Friday, February 26, 2010

3Ls: Don't Forget to Apply to Graduate

The deadline is this Sunday (February 28th), and if you don't do it by then, you won't be able to get your diploma at graduation.

Here's what you need to do: goto the SIS "student center" and choose "Apply to Graduate" from the drop-down menu.

Other important dates coming up:
  • This weekend: Journal tryouts part i (advice coming)
  • March 3rd at noon (Wednesday): last day to sign up for softball
  • March 6th: Sppprrrinnng breakkkkkk
  • (also) March 6th: MRPE
  • (also) March 6th: Journal tryouts, part ii

Thursday, February 25, 2010

To Those Who Leave Uneaten Cake in Scott Commons, We Salute You

We have it on good authority that the cake is left over from last night's parking-spot-party. Truth, hearsay, or something we just now made up? Frankly, who cares - - - we've just eaten breakfast, lunch, and dinner - a nice change from our daily intake of Lexis-Nexis candy and Keurig hot chocolate.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just In Case You Were Thinking About Not Paying Those Graduations Dues . . .

An announcement placed in our mailboxes the other day indicates that you will not be able to get your cap, tassel, and gown (the latter of which you have to return), unless you pay your $ 55 large. Just look at as the cost of bread for one of your family members at dinner that night.

Previously:
Graduation Dues

Monday, February 22, 2010

Law School Offers "Graduate Assistance Program" - Gives Stipends to Grads Struggling to Find Paying Work

The Virginia Law Weekly came out with its third and final installment on its job series last Friday, this one titled "After Changes to Career Services, More Lie Ahead". We spearheaded one part of the article that dealt with a new program that the Law Weekly staff discovered to assist graduates who were having difficulty finding finding full-time, paying employment:

One such step [of the Law School's broadening of services to alumni] has been the initiation of a stipend program for unemployed graduates, funded by the Law School Foundation. The details of the program were relayed to the Law Weekly by a pair of alumni who both spoke on the condition of anonymity.

According to materials forwarded to the Law Weekly from one of these individuals, there are several requirements to qualify for the “Graduate Assistance Program.” Alumni who cannot find sufficiently high-paying legal work must take full-time volunteer legal positions. Graduates who do so are eligible to receive $2,250 per month for up to six months. Career Services will monitor the students’ progress and ensure compliance with the rules before authorizing each month’s payment.

Additionally, the forwarded materials state that if a graduate receives assistance from this program, “then he/she is ineligible to receive assistance from our loan forgiveness program.” The graduate will be able to receive assistance from the loan forgiveness program as soon as he or she finds a qualifying paying postion (and thus is no longer in the Graduate Assistance Program).

The email also stressed that the “program is temporary and designed to be the first step toward getting a paid position.”

The payments themselves will be made by the Law School Foundation, which will mail participating graduates a check in the appropriate amount at the end of each month. The amounts will be subject to federal income taxation, and the Law School Foundation will issue participating graduates a Form 1099 at the end of the year.

The Law Weekly does not have any information about the number of students being helped by this program. Donovan declined to comment on any of its specific aspects. “For many reasons, primarily relating to student privacy issues and to the way that our graduates’ experience will be perceived by outside employers, we do not go into the specifics of our many efforts on behalf of both current students and recent graduates. More generally, however, I can say that we are aggressively pursuing every avenue that has occurred to any of us for dealing with this difficult market.” [All emphasis mine].

That's all the information there is on the subject, so we'll use this space to give our 2 cents: We think that this is a great program: it gives students experience and allows them to support themselves while doing something that might lead to a paying job, or, alternatively, searching for another such job. The money comes from the Law School Foundation, so it shouldn't (in theory) directly cause an increase in the tuition of current students. This program should boost the morale of those third-year students who are having a difficult time right now finding full-time work; it should also remind the entire school of the hard work that the Career Services have been doing recently on behalf of students, as this is (see the entire article) just one of many instances in which the office as redoubled its efforts to help better ensure that students are able to land and stay on their feet after graduation.

Related:
After Changes to Career Services, More Lie Ahead [Law Weekly]
Law School Foundation Website

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Moot Controversy - Team Withdraws After Arguing the "Wrong Side" of the Question

As some of you know and have pointed out, there has been another bout of Moot Court controversy following that whole "we'll tell your employers if you don't complete your tryout" thing. The Law Weekly reports:

In this year’s Lile Moot Court semifinals, which will take place on Saturday, February 20, only one of the two rounds will consist of two teams arguing against each other to make it to the finals. The other round will be an exhibition, consisting of third-year quarterfinalists Megan Lacy and Christine Mandell, who did not advance to the semifinals, arguing against third-years Nick Nelson and Fiona McCarthy, who have been granted a bye and advanced to the final round. Third-years Lanora Pettit and Casey Lee, the team which Nelson and McCarthy were slated to faced on Saturday, withdrew from the competition last week.

