Monday, July 31, 2006

Back(Up)date: Boalt Alum in the News

Boalt alum (and until last fall, lecturer) and Silicon Valley power broker Larry Sonsini was the subject of this meandering but interesting profile in the New York Times. Larry is always good for a soundbite, in his exceedingly understated way. My favorite quotation: “It’s not my job to be in the newspapers.”

I found the piece a bit frustrating, from the standpoint of a news consumer, as it engaged in this strange kind of journalistic shadowboxing, with offhand, unsourced references on the one hand to "rumors" about Sonsini's legal abilities and how much trouble he might be in, all dutifully refuted by actual, live people who know Larry Sonsini (like the founding partner at Gunderson, or the Senior MoFo partner, etc.).

A strange tone for the piece was set straight off, as in one of the introductory paragraphs, even the reporter concedes: "Mr. Sonsini has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the scandal, nor is it even clear that he will be swept up in the investigation of questionable options policies that his clients adopted" before launching into a 2,800 word exploration of Sonsini's influence in Silicon Valley (undisputed), his abilities as a lawyer (apparently, disputed, but no one with a name was willing to be among the "some" who "say that Mr. Sonsini is a better businessman than attorney"), his business acumen and client skills (pretty good, it seems) and the conflicts of interest that exist between corporations and their legal advisers, generally.

I think Larry Sonsini is a pretty fascinating attorney and character, worthy of a NY Times profile. This one had some nice color, but it did a pretty poor job of really establishing a credible news angle and giving a reader context as to 1) what Larry Sonsini's precise wrongdoing was, if any, in the burgeoning Silicon Valley scandals; and 2) the role of corporate advisers in these scandals generally.

Anyway, those are my off-the-cuff thoughts. Yours are welcome in comments.

Full disclosure: I took a class with Larry Sonsini. I enjoyed the class, to the extent that one enjoys a law school class. He seems like a nice man and a very, very bright guy (he really can cite Delaware case law from memory).

Friday, July 28, 2006

Atax of the Killer Wage

This is more of E-Dub's territory, but now the Repubs want to tie the minimum wage increase to a repeal of the estate tax and extension (permanent) of Bush's tax cut provisions. Granted it's a bit painful to see all those deductions from my paychecks this summer, but I can't swallow a hike in the minimum wage if it comes with those tax cuts. The problem, of course, is how can Democrats oppose this but yet come out looking good?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Prima DOMA

"Then, amending RCW 26.04.020, DOMA explicitly prohibited marriage between parties 'other than a male and a female'--i.e., same-sex couples. Thus, DOMA 'defends' and 'protects' marriage from an entire class of people, homosexuals." -- Justice Fairhurst, dissenting.
The H-Man has a summary of the Washington Supreme Court's decision to uphold that State's Defense of Marriage Act. This quote particularly stands out, but I haven't read the entire dissent yet.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tomorrow You'll Walk Into a Bar Exam

And I wish you the best of luck if you are from Boalt. I have faith that this year we shall take the highest passage rate crown. And if you're nervous...just sit next to someone from Peoples [sic.] College of Law. Their application deadline for Fall 06 is in a few days (July 31).


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Update!! Professors Unfamiliar with Actual Practice of Law

It's something of a rainy afternoon here in DC, so I swung by the bookstore for something to pass the time. I saw Kermit Roosevelt's "In the Shadow of the Law." It came out in hardcover a while ago and is supposedly a sharp novel about big firm litigation, a murder case, mass torts, all mixed up in a suspenseful slurry. For the record, Kermit Roosevelt is a professor at Penn, Supreme Court clerk, yadda yadda.

So I'm about 100+ pages in. None of the characters bear any resemblance to anyone I've met (or me). The rampant fraudulant billing is unbelieveable. The excerpted legal documents, a complaint and a supreme court opinion, are comic. The description of discovery sounds like the horror story I heard in Civil Justice Workshop from the young Stanford professor who visited. But now, here it is, an oral argument... and one of the attorneys cites to an opinion from the Northern District of Virginia.

Mr. Roosevelt's bio claims he practiced in Washington before becoming a law professor. I find this... questionable. There is no Northern District of Virginia. And I think every practicing attorney in DC knows that.

