Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We Just Had To:


Looking for Chain Free Shopping This Christmas? Look No Further

. . . than Charlottesville's downtown mall! From today's Washington Post:

Outside, even in the chill, there are flowers and children's laughter. Inside, there's my own. At a toy store named Alakazam!, I wind up a five-inch die-cast school bus; it zips down a counter, crashing into a box of sheriff badges and Cowboy Bandages. The nose-ringed, color-dreadlocked, spangly-nail-polished clerk doesn't even blink.

I'm on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall, an eight-block pedestrian magnet. Visitors often bypass it for the better-known University of Virginia and Thomas Jefferson's other architectural creation, Monticello. Jefferson is said to have watched the building of his university from his hilltop home. I like to think he'd pan over to the mall now, too.

Yea, that's pretty cool. But the writer could have at least *acknowledged* the miles of linear-chain-monstrosity that is Route 29, a-k-a jam as many krogers and cars as you can within a two mile radius. And it's not like the downtown mall is completely chain-free (CVS - hello? Where all my independent pharmacy / drug store / places-to-buy-milk-at-below-market-prices-at?). Still we think it's pretty cool - especially on the heals of the NYT Travel Piece ("36 Hours in Charlottesville") - takes the sting out of a five and seven season . . .

No complaints on the new layout either, that means everyone must like it, right?

Merry Christmas! (& Happy Chanukah, Kwanza, Boxing Day, Eid, Tet, et seq.)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Into The Wild Green Yonder

Finals are over. Alea iacta est. And now we can get on with the rest of our lives . . . if you're looking for the usual jibber-jabber about recruiting / the Law School / et seq. this post doesn't have any of it, so skip what follows . . .

We had the misfortune of having a 40 page paper due on Thursday at 5, so we were stuck in finals-misery a full day longer than anyone else (except, of course, the 1Ls!) And we spent that they frantically trying format and Bluebook the thing. Just one question: Does anyone know how to make it so Word will (1) do two separate sets of page numbers (like have the first couple pages numbered in roman numerals, and the rest in regular numbers or (2) have numbers that start on like the third or fourth page has opposed to the first one? Cause, yea, that would have really helped us out . . .

We're still in C-ville, but it seems like most of the people are tearing out today or tomorrow (except for those brave souls staying for the duration), and that's probably when we'll be leaving too (heading NORTH!).

Anyway, here are our reflections from the last part of finals week.

(1) The Corner Starbucks is a Great Place to Study. Not only are their breakfast sandwiches su per tasty and their coffee refills super cheap, but you aren't likely to see too many other law students there; just undergrads, and they are usually pretty nice. I, personally, myself, even made some new friends, and given how abrasive and self-centered I am, that is saying something. Also, how does google-spell-check not have "Google" (capitalized) but not "Starbucks"? Goto Beijing - Google is just get off teh ground in limited form, but Starbucks is all the rage. I call cultural-biased-pwned (see, stream of consciousness writing is easy!)

(2) I watched the "Future Stock" Episode of Futurama to Prepare for my Corporations Exam. You know, the one where a Gordon-Gekko-esque character from the 1980s gets unfrozen and tries to make Planet Express the target of a hostile tender offer. Not only does it teach you about mergers and acquisitions, but it also has some great throw-away lines:
That Guy: There are two kinds of people: sheep and sharks. Anyone who is a sheep is fired. Who is a sheep?
Dr. Zoidberg: Errr, excuse me... which is the one people like to hug?
That Guy: Gutsy question. You're a shark. Sharks are winners, and they don't look back because they have no necks. Necks are for sheep.
Fry: Boneitis? That's a funny name for a horrible disease.
That Guy: There was no cure at the time. A drug company came close, but I arranged a hostile takeover and sold off all the assets. Made a cool hundred mil.
And of course
Leela: I'm a millionaire! Suddenly I have an opinion on the capital gains tax.
(3) "Bad" Weather During Finals Time is a Gift to Help You Study. Just think: You could have gone to Stanford! (well, not really):

Then again, as TJ reminded us last year you could have gone to Michigan, where it's tough to keep warm. (Normally we anchor the words "Michigan" and "warm" with a link to the Michigan Law prostitution scandal, but we think this blog is above that. Just sayin').

(4) Break is a good time - We look forward to spending a month not thinking about the law or legal issues at all; in fact, we hope to spend the month just plain not thinking at all (just like every month - zing!). Of course, a lot of you are will be admirably doing pro bono projects or coming back early for J-term - which will cut short the blissful intellectual indolence that you have for which you have worked so hard. Sucks~

Will UVA Law Blog be around over break? Not as such, although it's possible we'll through up a few intermittent posts as something newsworthy comes up, or just to reflect on this or that. The post-a-day barrage that we managed to keep up for most of the semester, though, will be going on a bit of a hiatus, however. . . see # 4, supra.

Which brings us to our last point - we're still looking to expand the burgeoning editorial staff, and if you think you've got what it takes, send us an email (rule12f [at] The pay is nonexistent (this site operates in the red), but the prestige is unlimited . . .

Have a good break everyone.

Monday, December 15, 2008

For the 1Ls



Rule 12 (f) & FFJ

Sunday, December 14, 2008

12月14日隨即的事情:Sweet & Sour

Exam time means a noticeable decline in both the quality and quantity of UVA Law Blog posts, probably without recovery. Here are some disjointed ramblings of what's been and what's been not so good:

Sweet and Sour Deals:

Harris Teeter is having a sale on Beef Jerky - a big bag (original or terriaki-style) for only $3.97; that's sweet. But HT also increased their prices on their subs a few weeks ago from $2.49 to $2.99 - still cheap - but that's kind of sour. Starbucks on the Corner is giving out coupons for free specialty drinks including their Expresso Truffle as part of their anti-AIDS RED campaign (don't ask me what RED has to do with fighting AIDS) - that's oh-so-sweet; said Starbucks doesn't have any free interwebs - which would be sour - but it's close enough to UVA main grounds that you can pick up their free signal. Also, no free parking, but plenty of bike space; this encourages people to bike, walk, or take the bus! That's sweet!

Sweet and Sour Finals:

It's the beginning of the end, which is sweet - but we still have three more days (four for 1Ls), which is less than ideal, so that's sour. Plus we're a little iffy on our last exam . . . but we've gotten wicked good at Desktop Tower Defense, which is sweet; though suggestions that we endorse to get others not to study (CURVE-PWNT?) are sour . . . and not true!

Sweet and Sour Redskins

The Redskins kick off against the 1-11-1 Cincinatti Bengals today, which is sweet because it should be a cupcake game. However, the Skins will need a lot of outside help to get to the playoffs; for wild card contention they are currently behind Tampa, Dallas, and Atlanta, and, now, Philadelphia. If the Skins don't make the playoffs this year, we're going to lose all faith in humanity which would be sour.
Part II; Sweet and Sour Play: Trailing Baltimore by two touchdowns with about one minute to go in the half at the Baltimore 43, the Washington Redskins face fourth and under two yards and PUNTED THE BALL. The decision - substantively unwise in most circumstances - wasn't even rational given how much time was left in the half and how well the Skins D had been playing up to this point (the two TDs game were a result of turnovers not bad defense). This the type of call that we, as a bright-eyed eight year old playing Tecmo Super Bowl can get right, and yet Zorn gets wrong - why?
Sweet and Sour Politics:

A bunch of insurance companies are clammering for bailout monies when they barely even pay taxes themselves! Sour. But people are finally wising up on how to "fix" the problems with Detroit (overused metonomy alert!), that (could be) sweet! Thomas Friedman writes:
[S]omeone in the mobility business in Denmark and Tel Aviv is already developing a real-world alternative to Detroit’s business model. I don’t know if this alternative to gasoline-powered cars will work, but I do know that it can be done — and Detroit isn’t doing it. And therefore it will be done, and eventually, I bet, it will be done profitably.

And when it is, our bailout of Detroit will be remembered as the equivalent of pouring billions of dollars of taxpayer money into the mail-order-catalogue business on the eve of the birth of eBay. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into the CD music business on the eve of the birth of the iPod and iTunes. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into a book-store chain on the eve of the birth of and the Kindle. It will be remembered as pouring billions of dollars into improving typewriters on the eve of the birth of the PC and the Internet.
To be fair, we still like to buy CDs. Sweeeet.

