Monday, August 31, 2009

Milan Indian Cuisine Reviewed

Because I heard so much clamoring (in my head) for the return of our reviews, I’ve decided to continue reviewing all-you-can-eat buffets in Charlottesville this fall. Even if you’re just here checking up on which firms have made callbacks, you can still learn something about the world you inhabit. And if any of my columns happen to be humorous at times, that’s not bad either because nothing funny is happening in the legal job market world. Anyhoo, for our first trip as 3Ls (!), Justincredible and Rhino and I took a quick lunch break from our crushing Friday class schedule (read: no class) to check out Milan, easily Charlottesville’s most or second most famous Indian buffet. It sits up 29 from Barracks Road Shopping Center across from the bigger Kroger 1 mile down from the Barracks Kroger.


Fairly somber. Many of the customers were eating with familiars from work or family – the kinds of people you can eat with and not feel the need to fill awkward silences or, indeed, any silence. The cloth tablecloths and napkins set up a nice contrast with the cafeteria-style warmers on which food sat. As an aside, has anyone else noticed that when Chinese (or Indian or Thai) people eat at a Chinese (or Indian or Thai) restaurant, they’re not eating what the Americans are eating? They always get about 15 bowls of some stuff you’ve never even seen before. What, the fried bastardized versions of your own cuisine aren't good enough for you?

Grade - B


Not terrible. Milan had some nice frame murals and other wall decorating art purporting to be Indian. In the finest of American attitudes towards other cultures, I accept the restaurant’s representations at face value and assume it was beautiful Indian art. Rhino: Impressively textured ceiling. These pictured statues guarded a bowl of mints and a bowl of green potpourri which Justincredible sampled and reported tasted like potpourri. In a related subject, Justincredible is a moron.

Grade - B


Fair. A soda order got me exactly one Coke – I wish I’d known this ahead of time, because I sucked that b**** down within 5 minutes of getting seated. It sat on our table sadly waiting for a refill for the entire meal. If I ran Milan I’d be letting customers get their own drinks from a soda fountain – surely all-you-can-drink soda is cheaper than all-you-can-eat chicken. Or I’d take away used glasses instead of letting it taunt me with an anachronistic store policy about refills. On the plus side for Milan, water refills came quickly. Also, evidently it kills the server staff to smile on the job, but I didn’t see any servers die on duty.

Grade – B-


Continuing an unsurprising theme from previous all-you-can-eat buffets in the 22903, the food was the best part. Milan offered a limited selection of entrée items but they were nearly spectacular. The vegetable fritters (my translation) (Rhino: aka “the poor man's smosas”) were delicious, especially with the Indian sweet and sour sauce . The cheese cubes in an orange sauce and its close cousin, chicken in an orange sauce, were excellent. The beef with veggies (also adapted translation) was also quite good. The naan (flat bread) was excellent and made a nice spoon/shovel for aid in consuming the other food. Rhino: Their tactic of smaller containers and constant refills (versus the large tub of food favored by American buffets) was outstanding for ensuring freshness.

Grade – A

Price – $10 ($8 without drink)

Overall Grade – B+

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Everybody Dance Now!

UVA Law Blog just got its 100,000th hit. Sure, about 90% of those people are from the same small group of 2Ls checking to see if their firm has made a callback, but . . . beggers can't be choosers. This thing has really come along. Too bad we're (all) graduating this year.

Friday, August 28, 2009

LIVEBLOG: Callbacks Talk (Redux)

Background: Career Services is going to lay some wisdom down on how to ace your callbacks. WB 154 is about 3/4 full. A few 2Ls have told us they have class (in more ways than one) - but lucky for them UVA Law Blog is on the case. I stand out here, the old man that I am.

12.04: And we are off - a PILA rep is here, explaining how you can stay with family and friends and have your law firm donate money to PILA to fund their grants.'

12.07: Donovan: "We want every callback to magical - and make the process as least stressful as possible." The format will be some common questions, and then some answers.

12.08: Donovan: "Taking notes is fine, but don't do anything that detracts form the interview."

Here's the rundown, according to the Dean - you'll typically start in morning. And - for the love G-d - think about what you are taking with you. You don't want to be carrying around that bottle of water all day to the interviews...

