sure has some kind of —
Joe Patrice: Yeah, no, I mean —
Elie Mystal: — arguments against this.
Joe Patrice: Yes, well, it’s just because I have done the actual research and reading of what people are saying about it and it’s not just a right-wing conspiracy thing though those people have taken it too far. It actively is something of a problem. I thought that ‘The Washington Post’ reporter David Weigel had the best take on it, which is, it’s not a zero-sum game, it is absolutely possible for something to have done good work and also be an ethical quagmire, and that appears to be what this is.
It’s a bloated organization that spends far too much on administration as opposed to actually doing things and it spent a lot of its time giving opportunities for largely ethnically troubled people to have access directly to sectors, and there is real and even liberal groups are making a point of their real consequences of a lot of this, especially in the Bahrain situation you’re dealing with a country that after giving that and having its meetings, the people who then got gassed in that country didn’t get to have that meeting. It’s unfortunate that they just didn’t have that opportunity that you think is no big deal.
Elie Mystal: Can we just talk about this as men and women of the world? Can we just talk about this with a little bit level of sophistication? Are we really suggesting that Hillary Clinton made a secret deal with Bahrainian foreigners that went all the way up and convinced President Obama to make a special exception for Bahrain because they gave her $32 million to her charity? I mean, is that really the conversation that intelligent men and women think of it?
Joe Patrice: No, but the incredibly facile straw man you just created would be something you can beat; however, the more accurate depiction of what happened is, there is access. We all know that none of these situations with lobbyist or whatever are really somebody coming in with a bag full of money and buying a deal; however, they get to have that conversation, they get to be in front of them, they get to know the person as a person, and then when you meet people face-to-face and know them as people, you are more likely to see their side of things and agree with them, that’s what’s happened here.
Elie Mystal: But that’s not corruption, that’s just the world is spinning. Joe you take Above the Law, advertiser funding, we take advertiser money, if an advertiser wants to meet us at a conference and they’ve spent $50,000 on our website we are going to go meet that advertiser, right?
Joe Patrice: Right, yes.
Elie Mystal: Does that made us corrupt? Does that impugn our journalistic integrity? I don’t think so.
Joe Patrice: Well, those are completely not the same thing at all, are they? We are a for-profit business as opposed to a nonprofit that has ties to a government official who indirectly and theoretically not involved with one or the other is using the fact that money is going to one to trade off access to the other. That’s a problem, I think that that’s wrong about saying The Clinton Foundation some disastrous awful thing per se, I think it did a lot of good, it is not the perfect nonprofit in the world, but it’s a fine one. But look, this is an actual problem and really a blotch on an ethical record that you can just say that –
Elie Mystal: All the stuff you said — there is no motive here, there no motive for Hillary Clinton to do what you accused her for doing.
Joe Patrice: That’s not true at all, what are you talking about? At this point, you’re just kind of ridiculously defending this so that you can like pretend that there is no warts on the people that I think we all generally agree that at least on this podcast that we support. There are warts, this is bad. The motive was to generate money for the organization; case closed.
Elie Mystal: There is absolutely no allegation whatsoever that Hillary Clinton took any money from The Clinton Foundation.
Joe Patrice: No, she didn’t.
Elie Mystal: Because it’s a charity.
Joe Patrice: Right.
Elie Mystal: So where are you getting — so that’s not corruption then.
Joe Patrice: No – yes, it is. Yes, actually this has reached the point where I think that your attempt to try and wish this away by saying a certain things louder and louder is really detracting.
Elie Mystal: I am not trying to wish it away. I am just trying to get people to acknowledge the actual way that the world works, and stop trying to pretend like every time the world works in exactly the way that we expect it to work, that somehow that means that Hillary Clinton is a lying, cheating, awful human being.
Joe Patrice: At this point let’s move into our topic because our guest literally rolled her eyes when you said the last thing you said, which I think is a good sign that we are ready to move on.
Elie Mystal: Oh my god, she has so much more access to you during this interview, I am not sure if I can get a fair representation.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s true.
Joe Patrice: Well, that’s fair, she absolutely does have more access to me, she is sitting right here and therefore I’m more inclined to take her side on things, so good point.
Anyway, Kathryn Rubino also at Above the Law, we thought that this week because we have back-to-school time happening, we thought we’d have a little conversation about going back to school and our experiences or whatever.
