Saturday, February 28, 2009

All Journal Tryouts, All The Time - Update on the Competition

From a tipster: 345 1Ls picked up a the unified journal tryout. There are 370 1Ls total, which means that just over 93% of 1Ls decided to throw their hat into the ring. Of course, some of those people will give up and return their uncompleted tryout without penalty, but still. The tipster put it well:
That fifteen is a small, proud group of elites.
Verily - the few, the proud, the elite - - - the Law Review editorial board. That's about 4% of people whose Blue-booking will be up to snuff. Makes one wonder what's the value of being on Law Review ITE?

Good luck everyone. The tougher the odds, the greater your share of the glory.

Previously:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

NLJ: "Go To Schools" Ranking; Law Firm Hiring Remains Strong

The National Law Journal has just come out with its list of schools to "go to" - on the basis of the percentage of graduates at those schools that get jobs at NLJ 250 firms.
  1. Columbia University (70.5)
  2. University of Chicago (68.6)
  3. University of Pennsylvania (67.7)
  4. New York University (65.4)
  5. Northwestern University (62.9)
  6. University of California-Berkeley (62.6)
  7. Cornell University (62.0)
  8. Duke University (61.8)
  9. Harvard University (57.5)
  10. University of Virginia (57.2)
  11. Stanford University (56.3)
  12. University of Michigan (55.0)
  13. Georgetown University (49.0)
  14. University of Southern California (47.6)
  15. Boston College (45.8)
We don't entirely agree with their conclusions - looking at placements as a percentage of the class has its usage, but these rankings exclude people who clerk and then go to a firm - it only accounts for graduates who go directly to a NLJ 250 firm. Given that so many UVA students clerk and then go on to work at top firms, we think this skews the school's numbers and rankings downward. It also explains why Yale - arguably the most competitive law school in the country - is absent from the list entirely, and why Stanford - a small school where are a large proportion of its grad obtain prestigious clerkships - isn't ranked as high as one would think.

Don't go to Yale if you want a firm job ... So says the National Law Journal's data!!

One thing that this data does show is that at least in terms of raw percentage of the class there may be some advantage in going to a smaller law school: Cornell and Duke (smaller schools) edge out Harvard and Georgetown - but again, it's tough to draw any meaningful conclusions when the data excludes clerkships.

In related news (news always being a relative term here), the NLJ has an aritcle titled "Hiring From Top Schools Remains Steady in 2008". O RLY?:
Despite the economic nosedive that began gaining momentum in 2008, the nation's biggest law firms hired just about the same percentage of graduates from top schools last year as they did the year before.

At the same time, firms among The National Law Journal's 2008 survey of the nation's 250 largest law firms brought aboard more graduates from the 20 schools that they relied on the most, which themselves had larger classes.

The development suggests that law firms were not well-positioned for the recession they now face. It also suggests that although firms relied on the most prestigious schools to about the same degree in 2008, they pulled back their recruiting at schools outside the top 20.

Some 54.6% of students graduating from the 20 law schools recruited most heavily by NLJ 250 firms accepted positions as first-year associates in 2008, a nominal decline from the 2007 figure of 54.9%.
Indeed that may be true - but that data is for the class of 2008 - and the relevant data is the hiring that firm summer programs were doing; that is, how the class of 2010 is doing, since the vast majority students who receive full-time offers at major law firms when they graduate spent their 2L summer with that firm. And as we all know, that was problematical. There's some good (again, relative) information on Above The Law regarding the decline in law firm summer program hiring. Not for the faint of heart.

It seems like the latest bit of bad news is that people are having the length of their summer programs shortened. That's a drag. But - as many people will be quick to jump to say - a shortened summer job is still better than no job at all. The money that the firm saves - [number of summer associates] * [$3,100] * [# of weeks shortened] * [overheard/perks cost] - could save someone's job, maybe even your own.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Free One-Day Pass To Sam's Club

Could be helpful, EITE. Of course, Sam's Club is owned by WalMart . . .

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spppprrrinnnnggg Brreeakkkk Poll

OK, since we were to busy to throw up any real post today, here's a survey:


Monday, February 23, 2009

Journal Tryouts: "For $5,000, I WILL Get You On Law Review"

Forwarded to us by another tipster, as contrarian advice to ours re: journal tryouts. Usual autoadmit disclaimers apply:
Subject: For $5,000, I will get you on Law Review
Date: February 23, 2009 10:21 AM
Author: [Redacted]

$2,500 down and $2,500 when you make the law review.

Overnight me copies of your competition materials and I will write you a paper that will likely get you on the law review.

For reference, I am on law review, I have been editing assignments all year, and I have published two articles. I guarantee that I can write a better paper than you.

Given that law review will likely come as close to guaranteeing you a job as you can get, this is a small investment.

Everything will be anonymous, you can do your own cover pages and whatnot. BTW, most law reviews are anonymously graded anyways, so you will have a number instead of your name. I will have you send the package to my PO Box in DC with a money order for $2,500 inside.

Additionally, you can use my submission to glean ideas from for the paper you are writing, like writing onto the law review with an experiences partner.

