Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Midsummers Night's Update; Or, The Time Has Come to Talk of Many Things

But wait a bit before we have our chat - - - We hope everything is going well out there; for those at firms we hope that you've had some time away from the office to enjoy your perspective cities and are getting to do some substantive work as well, for those do-gooders at public interest places we hope that all of you have a credible story or too tell your kids or some girl at Biltmore about how you "saved the world" last July, and for those of you researching or doing whatever else in Charlottesville this summer, we hope that you have gotten to experience the beauty of the city free of petulant college students wearing birkenstocks and blasting Dave Matthews Band 24-7 complaining about how awful it is that their sociology final in three days is worth 20% of their grade and hoping they can get into a law school where they will be guaranteed to to make 200k/year without doing any work. . . . Speaking of which . . .

For those participating in OGI, aim to project more confidence than this.

. . . As the time to return to school approaches, we hope to fire things up at here at UVA Law Blog - slowly. We've got all sorts of good stuff planned: some guest posts, some original in depth investigative reporting,some posts designed merely to take up space, and of course full-on coverage of the all-important O-G-I's. Before you class-of-2010-er's get overwhelmed by the number of employers interviewing third-years, and before the class-of-2009 is scrambling to figure out how to pronounce "Fried Frank", "Cravath", and "Debevoise", you might want to check out our aggregate coverage from last year:


Fashion Advice
Random OGI Advice (From Other People)
Firm Receptions

The Real Deal

Poll: How's it Going Out There?
OGI, Callbacks, et. al., Make Me a Worse Person (Blame FFJ for the improper use of "et. al.")
How Interviewing for BIGLAW is Just Like DATING
J'Accuse!: Law School, Weekly, Paint Too Rosy an OGI Picture?
The Rescinded Offer Situation, Or, Pondering Whether the NALP Rules Still Apply ITE
What OGI Problems, Part II: Three Jobless 2Ls
What OGI Problems, Part III: Prescreening
About 10 % . . .
Into the Labryinth: Va. L. Wkly. Discusses Hiring, PILA Grants
Liveblog: SBA Town Hall Meeting on Changes to OGI

We'll have some updated advice soon. Soon being relative. In the mean time sit back, enjoy the summer, and try not to forget about us when August rolls around. The pieces of may have changed (i.e. capitalism may have failed us all and as such firm hiring may be dramatically reduced, unfortunately) but the game is the same: A Always B Be C Closing . . . er, we mean, present yourself and your credentials smartly, be professional, and be diligent - no one ever got a job offer by not working and not hustling.

Here's some hints that some people older and wiser than I asked me to pass on,(yes, it's an amalgamation, aren't blogs great?), while you're waiting for the action to start: it applies to 2Ls especially but 3Ls as well:
EITE you * cannot * rely on O[G]I alone to get a job, period. What I mean is, you have to come out of the gate hustling and swinging. Work the connections you have from day one (i.e., pass that resume around to your father's bidness contacts). Start your mass-mail from day one - that means in mid-August because waiting until you've heard back from all your OGI interviews is just too late - it's like if Michael Phelps doggy-paddled for the first half the race and still expected to pull a gold. And at least half of you are at the median or below - which is fine, don't get me wrong - but it just means you're no Michael Phelps and shouldn't expect to doggy-paddle your way to anything; you're going to have to swim fast and hard and not look back.

Speaking of interviews, bid intelligently on them. Don't waste more than a few bids on firms that have hiring criteria way above what you can bring to the table (and what your career services puts out might not be the best indicator of this - what you need to do is go and talk to the people who actually summered there and see what their credentials were - if it turns out that most of the people there were in the top 10% of the class then chances are you're not going to get a job there - especially in this economy - unless you were in the top 10% as well, even if you do get an interview). At the same time, don't interview in more than 1 or 2 geographic areas if you can; you'll look unfocused and uncommitted. Be sure to work any regional connections you might have, and if you don't have any, apply to markets where the summer classes tend to be larger (think New York City).
Also, I might add somewhat randomly, Career Services suggested in some of its literature last year that some people need not take all 25 of their possible interviews even if they get them. While that may have been true in year's past, it's not true now: 2Ls, unless you graded on to Va. L. Rev. with room to spare take every interview up to the maximum allow and do your best on each one. Worry about turning down callbacks AFTER you get some solid offers.

