Monday, October 12, 2015

Who wants to be a lousy fiction writer?: A review of Drexel Law Prof. Lisa McElroy's new law school novel "Called On."


Last year, Drexel's celebrity law professor Lisa McElroy was harshly criticized for her snide and dismissive comments about the plight of recent law grads. More recently, there may have been a bit of unflattering commentary about McElroy's behavior in accidentally sending her students an email with a link to an anal beads sex video and then non-accidently publishing a self-righteous op-ed in the Washington Post suggesting that those students were blameworthy for having opened the link. I hate to pile on, but the fact is that McElroy's horrible new law school novel "Called On" has been seriously under-criticized, hopefully because few besides me were foolish enough to actually read the thing.

Seven reviews on Amazon as of this writing, and all seven gave "Called On" the highest possible rating of five stars (though at least three of the ratings are from McElroy’s fellow law professors). So perhaps I am all alone in my opinion that this book is crap. Scribblers like David Lodge and Francine Prose have written novels satirizing academia, but neither has scored anything close to unanimous five star ratings on Amazon. True, McElroy may not shine when it comes to crafting compelling narrative or memorable three-dimensional characters, but she is unparalleled in generating cutesy witticisms about (as one of the five star reviews puts it) "life, love, and the law." 

"Called On" is the story of an idealistic young One-L at elite Warren Law School named Libby Behl and her quest for love and legal wisdom.  It is also the story of Connie Shun, the brilliant, good-hearted, strong, perceptive, down-to-earth, endearing, and witty M&M-loving (that's M&M, not S&M) law professor who mentors and inspires Libby. (I wonder who Connie Shun could possibly have been based on).

Even though the author actually is a law professor, this novel is still badly misplaced. It should have been set instead in a high school or a summer camp. The story has a teen lit vibe, and all the characters speak and emote about "life, love, and the law" like angsty or stuck-up adolescents. 
 
Let’s start with Chapter 2. It is Libby's very first day of law school, indeed her very first class. The class is called Introduction to Legal Thinking, or ILT. Libby happens to sit down next to the ice-cold Quinn Everly, who is hogging all the electrical outlets. See if you can spot how McElroy sets up the subtle contrast between idealism and ambition:
"Um, hi. I’m Libby. Just wanted to plug in my laptop? Looks like we’re in for a long hour or so."  
The woman pushed her glasses up on her head.   
"Sorry. Need the plugs. Taping and typing, that’s my technique. Law review. Order of the Coif. Supreme Court clerkship. Every little bit helps. Early bird gets the worm and all that."  
Libby laughed. This woman couldn’t be serious. Law school was about saving the northern spotted owl (OK, so Libby was about two decades late for that one), standing up for marriage equality (and about a year late for that one, at least in part), and fighting for equal pay for women (never too late).  
                                                                   * * *  
Libby didn’t want to lose her cool. But seriously?   
"Yeah, so, don’t you think it’s fair for us all to be on the same playing field?"  
The woman put her glasses back on her nose. "We are. We can all get here early. And use the plugs we need. And those who don’t should just realize that they aren’t cut out to be federal appeals court judges."  
McElroy, Lisa (2015-09-18). Called On (Kindle Locations 160-165, 168-172). Quid Pro Books. Kindle Edition.
Looks seriously bad for poor idealistic Libby-- arrayed against such a ruthless competitor, like an overly-compassionate worm on the same playing field as an early bird. And things go from bad to mortifying when Libby spills a cup of coffee near the lectern, causing  Professor Connie Shun to slip and fall to the ground as soon as she walks into the classroom. Talk about a disastrous start to law school!

But the formidable professor keeps her composure. ("If Justice O’Connor had fallen in a pool of coffee, this is how she’d look. Together. In the least together situation ever.") Shun gets right back up on her feet and conducts a virtuoso class, even without her coffee-spoiled notes, using mistakes in sports officiating to illuminate how law and justice are not necessarily the same thing. Libby redeems herself too. She is "called on" in class, her worst fear realized, but meets the challenge with aplomb by out-arguing fellow student Anderson Kraft, the suave and handsome Harvard T-shirt-wearing guy with the cocky attitude, who turns out to be the villain of the novel.

Indeed, it is not long before the worthy underdog triumphs and the arrogant are humbled. Professor Connie Shun’s pedagogy, in its critical and humanistic depth,  guides students toward an understanding that law and justice, though different in nature, do not merely intersect or diverge, but can actually propel each other. Because Libby has a "calling" to use the law to do good, she is able to grasp this profound concept, which eludes the more self-centered or shallow students, one of whom ponders that, "Every ILT class was the same. They talked about law blah blah blah and justice blah blah blah and absolutely nothing that would ever help [him] do a deal or draw up a contract when he was a lawyer someday."
 
I vaguely recall that there were a whole bunch of core classes in the first year of law school, but these are barely referenced in the novel, so Connie Shun's Introduction to Legal Thinking course basically represents all of law school. And Connie’s ability to trigger student involvement in class discussion disproves the scamblogger critique:  
"Connie sat and watched. For all the crap law school had been taking in the media lately, this was the kind of class discussion that proved all the "law school is a scam" bloggers wrong. She didn’t have to do anything but get the students started with a provocative question. Then they took over."  
McElroy, Lisa (2015-09-18). Called On (Kindle Locations 322-324)
Libby may suffer from bouts of self-doubt, but perceptive Professor Shun almost immediately identifies her as a future legal star. "The best ones — the ones Connie took under her wing — were always about more than wanting a prestigious career and beaucoup bucks. They were about solving major problems in the world."


Libby and her mentor have even more in common than legal talent harnessed to a commitment to justice. For instance, they both adore their pets. Professor Shun dotes on her dachshund "Felix Frankfurter" and Libby likewise dotes on her goldfish, "Breyer." Many pages of McElroy's novel are devoted to the characteristics and antics of these animals and the humorous imputation of all sorts of outrageous attitudes and opinions to dog and fish by their respective owners. 
 
Libby and Professor Shun are even similar in tragedy. McElroy grafts a tear-jerking backstory onto both Libby (her mom was a first responder who died heroically in the North Tower on 911) and Shun (she has recently lost her best friend, a gay man who was killed in a hate crime attack). Meaningful and evocative losses if crafted by a capable writer, but in McElroy's hands, they are about as affecting as cardboard that perished before its time.
 
One of Professor Shun’s innovations is mandatory assigned year-long three-person teams, so Libby is yoked to her early classroom antagonists Anderson and Quinn, leading to hijinks and exasperation galore.
 
Which brings us to the plot. Libby falls hard for Anderson Kraft in spite of herself, smitten by his good looks and displays of confidence, and deluded into thinking that beneath his preppy exterior, intermittent expressions of misogyny, and lack of social conscience is a caring and sensitive guy. Proving that even budding legal geniuses can be fools in love. ("Libby was outside her comfort zone here. Protests: She knew how to do those. Paint a couple of placards, put your ID and a power bar in your pocket in case you get arrested, blow into a pitch pipe for "We Shall Overcome.". . .But dating? This was a whole different kind of exhilaration.")
 
Alas, Anderson turns out to be a treacherous cad. He copies Libby’s ILT take-home exam while she is downstairs paying the pizza delivery man and then two-times her by having a fling with Quinn. Professor Shun spots the similarity in exams, and accurately suspects that Anderson is the plagiarist and that Libby is innocent of facilitating the deed. You see, Prof. Shun intuited all the way back in Chapter 4 that Anderson was a baddie because Anderson snarled, "Hey, mutt, could you shut the hell up?" at lovable Felix Frankfurter before realizing that the dog belonged to the Professor. Oh, Connie Shun knows his type. But Libby is less worldly, and Anderson made a show of liking her pet goldfish. 
 
About halfway through this masterpiece, I began to sense that McElroy had grown almost as bored with her novel as I had, given the increasing frequency with which she sped things along by employing the "tell, don't show" epistolary device of having her characters express their feelings via long, gushy emails. Libby corresponds with her father, a globe-trotting travel writer. Connie Shun corresponds mostly with her long-time BFF and drinking buddy, a giggly man-crazed federal judge named Sarah, who signs her emails "Your judgely friend" and who says things such as "But holy Thanksgiving, girlfriend! Did you say that we were having a real live man at this here table today? As in, a student’s dad? Funny how you didn’t mention that before."
 
