Tuesday, February 28, 2006

But Why Don't They Send Me the E-Mails

I ask because it's clear why Tom gets paid the big bucks. I just found out from some peeps what all this rankings hub hub is about. Well I didn't get any e-mail from Dean Ortiz or anyone else. I'm going to assume that if you're far enough below on said spreadsheet, they don't even send you the initial E-mail.

I have a feeling this has to do with the fact that I get e-mails directed at 1Ls. As I wrote before: "Am I the only 2L getting the mass e-mails to 1Ls. I mean the last one really pissed me off...it was from Petrine to the 1Ls telling them about the citation test, the one I took after downing beers with Fletcher." Well, how about getting some e-mails about 2L rankings huh? Who do I have to see to actually pass the First Grade?

UPDATE: I want to thank HP and the other staff here at Boalt for holding my hand and walking me out of kindergarten. Seriously, the CDO e-mails about 1L opportunities were getting annoying.

I have a few thoughts on the whole issue of wanting your rankings vs. competitiveness. A commenter wrote, "How does knowing your rank, which only takes into account how you did compared to other people in your classes, tell you about how you are doing from any other perspective than in comparison to your classmates? I have heard several Boalt professors complain that most of their students do very high level work (especially in the first year) but that the curve still requires them to hit many of these students who did good work with the P-stick."

I respectfully dissent. Any measure of performance is meaningless if it is not based on how well you do against your peers. If we were all HH students, then there wouldn't be any need for grades at all. That we are graded on a curve, that we are ranked against each other do not translate to a competitive mindset. I don't mean to be insulting but it almost sounds like this commenter is the type of person who will complain to a professor after getting a 92 on an exam but getting a B because of a curve. Again, the B is far more telling than the 92 and hence why it's not competitive per se to want a meaningful evaluation of one's performance. Will I be banging down Dean Ortiz's door any time soon and asking for my rankings? No.

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Sometimes the Jokes Just Write Themselves

From this mornings' law.com headlines:

"Supreme Court Wowed by Playboy Playmate's Case"

One of the choice reax from an esteemed law prof:

"Most people will do a double take," said Edward Morrison, a former Supreme Court clerk who specializes in bankruptcy law at Columbia University.

I bet they will, Ed, I bet they will.

Monday, February 27, 2006

I Wish *I* Had a Ten-Gallon Hat

Anyone out there know someone selling a car cheap? I'm talking Ford Pinto cheap, maybe with a drink thrown in? Let me know. Alright, back to your regularly scheduled jabbering.

(Though I will second the comment on rankings - why not just calculate them in advance in Excel so they're ready when people email in? Why create unnecessary anxiety and waiting? It would be so easy: column 1: name, column 2: units of P, column 3: units of H, column 4: units of HH, column 5=(C2*2+C3*3+C4*5)/(C2+C3+C4). Then, sort the rows by column 5 and send the emails.)

(That's why they pay me the big bucks folks.)

(Though I am still trying to find "them" and collect all those "big bucks.")


F is for For...

Cheryl Kenner (non-Boalt) wants to be on the record as the person who uses "jas" during IM conversations to mean "just a second." Currently, this acronym is not on the official AIM dictionary.

Now that the record is established, I propse that we create EVEN MORE acronyms use around here. Sure everyone knows what BHWA, BTLJ, BJIL, CLR, etc. stand for, but we don't really have any acronyms for the things we do in law school. ATAFL? Sure, BTLJ is serving lobster caviar at 12:45, but if you leave during the talk to take a leak, they will chop off your balls. WBR? At the Down Low, the hippest club in Cali. WDABS? Because it's a creation of Berkeley IT and/or you're in room 100 with 3 other people trying to connect.