Q: Are students disadvantged by waiting to schedule a callback?
A: YES. Better early than later. Donovan doesn't think that firms will break the 45-day NALP rule, but "If there's ever a year where a firm would be tempted NOT to honor the guidelines, this would be it." Don't delay the decision process, and rest on the fact that you have 45 days.

Q: How many callbacks on a given trip?
A: (Lawson) Try to do one a day if you can, but if you want to combine two in one day, you can - just give yourself enough time to get from point A to point B. And be sure to let the recruiting coordinator know if you're doing two callbacks in one day so oyu can get out of ther eon time.

(Donovan) "Know yourself - two of these in a day is an endurance contest."

Q: Who will I meet?
A: (Donovan) Lots of people - everyone you talk to: the recruiter, the associates, the name partner - everything will play a role in you getting an offer. (Lawson) There could be some last minute changes

Q: What should you have with you?
A: (Lawson) "Extra copies of your resume, transcript, writing sample, and references. Chances arethe firm will have these things," but it's better safe than sorry.

Q: How should I prepare?
A: (Lawson) Do more research than you would than for a would for a screening interview. (Donovan). "Most of the things that you vitally want to know - financial health of the firm, are you actually going to have a summer program, work-life balance - are best saved until after you have an offer."

Questions about practice areas and sub-practice areas - ask questions that "show foresight and underscore the progressions your going to go through as an attorney."

(Lawson) "Anything that is on the NALP-form - such as compensation or billable hours requirement - is off the table."

(Donovan) "Anything that is on your resume that could be a springboard to a legal discussion, be ready to talk about it."

Q: If you have no ties to the area, what do you do?
A: (Lawson) "Think about how you can articulate your ties to the area - perhaps by linking to the practice area or some other aspect of the firm. . . but don't over-exagerrate or misrepresent facts that are not there. You also want to stay away from the 'boyfriend or girlfriend is in the area' - that sounds bad." A response like that is just not good enough.

Q: Splitting summers - talk about it at callbacks?
A: (Donovan) Probably not - better to get the offers first, and then try to negotiate. "In a year like this I would think about splitting very very carefully - it would be dangerous to do in a year like this when there are going to be more competition for fewer spots."

Q: How soon after callback is offer extended?
A: (Lawson) Depends on the firm . . . some firms will do it fast, some will wait until they have seen everyone from UVA. The firm should give you some indication at the callback; if not, it's fine to follow up with a phone call.

Q: What's the likelihood a callback = offer?
A: (Donovan). "Before last year, about 60% of callbacks converted into offers, and our sense is that UVA did a little bit better than that. Last year it was 49%." Of course last year was a weird one as financial institutions failed during the middle of callback season. "If I were a rational law firm this year, I would cut back the number of callbacks I would do, which would increase the ratio. Is that what's going to happen? Who knows . . . I would be cautious about canceling callbacks in this particular year."

(Lawson) "If you know that you're never going to work at this firm - don't go, cancel the callback . . . it will help your classmates."

Q: Thank you notes?
A: If you're going to do them, you should do them to pretty much everyone you touch - and that includes the recruiter." Keep them short, i.e. thanks for meeting with me, very excited about the prospect for working with [the firm]. "They have to be perfect - make sure the person's name is perfect, the firm name is perfect." Email is fine - just do it where it would be least likely to make a mistake?

Q: How do I express enthusiasm?
A:(Donovan) Very carefully - don't go around telling every firm it's your first choice, but act interested. (Lawson) Be yourself, know yourself. "Incorporate your talking points and themes, but don't do it at the expenses of being a robot . . . they're looking for someone who they can spend a night with in the Newark Airport . . ."

And now, some questions from the audience . ..

Q: "What about those of us who are not sitting on a plethora of callbacks?"
A: (Donovan) "Be an expert on the firms where you do have callbacks." (Lawson) "Don't panic if you don't have callbacks - firms may be waiting this year - some firms have said they are not extending callbacks until after labour day." (Donovan) "If you are in extreme anxiety about the process, come talk to us . . we'll talk about where we can go from here. We'll talk about what else we can do to address this."

Q: When should you follow up if you don't hear after a callback?
A: (Donovan) "I think a week to ten days . . . say something short to let them know that you're still out there, and you're still interested."

