Saturday, December 26, 2009

OPEN THREAD: Brother Can I spare an Outline?

There is an interesting phrase in the landmark book Law School Confidential - it's something along the lines of "Anytime someone asks you for notes, or any other materials for class, you give it to them no questions asked . . . it's the right thing to do . . . and it never hurts to build up some 'favorable equity' with your classmates."

But several people emailed us over the most recent finals period, wondering how much is too much?
[D]ood, you should do an open thread on note sharing. specifically, what to do when a fellow classmate, who regularly misses class and takes terrible notes when in class, asks for all of your notes and/or an outline from the entire semester.
OK. I think most of us would give another classmate notes for a missed class. All of us I hope. What about an outline? We probably would give one of our amazing outlines to someone who asked, even if they missed a lot of class (who knows why they missed class? Could be illness / family stuff / etc.) But what about if you know the person was just a slacker and asked for an entire semester's worth notes, or an outline? Law School is a zero sum game, after all. But then again, UVA

Feel free to sound off in the comments - Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Some Thoughts About This New Paper Deadline Business

A little while ago, we praised the decision to push the due date for papers this semester back a month to January 18, in keeping with what the school has done historically, and with what many other law schools do: give students the winter break to write their papers.

Of course semester, all of that ends: the papers for all classes will, at latest, be due at the end of the normal finals period. We noted additionally when this decision came out we thought it was a bad idea. Now, having had a class where the paper was due at the end of finals, and having a class where the paper was due in January, we're sure it's a bad idea.

It should be in the Law School's interest to encourage students to submit the highest quality written work possible. Indeed, many students go on to have papers written for classes published as Notes in prestigious legal journals.

That being the case, we just can't imagine trying to write a high quality paper while trying to study for three to four exams. Some might counter and say that students should just try to get their paper writing done well in advance of the finals period, and this is a fair point in many classes (indeed, some professors require drafts earlier in the semester; others have due dates in October-November).

But it's not true in other classes. In some courses, it's difficult to write the paper before the course nears its conclusion: for Fall courses this is sometime toward the middle or end of November. And then there are short courses. We took a course from November 7th to 17th. Without the pushing of the deadline back to January 18, we would have had to have written a paper plus take four finals. It would have been tough, and our grades in those four exams, and paper would have suffered.

Instead, we have a month to write the thing, and think that we will churn out something pretty good between watching our stories and eating Chinese food with the brohim. Everyone else in the class will have the same advantage, of course.

So, what's the harm in waiting? Yea, it takes a little longer to get grades back - but it's not like grades are returned to us with lightning speed anyway. And that seems like a small price to pay for higher quality work and a collective lower level of stress of the students.

(One reader wants me to point out here that perhaps students taken a paper were unduly advantaged under the old system - having more time to study for less finals. Color us unimpressed by this logic - we'd much rather take four finals than do three finals and write a 25+ paper).

What's the Deal With this "New" Paper Deadline?

Friday, December 18, 2009

W&L Law Profiled Favorably in Washington Post

Hope everyone had a good end-of-finals wind-down; we heard Three was off the proverbial hook, although we got our kicks from watching Peyton Manning do work. We have a couple of things planned for the break blog-wise, but for the most part we'll be laying low.

Anyway, today's Washington Post featured an interesting profile of Washington & Lee Law School's third-year program. In it, students
[a]bandoned the lecture hall to spend their final year of law school learning how law is practiced -- including the mundanities of dressing for court and the intricacies of taking depositions and writing briefs on deadline.

Students are working court cases from complaint to verdict, matching wits with opposing counsel, currying favor with judges and managing difficult clients, real and simulated.

"You can act like a real attorney. It's kind of scary," said Elizabeth Clarke, who is spending part of her third year at Washington and Lee in an "externship" at the commonwealth's attorney's office in Botetourt County, 38 miles from campus. She recently watched, for the first time, a judge send to jail a man she had prosecuted under the supervision of an actual prosecutor.

Leaders at Washington and Lee say that within the hidebound world of legal education, their new curriculum amounts to revolutionary change.

So it's like a clinic . . . but all the time . . . with hypothetical clients? When would you play softball? The article notes that W&L kids are busy:

The new third year began with a two-week course that took students through a court case from start to finish. It was a grueling, sunup to sundown affair, not unlike the boot camp running next door at the Virginia Military Institute. Another two-week exercise will open the second semester.

But the core of the curriculum lies in 20 new practical courses, each designed to teach students an area of law by simulating legal proceedings.

. . .

There is a tradeoff in the new curriculum. Students lose the chance to take high-level courses offered in a traditional third year, classes typically taken by top students vying for prestigious clerkships with federal judges.

What do you guys think? Frankly, we like the opportunity to take courses my third year - and we kind of get the feeling that after this, we'll be working plenty.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Speaking of Exams, Some Professors Would Like to Know Who You Are

Sorry for the infrequent updates y'all, we've been busy, what with trying not to fail out of Law School and all.

Anyway, students often complain that LS exams are graded rather subjectively and arbitrarily, and that there is basically no chance for review of this subjective and arbitrary process. But at least, to the students' advantage, such vagaries don't correspond to a student's perceived performance in class prior to exam, or to the professors like (or dislike) of him.

Well, for now anyway. But one professor on a well-known law blog argues that law exams shouldn't be anonymous anymore:
My impression is that while my students are generally big fans of anonymous assessment, my colleagues at Drexel and elsewhere may not be.

Part of this phenomenon has to do with the realization by many legal academics that blind grading can result in some “unfortunate” outcomes. We have all had the student that we think is bound for great things do poorly on our exam and the deadbeat student get a B+ (or even an A-). That hurts given that potential employers (law firms, judges, and others) use grades as a primary screening tool when deciding between candidates.

That said, I think my discomfort comes from a slightly different place: while acknowledging the strong counters in literary theory and elsewhere, I tend to believe that texts ought not to be separated from their authors. It is authors as much as words that mark our paths through emails, essays, articles, short stories, and exams.

Literary theory? For realz? Our response is three-fold:

(1) Blind-grading allows the grader to be "objective", at least in so far as his personal likes and dislikes won't subconsciously (or, in the worst-case, consciously) be taken into account for grading purposes.

(2) I'm not writing literary analysis when I'm writing an exam. Except for my Law and Literature exam, of course. I'm writing cold, hard, legal reasoning. When I write a law exam, I'm often not answering: "What do I actually think should happen here" but "What can I argue the easiest". For that reason, I'm not going to stand by what I say in exam the same way I would stand by a brief. For the latter, Rule 11 means that I have to mean everything in good faith when I put my name down there. For the former, my signature just means that I didn't violate the honor code, not that my arguments are made in good faith (and they typically aren't - I've said some crazy things on exams).

(3) Flame? The Professor will recognize the true gunner's exam for its use of double entendres, Greek and Latin phrases, and citations to the Professor's law review articles. Or he should, anyway!

