Tag Archives: Cardozo Jurist

A final Jurist column: I’m gettin’ too old for this yoga shit

Just when I thought I was out, they drag me back in.

After a leisurely day of walking to Union Square for kale, and then down to Washington Square Park to enjoy my free sample of pita chips and hummus, the Jurist EIC gives me a ring and asks if I want to write one final column.

Apparently, the Cardozo Dean of Career Services announced he was leaving to become a yoga instructor of some such. And in a surprising moment of pro-active journalism, the Jurist decided to cover it even though the year was over. In addition to news coverage, they wanted some commentary, too. Leading, of course, to some very important questions. Such as: Didn’t that asshole graduate already?

Anyways, here is my column, reposted, and obviously not copy-edited. I think I use three different styles for writing Cardozo Dean of Career Services.

Max Fischer said that the key to happiness is finding something you love to do and then doing it for the rest of your life.

I would guess that Dean Fama has found happiness.

In an open letter to Cardozo, Fama explained that he will be leaving his position as Dean of Career Services to merge his yoga and career counseling experience by developing yoga and relaxation programs for lawyers and law students.

But for the rest of us, it often feels like happiness is slightly out of reach. Heck, a legal job with a salary that will let one make student loan payments will suffice.

But Fama’s project sounds very interesting, and I have many questions about it. For example: Is he hiring?

Indeed, there is a bit of an image problem when a law school’s Dean of career services leaves for a non-legal job. Although that seems to be the new standard: go to law school but then not get a job in the legal industry. Of course, this begs the question of why go to law school in the first place?

Well, the free yoga classes weren’t bad.

Admittedly, Fama’s relaxation techniques are a great way to deal with the still tightening legal market and overall stress of the legal industry. But I can think of a great way to relieve student stress without resorting to mystical breathing techniques of the Orient.

Jobs.

So as Cardozo begins the search for a new Dean of Career Services, I have a recommendation. We’ve had a yoga instructor, and that was great. But this time, let’s try out a weightlifter.

Rather than teach students how to relax when we don’t get jobs, the next dean of career services should help students build the muscle necessary to shovel through the layers of bullshit it takes to get a job these days. We need a terrifying, muscle-bound dean to run around 55 5th ave, yelling at girlymen students about how they need to pump up their resumes. Instead of teaching students how to be flexible, Cardozo needs someone to help mold students into perfect specimens of legal Adonises. The point of law school is to get a law job. Cardozo should find someone who lives, eats and breathes the legal industry, and then turns it into a powder form that he can mix into a smoothie and jam it down students’ throats.

Law students are supposed to be adults who can take care of their own problems. But if OCS has demonstrated anything, it is that many students won’t take the proper job search steps without someone there to hold their hands. The next dean needs to embrace this duty with full intensity, taking those hands and forcing them to write cover letters until they have jobs, not unlike handcuffing a fat kid to a treadmill.

So as we 3L’s cross the stage at graduation, often jobless and in debt, I cannot help but wonder whether we, too, will one day match Dean Fama’s happiness.

Well, I may not have a job, but I wrote for the Cardozo Jurist. What did you ever do?

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A self-reflection: farewell to student newspapers, again

We were going for a John Hughes style and I think we pulled it off. Finally, I'm not Ducky.

So I’ve finished my tenure with the Cardozo Jurist. I did not join my 1L year because I naively thought that I would instead concentrate on classes and get good grades and get on a law journal or externship or something instead of just write for what I viewed at the time as a rather mediocre student newspaper. As I said many times, working for a student newspaper in law school makes as much sense as working for a law journal in undergrad. But as my failures became more obvious, I decided to play towards my strengths and join the Jurist. Two years later, I regret not joining earlier.

I’m used to being outspoken in print, but the irrational fear of expressing opinion that infests law students makes my normal style seem even more outrageous. However, this was tempered by the fact that the Jurist only came out once a month, and lots of law students simply didn’t care about a student newspaper.