So thanks for joining again, Kathryn.
Kathryn Rubino: Anytime.
Elie Mystal: To be clear I have never gone back to school. I did it once straight time, and once I got out, I never looked back.
Joe Patrice: Well, they were summers, theoretically in the summer you would do opposites.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s one of the hardest things. You are having fun all summer, especially a lot of law students have been summer associates and been wined and dined, and now they have to get back to the grind, finish out the law school on a high.
Elie Mystal: So we are saying this episode is going to be feeling sorry for summer associates who just got off of a summer making $3,500 a week or so and now they have to go to 3L School.
Joe Patrice: Actually that is a reason to feel bad for them. If you went for $3,500 a week to having to sit through law and insert random down here, yeah, it would be kind of sad.
But, let’s start by talking about 1Ls and we will move to those 3Ls coming back. So with 1Ls there’s some of them theoretically might be listening to us here. So let’s start with Kathryn here, do you have any advice for 1Ls that like from your experience as a grizzled lawyer?
Kathryn Rubino: Oh, thanks. Yeah, I guess my best advice for 1Ls is try not to worry too much. There is not going to be any lack of people that you are in school with too many hours a day that are going to be freaking out and anything you can do to prevent yourself from getting carried away is probably a good thing; whether it’s having friends outside of law school that are maybe nearby that you can hang out with, or even getting involved in some of the more fun aspects of law school. There is always bar review drinking nights and other opportunities for fun, but everyone — I just remember when I was a 1L everyone being so strung out all the time that I was really lucky my — even though I was in student housing my roommate was actually a grad student at the chemistry department. So it was really nice to have someone to go back to that wasn’t freaking out about torts.
Elie Mystal: Really though, I mean is that really — I mean, look, I support alcoholism as much as the next guy, but one can certainly make the argument that 1L year is actually the only year that matters. Your 1L grades have an outsized importance on your future career prospects. So if you are ever going to kind of cut out outside distractions, completely buckle down and turn into a neurotic stress ball of case citations, 1L year is actually the time to do it.
Kathryn Rubino: Well, I mean, I think that what I am saying is that becoming a stress case is unlikely to actually improve your performance on any exam. I think that being able to have a sense of perspective, and I am not saying you should not study, I am certainly not suggesting that, but I think that having some perspective on it, you actually can improve your ability to perform your 1L year.
And you are right, it’s absurd how much weight the grades from your 1L year have on the rest of your career, but if you worry about that constantly, you will make yourself sick by the time exams roll around. Because that’s the other thing, you only get one chance, and it’s in December so if you will start freaking out in August or September, you are going to be inconsolable by the time exams actually roll around.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. No, I mean, I agree with that. I think that there is — you are both kind of right, like there are important reasons to care more about 1L year than any other year of your academic career, but it’s also true that if you get too wrapped up in it, you are going to suffer and your grades will suffer. So keep some perspective, do other things.
I think personally, one bit of advice from me is, don’t take anyone else’s advice on how to brief cases with like nine different highlighters and stuff, like you got to where you are because you are theoretically capable of reading comprehension, learn what they are trying to do and then do it your own way.
I thought that was the biggest thing for me is because I tried to do what everyone was saying with all the highlighters and do this and that and it just screwed everything up. Once I stopped doing that is when I started doing a lot better.
Elie Mystal: Did you brief Kathryn?
Kathryn Rubino: No, I wish I could say I did. I probably should have. I did not though. It just seemed like a lot of busy work. And I think that a lot of it was also a system that was created by people who are very Type A, neurotic kinds of people in order to make themselves feel like they are prepared for the exam, and it may work for a lot of people, but that’s certainly not the only way to skin that cat.
Elie Mystal: I didn’t brief either and we all work for Above the Law now. Were either of you guys gunners?
Kathryn Rubino: No.
Joe Patrice: I can’t imagine a world in which Kathryn was a gunner.
Kathryn Rubino: No, absolutely not. Not even a little bit. No, no.
Elie Mystal: Joe.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. No, I wasn’t, at least not 1L year. There was a 2L class that I happened to just — I got into the material and so I don’t think I was a gunner, but I definitely talked more in that, but that was a 10 person class, so kind of had to talk more. That’s the closest to gunning I ever did.
