rooster wrote:So I was attempting to refill my coffee cup in Pound today and was troubled to find that, of the four coffee dispensers there, every one was empty. Thus, the one reason why anyone should go to HLS evaporated. For the benefit of 0Ls, allow me to list ten reasons why you SHOULD NOT go to HLS:
1. Culture of barely concealed viciousness: That this culture is a product of the institution, and not the people who come here, can be seen from the gradual transformation that one witnesses throughout 1L year. People who came in as normal, friendly people are ground down by a culture that basically encourages people to be assholes. By 2L year, a large portion of the students, distressed at the type of behavior the school rewards, basically disconnect from the school and bide their time till graduation. The result is that the culture of the school becomes even more vicious, as the people who remain connected are primarily the ones who buy into that culture.
2. Delegated authority: Because the school is so large, and the faculty and administration so aloof, the administration delegates authority to the most obnoxious and toolish 2Ls and 3Ls to perform various tasks. Thus, LRW will be co-taught by a non-tenure track faculty members and some "BSAs," 2Ls and 3Ls whose only distinction is that they are good at Bluebooking, but not quite good enough to get on law review. These people then lord their minimal power over a crew of nervous 1Ls like a bunch of middle manager drones with blackberry belt clips. In this way, HLS makes its intent to instill in its students a culture of corporate backstabbing clear.
3. Crappy teaching: It is shocking how crappy the professors here are at teaching. They often do not seem to understand what they are teaching. Aside from this general incompetence, professors consistently choose one or two favorites, on whom they call constantly while ignoring the rest of the class. This general lousiness might be justified if they were extraordinarily brilliant academics. Though HLS has some of these, however, it also has a number of faculty members whose only significant accomplishment seems to be that they got good grades--at HLS.
4. Dysfunctional "grading" policy: The grading policy has changed about a half a dozen times in the last few months. Worse, the administration is ridiculously dishonest in the way it pursues these changes. Dean Kagan, when initially describing the proposed H/P policy, said that there would no longer be graduation honors; she lied. Recently the school made a series of changes to the policy right during the midst of EIP, without informing students of the changes at all--the only way anyone knew was by reading the online student handbook.
5. Crappy IT: Printers don't print. Computers don't compute. Everyone at HLS has like five different things that are simultaneously called "usernames" and require corresponding passwords. Whenever you have to login to some HLS website that asks simply for a "username," you have to try out several of your usernames to see which one it is asking for. When you are trying to select courses, you often have to wait in an online "queue" that can last up to an hour, and if you do not select your courses within a few minutes of reaching the front of the queue, you are thrown to the back of the queue again. You cannot order your transcript online, even if you just want to pick it up on campus. Instead, you have to order from some stupid third party in Virginia to whom HLS has outsourced the administration of its transcripts. In order to request a transcript from this Virginia outfit, you actually have to print a letter authorizing them to release your transcript, sign the letter, and then either fax it or scan it and send it to this third party, who then tells HLS to give you your transcript. It is hard to see why someone who lives a ten minute walk from HLS should have to go through a Virginia corporation to get her damn transcript.
6. Crappy OPIA/OCS: They don't know what they are doing, but talk as though they did. If you listen to them, you will end up not trying for things that you actually have a strong chance of getting.
7. Lack of choice in curriculum: In your first year, you only get to choose two courses. One of these "choices," moreover, one must be one of seven international law courses, so if you, like many law students, want to take a course that is not a huge, eighty person socratic class, this international law course will not be it. Your other choice is purportedly free, but, because your schedule is largely filled up with required courses, you really only have a choice of about ten. And if you want a small course, you probably won't get one, since these fill up very quickly.
8. Culture of hierarchy: Ever notice how, as soon as anyone from HLS becomes prominent, professors immediately crawl out of the woodwork to proclaim them the "Best student they ever taught at HLS"? Like a person suffering from Tourette's, HLS seemingly cannot help but fall back into its old habit of measuring everyone against everyone else. Every time someone from HLS becomes prominent, I bet every member of the faculty at HLS pours through his class list from past years to see whether the person was ever in his class. Then, if the professor finds that the person was in his class, though he does not remember him at all (because he is a typical HLS prof), he immediately proclaims that student "the best he ever taught"!
9. Horrible administration: The HLS administration is unbelievably bad at everything it does. Case in point: The "shopping period" only lasts a week, which is hardly enough time to get a sense of whether you actually want to stay in a class. What is worse, they don't even tell you when the shopping period ends. Instead, the law school's official calendar indicated that it ended on one day. However, several days before this day, in the late afternoon, the administration sent out an email indicating that they had moved up the deadline, and that all drops or adds should be completed by midnight that evening. In my time at HLS, I have encountered numerous situations where HLS moves around deadlines for various things, often without telling anyone, or where HLS has two different deadlines for something on different parts of its website. If you miss one of these two deadlines because you relied on the other, then they'll get all "rule of law" about it: "If we make an exception for you, we would have to make an exception for everyone!"
10. Ugly buildings: HLS surely owns a disproportionate share of the ugliest academic buildings in the country. Pound Hall, where most of your classes will be, looks like a drab suburban office park. Gropius was made a historical landmark to preserve its resplendent ugliness for future generations.
I'm sorry to hear of your experience so far (from 2010), OP. I'm actually interested in point #1 and wondering if you could elaborate more on it? Where does this "culture" or "pressure" emanate from? What exactly is it like? And how prevalent would you say it is?
Are there ever scenes amongst your clasmates from out of the movie, Good Will Hunting
, involving the ponytail guy?
Are there not pockets and coteries of intellectually bright, yet caring, fun, friendly and supportive people there? Have things gotten better for you at all?