Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: Cubs Win World Series...Against Miami? (BLS in 2015)

This went up yesterday on BLS Advocate.  However, this piece went through several drafts.  The first draft was extremely inappropriate for several reasons--it is not something that I would want to attach my name to--it is one of the few times I would NOT vigorously support my own right to free speech.  Thus I felt some editing was in order, and this was my second draft.  My editor at BLS Advocate (who has been wonderful and who I will miss very much after this year is over--which is basically, now) thought it needed one more go through.  So, draft #3 is on BLS Advocate, and draft #2 is on Flying Houses.  Draft #3 is probably better but draft #2 is a more direct reflection upon the election, and so dovetails nicely with the post below.  Enjoy!  Or write hate mail!

                By now, the election is over.  Part of me wants to write before I know the results and part of me wants to write after I know the results.  I’m going to write now, an hour and 13 minutes before the polls close.
                I am assuming that I am going to lose.  I am assuming that this race is nothing more than a popularity contest, and that BLS students are generally apathetic about the SBA.  Only the SBA cares about the SBA.  The only thing that matters to the students is whether they will get their free beer and pizza or not.  Then they turn around and say, look at the way the SBA is using their money.  What a waste. 
                I ask a 3L to vote for me and she refuses and I say why and she says she has no stake in this school and I say what do you mean you will be an alumni and she says I don’t care I will never give back a dime to this school and I say why and she asks me if I have five hours and I say sum it up in five seconds and she says it’s a shithole. (And I will agree, that, when we don’t have wireless internet, and we can’t enter our classes naked with a towel, it may be considered a shithole [Ed. the latter complaint is based upon the events on April 16 and April 17, when classrooms were inexplicably hot to the point that students needed to get up and leave because they were going to sweat through their suits]).
                If you really push students to say what’s wrong with the school, AND BACK UP WHAT THEY SAY, they generally don’t know what they’re talking about.  Hearsay spreads like telephone. 
                People seem to think I am powerless—one girl told me today, “you’re certainly aggressive.”  Well, tough.  Live with it.
                If we don’t get aggressive, we’ll never get anything done.
                So what’s gonna happen in 2015? 
                I’ll tell you what’s gonna happen in 2015.
                I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone, we’ll all be gone. 
                “You” means current BLS students – whether friend or enemy.
                The school’s tuition will be, oh $52,000?  Maybe?
                Most of the same teachers will be here.
                The 50/50 rule will still apply.
                90% of the class will be employed 9 months after graduation.
                $106,000 will be the median salary.
                The time is now 5:01 PM and I’ve just gotten off the phone with a senior in high school from Loomis Chaffee—my alma mater.  I told her, after an extremely long-winded monologue about my one-act play that was banned at Loomis, the classmates at law school that I have from Loomis, this election, and the election that took place my freshman year at Loomis, that I would give her $20 on the condition that someone at the Loomis Chaffee alumni relations department put me in touch with a chapter 11 attorney at a big law firm in New York City for the purposes of an informational interview so that I will know (since I can’t get in their doors through OCI) how I can transition into that job in three or four years, so that I will know what I must accomplish.  I told her that if no one ever got in touch with me, I would not donate next year.
                If BLS does the same thing, we can solve our funding problems.  The school must make an effort to implement this permanent solution to a purportedly temporary problem.  If it does not, then BLS in 2015 will look exactly the same as it looks in 2012. 
Finally, let me say this: the Cubs will not win the World Series in 2014 (or 2015 – the image from Back to the Future Part 2 is unclear) because the Miami Marlins will not be in the American League.  However, it is not for this reason that this prediction will be inaccurate. 
The prediction will be inaccurate because the Cubs are a team that is fundamentally based upon the idea of lovable losing and ridiculous drunken celebrations of victories that are inconsequential in the long run, but oh so sweet in the moment.  The prediction will also be inaccurate because Theo Epstein is at the helm.  Theo Epstein is regarded as a wunderkind that will implement “moneyball, etc.” strategies in order to win.  Profits will go up if the payroll is kept relatively low and the team is successful (though, the Cubs will always be popular).
The Cubs are basically the same thing as Brooklyn Law School.  Except they are a for-profit corporation.  Remember, Wrigley v. Schlensky, people?  We don’t want to put the lights on because we don’t see how that’s going to increase our revenue. 
Nicholas Allard is basically the same thing as Theo Epstein.  However, we know less about him.  Theo took the Red Sox to their first championship in many, many years.  The Cubs got Theo because they wanted him to take them to their first championship in 106 years (most Cubs fans are in agreement that Theo’s “system” will “pay off” in 2014).  The General Manager of a baseball team is like the Dean of a law school.  You’re in charge of building the team.  The Professors at law school are more like the coaches of the baseball team.  The President of a law school is most like the owner or controlling stockholder of the baseball team.  (I am not going to follow up this sentence with anything.)
I’ve taken this metaphor way too far for my word limit.  Thanks for your support.  Here’s hoping the world still doesn’t suck in 2015 for the Cubs, and for BLS students.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Presidential Speech

