Monday, November 28, 2005

The Dismantling of the Judiciary (Literally)

Given this news story, the Bush Administration is taking its self-appointed task of rebuilding the judiciary a bit too literally! The lives of average Americans -- our children, the next generation! -- are being put at risk!

To extend the joke/analogy perhaps a bit too far, maybe someday, as the students in the story, law students everywhere will try to grasp for phrases from crumbling precedents to keep as "souvenirs" of a bygone era -- only to be rebuffed by the police!


Don't Have a Cow Man!

[Note: Cross posted at De Novo]

I was intrigued to see an AP story about a Russian lawyer who wants to take The Simpsons to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France because he thinks the show spread a "propaganda of violence, cruelty, drugs and homosexuality." As my profile suggests, I have more than a passing interest in The Simpsons and the law, but this lawsuit sounds even less meritorious than Lionel Hutz's suit against the film "The Never-ending Story" for fraudulent advertisement.

A Russian court already dismissed a similar suit. I can only assume the reasoning of the Court went something like this. Plaintiff's allegation that a show with four-fingered yellow figures spreads violence is difficult to take seriously in a country with daily mob-hits and a war in the Caucasus that hasn't changed in years centuries. Cf. Bart the General, 7G05 (detailing the schoolchildren's battle plan to attack the school bully using water balloons and the leadership tactics of Gen. Patton. Arguably, a Russian might take offense to any reference to General Patton, but general Russian nostalgia for the good old days of World War II should override any such concerns.). Similarly, while some might be threatened by an episode dedicated to erasing the stereotypes and hatred of homosexuals, generally this isn't one of the greatest human rights violations in history. Homer Phobia, 4F11. The show offers the occasional drug reference. See, e.g., A Milhouse Divided, 4F04 (showing school bus driver Otto's disappointment that "Stoner's Pot Palace" sells kitchenware); Sideshow Bob Roberts, 2F02 (Mayor Quimby watering the hemp plant in his closet); Bart's Dog Gets an F, 7F14 (showing hemp plant in Marge's family quilt); D'Oh-in the Wind, AABF02 (discussing Seth and Munchie's Garden Delight beverage). Passing references, however, do not constitute promotion. Had Plaintiff's complaint alleged promotion of alcohol use, he would have been on stronger ground for proceeding. See generally, Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment, 4F15; Duffless, 9F14 (showing the misery that accompanies those who give up beer, especially while watching a baseball game. Specifically, while at the ballpark, the following takes place:

Announcer: ...the windup and a 2-2 pitch. Oh, no, wait a minute, the batter is calling for time. Looks like he's going to get himself a new bat. And now there's a beach ball on the field, and the balls boys are discussing which one of them's going to go get it.
Homer: [only one not drinking] I never realized how boring this game is.).

Again, Russia is in no position to complain about drinking. Lastly, complaining about cartoon cruelty is like complaining about literary torture, but enough about The Da Vinci Code. More substantively, the cruelty on The Simpsons from the antics of Itchy and Scratchy is fairly balanced by the antics of their Eastern European counterparts, Worker Mouse and Kapitalist Parasite. Krusty Gets Kancelled, 9F19.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Giving Thanks Where Thanks Is Due

As the whole interview nightmare comes to a close, I want to take this time to give thanks to the powers that be who ensured that I did not die in a ball of flame during one of the many flights. To that end, this op/ed from yesterday's LA Times is a hoot.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sound of Silence

Hmm, correct me if I'm wrong, but the e-mail from Dean Ortiz telling us to stfu around the Dean's Office gives me the impression that there are certain staffers who'd much rather work in a law school without students. (Read: I fail to distinguish conversations we have on cell phones versus talking to a scared-shitless 1L in person).


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dear Armen

An anonymous 1L writes:
Dear Armen,

I am a 1L at Boalt. Recently my mod has started talking about all chipping in money to purchase gifts for our professors, ASP tutors, and LRW TAs (About $5 per mod member, total).

The pro-gift folks claim it is a tradition (how did they find this out?).

The anti-gift folks say it is odd, and potentially a boundary issue.

Who is right? Did your mod do this? Do most people do this? Will our professors and fellow students think we are douchesbags?