Donovan and Lawson thank everyone for coming.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday, Bloody Thursday

We poured out some beer on the Spies Garden lawn just now.

A few articles on Above the Law - and talks with a few classmates - confirm that this past week has been a particularly bad one for 3L's who spent their summer at a firm and were waiting to hear back from them.

Many 3Ls got the "thanks-but-no-thanks" call this week (and some - as our poll reported - received such notifications much earlier). We know that the Law Weekly is doing some in depth coverage on this and will be able to get some of the specifics. In the meantime, feel free to use this post to share your thoughts / anger / sympathy on the subject.

Tomorrow, Career Services is having a talk (12PM, WB 154) on how to ace your callbacks. Certainly a useful topic for those who are lucky enough to have them. We hope that Career Services will hold a session to help the many, many 3Ls who were no-offered by their summer firm - or at least pour out a large 40 in Slaughter for the fallen.

One for the 3L's

Parking Update - The Blues are Back, and More

Update #1: In a previous post we noted that the map linked to (lawweb) by an email announcing the parking lottery indicated that the lot by the park was ALL D3 classes. But now, a few tipsters have noted, the map on the same link has changed - there IS a blue lot down by the park, and (we believe) the entire lot down there changes to Blue after 3.30 PM.

Is this an example of a dogged and cantankerous media helping the powers that be set the record straight - yes, almost certainly, yes! Remember, the deadline to fork over your money sign up for the parking lottery is Friday, August 28th!

Update #2: Are 1Ls from IVY GARDENS parking in D3 - one tipster (a third-year, no less!) thinks so, and he's angry about it:
[T]he [expletive] parking lot was overful today because all the 1L's from Ivy are driving to school. My [expletive] had to park at JPJ and now has to vacate by 5:30 PM for a [expletive] Keith Urban concert.
Enjoy it now, you 1Ls who are too lazy to walk for ten minutes or bike for two - because in two weeks, the Kia Sportage your parents bought you will get towed (seriously) from D3 if you leave it there.

Parking at UVA Law - The Third Rail (And some confusion about which lots are where)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Aggressive Fox" Reported Near UVA

At first we thought this was like a collegehumor / craigslist personal / something else meme.

You know like - she's really attractive AND she's aggressive, so watch out, unsuspecting gentlemen of the law school.

Lamentably, this fox is not the aggressive one out for which we must watch

Sadly, not the case.

Subject: SAFETY NOTICE: Aggressive Fox Reported in University Area
Dear U.Va. student:

Please be aware that we have received reports from the Charlottesville Police Department of a fox acting aggressively in the Lambeth Field, Rugby Road and University Circle areas. Please avoid these areas if possible. Police advise that if you see the fox do not approach the animal but call 911 and give the operator your exact location. Humane traps have been set up to catch the fox and allow for routine tests to check the health of the animal.

Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Lampkin approved distribution of this message.
Also, if you're at all interested in public interest, PILA kickoff at 5.15 in Caplin Pavillion. We heard they are giving out grants at the event.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NYTimes Piece on Law Firm Hiring at Elite Schools

The NYTimes has a piece tomorrow titled "Downturn Dims Prospects Even at Top Schools". It doesn't say much that astute students on the prowl for jobs don't already know, but it's still worth a read. Part of the piece profiles two law students, one at Penn and the other at N.Y.U., who are trying to score a job working at a large firm. As the title suggests, it's not exactly for the faint of heart:

After he lost his job as a television reporter two years ago, Derek Fanciullo considered law school, thinking it was a historically sure bet. He took out “a ferocious amount of debt,” he said — $210,000, to be exact — and enrolled last September in the School of Law at New York University.

“It was thought to be this green pasture of stability, a more comfortable life,” said Mr. Fanciullo, who had heard that 90 percent of N.Y.U. law graduates land jobs at firms, and counted on that to repay his loans. “It was almost written in stone that you’ll end up in a law firm, almost like a birthright.”

With the cost of law school skyrocketing over the years, the implicit arrangement between students and the most expensive and prestigious schools has only strengthened: the student takes on hefty debt to pay tuition, and the school issues the golden ticket to a job at a high-paying firm — if that’s what the student wants.

. . .

On a recent Friday afternoon, Mr. Fanciullo sat at home waiting anxiously for his first callback after four days of interviews. Firms customarily called within 48 hours, he explained.

