Thursday, January 30, 2014

John Yoo for Dean? WTF?

Last week, students at Berkeley Law received a series of emails from the Berkeley Law Dean Search Committee announcing four candidate visits to campus in the coming days.

This afternoon students received an email from a "Berkeley Law Dean Search" account inviting them to a last minute (presumably for security reasons) town hall in Booth Auditorium to consider a fifth candidate: our very own Professor John Choon Y*o. The email was formatted similarly to previous emails announcing candidate visits and many students believed it to be real. Boalties...no need to chain yourselves to anything in protest, it is a confirmed hoax. Students who went to Booth found a cake with a picture of Professor Y*o and the initials, "G.C." presumably for Gun Club, and wine bottles labeled John Y*o for Dean. Rest assured, whoever Berkeley Law chooses for Dean, it will continue to be a great and unique law school community, but the odds of it being Professor Y*o don't seem too high. The guy didn't even show up to his own town hall. 







Thursday, January 23, 2014

Who wants to be...Dean?

And then there were four.

Today all students received an email announcing the Dean Search Committee (including representatives from the faculty, main campus and a student) has selected four candidates, who will visit campus in February, to replace Dean E*ley.

Whoever is chosen will have some big shoes to fill. I am an unabashed, if anonymous, Dean Edl*y supporter. Dean Edl*y came in facing a recent sex scandal, crumbling facility, a minuscule endowment compared to our peers and declining support from the state. During his tenure, Edl*y succesfully completed an ambitious 125 million dollar fundraising campaign, established new academic centers in areas of strength, significantly expanded the faculty, restored Berkeley's place as solidly a top 10 law school, established summer public interest grants and oversaw the construction of a renovation of our building that turned it from an embarrassment into a source of pride. He took some flak for how "direct" and even dismissive he could be, especially in response to student concerns about Occupy and (more importantly my opinion) tuition increases (while lobbying for his own promised benefits).  But he was witty, charismatic, endlessly energetic and passionate about Boalt and, in my opinion, left this a far better law school than he found it. We send our best wishes for his speedy recovery.


His Cosbey-esque sweaters will be especially missed.



But what of this group of contenders?

 
Samuel Bag*nstos: A Michigan Law Professor with an impressive resume. He clerked for Stephen Reinhardt on the 9th Circuit and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A constitutional and civil rights litigator who has successfully argued several cases in front of the US Supreme Court (especially in the area of disability law) he has taught at Harvard and UCLA, been heavily published, and also has administrative experience as an associate Dean at Wash U. Hes young and impressive, but can he fundraise, is he a fit for Boalt's unique culture, can he fundraise?



Interim Dean Gillian L*ster: Dean L*ster also has an impressive resume, (I guess everyone on this list does...this probably means my chances of ever being Dean are low), but unlike other candidates, faculty and students have had a chance to see her in the last job over the past few months...but what impression has she left? What would she do with the post full-time?


 
Sujit Ch*udhry: International man of mystery! Canada's favorite candidate for Dean of Boalt (I would be remiss if I ignored that Dean Lester also has strong Canadian ties). Currently a Professor at NYU Law, Choudry has written more then 60 books, was a Rhodes Scholar (but not the only one on this list...), clerked for the Supreme Court...of Canada and specializes in Comparative Constitutional Law. But you know...



Judge William Fletch*r: The only person on this list who first taught Federal Courts at Boalt in 1977, was a classmate of Bill Clinton's as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, is second generation 9th Circuit, has made very significant contributions to the law of standing, and clerked for Justice Brennan - Judge Fletcher is certainly an intriguing possibility. But can a person who has been treated with the deference accorded to a Federal Judge be effective at the begging alumni for cash, the gladhanding, navigating the academic wars and student and alumni complaints that come with being a Dean? Would he really resign from the 9th Circuit (one would assume he'd have to)?

Certainly some intriguing possibilities! But of the four...none are active full time faculty members...ne must assume some submitted their names - how do they and their supporters feel right now?

Only one is a person of color, only one is a woman...How do students and alumni feel about this list? How do you feel? Sleepy? Angry? Hungry?

Sound off below!

More updates to come as the parade of candidates visit Berkeley Law.



Thursday, October 03, 2013

Surprise, Surprise

Today 1Ls at Boalt Hall found a little surprise on their chairs in the form of drink and verse as they arrived for their morning classes. Small bottles of liquor and a poem (image below) awaited them on their chairs courtesy of the mysterious gun club.

A google search reveals that apparently, the Gun Club is a secret society founded by Earl Warren and friends and referenced in his autobiography.(See: http://alumni.berkeley.edu/news/california-magazine/fall-2012-politics-issue/warren-secrecy) The group is dedicated to drinking, poetry, and apparently smelling the roses.