Apologies to Judge Greg Easterbrook.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Call is for Heroism - - - Will You Accept the Charges?

We hope everyone's finals are going swimmingly. Obviously, you all will get, on average, a B+, but that doesn't mean we can't hope that some catastrophe doesn't befall any individual one of you (or everyone!) Anyway, we haven't had time for finals / studying recently because we (being about 18 months behind the curve in life) just discovered . . . DESKTOP TOWER DEFENSE (DTD).

DTD is probably the best stress relieving flash strategy game in the history of the world. We're pretty sure that Tamurlane plaid it every night before he went to bed. All we have to do is pop open Firefox and all of a sudden we're generals, strategically deciding what to do with very limited resources to defeat wave after wave of evil creeps (who will poison our desktop with their creepiness).

Don't take my word for it, here's what the Wall Street Journal had to say:

Placing the weapons is a point-and-click process. Creeps appear every half minute from the left and top sides of the screen simultaneously. As the game progresses, variations on the standard blob-like enemy appear: some spawn two smaller creeps when shot, others fly over or zip past defenses at high speed.

Choosing the right weapons and upgrades is important, but placing them is vital. Weapons also act as roadblocks, which divert the progress of the mindless creeps or lead them to their demise. There are myriad ways to play, but every successful strategy requires the construction of an elaborate, deadly maze.

Intrigued? Try it out.

Sadly the DTD game way of life is strangely addicting, which means less time to gun, which could be problematical, especially in this economy. Nonetheless, if worse grades mean that we can protect our desktop from the evil creep hoarde, then, by golly, the sacrifice will be worth it. If we don't stop the creeps, who will?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

EXAM ADVICE: The True Gunner Never Takes His Fingers Far From CTRL + S

So we were taking an exam yesterday, gunning away with our 200 pp. outline, fair trade coffee, protein power bars, and creatine supplements, when wouldn't you know it - MS Word decided to pick this time of all times to spontaneously close for no reason. FANTASTIC. Just as we were about to give up anyway and spend the rest of the time poking people on facebook and fretting about the curve (which there is plenty of time for later, believe us!), everything goes blank save our desktop background of Clinton Portis and we get a message telling us that MSWord has closed for no reason; would we like to send a report to headquarters.

Oh yea - we're in the middle of an exam that determines our entire grade; of course we want to send an e-report to Microsoft Headquarters! Idiot.

So, we open Word, and there is a recovered version of our exam - 謝天謝地! - now seeing as we've already lost valuable seconds of time putting us at a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis our classmates, especially in this economy, we wasted no time in plunging back in to the fray, producing our magnum opus of [whatever class it was - Va. L. Rev: you'll get the note material as soon as I can get the Prof's permission], but after another 10 minutes MSWord crashed AGAIN - for no reason other than the law school gods had chosen Rule 12 (f) as the target for their daily amusement.

This time we were scared because no recovered version popped up. Oh noes - but NOT. Because this time as we were utilizing our 170 WPM typing skills (anything else is too slow, especially in this economy), we integrated the CTRL+S meme. The median students simply writes: "Most jurisdictions treat a mortgage as a lien as oppsoed to a transfer of property;" the true gunner (risk averse to the max like all law students), types "Most jurisdictions [CTRL+S] treat a mort [CTRL+S]gage as a li[CTRL+S]en as opposed [CTRL+S] to a trans[CTRL+S] of proper[CTR+S]y." Accordingly, in typing this blog post we have hit CTRL+S 87 times.

Motion to strike? Not when Rule 12 (f) is on the case; everything you type gets sent to the professor. (1Ls: Generally you need to write at least 22 pages or so to even have a shot at the median; A- exams will generally be longer).

NB: We realize on a mac, which we use because we are crafty consumers, it's actually "Command" not "CTRL"; however, the risk-averse gunning principle is basically the same. HTH.

Monday, December 08, 2008

About 10% . . .

From the Daily Progress article titled Virginia Law Students Struggling to Find Work:
Before classes start at the University of Virginia’s School of Law, second-year students meet with law firms from all over the country in hopes of landing a paid internship. If they make it past a callback interview and are hired, their summer experience can turn into a job once they graduate.

However, the recession has affected the number of callbacks and hires at larger firms, leaving law students all over the country looking for different opportunities. At UVa, students are getting assistance and advice from alumni who once went through the process themselves.

About 90 percent of second year students at the University of Virginia School of Law have already accepted summer employment. About 10 percent are still seeking internships, which is significantly more than typical at this stage of the year.

“I think it was not just a phenomenon here, but also at schools nationwide,” said the law school’s assistant dean for career services Polly Lawson. “There were fewer callbacks given and fewer offers made. I think firms really are trying to be careful not to over-hire." . . .
Read More.

For those who wanted some hard facts - - - there are some. It doesn't seem like those numbers differentiate between law firm and public interest, though - wonder if there is a significant difference between the two groups.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Same Person?

It's possible - another tipster reports:


Reply to: [?]
Date: 2008-12-05, 11:22AM EST

24m looking for w-law student to co-author a catalog and review of clandestine locations around north grounds. Access to journal rooms a plus, but not required.

Analysis: This post is far more subtle than the first one - it took us five minutes to even get that it was some kind of "sexual innuendo"! But perhaps the person from the previous posting wanted to fly below the radar. NB Here that person is looking for a law student specifically.

Next time
: we rate the journal offices in terms of "suitability"

Previously: Realistically, This Could Be Anyone

SPOTTED: Our Favorite K's Professor; Back @ UVA Law!

We just saw Prof. Choi back on grounds. He was visiting at Yale . . . does this mean he's back for good?

Well, whatever they are paying him, it's not enough! At least reimburse him for all that candy. Although he did get naming rights to one of IM league's most prestigious softball teams, which must count for something.

[Seriously, if you click on the above link, you can see all the Prof's salaries. Rutherglen gets the most since Klarman left. . . courtesy of the Cavalier Daily via the Law Weekly - more fun finals week distractions!]

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Is Entering Law School a Good Way to Deal with The Recession?

Apparently not . . . 

In our semi-annual not-studying-just-surfing-the-internet-in-the-gunner room mode, we came across this from Philalawyer (a no-holds-barred blog by a Philadelphia Lawyer):  
[C]onsidering the number of emails I've recently received from people asking whether they should go to law school - whether it's a good idea given the awful job market - one final piece on this subject, debunking all the myths that drive college kids to the profession in difficult economic times, is in order.

Myth No. 1: You can "time" you way around a rough job market by getting a law degree.

I'll go to law school, wait out a terrible job market and when I get out, things will be better and I'll make serious bank. Win/win! If this is your thinking, let me ask you a couple questions. How long did it take you to reach that conclusion? And how general and broadly disseminated was the knowledge on which you reached it? And more important than that, how many other college kids with identical limited information are thinking exactly the same thing?

Here's the first law you ought to study: Supply and Demand.

You and the other 100,000 college kids following this "escape route" will graduate en masse in three years. Just as the protracted recession we're in starts easing and firms start hiring again you'll create a glut of new associates in the market, tanking the value of the degree. A wave of thousands of like minds will find themselves in triple digit debt, fighting like wild animals to work for 2008 level wages. You want to be one of them?
It goes on . . . just the thing you need to lighten up your finals-period stress.  But wait, we're all already in law school . . . so that counts for something.  Anyway, we thought he made some interesting points (though all and all if I could go back two years knowing what I know now going to [UVA] Law School doesn't seem like a bad decision at all especially in this economy). 

In other news, the ABA is having a contest where you can vote on the top 100 legal blogs.  There's a student section(featuring blogs two blogs from Cal); shockingly we were not included.  Probably the law school hot post.  Anyway, ATL is in the lead. 

[EDIT: We were joking immediately above; derisive comments have been anticipated and therefore there is no need to actually post them, tyia xoxo]. 

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Stolen Computer from the Law Library

It happened. Be advised. Be careful. Obviously, don't leave your CPU unattended. And if whoever did this is reading, come see us. We'll fight you. HTH.