It may take three years to graduate a JD, but it only takes one year of law school for the noble to be rewarded and the wicked duly punished, at least at Warren Law. Libby earns an "A" in Introduction to Legal Thinking and a 3.85 GPA overall, placing her at the top of her class. Anderson faces an Honors Board hearing and likely expulsion. No Order of the Coif for Quinn either– rather, imminent academic dismissal due to her 1.73 GPA. However organized and ambitious, she was just not suited for the deep and original thinking about justice that law school requires. Connie Shun hooks up with Libby’s dashing dad. Bestie Sarah also gets a romantic partner, the curmudgeonly Dean of Students at Warren Law, plus the additional goodie of a nomination to be Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Sarah plans to hire Libby as a clerk and Connie Shun as her "top advisor."
 
What irritated me most about this novel-- I mean, other than the execrable writing, unimaginative plot, and poor pacing-- is that law school is depicted as such a benevolent enterprise, at least if you come to it with a pure heart and a love of justice.  True, "Called On"  is of the light romantic genre, but even so the novel readily admits that one may encounter undeserved pain, deception, and disillusionment in one's love life.  But not at all in one's law school life, except for those who lack integrity or depth, like Anderson Kraft and Quinn Everly.  Thus, McElroy's novel recalls her comments last year dismissing the notion that law school can fairly be blamed for bad outcomes.

154 comments:

  1. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-rankings/page+6

    With such "scholars" at the helm, we can see why Drexel University Thomas R. Kline Sewer of Law is ranked as the 127th greatest, most amazing and wondrous law school in the entire country. The student victims and academic perps should be equally proud. Hell, it only shares this rating with SEVEN other ABA-accredited trash pits.

    http://drexel.edu/law/faculty/fulltime_fac/Lisa%20McElroy/

    "Lisa McElroy has published extensively in the field of legal pedagogy and she is an experienced teacher of legal writing.

    She is a member of the Legal Writing Institute Board of Directors and previously served on the board of the Association of Legal Writing Directors."

    By the way, can someone please tell Cockroach McElroy that her hairstyle went out in the 1980s? She resembles a blond version of Alan Rickman as Snape, with her portly face and hideous bangs.

    http://images.amcnetworks.com/bbcamerica.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/55/files/2011/09/580x379_alanrickman.jpg

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  2. Thank you for falling on that sword, dybbuk, for our sake.

    What self-effacing yet hypocritically self-congratulatory garbage. Hmmm, I wonder who else made a 3.85 GPA her 1L year while simultaneously "overcoming the odds"...maybe Professor McElroy? This sounds like she is trying to be the "Judy Blume" of Law School fiction, yet (1) Judy Blume is better, and (2) McElroy's view of law school completely ignores the realities and is pure escapist fantasy.

    Maybe "Warren Law" was indeed McElroy's experience, but she needs to open her eyes to the world and the students around her.

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    1. "Warren Law" = Elizabeth Warren = Harvard.

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    2. Oh. I was thinking that it was named after Warren Harding, that paragon of responsible, principled administration.

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    3. Warren Law = Warren G = McElroy Regulates. Mount up.

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  3. "Connie sat and watched. For all the crap law school had been taking in the media lately, this was the kind of class discussion that proved all the "law school is a scam" bloggers wrong. She didn’t have to do anything but get the students started with a provocative question. Then they took over."

    How did a class discussion prove "all the "law school is scam" bloggers wrong?" I would hazard a guess that (1) the cost of law school, (2) scholarship retention, and (3) job placement stats are never even mentioned in this tween novel.

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    1. Hilariously, the author writes that the law professor, "didn't have to do anything". If it's all about students having a discussion, why do we need the professors again?

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    2. It means that law school is such a wonderful, transforming experience that it is well worth it, even if you spend the rest of your life on IBR working at Starbucks, unable to pay off your student loans.

      After all, Lisa needs the money, so she can go on spur-of-the-moment luxury vacations.

      From the NYT:

      "MOM VACATION
      By Lisa T. McElroy

      I’m back.

      Which is to say, I was gone. Two thousand miles away. To a couple of luxury resorts in warm, sunny Arizona. All by myself. While I left my husband and kids back home in cold, gray Philadelphia. On their own.

      No, I didn’t have to go. Arizona was not home to a legal conference, or a trial, or a library where I needed to do research. No one in my extended family had died; as far as I know, no one was even sick. There wasn’t even a food festival, or a special art exhibition, or a one-week-only never-to-be-repeated production of some Shakespearean play.

      Nope, this here law professor took a vacation. For no good reason at all except that I was on spring break, and they weren’t, and I really, really needed to get away from it all, soak up some sun, and, as it turns out, eat quite an indulgent number of red velvet cupcakes."

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    3. "Let them eat cupcakes!"

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    4. How many dudes do you think she hooked up with on her mom vacation?

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    5. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say 7 dudes.

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    6. But did they use anal beads?

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    7. God, these professors are so out of touch. As a solo, I haven't been to a library for research since 2002. I don't know any lawyers who go to the library anymore. She has never tried a case or stepped or seen the inside of a courtroom.

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    8. 9:46, if anal beads were involved, I bet Leiter was too. That's his "thing" also.

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    9. I would never want to speculate on Brian Leiter's private sexual activities, although public sexual activities would be another matter entirely. Even a coward, bully, and thug like Leiter is morally entitled to the privacy and dignity of his own grotesquely misshapen body.

      However, I consider it a public duty to mention that, psychologically, a person of Leiter's morally depraved character could very well harbor an anal obsession. In his magisterial work "The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness," the late Erich Fromm conclusively linked punitive attitudes to what he termed the "anal-sadistic personality." Persons of that type included both Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler, so we need to beware of Leiter's sadistic political attitudes and punitive, ill-informed legal actions. How a person of his shocking immaturity and recklessness ever gained control of an elite law school and its "Center for Law, Philosophy and Human Values" is impossible for me to fathom. Fortunately, this inhuman demagogue has been shunned by his own philosophy department, which limits his ability to harass and abuse genuine professors of philosophy.

      The ultimate solution to the moral dilemma posed by Leiter's influence is to reconstruct philosophy as the love of wisdom for its own sake. We also need to reconceive jurisprudence, not as an idle game played by obese charlatans at lavish conferences, but as deep reflection prompted by actual legal practice. In this sense, Dybbuk is a far better legal scholar than Dr. Brian Leiter can ever aspire to be.

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  4. Why does Drexel law even exist?

    I graduated Temple back in 2004 (before Drexel opened), and far too many of my classmates struggled to get even the most mundane of jobs. The pure insanity of these academics to think that Philadelphia needs another law school is baffling.

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    1. Not to mention that Rutgers-Camden law school should be flushed immediately.

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    2. Rutgers-Camden, Villanova, Widener and Drexel should all be shut down, as well as the two schools near Harrisburg. Only Temple and U. Penn should be allowed to stay open.

      U. Penn because it's elite and can actually place its graduates into good jobs.

      Temple because it's cheap, plus it's really the only other school in the area that is somewhat respectable.

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  5. Seriously, could you be making this shit up? Oh holy hell - the paperback is $18.99 - the PAPERBACK! Has this person been buying too many law books, a nineteen dollar paperback? To work out if Dybbuk is fantasising you have to pay Amazon $8 or $19 to her publisher.

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    1. But you get free shipping if you buy two copies.

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    2. By the way, it's listed at Amazon under "Thrillers & Suspense". Oh, indeed, it sounds like a real page-turner.

      Pardon me while I barf.

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  6. Where's the section of the novel where the brilliant Connie Shun inadvertently sends a link to a porn site to her class, and is unfairly castigated for doing so?

    Could happen to anyone, really.

    I mean, I have a professional job, and regularly send links to dozens of people as part of work, and I am well aware that a single wrong keystroke in typing in the link will send people to a porn site.

    I regularly get links from porn sites from colleagues all the time, simply because it is so easy to do, and it happens so frequently in the business world.

    Why did people make unfair fun of Lisa McElroy for making such a common, innocent mistake?

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    1. "Fifty Shills of Grey."

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  7. I'm ready to buy this novel for the hot anal sex episodes alone. Are there any? Or did McElroy's diligent research for those episodes go entirely to waste?