(Nor, as he described earlier in the novel, are there any firms that can take up "thirteen floors of the building" because DC's building codes cap buildings at 12. If the firm was one of the rare few with a 13 floor building, they would have occupired the *whole* building, not 13 floors of it.)

Credit Mr. Roosevelt this - I keep turning the pages. I want to see how this turns out. But don't let the context fool you. This is a novel set in an academic's view of the law (see the title, a sly reference to Mnookin's famous settlement article), not a practicing attorney's. I think a practicing attorney would get the names of his district courts correct.

(There's also a hilarious description of an attempt to defeat class certification in one of the chapters, as well as a wholly unbelievable beginning to the story when the law firm gets called in).


And now I've finished the book. Still entertaining, but how quickly the story spiraled out of control and believability (perhaps why it was so entertaining?)! A good airplane read, but wacky legal content and for any 0Ls, 1Ls, etc. - not much like firm life.

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Labeled Threads

[Update: 05 April 2008, by Patrick]

I have done a presumptuous thing.

In select areas, I have made revisions to Armen's good work. The "permananet threads" idea, while a good one, failed to take into account the fact that N&B readers are track-pad adverse. Asking them to scroll over to the sidebar to follow multiple threads was simply too much.

I have tabbed the archived posts with various labels, and put what I suppose you could call a list of "master links" in the sidebar. For example, the following topics are indexed:

0L/1L Advice
Bar Exams
Boalt Briefs
Classes and Professors
CLR Discussion
Deep Space
Grammar Snarks
Greetings from the BHSA
Honor Code
Law Student Life
Legal Culture
Legal Education Costs
Moot Court and Trial Team
Moving Out (Graduation)
Nancy Grace
OCIP and Employment
Only in Berkeley
Professor Quotes
Professor Ratings
Prop. 8
Rabid Conservatives
Rabid Liberals
Shiny Gold Stars
Technology Rants
The Others
The Red Menace
The Resident Evil
The Simpsons

I don't know if this will be easier to use, or not.  I don't even know if the demand is there.  But I do know that I learned a lot about the last three years at Boalt as I went through the threads. And wow . . . talk about a bunch of nut-jobs!

Anyway, Armen's original (now somewhat outdated) post follows. 


Below, I have created several permanent threads. They will be linked on the sidebar. I did this because discussions tend to be recurring, while at the same time the initial posts inspiring the discussions fade into oblivion. This way, I hope to change that. But I have a few suggestions for this to work.

1. Comments may die down in a particular thread when it's not in season (in the Spring there will not be any OCIP posts). So be prepared.

2. If readers are interested in the topics, they should check them frequently.

3. From now on, I expect civility in comments. Posting your ruminations anonymously is a privilege. Don't abuse it by doing something stupid like revealing a blogger's employer when said blogger uses his name to every online post he makes. Same goes for anyone else. Use your judgment and hold back that urge to anonymously bully someone.

4. If you wish to see all the perment threads together, then just scroll down from here. Or find July 22, 2006 in the archives.

5. If you have any suggestions to this whole experiment, please offer them in the comments to this post. I expect a lot of changes early on until this settles down. Essentially, the discussion board idea was no workable. So this gives people a criagslist sort of way to communicate with the rest of the law school community.


Want to make an announcement to ALL Boalt students instead of just the class listserv on Yahoo? Here it is.

Legal Topics

Want to talk SCOTUS to me? Want to discuss law and ec but were afraid to do so in contracts? Well this is where anyone affiliated with Boalt or Berkeley may offer their takes on legal topics du jour.

Grades Rankings and Egos Oh My

I continue to despise any sembelance of competition and/or competitive spirit. I don't mean that I hate excellence in your legal coursework...quite the opposite. But given that we are graded on a curve, I can't stand the need for some to feel "validated" with grades. I ask that everyone read my first ever post on De Novo, prior to commenting here.

Also be mindful of the Honor Code and its restrictions on discussing grades.

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Tired of riding the 51 to school? Find a new place.


Bay Area

Life in East Bay. Non-housing.

Cleveland Steamers

Non-journal activities at Boalt and UCB. Steaming has a proud history at Boalt.

