Friday, February 27, 2009

Say You Want a New Beatles Recording?

I know this is a law blog, but I figure if we can sustain entire posts about grammar, we can bear one about the greatest band of all time. A new Beatles track hit the web this week. It's a good quality bootleg of a recording session for "Revolution 1." Nearly ten minutes long, it has a very different arrangement from the one we all know. It also reveals how Revolutions 1 and 9 are linked, with an early version of the latter appearing near the end of the track. Music fans, please enjoy.

Update: Looks like this is only a taste of what's to come, as Paul McCartney is set to release a a 1967 "sound collage" called "Carnival of Light" in the very near future.

Elementary My Dear Latham

Everyone's heard of the Latham layoffs by now. I wish all Boalties at or soon to be at L&W the best.

The interesting angle is the money to 3Ls to defer their start day by 1 year. Do you take this? My hunch is "hell yes!" If you have your loans through Sallie Mae or the DOE DirectLoans, you can get a hardship deferral (and I'm sure with private lenders as well). Then it's off to your dream job in Zihuatanejo of buying an old boat and taking tourists charter fishing. Are there any negatives that I'm not considering?


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wet Knees

Hands down, the crappiest lockers are the lowest ones -- the ones you can open only by kneeling. I know this because all my life I've been the guy with that locker.

Today (as a kick to those who are already down?) the basement is flooded. I hope no one's stuff got wet, because if it did, well, good luck procuring reimbursement.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"While We're Scrapping Things, What's Next? Quartering of Troops?"

In the midst of two wars overseas and an economic recession, the Senate continues to move forward with a bill to give the District of Columbia a seat in the House of Representatives. (For an wise and astute exposition on the topic, see here, and here -- the last two minutes are pure Colbert gold.)

The arguments in favor of the bill are taxation & representation, one person, one vote, basic fairness, yoo-dit-do-dit-doo, I get it, I get it, I get it. But the Constitution requires that House members be chosen “by the people of the several states.” No statute can change that: the only viable options are to amend Article I, or admit the District of Columbia as a state.

Next up: the District of Gitmo.


NALP's Fall 2008 "Perspectives"

NALP has issued some "Perspectives on Fall 2008 Law Student Recruiting" (large pdf). Basically, NALP says last fall was a crappy time to be a 2L.

The linked pdf contains a lot of information (er, "perspectives") but to my mind there are really only two relevant perspectives when you get down to brass tacks: employed, and not-employed. The rest is number-crunching:
The most dramatic impact of the current economic situation on legal employment opportunities can be seen in the numbers that describe the fall recruiting of 2Ls. Across employers of all sizes, the median number of offers extended dropped dramatically from 15 to 10. At the largest firms, firms with more than 700 lawyers firmwide, the median number of offers dropped from 30 to 18.5. Similarly, the percent of callback interviews resulting in offers for summer spots fell precipitously to 46.6% from a figure that had hovered at or above 60% for three years. Not surprisingly, the offer acceptance rate also jumped. At 32.5%, it is the highest rate recorded since 2002.
First, cheers to you, NALP, for saying "situation" and not "climate." Second, those numbers caught me off guard. They are certainly in line with popular wisdom about last fall’s hiring, but they seem a bit at odds with experience – at least at Boalt. My sense is that callbacks from Boalt’s fall OCIP,1 which occurred before and during the market collapse, went out at a rate similar to last year. There is no need to speculate because the CDO has data to back this up (I filled out their survey, didn't you?), but my sense is that we did far better than schools that hold OCIP in, say, October. There is inertia to institutional decision-making, including hiring decisions, and it can require a real affirmative effort to change course once a large organization has made a decision. (Cite Thelen, which was scheduling callbacks for the last few weeks of the firm’s existence.) Perhaps I’m wrong about everything I’ve said up until here, but if I’m not, the timing of Boalt’s 2008 OCIP helped some of us catch the last train out of town.

