Sunday, August 31, 2008

OCIP Questions and Answers

I recently accepted an invitation to join the N & B team. I warned them, and I'll warn you: I rarely have anything useful to say. I'm not very involved with school politics or informed about the larger legal world. My posts will most often consist of random musings about one absurdity or another I've encountered in my travels as a law student and future attorney. If that interests you, fantastic. Glad to have you aboard. Otherwise, please just ignore me. I ignore a healthy portion of the people I've met, so it's totally fair. That's my disclaimer. On we go.

I generally like the feel of ocip interviews. Unlike those in the business world, law interviews tend to feel like a chat with someone you just met at a party or, more aptly, like a first date. They can be awkward, sure, but the questions are rarely substantive, which reduces the B.S. quotient as much as is possible in such situations. Still, a few questions I heard last week did give me pause. Here are my favorites:

"What is the one thing you want us to know that is not on your resume?"
A lot of firms asked me this, even some I really love, so I don't mean to make fun of them. But this question is pretty ridiculous. I put everything I want you to know on the resume. That's what it's for. Anything I say in response to this question is, therefore, post-hoc b.s. Still, I thought of a few good answers, including:
--[whispering] "I'm Batman."
--[rapping] " AND I CANNOT LIE!"
--[glancing around and silently mouthing] "They're listening."

"What sets you apart from everyone else we've interviewed today?"
This question basically asks you to be a douchebag. I can't say why I'm better than my classmates, probably because I'm not. Hell, I'm still surprised I got in. So the only real answers to this question are absurd, like:
--"Time and distance."
--"I'm sitting in front of you right now."
--"I want you to hire me."

"Do you have any questions for us?"
This one is a necessary part of any interview, and it may even lead to an enlightening conversation about the firm or its summer program. But it bothers me because it ignores the elephant in the room. The only question I really want answered is the one I can't ask:
--"Are you going to hire me?"

What are your favorite questions so far? How do you wish you could have answered? Sound off below.


Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain Selects Palin as VP Candidate

Some rather historic news this morning: McCain selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate.

Palin becomes the first woman to serve on a GOP presidential ticket and the first Alaskan to appear on a national ticket. Her selection guarantees we'll see either a non-white President or a female Vice President.

My initial reaction was that the selection may backfire, and voters will write it off as "pandering" or somehow disingenuous. But, upon reflection, I realized those motivations have resulted in every other VP selection in the past - what good is the VP anyway?

Then I became concerned with whether she has sufficient experience to run the show (should McCain kick the bucket).

Let's compare Palin and Obama...

Palin, after a stint as a city mayor, won a huge victory over an incumbent Governor - in the primaries no less - and has since managed state affairs with a very high approval rating. She's guided budgets, managed the national guard, and pushed through the single largest construction project in North America (a new natural gas pipeline).

Obama, on paper at least, has really only been a successful state senator. Sure, he won a [largely uncontested] election to become a US Senator, but he's practically been running for President since. I'm unable to think of any major piece of legislation he's championed since getting elected.

Upon comparing these two, I think it's going to be hard for Democrats to attack Palin as "unqualified."

Instead, I think Democrats are going to turn to REAL issues when attacking Palin: just off the top of my head there's gun control, abortion rights, and capital punishment. And that makes me happy - like many Americans, I hate when the election rhetoric devolves into petty attacks. So strap yourselves in, it's going to be a very interesting couple of months...

Any other thoughts?


Monday, August 25, 2008

Gaffes & Goofs, LLP

With all the OCIP madness that is upon us, it's important to remember not to take ourselves to seriously. With that in mind, consider this a lighthearted companion to the callback thread. Feel free to post all those social blunders, wardrobe malfunctions, or other incidents you hope the interviewers won't remember.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Real Significance of the Biden Pick

Forget what you’ve been reading about “experience.” Forget about foreign policy. Forget about working-class. Forget about Catholic. Those themes are just a self-justifying narrative from the Obama campaign meant to buy a few good news cycles before Denver. The fact is, come November, voters don’t really care who the VP is when they vote for a President.

But they do hear what he says. The real reason Biden got the nod tonight is because Obama needs a pit-bull, and Joe Biden is ready to bark. This is someone who will, as my father put it rather scatologically, “Shove it up their ___.”

