Monday, May 29, 2006

In Memoriam

CPT Carter's words are difficult to match, so I won't.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

So You're Going to be a Law Student...

Over the course of the summer I hope to write various memoranda to the incoming 1Ls about whatever advice that I think is worthwhile. It is not even June yet, so some things will have to wait on the backburner.

With that, the first question that often pops in someone's head is, "What should I do to prepare for law school?" Answer: "Nothing." Well, almost nothing. I've said it before and I'll say it again, those law school prep workshops are a scam and a waste of money (mostly the latter). Really, the most important thing when you are coming in is knowing...knowing how classes work, how exams are given, what's expected of you, etc. But at the same time you don't want to be the person who walks and thinks he/she knows everything. Ok, with that said, let's move on.

DO NOT read any of those suggested books. Really! Maybe the E-Dub Biography, but that's about it. Do read Robert H. Miller's "Law School Confidential." I disagree with quite a bit in that book, but he really does a good job of explaining what law school is all about and the processes and procedures that are all nicely and neatly laid out. He covers a lot of the basics so I won't cover them here, e.g., what does "briefing a case" mean? (Armen's answer? "Nothing, it means nothing, no one f****** briefs a case.")

In broad terms, your law school stint will follow this pattern:

-Orientation to Boalt bureaucracy.
-Assignments before classes start (includes overpaying at bookstore)
- Read assignment and attempt to brief it. Waste 3 hours on it. Still realize you didn't get most of the important stuff while prof calls on some poor hapless soul. (You guys remember when Westen and Moran BOTH called on T-Ray the first day?)
- After first week, just look lost. Assignment after assignment...what the hell's the meaning of consideration? You thought you knew didn't ya?
- Crap, time to pad the resume, ok which journal to join? Umm BJIL is the only one I'll endorse. If you're a tech geek, then of course your heart belongs to BTLJ, and that's fine. Also, the labor and employment journal has the sweetest offices. [As a general aside, as a 1L, you will not be editing some legal scholar's work. No really! But you will be doing some invaluable work for the journals by collecting the sources and checking the cites to make sure they are proper. You'll get the details later.]
- Now a month's passed. You're even more confused. Why the hell did you come to law school? Everyone is sooo much smarter. They seem to get it. (Nah, they really don't). When you have this moment of crisis (not if), take a deep breath. Everyone before you has had that moment, and everyone after you will. There are plenty of attorneys practicing in this State alone who don't measure up to you. You'll do fine. Try to keep up with your classes. Look over the syllabus, you may not be following it exactly but it gives you a good outline of the topics you'll be covering.

Crap this list can go on forever, and I haven't even gotten to OCIP. Well anyway, I'll leave off on this point, by then you should be able to figure things out on your own.

Oh before I forget, if you're planning on buying a new laptop before lawschool, don't do it now, wait. Same with housing.


The Clerks

This is a couple of days late, but I'm sure everyone's gotten the e-mail from Terry re applying for clerkships. Well, let's hear the collective wisdom on that one.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Separation Anxiety

I know this is a bit late in the game, but I don't understand why Congress is whining about the search of Jefferson's offices. Just pass a law!!! At least YOU have that option. We, on the other hand, don't get Qwest.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Da Da Da Vinci Code

Alright, I saw it last night. I'm still digesting it.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Milhouse Speaks

So, I’m concerned that this post may be too geeky for even a law school blog, but hear me out: Boalt’s own Alan Auerbach, a world-class public finance economist who holds a joint appointment in the economics department, is proposing to teach a tax policy seminar next fall. This course has been offered on and off by him (and formerly by Professor Emeritus John McNulty) for a long time. It’s been described to me as a very special opportunity, and I’m pretty excited about it. Unfortunately, only two people are presently enrolled, and I suspect it’s very unlikely he’ll teach the course for just two people.