“You almost bank on the big firms hiring you because they’re really the only ones who can help you pay your debt,” he said, his mind already skipping forward to a situation he didn’t choose to articulate. “Quite frankly it would be an absolute disaster. I don’t know what I’d do.”

So, uh, maybe since the schools can't issue a "golden ticket" anymore, they should drop that hefty tuition like it's hot. Or, at least educate future generations of students that their chances of landing an six-figure job are not as high . . . Also, what do we think about this "customarily called within 48 hours" language? Some firms take much longer, and sometimes firms put candidates on "hold", waiting to see if the people to whom they have originally offered callbacks take them (cue the "who in their right mind would turn down a callback in this economy" meme?)

8月25日隨即的事情: School's In, and football starts soon!

Dear the University of Virginia Football Program: Thank you for treating us to an opening game of unadulterated slaughter. Last year, Virginia opened its season against the University of Southern California Trojans. The downside to this, of course, is that Trojans fans are almost universially boorish and inconsiderate philistines. To wit, when my friends and I went out to Biltmore that night a group of drunken Southern Californians clad in red and gold tried to start a fight with us - for literally no reason - by hurling a half full bottle of Coors light at us, screaming "Trojans Rule!!1111!!". The upside was that scheduling such a match - as remote as the prospects for victory may have been - at least showed some major chutzpah. Just as 300 Spartans prepared to face off against 10,000 Persians so too did the Cavaliers mount up at Scott stadium and make a dignified-if-futile stand against the Trojans (ah - - mixed metaphor alert). Anyway, guys at my high school used to get blown out by Pac-10 teams all the time, it was no big deal - and at least Coach Groh & co. tried to rise to the challenge - albeit in a thoroughly unimaginative way.

Anyway, not this year: instead, we will watch the Cavaliers face off against the William & Mary Tribe. Here are some facts about William & Mary football:
  • They are a Football Championship Conference aka Division I-AA team. This makes them near and dear to UVA Law Blog's collective hearts, as they play in the same division as many academically advanced but athletically not-so-much institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania.
  • The team does not have its own wikipedia page.
  • The team used to be called "The Indians", but now are called "The Tribe." As there is no mascot, I wonder what the jumbotron animation will have at the beginning of the game; while it's appropriate to have CavMan fighting a Trojan or a Turkey, will it fly to have him going after an Powhatan Indian, or would that hit too close to home?
  • The Tribe did not make the FCS playoffs last year; in fact, they missed the playoffs when they lost to the University of Richmond Spiders in a nail-biter. The Spiders - who had been defeated 16-0 in another lets-beat-up-on-some-cupcakes game at Scott Stadium early in the 2008 season went on to win the FCS championship that year. Capital!
  • If the Tribe does manage to win, wouldn't it be (well, almost) an Appalachian State-level of upset?
So, let us all agree that the UVA football program deserves to be made the subject of ridicule for choosing such a ridiculously easy opponent for their opening match. However, the rest of the schedule - particularly the home games - is respectable:

That includes several teams who ranked last year, and gives us home games against Boston College, TCU, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech. So maybe we shouldn't complain too much - - - but then, what would we blog about?

2L and 3Ls - Get your commercial outlines from PILA today. Or pay 3 times as much for them at the bookstore. The choice is yours, really.

Inglorious Basterds (or however you spell it) is a fantastic film. If you were planning on skipping your first day of classes to catch a matinee (and a few 3Ls must be), this is a great choice. I'll save you a pedantic review by just telling you all to go see the movie, as it is Quentin Tarantino's best.

There are BIG CHANGES afoot at Harris Teeter with regards to their wunderbahr 5% student discount. Here's the deal. Previously at Harris Teeter - possibly the greatest non-Rochester based grocery store ever - you just showed up, went through the self-checkout (it's fastest!), swiped your VIC ("Very Important Customer") and then just showed the guy their your student ID. Now they've streamlined the whole process - you'll just have to swipe your VIC card, and BAM! - you'll get the discount.

But you have to calibrate your card with your student ID with customer services, which can take up to seven days. So y'all may want to do this before you make any major purchases, to take advantage of the five percent discount.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We, for one, were running out of reasons not to go to class

Does this mean that there will be soap in the Scott Commons bathroom? One can only hope . . . not there is any connection between swine flu and sanitation . . . :
This is to alert you that a probable case of H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu) has been reported in the Law School. Please take appropriate precautions, such as hand washing and frequent use of hand sanitizers to protect yourself against the spread of the virus and plan to get the flu vaccine when available probably in early November. To the students: if you show signs of illness please go to Student Health as soon as possible.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Parking at UVA Law: The Third Rail? (Also, some confusion about which lots are where)

The other day we were browsing the Law Weekly archives in SL 279 . . . they go way back, all the way to 1948. Things come and go, and people are complaining about a variety of things: (in no particular order): race-relations, the Vietnam war, a professor's controversial remarks, the grading policy, the Korean war, a professor's controversial remarks, the Persian Gulf war and so on, but within this ebb & flow - one thing seems the same: everyone seems to complain about the student parking situation.

Here's the deal - there are a limited number - approximately 390 - spots available in the "D3" lot, which is near the law school, and has an overflow down by the park. This similar to last year (except we're not sure about the number), but there seems to have been one big change, according to the email that was sent out to students a few days ago:

It looks like that the lot by the Park (where the softball and soccer fields are) has become an all D3 lot. But previously this lot was split between "D3" (which cost $351.00 - yeesh!) and "Blue" passes (a paltry $144.00!). If this the case, it would be a big change, because the Blue passes would be relegated to parking by John Paul Jones arena, which is a 0.8 mile walk from the law school. At which point, we don't even know if it's worth it to try to buy a parking pass: better off taking your chances trying to find parking on Arlington Blvd. (if you're lucky - come early!) or on Milmont St. (which is still a shorter walk - only 0.4 miles!).

But is this really what's happening? A map from the parking and transportation department (pdf) indicates that half of the lot is still Blue, with the other half D3. If so, then the Blue pass - at less than half the cost of the D3 pass - may still be a good buy.

Anyway, whatever the situation is, we actually think it's good that passes are so expensive and hard to come by. People should be encouraged to

(1) Live close to the Law School and walk (it's better for the environment, is good exercise, and reduces our dependence on foreign oil)
(2) Ride a bike to school (") (granted this has caused a lot of controversy)*
(3) Carpool (all of the above, except for the exercise part). The parking office offers this option, at the same rate as an individual pass!

If you want to live far away from school, and drive there and not carpool, that's fine - but since no one is forcing to you, you should expect to pay something for that privilege given that there is now and always will be a paucity of spaces. The only alternative - building a garage like Darden has would be prohibitively expensive and likely require (cue ominous music) an increase in tuition!

*We also think that should be a pass for people who bike that allows them to drive one or two days a month in extreme weather situations, so you don't arrive to class soaked / covered with snow.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Same As It Ever Was: Orientation, 2k9!

How crazy would you have to be to start law school now, with tuition at record highs and job prospects at record lows?

Crazy like a fox - ladies & gentlemen, the most qualified class ever in the history of the Commonwealth has entered the building. Everybody dance now!

We wandered around grounds for a few minutes today and snapped some photos, near as we can tell, here are some things that remain the same.

(1) The lunch is still catered by Padow's in those cute brown boxes. Don't get used to that free lunch, because the cafeteria food will cost over three times as much.

Mmmm Padows catered lunch in Spies Garden on a nice day. . . probably the best part of orientation - and totally needed after that "What will you bring to the island game"

(2) 1Ls still are dissapointed that the Turkey runs out too fast, though

(3) The PA shirts - green with white lettering - look suspiciously like the the libel show shirts. Flattery . . . or copy-wrong?

(4) The PAs are all cooler than you - and, chances are, smarter, handsomer, more athletic, and even nicer than you. If you applied for PA, and didn't get it, it's probably because you were not good enough in one or more of those categories. No, you can't talk to the 1Ls this week - that's their job. They might save you some scraps from Monday nights BBQ if you hang out by the garbage cans in Spies Garden, though.

(5) The orientation packets still come in the same white-and-light-blue UVA Law folders that they did last year.

(6) 1Ls are still amazed at how much their books cost at courts and commons. Yet they all still fork over the 650 dollars, rather than try to find them used online (or at PILA) for half the cost (or even less!)
Woo standing in line! That's half the fun . . .