CLR and Other Journals

If you would like background, please visit the journal pages at Boalt. Membership is open to every 1L for all the journals except the California Law Review. At the end of 1L year, there is a writing competition that determines membership to CLR. Grades are not considered.

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1L Summer

Questions and answers regarding 1L summer opportunities. I personally endorse judicial externships even though they are not funded. Will Boalties continue efforts to obtain funding for externs?

Not Working At the Firm

Do you despise the four letter "f" word? Well what are your plans after law school? This is dedicated to all non-firm opportunities following law school (excluding clerkships).


Working At the Firm

While I expect some overlap with the OCIP threads, this is more general about practicing law in a law firm. Which markets? How long? Do you lateral out? There are billions of questions that I am not thinking of.


Friday, July 21, 2006

People's Judean Liberation Front

[REG: But what have the Romans done for us?]
Public baths.
And it's safe to walk in the streets at night now, Reg.
"Yeah, they certainly know how to keep order. Let's face it. They're the only ones who could in a place like this."

Well the Roman Empire does not exist, so how could there be peace in the Middle East? Personally I think that's a rhetorical question because there's enough hatred on all sides to keep war going for a while. But I am curious about Boalties' thoughts re the current fracas.

Oh and if I could ask for the bare bottom level of civility and maybe an avoidance of mentioning my firm, that'd be really dandy. Thanks.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Man of Steele

Posting from a comment below by John Steele, with minor edits:

"On August 4th, at 1:30 pm, in San Jose, I will be on a panel with legal aid lawyers dealing with hypos on the ethics of that practice area. I can bring along three Boalties. The presentation might be most interesting to students headed toward the direct services end of public interest law, but any Boalties who are interested in attending can shoot me an email. It will be a realistic glimpse on what those practice areas are really like. If we have more volunteers than slots, we can hold a lottery. I can be reached at john-dot-steele-at-fr-dot-com."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Stem Cells for Everyone!

Sorry to interrupt all the grade/rankings/clerkship/transfer students talk, but...

President Bush vetoed a bill today. The bill would have allowed stem cell research on embryos created after August 2001, and it enjoyed relatively strong support from both the House and Senate, though probably not strong enough to override the veto.

This veto is important for a bunch of reasons. Of course, stem cell research is an important issue in and of itself. And, it is significant that this is Bush's first veto in his 5 1/2 years in office. But part of the importance of this issue may not be felt until November, both in 2006 and 2008. The Democrats have been flailing around for a few years now, looking for a popular issue to rally around (or, at least, to effectively rally around).

Is this that issue? Most of the country is on the Democrats' side here. Advocating stem cell research can energize the Democratic base without alienating more moderate voters. While the extreme Right may agree with Bush here, generally speaking the President is a dinosaur on this issue, and most Americans find themselves aligned politically and morally with the Democrats.

Regardless of your political leanings, there is little doubt that Democrats have been completely unable to exploit Bush's missteps the past few years. Today's veto is yet another opportunity for the Democrats to shed the incompetence of the past few years and welcome some new members into the tent. It will be interesting to see if they can take advantage of it.

Okay, now back to anonymously announcing how many HH's you have....

UPDATE: I should back up my claim that President Bush is out of step with the American people on this issue. From the New York Times: "According to the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan polling organization that tracks the issue, roughly two-thirds of all Democrats and independents favor embryonic stem cell research, while nearly half of all Republicans do."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Smooth Crim Law (and the rest)

This post by Prof. Kerr regarding law school prep courses (and my comment contained therein) reminded me just what a waste those things are. I never took one, I survived. I knew what consideration meant at the end of contracts. So if you're coming in, DON'T TAKE ANY OF THOSE CLASSES. As I've said before, I recommend Law School Confidential by Miller. But I also want to use this blog to give you guys a preview of what awaits.

I'm short on time so I can't go course by course to summarize what is covered, and frankly since the classes are very specific to the professor, I cannot really summarize too much. If anyone from admin knows the 1L professors already, I'd be dying to know. But if commenters want to summarize the courses, by all means. Feel free.