I can only do one law review competition in any given period of time so hurry up, spaces are filling fast!
Our thoughts: This would obviously definitely probably be a violation of the honor code so we're only re-posting it for comedic value. Also, this could just be a way to get grafted out of $2.5k. Honor code / public policy concerns aside, is this a valid offer? If you didn't make Law Review would you have standing to sue? Mitigation by making VIJIL (or VaSE ??)? What if guy is misrepresenting his credentials? Verily, this raises a quandry of legal issues.

Finally, what about the timeline? Can this guy really guarantee Law Review if you fedex him the materials (gets on Friday night - - - late) and he gets them back to you by Sunday? Will he do all the copying / collating / etc? What about the bluebooking part? The devil may be in the details . . .

Previously:
All Journal Tryouts, All The Time

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Guest Post: My Journal Tryout Memoirs

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a new feature on UVA Law Blog, which allows guest contributors - enjoy! -- Rule 12(f)

For those of you who have no idea what a "journal" has to do with law school, much less how/why you would "try out" for one during your spring "break," let me explain.

Unlike many professions, publication of legal scholarship is almost entirely overseen by student-run journals, which in turn are managed by--you guessed it--"managing boards." Managing boards consist of second- and third-year law students who, by virtue of their crushing intellects and superior dart-throwing skills, have risen to the top of their respective journal staffs. However, upon arriving at “the top," they quickly become disenchanted and begin to torture first-year members of the staff for pleasure. More on this below.

The articles themselves are written by professors (and occasionally students, practicioners, and prestigious alums such as Ted Kennedy) and then submitted to journals for publication. The topics vary widely. The more interesting, analytically rigorous, and relevant an article is, the more likely it is to be published in a prestigious journal. (However, having now read a few journal articles, I am certain that "interesting" and "relevant" are loose requirements.) The prestige of the author is also considered--the more prestigious he/she is, the more likely it is that he/she will have his/her article published in a prestigious journal.

As anyone familiar with academic scholarship will note, journal prestige is very important. This is because an author who publishes in a prestigious journal will then have the prestige to...well...publish in other prestigious journals. This, in turn, adds to the prestige of the other journals, thus attracting more prestigious authors. Isn't this amazing? I had no idea so much was going on.

On average, about 20% of any given page in a legal journal is devoted to the body of the article. However, don't let this statistic fool you. Only half of this typeface consists of meaningful words. The other half is devoted to footnote calls (super-scripted numbers that refer to footnotes). When you have, on average, six trillion footnotes in an article, those numbers take up a lot of space...especially the latter ones.

The remaining 80% of the page is devoted to the footnotes themselves. Rather than telling you what these are like, I decided to show you. I'll use asterisks instead of numbers becausesuperscripts are always sketchy online. I'll also break about fifteen citation rules because I can't use small caps, the "section" symbol, etc. Please forgive me, and don't tell the managing board.

Consider this fictional (though representative) excerpt from a journal article written by a professor:

The U.S. Constitution* bans** cruel*** and**** unusual***** punishment.******
------------
* U.S. Const. amend. VIII, s 2.

** Some authors have disputed whether the Eighth Amendment constitutes a pure ban. See, e.g., Lance Brimhall, Why My Journal Tryout was Unconstitutional 235 (Jim Bob ed., LoserLawyer Books 2008) [hereinafter Brimhall, Journal Tryout Unconstitutional].

*** I have doubts about the accepted interpretation of this term. To me, cruelty is relative. What seems cruel to the punished might be thoroughly enjoyable to the punisher. For example, though Brimhall decries the journal tryout process as "cruel," he forgets the enjoyment likely derived by second- and third-year students who watch him suffer--particularly those on the managing board. See Brimhall, Journal Tryout Unconstitutional, supra note **. For this reason, I recommend the "objective onlooker" test for the constitutionality of punishment.

**** Some have argued that this word suggests a conjunctive test. See e.g., Joe Bob, Cruel and Unusual Punishment: A Case for a Conjunctive Test, 73 Yale L.J. 886 (1996). This is significant because it would require that punishment be both cruel and unusual in order to be unconstitutional. Following this reasoning, Mr. Brimhall would not have a case for unconstitutionality because the punishment about which he complains is clearly not unusual: Thousands of law students volunteer for the same "punishment" every year in their important quest for prestige.

***** Speaking of unusual, I saw the most unusual thing the other day. I was parked at a red stoplight and...

****** If you're still reading these footnotes, you must be bored and have no friends. (Was that cruel to say? unusual?) Consider joining facebook. It counts your friends for you.
-------------
Ok, that was a long aside, but here's why it's important: Those (un)lucky souls who are accepted to join a journal will spend their first year correcting authors' sloppy citation formatting. (Authors know this and rely heavily on this "assistance"; however, don't even think about messing with substantive matters such as the author's experience at the stoplight.) These assignments are the primary means by which managing boards torture first-year members of their staff. Doesn't that sound AWESOME?!!!! If not, at least you can see that it's prestigious.

Now that you know WHY we do journal tryouts (i.e. to pad our resumes with the fact that we combed footnotes for a "prestigious" journal), let me explain WHAT the journal tryout consists of. There are two parts to the tryout--editing and writing. For the editing portion, applicants are given a very rough journal article to correct. This includes "above the line" corrections to grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc., as well as "below the line" corrections to footnote citations, as mentioned above. For simplicity, the citation rules have been summarized in a single reference volume called the Bluebook. It's about five inches wide, eight inches tall, and just thirteen feet thick. No big deal. After all, simplicity is the goal. (As a safety precaution, I recommend that you don't utter the word "Bluebook" in the presence of anyone who has participated recently in a journal tryout. Also, please don't tell the managing board that I failed to put this warning in a footnote; this is a CLEAR and BLATANT violation of the well-known rule 1,456,935.A-7Niner found in the Bluebook.)