Note: If you caught the two "for"s in the title of this post the first time you read it, you are far more perceptive than the general population.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Credit (Where Credit Due)

Since financial topics have been of great interest to me recently, and at risk of sacrificing some of my anonymity, I just wanted to send a huge thank you to the organizers of the Women's Leadership Forum at Boalt today. Among several different events of interest to all law students ("Alternative Career Paths") and some addressed more specifically to women's issues ("Overcoming obstacles through Mentorship and Coalition Building"), there was a great session on personal financial planning. The speaker entertained general and individual questions and offered informal advice on issues such as managing debt (consumer v. educational v. mortgage, etc.), credit cards and ratings, investment and retirement planning and day-to-day budgeting strategies. I wish that Boalt as an institution offered such sessions more regularly, as the interest in the room and the sophistication of the questions suggests that this is a really important topic to students...

In any case, thanks to the WLF organizers for a great event.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Renaissance Matz

The judge I externed for this summer, Hon. A. Howard Matz, handed down a ruling recently on the potential copyright infringement of Google's image search. (News story here). I only write because of the potential decline in my classroom browsing of various "copyrighted" images. Actually, I write to highlight the importance of IP for anyone who wishes to clerk. I am almost certain the technical explanations are the product of a dilligent and internet savvy clerk.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Morales Gets a Few More Days

I'm not going to detail the facts of the impending execution of Michael Morales. But if you want some relevant sources, here they are : SF Chronicle story, 9th Cir. Opinion 1, 9th Cir. Opinion 2, Fogel, J., Order 1, and Fogel, J., Order 2.

Recently the SCOTUS took up two cases challenging the application of lethal injection in carrying out a sentence of death under the Eighth Amendment's bar against cruel and unusual punishment. It is in that vein, that Judge Fogel issued his order to Morales' habeas petition. Not too long ago, California considered it humane to watch a prisoner choke to death and take several minutes (up to 15 to 20) to die. See, Fierro v. Gomez, 77 F.3d 301 (9th Cir. 1996). The time has come to recognize the same for injecting a lethal dose of poison when the condemned is potentially conscious.

Any other thoughts on this are welcome, esp. in light of Judge Fogel's equitable remedy requiring the presence of anesthesioligists to ACTIVELY monitor the process and administer sedatives if Morales emerges from consciousness.

General Hat Tip to Sentencing Law and Policy.

Congratulations, you're not the next contestant

As a commenter points out below, and as mentioned in this article by the Yale Daily News, Boalt Admissions made a SNAFU by sending an e-mail to applicants inviting them to a reception that implied admission, when in reality, they may or may not have been admitted. I've been sitting on the e-mails for a couple of days, but for a variety of reasons I decided not to post. I think the third e-mail is the only one that's relevant and that I'm willing to post.

"At approximately 3:00 p.m. California time last Friday, February, 17, an e-mail was generated and sent in error to a portion of our applicant pool. The subject line was "You Are Cordially Invited…" and implied that the recipient had been admitted to Boalt Hall. The body of this e-mail was an invitation to an annual event hosted by two of our graduates. It was not an offer of admission. The e-mail was generated in the context of a software training session, and was sent in error. If you did not receive the e-mail in question, you need not read further.

To those of you who were recipients, I wish to express our deep regret for any confusion or disappointment our error may have caused. I realize that many law school applicants are particularly anxious while awaiting the arrival of decision letters, and it is most unfortunate that our mistake may have added to this tension. Immediately upon discovering what had happened on Friday, a retraction and apology e-mail was sent to the same list of addressees. Some of you have contacted our office, and I wish to express our thanks to those who were understanding about this regrettable situation.

Our admissions process is proceeding smoothly and we anticipate that, as in other years, it should be completed toward the end of March. Decision letter mailings may begin in the next 2-3 weeks.

Once again, please accept our heartfelt apology for any distress our error may have caused.


Edward Tom
Director of Admissions"


ANALYSIS: This is much ado about nothing. Maybe all the technological shortcomings make stories like this something about Boalt that everyone loves to hate, but it's really not that big of a deal. I was invited to "Honors Day" at UCLA about 3 weeks before formal admission. It was clear that all those invited had been admitted, but it wasn't formally stated. Granted there was no mistake in the invitation, but again, if such is the practice mistakes are bound to happen.