(7) We still managed to slur my speech, forget names, and make various other faux pas with everyone I bumped into for the first time since named. We're sorry. But at least we're back in Charlottesville!!

(8) People are still stressed out about not getting their reading done for their first torts class.

(9) Sections are having their elections . . . choose your softball captains wisely. And don't forget to believe everything your PILA rep tells you without question.

(10) We still need moar writers. If any 1L (or 2L or 3L) with blogging-experience or merely-blogging interest wants to become a part of this, shoot us an email. Seriously, we'll be retired before you all know it . . .

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Advertising Policy

We hope that our product placement can be just as seemeless
Hello all,

This probably isn't of interest to most of you, but we just thought that we would clarify our advertisement policy - since many of you have noticed that ads have, in fact, popped up on this site. Here are the main points -

1. Running this site costs money. Not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, but then again, we are all students here, so even a little bit of money means something, EITE.

2. The money received from ads will go first and foremost to the operation and development of this site. That includes not only the hosting costs, but also other costs associated with the site ("Robert S." is still waiting on his DTD prize money!)

3. Any excess money will be donated to charity. UVA Law Blog is here to serve the community, not make a profit.

4. No advertiser will have any control over our content, reporting, opinion, etc

Hope that makes sense, please address any concerns in the comments section, or by sending us an email. Thanks!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Don't Forget: Add/Drop Today @ Noon EST

Includes JTerm Courses. In theory.

Monday, August 10, 2009

One for the 3Ls

By request:

OGIs start this week - which historically is the 2L's time to shine. But they've had a chance to vet their anxieties, and no doubt we will return to their travails.

This post is for the 3Ls. OGIs last year were no cakewalk, either. As has been well documented, a lot of students wanted jobs with law firms, and didn't get them.

But for (very fortunate) students who got an offer, that was just the beginning. Many (if not most) had the lengths of their programs shortened, their pay cut, or both. No matter, because most of these people counted themselves lucky just be working for a firm and drawing any kind of pay at all.

It's tough for veterans to get back in the game, but it's not impossible

Then, the main problem became actually getting the offer. In past years, firms gave offer rates at or near 100% (check the nalpdirectory for reported offer rates). Last year, of course, that began to change: some firms only gave half of their summers offers of fulltime employment, and this year, many predicted that things were going to be much worse. (But again, at least these people got paid a princely some for their summer work - many students went completely pro bono, as once-ample funding for public interest work was more difficult to come by this year).

What happened? At least some firms continued to have offer rates at or close to 100%. But certainly not all of them. Indeed, many firms are waiting until Labor Day or even later to tell the 2Ls who spent the summer with them whether or not they will have a place there at (or, in reality, some months or even a year after) graduation.

Another interesting EITE-twist is that in previous years some law firms used to give out what were called "soft" or "cold" offers. Essentially, the firm would say something like, "We really don't think this is the right place for you, but for purposes of finding a job, you can say that we gave you an offer." The problem is - ITE - would other employers take serious the idea that a third year student who actually has an offer from a law firm wouldn't take it? (Or, alternatively, would the firm be afraid that the student might actually try to accept the cold/soft offer for lack of better options?) On the other hand, a cold offer is better than nothing, and even if a firm gives you a flat out "no", we have to believe that ITE people would understand that it is because of, well, ITE, rather than you being a total screwup.

This of course will create a bit of a bottleneck at OGIs. Many 3Ls are interviewing - to the extent that they could get interviews - because they are waiting to hear back from their 2L firm. Hard to fault anyone there. Of course, the 3L OGI interview market has never been particuarly robust, and at least one commenter who is (masquarading as) coming to OGI thinks this year will be much worse:
First, we weren't making any 3L offers last year. Nothing will change this year. Sorry, sort of. How'd you manage not to have a job after 2L summer??

Second, this 50/50 lottery thing is a waste of our time. No, your 3.whatever GPA isn't going to be overcome by your personality/ethnicity/gender/orientation/work experience/undergrad prestige or GPA. We always have a pretty hard cut off, and this year it is looking a lot more like the Berlin wall than just a suggestion from the hiring partners back in the office.