Sort of like this:

And that’s what Obama needs. Consider: One of the most ludicrous aspects of American politics in the last generation is how Republican politicians in Washington—who live in perfect gilded opulence, and who devote their professional lives to servicing the rich—somehow became the party of the people. And Democrats, whose legislative agenda revolves around helping the middle-class, turned into effete elites.

For most of this summer, Obama thought he was immune to this narrative. (In the reality-based community, it’s hard to fathom how the African-American son of a single mother who worked his way through school can be an ‘elite.’) He ignored the GOP attacks on his character, went on his “world citizen” tour, and left McCain untouched.

But as the polls suddenly tightened in the last few weeks, the Obama campaign realized it was in a dogfight, and they needed to shoot back. Their apoplectic (and successful) reaction to McCain’s fuzzy memory about his houses shows they’ve figured this out (even as they let other McCain gaffes slide by all summer). The Joe Biden pick is part-and-parcel with this new strategy. He has the manner and elocution to shred Republican myths: that McCain has demonstrated foreign policy judgment, that he’s a “maverick,” that he cares about working-class Americans.

Tell Hillary Clinton that “rich” is defined as making over $5 million a year, and you’ll get a five-minute lecture on what she learned in the Senate and as first lady. Tell Evan Bayh and he’ll calmly talk about his Indiana boyhood. Tell Tim Kaine and…well, who? But tell Joe Biden and you’ll get the kind of look he delivers in the last second of this video:

And that’s the kind of thing (the ONLY kind of thing) that a VP can do that will actually resonate with voters.

To be sure, you won’t see the fangs immediately. The start of the DNC in Denver and the meme about Biden’s verbal gaffes means it’s going to be all scripted smiles and a short leash for the first few weeks.

But starting on about September 15 I'd guess, Biden will come out swinging. If I had to predict, I’d say the Obama campaign is basically going to purchase a permanent sleeping car on Amtrak’s Capitol Limited corridor, and Biden’s going to spend the entire fall traveling between Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburg, and Philadelphia, reminding out-of-work and underemployed Americans that John McCain’s entire solution to their woes is…to cut taxes on Mitt Romney.

The best historical analogy for all this is Eisenhower’s choice of Richard Nixon in 1952. Like Obama, Eisenhower was a genial, sunny guy trying to end a long period of dominance by the opposing party—but unable to attack on his own because of his disposition.

Despite despising him personally, Ike put Nixon on the ticket to go after the Democrats and do his dirty work—something Nixon relished and Ike detested.

I see Obama’s pick of Biden in the same light—the guy to attack the GOP while Obama floats above it all with his promise of a “different kind of politics.” It’s a great 1-2 combination. And it means, thankfully, Obama finally figured out how to throw a punch—or at least hire someone else who could.


Friday, August 22, 2008

What's really concerning you: A Cal football update!

There are very few things that are good about summer ending. While you're scratching your head and trying to form the [rather short] list, let's start with Cal football.

Two big developments:

(1) Want to know whether to expect to be greeted by tree sitters on the way into the game next Saturday (or any other Saturday this season for that matter)? An excellent update can be found here.

(2) Want to know who won the quarterback competition? To find out whether we'll be seeing Longshore or Riley, click here.

Anyone excited?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Before Kevin Smith...

I want to create a bit of an open thread here regarding OCIP. I realize most of you have submitted your bids, but here's a place to ask questions. I think ATL is incredibly useful for firm research, if you have the time and patience. But a few things should raise some red flags, e.g., Heller. Also, note the open threads organized by Vault rankings.

For nitty gritty tips, read this post by Disco Stu from several years ago. Also, I think a comment from the same year about grade breakdowns in the LA market seems very accurate based on little more than anecdotal evidence. The commenter wrote:
Roughly speaking ...


Munger, Tolles & Olson
Irell & Manella
(Need to be in top 15-25 people in class or so. Should have say, 50% HHs, but may be able to get away with only 1/3rd HHs, or a P. These are two of the top 5 most selective firms in the country, and lucky for us, they happen to hire a lot from Boalt.)


Skadden LA
Kirkland LA
(a good rule of thumb is 5 Hs in 1L year, with HH counting as 2 Hs)

Paul Hastings
Quinn Emanuel
Sidley LA
(middle of the pack selectivity; say even mix of Hs and Ps, maybe an HH here and there)

random small branch offices of out-of-town firms
(one or two Hs and/or CLR should be good)

Maybe Quinn may be moved up a bit as they've been putting a lot of emphasis on top 10% or what have you. But there you have it. This year, Patrick will be handling the call back thread when the time comes.