I would like to think that I had a positive influence on the paper, showing that there was a space for student voices, leading a much-needed redesign, encouraging a switch from QuarkXpress to InDesign, and pushing for the creation of and then leading the editorial board. Then again, we’ll see how long all this lasts.

These are some of the people who put up with me.

The Jurist was also where I made my law school friends. Despite my vocal volume, I’m not really that outgoing, and it usually takes some time for people to get used to me. The forced interactions of the closet that was the newspaper office helped me build some actual relationships. Maybe if I had joined my 1L year, I wouldn’t be so quick to leave NYC. (Then again, maybe I would have gotten some advice about classes and journals, and actually have a job opportunity.)

I'm making love to the camera. So is Rachel's foot.

Like the Thresher before it, the Jurist wrote a very nice parting farewell to alumni. Of course, as a departing alumnus, I was mentioned. The Thresher farewell was a bit tongue-in-cheek, jabbing at my habit of riling up campus and getting into trouble. I understood the lack of some lovely farewell. After all, I’m sure I got on their nerves after four years of the same old routine. It was time to move on. Plus, I was used to critique and displayed a pretty thick skin, so I’m sure they thought it was totally appropriate. Which it was.

But the Thresher was very special to me and, well, I maybe would have wanted something that more honestly recognized my dedication to the paper rather than framing me as some cartoonish troublemaker. Then again, I didn’t do much to dispel that image.

When I started to read the Jurist’s farewell, I expected the same thing. Imagine my pleasant surprise to find a column that spoke without irony or hesitation about my work for the paper.  Graduating in the middle of the class from a second tier law school feels like no grand accomplishment. But this letter, even if for a fleeting moment, made it all worthwhile.

Furthermore, often I have a habit of being goofy, or a joker, or feigning ignorance. To paraphrase what I’ve heard from many people, “Evan’s here for everyone else’s entertainment.” I don’t mind being the jester, and in fact I usually relish the attention. But because of this, people often see me as some buffoonish clown, unserious and dimwitted. So when I read that one descriptive phrase, “Courageous, super-intelligent and undaunted by the consequences of speaking his mind,” well… it was more than I’ve gotten in a very long time and it is a compliment that feels really important.

I really appreciate it.

Anyways, enough of my cliche yet expected self-obsession. Here is the column:

(pdf: jurist farewell mintz)

Please give me, Evan, a job

Today the Jurist released its last issue of my law school career. Or as I like to call the past three years: a mistake. But what’s done is done. I’ve made my bed, and now I have to weasel my way out of it. So rather than buckle down, get good grades, and do whatever it takes to get a job, I did what I do best: write a snarky column.

I’m pretty proud of this column, which I wrote instead of my back up plan: advocating for the American Psychiatric Association to rename narcissistic personality disorder as “Evan’s Disease” in the DSM-V.

Anyways, I suppose it is sort of a suicide note for law school, but in a good way. The tone and jokes slowly build to a climactic moment, and I hope that moment is obvious. Admittedly, the overall column style was directly inspired by an old Dylan Farmer sports  column in the Rice Thresher. And by “inspired,” I mean I stole the idea.

Here is my final column for the Cardozo Jurist, “Hey, Employer! Have You Heard About Evan Mintz? No? Read This Column” (pdf: Mintz Jurist hire me)

Eliminate Cardozo’s Student Speaker, so Elect Me!

I had another column, as usual, in this month’s Cardozo Jurist. I was inspired by an April 21, 2006 column in the Rice Thresher, written by none other than CNN’s own Jo Ling Kent. You see, Rice graduation doesn’t have a student speaker, and Kent thought that this needed to change. As she wrote in: “Commencement deserves student speaker”

Not having a student speaker at commencement is like having free tuition in 2006: It is shocking and grossly archaic. I polled a few students for their reactions to this, and most responded with some variation of, “We don’t have a student speaker? I just assumed we did.”

But according to the Board of Trustees’ newly adopted mission statement, Rice is “a leading research university with a distinctive commitment to undergraduate education.” Keeping this in mind, inviting a student or two to share anecdotes about their Rice experiences would fall in sync perfectly with the undergrad-centric goal of the university.