To Give Or Not To Give
Easy. Bunch of douchbags. I'm not so sure about the boundary issue, but it's just ass kissing to the extreme that's more common maybe at Haas. Over there it's customary to give 15-20% of your student fees for services rendered. If you want to give them something, go to their office hours and thank them for the time they are putting in on your behalf. It is not a tradition that I am aware of, and if some mods did buy gifts last year, they shouldn't have. It's tacky. Let firms do the gifting.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

To Go Boldly Where No N&B Post Has Gone Before

T0day's lecture in Tax regarding the marriage penalty sparked a surprisingly large number of question from the soon to be professionals looking to find the right person to share their income with. Then after going through my laptop as it nears death I found this article (linked earlier in a discussion of "The City" as a sub for San Francisco) about the dating scene in Silicon Valley at the height of the dot com boom. And so I now open this up for all your lovely comments about anything to do with dating at Boalt, Bay Area, Pacific Rim, etc. Or you can talk about the marriage penalty.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Killer Resume

In case anyone is interested in having an inferiority complex, the 2006 Rhodes Scholars have been announced. Bios here. Just glancing through, I think it takes a certain kind of mental disorder to only get one grade below an A+ (an A) while tripple majoring and doing all the other crap that the kid did. Maybe I'm just jealous.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Senate Says: Do As We Say, Not As We Do!

So the Senate now says it wants regular updates on Iraq. Or, as the NY headline reads "Senate Votes To Demand Regular Iraq Updates From White House". This couldn't be related to that whole pre-war intelligence brouhaha I've been hearing so much about, could it? Not according to the bill's sponsor, John Warner. According to the Times, "the message Iraqis should take from the Senate action, Mr. Warner said, is that "we have stood with you, we have done our part," and now it is time for them to do theirs."

Right, the Senate wants regular updates from the White House on Iraq to make sure that the Iraqis are properly governing their country. Uh huh.

Frankly, I'd rather the Senate do a little more governing in the United States -- perhaps they need a more regular update from the White House, I don't know -- and let the Iraqis take care of Iraq. I mean, I don't know what Mr. Warner considers "our part" in Iraq, but I think the US Senate, through action and inaction, has done quite enough "for" Iraq.

AIMing to Please

Recent conversation:

UCLA 1L: our yearbook pamphlet came out
UCLA 1L: hilarious
Me: the "facebook"?
UCLA 1L: Yeah...should be freakbook.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Kick the Crate

After a rousing pre-dawn, five-block epic of kick the crate, I find myself grinning as never before in the past few weeks. Of course, I have two raised bruises on my shins that I am sure I will feel soon. But, oh - the fun! The glory! It makes me think that stickball needs to return to the Boudin Courtyard, in the worst way. So, let the word go forth, I'm keeping my eyes open for good sticks. Foam balls or pine cones could be a plus. And now that I think about it, I noticed the old ball stuck above the library wall when I went to Prof. Swift's office hours last week. It's still there, months later, abandoned to the elements on the ledge. Poor ball.

Well, you heard it. Contest living on a shoestring will return to Boalt, whether the people studying in the library of Zeb's courtyard like it or not.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tape Delayedley

Third liveblogging of talk by Dean Edley (see first and second). If you're going to comment be fairly warned that they may appear in the Dean's next mass e-mail.

-- 3:05 Start: No wireless in class, hence the title and hence why I’m “liveblogging” on MS Word. Regents to have a meeting a week from today, hence the talk. They are going to vote on fees, including pro student fees. What’s on their agenda and ours? More staff than students. Is it tea time?

-- Eric Tallizzle is in the hizzouse! Late but loud entry. DE will have slides of his talk on the law school intranet. I’m thinking: We have an intranet when I’m fricken “liveblogging” his talk on Word?

-- 3:10 In US News rankings we get punished for spending per student. Why? (1) Tuition is less per student and allows less to spend (2) Endowment is smaller, and (3) annual cash flow and alumni giving is less. These three are not enough to overcome the state funding. In Leiter’s rankings we are 5.

-- What is the mission? Invest in four pillars: Students, Faculty, Research, Facilities. The state will not be doing more than we are currently doing. The people who think the state will wake up in a few years and spend more money on lawyers are on drugs. Basically he needs $500 million or $20 million a year. If we had this number, our endowment would be as large as our competitors (not richest but still). Another way of looking at it is that this is the cost of education in the 21st Century. Capital campaign will go to pay for a large part of this from alumni. Main campus and state will help pay for expansion of faculty. And lastly, student fees will pay also. Largest share of funds will go to student services and fin aid. $50 mil for new building is underestimate closer to $70, (which means closer to $90). We can’t expand faculty without a new building.

