Thursday, May 28, 2009

$@!$# the PC at Work For Throwing My At-Home Apple Use Into a Tailspin

That's all.

Feel free to share your frustrations & embarrassments during the first week of your summer internship here. (Anyone who ended up in the wrong law firm today after entering the wrong elevator bank, raise your hand. Any hands raised? No hands? Oh. Um, me neither.)


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chutspah Watch

Legislature wants greater control over UC policy because they are upset with administrator salaries accompanied by fee hikes. Hmmm. In that case, might I demand greater control over the Legislature for raiding the UC's coffers to cover its own incompetence?

Prop 8 Re-Redux

By now we all know that the California Supreme Court has ruled that Proposition 8 is constitutional, but that existing same-sex marriages shall stand. It was probably the correct legal decision, though not the correct moral one.

I'm posting to share this link: Today, Ted Olson and David Boies filed a federal equal protection claim challenging the validity of Proposition 8. While sexual orientation is not a federally recognized suspect class, it is recognized in California, and that appears to be the thrust of today's federal claim.

Whether this marks the beginning of a sea change in equal protection jurisprudence obviously remains to be seen. But if so, you heard it here first.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sotomayor Talking Points

I have a feeling this is going to get nasty. I know after the 2004 election, during some of the bleakest times for a Democrat, I was itching for a fight over Roberts. But after surveying the political landscape I regretfully realized the impossibility and inanity of such an act. Well, I think the GOP will do precisely the opposite because they just don't have anyone left who thinks rationally. All they have left is an angry base that is just seething and reeling from the thought of losing their guns and formal wear in the Oval Office.

Such a fight would make them look ridiculous and juvenile. The following talking points should explain why:

GOP Argument 1. Sen. Inhofe has already released a statement saying it's his job "to weigh her qualifications and character as well as her ability to rule fairly without undue influence from her own personal race, gender, or political preferences."

Talking Points:
-- Neither Republicans nor Democrats made any such offensive suggestion during the nomination of then-Judge Alito by accusing the Italian-American from New Jersey of possibly being biased in favor of mob bosses.

-- Both of President Bush 43's picks had service in Republican administrators. Why didn't Republicans raise concerns about their political preferences clouding their judgments?

-- See also Sen. Lindsay Graham quote below.

GOP Argument 2. A variation of argument 1, but be prepared for language implying "lack of intellect" or things along those lines essentially signaling to the base: "Hey, she's an AA baby."

Talking Points:
-- She has the same education credentials as Alito, longer judicial service than Roberts, and a more varied career than Rehnquist. By any measure, she is more than qualified to sit on our highest court.

GOP Argument 3: Liberal.

Talking Points:
-- Elections have consequences.
-- More specifically, the words of Senator Lindsay Graham during the Roberts Confirmation Hearings apply more than ever:
To me, the central issue before the Senate is whether or not the Senate will allow President Bush to fulfill his campaign promise to appoint a well- qualified, strict constructionist to the Supreme Court and, in this case, to appoint a chief justice to the Supreme Court in the mold of Justice Rehnquist.

He's been elected president twice.

He has not hidden from the public what his view of a Supreme Court justice should be and the philosophy that they should embrace.

In my opinion, by picking you, he has lived up to his end of the bargain with the American people by choosing a well-qualified, strict constructionist.

You have been described as brilliant, talented and well- qualified, and that's by Democrats.

The question is, is that enough in 2005 to get confirmed? Maybe not.

Professor Michael Gerhardt has written an article in 2000 called "The Federal Appointments Process," and I think he has given some advice to our Democratic friends in the past and, maybe recently, about the confirmation process that we're engaged in today.

And he has written, "The Constitution establishes a presumption of confirmation that works to the advantage of the president and his nominee."

I agree with that. Elections matter.

We're not here to debate how to solve all the nation's problems. We're not here to talk about liberal philosophy versus conservative philosophy and what's best for the country. We're here to talk about you and whether or not you are qualified to sit on the Supreme Court, whether or not you have the intellect, the integrity and the character.