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  8. "This Generation's 'One L'...", or so say the critics.

    Hilarious. This generation is sadly in need of help, then. "One L" was more honest of an appraisal than this book could ever hope to be.

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    1. Which critics say that? The shills that HackElroy sent to pump up an unread book?

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    2. So Drexel students are going $150,000 into debt just to talk up her novel on Amazon?

      That woman really knows how to run a scam.

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  9. Ever notice that when law students are depicted in books and movies they attend an elite school pretty much every time when in real life 90 percent of them attend dumpster fires like Drexel.

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    1. Yeah, Warren Law sounds like a thinly disguised version of Harvard.

      In the Drexel version of the novel, anybody talking about Supreme Court clerkships is forcibly put into a 72-hour psychiatric hold for their own protection.

      Connie Shun looks out at her class with ill-disguised contempt - after all, she went to Harvard, and these students are going to Drexel. At some point during the term, Shun points out to her lowly students that they should be glad to have her, since she would be making a million dollars a year now, had she stayed in private practice.

      At the culmination of the novel, Shun denounces unemployed Drexel graduates, announcing that they didn't work hard enough in law school, and that they should be spending more time networking.

      Shun then flies off to a luxury resort to decompress from the stress of having to work nine months a year.

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    2. 9 months?! Those lazy assholes only work eight.

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    3. Good point, 11:36.

      HackElroy tries to discredit the view that law school is a scam by invoking a single incident in a classroom at a fictional élite law school. Well, some of us (not I) are prepared to allow that Harvard and Yale are not scams. But HackElroy hasn't proven that, and anyway it wouldn't say a thing about Drecksel, the toilet where she teaches—between fantasies about Mr. Right and the Supreme Court, quite likely while wearing a string of beads up her butt.

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    4. The real fantasy aspect of the novel is that "Connie Shun" is teaching at Havardesque "Warren Law", instead of a dump like Drexel.

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    5. I totally agree with the incisive comment at 4:55.

      Beady-eyed Lisa McElroy wants to pretend she's clerking at the Supreme Court, teaching at Harvard, and what not. Both her extravagant travel adventures and this ridiculous novel are cries, maybe even screams, for help. She hates her present life that much. Drexel, an unranked law school? Legal writing, the lowest rung of the faculty ladder? Got to escape, got to get away and pretend some more.

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  10. "life, love, and the law." A phrase that only a law professor could use. These people truly live in a world all their own...except for when they cross over into our world to draw their fat paychecks.

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  11. The best fiction book that depicts legal bidness today is the The Litigators by Grisham. It is about my buddies and I hoping and prarying that the BIG ONE (fractures or death, no soft tissue, no State Farm or Safeway) will come along so I can cease going to the Fifth District killing a morning for three bills and a client who EXPECTS Supervision and 10 hours community service on a Residential Burglary. The best non-fiction book is Craft of Justice. The problem with Professor Lisa is that she has never tried a case in her life and has never seen the inside of a court room....

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  12. Oh, Jesus. Oh, mother-fucking Jesus. I'm going to vomit.

    HackElroy's book sounds like the worst shiterature since Atlas Shrugged. Does it end "And they lived happily ever after"?

    Dybbuk deserves a medal for reading HackElroy's self-aggrandizing opus. I would have committed harakiri long before reaching the part about Connie HackElroy's romantic and professional exaltation.

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    1. I agree. We should at least chip in and reimburse dybbuk the 18 bucks he spent on this piece of trash.

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    2. A nice thought, Tricia, but no need! I only spent $7.99 for the Kindle edition, and the book was well worth it to me as a connoisseur of bad writing by legal academics.

      The first four chapters of the Kindle edition of Called On are available on Amazon as a free sample for those who want to have a look at this book out of morbid curiosity or for unintended laughs but who wisely refuse to part with a cent to do so.

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    3. But $7.99 is at least $8.00 more than that book is worth.

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  13. Oh for fuck's sake. The lead villain is a cheater?!? How is that compelling? A local esTTTeemed lawl school had an alum who murdered his family in a fit of rage. Why not use him? "It uses the IBR on its loans or ELSE IT GETS THE GUN AGAIN."

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    1. Yeah, the cheater thing was weak.

      Far more appropriate would be for perky Libby Behl to file a complaint with the University judicial system saying that she didn't consent to sex with Anderson Kraft, and charging him with sexual assault.

      Professor Shun, of course, would be named head of the committee investigating the charges, and the committee would inevitably find Kraft guilty, and would expel him as a sexual assaulter.

      Kraft would request legal representation to respond to the charges, but would be refused, since this was merely an internal campus administrative proceeding.

      Shun and Behl could have a good laugh about Kraft's complaints over drinks later.

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    2. Meanwhile, The Judgely One would fall for Kraft. When she was elevated to the Supreme Court, she would appoint him her "top advisor", with a cushy salary that would cover lots of expensive package trips to Kenya and Palau. And she would shun Shun. As for Behl, she could kiss that clerkship goodbye.

      In the meantime, Everly would become a truck driver in North Dakota or a municipal janitor in New York City and make six figures. She would break into Behl's house, fill the electrical outlets with epoxy, and flush the goldfish down the toilet.

      Behl's father would come rushing back from a safari, but his daughter wouldn't be consoled. She would fail out in third year. Shun would sue her in tort over that incident with the coffee. No degree, no goldfish, no boyfriend, no Order of the Coif, no clerkship. She would contemplate suicide.

      But then she would get a message on her cellular telephone. From Dougie Fresh. "Congratulations! You have just won a scholarship to Indiana Tech!"

      To find out what happens next, read the sequel, Called Out.

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    3. LOL, now THAT I might actually read.

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  14. I don't know this professor. She seems like she is a zoomer and bright. If we were law school classmates, she was probably studying all day and night and sat in the front row. Me, I played a lot of Road Blasters, hung out with my buddies at the mall, trying to meet locals, and saw many movies at the cinema 14 because of week night student pricing. Right before the exams, she would have told me what was important, given me her notes to use during open book exams because I was nice to her and didn't make fun of her.

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  15. This is surely a complex self-parody in the tradition of Professor Diamond, right?

    Right?

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    1. Hell, Kafka couldn't write this shit.

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  16. Another interesting aspect: the star student, despite her alleged awkwardness and insecurity, is the child of a "dashing" "globe-trotting travel writer". In other words, she's a little rich kid. (My parents didn't travel anywhere. I'm the first person in my family to have a passport.)

    Of course, the cherubic 1L heroine of this Harlequin romance was not going to come from an undistinguished family. Hackademics don't move in the circles of the hoi polloi. Besides, how could a law professor fall in love with a middle-aged widower with motor oil under his fingernails or food stamps in his pocket? Perish the thought!

    And note that HackElroy's alter ego entered an amorous relationship with the father of her protégée, the student who just happened to end up at the top of the class despite allegations of cheating that her soon-to-be stepmother (Sarah the desperate to officiate at the wedding) decided in her favor. How much space was spent on the ethical issues that that little relationship raises? Why, none, I suppose. Ethical considerations are only for the little people; law professors and their darlings do as they please.

    And then there's the man-crazed federal judge who speaks in an unbelievable combination of Batman clichés and hillbilly grammar, without missing a chance to call herself "judgely". Obviously the ideal person to head the Supreme Court.

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  17. It is possible that the memorable character of Breyer the goldfish is a fictionalized tribute to a real goldfish, named Bob. McElroy discussed Bob in a 16-paragraph-long blog post at the Huffington Post two and a half years ago. The post is entitled "Epic Struggle."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-mcelroy/epic-struggle_b_2623190.html

    Bob the goldfish belonged to McElroy's adolescent daughter. When Bob the goldfish died, McElroy could not be there to comfort her child because she was on a Cheli & Peacock safari in Kenya. As McElroy explained "I have the travel bug. Several times a year, I set out on my own, visiting Kenya or Palau or Chile or Belize."

    The death of Bob prompted "epic" thoughts from McElroy over whether her solitary globe-trotting provided her with the global perspective to raise globally conscious kids, or rather, whether she was missing out on something by not taking the kids with her on her trips or even staying home.

    As hard as it is to fathom, that post really is entitled "Epic Struggle." You know, instead of "Exasperating Rich Person's Frivolous Self-Important Navel-Gazing."