Heart of a Heartless Creature, Soul of a Soulless Condition

Overheard at the end of a final class today:
STUDENT: Professor, are you going to put any sample exam questions online?
PROFESSOR: No, it's against my religion. [Exit PROFESSOR]
Just remember - as long as there's no information asymmetry, you're all in the same position in which you would have been in had you got information about the exam.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Realistically This Could Be Anyone

From the Charlottesville Craigslist, thanks to an anonymous tipster.

So I grabbed a handful of condoms yesterday - m4w - 26 (near Scott Commons)

Reply to: [?]
Date: 2008-12-02, 1:51PM EST

I passed the World AIDS Day display a couple of times. With all the outlining I've been doing, I need to blow off some steam, and the condoms were calling to me. I grabbed a handful.

Any North Grounds women interested in sharing the wealth? I am tall, clean and good-looking. Also, very discreet. This will just be between us.

Please be attractive, fit, clean and discreet(smart is understood). Like I mentioned, I've got a handful, so I'm looking for more than just a one-study-break-stand.

Tall, clean, AND good looking. Damn boy you a catch. Studying at B&N today we overheard some callipygian undergrads lamenting the lack of dating options for them. Head down there, throw the pile of condoms on the study table, and say "I'm in law school, b**tch." The rest will work itself out.

We Actually Like Study / Finals Week (With a SIDEBAR on the Redskins)

 . . . It's like a fifteen day weekend!  Well, not really - but we do prefer it to being in class, you basically have the entire day to the plan the way you want and don't have sit in class worrying about whether you're going to be cold called or you left the volume on your g-chat up to high while compulsively trying to type down everything the professors says because IT MIGHT SHOW UP ON THE EXAM zOMG.  Anyway, here's an incomplete list of things that we like about December and Law School.

1) Free Coffee in the Library.  According to our lawyers not paying for coffee during the school year is not a violation of the honor code (the language of the sign being ambivalent - "Please help subsidize" - what does that mean exactly? and the offense being arguably trivial; more the former) but you still shouldn't do it - BUT starting around study week the coffee is free.  And coffee bar area is a great place to meet (stressed-out and on-edge) girls. 

2) Candy in the Library.  Related to the above, but candy also makes a return to the library during finals week. Not only does the library staff put out good candy (We're talking Reeses, Milky Way, et seq.) but also Westlaw and Lexis people bring out the good stuff.  We heard that Lexis laid off a bunch of people in Charlottesville though . . . will this affect their candy quota?  Let's pray that it does not.

3) Nervous 1Ls. While we were not on the enjoyable end of this last year, we think this year it's going to be great watching the 1Ls scamper around.  We especially enjoy the "I thought Torts was so easy; I'm surprised anyone found it difficult"-type comments.  We've already given our exam advice; but never forget that you can improve your relative performance by undermining the confidence of others. 

4) FOOTBALL. Even though the Ivy League has already been decided, we've got the SEC and Big 12 championships this weekend, and some great NFL games to look forward to as well.  Will the Washington Redskins be able to wisk another playoff birth from the jaws of defeat?  Probably not - but it's always worth hoping.  

SIDEBAR:  The Washington Redskin's implosion of 2008 has rivaled that of Napoleon's Russian campaign: starting out fast and strong, and ending limping, cold, and defeated.  The sad thing?  Three of the Redskin's five losses would have been won by a halfway decent coaching staff.

OK, Team, here's how we're going to beat dem Giants: Blitz blitz blitz blitz blitz . . . argghhh how do their receivers keep getting so open! [Throws headset to the ground]

Here's a memorandum for defensive coordinator Greg Blache:  THIS IS THE BALTIMORE RAVENS FROM MADDEN '05; YOU CANNOT WIN BY BLITZING EVERY PLAY.  Every time the Washington D would pin the Giants to a third-and-medium or third-and-long last Sunday, Blache would call in the Blitz, leaving New Jersey/A's receivers wide open on slant or fade routes ---> result, first down.  

Then there is the offensive play calling.  Here's one call that's basically indicative of everything that has been done wrong all year.  With 13 minutes in the fourth quarter and the redskins trailing 20-7, the Skins got the the ball in their own territory found themselves with a fourth and less than one on their own 30 - - - and punted the ball away!  As I watched the punt unit come on, our emotions turned from disbelief to anger - from "No way is Zorn actually going to to punt the ball here" to "Dammit, do you want to win the football game or not?  There are thirteen minutes left and you're down two scores and you need to move the ball two feet. The G-men know how to control the clock; IT's NOW OR NEVER!  Needless to say, Washington went on to lose the game. 

 Washington is now at 7-5 and to win at least three of their last four to get to the playoffs; in fact, they probably will need all four the way things are shaping up because they are currently behind Tampa/Carolina, Atlanta, and (ugh) Dallas in the wild card race.  Dallas . . . .

Anyway, we digress. . .

5) No Need to Put Any Effort into Our Physical Appearance.  Actually, this is true for us all the time - but now it's true for everyone else, too!  (To be fair, we know one girl who told us that she specifically dresses well during finals because everyone else looks so terrible and then she looks really good by comparison.  Highly credited).  Also finals is a chance to catch up on our binge eating and junk food campaigns, something that we've let lapse in the semester while trying to make ourselves look presentable. 

6) When It's Over, It's Over.  And then you can leave Charlottesville and head some place where winter involves snow, electoral votes for Democrats isn't a new phenomenon, and you can drive 1 mile on the main road through town in less than 25 minutes.  Wooooo. 

Monday, December 01, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Theocracy 86; Free-Speech 82

Oh man it's going to be a long year. When you get trounced by a school that issues "reprimands" for everything from listening to the wrong kind of music and breaking curfew to having an abortion, you know there are problems. TJ would be upset . . .

NB: The Liberty "Reprimands and Consequences" rules used to be publicly viewable online, but we guess the administration decided that they were sick of people making fun of how ridiculous it was. Thankfully, the cached version is still up. Yay, google. Other not-so-fun things that you can received demerits and/or a fine for (in order from least to most servere):
attendance at a dance,
participation in an unauthorized demonstration,
visting the off-campus apartment of a student who is a different sex than you,
"Sexual misconduct and/or any state of undress" (redundant?),
spending a night with the person of an opposite sex,
No wonder people at Liberty are so good at basketball - if you go to school there, there's nothing else you're allowed to do. Wonder if their OGI uses precscreening . . .

Monday, November 24, 2008

Overheard in Withers-Brown: 1L Firm Jobs?

We usually don't show up on Mondays (no class! or, at least, in one sense . . .) but today was an exception. Did someone just explain to the 1Ls how to do a mail-merge?
1L: I'm going to focus all my energy on getting a 1L firm job!!
Yeesh, good luck. Contrary to the John McCain School of Economics, the Dow being below 8k means something. We'll venture to say that unless you are (some combination of):
(1) a person with kick-ass grades (no way you could know now)
(2) an underrepresented minority;
(3) have crazy regional connections;
(4) personally saved a hiring partner's life at Khe Sahn
You're probably not getting a firm job, especially in this economy.

Our advice: If you have to mail merge, for the love of G-d email (we did this and still got callbacks; they just print the stuff out and give it to the appropriate people) and don't snail mail (is mad expensive, heard of classmates spending hundreds of dollars and getting nothing), and remember that 1L jobs firm jobs are going to be hard to come by. You'd be better served to spend your energy focus on something more realistic (public interest, RA, judicial clerkship), because, remember those jobs aren't easy to get either. Also, for the public interest stuff, you should figure out the ins and outs of how to get funding for it (PILA is confusing; trying applying to other sources for funding, and do it early!)

