Monday, October 29, 2007

Bar Info

3Ls--this link is to a document that has most of the info regarding deadlines, fees, forms, etc. that you need for the July Bar. Don't take everything on there as gospel--you still need to check everything out for yourself, but this should be a pretty good guide to what you need to do over the next few months.

BTW, I got this from my friend at USF, who is in charge of making sure all the 3Ls at USF know what they need to do to take the exam (they have meetings and everything). Why, why does Boa--Berkeley Law not have this same position??? Last year I suggested having a Bar Czar, and I really don't understand why it hasn't been done yet. Hell, the work has already been done, the Bar Czar (also known as the 3L Rep) just needs to email out that document, and maybe talk to BarBri one time about their fees/deadlines.

This is the kind of extremely simple thing that students really appreciate. We shouldn't need USF to do it for us.

[Nothing against's Patrick's post below, but I feel this is too important to stay hidden away. -- Armen]


Making the Grade

When a classmate sent me this article with the comment, "Stanford students are grading their employers," I shot off a hasty reply: "Someone should tell Stanford that is so last semester. Boalt students have been databasing employer information with the CDO office for some time, and by all indications Berkeley Law students will continue the tradition."

A couple hours later I had time to read the article and I found that the Stanford students are most decidedly not up to the same thing as Boalties. 

Although I am sympathetic with many of their concerned observations (yes, even in 2007 it might not be an accident if you can't find a single black partner at a large law firm, and an absence of female partners at the same firm may indeed be telling, too), the project also makes me feel weird and uncomfortable.

First, there is the implied conception of "diversity" as something to be measured, ranked, and advertised.

Second, why have these mysterious anonymous students who would otherwise be at BigLaw chosen this moment to make their stand for social justice?

Third, there is the precociousness of statements like this: "'Firms that want the best students will be forced to respond to the market pressures that we’re creating,' said . . . a law student . . ."

Realistically, however, I have had a tad too much coffee and I am edgy and cranky with Online Citation Exercises and just itching for something defenseless to nitpick.

Weirdly pensive as I feel about the project, I give it a vote of support. Come to think of it, it might have happened here at Berkeley, if we had thought of it first.

Labels: ,

This will be moot in 48 hours

While you may be aware that the Supreme Court this term will review the constitutionality of the lethal injection procedures used in many states, that doesn't mean that executions have ceased. Here, the Fifth Circuit declines to stay an execution scheduled for tomorrow.

A few things to note. First, see all the appeals and habeas petitions in this case over 18 years, but note that the defendant first filed for Federal habeas relief in October 2005. Next, note how the petition before the Court was styled a Section 1983 claim, but the district court treated it as a motion for stay of execution--creative pleading did not work. Finally, note that the original petition for stay of execution is still pending before the US Supreme Court--presumably, that Court could halt the execution in the next two days.

I guess it's really up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to stay all executions by lethal injection pending its decision. But still, shouldn't the Fifth Circuit at least weigh the chance that the procedure will be invalidated, rendering the execution of this and other petitioners unconstitutional, against the expense and delay to the State of Mississippi of waiting a few more months to put this man to death? At the risk of sounding like John Kerry, how do you tell a person that he will be the last to die by what may be unconstitutional means?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different

***DISCLAIMER: If you were bothered by the library post, and/or feel that this blog should be limited to scathing dismissals of bad professors and over-eager 1L's, you might want to skip this one. Or, in the alternative, you could proceed straight to the comments and begin flaming.

I knew it the minute I walked into his courtroom. I could spot his type a mile away. He had “softie” written all over him, from the top of his neatly combed hair to the tips of his polished shoes. The amicable chatter of the prosecutors and the defense lawyers, the ease of the stenographers and secretaries, and the relaxed stance of the bailiff all said that this was not the courtroom of a man who inspired fear in those he judged.

I’d come to California, the state with the harshest criminal laws on the books, in hopes of seeing the law in action. I wanted to watch the judge bang his gavel and solemnly intone the words “life without parole.” Instead, I’d ended up in the courtroom of a bleeding-heart-liberal federal magistrate. The longer I stayed, the more I realized that this was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He progressed through his calendar quickly, signing an order here, issuing instructions to a lawyer there. The matters were routine: a Rule 20 case that was stalled until the prosecutor in Nebraska got his act together and hammered out a plea statement, a guilty plea and sentencing of time already served for a defendant wanted by INS, and a pedophile who’d gotten caught looking at child pornography at work.

Then came the case I’d been waiting for. It concerned a defendant, waiting for trial, who had violated the terms of his supervised release and was now in danger of being removed from his halfway house and placed in jail. The man was clearly a career criminal, facing some significant time in the slammer. He’d violated the terms of his release before: testing positive for drug use, breaking the rules of the halfway house, and returning after curfew. The judge had told him the last time he was on his last chance. This was it.