Your thoughts?

Friday, December 11, 2009

WSJ: Here's How to Crush Your Exams

A tipster points us to an article on the WSJ Law Blog titled "On Crushing Your First-Year Exams: Advice From Some Who Did":
This time, we asked a handful of current law students serving on their respective law reviews to talk about how they managed to kill it on their first-year exams. Specifically, we asked the students to finish the following sentence:

The smartest thing I did while preparing for my 1L first-semester exams was ______.

Of course, some of these responses might strike you as obvious, others as insightful, others a combination of both. We allowed folks to give names or submit anonymously if they so chose.

Naturally, there has to be someone from the Law School on there - and there is!:
Rogan Nunn, 3L at UVA and an editor on the Virginia Law Review: By far the most useful thing I did when preparing for 1L exams was to round up a few people from the class and take old exams. Don’t just go through them, take them — pretend it’s the real thing, time limits and all. Then discuss answers. You’d be amazed how much you miss the first time. It can be time-consuming, but all the outlining in the world won’t save you if you can’t spot the issues on the fly.
Truth. As we have said before, taking practice exams is practically the most important thing you can do. And (EITE) this is good advice for anyone, not just 1Ls.


On Crushing Your First-Year Exams: Advice From Some Who Did [WSJ Law Blog]

Monday, December 07, 2009

Don't Pull Our Coffee (!)

As we speak, 1Ls are taking their contracts exams. Good luck! (Although wishing you luck as a group is some what paradoxical, because you all get a B+, on average. So don't worry.)

But, on to more important things - WHY DID THEY TAKE AWAY THE COFFEE AT 10.15 AM ON SATURDAY.

Some background: as you guys know, the Law School has graciously provided coffee for the morning exams (one time they even gave breakfast and other times candy). Anyway, there has always been coffee, and they've typically kept it out until noon or so.

But this time - when I was taking our first exam - they took the coffee away before 10.15 AM. How do I know? Because I desperately, desperately needed some caffeine to power me through my Criminal Investigations final, and I couldn't get it. The coffee was gone. Gone! It was just cruel - at first I thought I was looking in the wrong WB "lounge" but no. The coffee was gone.

I'm going to file a Rest. § 90 claim against the school: I justifiable relied on coffee being there for exams - as it has been the past four semesters - and it got taken away. Almost certainly to my detriment. I was on track for an A+, but without a much-needed infusion of caffeine . . .

Obviously, I'll bring some (more) of my own coffee next time, but I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Law School Exams for Dummies

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is JCrew Model's exam "advice". You can read my previous advice here, and here. - Rule 12(f)

You may have heard exams are approaching. As UVA Law Blog’s other resident expert on all things and the second biggest know-it-all among the editors on this blog, I thought you all might enjoy a couple hundred words on how to take and pass law school exams. 1Ls will appreciate seeing behind the “law school exam” curtain and maybe 2Ls and 3Ls will appreciate the reminders. Or at least you’ll have another opportunity to bash me in the comments (liked the “douchnozzle” attack – maybe you could follow up by describing how that makes me different than a "douchebag" - - - By the way I can’t reveal exactly why I’m allowed to continue posting here, but it has something to do with very impressive feats of man.)

Now that we've cleared that up, here’s a rough approximation about how you can get a B+ grade or at least that your grade will be a letter that may or may not be followed by a mathematical operation. And no, you can’t get a Tx or a L/. Idiot.

Before the Exam

The first key to a successful exam is a successful outline. Some follow the strategy of getting all one’s most skilled acquaintances together and compiling a super awesome study team. This team would be, say, an impressive array of high-achievers who can help you put together a lengthy, beautiful, and Law Review-publication quality outline. Unfortunately, come exam time, your teammates aren’t there to help you and you’re stuck with a largely incomprehensible and unusable 100 page document. Instead, I suggest you use outlining as an extended study opportunity and that you whittle your outline down to 10-20 pages.

Also, take any practice exams you can get your hands on. This gets you in the mood of legal thinking/writing and tests your understanding of the subject. If you’re flipping aimlessly through your outline on a practice go-around, you’re not ready to take the exam. By the way, this means that you should not spend the night before the exam trying to decipher your notes. As the classic NBA motto goes on the advantages of picking up the big man way before he gets on the block (generally somewhere between the 3 point line and the top of the key), “do your work early.”

Exam Day

Go to the exam. This is crucial to passing exams. Nobody has ever passed an exam class without going to the exam. This also means that you know when you can take the exam. Don’t try to take a flex exam on the last Thursday morning for instance. When your chosen day rolls around, post up with all your stuff before you check out your exam. Pile up all your crap on the table (water, gum, pens, highlighters, lip gloss, Clif Bar) and spread out – if people can sit within two spaces of you in either direction, retreat to the bookstore and buy more things. Open a plain document and put your ID exam number in the heading. Have a thumb drive to back your exam. In sum, ensure you’re ready to start examing the moment you sit down with your exam.

Answer all of the questions. This strategy gives you the best chance of achieving a prestigious B+. Some follow the strategy of not answering all the questions, but some people eat lead paint chips and some people voted for George Bush twice (“Oh no he didn’t. Time to rage in the comments about the media’s political bias!”). More subtly and on a related note, make sure you don’t run out of time. The best way to do this is by not just standing there dumbly while the seconds tick off and the blank document awaits your answer.

For the substance of the exam, write correct, concise, and thoughtful answers. Not going to lie, even as a 3L I’m still unclear how this works. I DO know that recounting the facts of a torts case and using bold font for the words “substantive due process” do not work. Also, don’t resist the hypothetical. If the hypothetical tells you to do something, peacefully comply.

Finally, follow Rule 12(f)’s motto: hit control-s as much as possible. Like every sentence or so. If you’re not typing answers or thinking or reading, you should be hitting control-s.

After the Exam

After an exam, give yourself a little time to relax. I usually take a nap, get in some exercise, and hit up a local all-you-can-eat buffet. Going from the exam room to the library (without a pit stop to Asian Fusion buffet) is a great way to burn out by the first Thursday. Resist the urge to stage your own personal Bar Review – you’ll need those brain cells for tomorrow’s studying.

Good luck to everyone unless you’re in one of my classes. And don’t stress too much – you’ll all get jobs. Oh, wait...

Exam Advice for 1Ls
The True Gunner Never Takes His Fingers Too Far From Control + S
How to Ace Con Law

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

GUS - Too Stacked for Their Own Good? (Or Does NGSL Need a Salary Cap / More Parity?)