If correct, that’s good news for my class but it bodes ominous for the class of 2011. If there is pressure at many firms to keep summer classes small because money is tight, and if there is an inertia to hiring trends, then the batten-down-the-hatches mindset is unlikely to change between now and September. On the other hand, I doubt firms that scale back their summer class sizes do so uniformly across law schools. My guess is that even in a shrinking market Standford, Boalt, and UCLA will be feeder schools for BigLaw USA. Chapman and Loyola?  Not so much. So, to those of you in the class of 2011 who chose Boalt for its career- and door- opening opportunities down the line: good call. Your decision may pay off sooner than you think.


1 "OCIP" or "OCI"? "OCIP Process" is downright inexcusable, but I go back and forth on the acronym. Help!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Help Boalt LEED the Way

Just passing on a brief message from some fellow 2L's (and to those of you who think this "belongs in the BBB" -- shutty):
On Thursday, three 2L's are holding a lunch session about LEED certification and the Boalt renovation project. Representatives from Infill Architects will present the new building in detail, followed by a brief panel to discussion on LEED certification (a heftly sum of money, but with marketing and energy benefits). The 2L's are holding the session because, while the Administration and Regents ultimately make the decisison whether to pursue certification, they want to give the student community an opportunity to learn about the issue, and weigh in.

The session will be from 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. in Room 110.
And don't worry: it's catered.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A New Tradition Begins!

All, here is info on the finals of the first annual Bales Internal Trial Competition:

The Board of Advocates cordially invites the student body to attend the
final round of our first annual Berkeley Law Bales Internal Trial
Competition this Wednesday, February 25, at 5:30p in Booth.

2Ls Aaron Laycook and Charlie Ainscough will be trying a second-degree
murder case against 1Ls Toni Camacho and Aubrie Dillon. Come support your
fellow students as they weave a tale of mystery and intrigue in the shady
world of Berkeley used car sales and repossessions.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

It Has Returned!

Fellow Boalties,

In recent years, the youth of America has lost its taste; it has come to shun that which once stood atop the pinnacle of fashion. Fortunately, CNN recognized our generation's flawed judgment, and is now doing its part to fix the situation: CNN.

Bow ties. When did they go out of fashion? If you look around, some of our most esteemed attorneys and judges wear them. (See, e.g., here, here, and here). Why, then, do so many hate them?

For some time, I have loved bow ties. Bow ties have many advantages: 1. When you are at lunch, you don't have to worry about your tie falling into your food; 2. When you are done for the day, and heading home on BART, you look substantially cooler with an untied bow tie around your neck; 3. It looks great with suspenders; 4. It will get you laid: People love unwrapping presents, and every time a person undoes a bow tie, he/she feels like he/she is opening a present, thus making him/her want to undress you more frequently.

Spare me your "Hey Tucker Carlson" comments. You aren't original. I've heard it before. Your shallow insults do not detract from my bow tie wearing experience. In fact, your ignorance of the bow tie's beauty makes me pity your bow tie-less existence.

Boalties, I beseech you: help support this noble cause. There was once a dream that was Bow Tie Tuesdays. It survived for an entire semester in the glorious Fall, 2006. This Tuesday, help this legacy live once more; give a damn: wear a bow tie.

UPDATE: A valued co-contributor showed me this article from the NY Times. Apparently some of our colleagues do value fashion!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Am I Passing the Bar or Not?

I guess rankings are being released. Boalt still uses numerical rank for the top 5 individuals (transfers excluded), then 5% increments thereafter until 50th percentile. The stated purpose is clerkships and academic hiring, but the anecdotal evidence is that at least for the former, this hurts rather than helps. Still no indication that the faculty are even considering adopting the systems of our peer schools (no rankings, but faux awards to indicate some place relative to your classmates, e.g., Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. In short, get rid of rankings and start the Dean's List. Will add links to previous post on this topic over the weekend.

Bonne Chance.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Will We Get Carter?

There's speculation that Phillip Carter will be appointed Deputy Assistant Sec. Def. in charge of detainee affairs. (H/T: OK@VC) As someone who has known Phil for now 5 years, I couldn't be happier--both for Phil and for the country. I hope the Senate moves with quick confirmation to allow him to face the unenviable tasks ahead. The blurb I linked above gives you a good outline of Phil's background. But I want to add some depth to that picture.

