Thursday, September 29, 2005

Going from Bad to Orser

As per the e-mail sent by TG of the CDO, Mari Orser has gotten a job in the private sector. It looks like the one person who knew how to get callbacks is leaving. I hope Boalt Briefs is on the story.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Kitzmiller Update

I'm compiling links to information on Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District on my Civil Procedure blog here.

You know, if you're tired of hearing about OCIP.

Happy Peppy Pills

Lest all the 1Ls feel ignored with all the ocip talk, I don't want you all to lose sight of your studies. BF&W has pearls of wisdom (though he goes to a Big XII school so take it with a grain of salt. I mean you wouldn't listen to Bob Stoops about competing in the Pac 10 now would you?)


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Paradox...

...not of Choice or Progress -- though both books might have insights for OCIPing Boalt 2Ls, given their respective subtitles are "Why More Is Less" and "How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse". No, the paradox that came to my mind as I lay in bed exhausted but not sleeping was the fact that OCIP is at once a tremendously group-oriented yet at the same time solitary time for many 2 and 3Ls.

Never have so many Boalties looked, dressed and acted so similarly. We all crowd into the cramped halls of the Hotel Durant, dressed to the nines in our conservative navy or grey "interview suits", knock on doors simultaneously, make 20 minutes of polite but guarded conversation with law firm associates and partners, emerge, rehash our experiences with each other, rinse and repeat. For about two weeks straight. There's a certain "we're all in this together" camaraderie in the corridors that is pervasive at Boalt in general. And that's nice, especially if you're into the Boalt student body as a bunch of collegial clones -- personally I prefer it when we're all more like our usual collegial yet individual selves, but the interview process is what it is; we certainly didn't write the script and I don't blame anyone for following it.

But at the end of the day, OCIP also starkly reminds us that no, in fact, we're not all in this together. In many ways, we're totally on our own. We get rejections alone. We get callbacks alone. We don't, at least not above a whisper to our closest friends, or anonymously on certain blogs, talk about how we're doing. And of course there seems to be good reason for this. As CDO never fails to point out, you may be celebrating your 10 callbacks while a classmate next to you may be anxiously awaiting a first. But that nod to sensitivity aside, the often uncomfortable silence during OCIP is at least as noteworthy as the boisterous spirit of camaraderie that it punctuates.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

1001 OCIP Nights

Related to the post below, I want to invite readers to share stories (incognito of course, with names changed to protect the innocent) from the whole OCIP arena. Did an interviewer have the TV on in the background? Was someone showing more assets than called for? Write away!


Friday, September 16, 2005

Call of the Weil

A commenter below requests that people post when they get call back offers. If you're so inclined, feel free to post anonymously (although I'm not so sure just HOW anonymous it will be).

I'm creating this post to the extent that readers might be interested. But I want to add my own personal thought that this is much ado about nothing. I don't understand the frenzy surrounding this whole process. You WILL get a job. It's unfortunate that you only get one chance to interview as a summer associate (assuming you weren't a summer associate last year) but at the same time barring a criminal history or a loud fart during every single interview, I think we'll all do fine. I also want to add that if any firm ever asks me why they should not hire me, the one answer that I will ever give is that because my classmates are incredibly brilliant and far more qualified than me. Best of luck to every one.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Spin City, State, and Faith Based Organizations

Sen. Trent Lott and his quisling on MSNBC, Joe Scarborough, can't stop talking about how Faith Based Organizations are working oh so much better than the Federal government at delivering aid. God bless them all, and let's throw a few billion dollars their way so they can produce more "Jesus Saves" care packages. Of course, holy miracles and those receiving federal funds to deliver said miracles are in short supply when you have thousands of people trapped by nature and sheriffs. There might be more to this than meets the eye though. I've always had a sinking suspicion that a Gideon Bible is just what everyone needs when insurance adjusters don't pay a claim on a technicality to a homeless family.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Perfect Storm

Reading this story on Yahoo News about New Orleans schools being strapped for cash, I smell something rotten in the Parish of Orleans. There is absolutely no reason why the school should be low on cash as a result of the storm (unless the city's other agencies raided the school coffers). But that latter part does not seem likely from the story since it's quite evident that the schools were cash strapped even before the storm hit. The following form the company that administers the schools is telling:

Sajan George, another managing director at Alvarez & Marsal, said the destruction Katrina caused was, in its own way, an opportunity to renew the beleaguered system.

"The rebuilding will afford a number of opportunities in not only rebuilding the physical environment but the educational environment students work in," he said. "The faster we can get back to reopening the school system the faster we can rebuild a world-class city."