Maybe Al "we just didn't have the talent" Groh should have taken a recruiting lesson from GUS, who will play for the NGSL championship for the umpteenth time in two short hours. A tipster points out the North Ground Bombers' absolute dominance of NGSL in the past decade or so:
Co-Rec Division Champions:
Fall 03 GUS
Spring 04 GUS
Fall 04 GUS
Spring 05 GUS
Fall 05 Act Like You've Been There
Spring 06 GUS
Fall 06 ?
Spring 07 ?
Fall 07 GUS
Spring 08 Frosted Tips
Fall 08 GUS
Spring 09 K-Lite
For anyone counting that's (at least) seven titles in the last twelve seasons. Good scouting, lots of creatine, or both? UVA Law Blog humbly suggests that maybe The Junta should get the first draft pick (i.e. first chance at scouring studly 1Ls) in order to instill some much needed parity into the league.

EDIT: The Bombers also won last night over Shawty's Little Law Review (similar team as K-Lite) to bring home another title.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Just Finished Outlining for Crim Investigations

In related news, outlining is still awful:
I. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

II. Summary of cases glossing on this: BUT WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE?

III. Conclusion - don't forget to read people their rites!
Streamlined. Efficient. Now back to watching football, enjoy flipping threw 100+ pages of Scalia verbiage . . . I think this one is going up on SBA site after exams are over.

EDIT: SwampPoodle wants me to point out that this is my ENTIRE outline for the course and not just the Table of Contents, because it might be unclear . . . OK, you win - this is my entire outline for the course . . .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Missing Course Evaluation

So all this course evaluation stuff has reminded me of something I tried to look into before. Those with a current access to LawWeb will notice that Alex Johnson’s Property (C,L) Spring 2008 course evaluation is missing (and has always been missing). I emailed the Law Student Records Office about this oversight last April and here’s our email conversation.
Dear [LRSO person],
The student evaluations for Professor Alex Johnson's Spring 2008 property class aren't on the lawreg website. Could you please explain their omission to me? Thanks very much.
J. Crew Model
I cannot explain why his course is missing. I will ask law ITC to look into the situation. Thanks for the heads-up.
Hi [LRSO person],
Did you find anything out by following up with law ITC? Thank you for your help.
J. Crew Model
Thanks for the reminder. Yes, I was advised that there were some evaluations submitted and they were working on getting them to appear. I will ask them about it again.
Mr. Model - I just learned that the one person in law ITC who knows about the evaluations is on vacation this week. Hence, it will be awhile yet.
Must have been some vacation since its STILL not up there. I’m not the type to jump on conspiracy or cover-up theories but this seems a little weird.

Monday, November 23, 2009

PlLA Grants ITE (Big Changes?)

All PILA members just received this email - all emphasis is added. The gist is a reduction in PILA grant amounts and reduction in the "cap" for outside income:
This weekend, the PILA Board met to discuss the 2L PILA fellowship applications it received in early November. The applications inspired PILA Board members and demonstrated a 2L applicant pool with a deep commitment to public service. The number of applications PILA received also indicated the great need for PILA fellowships this summer. PILA received a record number of forty two 2L applications this fall. For reference, PILA received eighteen 2L applications last fall.

Given the depth of need indicated by the number of PILA fellowship applications, prior to beginning discussions on individual applications, the PILA Board considered lowering the PILA fellowship amount and funding cap. After a lengthy discussion, the Board decided to lower fellowship amounts to $6,000 for 2Ls and $3,500 to 1Ls. The aforementioned numbers reflect the figures that PILA has intended for students to receive to support their public service work, after taxes. However, in past years, PILA has disbursed a grant amount that provided a cushion for taxes, namely $7,083 for 2Ls and $4,132 for 1Ls.

After a conversation with the Law School Foundation, PILA determined that the vast majority of students should not have to pay taxes on PILA fellowships, and as a consequence, PILA has overpaid students above the intended amount of a fellowship the past two years. By lowering the grant amount to coincide with the previously intended fellowship amount, PILA will be able to disburse more fellowships than it previously had believed it could this year.

In addition, the PILA Board decided to lower the funding cap to $8,000 for both 1Ls and 2Ls. This means that 2Ls can only make an additional $2,000 in income above the PILA fellowship amount over the summer, including other grants, and 1Ls can only make an additional $4,500. The Board hopes that this change will serve to increase the number of fellowships disbursed.

With a substantial decrease in firm donations to PILA this year and the fact that PILA had an additional $90,000 to disburse last year (leftover from a one-time $150,000 donation in 2008), PILA will likely have less funds overall to disburse this year. However, with the generous support of the student body, faculty, private donors, and most importantly, the Law School Foundation, PILA will disburse as many grants as possible this year. The Law School Foundation will again provide PILA with a match-plus on PILA fundraised dollars so as to support students pursuing public interest this summer.

Thoughts? We'll post ours shortly.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Why Don't Evaluations Incldue Exams?

We've been thinking about this for a little while, with course evaluations this past week - don't forget! - it seemed to be the perfect time to post it.

UVA certainly deserves some credit for allowing students to do course evaluations, and making the evaluations available to everyone. Of course, some professor fail to inform their students that such evaluations are available, and some students use the evaluations as a platform for lengthy screed against the class, but for the most part, course evaluations are a useful tool.

Or, at least they have the potential to be. The problem is, the evaluations never speak to the most important aspect of any course: the final exam. Because the exam typically will account for 100% of your grade in the course (and let's face it - everyone here, gunner or not, would prefer having good grades to bad ones), it's incredibly important for students to know what the exam is like.

For example, is it fully open book? Closed-book? Multiple choice? Take-home? More importantly, we think, is whether or not the exam was a "fair" one. Did it test material not covered in class? Was it a single sentence long? Was it the type of exam where you had time to develop your thoughts, or was it an absolute horse-race where you were pounding away the entire time? - see, these are things students should know.

It's also worth noting that many students would be interested to know whether or not a professor is perceived as being a "fair" grader. We don't want to open up the Pandora's Box on what, exactly, this might mean, but it's known to most people around UVA that some professors have the reputation of being rigorous, thorough, and fair graders. And we have heard complaints of Professors who do the opposite. Maybe this aspect is a bit more problematic than the above, but it bears mentioning in a discussion of more informative evaluations . . .

Anyway we are, of course, aware that part of the reason for the current state of affairs is that the honor code doesn't allow you talk about most exams, even after you and everyone else in the class has taken them. (Do this, and you will be kicked out of school - in theory). But that's something that should change - grades in law school are just too important for the exam system to the "black box" that it is now, we think. We understand that this could mean that professors can't recycle exams (or if they do, everyone will know about it) - or maybe the comments could be limited in some way. It's just frustrating to me that students have to go into this process - probably the most important of their (very expensive) law school career - completely blind.

One possible ameliorating alternative would be to make all professors post at least one exam that they have given in the past on LawWeb, along with the instruction sheet. While this wouldn't allow students to comment on whether the perceived grading was fair, it would allow students to have a good guess at what form the final evaluation will take before they sign up for the course. But we still think, ultimately, evaluations and the honor code should be reworked to include exams.