However, Kent never really explained why a student speaker would be such a good thing beyond her general claim that it would fit with the goals of the university. But that is an awfully broad claim. Rather than back it up, she spent the rest of the column preemptively rebutting arguments against a student speaker.

So what exactly is holding Rice back from unveiling a refreshing and long-overdue twist on commencement? Over the past year, I discovered that there are a number of administrators, faculty and alumni who oppose the idea of a student speaker lineup every May for either flimsy or outdated reasons.

Most people said picking a student speaker would be political and therefore unfair. A selection process via committee or election would be inadequate, they say. Simply granting the Student Association president a few minutes to speak might not be fair either, given the voter turnout or lack thereof. With this logic, they claim no student should speak at all.

So, if everyone does not agree on who the U.S. president should be, we should just forgo the presidency altogether. Brilliant.

Another major point of contention is whether a student speaker would jeopardize a controversy-free ceremony. Heaven forbid we ignite any controversial dialogue on this campus. And for those who are worried about streakers and protesters, do not forget that commencement falls on May 13 this year. Nudity will inevitably be front and center.

And if protesters are a worry, tell me about a time when you have seen enough protesters at Rice to disturb an event, and I will show you a pre-med who does not obsess about organic chemistry.

And finally, my favorite argument: An additional speaker would force commencement to last too long. Well, if that is a problem, switch on a handheld mini-fan and enjoy the show.

I remember at the time supporting her position. But after talking it over with people in the Thresher office, and just generally around campus, I was convinced otherwise. Stephanie Taylor summed up the arguments against a student speaker quite well in her letter to the editor. Notably, the final sentence:

Instead of allowing a few students to inflate their egos for a few minutes, Rice should continue to make commencement a time when all graduates are congratulated in the same manner — in heavy gowns and by people who have actually been adults in the real world.

There is a certain mystique to graduation. However, after sitting through my own high school and college graduations, I think it is a fair assumption that all the grandeur is generally an illusion. You sit. You wait. You listen. You want to go home. By law school, we should all be over that, and merely appreciate the graduation ceremony stripped down to its most basic essence. A graduation speaker at least has the premise of being someone who can give guidance as you enter the real world, or for law school, the legal world. But a student speaker can’t say anything that everyone else at the school already doesn’t know.

And if a student speaker does have something important to say, why wait until the last minute to do it?

But these days, even the role of graduation speaker seems to be reduced to a celebrity position to appease students and get attention, in exchange for cash payment of course.

Cardozo has a student speaker. Another addition to the already long ceremony. However, that position is elected by whichever group of students decides to show up to a speech competition and listen to all the potential speakers. Thus, I threw my hat in the ring, with the promise of not giving a speech if elected. I probably won’t win, but in your heart, you know I’m right.

Anyways, my column (pdf: Evan for cardozo speaker)

I wrote a column advocating a national holiday for lawyers

Another month, another Cardozo Jurist. Like usual, I had a column. This time, I wrote about how the real defenders of liberty and freedom aren’t in the military, they’re in law school.

Of course, Andrew Sinclair had the best retort: “You know Evan, not all lawyers defend liberty. The Obama Justice Department for example.” And then he went on a rant about John Yoo.

He is right, not all lawyers dedicate themselves to universal justice. But I would argue that the legal industry overall does a better job preserving the rights and liberties of U.S. citizens than the military does. So where is our holiday?

Without further ado, “Lawyers Deserve a National Holiday.” (pdf: Mintz Cardozo lawyer holiday)

 

Cigarettes are not magic, comma, don’t mess with Texas.

I wrote a column. The style reminds me a lot of my later work on the Thresher, where I had a point, but only through a layer of jokes or metaphors. I didn’t know what I was going to write for this issue, and then suddenly the topic came to me after the first day of the semester and I saw overflowing ash trays and cigarette butts all over the sidewalk in front of Cardozo. Honestly, majority of the time writing this column was spent trying to determine the perfect band to fit the tableau of a high school, weeknight concert. Some people recommended the Strokes, but I thought it was a bit too mainstream. Joy Division was too old. Republica, I think, was a good choice and also a subtle Venture Brothers reference.