This is therefore my plea to anyone sitting on the fence, juggling options, sifting possibilities, or otherwise open to the possibility: sign up! Get two credits. Spend your Monday mornings arguing about income versus consumption tax, the incidence of the corporate income tax, and whether we tax the rich for any better reason than the one Billy the Kid gave for robbing banks.

The course description lists Tax I as a prerequisite, but suggests that other courses in public finance would also serve. Feel free to call me up if you need to be convinced that tax is a fascinating and necessary subject to study even if (like me) you never expect to do transactional law.

This Isn't the Forum for the Cavalier

For a really long time now I've been griping about anonymous posters. Personal insults directed at my classmates, who have shown the dignity and respect to post under their own names, was the last straw. I've disabled and hidden all the comments to Max's post. They were either quintessential law students dying to find out every juicy detail so they can compare themselves to their classmates, other Boalties criticizing said students, or said students showing their true colors with the ad hominems. I've had it. I'm definitely going to be far more heavy handed with moderating comments.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Collective Summer Associate Wisdom

After my first day of working a real job, I thought I'd create this thread and add the most important piece of advice I learned at the firm today:

"The only way to not get an offer here is to blow confidentiality."

And with that, like a submarine on the prowl, I'm going silent...


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Blame it on Tibor

First day on the job tomorrow. Tips? Advice? Suggestions? I'm leaving this intentionally vague to cover the entire summer experience. Is it a faux pas to take a week off to see the World Cup? I want to know! All the juicy stuff. What's more important writing quality or meeting deadline? How many social events is more than enough? How excited are you about The Da Vinci Code? Opine!


Memo to Mr. Chavez

Congrats to all of the graduating 3Ls and also to all of their families! I hope everyone had a great graduation weekend.

In talking to many of the graduates and their families after the ceremony, a consensus definitely seemed to form: Holy Crap that was incredibly long, hot, and boring. The joke everyone was repeating was that it was a good thing Howard Dean didn’t show up, because it was long enough already.

None of this is meant as a shot against the student organizers—I know how hard they worked, under particularly difficult circumstances, and they did a great job. Mainly I just want to recap some of the funny stuff that happened and give Mr. Chavez, the new 3L rep, some suggestions for improving next year’s ceremony. If I miss anything notable, please mention it in the comments.

(Note: the following is not necessarily in order.)

--Why don’t Boalt students automatically get tix? There is plenty of room at the Greek (the benches up top were less than half full) and more students would make it livelier and more of a community event. There is no reason not to encourage more 1Ls and 2Ls to be there.

--The pre-game show was a reggae band. When the faculty came into the theater in their robes, a recording of Pomp & Circumstance was played. But then when the students started piling in, the recording was switched off, and we were treated to the reggae band’s steel drum version of P&C. I’m not making this up.

--Then came the first mention that 97% of the class has contributed to the class campaign. This is the first of roughly 87 times that we will hear this statistic today. I kept waiting for someone from the 3% to leap on stage with a gun and dare someone to try and make him give $15.

--Dean Edley started off by announcing that Howard Dean wouldn’t be speaking, and that he would summarize what Dean likely would have said. Then Edley started hopping around the stage, yelling about financial aid, and public service, etc., and finishing up with a YEAAAHHHHH!! It was actually really funny and got a great reaction. He took the joke on about a minute longer than necessary—but still, a nice start. My friend and I put the over/under on "Awkward Edley Moments" (TM) during the ceremony at 6.

--The Boalt ensemble then sang a song. This was pretty enjoyable, especially because the two girls who sang solos (I don’t know their names) were really great. But why did they choose to sing “Seasons of Love” from Rent? It’s a pretty good song and all, but isn’t Rent about AIDS and death and poverty in 1980’s New York? Maybe next year we can do the score from Sophie's Choice.

--Prisca gave a great speech, probably the highlight of the ceremony. Then a second student (Prisca’s co-prez, I think) and an LLM student also gave speeches. In no way was it overkill to have 3 loooonnnngggg student speeches. Really, not in the least.