It is also reported that white boards in the classrooms had GC symbols and the signature EW 14' (possibly indicating a mysterious 3L's initials or possibly because of the Club's apparent affiliation with the Chief and esteemed alumnus of the class of 1914).

Allegedly in the past the Club has been associated with such hi-jinks as planting love letters to Earl Warren and champagne in the study areas of the student center on valentine's day, hiring a look alike of the Dude from the Big Lebowski to give out drink tickets and silently promote the club at student activities fairs and plastering posters with Professor Yoo and the words "I'm sorry for everything" all over the school.

Who are these people and what do they want? Well, according to their poem they want the 1Ls to be kind and smell the roses...I'll drink to that.

Stay Berkeley, my friends.



Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Bar Review Review

Within law school culture, "Bar Review", in which students explore the local bar scene on Thursday nights (not study for the bar exam), is an important means of socializing, bonding, networking, blowing off steam and dating (?).

At Boalt who plans bar review is a closely guarded secret. Each Weds morning (or Thursday morning when the Bar Review fairy is lazy) flyers simply appear on the bulletin boards (how is everyone too lazy to spot this person?). One can only guess why this individual needs to remain in the shadows but perhaps it makes sense to insulate these folks from political pressures (like a Judge...or Batman). Speculation abounds and popular candidates include: BHSA through a secret committee, C*thy Kw*n, K*m N*tividad, Professor B*rring, Fomer FBI Director Mark Felt (look it up kids), the Gun Club or the beautiful people who plan Bacchus and the wine buses (but then it would be better wouldn't it?). Recently eyes have turned towards the ownership of Thalassa (that would explain why its been there twice in the first four weeks even though there is nowhere to dance).

Regardless of who plans it, controversy has grown in recent weeks as alternative bar reviews have begun to proliferate. Last week a flyer appeared next to the flyer declaring Bar Review at Thalassa suggesting Barclay's instead. "Tired of bars you've already reviewed? Try Barclay's!", read the strongly worded dissent. An additional dissent from La Raza appeared suggesting an alternative bar review bar crawl in Downtown Oakland. 

So what gives? Is Boalt Hall failing to appreciate it's Dark Knight who we need in spite of ourselves? Or should someone else just plan Bar Review since Ch*se is in London for the semester?

Your comments are welcomed.

Stay Berkeley, my friends.



Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Not enough air to sustain life

It is high time we pay tribute to Dean V*nden H*uvel and her superb all Boalt emails. Yesterday, there was an explosion in a steam tunnel on campus after someone allegedly stole quite a bit of copper pipe (as one 3L posted: dammit Bubbles!) and power went off for hours leading to a cancellation of classes and general sh*tstorm of bureaucratic confusion (public school). Into the fray stepped Dean V*nden H*uvel who has, for years, kept Boalties from trying to outline through earthquakes, getting stuck in traffic on game days, and generally putting their eyes out. This time she really outdid herself. Highlights below:

" After yesterday's power failure and explosion I am convinced that television and movies have inured us to reality. We laugh at the movie audiences in the early 20th century, who ran from the theaters in terror when they first saw trains and horses coming towards them on the screen. And yet there is video of students standing close to yesterday's explosion site, staring at it as if it were a movie. One has to ask, who is crazier: the people in 1917 who immediately got out of the way of a fast moving train, albeit only a film version of a train; or the people who stand staring at the site of an active explosion and fire, apparently unable to comprehend that it's not a made for TV movie? Even in the law school I encountered some students and faculty who resisted leaving the building, despite dark hallways, and UCPD's orders.... 


When law school or campus personnel tell you to leave the building, you need to leave the building.
Remember that when the power fails so does the ventilation system. 

Even if you have enough light to teach, there may not be enough air to sustain life, especially in the three large classrooms. "


Bravo Dean V*nden H*uvel!


One student commented that even in non-emergency situations there is insufficient air to sustain life in the large classrooms and that perhaps, this would be the wake up call needed to rouse the administration from their devotion to the stop gap solution of "propping the doors open." Need I remind him/her...public school.


Additionally, if you refused to leave campus yesterday and are a 3L (or even a 2L) I shake my head at you m'am/sir. I heard the power was on at Free Haus where you belong.

If you are a 1L, I'm really sorry... I know you guys have reading to do and actually do it.


Stay Berkeley my friends.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Are You Employed, Sir?

UPDATE:  I am moving this up in case there is any follow-up discussion to be had.  I have two points to make:  First, make sure that your resume reflects correct contact information.  You'd be surprised how often this is an issue.  Second, I went back and checked the blog's various OCIP threads over the years for an informal study.  I simply tabulated the number of firms listed each year on the blog.  Not very scientific as I'm sure CDO has more accurate figures.  But the trend is remarkable.  Here is the graph, followed by the numbers:




Year Firms
2007 120
2008 127
2009 99
2010 98
2011 82
2012 72
2013 71

I will be traveling later today so don't expect any updates or anything but what I would consider fascinating is having Boalt's average fees for each of those years.  If anyone is bored enough to collect that data, I'd be happy to revise the table and graph.    

* * *
 
Ah yes, it's that time of the year.  Ostensibly, you expect to see the best in people--their sharpest suits, brightest smiles, politest manners--but you end up with elevator gossip, transfer-hate, and enough anxiety to fill some area of large volume.  This is now the ninth year we've done a post on the on-campus interview process, which for whatever random reason is now called EIW.  Sounds more like a tax credit I should claim.  I'll try to use the contemporary terminology, but I apologize in advance for reverting to the old OCIP (pronounced Oh-Sip) term.  Every year, there's plenty of sage advice on the meaning of this interview process.  I can't really add much more to the threads of years past.  I'll just repeat some key points that everyone should keep in mind.
  • If you came to law school thinking you're guaranteed a place in Big Law, you made a mistake in your calculations.  Just in the past 10 years, firms like Brobeck, Thelen, Howrey, Heller, Dewey LeBoeuf, etc. have collapsed.  These were not start ups, but old firms that had been around for decades (if not longer).  Many had made summer associate and associate offers.  Then?  Poof.  Moral of the story?  Expect firms to be conservative in their hiring.  
  • Hiring is not a zero sum game.  There is a LOT that goes into the decision to extend call back offers and then summer offers and yet again full time offers.  If you can go through the process with a positive attitude, congratulations, you're already a success.  When something unfortunate happens, like a law firm collapsing just before the start of the summer program, those who are not assholes tend to be the ones who land on their feet.  Don't let the negativity surrounding EIW infect you.  (Insert reference to The Walking Dead about how we're all already infected).  
  • There are 8 million fine lines, you should be prepared to walk all of them simultaneously.  The toughest one is probably the fine line between maintaining your personality, while appearing marketable.  The extremes are easy to define:  if your personality is to shower once a week, then I strongly recommend ditching that personality and adopting some basic hygiene; or if you have a healthy sense of humor, don't suppress it just because someone said you should never crack a joke during an interview.  The harder cases are the gray areas.  There's no right or wrong answer here, it's just something you should ponder. 
This isn't meant to be some sort of an Eastern thing.  Just my ranting.  With that out of the way, here are the rules.

RULES

1. We will take comments posted below regarding offers/rejections [REVISED: for call back interviews] and incorporate them into the body of this post. The process is tedious and generally not fun. There's a lot you can do to expedite things along.

2. PLEASE READ THE BODY OF THIS POST AND THE LAST FEW COMMENTS TO SEE IF ANYONE HAS POSTED THE SAME OFFER/REJECTION THAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO POST.

3. SEE NUMBER 2.

4. Post the offers/rejections in the following format:

Firm name, Office, +/- to indicate offer/rejection respectively. For example:

Orrick, SF +.
The location abbreviations are as follows:
Atl -- Atlanta; Bos -- Boston; Chi -- Chicago; Dal -- Dallas; DC -- DC; EBay -- East Bay locations (Oakland, Walnut Creek, etc.); LA -- LA area offices (includes Century City); Mia = Miami and South Florida; Minn -- Minnesota; NY -- New York/New Jersey; OC -- Orange County area offices; Por -- Portland; Sac -- Sacramento; SD -- San Diego; SF -- San Francisco; SV -- Silicon Valley offices (includes Palo Alto, San Jose, Menlo Park, and all other South Bay locations).
5. This is now the ninth EIW that N&B has had this thread. Without failure, each previous thread contained comments that were ummm worthy of staying up. So, while we will delete comments that are only posting +/-, more substantive comments will stay up. At the same time, it's probably wise not to identify yourself to your prospective employers. So don't write anything silly that's going to reveal who you are.

Best of luck to all of you, but for the love all that is holy and good, please follow Rules 2 and 3.

