Monday, September 07, 2009

Paging Kevin Smith: Please Give Boalties an OSCAR Win!

It's a fine Labor Day Weekend, I've got a horrendous mix of MJ and Blondie on the stereo, and I'm working my way thorough that second pot of coffee. Yep. OSCAR applications are due today.

I have five thoughts, after which I will open up the comments for discussion.
  1. OSCAR's speed today. Grr. I have to forcibly restrain myself from grabbing and shaking my computer monitor like a stuck vending machine. My experience is that the longer I'm in OSCAR, the slower the thing seems to get. Perhaps the system builds a long cumbersome log of each session history, perhaps it hates me, but at any rate I've found that logging out, closing my browser, opening it back up, and logging back in speeds things up. I hope that helps someone else. (See? Boalties are collegial - don't let the OCIP thread lead you astray.)
  2. The Kevin Smith label. It refers to this. Don't say I never give freebies.
  3. The online cover letter editor. I'd like a head count of the number of people who have been screwed over by the online letter editor - if you don't "Update Application" before you submit it, it will ignore your edits. All of them. My sincerest apologies to the Seattle judge and clerks who will read the words, "I understand the commitment you a clerkship entails" and wonder: "What on earth does this kid understand at all?" I really am very competent, I promise.
  4. Some positive press for the CDO and FSU. I added two new applications yesterday afternoon, and found that today that someone had attached my letters of recommendation. I absolutely did not deserve that - I should have added those judges last week, and all I can say to whomever logged into OSCAR on a holiday to attach my letters is, "THANK you. I am very grateful."
  5. The worst part is nearly behind us. The nine month saga of networking sessions, "[Clerkship Update]" emails, proofreading, self-inflicted degradation over grades ("why, why, why do my peers have to b so much smarter than me?"), letter of recommendation requests, and cog-like engagement with the rat race of clerkship hiring machinery are almost over . . .



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Patrick. I'm sure you will do great. Are you going to do a clerkship callback thread on the 11th, when judges are supposed to start calling?

9/07/2009 12:13 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Happy to do it. Though I think the Clerkship Notification Blog might be a better resource because it has much broader, non-Boalt-specific contribution.

9/07/2009 12:15 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

Creating a "clerkship callback thread" is an absolutely terrible idea. Here's why.

The rationale behind a firm callback thread is to inform applicants when that interminable period between screening interviews and callback invitations has ended.

That doesn't apply to clerkship interviews. You will get nearly all of your interview offers by noon of the specified day. If Judge X hasn't called you, then you aren't getting an interview. Knowing that Judge X has called someone else at Boalt, as opposed to someone else at Harvard, doesn't help you in the least.

All a clerkship offer thread post would do is foster jealousy, disappointment, and rumor-mongering. It's a terrible idea. Quite frankly, I'm surprised that Patrick wouldn't realize that.

9/07/2009 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carbolic is absolutely rabid about people not discussing clerkships. People are nervous. Information--even useless information--makes them feel better. Get a grip.

9/07/2009 7:31 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

It can be difficult to cut through the pancetta wrapped bitter pills that are a Carbolic comment, but when you do, you'll see that he is probably right in this case.

I'll open a thread for comments/discussion/questions, but not for a callback type listing. Good luck, Boalties!

9/07/2009 7:43 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

Look, I know lots of times it looks like I'm just being a jerk. And sometimes, I'm just being a jerk.

But that's not the case here. Do you really want to know that other Boalties are getting calls from Diane Wood or Willie Fletcher? Or that every N.D.Cal judge has invited Boalties to interview, but none have invited you?

Not all information is helpful. And some information will only make people feel worse, not better. It will just give a few people the opportunity to crow about their success, and to make other people feel bad as a result. I think we can do without that.

9/07/2009 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why there is such a fear of information sharing with some people at Boalt.

Clerkship interviews are very different than callbacks. Unless you are at the very top of the class, getting one is like winning the lottery. I, for one, would love to know if fellow Boalties are winning the lottery. Also: no one HAS to clerk. You MUST do something in your 2L summer -- be at work at a big firm, extern or intern. If you don't get a clerkship, your life is not over.