If the rumor is true, then Phil is about to take on a position "that holds in the balance"* the reputation of the United States, the safety and security of American forces, relations with the Islamic world and beyond, the guarantees of fundamental rights, and a whole host of other delicate matters. I cannot think of a person better equipped to tackle these enormously weighty issues.

[* Vincent LaGuardia III, "My Cousin Vinny"]

Phil's a Bruin through and through (head start at SMC but finished with a BA '97 and a JD '04). That alone should end the discussion. Bruin pride aside, Phil is also a pretty damn good journalist and blogger (Intel Dump has gone through a few iterations: 1.0; 2.0; and 3.0). But that's not why I think we need Phil in this position.

I got to know Phil through a cool program offered by UCLA Law School where 3Ls teach a seminar course (under the supervision of law faculty) for undergraduates (Memo to DE: Boalt needs a program like this, especially if law students can't get loans). In return, the university waived the 3Ls fees for that semester. The course was American Law and Terrorism. While classroom discussions raged, Phil carefully offered counterarguments to all sides. But his view of the Bush administration's handling of Guantanamo was clear:
The administration has made a determination that they qualify as enemy combatants, but we know nothing about how this determination was made. It may or may not be a "competent tribunal" in accordance with the Convention. Ironically, thousands of detainees have had their status adjudicated by Art. V tribunals in Iraq, yet we refuse to institute them at Gitmo. That just doesn't make sense to me. Given the spotlight on Gitmo, we ought to be more careful about the way we do things there, not less so.
Phil, added in another post:
I know that change is often incremental and evolutionary (as opposed to revolutionary) in large bureaucracies like the Army. But unfortunately, merely telling the Army intelligence community that it must adhere to the rules isn't enough. These new rules don't apply to the other services, to some special operations units, and to the Central Intelligence Agency. And as the article points out, these rules only apply to Iraq -- not Gitmo, Bahrain, Qatar, Diego Garcia, or anywhere else that the U.S. has prisoners detained right now. I know there's a balance to be struck between tough interrogations that produce actionable intel, and torture sessions that resemble the rack. But this just seems like window dressing, and I think a lot more needs to be done to comply with international law here.
Phil also did not spare the DOJ and DOD lawyers who authored certain memos.

A year later, in the summer of 2005, Phil told me over lunch that he had been activated from the IRR and would deploy with the 101st to Iraq as an adviser to the Iraqi Police. Following the Abu Ghraib scandals, do you think the Army needed more officers with military police and civil affairs training, along with a UCLA law degree? Yeah, I think so too. Aside from his professional competence as a soldier and lawyer, Phil represented a new kind of officer. Before setting foot in Iraq, he went on a quest to learn about the dominant religion of the area and other facets of the culture. After his return, he continued to keep tabs on informative literature that the newly deployed soldiers and Marines should read. In short, he's something of a John Nagl.

More importantly, after returning from his tour in Baqubah, Phil's views dropped nearly any pretense of equivocating. He openly criticized Rummie's leadership (as well as the generals who put their careers before the lives of those they command by failing to speak out). This was not because of some partisan disagreement, but the same reason why a lot of the military hated Rummie--he harmed these institutions' long-term ability to protect the United States. Phil's writing crisply pointed out how the previous administration continued to stick to a failing strategy while overburdening the Army and the Marine Corps. Here's a sampling:
The president's strategic picture of the war on terrorism is like a photo negative -- the exact opposite of reality. Bush argues that "Iraq is the convergence point for two of the greatest threats to America in this new century." But that's not really accurate -- Iraq is the cause and the accelerant of these threats to America, the main reason we are losing the global fight for hearts and minds.
Once the two major candidates emerged, Phil began working for Obama as his national director of veteran's outreach or something along those lines. Again, I'm pretty sure this was not because Phil is Democrat. But the contrast between the two candidates proved too much. One of them, a veteran no less, wanted to continue the status of quo of a failed strategy that senselessly put more and more American lives at risk (perhaps continuing the policy of his predecessor to apply the lessons of Vietnam?). The other wanted to save those lives and strengthen the military, law enforcement, intelligence, and diplomatic capabilities to actually effectively fight our enemies.