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    1. Epic struggle? EPIC STRUGGLE? Is she off her fucking rocker?

      She has to get away from her bratty family "[s]everal times a year" and flit off to one or another exotic locale where the up-market tour provider—she makes a point of dropping the brand name, as if lowly people like me had heard of it—sends a phalanx of brown-skinned servants to attend to her every whim. (God damn you, I said THERMIDOR, not BROILED! Can't you understand English? Take that shit away and give me some fucking Beluga caviar instead. And where the hell is my Armagnac? Jesus, it's just impossible to find decent help nowadays!)

      Meanwhile, back at the mansion, Hubby is taking care of the trophy kids, conveying the one to her French-horn rehearsal and the other to the optician's (contacts only; no glasses will spoil that Helen-like face). Well, inconveniently enough, the younger child's goldfish chooses just that time to die. (Shit. How inconsiderate!) And that teenager's world absolutely falls apart. Shouldn't a goldfish with an obvious malignancy live forever? Who could have known?

      Now, Mom finds out about this earth-shattering calamity. But the Internet service goes down, and she can't even try to console her daughter. (I dropped ten grand on this fucking trip! Get the goddamn Internet working, NOW!) While peals of off-key melancholy notes from a French horn jar eardrums back at home, Mom starts to feel a wee bit guilty. For the first time in her life, not even the butler can assuage her conscience.

      I learn a lot from these trips, she tells herself, and my kids benefit even though they're stuck at home. (Of course, she doesn't learn a goddamn thing from an aristocratic package tour, except perhaps the length of an elephant's schlong. That's because she doesn't interact with the people in the places that she visits—at least not on their terms. They're just objects that blend into the background when she photographs the local megafauna.) Then again, maybe I should just cut the crap and admit that I'm deserting my kids for purely selfish reasons.

      That's her epic struggle. Odysseus, eat your heart out.

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    2. Dude. It would be hard to misunderstand "broiled" for "thermidor." There might be though some confusion between the prep for thermidor and lobster newburg amongst those who are not familiar with serving the sophisticated palate.

      Also, it really would be more, uh, appropriately PC to say "the goldfish chose that time to cross over." The word "die" is a trigger and assumes a finality which we really cannot know.

      I'm just trying to make us all better people.

      Delete
    3. LOL, you always write the best stuff, Old Guy. Yeah, poor McElroy, Odysseus himself can't even compare to her... NOT!

      Delete
  18. Does the professor do anything imaginative with the M&Ms?

    ReplyDelete
  19. It would be great to see a law professor write a book involving actual lawyers. How would they know what to write about?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never once observed a law professor in court and I am in court nearly everyday. They are not practicing lawyers. Prospective students: Ask this: "When was the last time you filed YOUR appearance on any matter?

      Delete
    2. So true. Much more needs to be written about this. It's like if business school were taught by people who had never spent any time working outside of academia.

      Delete
    3. Ahhh, yes. Good old First-Year Law School fiction:

      It was a dark and stormy night. The Civ Pro class of the local fourth-tier law school was getting underway as an aging Boomer professor Socratimized a hapless coed about the intricacies of the 1878 judicial classic, Pennoyer v. Neff. Raw tension hung in the thick air as he probed her with thrusting enquiries.

      “What was the name of the attorney who Mr. Neff hired to assist him in his attempt to obtain land, and what was the Revised Statutes citation number of the Congressional Act under which Neff was attempting to obtain that land?”

      “Well, the Donation Act became effective in 1850, and John Mitchell....”

      “Miss Peters,” the aging Boomer interjected sarcastically, “I think we all learned in the 4th or 5th grade that Mr. Neff hired attorney John Mitchell to help him obtain land under the Donation Act of 1850. My dog could tell you that. Can you tell me the statutory citation to that act in the Revised Statutes? Are you UNPREPARED, perhaps?” he sneered.

      “Well, no, maybe because the Revised Statutes of 1879 weren’t around then....”

      Like circus masters attempting to wedge an elephant into a tutu, the professor’s hoary attempt to make verbal intimidation pass as Socratic dialogue was proceeding down the well-worn path.

      “But I can tell you,” the student continued, “that the Supreme Court rejected Pennoyer’s claim and found for Neff because the trial court had to have jurisdiction over the land in question before the start of litigation...”

      “So, if I were the trial court, could I enter my judgment?”

      “What size judgment?” she intoned.

      “An enormous, throbbing judgment. One that many defendants couldn’t handle?”

      “I could file a motion to withdraw, could I not?”

      “Denied, counselor. Denied. What are you going to do now?”

      “File a supercedeas bond,” she replied.

      “What happened to a Notice of Appeal?” thundered the Boomer prof. “Why do you go skipping over the Notice of Appeal and go stampeding straight to the Super seed?”

      Yep, nothing like those first-year core courses to get those juices flowing. Please don’t make me do the UCC.

      Delete
    4. Lurid and lascivious law school fiction!

      Delete
  20. A heterosexual romance at a law school? Why didn't McElroy give us a trigger warning?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point. At a minimum, Libby Behl should have been a pre-op transsexual.

      Why is McElroy so intent on "normalizing" cis people, while ignoring the rich diversity of LGBTQQIP2SAA people? How could she possibly have been so insensitive? Does she think only cis people go to law school?

      Clearly, remedial education is needed for such an archaic, out-of-touch, politically incorrect novelist, and her novel should be shunned by all right-thinking people.

      Delete
  21. This novel sounds like the literary equivalent of Legally Blonde....how many impressionable young women will read it and envision themselves as Libby? Based on the synopsis above, it sounds like this book should be classified as fantasy.

    ReplyDelete
  22. This thread demands a poetic post from Maurice Leiter.

    ReplyDelete
  23. As long as we're *poorly* adopting chick lit to fit law school themes, I've got suggestions for other books.

    THE SILENCE OF THE LOANS

    Plot Summary: Charise Sterling is a young, impressionable, and eager trainee at the FBI. As part of her training, the FBI has assigned her to its Behavioral Sciences Unit, which is investigating a case centering around a group of mediocre liberal arts grads, all of whom have vanished in the vicinity of Chicago. When one is found floating down the river, and several more are discovered, glassy-eyed, serving donuts at a Gas N' Gulp, the head of BSU, Paul Crawford, begins to suspect that a law professor, nicknamed "Buffalo Brian," may be the culprit.

    Crawford orders Charise to interview Analball Lecture, a notorious law professor housed at the Drexel Institute for Law and Criminal Insanity. Upon arriving at Drexel, Charise is led to the basement, where she meets Dr. Lecture. She attempts to engage Analball in conversation, but the doctor mocks her efforts and begins to use the Socratic Method to "dissect" details of Charise's personal life.

    Charise intrigues Lecture, who offers to help Charise capture Buffalo Brian if Charise will convince Drexel's administrators to transfer Lecture to a holistic ski resort in Aspen. Thus begins a dangerous game of cat and mouse between Charise and Analball, as Charise races to learn more about Buffalo Brian and Analball continues to dissect details of Charise's personal life. Will Charise discover the identity of Buffalo Brian before he strikes again? Just what is happening to the missing liberal arts grads? Will Lecture manage to escape the confines of Drexel? Find out this summer in this shocking new thriller!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lmao! I actually want to read this book.

      Delete
    2. The Sound of L-Sac

      A young woman named Maria is studying at college, pursuing a less-than-marketable liberal-arts degree in Government, with a minor in, yes, Poli-Sci. Maria has been indoctrinated since childhood to believe Education is the Key, so when she started to discover a liberal arts education wasn't marketable, she went to her college’s Career Center, and they said she should Climb Every Mountain: i.e., You need more school, girl. More expensive schooling, that is. Professional education. The kind that only now comes with non-dischargable debt, that you take right up the Do-Re-Mi. Law School.

      When Maria asks the career counselor whether it’s true that there are not already too many lawyers, the counselor calls in a retired naval captain, Georg von Trap, who says, yes, the world actually needs more lawyers and that she’s the one indispensable person who will make the difference in helping vast hordes of uninsured, propertyless refugees of post-hurricane flooding, or migratory dolphins fleeing the hurricanes, or whatever. Yes, the halls are alive with the Sound of L-Sac. Gotta take that test. Gotta get your ass in that Seat. I’ve got confidence in sunshine; I’ve got confidence in rain. I’ve got confidence the sun will shine again.....