Finally, you go to the University of Virginia. Don't forget that, it's probably the most valuable thing you bring to the table.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The (Un)Coolest 1L We Never Got to Meet, Or, How Marcus Epstein Became the new Chen Zhi-zhong

Remember Chen Zhizhong? The "coolest 1L" we never got to meet turned out to be - allegedly and tertiarily - involved in a massive money laundering scheme with his father, at the the time the President of the Republic of China. When a subpoena caused him to miss 1L orientation, UVA pulled the plug on his student status, and he never took a single class at the Law School.

Well, he made it further than Marcus Epstein, whom wikipedia describes as "an American writer-journalist and paleoconservative political activist." Epstein is the director of the TeamAmerica PAC, an organization founded by super-conservatives Tom Tancredo and Bay Buchanon that is "committed to enforcing our laws and securing our borders."

Alright, I'll assume everyone has been reading the AboveTheLaw coverage of this (cue-the-rule-12-f-you're-so-behind-the-curve-comments - - - but it's SUMMER after all), but in case not we'll summarize, in four easy steps:

(1) Epstein is makes some offensive statements here and there. ATL's Ellie Mystal does a good job of compiling them; among the highlights:
  • On a trip to Africa he snaps a picture with some baboons, and captions it "mixing with the locals." [ATL]
  • Likened "diversity" to a group of Santeria practicers violently assaulting mournerors a funeral home. [ - basically a racist, anti-hispanic website]
  • In the same article, said the following: "Diversity can be good in moderation—if what is being brought in is desirable. Most Americans don’t mind a little ethnic food, some Asian math whizzes, or a few Mariachi dancers—as long as these trends do not overwhelm the dominant culture."
  • Took the above picture (Epstein's in the middle) with the flag of a Flemmish "nationalist" party when he started an organization to "preserve Western culture"
  • There's some more of that on the website, and there's also a lot of genuine, mainstream Republican views
(2) On July 7, 2007, Epstein gets drunk, calls a black women he doesn't know in a Georgetown bar the n-word, and hits her in the head. For a bit of "context", Bay Buchanon has jumped to his defense. Epstein pleads guilty to what has been classified as a hate crime. Sentencing pending. In detail:

It seems that during the early evening hours of July 7, 2007, Epstein was walking near the intersection of Jefferson and M Street Northwest, in Washington, D.C., in a mild to severe state of intoxication. A friend of his later told the Secret Service that Epstein had been drinking. Apparently, Epstein was making offensive comments about non-whites, and decided to express himself more dramatically by calling an African-American woman passing by a “Nigger” and then attempted to karate chop her in the head. He was briefly detained by the woman’s husband, but escaped, only to be taken into custody minutes later by a Secret Service officer who witnessed the altercation.

All of the above details are taken from District of Columbia’s Superior Court records, which were obtained by the anti-racist group, One People’s Project. They show that Epstein, 25, has pleaded guilty to simple assault charges stemming from the incident and must appear on July 8 for sentencing. He faces a maximum punishment of 180 days in jail and a $1000 fine. He’s under a restraining order to stay away from the couple involved, has agreed to seek mental health treatment, complete an alcohol treatment program, write a letter of apology to the victim and donate $1000 to the United Negro College Fund.

(3) Epstein applies to and gets accepted to UVA Law, in the most competitive applicaiton season ever.

(4) AboveTheLaw "breaks" (well not really) the story - shortly thereafter, it appears that UVA rescinds his acceptance. Did he lie on his application about being convicted of a crime, or does UVA just not want to deal with the controversy? Bay Buchanon says that ATL "lynched-mobbed" Epstein; Mystal says Epstien has no one to blame but himself.

So another students gets embroiled in criminal controversy and bites the dust under questionable/secretive circumstances. What does everyone think? Did the schoold do the right thing here? What * did * the school do, anyway? If he really did lie on his application, that's legit, but what if he disclosed the "incident" and the school tossed him because of the ensuing controversy. Near as I can tell, the school has been mum about this . . . and there's no flutter of Taiwanese journalists on North Grounds this time to get to try to get the journalistic wheels turning.

We just wonder what he would have thought of Williams v. Walker-Thomas . . .

(EDIT: All that said, UVA Law Blog / the Virginia Law Weekly need writers, and if there's one thing Epistein does, it's write. So that's a loss. Epstein, if you're reading this, and you want to respond / address the UVA Law community, let us know.)

Chen Zhi-Zhong: The Coolest 1L We Never Got To Meet