Monday, November 26, 2012

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress #16 - No. 1 Against the Rush

While I have not been as prolific this year, it is not due to any fault of my own.  Whereas last year almost every single one of my columns was posted to BLS Advocate with nary a complaint, there has been a tad bit more scrutiny this year.  NIED #15: Exams/Grades was never posted--though it appeared on this blog (the link is included below if you cannot navigate the archival dates on the right hand side of this blog).  Surprisingly, #16 was considered worthy of publication.  This is a strange piece but it is written to discuss the concept of "rushing around everywhere" as law students tend to do.  Fortunately, columns #17 and #18 were published on BLS Advocate, and they will be posted here shortly (over the next two days).  I have stated that there will be 24 NIED columns in all, and that they will become progressively more esoteric and artistic.  
I may or may not hold myself to that latter adjective, but I will complete 24, and I will state that #19 will appear in January and will be on the topic of post-graduate job applications.  For now enjoy "No. 1 Against the Rush" - free of the edits made for BLS Advocate.

NIED #16: No. 1 Against the Rush
By Christopher J. Knorps
Pitchfork: I suppose I can quiz you on "No. 1 Against the Rush"-- which NFL team held that title last year?
AA: We were talking about the 49ers. They played well last year. Man, fuck. They were contenders.
AH: It's good though because when we titled that song, people thought it was this arty thing against, like, euphoria.*
Liars (who put this song out as the first single on their most recent album WIXIW – pronounced “wish you”) are not lawyers, but they are an important band (at least in my opinion) because they constantly challenge the listener’s expectations. With this in mind I dedicate this column to that band and suggest two interpretations gleaned from that song and that football statistic that apply to law school:
1)      Block the rush
2)      Do not mind the rush
In football, if you are number one against the rush, the other team will be forced to pass more often because they will expect you to destroy their running game. So if you are number one against the rush, you may be concerned about pass protection—or even what counts as a catch.
In law school, if you are number one against the rush, it means that you succeed where others fail. “Rush,” in this case, does not mean “euphoria” but rushing around, juggling tasks, and prioritizing (see NIED #7, “Super Administrative Priority Expense,” 3/21/12). With these principles in mind, we may now properly inquire which interpretation of the song is most useful for the average reasonable law student.
If you “block the rush,” you may be number one against the rush in football, but you will not be a better law student. Simply put: there is no way to block the rush.
An apt metaphor for “blocking the rush” in the context of law school is difficult to devise. But you will (generally) be forced to rush around, and “blocking” it might simply be saying “no.” 
If you say “no,” it’s still possible to succeed, but with so many other students saying “yes” (and thereby accepting the rush) it will prove more difficult.
If you “do not mind the rush,” you will not be number one against the rush in football, but you will be a better law student. Simply put: do not pay attention to what other people are doing.
Some (non-exhaustive) illustrations may be instructive:
·         If you make Moot Court, of course, you may want to participate in the Writing Competition (but it is perfectly acceptable not to do so). 
·         If you do not make Moot Court, it is probably a good idea to at least try your hand at the Writing Competition (but if you are guaranteed a job after graduation by virtue of nepotism, previous professional experience, or the like, then you do not need to do anything except earn C’s—which is quite easy in law school).
·         If you do not make Moot Court or a Journal, you need to be working at an internship every semester, and ideally not “repeating” internships (but I know a few “repeaters”—and I would question this wisdom in the limited circumstances where you are able to meet important people within the organization and they have told you that they like you and offer you the opportunity to stay on through the next semester). 
·         Though it is hardly mandatory that everyone earn some sort of “certificate,” it is generally a good idea to develop an area of focus (but a lot of people say you have to take New York Civil Practice and Criminal Procedure and Corporations and Federal Income Taxation—the result being that you must choose your courses for your last 4 semesters wisely).
If you are on Moot Court, if you are on Journal, if you are working at an internship, if you are taking Securities Regulation, if you are on the e-Board of one or two student organizations, and you work as a research assistant for a professor, then you are probably rushing around.
If you intend to make a film, put a band together for Brookfest, and write seemingly inconsequential columns for the BLS Advocate (among other activities), you are probably rushing around. And the problem with rushing around is that you stand a greater chance of forgetting some important event or appointment you have made. And once you miss an appointment for the first time, you will know how serious an error that is (depending of course on the people involved).
While this syllogism could be criticized as a contradiction (i.e. “you are saying do not ‘say no’ to the rush, but you are also saying do not pay attention to what other students are doing, and your article is a fumbling attempt to make a point where one does not exist”), I feel that it is a subtle piece of advice that students (particularly 1Ls or even “pre-laws”) should take to heart.
The principles of law school success do not equate to principles of football success. Law school is not a full contact sport, though there may be poor officiating (see NIED #15, “Exams/Grades,” 9/16/12, available at (last visited 9/26/12)). Metaphors in this regard are only devised by means of verbal wizardry, and are hardly worth contemplating.
Music, however, may apply to whatever one desires. And as Liars reflect upon their “breakthrough success” in the neo-no-wave/electroclash “scene” in the Brooklyn music community circa 2002, perhaps BLS alums will offer similar reflections:

Pitchfork: It's been 10 years since you made your first record in New York. Since then, a lot of the bands from that Brooklyn scene have gone away. Do you feel like you had to get away from New York for your own artistic vitality?
AA: In hindsight, it was really a great time, though we definitely didn't want to be part of it then. It's funny, whenever any of those bands from that period puts out a record, I will definitely listen to the whole thing, even though I might not be that interested in the music. I still have that connection. But the thing that bugged us the most was being locked into something. Obviously, it was a journalistic tool to help people. That's fine. Since then, the approach has really been to avoid being part of anything like that as much as possible.

Christopher J. Knorps is a 3L at Brooklyn Law School. He enjoys studying bankruptcy law, is the managing editor of BLS Advocate, is the founder of Monthly Expense Project, serves as a UCD in the SBA, carries 16 credits, is trying to make a film entitled “Batman in Brooklyn,” is trying to put a band together for Brookfest, is trying to get a job that starts in August 2013, is trying to ignore the rush, and has not been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. 

*Interview excerpts courtesy of The full interview may be found here

No comments: