Thursday, March 31, 2005

Impeaches and Cream

Tom DeLay wants to Schiavo foot up the judiciary's ass by impeaching the judges who dared to follow the rule of law against the wishes of a vocal minority in the Terri Schiavo matter. (Hat tip: Bashman). I say we tar and feather them. No, wait, scratch that. Why reinvent the wheel? There have been and still are plenty of countries that use creative methods to get their judges to toe the government line. Using Congress's power to impeach comes dangerously close to following the law. Hogwash.

Oh and for you strict textualists and/or religious fanatics who think that governments were ordained to execute the will of God as seen through the eyes of men, I don't see the words "separation of powers" anywhere in the Constitution. Let freedom ring.

Sometimes my head hurts. I don't even want to bother mentioning the earlier Florida Supreme Court decision tossing Jeb Bush's effort to circumvent the court rulings through an act of the Legislature.


What a Game

Since Armen neglected his normal sports-writing duties, I'd like to note that the illustrious Cleveland Steamers took home a sorely needed 12-2 victory after a good-natured and entertaining match. I'd also like to note that the pitcher (hmm, who might that be?) carried a no-hitter for 2.1 innings thanks to some spectacular defense. Please note this isn't a baseball team, it's slow-pitch softball. Such things are unheard of. With five Ks (two looking) over the last two games, the wholly anonymous pitcher said in interviews that it was really coming together, and that the Steamers are playoff-bound for sure! The still-anonymous pitcher thinks that one P. Colosi deserves a lion's share of the credit for the paucity of hitting.

In other news, the Fletcher-Hinkes [practice[ title bout will be at 1:00 on Friday. Will strict textualism win the day? Can the dicta on preponderance make itself into the caselaw? Can the movant articulate anything about the doll in fifteen minutes? [If permission is granted by the participants] come see the fight to quiet claims argued over kitchen counters for three months! Fun for the whole family!

And a few more snippets:

* Thanks to alumni who post course advice in the comments section. it's very valuable to me at least.

* I apologize for not posting over break Armen. I thought about it. I swear I did. I just didn't feel like sharing.

* The ATLA seminar yesterday was great. The IP sector had better up a) its bribes and/or b) the interest level of its content, or c) organize their firms in a very friendly way, if they seek to prevent the trial lawyers from stealing me. Consider yourself on notice IP sector.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

2089: A Boalt Odyssey

Received the following e-mail today:
What's your IDEAL CLASSROOM?Wireless? Comfortable, Adjustable Chairs?Non-flourescent lighting? Instructional Technology?The Building Committee will be meeting to hear studentinput regarding the ideal classroom - to be created in thenew Boalt-Haas Building and implemented in our currentclassrooms. Here's your chance to give feedback. Shootan email voice your opinions by midnightTuesday, March 29th!

Feedback on large (90-120 people), medium (40-90), and small (10-40)
classrooms welcome!

As I said earlier, Boalt just now installed wireless access in its classrooms. But when looking at more advanced civilizations, we see that Armageddon cannot be too far away. As the saying goes, smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from other people's mistakes. The following is my hodgepodge of an ideal classroom, law school style.

1. Direct TV on every seatback. Cheap, $0.00001 headphones wrapped in plastic available to your right as you enter the class.

2. Concessions stand right outside. Even if they priced their food items based on the British Pound, like Cafe Zeb does, they'd still manage to make a pretty penny at the end of the day. During Civ Pro, I'm really in the mood for some twizzlers. During Property? A 25 gallon jug of Diet Coke with lime. I really want to roll into Immigration with Nachos and Int'l Trade with GM Corn on the Cob.

3. Seats. Enough said.

4. LucasFilm LTD in the classroom. The intro alone would go leaps and bounds beyond the customary "Umm let's go ahead and get started" mumble by the prof to get us into gear. I mean granted, co-blogger Tom Fletcher and I did our best to sound like the Black Eyed Peas every time Prof. Torts said that, but still, I think a little sound check would definitely activate the caffeine flowing through everyone's bloodstream.

5. Souveneir shop. The $39 Boalt pencil might be the stuff you're looking for, and they are readily available under the dust and cob webs of the bookstore, but I'm talking about a themed souveneir shop for students and faculty alike. I've had the idea ever since Prof. Civ. Pro showed up to class in a tux on the day we discussed the Cole Porter case (a day I happened not to go to class...much like today). But in this shop there'd be such novelty items as a plastic hairy hand. Frozen FRYING chicken. Fox fur (from that "animal, so cunning and ruthless in his career")captured on the grounds of Castle Haas. Tickets to the Long Island R.R. And much, much more.

6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 are not all that interesting and have to do with having enough space between chairs and desks to allow people who are NOT from Lilliput to walk through. Projectors and screens in more than just one classroom. WD-40 on hinges of chairs. Integrated audio/video/computer/light control systems to allow profs to walk into class, pop on the DVD and not wait for technical staff to assist wasting precious class time. So on and so forth.


Monday, March 28, 2005

Our Rank and File

Last night when I returned to Berkeley someone IMed me this new US News rankings of law schools where Boalt is now tied for 11th. I wanted to postpone any significant discussion of the rankings as a whole and this new one in particular until Wednesday, once my final brief is turned in, but since there's already some discussion in the blawgsphere (see e.g., here and here), might as well get it off my chest now.

WARNING: I couldn't care less about the rankings themselves. There are smarter people out there to digest that. I'm more interested in how the *cough* nuts and bolts of this school affect its position with respect to other schools. Since admit day is fast approaching us, I think it is best to offer my opinions now instead of later. So if you're interested in a discussion of the US rankings, its methods (sidenote: to date, I have not seen anyone frown upon the incorrect use of the term methodology, which ought to mean the study of methods), etc., this is not the place. With that, I'll base my thoughts on specific components of the overall score.


