The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. -January 23, 1992 - Page 3
Don't know much about history? Ask Professor Linderman
by David Shepardson
Henry Adams once said a teacher
affects eternity and can never tell
where his or her influence stops. For
all the awarding of endowments,
technological improvements and re-
search advancements that go on at
universities, the basic ingredients
that keeps a university alive are its
teachers. Gerald Linderman is one
who is carrying on the tradition.
For nearly a quarter century
Linderman has been teaching under-
graduate American History classes
at the University. This term, he
teaches History 161 and regularly
offers the popular course,
Twentieth Century American Wars.
He also serves as a concentration ad-
visor to numerous undergraduates.
The American small town and
its culture are topics of discussion
in Linderman's class, History 161,
U.S. History from 1865.
Linderman himself grew up in a
small town in northern Wisconsin
during the Great Depression. His
father, a bank operating officer,
merged his bank with a neighboring
bank in Capra-esque style to save the
depositors' accounts. In turn, he lost
his job due to the lack of available
positions and the family was forced
to move to a Cleveland suburb.
During his studies at Yale
University, Linderman had both en-
gaging and "extraordinarily bad
History teachers." He later discov-
ered that many of these poor in-
structors were some of the most
celebrated historians of the day.
Buried beneath lecture notes, these
professors put even the most avid
history buffs to sleep.
Linderman didn't realize then
that lie would eventually become a
professor, emphasizing the chal-
lenges and excitement of history
through his own teaching style. He
keeps classes animated by con-
stantly asking for questions and in-
teracting with his students during
lectures. Evoking student interest in
history is very much a part of
He encourages shy students to
submit written reactions. Last fall,
in the first meeting of History
class, he read an old note. It said,
"Sir: I hate your class. I hate what it
does to me. I feel upset, hurt, and
bruised when I come out of lecture.
I feel queasy and angry ... Don't you
feel war is inevitable?" While his
classes may affect students
emotionally, they challenge them
with thoughtful ideas.
After graduation, Linderman
served six months in the U.S. Army.
He entered the U.S. Foreign Service,
traveling to West Africa and the
Congo to act as Vice-consul in an
American Consulate in northern
Nigeria. While in the Congo,
Linderman encountered a serious re-
bellion, leading him to participate
in an effort to rescue hostages.
The range of Linderman's experi-
ence informs his lectures. Unlike
professors, who live through their
research, this teacher can point to his
own life in his history lessons.
The present aspects of the pro-
fessor's life are as interesting as his
journeys. He lives in Ann Arbor
with his wife, a yoga instructor.
Linderman says they lead a simple
life despite the turbulent times in
which we live. As someone who is
an expert in American history,
Linderman cites his favorite histori-
cal period as the late '50s, a time
when the country was in repose.
After his years abroad,
Linderman was inspired to return to
school. He received his M.A. in
African History and then earned a
Ph.D in American History from
Besides writing a book on the
American Civil War, which made
the History Book Club, and a book
on the Spanish American War,
Linderman has begun working on a
study of the combat experience of
World War II.
Linderman accepted a position in
the University History department
during the height of the Vietnam
War. It was a turbulent time. Many
classes were filled with angry stu-
dents raising objections at nearly
every turn. "During the Vietnam
War, it was one of the most exciting
times in my teaching career." Now,
he plans to write a book on Vietnam
During the Gulf War,
Linderman appeared in a Nightline
segment, several radio and talk
shows and wrote a column for the
Washington Post. He argued that
sanctions would have been just as
effective as the ground war which
resulted in the deaths of thousands
of Iraqis, environmental damage and
the spending of billions of dollars.
As an undergraduate professor,
Linderman believes the University
doesn't treat its young students as
well as it could. He favors smaller
discussion sections. "If I had un-
limited power, my first step would
be to limit discussion sections to
fifteen students," he said.