UPDATE: This webisode is genius. They really ought to make a full TV series. HT: WSJ LB.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pick Me, Pick Me! (Then Give Me 30 Days to Hydrate)

We haven't had much Kevin Smith chatter this fall. There are two reasons why we probably should. First, he's in the air;  it seems that every time I bump into a 3L, Smith rears his ugly head:

Cell Phone Me: "Hey, you worked at Mega Firm USA's San Francisco office, didn't you? What did you think?"
Boalt 3L #1: "Can't talk now. Love to, but I'm learning to mail-merge."

Print-Station Me: "Please tell me those are handouts for other people, or something. You are pretty much holding your entire print quota in your hands. And it's only the third day of school."
Boalt 3L #2: "Oh don't worry, I don't have to read all this. It's just my clerkship application."

Computer Lab Me: "I'm sorry, you look really busy and I don't want to interru--"
Boalt 3L #3: "PLEASE DO! I'm proofing the spacing around the periods in my clerkship writing sample. MEEAHHHRRG! This kind of thing is what I least look forward to about being a lawyer!"

If the fact that this stuff is going down isn't enough of a prompt, there is also the comment quoted below, which was tacked onto some thread from two years ago:

Anonymous said...
Can we get a confirmation whether or not clerks for federal judges are required to pass a drug test prior to employment?
8/18/2008 1:33 PM

Nice research skills, Anon, but, er, yeah. Two years. These threads may whine, but they hardly age that way. My uneducated belief, for whatever it is worth, is that the last thing a clan of mail-mergers and period-proofers should have to worry about is a little plastic cup.  I mean, even if you fail the test you still have unparalleled abilities to mail-merge and period-proof! What really counts here??

But that's just me. It's still a fair question.


December 6th 2008: Boalt Sleeplessness Week

The Changina Blog echoed sentiments common to Boalt 2/3L's this week: What's with all the take-homes?

My understanding is that because the Boalt construction schedule calls for massive demolition over Winter Break, the school has encouraged professors of non-1L classes to avoid in-class exams. I suspect the plan was to shoo as many proctored exams out of the building as possible, front-load exam week with 1L classes, and hopefully milk a few extra days of demolition out of the whole affair. (I envision DE on December 16th, personally grinding through the courtyard in a D9 Caterpillar with a hard hat, a maniacal grin, and an unshakable bead on the stinky trees. Exactly how unrealistic is that?)

Anyway, take-home exams are misery-generators. Sleeplessness week, here we come.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Running Mate Predictions?

The NY Times thinks Obama has chosen a running mate, and could release a name as early as Wednesday morning.

I'm no Election Wizard, and I realize the question is becoming a bit of a yawn these days, but after kicking around the Times website, I couldn't help but hope for the most trusted man in America . . .

Any other (more realistic) predictions?


See? They Listen!

Looks like our new website is up and running. Read about it here.

Your thoughts?

I think is an aesthetic improvement. Even better, the new BBB and the Calendar are exactly what students asked for last fall.

On the other hand, 2 and 3L's did get that email from the CDO last night. Further, various links, including the "RSS feeds" link from the BBB page are currently broken [they seem to have been fixed]. The correct link for the RSS feeds is here.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Where The @#$% Is Room 13?

Today I make the run from Boise to Berkeley (oh, Jordan Valley, Oregon, you old friend you) exactly 365 days after I made this trip last year. I have to say, this August 15th seems a lot less stressful -- the idea of becoming a 2l is much less scary than the idea of becoming a 1l.

The truth is that neither are scary, but that's a bit of insight I certainly didn't have a year ago. In that vein, I recount for the class of 2011 all the ways I shot myself in the foot during the first week of law school. None of you are dumb enough to make all the mistakes I made last year, and yet, everything still worked out for me. Hopefully any of y'all who may be stressing can find some comfort in that. If not, maybe you can find comfort in laughing at me.

I kicked of my blunder-streak first thing Monday morning, when I chose to rely on Tele-bears for my class times. (FYI, Tele-bears online times are often off by 15-20 minutes.) I compounded that error by misreading my schedule, and walking into room 100 at 8:50 a.m., where I thought I would find my LRW section. Everyone else in my section went to room 13 at 9:15.

