Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'll Take "Problem-Solving at Boalt" for $500

Answer: Giant blue robots, noisy fans, free drinks, and meteorology.

Question: What is, Boalt's response to a heatwave?


This post has been brought to you by Professor McGonagall's Vand*n Heuv*l's recent email regarding the building's utter lack of a functioning A-C system, swelteringly hot classrooms, and the steps being taken to solve the problem:

Subject: Giant Robotic Devices in 1st Floor Hallway

The weird, multi-armed turquoise machines in the first floor hallway are actually portable AC units. As you know if you teach or have a class in 100, 105, 110, these three rooms have no AC (all other classrooms are now air conditioned). We have no way to bring the AC units into the classrooms, since they have to be vented outside and also because they are too noisy. So we are cooling the hallway and hoping the cool air will make its way into the large classrooms. To do this, however, you'll need to keep the doors to the large classrooms propped open. So it's important to try to keep talking in the hallways during class times to a minimum.

Predictions are that a cooling trend is starting today and that our fog will return by the end of the week. Once that happens the ventilation fans will pump in cool, rather than warm, air and things will get better.

Finally, around 12:30 or 1:00 today there will be cold drinks available in the 1st floor lobby. Please feel free to stop by and cool down.

Why we can't just soup up these "ventilation fans" in the classrooms to include A-C capabilities is beyond me, but since we're thinking outside the box, I have a suggestion or two for how we might solve this problem intuitively and with minimal disruption to normal classroom activities.

If all else fails, we can always admit more LLMs.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You've Been Gunned

The Gun Club at it again? This morning in a 1L Torts class the students arrived to find a nip of whiskey in each seat along with a note stating something like, "You've Been Gunned."

The legend continues.


Of All the Cases the Court Could Take

Conventional wisdom has it that appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States is too unlikely to be treated as a viable possibility. Read this, and then tell me whether the truth is really that simple:
Stern v. Marshall, No. 10-179. Was the late Anna Nicole Smith's counterclaim for tortious interference with her expectancy of a $300 million gift or inheritance sufficiently related to her son-in-law's defamation claim against her in her bankruptcy proceeding to constitute a "core proceeding" within the bankruptcy court's jurisdiction as construed in Northern Pipeline Constr. Co. v. Marathon Pipe Line Co., 458 U.S. 50 (1982)?
That’s right. The Supreme Court granted review in 14 cases today, and among them them is an appeal from the shenanigans surrounding Anna Nicole Smith. Again.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pilot Season

This is our second post about television in as many weeks, but people seemed to enjoy the last one, so here we go.

I have an unhealthy love for television pilots (by which I mean debut episodes, not Matt Damon on 30 Rock). There is just something so bold and optimistic about them--so much potential. Everyone involved believes they have crafted the next big hit, but 90% of the time they are dead wrong. This can be particularly frustrating when you fall in love with a doomed show like Freaks and Geeks, or when you just know bullshit like Chase or CSI: Bozeman is more likely to catch on than Joss Whedon's latest project (RIP Dollhouse). But it can also be exhilerating, like when you catch an against-the-odds phenom like Glee or Lost from its first moments, and before you know it, it defines the zeitgeist.

That is why I watch all the pilots I can during this time of year, even the almost certain failures. Below is what I've discovered so far:

Lone Star: This new show about a con artist in over his head was probably my favorite pilot of the season. It stars Jon Voight, Friday Night Lights' ridiculously hot Adrienne Palicki, and charistmatic newcomer James Wolk. Unfortunately, it debuted last night to only about 4.1 Million viewers (Dancing with the Stars had 22 Million; f*#@ you, America), which means it will almost definitely be cancelled by Halloween, and I'll be bitching about it till Christmas, when I will get the DVD set and watch it over and over again while hating everyone.

Boardwalk Empire: There is really not much to say about this show. Everyone expected it to be great based on the premise and talent involved, and sure enough, the pilot was great in almost exactly the ways everyone expected. Check that box.

Terriers: FX's new show about scrappy unlicensced private eyes trying to take down corrupt billionares in Ocean Beach is reminiscient of great Noir shows like Veronica Mars and The Rockford Files. Definitely worth watching.

The Event: And now for the question mark. This is the latest in a long line of failed attempts to capture Lost's audience, but it's also the first such show that doesn't have to compete with Lost itself. I found the pilot solid enough that I'll tune in for a few more weeks, but they need to remember that Lost's success owed as much to its great characters as its intriguing mysteries.

So that's what I've got my eye on this year. How about you?

UPDATE: The second episode of The Event was basically terrible. It also lost almost 20% of its viewers from last week. I predict another Flash Forward, which means NBC will give it a season before pulling the plug. If they give enough lead time, that could actually be good for this show, since it could wrap up its narrative and deliver on its already thin set of premises. Worst case scenario, of course, is a Heroes-type deal where the show drags along lifelessly for three or four seasons like roadkill stuck to a mudflap.

