Thursday, May 03, 2018

In Law School, sociopaths are a feature and not a bug.

The JD alumni gathering in SMU was quite a blast. I had the privilege of meeting some juniors, some who actually read this blog.

So kudos to the current administration for a job well done !

When members of different cohorts meet together to have conversations, one element that consistently bonded all of us who graduated from the JD programwas the sheer amount of shit we had to put up with our fellow classmates in group projects. During this gathering, we had an animated (and extremely therapeutic) conversation about our horrible experiences with classmates who are so notorious, a layer of Hell should be reserved for these monsters.

Without naming names, let me show you a few examples of some of the sociopath antics I heard about from different batches of JD students (AS far as I am concerns, this is officially all hearsay and rumour and sorry, I will not confirm the identities of these folks over email)  :
  • A JD alumni once withheld paying her school fees and would pay so long as she was able to obtain satisfactory grades. 
  • According to rumor, another alumni threatened to sue the school administration if he did not get his school fees back. 
  • Someone gained notoriety for arguing with lecturers when they were questions during their school presentation. Eventually no one wanted to work with her because it meant getting really bad group grades. 
  • Someone once wrote to the administration to demand that her entire class retake an exam because she was dissatisfied with her grades. 
  • Someone hid books in the law reference library so that others would not have access to it. ( I even heard that a junior LLB has started doing this more recently )
  • You heard the Russian hacker story on this blog. Nothing further to add here except that it was my exam script that was deleted.
What was unanimous as I mingled with seniors and junior batches was how consistent sociopaths have appeared in all batches.

It was only when I did my practice training when I figured out why we kept encountering these monsters in school. You see, in my current workplace, my supervisor actually has a copy of this book by Martha Stout in our library of legal resources. She encouraged all her employees to read it because sometimes your client might be facing a sociopath in the courts. Worse, you might be representing one to make a living and might be pressured to do something that you would regret later. So the experienced litigator studies sociopaths the same way project managers study the PMP.

So later this gathering, I was asked by the Dean how I feel about the JD program since I have started my practice training. I said that I would like to take back of some the feedback I gave on the program on this blog in the past. Upon further reflection, I realize that being exposed to slackers and sociopaths in Law School is not so much a flaw in the admissions program, but a feature that all law schools need to eventually follow.

That is the fundamental essence of Dispute Resolution. Without that Dispute, there will not be a need for resolution.

Who creates the Dispute in the first place ? Sociopaths, of course.


Verseun said...

Is there a particular trait of sociopaths that will attract them to law school? I might think it would be the "prestige" conferred and legal knowledge which they can naturally learn to manipulate others with which will pander to their egocentricity.

This seems like an example

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

Some comments are better left unsaid given that quite a few alumni will read this.