Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pinky and the Brain

Apparently DE is trying to take over the world or at least become chancellor.  And apparently it's also that time of the summer when rising 2Ls freak out about CLR.

The former topic is something I have not heard anything about.  Is it true?  I don't know.  Why would DE do this?  Perhaps he has an itch to spam every Berkeley student's email inbox.

The latter topic has been beaten to a bloody pulp on these pages.  Bottom line:  very little of what you do in law school matters.  CLR doesn't matter for firm jobs.  Some judges still put stock into law students working on the flagship journal but only because it's some crude proxy for your academics, not because of anything you learn while working on a journal.  Justice Scalia for example hates the writing habits his clerks pick up while working on a journal.  If you write like people do on journals while in practice, you'll have some awkward conversations with whoever is reviewing your work.  Seriously, I cannot stress this enough...IT DOES NOT MATTER.

Now, if you are a nerd, and the betting public thinks you are, and you want to dig into some substantive areas of the law, by all means, join CLR or any of the other great journals (shout out to BJIL).  If you enjoy the camaraderie, go ahead, join a journal, a club, a circus, whatever.  But if you don't get on CLR, don't think your legal career is already doomed.  In the words of Tupac, "life goes on."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe DE will try to write-on this year.

Anyone who's on CLR regret it? Or was the experience generally good?

And to be neurotic, do people know when results come out this year?

7/11/2012 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Kuruvilla said...

(edit: accidentally posted the above comment on my wife's profile.)

Scalia may hate law review writing, but he loves law review members. All four of his OT2012 clerks were on law review.

I simply can't agree with Armen when he says "IT DOES NOT MATTER," unless he means that nothing at all matters in the end. Many judges care about law review and a few firms do as well. If you don't believe me, check out Symplicity or OSCAR and ask yourself why so many firms and judges explicitly express a preference.

Of course, law review is not going to make up for mediocre grades, bad writing, horrible social skills, or a lack of common sense. And, certainly, being EiC of another respected journal means more than just showing up to law review. But like many things in life and law school, law review matters at the margins--it could tilt a close hiring call in your favor or it could net you an extra clerkship callback.

Is this small boost warranted? I don't think so. I was on law review and didn't learn a damn thing. It didn't improve my writing, it didn't improve my reading, and law review blue booking is a huge waste of time.

Is it worth it? I'm a nerd and law review attracts law nerds, so I made a lot of great friends on law review. The work isn't that bad and the time commitment isn't terrible. Finally, being on law review helped open a few doors for me. Even if I don't get anything else back, I think it was worth it. Your mileage may vary.

You should also consider moot court. Other than McBaine, I didn't do any moot court or take any advocacy classes. Big mistake. I want to be a trial lawyer (not a "litigator"), and it's really hard to pick up many of the necessary skills on the job. You want to be comfortable with advocacy before you are stuck in front of a judge or jury.

7/11/2012 9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can Kayleigh weigh-in here?

7/12/2012 6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have friends who deeply regretted joining CLR. Not because of anything personal to CLR - good people, solid work - but because it was such a time-intensive commitment for relatively little return on that investment.

7/12/2012 8:42 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

Scalia may hate law review writing, but he loves law review members.

There's a cause and effect problem there. He loves top students at top law schools. And as you said, law nerds are drawn to flagship journals. But he's not hiring them because they were on journals. Like I said, some judges may use it as crude proxy for academic performance. But that's pretty much what you're missing out on. And you're missing out on picking up bad habits, like citing something for every stupid proposition.

7/12/2012 9:22 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

A few weeks ago I quipped about using Jay-Z's 99 Problems as a crim pro issue spotter during bar prep. Well turns out Professor Caleb Mason has already done that. (H/T: ATL). And the first sentence in the introduction drives home my point about citing every stupid proposition:

"99 Problems is a song by Jay-Z.1

1. JAY-Z, THE BLACK ALBUM (Roc-A-Fella Records 2003)."

7/12/2012 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Justice Scalia isn't the only justice when it comes to law reviews.

7/12/2012 9:42 AM  
Anonymous Kuruvilla said...

"There's a cause and effect problem there."

Sure. I can't prove what any given judge actually thinks. All I can point to is the fact that many judges do express a preference and that many judges tend to hire law review members.

It may be that judges don't care about law review at all and that the skewed results of clerkship hiring just reflect the fact that many top students are on law review. I think the better explanation, however, is that law review tends to make a small difference at the margins. And given the competitiveness of clerkship hiring, small differences matter.

I also don't agree that judges use law review "as a crude proxy for academic performance." Why do they need a crude proxy when they can actually see your academic performance? In detail. And at most (many?) top schools, law review membership is not dictated by grades. I think there are two better, if less satisfying, explanations.

First, appellate judges are looking for "law nerds" and law review membership tends to mark you as a law nerd.

Second, many appellate judges were law review members themselves and they simply perpetuate the cycle. Is this a good reason? No. But it is a reason.

Look, I'm not trying to sell law review to anyone. I agree that you don't learn much on law review, that you may in fact pick up some bad habits, and that any boost law review grants is secondary to your personality, your grades, and your writing. For me, however, law review did make a difference. It might make a difference for you.

7/12/2012 10:06 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

I really don't think we disagree. Yes, law review could make a small difference on the margins. But does that justify the woe is me, inconsolable grief that some people seem to fall into when they learn they did not make CLR? Absolutely not.

7/12/2012 10:14 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Could somebody please tell us more about DE's plot to take over the world? I find that more interesting than law review.

7/12/2012 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, came here for the DE gossip and got stuck with the law nerds.

7/12/2012 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, can those of us who feel like failing the bar is imminently in our future get some words of reassurance? Why don't I remember the substantive law that I spent all day yesterday studying?

7/12/2012 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, and also, fuck civ pro.

7/12/2012 6:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you make law review it's impossible to fail the bar. i have this on good authority.

7/12/2012 11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also, if condoleeza rice runs for VP, i'm voting republican.

7/12/2012 11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear future bar passers: You will pass the bar! Do not fear.

7/13/2012 8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 4:19: Everyone feels that way two weeks before the bar exam. Or almost everyone. You are in good company. Panic and fear are part of the process -- part of the test. Don't let them derail you. Just keep plugging away at your routine. Get sleep. Eat well. You will be fine.

7/13/2012 12:04 PM  
Anonymous 1l said...

So I'm presuming that CLR results aren't out yet? Any anon members want to give us an ETA?

7/13/2012 4:09 PM  
Anonymous emily said...

What's the lunchtime situation like in downtown Oakland for the Bar? I know there are a lot of little restaurants around the Convention Center, but there are going to be so many people there that I'm worried trying to buy food somewhere might be a hopeless venture. Is it better to bring something? Where did people keep it? And what's the best thing to bring to avoid the dreaded afternoon sleepies? Okay, sorry for being neurotic...

7/13/2012 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't speak to specifics (b/c I don't know them), but I believe a substantial chunk of the case note grading is done. I don't know when results are due, but last year we found out early enough to put it on our resumes prior to submitting our EIW materials.

7/14/2012 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone have opinions on the recent fundraising letter that was sent out to alums? It cited skyrocketing tuition as a reason for alums to donate more.

7/14/2012 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does cutting classes with less than 12 units save the school money?

7/15/2012 8:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean 12 students enrolled

7/15/2012 8:19 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Is that a trick question?

7/15/2012 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7/16/2012 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I recommend packing a light, nutritious lunch. You can keep a bag out in the hallway and no one will steal your food. (You can also check a bag with the convention center/hotel valet, I think.)

For combating afternoon fatigue, I recommend popping some chocolate-covered espresso beans.

7/16/2012 1:37 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/16/2012 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Ashley said...