The writing portion consists of a single question to be addressed in a ten-page essay as well as about 250 pages of cases, statutes, etc. to be used as reference material. In fact, those 250 pages are the only reference material that can be used. This is devastating to those of us who rely on Wikipedia to make sense of the world.

The writing portion is designed to take about three times as long as the editing portion. However, all journals except Law Review (the most prestigious journal) weigh the editing portion more heavily. Perhaps Law Review's keen recognition of this discrepancy explains its tremendous prestige.

Applicants are given 72 hours to complete the tryout. Below is a rough breakdown of how that time is usually (though not ideally) spent.

DAY 1
  1. Pick up packet at 11:00 AM
  2. Go to gym to prepare mind and body for the work ahead (2 hours)
  3. Talk to friends about how much you don't want to do the work ahead (1-6 hours)
  4. Work on editing portion, checking email and/or facebook every five minutes because you are INSANELY bored (1-6 hours, depending on the above)
  5. Sleep (8 hours...it is spring break, after all)

DAY 2
  1. Finish editing portion (2-4 hours, feels like 2-4 years)
  2. Reward yourself with lunch at Chipotle (nearly 2 hours because everyone in Charlottesville is doing the same thing)
  3. Begin reading (4 hours)
  4. Keep reading (4 more hours)
  5. Still reading (3 more hours)
  6. Sleep (6 hours...most likely dreaming about the tryout)

DAY 3
  1. Finish reading (3 hours)
  2. Skip lunch though you deserve a reward
  3. Outline arguments for 10-page paper (1 hour; you should spend more time on this, but by now you're very nervous about the fact that this paper is due tomorrow and you haven't written a single word, so you just start typing)
  4. Type paper (4 hours)
  5. Keep typing (4 hours)
  6. Still typing (4 hours)
  7. Go home, type at home (2 hours)
  8. Go to bed at 1:30 AM; toss and turn until 3:00 AM
  9. Wake up at 4:30 AM
  10. Finish typing paper (4 hours)
  11. Look over the editing portion again (1 hour)
  12. Look over your paper again; get very sad that you don't enough time to actually make it good (30 mins)
  13. Race to Law School Copy Center to make 87 copies of everything, stapled and organized according to the instructions you didn't read until just now; pray there isn't a line; there is a line
  14. Race to Kinko's; there is also a line here, but now you're out of options
  15. Eventually copy everything
  16. Race to Va. L. Rev. office; turn in materials at 10:51 AM (I'm not kidding)
  17. YES!!!! YOU'RE DONE!!!!
  18. Look in mirror; realize you look and smell horrible; smile at the fact that you've been running around town in slippers and PJs
  19. It doesn't matter; nothing matters now but your pillow...

Now that I've painted the journal tryout process in a horrible light, I should come clean. It's actually worse than that. However, to pander to the managing board, I've watered down the truth. In that spirit, repeat after me:

"The Bluebook (OUCH!!!!) is my friend."

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Into The Labryinth": Virginia Law Weekly Discusses Hiring, PILA Grants

The Virginia Law Weekly has an excellent feature today on the job market problems:
The stare conveyed a sense of despair and frustration with more volume than the simple words that accompanied it. “I just want a job,” the second-year student said.

Sadly, this student is not alone. While On-Grounds Interviews (OGIs) yet again proved productive for many, the tenor of this academic year has resonated with concern regarding prospects for employment. As they attempt to surmount market-wide obstacles, students have turned to the Law School’s primary resources for assistance: the Office of Career Services and the Public Service Center. In both of these offices, however, the staff is being asked to respond to a demand for help that mounts with each passing day in a worsening economy, while those same economic constraints limit the resources available to provide such services. This prompts the question: Is enough being done? More importantly: What is enough?

Read more. The article reports that 89% of the class of 2009 have secured full-time employment, but what about summer employment for the class of 2010? The article also notes that career services was somewhat blindsided by the crash in the economy - that Career Services went into the process without knowing the "extent to which things would be changing." The article goes on to explain how - ITE - the typical post OGI strategies of mail-merging weren't going to work:
Following advice to send mass mail, one student “sent 135 e-mails and received no callbacks or interviews.” . . . [T]he typical strategies that worked in years past, such as mass mailings, did not work this year, although [according to Career Services] “we didn’t know until after the fact.”
It then discusses how leanly staffed UVA Law's Career Services is compared to other top-14 Law Schools, and suggest that this could be part of the problem:
. . . This is the highest student-to-counselor ratio among the top 15 law schools (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). Only Georgetown, which is probably the largest school on the list, has a ratio near that of the Law School; even then, counselors see on average 30 fewer students at the Washington, D.C. school. At most schools on the list, the ratio approaches 200-to-1, with some like Stanford below 150-to-1. [Career Services] conceded, “We are leanly staffed compared to a lot of schools.”
Personally, we disagree. To my knowledge, there aren't scores of students complaining that they have a lack of access to Career Services, and besides one or two OGI scheduling mix-ups (the fault of the outdated CASE software which they have now gotten rid of in favor of Simplicity), we have never had any serious problem with them - and certainly don't argue that further CS staff (likely funded by the ever-pernicious tuition increase!) is the answer. We do agree, on the other hand, that innovative methods would be helpful:
Some have noted that Career Services should focus outside of the large firms in the mega-markets of New York and Washington, D.C. One student noted that Career Services focuses heavily on general skills, such as how to write a resume or cover letter, and suggested that the office’s efforts might be better expended if they were concentrated on job hunting techniques and interview skills.
To be fair, CS does already offer some good information on targeting smaller firms and/or secondary markets - the problem was more timing, advising students to take advantage of that information before it was too late. And of course, we feel that the article would have been more complete with some discussion of prescreening. But otherwise, outstanding work.

