Sunday, March 30, 2008

3月30日- 隨即的事情

* To lead off - the New Deal Turns 75. We love the New Deal because it was the masterwork of our favorite President, FDR. This is a bad lead off, because it's nerdy and boring, but anyway, our favorite historian, Howard Zinn, has a good take on what the New Deal means for us today. [Summary: We need a "new" New Deal].

* Spreading rumors about people is fun. Spreading untrue rumors is more fun. Spreading untrue rumors about us and exaggerating them might be the most fun of all. We've noticed a dearth of facts in these rumors, so we're recommending that you all resort to conjecture and hearsay to get the job done. Those are, after all, kinds of evidence....Godspeed.

* We're totally obsessed with the show on ABC Family, Greek.[Link takes you a site where you can watch all the episodes online for free]. It's not just because we were in a the fraternity in college; and it's not just because the show is filling a void, with not new episodes from Gossip Girl or Lost or the Office in the near future and the premier of the best show on TV [Battlestar Galactica] a few days away. It's because the show and its card-board cut-outs of characters reminds us of Tom Wolfe's unintentionally hilarious conception of college/greek life I am Charlotte Simmons. It's like a show where a bunch of network executives got together for five minutes with a few stereotypes and (maybe personal) anecdotes about fraternities/sororities in college, and, were like, hey, we can make a show from this. And in that way, we find it very endearing. If it doesn't remind us of our college experience directly, it reminds us of how network executives and (possibly picket-line breaking) writers would have characterized said experience. And that has to count for something.

Also, isn't it obvious? The Kappa Taus are really just . . . just add some more letters...Anyway, Casey (Spencer Grammer, supra) reminds us of most the sorority girls we knew.

* We need to learn the law, or something. Last time we had the FRCP down pat, but now it's a real struggle to make sense of the material. Property? We don't even believe in the modern conceptions of property, and we think property law protects established wealth at the , so, essentially the entire concept is an afront. (Edit, yes that's a simplication, enough...) But that's a position that would be more tenable if we knew something about it. (Edit, yes we know something about it, just not enough).

* There's nothing to do on Sunday without football. Lame. We need to either find some friends or get really, really into baseball. Both options seem painful.

* Our favorite UVA Law blogger, FFJ, may owe the better part of his blogging career to us. He spoofs our (in?)famous "Understanding Justification" incident. We think the original was better, but whatever. Also, he's a hero.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

正義 - Justice and Human Rights in China

In case you wondering, - Chinese for justice (click each character for an individual explanation).  

If you can, goto this conference at UVA Law on Justice and Human Rights in China tonight and tomrrow.  There are some cool speakers lined up, and it's free and open to the public.  Click the link.


There's no shame in (being tied with two others for) ninth place

In our hearts we know we're better than Northwestern[ATL thread with the rankings].

Seriously, I think Tom Wolfe said it best when he noted that the US News rankings come from a "third-rate magazine for businessmen who don't know how to read."  Nevertheless, the new dean has got some work to do if we're going to break top five......

DC v. Heller (Redux)

Instead of the usual con-law class, we're sitting here listening to the oral arguments in the District of Columbia v. Heller case.

Our take:

Let the democratically elected government of DC decide how to regulate its guns. We've been to the Navy Yard, and, again, if there's one thing DC doesn't need, it's more firepower. When we got jumped on the green line (near the U-St. & Cardozo stop in NW) a few years ago - we're damned happy our attackers didn't have ready access to handguns (and so were made short work of by our fists).

Delinger (for the District) does a good job. The lack of folk-song references makes for a slightly weaker oral argument, but nonetheless he knows his stuff, and responded to Scalia's interruptions well. But the judges - especially Kennedy - seem skeptical.

Clement (for Heller, i.e., doesn't like the gun ban).  OK, he's also doing a good job.  But, that doesn't make him right.

This concludes our comprehensive legal analysis of the oral arguments.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

PSA About Journal Tryouts: Be Nice

Hey,

Not everyone made the journal they wanted. A lot of people didn't make a journal at all. You're not special because you made the Virginia Journal of X and Y Law. You don't need to constantly announce that "you made the Journal of Law and X" or that you're deciding between two different journals, and will base the decision on which reception has the best snacks. You're not special, you're good at blue-booking, which ultimately kind of makes you a tool, doesn't it? Either way, you're not helping anybody by making others feel bad. On reflection, we feel you should treat your journal acceptances like your grades and announce them, if at all, to your closest friends.

Monday, March 24, 2008

You Don't Need a Weatherman to Tell You Which Way the Wind Blows

And, by logical extension, we don't need a jury trial to decide this issue.

And that's how we ended our appellate argument - an attempt to make up for a dearth of legal reasoning by citing the greatest folk singer ever. Unfortunately, this is (will be) my day job.