-- This also relates to our curriculum. Clinical programs. East Bay CLC, DP Clinic, Int’t Hum Rights, etc.

-- Burden sharing. Currently we charge in-state students 2/3 of market price. We used to charge 1/3. In mid-90s and early 2000s our fees stayed constant while competitors slowly increased and added resources. The problem is that when the fees were increased the pro fees went to the central campus for other purposes and did not stay at Boalt. So there was an increase in price without a corresponding investment in the business product, not a brilliant business strategy though some say it’s working for Microsoft.

-- DE Philosophy:

1. Any future PDF increases are for Boalt and Boalt only. No extra Boalt money to fund Celtic Poetry (how about Celtic law and ec?)

2. Increases come with added fin aid sufficient to ensure that Boalt stays ahead of others in our generosity.

3. Increase our fees so that in Year 5 our total fees are equal to Michigan’s (i.e., market - $5k).

-- Where does money go? Loan repayment and fellowship expansion, faculty expansion (some fac will be paid in full or in part with student fees.), Clinical education, Classroom renovation (including library improvements [note this has to be a joke given the e-mails from library staff]).

-- Proposal – currently we pay about $24k. Next year, UCOP will propose over a $1k increase which is less than the 6% increase that our competitors follow. This will widen the gap with our competitors not reduce it. DE proposes we close the gap over 5 years so that in FY 2011 we are at Michigan or Market minus $5k, whichever is less. Alternatively we can do it by cohorts, i.e. once you are admitted, you are guaranteed that your fees will only increase at 6.5% a year to keep up with market. The next year’s class will start from a higher base. By Fall 08, the 1Ls will pay the Michigan level. By fall 11, all three classes will be at Michigan. We’ve lost $80 million by not following this plan 10 years ago. If we follow UCOP instead of DE we will lose $25 million in the next 5 years.

-- 3:32 Some strangeness in the current Fin Aid system.

1. We give grants to larger numbers of students than our competitors.

2. We don’t consider parents resources in calculating need.

3. Our system effectively ignores summer income.

4. Most importantly, our tuition has risen sharply. A revamp of the policy is required for our aid.

-- Potential Improvements (these should come to a faculty decision by winter, see slide)

1. Improve summer fellowship. The increase in this money is no secret of DE, the PDF revenue supported this.

2. LRAP – Currently if loan amount is up to $55K and if your income is less than $40K, the school pays all of your debt. If debt higher, then you are responsible for the difference. What happens if you make more than $40K? There is an implicit tax of 50% meaning every dollar over $40k, the expectation is that half will go to loan repayment and LRAP will cover the rest. So if you borrowed the max of $55 and earned $45, then LRAP will pay $52.5. After $52. the rate goes up to 100%.

CHANGES. Raise loan limit to $85k. But this makes the notch above $52K income tremendous. But by eliminating the 100% contribution mark, then it creates a smooth transition. Another change might be to tax at 40% for income above 40k. That’s a policy and budget choice. Other changes: cover int’l positions, consider definition of legal job (journalist?) etc.

-- 3:45 What we have done so far?

1. Wifi (MY ASS!!!)

2. 5 faculty positions, etc.

-- What we can do to help

1. Explain other UCB students why its unfair to tax law students.

2. Explain that UCB and Haas students were hit hard by fee increases to shelter other UCB students and faculty.

3. Explain to University Admins that PDF principles (for improvements at Boalt) are vital.

4. Explain to everyone that access and excellence go hand-in-hand.

5. Help recruit next wave of Boalt faculty.

-- 3:47 Q and A.

-- Q: If your plan calls for matching Michigan, what about out of state fee?
DE: The out of state money never touches Boalt, it goes straight to UCOP. His preferred solution is to ask UCOP to reduce $7500 from out of state fee. This is a non-solution. More likely, it becomes part of our fin aid buyout package.

-- Q2 from same person: LRAP covers someone with more income and less loans, but you need loans because you’re broke. This doesn’t make sense.
DE: The changes are built on redesigned Fin Aid package.