Lone Star continues to be totally excellent, but it also lost viewers this week, meaning it will almost certainly be pulled from the Monday lineup. Best case scenario for fans of this gem is a midseason relaunch or a pickup from a cable network, like what happened to that cop show with Ryan from The OC.

Boardwalk Empire: still reliably, predictably, and obviously good. Already renewed for a second season.

Terriers: Gets better every week. Getting decent numbers for FX. Watch it.

Me: Still posting about tv on a law school blog for some reason.

Other people: not posting on Nuts and Boalts. Blame them.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly Budget Cuts

As requested, I'm posting some of the communications that have been circulated today regarding the GA's budget cuts to Boalt student groups, and tonight's GA meeting. I plead ignorance as to how/why this situation arose in the first place, when it was discovered, and what has been done thus far, but hopefully some commenters can chime in with additional information.

The following letter was sent yesterday to all Graduate Assembly Delegates:

To All Graduate Assembly Delegates:

We write as your fellow concerned Delegates. This summer, the Executive (Exec) Board has undertaken unlawful actions that threaten the future of our graduate student body and our student government. Through decisions calculated to subvert the GA Charter, by-laws, and delegate oversight, the Exec Board has attempted to usurp the power of the Delegate Assembly and circumvent our democratic role as representatives of our departments.

Over the summer, the Exec Board passed resolutions approving significant changes to the funding procedures without the approval of the Delegate Assembly. Board minutes discuss avoiding Delegate oversight, despite the role of the Delegate Assembly as the GA’s “ultimate authority” for all decisions (GA By-laws 1.1.3).

Existing by-laws require Delegate Assembly approval of all Funding Committee procedures (4.13, 4.15.4,, 6.7.3), yet the Exec Board took it upon itself to approve and implement a new funding system that gutted funding to all graduate student groups, with significant cuts to certain departments. These decisions threaten the very existence of the graduate body’s current student groups.

For example, last year groups could receive as much as $3300 per year. This year, no group will receive more than $1000, and some departments, no more than $550. Roughly half of the student resources budget is frozen in Contingency, while student group funding has been cut from 60% of the budget (2008-09) to less than 25% of the total budget.

On Thursday, September 16, we ask for your support in reversing the Exec Board’s unlawful decisions. We hope to resolve this Board-created crisis by requesting delegates vote against Resolution 1009(d): Resolution to Establish Funding Committee Procedures, which would validate the Exec Board’s improper actions. Instead, we ask delegates to vote in favor of Resolution 1009(c): Assembly Review of Executive Board Authorization in Violation of Graduate Assembly Bylaws, of Divisive Funding Procedures and Funding Reports.

The Exec Board’s actions seriously threaten the GA’s integrity, its Charter, its independent status with the University, and its 501(c)(3) status. Further, their actions attempt to silence the voices of thousands of graduate students by dismantling our democratic government. We hope to work together as a Delegate Assembly, along with the Exec Board, to resolve this crisis and ensure that we serve the needs of the graduate student body.

Thank you,
[Student Signatories]

This morning, Mindi forwarded this letter from BHSA:

Fellow Berkeley Law Students,

In response to the dramatic slashing of law student activities funding by the U.C. Berkeley Graduate Assembly, the following letter was sent yesterday to all the Graduate Assembly Delegates [see letter above].

Please join us TODAY, 9/16, at 4:45 p.m. ON THE WEST TERRACE so that we may walk down together as a united law school delegation to the year's first Graduate Assembly meeting at Eshleman Hall.

Thank you!

These statistics have also been circulated through student-group listservs:

This morning you received a letter addressed to other graduate departments regarding craziness at the Graduate Assembly (GA), the representative government of all graduate students at UC Berkeley. The law school contributes over $44,000 in student fees to the GA each year, and this funding is distributed across departments and student organizations.

This year, the GA Executive Board made a number of changes to funding, in violation of the GA Bylaws (4.13, 4.15.4,, 6.7.3) without approval by the graduate delegates, who must make all final/ultimate decisions for the GA. These changes led to the following outcomes:

> Last year law student groups could receive up to $3300 per year. This year, no law group will receive more than $520 for the year.

>Services for underserved and vulnerable communities, such as Community Legal Outreach received $0, and the Workers' Rights Clinic received $50.

>Funding to the law school, on average, decreased by over 60%. Some groups received an 80-100% funding cut.

To reverse these funding cuts, please join us at tonight's GA meeting from 5:30-8PM.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2010 OCIP Callbacks: The Callback

Comments are filling up the other thread, so creating a new thread. Continue to follow the rules set forth in the other thread and L'Alex's continued guidance. I'm just filling in to keep the discussion going.