Anyway, as always, we welcome your thoughts - before, or after exams.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tenure first. Then...a Grammy?

EDIT: The video appears to be "removed by user" - too bad, because we really enjoyed it. - Rule 12(f)

Most of us have come to know and love newly tenured copyright law professor/juggernaut Christopher Sprigman for his classroom wit and dreamy, age-defying hair (swoon).

But as sources have told us, when not testifying in front of the US House of Representatives or crushing the road race cycling circuit, Prof. Sprigman is also an aspiring singer/songwriter in his spare time. Youtube, anyone?

Suffice to say, we're looking forward to his full-length debut (and the ensuing Libel Show parody).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Don't Want to Watch UVA Football Go Up in Flames Today? How About Watching Rep. Tom Perriello Instead?

EDIT: A commenter notes that the organizers have canceled the planned burning of the Pelosi and Periello effigies because of "liberal blogs". Said one of the organizers, "I’m disappointed that the story got out of hand and people misinterpreted something we thought would be a little historical lesson. They made people believe that we were committing an act of violence."

We can't make this stuff up:
In a move sure to spark controversy, the Danville TEA Party will close their "Fired Up for Freedom" rally by burning Rep. Tom Perriello and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in effigy in response to the passage of landmark healthcare legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The event is being held Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in Blairs, VA at the corner of U.S. 29 and E. Witt Rd. and is open to the public.
That'll learn 'em to socialize health care!

Also, the first line of the article is priceless: "spark controversy". Ha ha.

Next time: Tea party effigy burner lights self on fire, needs government assistance to help pay medical bills.

Danville Tea Party to Burn Representative Tom Periello in Effigy [Star-Tribune]

Friday, November 13, 2009

OPEN THREAD: 2Ls and OGI - Checking In

"Of course, these callback lunches are mostly a formality, Michael. We've already decided not to give you an offer."

So Fall OCI and Callbacks season for 2Ls looking to go to a national law firm has come and gone. How'd it go? Were things actually has bad as everyone was predicting, or did most people who wanted to work at a firm come away from the process with at least one offer? We're interested in compiling some informal data on the subject, so 2Ls, please answer our poll (below), and tell your story in the comments. Did you get what expected out of the process? Did you find career services to be useful? What, if anything, would you do differently?

For those who have come up empty-handed so far, you have our sympathies. Find us around and UVA Law Blog will buy you a glass of the finest, cheapest beer in the land, or failing that take you on a trip through the lackluster KFC buffet. There are many paths to success though, so look into public interest stuff and start applying for grants early. (Even if you missed PILA's fall application deadline you'll still be able to apply again in the Spring).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

. . . And that's almost a week's worth classes!

The Law School Foundation is doing an auction on eBay for a vanity license plate - "LAWHOO" (get it?!). Proceeds go to PILA - the bidding is already up to $ 556.00.

So that's pretty cool . . . but once you get the vanity plate, will you be able to afford to park it?

Parking at UVA: The Third Rail?

Monday, November 09, 2009

PILA Study Guide Sale Today

Speaking of PILA . . . of course the true gunner / value-seeker has already come and went, but you can still grab some study guides on the cheap today in Caplin Auditorium from 9-4 today. Bring money.

Friday, November 06, 2009

What Will the PILA Grant Situation Be Like This Year?

On the calendar, two important invents: first, the PILA auction is next week, November 14th - the cost is 35 dollars, which is the same as it has been the last two years (can we give a hat-tip to PILA here, who has not succumbed to the "inflation in a time of deflation" mentality that has caused the Law School to raise tuition by almost 10% in the same period? Yes we can!). Will there be another email telling students that it's OK if they get wrecked because there "no drink limit at the event" (emphasis in original)? One can only hope . . .

Second, the applications for 2L PILA grants were due yesterday at Five PM. We're going to go out on a huge limb here and say that given the economy and the effect that it has had on second-year OGI, there are going to be more PILA applications than ever before.

Which also means that a lot of students are going to go home empty handed: Although PILA has always been somewhat clandestine about the total number of students who apply for grants versus the total number who receive them, we know that last year 66 first-years and 15 second-years were awarded PILA grants, from what as a record setting number of applications (breaking the previous year's record of "well over a hundred").

There's an interesting phenomenon here: many more first-years got grants than second-years. We know as a matter of fact that many second-years were in fact denied grants (some in both cycles - second-years can apply in the fall and the spring), while many first years received them.

Will this year be different? Should it be?

Most of you have already heard my shtick on the funding process in general, but for those of you who missed it:
All students who meet the qualifications set by PILA would be given money, first from PILA’s fundraising efforts and matching Law School Foundation grants, and then from the Law School’s operating budget or endowment. However, if any of those students went on to a lucrative career in private practice (either the next summer or immediately upon graduation), then the grant would “convert” into a loan, either interest-free or with a small amount of interest keyed to inflation, and the student would have to repay the balance in full to the source from which it came.

Several law schools use a similar system, and it would have the benefit not only of strengthening the Law School’s commitment to public service but also letting students who wouldn’t have gotten PILA grants under the current system spend their summer doing good without having to take out more private loans at steep interest rates.

It should be noted (to allay some confusion) that when we say we want "guaranteed funding", we're not advocating the argument that the school should just take over funding all of the grants and give grants to everyone, at least not at this stage: that would almost certainly lead to further increases in tuition that UVA Law students can ill-afford right now (see UC-Berkeley - guaranteed summer grant funding, but $48,152.50 out-of-state tuition - makes UVA look cheap!)

But let's assume for a moment that we can't do any of that, we feel that all second-years should receive priority in getting summer funding before any first-years. Here's why:
  • Historically, second-year students have a much higher expectation of making money than first-year students: in a normal economy, most of students spent their second summer at a lucrative firm job. That many won't be doing so this year is a short of an unexpected shortfall which - one could argue - means from a planning standpoint such students might need the money more. This is related to the next point . . .
  • PILA has said that one of its criteria in deciding to whom to award grants is to what extent the summer job in question furthers the student's career goals. Historically, students are far more likely to return to the place where their second-year summer is spent as opposed to their first-year summer, assuming that they are different. This means two things: First, the student would conceivably have a better chance of returning to the a summer public interest job in the same field and/or location 2L year than 1L year (we just think this intuitively true - we can't cite anything to show it). Second, there's a probably going to be greater financial need, as it's more likely that students will spend their 2L summer either away from Charlottesville or their original home (i.e. where their parents live) if applicable.
  • From a rather simple-but-broad balancing of the equities standpoint: First-years still have a shot of earning big bucks their second-year summer - and indeed, many first years who received PILA grants did, in fact, go to firms their second-year summer, and proceeded to start at those firms after graduation. Second-years spending their summers in public interest will not have the opportunity to make $ 36k+ in twelve weeks, so that should be considered. Of course, this rationale gets muted somewhat when you consider the first-years who will spend their first- and second-year summers in public interest and therefore have won't be spending either summer at a firm (which is why we believe our "convertible loan" idea makes the most sense! But that's for another day . . .)
Of course, it's certainly not our place to tell PILA how to disburse its money that its members work so hard raising. Our take on the situation is simply from a "what would be the most fair" perspective (which obviously raises all kinds of challenges on its own). So please, give your own two cents in the comments, anonymously if you wish.