-- Q: You had a bullet on funds for entering public interest students who are committed to a career in public interest.
DE: The idea is to have scholarships to upfront reduce their fees to entice them to come rather then saying LRAP will kick in later. But if they fall in love with IP and join Wilson Sonsini, then the funds will convert to a loan. Economically this is no different than LRAP.

-- Q (no such thing as dumb question just dumb people asking questions) So we don’t just change LRAP rules but we need funds too right? But what about not changing in time to meet increased fees?
DE: Not an issue. Dumb question. (Real Answer: Enough PDF increase next year can fund the cash flow needed for generous LRAP for people graduating this year. In other words, we can’t help those who are already out.

-- Q2 from this guy (he’s really annoying, and no one knows what the fuck he said but Merced was mentioned).
DE: As of now we have green light on the principle that future PDF increases will go to Boalt.

-- Q: Two ideas both of which may be half baked (DE: But they add up). Why don’t we do away with need based grants? If we are going to take high paying jobs, why should the school subsidize my education? Why not just invest in public interest up front?
DE: Competitors. On the other hand our current program is designed so that a lot of current students get a grant that bears no relation to actual need. This was based on the model that it ought to cost as close to free as possible. So Fin Aid theory was to buy down everyone’s legal fees. This theory does not make sense for 2008.

-- Q2 from same: Enforcing all these ideas. I don’t trust that you can keep state from picking our pockets.
DE: Full baked idea. There’s a guy in Las Vegas named Jim Rogers who is not a Boalt Alumn. He is the premier American philanthropist. He graduated from U Arizona. Went into business with Louis Weener (Boalt alumn). These two got filthy rich. Weener went to Rogers and said we need give some of our money away, we can’t take it with us when we die. A little while later Weener sells his half of the business for $1 on condition that Jim gives it away. Jim gives away money to U Arizona, and money to UNLV law school. He has committed $1 million to Boalt. He gave the money to Arizona with exactly SUCH a condition. The state tried to raise fees but then realized about the condition and backed off.

-- Q: LRAP, thanks for working on this. I didn’t quite get Abe’s question, sorry Abe if you’re reading this, but it seemed like you had a good idea for public interest funds.
DE: Yes.

-- Q: Have you thought about the difference in the cost of living in the Bay Area versus Ann Arbor and Charlottesville?
DE: Sugarman should think about this. This is why we are not going to market. We haven’t thought about this. Prof on Fin Aid Comm whose name I did not catch: We need data that we don’t have for some of these decisions.

-- Prof asks us: What kind of jobs should LRAP cover? Currently covers government lawyers and 503(c)(3) and 503(c)(4).
A: We shouldn’t cover military jobs because of don’t ask don’t tell. [This is the most retarded comment I have ever heard.]
A2: We shoudl cover all low paying jobs. [Get your JD and bus tables].

DE: There should be some link to legal education.
A3: Should we cover Int’l jobs?

-- Q: Intrigued by having LRAP instead of front end fellowship. That way people who go to Covington and then have to pay the school back for the fellowship aren’t painfully reminded that they used to be idealists.


My thoughts: Again, much like the second town hall, this one did not add much that was new. Worth noting is DE's plan to get our fees in line with other comparable elite public law schools. In all honesty, since the talk, I have not had the occasion to really think about this all that much, but it is something that the Boalt Community should consider very carefully. My gut reaction is that I'm all for all that DE does, but this one seems like something that should not get my automatic knee-jerk support.

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A Few Good Thoughts

Well, at least a few thoughts.

1. All of the propositions have been defeated by the voters of the State of California. Beyond putting a stop to the govern by the initiative policy of the governor, I have a feeling this might be a sign that more and more Californians are by default voting "No" on any proposition unless it is absolutely essential or good or something else.

2. A reader asked me if I could use the blog to facilitate the exchange of outlines, class notes, etc. I'm open to this, however I'm just drawing a blank about how best to implement it. If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears.

3. I just heard this morning about the suicide attempt off Simon. Anyone have any dish about this? I see the Daily Cal is silent (now there's a shock).