      Captain von Trap tries to works his magic, but at that point, a Greek Chorus composed of Scambloggers appears, singing, “You are 16K in debt, going on 17K in debt; baby, it’s time to think. Better beware, be canny and careful. Baby, you’re on the brink. ”

      Maria wakes up and Smells the Coffee (including the fact that a law degree will likely link her to serving coffee), hauls down the law school poster hanging on the wall and tears it in half, and then sings, “So long, farewell” to Captain von Trap. Von Trap tries to pursue Maria in his imported sports car, but some nuns helpfully have removed parts of its transmission.

      Maria ends up climbing a mountain to get away, but she’s only carrying herself.... not $170K in debt, too.

      Delete
  24. Another suggestion for a law school adaptation.

    THE SOCIAL JUSTICIST

    Plot Summary: In the mountains of Mexico, deep in the heart of a singles resort, dashing world traveling law professor Lisa discovers a strange statue. She recognizes the statue as a depiction of Nandzuzu, a demon who had once plagued American law schools. Lisa realizes that Nandzuzu has come back to the law school world to seek revenge once more.

    Meanwhile, in Costa Rica, new law professor Doug and his young protege Paul are attending a meeting of the American Association of Law Professors. Thoughts of sun and international justice soon turn to fear as Paul begins to speak in tongues, using words like "return on investment," "glutted job market," and "useless sinecures." In a particularly horrifying moment, Paul stalks into the middle of a lecture on Trans-African social identities, throws feces at the head of a law professor, and screams "POINTLESS SUBJECT, BITCH!!!"

    Doug and the other law professor, terrified by this series of events, call Lisa and her old mentor Brian to the conference. Lisa soon realizes the truth: Paul has now been completely possessed by the spirit of Nandzuzu. Lisa and Brian attempt a "social justicism," in which they attempt to use progressive legal values to bring back Paul and force the spirit of Nandzuzu back into the bowels of the non-legal world. During the justicism, Nandzuzu causes all of the toilets in the conference hall to overflow, drowning Brian in partially digested Mimosas and filet mignon.

    Lisa, alone, and doubting her abilities, returns to the conference hall alone to fight Nandzuzu. She attempts to network with the demon, but it mocks her by yelling "YALE OR FAIL! YALE OR FAIL!" Lisa, unable to fight the demon, considers offering herself for possession instead, but can't bring herself to that level of self-sacrifice. She returns home, leaving Nandzuzu to stalk the halls of the conference center.

    AUTHOR'S NOTE: I tried to have the ending of my proposed book more closely follow the plot of "The Exorcist," but I thought that the level of self-sacrifice showed by the young priest would stretch belief if applied to a law prof.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A great work of literature!

      Oddly enough, I think even someone like Brian Leiter could enjoy this book. It would confirm his paranoid world view.

      Delete
    2. LMAO! I was nearly in tears from laughing at this proposed story idea! Please write it, I'd love to root for the demon in this story! (Heck, write BOTH your story ideas!)

      Delete
  25. Watch out - the next novel will be "Naked Came The Law Professor"!

    (Google "Naked Came The Stranger" for the literary reference...)

    ReplyDelete
  26. By the way, ladies, a word to the wise: get rid of infantile names like Libby. A six-year-old girl may be Libby, but as an adult she should have the good sense to become Elizabeth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In this case, no. Libby is short for Liberty, not Elizabeth-- get it, Liberty Behl? The novel features a charming 10-page (yes, 10) anecdote by Libby's father about how he and his bride visited Philadelphia on their honeymoon and saw the Liberty Bell together. This resulted, nine months later, in a "little Behl just ring, ring, ringing its way to be born."

      Delete
    2. I want to puke again.

      Another word to the wise, ladies and gentlemen: don't ever name a child after the circumstances of its conception.

      Delete
    3. Dybbuk, that is just shockingly bad writing on her part. How you ever made it through the book, I'll never know.

      I suspect that those "professors" get in the habit of writing poorly because they never expect anyone to actually read their articles. So when they write something like a novel or, in Brian Leiter's case, a blog, they have no idea how to engage their readers or capture their attention. So in McElroy's case we get this sickening, childish fairy-tale whining of hers, and in Leiter's case we get nothing but bluster, intellectual fakery, and cowardly malice.

      Delete
    4. It looks like the work of a nine-year-old girl who dots her i's with hearts.

      Delete
    5. Ten fucking pages for that?????

      Delete
    6. "little Behl just ring, ring, ringing its way to be born."

      Jesus Christ, make it STOP!!!!!!!!!

      Delete
    7. This book is a good argument for late-term abortion.

      Delete
    8. Imagining The Open ToadOctober 24, 2015 at 3:52 PM

      "don't ever name a child after the circumstances of its conception"

      Sez you!

      My two sons, Wild Turkey Toad, Jr. and Southern Comfort Toad, will do just fine in this world..

      Delete
  27. Libby is better than ChemicalTolietOfAGreyhoundBus, which would have been the more logical choice to anyone who read those 10 pages.

    ReplyDelete
  28. OT: Obama Administration Hits Back at Student Debtors Seeking Relief

    Key Quote:
    No student debtor should get a break on student loans unless they can show a “certainty of hopelessness,” said the government’s lawyers. “[A] debtor must specifically prove a total incapacity in the future to repay the debt for reasons not within his control,” they added. The lawyers said that the point of keeping such a stringent standard is to ensure “that bankruptcy does not become a convenient and expedient means of extinguishing student loan debt.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-10-14/obama-administration-hits-back-at-student-debtors-seeking-relief

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is modern liberalism. Working people better wake up and go back to the only thing that ever gave them a prayer's chance against an entrenched aristocracy: the free market.

      Delete
  29. Anyone else check out her CV? Who lists their snooty, private, prep school in CT under their "Education"? I doubt this woman has ever done an honest day's work in her whole life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, she does have two daughters. We know that because she tried to win sympathy by mentioning them when her porn scandal broke.

      Anyway, unless her daughters are adopted, she went through labor with them. That's got to count for at least a couple of days of honest work. Other than that...I'm not sure any more. Certainly writing that juvenile novel doesn't count as honest work.

      Delete
    2. A year's paid tuition at an unaccredited TTTTT?

      Delete
    3. Man, she went on a study abroad trip to Spain while she was still in high school. Sorry guys and gals, pack it up, we are out of our league here.

      And those schools she has taught at! Roger Williams, Southern New England School of Law (now UMass Law), Sturm, and Drexel. Such pedigree! Such fine institutions!

      Delete
    4. Why, of course a profe$$or will list on her résumé a tony boarding school that costs $54,450 per year, not counting fees for such vitally important items as "the latest generation iPad" (required: yesterday's iPad just won't do at Choate, you know). One simply has to show one's pedigree when applying for a hackademic job.

      But her family must be nouveau riche, as she committed the gaffe of mentioning that she had transferred from the Univershitty of Texas (which recently admitted a few people whose LSAT scores were in the 120s) to Harvard Law. (Apparently she felt the need to explain why she wasn't on the law review.) Fifth-generation Choatelings wouldn't be so gauche.

      Delete
  30. This is easily one of my favorite posts on this blog, between the original post AND all the comments to go with it. Someone send this to McElroy herself!

    And we've got some really good ideas here in the comments section. Here's a proposal of my own: Why not have our own little writing contest for law-based stories? (I don't know what to offer for first place, but I suppose that whoever gets second place can do with a set of steak knives...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Free tuition at a TTTT?

      Oops. They're already giving that away.

      Delete
    2. Earlier this year, Indiana Tech held a raffle at which the first prize was a $5000 "scholarship" and the second prize was a pair of low-grade headphones (doubtless the favorite brand of Dougie Fresh). People at the time pointed out that the first prize was worth less than the second.

      And now that is undeniably true, because Indiana Tech ended up reducing tuition to zero for everyone, thereby rendering that "scholarship" worthless even on Indiana Tech's terms. Unless, of course, Indiana Tech proposes to give $5000 to the "winner" for enrolling. Fat chance of that.

      Delete
  31. The law student exclaimed in the darkened bedroom.

    "It's so big!", she gasped. "I've never seen such an enormous CV!"

    The law professor chuckled evilly. "That's nothing - you haven't seen how many SSRN downloads my papers have."

