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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Evil Dr. Comma and Obligatory Challenges

We (meaning law students) recently received the following e-mail:

"Dear Students,

As the Academy Awards have just finished, I want to remind you that you all are invited to another event, one celebrating my favorite performer: the comma. The second workshop of this spring semester will be Wed., March 2, with the following rooms and choice of times. I look forward to seeing you. –Dr. Comma"

It seems harmless enough, right?

O, but my fine naive friend, you would be so wrong! Never forget that in Law School nothing is quite as it seems.

"Why?" you ask. "How can a letter from Dr. Comma announcing what would appear to be as mundane as a writing workshop involving punctuation . . . How can that be evil?"

Yes, Dr. Comma is helpful. Yes, Dr. Comma is essential. And YES, Dr. Comma seems to be a very nice person. A writing teacher for law students-- what could be more right!? (with the exception, of course, of an ethics teacher)

There is one big catch, though. It came with the e-mail that followed Dr. Comma's:

"I will give 10 points extra professionalism points for those who attend the comma workshop. --Prof. Legal Practice"

O NO, huh uh, nada, nyet, non, zippo, zero, zilch . . .


Now, therefore, that Dr. Comma's "Wild Workshops of Wonder" tour is being pimped with extra class points in Legal Practice, it is no longer an optional "go-if-you-want-come-as-you-are" affair.

It is now mandatory.

Legal Practice is a class where there is only ONE "A" GIVEN each semester. Therefore, 10 extra points can mean the difference between that "A" and a "B" . . . or a "B" and a "C". (Depending upon your perspective.)

These points, having been offered, are no longer "extra". They are a precious commodity to be lost-- not to be gained.

People will go and they will leave and they will be no wiser for Dr. Comma's learned lectures. All we will care about is having our names added to THE LIST. For it is now that LIST which may separate us from our classmates. If I don't do as well on the negotiation assignment, much better on the trial brief and miss a few more points on the appeals brief than another classmate . . . What will we be doing?

Praying upon the LIST.

Dr. Comma's LIST.

The Evil Dr. Comma and our Obligatory Challenges.

That is, after all, what makes Law School, law school.


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