Once I got through there, the rest flowed pretty well. The cigarette fairy part is stolen from Brett and Dan, though I think any jokes coming from 251 are officially joint works under WIPO. Honestly, this is a column I have been wanting to write since junior year at Rice, when we would mock the girls and their gay friend who smoked cigarettes outside the Hanszen servery, and then just throw their butts on the ground.

And the part about cigarettes as some Antionettian opulence is stolen directly from an IM conversation with Sara Franco.

Originally, the column had a different ending, but I wanted something punchier, and was reminded of an old commercial titled “Jimmy,” about a kid who just goes around collecting old cigarette butts. And it is nice to remember that Don’t Mess With Texas is an anti-littering campaign. Now only if fracking, or pollution, were considered littering.

Anyways, my column from this month’s Cardozo Jurist: Cigarettes are not magic, don’t mess with Texas. (pdf: Mintz cigarette texas column)

Another Evan Mintz column for the cardozo jurist, this time about littering

Flashback Fridays: Nuclear Bongs, North Korea, and Pot at Cardozo

[EDIT: As seen on Above the Law]

Last month North Korea launched a small attack against a South Korean island. This was probably North Korea’s biggest provocation since its (failed?) test of a nuclear weapon. At the time, I referenced this event with a Rice Thresher Backpage titled: North Colleges Test Nuclear Bong. (pdf: North Colleges Test Nuclear Bong)

James Baker asked for an original copy of this Backpage.

I was rather proud of the Backpage at the time. The original drafts were a little too blunt (haha!) with some of the pot jokes, but then EIC David Brown helped smooth them out. In a depressing turn, apparently some Rice students did not quite get that map of Rice was supposed to be in the shape of North and South Korea, with North and South colleges at appropriate ends. But perhaps worse, some students didn’t even realize that was a map of Rice. Maybe if you don’t know what to look for, it is hard to see. Oh well.

Anyways, this Backpage is rather appropriate for a flashback this week. The Korean conflict may be a bit tardy, but it does demonstrate my habit of writing pot-related columns that will surely damn attempts at finding a job. Just this month, I wrote a column for The Cardozo Jurist about how the law school should provide free marijuana for students. It is supposed to be a satirical reaction to the law school’s new restrictions on alcohol and alcohol advertising, and also to the study aids pills that are normally popular during finals. And I’m sure I made some other points in the column, which you most certainly will find to be an exemplar of Swiftian wit. (pdf: Mintz cardozo jurist pot article)

However, this column is not the only reason why that Backpage was appropriate for this flashback friday. At the time, James Baker had just released a new book, titled: “Work Hard, Study…and Keep Out of Politics! Adventures and Lessons from an Unexpected Public Life.” I used the occasion to mock one of Rice’s resident talking clubs, the Baker Institute Student Forum, which did a very good job of discussing current events and then handing out name tags at Baker Institute speaking events.

Anyways, apparently James Baker’s wife, Susan Baker, has just written a book titled Passing It On. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle about her new book, Mrs. Baker demonstrated that either she is hilarious, or just doesn’t care anymore, or funny third thing, as she used the interview as an opportunity to talk about her sex life with the former Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury, and Chief of Staff James Baker. I guess she wanted him to do to her what he did to the country during the 2000 election recount. (My jokes are so funny and topical!)

“I used to think I needed to be a good supportive wife, so I shouldn’t fuss or stomp around or be angry. But holding all that in makes you emotionally sick. So I started expressing my feelings. Jimmy was surprised at first, but over time, it gave him a new respect for me, and without a doubt deepened our relationship.”

She pauses for a second.

“Thank heavens for good sex. It can get you through a lot.”

I doubt that James Baker would request the original version of whatever Backpage is associated with this recent news event. As Tim Faust put it: The Baker Institute for Pubic Policy. Zing!