Thursday, March 19, 2015

Love in the Time of Scholara, featuring Seton Hall Law Prof. Paula Franzese's latest law review article.

Are you looking for love in all the wrong places? Perhaps you would feel differently if you attended Seton Hall School of Love, I mean School of Law, a second-tier bower of bliss located in lovely Newark, New Jersey, which features such earthly and spiritual delights as a credential allegedly worth a million dollars, human rights law plus tourist fun in Zanzibar, and the nurturance of multiple empathetic pathways to meaning. To wit: Simkovic, safari, and social justice.

Love, it is true, can quickly seize the gentle heart. And not only erotic love (eros) or sacrificial love (agape), but also the intense emotional bond that blossoms between an incoming law student and his or her own self-destructive illusions (atë). This form of love is most passionately celebrated in the moral and intellectual honeymoon that is as Seton Hall Law Prof. Paula Franzese’s first year Property course, specifically via an inspirational event she stages called Loving the Law Day. See Paula Franzese, Law Teaching for the Conceptual Age, 44 Seton Hall L.Rev 967 (2014).

"We provide pathways to meaning when we communicate to our students by words and actions the importance of heeding the call to service and when we help them to find ways to promote the common good. Time and again I remind my classes that the surest way out of our own pain is to help others find ways out of theirs.  Particularly now, when so many are denied access to the law. . . there has never been a more important time for us, the lawyers, to enter the fray. 
*** 
At bottom, the ability to derive meaning from our experiences as lawyers depends in significant measure on whether or not we are willing to believe that our profession is good and noble. I believe that it is, and I communicate that faith unabashedly. I ask my students to consider acting and speaking as if they love the law, and then to watch as their experiences begin to match their level of rhetoric. Teaching with meaning can transmute “the dull details into romance.” To that end, every February, right around Valentine's Day, my first year class celebrates Loving the Law. . . . In anticipation of the day, the group puts together a book of images, quotes, case law excerpts and literary references that hold particular meaning for them, as well as a video montage of inspiring law-related clips from celebrated speeches, oral arguments, films and documentaries that represent the best that lawyers can be. Each student is invited to bring in a guest(s) who has made a difference in that student's life (whether a parent, spouse, partner, dear friend, or mentor) to join us for the celebration, during which we hear from practitioners, judges, policy-makers, upper-class students and faculty on why they have chosen to love the law and how they treat it as if they love it.  The most satisfying part of the experience comes when each class member introduces his or her guest, indicating why that person matters so much. As lawyers, that is part of what I ask my students to do: to remember to see what needs to be seen and to remain anchored in gratitude for the people on whose shoulders they stand. 
History teaches that the principal cause of human suffering is forgetfulness. I want my students to remember where they come from and to call to mind the struggles and sacrifices made by those who came before them, in generations past and in more recent memory. They have been called to this craft to vindicate the hopes and dreams of those ancestors. They are here to use the formidable instrument of the law to be givers of hope and a voice for those who have yet to find their own. As lawyers, they will close the gap between what is and what ought to be."
          Franzese, at 1008, 1011-1012.

"Playin' a fool's game, hopin' to win/ And tellin' those sweet lies. . ." I wish I could be more tolerant of this well-intentioned nonsense, but how can its effect be anything other than to reinforce the hype that lured many naïve kids into six-figure indebtedness in the first place, and all for a chance to compete for scraps in a swamped and disillusioning profession?  

It may be unkind to say, but it does not surprise me that Professor Franzese (from what I could tell) has rather limited experience as a practitioner. Her faculty web page does not include a CV, but according to information on wikipedia and in a biographical squib, she was born in 1960 and became a law professor in 1986, at age 26. That is a very early start to an academic career, and a long time to remain within its well-compensated bubble. 

Contra Franzese, this is a profession for realists and cynics, not gushy idealists seeking to "vindicate the hopes and dreams of [their] ancestors"or be "givers of hope." Our fiduciary duty is to our clients rather than the common good. Moreover, practicing lawyers operate within a very tight set of formal and informal professional requirements and procedural constraints. As well, the truly voiceless usually cannot afford legal services, and private sector lawyers need to attract paying clients so that they can try to pay off their huge student loans, the ones that allow Seton Hall Law to set its tuition at $50,000 a year, thus making Franzese and her tenured colleagues rich. With only the rarest of exceptions, then, the relief that a lawyer obtains for a client, if any, comes from invoking law as is, not law as ought.

I won’t even address the struggles and constraints imposed upon the very substantial number of lawyers who are unable to carve out a place in the profession. (Due to law schools having graduated way too many lawyers for decades, thus making Franzese and her tenured colleagues rich).

