Letters: Don't lower our standards
In terms of letting us know what is happening in the arena of legal education, “Testing a Test: One law school experiments with accepting the GRE for admissions” (July), is informative. In terms of where the process is headed, the article is a little scary.
The information intimates that admissions testing may become less a matter of maintaining intellectual capability and more a matter of enabling (possibly) unqualified persons to fill the empty classroom chairs at law schools. That would be a mistake. The ability to absorb the law, apply it rationally and communicate clearly are essential legal skills not found, or readily developed, in all persons.
Our society has the benefit of persons with those skills and will need that benefit hereafter. Law school admission tests and policies must be designed to accommodate that need; they must stay focused on that need and nothing else. Other institutions will meet other societal needs.
Fred A. Kueppers
St. Paul, Minnesota
This gambit is nothing more than an attempt to gain access to more applicants to offset the decline of the traditional applicant pool.
To the law profs and apologists in support of this idea: Spare us all the hypocrisy of “access to justice,” “broadening opportunities,” etc., and call it what it is, which is “keep the gravy train running.”
Kudos for YOUNG PROSECUTOR
The July 10 Questions, “A Quick Study,” is an outstanding story about an outstanding person and lawyer. Congratulations, Ms. Robyn Crawford! I have often told students to avoid a career in the law—to find something else to do. But you seem to be doing what you are for all of the right reasons.
And being an ex-prosecutor myself, I heartily agree with your statement that “it’s not ... about winning or losing, just making sure justice is done.” As you so insightfully remarked, it never feels good to lose. However, you’re absolutely correct when you say that all you can do is the best with the evidence (facts) you have. This is intelligence—insight, even—that many seasoned prosecutors, and other attorneys, often lack.
GOOD ENOUGH FOR GARNER
“The Sadistic Editor” (July) is a good, yet not great, essay—not great because Bryan Garner’s invocation of the renowned musical tyrant William Revelli seems slightly inapt (despite being highly interesting). Revelli, as a personality, seems to have little in common, at least in this essay, with the tyrannical senior lawyer Mr. Crombie. For Crombie, unlike Revelli, isn’t tactically bluffing in order to take credit for the sudden improvement of his subordinate lawyer, Edmund; Crombie is just a verbally abusive, know-nothing ass. At best, it seems as if but a tenuous link can be made between the two personalities: They are both aggressive and verbally abusive—Revelli intentionally, because of a cruel ploy, and Crombie because of ignorant hubris.
That said, I cannot wait to have all Garner’s riveting essays collected in one huge volume.
DISAGREEMENT WITH GARNER
I read Bryan Garner’s articles each month in the ABA Journal and have learned much from them. However, I disagree with the June article, “Dear Sir/Madam.”
I think it is ridiculous to call a complete stranger “dear” and even more ridiculous when the letter is not addressed to an individual but, as in your article, to an officeholder or group (“Dear Clerk of Court!” “Dear Nominating Committee!”). However, I do use a salutation, including “dear,” when I write to an individual who is truly dear to me, such as my wife, my child, my parents, etc.
As to complimentary closes, I ordinarily but not always include one when I write to an individual who is dear to me. Examples are: “I love you,” “love and kisses,” “give my love to ... .” But I do not do so in other cases, especially when writing to a stranger. I don’t think that I have to say that I am sincere in what I wrote (“sincerely yours”) or that what I have written is true (“yours very truly”). The recipient of the letter can make that judgment.