And it has been said in the past by members of this committee -- Senator Kennedy -- I believe it's recognized by most senators that we're not charged with a responsibility of approving justices if their views always coincide with our own. We're really interested in knowing whether a nominee has the background, experience, qualifications, temperament, integrity to handle the most sensitive, important and responsible job. And that's being on the Supreme Court.

If you're looking for consistency, you've probably come to the wrong place, because the truth of the matter is that we're all involved in the electoral process ourselves and we have different agendas.

*Note that the Democrats at the time seemed obsessed over the Senate's role in thoroughly weighing the nominee.

GOP Argument 4: Supreme Court [will/has] reverse Sotomayor in Ricci.

Talking Point:
-- And the Supreme Court reversed Roberts in Hamdan while he was sitting as the Chief Justice. So what? Frankly, that case had far more significance by defining constitutional limits to the executive war powers, as opposed to the more limited issue of firefighter exams.

GOP Argument 5: She wants to make policy based on her Duke commencement address.

Talking Point:
-- No. And in full context, even conservatives agree she is absolutely right. The Circuit Courts are the most important branch of the federal judiciary because they are the final arbiters ofu the vast majority of issues that arise in federal courts.

GOP Argument 6: She's still racist. See Berkeley Speech.

Talking Point:
-- No. See full quote. And with respect to taking statements out of context, see current Ranking Member Sen. Jeff Sessions during the Roberts hearings: "But as you have already seen, our confirmation process is not a pretty site. Time and again, you will have your legal positions, your predecisional memoranda -- even as a young lawyer -- distorted or taken out of context."

* * *
Feel free submit your anticipated GOP Arguments and talking points.

UPDATE: Here is Judge Sotomayor's full speech at Berkeley. I do not understand how anyone with 3 functioning neurons can take that statement as anything other than a tongue-in-cheek remark given the rest of the speech. Also, I didn't know she was a classmate of our own Prof. RM. And if RM's torts lectures are any indication, the statement was soaked with sarcasm.


It's Sotomayor!

I'm heading out the door to my first day of work, so I don't have time to do a lengthy post about this. (Patrick, feel free to update this with your thoughts.) But I thought we should throw up a post about the recent announcement.

My two cents: the AP may think she would be the first Hispanic justice, but Josiah Bartlett and I disagree.

Sound off below with your thoughts!


Friday, May 22, 2009

Who Would Jesus Ban?

Liberty University (founded by evangelical and Teletubbie-hater Jerry Falwell) has banned the college Democrats student group, citing that the parent organization (the Democratic Party) contradicts the "moral principals" held by the school. These values clearly do not include freedom of speech and political beliefs.

I am curious to see if the anonymous commenters that equivocated disagreement with John Yoo's legal reasoning to the suppression of ideas are equally upset about this.

CNN article found here.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Antitrust Theories for Giggling and Crying

The San Francisco Chronicle has the following story: "Green Day lashes out at Wal-Mart policy"

Wal-Mart will not "stock any CD with a parental advisory sticker." Instead, it requests a censored "clean" version. Green Day -- affronted by the request -- refused to provide one. Hence, Wal-Mart refused to carry Green Day's new album.

As open and shut as that seems, Green Day is outraged. "Guitarist Mike Dirnt said: 'As the biggest record store in the America, they should probably have an obligation to sell people the correct art.'" Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong: ""If you think about bands that are struggling or smaller than Green Day ... to think that to get record your out in places like that, but they won't carry it because of the content and you have to censor yourself . . . I mean, what does that say to a young kid whose trying to speak his mind making a record for the first time? It's like a game that you have to play. You have to refuse to play it."

The "correct" art? I assume he didn't mean it. "A game you have to play"? I suppose. Like not cursing at work or wearing clothing in public? We have to play those games too.

I think the nub of Green Day's complaint is that they don't consider their album offensive, and they cannot fathom why anyone else would, and that the policy is therefore unfairly applied to them. But it's Wal-Mart that gets to make that call. Wal-Mart has to answer to its customers' expectations and shareholders' values. And even if Wal-Mart is a dominant music retailer, I find it hard to articulate a theory of how this policy "harms the competitive process." It strips no one of access to Wal-Mart's retail channels, expect perhaps an artist with Tourette's.