I harbored hopes, as the judge looked down at the defendant and began to discuss the particulars of the case. In his deep and sonorous voice, he explained the gravity of the situation. The need to draw a line. The trust the defendant had violated, and how deeply disturbed the judge felt at this betrayal. Here, I thought, was the judge’s chance to prove his mettle. To show, to the defendant, the courtroom, and the world at large, that he was made of sterner stuff than your average liberal California Judge.

Instead, after listening to a cursory explanation by the pre-trial officer and a stumbling, halting explanation by the defendant, the judge decided to let him stay at the halfway house. My shock must have shown on my face, because the judge’s next words were that the defendant was on “his last half-chance”.

Oh, the judge tried to explain his reasoning. That particular prosecutor was always out for blood. The pre-trial services officer wasn’t recommending removal. The halfway house hadn’t treated the matter as warranting anything more than a verbal warning. I didn’t buy it. I’d gone into the courtroom wanting carnage. Instead, I got velvet and roses.

The judge’s calendar was over for the day, and I was in dire need of a restroom. The proceedings I’d watched had made me sick to my stomach. Was this the way California treated career criminals? Putting them in halfway houses, offering them drug rehab and job training? No wonder the country had such a crime problem. I resolved to check out the situation in the state court. Surely, justice couldn’t be uniformly bad. There had to be a judge somewhere in the state who believed in wielding the rod of justice.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Is this good?

Excerpts from an article re: an interview re: legal academia from a Hardvard Law professor:

Even practical legal experience is not a good predictor of scholarly ability, and, Levinson noted, "is pretty nearly disqualifying." Levinson pointed out that today's younger professors have no significant practical experience, and that if they tried to become involved in the world, "the world would probably recoil in horror."

. . .

Q: What do you most dislike about being a professor?

A: It's a bad job for people who don't like a lack of structure. It's also bad for people who like to make a difference in the real world. Increasingly, this is an ivory tower profession.


Is this good is a very general spur for comments and discussion, but that's what I'm wondering. I recoiled, somewhat aghast when I read these comments. Perhaps I'm naive, but what use is legal scholarship if it is not practically applicable to the real world? What good is a class in Civil Procedure if your professor has no real world experience?

[shoutout: a good reason to take Civil Procedure with Prof. Bundy, now also tearing it up in private practice. also: what a perfect tough litigator picture. he's hired.]

Have at it folks!

Labels: , ,

A Message to 2L's Everywhere

The 2007 On Campus Interview Process (OH-SHI*) is coming to a close. All of the innocent tree-huggers are going to work for Orrick, and the girl that was screaming at me in the first month of my 1L year about protection for canines is now working at Steefel, Levitt & Weiss. We have all, in effect, realized the power that the process has on us.

I do not desire to say that we are all making a mistake. Far from it; I think it is important to understand BigLaw so that we either accept it as a career or move on to something else. However, I will post a link that I think EVERYONE who goes to work in BigLaw should read. It is a well written article that I have read in full. This article has important advice.

This article is the most useful article I have read in law school, period.

I am still working for BigLaw. In fact, I will be accepting my offer on Friday. But what I think is extremely important is for people to realize that this race we are all embarking on is largely what Ed Tom warned us about on the first day of orientation. We make our careers, not Wachtell.

P.S. I have a friend that gave up an offer at Skadden to work for a small plaintiff employment firm in Oakland. You have my respect, and you know who you are. Keep to your values, and make this legal profession better for us all.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Boalt Webmaster Should Probably Fix this Sooner Rather than Later

When you go to the Journal list on the Boalt webpage, why does the link for Berkeley Journal of African American Policy & Law lead you here?

Labels: ,

The Greatest Fallacy that Ever Lived

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Good, Bad, and Avoided At All Costs

It is that time again. Please route all discussion of teachers and classes for Spring '08 to this thread. Also a friendly reminder to try and limit using names of professors, so that they don't have to show up on a google search. Hilarious and rude nicknames OK.

For my part, don't take tax at 8:10 (AM). Ever.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Eggshell White

Last night Bobby Jindal (R-LA) won the gubernatorial race in that state. In AP's coverage of the event, there's an interesting line:

U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal became the nation's youngest governor and the first nonwhite to hold post in Louisiana since Reconstruction

Say what? This is why I personally hate racial classifications. There's no science behind it. It's a political tool for lumping people into categories. As far as any U.S. governmental agency, including the Census Bureau, is concerned, White/Caucasian includes those from the Middle East, India, and anything in between. Same is true for NALP. Statistically speaking, I'm not diverse. Though I don't want to ascribe beliefs to anyone, but I'd imagine SALSA would beg to differ. Maybe we can say Jindal is the first "Other" governor of Louisiana.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

2007 OCIP, Part Deux

If you guys have comments on the OCIP process from here out, please post them here. In other news, BLF is coming. Be ready.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Run Al, Run!