Edit, THIS is what I was talking about:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

國民黨馬的英九當選總統

Ma Ying Jiu Wins the 2008 R.O.C. Presidential Eleciton

Finally an article about Taiwan...

It seems like the KMT Nationalist Party of 孫中山 (Sun Yat Sen) and 蔣中正/蔣介石(Chiang Kai Shek) has regained power in the Republic of China AKA Taiwan. 馬英久 (Ma Ying Jiu) is the 11th term President.

A couple of different sites are reporting a later surge for the opposition party, the DPP and their pan-green coalition, which favors Taiwanese taking a more proacitve stance in favor of the 台灣獨立運動(Taiwan Independence Movement).

We think both parties have compelling arguments, especially with regards to the Taiwanese Independence issue. The election, as always, reveals sharp divisions in Taiwanese society. As you can see here, many of the northern counties - including Taipei, which has the highest concentration of exiles from the civil war against the Communists - voted for the Ma of the KMT (the pan-Blue coalition, in blue), whereas the Southern counties, which not only contain a large number of Chinese whom emigrated to the island at the end of the Ming Dynasty ("native Taiwanese"/本地人), but also a number of truly indigenous people (who are ethnically closure to being Polynesian than Chinese), went for the Democratic Progressive Party opponent Frank Hsieh (the Pan-Green Coalition, in green).

The big winner, though, is democracy. After decades of repressive martial law under Chiang Kai Shek, it's good that Taiwanese can come together year after year in free and fair elections, even while facing, em, external pressures. President-elect Ma promises an end to corruption and a re-opening of dialogs with mainland China. He is not expected to take any bellicose or controversial stances, and looks, more-or-less, to preserve the status quo between Taiwan and the Mainland.

That means you shouldn't expect any big protests from the Taiwanese government come Olympics time. Cross-straight relations should continue to improve, and Taiwan's bid for UN membership, etc., will probably be put on hold. It's a pretty big defeat for the pro-Independence folks, who are substantially outnumbered in the national legislature as well. But, with over 40% of the vote, it's clear they're going to be around for a while.

BBC Article (中文, thanks for the image)
Taiwan Elects a Leader Who Seeks Closer Ties (NYT)

Friday, March 21, 2008

PILA, Redux

The Virginia Law Weekly has a great spread on the PILA situation:

PILA Grants 2008: Providing Context (everything you need to know - or at least, is available to know - about the situation).



A Letter to the Editor about PILA (regarding, mostly, the alleged boycott of Pong for PILA)

Reliance -  reasonable or not?:

[T]here’s a reliance and notice issue. I talked to multiple first-years in varying situations and virtually all of them placed some degree of reliance in obtaining a PILA grant in planning their summer. One student claims her PILA section representative repeatedly told her that there should be no problem receiving a grant. Another told me that, in accepting his unpaid summer internship over winter break, he did so on the information and belief that most, if not at all, qualified applicants would be given a grant. (He didn’t get one, though, and now is an extremely uncomfortable financial position.) A third student echoed these thoughts and told me that a “big deal” was made of the Law School’s summer grants for public interest work to her at Admitted Students Weekend last year, which led to her not only focusing on public interest employment during her job search, but also choosing to attend UVA over other law schools . . .(Read on)


What Does the Recession Mean for Lawyers, Part Deux

We've got a column on this in the Law Weekly, so there:

 . . . But it adds up. It’s times like this when the poor get poorer, everyone gets poorer. As we’ve already seen, decreased purchasing power of lower and middle classes means America’s largest businesses make less money. And with less overall business being conducted, there’s less of a need for $500/hour legal advising. What makes things different than before is that a rapid recovery doesn’t seem to be in the cards, and so there’s time for this phenomenon to make a long-term, as opposed to temporary, effect in the structure of big law firms, where—again according to Above the Law—lawyers in many departments are having trouble meeting their billable hours requirement due to want of work.



Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why We Love HLS

Concerned by the low numbers of law students choosing careers in public service, Harvard Law School plans to waive tuition for third-year students who pledge to spend five years working either for nonprofit organizations or the government.

The program, to be announced Tuesday, would save students more than $40,000 in tuition and follows by scant months the announcement of a sharp increase in financial aid to Harvard’s undergraduates. The law school, which already has a loan forgiveness program for students choosing public service, said it knew of no other law school offering such a tuition incentive.
[New York Times]

We think UVA should give this a shot too. Yea, Harvard has more money. But you can always raise prices at the cafeteria. Only when we have $12 sandwiches and $5 slices of Pizza with $2.50 soft-drinks will the school really be prestigious.

(Yes, we're kidding.)