Sounds like a piss poor school district is trying to use the sympathy from teachers not being paid following a disaster to get a free ride from the Feds. I'm all about spending for our public schools (being a child of the LAUSD), but I have serious problems with the means employed. Much like the rushed legislation following 9/11, I think its unwise for this admin or any other admin to throw money at NOSD without due deliberations and proper safeguards.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Thou Shalt Not Speak

I'm watching Aaron Brown on CNN as we speak and he has a guest who is advocating the exact opposite of Earl's post below. Specifically, he doens't want anyone in the media to ask questions about the r word. He's certain that r was not factor in the government's response, etc. therefore any time a reporter asks a question or brings on a "demagogue" (to use his word) they give credence to the theory that r was a factor, or at the very least people think that the questions are actually facts coming from the reporter's mouth.

He's absolutely right. George Lakoff made a similar argument when he spoke last year at Boalt. Except he was arguing that the right does this CONSTANTLY. They do. So while we're not supposed to ask hard questions lest people start thinking there's more to them, the right gets a free reign to issue sound bytes about failure on the part of local officials or residents being irresponsible.

No deal.

Kerr to Elaborate?

Holy Moly, Prof. Orin Kerr, the noted law prof/blawger at the VC who for some whacky reason doesn't think it's a good idea to shoot looters on the spot and isn't that partial to co-blogger Earl Warren either wil be visiting Boalt to meet and greet with the faculty hiring committee and he'll also give a presentation in the Dean's seminar room. Given our excellent law and tech program, Prof. Kerr's expertise in computer crime law will be an excellent fit with the school.

I know I'll do my best to be there...wearing my olive green suit. With the sleeves rolled up.

EDIT/UPDATE: The reception for students with Prof. Kerr is at 5 in the Dean's Seminar Room. And speaking of DE, I dropped the equivalent of an oral footnote to him this morning at Zeb about hiring Kerr. BTW, anyone know what the deal is with his white sneakers? I've heard rumors that he bikes to school, but are these verified?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Fantasy OCIP

Sometime last week I got the idea of creating an "enemies list" of people who'd be interviewing with the same firms as me. That is, if we had two or more interviews in common then you went on the list. Looking at the list, I think I would draft each of those people if we were to have a Fantasy OCIP league.


Friday, September 09, 2005


The task of marginalizing the U.N. has begun. I don't want to dwell on this too much since it's nothing new, but this quote by Rep. Lantos (D-CA) was mildly amusing:

"The U.N. "looks very much like an organization created for a different time."

He's absolutely right. It was created for a time when nations attacked other nations for self-proclaimed righteous higher callings and/or non-existent threats. It was also created for a time when those we feared sometimes sat with us. Cf. this.

The Bourne Identity Change

[My brother wrote this over a year ago, but I've always found it amusing and worth sharing]

The following has been bugging me for a few years; I need to get this off my chest as badly as Pamela Anderson’s career needed a boob job. Why is it that two groups completely opposite of one another can each be “pro”? I’m talking about the pro-choice people and the pro-life people. I understand that the catchy names help recruit members and all that other marketing and psychological shit. However, one of them needs to change their name. I mean antibacterial soaps aren’t called “pro-health” or “pro-sanitary” are they? Therefore, one of them needs to be called the anti-life group or anti-choice group. Besides this would make choosing a side a lot easier. What Senator is going to say “I have always been anti-choice, just look at my record. I even voted against adding green M&Ms.” Or “How dare you call me a pro-lifer I’m more anti-life than Dr. Kevorkian.” I realize this will probably hurt one of the groups but it will put my mind at ease and in the long run it will bring people together, people that have been separated by this divisive issue.

Next entry will cover why the Abolitionists were out pissing while names were handed out. Also, I don’t want to hear how I am supporting murder or how I’m a fascist taking away people’s rights. I was ambiguous for a reason, I do not have a stand on the issue and frankly don’t care because I am neither a woman nor a fetus.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Your Stewartship

"When people don't want to play the blame game, they're to blame." -- Jon Stewart.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I want to welcome the over a dozen Tulane students already at Boalt. In the spirit of Tacitus below, I want to offer my words of wisdom.

The line at Zeb forms parallel to the counter, not perpendicular. Thanks.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Prodigal Son...

...has returned.

Slaughter your fattest calf, and let's have a party. See, e.g., Bar Review.

Time to study up on your good book, be it Luke, Buddhist parable, or Gilbert's...