The circumstances leading up to the exhibition round were mired in confusion and controversy. Pettit and Lee chose to withdraw after being informed by the Lile Moot Court Board that, in addressing the second issue, Pettit had written the “wrong” side of the question. The question presented was “[w]hether a challenged sentencing departure is reviewed independently from the reasonableness of the sentence as a whole.” Pettit and Lee, who were representing the government, were told in their materials that “the United States seeks review of the sentence as a whole, rather than reviewing the departure separately,” but argued instead for independent review.

In order not to penalize Nelson and McCarthy, the Board informed both teams via email that they would include a letter to the judge, “explaining how sides were assigned and that part II of [Pettit and Lee]’s brief did not comply with our assignment. It will be clear that [McCarty and Nelson]’s brief does comply with our intended assignment.”

. . .

Feeling that they were being treated unfairly, Pettit and Lee chose to withdraw from the competition, rather than participate in what they believed would be a futile oral argument.

Read more.

The Law Weekly did a pretty good job (indeed, the full article has some pretty choice quotations from both the head of the Lile board and the one of the withdrawing team members), so we don't have to much to add, except that we hope that the arguments today - such as they were - went well for all involved, and congratulate those who advance.

[EDIT] Here's how one commenter described the the oral arguments:

During their comments, the judges from the morning arguments said something like "for issue 2, we were all really confused as to why the competitors were assigned to argue the sides they did." They thought that in the real world, on that issue, the appellant would have made the argument the appellee was assigned to make, and vice versa.

All three made the point at the very beginning, and then one or two judges made the same point AGAIN later.
[EDIT #2 - Editor's Note]: I've had to delete a few of the comments because they contained excessive ad hominem attacks / were excessively vitriolic. If you have a point to make, you can make it without engaging in (crude) ad hominem attacks. Additionally, for reasons discussed earlier, if you are going to make a claim that is unverifiable, damaging, and includes someone's google-able name, I may take it down, because I believe the harm in publishing such things on UVA Law Blog outweighs whatever the benefits might be. Just my personal take, given the goals of this site and the positions of the editors; other sites may have different editorial policies, and you are free to visit them as well. Feel free to email me / comment if you have questions - thanks.

Related:
Withdrawal Taints Lile Semifinals [Law Weekly]

Previously:
The Honor Code, Lile Moot Court, and Above the Law

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When Will Mt. Chipotle Melt?

A few days ago, there was an interesting article in the Daily Progress about the 40 foot pile of snow in the Barracks shopping center parking lot outside oIt may not be the most rigorous environmental study ever, but it’s certainly among the more entertaining. A group of graduate students at the University of Virginia has established the Mount Chipotle National Research Observatory:

The tongue-in-cheek observatory was created to perpetuate the study of that big pile of snow near the Chipotle restaurant in the Barracks Road Shopping Center parking lot.

“It’s just an inside joke that apparently has gotten out of hand,” said Luke Cole, a graduate student and one of the Mount Chipotle NRO ringleaders.

The effort has included summit ascents, monitoring and its own blog (mountchipotle.blogspot.com), which chronicles the observatory’s “science” and “scandal.”

Most interesting, though, was a little blurb about when the mountain will melt away:

Another of the research observatory’s primary purposes is to fuel the informal betting pool that has morphed into a fundraiser for the environmental science department’s graduate student association.

For $10, a case of beer or a bottle wine, students can pick the day that they think the pile will be gone. Get it right and win $30, plus some gift certificates that Chipotle Mexican Grill kicked in, said David Seekell, another of the students involved.

When do you think Mt. Chipotle will be gone? We're guessing April 28th.

Related:
Mount Chipotle Blog

If You Have to Pay for Bar Prep On Your Own, This Could Be A Great Deal

Some few 3Ls are lucky enough to have their firms pay for all of their bar fees - not just the hefty 400+ dollars it costs to take the exam, but also for their entire BarBri bar review course, which can cost well over $ 3,000. Of course, as we have noted, there are other options out there now besides BarBri - but BarBri is the most expensive, and therefore (probably) the best.

