Sunday, December 31, 2006

In the Year 2000

Resos? Predictions? Wishes?


Saturday, December 30, 2006

This is the End

The murderous dictator was hanged. Now the people of Iraq can live in peace and free from worry of needless violence, death, and carnage. Given today's bombing in Madrid, it sounds like this theory is on track for now.

As I was writing this, CNN just showed part of the video as the noose is placed around Saddam's neck. I have never felt more nauseated. Then again I nearly pass out when Armenians slaughter sheep.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Day-After-Christmas Roundup

The San Francisco Chronicle has this story on the effects an anti-gang injunction has had on its community. This story is important for two reasons: 1) San Francisco is copying the procedure, obtained its first anti-gang injunction last month and hopes to get more, and 2) Prof. Bundy has done work on the case for Petitioners. For those who heard me ranting about City of Chicago v. Morales a few weeks ago, look at how the prosecutors have evolved around the decision's vagueness and notice concerns. There's a lot to think and debate in these cases.

In the story that won't die, I point to this story on the Bay Area's parsimonious giving compared to Los Angeles. Congratulations Armen. If you want to spin this up, I'd love to hear you explain and allow people to comment and develop on shaping pro bono practice through board service.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

Within the next couple hours, the last of the 1Ls should be finishing the last of their first semesters' exams, and I want to offer my congratulations. I distinctly remember the feeling of wrapping up my first round of law school tests as being one of the most satisfied, relieved feelings of my life. I got drunk with my friends at a certain bar on Durant (right in the middle of the day), stumbled home, turned on SportsCenter, and fell asleep on my couch with a big silly perma-grin on my face. Good times. Savor the feeling, guys--you've earned it. Feel free to share any celebratory anecdotes.

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Season's Graces

Thanks to commenter Michelle from Madison in the Nancy Grace post, I want to pass along these SNL skits: here and here. Also, here's the LA Times story on the release of the final 10 pages of FBI files on John Lennon that were withheld because they came from a foreign government and their release might lead to a military strike against the U.S. Note: they seriously made this argument, just like they are seriously arguing that those we detain cannot be tried in open civilian courts.

EDIT: And the TV link I posted seems to be down, but here's alt.


A Professional Organization By Any Other Name…

Completely true: I recently became a (card-carrying) member of ATLA—the American Trial Lawyers Association. My student membership set me back 15 bucks and entitled me to receive a near-constant barrage of emails advising me, inter alia, 1) which doctors will go to bat for my clients, 2) where to get my client’s complete pharmaceutical history, 3) how to get around the new e-discovery provisions in the new FRCP 26, and 4) whenever a nationally-marketed product is recalled.

Effective last Friday, ATLA has changed its name. In an effort to show the world that they’re proud of who they are and what they do, that they won’t knuckle under to political name-calling, and that they have the vision and courage to stake out meaningful terrain in the semiotic culture wars, the organization will now be known as—get ready for it—the American Association for Justice. I am not making this up. I hope you think it is as funny as I do.

Myself, I had some concerns about the new name when the announcement came on Friday (in an email also alerting me to a seminar I can attend, for a hefty fee, on the difficulties associated with proving damages in infant wrongful-death cases). But this afternoon I received a letter that provided some welcome reassurances, together with a helpfully glossy FAQ sheet. First, it explained how to pronounce the new name (each letter is separately pronounced). Second, it assured me that “[n]ational professional organizations change their names all the time. In fact, our organization has changed its name in the past.” Hm. Okay. The letter explained that my ATLA credit card will be promptly replaced at no cost to me with a brand-new AAJ card, that I will be issued a new membership card when I renew my membership, that I can still email my friends at their email accounts, and so forth.

Best of all, however, was the explanation that, notwithstanding the name change, I should feel free to introduce myself as I have always done, according to my own custom, as a “trial lawyer,” “trial attorney,” “plaintiffs’ attorney,” or—and again, I am not making any of this up—as a “justice attorney” or “defender of justice.”

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Hanukkah? Hanukah? Chanuk--ah, fuck it

I'm a few days late on this, but as our local newscasts so venerably report every holiday--"And to our Jewish friends..." Well, to everyone, Happy Hanukkah! Hopefully you've taken some time from studying to light up the shammas, dance the hora, and sing a song involving Aged Rocks. I also hope the season has brought you applesauce with your latkes, and dreidel spins ending in gimmel (curse you shin!).

For me, Hanukkah has always been about more than gifts and miracles involving oil (heck, I bet W. celebrates the miracle of oil way more than any Jew I know). No, for me it's really about the 3 F's: Fun, Family, and the Forced removal of religious imagery from public places such as airports. Good times!

Happy holidays to all, whatever holiday it may be! Feel free to offer your own holiday wishes!