I think Edward Tom handled it very professionally. And I want to add that I think the Admissions Office is in good hands under him. Again, I don't think this worth the pages of any school newspaper, let alone one with maybe a handful of students who are applicants.

UPDATE: To those Class of 2007 mod 9ers who appeared on NBC 11's coverage of this (must be a slow newsday, see above) I only have this to say: Looking good ladies, looking good. =)


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Allow me to retort

Responding to a Boalt Briefs listing that the no. 9 worst 1L pick up line overheard at bar review is, "Hi, I'm Jesse; can I buy you a drink?" Jesse writes the following about the author of Boalt Briefs: (Note, I think this is too funny to be deprived from the general public, and so while I apologize if I offend anyone by posting, I'm not going to budge).


This just in: Martin White Sucks!!

As some of you may know, in the latest edition of the venerable Boalt Briefs, editor (by default) Martin White posited what he claimed was the 9th worst pick-up overheard at Bar Review: “Hi, I'm Jesse; can I buy you a drink?” This joke being at my expense, I thought that I may enter into a dialogue with Martin White to respond to this affront to my dignity. What follows may or may not be true, but if you know Martin White personally, something I don’t recommend, I am sure that these will resonate harmoniously with your conceptualization of that funny looking man.

While he might claim that his busted arm is the result of a rugby injury, in actuality, his collarbone fracture is the result of a freak accident arising from his favorite hobby: baby seal clubbing.

Martin White cannot say the phrase “pro bono” without giggling. In spite of this, or because of this, he was offered a position at the firm of Kirkland & Ellis, which he quickly turned down, because he felt that they were “too liberal.”

Martin is the type of guy who would start “the Wave” at a funeral.

I like the guy, but I would never leave him alone with my younger brother, or any of my younger brother’s clothing.

Martin White sets the prices at “Café Zeb.”

Contrary to popular belief, the term “martinize” does not mean a process for cleaning/pressing clothing. Its real definition is : “ to express a blatant and gratuitious contempt for the well-being of your fellow man.” The following is the proper use of the word:

Poor homeless pregnant woman: “Can you spare change?”
Martin: “Don’t you look me in the face you smelly drug addict!” (spits on her)
Woman: “Please don’t Martinize me.”

In high school at Lick-Wilmerding in SF (a private school), Martin White was voted “least likely to be a decent human being.” That category did not exist before Martin’s year, and he was the unanimous recipient of that distinction. Thereafter, the superlative has been changed to “most likely to be the next Martin White.” It has only been awarded 3 times; two of the students awarded are now in jail and the third is at Stanford.

Martin White thinks Boalt Women are: “ [too] smart [for their own good].”

Martin White is a staunch supporter of frois gras, and not because he likes the way it tastes. He actually hates the way it tastes (“not enough like veal”); he just likes the idea of force-feeding helpless geese.

Several federal courts have issued a nation-wide injunction, at the behest of the Humane Society and several state governments, against pet stores from selling animals to Martin White. Similarly, he is not allowed within 50 feet of any playground.

In a high school production of "The King and I,” Martin was passed over for the role of Satan, because Martin “looked too evil” for the part.

When asked about Martin White, Jesus Christ was known to say “Hell, if I knew I’d be dying for his sins, I might have done things a little differently. Would have definitely thought longer about a career in usury, that’s fo sho! ”

Unlike images of Allah, Muslims do not mind drawings of Martin White. They use them as a warning to their children of the ill effects of not properly observing the faith. I hear it works really well.

When Martin White thinks of “Passover,” he thinks of asking for his favorite, and thus triaf, dish: “please Passover the lobster-ham casserole with extra cheese.” He washes this down with a tall glass of luke-warm RC cola.

When Buddhists advocate “oneness with all,” they are sure to include that provision that Martin White is not included.

Martin’s favorite movie is “Life Aquatic.”

Martin considers “disco” to the pinnacle of western popular culture, second only to physiognomy.

Martin White gets all his news from Fox News.