For those of you that couldn't be there yesterday, I present to you a significant portion of my campaign speech.  I would say please vote for me - but it does not seem right - so please vote, period.

Now, the situation in 2012 is not the same as the situation in 2009 or 2010, but it is still far from an ideal situation.  As President of SBA, my goal is to boost student morale at BLS.  My 1L year was one of the worst years of my life, and I felt that there was no one on my side – with the exception of a few of my classmates from Section 16.
                BLSPI has the right idea.  I have participated in their Mentor/Mentee program, which Sary Udashkin and Cristina Lee have run beautifully, and I helped my 1L mentee to get his summer internship at New York City Transit Authority, the same place I worked last summer.  This, I believe, is the new model for the job search.  It does not have to be so hard as everyone makes it out to be.  There are not many jobs out there—but they are out there
                I am running short of time so I would like to list a few initiatives that I would plan to put into action for the school year of 2012-2013:
#1: Napping Room in the 1M Student Lounge of the Library: students commuting from the Bronx or Far Rockaway may spend up to 12 hours a day at the school, and it would be reasonable and kind to set-aside this room as the napping room, so that students may take a 15-30 minute “power nap” in peace and quiet.  Right now, this is an “unofficial” napping room (along with the contemplation room next door), but I would like it to become the “official” napping room.
#2: Benefits for those that lose their scholarship.  This will be less an issue for 1Ls next year, but for 2Ls and 3Ls next year, we still stand a chance of losing more scholarship money.  For those students that lose scholarship money, the school should implement certain benefits to help students perform better, and raise their grades to “get back” their scholarship for next year.  Moreover, students that have absolutely no chance of getting back into the top 40 or top 50% should have the availability of a “settlement” with the school for reasonable improvement in grades that leads to a reward. 
#3: Equality of grading from Clinics.  If you take the Military Law Clinic or the Children’s Law clinic, you can get 5 credits of an A- grade with relatively little effort.  If you take the 3 credit health law practicum, you may put in an extreme amount of effort, and only get a “high pass” grade.  The professors in these clinics are not opposed to giving students the benefit of “meaningful” grades – but it is a compliance issue, and it is something that should be looked into, because it is unfair that some students can profit from this arrangement, and others effectively lose out on a potential GPA boost.
#4: $50 in printing instead of 25.  All law schools I toured said, “You’ll never run out of your printing credit.”  This is not the case at BLS.  It is a small thing, but a significant one, I think, and students will appreciate it.
#5: A push to reclaim the $5,000 Summer Public Service Grant, and maybe even a push to reclaim the semester – internship grants which were a fact of life several years ago.
I have exceeded my time but I would also like to say one more thing: I will make myself available to any student, any time, and I would pledge, swear, and promise to address your concerns, no matter how ridiculous they might be.  I would be honored to have this position, and feel that I will be the best person to represent the concerns of BLS students as we move into a new era with Nicholas Allard as our Dean.  Thank you.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress: Not in Love (Legally)