Elie Mystal: Yeah, I also — I mean, I wasn’t in class enough to really fully embrace a gunning relationship with the material, but I did enjoy — basically, I accepted my role as the Black guy in class, which thankfully I wasn’t always the only one, but there were three of us, there were four of us sometimes, and I embraced the role of that somewhat, not surprisingly.
All right, so your 1L year is done, you have gotten your As.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, theoretically.
Elie Mystal: You have spent your summer — you are not getting a job in your 1L summer so you spent your summer working at Club Med.
Kathryn Rubino: Did you not get a job after your 1L summer?
Elie Mystal: Not a law job.
Kathryn Rubino: I did. What did you do, Joe?
Joe Patrice: I was half and half; I worked for my torts professor.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s not a real job.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, it wasn’t really.
Elie Mystal: I mean, where is the law half of that?
Joe Patrice: Yeah. Well, he was writing a paper that eventually got published in — God, I can’t even remember, but it was a law review paper and I did all of the research against site checking for that. So it was quasi job, I guess, is more accurate.
Kathryn Rubino: I worked for the Legal Department of the FDIC.
Joe Patrice: Yes, I have heard of them.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, that was actually a really fun job. They do a lot of cool stuff, but it didn’t actually wind up helping me in my career in real life.
Elie Mystal: I worked for a Tom DiNapoli’s Committee to elect for a Nassau County Executive; we lost, and the weird thing is that — so the election happened, the primary, which is the only thing that matter, happened after I was back at school, so I would also like to kind of come back down from school back to New York to at least be there on election day, and as I woke up in the morning to kind of hop on the train and go, that was September 11. So I didn’t go.
With that happy note, let’s move on to 2L year.
Joe Patrice: So yeah, so we go to the 2L. You have come back, so it’s OCI, On-Campus Interview time. So this year actually we haven’t heard many reports from On-Campus Interviews yet coming into Above the Law, but we just had a string of raises. So how do you think that’s going to affect the interview?
Kathryn Rubino: Well, I think it definitely provides a little bit more — levels of distinction for incoming 2Ls. There are three different kinds of firms they are perhaps interviewing with on the same day. It’s people who are on the full Cravath MoneyLaw scale. There are people who have a 180 base for first years and you know question mark, question mark for second year and above; and then there are people who haven’t raised at all.
I mean, I remember OCI having 20 interviews in a day or some absurd number, and that’s something for sure I think that interviewees will have to keep straight in their head which firm they are interviewing with, what their pay scale currently is. When I interviewed it was really easy, everyone was paying the same amount of money. So it was really easy for me.
Elie Mystal: I think it’s instructive that we want to transition to what you should do for the 2L year, and the first thing that everybody wants to talk about is interviewing, right.
One of the ways that I defend my relatively subpar knowledge on IP Law is that was the class that I had at 9 o’clock in the morning during callbacks and so who the hell cared. That class had absolutely nothing to do with my future existence, and it did not perhaps get the attention that it deserved; I wish I had given it now in retrospect.
Joe Patrice: Now that you are a writer who actually deals with copyright all the time.
Elie Mystal: Yes. I wish I could go back. No, I think the challenge for 2Ls is maintaining any new level of kind of intellectual rigor and focus on the class materials in the context of a series of the most important job interviews of your life.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah. I mean, you say it’s a challenge, but is it really necessary to pay attention your 2L year?
Joe Patrice: Yeah, that’s the key.
Kathryn Rubino: I mean, I don’t want to — I am not trying to say people should not do their best at law school, of course everyone should, but I mean seriously, I did not do a ton of work my 2L year for a lot of the same reasons that you explained Elie and I never really felt like that was a problem vis-à-vis my legal career.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, the one thing I would say to that is I didn’t think that either, I more or less didn’t care about those classes, but I will say I did get A in my last semester of my last year. I got — I just blew off the class entirely and ended up not — falling below the everyone gets a B+ rule of law school. And you know that — I didn’t think about it at the time but years later when I moved jobs, not all of them, most of them I had been a lawyer long enough they didn’t really care about my grades and were like, well, we see this body of work, but there were some who would ask for a transcript, and I had to go — they would be like, well, what happened here, and I am like, oh, yes, that thing that happened seven years ago. Let me explain why I didn’t go to that class.