    She moaned with pleasure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So hot. Now half the pages in my Chemerinsky con law casebook are pasted together.

      Delete
  32. From our globe-trotting penny-a-liner: "Why I love to travel: I’ve gotten to attend a Samburu wedding in Kenya, hang out on the ocean floor with sea turtles in Belize, sail through the sky on a parasail with my younger daughter on Block Island, speak to Italian law students about how common law systems work in Genova. What’s not to love?" (http://www.lisamcelroy.com/about-lisa.html)

    Here's what she didn't tell you:

    She arrived in Kenya on an expensive package tour—probably this one (http://chelipeacock.com/samburu-shaba/sasaab/), where each room, the size of a three-bedroom townhouse, includes "a private plunge pool". (I don't even know what a plunge pool is.) The Samburu wedding—available almost on demand, no doubt—is one of the "traditional ceremonies" to which the tour guides arrange "special visits".

    Such is her idea of "travel". Sorry, bitch, but that's not travel; it's tourism. Travel is a backpack and genuine interactions with real people (not English-speaking concierges) on their terms. Tourism is a single line on the monthly statement of your goddamn platinum American Express Card.

    ReplyDelete
  33. The modern Democratic Party serves the interests of the rich and well connected in such a devious and effective manner, while pretending to be for the poor, that you have to almost admire them.

    All of these second, third and fourth tier institutions serve no other purpose than to enrich trustfundtarians and boomers. We are robbing the taxpayer to enrich folks like this, while simultaneously enslaving the children of the lower classes.

    Damn. This is crazy. Can someone remind me which is the party of the rich again?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is only one party. It uses two names to create an appearance of choice.

      Delete
    2. Old Guy, it's not that there is only one party, but rather there is a unified collection of financial moguls which present one ass to be kissed. Both parties pucker up. One party gives tongue a bit more frequently than theother party. That's the only distinction.

      Delete
    3. Old Guy,

      True, but the democratic wing of the one party is so much more effective and clever.

      Republican: We will make your trust fund tax free and make working people pay a higher tax rate?

      Democrats: We will provide you with a guaranteed 200k job for life, funded by tax dollars and immune from performance evaluations or global market forces. We will do this while turning the children of the poor into indentured servants for the rest of their lives. Oh yeah, we will have to tax that 200k salary a little more to keep up apperances, but the trust fund will remain tax free!

      Delete
  34. Wow. Take a look at the reviews on Amazon and see the diverse array of people who penned 5-star reviews for this masterpiece:

    Kermit Roosevelt - Law Prof at UPenn
    Pam Jenoff - Law Prof at TTT Rutgers-Camden
    Jennifer Taub - Law Prof at TTTT Vermont Law
    Deborah Gordon - Law Prof at TTT Drexel!!!!

    I can only imagine some of the other 5-star reviews by people with anonymous/indecipherable handles are her friends or colleagues.

    And do yourself the favor of reading the preview available via the "Look Inside" feature. Extrapolating from the first chapter, this title appears to be every bit the train wreck dybbuk123 proclaims it to be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A veritable rogues' gallery of hackademic back-scratchers. And they all went shilling for this repulsive piece of tripe as soon as it was published.

      Delete
    2. How does Jennifer Taub have the time to read a novel? Isn't she too busy rejecting students to keep the admission rate at an infitessimal 83% and rebuffing federal judiciary appointment offers?

      Delete
    3. Oh, give her a break. She needs something to do when her hand gets sore from rubber-stamping "ADMITTED".

      Delete
    4. Why don't we just leave a bunch of negative (and brutally honest) reviews on Amazon just to counter the back-scratching phony positive ones? Maybe with links back to here and other stuff mentioning McElroy's various misdeeds, from the harsh statements about law students to the debacle with the anal beads. I'm sure that would get people's attention...

      Delete
    5. "Why don't we just leave a bunch of negative (and brutally honest) reviews on Amazon"

      Meh - just let the novel slide into obscurity. (I'll note that only 2 of the 12 reviewers on Amazon actually bought the book through Amazon.)

      Both the Faculty Lounge and Prawfsblawg had posts on the novel, and last time I checked, no one had commented - illustrating that even law professors can feel embarrassment for one of their colleagues.

      After all, who could dislike a novel that points out that the real heroes in society are middle-aged heterosexual females with really, really cushy jobs?

      The cruel thing would be to send a copy of the novel to anybody applying to Drexel...

      Delete
  35. "Lemming, or the Confession of a Law School Recruiter" such were the two titles under which the writer of the present note received the strange pages it preambulates. " Humbert Humbert," their author, had died in legal unemployment on November 16th 2014, a few days after his law school collapsed and his application to a Skadden Arps partnership was declined. His lawyer, my good crony, Lisa McElroy now of Third Tier Drexel, in asking me to edit the manuscript, based on a request from a clause in her client's will which empowered my eminent crony to use her discretion in all matters pertaining to the preparation of "Lemming" for print. Ms McElroy's decision may have been influenced by the fact that the editor of her choice had just been awarded the Poling Prize for a modest work ("Does the Law School Tuition Make Sense?") wherein certain morbid states and perversions had been discussed.
    My task proved simpler than either of us has anticipated. Save for the correction of obvious solecisms and a careful suppression of a few tenacious details that despite "H.H." own efforts still subsisted in his text as signposts or tombstones (indicative of places or persons that taste would conceal and compassion spare), this remarkable memoir is presented intact. Its author's bizarre cognomen is his own invention; and, of course, this mask - through which two hypnotic eyes seem to glow - had to remain unlifted in accordance with its wearer's wish. While "Haze" only rhymes with the heroine's real surname, her first name is too closely interwound with the inmost fiber of the book to allow one to alter it; nor (as the reader will perceive for himself) is there any practical necessity to do so. References to "H.H."'s crime may be looked up by the inquisitive in the daily scamblogs for 2008 to 2012; its cause and purpose would have continued to remain a complete mystery, has not this memoir been permitted to come under my reading lamp.

    ReplyDelete
  36. TITLE: The Admission Emission

    Plot: After the first semester at the subject TTT law school, James McGreevy, a poor cis male from a rural area comes to understand that he really has no alternative but to accept the offer to fuck the morbidly overweight pre-op trans administrator in Admissions in order to keep from being placed in the stacked scholarship sections of his remaining first year classes. The most poignant moment occurs when he has performance issues and is confronted by the administrator with, "Honey, if you don't get it up soon, I'm going to file a complaint against you for a microagression."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There goes the other half of my Chemerinsky con law casebook.

      Delete
    2. Thanks. On the usefulness of first year law books, I would like to quote my friend Tommy who once told me that "the only time I ever used Black's Law Dictionary was to stand on it while I fucked someone on my kitchen counter."

      Delete
    3. Unfortunately, that attitude is common among law students. Tommy sounds like someone who never should have been admitted to law school or to the legal profession.

      Delete
  37. I wonder how much the movie rights will go for...

    ReplyDelete
  38. Is this book going to be assigned in some toilet's "Law and Literature" course?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe at some TTT although with the LSAT's they have been admitting, I doubt the literature can go much beyond the sophistication of Walter the Farting Dog.

      It's illustrative that in the obvious-but-incredibly-thin plot, the measure of success and accordingly self-worth, is a grade. Law professors really believe their own bullshit.

      Delete
    2. Indeed, I have wondered whether "law and popular culture" isn't just the illiterates' replacement for "law and literature". Toileteers cannot understand Crime and Punishment, so give them reruns of Gilligan's Island instead.

      Delete
    3. Yes, you are absolutely right. But it's also the law professors who want to discuss Legally Blond and Suits. I doubt many of the TTT professors read much in the way of deep literature. And Law and Popular Culture is easy. You don't have to analyze literature in class. You can just watch a movie or some TV episodes instead. Throw in some free pizza for the students and you are bound to get good reviews.

      Delete
  39. Mystery Law Lecture 3000:

    Mike was an everyday average guy working a series of pointless, worthless temp jobs until kidnapped by the Mads, Dr. Clayton Forestleiter and TV's Dougie Fresh, who later gets taken to Second Banana Heaven by Torgo where he eventually becomes a Soul Taker (Dean). They conked Mike on the noggin and then shot him into space, where he was forced to watch bad law lectures with a couple of wise-cracking robots, Tom Nando and Paul T. Robot. After several years of wandering through the void of space, he gets back to earth where he moves into a one-bedroom right on the bus line.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved that show.

