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programs with a focus on anti-oppressive politics

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I'd read a bunch of threads, but more just about peoples test scores and other generic questions. I didn't realize it was considered customary and acceptable to just sidetrack the thread and then continue...for pages... 

 

It's too bad that this direction is so commonplace 

You just had the priceless educational experience of getting dunked on by real Social Justice lawyers, but it doesn't seem to have registered at all...

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Look: law schools only let in (relatively) elite applicants. You have to be able to excel (relatively) in undergraduate study and on the LSAT. As providence has noted, you need a whole lot of privilege---or, at the very minimum, a medium amount of privilege and a whole lot of gumption---to even get that far.

Or just a high IQ...

Edited by Eeee

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I'd read a bunch of threads, but more just about peoples test scores and other generic questions. I didn't realize it was considered customary and acceptable to just sidetrack the thread and then continue...for pages... 

 

It's too bad that this direction is so commonplace 

 

What can I say? It's important to have hobbies. Some people like sports or music. Here, many of us enjoy sidetracking, sarcasm, and pile-ons, interspersed with occasional nuggets of invaluable advice (which often happen in the process of all the sidetracking, sarcasm, and piling-on) . 

Edited by realpseudonym
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Okay, for clarity (for the sake of both BQ and providence)---my hypothetical person with mental illness has not pulled herself up by the bootstraps and accessed healthcare and is now functioning well on meds. She is presently homeless and hearing voices that are telling her to harm herself.

 

Look: law schools only let in (relatively) elite applicants. You have to be able to excel (relatively) in undergraduate study and on the LSAT. As providence has noted, you need a whole lot of privilege---or, at the very minimum, a medium amount of privilege and a whole lot of gumption---to even get that far.

So your argument is that law schools should let in more homeless black women with schizophrenia who are off meds and hearing voices to harm herself.

 

Well that compels me to your side for sure :P

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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I'd read a bunch of threads, but more just about peoples test scores and other generic questions. I didn't realize it was considered customary and acceptable to just sidetrack the thread and then continue...for pages... 

 

It's too bad that this direction is so commonplace 

 

I mean, the problem is, for most people, this isn't a sidetrack. In the course of asking a question, you expressed that you have a certain way of looking at the world; it then became the subject of debate. For most people, it's no different than if you said, "I like the Blue Jays, when do tickets go on sale?", and they came back and said, "The Jays are going to suck this year! Replacing EE with Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce? Come on!"

 

For me, anyhow, anti-oppression is (generally) just beyond debate. Occasionally I'll wade into a thread like this to try to clarify semantics and what the left means by certain terms, and then it'll turn into a fight, but generally, I'm not even open to arguing about, "Is white privilege a thing or do minorities just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps?" or, "Are trans people people?" These things aren't up for debate, to me, and anyone to whom they seem like they might be up for debate is a ways to my right. So you might be like me---your political values may be so core to your being that they're not up for debate, and the idea of people trying to debate them might offend you.

 

But in an attempt to be empathetic, I try to imagine how I'd feel if someone who was as far right as we are left came in here and asked something that's as offensive to me as "social justice" is to right-wingers. I'd probably yell at them. So I see where the others are coming from. The difference, of course, is that we're right and they're wrong. :P

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I mean, the problem is, for most people, this isn't a sidetrack. In the course of asking a question, you expressed that you have a certain way of looking at the world; it then became the subject of debate. For most people, it's no different than if you said, "I like the Blue Jays, when do tickets go on sale?", and they came back and said, "The Jays are going to suck this year! Replacing EE with Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce? Come on!"

 

For me, anyhow, anti-oppression is (generally) just beyond debate. Occasionally I'll wade into a thread like this to try to clarify semantics and what the left means by certain terms, and then it'll turn into a fight, but generally, I'm not even open to arguing about, "Is white privilege a thing or do minorities just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps?" or, "Are trans people people?" These things aren't up for debate, to me, and anyone to whom they seem like they might be up for debate is a ways to my right. So you might be like me---your political values may be so core to your being that they're not up for debate, and the idea of people trying to debate them might offend you.