So it is important to keep up at least enough understanding of what’s going on, because you don’t want to keep having that conversation years down the road.
Elie Mystal: 2L year is also where a lot of people kind of go hard on their journals or law review or moot court, if that’s your thing. Is that right, is 2L year the time to kind of take advantage of some of the legal extracurriculars available on campus?
Joe Patrice: Yeah, I think that’s probably right.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, makes sense.
Joe Patrice: So did you have any interview horror stories?
Kathryn Rubino: Not me personally. I mean, writing here at ATL we recently wrote something about some partners who had relayed some of their horror stories in managing and hiring partners at big law firms, and one of them that I thought was really interesting was when they interviewed someone, the interviewee took off their jacket, put their feet on the table and began the interview that way. That seems like a sure-fire way not to get a call back to me.
Elie Mystal: My biggest one is, and I don’t name the firm, because it would just be impolite at this point for me to use my position to call them out, but I was interviewing at one firm, I was in the call back interview. So you are going through different partners’ offices, they have a person that’s kind of showing you around. As I was waiting outside of one partner’s office, another partner in the firm came out, got up from his desk, came out to meet me, handed me an interoffice envelope and asked me where I had been.
Kathryn Rubino: Oh my!
Joe Patrice: Yeah, I have heard that story from you before, it never ceases to impress.
Elie Mystal: People were — the woman was horrified, she kind of stammered, he is one of our candidates, we are interviewing him today. And the part of it was just, he didn’t even care. He was long past the point where he gave f*** about the situation, so he was just like, oh, sorry, and just like shuffled on back to his desk, and the woman was like, that’s Bob. I got an offer; I did not take it.
Joe Patrice: My favorite, which I can’t — I think I may have told on this podcast before, but my favorite was not me, but a colleague from law school was interviewing at a firm that I will also not name, but I will say it wasn’t Cravath; that’s kind of a key to the story. He was interviewing at this and the guy looked at his transcript and said; we went to NYU for law school obviously, but the guy looked at his transcript and went, it says here you went to Yale for undergrad, but you are at NYU now, why didn’t you go to Yale Law School; I went to Yale Law School, it’s the best law school. And my friend looks at him and goes, I don’t know why is it you aren’t working at Cravath. Pretty impressed by that one.
Kathryn Rubino: I can’t even imagine having the wherewithal to make that quip mid interview, and making the split second decision, I don’t need this job offer, I will be fine.
Joe Patrice: Always a classic. I keep that story around to tell at parties.
Elie Mystal: Although I will say just to that, I do think that shows also kind of — I think both of our stories kind of shows just how much the world has changed since we were in school to where things are now. I think Kathryn legitimately back in the day like you didn’t need that job offer.
Kathryn Rubino: That’s true.
Elie Mystal: You were getting enough that you didn’t have to sweat every single OCI and every single call back. I absolutely went through call backs where I was just like, I am never going to work here, it doesn’t even freaking matter.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. And we also are somewhat spoiled and we should remember that. Not every person listening to this podcast went to a T14 School during the boom. So it’s possible that even beyond how the economy has changed, it’s possible that a lot of folks went to law schools where it’s still very important to ace that interview, because just only 5%, 10% of the people in the school are going to get those big jobs.
Elie Mystal: That’s what I was trying to say, thank you.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. Okay. So moving from that I guess, we have already talked about kind of keeping your focus through interview time. What kinds of classes do you think 2Ls should be targeting? You have now got some freedom to choose your electives, what do you do with that, do you blow it all off, do you try and take the hardest things, where should you be?
Kathryn Rubino: I mean to me very little of what you learn, no matter how you try — unless you are going to be like a tax attorney. If you are going to be a tax attorney, you have got to do what you have got to do. But if you are planning on being — you don’t know really what you want to do, you figure you are going to practice in a big law firm, but not really sure what, I would just take the classes that are most interesting to you personally.
Nothing you take is really going to help you when you actually step the foot in the door, when you start your big law job. You are going to have to learn everything from scratch then anyways, so you might as well have the most enjoyable time you can. Take the classes that are interesting. If you think that law and early 18th Century literature is up your alley, enjoy it. It’s the last time you are going to have the time to do those kind of intellectual pursuits without a partner complaining about how much time you are spending on it.