Quick Question

I have a few people who are either considering law school or will go to law school and I want to get them Christmas gifts. Specifically I want to get them books that are sort of a primer on the American judicial system. So if any of you have any recommendations, please e-mail me at armenaut-at-gmail-dot-com.

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

All Finals All the Time

It's common for law students not to talk about finals once they're done, but I always like going over them. Anway, I just want to gripe about IP. The short answers were like, "compare fair use in copyrights with fair use in trademarks." That's a law review article right there. See, e.g., 71 Brooklyn L. Rev. 1665. And the essay was short on facts, but basically asked you for a treatise on IP. The analogy I'd draw is like getting a fact pattern that says, "A makes an offer to B. B accepts, but later retracts. Discuss any issues that may arise under contract law principles."

Fed Courts was the opposite. Each question tested a specific area of the course. Making me feel stupid incrementally. I hope the tax people had a better time with that exam this year.

Note: I'm posting this now that all makeups are either taken or about to be taken for this past week.

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Friday, December 15, 2006


There are a lot of thoughts whirling through my head. I want to forward this order by Judge Fogel regarding California's death penalty. (hat tip: John Steele). Orin Kerr of the VC thinks that this case has the best chance of reaching the SCOTUS because of the well developed record. On the other hand, I think because Judge Fogel's ruling is measured and deliberative, the State will likely alter its DP procedures rather than litigate the matter.

I was thinking about the progress of the war, when I had a flash of brilliance. In undergrad I took a c lass on American Diplomacy, where we read "The Irony of Vietnam: The System Worked" by Les Gelb and Richard Betts. In the conclusions chapter, I had the following passage marked with the marginal note, "W on War on Terr." Anyway, here it is:
Above all, Presidents should eschew ambitious new conceptual and overall policy doctrines supported by a new consensus. Doctrine and consensus are the midwives to necessity and the enemy of dissent and choice. They breed political paranoia and intellectual rigidity. Opposition to a policy is toleragle; disagreement with revealed truth is close to treaston. FActs are transformed into serviceable commoditites; they are either ignored or forced to fit the theory. To define policy in terms of necessity, as doctrines do, is to preclude choice by definition.

While an overall doctrine embodied in political consensus does not end dispute, it makes the outcomes a certainty. There was little chance that President Roosevlet could have the United States weigh in the scalres against Hitler before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, given the doctrine of isolationism. There was no way President Truman could avoid commitment to Vietnam, given the doctrine of containment. The street demonstrators, the academic critics, and congressmen had no power to reverse that commitment; they could only affect how the war was conducted.
I refer with effusion* to the "Bush Doctrine" and his recent tantrums comparing himself to Harry Truman.


* "I refer with effusion to our railway system, which consents to let us live, though it might do the opposite, being our owners. It only destroyed three thousand and seventy lives last year by collisions, and twenty-seven thousand two hundred and sixty by running over heedless and unnecessary people at crossings. The companies seriously regretted the killing of these thirty thousand people, and went so far as to pay for some of them--voluntarily, of course, for the meanest of us would not claim that we possess a court treacherous enough to enforce a law against a railway company." -- Mark Twain Speech of July 4, 1872.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

You are aware....

So, DS just finished the majority of his studying for his very last exam of 2006. This studying consisted of printing off four separate outlines, dividing them by topic, then putting paper clips around each subject -- eight in all. That may not sound like much, but there was a good hour of work that when into that.

DS feels like Costanza when Arthur Pensky enterred Gerorge's office and demanded to see his file.

Pensky: Costanza? Arthur Pensky.
George: Mr. Pensky. I was just working on your file. I was transferring the contents of the file into this flexible accordion-style folder.
Pensky: Where's Tuttle?
George: He's on vacation.
Pensky: He was on vacation the last time I dropped by. Give me my file. (looks through the file) Looks like you put a lot of work into this.
George: Well you know in college they used to call me the little bulldog.
Pensky: Hey, you are Pensky material. Would you ever consider coming to work directly for me?
George: Really?
Pensky: You are aware...
Secretary: (over the speaker) Mr. Castanza?
George: Not now Florice.
Secretary: (speaker) I thought Mr. Pensky should know they're towing his car.

DS thinks he's "P(ensky)" material.

You can call him the little bulldog from now on.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Exam Time

I'm not going to lie to you guys. I'm stressed. I have 3 days to learn two fundamental law school courses. I know I know, see DS's post as to why I shouldn't be stressing, but let's just say my bar fees are contingent on a few H's. Anyway, I've taken the time from studying and written my ideal law school exam. Like our own exams, you may not consult the internet for an answer.

1. What is the one true and only way to eat an Oreo?

2. Football
(a) What is the origin of the team name Green Bay Packers?
(b) Who modeled for the Heisman Trophy pose?
(c) Why is it called a down?