I realized the moment I opened the door to room 100 that somehow (WTF?) class had already started. But it was only after I slipped to to the back of the room and found a seat that I figured out that this class, whatever it was, could not be LRW. In fact, I was sitting in Income Tax, among a group of bored looking 2/3l's. "Crap." I thought. "But no real problem. I'll just lay low, sit through this class, and when it ends I'll roll on over to LRW."

Nope. A look at the Boalt website revealed that the tax class ended well after my LRW class was supposed to begin. So, just as awkwardly as I entered, I packed up my stuff, triple-checked my schedule, and slunk toward room 13.

Cue blunder-streak phase two: for the next forty minutes or so, room 13 was utterly un-findable. I mean, I absolutely could not find that place anywhere. I did a grid. I hurried up and down the first floor several times. Then I combed the second floor, to be sure. I cast my search net wider; maybe room 13 was in Simon? Maybe it was in "Old Boalt"? With a number like "13" it HAD to be on the first floor -- but where the @#$% was it??? Was I crazy? It was 13, right? Maybe I was the victim of some sort of typo for 133, or 113?

Eventually I did the first smart thing of the day and asked someone at the Registrar's office for directions. Five minutes later I walked into room 13 (turns out it was in the basement, of all places), just as my LRW class was ending.

My Monday blunders continued. Later that day I sat down in the library and proceeded to read the wrong assignment for Criminal Law. Weirdly, the same thing happened the next day. And the next. Sometime around the end of the week I figured out that I had purchased the wrong damn casebook, but only after I had filled it with hi-lighting and margin notes, just the way I thought a grown up for reals law student might.

After that things evened out. I started arriving to the right rooms. I started reading the right books. And by the end of the semester I must have become a pro -- I know that because that's when I began to stop coming to the classrooms, or reading the books.

The point I am trying to get across is not that I'm an idiot (though frankly, that conclusion does seem pretty inescapable). The take-home point is that, despite myself, I made it. I'm sure you will too.

Welcome to Boalt!


Monday, August 11, 2008


I received the e-mail below from my source for widely-distributed, factually inaccurate, right-wing talking points. When I first read it, I was seething with anger. But given the punch-line, it MUST BE a parody. There's no way it's not. Is there? Regardless, read it, and feel free to offer your tongue-in-cheek retorts.


I'm voting Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.

I'm voting Democrat because freedom of speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.

I'm voting Democrat because when we pull out of Iraq I trust that the bad guys will stop what they're doing because they now think we're good people.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that people who can't tell us if it will rain on Friday CAN tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years if I don't start driving a Prius.

I'm voting Democrat because I'm not concerned about the slaughter of millions of babies so long as we keep all death row inmates alive.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that business should not be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as THEY see fit.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe three or four pointy headed elitist liberals need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would NEVER get their agendas past the voters.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe that when the terrorists don't have to hide from us over there, when they come over here I don't want to have any guns in the house to fight them off with.

I'm voting Democrat because I love the fact that I can now marry whatever I want. I've decided to marry my horse.

I'm voting Democrat because I believe oil companies' profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn't.

Makes ya wonder why anyone would EVER vote Republican, now doesn't it?


Friday, August 08, 2008


I don't know what to make of the Hamdan sentencing decision yesterday. On the one hand I'm pleased that even senior military officers recognized the folly of claiming such a low level guy should be executed for *cough* war crimes, which did not even exist until 2004 as I understand it. On the other hand, the administration hacks are already claiming that this proves the procedure is "fair." They're right. But only insofar as the the military officers were fair.

There's nothing remotely fair about the process. To recap:

-- Evidence obtained by torture admissible? Yes.
-- Classified evidence that you cannot see or rebut admissible? Yes.
-- Confrontation clause? No.

The more troubling part was the Pentagon's very best efforts to remove individuals who even used the word fair in their daily lexicon from having anything to do with the military commissions. By my count, the Pentagon has so far relieved Col. Davis of his role as chief prosecutor for actually thinking the trials should be fair, removed a judge who thought likewise, killed the career of LCDR Charles Swift, the JAG attorney for Hamdan, for actually winning, and probably a host of others we may never hear about. And as an aside, Charles Swift continued to argue the case of Hamdan after leaving the Navy, probably because he had the requisite security clearance. But I don't imagine Hamdan is paying him. Now there's a great graduation speaker candidate!