The news is breaking in Europe that Al Gore won the Nobel Prize for Peace this year. Good for him. Better yet, good for this country. He should run for President. Gore has long been my dark-horse favorite for the nomination, a candidate who doesn't need a long speech or a DC consultant to explain why he's running for Preisdent -- just five little words: "Let's fix this goddamn thing!" Alternately, he could just show this video.

Of course, Gore has been getting it right for a while. Not just on the two preeminent issues of our time -- Iraq and global warming -- but on a host of policies since his time in the Senate: environmental protection, the Internet (yes, he really did help get it started), free trade, welfare reform, streamlining government. Even those ideas for which he was most ridiculed now stand out as rather prescient. Remember that "lockbox" for payroll tax revenues? Might not have been a bad idea as our budget deficit drops to "only" $160 billion this year. He was ludicrously ridiculed for sighing and being "exasperated" in this debates with Governor Shrub in 2000. But, Christ, is there anyone not exasperated with our President these days?

Run, Al, run. Hillary doesn't have this locked up -- not by a long shot. You've got instant name ID and credibility with the party. You've lost the boring robot talk and have found your fire. You could raise $10 million in 10 days. You're a New Democrat beloved by the nutroots -- how improbable is that? Given these dark times, the press would actually have to talk about issues this time around, not whether you misstated whether you toured the 1996 floods in Texas with the Director of FEMA or the Deputy Director of FEMA. And you can run circles around Mitt and Fred and Rudy and the rest of the laugh-out-loud GOP circus. Don't tell me it's "demeaning" or "devaluing" to run for office again or you can do more as a spokesmodel than a President. That's the height of cynicism. Eight years ago, a plurality of Americans (and probably Floridians) wanted you to be President. Following up the world-historical disaster that has been W, that number could only have gone up. So tuck away that Oscar (no one really likes Hollywood), and wire that $1 million from Norway into a 2008 campaign account. I can see the bumper stickers already, enunciated with a thick Tennessee drawl: "Al Told You So."


Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Cynthia from The Recorder in SF (the same publication that *cough* discovered Boalt's name change recently) passes on the following announcement. I encourage co-bloggers and other Berkeley Lawties to follow up.


Hi all,

My name is Cynthia, and I am the web editor for a legal publication based out of San Francisco: Cal Law. Our daily newspaper (The Recorder in print) covers the California legal market, and we also maintain a blog for the aggregation of legal news: Legal Pad.

We've decided to add an all-important character to our stable -- a blog by law students for law students. We're currently looking for students at California law schools who are interested in a paid (stipend of approx. $75 per week) position as bloggers, spending 3-4 hours per week blogging about news, cultural events, lifestyle matters, and the all-important personal anecdotal stuff relevant to the law school experience. This position will offer the right person a considerable amount of visibility, experience, and, we think, entertainment. All you web 2.0 kids out there, this one's for you.

Any interested parties can reach out to me to discuss: cfoster-at-alm-dot-com. Send me a couple writing samples and a quick paragraph or two about yourself (no resumes, please), including school name, year, and some background info (include links to your blog, if you have one, as well), and we'll go from there.

No experience required, but it is helpful."

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Call Me Ishmael

A commenter writes below:
A little bird at the law school who works in admin says: the name Boalt Hall is being phased out. Berkeley Law will now be used instead. The student body/alumni will be informed of this decision in the near future.

For real.

No more Boalties.
Like I said, this is a good move. But of course we need something to replace Boalties, and Berkeley Lawties sounds too much like my drink of choice. There's always the acronym/abbreviation approach followed by grad (e.g., GULC grad, HLS grad for eight generations, or GUCL grad/jerk at bar exam). But then we'd be BLS or UCBLS. Blehs to that. Calaw? Isn't that a salad with cabbage?

Most importantly, Nuts & Berkeley Law just doesn't have the same ring to it. Nevermind, I'm changing my vote. Bring back Boalt.

UPDATE: I'm moving this up because has picked up on the story (and gee, I wonder what tipped them off to it?). Leiter, in citing to the article suggests a few of his own names. That's funny, I've been working on a few suggestions of my own for UT. Hideous Burnt Orange School of Law? University of Nominally a State School of Law? Where all 3 Liberals in Texas Hang Out School of Law? We're not SMU School of Law? Come Study Legal Philosophy in Texas School of Law?


Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Donor

This came to me from a classmate, by email:
"go to the law school home page. the big donor mentioned there, Lance Robbins, is revealed by a bit of research to have a significant history w/ the civil and criminal courts of LA for alleged slumlord violations in his buildings."
Two older articles, here and here.

I make no judgment because I know nothing about it. But it's interesting.


Saturday, October 06, 2007


Yeah, Cal could wake up tomorrow as the #1 team in the country, but how about the football upset of the YEAR down in the Coliseum? I've been a Harbaugh fan the whole year (and, uh, a Stanford fan for a bit longer, sorry to say) and this just seals it: Stanford football is back baby. Big Game could be interesting this year.

I only have two small regrets. One, I don't have the blogger privileges from Armen to paint this whole site in Cardinal red. Two, there's no channel I can turn to that would just pan to the SC fans walking out of the stadium. I could watch that shot for hours.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Token Why Obama Is Great Post

B.O. today: "I said, you know what, I probably haven't worn a flag pin in a very long time. After a while I noticed people wearing a lapel pin and not acting very patriotic."

Me three years ago.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Monday, Monday

I popped a bottle of champagne today in honor of the opening of the Supreme Court's October Term 2007. After a year of Prof. Choper's SCOTUS seminar, I've gained a whole new appreciation and insight into the Court, especially the philosophical underpinnings of the justices. Anywho, Kennedy is the only one that matters. So here are some predictions on the high profile cases.

* Boumediene v. Bush (06-1196) and Al Odah v. U.S. (06-1197). Issue: Constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. I have a feeling Kennedy is pissed off about the procedures used. He wrote that Common Article III applies to GTMO inmates. He'll decide what Common Article III now requires. Prediction: MCA struck down unless Congress revises, then DIGed.

*Baze v. Rees (07-5439) Issue: Constitutionality of lethal injection cocktail. Prediction: There are four solid votes to uphold the procedure in JGR, AS, CT, and SAA. There are 3 solid votes to strike it down, with Breyer being a "pragmatist." Again, AMK will decide. He has not been as opposed to the DP as SOC was. She would regularly vote with the four liberal justices. But in the last few years there have been some 6-3 decisions. See, e.g., Miller-El (ripping the 5th Circuit and the Texas Courts). I'm hoping his attitude is the same towards Kentucky.

* Child rape death penalty. Issue: Can the death penalty be imposed for raping a child? Prediction: Easy 5-4, maybe even 6-3 with Alito.

* Ex parte Medellin. Issue: Can the federal government do anything to force southern states not to f*ck up immigrants' treaty rights? If you recall, Medellin was before the Court a few years ago when it was DIGed because President Bush ordered Texas to comply with the treaty. Texas seceded failed to accede to the President's demand. And here we are again. Prediction: Texas smack down, round 11ty billion. But expect VERY STRONG dissents. However, Kennedy thinks international opinions should be consulted. The ICJ has ruled on this issue, and at the time, we were bound by that decision. See this post by some lame 1L.

* Voter ID Case. Issue: Is it constitutional for states to require photo IDs for voting? Prediction: Thomas may not uphold the law. He's not too keen on gerrymandering cases, but this isn't one man, one vote. This is access to the ballot. Given his childhood, I'm handicapping a 20% chance that he finds it unconstitutional. Kennedy will uphold.

*Crack vs. Cocaine. Issue: Is it constitutional for the "advisory" sentencing guidelines to have a 100:1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, when the majority of crack convictions are against African Americans and majority of powder against Whites? Thomas will vote to get rid of disparate sentencing, not on some race-based theory but on a Blakely/Apprendi approach. He doesn't like sentencing guidelines and will probably vote with Scalia, Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg to find it completely reasonable to give the same sentence for possession of crack or powder.

*DC gun ban. Issue: 2nd Amendment, discuss. There's a circuit split on the meaning of the 2A. Will they grant cert to resolve the split? I honestly don't think so. The absolutely LAST thing this Court wants to do is to politicize another issue before it. They'll let the circuit split fester. Frankly, it's probably for the better. We on the west coast don't care for guns. In DC, they can have all the arms in the world.

If I'm missing case names and docket nos. please kindly add them in the comments if you have them handy. Also, be sure to check this cite for updates on the cert petitions and merits briefs. Of course, the SCOTUSblog should be a daily read until at least June 30.

Tedford's Guys

Cal is no. 3. Awesome. But this past weekend of college football once again goes to show you how silly college rankings are. Oklahoma played horribly, as did some of the other top teams, but does that mean that now South Florida gets jump to no. 6 in the AP poll? WTF? Did the 'Canes change their name? Thankfully there's the NFL where nothing like this happens. All the favorites won.

Consider this an open thread to discuss any sports topics. It's been long overdue.