PILA: The same issue also reports that - not unrelatedly - competition for PILA grants is up:

Last year, scores of first-year students were disappointed when they did not receive grants from the Public Interest Law Association (PILA) to fund their summer public interest work. Many students thought—based on the success that the organization had in disbursing grants to all students who had applied the previous year—that such grants would be guaranteed.

This year, PILA is facing a higher number of applicants than ever. Although . . . PILA does not disclose the number of applicants for fellowships, [its President] said that this year, “PILA has received a far higher number of applications than in any prior year. While we wish we could fund every applicant who secures a qualifying public sector job, unfortunately the number of students we can fund is limited by the amount of money that we are able to fundraise over the course of the year.”

Alas, these are the times that try men's souls.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

All Journal Tryouts, All The Time

So 1Ls pick up their journal tryout packets tomorrow. We'll have more then on the entire process, including some retrospectives from former 1Ls, but for now suffice it to say:
- it's expensive (costs money to do it, and maybe even more to put it together
- it's a ton of work
- being on journal itself also entails even more work (though this varies greatly depending on the journal).
So should you do it? Really, especially in this economy, you'd be out of your mind not to. OGI will be brutal next year, and current 1Ls should leave nothing undone in the quest to make themselves competitive candidate. "Journal or moot court" - that talk was soooo last year (along with "NYC to 190!!!") - the new line is "journal and moot court"!

Of course, we're being hyperbolic. Grades will always reign supreme when it comes to securing a job (after the fact that you all go to UVA - and that really does mean a lot). But behind this exaggeration there's more than a whit of truth. David Lat said when he came to UVA that recruiting next year was going to be unpleasant, and he wasn't kidding. Secondary journal membership - for reasons that are more or less unclear to us - is at least moderately important to some employers. The amount of work (1 weekend, plus 1 weekend of cite-checking per semester if you get yourself on one of the easier journals) more than justifies the benefit (an increased possibility of securing one of those JOB things that everyone has been talking about), EITE.

So here is our non-exhaustive advice about journal tryouts:

(1) Do it. (See above)

(2) Focus on the bluebooking section. Most or all of the secondary journals care MUCH more about your ability to do bluebooking than your ten page essay. You want your bluebooking to be perfect. The key is nailing the punctuations (usually in the wrong place), the capitalization (usually words that should be capitalized aren't, and vice-versa), and the abbreviations (take it as a given that every abbrievation is wrong). Also look out for the regular, dumb English errors - the sort you see on this blog - like using "there" instead of "their", etc.

The writing section is obviously more important if you are trying to get on the actual Law Review. You might be thinking that, well, anything worth doing is worth doing well, and so that you should give this section your all as well. That's fine - but remember this. The Va. L. Rev. is only letting 15 people write on. If you're going to spend the bulk of your time working on the essay, you better make sure that it is in the top 15 of all 300+ of your classmates who are going to be doing journal tryouts.

That's why I would tackle things in the following order: bluebook, reading essay materials, writing essay. Make sure your bluebook is perfect, edit it again and again, and only consider it done when you're sure it's a flawless.

(3) Don't skip your Friday classes. Apparently it's an honor code violation. Also, remember that you don't need that much time to do journal tryouts. The bluebook shouldn't take more than six to eight hours including all the edits. As discussed above, the writing section is really about how much you want to spend on it. Obviously the kids that do make Law Review are going to spend a lot of time on it but remember that there is an element of diminishing returns here, and if you're hitting a wall on the thing on Saturday night, take a deep breath, go to a party, and come back the next day and remember that at the end of the day it's other students who are going to be evaluating your work - so just do what you can and don't kill yourself. Save that energy for prepping for finals.

(4) Pick Secondary Journals Carefully. We'll be straight - employers probably don't know the difference between secondary journals at UVA. Yet there is a difference - some publish four times a year and some publish twice. Some have very limited requirements for 3Ls; others work 3Ls to the bone. Some have a lot of opportunity for 2Ls to serve on the managing board in the fall (something you can put on your OGI resume); others do not. In our opinion you should look at - in order:

  • the amount of work (# of cite checks/year? how bad is each cite check?)
  • your chances of getting on (VJIL is a lot harder to get on than VaSE, et cetra).
  • [big gap]
  • how much the subject matter interests you. (Checking tax footnotes is not really all that different from checking social policy footnotes, although this is just our opinion, and some may disagree).