But despite the Pentagon's best efforts, in the end, at least four, maybe all six, senior military officers gave the 5 month sentence. Despite rules that stacked the deck against Hamdan, despite a convening authority and general officers who thought acquittals are not in the realm of possibilities, despite effectively throwing several military officers out of the service for doing their duty, the message back was 5 months. If that's not enough, the judge and Hamdan had this exchange.
“Mr. Hamdan,” Judge Allred said, “I hope the day comes that you are able to return to your wife and daughters and your country.”

“Inshallah,” Mr. Hamdan said in Arabic, before an interpreter gave the English translation of “God willing.”

“Inshallah,” Judge Allred responded.

And masha'Allah to Capt. Allred and the other military officers, lawyers or otherwise, who acted honorably, despite the administration's best efforts to prevent them from doing so.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

You Had Me At Your Inital Offer

Article in the NYT re a fascinating study about settlement vs. going to trial. Punchline is plaintiffs suing under a contingency fee arrangement are much more likely to get less after trial than the defense. Sounds like people are not reading/watching A Civil Action. More seriously, the article somewhat hints at this, but Tversky and Kahneman predicted this sort of behavior decades ago. As such, I take issue with the criticism that there's something wrong with the profession for not changing. On the flip side, I'd be very curious to see about plaintiffs who have hourly arrangements. My hunch is they'd pressure their attorneys to settle even before discovery has concluded.

SF Gate: Investors Should Pony Up, Too

Via the SF Gate:

Congress' bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which effectively guarantees the debt they sold to investors, is fundamentally at odds with a basic principle of contract law that every first year law student must master: the written terms of the contract apply even if those terms are contrary to any verbal ([or] oral) statements made by the other party to the contract. The bailout says that this cornerstone of contract law doesn't apply to investors who purchased Fannie and Freddie debt securities. Even though the debt obligations issued by Fannie and Freddie are not by their written terms guaranteed by the federal government, Fannie and Freddie officials made oral statements that led investors to believe otherwise.

On the other hand, individual borrowers are being held to the precise terms of the mortgage-debt instruments they signed with financially devastating results for many.

I assume the "cornerstone of contract law" is the parol evidence rule, and is actually a tad more complex than the author, adjunct professor James Tuthill, from the University of San Francisco School of Law, makes out in this piece. All the same, his point is well-taken.

Professor Tuthill goes on to explain that if the loan agreements are going to be modified to deliver a new benefit (i.e., a federal guarantee)to investors, those investors need to provide consideration in return (presumably by restructuring consumers' loan plans). While that argument is probably now precluded by the statute that enacted the bailout, Professor Tuthill's observation does make gut-level sense, at least to me.

If it doesn't make gut-level sense to you, try thinking about it another way (i.e., Armen's way): it only seems fair that when parties enter into a contractual relationship, the decision to enter into a new, materially different, contractual relationship should be mutually bargained for -- otherwise the contractual relationship one party expected to enter into may be different from the contractual relationship that party actually entered into, and to which that party is ultimately bound.

Yuck. The point being, Congress could share a little love with borrowers, too.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Return to Boalt With Your Hard Hat Handy

I had to chuckle at the second sentence in today's email from DE:

To returning 2Ls and 3Ls:

I hope this note finds you well. I suspect you are as excited about the fast-approaching start of the fall semester as I am.

This place has seemed rather deserted without you, but it has not been dull or quiet. The construction folks have been working feverishly since the day after graduation to renovate and upgrade classrooms. Despite our best efforts at planning, however, some delays occurred. The contractors had to devise ingenious ways to weave conduit throughout our aging building, and we also lost time during a strike on campus, when the building workers who were members of unions decided not to cross picket lines. As a result, the start of the semester will be a bit more challenging than I might have hoped. Four of our classrooms will not be finished on August 18, so some of your classes may be held in temporary locations for a week or two. Using every nook and cranny inside of Boalt Hall we were able to keep all classes within the law school building. By August 25 two of the four classrooms should be ready to use, and the other two will be available on Tuesday, September 2.

The old locker room is being transformed into a new classroom/video conferencing center and we’ll only be able to replace about half of the lockers in the new student center area in the transformed west basement. Over the years we have noticed that 2Ls and 3Ls make far less use of their lockers than 1Ls, so we’ll be offering lockers to 1Ls first. We’ll then work with BHSA on a plan to distribute lockers to 2Ls and 3Ls. In the meantime (since lockers won’t be installed until the second week of September) we’ll be operating a secure book checking area inside the law library’s Copy Center.

