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Students at Elite Law Schools Too Distraught to Take Finals

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By Mark Wilson, Esq. on December 11, 2014 10:02 AM

The recent non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have emotionally impacted a lot of people throughout the country. The subsequent protests, and resultant violence, created a lot more emotion. Communities of color, which disproportionately feel the results of both police brutality and rioting, are understandably upset.

But so too is another, underrepresented community. I'm referring, of course, to students at the nation's elite law schools, who are so distraught that they couldn't possibly take final exams.

The Best of the Best Are Also the Saddest of the Sad

On Monday, Above the Law Redline reported that the Columbia Law Coalition of Concerned Students of Color sent the law school a "demand letter" asking that "students who have been deeply affected by recent events be allowed to postpone exams."

"Me, too," said distraught students at Georgetown University Law Center and Harvard Law School. All three reportedly acceded to the request, allowing students to petition to postpone their exams.

Conservative websites -- which already don't like elite universities because they're bastions of the liberal conspiracy -- were quick to pounce on these stories as evidence that elite institutions are filled with a bunch of coddled namby pambies.

Then again, it's not just conservatives who are calling out these top-of-the-top law students. Elie Mystal, who wrote that Above the Law post, said that these students need to get used to injustice and, if they're going to be lawyers, they can't be incapacitated by it: "You don't get an extension because this racism is killing you inside. You have to continue to get your work done, to the best of your ability, despite the racism all around you."

'Your Honor, I Need a Continuance to Process'

The Washington Post also points out that, even though some students at these top-tier institutions have been incapacitated by institutional racism, it's unlikely they're going to do anything about it: "It is no secret that graduates of elite law schools, including Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Georgetown, often end up at large corporate law firms rather than working as prosecutors or public defenders."

Truthfully, it is disappointing that the system has let so many people down. But is that disappointment really so bad that students can't take final exams? There was police brutality a month ago, and students were still getting prepared to take their exams at the appointed time. Multiple news outlets have pointed out that, once these students become lawyers, they won't get special dispensation for generalized societal traumas. But don't tell that to current law students, who grew up learning that they were each a unique and precious snowflake.

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