Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fun With Real Numbers

Professor Caron has a compilation of the salaries of public law school deans.  Where does DE stand?  Well Moran and Chemerinsky command a higher salary within the UCs.  And that probably doesn't include the gold doubloons that Chemerinsky gets from Bar/Bri for reciting Con Law from memory without any effort.  Importantly, both of our "peer" schools, Michigan and Virginia, pay over $100,000 more per year while at the same time charging more in tuition than Boalt.  To its credit, Boalt has been in the process of fixing the latter glitch.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Logical Appeal from the Shattuck Down Low Owner

Below is a letter from the owner of the Shattuck Down Low, responding to recent efforts to boycott the venue. It seems to me that the boycott has harmed a local business, local employees, local performers, and Boalt social justice organizations that frequently hosted fundraising events at SDL. Not surprisingly, it seems the boycott has in no way harmed Lakireddy.

I support raising awareness of human trafficking in our community and I support strong punishment for traffickers through our criminal justice system. I don't support a boycott that is aimed at punishing someone who served his time, and doesn't even accomplish that purpose anyway.

As the leader of a social justice organization at Boalt, I can attest to the fact that it is very difficult to find other local venues who are willing to host fundraising events, in a time when our organizations are desperately seeking ways to fundraise. So we should really ask ourselves, who are we harming if we continue to boycott Shattuck Down Low?

I certainly would like to know what my classmates think after reading this letter.

We are writing in response to concerns regarding the Shattuck Down Low, “SDL,” and its relationship to Bali Reddy Lakireddy, a Berkeley land owner convicted of human trafficking who served eight years in prison.

Shattuck Down Low is a family owned business gainfully employing 20 East Bay residents, and dozens more musicians, performers, sound engineers, and promoters. Earnings from shows and sales at SDL do not directly profit Bali Lakireddy or his family. The only relationship SDL has to Lakireddy is that we, like many residents and businesses in and around Berkeley, are a tenant of a Lakireddy property. Second only to UC Berkeley, the Lakireddy family is the largest land/real estate owner in the City of Berkeley, with thousands of commercial and residential units. The Lakireddys receive millions of dollars in rent every month. UPS, CVS, Cross Roads clothing, numerous doctors, therapists, companies, and ironically, Amnesty International, all rent from Lakireddy, or a subsidiary.

Even though it would likely be an insignificant loss to the Lakireddy family income, as a socially conscious business, SDL has considered moving to another property. In addition to the expense, it has not been possible to open at a new location because the City of Berkeley has a moratorium on opening new bars or clubs in the city.

SDL is one of only a few places in Berkeley for locals to play music, see a show, or dance. We are proud to provide a space for musicians, DJs, and artists. We are also proud of fundraising thousands of dollars for numerous non-profit organizations and causes over the years, including Doctors without Borders, Girlfest, J-Flag, public K-12 education, and an organization fighting hunger in Brazil.

Boycotting small businesses in Berkeley will not affect the Lakireddy family, but it will adversely affect the employees of such businesses, and their families.

Until there is law or policy that allows for the seizure of property and other assets from individuals who profited from human trafficking, Bali Lakireddy and family will likely continue to profit and thrive from ownership of numerous Berkeley properties.

On behalf of myself and my staff, and in light of the facts above, I ask for your continued support and patronage of the Shattuck Down Low. We consider our business an asset and contributor to the community, and hope to continue to provide entertainment in Berkeley. I would be happy to talk to anyone interested in the matter, attend any event on the topic, and I welcome any comments and responses. Feel free to forward my contact information.


Daniel Cukierman


Shattuck Down Low

Cell: (510)220-5908

Friday, February 18, 2011

Et Tu Harris?

Leiter is reporting that Professor Harris has accepted an offer from UC Davis.  Not too long ago, Boalt was reviled in legal academia for poaching the finest talents from other schools at an aggressive rate.  The trend of late seems to be in the other direction though.  I suspect some of these names will show up in a DE PowerPoint presentation not too long in the future to justify greater donations / higher fees that would be needed to replace these talents.  Just off the top of my head:  Moran to UCLA as Dean, Bundy in private practice, Murphy to NYU, Shelanski to GULC / Feds, and now Harris.  