For those who will be footing the bill on their own and are "freaked out" about it, this email from PILA might be of interest:
Bid on a Discounted Barbri Course

Freaked out about paying your upcoming Barbri bill? Here’s your chance to bid on a discounted course! You are bidding on a $1500 bar review course valid for the following jurisdictions: CT, DC, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT & VA. If you have already joined Barbri and paid your deposits, your deposits will be credited toward the $1500. All proceeds benefit PILA. Send your maximum bid to [css6a at virginia dot edu] by Friday, Feb 19, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. Winner will be notified on Friday by midnight. MINIMUM BID: $500.

Related:
NYS 2010 BarBri Tuition [BarBri]
Previously:
BarBri, Kaplan, and Deposits

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Libelowski Cancelled (for now at least)

Apparently the bowling alley is suffering some kind of structural damage from the snow - the powers that be are searching for an alternate venue; we're sure they'd appreciate any volunteers. The party was originally scheduled for Thursday night.

EDIT: New Location:
Despite The Snowpocalypse's numerous attempts now to derail The Libel Show, The Big Libelowski will now be at Trinity bar on The Corner. There will be an open bar starting at 10:00pm and running until we can just afford to put on some sort of comedy show on March (end plug). The theme remains the same: Come as The Dude, The Jesus, Walter, Maude, Donny, Nihilists, whatever; just prepare to enjoy some white russians or whatever else you desire. Human bowling optional.

Monday, February 15, 2010

NYTimes Letter: "The J.D. Myth"

Continuing with our recent theme of "interesting stuff written predominantly by other people," there was an interesting discussion on the NYTimes "Room for Debate" section titled "My M.A.: A Source of Pride and Regret," which was spun off of a previous series of op-eds titled "What is a Master's Degree Worth?" The letters and the articles go back and forth about what the value of a masters degree is in a given field. Strangely, one of the letters that the Times decided to publish was not on the value of a masters degree but rather on the value of a Juris doctor. It touched on the idea of public service, LRAP programs, and the like:

The J.D. Myth

Judging by the comments so far, I am surprised by the perception that a J.D. is considered a “good” degree to have and that while it is costly, it is relatively easy to pay off.

J.D.s are huge money makers for universities. They can charge students upwards of $40,000 annually while the cost to educate an individual student cannot conceivably rise to that level. All that is required is a number of large lecture halls, a decent library, and 50 or so professors. Universities can admit large numbers of students with virtually no additional cost to them (as opposed to a a higher degree in the science which may require significant investment in a lab facility, for example).

Idealists like myself are lulled into the belief that we are being educated for the greater good to help society. In my case, I went to law school to practice poverty law. I was assured by many practicing attorneys that it was feasible to simply take on the debt (in my case upwards of $140,000) because you will always have a job and be able to pay it off. While I have been fortunate to have a job practicing law, I am barely able to earn a living.

What is not considered or discussed are the implications of having that much debt while working for public interest organizations. My alma mater offers to contribute $3,000 a year towards my debt for 5 years (totaling $15,000) as long as I work in the requisite field, but this is a laughable contribution. Given the amount that I owe, if I choose to stay in the field — a commitment I made to myself — I won’t be able to do anything else. I can give up having a family, owning a house, or even retirement.

Sadly, I have become very cynical — quite different from the 23 year old idealist who started law school with dreams of helping others. I now see that I was enrolled in an overpriced institution where commitment to public interest is used to lure likeminded students into its halls in order to collect more money for its coffers. I feel deceived and regretful. I now tell potential law students to find another path. If you want to make a difference in the world, and have some measure of personal happiness and the ability to have choices in your life, law school is the wrong place to be. Unless you just want to give large sums of money to a greedy university.

— cynical idealist

Well, the problem with this reasoning is that a JD is really required for entry into the field of lawyering, which is not true in the case of many masters degrees (you don't need an M.A. in civil engineering to work as an engineer; you [often] don't need an M.A. in education to be a teacher.) And to be fair, as we understand it, the best law schools in the country actually lose money every year on a tuition / expenditure basis (with donations / endowment making up the shortfall). Indeed, we have not been silent in arguing against increases in tuition, we think that the problem (at UVA at least) more likely lies with spending priorities rather than the greediness of the greater University (the Law School isn't a cash cow for the University here, though that might be true at other places).

Still, it's hard not to sympathize with some aspects of "cynical idealist's" point of view - we hope that things get better for the writer.