***

Akin Gump, LA +
Arnold & Porter, LA -, SF +
Baker Botts, SV +
Baker McKenzie, SF +
Bingham, LA +/-, SF +/-, SV +
Boies Schiller, Oak -
Bryan Cave, LA +, SF +/-
Cadwalader, DC +, NY +
Cleary, DC+, NY +/-
Cravath, +
Cooley, Den +, NY +/-, SF +/-, SV +/-
Covington, DC +
Crowell, OC +/-, SF +
Davis Polk, NY +/-, SV +
Davis Wright, Sea -
Dechert, NY +
Drinker Biddle & Reath, SF -
DLA Piper, LA -, SV +
Fenwick & West, SF -, Sea +/-, SV +
Foley, LA +, SF -
Garvey Schubert, Sea +
Gibson Dunn, NY +, SF -
Goodwin Proctor, LA -, SF +/-, SV -
Gunderson, SV +
Haynes & Boone, Dal +, SV -
Hogan & Lovells, LA +, SF +, SV +
Holland & Knight, SF +
Irell, LA +, OC -
Jenner & Block, Chi -
Jones Day, LA +, NY +/-, OC -, SF -, SV +
King & Spalding, NY +, SF +, SV +
Kirkland & Ellis, LA -, SF +/-
K&L Gates, LA +
Kramer Levin, NY _
Latham LA +, NY +/-, SF +/-
Littler Mendelson, SF +
Manatt, LA -
Mayer Brown, LA +
McDermott, SV +/-
McKool Smith, SV +
Milbank, LA +
Morgan Lewis, SV +
MoFo, LA +, SF +/-
Munger, +
Nixon Peabody, SF +
O'Melveny, CC -, LA +/-, SF +/-
Orrick, LA +, SF +, SV -
PaulHastings, LA +/-, NY -, SF +/-, SV -
Perkins Coie, SV -
Pillsbury, NY +/-, SF +
Proskauer, LA +/-, NY +
Quinn Emanuel, SV +
Reed Smith, LA +, SF +/-
Robbins Gellar, SD +/-
Ropes & Gray, SF +, NY +
Rutan Tucker, OC +
Schiff Hardin, SF -
Sedgwick, LA +
Shearman & Sterling, NY -, SF +
Sheppard Mullin, LA +, OC +, SF +/-, SV +
Sidley, Chi -, DC -, LA +/-, SF +/-
Simpson Thatcher, NY +, SV +/-
Stradling, OC +
Skadden, LA +, NY +/-, SV +/-
Sullivan Cromwell, SV +
Vinson & Elkins, Dal +
Wachtell +/-
Wilson Sonsini, SV +/-
Weil, NY +, SV +
White & Case, LA -, NY +, SV +
Wilmer, LA +, NY +/-, SV +/-
  

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Monday, August 19, 2013

In Other News

Apparently Dean Edley has decided step down as Dean effective December 31.  (I got an e-mail from the Alumni Association, the text of which is posted in the EWI thread).  I actually did not know about the Dean's medical issue, but I wish him and his family the best.  I'm hoping he does not turn to cooking meth to secure the financial security of the law school (or acting as the lawyer for meth cooks?).  Jokes aside, it's a bit too early to write the history on Dean Edley's tenure at the law school, but this is the law school that I entered in 2004 along with a freshly minted Dean, who for the first time was not a Boalt insider:

-- No wireless or electrical outlets in classrooms.  If you sat in the front row and had an exceptionally long power cord, you could plug in your laptop to a surge protector.  And the battery power in laptops those days were not what they are today.  You'd see solitaire on people's screens in class. 

-- Chairs would break.  During class.  With people sitting in them.  Torts.

-- Ranked 13th.

-- The law school's website has neat graphs on faculty numbers. Suffice it to say, we've hired some top caliber talent during Dean Edley's tenure, including Interim Dean Lester.

-- The elephant in the room is the increase in fees.  I used to be of the mindset that Dean Edley was correct to try to set Boalt on a path that followed the Michigan / UVA model.  That made sense in an era of one budget crisis after another.  It also made sense in an era of boom law firm hiring.  With the benefit of the economic collapse of 2008, I've been gradually second-guessing the wisdom of that plan.  There is now no legitimate public law school option in California.  I think what really bothered me the most is that we went from a really crappy loan repayment program to a really good loan repayment program funded by increased fees  and donations to a government sponsored loan repayment program.  A large part of the fee increases were earmarked for loan repayment.  If current Boalties are using government loan repayment programs, where's the extra money going?  Deep down, I'm bothered by that.  It's one thing to increase fees knowing that the school will guarantee loan repayment for those who work in public sector / public interest jobs.  If that were the case, the nominal fees would be high, but in terms of actual costs, the school would continue with its core mission of serving as a public law school.  Instead, we are back to square one:  depending on the whims and wishes of legislators eager to cut funding.  I don't get it. 

Regardless, I'm terribly sad to see Dean Edley step down. 

