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([personal profile] xtitsx 3 Jul 2017 02:11 pm)
Law School last Monday got off track straight out the gate.
somehow, one of my classmates got word of some gossip that our Dean was going to be leaving and, when he asked the Professor if it was true, the Old Coot spent the next hour and twenty minutes telling us that it was.
the short answer is that our Dean has taken a job down in College Station, still with Texas A&M, to try to reinvent what undergraduate education will look like in the future.
our Dean is apparently a big-shot in the world of University Deans and he is the best man on the job to try to reinvent the wheel.
and good for him, i guess and good for Texas A&M and maybe good for higher education in general if he can figure out a way to make college relevant again, but, it's shit news for the Law School.
in the three years since Texas A&M took over the Law School and brought in our inaugural Dean the school rose in rank from, like, 180th out of 200 schools nationwide to 120th to 111th when i applied and now, after my first year, 89th.
with our Dean at the helm and all the money Texas A&M has, the Law School was on track to give serious law schools a run for their money.
it was not unreasonable to say that in another few years, Texas A&M could be a Top Twenty law school, nipping at UT's heels.
but now that our fearless leader is moving on to more ambiguous pastures, that jeopardizes the state of the Law School as a rising star.
who knows, it's entirely possible we may get a new Dean who will continue the School's success, but the way i hear it told, so much of the Law School's rise was due to sheer force of will of our super-powered Dean.
also, personally, i liked the Dean. he was my second-favorite Professor, after the Old Coot.
in the meanwhile, we'll get an interim-Dean for the next year or so until they can find a new honcho to take the job.
the entire situation could have been explained in the matter of a few minutes, like i just did, or like the e-mail from the Administration that was sent a few days later, but, because the Old Coot is a hundred years old and because old people love to talk, the Professor spent over eighty minutes meandering about the history of the Law School back before Texas A&M bought it, back when it was Wesleyan, and then before that, when it was the Dallas-Fort Worth School of Law, and before that, when it was just the Old Coot and a couple of his old judge buddies teaching laws out of the back of a minivan.
the highlight of his musings was the time he spent bemoaning how people don't learn Latin and Greek anymore and how, in another few years, he expects teaching to all be done by holograms.
i don't have any idea what the hell he was getting at, but it's a delight to hear him go on.

by the time the Old Coot Professor came out of his babbling, it was nearly time for our mid-class break.
there was no food to be found anywhere around the building, neither in the Student nor Employee break-room, so i took a walk around the block and called the PSE for a few minutes.
when i came back, i talked for a bit with a fellow who looks exactly like Jared Loughner, the crazy-eyed dreamer who shot Gabby Giffords, about how he wants to get a tattoo of some dumb thing or another, but his wife won't let him.
they've been together for thirteen years and they have a three year old daughter.
and apprentice, this dude's wife gets to decide what he does with his body.
the guy thought that was cute but really, it just makes him a sorry sack of shit
“that sounds awful,” i told him then the Old Coot came back into the room and it was finally time to get down to the business of the day.

the subject of Monday's class was UIFSA Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which is a law to facilitate the enforcement of child support orders across state lines.
apparently UIFSA only came about in the last few decades of the 20th Century when the government got into the business of paying for people's children with FoodStamps and WIC and TANF and whatnot.
before that, if a deadbeat mom or dad didn't want to pay their court-ordered child support they could just leave state and there was nothing anybody could do about it.

as the Old Coot Professor read UIFSA out of the Texas Family Code at us and interjected various anecdotes and trivia along the way, i watched a girl who sits in front of me click through various quizzes on BuzzFeed Dot Com that would tell her if she is more like Britney Spears or Avril Lavigne based on how she selected ingredients to bake a cake.
that's a real thing. i can't imagine that there is any real science behind the process.
i am not entirely sure what BuzzFeed is. i thought it was a digital news service but it can't be, right?
whatever it is it can't be good for us as a civilization.
the Old Coot is the Most Interesting Person I Have Ever Met, and if my classmate can't muster the attention to enjoy his senile trips down memory lane without having to compulsively click things, i don't know what the fuck she is good for.
behind me sat another autist, a grown man in his third year of Law School no less then thirty-five years of age who passed his time in class playing with a fidget spinner.
according to the 4Chan, Fidget Spinners are the new hot trendy item in middle schools, like tamagachis or pogs or those bracelets you get for giving different kinds of Bjs.
and, sure, middle school kids love playing with dumb shit, but this is a grown ass man playing with a toy in the middle of a Law School class.
i really hope their inability to pay attention bears fruit for me on the final since we're all graded on a curve.

the Old Coot went long on Monday evening, carrying on about UIFSA all the way until 9:05pm.
it was the longest class we've ever had.

on Wednesday at Law School we started talking about child abuse.
child abuse is a full half of the stuff our Old Coot Professor wants us to know about in Children And The Law but we spent the first eleven classes talking about how to ascertain if somebody is some child's parent and how child support works, leaving just three more classes to talk about the statutory definitions of child abuse and what to do about it if it happens.
the answer is to call the special Child Abuse Hotline.
the Old Coot Professor kept coming back to that, Call The Hotline, Call The Hotline, and that's pretty much all we talked about on Wednesday evening.
he said that as practicing lawyers, our duty to report child abuse trumps attorney-client privilege.
we can't be compelled to testify against our clients, but if we know that a child is in danger, our job requires us to Call The Hotline.
it's not just about professional ethics, it's the law.
and not just for attorneys and professionals, either, in the State of Texas, everybody has the duty to report child abuse and if they don't, there can be a criminal penalty.

at the mid-class break i went up to the student break-room and found a spread of food left over from some function the Law School had put on earlier in the day.
there were quesadillas and chips and salsa from a Mexican place and a fruit plate and cookies from the Jason's Deli.
i fixed myself a plate of chips and salsa but my tummy was still so full from the lunch i had before i left the house that i didn't touch a single chip and ended up throwing them out.
i ate a bunch of apple slices drizzled with some kind of sauce that one of my classmates said was good, and took some cookies and brownies to bring back home for later.

during the second half of class Professor Judge Old Coot told us sad stories of child abuse.
he told us about a parental termination case where some crackhead mom who'd had two other kids taken away from her had a third little preemie crack baby removed from her custody.
this one upset the crackhead mom and as the bailiff was hauling her out of the courtroom she screamed “you can take 'um away from me but you can't keep me from having 'um”
there really ought to be a mechanism to keep people like that from having 'um.
another sad story was about some foster parents who had been fostering four kids all from the same parents who were having their parental rights terminated because they are apparently horrible.
the foster parents had custody of the kids for a year or so and were going to adopt them all after the biological parents had been officially terminated.
but it was a brutal trial with the lawyers for the biological parents just beating the foster parents up on the stand at trial and in the end the foster parents decided they didn't want to adopt the four kids after all.
by the time the Professor got sick of teaching around 8:30, i was legitimately depressed.

//[ab irato ad astra]
.

July 2017

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