--Professor Heyman. Oy. Now, I’m sure Prof. Heyman is a great guy, a brilliant scholar, a Boalt institution. But as a graduation speaker, he left a little something to be desired. Namely, an end to his speech. The students that picked him apparently asked him to compare Boalt in 1959 (his first year) to today. Heyman took this literally and actually provided a list of Boalt’s characteristics circa 1959, right down to the number of students and admissions process. This was even less interesting than it sounds. He also made a couple of somewhat politically incorrect statements about women at Boalt. And this went on and on and on…. Whomever the speaker is next year—cough, Prof. Bundy, cough—should be asked to speak for 5 minutes at the absolute most, and to make it relevant to the graduating class.

--Next up came awards. This is a nice enough part of the ceremony but it took way too long. Each award was accompanied by a lengthy explanation of the award, a lengthy bio of the winner (the winner of the academic award looked downright embarrassed when Edley told the audience how many HH’s he had), and then a lengthy pause while that person walked up, took pictures, and then walked back to their seat. I think everyone would be just fine with an announcement of the award, one sentence about what they’re all about, and then the name of the winner (no biographies). And you can just have everyone up there at once. This would take several less minutes and would feel even shorter because of the rapid-fire succession of the names.

--Have you ever noticed how much hotter the sun feels when there is a long, awkward pause during the ceremony? I noticed. About 16 times.

--Then came the awarding of the degrees to PhD, JSD and other advanced degree students. Instead of just quickly reading off the names, each person was called up individually and Edley read a protracted summary of their work. Not only was this not interesting and irrelevant to 99.9% of the people there, but it took FOREVER. Again, call them all up at once and just read their names. If it is absolutely necessary the Dean can read the title of their thesis.

--I get a phone call on my cell from a graduating 3L. She is calling me, during her graduation, to tell me that, despite the flask of Wild Turkey, she has never been so hot and so bored in her life. Truly a special day in her life.

--Finally, we got to the awarding of degrees to the JD students. But by this point people were so hot and restless that no one paid much attention. As soon as the JD students began to line up, many people made a beeline for shade or just turned to their neighbor and started talking. I can hardly blame anyone—by this point everyone was hot, uncomfortable, and grumpy (including myself). Also, the microphone wasn’t turned up very loud, so you couldn’t even hear the names over the din of the crowd. I actually missed the names of about 80% of the people I was there to see. The audience was just kind of talking and walking around, so it all felt very informal by this point.

This is not to say that there weren’t some nice moments. Many people’s families waited anxiously for a name to be called and went totally crazy when they finally heard it. I’m a little bit jealous of people whose families are so enthusiastic—I have to imagine that next year my entire contingent (i.e. my parents) will clap politely when my name is called, so do me a favor and cheer when you hear the name Max Power!

--Finally the last person’s name was called and everybody threw their hats up in the air! Everybody got up and began moving toward the exits, but was it really over? Nope! Dean Edley chose this time to make a plea for more money. This isn’t such a terrible thing to do during a graduation, but why do it after everyone thinks we’re already done? It was one of those uncomfortable moments where people pretend to listen, but really they are inching closer to the door so that they can get out of there that much quicker. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a thousand people move ever so slightly in one direction, oh so quietly, all at the same time. It was actually quite impressive.

So that’s graduation. All in all a good day, but one that should be better next year. My suggestions: less explanation, especially for the advanced degree students and the JD awards; student and faculty speakers (and there should be no more than 1 of each) should be allotted 5 minutes at the most; there should be no downtime whatsoever—this means all advanced degrees should be handed out in succession, as should all of the JD awards; do we really need to sing a song?

Most importantly, a couple of times during the awarding of degrees, please ask people to stay in their seats and be quiet—there is no reason the 250th student shouldn’t get the same respect as the 1st student. If the ceremony hasn’t already been dragging on, this will not be an onerous request.