Just about everybody in the profession understands these very basic points except self-deluded or scamming law professors. Who, with their six-figure salaries, light workloads, and classroom bully pulpits, can preach to their naive students about the noble goodness achieved through heroic struggle and sacrifice. They can preach love too, though none has yet offered to accept his or her salary in sonnets and red, red roses. Say what you will about Bernie Madoff, but he never pretended to be Victor Frankl or Martin Luther King. Some scam-loving law professors, on the other hand, seem to have a rather inflated sense of themselves as bringers of liberation and enlightenment.

31 comments:

  1. This is worse than the marshmallow tower contest at Albany, or whatever that was.

    Again, all but the most sociopathic among us would prefer to live in a world where the common good was advanced above all else. Let's hold on to high ideals, but for those of us who actually have to work and live in the wasteland outside of the ivory halls of academia, ideals are tempered by this little thing called "reality."

    Actually, I wish I had had Professor Franzece at my law school for Property. Such tripe would have induced me to get the hell out, rather than sticking with my decision to leave my prior career and continue with law school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a great comment.

      Delete
    2. Unless I hear these pontificators enunciate the word socialism or some derivative thereof, they can stuff the altruism. No boomer identity politics for Gen Next...

      Delete
  2. It is pretty remarkable that a person who has scavenged off of Student Loan money most of her life would have the audacity to proclaim what duties a practicing lawyer owes to the disadvantaged. These people have never run a business, have no clue what the cost side of an income statement consists of, the cost of rent, payroll, insurance as a bare minimum to operating a practice. In addition to a generous salary, they have paid sabbaticals, health insurance, 401Ks and Defined Benefit Plans, and an overall much easier job than that of most practicing lawyers. They also, at least up to this point, have job security. Hopefully that will change.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What they also don't grasp is if the downtrodden had the money to hire a lawyer they wouldn't be downtrodden in the first place. Try telling your secretary, landlord, etc. that you will pay them with several yards of that pathway to meaning.

      Delete
    2. "Most" practicing lawyers??????????? Which part of "all" do you not understand?

      Delete
  3. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

    ReplyDelete
  4. She has apparently convinced herself she is some sort of priest in the Cult of Law. "Pathways to meaning" sounds like the name of either a bible camp or a cultier drug recovery clinic.

    "History teaches that the principal cause of human suffering is forgetfulness."

    What the fuck is she talking about? I couldn't write something this absurdly retarded if I tried to parody law professor nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. History actually teaches us that the principal cause of human suffering is Contempt. It is Contempt that allows people to become tyrants, con men, scammers, murderers, thieves, arsonists, etc... When you come to view others with contempt, eventually they become less than fully human in your eyes, and then you can berate them, stomp on them, take or destroy all they have, without having to justify it to yourself.

      Delete
    2. And, as we all know, the list of ScamDeans, LawProfs, and administrators that have shown Contempt towards their students and critics has a long history and is widely varied. Dean Matasar, Joan King, Brian Leiter, the Valvoline Dean, Steve Diamond...it goes on and on.

      Delete
  5. What is she talking about...well we should not forget the struggles of our ancestors who had to make their way in a cruel world without the benefits of lawyers. We can right that wrong and find great meaning in our life as a result. We should be happy to be givers and not takers. If not for that pesky fact we have bills and need to pay them, she might be right.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "At bottom, the ability to derive meaning from our experiences as lawyers depends in significant measure on whether or not we are willing to believe that our profession is good and noble."

    She even considers herself a lawyer, for what reason I can't imagine. If anything, entire post is evidence that the ivory tower has a way of divorcing its occupants from reality.

    Replace "lawyers" with "law professors" and the statement becomes much more enlightening.

    ReplyDelete
  7. When is the scam going to end?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Paula Franzese was in a movie. Right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZocpwWLsyE

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it at all coincidental that your movie started off with a Hotels.com "Captain Obvious" commercial?

      Delete
  9. When I was small I remember someone else who spoke like this dressed in a green shirt with a big question mark in front.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He stole from innocent people too, didn't he?

      Delete
  10. Yet another monstrous waste of students' time for the twin purposes of aggrandizing the profe$$ors and deflecting attention from the law-skule scam. Ah, but yes, I know: this is how you Train the Leaders of Tomorrow and Foster Critical Thinking and Teach Problem-Solving Skills and Inculcate Social Values and Defend the Greatest Constitutional Framework That Has Ever Existed This Side of the Andromeda Galaxy. All while saving cute, cuddly dolphins.

    If there's a Loving the Law Day, there should be a companion Hating the Law Day, with guest speakers such as Old Guy.