I never had the pleasure of taking Professor Harris's courses, but I know she was invaluable in working with Boalties who wanted academic positions, including running an email list for those interested.  So even from the non-classroom perspective, it's apparent that Boalt will miss her.  I hope others will join me in wishing her well as she makes the move across I-80.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Make Boalt Suck

Howdy folks,

Today in our installment of "How to Make Boalt Suck" we're going to discuss how to leave passive aggressive notes in the study shacks in the library (or whatever they're called).

First, the text of our example note:
These carrels are meant to be available to all students. 'Reserving' them by leaving your computer for hours is inappropriate and unfair to others wishing to study. Please do not do this again.
As you can see, the note achieves admirable levels of passive aggressive gunning. Let me break it down for you so that you, too, can master the technique of library note gunning:

1. False authority. Make demands that you have no right to make and no way to enforce. End the note with a command that sounds serious but you know you cannot back up.

2. Be anonymous. The use of false authority along with anonymity bring the note up to truly magnificent levels passive aggressiveness. They'll think you could be anyone or everyone and it spares you having to actually be accountable for your behavior towards another law student. This step is crucial.

3. Liberal use of smear quotes. Don't like a "word," use a fucking smear quote! It makes you seem way more sarcastic and your criticism will be that much more pointed.

4. Cite a value most people will agree with and then pervert it to your gain. It's "unfair" for individuals to take up study spaces, but it's not unfair for you to use these tactics to make them feel bad about it.

5. Be inaccurate in your complaint. Use terms like "hours" instead of the real amount of time, which was more like 50 minutes.

6. Finally, and most importantly, complain at the least logical time to do so. Don't wait until exams or when the library's packed, make your complaint when you're not even inconvenienced! The fact that there are multiple other seating options directly next to the study cubby in question makes this note even more powerful and effective.

Follow these simple steps, kids, and we, too, can have a law school that sucks. Just ask the kids at UC...oh sorry, out of time!

(Thanks to DS for showing us this amazing example!)

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Call Bill Murray

Apparently there's a woman haunting the construction site and maybe a library stack near you.

From the Archivist:
Work on the building continues round the clock, and several members of the graveyard shift have reported seeing the silent figure of a woman in a long black dress. She usually appears around 2:00 o’clock in morning, almost always on the third floor of the building. One worker saw her pass by the door of the room where he was working, heading for a corridor that he knew had been blocked by the construction. He immediately went to check the corridor, only to find it completely empty.
Sounds pretty sexy, right?

There have been other sightings, too:
Another member of the construction crew, though she has not seen the woman herself, reports that her father — a custodian in the building during the 1960s — frequently mentioned catching glimpses of the ghostly figure of a woman in a black dress when he worked alone late at night.
The Archivist also wants to assure everyone that the workers are not getting loaded at night:
We take no position on this ectoplasmic disturbance, other than to point out that the construction crew appear to be sober at the end of their shifts when we arrive at 6:30 each morning
The Archivist sounds awesome.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

First Annual Boalt Ball Tournament

Want to be a hipster and get in on the newest, awesome thing at Boalt?

Well, come to the Boalt Ball Tournament sign up as featured above. Boalt Ball requires a love for graphic design, a steady hand and the wisdom of Justice Cardozo. It's also a great way to meet chicks.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Blake's and Beckett's Close in the Same Week, Please Don't Let Kip's Be Next

That's right. Both Beckett's and Blake's closed this week. They likely both went out of business because Boalt students boycotted both establishments due to their bad service and poor atmosphere. That and both were way too big to barely sell any food and be half full on the weekends.

So, what now? Well, it's clear that we really only have one choice: Every Bar Review from here on out is at Kip's. We cannot let the best-carpeted karaoke dance floor in the Western Hemisphere close and I think it's the responsibility of everyone to support a bar where the seating consists of picnic tables from my middle school.

Also, it's a great alternative to the Down Low. Just sayin'.


Labels: , , , , , ,

New Academic Calendar Announced

Well, folks, it seems that Boalt got a little change we can believe in with the new OCI schedule combined with a new class schedule.