In other news, we think we've been on Above the Law now more than Mike Stark. Woot.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dean Mahoney Reaches Out

Just in case you don't bother to read the Law Weekly, or haven't been to school since the last issue came out, Dean Mahoney had some words for students regarding the awful economy, discussing why its so awful and imparting some of his own experiences from previous recessions (aparently the early 80s weren't all rock-and-roll & Reganaughts; who knew?). The summary is keep your head up, your options open, and you'll be OK:
. . . I believe that students should focus their attention on what they really want to do in the long run rather than what is in demand in the short run. It makes little sense to tell recruiters that you are really interested in X when, in fact, you would prefer to do Y. Better to be straightforward about your interests but make it clear that you will do whatever work is available in the short term. Clerkships, fellowships, and other temporary havens can help keep your options open if the economy recovers reasonably soon. Investing in a career, like investing in the stock market, is a long-term proposition.
Virginia Law Weekly: DICTA - Law and Recession

Anymore Questions Regarding My Smile or Wave Need to be Directed Towards My Office

We're pretty sure the AGU actually exists. Just saying.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What OGI Problems, Part III: Prescreening?

It's come to our attention that posting entire articles from the Virginia Law Weekly is a COPYWRONG, even with the permission of the person who wrote them. Who knew? Anyway, last week the Law Weekly published our piece titled "Challenging Times at UVA Law" in which we 1) surveyed the OGI process, which many second year students historically use to get jobs and 2) proposed some solutions for fixing it.

As for the problem, we all already know:

These are tough times at the Law School. Ask around the 2L class, and you’ll get a sense of exactly what I mean. Despite a blithe assessment by the Law Weekly a few weeks ago that the OGI process was going great and that the only real problems were students being unaware that they didn’t need to take the full number of interviews to get a job, the truth is that many, many second-year students are struggling in the job search. I’m not privy to any official numbers coming out of Career Services (although I understand such numbers will be available soon), but the UVA Law Blog website (maintained by myself and others) ran an informal poll a few weeks ago that sheds some light on the situation. Of the nearly 100 local responses, nearly a quarter of respondents were voicing some degree of frustration with trying to get a job . . . . The legal market is contracting, large firms are cutting their summer class sizes, and some smaller firms are eliminating their summer programs altogether.

Now, don't get us wrong - OGI still work pretty well for a lot of people (indeed we think Career Services has done a good job all things considered) - us included -just not everyone. And, of course, the bad economy is just one piece of the puzzle:

The other problems, like everything else in life, are ones of miscalculation, misinformation, and timing. Many students, based on information and statistics from previous years, thought they could rely on the OGI process to get them a job. One explained to me how in the first round he scored 14 pre-screened interviews, and thought that this would be enough to get him a number of callbacks that would result in at least one offer. The result, however, was no callbacks. Others, also relying on the OGI process, indicated to me that they thought they waited too long to start alternate job search tactics, like mass-mailing smaller firms.

Anyway, that's just by way of introduction. One of the solutions we proposed was a serious reevaluation of whether the Law School's unique (by top 14 law school standards) program of prescreening was beneficial to students as a whole:

One thing that I would suggest revisiting is the Law School’s policy of “prescreening” most interviews. Virginia is the only school ranked in the top 15 by U.S. News and World Report that continues to use this practice, by which employers select based on resume and grades which students they will talk to at OGI. Virginia’s peer schools have a different system by which interviews are allocated on the basis of student demand: you rank the firms with which you want to interview in order from most to least, and a computer system allocates available interviews accordingly.

Prescreening is loved by employers (and perhaps one of the reasons OGI is so popular) but has questionable benefits for students. A student at or near the top of the class will get most of his interview selections, a student more towards the bottom will not. A partial lottery system in place helps to rectify the situation somewhat, but most interview slots are still prescreened.

This seems to be (based on an informal survey of people who have flagged us down in the halls) one of the more controversial proposals. People have suggested that prescreening is beneficial to everyone because, as one person put it, "once you get to the prescreened interview, the firm doesn't care about your grades." We think that's probably false, because firms use quotas and are still often making their decision about to whom to give a callback on the basis of grades:

Another major problem here is that a student with good grades can take 25 OGI interviews and wind up with almost that many callbacks, even though he’s not really interested in most of the firms. A student with lower grades (who still may have gotten prescreen interviews under the current system) may not get any. A partner who conducted screening interviews at UVA for a large law firm once explained to me that firms typically have “callback quotas” for each batch of interviews that they conduct at a given school; thus, when interviews aren’t allocated by student interest in the firm, it results in a situation where a small group of students (usually the ones with the best grades) are getting a mass of callbacks at the firms in which they have little interest at the expense of other students with lower grades who are interested in these firms. Switching to the system that other top law schools use would help alleviate this problem.

Prescreening helps law firms (who don't like wasting their time with students they would never hire), and it helps students at the top of the class at the expense of those at the middle, and, especially the bottom of the class. Simply, there is a reason why other top law schools don't prescreen. They trust their students to make appropriate choices about how to rank their firms, and provide the students with information (such as the average GPA granted a callback) such that students do not make to many unrealistic choices. What this means is that the same handful of students at the top of the class aren't getting the all the callbacks (remember, quota!) from 25 different firms. Allocating screening interviews by interest means that the students who are talking to the firm are doing so because they have a strong interest in working therre, not just because they have good grades; at the same time, arming students with information about the firm's GPA cutoffs (which Career Services at many other schools collects) means that students for the most part will still be 'quaified' to work there. The result, we think, is that callbacks will be spread more evenly throughout the class.

Additionally, switching to a non-prescreened interview system like other schools use would allow every student - regardless of GPA - to have a roughly equal number of interviews. Given that we are all theoretically paying the same amount (over $3,000 more this year than last!) to be here, this just seems fair. We don't think that GPA should be used as a determinant to detemine who gets a 30 minute shot at talking to a firm, since some people by necessity are at the top of the class and others are at the bottom (which is which is a matter of circumstance); we think that student interest in the firm should be.

Other top law schools who have the same prestige in the law firm hiring world as UVA agree. The reason that lower-ranked schools don't prescreen is that they can't; less employers would come to their OCIs. However, UVA is every bit as "good" in the minds of employers as Cal, Michigan, Penn, et seq. If employers don't demand prescreened interviews at those schools; they wouldn't at UVA either. Swithcing to this system would show that UVA stands by its students as a whole in the same way that these schools do.

We realize that there's a lot more that could be said about this, but we've got to sign off (leaving these cursory thoughts) and gun for a bit. Commments are as always appreicated.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wait, There's A Gunner Scale?

this kid in my church and state class cited a case that we haven't' covered yet during an open discussion today. please rate the level of gunnerishness of this move on a scale of 1-10.
We'd say that's a mere 6. For reference, a 10 would involve looking up the professor's decades-old law review article in some secondary journal, and being all "But professor, didn't you argue in 51 Harv. J. Int. Hum. Rts 56 at 31 that religion has substantial interests that need to be protected?" and then following up the exchange with a blue-book formatted email to the entire class.

We've Felt This Way Recently

A sign we're not gunning enough? [XKCD]

Also, for those of you who have wrote in [] to say that you like the blog or that you think we're doing a good job - thanks! To the much greater number of you who have wrote into complain or ask us to cover something . . . working on it.

Don't Not Give Career Services the Informaiton For Which It Asked

Specifically about what your summer plans are, if you are lucking enough to have them. Career services needs info about how everything shook out; then hopefully they will publish said info, which would be useful to everyone.

Monday, November 17, 2008

*Slow Clap* 1Ls are Reading this Thing, So Here Is Some Exam Advice

We were hanging out in Scott Commons stuffing our face with an eight-dollar sandwich when we heard a group who by their conversation were obviously first-year students [zOMG, what's the difference between "intentional" and "knowing"?] and they mentioned something (that sounded a lot like) UVA Law Blog. Well, shoot! If only anyone enjoyed reading this rag as much as we did writing it.

Anyway, with exams approaching we figured it's time to begin our recurring semi-annual coverage of, well, exams. There was a column from the PAs last week in the Law Weekly that gave the following advice: there's no right way to outline, there's no right way to study, but for the love god don't study to much, don't be stressed, etc etc.

Really, that's all well and nice, especially the not getting stressed bit because, believe us, it doesn't help - but [brace for words that will disqualify Rule 12 f from ever being a PA ever] - you got to remember that especially in this economy, there is one major thing that employers will be looking at, and it rhymes with "grades". Remember that (for reasons that are just as unclear as they are unequitable) to us law school grading is hypercompetitive. Every above the median mark you get has to come at the expense of one of your classmates. We don't like it one bit but that's the way we see it, and if you've been following this or any or other law blog at all you know that the we'll-all-get-biglaw-jobs-because-we-all-go-to-UVA mantra is . . . precarious at present.