Martin White has been kicked out of several Hindu religious events for inappropriately fondling the more ample features of some of their deities.

In Swahili, “Martin White” roughly translates to “malevolent goat man” and is used to scare small children and domesticated animals with great effect.

Martin White voted for George W. Bush, twice. OK, OK, that’s not true. He isn’t that bad.

Martin White is on CLR.

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Satan's Advocate

It's getting harder and harder to go to class and miss out on Olympic Hockey.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Pat on the Back Boone

I'd been meaning to write this weekend about the Election of Robert Boone as CLR EiC (please take note of the devilishly good looking gent wearing a striped polo shirt in the background), but held off. I only intended to write that I don't know Robert personally, but we do share a corner in the locker room. From what I know of him, he's known as pretty much the nicest guy at Boalt (a tie with EI). But WT argues that the Daily Cal misses the point by emphasizing that he's the first black EiC of CLR.

I disagree somewhat. It is a big deal, just like it's a big deal when this country elected the first non-WASP president in JFK, and just like it will be a big deal when we elect the first black or first female president. It is a milestone and it should be noted and applauded. I for one will personally congratulate him while exchanging elbow blows near that trashcan in the left corner.

I said somewhat because I agree with WT that the newspaper did a disservice to Robert by not mentioning his other achievements, such as winning a first-place tie for the Nuts and Boalts Award for the Nicest Person at Boalt.

Mini Me

Once in a while my younger brother comes up with a gem. This is from his away message (with appropriate links added):

Ok so Aaron McGruder, the creator of the comic strip Boondocks, was listed in 100 People Who Are Screwing America. Why? Because his comic strip furthers Black stereotypes. I'm more outraged about Rudyard Kipling, who is clearly a racist, and Jonathan Swift, who advocates cannibalism.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Et Tu Fema

I just overheard a local news story about FEMA stopping payments for housing of Katrina victims tomorrow. (See, e.g., here.) Specifically the story detailed how people have moved to the Bay Area with little more than the clothes on their back and now they are about to be thrown to the streets. Call me an archconservative Hitler-worshipping sadist if you want, but at THIS point, I just can't fathom why these people are still in hotels IN THE BAY AREA. I understand there's no economy or infrastructure of any sorts in New Orleans, but why haven't they found jobs and housing here? Is there any point where it's ok for a liberal to feel that the government has no business in helping people? I don't mean to be snide about this, but I ask because I'm very much personally conflicted.

Howard Zinfandel

So a State Sen wants make Zinfandel the official state wine of California. On the one hand, Zin does have fairly strong roots in California. On the other, when its skin is removed it produces the fruit juice known as white zinfandel. Any true lover of wine would not give any official designation to that abomination of wine. Therefore, I am torn. Frankly I think there's room for the Cal legislature to be a bit obnoxious about all this by designating something like the Syrah as the official state wine in an effort to piss off Aussie and French winemakers.

Or Sen. Migden can devote her time to the revokation of the charter for the City of Vernon. (LA Times story here. De Novo post here. Drum's summary here).

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Music Box

The new hottness: www.pandora.com, the coolest innovation in on-line music in years... (hat tip: Group Think Tank).

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Clevers

Occasionally I'll pick up a copy of the Daily Cal while I wait at the bus stop on College...mostly to flip through the pages as the 51 blazes down Bancroft at speeds in excess of Mach 1 while occasionally slowing down around Telegraph to let a few people jump off. Today was no exception. I really hate that paper. But I especially hate the Sex on Tuesdays columnist Mindy Friedman. She doesn't write anything that an internet savvy child predator can't copy and paste. Today's column, however, was the exception for one reason and one reason only: she mentioned the Cleveland Steamer. Item number 3 of her list of oh let's say awkward terms is:
3. Cleveland Steamer: It sounds like a football team, but it's just more backdoor shenanigans. This one is definitely reserved for that special someone. One partner squats over the chest of the other and poops-simple, yet elegant. My best guess as to the etymology of such a fantastic fable is that the "steamy" poop comes from the "cleaving" of the ass-crack.
Of course Boalt has a long and proud history of hosting the Steamers.