"The University does a good job
of transmitting knowledge to the
students," he says, "but it falls
short in providing the necessary in-
Linderman remains realistic, yet
optimistic in light of troubling
times at home and abroad. In an age
where undergraduate education of-
ten is relegated to large lecture
halls and impersonal conduits of in-
formation, Linderman is a professor
who remains committed to the
education of students.
Law school students entera w
Continued from page 1
Shields said he couldn't point to
any one reason why the numbers have
"There are a lot of people who say,
in jest, that L.A. Law drove a lot of
people to go into law as a career. I
don't think that show turned a lot of
people around. I doubt anyone that
looks carefully at becoming a lawyer
is going to look at L.A. Law as an
accurate portrayal of what the typical
"You don't see anything on that
show that shows people doing 80 to
90 hours of work a week. You don't
see them doing legal research."
So if students don't think they're
going to end up being like the lawyers
on L.A. Law, what are their reasons
Shields answered, "My read is that
most of the people that go to law
school want to make a difference in
the world and see becoming a lawyer
as a way to make that difference."
When students were asked why
they chose law school, they gave
unique answers that were closely tied
to their personal goals, values and
Celia Lee, a first-year University
law student, said, "I thought it would
be intellectually stimulating, and I
wanted to learn how to think in a
Another first-year University law
student, Ina Kurcz, said she chose law
because she wants to apply it to work
in child advocacy.
She added, "I think it fits my per-
sonality in terms of standing up for
what you believe in and arguing your,
The Law School ExpeAence
The law school experience is a
difficult one, to be sure. Students said
the most difficult aspect was the
amount of reading they had to do.
Kurcz said, "Study habits for
undergrad don't work anymore." In-
stead of being able to skim a reading
before class, "you have to read it and
Lee said she was shocked by "the
amount of work it is. It's not some-
thing you can learn by rote memory.
You really have to think."
A University law student who re-
quested anonymity said, "It's a lot of
work - more than I ever imagined it
to be. A lot of reading is dry and
tedious. Most is drudgery."
But Lamont Satchel, a third-year
University law student, said things do
"I think after the first year, a lot of
people find that there are short cuts.
You don't study as much. A lot of it is
because you're not as tense. You're
not as intimidated in class."
The first year isn't completely
unbearable, Lee said. "You do have
free time, regardless of the horror
stories. You do get a lot less sleep
compared to undergrad. We still go
out. We're not always stuck in the
Satchel said his law edu-
cation has had its good and
bad points. "Some of my dis-
satisfaction with law school
is that a lot of perspectives
and a lot of scholarly mate-
rial isn't taught or empha-
sized in class."
As an example of what
was omitted, Satchel said,
"The body of scholarship byh
minority scholars. You can
go through three years of law"
school and never hear about
Satchel said law school
has made him more socially
aware. "It's opened my eyes
to a lot of issues - not only
those in the law, but those in
the law that impact all soci-
In thatway, he added, "It's
opened up opportunities for
The Job Market
The job market for law-
yers today is a subject of con-
cern for many law students.
They are coming into the field
at a time when the country is
mired in a recession, and
when many large law firms
are trimming their personnel.
There is also talk that there
is a glut of lawyers in the
Tom Kauper, a law pro-
fessor at the University for
the past 27 years, said he has
seen this concern in his stu- The
dents. "The thing I have mar
sensed in the last two or three years,"
he says, "is a degree of tension that I
haven't seen for awhile, which I as-
sume is due to the job market."
Heidi Feldman, an '89 graduate of
the University law school and an as-
sistant professor here now, said,
"There is much more nervousness
than the people who entered in the fall
"Incoming students are sensitive
to the fact that the job market has
gotten tougher. Now people are seri-
ously worried about getting jobs."
Law student Kurcz said she is con-
cerned about an overabundance of
lawyers in today's market. "The job
market for us is bad - even looking
for a summer job. It seems like every-
one you know is going to law school."
Nancy Krieger, director of the
University law school career plan-
ning and placement office, agreed that
the job market for lawyers has tight-
"I've been here for 20 years and
I've never seen ajob market quite like
this one. It's an uncertain time for law
students and lawyers."