As you already know, your first semester is 3 core courses plus legal research and writing, which is 2 units of credit/no credit (but no credit is not an option's more like credit/delayed credit until you earn it). Anyway, the second semester is 2 core courses, 2 electives and 1 unit of written and oral arguments. LRW is basic legal research followed by turning the research into a memo. WOA is using legal research to formulate an argument in an appellate brief. They are taught by instructors who are really good at legal writing. Take away whatever you can from the class but (1) don't sacrifice your graded courses for LRW or WOA even though it might be tempting and (2) Don't bother buying the reader. You will never open it. I'll take a straw poll on this any day.

The core classes are of course all 1Ls. Your mod (commonly called a small section in other law schools) will have all the same classes during the first semester. One class will be JUST your mod (about 30 students), the others will be your mod plus 2 other mods. Traditionaly mods 1, 2, and 3; 4, 5, and 6; and 7, 8, and 9 have had classes together. Law professors don't use the Socratic method. This is the biggest bull shit myth ever spread about law schools. At best it's modified Socratic method (you don't arrive at an answer through Q & A...the answer is right there. The questions just aim to get more B.S. out of you).

Here's what happens. For some classes you might have an assignment even before classes begin. So from the first day on, you will have reading for each day. Typically it will be one or two cases plus notes (notes are the authors' thoughts, comments, and questions regarding the reading material...they are also the only part of a legal textbook that is not in the public domain). So you'll read the assignment and go to class. And depending on the professor he/she will either summarize the case and then launch into questions, or he/she will pick on someone (or two) to do all the hard work for the day. [I'm glossing over the on-call process and will return to that later]. This Q & A is mostly a chance for the professor to lead you down some traps, challenge your opinions, and try to solve the puzzle of WHY the court did something or didn't do something. I won't say it's useless, but come exam time, very little of it will be used. If there are any varying hypos that the professor gives, then those are useful. Exams are nothing more than a collection of tricky hypos. The more exposure you get to hypos, the better you'll be. Love the hypo. Try to think of hypos yourself.

Anyway, pay attention, but you won't miss much if you surf the web and only take down something whenever you hear the professor say, "THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT..." Learn what black letter law means. This is basically the RULES. Statutes are black letter law. Restatements of the Law (these are summaries of the law for different subjects, like contracts) are black letter law. Modern court holdings are black letter (for example, it might help to know classical theory of contracts to analyze a problem, but your answer will not be based on that...unless the professor specifically asks). Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Model Penal Code, and the Uniform Commercial Code are likewise black letter (the UCC is the law in most states so it comes under statute). Pay attention in class then for the black letter, as well as how the black letter changes if you manipulate the facts. That's the skill set that you are learning.

On Call

This is one of the most stressful parts of law school...getting called on. There are some variations: (a) cold-calling (b) cold-calling but based on some non-random order like last name or seating (c) pre-sign ups (d) open discussion.

The first one is the worst because you have to be ready every day. You don't know when it will be you. The second one is a bit better but not by much. It sucks for someone like me whose last name is right up front...but then it is a blessing in classes like income tax that get progressively harder through the semester. Sign ups are great...just don't be like me where you forget that you're on call on a particular day and end up looking like an ass in front of the professor and the whole class. The last one is also bad. Anyone with a random thought in their head feels the need to opine. Ugh.

This post is long enough, so I will leave note-taking, study groups, commercial outlines, and outlining to comments.

UPDATE: I want to append these 20 Tips to Avoid Being a Douchebag in Law School. (Hat tip: SS).

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Grades actually are up...

Now, everyone can "relax". Thank you anonymous poster on Aremn's previous thread for discovering this.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

So Anything New Happen Over the Weekend?

[UPDATE: Photos appear below]

I just got back from St. Louis tonight. And I want to preface this by saying I have read all the comments from the weekend (except the really long ones or the ones that were written in computer code). I'll gloss over some of the minor stuff first.

(1) I haven't seen the TiVo of the final, and I napped through the OT period (woke up in time for the PKs though), but I have to disagree with Tacitus. Almost all versions of the rules of soccer, including FIFA's, allow a linesman to indicate to the referee when a violation has occurred. Again, I've only seen the highlights, but the linesman and the ref can communicate via the mics they have, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of the linesmen saw what happened and told the ref. Perfectly legit to red card under the current rules.

