Wednesday Writs: Lloyed Gaines Fights the Power Edition

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Em Carpenter

Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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20 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    L7: Isn’t that the city Kazzy has talked about in the past?

    L3: Sometimes, I’d like a story about an infrastructure failure that actually talked more about the financial and engineering issues at play. I am well and truly jaded when it comes to the people who live along a major waterway who suffer flooding.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    L1: Gaines was part of the NAACP’s long strategy and road to Brown v. Board of Ed. They explicitly started at the top and worked all the way down until it got to elementary school.Report

  3. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    L4 – Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    But, somehow, this must be covered under the FUTY clause…Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      This has nothing to do with speech restrictions. You can name your baby whatever you want and tweet about it all day long. The government just won’t issue vital records for names that don’t conform to their database schema.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Aaron David
      Ignored
      says:

      Without addressing the freedom of speech issue, I’ll quote from TFA: “A-12 = precursor to SR-17 (our favorite aircraft)”. That’s the SR-71, not the SR-17, dumbasses. The SR-71 of particular and personal importance to me because of strong family connections with the SR-71 program throughout most of my youth.

      One wonders what X Æ A-Xii will think of his name as he grows older. It’s difficult for me to imagine him liking it and easy for me to imagine him changing it to something more conventional shortly after assuming adulthood.

      I don’t think his parents are doing him any favors by way of the unusual name. Should they be free to do so anyway because, after all, my opinion counts for nothing in this matter?

      I’ve already exhausted my interest in the subject, tbqh.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    L5 – I assume that the open-book part will bite them in the future. This is related to Jaybird’s quote in a comment on today’s Brigg’s post: “You’re not always going to have an encyclopedia in your pocket.” Well, yes, you are going to carry an entire law library in your pocket all the time.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
      Ignored
      says:

      I screwed that up.

      It would have been more accurate to joke “you’re not always going to be in a room that has an encyclopedia in it!”Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Michael Cain
      Ignored
      says:

      Not to mention probably more than half of the practice of law involves finding the answer rather than knowing the answer. And open book might help you find the law or concept; applying it to the facts is the part that matters. I’m ok with the open book test thing.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Em Carpenter
        Ignored
        says:

        Not just law, pretty much any advanced discipline. How many times in my career(s) have I heard or said, “I don’t know the answer, but I know where to look it up.” Or for more complicated or obscure things, how to look it up.Report

        • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Michael Cain
          Ignored
          says:

          The ability to apply a principle (law, thermodynamics, whathaveyou) is the important part. And yes, people getting stuck looking up the wrong thing is a huge chunk of the challenge here.

          Also, the sign of a bad interviewer is someone fixated on the particulars of something, as opposed to the process.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain
      Ignored
      says:

      On the other hand when you are in court, you always should have notes and materials in front of you.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain
      Ignored
      says:

      What Saul said. I always make sure to have a list of relevant cases when going to court that I can look at it if I need to cite something.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Michael Cain
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m a recent bar examinee, having had to take the Oregon bar as my 25-year-old California license did not permit me to waive into the bar after I moved here. Based on that experience, I rather doubt that having an open book is going to make any material difference on the bar exam or its efficacy in identifying people who possess the minimal competency to practice law that the bar exam purportedly measures.

      What the bar exam really tests for is the ability to spot a legal issue, articulate the legal rule applicable to that issue, resolve that issue logically based upon the given facts, and express those things in the required format, under pretty intense time pressure resulting from the sheer volume of material on the test. It does this with a series of essay questions intentionally jam-packed with complex legal issues to resolve. It also does this in a battery of multiple-choice questions for which the examinee has, on average, 108 seconds per question to answer. And it’s graded on a curve.

      On the multiple choice questions, seems to me if you’re spending more than about ten seconds looking up the answer to verify that your instinct is correct, you’re simply not going to finish the test.

      On the essay questions, an open book might help with some of the more obscure and technical things like the rather large loopholes in the general prohibition against the prosecution using character evidence (see FRE 404(b)(2)). Easy to forget many of the various laundry lists or different statuses of will and estate contests so with the right kind of question the open book can help the examinee come up with a complete answer. But to the extent that the questions touch on such things that are easy to forget because of the complexity of the concept, the curve will just shift accordingly.

      You either spot the issue, or you don’t. If you don’t spot the issue, having access to the rule about that issue doesn’t matter because you never reach that point.

      Having access to the black letter rule is only useful if you already have at least some idea of 1) where it is in the material you’re going to use to look it up so you can access it quickly, and 2) what you’re going to do with it intellectually once you have it. Which means you need to understand the rule in at least general terms before you look it up; looking it up will only keep the details correct (if the details even matter, which mostly they won’t).Report

      • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        Not to mention that most law school exams are open-book.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s been a long time, but IIRC the multiple-choice questions used to have a significant “best answer” emphasis. More than one answer may be correct, but one is relatively better (and it may be Answer D, which includes Answers A and C, but not B). Seems like that was the kind of thing people complained about.

        But to the larger point, a question might require you to look up more than one topic.Report

  5. Avatar Slade the Leveller
    Ignored
    says:

    L7: “District lawyers argued that the outcome of recent elections had nothing to do with race but owed to Orthodox Jewish voters who want to keep property taxes low while making sure private school students receive state-mandated busing.”

    Allowing people to segregate themselves from their community at taxpayer expense is not a good use of those funds.Report

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