PILA Website
PILA Provides Record $378,000 in Grants [Virginia Law]
PILA Sees Increased Applications for Grants (Spring 2009) [Law Weekly]
PILA, Redux (links to the coverage the Law Weekly did on the fallout from 2 years ago when a lot of folks weren't able to get PILA grants - lots of different viewpoints)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

15 minute review: Kentucky Fried Chicken

T-Pain, FFJ, Justincredible, Aquila, Rhino and I sojourned to KFC for their buffet. This KFC is up 29 near Best Buy and World Market. While the group arrived with high hopes for Colonel Sanders's establishment, we were sorely disappointed.

Ambiance: The customers disappointed. Then again, one should hardly be blamed for having only pants with paint splattered on them. Or for only owning shirts that are too small. I don't recall hearing even an instrumental version of "Hero" (or its Spanish stepbrother "Heroe") but music would have helped. Also, styrofoam plates? And you have to ask for additional plates? Come on.
Grade: C+

Decor: Not awesome. Typical fast food plastic chairs and benches militated against the interesting photography featuring the chain's founder. One particularly moving piece found Colonel Sanders adorned in white contemplating life in a green field. T-Pain told a story about gentleman from Kentucky and goats - all present laughed. Lots of signs on the windows selling KFC goods ("$1.99 Big Box!") didn't help.
Grade: B-

: Customers only spoke to team members when ordering and requesting grilled chicken. Team members performed these tasks adequately.
Grade: B+

: Greasy, tasteless, and stomach wrenching. My cohorts and I piled our plates full of mashed potatoes with gravy, chicken breasts and legs, and yams with marshmallows on top. Some off-green vegetables also made the buffet. If you asked if I ate any vegetables at lunch, I would tell you that I had cole slaw which is most definitely located on the bottom of the food pyramid. The biscuits were pretty good. Justincredible and FFJ opined that they felt sick after their meal. I didn't feel any worse then after my usual lunch of deep fryer grease. Wusses. On the positive side, drinks came with the buffet and you could get refills yourself from the soda fountain. Mmmm..... suicide drinks...Coke and Diet Coke and Lipton's Iced Tea and Orange soda in the same glass..... mmmmmm.
Grade: B-

Price: $7.89 (including drink)

Overall Grade: B-

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Go Vote Today (Plus Open Thread)

And please, vote for Creigh Deeds - unless you really think that an increase in taxes isn't needed to fix the crumbling transportation infrastructure, that working women and feminists are 'detrimental' to the family, that contraceptives should be made illegal again, and that the state's anti-discrimination laws shouldn't apply to gays and lesbians - he's the guy for you.

EDIT: Well, that's our take. Feel free to sound off in the comments if you think differently. If you have something substantive-yet-pithy to say - in the interests of being fair and balanced, etc. - we'll put it in the main thread. Thanks

Washington Post Endorsement of Creigh Deeds

Monday, November 02, 2009

LIVEBLOG: The Ciolli-White Debate

DISCLAIMER: Live-blogging is hard, we are sorry for the typos!

4.50 PM: We're here - LIVE - for the big Ciolli debate. We've gotten a green-light to live-blog the proceedings from the organizers, so stay tuned. We hear Hot Cakes his catering the reception - score! For some background, see here.

4.51: Troy Felver, the third-year in charge of the proceedings, tells us that it will be a Lincoln-Douglass style debate, with Ciolli going first and professor G.E. White going second.

5.04: We arrive. Should we ask Ciolli about his newly professed love for Charlottesville cuisine? (Thanks to a tipster for forwarding the above link to us - Ciolli, under his original moniker, highly praises the Golden Corral and other local favorites). Ciolli and Professor White are both here. Both wearing dark suits, with red ties; both look sharp. Who wins the debate remians to be seen, but they're both fashion winners!

5.08: Confused 1Ls trying decide where to sit . . . there are about 30 people here.

5:15: And we're off! Introductions abound . . . "Tonight we have a debate on whether there is and should be a duty to moderate online forums." Professor White and Ciolli introduced. Ciolli is currently working towards a tax LLM from NYU, and clerking for the Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands.

5:18: Question presented: "There should be no legal duty to moderate an online forum." About 50 people here now.


5.20: "This debate is about . . . preventing the Great Fire-Wall of China from coming to the US!" He's proceeding to give a summary of the current law even though it might "disadvantage him in terms of time."

5.23: "The courts have not spoke with a unified voice. . . " he's still discussing precedent, not much razzle-dazzle, but he seems to know the law. Perhaps this is what our oral advocacy has been lacking . . . Discussing § 230, and how courts have rejected attempts to "limit immunity", and how the courts have consistently ruled that "internet intermediaries don't have a duty moderate their content."

Main points
(1) § 230 doesn't immunize direct liability, only vicarious liability - this encourages defamation victims to hold those people responsible who actually did the defaming.
(2) § 230 helps maintain a free and open marketplace on the internet.
(3) As a matter of policy we should err on the side of subsidizing speech.

5.25: Cross:

White: "Does the picture you've painted of the internet change if most of the participants are anonymous - if § 230 is meant to encourage private lawsuits, if most posters on certain websites - including Autoadmit - are anonymous..."

Ciolli: See John-Doe lawsuits - - -the plaintiffs in the autoadmit case used this with some success.

5.29: White
"Crucial distinction between the internet regime and other regimes that allow tortious recovery for speech that is treated as defamatory . . . why should the internet be treated differently, if there's accountability in other areas." And there is a free speech in those analysis, anyway.

He analyzes the major basis for protection for free speech. He attacks the "market place of ideas" argument: "Suppose someone has identified you on one of these websites in a way you do not want to be. Is the remedy for you to get online and complain about it, thereby inviting others to complain about it? To what extent is there a marketplace of ideas if one of the people is an unwilling participant?"

"I think that § 230 should be modified to include a provision that includes vigorous enforcement of federal discrimination." He also says a limited duty to moderate on the part of website hosts. Also wants direct liability for those website operators who facilitate the defamation material.

Quote of the day: "Autoadmit is not AOL!" Says it's a "niche-website for law students to discuss law school and others [sic]".

Cross pt. 2
White: It's time we create some incentives for anonymous posters - "If Autoadmit has provided or facilitated the defamatory content," it should be liable. And "Autoadmit has done that," when it doesn't delete the content, it's facilitating it.