In the end, I have trouble understanding why the Chronicle ran this story. What is there to it beyond "Green Day's upset"? I suppose Wal-Mart bashing is a bit of a sport, but this seems particularly vapid for front-screen news. Then again, when I compare SFGate to the Washington Post's home page, I am shocked at how vapid the Chronicle's reporting and syndicated republishing has become. "Hobbit House"? "A night of erotic restraint"? "Lost some weight? Here's $20"? Those are current front-screen headlines. I note this so that when the Chronicle goes bankrupt, we remember that product quality was a factor.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Right Back Where I Started From

In the early parts of this decade, a bubble brewing in California burst, tanking the economy. Pundits, grocery store workers, and conservatives called for the Legislature to have the power to save up reserves during boom times to use during bust times. After the second California bubble burst, the Legislature finally offered a ballot measure to give itself that power. The voters yesterday rejected it. Welcome to California.

This is the land where voters have consistently proven themselves incapable of governing by proposition and refuse to allow the professionals to do the governing. Californians believe in the following:

-- More freeways to ease congestion.
-- But not in my backyard (see, South Pas and the 710).
-- More mass transit.
-- But must come with 500,000 space parking lots or else how will people get to the subway? Take a bus?
-- Clean air.
-- But lower registration fees for pollutants like SUVs.
-- No new taxes.
-- More teachers.
-- No new taxes.
-- More cops.
-- No new taxes.
-- Three strikes.
-- No new taxes.
-- No lines at the DMV.

Dear Califonians, I love this state. I think it is the best state and can't imagine why anyone would want to leave after they move here.* Don't you think it's time we stepped out of the way and allowed the Legislature to actually govern? Our ballot measures have tied up the vast majority of the budget in mandatory spending. The only discretionary part left is education. If Sacramento doubles classroom sizes and fires a bunch of teachers, we will only fuel this death-spiral of ignorance.

[Edit: I meant to add the following: "* I say this intentionally to piss off the out-of-staters because it is one of the first themes you get bombarded with when in California."

As long as we're adding thoughts, I almost feel like the state needs a benevolent dictator to guide us through these turbulent times. I really can't think of any historical figure to fit the bill though. The closest one is Octavian/Augustus. Maybe like a Solon to finally undo everything and be our "law giver?" Hmmph.]

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fraudulent VISA Text Message

Just thought I'd warn everyone out there. I received a fraudulent text message today that purported to be about my Visa card. It said that my account had been frozen for abnormal activity and gave a 408 area code phone number to call. I called my bank and credit cards directly and pretty much confirmed that the text was fraudulent, none of my cards were frozen. So, just be sure not to call that number if you get the text. I assume this might be related to the security breach that happened when our UHS files got hacked into. Or it could just be an entirely different scam. In any case, they're probably trying to fish for more personal information about us.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It Begins . . .

. . . well, for some of us at least. For those of us inept enough to demand a live Barbri session, Barbri started this morning bright and early at 9am . . . well . . . more like late and behind schedule at 9:30ish (at least for the SF St. Mary's session).

My impression from the first day is that this is going to be one long and difficult summer. The first hour or so was a quick informational session that basically covered everything we'll do over the summer. Then we took a 25 question MBE practice test on Torts, then talked over every one of those question. Then lunch. Then the same set up, but this time Criminal Law. I won't say I dominated the MC questions, but I wasn't dominated either. All in all, I definitely feel like I should be able to pass the Bar in two months, but I'm definitely not prepared right now. And I'm definitely figuring out all the topics and issues my 1L professors never covered way back in the day (like privacy in torts).

Did anybody else out there who started today have anything to gripe about? And to those of you in SF, anybody in the St. Mary's section find a good place to grab a quick lunch around that place? Also, for those of us in the St. Mary's section, how much did it suck when the schedule seemed to say that Saturday's sessions had been moved to Friday, returning us to a normal three day weekend but instead the schedule was wrong and we still do in fact have Saturday class. So lame. But who am I kidding, I'm probably just going to ditch out on that Saturday anyway, so it's not like it will matter.