UPDATE: I did a bit more digging and asking around and here is what I've learned about the incident. Someone was sitting on the roof of Simon and screaming. There was one Police car only initially. Some people from the frats across the street rushed over their mattresses. Some brought out a chair (for what purpose no one knows). To the best of anyone's knowledge the jumper was not a student. At some point the person began to yell very loudly as they were pulled back away from the edge by unknown person(s). At some point Berkeley Fire responded, but unclear whether they responded before or after they were secured.

4. Just saw the Dean's e-mail regarding the town hall meeting today at 3. He writes:
After the last Town Hall meeting, I saw a blog comment from a student declaring that it was "worse than a waste of time", principally because the focus was on things too far in the future for current students to experience. Well, that assessment was both inaccurate as to timing, but also alarming in its sentiment. If Boalt students care only about what happens to Boalt during their three years here, with no more loyalty to the institution than one expects of a Wal-Mart customer, then the institution will die. Quickly. We depend on alumni for an increasing portion of the resources needed to sustain and build Boalt. Without generous and growing support from today's alumni, we will have fewer new faculty, no renovated classrooms or new building, and limited growth in financial aid. When I address students, I am mindful that you are the campus community for three years, but the Boalt family for the rest of your lives.
He's right. I will do my best to be there to liveblog again, but the afternoon nap will be tempting.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Don't Hastert Counting Your Eggs

AP via Yahoo is reporting that Frist and Hastert want hearings into the leaking of classified information regarding US torture prisions in Eastern Europe as reported by the Washington Post (reg req'd, or if you want to Lexis it, the article is "CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons" by Dana Priest, Nov. 2, 2005.)

I'm not too eager to offer the GOP advice on how to run their party, but if they do hold hearings, it'll be quite a blunder. In DC talk, the hearings are meant to scare the daylights out of anyone who is thinking about leaking classified info harmful to the administration. However, given the topic of THIS particlar leak, the hearings will do nothing more than keep in the public eye our covert policies that are about as American as actually voting on election day (read: they're not very American). Furthermore, this will work wonders in getting other ocuntires to give us a helping hand in Iraq.

Bottom line: While the potential of hearings may scare off an agent or two from leaking information, the more consequential result will be to keep discussion going of a topic that the administration would much rather forget. Remember, "We don't torture." Case closed. The end. Move on.

No Man's Land

A friend [non-Boalt] texted me while I was in class asking me to look at her "friendster" profile. I hate "friendster" so I approached it with skepticism. I read her profile and remarked that the whole profile is tinged with male bashing. She didn't believe me, so I wrote the following e-mail as a response:

But more seriously, you are subconsciously bashing on men with most of your little bleeps. Let's go through a few of them for example:

--I never cry when I'm drunk, I'm always happy to be intoxicated [because it allows me to forget just how fucked up men really are]

-- I'm obsessed w/ animals, especially my dog and my new Beta fish! [and anything else that's not a human male]

-- I think I'm funny, hell I think I'm a comedian. But if you're snooty then I won't entertain you w/ my jokes. [This one speaks for itself. No jokes for you, and by you I mean all men.]

-- I pretty much think all men are slimy...sorry guys but 9 out of 10 times you ARE and like to pretend "you're not like the rest of them"

-- The stupidest saying in the world is, "there's plenty of fish in the sea." Will explain my mathematical analysis to this saying later. [Mathematical proof: All men = slimy. All fish = slimy. Therefore, all men = fish. The saying is therefore stupid because I'm not a fucking mermaid. (note I'm aware of the false logic employed)].

-- I like to dance, particularly when I'm intoxicated, but I've learned to stay away from poles so not to make an ass out of myself. [And that's why I REALLY hate Polish men. God damn Poles.]

-- I love medicine and I'm obsessed with surgery. Scalpel please! [...and please place your testicles here. CHOP!]

-- I had the pleasure of inserting my hand in a patient's chest cavity & massaged his heart upon taking a gunshot wound to the chest.... fun stuff ya? [Well, have you felt the power of having a man's heart in your hands, the power of life in your finger tips? The bullet didn't kill his slimy ass, but my latex covered fingers sure did. Pierced his left ventricle and watched him squirm...consider it payback bucko for the thousands of female hearts you've crushed. Payback's a bitch huh?]

-- My boss constantly tells me I need a boyfriend, what has the world come to!?!?!? [Yeah, I need a boyfriend like I need his/her nosey ass in my business.]