(5) Try Your Best, Don't Be Too Sad if You Fail. If you don't make a journal, don't sweat it. Yea, it's a nice thing to have on your resume and yea it's something some employers may wonder about it, but on the plus side you won't be stuck cite-checking while your classmates are gearing up for finals, and you won't have the darn thing hanging over your head while you're trying to coordinate your callback interviews. We know lots of people who aren't on a journal (for whatever reason) and are still working at great places this summer. It's fair to say here, though, that you should plan to sign up for and do moot court in the fall.

Feel free to add to / contradict this in the comments section.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

UVA Law: Setting Trends Across the T14? 1L w/ Stuffed Animal @ UMich

Normally, we here at UVA Law Blog have a strict "no autoadmit" policy - not wanting to be associated with all of the perniciousness that has come out of there - but a tipster forwarded something (probably NSFW, like the entire site) that we thought was inoffensive yet significant enough to throw up: 
this kid carries around a stuffed animal frog whenever he goes anywhere (in class, at the bar, in the quad). it's not little but a pretty decent size (in between a football and basketball). all his facebook pictures have the frog with him too.
Well, apparently dude is OTL:
He's actually a nice kid. The frog/lego thing is off-putting, but everyone has their eccentricities. Some people even LIKE Civil Procedure. Shudder.
And
Yeah, he's a good human being and a pretty cool dude.
And
It's a joke. He takes the Frog to parties and people take pictures with it all the time. It's really not as weird as it seems. He's a cool dude.
That's fair.  Here's the $160,000 $145,000 question: Will he take said Froggie to OGIs? We can only hope.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Those About to Work (Really Hard), We Salute You

I look forward to watching y'all toil away as I make my way past the fish bowl to the sweet sweet Va. L. Rev. bathroom. Congrats!

P.S. You'll be getting our 12,000 word note on how Bush v. Gore was dumb - and that the appropriate remedy is now to delay Obama's term four years so Al can get his due - any day now.
(EDIT:  You know what is even better than being Editor-in-Chief of the Va. L. Rev., Paul?  Being the Editor-in-Chief of Univ. of Va. L. Blog - Awww yea).

2009-2010 Managing Board

The Virginia Law Review is pleased to announce its 2009-2010 Managing Board:

Editor-in-Chief
Paul Belonick

Managing Editor
Christi Niehans

Notes Development Editor
Sarah Robertson

Articles Development Editors
John Savage Moran
Brian Schmalzbach

In Brief Development Editor
Kyle Brinkman

Articles Editors
Douglas N. Boyle, Jr.
Scotty Candler, IV
Tamara Fishman
Casey Kyung-Se Lee
Michael Menssen
Lanora Pettit
David Roberts
Bryce Schunke

Notes Editors
Grace Huang
Alexander Ibrahim
Edward Joseph Reed
Katherine Worden

In Brief Editor
Rogan Nunn

Executive Editors
Jennifer Albert
Christopher Brown
Alexis Gregorian
Michael Robertson
Michael Sorrell

Sunday, February 15, 2009

生病了: The Law School Plague

"" is how our Chinese friends say "sick". "It's illness spreading like fire." Tell me about it.





























And, verily, comes it to pass that Rule 12 f has succumbed to vicious law school plague. Neither good diet, nor exercise, nor even a $25 flu-shot could have helped us this time. Spent the past three days in bed, and unless there is a rapid change in our composure, will spend the next day or two there as well. Please pass along any salacious LS news, though one may expect that any posts that do go up may be lacking their usual vim and vigor.

As an aside, law school plague presents a dilemma to true gunner. On the one hand, he must conserve is strength and rest up for the time when it really counts - FINALS. On the other hand, missing class, even a single class on a single day for a single minute = death of another sort. Plus, perhaps it is only fair to come to school and infect everyone else, thereby putting all on equal footing?

Just kidding - if you have what we do - what's been going around - do yourself a favor and stay home. Your healthy professors and classmates (the 11 or 12 that are left) will thank you for it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Is the Law School's Diversity Pledge Enforceable? (And Other Related Queries)

Last year, a colleague of ours (who happens to be on the prestigious Va. L. Rev.) told us that he wasn't going to sign the diversity pledge because, while he agreed that "acts" of prejudice had no place in the UVA Law community, he wasn't totally keen on banning "thoughts" of prejudice.

Here is the pledge:

2009 Diversity Pledge

As a community, we believe that....

Every person has worth as an individual. Every person is entitled to dignity and respect, regardless of class, color, disability, gender, nationality, race, or sexual orientation. Thoughts and acts of prejudice have no place in the UVA Law community.

Therefore, we pledge...

To treat all people with dignity and respect, to discourage others' prejudice in all its forms, and to strive to maintain a climate for work and learning based on mutual respect and understanding;

And from this day forward,

Knowing that both the UVA Law community and the world will be a better place because of our efforts, we will incorporate this pledge into our daily lives.

We, thought, hmmm, OK - well surely this person was speaking mostly tongue-in-cheek, after all no one considers the pledge to be an enforceable contract (quick, 1Ls!), do they? No one would actually even suggest seriously that the diversity pledge was some form of liberal-thought control. Well, we were wrong. "Phi Beta Cons", an organ of the conservative National Review that focuses on "The Right Take on Higher Ed" (roflcopter - get it??), had this to say:
At the University of Virginia's law school, the Student Bar Association is encouraging students to sign the "2009 Diversity Pledge." The first 500 students even get a free T-shirt.