Like his articulated position on torture, detainees, using force to win the War in Iraq, and a whole host of other issues, I think Phil picked the right side. Now, Phil will have his chance to protect American lives with a sensible and effective detainee policy.

Insh'allah, he will succeed.

Islamic Finance Symposium

Passing along an announcement

2nd Annual UC Berkeley Islamic Finance Symposium
Saturday, February 28th, 2009
8:30 am - 6:00 pm
UC Berkeley School of Law

See flyer for details.


"Go to Your Corner!"

This is the kind of thing one might joke about, but no one actually does: When ordinary discipline failed to get 15 year old Trenton General to improve his grades, his
. . . parents were about to take the cell phone away — again — recently when they offered their son a choice. “His cell-phone for two weeks or a corner for two hours,” Don [his father] said. “He chose the corner.”

“The corner” was not a quiet spot in his room, but rather a very public intersection in the middle of town. There Trenton held a hand-lettered sign that listed his grades — an E in English and math, a C in science and an A in phys ed. At the bottom of the list the sign said, “My future = shaky!”
First of all, "an E in English and math"? What the hell is an "E"? Sounds like the grades at Boalt.

Second, I honestly don't know what to think about this. Sounds like it worked here, but what if your child is struggling because he or she lacks confidence or self-esteem? "The corner" seems like it would destroy the child in that case. On the other hand, it's pretty powerful medicine, isn't it? Some law schools publicize name and rank, which I suppose has a similar effect. But I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to go through that. For the second time this week, thank God I'm at Boalt.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Here's a Tip For You

Apparently the economic downturn has New Yorkers tipping less. Not only have check totals have gone down (something that’s been widely noted) but also the percentage of those lower checks that diners are leaving as tips.

In case you're the kind of person who finds that tempting, come find me so I can give you a good whack upside the head: it's not okay to tip like a miser when your portfolio takes a dump -- you should be adjusting your lifestyle, not your server's. Try ordering less.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Opening Soon: Boalt Hall Southern Addition Pool!

A few days ago Toney posted about how it seemed the construction in the court yard was moving, well, not exactly "swimmingly."

Well, it would now seem that construction is moving along quite swimmingly indeed . . . in a matter of speaking.

While work on the Boalt Hall Southern Addition may be delayed from the inclement weather, at least we now have a pool!

Now, if I'm not mistaken, this side of the construction is where they were previously drilling rather deep holes right? So, does that mean those holes are now full of water, or even worse, mud?


Sorry about the quality. This was taken on a Blackberry through a screen. Not exactly the best way to get a high quality shot.

Yoo Too Should Keep an Eye on This

About a year ago the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility disclosed it had been investigating whether John Yoo and Judge Jay Bybee's "Torture Memos" failed to meet the Department's ethical standards for professional responsibility. The report has not yet been made public, but it's leaking (see also here), and if the leaks are accurate, the report will be startling when it is released:

Apparently, among other things the report recommends state bar associations consider disbarring the authors because, according to the report, the memos departed so far from the Justice Department's own standards as to be a breach of professional responsibility.

More startling still are rumors that the report contains emails from from senior officials in the Bush administration dictating the results and outcome of the memos while they were being written. (No surprise there, unless you are a cynic like me -- in that case, you're stunned that the documentation wasn't destroyed.) Those emails, if real, are significant because the Bush Administration's defense has always been a blend of necessity and reliance (last 40 seconds of clip): "Everything we did was -- you know, it had legal -- legal opinions behind it. . . . I got legal opinions that said whatever we're going to do is legal." It should go without saying that a reliance defense begins to look thin (isn't the test reasonableness?) if the Administration asked for carte blanche in advance.

I do not know when the report will be released. But the Office of Professional Responsibility, which is waiting for Yoo and Bybee to contribute their version of the story before it is finalized and sent to Attorney General Eric Holder, has recommended the report be made public when it is finalized. This is something to keep an eye on.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

How Should One Protest Prop 8?