Somehow, we kept the 14 weeks of classes, but lost the week of Fall Break. Classes will start August 24th, which is later than normal and the semester ends December 16th, which is about the same. I can't remember how many reading days we have now, but we have 3 in this new calendar.

The Spring semester looks about the same and is too boring to really consider at this point.

Oh, and your future nebulous concerns will be address, from M*ndi's email (really an email forwarded by M*ndi and written by Prof. R*bert M*rg*s, co-Chair, Faculty Curriculum Committee, but I know who y'all want to hear from):

At the Dean's direction, the Berkeley Law staff is working hard to implement this change. Some areas of crucial concern have already been addressed; others will be dealt with as they arise. The BHSA will continue to be included in these conversations as we move forward. You will receive more information about the schedule change and its implications in the coming months.

I assume people will complain about this because it's law school. So, have at it.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Should We Boycott the Downlow?

If you're a student, I'm sure you've received the following email:

Hi everyone,

As many of you have heard, tonight's Bar Review will be taking place at the Down Low on Shattuck. However, many people are unaware that Lakireddy Bali Reddy, the landlord of the Down Low, is a convicted sex trafficker. In 1999, a passerby saw Reddy and a group of his employees trying to put the unconscious body of a 17 year old girl in a van. The girl had suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning while living in one of Reddy's apartments. She later died at Alta Bates hospital.

Through this event, school newspaper reporters at Berkeley High uncovered Reddy's criminal activities. Over a 15 year period, Reddy and his family brought an estimated 500 men, women, and young girls (the youngest was 13 years old when she was trafficked) from India to the United States using H1-B visas, convincing them that they would be working as computer programmers in the US.

Instead, Reddy used the immigrants as slave labor for his restaurants and apartment buildings, and used at least three girls as his own personal sex slaves, including the deceased 17 year old girl. During autopsy, the medical examiner found that the 17 year old girl was pregnant with Reddy's child.

Reddy accepted a plea bargain with the Alameda County DA's office for sex trafficking and served 8 years. He was released from prison in 2008. His adult sons were also charged with aiding in sex trafficking. The Reddys own 1,100 apartment units in Berkeley (under names like Reddy Realty, Raj Properties, and Everest Properties), as well as Pasand Restaurant. They are also the landlords of Down Low, so money from Bar Review will go directly towards the Reddys' rental fees.

We wanted to raise awareness about this because many people do not know of these horrifying crimes that took place right here in Berkeley and because the Down Low is a popular spot for Bar Review. We are involved in an effort to raise awareness of human trafficking/modern slavery, and will soon be putting on a week of events centered around anti-trafficking efforts. More information will be released soon.

Thanks for reading. We hope that you will forward this email on to others.

Trafficking weakens legitimate economies, breaks up families, fuels violence, threatens public health and safety, and shreds the social fabric that is necessary for progress. It undermines our long-term efforts to promote peace and prosperity worldwide. And it is an affront to our values and our commitment to human rights.
-Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State

Human trafficking is horrible and is a major issue in the US and around the world. However, is boycotting a business that requires a liquor license and leases space (with the attached license) from someone who has been convicted and completed his sentence a legitimate way to address this issue? Most retail clothing companies that are popular among law students use or have used child labor, sweat shop labor, etc. Based on this logic, shouldn't any company that has engaged in this process be boycotted indefinitely? Shouldn't we, by transitivity, also not take money from these companies? Or work for firms who will be using fees for representing these companies to pay associates? Does it make a difference that the guy's been tried, convicted and served his time?


Congratulations are in order.

I just wanted to create a space for people to leave comments congratulating Thomas Frampton and Ed Piper on their rock-star performances last night. The composure they demonstrated in front of a nearly-full Zellerbach hall, and such an esteemed panel of judges (including, of course, a Supreme Court Justice), was nothing short of awe-inspiring.

While I cannot speak for everyone, I can say that Thomas and Ed made at least one student proud to be a Boaltie last night. Cheers to them both.

Labels: ,

For Your Viewing Pleasure

The first video is a State of the Union remix created by a semi-professional Vegas gambler (Boalt '05).  The second is for Simpsons fans.