    You're right, Franzese: "upper-class students and faculty" have good rea$on to love the law. It doesn't look so rosy, however, from the vantage point of a middle-aged guy who cannot find a fucking job despite top grades, an élite law school, and a federal clerkship—things that very few of your starry-eyed students at Seton Hall can claim.

    Old Guy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel your pain Old Guy, and I'm trying to figure out what to do myself to survive. Hopefully I can retrain for another profession or get a job to qualify for student loan forgiveness or I'm screwed. This whole situation is awful and is getting worse every year. Maybe someone in Congress can throw us a bone but I doubt it.

      Delete
    2. If elite school is on the list then none of the students can claim all those things.

      Delete
    3. Well, 5:23, please let me know if you figure anything out. I've been looking into getting a truck driver's license. Or drowning myself in an icy river.

      Old Guy

      Delete
    4. top grades, an élite law school, and a federal clerkship—things that very few of your starry-eyed students at Seton Hall can claim.

      None of the soon-to-be ragamuffins learning under Ms. Franzese's artful tutelage can claim to have gone to an elite law school. They can't even claim to have gone to a decent law school. Their resumes will forever be branded with their attendance at the Retarvard School of Law. They have each bought a $150,000 one-way ticket to the ranks of the lumpenproletariat, with a possible temporary stop in goddamn motherfucking Zanzibar along the way. Those zebras are more employable than graduates of this 10th rate educational hellhole.

      Maybe Law Review types can get a prestigious traffic law clerkship before they set forth on a grand career of trying to get the judge to show leniency to illegal migrant workers who got caught driving drunk on their way home from a job with better pay and more advancement opportunities than SeTTTon Hall grads can ever imagine.

      Delete
  11. From page 1004 in this fraud's article: "In class, sometimes I have students come up with jingles and rhymes to anchor various constructs."

    Here's a rhyme for you: "Stop scamming students, you fucking fraud." Doesn't rhyme though. I know, it's hardly Maurice Leiter, but whatever. It gets the message across.

    Where is Maurice, by the way? Haven't heard from him for a while.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Stop Scamming Students,
      You Fucking Fraud"

      The alliteration is quite good though. The poem also makes you feel the frustration of the law grads and the urgency of the situation. You have talent.

      Delete
  12. I think Franzese taught one of the classes for the current Barbri review courses. She told the worst jokes imaginable. Not just bad content, but delivered with deplorable timing and no ability to gauge the audience. She makes Carrot Top look like George Carlin. She always struck me as an attractive woman who spent too many years hearing that her shit doesn't stink.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "Febreze" has lived a 1% lifestyle for 30+ years. Her husband is a named partner in a large firm. Between the 2 of them, that kind of money means a 1% lifestyle. It must be a different world in New Joysee when you have 1% money, just as New York is a different world for Howard Stern and his Trophy Wife(s). It's a different world looking down from the penthouse vs. looking up covered by a newspaper in the gutter of financial ruin. Febreze thinks she's amusing with her jokes and jingles. She is not. I would gather the majority of her students, as said above, feel the same way when all they can achieve is a traffic court clerkship which lasts for a year and then they're gone. Or when they're forced to go solo or leave law altogether - but not without 6 figures of non-dischargeable student loan debt to contend with. It's easy to smile and ramble on about ideals as long as you have no worries about money and the spigot is in the "Always ON" position.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, she was probably born into the 1%. Just like a certain so-called professor whose wedding was celebrated in the New York Times.

      Old Guy

      Delete
  14. "Particularly now, when so many are denied access to the law. . . there has never been a more important time for us, the lawyers, to enter the fray. "

    How about the significant portion of Seton Hall graduates who are denied access to the legal profession?

    ReplyDelete
  15. You use wikipedia for a sourceMarch 12, 2016 at 4:32 PM

    Considering you have never taken time to know anything about this woman, you have zero credibility to comment. If you ever attended the event, you would know multiple guest speakers literally encourage you not love the law because it is corrupt. Further, you've slandered a woman who stands for what she speaks. Did you wait on the streets with her as a child? Give her shoes, so that her feet would not appear to be have 'bound' in her youth? The answer is no. In addition, you do not go to court every week to stand up for evicted tenants in Newark, as Mrs. Franzese does. You do not go to local public schools to teach civics, and finally, none of her past clients would take your advice, simply for lack of effort and willingness to resort to defamation. You and all others here have jumped to conclusions with zero factual reference. Her email and phone number are available online. Regardless of your accusations, I dare you to email her, and she will reply with more grace than any here.

    Best regards,
    Citation Machine

    ReplyDelete