This recent SacBee article covers a specific example of the Prop. 8 backlash (e.g., boycotts, angry emails and letters, picketing, harassment) that has been going on, more or less, since November all over California.

The article covers the treatment Leatherby's Family Creamery, in Sacramento, has been receiving after their $20,000 donation to Yes on 8 was made public. The article hits especially home for me because the Leatherby's employed me for the better half of my high school years so I could save enough money to go to college.

This situation highlights an issue I've been trying to figure out since the shocking results came out that Prop. 8 had passed: How should one go about protesting Prop. 8? Is boycotting an establishment because its owners supported Prop. 8 really an effective way of pushing the gay marriage agenda?

On the one hand, I certainly don't want my money being used to support another anti-gay marriage campaign. But on the other hand, it seems wrong to punish someone for expressing their beliefs. Further, this tactic seems counterproductive if the goal is to gain support for the gay marriage cause. Won't boycotting and protesting only lead to further polarization of the two sides making it harder to convince people that gay marriage really isn't a scary thing?

Basically what I'm asking is, is it wrong for me to keep going to Leatherby's when I'm back in Sacramento? Because they make some pretty damn good ice cream.


The First One's Free, Just to Try It

. . . sitting here listening to a live performance by Tom Waits from 1975, where he warns of roadside diners with veal cutlets so tough they march the counter to beat the shit out of the coffee, which is too weak to defend itself,* when I received an email from a friend tipping me off to free coffee at Strada on Friday.

Strada, whose coffee has never had its ass kicked, and who claims to have invented the white chocolate mocha, will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary. It expects expect to give away 5,000 drinks, or more. Five thousand and ten, counting me.

* . . . well I order my veal cutlet, Christ it left the plate and it walked down to the end of the counter. Waitress by the name of Irene, she's wearing those rhinestone glasses with the little pearl thing clipped on the sweater. My veal cutlet come down, tried to beat the shit out of my cup of coffee. Coffee just wasn't strong enough to defend itself.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"It's a War Zone"

Contra Costa Times article suggesting that, thanks to our ridiculously high graduate fees, Boalt is able to attract and retain high-profile faculty. That said, the article also suggests retention is a constant struggle:
"I have three (offers to Berkeley professors) that I'm worried about right now from Harvard," said Edley, who himself was lured from Harvard in 2004 to lead Boalt Hall. "And three more that are likely to develop from top-five schools in the next year.

"It keeps the pressure on, but it's infinitely better than having a faculty that no one wants."
Er, right. Is that why a young hotshot like G. L-ster makes more than an old standby like B. B-rring?


English Snarks Misfounded?

The comments of a recent post about English suffering from AIM and text messaging got me thinking... The English language doesn't suffer by techno-shorthand at all; it becomes improved by it. Language is organic, and as societal needs require lingual evolution, language can adapt.

That's why I usually stay silent when people on this blog bitch about incorrect grammar (my need for conformity and acceptance outweigh my desire to fight). What makes grammar correct? Unlike other standard setting bodies (IEEE, ICANN, ISO and SAE come to mind), English doesn't have a group of people that decide right or wrong. Instead, something becomes "right" when the majority of the English-speaking society decides it's right.