-- I like intellectual people who have a good grasp of reality, general knowledge, and common sense (believe me the world lacks this immensly). [I like people who think like women. I mean women. I mean Oprah.]

-- I'm smart, witty, and charming. Half the time I think people have the intellectual and emotional I.Q. of frozen yogurt but I don't say anything cuz my momma taught me better than that! [And by the way, why is it that most frozen yogurts are male? Is it a slimy thing?]

-- For God's sake I DO NOT want to get married and breed for a very very long time! [I'm a testicle chopping lesbian.]

-- I'm an environmentalist! Never liter & always recycle! BUY A HYBRID PEOPLE! [What's better than a penis? A penis and a vagina all in one. It's the latest genetic phenom! So, vote Green, and date Herm!]

-- I like watching Ultimate Fighting and boxing [It's the next best thing to personally crushing their hearts.]

Anyway, perhaps I read too much into these things, but I thought the signs were there. Let's just say I won't be trusting you with a razor any time soon.


Saturday, November 05, 2005

In BLF News

The Phoenix Fellowship of the Boalt Law Foundation raised record $$$ with its backdoor, closed to most Boalties, auction of spots in Bundy's Civ Pro II and Swift's Evidence. Auction organizers got the idea from NYU and a few high rollin' 3Ls who bragged that they can buy Bundy's loyalty if they wanted to. The winner of the secret auction was not so secret about his victory. He was overheard saying, "Hey if the fellowship wants to fund someone's summer, that's fine by me, as long as they don't take my spot in class during the school year." Ironically, the winner outbid Holly Parrish by $1.50. Parrish, it appears, gets no greater joy than when she stymies the grandiose dreams of Boalties.

[Before anyone who is on either of the waitlists has a heart attack, you should take a deep breath and realize that none of the above is true. Except for the Parrish part. Kidding.]

Thursday, November 03, 2005

1L E-Mail

Am I the only 2L getting the mass e-mails to 1Ls. I mean the last one really pissed me was from Petrine to the 1Ls telling them about the citation test, the one I took after downing beers with Fletcher. Just another reminder of the really stupid shit we worried about but really shouldn't have in hindsight.

As long as we're on the subject of griping, I read every one of the e-mails detailing the utter destruction of the library with sheer delight that those who took refuge in that insane asylum are thoroughly frustrated in their never-ending quest for the PERFECT study spot. Hope you don't mind the whistling of construction workers. I don't. :D

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

America, At War

...With the lawyers? Why do they hate our freedom?

From the March 2005 National Defense Strategy, available at, on p. 5.

"Our strength as a nation state will continue to be challenged by those who employ a strategy of the weak using international fora, judicial processes, and terrorism."

I won't speculate as to whether this is just ham-handed drafting or actually is intended to mean what it says, but it sounds really bad when the US Gov't seems to equate those who use international fora and judicial processes with those use terrorism to challenge American strength...

Hat tip, Phillippe Sands.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

1Ls take notice - OCIP Lessons Learned

Now that the interview process is over, with a few exceptions, it’s time for some lessons learned. It is my hope that the topics discussed will be as helpful to 1Ls as I think they would have been to me one year ago. I encourage other 2Ls and 3Ls to write in either agreeing with or augmenting my own thoughts with some of theirs. Each successive class should have it easier and, hopefully, this post is a start.

First of all, you should know what my qualifications are for writing this - my results and luck with the process. I interviewed with 33 firms during OCIP (well actually 31, but had 2 pre-OCIP which I’ve decided to clump in with the rest). I received 17 callbacks but most of them were extended considerably after the interview date – two-weeks or more in my case. Of those 17 callbacks I went on 7 and received an offer from each, in other words, every firm I went on a callback with I received an offer from. I have no idea if my experience is typical, but I would say my results are pretty good, at least, I was happy with the choices I had. Here are some of my lessons learned about the process and related experiences in no particular order. They are my own thoughts and you should think about whether the strategy and advice I outline below will work for you.

At the beginning of OCIP keep track of your pre-bidding rankings (if you made them, and you should as how else are you going to decide what firms to place in what spots). You ranked firms a certain way for a reason. If you don’t get your #4 pick but get the rest of your top ten, try to get an interview with #4 when they are on campus. Too often, as was the case with me, you tend to forget about the firms you don’t receive interviews from, even though many firms you do get interviews with might be ranked rather low on your list going into the entire process. Had I actively pursued the top 10 or 15 firms I had going into OCIP in each phase, and not simply acquiesced to the interviews I already had, I feel I would have had better choices during the callback phase, and wouldn’t have been scrambling towards the end to interview with every last firm in order to increase my odds of receiving callbacks.