But we think, actually, that tuition should be reduced for people who decide to work in public sevirce and need the money. UVA (and many other schools) already have a Loan Repayment Assistance Program. But that results in profits to the loan companies. Why not just cut out the middle-man (the loan companies again) and make it so the students who do public interest work pay less in tuition, rather than paying students to pay back the loan companies / fed. government at high interest rates? Just a thought.

Monday, March 17, 2008

District of Columbia v. Heller in the Supreme Court

How long before this one winds up in Con-Law textbooks?  The Second Amendment challenge is going to be argued before the Supreme Court - here's what's at stake according to DC's brief:

Whether [provisions banning handguns in DC] violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state regulated militia but wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes.

We hope that the SCOTUS upholds the ban.  If there's one thing the Navy Yard doesn't need, it's guns.  The gun ban, evidence purports to show, saves lives.  Moreover, the self-defense argument is shaky:  

Even pro-gun advocates recognize that handguns are not well-suited for self-defense. Firearms expert Chris Bird has explained that a handgun 'is the least effective firearm for self defense' and in almost all situations 'shotguns and rifles are much more effective in stopping a [criminal].' . . . [and] '[a] handgun is the hardest firearm to shoot accurately.' Because of their smaller size and shape, which allows them to be concealed and carried easily, handguns -- compared with larger shotguns and rifles that are designed to be held with two hands -- require a greater degree of dexterity

[Washington Post]; this article has links to a lot of the different amicus briefs filed - including by United States Government (who supports the ban), Republican (and a handful of Democratic) Senators and Dick Cheney (who oppose it), Linguists purporting to interpret the second amendment, Pink Pistols ("an advocacy group for gay and transgendered gun owners"), and many, many more.

Anyway, even though we hope the ban will be upheld, we predict the Roberts court will be striking it down. 

Our Va. L. Rev. Personal Statements are Due Today

Dear teh Law Review,
Ever since I was a small child it has been my dream to be on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review.  Please, help make my dreams come true.  

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The True Costs of the Iraq War

We've should have an article coming on what the uniqueness of this economic slow-down means for law students, particularly those planning (or banking) on going to work as associates for big law firms.  One of the thrusts of the piece comes from Joseph Stiglitz's new book, the Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq War, in which the nobel-prize winning economist analyzes both the "hidden costs" and "opportunity costs" of the Iraq war.  The Guardian has a good piece on this:

Appetites whetted, Stiglitz and Bilmes dug deeper, and what they have discovered, after months of chasing often deliberately obscured accounts, is that in fact Bush's Iraqi adventure will cost America - just America - a conservatively estimated $3 trillion. The rest of the world, including Britain, will probably account for about the same amount again. And in doing so they have achieved something much greater than arriving at an unimaginable figure: by describing the process, by detailing individual costs, by soberly listing the consequences of short-sighted budget decisions, they have produced a picture of comprehensive obfuscation and bad faith whose power comes from its roots in bald fact. Some of their discoveries we have heard before, others we may have had a hunch about, but others are completely new - and together, placed in context, their impact is staggering. There will be few who do not think that whatever the reasons for going to war, its progression has been morally disquieting; following the money turns out to be a brilliant way of getting at exactly why that is.

Other than that, been busy.  More later.  Maybe. 

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Recession = More Lawyers?

ATL has been doing a lot of pieces on "layoffs at XYZ"; and now it has a post asking whether or not 2Ls might be "screwed" because their law firms won't given them an offer after working there over the summer.  TJDP picked this up and we agree with their assessment: "Sucks"

The weird thing about all of this is that the slowing economy - I mean, the recession (I'll say it) is going to result in a lot more people going to law school.  If the job market is bad, graduate school seems to be the default option.  And if you have no applicable skill to sharpen into a Ph.D. and no experience to get an MBA, well then you can always study the law.  Especially for those kids (like me) who applied to LS in the fall of their senior year while they were also looking for jobs, law school might be more and more attractive.  At least in theory.  I saw on the news, though, that the job market for college graduates is still good.  Give it time?  I hear some of those NYC i-banking firms have openings in their mortgage-backed securities division...

One might argue that this is a bad thing, because the legal market is over-saturated as it is, which could lead for more intense competition amongst students for the top jobs.  But not here, right?  Besides, we like to think back to the words of the greatest barrister of our time, Lionel Hutz:  "If there's one thing this country needs, it's more lawyers."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Remember when I said that a 20 dollar flu-shot wasn't worth it?

So, yea, that was dumb.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Journal Tryouts Redux

For my Comrades-in-arms doing journal tryouts this weekend, here's some encouragement from the Chinese:

不怕慢,只怕站


Translation: Don't be afraid of moving slowly, only be afraid of not making any progress.