A Thank You Letter (or Hate Mail) for Fred Rodell

Fred Rodell, the once revered Yale Law School professor and the “bad boy of American legal academia”[1] wrote that “[t]here are two things wrong with almost all legal writing. One is its style. The other is its content.”[2] His harrowing words acutely capture my conflicting relationship with (legal) writing, but more on point, it makes the path laid out before me (as someone in legal academia), a more difficult one to take.

In his renowned and (secretly) admired article, Goodbye for Law Review, Rodell professes his dislike for “long sentences, awkward constructions, and fuzzy-wuzzy words that seem to apologize for daring to venture an opinion…” often found in many legal publications. He also takes issues with how editors and publishers presume every writer “to be a liar until he proves himself otherwise with a flock of footnotes,” and describes reading through the sea of legal jargons and overly-cautious opinions as “kicks in the pants.” To him, legal writing is formulaic, pedantic, and spineless. While Rodell’s criticism is an attempt to roast the entire legal community, I feel his disappointed glare directed right at me, for I have committed many of these sins with my very own hands.

read more

The Future of the Sharing Economy

The Question

Should Uber be considered as a company that offers transportation services or rather as a digital platform that offers information society services, operating merely to match passengers with drivers?

read more

A (Uniquely Unqualified American) Reflection of the EU&ME Summit

fullsizerenderThe EU&ME Summit (part of the Europe Calling! initiative) held on 9 December 2016 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty was the event of the season. As an American that somehow wandered into this event, I was quite amused by Maastricht’s Mayor, Annemarie Penn-te Strake, and her welcoming speech that – among other delights – quoted former US President George Bush, who stated that the birth of the EU was something that was great for the entire world. As a happy migrant living in the Netherlands and working in the EU, I wholeheartedly concur with our former President and I feel extremely privileged – not just for having attended the summit, but more generally – to be living and working in Maastricht, the birthplace of the EU.

read more

Black Piets, Burqa Bans, and Radical Populism in a Kakistocracy

KakistocracyHere is a fun word that you may have come across recently: Kakistocracy. Based on the Greek word kakistos (meaning “the worst”), kakistocracy is a system of governance run by the least qualified, most “deplorable” citizens that the State has to offer. Fair or not, this term has been used in conjunction with the Brexit (as a movement that was cajoled by UKIP) or the Trump presidency (that materialized – in part – with the supposed support of the empowered radical right wing).

Kakistocracy might be a good word to have handy in our collective word bank given that we may soon bear witness to Prime Minister Wilders, President Le Pen, the rise of AfD, and depending on how the Italian referendum goes and whether Prime Minister Renzi stays, a potential Italian exit from the EU (colloquially referred to as ItaLEAVE, which would be worth a chuckle, if only the consequences for it weren’t so dire).

read more

Brexit & Heartbreak

The Whig party’s aversion to absolute monarchy in the early 18th Centrvl0002-01_0tury coined the term vox populi vox dei, which declared that the voice of the people is the voice of God. On June 23rd, the people of Britain spoke out and opted for the so-called Brexit, with the populist charlatan Nigel Farage characterizing the exit as a brave act of independence from the EU, as if the British people were suffering under a repressive, tyrannical reign for decades.

read more