3. Baseball.
(a) What is the origin of the seventh inning stretch?
(b) Infield fly rule. Explain. Designated hitter. Discuss policy.

4. How did the naming of tropical storms, hurricans, typhoons, etc. originate? Hint: Aussies.

5. How many licks (on average) does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? No sucking allowed.

I'm turning this into a meme and passing it on to Panda, Willie, and Stacita. [This means writing your own exam questions, not answering mine.]

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Monday, December 11, 2006

They All Look the Same

Conservatives are frothing at the mouth that incoming House Intel Committee chair Sylvestre Reyes thought Shi'ites were part of Al Qaeda. See, here. I would just like to remind everyone that G Dub didn't know who the president of Pakistan was. That is all.

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An Argument for no 3L Finals

DS went to his firm's Christmas/Holiday party Saturday night at a very nice hotel in the City. As he was the only summer there, he was repeatedly asked the same question: What's up with the hair and beard? After the answer of "Exam time beard, like the playoffs in hockey," the replied question was, "Exams?? You have an offer. What do you care? Just don't fail." DS must admit, he didn't really have an answer for that. All the attorneys freely admitted they did nothing their 3L year. Most of them don't really know why there is a 3L year. DS is not going to propose getting rid of that.

So, he proposes no exams should be required for 3Ls who have attended a large percentage of classes (you can't not go to class and expect not to take a final). If you are a 3L and want to take an exam (grades might still matter to some), that's cool, take one. But if you are like DS, and just want to "P-out" the remainder of law school, study your ass off for the bar, and work, why should you need to take an exam?

Everyone knows law school is more like high school than college. And DS's high school offers seniors the opportunity to skip exams, and take the grade they have on the books, if they have come to a certain amount of classes. The obvious problem with the high school to law school analogy is that in high school you get grades the whole term, or 6-weeks, or whatever. We don't get that in law school. Which is why DS proposes a simple "P" to any 3L that attends 90-95% of classes and has good excuses when not attending. Would professors have to take attendance? No, it's all the honor code. If we can be trusted not to access the hard-drive on our computers during an exam with no one monitoring, we should be able to say we've come to 95% of classes and be believed. The theory is that if you come to class, you are going to pay attention and learn something along the way. Class attendance should be enough to guarantee a 3L a P.

This doesn't mean that you can't take exams. DS is in a class this semester that he thinks is somewhat interesting. If his policy were implemented, he would still take this exam. DS has, like most Boalties, blown off classes he doesn't like or finds useless -- Criminal Law, DS is looking in your direction -- so he can study and try to do well in other classes. As a 3L, he would still study for the classes he finds interesting, and try to do well in those. Thus, his overall exam approach wouldn't change much: Study hard for classes he enjoys, study just enough to get a P in other classes (as a 3L, that "study just enough" would just mean zero studying).

The one big problem with this is the whole Boalt curve thing. 2Ls and 3Ls are graded on the same curve, and if a majority of 3Ls decided not to take the final, this would give a huge advantage to 2Ls, as a large percentage of P's would already be taken up. Two replies: (1) 3Ls don't care now anyway, so perhaps a large percentage of course P's go to 3Ls now, (2) grade 2Ls and 3Ls on a separate curve. He really thinks he's on to something here.

Alternatively, just to show we're not complete slackers here, instead of requiring no exams, require a mimimum of one or two. Meaning, you can't opt out of every final. Maybe you can only opt out of half your finals. So, if you have 4, you have to take two - but you still have to attend 90-95% of classes in the courses in which you opt of their finals.

Another problem is with courses in which the final is a paper. Maybe you'd still have to do those. Papers are important, and they wrap up classes nicely. But they would count toward the "have to take finals in half your courses." So, if you have two paper finals, and two exam finals, you would be required to do the papers, and would get a free P on the exams - as long as you came to the required number of classes. If you had 1 paper final and 3 exam finals, you would be required to do the paper and 1 of the 3 exams.

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A Blog Entry About Law Review Article Titles: An Exercise In Frivolity

Things have gotten a little heated on N&B recently, so I thought I'd brighten the mood with a post we could all have a little fun with... PLUS, bonus finals period procrastination!

I've been doing some research for a paper, and I keep stumbling across unintentionally hilarious law review article titles, almost uniformally abusing the colon as a punctuation mark. Today, for example, I stumbled across 77 Wash. L. R. 1035, better known as "The Socio-Legal Acceptance of New Technologies: A Close Look At Artificial Insemination." This is funny on a few levels, from the juvenile (artificial insemination. hehe.) to the collegiate (a "close look" at artificial insemination... ewww. no thanks.) to the absurd (think of how what precedes the colon relates to what follows).