Congrats again to the 3Ls, but hopefully we can make next year’s ceremony shorter and more enjoyable.


Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Little Sad News

I've been getting a bad vibe about business in Berkeley for about half a year now. I noticed a lot of things closing - the Foot Locker, the Gap, LaVal's, a number of small stores on College, a bunch more on the stretch of Telegraph Avenue between my house and the school... To complement that, a lot of new retail space has just remained unfilled. See the empty storefronts in the new apartment building across from Andronicos, those in the building across the street south of Willard Middle School.

And now this: Famed bookstore's last chapter -- Cody's on Telegraph to close.

I think this quote is revealing: "It's [Fourth Street] more upscale and more comfortable,'' Bates said. "Telegraph Avenue is a great place, but some people don't want to go there.'' The Bates quoted is the Berkeley mayor. A few paragraphs down, "He blamed Berkeley city officials for neglecting Telegraph and instead focusing their efforts on other shopping corridors such as Shattuck Avenue in the downtown area. 'The Berkeley City Council left Telegraph to go to seed with a lack of upkeep and lack of interest,' Yetter said." Yetter works at Moe's Books have a block down from Codys'.

I have to agree with Yetter. Describing Telegraph as "gone to seed" pretty much sums it up. The thing is, the storefront is such a large property, I don't see it getting filled quickly (though I hope I'm wrong). Having a giant vacant cornerstore is not going to help move along the rest of the neighborhood.

Well friends, I'd recommend making one last stop at Codys' before getting out of here for the summer. It actually will be our last.


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

So we'll march day and night, by the big cooling tower, They have the plant, but we have the power.

Armen invited me to blog on Nuts & Boalts a while back, but I haven’t had much of anything to say until now. So here goes my first post, the Max Power way (which Simpsons fans know is just like the wrong way, but faster!)…

Due to union protests, Howard Dean will not be speaking at graduation this Saturday. There will also be picketers outside the graduation. If the scene at a graduation today is any indication of what it will be like on Saturday, expect your 85-year-old grandma who flew cross-country to see you graduate to have to walk through a line of picketers. It’s tough to say if it will actually affect the graduation ceremony (aside from not having a graduation speaker), but that is certainly a possibility.

Now, please don’t lecture me about the worthiness of the cause, or the necessity of picket lines. I agree with the union about UC workers’ pitifully low wages, and I realize that picketing is one of the few ways the Union is able to gain leverage against the Administration. The Union has claimed that the protest is about the school’s policies, and not meant to punish students, but it’s difficult to see how this does anything but punish students. Picketing graduation doesn’t increase pressure on the Chancellor or anyone else in the UC Administration. The only people this picket will affect are the students and their families. So many Boalt students have worked tirelessly during their time here to support the Union and other liberal causes. And this is how they are repaid? With a picket that will have no benefit to the Union but significant costs to the students?

The worst thing about this is that the Union is purposefully targeting the same students who have been some of their biggest supporters on the UC campus. The student committee that worked so hard to get Dean here in the first place tried to compromise with the Union, but they were unwilling to compromise, and it seems that they went out of their way to target the Boalt graduation.

The fact is, there are certain sacrifices that we all make to go to Boalt instead of a fancy-pants private school. Most of us do this willingly, in part because we value Boalt’s community and its focus on public service. But when we signed up, I don’t think that many of us thought graduation would be one of those sacrifices. It is a day of celebration and there is no reason to turn it into a political device.

There is little doubt that the Administration will ignore this protest. In all likelihood, it will be a net negative to the Union, because many sympathetic students, like myself, will begin to ask why the Union asks us to care for them so much when they care for us so little. So any statement the Union may think they’re making is likely to fall on deaf ears. To not have a graduation speaker is an embarrassment to Boalt. But for Local 3299 to pressure Howard Dean into stepping aside, and to be more concerned with making an inconsequential statement than allowing some of their most ardent supporters to enjoy a hard-earned day of celebration, is just plain embarrassing for the Union.