The process usually goes like this:
  1. A guy mispronounces a word while drunk at a party. His designated driver buddy hears it and tucks it away in his memory. 
  2. The buddy uses it accidentally in front of a group of friends at the gym. 
  3. The friends in turn use it, and eventually someone posts it in their facebook status (it has graduated to "obscure localized slang" at this point). 
  4. Someone creates a really popular facebook group, or starts an internet meme involving the word (it has now just become "regular slang").
  5. Celebrities around the world are using the word. 50 Cent dropped the term in his new song. People playing XBOX Live scream it at each other. Axe Body Spray uses it in commercials (it has now become "accepted slang").
  6. The word gets uncool... everyone knows what it means, but no one uses it anymore (the term is now "old slang").
  7. A really square, white, old, male politician uses the term (he's probably Republican) when railing against a new piece of progressive legislation. 98% of the population chuckles to themselves because of how "2006" the term is. The other 2% of the population (the ones with all the money) realize that a new word has been invented right under their noses; they panic and make every attempt possible to use the word, lest they be the last ones to use it. Jack Donaghy claims to have invented it. The pope uses it in his "bless the world, but curse abortion" New Years prayer.
I think (though I'm just guessing) the new word has become an accepted part of the English language between steps 4 and 5. Other people may put it elsewhere. The point is, English modifies itself (or we modify it) to best suit our current needs. To claim that English is harmed by changing grammar usage is to desperately grasp on to the standards of yesterday. The irony is that you never hear people bitch about the English of last Tuesday (a few yesterdays ago)... it's why no one cares that "color" no longer has a "u" in it, or that people say "who" instead of "whom". So when people complain about whether something "begs the question", join the rest of us silently snickering at how these people still care about the fossils of the English language, but don't say anything out loud, because being cool requires fitting in.


Barbri Not Accepting Donations

So, I finally got around to signing up for a Barbri course. Yeah, I'm lazy. I got SF Saint Mary's Live, so apparently that's not yet filled up for those of you even lazier than I.

Upon surfing to the "Make a Payment" page, I saw this priceless caveat: "NOTE: The payment amount cannot exceed the Balance Due."

Seriously Barbri?!? You're already draining me of well over $3,000 and you feel like you have to warn me of overpaying?!? Well, I guess it's your loss. I was totally going to make a donation to your practical monopoly.

Anyway, where's everyone else taking the courses? Anybody hear any news about where the vaguely titled "Berkeley/East Bay" course will be held?

And alums, what are your opinions? What locations are good or bad? Pros and cons of the live vs. taped courses? Should I actually study for the bar or just drop out now, brush up on my Spanish, and head South of the border to avoid student loans debt?


Thursday, February 12, 2009


Dear Sen. Feinstein:

STFU. Derailing a murder investigation is one thing, but throwing a monkey-wrench into our efforts to root out Al Qaeda / Taliban is another.


To vent about Black Thursday:

Not speaking from any inside information or anything, but I don't think there's much that 3Ls can do now. At least not much substantive (I think a commenter below hit the right note about not booking that bar trip just yet and saving in general). The greater burden is on my classmates and other recent Boalt alumni. The pressure will shift to the Class of '09 as the start dates get closer. If the credit markets ease by then, you should be alright.

I also think there will be more firms that wrap things up. Pay attention to Daily Journal announcements about groups of partners leaving. What a mess.

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Wow Again!

From Dean Tom's email this morning:

I am pleased to report that we have received more than 7,900 applications for the 270 places in the Class of 2012. We've never received this many applications in the School's history.

Seven thousand, nine hundred?? I'm so lucky to be here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Death of Joy

Bay to Breakers organizers and city officials are cracking down this year, announcing a zero-tolerance ban of alcohol, nudity, and parade floats on May 17th.

Apparently, the poor bastards who can afford houses along the route are pissed because of all the people pissing on their property once a year (which is particularly atrocious because there's absolutely no way they could have known this might happen when they bought the place). While a drastic increase in porta-potties would seem a simple solution, the people in charge have instead decided to rape and kill the only piece of my soul that could still feel love.

If you want to contest this unjustified maiming of a century-old tradition, contact info for the people responsible is at the bottom of this article, and some kind of petition website has also sprung up. Alternatively, I suppose the sixty thousand or so bay area residents who usually show up could simply ignore the new rules, in a good old-fashioned display of mass drunken anarchy.

Come Support Fellow Bloggers!

Next Tuesday, February 17th, Eugene Volokh, of The Volokh Conspiracy, will be discussing slippery slope arguments. Come support fellow bloggers, so that, one day, people will want to listen to us!


Date: Tuesday, February 17
Room: Goldberg
Food? Hell yeah! Le Med will be catering.