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Friday, July 12, 2013

President Napolitano

I don't have any magnificent, non-snarky insights on the appointment of Secretary Napolitano to be the next UC President.  In terms of mediocre, snarky insights, I think it's high time the UC system required a full body scan image, finger prints, mind-numbing questions about "Your Senator," and a wait time of 8 to 20 years for every applicant.

I'm here all day. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Open Bar

In the comments, I'm seeing sporadic posts about studying for the Bar Exam...that wonderful experience.  If you feel like you're struggling, you're not alone, just read posts from years past around this same time period.  Anyway, this is just an open thread for people to ask questions, vent their anger, insult me personally, or anything else. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Open Thread for ATL's Recent Post: "How Much Does Your Law Prof. Make? Berkeley Edition."

There have been some rumblings. Some commentary. Some hashing out over social media. Here is an open thread.

If you haven't seen it, the article is here and links to a corresponding more detailed list here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

"Darn. There goes my judo match with Putin."

Say what you want about ThatWhichShallNotBeSpoken, this is hands-down the best response to a diplomatic sanction.

John Yoo Barred from Russia, Could Give A Flying ... Pig

Anyone to provide an illustrated version of what a judo match b/w Yoo and Putin would look like will immediately be published. And lauded in whatever way they'd like. Submissions to nutsnboalts@gmail.com.

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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

BHSA Elections

BHSA Elections are Weds/Thurs from 10–2 in the Donor Lobby.
Don't forget to vote!  (Really? A cynic might ask. Vote? Why?)
Read on...

Read more »

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ted

Ma nishtana ha'lailah ha'zeh mikol haleilot?  Why is tonight different from all other nights?  Because tonight I am proud to have graduated from the same law school as Ted Olson.  It requires a special form of courage to adopt and advocate a position repugnant to the political orthodoxy of one's social and professional peers.  I applaud it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

"What, no discussion of the USNWR law school rankings?"

Ask and you shall receive! U Chicago moves into a tie for 4th, while Berkeley slips into a tie for 9th. Berkeley remains #1 in Intellectual Property (as if there were ever a doubt). Hastings and Davis both dropped, to 48 and 38 respectively. Stanford is once again 3.

Is any of this important? Rankings have always been fairly divisive among the student body, and no doubt still are. Should it be worrisome that Berkeley rankings decline despite out of state tuition eclipsing $52,000 per year? Post your thoughts or observations in the comments.

Monday, January 21, 2013

In Defense of Citizens United

As today marks the third anniversary of the unpopular decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, I expect a handful of folks to ask me to take a stand against the case by signing a petition or re-sharing a Facebook post or something. I'll admit I'm not happy with the way that corporate power influences politics. But here's why I think Citizens United was rightly decided, and why attempts to overturn the case or amend the First Amendment to exempt corporations (or certain types of corporations) are a danger to free speech in general"


In a nutshell, much of what has traditionally been protected political speech uses the corporate form. I'm open to suggestions, but I can't see how you can draw a reasonable boundary between protecting the New York Times Company spending millions of dollars to distribute an election editorial and not protecting Koch Industries spending millions of dollars to run ads during an election.

I usually hear one of two responses for how you would draw such a distinction, neither persuasive to me.

The first is to argue that the First Amendment should protect the right of individual persons (such as journalists) but not cover the corporate entity (such as the New York Times Company). The problem here is that this would still enable overly broad restraints on what many would consider legitimate speech. Journalists may be free to write what they want, but they wouldn't be able to receive a corporate salary. Or use the corporate printing press. Or post on a website owned by a corporation. Or really do anything more than standing on a street corner and handing out flyers.

The second is to draw a line between different types of corporations -- e.g. between media and non-media corporations. This is the approach taken by the dissent in Citizens United, but it's one I'm uncomfortable with because of the difficulty in drawing coherent boundaries here. Take the media / non-media distinction for example. What's a "media corporation"? Is the New York Times a media corporation? What about Google, which hosts Blogger? What if a non-media corporation bought a media corporation? First Amendment law favors bright lines because fuzzy boundaries have a chilling effect on legitimate speech. And the lines involved with okaying some corporations but not others aren't so clear in practice.

While I'd like to think there's a line to be drawn here, but I suspect there isn't. The fundamental complaint raised by campaign finance reform activists isn't about corporations per se, but about how the accumulation of capital affects the political process. Yet the political process is built around mass communication. And it turns out that communicating to hundreds of millions of Americans is expensive. It requires the accumulation of capital, whether it's paying for TV broadcasting, print newspaper, or laying the fiber optic cable for an Internet connection. So long as that's true, it'll be difficult to take the money out of politics without taking free speech out as well.

