This one is going to be hard to believe, folks, but it appears to be true. According to the New York Times (Anemona Hortocollis, Law School Allows Delay Of Exams After Two Cases, Dec. 9, 2014, at p. A25) Columbia University Law School “is allowing students to postpone their final exams this month if they feel unnerved by the recent grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men.”
It evidently did not occur to Columbia Law School management that students who are so “unnerved” by an egregiously unjust legal decision, involving total strangers, that they will become incapable of performing elementary tasks of their chosen profession, should not be permitted to become lawyers. Nobody seems to have noticed that this caper is like a medical school making special accommodations for med students who are “unnerved” by the sight of blood and guts.
If a bad court ruling renders you unable to identify legal issues in the case before you, and perform an analysis thereof on behalf of your clients (to whom you have an obligation of faithful representation), then what are you doing in law school? What will you do when an egregiously wrong decision is made by a judge in your case,* affecting your client? Will you then go home and cry? And wouldn’t this form of abandoning a client’s interest be tantamount to an open-and-shut case of legal malpractice?
Postscript. We recommend the coverage of this news item on he Volokh Conspiracy: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/12/08/columbia-law-students-demand-exam-extensions-because-of-trauma-related-to-the-recent-non-indictments-in-ferguson-and-staten-island/ It contains the text of the Columbia Dean’s message, and of blogmeister Prof. Eugene Volokh’s of UCLA comments in response to it. A good read — check it out.
Also, see the front page of the NY Post. In great, big letters it delivers this message to the “traumatized” Columbia Law students: “POOR BABIES.” Elsewhere the Post sums it up thus:
“Here’s some free legal advice: Don’t hire a lawyer with a degree from Columbia. Those great minds may have high LSAT scores and pass the bar with flying colors.
“But when it comes to an actual trial, they’ll probably crack under the pressure.”
* We don’t have to conjure up some really wacky hypothetical court decisions. We once appeared before a seemingly rational federal judge who opined, from the bench and on the record, that the 14th Amendment was invalid because Ohio first ratified it but then purported to rescind its ratification. So he offered that as one reason for his adverse ruling. If you think we are putting you on, we’re not.