      In the subject work, I'm so glad that the male with an upper-class name was the villain. That was exceptionally clever.

      Delete
  40. Well-deserved praise for Dybbuk from Paul Campos:

    http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2015/10/everybody-hates-a-tourist

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great link. Campos quotes Called On and a number of blog posts McElroy has written. What's shocking about her writing is a seemingly complete inability to connect with the reader. With whom is she trying to relate? Her story about spring break in AZ without her kids just makes you feel sorry for them (and makes you wonder what kind of man chose to marry this woman). Is the character Connie in Called On an embodiment of her unfulfilled desires: a faculty appointment at Harvard, a close friendship with a Supreme Court Justice, the ability to identify and nurture a promising legal mind a la Libby, the respect of her students, etc. Since she possesses none of these things, are this novel and her shallow public persona part of an attempt to delude herself into believing she is living some type of meaningful life?

      Delete
    2. That's right. She is too self-absorbed to think of the reader. More examples appear above: I've discussed her "travel" (purchase of package tours), for instance, and the stupidity of revealing on her résumé that she got into Harvard Law by transfer from the Univershitty of Texas (she was trying to cover up for not making the law review, but she would have been wiser to say nothing about the transfer). Likewise, several of us have pointed out the indecency of flashing her wealth in the reader's face. Like Narcissus, she doesn't even notice how other people view her behavior, because other people scarcely exist in her world.

      And the word shallow fits her to a T. One could wade in the depths of her soul without getting one's toenails wet. As you said, her horrible book catalogues her unfulfilled ambitions. Another of those, by the way, is travel—which is why the husband that her alter ego finds in the novel is a globe-trotting travel writer. Her own husband stays at home with the children while she goes off on expensive package tours—mere simulacra of travel.

      Next to McElroy, Dougie Fresh looks almost admirable.

      Delete
    3. "Like Narcissus, she doesn't even notice how other people view her behavior, because other people scarcely exist in her world."

      After an extended unfortunate professional experience with a Harvard Law graduate, I commented: "Harvard Law graduates think that there are two sorts of people in the world: Harvard Law graduates, and people put on this earth to serve Harvard Law graduates."

      Lisa has to compensate for a huge psychological disconnect - like most law school professors at terrible law schools, she went to elite schools herself (Choate! Dartmouth! Harvard!). She has the job security, income, and leisure associated with a member of the elite, but she ended up teaching at places like Roger Williams, Southern New England School of Law, and Drexel. What's worse, where there was once some respect for law schools generally, that's gone for the toilets among anyone who knows anything at all about law schools.

      There is a novel to be written there - but it would be about the psychological problems of a bunch of people who feel that they are part of an elite, and are treated in many ways as if they are part of an elite, but find themselves teaching in low-status institutions that prosper only by ruining most of their graduates financially.

      Most of them are doubtless finding many quiet ways to compensate, while desperately hoping that their institutions last until they are ready to retire. A few publicly lash out at critics of terrible law schools ("law school truthers" and the like). Lisa's gone one better - not only does she mock the students ruined financially by attending her institution, but her in-your-face levels of well-reported conspicuous consumption doubtless reflects her great need for psychological compensation for her low social status among anyone who knows anything about law schools.

      Delete
    4. And her résumé doesn't reflect a meteoric trajectory for her career. She worked for less than a year at one law firm and about two years at another, then became an "Applications Reader" in the admissions office at Harvard Law School. Yes, six years after getting her JD, she was working as a drone in the admissions office.

      Even while she was working at the second law firm, she taught bar-review courses. That doesn't suggest that she was particularly busy as a lawyer.

      So bitter is she about not getting into Harvard Law the first time, and having to settle for the Univershitty of Texas, that she continues to explain it away on her résumé, twenty years after graduating.

      She hovers around the Supreme Court like a teenage groupie, desperate for attention.

      She never stops queening her inherited wealth all over the goddamn place. Yet the hoi polloi can go fuck themselves. See her respond to the view that law schools' willingness "to enroll anyone with a pulse" is "deplorable" (http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2014/04/2-supply-how-many-law-students-will-graduate-in-2017-2018.html?cid=6a00e54f871a9c883301a5119c4ece970c#comment-6a00e54f871a9c883301a5119c4ece970c):

      "I don't understand why it is deplorable. The students enrolling in law schools have the information about job placement, bar passage, etc. Presumably, they have decided that they will fall on the positive side of the statistics. They make the choice to accept the offer of admission. The law school makes a commitment to educate them to the best of its ability. If the law school is so terrible and lacks judgment in admitting students, why would a student then choose to go there? It's all in the student's control."

      So there's nothing wrong with the practically open enrollment that prevails at every Drexel in the US. The Drexels aren't responsible even for minimal screening. Let the lemmings in, one and all. They have only themselves to blame if they wind up unemployed yet saddled with $200k or $300k in non-dischargeable debt so that a narcissistic dolt born with a silver spoon up her ass can fly off several times a year to Kenya or Palau to enjoy the private pool in her palatial apartments.

      Delete
    5. "Let them eat cupcakes."

      After all, they're stupid snowflakes, it must be their own fault. But wait a minute, they were smart enough to make a binding decision to ruin their lives. And by the way, they're learning a lot at Drexel.

      Delete
    6. http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2015/10/everybody-hates-a-tourist

      I especially enjoyed the banner ad for Cooley Law that I got when I read that.

      Delete
    7. "...while she was working at the second law firm, she taught bar review courses."

      She's a law professor at Drexel. She still teaches bar review courses.

      Delete
    8. This woman should have been fired a long time ago. This entire profession and the legal educational system is a complete joke.

      Delete
  41. The JFK Profile in Courage Award was created to recognize and celebrate the quality of political courage. The award recognizes a public official whose actions demonstrate the qualities of courageous leadership in the spirit of Profiles in Courage, President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer prize-winning book.

    The Profile in Courage Award celebrates individuals who choose the public interest over partisanship – who do what is right, rather than what is expedient.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, actually it's an award for politicians who stab their own voters in the back once they've been sworn in.

      ESPECIALLY if said voters are conservatives.

      Delete
    2. The ironic thing about JFK's book is that he didn't even write it. He showed no courage. It should be changed to profile in cowardice.

      Delete
  42. I really think that many professors and deans don't know just how bad things are for some graduates. There needs to be more blogs like this to get the word out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think that they give a tinker's damn.

      Delete
    2. There is no reason why professors teaching in professional schools should have tenure. And there is no reason why a law school should hire anyone who doesn't have at least ten years of practice experience. Only in some Escher-world would a person be preferred for employment as a law professor because they had written an article on some irrlevant legal point rather than a successful practicing attorney.

      Delete
    3. This is a such an obvious part of the scam. I really wish someone would try to better expose it.

      Delete
    4. Imagine a world where, in order to get your plumbing license, the law required that you obtain a Plumbum Doctor degree from an accrediting Plumbing Academy. The education at an Academy would consist largely of theory, and many graduates would complete their P.D. without ever physically handling pipe. There would, however, be courses on subjects such as "Transracial Identities in American Plumbing Fixtures: The Cultural Implications of The Use of White PVC Pipe vs. Black ABS Pipe." To the extent that the academy taught anything practical, it generally taught issues that occur in highly-complex commercial plumbing.

      At a Plumbing Academy, virtually all of the instructors would have spent virtually no time working as plumbers. Maybe a few would have spent a few years working for large plumbing companies, though their time there would have generally been so short that they never did anything beyond gopher labor. In general though, your typical instructor would have never worked on intermediate or complex jobs, would have no practical idea how to carry out such a job, and would hold people who actually do such work in contempt.

      Needless to say, they would have absolutely no idea about what goes into running a solo plumbing business, such as knowing how to estimate a job or the various other little trades that good plumbers must know in order to do a complete job by themselves. And of course, a P.D. degree will cost $150 grand, making it very difficult for a graduate who wanted to practice solo to buy a truck and equipment.

      Delete
    5. This is a perfect analogy. It's both saddening and infuriating at the same time. Why isn't this something that gets more attention?

      Delete
    6. Except to make the analogy fit better, the instructors at the Plumbing Academy would not value plumbing as a career and would want nothing to do with it.

