Monday, February 14, 2011

Returning to old haunts

Today I went to Yale Law School (a simple day trip from NYC) for a lunch talk on tax cuts and the impending budget crisis. It was sponsored by a student organization, the American Constitution Society, and I'm pretty sure was my first-ever appearance at another law school by invitation of a student group, rather than someone on the faculty. I suppose no Federalist Society fave would be able to say this (though I have spoken at a Federalist Society event in Washington).

To my surprise verging on shock, the head count for this talk (where Michael Graetz also appeared) was 55, which looked all the bigger in the event's small room. It was good to see so many interested people. But I don't know for sure how strong a data point this is in support of the claim that a scarcity of tenured, in-house, full-time tax faculty tends to raise turnout by leaving unmet demand, rather than - as I would have posited before seeing the head count - to lower it through lack of encouragement.

It was nice to see old haunts again - I have not often made it to New Haven since graduating in 1981 - though sad in a way to learn that the courtyard where I spent much of my last two spring semesters playing whiffle ball has been converted from dorm rooms to offices.

I'll shortly post an approximate version of my remarks (which resembled the comments I meant to give in Boca Raton a couple of weeks ago before the weather intervened). But for now, why not enter more fully into the auld lang syne spirit of things by reproducing the lyrics of a song that I performed (!! - albeit with guitarist and backup vocalist) at the YLS student talent show, when I was either a 2nd year or 3rd year law student:


I've got this real good friend who's going through law school on loan, yeah
He's always working in his room but he doesn't like to answer the phone, yeah
You try to start a conversation and he says "Hey, leave me alone," yeah
He'll be a NERD NERD NERD till Dean Dauer takes the money away.

In Calabresi's class, his hand it always goes up, yeah
In policy discussions he doesn't know how to shut up, yeah
You can see him in the library busily reading F. Supp., yeah
He'll be a NERD NERD NERD till Dean Dauer takes the money away.

Well, the money ran out and Dean Dauer said to hit the road, now
'Cause they found out that he lied about the money that he said that he owed, now
So now he just parties and at night he hangs out at Toad's, now
He was a NERD NERD NERD till Dean Dauer took the money away.

[Ooh-ooh, etc.]

I think my attitude was different in those days.

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