We’ll have to try your patience for the first two weeks of the semester, but the new and renovated spaces are going to be terrific, so I think it will be worth the wait. I will keep you posted, but if you’d like to see some construction photos visit the building website (also still under construction).

Be well, and enjoy the remaining weeks of summer.


Anyway, this is an open thread for discussion of building renovation, lockers, nooks, crannys, and whatnot.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Are You Going Ape?

The LA Times is reporting that the LA County Supervisors voted 3-2 to reject a ballot measure that would have increased sales taxes to fund public transportation projects in LA. Two Republicans voted no based on a knee-jerk, reflexive aversion to the t-word despite having a job that requires actual governing. One of them, Mike Antonovich, has his name plastered on a freeway sign along THE 5 freeway. I suppose using public funds to pay for your own vanity is acceptable. Nevermind the fact that the ballot measure called for a sales tax (a consumption tax), which disproportionately affects the lowest earners--thus alleviating any Republican concerns over the proposal.

The third vote came from Gloria Molina, who felt that Zev Yaroslavsky was funneling too much of the funds to the westside and not enough to the eastside. Molina may well have a point. I don't see the westsiders garaging their Jags any time soon to ride a subway. Meanwhile, those living to the east of Downtown LA are the most frequent users of mass transit now, often traveling to the westside to work at the homes of the Jag owners. But she's still an incompetent buffoon for voting no for reasons I'll explain below.

Last, we have Zev. Zev has always been a friend of public transportation. He never uses the issue for political purposes. He's a true public servant who shuns the media, rolls up his sleeves, and gets to governing. In fact, he's so good at it, that he led another voter initiative in the 90s to STOP sales tax revenues from funding subway construction. That's over 10 years lost. Ten years that could have been used to expand the Wilshire line, or extend the NoHo line to West Valley or to the Santa Clarita Valley. You see at the time, Zev used a sinkhole under Hollywood Blvd as the catalyst to effectively stop any subway expansion to the westside because the Beverly Hillbillies didn't want "the others" to travel through their fine city. Property values, and know how it is. With gas prices rising and congestion grinding the entire city to a halt during rush hour, Zev has had a change of heart.

So now, because these five fools cannot seem to figure out what's best for the County, because they are more concerned about how they are quoted in the press than how they govern, because they care more about political patronage than about the well-being of the whole, because they are pure, unadulterated politicians with absolutely no accountability, and because they have failed at the lone task of importance within their purview (transportation), we are left with either no long-term transportation plans or millions of wasted dollars in an effort to put up a second ballot measure.

Someone point me to the petition to recall all five LA County Supervisors. I'll even donate money to the effort. Maybe then LA will finally have a public transportation system as admirable as BART, constructed over 40 years ago.

UPDATE: LA Times Editorial that accurately captures my sentiments.

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The Logic is Impeccable

If you thought the U.S. had draconian barriers to sexual harassment suits, then you should read about this decision by a Russian court. When the Code of Hammurabi gives women more legal rights, you know the country is backwards.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Sunday Lexico-Neuroticism

When discussion of last week's post began drawing from Wikipedia, that fickle forum of boneheads and blowhards, I bowed out.

Then I remembered Sketchy Citation #13, from my criminal law casebook. I realized that maybe I was being cocky and wrong; maybe and Wiki-people aren't all blowhards after all. After all, one can only assume my casebook's rather famous author ordered his sources according to the weight and relevance he assigned them.

This post makes two invitations. You may attempt to convince me to not swear off Wikipedia, notwithstanding its contributors' blatant, sneering ignorance about Hobson, Hobbes, and choosing (which I have attempted to correct, to no avail). Or, you may identify at least three usage errors in the following passage from then-Professor (yes, Professor) Obama's Fall 2002 Constitutional Law III exam (thank you, Armen):
The Pleasant Administration has garnered much of the credit for the mall's success, since it was the Administration that put together the public-private parternership that got the project off the ground. To jump start the development, the city purchased the site five years ago and made it development-ready through the issuance of a general obligation bond, to be paid back out of the city's tax revenues over twenty-five years. Then, after it was unable to sell the property to a developer because of the economic risks involved, the city entered into an agreement with Mogul Development Corporation, whereby [list] . . . .
There is a fourth issue with the quote. I confess that the fourth issue is really a pet peeve and not a proper error, but I'll buy beer and tequila for anyone who shares my sentiments.