I didn't find CLR to be all that important to my career, but I do think that being on Executive Board of BTLJ was. I went straight through and my first "real" job was as an associate as a large law firm. The only prior experience I had supervising people was on BTLJ. I think it gave me two real advantages in the big firm context that being in a leadership position on any journal, CLR or not, would provide. 1) I knew that when I was high on the totem pole, I didn't mind thoughtful questions, but I hated getting questions that reflected the asker didn't want to spend 20 minutes thinking about it themselves. I believe that this helped me to be a better junior associate. 2) BTLJ gave me a chance to be in charge of a large team of people. As I enter the "midlevel associate" ranks, I am very grateful to have had the chance to work on my management skills in an environment where my time , and my mistakes, weren't billable to someone else.

7/16/2012 10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can people give logistical advice for EIW? Like, parking at Hotel Shattuck is expensive, but if you are in and out of interviews and hospitality suites each day you may need a car to dash out and get something done (i.e. apartment hunting?) in between. I don't want to be a slave to public transpo if I need that flexibility plus when I am wearing a suit and heels. Am I blowing that out of proportion?

Also, are you basically camped out at Shattuck all day between actual interviews and informal stuff? Any tips on close places to escape for a 20 minute relaxation/"mindfulness" and/or just-let-me-be-by myself-for-5-minutes-and-not-have-to-be -"on" session?

Other than the obvious (1 million each of resumes, transcripts, writing samples, refs), what else would you tell a rising 2L to bring with her/him or be prepared for?

The CDO is holding a panel, but is not recording it so that the panel members can be more candid - IOW those of us not in the Bay Area lose out. Can we get some of that candid advice here? TIA!

7/17/2012 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does 9:27 even go to Boalt? i mean, park wherever you'd park if you needed to quickly leave from the law school, go "escape" to whatever place you'd normally "escape" to from the law school, etc. i'm just giving you a hard time, but still, try not to think of it as something so completely different that you can't apply to it your basic, everyday common sense.

7/17/2012 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ medium-sized fail on my part: didn't realize it moved to Hotel Shattuck, but i stand by the gist of my post

7/17/2012 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bar isn't over yet, you fuckers, none of us care about your 2L stresses. Wait 10 days before you continue your weird public freakouts about parking within a 20 minute walk from the law school.

(Although - EIW week is always super fucking hot. They time it that way.)

7/17/2012 7:01 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Yet another piece of the carnage created by the law school rush to have earlier and earlier on campus interviews.

7/17/2012 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I might be in love with 7:01.

7/17/2012 7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:27 must be a transfer or something... way too much gunning happening in that comment.

Also, c'mon CLR... how are you so much slower than the other T10 law reviews?

7/18/2012 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are you aware of other T10 law review decisions?

7/18/2012 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone else see the irony in 1:39's post?

7/18/2012 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahaha so good.

7/18/2012 5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone else see the misuse of the word "irony" in 4:47's post?

7/19/2012 2:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone else catch the misuse of quotation marks in 2:26's post?

7/20/2012 12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


So when is CLR releasing results? EIW bidding starts on Monday, so hopefully resumes need to be updated...

7/20/2012 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe I just spent 10 minutes (or so) reading through this thread. I am an idiot.

And a pathological procrastinator, apparently.

7/20/2012 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised it's taking CLR this long. In previous years results were out in early July.

Folks paid $ and worked hard on the write-on. Least CLR can do is grade it ASAP.

7/20/2012 9:12 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Or maybe you can put aside your hyperventilating chants of "Grade me...look at me...evaluate and rank me." I realize that's a strange concept to some. Also (and please don't shoot the messenger here) the world does not revolve around feeding your sense of entitlement. Crazy, I know.

Someone more rational may have considered the possibility that the graders are likely (a) trying to make sense of crappy writing; (b) juggling multiple responsibilities in addition to trying to make sense of crappy writing; and/or (c) perhaps awaiting responses from those who made it (and may be out of pocket) before telling you that your writing was crap.

The least you can do? Be respectful of your colleagues. There's never any excuse to show up anywhere with this kind of a garbage attitude.

7/20/2012 9:25 PM  

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