Remember also that Law exam grading is super-arbritrary and basically not subject to any kind of review. Almost this arbitary. Here's a brilliant idea: put a huge component of your future career (your first year grades) in the hands of a few professors who are judging on a single, three exam, your abilities against those your classmates in a process in which you have no right to review or appeal. What a brilliant system for both allocating your future opportunities and determining how good of a lawyer you can be. So, we're just saying with this disjointed rant if we were in charge, things would be different!

But that was a digression, let us get back on track (to the weird extent that this blog is ever on track). We were going to give some practical advice about exams; we have our own experience, that of close friends, and that of our favorite [redacted] editor, FFJ (whose counsel we gracefully culled whilst he was he was trying to meet girls in Panera). So without further ado:

1) Taking Practice Exams Is Literally the Most Important Thing You Can Do. And we mean taking them under exam conditions, if possible. Approach the practice exam like it is really an exam. Think about it; if you have a road test to get your license, how do you prepare? By "outlining" everything in the road test manual or by actually driving to hone your skills. Which brings us to the next point.

2) Outlining is Unbelievably Overrated and Quite Possibly the Biggest Scam Pulled on Law Students Since Law School Itself, or, Alternatively, Journal Tryouts. We don't know whose idea it was to have law students sit down in November and summarize an entire law school course in a ten page word document. We think a far more useful activity is just organizing your notes by topic in a semi-coherent way so you can access them for exams (you can even hyperlink them and stuff, woooooo gun gun gun); this is far quicker than trying to cull all the important information from the book and condense it into a 15 page summary of the entire class. On the otherhand, some people don't like to leave anything to chance and I concede that outlining has benefits over doing absolutely nothing (but just is not nearly important as #1), but you should remember that the whole point of an outline is to help organize your thinking and have a quick reference during the exam (which is why that I think coherently organizing your notes is the way to go). And yea yea people have different definitions of outline, etc, so take everything here with a grain of salt. We just don't want to see you in the fishbowl for 14 hours the day before the exam with your eyes darting back and forth between the casebook and an indexed word document. We could go on but we think we made the point.

3) Timing is everything in life. You gotta move fast during these things. If you're constantly having to rely on your casebooks and outlines during the exam, there's a good chance you're going to fall behind. Yea, yea it's a marathon, not a sprint - but how do you think Usain Bolt would run a marathon? Really fast, that's how.

4) Grades are very much arbitrary. We've been at the top of the curve in one class and the bottom of another, and we couldn't name a single difference in the two exams. There's really nothing you can do about it (and don't ask me how the Law Review kids manage to get As/A-s on everything; get them to start their own blog. Oh wait, they are too busy cite-checking . . .). One result is that if/when you kick ass this semester it doesn't really necessarily mean you will be a better lawyer or even know the law much better than the person who didn't; it means MAYBE you wrote a better exam and chose the right religion. Our torts professor basically all but admitted his exam grading was pretty arbitrary and not an indication of legal knowledge or application (so why do they matter so much? *shrugs*). So while you should study your butt off to the extent that they are not completely arbitrary and play huge role in the job search process, you shouldn't get too down on yourself if you put in the time and studied smart and didn't get the grades you wanted. Alternatively, an "A" in civ pro, torts, contracts, whatever doesn't make you the man either.

5) Know the Black Letter Law Cold and Apply a Lawyer-Like Analysis. There, we just saved hundreds of dollars from taking that LEEWS course. Because that is what it tells you. Get a commercial outline and it will tell you what the black-letter law is. As for a lawyer like analysis, do the conclusion - issues - rule(s) [there's usually more than one and they often conflict] - applicaiton [look at all the rules, which one is the most persuasive?] - conlusion. Do this right and you will have as good a chance of anyone.

6) Do Not Discuss Grades. We're as nosy at it gets, and we only know the grades of three individuals: our own, and [double redacted]. So don't talk about your grades, it cheapens us all. Or, at least if you do, be round-about and clever about it. tyia xoxo.

BONUS: You will probably notice that the grades start going up on ISIS a few weeks after exams. You may have heard that grades come a few days AFTER evaluations but this categorically false; sometimes they come up before the evaluaitons. One thing that is true is the grades get posted first thing in the morning, so if we reccomend getting up super-early to check, and if they are posted, emailing the rest of the section to make them aware of this fact. The law school gods will appreciate this and reward you accordingly. And your PAs will send you emails reccomending kill-self. Good times.

Also, only about half the advice here was meant to be taken seriously. hth.

OK so we were wrong

Washington definitely won the mental game.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bump This Post When the Redskins Win

Dallas. Washington. Euro-centric land-grab speculators versus the back-on-their-heels indgenous inhabitants. All that is evil versus all that is good. The Cowboys will be desperate realistically needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Washington is banged up and will be relying on second- and, in some cases, third-string players to defend its territory, and number of wash-outs from other teams to fill in losses (like D'Angelo Hall from Oakland and Shaun Alexander from Seattle). Dallas by contrast has the stars (i.e. Tony Romo) back in action, all primed to reinvorgate the long-pass connection with Jason Witten and Terrel "I'm-a-massive-douchebag" Ownes.

Also, never forget what the Cowboys were doing while Darrel Green and Art Monk were giving their time and money to charity:
With the rare exception, the Cowboy who didn't hit the strip club circuit wasn't an accepted member of the team. The same goes for the Cowboy who didn't drink heavily and stay out late; the Cowboy who didn't slink toward the big-breasted hottie in the tight leather pants and strapless top; the Cowboy who didn't smoke a joint every now and then (or, in many case, just every now) . . . . If you were going to be a Dallas Cowboy - a real Dallas Cowboy - you needed to live The Life. That meant partying hard, partying late, and if you had the misfortune of being married, leaving your wife at home and screwing the hell out of whoever caught your eye. It meant loading up on $100 bills, heading straight for the Men's Club of Dallas, and purcahasing the longest, wettest, nastiest lap dance money could buy. It meant turning in your scruples at the door. "If you have a weak constitution, Dallas isn't for you," says Ray Horton, the longtime safrety. "I mean, we were holding position meetings at strip clubs. Position meetings!"
Jeff Pearlman, Boys Will be Boys 141-42.

Once, when Dallas came to Washington, Michael Irvin (aka the T.O. of the 1990s) made these comments about an injured Redskins player:
"I'm going after the arm," Michael Irvin responded when asked how he would treat the cast-encased broken right forearm of Washington Cornerback Darrel Green. "I'm not joking. I'm going after his arm. I don't think the arm is healed yet. I don't think the guy's healthy and I'm going after that arm on every running play. I'm not making threats. Those are facts."

Well, payback's always tough. 8.15, Sunday.

Related: When You Cheer for the Redskins, You Cheer for America

Thursday, November 13, 2008

UVA Law Prof: You aren't learning anything in law school

Professor today during class when on about a five minute spiel in which s/he explained that higher education is nothing more than a signaling game and that we're not really learning anything at law school.

The incomplete transcript (I did my best to quote him/her, but alas my fingers were slower than his/her speech):
You aren’t learning anything here. It’s just a signaling game. There’s no point to higher education. There are some people who are good and others who are bad. The good people say if you want me to stay in school longer you have to pay me more money b/c it takes up my time and is kind of painful. But I’m really smart so I can fake it in class when I’m called on w/o having to do my reading, so it’s worth my time... For the bad types, education is more costly for them so you have to pay them a higher wage to get them to stay in class. So if you’re the good type you can say look employer let’s make a deal: you pay me a higher salary and I’m willing to stay longer in school but the employer says the education doesn’t do anything for me you’re not learning anything but it signals you’re good so I’m willing to pay it. But then the bad types get screwed b/c the employer’s no longer willing to pay the average pay to the bad. In the end we get an equilibrium where the good types spend more years in education and the bad types don’t bother w/ education at all and get paid less.
What do you think?