                 I have observed an interesting phenomenon in law schools generally: students that arrive single will often meet their spouse during the course of the three years they are here.
                This happened with several friends of mine which will remain unnamed—one of them met their spouse through membership on a journal, and another through placement in the same first year section.  It would seem as if these are the two most common “places” within law school where future spouses meet, but I would imagine a similar concept holds true for Moot Court, or certain classmates on the same career path that end up in more than a few of the same courses. 
                There are basic assumptions about what it means to be a law student and a lawyer.  One of those assumptions is that, one day (perhaps) we will have money, and since we will have money, we will be in the “right” position to start a family.   If you fail to take the right first steps, you may graduate alone, and you may then be afraid of dying alone.  To paraphrase one of our career counselors, compare walking down the street alone, to walking down the street with a girlfriend or boyfriend—more people check you out in the latter situation, no?  This is a metaphor for presenting an effective case for yourself as a job applicant – but the purported truth of such a hypothetical is troubling.   (Not to mention the inference that, those are who are in stable, happy relationships are more likely to get a job.)
Interviewing is only like dating to a degree—you interview in the hopes of a job that will last more than a year or two—but it is unlikely to expect lifetime employment.  Rapid-fire dating and one night stands may be fun up to a point – but once that point is reached, more “practical” dating becomes the rule.  A lifetime relationship is sought.
Law students are probably not the most physically attractive (or morally attractive) people out there.  However, law students are picky because they don’t have much time—they only want to spend time with someone they could actually see themselves marrying.  It follows that, when work and companionship are combined, the stress of dating subsides, a partner is found, and no time is lost.  If that is the only proof to my theory, so be it.  You may ignore what I say, and that is fine, but when you go out into that cold place known as reality and you lack the benefit of an immediate mutual interest, have fun trying to convince other bar patrons about the awesomeness of the automatic stay. 
On the other hand, claiming that one day you will win a $100 million toxic torts judgment may potentially be an effective hook.  We know we have plenty of interesting things to talk about, and some are more talented than others when it comes to engaging “outsiders” in that interest, but generally, “bar scoping” is limited to what you look like, what you do and how much you make.  Nobody cares about whether you are a proponent of judicial activism.  Other lawyers may scoff at such bar conversation – but if not, you may have a winner.
So maybe, when I graduate single, it will be different from the five years I spent in between college and law school, going out to bars, trying to meet someone, anyone, to place a succor on the loneliness of existence.  More likely is that I will continue to be cheap, claim that bars are exploitive, and write similar op-ed pieces until I die.  Only they will be published on my blog and not BLS advocate. 
The moral of the story is this: treasure what time you have left and don’t waste it by sitting alone in your room drinking and smoking.  It is unfortunate that I cannot practice what I preach.  I can’t change society and I can only change myself—but, with limited exceptions, I’m not open to changing myself to “fit in.”  There is a Black Flag song called “Society’s Tease” whose lyrics I will now appropriate to drive home my point:
                Wherever I go
                Playing some stupid role
                Sometimes I look at the world
                And I just want to say,
                Something went wrong
                Where love plays stupid tricks
                But I’ve got a plan
                The world will finally be saved.

                Christopher J. Knorps is a 2L at Brooklyn Law School.  He enjoys studying bankruptcy law.  You may find his other work at  He also invites you to the electrifying conclusion to this week (Sex & the Law Week)—the HLPA Open Mic!  Please sign up on posted fliers to perform “a” Vagina Monologue, or your own original performance. If you are too shy to read, please come to watch the action, as a voluntary $5 donation will get you complimentary dinner and drinks.  

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday

Happy 4th Birthday to Flying Houses

It took you 15 months to get any kind of serious views.
Nobody came to visit you between April 2008 and July 2009
But then somehow, a bump happened.

That bump may have been my review of the Beautiful and Damned
by F.Scott Fitzgerald
Published May 6, 2009
This is the most popular post on Flying Houses by far at 821 views.

Here are the rankings:

#1: The Beautiful and Damned - F. Scott Fitzgerald (821 views)
#2: Deerhunter - Microcastle / Weird Era Continued (453 views)
#3: Lost...and Never Found - Anita Gustafson (358 views)

Well for some reason now I'm having difficulty typing.