*Sigh* I Guess It's a Good Day After All

Last night I vowed to rant about Boalt Remote -- it's been down for what, five weeks? Six? Recently, it took me fourteen minutes to log on to one of the dinosaurs in the computer lab, retrieve a three page pdf from a flash drive, and print it. Fourteen freaking minutes! (Yes, I am the type of person who keeps track of such things.)

So, this morning when I woke up with a laundry list of scathing zingers and witty puns, I cracked my knuckles and sat down to crank out that rant. Oooo, I was gonna' show 'em! At the last moment, however, I decided to take a friend's kind advice and visit the print station one last time to check my facts. And waddy'a know? The little sucker has been fixed.

What a letdown.


Construction Quandary

I'll be the first to admit that I know very little about construction. I worked as a grunt my first summer out of college, building summer cabins on Lake Pend Oreille for people that retired by the age of 40 (yeah, THOSE people). In addition, I have ample experience with Legos®. But I wouldn't know the first thing about building anything on a larger scale.

Yet, to my admittedly untrained eye, it looks to me as though the construction in the court yard consists of the following steps:
  1. Dig up dirt, and put it in a pile.
  2. Move the pile to a different part of the courtyard.
  3. Park the biggest tractor on the very top of the pile and call it a night.
  4. Repeat steps 2-4.
Does anyone see it differently? Has any notable progress been made? Is this just the nature of construction?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Another reminder that there are a lot of crappy lawyers out there. (H/t: Volokh). Reminds me of the 7th Circuit case before Easterbrook.

Edit: I've gathered my thoughts a bit and the juxtaposition of this post and the bottom is mildly amusing. The opinion is well written and well reasoned ("relief" it). The accusations against the attorneys are troubling. Reinhardt is accusing the lawyers here of not even reading the statute that the clients violated. How did they avert sanctions, or at least an OSC why they shouldn't be sanctioned? Isn't this the sort of thing that state bar disciplinary bodies should be aware of? Why not order the attorneys to forward the opinion to the Arizona Bar?

Judge Reinhardt...keeping criminals out of prison wherever he goes.

Someone Finally Acknowledges the Prison Problem!

Federal judges have tentatively ruled on a suit filed by California prisoners claiming that overcrowding has deprived them of their right to adequate health care. This means the state may have to reduce prison populations by up to a third. No doubt this will frighten many Californians who vote, which is why this was a good issue for the courts to decide.

My own take is that this is only a first step. Even setting aside the moral argument against lengthy sentences and rare parole, prisons that were built four decades ago are carrying four times the load for which they were designed, and we don't have the money to build more. Something needs to be done, and this ruling at least seems to acknowledge the problem.

Sunday, February 08, 2009


A media bit about Michelle Obama that isn't dominated by discussion of her clothes!

Friday, February 06, 2009

The Long, Hot Summer

I'd heard a rumor earlier this week that the CDO would be giving a gloom-and-doom summer job presentation to 1L's. I ended up sitting in the back of the room during one of those talks today, but I didn't find it particularly grim. In fact, the most intersting thing about the presentation was the timeline for Fall OCIP 2009, not the tone of the talk or the tenor of the market.

The next fall OCIP will be August 25, 2009, through September 09, 2009. That's right. August 25th. Because it kicks off so early, Boalt will conduct all fall "OCIP programming"* this spring, and work with students over the summer to make sure students are ready to participate.

Although perhaps not much earlier than last year, it still seems to me that August 25th is an incredibly early kickoff to the job marathon -- well, credibly early, I guess, particularly as the job market retracts -- but I understand why it has to be that way. Still, I feel for the class of 2011. B-Line is a terrible place to spend the month of August.

*Frankly, I'm not sure what the speaker meant by "programming." He couldn't have meant bidding, could he? My guess is he meant CV consolations, interview prep, etc.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Sad News Day

As everyone has probably already heard, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been hospitalized for early-stage pancreatic cancer. It sounds quite serious. I'm sure everyone is wishing her a speedy recovery.