Also, a pair of funny anecdotes that typifies law students? You decide:

"Classmate" told me to stop looking at her laptop

Classmate rejects classmates request to view rejection

Good times.

11月13日隨即的事情:Black-listed, exams, et seq.

* (EDIT 1.28 PM): Cure for Aids? Really?

* So it looks like we won't be getting that job in the Obama administration after all:

A seven-page questionnaire being sent by the office of President-elect Barack Obama to those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts may be the most extensive — some say invasive — application ever.

The questionnaire includes 63 requests for personal and professional records, some covering applicants’ spouses and grown children as well, that are forcing job-seekers to rummage from basements to attics, in shoe boxes, diaries and computer archives to document both their achievements and missteps.

Only the smallest details are excluded; traffic tickets carrying fines of less than $50 need not be reported, the application says. Applicants are asked whether they or anyone in their family owns a gun. They must include any e-mail that might embarrass the president-elect, along with any blog posts and links to their Facebook pages.

The application also asks applicants to “please list all aliases or ‘handles’ you have used to communicate on the Internet.

Righttt. That's one secret I'll never tell. Rule 12 f gets upwards of 10 unique hits a day. That's captive support group we could bring to you for 2012, Obama . . . think about it.

* In other news, with the PILA auction behind us it's that time of the semester again. As alluded to in the previous post, the volume of posting might go down a little bit because we're trying to learn 13 credits worth of the law in the next few minutes. We'll probably still be throwing in the occasional study week fodder (favorite places to study, exam advice, gunnerish activities, and so forth) as well as continuing coverage on whatever we normally cover, so stay tuned.

We'd wish everyone good luck, but given that there is a curve, it's a bit paradoxical. Some of you will do spectacularly, some will do abysmally, most will be some where in between. Where you fall on that spectrum is depends somewhat on a variance of chance/luck and hard work, the relative influence of these alternative factors determined by the professor you have, your own personality, your religion, and so forth. That said, you can't afford not to get super-stressed about exams, especially in this economy. Just remeber that you need to ignore all of that feel-good advice from your PAs, et al, that talk about maintaining a balance: while you are sitting here and reading this someone else is studying, and when it comes time for the exam, that person is going to beat you. HTH and good luck.

* Related note: Anyone else going to see Quantum of Solace tonight? Will be teh sickness.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We Crave Security and Wealth

From today's NYT on law firm layoffs:
Lawyer departures, whether voluntary or through layoffs, pose special risks to firms. Layoffs scare off law school recruits, who crave security and wealth.

“Students are also very much aware that ‘if they did that last year, it can happen to us again,’ ” said Mark Weber, assistant dean for career services at Harvard Law School. He said that this year, offers of employment are harder to come by and firms are hiring fewer interns for next summer.
Wait, it's been *harder* to get a job this year? Our only problem was not realizing that it was totally unnecessary to take the full number of interviews. Anyway now's a good time for unveiling our proposal of bailout money to student loan forbearance - funded by the People's Republic of China and the taxpayers of tomorrow. Maybe one day, for now the money is locked up in helping the second worst managed firm in Michigan.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

White Knight?

This happened today - the Professor has certain students "on call" to describe cases each day (he informs them by email):

PROF: Now, Ms. ------, tell us what happened in Revlon case.

STUDENT 1: (toward the back): Oh, well, I thought I was going be describing Paramount . . . but I can try to get through Revlon . . .

PROF: Well, we have to get through Revlon to get to lay the foundation for Paramount, so why don't I get you started. The board was the the subject of a hostile tender offer . . .

STUDENT 1: Yes . . . [starts an around-the-median summary the case, the PROF interupts her a few times to clarify some points].

STUDENT 2: (near the front): I did this case [in your other class] this morning. I can help. [NB: This interjection was totally unsolcited].
PROF: Um OK . . . [STUDENT 1] you know where to send payment [meant as a joke].

STUDENT 2: [Proceeds with flawless recitation of Revlon].

Epic gunning or helping a classmate in need? Also, where's our White Knight? Whenever this happens to us we usually just wallow in our ignorance. Also, the PROF handled it well with a joke, we've seen that Professors can get pretty serious about being on-call.

In other news, it's that time of the semester again. We're in gun-mode, at least until the next Redskins game.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Have Fun at PILA Auctions

To answer the many, many, many inquiries on why we will not be there; it's not because that we want to 'protest' PILA's lack of disclosure from last year, or even that we are financially insolvent, rather, we are using this time to GUN. Every minute we study while you are out drinking and having fun is an extra edge on the FINAL EXAMS. You really can't afford to skimp on your finals preparation, especially in this economy. Lock and load!

That said, we hope everyone has a good time and they raise a lot of monies. Our problems with PILA never meant we didn't wish them the best in their fundraising efforts. And did anyone see this on facebook?:
Anti-PILA Pre-Pary
We hate cash bars more than we hate poor people

Normally I would go on some long rant about how PILA is a scam since it subsidizes people who have fun, enjoyable, and rewarding jobs at the expense of those of us who are miserable but make sweet sweet cash, but the election has changed all that. PILA is now obsolete.

In this new Socialist America those of us with real jobs (Big Deal Maker, Securities Litigator) will have most of our money redistributed straight to the poors. Since the rest of our money that doesn't go to the government will go straight to bottle service we won't have any money left over to donate to silly organizations like PILA.

So who is the real loser here? Thankfully its only the Public interest attorneys. Stop being so lazy, get a real job, and take a shower hippies.

Come celebrate the end of public interest law with us at our PILA pre-game. We will have some kegs, pong (paddled and otherwise), along with other fun games like flip cup and chase the dog with the stick. Feel free to bring your own bottles, liquor, or Gin and Joose.

We are about a block away from Fry's Spring Beach Club so you can easily walk from our place to PILA. Since PILA hates fun and is ending at 1am you can also feel free to stop by afterwards for some late night. I am inviting you now on facebook in a classy way so you won't feel nearly as shameful when Sean asks you to go home with him at 1:15 anyway.
We'll assume that is tongue and cheek and give credit where credit is due for brilliant party billing.

In unrelated news, the "Law School Hot" post has mysteriously disappeared! Please speculate wildly as to the reason why.

Con Law II: Religion w/ Schwartzman -- Outlines anyone?

Got a request today for someone to put up a good outline for Schwartzman's Con Law II class on the UVa Outline Bank. Apparently there's only one up at the moment weighing in at a paltry 10 pages.

PILA Sales Down?

From an anonymous person's gmail status (though I think it's safe to say probably a PILA rep):
Come to PILA. In this economy, The Summer Grant you fund may be your own. Sales are down-We need you!
Speculate away on the reason behind any drop: economy, anger over the lack of transparency in the awarding of grants, lack of consideration for our fellow law student?

Friday, November 07, 2008

What OGI Problems, Part II

We weren't the only ones who thought the previous Law Weekly coverage of the OGI process was misleading. A letter from "Three Jobless 2Ls" was published today in the paper:

It was with disbelief and dismay that we read the recent articles on the On Grounds Interview (OGI) process in the Law Weekly. One article concluded merely that, having gone through two months of OGIs and callbacks, students were “happy to have done it.” The other piece concluded with a blithe assessment from Assistant Dean for Career Services Polly Lawson that the administration was “pleased with everything this year.”

Nowhere was it mentioned that many 2Ls, having completed the process, are still struggling to find jobs for the summer, and have to start over at a time when most law firm employers have already filled their summer slots. Indeed, the articles seemed to suggest the usual line to take care with canceling callbacks and accepting offers; in fact, the only 2L interviewed who looked for a firm job this year regretted taking so many OGIs, because it just wasn’t necessary.

Together, the three authors of this letter had about 60 OGIs, nearly 20 callbacks, and zero offers. Two are in the top third of the class; the other is on Law Review. We are not alone. The purpose of this is not to spread panic or sow fear, but to present a more balanced picture of the OGI process, especially now, in a time of economic downturn and uncertainty. The “good-as-ever” coverage of this year’s interview process by the Law Weekly (written, not coincidentally, by a couple of 1Ls), was not only insulting and inaccurate, but it perpetuates the same trusting, sole reliance on the OGI process that helped create the problem for us and other 2Ls like us in the first place.


