Monday, December 19, 2011

Class of 2011 - We Miss You! We Need You!

The letter that follows comes to you from that great bar-oath-squatting, shoulder-peeking, Booth-occupying class of 2011, along with a few professor types who have signed on to the message:

Dear Class of 2011:

Recently, over a hundred of us returned to Boalt Hall to be sworn in as members of the Bar. Together, we returned to new buildings, old teachers, and lifetime friends to cross that final Rubicon of law school. We are thankful for those that have helped us make it this far, and we are proud to now be official members of this fine profession.

As one chapter of our education ends, another begins for the Class of 2015. As we uploaded our exams to ExamSoft, they packed their clothes to move to Berkeley, California. And as we swore our oaths, they were preparing for their first torts exam.

Now, more than ever, their education is in our hands. Their ability to enjoy the opportunities that we enjoyed—producing cutting-edge journals, working on death penalty cases, providing legal services to the local community, receiving Edley Grants for public interest internships—all of this depends on our generosity and support.

As you know, Sacramento has steadily withdrawn billions of dollars from California’s higher education system. The University of California at Berkeley, which the State and Cal alumni built over decades to become the pinnacle of the nation’s public higher education system, must now be sustained in large part by Cal alumni, faculty, and students. Reform will come, but in the meantime, it’s on us to preserve this invaluable experience for future generations. It’s on us, as alumni, to continue supporting the school that allowed us to become the leaders that we are and that we will be.

It’s on us to build.

Melissa Murray: Class of 2011, you are missed! Congratulations on entering this new phase of your professional (and personal!) lives! In your absence, things continue apace at Boalt. A new crop of 1Ls has arrived, new professors are settling into their offices, and the new building is bustling with activity. Amidst all these changes, I am reminded of what remains constant. Boalt continues to be a vibrant, exciting place to teach and learn. With your support, we can continue to recruit talented, energetic new students and faculty. We can expand our clinical and skills offerings, which help prepare our students for the challenges of legal practice. We can continue to support student groups and the unique extracurricular culture that Boalt has cultivated over the years. I know that these are challenging times, but I hope you will help us by supporting Boalt.

Eric Talley: To the Class of 2011 - I was thrilled to see so many of you in the CA Bar swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 2. Not only did you get a chance to see the completed new facility actually being put to daily use, but the event provided a real sense of closure for so many of you whom I was pleased to get to know while you were here. Although public education is in challenging territory, the level of excitement and activity at Boalt remains characteristically high. This is in no small part due to our students - both past and present - who continue to make this place so special. Our ongoing support for the Law School community -financial and otherwise - is an essential link in maintaining this institutional energy. Please stay engaged, stay well, and stay in touch.


Alumni will continue to double all our support of the Financial Aid Fund, ELQ Diversity Scholarship, and LRAP. We have never had as many resources at our disposal – financial, professional, and personal – at a time that our institution is more challenged than at any time. $50 matters – it becomes $100 because of matching alumni funds. Give your old clinic a new printer, and your journal a case of oatmeal. Give an aspiring attorney’s financial aid package a boost.

Happy & Healthy Holidays

Melissa Murray, Eric Talley, Lala Wu, Jay Purcell, and the Class of 2011.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Onceling" Fad Takes Over Finals

In what can only be described as "the next big thing," Onceling takes Boalt Hall by storm.

What is Onceling?  It's a move that pays homage to both planking, owling and studying so hard during finals your ass hurts and you have to study with it up in the air.

As pictured, the pose involves sitting on your knees with reading material in front of your face, your arms or hands also placed on the surface in front of you and your posterior extended.  Be on the look out for this hot new move at your nearest bar or restaurant.  Our Official N&B prediction: Bieber will be Onceling within weeks.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

"My Advice Is to do What Your Parents Did; Get a Job, Sir!"

A while back a person asked in the comments for advice and a thread for new or starting associates. As a new associate myself I’m not sure I can provide the advice but I can provide the thread.

. . . well, without venturing so far as to call it “advice,” I do have some suggestions that have helped me greatly during my clerkship and in the two short months I have been a litigation associate:
  • Figure out a way to organize your email. For me, this is a system of folders and outlook rules. At the end of each day I empty my inbox and sent mail into these folders so that I start each day fresh. This also helps me review issues that came up during the day so nothing slips through the cracks. It may be different for you, but this little ritual has helped me to keep on top of things.

  • Figure out a way to organize your tasks and assignments. For me, this is a running “task list” document that I keep on my desktop. Its columns are: task, due date, client, and status. I also update this at the end of each day, which helps me to stay on top of things.

  • Figure out a way to organize your timekeeping. For me, this is combination of a downloadable stopwatch and a yellow sticky that sits next to my computer. There are about as many systems for keeping time as there are lawyers in the world so find what works for you, but whatever you do, don’t let timekeeping get away from you.

  • If you are doing document review online, take some time to really learn how the platform works and how to use all of its features. This is another big time saver.

  • Ask as many questions as occur to you, even if they feel (or are) dumb. Many of them will turn out to be not very dumb at all but that's not what matters. What matters is that you don’t know something, and you need to. So you gotta’ ask.

  • All of the standard rules for politeness and professionalism that you received for OCIP and for your summer gigs apply to your job as well, but if at this point you need to read this bullet to realize that you probably are doomed.

  • ‘Fess up to your mistakes immediately. I’ve made a few and the two lessons they consistently teach me are (1) pretty much every mistake you could possibly make has been made many times before, and (2) most things can be fixed if addressed quickly by people who know how.

  • Write lots of stuff down. Get in the habit of being a jotter, and a saver of notes. Stick your jottings in a folder near your desk and ignore them until later when you suddenly find you urgenly need them. Which you will.

  • Pay attention to the differences between being a law student and being a lawyer. My experience as the former has given minimal guidance in many important aspects of the latter. In a lot of ways I feel like I am starting all over again. It seems to me that, like the first semester of law school, now is the time to give it one hundred percent.
I am sure that the comments to this thread will be far more helpful than what I have posted above. In a year my own thoughts may be totally different. But this should get things going.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Open Note/Closed Computer: The Hidden Dark Side

Andrew does a great job illuminating the hidden underside of forcing students to print out their outlines.

Is the use of "find" really that big of a deal?  Does the advantage go to the tabber?  I have no idea.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Who Is to Blame for Siri's Abortion Incompetence?

You may have heard of the recent kerfuffle surrounding the apparent reluctance of Apple's new voice recognition application, "Siri," to locate an abortion clinic. Over the last week, groups like the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League and the American Civil Liberties Union have spoken out against Apple because of the broader implications of the software glitch. In the preamble to a recent online petition by the ACLU to Apple: "[I]f Siri can tell us about Viagra, it should not provide bad or no information about contraceptives or abortion care. Send a message to Apple: Fix Siri."

But what exactly is causing the problem? A friend's gChat status sums it up nicely:
"I’m standing in front of a Planned Parenthood,” the CNN reporter says, “And Siri can’t find it when I search for abortion clinic.” No, it can’t. It’s not because Apple is pro-life. It’s because Planned Parenthood doesn’t call itself an abortion clinic.
Sigh. A pretty good rule of life is to never blame on malice what can be attributed to incompetence. Just because Siri talks to you doesn't mean she is anything other than a basic search engine.

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