Let's LRAP it up Already

Honestly, if I hear one more announcement about the LRAP townhall, I'm going to blow a fuse. Enough already. If one of the most important issues to be tackled by the school is not enough to bring us out, lame e-mails and even lamer class anouncements will certainly not do it.


Monday, February 06, 2006

When in the course of Oakland's events

I don't want to detract from DS's important question about start dates, but I just saw this item on CNN about a proposal by Oakland to tax fast food and convenient stores to help pay for cleaning up the litter around schools. I normally wouldn't care too much about this but for two things. First, this is why we revolted from England. They kinda wanted to tax us to help pay for the mess we created in the French and Indian War. Second, the closest Jack in the Box is within Oakland's city limits. Am I now going to take my business (for the number 4 combo) to the one on San Pablo? Oh you betcha. But I'm hoping that the Berkeley City Council will take a cue and allow more fast food restaurants here in Berkeley to offer comparatively cheap food. Free trade baby, free trade.

Post bar exam firm start dates???

This has been co-posted on the discussion board as that seems a more appropriate forum. But, as it is little used, DS thought he would ask the nuts and boalts readers the same question.

Question for all you readers out there in internet land. Disco Stu would like to know when you generally have to start work at a firm after the bar exam? In keeping with DS's no-advertisement policy he will not disclose the name of his firm - if that has any bearing on the answer or not, he does not know.

DS has an important obligation in september of 2007 and would like to know if he can delay the start date of work until mid-october of the same year, or possibly later.

Perhaps there are 3Ls that have already crossed this road, or there are alumni readers that could chime in.

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Super Bore

What a boring game. Even the ads sucked. I chucled at only two of them: Budweiser's "The Streaker" and Budlight's "Magic Fridge." You can see the ads here (HT: Kerr).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mind the Gap...

...the Generation Gap, that is... As a deeply indebted law student, I read with interest the various articles about the rising costs of law school (up over 200% since 1990) and the concomitant decline in post-graduate options for law students, who are increasingly under pressure to make money fast to pay off debt. And as a law student, I am of course sympathetic to the deeply indebted students.

But in many of these articles, I am also frustrated by the reactions of many law school professors and administrators, who seem to want to blame the rising indebtedness of students on the students themselves... A representative example, from this article in the Washington Post:

"A latte a day on borrowed money? It's crazy," said Erika Lim, director of career services at the [University of Seattle] law school.

Now, I am cost conscious and made the switch to drip (and honestly, yuck). But how crazy is it, really, to want to drink a good cup of coffee, even if it comes at a higher price. As consumers and adults, law students discretionary spending habits should be better respected than this. And it turns out, the cost is not so high: the article informs us that a $3/day latte habit will cost $4,150 over ten years. This is such a marginal increase to my total debt (considering my $25,000/year law school tuition habit), that it is almost offensive that a law school administrator would consider that a serious discussion of how to counteract rising debt...

But Director Kim is not alone in her sentiment. In this otherwise very good article in the National Law Journal yesterday, Joseph Harbaugh, dean of Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. has this to say:
Would-be lawyers live too comfortably while in school and fail to make the necessary sacrifices, he said, adding that a quick look at any law school parking lot proves his point.

"The students' cars are better than the faculty and staff's cars," said Harbaugh, who is also a board member of Access Group, a nonprofit provider of student loans for graduate and professional degrees.

Student loans for discretionary living expenses are capped at a certain level depending on cost-of-living in your particular locale. Here at Berkeley, I think we get about 17,000/year. That's not a lot, certainly not enough to buy a fancy car, but my point is, that's pretty irrelevant. The cost that should most concern law school administrators is the astronomical rise in tuition and fees -- the part that law school administrators can legitimately exercise some control over and the bulk of most law students debt, rather than griping about their students' discretionary spending habits.

Comments on indebtedness and solutions invited...