Ciolli: Have you ever operated a website, message board, or blog?

White: No, I have not - and that makes me a better judge . . . because I have no interest.

Ciolli: So would you be a better judge of medical malpractice because you have no expertise in that?

White: Well, I teach medical malpractice - "the doctors help set the standard, but they have to adhere to it - they don't get blanket immunity under § 230, so the analogy fails!"

We gotta award points to Ciolli on that one - we were not convinced of White's response as to why the analogy "fails"; Ciolli still made a valid point that there are unique challenges to moderating a website, which might necessitate immunity.

5.43: Ciolli Rebuttal
Talks about how people use defamation suits to harass, and rarely win. Getting rid of § 230 immunity means innocent victims and more potential for harassment.

"I don't believe in internet exceptionalism," or that § 230 treats the internet any differneltly.

5.46: Prof White Rebutal
It doesn't follow at all that because it's hard to win a defamation suit they shouldn't be brought at all.

Makes a pretty good point that we have a sort of "double-immunity" because have immunity for the site operators and effective immunity for the posters because they are anonymous!

Social mores argument: "What kind of social mores are we creating by this regime. It seems we are encouraging people to sit with the privacy of computer and say as many mean and inappropriate things as they want with immunity . . . it is the perfect setting for ... warped fantasists . . . and misogynists"

5.51 Ciolli Rebuttal #2
Notes that the intermediary site operator can't even tell whether the content is defamatory (and its often difficult to do so). . . and you want him to be obligated to remove it and face liability?

Questions (we'll type up the good ones)
Q: What standard for website monitor liability?
White: "I think the standard should be a reasonable care standard...not strict liability"

Q (Another UVA professor): Makes a point: "anonymity on the web is mostly an illusion." Describes how the anonymous commenters were unmasked by IP-tracking. Says that double-immunity discussed earlier is a myth.

White: There's software that can prevent this, though!

Q: But few people use it. Makes an analogy to copyright law, how § 512 has created a "heckler's veto" - "People say horrible things on autoadmit, but when you democratize speech, that's what happens."

Ciolli: "I agree". Read my article on this called "Chilling Effects"

White: The best remedy for bad speech isn't always "more speech." "Doesn't it follow that if you democratize [offensive] speech fully you democratize values where there are none."

"If we have a society where we allow anyone to say anything, then the next step is we have a society where we allow anyone to do anything?" Appalled by people hiding behind anonymity to make speech attacks on Autoadmit...

Ciolli [responding to a question about Autoadmit "ruining people's live"]: "It wasn't my website, and I wasn't moderator."

Our question: Mr. Ciolli, What would you have done differently w/r/t to the autoadmit debacle?

Ciolli: There was a lot of confusion about my role in Autoadmit [explains how he didn't have the ability to delete threads]...The Washington Post ran an article that said that Autoadmit was responsible for the T14 talent site [That posted the girl's photographs]. Even the [Virginia] Law Weekly was claiming that I was posting the comments that were offensive. . . "The major thing I would have done differently would have been to take a course in media relations."
ED NOTE: For some support, the Law Weekly said: "Anthony Ciolli, a third-year law student at Penn and then co-administrator of AutoAdmit, commented frequently about the “Top 14” contest." Presumably that is what Ciolli takes issue with.
Uh-oh. White says that the University of Pennsylvania Law School had a discussion with Ciolli to take down the threads, Ciolli says "That's not true." White says, "that's what was reported in the papers." Ciolli responds, "But it's wrong. You can't believe everything you read in the papers, and that's not true."

Q: "It sounds to me like this was more than 'hurt feelings' . . . these woman's live were ruined."

Ciolli: "Well I've experienced both sides of the aisle here." [explains the defamation he suffered]. But filing a defamation suit is not always the answer . . .

Q: "But . . . there are no women who post on autoadmit, ever!!" The questioner seems pretty mad.

Ciolli: "The posts should have gone down, I agree." But he goes on to say he's debating the legal duty, not the moral duty, and points out the questioner has confused the terms of the debate. Reiterates that he would take the posts down, but he doesn't think website operators should be legally required to do the same.

Annnnd we're out. We'll try to make the formatting look better later.

: Both sides had good arguments and so its difficult to say who "won" the debate. That said, we tend to side with Ciolli in that we agree that website operators should not be legally obligated (though they probably should be ethically/morally obligated) to remove offensive and/or defamatory content - primarily on the chilling effect argument: web operators will end up remove a lot more than what is "necessary" to cover themselves, and this will probably impede the effectiveness of first amendment protections. We also think that he made a good point w/r/t to the fact the current system allows for would-be plaintiffs (and did in fact allow for the autoadmit plaintiffs) to recover against the "anonymous" defamers / harrassers; it's very difficult to be truly anonymous on the internet . . .

And yes we are sorry again about the typos - don't forget this is a liveblog.

Today is the Last Day to Sign Up for . . .

* The tuition payment plan - if you want to pay your tuition in installments (time value of money, plus we need the capital to bet on the Redskins). There's a 35 dollar fee though - go here and log into SIS for more info.

* Getting your yearbook photo taken in WB (10-2 today - - - pizza!)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Doe Boy Fresh

So everyone seems to have agreed that the Great Spat of 2009 between UVA Law Blog and Virginia Law Weekly is over. Except that I keep getting called out in VLW. In the spirit of communion though, I'll let this go. And like all media outlet versus media outlet disputes, both publications have to go back to their regularly scheduled (on in the case of this blog, when Rule 12(f) writes something) programming.

In this line of thinking, I offer you the timeless words of one Big Boss Teddy R, or as the US History textbooks know him, Theodore Roosevelt.

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.

Uplifting, isn't it? With that in mind, I humbly submit the following columns I would enjoy reading in the VLW:
1. Andy Samberg – funny or not? Compare his 3 A+ music videos (Dick in a Box, Jizz in My Pants, I’m on a Boat), 2 B+ videos (Throw in on the Ground, Cool Guys Don’t Look at Explosions), and the truly bizarre Like a Boss to his inability to host an entertaining awards show. Since nobody watches SNL anymore I can’t tell you how funny he is there.

2. Who really was Shakespeare? Was he homosexual? How was his name actually spelt? Is it spelt or spelled? People have spent decades trying to answer these questions without reaching definitive answers. My take is that I’d rather just enjoy the plays that constitute the foundation of Western literature than go poring through 16th century court records looking for evidence that the guy bought land or received a dowry. But that’s me.