I think one big disadvantage Boalt has when it comes to clerkships is the lack of information sharing. At Harvard or Yale, everyone is potential clerkship material, and so it isn't this douchey thing to discuss clerkships. As a result, there is more information sharing -- which judges care about grades, which professors are gold for recommendations, which judges call on D-day and which ones call later. Here, all of that information is passed through word of mouth. It becomes more about who you know and less about who you are.

We, the class of 2010, would love to know just how many calls went out to Boalties last September 11. We are told in one CDO session to get up at 5:30 and wait by the phone, and in another that unless you are in the very top of your class, the calls might come a lot later. Unfortunately, there is no record of clerkship successes from last year because of people who think like Carbolic.

Let's team up, people. If your phone is exploding in Admin Law this Friday I will be very happy for you. I would love to go on N&B on Friday morning and see that Boalties are interviewing with Fletcher and Berzon. I'd love to hear that someone will be flying to Texas for the first time to interview with a gaggle of judges. It will make me happy. And it will probably make the Class of 2011 happy in a year, to have a historic record of how the prior year played out.

9/07/2009 9:28 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

9:28, not to disagree with anything you've said, but aren't Boalt's differences from the Harvards and the Yales a point of celebration?

9/07/2009 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:28 here. There are differences between Boalt and Harvard/Yale that we should celebrate, but I don't think low clerkship numbers are one of them. Boalt labors to make discussing clerkships taboo -- we aren't supposed to mention or grades or rank -- and we have people like Carbolic who does not even want to know clerkship season is upon us. Until we change this, our clerkship numbers will not improve.

9/07/2009 9:59 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

I didn't want to assume anything, but I had a hunch that was precisely what you were referring to. First, the tension between free flow of information and outright obnoxiousness has been around for a while. Even after all these years, I'm just not sure where to draw the proper line.

More to your point, schools like Harvard and Yale do not rank for clerkship purposes. That's a key distinction between us and them. That's why every one from Harvard is a clerkship applicant. I still think we need to change our ranking policy to reflect that of our peer schools. We also need to develop a well-oiled clerkship machine, though I confess I can't speak to this first-hand. But what I hear from Boalt clerks is that we are using medieval methods in the 21st century and simply can't compete with Yale/Harvard grads. So until we match those schools in these areas that will truly affect clerkship outcomes, I'd have to side with Carbolic. The discussions will be nothing more than another iteration of competitive "self-measurement" that's already far too prevalent in legal education.

9/07/2009 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with Berkeley is this touchy-feely mentality. We won't talk about anything that might make someone feel bad about themselves. Instead of allowing us to be happy for each other, we force ourselves to modify our behavior for the students with the lowest self-esteem

9/07/2009 10:59 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Three unrelated things:

Some judges DO call after the first day. The bulk of judges call then, but it's not uncommon for calls to come in over the course of the week. E.D. Cal. for instance pretty commonly calls a day or too late from what I understand.

I'm happy to talk to any 3L applicants with questions. You can find my contact info if you look at the alum list of clerks.

Finally, as for the Yale/Harvard difference, it's inaccurate and simplistic to say they do better because they don't rank students. That may be a small part of the difference, but I really don't think it's a big one. Harvard and Yale do better because the schools themselves are better ranked and more established. I'm a huge fan of Boalt, really I am, but it's delusional to act like judges (and particularly certain sets of high profile judges on the east coast... I'm looking at you D.C. Cir.) don't see a difference between Yale and Boalt. Second, a really significant difference is the networks these schools have set up between alumni clerks and current students. Knowing a current clerk personally or through word of mouth is often what gets an application pulled out of the pile. Judges and clerks also like to preference people from their alma maters. Boalt is doing great work to increase the networking between clerks and students, which will help. We also need more clerks and ultimately more alumni judges to really increase the number of clerks hired.

9/08/2009 12:15 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

*I hope you did not confuse too with two or something similar on your cover letter. That's bad!

9/08/2009 12:16 AM  

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