The pledge is not enforceable as of yet. It reminds me, however, of the work that FIRE is doing to combat campus speech codes. I have pasted the Diversity Pledge after the jump.
As of yet? [* * WATCH THIS SPACE FOR UPDATES ON THE ADMINISTRATION'S EFFORTS TO ENFORCE THE DIVERSITY PLEDGE * * - eds]. Thankfully that's about all the writer said. In case you are wondering "FIRE" stands for "Foundation for Individual Rights Education," an organization whose mission (according to Wikipedia) is to "to defend and sustain individual rights at America's colleges and universities," including the rights to "freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience--the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity." Wuh-oh, call Mr. Jefferson and the First Amendment police, my individual right to freedom of speech are being infringed upon by those fascists at the table in Hunton-Williams with their felt-tipped markers and free t-shirts!! A possibly related point of interest, the writer of that post also criticized UVA's canceling of classes for the inauguration, kind of like most of you.

Anyway, storied law-ologist Eugene Volokh, whose blawg rivals this one in popularity, had this to say:

Some, I suppose, will find it threatening; I find it vapid. At some very high level of generality, almost every decent person agrees with the notion that "Every person is entitled to dignity and respect, regardless of class, color, disability, gender, nationality, race, or sexual orientation." For instance, even many people who believe that homosexuality is wrong believe that people who are attracted to members of the same sex are entitled to dignity and respect — they just think that those people shouldn't engage in homosexual conduct.

The trouble is that the dispute is chiefly about what constitutes "prejudice," and what the obligation "[t]o treat all people with dignity and respect" means. If "prejudice in all its forms" means irrational hostility, then again this is banal to the point of irrelevance: Few people support irrational hostility. If "prejudice in all its forms" means all differences in treatment, then few people would condemn such a broad category of behavior; to do so, they'd have to oppose all race- and sex-based affirmative action, all immigration restrictions (since those discriminate based on not being an American national), all exclusions — no matter how justified by the demands of the task — based on disability, and so on. The same would be true if "prejudice in all its forms" covers all generalizations and preconceptions based on the attributes, however tentative. How many rational people would (or should) have no preconceptions about the possible dangerousness of a passerby on a dark street based on whether the passerby is a man or a woman? How many rational people would (or should) have no preconceptions about whether a blind person should drive a school bus? And these are just some of the most obvious examples.

. . .

So this is all a long way of saying that the diversity pledge strikes me as quite empty of any intellectual value — it's a form of political posturing rather than serious engagement with the actual controversies and problems that modern law schools face. And I suspect that it's also quite empty of any political or community norm-setting value, partly for the reasons I mention above and partly because it would so clearly be understood as political posturing.

Empty of intellectual value? Political posturing?? Also empty of any political or community norm-setting value??? Mr. Volokh, my friend, there are plenty of people in this state and this country who believe that homosexuals not only should not "engage in homosexual conduct," but also do not even deserve dignity and respect. Ditto for many of the other categories on there. As silly and politically empty (and unenforceable!!) as the diversity pledge may be, if someone wants to put his or her name on a piece of paper to say that sort of thing is not cool, I support them.

That's our take anyway, but feel free to disagree (comments). A lot of people have already commented on Volokh's post. Any conservativ-er's want to pick up the other side? Let us know.

Related:

Students, Faculty Show Support for Third Annual Diversity Pledge [Virginia Law]

Where Mah B+'s At??

Tipster: Can you do a report on a certain K's and Corporations professor who STILL hasn't issued grades yet. I mean, it's mid February, and we still don't have grades. Or even the course evaluations.
Sure.

Verdict: Annoying for 2Ls, more troublesome for any 1Ls, who might have law firms waiting on their grades. I mean, how long does it take to throw something down the stairs???

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SBA Election Results

Daniel Rosenthal, President (61.56% of the vote)
Roland Chang, Vice President (52.56% of the vote)
Lauren Prieb, Secretary (write-in candidate)
Natalie Ronollo, Treasurer (write-in candidate)

Thanks for everyone who came out and voted, double thanks if you voted for me. Your support will not be forgotten, I promise you. For my part I am sorry I could not have done better for those of you who cared about the issues my campaign raised, but am proud at least that we were able to garner a non-zero number of votes.

That said, the people have spoken, and in so doing have indicated what they want the goals of the SBA in 2009-2010, so, good luck to the new SBA Exec Board!

Feb Club Blog Lambastes PILA

Last night's Feb Club event was the PILA date auction. It was at Wild Wings Cafe, and the idea was you go, pay 5 bucks to get a wristband to get some drink specials ($1.50 rails) and bid on some men / women you'd like to take out on a date. The monies collected presumably to PILA's funding base for public interest funding. The people over at the Feb Club Blog wrote a post titled Please Keep PILA Out of Feb Club. At first blush, the critique seems kind of tongue-andin-cheek (and we still read it that way, despite having a pretty good time at the event) - but some people are geninunely upset. You all can read and make your own decisions:
Rating: (Predicted) 2.75 The PILA Charity Date Auction combines nearly everything that makes us angry; paying for drinks during February, paying for sex, but not receiving any because it's "for charity", paying for other students to go on a summer soul journey courtesy of PILA where they work at the Puppy Defender's Office or some other ridiculous charity that takes money from people with real jobs and helps poor people get out of jail because the cop wasn't nice enough to them, and hearing people involved in PILA say anything.