3. The origin and continuing phenomenon of "Say It To My Face." Why do people still use this tired refrain? My working hypothesis is that it’s a pretext for unthinking bullies with big muscles to engender violence on their thinking antagonists. We’re watching it play out in the media right now between Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas. For those of you who are not as NBA-obsessed as me, here’s the back story. Magic is publishing a tell-all (or if you prefer, kiss-and-tell) where he claims that he allowed Isaiah to get left off the 1992 Olympic Dream Team and worse, that Isaiah spread a rumor that Magic was a homosexual after Magic revealed he was HIV positive. Isaiah has responded with the classic Say It To My Face retort: “I wish [Magic] would have had the courage to say this stuff to me face to face, as opposed to writing it in some damn book to sell and he can make money off it.” For what its worth, I think Isaiah has the better of Magic but that Isaiah is an absolute sh**bag.

4. Our generation’s relationship with online chatting. We were the first folks to have AOL, communicating about middle school bulls**t over dial up internet. We matured into AOL’s less expensive and exclusive AIM and have recently transitioned full time to Gchat. I suppose technically some people use Facebook chat, but I haven’t found any utility for it (You want to stalk high school classmates, not talk to them). The burning questions answered in next week’s VLW - how will we fulfill our online chat fix in the future? Will we ever kick the habit? Does Gchat count as saying it to his face?

5. Couples costumes - cute or depressing? Is it cute when the couple still like each other; that is, before the dreary boredom and sexlessness of marriage kick in? Or is it always depressing? Does it depend on the type of costume? Undergrad was a long time ago now, but I think we had a pledge wear this costume for some "pledge opportunity" or another. And yes, this bullet point was an excuse to post that link.

As always, feel free to ignore me.

Friday, October 30, 2009

But Course Selection is Typically So Logical . . .

Earlier this semester - but after classes were chosen - it was announced that the paper deadline would be moved up to December 17, 2009 for the fall semester. But SRO did an about-face - sort of - the other day, setting the deadline again at January 19, 2009:
In fairness to students who perhaps were unaware of the revised paper deadline policy when they enrolled in courses during the summer, the curriculum committee has delayed implementation of the new policy until this coming spring 2010 semester.
One reader emailed us pointing out what he viewed as an inconsistency in this rationale:
EXPLAIN how this would not apply equally to people who enrolled in courses during the summer for the spring 2010 semester?
Verily - although there's another add/drop round coming up in January, it's tough to ask students to juggle around their courses given the vagaries of switching up their schedule at that point.

What's the Deal With the "New" Paper Deadline

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Graduation Dues

I emailed Gretchen Adelson and Lindsey Bartlett, SBA Graduation Committee Co-chairs, about what the $55 "graduation dues" get spent on. Find below their response, which an email to the Class of 2010 today mostly co-opted (Ed. note: but for those of you not in the c/o 2010, here's what you have to look forward to). I don't have any strong opinions about it, but I appreciate knowing where the money is going.
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to shed some light on 3L dues. We know that $55 is a lot of money, but the money is necessary to fund a wide variety of events for graduation weekend, as well as 3L events throughout the year. We understand that times are tight for everyone and that is why we made sure that we would not raise dues this year (they have consistently been $55 for the last several years). With that being said, here is a better idea of how dues will be used.

The vast majority of the dues (approximately 4/5) pay for events and regalia related to graduation weekend itself. These events include a catered reception at the Law School the night before graduation and a breakfast Sunday before the university-wide graduation on the Lawn. Because of this financial support, students are able to bring an unlimited number of guests to the catered reception at the Law School. Lastly, the dues help purchase each graduating student’s cap, gown, and hood.

These events are actually quite expensive and we are responsible to pay a portion of the overall cost. We have been working with the Law School Foundation and members of the administration to come up with ways to keep costs down this year. The result is that we are able to maintain the same dues charged in years past.

In addition to funding graduation weekend events, our dues pay for 3L events throughout the year. For example, this week, we will host a 3L Bonfire at Montfair Farms that is open to every 3L student. We’ll be providing transportation to the event and refreshments for students attending the bonfire. Next semester, we will host several more 3L events including a wine tasting tour, golf tournament, and a reception accompanying the Class Charge. In conjunction with NGSL, we’ll also host the 3L Softball Tournament and provide plots and refreshments for 3Ls at Spring Foxfield.

As we stated in our initial email to the 3L class, students who do not plan on attending graduation do not have to pay dues.

We understand that $55 is a lot of money and we are sensitive to the fact that students feel stretched financially right now. However, we also know that 3L graduation events are something that UVA Law students have grown to expect and look forward to. We take this responsibility seriously and have done our best to put together an enjoyable (and memorable) 3L graduation experience. If you have any further questions, please feel free to email us. Thank you.

XOXOHTH: Anthony Ciolli to Visit UVA Law

Anthony Ciolli - a former administrator of the autoadmit law school message board (aka - is coming to the law school next Monday at 5 PM in WB 126. Mr. Ciolli's talk is titled "The Internet and the Duty to Moderate", and given Mr. Ciolli's history, it's a subject he as a lot of experience with.

For those unfamiliar with the autoadmit affair, Ciolli - a law student at Penn at the time - was administrating the message board when anonymous commenters began to make extremely lewd. offensive, and often false comments about law students at a variety of schools, and used the forum to start a website called "T14 Talent," where pictures of women from all of the top 14 law schools (including Virginia) were posted and students could rate them.

Two of the students who were the target of such comments and whose pictures were posted decided to file a law suit, alleging copyright violations relating to the posting of their pictures on the T14 Talent site as well as claims relating to their harassment on autoadmit itself. The defendants were many pseudonymous posters (whose identities the plaintiffs - themselves proceeding anonymously - were eventually able to uncover). Ciolli was named as a defendant as well, despite the fact that § 230(c) of the 1996 Communications Decency Act says that website operators can't be held liable for what others post on their site.

In any event, Ciolli was eventually dropped from the suit, but not before the ensuing media firestorm caused him enough negative publicity for him to lose his job offer from his 2L firm. The plaintiffs dropped the suit not long ago after tracking down enough of their agitators and settling with them. And Ciolli also filed a suit against against the plaintiffs, alleging that he suffered due process violations, libel, and being publicly placed in a false light.

This is all a very rough synopsis of what occurred. has a fantastic article on the entire saga, where you can read about the all the trouble Mr. Ciolli's site seems to have created. Really, it's a great read:
. . . . Many other websites control extremely salacious material either by using special coding to keep it to themselves (so that Google doesn’t pick it up) or by filtering it out, particularly if asked to do so. But AutoAdmit was a place, one poster told me, where you could tell someone to “fuck off and die” and not get banned. The site’s on-topic stuff was standard fare having to do with getting and succeeding. But off-topic threads were full of obscene bluster and ritualized intramural insult. Posters appeared to be overwhelmingly male; it was women, particularly beautiful women, particularly beautiful women at the top law schools, particularly beautiful minority women at the top law schools, who were most often skewered, dissected, and fantasized about.