If you feel strongly about this either way, I suggest you call Local 3299 to express your feelings. 510-844-1160.

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Ode on a Berkeleyan 3L

Thou still unravish'd bride of red hotness,
. Thou foster-child of Emmanuel and Gilbert,
Even for Swift, you couldn't study any less
. Than a painful tale called the law of tort.

In RSF, Gilfoil and Harvey work to get in shape
. To pass for deities or mortals, or of both,
. As they say hello to Professor Bundy.
. What scandals have you seen? Ladarre with no cloth?
Were you the one in the journal office? Or on the infamous tape?
. Did you love Spaulding? But have a crush on Edley?

Anyway that's the extent of attempted parody. I probably should have just quoted the lyrics to "I fought the law and the law won" and called it a day. The point is, I will genuinely miss SOME of you 3Ls. You know who you are. For the rest of you, I will put Greenday's "Good Riddence" on replay. I do wish each and every one of you the best. I have learned a lot from these 3Ls, so a heartfelt Nuts & Boalts thank you.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

An Open Question to Everyone

This is not a prank or anything...Jesse Jacobsen really needs a power supply for a Dell Inspirion 600M (same as the 700M power supply) for Wednesday's Con Law exam. If you can lend him one during that time, please e-mail him at jroyj-at-berkeley-dot-edu.

Also, I want to appologize to Prof. Steele for not devoting as much time to studying the Model Rules as I should have. It was definitely a bad idea to learn the rules DURING the exam.

Monday, May 08, 2006

An open question to Professor Steele, or anyone else that might know the answer

Again, this should be posted on the message board, but it still doesn't get enough hits to give DS his answer.

So, Professor Steele, or 2 or 3Ls that have worked a firm-summer already, answer DS this.

Disco Stu has to take a week and 2 days off from summer employment at his law firm this summer. He's wondering how he gets paid. Is it /week, /day, /hour? Can DS make up some of this missed work time by coming in on weekends and/or staying late to finish the oh-so-crucial assignments big corporate firms give to lowly summer associates?

He certainly doesn't expect to make up the whole time off (though that would be fantastic). He is simply looking to get paid for some of the time he's gone - and he's willing to work his ass off for that - staying late, coming in on weekends, whatever it takes. This is a lot of money he's losing if he can't get paid for any of this time.

So, there it is. Is there any way a firm would allow a summer to make-up and get paid for time that summer took off?


Saturday, May 06, 2006

All The News That's Fit To Print

Real life, actual headline from the New York Times web-site today, 3:30 p.m.:

Heterosexual Elected Episcopal Bishop of California.

I don't even know what to say to that. A heterosexual bishop? Really? That's news?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Good Deed for the Day

I know that some exams require that you insert a word count from the word processor. I always struggled with this on Word and could never remember how to do it. So, if you are having issues like that, here it is. Insert > Field > NumWords. Then format the numbers to however you'd like. You may right click on it at any time to update the field. This is actually more for my own information next year than anything...but if it helps, it helps.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My Funny Valentine

Studying for Civ Pro II, here's this new Supreme Court gem:

We do not think that a person who actually desired to
inform a real property owner of an impending tax sale of a
house he owns would do nothing when a certified letter
sent to the owner is returned unclaimed. If the Commis-
sioner prepared a stack of letters to mail to delinquent
taxpayers, handed them to the postman, and then watched
as the departing postman accidentally dropped the letters
down a storm drain, one would certainly expect the Com-
missioner’s office to prepare a new stack of letters and
send them again. No one “desirous of actually informing”
the owners would simply shrug his shoulders as the letters
disappeared and say “I tried.” Failure to follow up would
be unreasonable, despite the fact that the letters were
reasonably calculated to reach their intended recipients
when delivered to the postman.

More of that wit in the case, Jones v. Flowers, a helpful recap for anyone going over Mullane. And well done Mr. Chief Justice. Well done indeed.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Another Study Break