 

But in an attempt to be empathetic, I try to imagine how I'd feel if someone who was as far right as we are left came in here and asked something that's as offensive to me as "social justice" is to right-wingers. I'd probably yell at them. So I see where the others are coming from. The difference, of course, is that we're right and they're wrong. :P

Your core should be finding truths about these issues, which requires you to be open to changing your opinion if you're presented with compelling facts. This is precisely the problem with identity politics. 

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I've never heard of someone that doesn't have a history of being awful with money having to provide collateral or get someone to co-sign

- Assume much?

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Okay, for clarity (for the sake of both BQ and providence)---my hypothetical person with mental illness has not pulled herself up by the bootstraps and accessed healthcare and is now functioning well on meds. She is presently homeless and hearing voices that are telling her to harm herself.

 

Look: law schools only let in (relatively) elite applicants. You have to be able to excel (relatively) in undergraduate study and on the LSAT. As providence has noted, you need a whole lot of privilege---or, at the very minimum, a medium amount of privilege and a whole lot of gumption---to even get that far.

Might be insensitive but I found it sort of funny how much your example had to change to suit your argument. Not in a bad way but just a funny way, imagining how this situation would look. Like the homeless, self-harming, schizophrenic woman somehow studied for the lsat, wrote the lsat, did up a competitive application package and was accepted and then walked into a bank to get a PSLOC.

 

While I still believe law school is accessible, I don't think they should be just letting everyone in. They are understandably selective in who they chose to attend. And that is as much a benefit to an unsuitable candidate as it is the school. Law school isn't an easy thing to do and it shouldn't be. They should only be selecting applicants who "have their bootstraps pulled up" because if they let people in who aren't able to complete their education, how does that do the applicant any good? There is an equality of opportunity though. This woman isn't barred for life simply because she is going through a rough patch. She just needs to pull it together so she can actually give a meaningful attempt at being successful in her education.

 

Just because law schools (and banks for that matter) can be selective, doesn't mean they aren't accessible. Might you have to make changes and work towards placing yourself in a more competitive position? Sure. But it's not something that can't be done. And once you do pull through, I think the satisfaction you get from overcoming adversity alone to achieve your goals is something that many 'disadvantaged' people have a claim to that the elite don't.

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I'd read a bunch of threads, but more just about peoples test scores and other generic questions. I didn't realize it was considered customary and acceptable to just sidetrack the thread and then continue...for pages... 

 

It's too bad that this direction is so commonplace 

 

It's actually pretty common experience as a lawyer to have someone walk in with a question, and for the response to be "You know what - you're asking the wrong question here..."

 

You asked which school was most "informed" by "anti-oppressive politics".  I suggested that wasn't the question you should be asking.  You're free to ignore my advice (which apparently you have), but it was honestly and sincerely given.  What you aren't free to do is control the direction of discussion however once you open the thread.

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I mean, the problem is, for most people, this isn't a sidetrack. In the course of asking a question, you expressed that you have a certain way of looking at the world; it then became the subject of debate. For most people, it's no different than if you said, "I like the Blue Jays, when do tickets go on sale?", and they came back and said, "The Jays are going to suck this year! Replacing EE with Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce? Come on!"

 

For me, anyhow, anti-oppression is (generally) just beyond debate. Occasionally I'll wade into a thread like this to try to clarify semantics and what the left means by certain terms, and then it'll turn into a fight, but generally, I'm not even open to arguing about, "Is white privilege a thing or do minorities just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps?" or, "Are trans people people?" These things aren't up for debate, to me, and anyone to whom they seem like they might be up for debate is a ways to my right. So you might be like me---your political values may be so core to your being that they're not up for debate, and the idea of people trying to debate them might offend you.

 

But in an attempt to be empathetic, I try to imagine how I'd feel if someone who was as far right as we are left came in here and asked something that's as offensive to me as "social justice" is to right-wingers. I'd probably yell at them. So I see where the others are coming from. The difference, of course, is that we're right and they're wrong. :P

 

Yeah, there's the trouble. I don't really see anything we're talking about as "debatable". Systemic racism is real. In Canada, "higher education" (among many other systems) is not financially accessible for many people. Oppression is a real and important issue, and there are ways to help alleviate it through working in law. 