Elie Mystal: I am Hillary Clinton and I approve that message. 2L year to me is very different from 3L year in this regard, and while I absolutely agree that you shouldn’t be specializing. There is nothing that you are learning 2L year of law school that isn’t going to kind of be immediately superseded by whatever the partner you happen to be working for demands week one on the job, so specialization is not the goal here.
But I do think that there is some value in taking law in different kinds of fields. And I don’t mean just like the difference between environmental law and family law, that’s fundamentally kind of — it’s a similar kind of thought process there. I mean, really kind of going far afield and having that one kind of law class that really is kind of focused on case law and statutory interpretation and what have you, that’s kind of one segment of law.
Then another segment of law that’s really more focused on kind of law as a functionary, the kind of law on the ground that most people are actually dealing with everyday, like a practical law class.
And then you can also have your more — I think what Kathryn is going through, your more kind of theoretical history of the law type of experience.
I think if you can have a breadth there, you are not going to learn anything, again, useful to your actual profession, but you might learn a little bit about yourself and about what you like to be doing with your time.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, I certainly felt like as somebody who didn’t have any relatives who were lawyers or any background like that, who is going into it kind of blind. I wish I had done more just surveying various fields so I could have figured out that maybe — I mean I was fine — I enjoyed litigation, but I may have been the great commercial tax lawyer kind of thing in the world and I would never have known.
Kathryn Rubino: I see what you are saying, but for my money and my loans, I really think that taking the professors to you that have the — that are just true luminaries in whatever their field may be is really worthwhile, because you can always say, oh yes, I took a class with Kimberlé Crenshaw, that was awesome. Even if I never actually get to use that in my day-to-day profession, it’s always something that I will always be able to say that it’s a great cocktail party conversation fodder, and there’s lots of luminaries in lots of different fields. So I think that to the extent that anybody is famous or well-known that you should probably take those classes.
Elie Mystal: You hear that kids, pay $50,000 a year so you can namedrop better at parties.
Joe Patrice: Yeah. I mean, that’s somewhat — you are being somewhat facetious, but actually, kind of yeah, I think that there are stories — another lawyer that we interact with at times often tells a story that becoming close to his famous professor who was in a certain field, he got close to him in office hours said to him once, I would really like to do XYZ and that guy went, really, oh, hold on, I will just get you a job and called the person who could make that happen. So there is something to be said for taking the people with pull, because they can help you.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah. And I mean, listen, you are going to be a lawyer, namedropping in the legal field is a time-honored tradition, you might as well get good at it while you are in school.
Elie Mystal: I find this part of the conversation disgusting.
Joe Patrice: Says the person who goes to Harvard and doesn’t stop talking about it.
Elie Mystal: Because that’s the only name I need to drop now.
Joe Patrice: So let’s finish up here by just going through best law school stories, any of these.
Elie Mystal: Wait, we are not going to get to 3L year. I mean, you almost did it right, now we are going to talk about 2L year and 3L year, let’s skip ahead.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, exactly, there is really no point to it. It’s a waste of your money. You do basically the same things as a 2L year, but you feel worse about it because you know you could be doing your job.
Elie Mystal: When do you start studying for the bar?
Kathryn Rubino: The last possible minute.
Joe Patrice: Like the week before the bar exam. No, I mean I was in the class, like the bar prep class, I followed that, I kept up, but I didn’t like take time out of my day to study until basically a couple of weeks before maybe.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, I think I had a very similar attitude towards the bar exam. And similar to what I said about 1L year, I didn’t want to freak myself out anymore than was absolutely necessary. I figured that there will be plenty of time to freak out, and yes, it was an incredibly important test, but if I kind of kept on doing what I had done my entire academic career up until then, I was probably going to be all right, which for me wound up working out.
Elie Mystal: See, this is an issue where I really think that legal education needs some reform and law schools need to be honest with themselves and start bifurcating themselves a little bit more. If you are a law school, like pretty much the law schools that we went to and the ones that we have predominantly been talking about, where the students that are at the school generally have a history of high performance on standardized test situations, then I think it is kind of no harm, no foul to turn 3L year into an extended law and basket weaving course.
