Thursday, March 08, 2012

Let’s Play the Blame Game: Barristers is Sold Out Edition

The talk of the town is that Barristers Ball sold out yesterday and people (particularly 3Ls) are So let’s do what soon-to-be lawyers do best: find someone to blame and hold accountable.

I’ve heard a lot of people griping about the organizers of the event - BHWA and its members. I don’t place a ton of blame there. As someone who has planned one of these big events, I can tell you that it ain’t easy to find a venue in Berkeley that can accommodate more than 300 people. There simply aren’t that many spaces that can hold our abundance of students, including on campus. Combine this dearth of venue options with the fact that Boalt has been barred from the few that are big enough (I’ll get there) and you have a tough choice: go with a very large venue in Oakland or San Francisco, with the risk that a lot of students won’t make the trip (or worse, might drink and drive), or go with a venue closer to home that is more limited in capacity. BHWA chose the latter. I can’t fault them for that.

But if you’re going to choose a venue with limited space, it’s best to be transparent about that constraint. The one thing I do blame the organizers for was not being super up-front about the fact that tickets were strictly limited. This especially hurt 3Ls, since we’ve been to five of these events now (BLF auction in the fall and Barristers in the spring) and have always been able to buy tickets at the door. In fact, the emails about Barristers all advertised tickets being available at the door and I don't remember reading about a limit. Attendance at last year’s Barristers was definitely higher than 450, so organizers probably should have been more clear that space and tickets were limited.

So who else might we blame? Well ourselves, really. Boalt has been kindly asked to not return to at least three big venues (that I know of) for… shall we say… poor behavior. Fingers crossed we keep in good standing with this year’s joint.

All this said, kudos to those who planned an event popular enough to sell out, and here’s hoping that those of us with the golden tickets have a wildly good time.

Who’s hosting the alternate party for the non-ticket-holders?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disappointed I'm not going due to the sellout. I have a big house in walking distance to Boalt, if there's interest for an after party I'm happy explore.

Punch and pie.

3/09/2012 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see the big deal about organizing something in SF. Rent a few shuttle buses, with designated pickup/dropoff times, and the transportation issues aren't so much of a problem. The venue options in SF are fantastic and are some of the classiest places you can find in the country. Why not do it proper?

3/09/2012 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attendance at last year's Barristers was 420. There were multiple postings on Facebook about tickets running out. San Francisco venues would be significantly more expensive, especially if transportation were provided.

3/10/2012 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BHWA messes up again. I guess WOCC has to take over this as well. Just like everything else...

3/12/2012 2:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, guys. This is extremely petty whining.

On the day that the tickets first went on sale there was a very transparent announcement all over Facebook. Please reference the February 27th post on the Boalt Hall Barristers' Ball 2012 page at 1:53 pm: "Tix limited to 450, so buy early & often!"

That was followed by a chain of discussion about how it is very difficult to get venues that would hold more people.

There were then several updates on many of the Facebook pages about the count of tickets going down, close to being sold out. I wasn't even on campus for the last few days of ticket sales so I asked a friend to buy me a ticket.

BHWA also made last-minute accommodations after the tickets did sell out. First, people who didn't get tickets were publicly encouraged to volunteer to help out at Barristers so that they could still get in without a ticket. Some spots were specifically reserved for 3Ls.

Then at the very last minute, after extensive pleading and negotiating with the Berkeley City Club, BHWA managed to get more people admitted to the party so that we could try to get another fifty or so admitted from the group of unhappy people who had emailed us.

Honestly I don't know what else you expect. We did what we could to throw a great party for everyone, we did what we could to get as many people in as we possibly could, and by the way: we also raised more money for the Herma Hill Kay Fellowships than in any other year.

3/12/2012 9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Professional tip: I wouldn't assume a facebook message or wall post is generally disseminated. It's like taking an ad out in the back of the newspaper and assuming everyone sees it - even those who don't subscribe to the paper.

3/12/2012 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 10:31 AM: I do understand your point but I don't think the analogy is quite correct.

Facebook is one of the most readily accessible ways to send out information to Boalties about student events. Not everyone is on Facebook but it is a good way to get information out to the vast majority of the student body. Information was posted in several Facebook groups and most students were actually complaining about getting too many Facebook notifications about the status of tickets to Barristers.

Admittedly the people who are not on Facebook got less information about the event, but it isn't really reasonable to expect harassing emails from student groups about every single update about student events. The Barristers Ball was on the Bazeley calendar and weekly events announcement email, and if non-facebookers really wanted to attend it would have been easy for them to get tickets on time.

Looking past the possibly inappropriate analysis of seeing this as a legal dispute over the technicalities of dissemination, what would you suggest that student groups do to adequately publicize all the relevant details of their events?

- Anonymous (same author as 9:21 AM)

3/12/2012 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the blame really falls on the student body here, but not in the way people are saying. Barristers has plenty of venues that can hold everyone, but we keep getting kicked out due to people not even being able to vomit in the bathrooms at events.

As someone who has admitted to an alcohol problem and is actively trying to fix it, we have to realize as professionals we cannot go out and get blackout drunk and expect to not have consequences for our actions. At some point we have to (maybe begrudgingly) admit we are adults and can't do this kind of shit anymore. The fact that both our main law school events involve most people getting shitfaced, and that we had to institute a 3 drink maximum on drinks (which just meant pre-game for most) is a troubling sign. The fact that we are high functioning alcoholics doesnt make the problem less serious, and I wish law schools did take this issue more seriously rather than actively encouraging students to have events where everyone gets drunk.

Sorry to sound preachy, but just my 2 cents.

3/12/2012 11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a side note, BHWA sold 500 tickets to Barristers this year, as opposed to a capacity of 420 tickets last year.

3/12/2012 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Admittedly the people who are not on Facebook got less information about the event, but it isn't really reasonable to expect harassing emails from student groups about every single update about student events. The Barristers Ball was on the Bazeley calendar and weekly events announcement email, and if non-facebookers really wanted to attend it would have been easy for them to get tickets on time.

Oh, bullshit. Not everybody is on facebook. Not everybody who IS on facebook logs in all that often. Not everybody would have subscribed to the Barrister's Ball 2012 page. And somebody who did all those things still wouldn't necessarily see the announcement - facebook has a way of choosing to show you what it thinks you'll find most interesting, or relevant, instead of just showing everything in your news feed.

You know what everybody in law school does have? A email address! And the school already has listservs set up for each class, and for the entire student body!

Nobody here said that every student group should send "harassing emails from student groups about every single update about student events." That's a seriously dumb strawman and it makes your point look even weaker. This is one of two major student body events each year. It's law school prom. An email or two with a subject line with a brief notice like "LIMITED TICKETS" to grab people's attention isn't too much to ask for. There's a long, tall, very gradual, not at all slippery slope between one announcement of that magnitude and an inbox full of spam about what type of lunch they're serving at this week's Federalist Society lunch talk about John Yoo and the constitutional origins of the President's power to crush children's testicles if he feels like it or whatever.

Super weak, organizers

3/12/2012 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this where we talk about the new US News rankings because it's good news this year and I want to talk good news and fun things not this tired busted subject that is in the past.

3/13/2012 12:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how to we feel about a school overtaking Harvard for the second slot?

3/13/2012 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this 3L superlatives thing a joke? It's definitely a joke, right?

3/13/2012 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:24pm just FYI, only BHSA has access to the all-student listservs.

3/13/2012 10:38 PM  

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