 

I am honestly not trying to be disagreeable, I just don't see where the argument is unless someone is truly ill-informed. It seems like people are just digging for an argument where there isn't one and meanwhile asserting the importance of "seeing other perspectives"—I see you, I hear you, these are the same narratives steeped throughout any neoliberal society. 

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Yeah, there's the trouble. I don't really see anything we're talking about as "debatable". Systemic racism is real. In Canada, "higher education" (among many other systems) is not financially accessible for many people. Oppression is a real and important issue, and there are ways to help alleviate it through working in law.

 

I am honestly not trying to be disagreeable, I just don't see where the argument is unless someone is truly ill-informed. It seems like people are just digging for an argument where there isn't one and meanwhile asserting the importance of "seeing other perspectives"—I see you, I hear you, these are the same narratives steeped throughout any neoliberal society.

Good luck changing anything in society by rejecting any debate (or in my case, request for explanation) around it.

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Might be insensitive but I found it sort of funny how much your example had to change to suit your argument. Not in a bad way but just a funny way, imagining how this situation would look. Like the homeless, self-harming, schizophrenic woman somehow studied for the lsat, wrote the lsat, did up a competitive application package and was accepted and then walked into a bank to get a PSLOC.

 

While I still believe law school is accessible, I don't think they should be just letting everyone in. They are understandably selective in who they chose to attend. And that is as much a benefit to an unsuitable candidate as it is the school. Law school isn't an easy thing to do and it shouldn't be. They should only be selecting applicants who "have their bootstraps pulled up" because if they let people in who aren't able to complete their education, how does that do the applicant any good? There is an equality of opportunity though. This woman isn't barred for life simply because she is going through a rough patch. She just needs to pull it together so she can actually give a meaningful attempt at being successful in her education.

 

Just because law schools (and banks for that matter) can be selective, doesn't mean they aren't accessible. Might you have to make changes and work towards placing yourself in a more competitive position? Sure. But it's not something that can't be done. And once you do pull through, I think the satisfaction you get from overcoming adversity alone to achieve your goals is something that many 'disadvantaged' people have a claim to that the elite don't.

 

Yeah, this is kind of my problem with the identity politics / intersectionality that seems to be all the rage on university campuses these days.

 

I have no problem accepting that I have been in many ways enormously privileged.  My family was by no means rich, but I had a stable home, food on the table, supportive parents, a lack of any mental or physical disabilities.

 

But once you recognize those privileges... then what?  That's where the debate gets hard.  That's where I start to disagree with the policy proposals put forward by the left. 

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Look: law schools only let in (relatively) elite applicants. You have to be able to excel (relatively) in undergraduate study and on the LSAT. As providence has noted, you need a whole lot of privilege---or, at the very minimum, a medium amount of privilege and a whole lot of gumption---to even get that far.

 

I agree. Even applying has cost me a lot of money and would have been inaccessible to me a few years ago when I was living off my TA-stipend. For my own sanity, I refuse to calculate how much money I spent on registering for the LSAT, studying for the LSAT, applying to schools, putting up a $500 deposit within a relatively small time-frame, and even taking time off work to be able to do these things. I also had to delay my completion of my thesis so I could properly study for the LSAT (while working full-time) which meant a lot more in tuition than I would have spent otherwise. The fact I had the ability to pursue attending law school despite my complaints show that I'm in a privileged position.

 

I'm an example of someone who would have not been able to afford to even consider applying to law school just a few years ago. In contrast, applying to graduate school, which is also takes a degree of privilege, cost me maybe $150 tops.

 

Yeah, once you're accepted there are resources to help you fund your education, but as far as I'm aware there's no financial aid for the preparation to even be considered to go. And if there are, I'd be happy to be corrected so that I could spread that information to others.

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- Assume much?

What is BQ assuming? Banks are a business. These things are set in stone. They see law students as an investment for the most part. They even take into account the fact that most law school students are going to need financing despite having undergrad debt. They cater to this.