On a related note, a commenter in the other thread asked about thank you notes...immediately after a comment by an alumn last night regarding thank you notes. Maybe the commenter wants confirmation about the advice, so I'll formally confirm that 8:27's advice is pretty much consensus among attorneys:

Alum here - please, please do not send thank you notes if you can't write something specific to your conversation with the particular interviewer. (And even better, don't bother at all.) I received a two-sentence thank you email today (not from a Boaltie) that thanked me for my time and said the recruit had enjoyed learning about my firm. That was it. It was also the only thank you note I've received so far, and it definitely stands out--and not in a good way. Further, I'd submitted my review about that candidate days ago, so if the note was meant to help, it was too late anyway.

I feel bad for the recruit--I'm sure the CDO at that school advised doing it and it was just executed poorly. But Boalties, you are better than this.

Also, it may bear repeating because I'm still running into it: have down-cold, non-lame answers for the questions (1) why my firm and (2) why this city. It does not matter in the slightest if you say the exact same thing to each person--we aren't going to be comparing notes and it will be better to have one good answer than try for six or more unique ones.

Good luck all of you!
Indeed, bonne chance.


Alameda County DA's Office +
Allen Matkins, SF+/-
Alson & Bird, DC+
Arnold & Porter, DC-, SF+
Baker Botts, DC+, Houston+
Baker Hostetler, Den-
Baker McKenzie, SF+, SV+
Bingham, SF+
Boies Schiller, Oak+/-, NY+/-
Bracewell & Giuliani*, NY +
Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Den +/-
Bryan Cave, LA+/-, SF+
Cadwalader, NY+
Cahill Gordon*, NY+
Chadbourne & Parke, LA+
Cleary, Gottlieab, Steen & Hamilton, NY+/-
Covington & Burling, DC-, SD+/-, SF+/-, SV+/-
Cooley, NY+, SD-, SF+/-, SV+
Cox Castle, LA+
Cravath, Swaine and Moore, NY+/-
Crowell & Moring, DC+/-, LA+/-, SF+/-, OC-
Curtis Mallet-Prevost, NY+
Davis Polk, SV+/-, NY+/- (? is this right?)
Davis Wright Tremaine, Sea+
Debevoise & Plimpton, NY +/-
Dechert, Phil+, SV+
Dewey & LeBouf, NY+/-
Drinker Biddle, SF+
Faegre & Benson*, Minn+
Farella Braun, SF+/-
Fenwick & West, SV+
Finnegan Reston, SV+/-
Fish & Richardson, SD+, SV+
Foley Lardner, SF+
Fox Rothschild, LA-
Fried Frank*, NY +
Freshfields, H.K.-, Lon-, NY+
Gibson Dunn, LA+/-, NY+/-, OC+, SF-
Goodwin Procter, Bos+, LA+, SF+/-, SV+
Greenberg Taurig, SV+/-
Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, SV+
Hanson Bridgett, SF+
Haynes and Boone, Dal+, SV+
Hogan Lovells, DC+, NY+
Holland & Knight, SF+/-
Hooper Lundy, LA+, SF+
Howard Rice, SF+/-
Howrey, SF+, SV+
Irell and Manella, LA+/-, OC+/-
Ivins Phillips, DC+
Jeffer Mangels, LA +/-
Jenner and Block, Chi+, LA+
Jones Day, DC+, LA+/-, SD+/-, SF+/-, SV+/-
K&L Gates, SV+
Katten Muchin Rosenman*, LA+
Keker & Van Nest*, SF+/-
King & Spalding, SV+
Kirkland & Ellis, LA-, SF+/-, SV+/-
Knobbe Martens, DC+, OC +, SV-
Kramer Levin, NY+/-
Latham & Watkins, DC-, LA+/-, NY+, OC-, SD+, SF+/-, SV+/-
Loeb & Loeb, LA+/-
Mayer Brown, Chi+, SV-
McDermott, LA-, SV-
Morgan Lewis, LA+, SF+/-, SV+/-
Morrison & Foerster, LA+/-, SD+/-, SF +/-, SV-
Munger Tolles, LA+/-
Nixon Peabody, SF+
O'Melveney & Myers, DC+/-, LA+/-, OC+/-, SF+/-, SV+
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LA+, Sac+/-, SF+/-, SV+/-
Paul Hastings, LA+/-, NY+, OC-, SD-, SF+/-, SV+
Paul Weiss, NY+
Pepper Hamilton*, NJ +
Perkins Coie, Sea+/-, SV+/-
Pillsbury, DC+, LA+/-, SF+
Quinn Emmanuel, LA+, SF+, SV+/-
Reed Smith, SF+
Robins Geller -
Ropes & Gray, Bos+, NY+, SF+/-, SV-
Sedgwick, SF+
Shartsis Friese, SF+
Shearman, SF+
Sheppard Mullin, LA+/-, OC+, SF+/-, SV+
Sidley Austin, Chi+, DC+/-, LA+/-, SF+/-, SV+/-
Simpson Thatcher, LA+/-, NY+/-, SV+/-
Skadden, NY+/-, SF-, SV+/-
Steptoe, DC+/-
Stradling Yocca, OC-
Sullivan & Cromwell, LA+/-, NY+/-
Thompson & Knight, Dal+
Townsend, SF-, SV-
Vinson Elkins, DC+, Hou +/-
Wachtell, NY+/-
Weil, Gotshal & Manges, NY+/-, SV+
White & Case, LA+, SV+
WilmerHale, Bos-, Chi-, DC+/-, LA+/-, NY+/-, SV+/-
Wilson Sonsini, SD+, SV +/-
Winston & Strawn, DC+, LA-, SF+/-