The halls of Boalt ring with the laughter and chatter of a new school year (now three weeks old, alas!). Fear not, fair 1Ls, such boisterousness will be thoroughly expunged from your rapidly decaying souls by fly-back week. The good news: the rate of decay of your soul tends to decelerate moderately as it approaches zero. So if you make it through year one, there is a good chance you could still escape law school with some shadow of a soul left! Not a life, mind you, but a soul.

Random asides aside, I'll take this opportunity to wish a very warm welcome to the Boalt Hall 1 Ls (think "fires of hell" warm)! A warm, and dry, welcome as well to our guests from New Orleans, that wonderful modern-day Sodom. And while I'm at it, welcome as well to all of the returning 2Ls and 3Ls.

Since I'd rather be blogging than doing the million other things I have to do tonight, I thought I'd offer a few unsolicited, inexpert, possibly quite misleading words of advice to the 1Ls (all five of you who read this blog) and any 2 or 3Ls who are inclined to take life/study advice from someone wholly unqualified to give it. Enough with the build-up, on to the "substance" (if advice so airy and vague can be said to have substance), in pithy "talking point" format:

"Think outside the box": I've heard it said that "prisoners learn to love their cages" -- a phrase used to explain the fears that inmates often have when faced with imminent release (fears which sometimes cause them to commit silly crimes prior to or upon release). Well, the same thing can be said for law students. The biggest mistake you can make in law school is to spend too much time in your cell. Sorry, you still have to do your reading. But budget your time such that you have plenty of time to meet your classmates, and -- arguably more importantly -- that you have time to cultivate a life outside of the confines of Boalt Hall. While your classmates are a tremendous group of people -- your best support group during some trying times -- you will be really, really glad to have non-law school friends, both during law school and especially as your release date approaches. Make non-law school friends, and keep them.

"We're not going to play the blame game": No, we're really not. Your academic successes or failures at law school, as in life, depend on no one but yourself. Especially at finals or OCIP, people can get very wrapped up in the seemingly "competitive" aspects of law school. It would be foolish to suggest that parts of law school (exams, OCI, CLR write-on, etc.) AREN'T competitive. But I think you'll be a lot happier if you can put that aside, focus on crafting your own goals and ambitions, and not let yourself get caught up in how or what everyone else is doing.

"There's no silver bullet": Everybody wants to know how to succeed in law school. Me too. Especially first-year, law school is a trial-and-error process (no pun intended, I swear). It might be useful to sound out your senior law school friends, but their advice might not work for you. Spend as much time as you can early on figuring out what DOES work for you, in terms of reading and briefing cases, taking notes in class, and approaching exam-type questions.

"It's a front-loaded process": all of law school, it seems, is a front-loaded process. Major life decisions must be made or are made for you in the first 12 months of law school. People aren't joking when they say that your first-year grades are really important. Do well in your first year, and you are in a much better position fall semester second year when you are looking for jobs. (1Ls exhale: grades AREN'T everything. But doing well academically will make a lot of doors down the line easier to open, so in the aggregate, I am comfortable putting forward this simple if potentially stress-inducing advice). Well beyond grades, law school is a front-loaded process, and the sooner you can define your goals and the steps you need to take to make them happen, the better off you'll be. This means thinking about what kind of job you'd eventually like to have in the spring of first year. This means reaching out to faculty who you might be interested in working with during your first year.

"Just chill": this may seem contradictory to all that I've written above, but it's really not. Good stress- and time-management skills are probably the two most useful things you'll learn in law school. If you manage your stress and time well (perhaps by following the foregoing kernels of wisdom!), there is no reason that you can't be reasonably chill most of the time at school. And this will make you a more pleasant classmate, which will in turn make your classmates more relaxed as well. It's a virtuous cycle, see. When everyone pulls their weight on this front, Boalt is truly the most pleasant law school experience that I can imagine.

Update: my purpose, just to be clear, is not to create some definitive list of advice. I pretty much wrote these items down as they came into my head. I invite discussion of my recommendations and additional words of wisdom from others. That said, I'm not going to debate their merits, as I really don't have any more time to devote to this and I recognize that others can have equally valid reasons for offering advice that runs counter to my own. See "There's no silver bullet").


Monday, September 05, 2005

Ballbuster, Inc.

Has anyone else gotten these coupons from blockbuster as part of a settlement of a class action? Granted, I appreciate the $2 off of a non-new release rental (finally I can catch The Great Train Robbery and Battlefield Earth), but I really want to know how I was screwed over to receive this windfall.

FYI, you must report this on your taxes.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Google it

DS encourages all readers to go to for an aerial view of the extensive flooding in New Orleans. Once on the main page zoom in on the Big Easy until you see "Katrina" in a red bar on the upper right. Click there to view the few frames of satellite imagery taken after the hurricane. Look around the city, the brown areas are still above water, the green are not. For an even starker contrast click between "Katrina" and "Satellite" to see the difference before and after the storm.