 

Nobody is born with poor credit. That is something that happens with choices. And something that can be fixed with other choices. Some situations are tougher than others but the banks aren't turning away investment opportunities because they don't like the identity (whatever that may be) of the individuals applying. They are making calculations and use your past behaviour as a predictor of your future behaviour. I take it you think the system is unfair somehow but I don't see eye to eye with you on that.

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I'd read a bunch of threads, but more just about peoples test scores and other generic questions. I didn't realize it was considered customary and acceptable to just sidetrack the thread and then continue...for pages... 

 

It's too bad that this direction is so commonplace 

 

If you have a problem with the way this community operates, and the natural tendencies you'll find here, just imagine what it's going to be like to operate in a community of your peers generally?

 

Look, this has probably been said twelve times already in different forms, but I'll add it in my own words just in case. Sometimes, giving people meaningful advice involves telling them what they need to hear, and not only direct answers to their questions. For example "which way to Timbucktwo" has a direct answer of "north" but sometimes the better answer includes "hey, the bridge is washed out" or "the town burned down yesterday, just FYI." In this case, due to the way you presented the question and also your later responses, I share the general view that you need and deserve a big-ass warning. What you do with it is up to you. But don't blame the people who are genuinely trying to help you.

 

Functioning in law means accepting a system that you seem to vehemently disagree with. There's actually nothing wrong with vehemently disagreeing with the current system (and you can use however many ten-dollar words you want, to describe how you feel it's messed up) that would prevent you from being a very successful lawyer and from functioning in that system as an advocate. Believe me, subject to someone being reasonable about the compromises and the sacrifices they may need to make in their careers, I love "save the world" types. In many ways (though you might dismiss my white, patriarchal, male, cis, etc. perspective) I fit that mold myself. But here's where you need one big warning, and where you may find you struggle mightily.

 

You need to be able to function while surrounded by people who disagree with you. You need to be able to embrace and understand, if not accept, a legal system that's based on values and assumptions you disagree with. You need to be able to listen to, learn from, and absorb the knowledge of people who built a system you obviously hate. You need to be able to do all of those things - in law school, after law school, and in legal practice. If you can't, you're screwed.

 

There are pocket programs, here and there, which may interest you. You want to do some social justice work? That's great. People can point you in the right direction, and you seem to have found some good suggestions. But that's a very, very, very different beast than asking for an entire legal education that's couched in a framework that makes you comfortable and agrees with your values. Asking about the first is fine. Many have before. Asking about the second ... that's what set off alarm bells, with me and with others.

 

No matter where you go to school, legal education will be what it is, your peer group will be similar, and the nature of the system that you aspire to join will be unchanged. You may find a class or a clinic on the side is the soul food that keeps you going. And if so, that's great. But you deserve a warning about what you're heading into. There's no alternative system. There's no hidden resistance movement. There are lawyers who work in the system, accept the system, and believe in upholding the system more or less the way it is. And there are lawyers who work in the system, accept the system, and believe the system should change. There are no lawyers who don't work in the system and don't accept the system. We call those people activists, campaigners, and lobbyists - maybe even activists, campaigners, and lobbyists with legal training. But we don't call them lawyers. Lawyers call the judge "Your Honour" because that's what you call the judge. They don't introduce a discussion about patriarchy into the courtroom and refuse to use the formal address. And that's just the barest tip of the iceberg.

 

You've been warned, and with good intentions. What you do with that warning is up to you.

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Yeah, there's the trouble. I don't really see anything we're talking about as "debatable". Systemic racism is real. In Canada, "higher education" (among many other systems) is not financially accessible for many people. Oppression is a real and important issue, and there are ways to help alleviate it through working in law.

 

I am honestly not trying to be disagreeable, I just don't see where the argument is unless someone is truly ill-informed. It seems like people are just digging for an argument where there isn't one and meanwhile asserting the importance of "seeing other perspectives"—I see you, I hear you, these are the same narratives steeped throughout any neoliberal society. 

 

Interesting, can you give some examples of current laws which are systemically racist?