*Non-OCIP / Pre-OCIP callbacks.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Idiot Plans Burning Quran... Entire World Cares?

We are now entering the fourth day of covereage of "pastor" (are there any credentials for that title?) Terry Jones' plan to burn a bunch of Qurans and probably accidentally incinerate his admittedly impressive facial hair:

Surprisingly, the whole world still seems to care. President Obama has condemned the plan multiple times, most recently during a press conference this morning, where he suggested that Jones, were he to go through with the plan, would be personally responsible for the loss of American lives. The President isn't the only one who thinks so. Everyone from Sarah Palin to Robert Gates has spoken out against the burning, with Gates going as far as personally calling Jones to talk him down.

When Palin, Gates, and President Obama all agree on something, you can be sure their position is fairly unassailable. And of course, no actual person with thinking parts wants Jones to go through with the plan (with the possible exception of Sam Elliot, who is worried about competition at his next audition). But regardless of the righteousness of their motives, I find Jones' critics' approach to this situation a tad misguided.

First, it just strikes me as odd that the actions of this single person, who appears to be what scientists call a Moron, could hijack international discourse for nearly a week. What morons choose to do with their excessive free time should really not concern people who think, in America or elsewhere. Especially when the moron's actions are confined locally and lauded by only a few even bigger morons who consider the Great Moron a spiritual leader. Like, seriously, we are caring about that? What if a six-year-old girl came home, found a Quran, and used it as a bed where her Barbies could get it on? Would this spark an international outcry as well? There has to be some level of stupidity we are willing to just ignore, collectively, as a culture. I think that level should be just below whatever Sarah Palin condemns as idiotic.

Second, I have a real problem with holding this mustacioed man of diminished capacity responsible for the actions of extremists and opportunists on a global scale who plan to react to this stupid publicity stunt by killing people. Like the Middle East is just this inanimate death and fire machine, and if someone throws the switch, it starts up through no will of its own. Extremists burn American flags all the time, but we would still condemn any American who responded by killing innocent people, right? For some reason, the same rules don't apply in the Middle East. We've just come to expect that extremist Muslims will react to any provocation with violence, and even if that turns out to be true, it's still insulting that we don't even acknowledge their culpability anymore, choosing instead to blame the stimulus. Engaging in an evil act often enough that it becomes rote should not abdicate a person's--or sometimes, a culture's--responsibility for that evil act.

Guess what: if enough people like a book, someone else is gonna want to burn it. That's just the way it is. Harry Potter fans have been dealing with this sad fact without violence or international uproar since they were 8-years-old. Maybe it's time everyone else grew up too.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

I realize that the topic du jour will soon rapidly change course away from OCIP and focus on the radically different issue of proper call back etiquette, etc., but before then, I want to bring this important announcement.

Tonight is the debut of the latest installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 titled "One Night in Vegas."  It's the story of Tupac and Mike Tyson.  Should be very fascinating, given the quality of the previous one on Pablo Escobar and Andres Escobar. 

Also the premier of Season 3 of Sons of Anarchy is tonight.  This is just yet another reminder that whoever is the head of FX's programming is a genius:  Sons of Anarchy, Rescue Me, Louie, Archer, Always Sunny in Philadelphia...just to name the shows that I'm able to follow.  They've come a long way from the days of Tom Bergeron, Jeff Probst, and Orlando Jones hosting reruns of The A Team and In Living Color, not that there's anything wrong with that. 

As a total aside, when in law school, I had a tube TV with wall-connected basic cable.  No DVR.  No HD.  How can people reconcile these two indispensable technologies and the study requirements of law school?  Or does DVR save you 15 minutes per hour by skipping ads?