Krieger said University law stu-
dents may not feel the problems in the
market as strongly as someone at-
tending a smaller, less-prominent
"If you're at a local law school, it
strikes me that these folks are going to
have a terrible time finding jobs this
nge and ch
But students atMichigan and other
top law schools such as Harvard, Co-
lumbia and Stanford, are still highly
sought after, even in this market,
Krieger said she has noticed that
the number of employers who visited
the law school was down during the
fall of '91 from the fall of '90. The
number dropped from 898 to 795.
Still, she said, the drop is not par-
ticularly harmful to students.
"When you think that we have 370
or so in a class, that's a lot of inter-
Michigan students need not worry,
she said. "The market for these people
will remain quite good. They don't
think it's a good market, but they
really will do fine - they just
- don't believe that yet."
Evidence of the school's
success can be seen in some
statistics Krieger cited. "In
recent years, we've had any-
where from 85 to 90 percent
of people with jobs at gradua-
"My guess is our numbers
will look pretty much the same
this year, but students will
have to work harder than they
have in the past."
Ronald . Egnor graduated
from the University law
school in '67 and now runs a
law practice in Ypsilanti.
After graduating, Egnor
went to work for two years at
the National Labor Relations
Board in Washington, D.C.
He said the experience was
invaluable because right
away, he was confronting "the
best lawyers in the country."
Egnor moved back to
Ypsilanti and went into prac-
tice with a partner who has
since moved on to being a
judge. Egnor now works
"I think it would be virtu-
ally impossible for a young-
ster out of law school to start
on his own. The first couple of
years, you're learning more
/Daily than you're earning."
Egnor said he has enjoyed
his work. "There has never
been a day of my work life
that I did not want to go to work."
Responding to the notion that there
are too many lawyers, Egnor said, "I
think that's an absolute myth. I think
it's wonderful that we have so many
rights in our country that we need a
large number of lawyers to help us
enforce those rights that we have."
Monicka Sacks, a lawyer at Barr,
Anhut & Sacks, a law firm based in
Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, went to
Wayne State University Law School.
She joined her firm as a summer
clerk while she was still attending
Wayne State. When she finished law
school, the firm invited Sacks back
and later made her a partner.
Being a clerk, she said, was an
important part of her legal training. "I
felt it was an extremely valuable ex-
perience. It was a way of getting prac-
tical experience while still in law
Sacks, who has been with the firm
for 12 years, specializes in family
law, small business and estate plan-
Aboutherjob, Sacks said, "It's not
glamorous the way it's depicted on
television. The expectations of the
public for a lawyer is that we all make
two hundred thousand dollars a year
and we have magic wands to make
people do good things."
So, what is Sacks' job like? "It's
dealing with people who run the store
next door, or people who live down
the block, about fairly ordinary people
"It's very challenging, it's varied,
and I thoroughly enjoy it."
Should you become a lawyer?
So should you apply? Do you have
what it takes to make it as an attorney?
"If your goals and motives are to
serve people and to make our society
a better society, then law is a good
field to do that in," Egnor said.
"If your desire is to make a lot of
money and a name for yourself, there
are probably better ways to do that
than the law - although it sometimes
Dean Bollinger said, "It's a life of
actually dealing with real people, with
real problems, offering the potential
for the highest intellectual work., It
brings into play every discipline, and
you can make a living out of it. So, I
can't think of anything better."
reading room at the University Law Library where law students spend
ny of their midnight hours.
Michigan Individual Entrepreneurial Project
Presents The Ninth Annual
Awarded To The Best Business Proposal
Written By U of M Students
(Confidentiality is ensured)
Proposals are due 5 p.m. March 20,1992.
TNOR2MA TION MFFTING-
Theta Delta Chi
Over 100 years of Michigan Brotherhood.
The University of Michigan Department
of Dermatology is seeking volunteers ages
13 - 30 years to test new therapies for Acne.