This immediately caught my eye. We have a 10% admit rate? That's awfully low. Compare this to the top three, Yale - 6.5%, Harvard - 11.3%, and Stanford 7.7%. This almost looked like an error at first glance, but I did more checking, and sure enough, we do get over 7000 apps a year EASILY. Cornell, a school we are tied with, makes it to the high 4000s. In addition, Cornell has to admit as many students as Boalt to achieve an incoming class that's about 100 less than ours. This all adds up to greater selectivity for Boalt.

This also explains the effect that I witnessed when I was visiting schools around this time last year, i.e. markedly greater variety of backgrounds among Boalt admits. Have I seen every other law school in the country? No, of course not. But I can safely say we have a lot fewer people who graduated in the early 2000s and worked at a NY or DC firm as a paralegal for a couple of years.


Unacceptably low at time the numbers were taken for the rankings. By the end of this year the ratio SHOULD come down, but I'm not sure if it will do so sufficiently.


The numbers are really low or really high depending on what it is compared to [ending with a preposition, I know]. 89% employed after graduation is really high when compared to, oh let's say history Ph.Ds. But compared to the law schools around us in the rankings, this is drastically low. I think there MIGHT be two explanations for this.

1. Student-body. The right Non-profit with the espresso machine in the lobby is hard to find. We do our best thank you very much. If this means screwing the rankings, well the hell with it.

2. Career Services. If you ever need an exercise in self-help, then 12 Boalt Hall is the place for you. This is the gist of what I remember about the career services office of another school I visited. "We baby you through every stage of your 1L summer job search." Well not in the big leagues that is Boalt. Here, you walk on the hot coals yourself. There is not a question you can have that cannot be answered by a wink and a nod towards the many volumes of career guides on their shelves. The only thing missing is a multi-level, number-based menu system announced by the receptionist as you walk in (see Capital One ads for visual).

I can easily see some alumnus/a/i flaming me for being a brat who is not self-reliant and really doesn't know the half of it about doing things yourself. To which I respond, I don't care if you took notes on slate, we still need to upgrade and change with the times rather than stubbornly clinging to ways just because the Class of '13 did it that way. Beginning today, every classroom in Boalt is equipped with wireless access and outlets for laptops. Why couldn't this be done sooner? That was, easily, the biggest obstacle to overcome in deciding to come to Boalt. I'm used to certain amenities like electricity. Same thing with career services. I think that office needs to be more (buzzword alert) proactive in reaching out to students just because it's the right thing to do.

See no. 1 above for my view on the effect this shift will have on Boalt's ranking.

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A Review Derci?

At De Novo we (and by we I mean co-blogger PG) are planning a symposium on joining your respective school's law review. Please read her post and offer any submissions you may have. If there's anything particular about CLR that should be shared with the general Boalt community you can contact me or just post here.


Speaking of Personal Property

I want to welcome back all my classmates from their spring breaks (including myself). I'd like to announce that I no longer own that piece of shit car that was the 90 Corolla with the two cracks in the windshield. Now I have my mom's 2000 Corolla (we're a Toyota family).

However, the people at Berkeley Transportation charged me $25 to get a new permit because the old one was pretty impossible to remove without damaging. For anyone who's taken Con Law, doesn't this violate some right to property stuff? I understand the $25 is probably an administrative charge but then can't they make an effort to make the stickers more transferrable (without making them easily stealable). Am I just a brat who doens't want to fork over $25?

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Grammarian on Wheels

While showering, I thought of an old argument I've had with several people including a few classmates regarding THE grammatical propriety of adding THE definite article to a freeway number. This is primarily done in Southern California where we travel on THE 405, THE 10, THE 101, etc. In Northern California, and I'm told elsewhere in THE country, THE definite article is omitted. So when giving directions, these poor souls sound like this: "Umm take 880 to 580 then to 80..." Yuck.

I've always argued that "THE" modifies freeway and THE number in between is an adjective. This would make sense grammatically. THE most intelligent argument against it was posed by a classmate who said that we don't say, "Take THE Bancroft Street to Boalt." For some very bizarre reasons, no doubt, it dawned on me yesterday while showering that Dorothy follows THE Yellow Brick Road. Bancroft is a proper name and a definite article is redundant. In SoCal, for whatever reason, we don't perceive THE numbers on freeways as proper names but as adjectives modifying freeway in general. It could be THE culture or just utility (we have too damn many freeways yet not nearly enough). But it makes sense. This is also THE reason why when we switch THE wording around slightly "THE" is dropped, e.g. Highway 101 as opposed to THE Highway 101.

THE mysterious tid bit in all this is why THE Pacific Coast Highway becomes simply PCH. I have yet to hear one single individual utter, "Take THE PCH."


Marital Bli$$

Why don't we read about cases like this in Property?

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A judge has awarded the former wife of a multimillionaire businessman a divorce settlement worth more than $40 million even though she admitted having affairs with her rock-climbing guide and a man she met on a flight to China.

In addition to a $24 million payment, Susan Sosin will keep the couple's $3.6 million Manhattan apartment, $2 million Utah ski house and $800,000 home in Wallkill, N.Y. But she has to vacate the couple's two mansions in Connecticut and three desert properties in Arizona.

In the divorce granted Wednesday, she also gets to keep $6 million in her brokerage accounts, eight cars and $2.9 million in jewelry, including a ruby piece her husband had bought for her but hadn't given to her prior to their divorce.

Richard Albrecht, attorney for Sosin's husband, Howard, estimated the total value of the award at $43 million, or 27 percent of the estate. She wanted half, he said.

"My opinion is her conduct in this matter affected the award," Albrecht said.