Three Jobless 2Ls

That's tough. So, maybe Career Services should have advised people to start Mail-Merge in August, at the same time they are doing OGI? Would that help?

Previous Coverage: J'accuse: Law School, Weekly, Paint to Rosy a Picture of the OGI Process?

11月7日隨即的事情: ATL Love - -> Illustrious Journalism Career; Rule 12 f to NYT!

* Yesterday, as many of you saw, we got scooped (again!) in Above the Law for our coverage on the whole rescinded offer thingy. . . Wooooo.

* In other news, today is the annual § H basketball tournament. Last time, § H '10 finished in third place. This time, they hope to meet or exceed that mark. Stay tuned.

* Don't forget - you can get bombed at PILA auciton this year:
Apparently there is a rumor going around that there is a 2-drink limit at the auction. This is not true. There will be a cash bar at the event. While PILA of course encourages and expects everyone to drink and behave responsibly, there is no drink limit at the event.

Please pass the word on ... the alcohol policies at this year's PILA auction are the same as they have always been.

Tickets are on sale NOW in Hunton & Williams for $35 and will be $40 at the door.
Look forward to seeing everyone there, and thanks for supporting PILA!
Woooo! Love the font changes . . .

Our prediction: PILA auction will be fun, hopefully slightly less things will be destroyed as compared to last time. As for PILA fellowships (full thread forthcoming), our prediction is they might have more problems this year, observe this simple formula

President Bush --> Terrible Economy --> Less (no?) 1L Firm Jobs --> More People Going to do Public Interest Stuff --> More PILA Grant Applicants --> More People Dissapointed --> More People Upset.

For those who don't know what we're talking about: 2008 PILA Grant Problems.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


The first polls close in 5 minutes or so - our predictions:

Obama with 349 EVs, 56% popular vote. 

Democrats with 57 seats in the Senate.  

Periello over Goode in a nail-biter. 

Radiohead's "Electioneering": 

Don't Skip Class

We've heard from several tipsters at this point that a certain M and A / Corporations professor who has made headlines before canceled class after he discovered, having lectured for about 8 minutes, that a bunch of people were skipping. The Professor in question was non-plussed.

Details forthcoming.

Details (3.48 PM): 

FFJ: To be fair, he later sent an e-mail to class admitting his theatrics were excessive
On second, and cooler, thought, it's probably unfair to refuse to finish the Time-Paramount assignment because I think it is importnt. At least one of the missing "on call" designees was inadvertently and legitimately delayed, and to hold the entire class responsible for the default of one or two members seems excessive. At the same time, students not taking on-call responsibilities seriously seems to be an increasing problem. If you are on-call and know you will not be able to attend class for any legitimate reason (illness, call-back, etc.), sending me an e-mail to that effect will save us all a lot of grief.
good to know. 

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Samuel L. Jackson Really is in *Everything*

Vote No Prop 8:

Being able to amend your states CONSTITUTION by popular referendum - how TTT?

We say very.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

We're Bad Note-Takers

Looking over notes scribbled in the margin we took from a tax case we read last week.

Text: "The six courses in which plaintiff was enrolled included two English, two Philosophy, one History and one Political Science course. Petitioner justified the deduction under § 162(a) as an expense 'relating to improving job skills to maintain his position as a detective."

Note: "Roflcopter"

It's that time of the semester . . .

Friday, October 31, 2008

PSA: Candy in the Library

The good kind. HTH!

BONUS: We're sorry that we yelled to a bunch of 1Ls "If you're not done with your outlines by now, you're screwed!" the other night. You may have gotten the wrong idea.

Truthfully, you should be done with your outlines by Dandelions - anyone who has not taken at least 5-6 practice exams by this point for each class has no chance especially in this economy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Plutocracy Shrugged?, Or, Spreading the Wealth Around

Just a pre-election blur . . .

Remember all that jazz on ATL a few months ago about how, if when Obama is elected President and enacts his tax plan it's going to cost you - a BIGLAW associate - 34k a year in new taxes? First, consider yourself lucky to have such a job ESPECIALLY IN THIS ECONOMY.

Second, well, that wasn't exactly accurate - in fact, if you make the usual 160k/year your taxes won't change much except for a maybe a thousand or so more in additional social security taxes (those ATL figures, in case you were wondering, were for a 5th year associate - and is not entirely accurate anyway . . .), depending on what Obama does with raising the payroll tax cap and some maths.

Third, coming to the main point and dispensing with the akward incipit, what Obama really wants to do is *modestly* raise the highest marginal tax rate - the rate that people pay on each dollar of additional income earned - from the paltry 35% it is now to a few points higher. This, as his campaign has repeated ad nasuem, does not affect you if you make less than $250k/year.

I bring this up beacuse the Nation had some great graphical representations a few months ago of what, exactly, exactly a 35% MTR means:

Our take: We need to spread the wealth around. The simple fact is that the gap between the rich and poor in this country is getting brighter all the time. Simply, tax rates are low right now and raising them could not only be used to directly help those in need but also to rebuild this country's crumbling infrastructure and correct many (well some) of the mistakes of the Bush administration that turned respectable surpluses into massive deficits.

So, yes, Obama will raise taxes. Yes, we really need the money for many things (even though overall federal revenue actually might not change that much; that's a story for another time . . .). And yes, if you make $250k ++ (ed. OK people, 200k+ for individuals, it seems like this is where the 2% income tax surcharge is coming in) you will still be wealthy. Some how we think making 62.5 cents on the excess dollar instead of 65 will still leave people with some motivation to work. As for raising the social security tax; that's pretty much inevitable if you want keep social security, and I don't think anyone believes that getting rid of it is a realistic option . .

There are worse things than paying taxes. Like pointless wars, a sputtering economy, an energy crisis, . . .

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Good News for Those Heading to Gotham, Especially in this Economy

Dig this:

AT its most generous, New York bestows a rare gift upon visitor and resident alike: it makes you feel young. Stride down its granite-steel-and-glass corridors, and your viewpoint is instantly that of a child, eyes directed forever upward.

But New York offers a deeper sense of youth, too, the earnest expectation that one day, out of the blue, your real, true life will finally begin. A subway scene inspires a novel, an encounter at the bodega nets a stock pick, a salsa class sets you down a new career path — whatever it is, it will seem predestined, a turning point, the kind of epiphany that, as Cindy Adams would insist, can only happen here, kids.

Unfortunately, the corollary of youth is poverty, and New York has a way of reminding everyone from hourly wage strivers to uptown trust-funders that it is always possible to have more, and to spend more. The million-dollar studio apartment, the $50 restaurant entree, the $1,000 bottle of vodka — these are a capricious city’s perverse challenges to would-be Gatsbys.

SO - during our daily browsings a few days ago we came across this gem in the NYT (no it's not the Charlottesville piece), it's about how to enjoy New York City if your of modest means; good information for all of us once BIGLAW totally collapses. Still, $250/day isn't exactly what we'd call cheap, but it could be worse. It might be a good read for those who are wondering what to do if / when they are not getting wined and dined this summer.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fed Tax Is Really, Really Broad

NB: Today's Agenda

1. Finish Casualty Losses
2. Charitable Contributions
3. Interests Deductions
4. Taxes

Should prolly pay attention . . .

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bill Belichick Must be Running Obama's Campaign Now

Obama is now in the midst of an all out ad blitz. McCain is, well, virtually out of money and making feeble attempts to drum up the base and pander to centrists at the same time in unwinnable states like Pennsylvania. Roffles.

But, really, Barack Obama is not Tom Brady. Shouldn't he just run it up the middle three times and then take a knee? And perhaps let Bill Clinton handle the day-to-day campaigning from here on out while Barry and Biden have hot cocoa on the sidelines? Just saying . . . don't forget to vote, gang.