Well, with that, I'm off to start reading for tomorrow. Good luck to everyone starting, and to everyone who starts next week, enjoy yourselves, you'll know our pain soon enough.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Congratulations, Graduates! Now Get the Hell Out

This is an open thread about graduation, JY protests, still-unfulfilled writing requirements, barbri study, inchoate post-graduation plans, and other fun topics.

Special recognition goes out to graduands posting between 9 and 11 a.m. And don't worry--it'll be better than the absolutely crap gifts they plan on giving the winners of the "class gift mod participation" competition. (The same mugs we got during 1L year? Off-brand "Boalt Hall" mouse pads? They couldn't fine anything that wasn't so obviously left over from the office move?).


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Potomac Fever!

Today, the SF Gate openly speculates on DE for SCOTUS. Also here (bottom of page).

I feel there's not much to say, except to note that many commentators feel the next nominee will be an LGBT female, and to note that DE purports to have fallen in love with the Bay Area, professes no Potomac fever, and claims he'd prefer to spend his days sailing the bay.

Personally, a SCOTUS chair seems pretty fever-inducing. And bay sailing is at its best during the SCOTUS summer recess.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Restatement 1st of Summer Associates

It's been done before. But I figure the complete meltdown of the legal market warrants a new look into the topic of how/what to do as a summer associate. These are just my off-the-cuff thoughts and not authoritative for any firm for reasons that should be obvious.

1. Produce the best possible work-product that you can. I think the era of letting summer associates with sub-par work-product slide into an offer is over. What should you do? Think, organize, and proofread about a million times. And when you are done, do it again.

2. Don't waste the client's/firm's resources. Sure everyone is inefficient when it comes to billing when they first start. But the chances that your work will actually be billed to the client is slightly higher (although there are also competing reasons why your work may not be billed, e.g., showing the client good will by writing off the time billed by a summer on a time-consuming research project). More importantly, your Lexis/Westlaw usage is not written off. Someone has to pay for it. Be weary of such phrases as "free" and "already paid for" coming from the mouths of the respective account reps. Again, someone always pays for it. I suggest learning and using cost-efficient research methods.

3. When in doubt, ask. This applies to your entire career path. Nearly all disasters in this profession occur because someone assumed. [Insert token Under Siege 2: Dark Territory quote].

4. From the thread I linked above, famed Boaltess Stacita remarked: "don't blow your offer by blowing anything else." Again, self-explanatory. Your character and reputation are far too valuable. Don't let booze bring you down. On the other hand, if your character shows its true colors after a few drinks, by all means, indulge. I'd rather know who to avoid ahead of time.

5. Judging by ATL threads, most firms are cutting back on summer spending. Do not go into your summer associateship with any sense of entitlement. The positive of this rule is to take advantage of the events that your firm puts on.

6. Treat every staff member like you'd treat a corner office partner. This rule again applies throughout your career. The reasons are easy enough: a) staffers have their ears close to the ground, avoid being a story b) they will save your butt when you have a pressing deadline and 1,000 pages to duplicate for that filing. Anecdotally, something as simple as a cup of coffee for a staffer who did a great job of preparing something for me got tremendous mileage.

These are the big ones in my mind. Feel free to add your own.

Monday, May 11, 2009



Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rankings that REALLY Matter

The jury's out as to whether USNWR rankings are that big of a deal.

What's in? The only rankings that really matter, of course: The First Annual Party Law School Rankings.

How did dear ol' Berkeley Law do? Seventh - narrowly edged out by UVA and narrowly edging out UM.

Of note: methodology.

Thanks to Anonymous for the tip.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Speaking of Health Insurance . . .

. . . people listen. Full email from DE here, and in the comments.