My opinion is the guy got the benefit of his bargain. He should just be glad he's not in California.


Friday, March 25, 2005

Armen the Toolman 1L

I spent almost every second of yesterday moving furniture around and cleaning sh...stuff because my parents, in their eternal wisdom, chose OUR spring break to order new furniture and replace the carpet. As I type this, my forearms are still in pain, and the splinter under the nail of my right ring finger pleasures me until I climax.

In my anger and irritation I may have told my parents that I might as well drop out of law school to become a carpenter or something. Upon deliberation, however, I'd much rather be the lawyer suing the jackass (also me) who installed an extra-high threshold under the door that's ripe for tripping even quadropeds.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

LA LA LA LA means I hate driving in L.A.

For a while I had a beef with Bay Area drivers, particularly their passive aggressive tendancies (e.g. tailgating, but not honking horn, flashing lights, or passing on the right). Well this time I'd like to give Bay Area drivers credit where credit is due. Shockingly, when it rains, driving patterns in Northern California do not change all that much. Now compare that with Los Angeles.
1. Rush hour began around 2 pm when drops of water began to fall. (Oh no, I'm made of sugar, I need to get home).

2. Anyone who had watched the news and knew there might be rain, drove to work (that is, those who otherwise would have taken mass transit).

3. As a result, I saw at least one bus with a single passenger on board, and several more with only 2 or 3.

4. An LAPD car tailgated then passed on the right while travelling N/B on the 405.
Ah, can't wait to hop on the BART where the nutcases travel in the same car as you.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Little Things

What the hell is Spring Break without MTV's Springer Break? Sheesh. I bet they'll have the bodacious babes next week when I'm struggling to find "oral arguments" in Black's Law Dictionary. And don't get me started about MTV cancelling that one show way back when hosted by Sisqo. What was the premise of the show anyway?

Out of Class Learning Experience

A lot of high school and college physics students take field trips to Six Flags Magic Mountain to see various forces and other concepts in action.

I think every law student should take a field trip there to see K law, torts, crim, and property (to the extent that you're giving up too much of it when buying a drop of water) at work. Remember, they're not responsible for your personal items, so you might want to leave those Gilbert's outlines at home.

Friday, March 18, 2005

A Taste of Cal

I really should have posted this before my vacation message below, but anyway. There were two articles on the front page of the daily cal yesterday that caught my eye as a bit odd (even by Berkeley standards).

First we have the coalition trying to close down liquor stores in South Berkeley. The by-line says it all: "Crime Would Dry Up If Liquor Sales Were Curbed, Residents Say." The article as a whole has a couple of other tid bits that are quite amusing, such as S. Berkeley has a lot of crime, it also has a lot of liquor stores, therefore she's made of wood. I really wonder if people have heard of the 18th and 21st Amendments.

Second, we have the 63-year old creep arrested for using a shoe camera to get upskirt footage. Specifically:
Robert Knop, 63, was arrested last Thursday at the Richmond Costco when 16-year-old twins thought they saw him filming their mother from a camera planted inside his shoe, said Richmond police Sgt. Mark Gagan.

HOT. I really don't know how I will concentrate on driving with images of this sexy beast running around the Costco I frequent with a shoe camera. Frankly I think the twins overreacted. Honestly, let mom have her day in the sun. You (all) were just jealous he didn't film you two. Next time, join in...after picking up a sample of that neon green juice that has 200,000% daily average Vitamin K.


Hooray for (North) Hollywood

I'll be driving down to LA in a couple of hours. Hopefully this time I'll avoid side-of-the-road chit chat with the CHP. In either case, during the next week my personal blogging will either really increase or really decrease, whichever takes my mind off classes more. Happy (and safe) Spring Break to all...and if you're the working type, keep your chin up or something. Not sure what to tell you.

And completely unrelated, the Vatican is now asking followers not to read The Da Vinci Code. I'm assuming the Vatican leadership knows what good-writing is, and like the 6 billion other people in the World, they've come to the conclusion that Dan Brown's isn't it. A bit ironic but for once the Church is acting to preserve good literature.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Spring Breakenator

Almost by accident I ran into this piece in the LA Times disucssing a proposal by a CA State Sen. Dave Cox to amend the state constitution to allow the governor to carry his powers with him wherever he goes.

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I worked in the Office of Lt. Gov. Bustamante during the summer of 2003.]

At least in the article and I have a feeling in general as well, Cox is giving the impression that only Bustamante opposes the measure. Yet the article itself notes that a similar measure died in the Assembly last year. I, suspect, that the reasons for opposing the measure held by Bustamante are also held by quite a few others.

The first red flag that pops up is the mere coincidence that the measure is being introduced during the administration of a governor who has been out of state for a total of 3 months during the first year and half in office. So basically if there is any one reason to make sure the governor stays in the State to pay attention to state affairs will now disappear. Of course the flip side to this is that if the governor has state business to attend to somewhere else in the country he shouldn't have to worry about the Lt. Gov. interferring in his absence. However, since the governor can reverse any action of the Lt. Gov. this does not seem to be as big a concern as its counterpart.

Second, just as a policy matter there are some serious arguments to be made on both sides. If the governor is accessible at all times even when out of the state, why not give him the same powers as the US President? But then what if the governor needs to consult other government officials? If let's say there's a major earthquake, do I want the governor talking to various agency heads by phone, or do I want the Lt.G, the second-highest constitutional officer in the state, personally handling the situation? The answer, of course, is depends on who's in which office.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A Civil Action?