In any case, I invite our dear readers to submit their favorite law review article titles, preferably but not necessarily involving the colon. In fact, I'll make a contest of it: I'll buy the poster of the winning entry a beverage of his or her choice at the bar review of his or her choice. Entries can range from the oddly funny (see above) to the more clever funny (see "Taking Taking Rights Seriously Seriously" 52 NYU L. Rev. 1265 (1977). Please try to keep them funny funny though, seriously seriously.

And yes, an ancillary humorous benefit of this post was to be able to employ the word colon as many times as possible.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Boalt Finals '06: Attack of the Frat

Today I walked into the library I tried to find a seat. After a quick glance into the hell-pit that is the Main Reading Room, I head over to the North Addition. Tables full. I look over at the cubicles. Tables Full. I look at a few people and what do I see? More math books than law books. Even a freshman level GEOLOGY book. Seriously, do you really need to be studying at all?

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that we are a University, not a Law School in the middle of nowhere (who else uses the Hastings library?). However, when we have restricted hours I would tend to think that we would try to keep undergrads out. PLEASE can we at least pretend to not allow the frat guys into our library during finals? Otherwise, the next time I need a seat I'm simply going to recruit a few other 1L's and throw an undergrad off the balcony of the 6th floor of Simon.

So, in the spirit of Finals Crunch Time, I am venting on this board. Feel free to vent as well.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Someone Didn't Take Intro to IP

I had to pass along this story about the Chicago gunman being pissed off about his truck toilet invention. I don't even have anything witty to say. Is the USPTO heavily fortified? Is your SV firm worried about this kind of a thing or is it just people who invent things related to trucks that carry guns?

A Funding Program You May Be Unaware Of

I received this notice in email today:

[The annual National Democrat Law Student Convention will soon occur in New York City. Begin making reservations.] "Dean Ortiz's office will reimburse you $100 of the cost of your flight. It'd be great to get some Boalt representation here..."

To me, this raises a number of important questions:

1. The offer appears unlimited. Will the Dean's Office reimburse any and all law students who want to go on vacation?

2. Under what terms does the Dean's Office have hundred-dollar bills lying around to fund student trips? Are there guidelines for any and all clubs to take advantage of this discount?

I'm afraid that the answers to questions 1 and 2b are not "yes", though if they are I will be pleasantly surprised and take back my scurrilous insinuating.

EDIT: As it turns out, the Dean's Office can help subsidize trips to any law-related conference. I did not know that. I hope this will help publicize the opportunity. And as promised, I take back my scurrilous insinuating. I'm glad the Dean's Office makes these trips possible for everyone.


In other (old) news, if Boalt's website will say nothing on this point, I'd like to congratulate Boalt alum Kenneth Wainstein, formerly U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, now Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Well She Was Just 17

A Boalt 3L, who shall remain anonymous for his maniacal gun-totting views (see Boalt Blogroll) e-mails me the parody below. I figured Boalties are all tired of studying, so I'm using this as a starting point for other parodies anyone wants to write.

Get a P (to the tune of Let it Be)

When I find myself a week from finals,
Robert Berring comes to me,
Speaking words of wisdom:
Get a P.

And all through office hours,
He is staring at a random tree,
Speaking words of wisdom:
Get a P

Get a P, get a P, get a P, get a P.
Write down any answer, get a P

And if the half-retarded people
Graduate with a JD,
You can P through law school
Get a P.

For though they hardly studied,
They will surely always get a P.
Write down any answer,
Get a P.

Get a P, get a P, get a P, get a P.
Write down any answer,
Get a P.

Get a P, get a P, get a P, get a P.
Whisper words of wisdom:
Get a P.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Simon Says--Get Out!

A commenter in the previous thread has asked for a post on the Boalt plan to transfer student journals from Simon Hall to office space on Bancroft, so as to make room for new faculty. Ask and ye shall receive.

I'm not an expert on this, so I'll leave it up to commenters to provide the pertinent information. Who is being moved? When will it occur? For how long? To where? Who will move into Simon? Then, feel free to debate away--if you point out problems, try to offer solutions!

While I don't want to comment on the merits of the plan, I do want to make one general point about this situation. A recurring discussion on this blog involves the view of many students that the Administration doesn't properly take student views into account when making these types of decisions. I hope, in this case, that the Administration makes an honest effort to include students in the decisionmaking process. Participating in extracurriculars like journals is such a huge part of Boalt--this plan could greatly diminish student involvement in journals, which in turn could effectively alter the entire Boalt experience for many students. Such a change should not be made lightly.

The commenter in the previous thread says that the Boalt admin is implementing the change "quietly." I disagree. I've received several emails about this, BHSA held a widely-advertised meeting, and a student task force has formed. But will any of this have a meaningful effect on the final plan? Or have all the important decisions already been made, before the students became involved? I don't know, but I do know that this issue matters a lot, and I hope that student voices do not fall on deaf ears.

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