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Friday, January 04, 2013

California Bar Results by School

California has released the breakdown of pass rate by school. Berkeley came in 5th with 86.3%, losing out to Stanford (93.7%), UC Irvine (90.2%), UCLA (89%), and USC (88%). The overall average for ABA approved schools was 76.9%.

By way of comparison, Berkeley's pass rate in 2011 was 87%, and in 2010 it was 91%.

There must be something in the water down in Southern California...


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

FUBAR Revisited.

Anon asked, and shall receive, a post updating the situation mentioned in Armen's previous post, FUBAR. As picked up recently by Above the Law among other outlets, the two Boalt students have now been formally charged following the killing of a helmeted guineafowl in Las Vegas. Without raising names in this post, one of the two students faces two felonies, one gross misdemeanor, and one normal misdemeanor while the other faces one misdemeanor count. Feel free to discuss below, if you feel so inclined.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Shorter NRA

In the wake of mass killings we should focus on Mortal Kombat and other fictionalized violence, and increase access to guns.

Hmmm...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tedford Out

Can't say I'm surprised by this news.  Last season I was experiencing what Cal fans experienced this season, except Neuheisel did not have a fraction of the positive impact on UCLA football that Tedford's had on Cal football.  In fact, it's really hard to overstate the impact of Jeff Tedford.  In 2005, Cal was just a whiny Mack Brown away from going to the Rose Bowl.  Just looking at the list of current NFL players to come through Tedford's program is an impressive list: Rodgers, Lynch, Jackson, Forsett, Best, etc.  I'm sure you can add others.   

Friday, November 16, 2012

(California) Bar Results

For the Class of 2012 hoping to practice in California, today will either be a relief or it will suck.  Either way, results for the California bar exam will FINALLY be released tonight at 6:00 p.m. Feel free to vent anxiety now, celebrate later, or ask what is next in the unfortunate case that bad news arrives.

Best of luck to everyone; alcohol poisoning is a dangerous thing.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Have Strong Thoughts on Recruiting?

A reporter for The Recorder is looking to write an article on this year's on-campus recruiting with a very tight deadline.  If you're a current 2L and you're willing to share your thoughts, please reach out to Julia directly at jlove at alm-dot-com.  Or if you want to anonymously share your thoughts, post them below.  If I have any free time today, I may go back to earlier OCIP threads and run Deltaview on the firms that recruited from Berkeley then versus now.  Should be an interesting comparison. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Warren Reigns (No, not that Warren)

The headline news is Obama's victory. The below-the-fold news worth watching is Warren's.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Election Open Thread

Consider this your election day / night open thread.  I am too busy to create election night coverage drinking game, but if you really want to get wasted, take a drink anytime someone mentions "middle America" or "rural/suburban families."  Instead, if you think you're a political hot shot, then go ahead and try to predict the answers to these questions:

1.  Winner of the Presidency is: __________.

2.  We will know the winner by:  __________ (date and time in PST).

3.  The winning (and by this I mean clinching the 270 mark) Electoral votes will come from the State (or Commonwealth or District) of __________.

4.  Winner will receive _______ Electoral College votes.

5.  The winner will receive ____ % of the popular vote.

6.  The winner will receive ________ total popular votes.

7.  Most important issue according to the exit polls will be _________.

8.  The breakdown of the Senate will be: __ D, ___ R, ___ I (bonus points if you correctly identify who the independent Senators will caucus with).

9.  __________ will win the Massachusetts Senate race.

10.  The GOP will gain/lose ______ seats in the House.

These are fairly straight forward.  But then again, this is an open thread so you can add questions of your own or talk about whatever else is bugging you (insert panicked 1L voice, "what the hell is replevin?").     

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In Memoriam

My thoughts and prayers are with Judge Willie Fletcher and his family following the sad news of Judge Betty Fletcher's passing.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Prop Joe

I've been trying to avoid the inevitable...election season.  In elections past, I've either opened up a debate open thread or offered my thoughts on California propositions.  In this one, I'd like to do both.  Feel free to offer your pre-, post-, or then-existing debate thoughts.  As a reminder, today's the last day to register to vote in the November 6 election and you can do so here.

Final (Debate) Countdown

As a self-described degenerate gambler (I'm just kidding Dear Future Background Checker), here are my prop bets on tonight's debate (and the payoff odds).

1.  Obama wears blue tie.  (even money).

2.  Both candidates "work the ref."  (-1200 [which means very likely to happen]).

3.  Substantive discussion on the legality (or lack thereof) of continued and expanded drone strikes (or some other foreign policy issue not amenable to 3 second talking point).  (+10,000).