You are going to go through the year, you are going to finish it, you are going to take your 5-week or 6-week bar prep test after school is over, you are going to pass the bar, you are going to be fine.
If you are a school on the other hand that has a significant amount of students who have not shown a history of standardized test taking well, and I don’t think this has any — I have a whole thing about standardized testing, I don’t think that standardized testing has anything to do with your intelligence; it has everything to do with how well you are taking standardized tests.
And if you are a school that kind of, dare I say, caters to people who are bad at taking standardized tests, then I think you have almost a responsibility to turn the third year of your law school into an extended remedial bar prep class, because if you are graduating students after that year who aren’t going to be able to pass the bar based on a 6-week crash course, then you are absolutely doing your students a disservice.
Joe Patrice: Yeah, all right. I think that’s fair. Yeah, agreed. So yeah, so I wanted to get out of here on the law school stories.
Kathryn Rubino: Joe, you have a pretty epic law school story, as I recall, and it also has quite a bit of namedropping.
Joe Patrice: I do. I do. I don’t know if I have told this one on the podcast before, but it’s a fun one, yeah.
Kathryn Rubino: It’s worth it.
Joe Patrice: So I was taking a Mass Torts Litigation class with Ken Feinberg, the master of Mass Torts and he —
Kathryn Rubino: See, it’s really useful to take classes that people are known for.
Joe Patrice: Anyway, we were reading this Amchem decision, where there’s a dissent by Breyer that seems to be much more reasonable than the majority opinion. At which point this guy, who is troublemaker, contrarian, you would have loved them, he just starts arguing about how unprincipled and terrible this decision is. And everybody in the class got really uptight and angry about this guy’s trolling, this guy Joel.
So the next time I go to class there is this old guy in the front of the classroom when I get there, just sitting in a suit, and I was like, I don’t know who this is, but whatever, some dude, and the guy sits down next to me and he is like ribbing me, and I was like, I don’t know.
So Feinberg rolls in, shakes the guy’s hand and then begins in his very, very heavy accent, last time we were here, Joel back there had some issues with the Amchem decision. He said Justice Breyer’s decision was unprincipled and it with morally — like all sorts of horrible things, like morally bankrupt and blah, blah, blah. So I have brought Justice Breyer to class to respond. And I was like, oh yeah, that’s what that guy looks like not in a robe.
And yeah, I got to watch Breyer rip this kid apart for like 45 minutes. It was an awesome day in class.
Kathryn Rubino: That is the best reason I have ever heard to attend class as a 3L.
Elie Mystal: That might be the best 3L story ever, that’s great.
My law school story is from 1L year, funny I was taking Torts, and the Torts professor I had was like a heavy law and economics guy, that’s not my thing, that’s not how I think that the world should work, and so really through law and economics actually, as a counterargument to it, it was the first time I was really introduced to the concept of torts as a lottery, which I loved.
So on the final exam, the third question actually, literally in third question says that, Elie Mystal will say that torts is a lottery, tell him why he is wrong.
Joe Patrice: That’s amazing.
Elie Mystal: That was the third question in my final exam. And of course, I decided to argue that I was right. I will take the B+. I don’t mind that third of a grade off for not answering the question, worth it for me.
Joe Patrice: All right. And you don’t have anything particularly epic.
Kathryn Rubino: I am pretty sure I have blocked most of law school out.
Joe Patrice: PTSD.
Kathryn Rubino: Yeah, I think it was better for me all the way around to just forget it.
Elie Mystal: Come on, you are a girl, give us some kind of like crazy sexist story.
Kathryn Rubino: Did you just say you are a girl, tell us a sexist story?
Elie Mystal: I am trying to inspire you.
Kathryn Rubino: Well, this one time I was working and my colleague said that I was a girl and I should only tell stories about that. I was just talking about you.
Joe Patrice: Paragraph 1 of the complaint. So with that, thanks for joining us for this little roundtable talk on law school.
So if you are a first time listener to Thinking Like a Lawyer, well, you should subscribe, that way you will get all of these nice episodes, every time we come out with one.
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I think that’s everything in my spiel. So with that, thanks for joining us this week. Thanks for you all to host and we will talk some other time.
Elie Mystal: Thanks for listening.
Kathryn Rubino: Bye both.
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