Ciolli, who posted regularly, became Auto­Admit’s public face, although he insists he didn’t control what went—or stayed—up. Pleas to remove threads usually came to him; he’d generally pass them on to Cohen, and Cohen, who rarely posted on the site, would generally ignore them. To both, even its depravity was a public service. “One finds a much deeper and much more mature level of insight in a community where the ugliest depths of human opinion are confronted, rather than ignored,” Cohen wrote in a March 2005 email to Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA Law School and the author of a popular law blog.
Of course, as we often have to moderate the anonymous comments on this site, the subject is of great interest to us; you better believe that - barring softball playoffs - we will be there.

Online Message Board Targets Female Law Students [Law Weekly]
Two Lawyers Fight Cyber-Bullying []

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Law School's Endowment is Down

A tipster points out that the Law School's endowment has decreased approximately 20%.

Last year, in 2008, the endowment "exceeded" $354.4 million. In 2009, that endowment was "in excess of" $282.2 million (NB: these links open a *.pdf file; the numbers are summed up on p. 5 of the report).

While this decrease is steep, it's hardly surprising given what happened in the market. And it's certainly a much less precipitous drop than some facing other universities (30% at Harvard - and it doesn't appear that Harvard has a separate endowment - the 30% hit in the endowment has caused some serious cuts in Cambridge). Perhaps this is a testament to the Law School's continued high rates of alumni giving?

On a possibly but not necessarily related note,we wrote in the Law Weekly last week that the Law School is working to enhance its Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), which will hopefully make it even more competitive with those offered by the schools with whom UVA competes for students:

[Professor] Ryan also noted that, unrelated to the Law and Public Service Program, the Law School’s Loan Forgiveness Program is being re-tooled. The changes “will lift the salary cap currently in existence, and raise the amount . . . given.” He added, “Details are in the works, but I can tell you that [the new LRAP program] will be more generous than the current one.”

We support this, but we hope that it won't cause an undue strain on the budget / endowment, and won't lead to ever-more-onerous increases in tuition. Hopefully, details on the new program will be released soon.

University of Virginia School of Law Annual Report 2008 [Virginia Law]
University of Virginia School of Law Annual Report 2009 [Virginia Law]
Virginia Loan Repayment Assistance Program [Virginia Law]
Law School Lunches Public Interest Program [Law Weekly]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BarBri, Kaplan, and Deposits

As one commenter reminded us: 1Ls, by now your BarBri section rep (or now Kaplan Rep, since BarBri got slapped with a massive class-action antitrust suit, for monopolizing the Bar-prep market) has told you that you should sign up for the BarBri course three years in advance. You SHOULD sign up for BarBri or another prep course, probably, but you should probably not sign up three years in advance, at least in my opinion. To counter what your section reps (who are getting free BarBri classes for their efforts, valued at almost $3k) have been telling you, consider the following reasons why you might not want to give an interest-free loan to a test-prep company just yet...

The reasons are:

(1) There are multiple prep courses out there, some of them way way cheaper than BarBri. Especially if you think you might want to work for public interest, are you sure you want to drop a large deposit down on this course.

(2) Your firm - if you goto a firm - might pay for your course (see the link below for a list of firms that do this), sometimes in the form of a stipend, but also sometimes in the form of a direct-bill. If it's a direct bill - as many firms do - why give the BarBri people money now.

(3) You can always sign up later (i.e. once you have a job secured) and that deposit money is (I would guess) subjectively more valuable to you now as a broke student living off of debt.

(4) The study materials / review lectures alone are probably not worth the money

Check out this previous post for more info. Also, if you think I am a bad writer now, you probably will really dislike my efforts from over a year ago . . .

Just my two cents though - I probably will sign up for BarBri or Kaplan at some point soon, but I'm glad I didn't as a 1L.

The UVA Law Blog Gang Explains Why You Might Not Want to Give Kaplan or Bar Bri Your Money Just Yet [UVA Law Blog]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

10月20日隨即的事情:Sports, Sports, Sports

* Is there a football team worse than the Washington Redskins right now? Probably, but they are pop-warner. And play in Europe. Once again, I humbly submit my candidacy for head-coach of the team. My first move will be the (almost certainly over-priced) aquisition of aging stars LaDanian Tomlinson, Junior Seau, Adam Archulletta, Brett Favre, and Jason Taylor. With that kind of talent on the field, we can't lose.

I am also fine with calling the plays - - - Example: When the team is losing 12-6, and pressed up against our own goal-line with around two minutes to go, I will be calling a play that results in forward yards. I will save the "safety" play for later, especially if we already used it in the previous week. I will also call the play that involves our $100 million-dollar defensive lineman tackling people, not the one that calls for him to get hurt every game or to gasp for oxygen on the sideline.

Needless to say, I know quite a bit about football.

* On then other hand, there is no team hotter right now than the UVA Cavaliers. The Cavaliers lead the ACC Coastal division with a 2-0 conference record, despite embarrassing losses to FCS William & Mary and mid-major Southern Mississippi. A win over Georgia Tech this weekend (who hasn't won here since spoiling UVA's National Championship hopes in 1990) would put UVA in position to be a serious contender for going to the ACC championship game, and then, a BCS game.

* Editor Emeritus FredfromJville points out that the website don' is blocked at the Barracks Road Panera. O rly? The latest entry - pretending to be Al Groh's twitter account - is as follows:
I just realized we are now leading two conferences: 1-0 in the ACC and 1-0 in the Big Ten! Should we pick Orange Bowl or Rose Bowl?
* Nah, you gotta aim big. We're thinking championship.

Here's what could happen - Tim Tebow decides to continue his missionary work and leaves the Gators for Africa, thus causing UF to lose the rest of its games. Colt McCoy likewise decides to get LASIK because those glasses make him look too goofy for NFL draft purposes, so UT loses as well. Alabama loses to Auburn because Jason Campbell gets cut from the Redskins and has to go back to playing for his former college team (where he is/was a stud). Cincinnati gets ignored because they are in the Big East, and no one is going to take the Big East seriously in any sport except Basketball now that the U is in the ACC. USC loses, of course, to another mid-level PAC-10 team, and Iowa loses Michigan and The Ohio State University.

Now UVA wins out, and this leaves them, TCU, and Boise State in serious contention for going to a national title game. TCU and Boise State are both undefeated, but guess what, no one likes even one non-major conference school in the national title game, let alone two. My guess is that Boise State goes because the voters don't want a repeat of a regular season match-up (TCU beat Virginia earlier this year). Thus UVA to National Championship.

I'm not saying this is probable, but it is the most likely outcome of all the various scenarios if you plug the numbers.

* One reader points out that some students at Duquesne Law School may love the bats and bases more than UVA does. Last week students at the Pittsburgh school broke the world record for longest whiffle-ball game. The game lasted 25 hours, and had a final score of 179-170 over 126 innings. In all seriousness, we would have expected moar runs . . .

The Cavs Stand Tall and They Stand Alone [Washington Post]