      Delete
    7. "The education at an Academy would consist largely of theory, and many graduates would complete their P.D. without ever physically handling pipe."

      Yeah but the Socratic dialogue was, er, intellectually stimulating.

      Delete
  43. I think you're right, but the ones who have spent time outside of academia and have actually worked may care a little more. In any event, blogs like this d do a great service in getting the word out.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Lets look at some of Lisa's comment in the Faculty Lounge:

    "OK. So. JoJo. Is your claim that every member of a JD class should get a job, no matter how poorly she did in school, no matter how unprofessional her conduct is, no matter how ill-suited she is for the profession"

    Yes Lisa, everyone who graduates from law school, regardless of how they ranked in their class, deserves a shot at a legal job. Even the person who graduated dead last. That they graduated at all should show they have the capability to be a lawyer. Was she, in all seriousness, claiming those who graduate near the bottom of their class don't deserve to be lawyers? Is she serious?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am certainly aware of people who granted damn near last at non-T14 schools who got good-paying jobs. That was more a matter of their Dad Degree than their J.D. Once you're out of the top 5-10% of students who are taken seriously at OCI, you generally are dumped into the land of "networking" (aka seeing if Mom and Dad can get you a job). Once you're out of the running at OCI, it often mattered very little how you performed in school, making the "unemployed graduates were just bad law students" even less compelling as an argument.

      Delete
    2. When law schools admit classes with median LSAT scores below 150, you tend to end up with a lot of graduates who are "ill-suited" for the profession. So here is my position - If you can't score a 150 on the LSAT, you don't get to go to law school. And if that means places like Drexel have to shut down due to an insufficient number of student loan conduits, so be it.

      Delete
    3. @7:51 -- I agree with you, but with one caveat: given the market, I think the LSAT score should be 160 at least.

      I say this as someone who himself scored a 151 on the LSAT. I still managed to do reasonably well, but I also graduated 10+ years ago. Given today's legal sector, the minimal LSAT needs to be extremely high, thus only the strongest applicants can get in.

      I should also express my belief that the LSAT itself is a ridiculous test that measures nothing of significance. It's only real purpose is as a barrier to entry.

      Delete
    4. I agree with 7:51 and 11:54 (except on the allegation that the LSAT is meaningless: it's a useful test of literacy and logic, commodities not found in abundance among university graduates). For years I have advocated a minimum of 160. And I should probably raise it to 162 or 164.

      I don't agree at all with the claim that mere graduation proves the ability to be a lawyer. Damn near everyone who is admitted graduates. At my law school (admittedly one of the élite, not a Cooleyite toilet), no one had failed out for years. A JD doesn't prove professional competence; it's little more than a receipt for fees paid.

      Anyway, don't fall for HackElroy's straw-man argument. It was never suggested that every single graduate should get work as a lawyer. That comment of hers serves only to confuse the issue, and she knows it. She said that in response to evidence that at least 1/4 of graduates won't be able to find work as lawyers. So what? The dearth of employment could be a solid argument against an expansive law-school scam even if some graduates are unsuitable for the profession. But don't expect clear thinking from this ninny HackElroy.

      Delete
    5. The LSAT measures something, but I think it's a stretch to say it measures "literacy and logic."

      Even so, looking at a score from just a single day of testing (as law schools do) is rather unscientific. To do it right, you would need several different scores from different days to get an accurate idea of where the tester measures.

      Delete
    6. For the past seven or eight years, law schools have looked only at the highest LSAT score on the record. Anyone who feels that "just a single day of testing" gives an unfair impression has only to take the test again. Ordinarily, however, taking it again just leads to the same score, within two or three points, in the absence of a significant development such as illness or better preparation. When I trained people to take the LSAT, I saw that over and over again.

      Delete
    7. I have an interesting story regarding test scores, but with the GRE.

      I took the exam 12 years ago, but never used it b/c I went to law school instead. I recently re-took the GRE to apply for a Masters in Education. My scores were completely different.

      My verbal jumped up dramatically from the 45 %-ile to the 91 %-ile, so clearly practicing law helped it. By contrast, my math score dropped about 15 %-ile points. I'm not surprised with the math, since I didn't remember what a circumference was, much less how to calculate it.

      Based on my experience, I don't think these standardized tests measure any natural intelligence, in the way an IQ test supposedly does. They do, however, measure some type of "skill," which may or may not be relevant to what you're studying.

      I should also note that the GRE changed during this period.

      Delete
  45. "Called On" is currently ranked #235,802 in Books!

    #16001 in "literary books"!

    And, there are three used(!) copies of "Called On" for sale on Amazon - I assume those are from law professors dumping their free review copies to internet wholesalers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And #235,801 is a translation into Coptic of a treatise from the Flat Earth Society.

      Delete
  46. ""OK. So. JoJo. Is your claim that every member of a JD class should get a job, no matter how poorly she did in school, no matter how unprofessional her conduct is, no matter how ill-suited she is for the profession""

    An amazing percentage of Drexel Law graduates apparently did poorly in school, behaved unprofessionally, and/or are unsuited for the profession.

    Shouldn't Lisa be talking to the admissions department and asking why Drexel accepts so many terrible candidates?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would require her to show some concern or compassion for others, which doesn't seem to be in her skillset. Who needs it when you can turn out ham-fisted propaganda "literature"?

      Delete
    2. I'm sure that there are many other people as self-absorbed as McElroy, but few who are willing to publicize their self-absorption as much.

      A classic of her genre was in the Huffington Post in 2012: "Finding Bliss In A Solo Trip To Hawaii".

      She took a luxury trip without her family (see a pattern here?) before attending a "conference" in Hawaii.

      Some samples:

      "I deserved a break, one designed just for me, one where I answered to no one. My husband agreed. I headed to Hawaii several days before the conference and took a deep breath of clean air."

      "It's hard to describe how special it was to stay in beautiful rooms (at Turtle Bay, a large cottage with a vaulted ceilings, hardwood floors and a deep soaking tub that made every muscle relax; at Aston Waikiki Beach Tower, a 38th floor penthouse suite with every available luxury, including a giant lanai looking out over Waikiki Beach). And it's even harder to explain the peace of mind I got from that having that space all to myself."

      "Sure, I still snoozed more than normal, but I also made my way out to the airport for a not-to-be-missed helicopter tour of the island with Blue Hawaiian. I headed offshore to the Waikiki Ocean Club, where I gave helmet diving a try, sampled beef curry then snoozed on the giant sun deck. I shopped 'til I dropped then ate crab legs and Asian noodles and the best scallops ever at the Hyatt Regency's new hot spot, Japengo. I kicked back with a facial at the Hyatt's Na Ho Ola Spa."

      How do you parody this?

      Delete
    3. Wow, I've never been much for leftist revolution (or politics, for that matter), but I feel flat-out Bolshevik after reading that. Ready the Mosin-Nagants!

      Delete
    4. That penthouse suite of hers is so exclusive that the price for it isn't even listed at the hotel's Web site. The nearest thing to it is a suite that costs $599 per night, plus a $25 "amenity fee". That suite measures 1241 ft².

      Delete
  47. By way of analogy, I'd like to point out that "professors" in many different fields are capable of massive self-delusion and of self-aggrandizing, despicable, and shockingly immoral behavior. And in the case of Anna Stubblefield, blatantly illegal behavior as well. Once a militant "professor" of philosophy at Rutgers who demanded an end to "white supremacy," she now faces a mandatory sentence of 20 to 40 years. We can only hope that dozens of other "professors" will eventually join her in the New Jersey joint.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you thought you already knew everything about the moral depravity of professors, especially those who claim to teach philosophy, the Stubblefield case will shock you. It could literally turn your stomach, as it did those of the victim's family.

      Given the depth of Anna Stubblefield's sexual perversion, it's absolutely imperative that the authorities perform a relentless and probing "Socratic exam" upon her "admission" to the prison system. If anything, her double felony convictions are even worse than Lisa McElroy's intrusive mass-mailing of pornography to gullible and unsophisticated law students.

      Delete
  48. "And it's even harder to explain the peace of mind I got from that having that space all to myself."

    What? No one enjoys her company enough to make the trip with her? Not even her family? Her luxrury treks seem to share a common theme of loneliness.

    ReplyDelete