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It's actually pretty common experience as a lawyer to have someone walk in with a question, and for the response to be "You know what - you're asking the wrong question here..."

 

You asked which school was most "informed" by "anti-oppressive politics".  I suggested that wasn't the question you should be asking.  You're free to ignore my advice (which apparently you have), but it was honestly and sincerely given.  What you aren't free to do is control the direction of discussion however once you open the thread.

You responded that "Perhaps you should look for a program that will challenge you and give you the best possible education, rather than looking for a program just because it conforms to your existing beliefs?" 

 

I appreciate your recommendation, but I think what you're suggesting exists everywhere, its not hard to come by people that are conservative, neo-liberal, who don't believe that Indigenous rights, the environment, and so on, matter. No matter where I go, I will be challenged by these people. And at the end of the day, no doubt I will pick the school that best serves my needs—which of course includes being challenged in a multitude of ways, and surrounded by diverse perspectives. What I am searching for though, is a school that will offer clinics, classes, internship opportunities etc that include these interests of mine, where I can gather with other like-minded folks to organize, work together, and make change. 

 

If anything positive has come out of this thread (for me), its that this does exist! At quite a few different schools, and yes, at some more than others. That was the question I had to begin with, and though I appreciate you trying to offer advice, your suggestion was not really meaningful to me. Perhaps it will be to others that read this thread though! 

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So your argument is that law schools should let in more homeless black women with schizophrenia who are off meds and hearing voices to harm herself.

 

Well that compels me to your side for sure :P

No---my argument is that law school is less accessible to persons with disabilities than to the able-bodied.

 

Look. I'm edging close to a personal attack here, and I genuinely don't mean it that way. So far, on this thread, you've demonstrated a rich person's understanding of finances (if you think everyone can get six figures' worth of credit---if you think anyone but the relatively wealthy can get six figures' worth of credit---you obviously don't run in the same circles I do), and a distressingly subpar level of reading comprehension. (I'm tempted to cut you some slack because, if you're Quebecois, English may be your second language, but still.) If the educational system were truly anything resembling a meritocracy, somebody who misunderstood as many simple points as you misunderstand wouldn't have gotten past the sixth grade or so. (I actually spent a few minutes giving this an honest appraisal---at what level would I, were I teaching English, start handing out Fs to someone who switched midsentence from the plural "women" to the singular "her"? Sixth grade is the point.) But you have money---oh, you might not be an O'Leary or a Trump, but you have enough money that you can't imagine anyone not being able to access credit, so you have money. Enough money to get you through an undergraduate degree, even if on loans. I'd bet a year of law school tuition that you've never been homeless. Your mental health is well enough that you think someone having a mental illness (a serious mental illness, not some Bell Let's Talk "we all get sad for one day a year but then we watch cat videos and cheer up" bullshit) is something to stick your tongue out at. But you've got to know on some level that when someone says "A (including colourful tangents C, D, E, F, G), because B (including colourful tangents H, I, J, K, L)" and you repeatedly come back with, "So you think K because D?!?", your success is not about anything resembling merit. It's about luck and circumstance and what body you were born into and what society sees when it sees that body.

 

We have some members here who are incredibly brilliant, and I have never seen one of them weigh in on one of these threads saying, "Society is perfect how it is. Everything is already a perfect meritocracy. Things aren't inaccessible - minorities just need to work harder." That argument always comes from people who know, on some level, that they're winning at this rigged game, but that if they had to compete on a level playing field with the poor, the marginalized, and the disabled, they'd be working at an Esso.

 

This has been my honest, and sincerely non-malicious, read on what's going on here, but this argument can go nowhere from here but, "You're just a whiner!" / "Yeah, well, you're dumb!" / "My CGPA is 3.7!" / "Being privileged enough to know what those letters mean and dumb enough to get the occasional B is the worst kind of mediocrity." / "So you're saying knowing what a CGPA is is mediocre?" / *Baron shoots self in head*, so I'm going to bow out of this thread right here. Good luck, grapefruit. If nothing else, this thread has shown you how much good luck you're going to need.

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Interesting, can you give some examples of current laws which are systemically racist?

See bail court.

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