According to this BBC report, relatives of American peace activist Rachel Corrie are now suing heavy equipment maker Caterpillar for selling Israel a specially-armored tank that it should have known would be used in situations (e.g., bulldozing homes of accused Palestinian terrorists/insurgents -- let's not get into that semantic argument right now) where people's lives would be put in danger. I certainly don't want to get into a blog discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which way outside of my area of competence (assuming I still have an area of competence -- 1st year of law school introduces these kind of doubts in all of us). Just from a legal perspective, however, this seems like a rather novel and particularly tenuous claim, but one that could be interesting to follow in the future. Check out the article, and I invite comments on how successful you think the Corries will be.

You Say Tomato, I call you a reactionary

What's the deal with hyperbole when it comes to labeling the politics of the opposite side? Or your own side for that matter. I took note of this one particular night while watching Chris Matthews. He would not let the liberal talking head go on until he explained why he referred to himself and his coalition as "progressives." If I remember the quote, Matthews said something like, "Weren't they in the early 20th century?" In this post over at VC, David Bernstein, in talking about the vote against Summers, characterizes the Harvard faculty as "far left" twice in a post that's six sentences long.

I'm just wondering why every liberal continues to refer to the President as Bush or President Bush. Aren't all the creative arts people liberal? Can't we come up with some dictatorial title in honor of the Ides of March (which just passed)? Of course we can just call everyone terrorist or Islamo-fascist (I love that latter has that Irish-American ring to it).

Monday, March 14, 2005

Mary Poppins the Question

California Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer, for the County of San Francisco has issued this tentative ruling invalidating CA ban on gay marriage on state constitution equal protection grounds. Lockyer has promised to appeal. AP report here. I'll have my own thoughts on this after my afternoon nap. Happy Siesta.

UPDATE 1: I haven't had a chance to put my thoughts together, though I did read the opinion, I want, for now, to point to the LA Times Editorial today:

Those uncomfortable with the concept of gay marriage — and according to opinion polls, that includes a majority of Americans — may argue that marriage is an unnecessary step because California law already grants same-sex couples who register as domestic partners virtually the same state rights and responsibilities as married couples. That argument further undermines any reason for states to make the moral judgments about which adults can marry and which can't. Let priests, rabbis and imams decide which marriages should receive their blessing, but as to legal and social rights, the state has no business discriminating.

The legal battles over same-sex marriage are not the first time that the courts have gotten ahead of public opinion on social issues. This nation's long civil rights history is one of two steps forward, backlash, another step or two forward.

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

Tragedy Hits the Boalt Community

As I write this close to 4 AM, I am still probably too angry to rationally express what I ought to say, or more importantly what I ought to not express. During one of, perhaps the only, afterparty following the Barrister's Ball, one of MY, OUR classmates was shot by two African-American kids. I don't want to say anymore about the incident itself for obvious and not so obvious reasons.

I hope to see him tomorrow. If anyone is interested in joining me in wishing him well, e-mail me or call me (it's not hard to find my number).

In the past hour since I've finished giving statements to Berkeley P.D. I've done more abstract thinking about just how much this sucks. This city exists solely because of the university. If the students who attend there do not feel safe, what's the point? Boalt Briefs (the sarcastic two-page newsletter) remarked in an early edition how studying criminal law in Berkeley is like studying art in Florence or history in Athens. Well now the statement is not exactly sarcastic. My fucking friend was shot. Again, maybe it's the anger of the moment that's coming through, but right about now I'm nostalgic for the crimes often occuring in Westwood. I have too many other thoughts whirling through my head none of which are organized in any way shape or form.

I do want to thank the host of the party for stepping up in an unenviable situation.

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Friday, March 11, 2005

Big Brother

Is smarter. Adzhemyan the Younger, if you're reading this, take heed. And if your dumb ass is too lazy to click on the link...
They found that younger siblings tend to get less schooling than their elders and then end up with lower pay on average and were more likely to be in part-time work, Salvanes said. The findings were likely to hold true in other countries, he said.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

A (M)Edley of Sorts: Liveblogging a Talk by the Dean

-- Intro by Boalt Hall Student Association co-presidents. Talk slated to go until 2 (might end up boring me more than a patent litigation talk)

-- Dean miked for cameras. "I guess I should be careful with what I say." (Ditto).
-- Civil Rights project slated for Boalt similar to the one at Harvard he created.
-- Most of his time is spent on the $100 mil capital campaign. Meets with alumni who have the capacity and the interest to give $1 mil or more. There have been very few gifts of that size historically. But there are alumni with the capacity and there are a few who have jumped on board. "At Boalt and at the campus there's been no tradition of going out and getting gifts of this size. There's been depedence on the legislature...the process is basically one of culture change."

-- New Building Progress -- "I'm sorry I'm whining" referring to the bureaucracy at the campus over something like picking an architect for the new joint law school/business school building. Aside from the deans of the two schools there were 19 other people from various campus administrative units who offered their input.

-- Faculty hires -- A lot of new hires at entry-level and lateral hires in various fields. "When I say a bunch, I mean a bunch." There are 8 authorized searches. 6 weeks from now they will probably vote on offers for 12 people. "At the moment I am wildly optimistic about getting a lot...of people."

-- Misc.

IT director programming a web-based discussion board (WOW!!! Did I call this or did I call this? I'm so excited I can hardly type). His goal is to have this up and running by the end of spring break. Anyone from BHSA reading this, I'd be VERY HAPPY to give it a test-run.

-- Questions

--Environmental safety of building?

DE: Yes, architecture firm has impressive green credentials from Scandinavia. (Cool!) Prof. Civ Pro is part of a team creating a system for input from students on the building.

--FLAS funding? (Gov program makes graduate fellowship available to students undertaking advanced language training. Graduate and Professional schools waive fees if accepted).

