Lucifer Goes to Law School: Towards Explaining and Minimizing Law Student Peer-to-Peer Harassment and Intimidation

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The bullying environment describes the social and educational environment at most law schools. Hallmarks of such an environment include professorial and administrative refusal to acknowledge bullying behaviors, lack of professorial attention to classroom antics that do not disturb lecturing, isolated library study corrals distant from supervision, and an expectation by professors and administrators that law students are meant to be either competitive and cut-throat or depressed and anxious. Professor Alan Dershawitz at Harvard Law School reflected the private belief of many professors and administrators when he commented “these are students who got into an elite institution by clawing their way above their classmates … half of them are going to be [at] the bottom of the class and they don’t like it.” These environmental cues encourage cruel bullying behavior in response to stress and pressure endemic to the law school experience.


Originally published in 2008 by Washburn Law Journal.

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