It's like PILA has a committee whose job it is to come up with bad ideas because they consistently manage to do worse and worse. The last two years they subjected us to terrible law student karaoke and professors who think they are funny, now this year they hit us with this Date Auction crap. The entire premise of this auction is awful. First of all, Law students are both being auctioned and the one's purchasing people? Who wants to buy someone who sits in the library all day and then drinks all night. Everyone is either pale from lack of sunlight or yellow from liver poisoning. Also, Everyone already knows everyone else. If you see someone from the law school that you want to ask out then just do it. The only people that would legitimately purchase someone are the really creepy dudes that drool in class when a girl in the front row bends over to plug in her laptop. PILA is just acting as a middle man for people who are too afraid to talk to others in real life. How do they think these dates are going to go? PILA should provide some sort of escort to make sure their auctionees don't end up killed and dropped in a river.
There may have been comments about it, but the editors of the blog disabled noted in a subsequent post that they were disabling them, wisely (in our opinion) stating that the point of their blog was to recount the fun times, not engender any kind of real debate:
We have temporarily disabled comments and may just delete all the ones from the PILA post. This blog is about having a great time at Feb Club, not serious debate, which we generally frown on. We don't drink in your class time(for the most part), so please don't get serious on our drinking time.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Recession Ain't Got Nothing on Me: Top Careers of 2009

NB: "J Crew Model" is one of our brand new writers! After a rigorous application and screening process, we have determined that he possesses the language-skills and journalistic integrity to join the UVA Law Blog community. Wish him luck as he writes his way to stardom on UVA Law Blog and laughs all the way to the bank. - Rule 12(f). And don't forget to vote!

Yahoo has created a list of the most recession-proof careers for the upcoming year, also known as The When Obama the Savior Fixes the Screw-Ups of His Predecessor (and Congress; and bankers; and Iraqi policemen…). While the list probably makes “sense” and comes about by authors having done “research” and “interviews,” it so clearly lacks credibility that I must counterspeak. Or make counterspeech, if you will. For instance, half of the jobs promising endless riches are law related: prestigious careers as case clerks (zero to two years' experience; $32,000-$41,000), junior paralegals (two to three years' experience; $40,500-$49,200), legal receptionists ($26,750-$38,000) and office clerks ($27,000-$37,250) assure “make-it-rain” paychecks. Law student, oddly enough, didn’t make the list (-$55,000-$0). Nor did lawyers. How can an industry be doing so well if its practitioners are doing poorly? It can’t. Hence, my off-the-cuff revised list of the top recession-proof careers of 2009.