DE: The cost for the professional schools has increased dramatically especially compared to letters and sciences. Partial forgiveness is not acceptable to the government. The policy judgment was either use Fin Aid money to students who want to study a language and may not have the need, or use it to enrich the loan repayment program. (Personally I'm very interested in international studies and language studies, but given the budget constraints I am absolutely glad that the Dean has decided to not fund the program).

--Faculty Diversity?

DE: Only one offer to a person of color. Boalt in danger of losing Norm Spaulding to Stanford. DE willing to name one of his children after Spaulding.

--Pipelining, specifically what's Boalt doing to prepare its own students for faculty hiring?

DE: refers to threaded discussion and Dean of Students Ortiz.

I need to offer more detailed commentary on this. It sounds a lot like DE is very overwhelmed and just does not have the patience to deal with specific student concerns. This is unfortunate because there are some good ideas that should be thought through. I personally think UC Berkeley needs a program like UCLA where 2 and 3L law students teach a law seminar to undergrads on a particular topic. In case you've been a contestant on survivor for the past 5 seasons, I took such a class with Phil Carter on Law and Terrorism. It was easily one of the most rewarding experiences at I got a heads up on how to brief cases.

--What the hell do you mean by a Civil Rights Center or Environmental Center?

DE: Well with things like nanotech, people think that Berkeley ought to be at the cutting edge of these issues in an inter-disciplinary way. That's the same with race and law theory, enviornmental law theory, etc. There's an opportunity for faculty and students to do multi-disciplinary work with adequate funds and space and to combine this work with outside things like advocacy, etc. For example the Berkeley Center of Law, Business, and Economy is an evolution of the law and economy program but it is much more expansive to include policy, business, maybe sociologists who study business organizations, etc. Trying to rebuild the environmental law program by adding some new faculty hires to repair old departures and then add to that a multi-disciplinary research center.

-- (Here's a fucking interesting question) "When you itnerviewed for the job and accepted you said that one of the considerations was the difference in the student body. [blah blah blah] You've been away for so long you can't appreciate some of the cool things...[blah blah blah] Then from our end we hear legacy admissions, partial-privatization, and higher LSAT scores which are not necessarily the goals of the institution from our end. There's one Harvard and possibly another one across the Bay, we don't need another one. We are a public school. [blah blah blah] So I'd like to know what we can do about that to make sure we don't lose what we have."

DE: I agree with everything you said, except how I spend my time. How do I put this? This school's been on a starvation diet for 15 years. You have experienced a doubling in tuition with no resources from that put to improving Boalt. Last year we lost faculty we had hoped to hire because we couldn't compete on salary. [HOMERUN OUT OF THE PARK COMING UP] And they were willing to sacrifice on salary because most law professors make less than what most of you, including those of you who just applauded, will be making in 3 or 4 years. [Splash into the bay] Every other law school has been investing in expanding faculty and their physical plant. And this is not just private schools, but I'm talking about Michigan, Virginia, Texas, Illinois, even Hastings. I gave a talk at Hastings the other Now don't transfer to Hastings.

--You position is not enviable. We're definitely glad you're here. [more applause than other student's comments]

DE: I'm not interested in being a campus citizen.

--There is a lot of interest in various areas that are currently not part of the curriculum, what up?

DE: In the past 15 years Boalt has tried to fix curriculum problems on the cheap, by hiring adjunct lecturers. Currently in the process of replacing those with tenure-track faculty.

-- Concern that Boalt is concerning itself too much with social justice instead of corporate

DE: Yeah, like Fidelity can't have one good portfolio, a top 5 or even a top 10 law school cannot be a niche school. Had beer with interim dean of business school to expand curriculum in the area of law and business.

-- Funding for clinics?

DE: Regularized funding for clinics months ago, rather than requiring them to go through soft-money.


With appologies to the readers I need to leave now to work on my brief. I'm tempted to add a line of commentary or two just to wrapt things up. I really cannot understand the myopic views of some students critical of the dean. It is almost as if they need SOMETHING to complain about...anything. Dean out raising money for my fucking school? Let's complain. I just really wish sometimes, JUST SOMETIMES people can put down the student-advocate-at-xyz-undergrad hat and actually consider the long-term goals of the institution that will forever be tattooed to their identities.

As another student commented, news of Edley heading our law school created a buzz in the legal community and even in the State in general. We are the flagship public law school in California. Not many other states can claim a SYSTEM of public law schools. To take us to the Top 5 requires ambition and necessarily leaves no time to deal with your inconvenience with OCS. Should the OCS be improved? Yes. Is that what the Dean should be concerned about? Nah.

Current time 2:13.

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Lost World

The 9-5 heartwrenching loss of the steamers tonight doesn't even compare to the loss suffered by all with the announcement that the United States will be pulling out of the enforcement part of the Vienna Consular Treaty (Hat tip: Bashman).

How much can I fuck international law over? Let me count the ways. Death sentences (nevermind trials) to nationals of other countries without access to their consulate (imagine if an American couple in China were tried and executed without the knowledge of the US embassy...why that'd be outrageous, violation of human rights, blah blah blah self-righteous bull shit). Then of course we have the military "torturing" prisoners. I use that in quotes because we get to define torture and you know, changes with the color of the leaves. As John Yoo likes to say, the Geneva Conventions did not contemplate terrorism (I just sometimes wonder if he thinks whether the conventions contemplated barbarism by militaries). Kyoto...stay out. Court of Justice? Not in my back yard. Mines? Yes, please. We have a military-industrial complex with a voracious appetite and an even bigger pocketbook. I'm sure indiscriminate shooting violates some agreement

Anyway, we might yearn for the days of Henry Cabot Lodge, when international cooperation was at least debated.