California Propositions

As a default, my rule is to vote no on any proposition.  For long time followers of California history and politics, it's a simple fact that the propositions are choking this state, in particular by removing the Legislature's discretion to cut / add spending.  

Prop 30 -- Yes.  Increase in sales tax and income tax for high earners to pay for the budget gap.  I benefited from much lower fees at both UCLA and Boalt.  More than happy to pay my higher share in taxes to help prevent further increases on students and others.  Also, I dislike Prop 38 because it suffers from the fatal flaw of other propositions that mandate how the money is to be spent.  That's a flaw, not a virtue. 

Prop 31 -- No.  Something about amending the constitution to change budget cycle and something about local governments blah blah blah.  I read the title and realized I'm not persuaded to vote yes.  So, gets a no by default.  This is again one of those instances where it sounds fine on paper to allow local governments to have spending discretion, but let's say the state allocates $50 million on contraceptives, and some crazy right wing director of health in say Barstow thinks this is the Devil's plan.  Why should the Legislature have to veto her actions just to make sure someone is spending the money as intended?  This is ridiculous and another one of those propositions that wrecks the system more than solving anything. 

Prop 32 -- No.  Basically your average "red state" anti-union political contributions bill.  Very strange that in certain states union political activism is evil, but corporate political activism is free speech / personhood. 

Prop 33 --  No.  This changes the law to allow auto insurers to base pricing decisions in part on history of insurance coverage.  For example, currently your rate is based on your age, driving history, type of vehicle, etc.  So if you've had insurance with any insurer, you get a discount, but the uninsured guy trying to buy insurance has to pay more.  And that is why I'm voting no.  I want MORE people to carry insurance.  I don't want to give them added incentive not to carry insurance.  Sure, I might be giving up a buck or two in some illusory discount, but I think that's a small price to pay. 

Prop 34 -- Yes.  Overturn the death penalty.  Amazing what we as Californians are willing to pay in bad economic times but this category of wasteful spending seems to survive.

Prop 35 -- No.  Increase penalty for human traffickers, etc.  I'm not pro human trafficking or anything, but this state has a terrible history of passing "tough on crime" propositions that result in absurdities.  Why is this necessary?  Is the pro-human trafficking lobby strongly opposed to increasing punishments through the Legislature? 

Prop 36 -- YES.  A resounding yes for this proposition that modifies California's ridiculous three strikes law after nearly two decades of failure.  For those too young to remember, in the early to mid 90s, a Petaluma girl named Polly Klaas was kidnapped from her home by a felon with multiple convictions.  This naturally led to all sorts of hysteria in the suburbs about felons walking among us, so California passed a law mandating a sentence of 20 years to life for anyone convicted of a third felony.  What could possibly go wrong?  A lot actually.  This finally modifies the law to require that the third felony be serious or violent, with certain exceptions.  Net savings?  $70 to $90 million annually.  Yes and yes. 

Prop 37 -- Undecided.  This is the proposition that would require labeling of genetically engineered ("GE") foods for the undecided.  I honestly still don't know which way I lean on this one.  Here is my thinking.  Con:  The proponents seem to be putting a lot of stock in junk science.  Even if the article is a bit of a hit job, we can all certainly agreed that there is certainly no consensus in the scientific community on the effects of genetically modified foods in the way that there is for tobacco.  Also, if someone is currently interested in buying non-GE food, they can shop at Whole Foods or whatever.  Why create an unnecessary panic?  Pro:  We're all capable of deciding how much sugar we should eat, but that's required to be on a food label.  Why not GE information?  Why can't we trust people to make their own decisions with information and as far as I can see this does not restrict the sale of GE foods. 

Prop 38 -- See above.

Prop 39 and 40 -- declining to comment.  This means you shouldn't ask, "Why can't you comment?" 

Opine away.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Three's A Crowd?

If my FaceSpace newsfeed is any indication, many of my fellow Boalties have been following the election and, in particular, the debates, closely.  This morning, Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate, filed this complaint in federal court in D.C.  In short, it asks that the Commission on Presidential Debates be forced to include him in the upcoming debates.

In reviewing the complaint, a couple things became readily apparent to me:

1. I know very little about the laws surrounding political campaigns and the media.

2. The complaint alleges that the Commission on Presidential Debates is a 501(c)(3).  I'm a bit unclear on how that can be, as 501(c)(3) corporations are generally precluded from being involved in politics.

3. Gov. Johnson has a tough row to hoe arguing unilateral contract here, and with a debate coming up in four days, with just two court days in between, it would take a miracle for a court to even take a look at it.  Maybe a miracle in the form of an ex parte appearance.