[Slight update: I just watched the TiVo. I can't imagine the officials handling that any better. Any insinuation that the linesman saw it on the replay is just that, speculation. He was monitoring the near sideline limited to Italy's half of the field. Perfect position to see it, and I'll assume he did. Just because that idiot Marcello Balboa says they might have seen it, doesn't make it so].

(2) The person subletting from me needs to find a roommate for the year starting in the fall. If any incoming or current Boalties need a female roommate (White, blonde, psych major, and loves sarcasm), e-mail me and I will pass it along to her.

(3) I was in St. Louis to visit Wash U Law School with a friend of mine. Much like my mission to USF, this revealed a few interesting tidbits.

(a) I was not disgusted to be in their building. Sure it's named Anheiser-Busch hall, but it's gorgeous. I almost never want to leave the building. All professors' offices are near the library so that students can have easy access. (Be sure to pack 3 days worth of supplies if you plan on searching for an office in Simon Hall...Boalt's Simon Hall). Speaking of the library, marvelous is how I'd describe it. Just the sun shining through...classically styled furniture. Amazing. Oh and students get 24 hour access to it. I hate studying in Boalt's library. Even if you line it with gold I will not touch it with a 10 ft pole. But why can't we have access to the building (including the library) 24/7 with out IDs? I can easily see some students really using a journal office to study, crash, run to a final in the morning. that so hard? I hope at least the new building has such a feature...including a study area for students.

Their equivalent of Zeb had a flatscreen TV. I really hope I don't have to add too much more to explain this one.

(b) *cough* Their staff bent over backwards. This might be a function of a visiting student, or it might be the Midwestern hospitality (those people are eerily friendly), but wow did I feel welcome or what. Now I'm going to name some names and get into details.

I did not like their Career Services Staff. I'll take Terry Galligan over them any day. I'm glad TG got permission from the chambers (and the commenter who keeps whining that we didn't post the article online really needs to learn how to use lexis) and sent us the article. (Emphasis on permission to distribute. Further emphasis on the audience of this blog being those in the legal field who are inherently competitive and wouldn't miss the chance to screw anyone over, esp. for something as blatant as violating federal laws. Again, I'm addressing that particular commenter who really still is too dense to get it. Did you get your article in multiple formats? I'll even send it to you in WordPerfect format if you'd like). Anyway, yes, he went out of his way to help us and that's definitely deserving of praise.

The Dean of Students seemed friendly and really nice. She just didn't have the quirkiness of D.O. Again, I'd take D.O. But then there were the rest. From admissions through financial aid, everyone knew everyone else, and we were introduced from one to the next in friendly ways I have not seen at a law school for about 2 years. I'm reminded of Admit Day '04 when Eileen Ladarre spoke to potential students. Only those who were present could appreciate the sheer terror. Then her mean side came out during orientation.

(c). Students. No comparison.

(d). Misc.

Rent is dirt cheap. I think we overpay by at least $4000 a year in rent. The school needs to consider this.

Our coffee shops rock.

Weather and legal market are far superior in Cal.

Anyway, those are the brief comparisons. But more substantially, all the things pointed in the comments regarding the grades, and the things I mention here need to be taken seriously as the school moves forward. No, I don't have a sense of entitlement...unless asking for something more than mediocrity is a sense of entitlement. What was true when I first visited Boalt is still true today...students just don't have that sense of jumping out of their shoes to want to be law students here. And by here I mean the building. Like I said, the opportunities we have, the faculty, the students, etc. are amazing. But when I walk down our halls, I'm just not excited about stepping into a state of the art classroom. I just don't feel I can alter a 150 year bureaucracy that gives the DMV a run for its money. I need a Sherpa to find a professor's office.

Again, all that is good about our school really outweighs the bad, but I think it is healthy to address the bad and really move us into that top 5 category that DE envisions. I just think a few field trips might help make that happen.