If you're interested in the legal aspects of the case, Opinio Juris has several posts (from the US can do whatever it wants perspective) and the SCOTUSblog has a slightly different angle. (Hat tip: VC and Bashman on these)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Nothing In Life Is Free

Boalt Hall, which fancies itself as the premier public interest law school in the country, finally has "guaranteed" funding for summer public interest fellowships. "Guaranteed" gets the air quotes treatment, of course, because the funding has more conditions and exceptions attached than the average Senate bill. As noted in the blog in the past, Boalt's notion of public service does not apparently extend to judicial externs, who are not eligible for fellowship money. As we got the final terms and conditions for the fellowship by email today, it's clear that the guaranteed money is actually given out on a much more restrictive basis than the administration would have you believe in its publicity materials. That is not to say that the public interest fellowship program is a bad thing -- it's a very welcome development -- but rather that the program is being implemented in such a way as to limit the number of people funded, not to open it up to the maximum number of Boalt students who are working even in unpaid public service jobs this summer.

Since many reading this blog are law students, let's get down to a little textual analysis, from the program announcement sent to students (available here, Calnet ID required). My rhetorical questions and comments in italics. Responses from the announcement in quotes.

1) Summer funding for public interest jobs already exists in a limited way at Berkeley, why is Boalt introducing a broader public interest funding program?
"If more students experience this part of the profession, we anticipate that more will pursue a public interest/public service career track."

2) Who is eligible for the funding?
"The Boalt Public Interest/Public Service Summer Fellowship Program offers a one summer Fellowship to every one of our continuing JD students."

3) Everyone? But so many Boalties (over 70%) are just going to go on to get one of those lucrative firm jobs. Why so generous?
"Of course, many Boalt students want to go into private practice after graduation, and a large share of those students will take summer work with private firms. Nonetheless, those who now think themselves headed to private practice are invited to use the Fellowship to give a summer of public interest/public service a try."

3) No, really, who is eligible for the funding?
"The main requirement for obtaining a Fellowship is to show a commitment to public interest/public service work during the school year. This may be demonstrated through participation in one or more of the many Boalt-related public interest/public service opportunities or, at least for this year, in other ways that are individually arranged by Boalt students."

4) But wait, I thought the fellowship "offers one summer Fellowship to every one of our continuing J.D. students"? Now you say the program is available only to students who "show a commitment to public interest/public service work during the school year." Plainly, this isn't necessarily every Boalt student. Moreover, this doesn't seem terribly in keeping with the stated aim of the program, which is to encourage "those who now think themselves headed to private practice... to use the Fellowship to give a summer of public interest/public service a try." It seems, by restricting the funding to those who demonstrate a long-term commitment to public service, you're really only offering "guaranteed" funding to those who are already heading, or want to head, down that path. Again, this isn't necessarily a bad policy, but maybe you should be more upfront about this, non?
(Note: the following was never said by Boalt administration, but I imagine it's their response.) Are you daft? How could you think that summer funding would come with absolutely no conditions attached?

5) Because I only read the first line of most administrative emails and press releases:
"Under an ambitious new program, Boalt Hall is offering $4,000 fellowships to every continuing law student at the school who wants to pursue public interest or public service work this summer." (Emphasis added)

6) Well, that teaches me a lesson in reading the fine print. Any further fine print I should be aware of?
(NB: again, only the indented text actually said by the Boalt administration)
Why yes, a whole host of it, in fact. For the purposes of summer public interest fellowships, you or your job must meet the following qualification requirements:

a) the student must complete an application in a timely manner that includes a statement describing the proposed summer work/project
b) the proposed work/project must be law-related
c) the proposed work/project must be directly supervised by an attorney who must be identified
d) the work must be for at least 10 weeks full time
e) the work must be for a government agency (but not for a judge or the equivalent of a judicial externship), or for a non-profit agency (either a 501c(3) or 501c (4) organization), or, by petition, non-profit legal organizations based in other countries
f) the work must be unpaid, except in the case of work-study students (noted below)
g) the student must agree to file a brief report of the project at the end of the summer, which report is certified by the supervising attorney
h) the student must demonstrate public interest/public service involvement at Boalt. This requirement may be satisfied (1) by being certified as having complied with the membership requirements of the Berkeley Law Foundation (BLF) that would qualify the student to compete for a BLF summer fellowship, or (2) by having put in at least 25 hours of volunteer pro bono/public interest service (not including training hours) through a Boalt-affiliated group such as Berkeley Law Student Community Outreach through EBCLC, the Worker's Rights Clinic, the California Asylum Representation Clinic, the Boalt Police Review Advocates, the Boalt Environmental Law Society, the Youth and Education Law Society, and so on (as certified by a supervisor of such a program), or (3) by petition, having put in (or having arranged to put in) 25 hours of other pro-bono/public interest/public service work (beyond training hours). For 2005, this public interest/public service work need not be completed before the Fellowship application is submitted. For 2005, any student seeking to meet this requirement by petition should file the petition with the Dean of Students as soon as possible and no later than March 1. For this year, we will be especially flexible in approving petitions.

Ok, cool. I think I got it now. You really only get fellowship money if you work on law-related stuff (whoever arbitrarily makes that decision gets a prize), if you work for a particular kind of organization (sorry all you folks doing unpaid pro-bono work in the private sector!), if you work for 10 weeks (what if you split your summer between two unpaid jobs, one eligible for funding, one not?) and if you demonstrate a commitment to public service during the course of the school year (for those of you who do other things during the school year, but maybe were interested in public sector work for personal growth or for whatever reason during the summer, too bad). An expanded, inclusive fellowship plan indeed.

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Bringing out the Best of Times in Boalt

Aside from alliteration, one of my hobbies is to look for that agonistic spirit of the ancient Greeks in modern times. That pesky one-unit pass/no pass class, Written and Oral Arguments (WOA), combined with IM Softball, easily accomplishes that among us Boalties. What follows is an e-mail exchange between Skipper J, (manager of the Cleveland Steamers, and co-blogger Tom Fletcher (the pitcher for the steamers). As of this past weekend, they will be facing off against each other for oral arguments as part of WOA.