Sorry for the lack of real posts and stuff - we've been out of it, what with being comically behind in our classes and all. Good times.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Rescinded Offer Situation, Or, Pondering Whether the NALP Rules Still Apply IN THIS ECONOMY

It's been the talk of the town lately (including four - FOUR - posts about it on Above the Law). For those of you who have been living under a rock, or who are too worried about even getting a single offer because no one told you that it was completely unnecessary to do the maximum number of OGI interviews to care about it being rescinded, we'll bring you up to speed. Apparently at least one - and possible more - law firms contacted students to whom it had given offers for 2L summer employment and said, in effect, that they had oversubscribed and the offer was no longer valid. It seems like the main culprits so far have been, according to ATL, Akin Gump and Proskauer Rose. [Ed. Apparently Proskauer told some people that they should consider other offers, but did not rescind - also reported that Bryan Cave has been actively encouraging people to turn down offers]. [Please make it public if you have contrary or additional information].

"Hello, Michael? It's Arthur Edens from Kenner, Bach and Leden - you remember how we gave you an offer to join our 2009 Summer Program? Well . . ."
NB: The look of concern on Michael Clayton's face. He played by the NALP Rules; his firm didn't.

We have also heard, anecdotaly, of a firm calling its offerees and saying, in effect, "Look, we want to give full-time offers to all of our Summer Associates, and now we're getting to a point where we have to many to do that - SO, you can still come work here if you want, but we can't guarantee you a job when you graduate so you may want to work elsewhere."

ATL is advising students to not "sit" on their offers and accept one as quickly as possible, even if they are waiting to hear back from other firms.

Students, Law Schools, and Legal Employers alike have agreed, in our understanding, to be bound by the National Association for Law Placement ("NALP") guidelines. For the Fall 2L recruitment context, this means that
Employers offering positions for the following summer to candidates not previously employed by them should leave those offers open for at least 45 days following the date of the offer letter or until December 30, whichever comes first . . .
May employers nonetheless make an "exploding offer"? No, they may not:
Q. May an employer make an offer under the condition that the offer remains open only until the target number of acceptances is reached, at which point the offer is withdrawn (explodes)?

A. No. NALP members are expected to adhere to the provisions of the NALP Principles & Standards specifying that offers shall remain open at least until the applicable response deadlines. NALP understands that employers affected by economic pressures or uncertainties cannot accommodate a higher than targeted number of acceptances. In the same spirit, it remains essential that students seeking employment have adequate opportunity to investigate their options and should not be pressured to make decisions in advance of the prescribed dates. Employers can manage the offer process to increase the predictability and flow of information consistent with the Principles & Standards . . .
What are we to make of this "NALP understands" language. Does that mean that a firm could rescind an offer or not hold it open after a certain date w/out notice? Here's what NALP had to say about rescinding the offer:
NALP's Principles and Standards do not condone rescinding offers. However, in recognition that rescission does occasionally occur, NALP presents this article with suggestions for ameliorating the situation.
NALP then provides some "guidelines" - like noting that "mutual understanding is key" and "there are alternatives"; but it seems like all of the "guidelines" apply to situations where the offer rescinded was "extended by a legal employer and accepted in good faith by a candidate"; where there is "a signed offer and acceptance letter." Clearly, not the case here - and that would bring us back to language above about not being allowed to have exploding offers. It would seem like rescinding offers at a specialized date

As for the Employers - So our initial take is this - any firm that has actually gone ahead and rescinded offers has broken the NALP rules. UVA Law Career Services should make a not of this, and provide this information to future students during the recruiting process next year, at a minimum. The fact is that if the firms that are doing this had planned ahead about how many students they could budget for this summer and doled out acceptances accordingly (putting some candidates on hold after their callbacks is perfectly permissible, the NALP guidelines say), then they wouldn't be in this permission. Mostly because of the bad economy, but partly because shortsighted planning.

On the other hand, it would seemed to us that a firm that simply warned students about not being able to offer anyone full-time jobs wasn't in violation of the rules, and was, in fact, trying to abide by the spirit of the rules by facilitating "mutual understanding" in a difficult situation. Still not ideal, but better than the alternative.

As for the students - this "no sitting on the offer" business that ATL keeps propagating ("It's Friday. If you're still sitting on multiple offers by Monday you are simply crazy."), is far more complex than it would seem. Basically, there seems to be two somewhat contradictory underpinnings of this advice. First, you should accept an offer ASAP because holding multiple offers opern for too long hurts your fellow students. Second, you should accept an offer ASAP because you are likely to lose it if you don't; therefore it's in your own best interest. These are two different concerns, and we'll try to disaggregate them.

Holding Offer(s) Open Hurts Your Fellow Students
This is completely true. Many firms place students on a "hold" list after their callbacks while they are trying to figure out how many students (see above), and by holding your offer open that you don't want, you're hurting those students, many of whom may not have a single offer yet, even though NALP permits you to do it. So there's a good reason not to do it - but to me this shouldn't stop you from holding ONE or TWO offer open if you're still waiting on another. Like say (arbitrarily from the top of the Vault rankings) that Wachtell is your first choice, and you are on "hold" with them - well it makes sense to hold open an offer with Cravath and S & C, in case that offer from Wachtell doesn't materialize (and you should be sure to continue to follow up with / express interest in Wachtell, of course). Why hold open with two firms? Because one of them might rescind, supra.

There's is no doubt that the above is both legit under the NALP. And keeping 1-2 offers open in this way hurts your fellow student a little, but it's not because you're being indecisive, it's because you're waiting for your own first choice to materialize. It helps a lot if you can try to get a timeline from Wachtell (in the example) and give a timeline to CSM and S & C; we have heard that firms at least attempt to be accomodating in this area - that goes a long way to mitigating the harm to students on the hold list for CSM / S & C. Obviously not ideal, but again, we think that you should put a lot of thought into your 2L summer job for obvious reasons, and that the NALP guidelines are designed to facilitate this, while at the same time being mindful of the concerns of your fellow students.

That's about all we have to say about that, and we think the above approach is acceptable, while any much more than that is not.

Holding an Offer Open Hurts You
First and foremost, the claim here is that you run the risk of getting it rescinded, supra. But in a way, that almost suggests paradoxically that you should keep as many offers open as possible (the max is five under the NALP rules, FYI, subject to some date limitations). Why? Well, how are the people who accepted with Akin Gump feeling right now? Probably a bit uneasy. Moreover, if a firm can rescind offer without notice prior to acceptance, whose to say they can't do it without notice after the acceptance. It's not like one option is more not-allowed under the NALP guidelines than the other, after all. Keeping multiple offers open as long as possible would seem to be a good way to keep your options open. Think of the calculus here: Accept an offer and you're locked in, you could have a firm rescind open offers or worse; keep them open within the NALP guidelines you're keeping your options diversified, so if one goes bad, you might have a chance to mitigate it. At the very least, ATL's suggestion that students ought to play into the hysteria and a few firm's violating the NALP guidelines by accepting an offer by Monday (when some people are still going on callbacks) is dubious.

The argument goes a bit further:

Next summer, when 20% of summer associates are whining about not getting an offer, we'll be forced to ask how that happened. And part of the answer will be that some people who got cut started off on the wrong foot and could never make it up. The people who have already accepted, are already part of the "team," they have a leg up on the 2009 summer competition. Those kids have already shown their firms that they are excited to be there. The people who are sitting on multiple offers right now are showing their firms that they are trying to better deal their future employer, or they are indecisive, or they are woefully unable to understand market forces. None of these impressions are the ones you want your employer to be thinking about over the summer.

Our response: there's something to be said for showing you want to be there. But, doesn't waiting for a firm that's put you on hold and accepts you at the last minute and then going there show that you "want to be there" too? It might be a valid point that ATL is making, but it doesn't follow that one should accept at a place that isn't a good fit. And, again, we think that at least some of the people "sitting" on their offers may understand those "market forces" all too well. And what a somber note. We like cooperation to get things done, not competition.

Finally, we realize that some might argue that there's an underlying attitude here that smacks of entitlement, not being cognizant of economic realities, etc. Well, we disgree - this really an issue as simple as employers, law schools, and students agreeing on some rules that were thought to be mutually beneficial to everyone. It seems like as a result of unforeseen economic circumstances and perhaps at least some short-sighted but well-meant planning, law firms have breached those rules. Should law students be forced to do the same?