So, all this expanded lottery system means that 50% of the time, we'll have to just sit there for 15-20 minutes, try to keep it moving, and maybe give you tips about how to get a job at another firm. On the plus side, some of y'all are fun to talk to (much better than HLS), which makes it better than our average day at work. Doesn't mean you get one of our limited call back slots, but we will enjoy your company.

Third, as just noted, call backs will be fewer and further between--and your chance to get an offer before the class fills up will be gone by mid September. Those of you good enough and/or lucky enough to get a call back should be all over it like a PA on a pair of drunk 1L twins.

Finally, good luck. "Relax, this is UVa and we're all getting jobs" was three years ago.
3Ls, how's it going? Please take our poll, and share you experiences in the comments, anonymously if you wish.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Barracks Lunch Options Finally On the RISE! (And Other Charlottesville Restaurant News…)

Dedicated summer followers of Charlottesville's fine online blogs and newspapers may be aware of several exciting restaurant developments around the town. Foremost among these (where law students are concerned, in any event…) is Rise PizzaWorks, opening on Barracks Road in September, according to an interview with the owners in C-ville. The concept? Apparently it's Chipotle does pizza… Pick your crust, your cheese, your sauce, and your toppings, and enjoy your pizza your way.

Those who frequent Barracks Shopping Center will be painfully aware of the dearth of options in the area for a decent slice, where "dearth" can be read to mean "no options at all unless buying a Red Baron and heating it up in the microwave at the Harris Teeter" counts. For those who have been pining for a slice of thin-crust pesto pizza with broccoli, ricotta, garlic, and Italian sausage, there just might be great things ahead?

And for your thoughtful consideration – Semolina Pizza too? Everyone loves pizza... But how many high concept fru-fru pizza joints can Charlottesville sustain?

In other exciting restaurant news – carts are making an enormous comeback. Now on the downtown mall there is both a burrito cart and a hot dog cart. The good news – hot dogs and burritos are now being sold out of carts on the downtown mall. That's very nice. Cville-ians have been needing something to wash their dumplings down with! The bad news? For those UVA Law students who will never have jobs, one more door has just been slammed closed in your face. Looks like the "Roving Burrito Vendor" niche is filled for the time being. All you can do is hope for the best… If the ventures are successful and they decide to expand, perhaps they will attend OGI next year, thereby doubling the interviewing pool…

And last last last, for those who care neither for Barracks nor the Downtown Mall, but live only for The Corner, Charlottesville offers you… CANTINA Open til 2am Monday through Thursday and 4 am on the weekends.

Rumors persist about the transformation of the building-formerly-known-as-Zydeco. Word on the street right now is sushi. When we know, you'll know.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Living Off Student Loans: Far Preferable to This

First, thanks for the high turn-out in the OGI thread - it does seem like a lot of people are going to be dealing with a lot fewer interviews than last year. There's a lot of interesting comments on the thread, and I urge people to skim them if they have the time. There's also a sort of back-and-forth on whether career services should provide more information and/or different guidance on how to pick their interviews. We'll way in on that, and some of the other issues raised in the comments, very soon (alas, a busy week for us).

Second, during our daily browsings today we came across this article from the Washington Post. Basically, it's about a family in some place in Indiana. The Dad and Mom both lost their jobs, and they are about to get kicked out of their house. (Spoiler: At the end of the narrative, they DO get kicked out). The whole narrative is heartbreaking: every day they do the same thing, and the Dad has to get up and be reminded of the indiginity of not being able to provide for his family. The son is about to graduate high school and has no prospects, either, except maybe joining the military. Things seem pretty bleak, and you wonder what has happened to the American dream:

[The family] already took free food from a church pantry, cardboard boxes filled with Corn Flakes and bologna and saltines, his wife, Kelly, walking in, head down, while he stayed in the car, ashen. They pawned his wedding ring, sold part of her Silver Eagle coin collection and had help from the Salvation Army paying their electric bill.

But then you keep reading, and you realize that said Dad spends his unemployment checks on bar-bought beer, lottery tickets. The Mom won't take a job because she can make more off unemployment (even though that's going to run out). The family take free food from the church pantry, but they also get delivery sometimes, too (see pictures). The husband had a job that paid him $53,000/year (more than many public interest lawyers!), but didn't manage to save any of it, instead spending on nights at the bar and expensive dinners out. In some ways this makes us less sympathetic, in others, it makes the story seem even more tragic.