Preparing for OCIP interviews is a waste of time (note: I said only OCIP interviews, it is imperative you prepare thoroughly for callback interviews as I credit much of my success in this phase to being able to ask smart, specific questions about the interviewers and the firms). This is probably something that you have to figure out for yourself but I felt I performed much better when I knew only the person’s name and not all about what they did for Firm X. Everyone likes to talk about themselves and while it is sometimes useful to be able to ask a specific question about your interviewer’s work, I felt that the better question was what they did the past week and why they liked it. If you are interested in what they say, ask a more specific follow-up. These interviews are only 20 minutes long and that’s barely enough time to learn anything or ask any meaningful questions. It goes without saying, however, that you must know what the firm does. Although the most humorous OCIP stories were told by those students who only wanted to do litigation at a firm and are told mid-interview the firm does corporate work only, those stories are best heard and not told from a first-person perspective. Don’t make this mistake.

Thank-you notes, that people say are important, are worthless. I received offers from just as many firms that I didn’t send thank you notes to as the ones I did. Save your time after an interview and relax.

Apply for Firm jobs on Dec. 1. Last year I didn’t do this, and while I had a great summer at a public interest organization, I feel that it would have been worthwhile and not that difficult. Firms aren’t looking for 1Ls who know exactly what they want to do (my impression); they’re looking for 1Ls who are simply interested in their firm and who have reasonably good backgrounds (backgrounds are all they can judge on Dec. 1 anyway). I didn’t apply because I thought it would take too much time away from my studying. It really shouldn't. Put together a decent cover letter now and change it slightly for each firm. Apply to enough firms and you'll get some bites. It should be beneficial to go on a few interviews and see what the process is like. It will serve you very well when you’re a 2L. I think this will behoove even those of you who want to explore public interest (as I did) during the 1L summer. Practice for OCIP during your 1L year can't hurt.

I have no doubt that other 2Ls and 3Ls will add to this topic. My advice is for 1Ls to read it all and try to understand as much as possible. Make a short list of the better suggestions you read and keep it for next year or, if you follow my advice and decide to apply for firms this year, after Dec. 1. Good luck 1Ls – it’s not a fun process but the more prepared you are the better you are able to handle it.

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DS: (Commenting on the new, terrific automatic stapler in the computer lab) I could automatic staple all day long - it's fabulous.

Other Law Student: Yeah, I know. You should get a job where you do nothing but staple documents together.

DS: I will have that job - It's called being an associate.

Tax Code Irony

Yesterday in tax we learned that you can claim a charitable deduction for giving to your church. That's good, but it only kicks in if you itemize your deductions in lieu of the standard personal deduction taken by three-quarters of the country. See, only the richest one-quarter of Americans actually make enough money to forgo the standardized deduction and do this itemization.

What ends up happening is that the charitable giving of most of the country receives no recognition, and more importantly, no de facto subsidy from the federal government. At this time I'd also like to note that the poor give a larger fraction of their income to charity than the rich do (I read this in The Atlantic once, here's another instance "On average, the nation's richest 1% -- who own two-fifths of U.S. wealth -- donate just 2% of their incomes each year, vs. 6% for families in the bottom income bracket."). I'm inclined to think this is why we see a few marvelous Anglican churches with empty pews and dozens of ramschackle Pentacostal churches packed to the rafters. If we take O'Connor's point of view from the 10 Commandments cases that our country has succeeded by promoting widespread competition for religion, this differential in subsidy is blatantly wrong.

President Bush promised to fix this disparity, but he promptly forgot that campaign promise. And I have yet to see a tax reform group actually represent the interests of the poor in Congress. I find it quite unlikely then that this latest round of tax reform will deliver a fix to this flagrant giveaway to elite, self-interested "giving."

Grrrr. It's too early in the morning to get this worked up. I guess I'll just end with a story.

Mark 12:
41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And he called [unto him] his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all [they] did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, [even] all her living.


You thought Lou Dobbs went on crazy rants? Listen to this guy. Video here.