4. It seems to me that it makes sense to add as many candidates as could mathematically become president (i.e., they are on a sufficient number of ballots to potentially gain the requisite electoral votes) to the debate.  Third party candidates are frequently written off as a nuisance to Democratic and Republican nominees, but isn't it hard for them to be anything more than that if they aren't permitted into the debate?

Ultimately, I don't think Gov. Johnson's complaint will get him very far, particularly this late in the debate schedule.  But it brings up two questions (at least for me):  1. Why do we exclude nominees who are on a sufficient number of ballots from the debates? and 2. Is the legal system the best mechanism to resolve this issue?

Friday, October 12, 2012

FUBAR

Oh boy.  I don't really even have words for this one.  I will say, as someone who has taken part in a tradition of going to Vegas every MLK weekend since 2L year, I think an annual pilgrimage can do wonders in maintaining ties among friends.  Or you can get caught in the moment, do something stupid/monstrous (I haven't yet judged which side this falls on), and essentially ruin the rest of your professional life. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Open Discussion Thread

Nothing new has cropped up in sometime, largely due to many of the regular contributors graduating from Boalt. I have no idea what peculiar things may or may not be happening at Boalt, but if there is anything specific that deserves a post, or you want somewhere to anonymously vent, feel free to post it in the comments!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Boaltie at the RNC

As someone posted late last year, Ricky Gill (Boalt 2012) is running for Congress for Califronia's 9th Congressional District (which I think covers most of San Joaquin County, some of eastern Contra Costa County, and some of southern Sacramento County).  A couple days ago, he gave a speech at the RNC.  He is just outside my Congressional District, but I'm sure there are a few Boalties out there that are registered in his district.  Here is a link to his speech.

It is pretty brief (just under two minutes), and doesn't say anything terribly earth-shattering.  It is nice, for me at least, to see young people running for office - he just made the constitutional cut-off for Congress at 25 years old.  My time at Boalt didn't overlap with his at all, but I'm sure some of you trolls out there know him and have your own thoughts.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

POTUS Talks Law School Student Debt... Not Really

As some of you fine interweb trolls (like myself) know, our supreme commander shined light on the dark corners of the internet today by doing an AMA (ask me anything) thread on the always educational reddit.com.  One of the questions posed (to which he provided a response) was regarding student debt and, in particular, law school debt.  Here is the question and answer:


Question:
I am recent law school graduate. Despite graduating from a top school, I find myself unemployed with a large student loan debt burden. While I'm sure my immediate prospects will improve in time, it's difficult to be optimistic about the future knowing that my ability to live a productive life -- to have a fulfilling career, to buy a house, to someday raise a family -- is hampered by my debt and the bleak economic outlook for young people. I know that I'm not alone in feeling this way. Many of us are demoralized. Your 2008 campaign was successful in large part due to the efforts of younger demographics. We worked for you, we campaigned for you, and we turned out in record numbers to vote for you. What can I say to encourage those in similar situations as I am to show up again in November? What hope can you offer us for your second term?
Answer:
I understand how tough it is out there for recent grads. You're right - your long term prospects are great, but that doesn't help in the short term. Obviously some of the steps we have taken already help young people at the start of their careers. Because of the health care bill, you can stay on your parent's plan until you're twenty six. Because of our student loan bill, we are lowering the debt burdens that young people have to carry. But the key for your future, and all our futures, is an economy that is growing and creating solid middle class jobs - and that's why the choice in this election is so important. The other party has two ideas for growth - more taxs cuts for the wealthy (paid for by raising tax burdens on the middle class and gutting investments like education) and getting rid of regulations we've put in place to control the excesses on wall street and help consumers. These ideas have been tried, they didnt work, and will make the economy worse. I want to keep promoting advanced manufacturing that will bring jobs back to America, promote all-American energy sources (including wind and solar), keep investing in education and make college more affordable, rebuild our infrastructure, invest in science, and reduce our deficit in a balanced way with prudent spending cuts and higher taxes on folks making more than $250,000/year. I don't promise that this will solve all our immediate economic challenges, but my plans will lay the foundation for long term growth for your generation, and for generations to follow. So don't be discouraged - we didn't get into this fix overnight, and we won't get out overnight, but we are making progress and with your help will make more.

Now, my disdain for most things liberal aside, this feels an awful lot like a non-answer.  Maybe because it is a non-answer.  In any event, I think I have seen people mention student debt once or twice on this blog, so, well, you folks can feel free to have at it again.

Also, for those interested, here is the link to the AMA Reddit thread.