Anyway, we wonder how typical the story is. Hopefully not very - but with unemployment now approaching 10% (and that doesn't include all the 3Ls who will be looking for work in a tough market next year), who knows. If you don't mind a little bit of American tragedy, give it a read.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

OPEN THREAD: OGI off to a Rough Start?

Michael Vick didn't get any preselects, but he's still holding out for some lottery wins.

Yesterday, students who are participating in OGIs found out for the first time which interviews they had received. Since then, we've gotten a fair amount of information that indicates that at least some students are unhappy with the number of interviews they got.

It seems like some people, at least, are unhappy with the quantity of interviews that they got. We have reports of 2Ls receiving less than 10 interviews. A tipster pointed us to this post on the autoadmit message board thread on "UVA OCI" - we hope it's not indicative of what is happening with most people (the usual disclaimers about autoadmit apply - we don't endorse anything on the site, much of it is NSFW, and it probably shouldn't be visted by anyone for any reason, ever.):

Date: July 31st, 2009 10:00 AM
Author: .....,,,,..,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,,.,.
Subject: Oh the humanity.....

Interview schedules are out and it is brutal.... how brutal?

Dead on median, only 6 interviews, all lottery picks, no preselection


It's probably not *that* bad, but as career services has been saying, a lot of people are going to have to look outside of OGI to find summer employment. Ditto goes for 3Ls who signed up for OGIs, where the situation looks to be even worse (we know of some 3Ls who got zero lottery interviews, and zero preselects as well). Of course, people who are unhappy are probably going to be most vocal at this stage, so perhaps it doesn't make sense to infer anything larger at this point . . .

How'd it go for you? Are you satisfied with the interviews you got? Feel free to sound off - anonymously if you wish - in the comments. There's also a poll for you (edit: poll not working, check back later).

We also got some queries about "strategy" - what interviews should you accept and which should you decline. This is from a while ago, and presupposes that you have more than 25 interviews (which, as noted above, is not the case for everyone even with the switch to a more lottery-based system) . . . anyway, here's some hopefully-not-too-dated take it or leave it advice:
First, you should do every interview you can, up to the maximum 25. We know people who were told "You don't need to take all 25 interviews" last fall. That turned out to be bad advice for those people. If you get more than 25 interviews, your primary focus should be "where do I stand a good chance of getting hired." And we're not the only ones who think so.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you should interview at a place you wouldn't want to work or isn't suited to your interests (i.e., if you're a big IP guy don't go to a place where don't have any IP), but it does mean that you should strongly consider a firm's hiring criteria before accepting an interview there. Just to be clear - we're *not* saying that you shouldn't consider practice group, fit, and especially location (actually, that's a big part of getting hired - we would not recommend applying to any far-flung geographic areas to which you lack connections, as the odds will be against you). What we are saying is that those factors - to the extent they are distinguishable - should be secondary to crafting an intelligent strategy that results in you getting at least one offer. After that, they can become your bread & butter . . .

Example: if you are below the median, it is probably waste of everyone's time for you take that lottery interview you got at Cravath (or insert a firm that has very selective hiring criteria here). Let us explain, briefly, why this is potentially bad for everyone:
  • The odds of you getting a job there are very slim.
  • You could be interviewing somewhere else where your odds would be much better.
  • You're taking away a slot from one of your classmates who does have a better chance at getting a job there.
  • The interviewer may consider the interview to be a waste of his time once he sees your grades, which, if you attached your transcript to your OGI bid as was reccomended this year, will happen before the interview.
The potential beauty of switching to a system that is more lottery-based is that interviews are allocated based on student interest; however, that's only going to be effective if students make intelligent choices. In this (arbitrary) example, there are plenty of other firms in Manhattan that do work that is similar that would be a better fit (read: more likely to extend this applicant a callback and thus a better use of a bid) then the one mentioned. (Aside: To help make this process a more informed one, UVA should publish information about the average GPA for students given a callback and offer, by firm).
Of course, it should be noted here that no one at UVA Law Blog is a Hiring Partner, or even a practicing attorney. But we (all) are students who have been through this process before. (even though "all bets are off" in 2009 - so we keep hearing). Hence the "take it or leave it." Anyway, hang in there everyone. It's almost time to go back to Charlottesville!