8. Town drunk – Who needs dignity or self-respect or non-public places to wash the dirt out of your beard where you can stay pickled and gloriously oblivious to a crashing economy (world order). Since your expenses will consist of alcohol and non non-alcoholic drinks, your assets maintain optimum liquidity. (Get it, liquiditiy?). And when the Virginia ABC permits you to buy something called Bowman’s Rum for only $9.25 a liter and Schlitz six-packs go for a mere $3.99, everyone can afford this simple and idyllic lifestyle.
The rub: I mentioned you live outside, right?
7. Repo Man – In these times of 100,000 jobs lost in a month on the heels of negative consumer savings, there are going to be some Joe Schmoes out there unable to make the payments on their 2007 BMW M3s. The bank promises you a quick $200 and you haul off some dude’s car at 3 a.m., all the while hoping he’s the kind of drunk who gets apologetic and teary-eyed rather than trigger happy when a stranger helps himself to his stuff.
The rub: TRIGGER HAPPY!!!! Also, you have to put some stupid saying on your truck like “See Ya!” as if towing somebody’s car isn’t quite enough insult.
6. [Law school] tenured professor – After 6 years of higher education, I know that these guys have some cushy and high-paying jobs. Here’s my rough guestimate of a tenured professor’s daily routine.
10:00 – 11:25: Get to school. Answer some email from students whining about their grades and/or your lack of office hours. Get lost staring at the impressive number of books on your shelves. Bonus points if you have written some of them.
11:25 – 11:30: Class prep. Don’t strain yourself.
11:30 – 1:00: Say intelligent or intelligent-sounding things to impressionable and ignorant twenty-somethings. Pretend you don’t like the attention when the coeds hang on every word that you’re saying.
1:00 – 3:30: Lunch.
3:30 – 3:45: Try to find some reason of staying in your office. Failing at that, scurry to your car all the while congratulating yourself for staying within 15 pounds of your college weight.
The rub: Getting tenure requires a lot of boring publication and a Bismarckian mastery of college politics. Richard Daley and Fiorello La Guardia probably started their careers as associate professors, but quit when they found the tenure process “too political."
5. Home-engineer – Stand tall and proud ye educated men of the world and take your rightful place as the engineer of your household. You’ll rise early, make Pop Tarts for breakfast, then drop your kids off at school. From there, you get 7 hours to do one or more of the following before the kids come home:
(1) walk the dogs
(2) watch Sportscenter 2-5 times
(3) refine an opium habit
(4) Swiffer the kitchen floor (poorly)
(5) “accidently” order a soft-core porn and fall into it due to the intriguing plot elements (“Why is she doing pilates in high heels and a trench coat?”)
(6) write bad novellas about your five month study abroad experience in Australia.
The rub: Being bad at this job is constructively the same thing as living at your parents’ house when you’re 35.
4. Pay day loan business operator - We all know that class warfare is the real war of our time. Wage ferocious battle on the front-lines, screwing working class families with preposterously high interest rates and unpayable terms who are irresponsible enough to be poor and have children that get sick. Added benefit – their children won’t have the resources to compete with yours for a dwindling number of slots in higher education after you’ve charged $12,500 in interest on a $200 loan.
The rub: Pesky state legislatures that keep trying to cap interest rates. Don’t they know we conquered usury a long time ago?!
3. Being French – Yeah I know that “being French” isn’t a career. But it should be. Between their relatively short work-week, high life expectancy, generous safety net, universal health care, and a not-government owned housing market, France is looking more and more like the land of opportunity.
The rub: Winless record in international conflicts since Napoleon. Spotty history with colonies. France rhymes with underpants. General wussiness characterized by thinking that dress pants and working out are not mutually exclusive.
2. Associate Supreme Court Justice – You make the supreme law of the land and are accountable to nobody unless you’re a bad boy and engage in bad “Behaviour.” The pay is quite good - $208,100 last year. Plus, each judge gets a fleet of clerks to do all the “work” parts of the work - the research, writing, and cite-checking. All you do is put on a black robe and play God for nine months out of the year. The other three months you spend ghost-writing your next biography, brow-beating little people asking impertinent questions, and receiving honoraria ($$) from institutions you’ve never heard of before.
The rub: Only 8 openings. Odds favor old white men.
1. Professional basketball player – You travel the United States (or if you aren’t that good, Europe or Russia or Israel) playing a game for a boat-load of money. And once you sign your name to the contract, you get your money regardless of performance or drug addiction. Sure, the travel might wear you down, but your daily routine consists of the following during the season.
9:00 – 9:30 – Wake up; check text messages from groupies; tell your posse to arrange something for the evening.
9:30 – 11:30 – Drive your Escalade (on 22s of course) to the arena for shoot-around. Shoot-around.
11:30 – 1:00 – Drive Escalade home and take afternoon nap. Eat 5 chicken breasts prepared by professional chef.
1:00 – 2:00 – Nap.
2:00 – 3:30 – Watch Scarface for the 3rd time this week. Wish you owned a tiger.
3:30 – 6 – Drive NSX to arena. Get leg massage for sore hamstrings.
6:00 – 8:00 – Play game. Do the Sam Cassell dance after hitting game winning 3.
8:00 – 12:00 - ??????
12:30 – 1:30 – PROFIT
The rub: Short career. Child support. Microfracture surgery. Requirement of getting 12-15 asinine tattoos.

Free Donuts, Candy from Westlaw in Hunton-Williams

mmmmmmmmmm

Saturday, February 07, 2009

We'll Return to our Regularly Scheduled Programming Soon . . .

* * JUMP TO CAMPAIGN PLATFORM * *

Don't forget, the election is Monday & Tuesday, 9-4 in Hunton Williams Hall. Expect a last, desperate, furious plea for more votes via the interwebs / me knocking on doors in Ivy Gardens before then.

In the meantime, here's a bit about what it takes to be middle class in New York City that all you people lucky enough to have jobs there may enjoy.

Our plan: Hang around NYU / Columbia / Fordham Law Schools, show up at speakers / events with a camera under the guise of being a reporter for the law school newspaper, eat the free food - - -> PROFIT? O wait, those schools don't * have * law school newspapers, you say? Oh wells.

Anyway, we're busy at campaign fundraisers (wooing super delegates) all week, but at least we have termporarily - along with 63 others - emerged from moot-court-hell. 1Ls: Moot-court-hell is almost as bad as the journal tryout hell that you will soon experience. You've been warned.

Finally, it looks like we have at least one and possibly more new writers joining us in the near future. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Election Fan Mail

* * JUMP TO CAMPAIGN PLATFORM * *

Occasionally we get words of encouragement:
Dear Rule 12 f / andy / whatever you call yourself now,
Thank you for running SBA President - you bring attention to some important issues, however, I feel your candidacy has resulted in a steady decline in the quality and quantity of UVA Law Blog posts. Are you even * planning * to cover callbacks from 1L OGIs??? Please hurry up and lose so you can get back to running the blog.

Thanks!
Negative. If our defeat is certain, we'll be sure to make it a drawn out process. And did we mention we're looking for new writers? Calling all 1Ls . . . .

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Admin-rolled?

We're so busy electioneering that we don't have as much time for our usual "job."  Thankfully, tipsters have taken up the slack, and found this gem from the course evaluations for administrative law that went up yesterday:
Pretty solid class. Material was a bit obtuse, put seem to have come together when I outlined. [Prof] seems to enjoy teaching, and does a good job of presenting the material. PPTs increased the organization. Only gripe was the participation system. I talked only a few times in class, so not sure how my grade will be impacted. Class was dominated by 4 or 5 gunners, which got lame in a hurry. I would do away with the 30% grading requirement - students will still seek to participate regardless.
I also wish we discussed this topic of admin law a little more in-depth:
We too never wanted to give up Admin Law.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be a "surprise" no-computer class, so giving it up on the first day was a necessity.