This week's game is back at 11 pm. After building our self-confidence at the expense of a string of suckas, we are going to face the undefeated Red Giants. Brace yourselves gentlemen. As my dad always said, this is where we separate the men from the [plural of classmate last name] (sorry [classmate first name], it's a family phrase)...On a side note, I might not be there tomorrow, depending on whether or not I feel like picking my girlfriend up at the airport. In my absence, the substitute skipper will be **** R****, you may know him from such positions as shortstop and third base. I hope you treat him with more respect than you give me. This is all.

Skipper J

Tom Fletcher <>wrote,

Will your "girlfriend" also be coming into town on WOA day? You know, just checking, so we can sort the men from fluffy-haired moppets (a saying in my family; my great-grandfather was once mugged by a roving pack of fluffy-haired moppets. He was so distraught, he vowed that those scraggly children woud never reach manhood. Upon finding them in their criminal den, he shot the Artful Dodger and made sure that the fluffy-haired moppets would never be mistaken for men).

Maybe you could just send R**** over to do an extra WOA session for you?



Fletch, thank you for so vividly demonstrating the negative effects of drug use. You're in Oakland son; don't take candy from strangers. This isn't Pleasant Hills. On a lighter note, I hope the crack has passed through your system by 10:30 tommorow night.




As always, I've tried to protect the innocent and incriminate the guilty. Let the asshole lawyer in all of us rise.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

International Women's Day at Boalt

Boalt Hall was awash with marquee events today in honor of International Women's Day, which made me chuckle a bit since celebrating March 8 is very much in keeping with Berkeley's leftist reputation. International Women's Day arose out of the socialist movement in the United States, but the holiday really took off among the socialist parties in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, in the 1910-20 period.

During the cold war, the West all but abandoned International Women's Day to the Soviet bloc, which treated the day as one of the major holidays of the Communist calendar. For the godless Commies, however, International Women's Day became the socialist equivalent of St. Valentine's day (no saint's days, when you're godless, see): a little heavy on platitudes about the tremendous contributions of women to the Communist cause, but really a rare occasion to buy your wife/girlfriend/mother/co-worker a bouquet and ply her with some Sovietskoye Champagnskoye. In the egalitarian spirit of the Soviet age, Women's Day fell just a few weeks after Red Army Day (February 23), which was the occasion to flatter the men with platitudes about their contributions to the Soviet cause and ply them with vodka.

In the post-Soviet period, the former Communist bloc continues to celebrate International Women's Day in the Valentine's day fashion, while I note at Berkeley the day had a decidedly more political character.

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Monday, March 07, 2005

Not So Easy Rider

Bicyclist hit by car right in front of my building. Stay tuned.

Update: Ok, in the 10 mins that I've been hanging out of my window, I've been able to see and deduce this much. The biker was hit by a white Maxima traveling E/B on Channing. I don't know in which direction the biker was going, but Channing has a bike lane on either side. At first the biker showed no motion whatsoever, but as the medics put a neckbrace around him, he moved his hands and communicated with them. The bike has a blinking red light on the back that is still blinking as it lies on the ground on the northern side of the street (opposite side of the car). If the car is still facing the direction of travel then the impact had to have been at least 10 feet from where he is now. The driver of the car is a white female with blonde hair. Plenty of people apparently saw what happened as the cops are taking statements from all of them. However, they only documented the scene with photos once the firefighters began working. While the biker lay in his state, none of them took any photos. And they just let the driver leave. For whatever reason they are looking intently at the bike.

Anyway those are the facts, the more important thing is the general carelessness that bikers have when riding on the streets. The drivers here are no angels either (yes I did get a speeding ticket), but I think it's fairly safe to generalize that bikers don't respect here as much as they should. And by respect I mean fear.

[Note, title changed to reflect draining of initial adrenaline.]

Survey Says

Nothing about who conducts those surveys on Family Feud. Yes, yes, I know I have a sick addiction to game shows. But still, I really want to know how those damn surveys are conducted. There's nothing about it on the show's website. So what gives? The reason I'm curious is because while watching the show today, I realized that quite frequently contestants misinterpret at least part of the question asked. As a result they give answers that are no where near the board. On the flip side, I've seen answers given by those "surveyed" that seem to have nothing to do with the question asked. I think the disparity might have something to do with the ability of those surveyed to ask for a clarification, while contestants can't really do that.

The prefect example was one question asking, "What possession do men often brag about?" Car was no. 1, but some of the answers given were not really material possessions per se, e.g. job or physique. Meanwhile the board included car, boat, motorcycle, and truck as answers. I know I missed today's property lecture on whether an advanced degree counts as property for the purposes of a divorce, but I still think there was a genuine disconnect between what the contestants thought possession meant and what those "surveyed" thought. Who knows, it might have something to do with the contestants being mostly female. Kidding.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Of Coase You Can't Do That

A thoroughly fascinating article in the current issue of Legal Affairs details the attempt of one student to purchase spots in popular classes using NYU Law's "Coase's List" (an e-mail list-serv dedicated to various student interactions [SWM seeks...]). I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I will let you all read it on your own.

However, I do want to ask why Cal, or at least Boalt, doesn't have as much of an online interaction. There's a Yahoo Groups for Class of 2007, and a lot of people seem to be using that, but the lone message board, has a total of 30 posts (probably less). At the risk of shameless self-advertisement, in the same vein quite a few people have expressed to me that before Nuts and Boalts, there was a dearth of Boalt student blogs. I'm wondering if this is a reflection of our student population or the No. 1 IP/Tech law program being too good for such things as online community.