DS was especially astounded by the before and after images of the superdome (readers will see that just to the left of the northward flowing Mississippi River in downtown New Orleans--easily found using the "Hybrid" feature). It must be built on a parking garage so that street level is flooded but the top deck is not.

Take note also of Interstate 610/10 in North New Orleans. Click the "Hybrid" feature to get a display of roads. Notice how the low-lying sections are all under water--this is the main route into and out of the city, I don't know where the buses go, but they can't use that road.

On a geographic note DS will attempt to explain what's happened to the city as both of DS's brothers were born in New Orleans and his parents lived there until 1978, DS is very familiar with the geography. The city has been sinking ever since the levees were built by the French during the 1700s. The majority of it is now several feet below sea level as indicated by the water's inability to receed--it's there until it's pumped out. The city has been sinking precisely because no water is allowed to get in. Normally rivers deposit new layers of sediment and soil in the regions they flood thereby increasing or keeping level the altitude of the region. Because of the levees the Mighty Mississip has not been allowed to flood thus depriving the region of new soil and consequently causing it ever so slowly to erode and sink. This horrific event is just one example of how little we understood when first creating for ourselves places to live where we had no business to be in the first place.

It is questionable whether the city will ever look the same again--indeed whether there will still be a city. The homes and regions in the city that are flooded will be that way for at least 6 months. People will have to move on, find new jobs, build new homes. Their possessions are gone, destroyed by the altitude at which they lived. With global warming's effects now being felt DS feels this will become an increasingly common occurrence around the globe: The Maldives (with their average altitude of three feet above sea level) will be first. Followed slowly by other island nations in the South Pacific and eventually felt in our own cities--New Orleans, Miami, New York. The times they are a-changin'.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

My Two Cents

De Novo co-blogger PG notes that Columia Law's dean has offered to take in a few students from Tulane law who are obviously not sitting in class and writing blog posts (which is a huge problem given the stringent ABA class time requirements).

I think we can do the same. Given Chancellor Birgenau's e-mail, I don't think Dean Edley will have any trouble convincing the higher brass to accept a handful of Tulane students for the semester and waiving tuition for them. I'm inclined to write to the Dean if there is support from the Boalt community. Hell I'd even pay for part of the airfare of getting them out here.

Update: Add UT to the list. (hat tip: Leiter)

Update II: This commenter on Drum's Blog expresses a thought I had today while watching the news:

"It seems clear to me that the buses shouldn't be going to Houston, but somewhere closer temporarily, where this is food and water. People should be taken to a staging area maybe an hour out of town, so that everyone can be removed in a matter of a day or so.

Then, move them to Houston without having them waiting for their ride in the midst of hell.

Can't someone in charge think of this shit?"

Update III: And there's the nutcase solution to the problems. I think for a split second, the conservatives can get off the property rights high horse and return to reality. I'm just glad co-conspirator Orin Kerr points out the obvious flaws in such a worldview, however, I join this commenter in suggesting that this should not even be a debate and add that Kopel should return to stroking his gun on a rocking chair. But more substantively, here's an idea that's sure to give the nutcases a heart attack. How about we suspend the 2nd Amendment in times of crises (the 14th seems to have gone by the way side) and just arrest and throw the book at any civilian caught with a weapon. What a marvelous idea.

Update IV: As a commenter points out below, Boalt has indeed stepped up to the plate. In pertinent part:

Boalt has joined a number of U.S. law schools in stepping forward to offer assistance by accepting into our community and our classes a limited number of students from Tulane and Loyola for the fall semester. "Our response to this emergency is only 24 hours old and there are a myriad of details to address but we hope to have these students arriving at Boalt by mid-September," said Boalt Hall Professor Andrew Guzman, who proposed and is assisting in organizing our offer to the displaced students. Boalt is also considering other ways our community may be able to assist the student visitors, such as with housing, books, etc.

An emergency website address has been set up for Tulane Law School:

Tulane and Loyola students seeking further information on Boalt's offer of assistance may contact Boalt Hall Dean of Students Victoria Ortiz, 510-643-3057,

I applaud Prof. Guzman and Dean Ortiz. Now we need to host these students and actually get them here. A flight to Oakland from Houston on Southwest is around $200 for Sept. 6. Any steamers who want to chip in, e-mail me ASAP so that I can tell Dean Ortiz that we have at least one student covered. I also suggest people do the same within their mods.

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