Various news reports have bandied around a five year survival rate of 5% for this type of cancer. However, this statistic reflects the fact that diagnoses of pancreatic cancer often doesn't occur until late stages. A commentator on the Volokh Conspiracy mentions (but doesn't cite) a five-year survival rate of 18-25% for localized tumors of less than 2 cm; Justice Ginsburg's tumor is apparently less than 1 cm. If true, these statistics may help us to be a little more hopeful than some of the initial reporting.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

They Took Our Briefs!!!

I'm seething mad. Looking at this post on ATL, it's blatant that UPenn is ripping off our Boalt Briefs. Even the layout. Ugh.

I guess this is as good a time as any to unveil this Google group I have created hosting prior years' Boalt Briefs. I think every Boaltie, past and present, should read them. I am also missing a lot of them. I've begged and pleaded with the founders and other "editors" for the issues they have saved, but let's just say these people are not exactly "organized" in any sense of the word. The Volume-Issue numbering gives you a sense of that. So, if you have any issues, please consider PDFing me a copy. I'd also be very grateful for just hard-copies mailed to me.

Also, what are people's thoughts about adding a link to each issue to the sidebar? Too much? Maybe a general link to the Google group?

*Bonus points if you catch the title reference.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Must Read

Prepared Testimony of Harry Markapolos (PDF). The second part, regarding reform of our regulatory bodies, reminds of one thought I've always had. I think one reason for the mess we are in is because it's so easy for banks to pretty much misrepresent their holdings in financial statements. I mean they're banks. They can hide liabilities a million ways. An auditor friend in this line of business essentially confirmed this shenanigans.

I think it goes without saying the GOP will instinctively oppose any efforts to strengthen financial regulation. By their standards, even Hammurabi over-regulated the bartering in Babylon.

Dating for Dummies: It's a Jungle Out There

Headed to New York this summer? Don't forget the newest Zagat publication, "New York City Dating (and Dumping) Guide."

Is it okay to burn someone's belongings? Two percent of Zagat respondents say yes. To break up via text? Ten percent give it a big thumbs up. To snoop through email or texts? Thirty-two percent say they're willing -- as long as they don't get caught.

The guide also contains encouraging news for Boalties. Intelligence (92 percent), personality (91 percent) and sense of humor (90 percent) all ranked higher than “overall attractiveness” (79 percent) as a “most important” characteristic. Of course, this could be because two-thirds of the respondents were women, who at least claim to value looks less.

No word yet on "hooking up with a partner," or, for that matter, "trust." Maybe in the second edition.


PS: How do you pronounce "Zagat?" A discussion with my colleagues suggests there is a sea of opinions out there.

Voter fraud in Santa Barbara could mean Death Cab concert for UC Berkeley

With some chagrin, I must report that my crazy alma mater's allegedly fraudulent voter registration activities could result in a Death Cab for Cutie concert for us Berkeleyians.

I wasn't aware of this contest during the run up to the election, but apparently Death Cab offered a free concert to the school that registered the most students to vote. The contest led to a close race up to the finish with UCSB barely edging out UC Berkeley for the win. UC Berkeley appeared to be winning the contest, but the school's final voter count was reduced after contest officials discovered a number of duplicate entries (students registering online and on campus). UCSB had duplicate entries as well, but maintained a lead of 358 voters registered after the final count for each campus was adjusted.

However, Steve Pappas, loser of the race for Santa Barbara County's 3rd District Supervisor spot, is now challenging the validity of a large number of the voter registration forms from the UCSB campus and the adjoining town of Isla Vista. Facts laid out in a recent Daily Nexus article, here, seem to show that Pappas may be right. He points to some pretty strong indications that there was fraud involved in, at least, the registration process. The situation also brings up some pretty interesting issues in voter privacy (Pappas has subpoenaed the university to release personal information of student voters in his suit against the winner of the election, Doreen Farr).

So if some of the registration forms are invalidated, shouldn't that mean UCB gets the Death Cab concert?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Here's the Keker

Looks like a new firm is springing to life in SF. (Website here). Of course Mark Lemley is the former Boalt professor who formed 1/3 of the big wig IP trio. And Ragesh Tangri was a visiting professor at Boalt a while back.

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