Whatever the case, I think there's a definite need to have a discussion board hosted right on the law school's website. Like course website, the school can make it accessible only to current students, but that should hardly be a problem.


O can't C Don Quixote No Mo'

AP/Yahoo reports that the Mission Viejo College District has voted 5-2 to nix a study abroad program in Spain because of the country's pull-out from Iraq. In related news, stupidity at an all time high in board meetings.

I could keep this short and sweet by ending with a quote from the professor running the program ("I cannot believe a community college can put this much politics into academics.") But no, I'm way too pissed off by a few things surrounding this to keep it short.

A. I'm not too thrilled by the Yahoo headline proclaiming California JCs end study abroad programs. These are two junior colleges in the most conservative part of the state. Not really representative of California. While the headline is literally correct, it's implication is not. I take exception.

B. More importantly, what the hell are they thinking down in Mission Viejo? Clearly not what's best for their students. The fact that one of the board members was the chair of the Mission Viejo Republican Party is telling. Pushing party agenda, or at least getting the party message in the media takes precedent over the job he's elected to do. Classy. Can I blame him? Hardly.

With the 2004 election, any semblance of the collective interest left American politics. Using the Mission Viejo approach, I now call on Democrats (or independents) on various college or school boards to make the following changes.

1) Immediately stop all funding for trips and/or programs to Washington D.C. because of (a) the current yellow threat level throughout the US, particularly centers of government, and (b) the needless death of 2,000 soldiers because of the administration's actions.

2) This might sound radical to some, but there should also be a critical reexamination of the terrorist activities of George Washington, John and Sam Adams, et al, as taught in current texts. (Rebellion, insurgency...all liberal fluff talk for cold-hearted disrespect for the rule of law).

I'm fishing quite a bit here because there is really nothing meritorious to the Boards act. It's repugnant to anything American or even conservative when we decide to end interactions with a nation because it has CHOSEN to act according to the will of its people and in its national self-interest. Picture this,
if let's say hypothetically the US violates some internaitonal treaty, like the Geneva Convention, for a reason it deems to be in its interest, and let's say some pansy French city councillor decides to propose its exchange program with the US, what kind of a furor would we get from the cons? I can hear Hannity blathering now, "They're free to do whatever they want, but it speaks volumes when the French meddle their nose in US sovereignty. " Or better yet, "Again we see these liberal peaceniks crying foul when the US acts to protect itself."

Ignorance is bliss. Pretending to be ignorant, even blisser.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Idiot's Guide to Advertisements

Beyond annoying the hell out of me, ads that really think you're an idiot (or hope to attract idiots) offer mild entertainment.

Today's example comes from Progressive Insurance. Tagline: "Hey, if they're this friendly when you're LOOKING for insurance, imagine how they'll be when you have it." (or something to that effect).

I'm not an expert on ad agencies, but how far up your ass does your head have to be for you to FORGET that you're in the business of sales, and it is the prupose of sales to find clients. As such, it's really easy for people to imagine you being friendly when you're "LOOKING" for insurance but not so friendly once they've closed the deal. If you work for Progressive, or know anyone working on their ad campaigns, word of advice, the insurance company from heaven image doesn't fly to well.

Summary Judging in the Rain

"What's wrong with my voice?"

But anyway, so with about 20 minutes left of class, the fire alarm goes off during Civ Pro (that's right, Friday morning, 8:30 AM Civ Pro with only about 40% attendance and of those only 1/3 had done the reading because they did not have a brief due at the same time). Since I was on the hot seat at the time with a sore throat and a hoarse voice, I can't say I object.

Of note, when the alarm first started going off, it sounded in the distance. When Prof. Civ. Pro paused to figure out what to do, co-blogger Tom Fletcher remarked to the entire class, "It's not in this room." Before he got to the period at the end of that remark, the alarm in the room began to blare. Fletcher and his iBook were the first out the door.

I'd also like to note the rain and the fact that this is the 7th fire alarm I've experienced since moving to Berkeley. If you didn't think they were fun before...

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Cruisin' in the Firm

Instead of cross-posting, I'd just like to refer the gentle readers to my post on De Novo about the article on Generation Y junior associates not toeing the line of big firm culture.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

And in local news

Your Cleveland Steamers splashed 14 runs against TKE's 3 for their second win in a row.

Proudly wearing my chevrons

Do people stay up till the wee hours of the night watching The X-Files on TNT?

People do.

[As an aside, ever since relapsing into my X-Files addiction, I've noticed that in the traditional one-case per episode instances there's always some point of clarification at the beginning to explain why the FBI is involved in the case. Usually this is in the form of a local sheriff requesting expertise in an area where he lacks resources, but still, the writers try to mention that the shooting was on an Indian Reservation or fraud is involved, etc.]

Comic relief tends to repeat itself

In the lobby of Manville (UC graduate housing complex) some moron tossed a copy of Great Jobs for History Majors. I immediately recognized the potential of this gem and grabbed it before all else.

As a result, I will now bring you this series of posts that will offer random quotes from the book whenever I am not inclined to read for class or work on my brief.



Profile. Have you ever enjoyed walking a trail of rising and sinking boards floating on a mass of sphagnum moss surrounded by shoulder high autumn-hued vegetation? Have you ever gasped at the beauty of a Bird of Paradise? Or enjoyed smelling the rich perfume of a mock-orange tree in bloom? You can combine your love for, or interest in living botanical environments with your history degree to educate people who share these same interests. (p. 124)

Postscript: Does anybody who's a lawyer or in intro to IP want to give me a run down of copyright laws and fair use? I'd hate to be sued by a frustrated publisher eager to take out its anger on anyone mocking this shitty book.