This is Simon Hall, which is adjacent to Anheiser-Busch Hall. Incidentally they have keggers every Friday afternoon where professors are encouraged to attend and mingle. I dream of a law library reading room to look like this. While lockers at Boalt are as run down as my public, LAUSD high school lockers, the lockers at Wash look like the lockers of the executive lockerroom at my gym. Yes, they are that high. Along with the cheap rent you expected to make a sacrifice or two. While their law school looks better than ours, St. Louis doesn't have a decent view of the Golden Gate.

Tax This

I have to announce another acute disappointment, albeit one affecting a slightly smaller cross-section of the group: Professor Auerbach's tax policy seminar is cancelled, per an email I received this evening. Crap. I'm transferring to NYU.


Spring Grades

DS hopes everyone got this:

"As most of you know, spring grades were suppose to be posted to
BearFacts over the weekend. There was a problem with the program. The
Law School did submit grades to the campus on time, the problem is at a
campus level. The campus is looking into what options are available.
At this time we do not have any information on when the grades will be
visible. We will keep you posted."

If there is one thing DS has learned at the law firm at which he's working this summer it is that if you don't deliver it is your fault. It does not actually have to be your fault. Maybe a partner kept you late at a meeting. Maybe your secretary was out that day. Maybe you had a summer associate event to go to that associates were giving you crap for not attending. It doesn't matter.

When you are assigned a task in a professional environment, it is your job to make sure the task is completed. You cannot hide behind others' mistakes. So the Berkeley campus had a problem. DS does not care. You're looking into options. Great. Get the students their grades. Now. DS is not applying for a clerkship, but if he were, this would give him serious pause in recommending Boalt to anyone.

Two months is too long. Maybe the campus would not have had this issue a month ago. Fix the problem now. Get us our grades. 0Ls should be aware this is the kind of ineptitude they are in for over the next three years.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

World Cup Weary

Best bit of writing I've seen about the world cup, from the Scotsman:

WHERE were you when Zizou applied that immaculately-tonsured bonce to Italian ribs? Did you feel a spiritual bonding with the African fans huddling round a battery-powered TV in Dakar, the Chinese millions, the entire nation of Thailand, those fourteen Californians, gathering round their sets for the world's greatest sporting event? Or were you wondering which French patriot had sold all the ad space on ITV, as Kronenbourg, Air France and Renault gave us the Gallic hard sell.

Terrible call by the ref at the end. Don't get me wrong, Zidane deserved to be sent off. But in football/soccer, if the ref didn't see it, it didn't happen. Those are the rules. And they apply doubly (as in all sports) where superstars are involved (and NOBODY sees a foul AGAINST a superstar). A dark day for soccer.

in this assessment, I know I disagree with the professional commentators. I don't believe Zidane's legacy will be tarnished by this ugly incident. But the World Cup may never be the same. The officiating in this Cup was the only thing consistent: consistently awful. That's what will be remembered.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Open Dread

What's on your mind? Pissed off at the new CalMail interface? Can't tell a Hornbook from an Emmanuel's? Know any cool places to see/things to do in St. Louis? (I'll be there this weekend). Well opine away.

Also I want to publicly note that Dean H., no wait that's not anonymous enough...let's say D. Harvey goofed and didn't register for the July bar exam, so now he has to wait and take the February one. So if you don't see his name in November when results come out, you'll know why. Also when we're one person short of having the highest bar pass rate, you'll know why.

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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Another Clerkship Resource

Rat Race: Insider Advice on Landing Judicial Clerkships. 110 Penn. State L. Rev. 835.

You should be able to get it on Lexis, Westlaw, or Hein. Sorry, I can't in good conscience post the pdf I received (forwarded around by another law school's career office, and then re-forwarded by a student from the law school at my firm. The copyright notice is on the front page people!). So check it out on one of those databases, and the Penn State Law Review will actually get some $$ for publishing a good article.

[UPDATE: see comments for advice on access]


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Work Product

So I'm putting some of my summer earnings towards putting down credit debt. But I have a question. How is a credit score calculated? Specifically, I know that the balance to limit ratio is taken into account, but how is it taken into account? Do they add up all your balances and divided that by all your credit? Or do they take the individual ratios and multiply each by some coefficient? Obviously if the former then it just makes sense to pay off the highest interest first, but if the latter then paying off the highest ratio first works better.