There is to much in the linked article to summarize, so you'll have to read it for yourself, although I can't resist pointing out (Armen, are you listening?) that the title could be better. Aside from that and the reference to "the grim budget climate" on page three, I'm very pleased; as a whole the document is actually a pretty good reference guide to financial resources at Boalt -- it has, for example, some information about changes to LRAP that were news to me. So, thank you Boalt for sending this along.

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Health Insurance with a Twist

I'm sure everyone just got that e-mail about personal info stolen from Tang. I'll repost it in the comments. But I've now had my personal info potentially stolen from UCLA and UCB. Cool.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sixteen Tons

[Update 5/08/2009 (Patrick): Higher Salaries for UC's New Administrators.]

As a commentator notes in the thread below, it will cost $2,864.68 $4,903 more to attend Boalt next year. But hey, it's always darkest right before it gets even worse, right? Just think: we could be in the class of 2015. What will tuition be then?

Now, that's a load off.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Graduation Protests

It is only fitting, I suppose. But recent reports seem to indicate this year will be like any other. Prepare for more graduation protests.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Student Center Closed for Business

Some time ago, we all received an e-mail from B*rring about upcoming construction issues that will affect students (aka the latest in a long series of hoe-rammings). Most problematic, completion of the West Terrace (which admittedly looks pretty cool) requires closing the student center from May 17th until June 7th. At least, that's how long it's supposed to take. Has there ever been any construction project completed on time? (I'm asking with regard to all of human history, not just Boalt.)

If your journal is like mine, you pretty much stopped work a week ago, with plans to finish up publishing and such after finals. If your editing software is like mine, the publishing process absolutely requires access to your office computer. If your life is like mine, this three - ∞ week closure could not possibly have come at a worse time.

I try not to whine about these things, but so far this has been handled rather poorly. First, they didn't tell us about the upcoming closure until it was too late to plan around it. Second, although B*rring said to contact M*ndi for alternative options, I have done so without result. I maintain faith that the admin will get its act together and help us out here, but so far I haven't seen much effort to do so. I'm posting this to bring the issue some publicity in the hope it becomes first priority after finals.

It reflects poorly on the reputation of all the journals to publish later than we promised, and although delays do happen, I prefer it when they're our fault. The e-mail after the jump.

UPDATE: I said I would stop whining if they set us up with a workspace and computers, and it seems they've done so. Big thanks, M*ndi and the rest of the administration for stepping up on this. I'll post their follow-up e-mail in the comments.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Straight From The Horse's Mouth: Spring 2009

It's time for the semi annual Professor Quotes (scroll down) thread. As you'll see when you read the comments, I have been less diligent this semester than in the past. It appears to be a developing trend.

Today, however, I did encounter the what is undoubtedly the quote of the year:
Boalt Registrar: "Is that the completion form for your writing requirement? Congratulations. That must be a real load off! Good luck with the rest of your exams."
You heard that right, folks: someone in the Registrar's office was nice to a student. Of course, it was a new guy (yes, a guy!) whom I've never seen, so they'll likely beat the cheer out of him in no time . . .   All the same, what a lovely surprise!

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Good Luck on Finals!

Nuts and Boalts has been a little bit grim lately. Sometimes I think it should be called "Nuts and Torture." Zing! (Sorry, that did not warrant a "Zing.")

I guess we're a little late with this, but good luck to all of you on your finals. In just a week, you'll have another year of law school behind you! That much closer to your inevitable layoff! Damn. Sorry again; it just slipped out.

Anyway, let's use the comments to post hilarious stories about finals! And remember, no matter how bad you feel, Denise Richards feels worse.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Religion & Torture Trends

In what is sure to be my most controversial post of the year, I thought it was interesting and ironic that a recent Pew Research poll showed a correlation between religious service attendance and the tendency to support torture against suspected terrorists. White evangelical protestants clocked in at the highest approval rate (62% said torture was "often" or "sometimes" justified), while those not affiliated with a religious institution had a 40% approval rate.

Anyone want to crank out the correlation coefficient on this? I suspect (by eyeballing it), that it's around .3, but I'm about to sit down and crank out a final, so I'll have to drag out my statistics textbook later.

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