Thursday, June 15, 2006

no really - i shoulda gone to med school instead

Would it be in poor taste for me to take the two pieces of writing we did for LR&W this semester to the head of the UW legal writing department (who was also my first semester professor) and ask if she can tell me why I dropped two full letter grades from the first semester to the second?

Yeah, I know that I'm the world's biggest slacker. And I know that they curved the grades across the entire class (270 people) instead of by individual sections (17-18 people), which is completely unfair for a variety of reasons that I don't feel the need to get into at this late hour.* Maybe I'm just in denial of the fact that the entire first-year class magically improved by leaps and bounds between the fall and the spring, while I regressed due to the bird flu virus that attacked my brain. Maybe I'm full of it when I tell myself that my writing on my worst day is generally better than that of most others.

Or maybe I'm just trying to find a way to make a statement about the lack of guidance given to me by the political science professor that taught me LR&W. I don't care if she has a law degree, and I don't care if she was editor of the law review ten years ago, or whenever it was that she went to law school. There's a reason she's not working as a lawyer right now, and ten bucks says it's because she has no clue about what constitutes decent writing (and the fact that she was "correcting" already-proper grammar in students' papers).**

I'd send my former professor a thank you note for giving me one more thing to try to justify in job interviews, but let's face it - this bottom feeder isn't getting any interviews any time this century. Unless, of course, those interviews are for positions at Target. And not legal positions - I mean cashier positions. Maybe stock crew, if I'm lucky. Regardless, though, I think most of the credit for the destruction of my faith in my intelligence, my ability to write well, my ability to survive law school, and myself in general are attributable to this woman.

Rant over.*** Now back to your regularly scheduled frivolity.

*But seriously - there's no justification for curving the grades across the entire class. How can one professor tell me that I'm below average when there is no departmental consensus as to what "average" should look like, and the standard that is given isn't followed by most of the professors? I realize that, in the real world, there is no "standard" for good writing - but in the real world, there isn't a statistical model that demonstrates the competence level of writing samples either. And did I mention that my professor basically graded us by checking off cases and arguments on a list rather than actually reading the papers?
**I've probably done more writing for the court in two weeks of my internship than my professor has done in her entire career.
***Okay, so that was a willful exchange of misinformation. So what? I'm mad, and rightly so.



At 4:23 PM, Blogger the Rising Jurist said...

I absolutely agree with you on the curve. I whined about this repeatedly on tRJ and still do. It's a stupid, stupid system.

At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Joint Tortfeasor said...

Yuck. I hated LR&W. I think i will enjoy writing legal stuff outside of that class. Cause i freagin' hated it ... Was it the bane of your existence?

At 10:24 PM, Blogger Dangerous Mind said...

Only during the second semester.

(What kind of writing professor refuses to give you stylistic feedback - only tells you what case law you should and should not have included in your analysis?)

Yep. Still mad.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Kirsten said...

Actually, your reasons seem the PERFECT ones if you're going to complain. I think you should.


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