Anyway, that's my question, but any other plans for spending that cold hard cash?

Jay Sherman: "How do you sleep at night?"
Renier Wolfcastle: "On a pile of money with many beautiful women."

Monday, July 03, 2006

LA Times Op/Ed on Cody's


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Continuation II: The Judges

I recently discovered a resource called "The Almanac of the Federal Judiciary" (described here). It features lengthy descriptions of the federal judges based on attorney surveys, which include the general question "how would you rate this judge?" When I first started reading, it seemed like a useless question. LIke a system that only gives out A's (couldn't help myself, see discussion below), all of the judges are "praised" or "very good" or "outstanding." Only after reading 20 or 30 did I notice that a pattern exists. No one wants to speak badly of a judge, but they will speak of judges in different flavors of greatness. From what I could discern, the best a judge could receive is "Attorneys' raved about Judge ____." So, without further ado, two to three hours of sweatwork converted into a list of the "raved about" federal district judges in the districts I checked (which was not all). I hope you enjoy the list, but remember the source (also consider reading the source if you care about judge's political leanings, interests, sentencing practices, senior judge docket composition, etc.).

D.Mass: Young (CJ), Gertner, Zobel
D.N.H: Barbadero
D.Conn: Chatigny (CJ), Underhill (note on Boalt's new faculty hires clerked for Underhill)
S.D.N.Y.: Chin, Cote, Lynch (merely "excellent" in S.D.N.Y.: Mukasey (CJ), Kaplan (KPMG hero), Koeltl, Pauley, Scheindler, Stein, Wood)
E.D.N.Y.: Korman, Gleeson, Weinstein
D.N.J.: Hayden, Pisano, Wolfson
E.D.Pa: Bartle, Dalzell, McLaughlin, Pollak
D.Md: Blake, Chasanow
D.D.C: Bates, Friedman, Robertson
N.D.Cal: Walker (CJ), Breyer, Whyte
E.D.Cal: Levi, Wanger
C.D.Cal: Collins, King, Manella, Morrow, Tevrizian
D.Ariz: Teilborg
D.Idaho: Lodge
D.Nev: Pro (CJ)
S.D.Tex: Kazen, Lake, Rosenthal
N.D.Ga: Murphy
E.D.N.C.: Howard
W.D.N.C.: Thornburg
D.S.C.: Anderson, Norton

I've also been asking around at work about which type of clerkship, district or appellate, is best for a future attorney. Either is obviously beneficial, but the appellate clerkship is best for people interested in academia, policy, appellate practice, politics, etc. The consensus has been that a district court clerkship is more immediately useful for a young trial lawyer.

Has anybody stumbled on any other information? July 28 is the deadline for our lists. Also, any thoughts on writing samples?

PS: The Garrison Keillor Independence Day Performance is amazing; it's closing out now with "America the Beautiful." Wow. I love you PBS, even more than Civ Pro.

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Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tip of the Iceberg

I read this story earlier today about an investigation into the possible rape of an Iraqi woman and the murder of the woman and her family. To the best of my knowledge I can't recall any previous investigations for rape in Iraq. I'm not saying there aren't any, I'm just saying there's a suspicious dearth of them.

That was the immediate thought that crossed my mind. The obvious question is why? As a combat zone Iraq is a fairly stressful for combatants, at least from what I've been able to gather. And there doesn't seem to be much prostitution around. After three years, you'd think there'd be a rape investigation every other day...but no. Is this because the U.S. military is so professional that it has incidents of rape at a less rate than the general population? Hardly. My suspicion is that to the extent there are sexual assaults commited by U.S. servicemen in Iraq, they go largely unreported because of cultural/societal issues. I'm no expert on Islam, but from what I know of Middle Eastern cultures, any discussion of sexuality is off limits. Let alone going to older men and admitting to them that you are no longer chaste in the eyes of your God.

I hope the military brass are aware of this peculiar situation and are working or already have ways for Iraqi women to report sexual crimes without any fear of reprisal, etc. from their community. I have a feeling we have an extensive system created to help those Iraqis who wish to work with the U.S. I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to do the same for women who wish to report crimes.

Happy 4th of July.