Related:
My M.A.: A Source of Pride and Regret [N.Y. Times]
What is a Master's Degree Worth? [N.Y. Times]

Law Weekly on Jobs, Pt. 2: "Third Years Adjust to Changing Market"

Last Friday, the Law Weekly came out with its second article in a series of three articles on the whole "jobs situation" at the law school. This article - as the title suggests - looked at the situation from a student perspective:
Although the numbers are still unknown, there is a sense that a significant portion of third-years are still looking for work. “I know so many qualified people in our class who do not have jobs lined up,” remarked a female third-year who asked to remain anonymous, “either because the market tightened up so much during our OGIs or because their firms had a bad offer rate.”
Some students were optimistic, however:

While a severe recession is challenging at best, some students have found a silver lining. Because many students are now unable to secure a position with larger firms, they are free to explore options they might never have thought of. As one third-year male speaking on the condition of anonymity observed, “So many people don’t like firms and get burned out after a few years; I almost feel like the job market is saving people the unpleasantness of working two or three years in a job they hate.”

In the past, though, substantial debt led many students to large firms without much consideration for alternatives. “I’ve looked back to why I came to law school in the first place,” remarked Fiske. “It was really tough to ignore the six-figure salaries that were pretty much guaranteed to our class. But when those jobs shrunk, it forced me to re-examine why I was here. I’m much happier and more comfortable knowing that I’m going to be doing something I want to do, not doing something primarily for the money.” From that perspective, the economic recession has created a shortcut for some law students to their desired career path.

For third-year Logan Marguiles, the economy opened up the kind of opportunity most Call of Duty enthusiasts dream about. He will be working at Riot Games, which he describes as an “independent [start-up PC] game developer and publisher in Los Angeles,” in a role that is “part business development and part legal.”

. . .

Another third-year, who asked to remain anonymous, is “contemplating a return to my former career, journalism, while waiting for things to turn around in the legal economy.” He remarked that while he has not been able to find employment in the legal field, law school has taught him more about what reporters should cover.

There was also a bit (which we contributed to) on debt and new federal program, which relates to our most recent post:

Alternative careers present an interesting option for third-years, but the issue of repaying debt looms large for law graduates in any field. A student with $160,000 in debt, with the Federal Stafford Rate of 6.8 percent interest, will end up paying about $1,840 per month if she is on the default 10-year repayment plan. Altogether, that student would pay nearly $221,000.

Some third-years hope to benefit from the federal Income Based Repayment Plan, a new option for student loans. The Plan uses a sliding scale to determine what percentage of income goes to loans. For most, the payment is around 10 percent of total income. Interest is only covered in some cases, but debt is forgiven after 25 years. For a student with $160,000 of debt, making around $50,000 per year, the monthly payment would be about $420.

For students interested in public service, in addition to UVA’s own Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (“LRAP”), Public Service Loan Forgiveness is a new federal program for students working in public service jobs. This program also reduces monthly payments, and will forgive debt after 10 years. As the Law Weekly reported last fall, the LRAP program is currently being “re-tooled” in ways that will make it “more generous than the current [program].”

Read more.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review: Barristers

Recently, Rule(12)f promised to write a thorough review of last night's Barrister's Ball. However, after searching his heart, he decided that he could not write a truly honest review for fear of reprisal from his date for negative comments. Because I don't care about my date's feelings, I have been drafted to give the run down.

Ambiance: The event was held in a ballroom at the Boar's Head Inn, which right away makes it classier than most places I visit on Saturday nights. The venue was nice, spacious, with fancy mirrors and chandeliers lending an aura of elegance to the event.

By about 10:30, when the last buses arrived, the room was packed. It seemed to me that everyone turned themselves out well and I hardly recognized anyone in their fancy attire. I had to envision everyone I bumped into in softball gear before I could tell who they were. I must say, UVA Law students are much better looking than I thought!

Decor: I have to confess that I got a particularly good look at the decorations as I was the first person in attendance. Literally, I was the first one there. In theory the theme of the event was Casino Royale (redux), but there was little evidence of any theme at all. I know for sure Daniel Craig wasn't there because, trust me, I looked.

The tables scattered around the dance floor had red and white tablecloths with candle/flower centerpieces. The centerpieces were surrounded by playing cards. This was the decor.

Service: The drink service did not start until 9:30, which gave me about 35 minutes to really scope out the bar placement and selection. I must say I was pretty impressed. In years past there has been serious problems with alcohol distribution at Barrister's. This year the situation seemed well in hand.

With three large full-service bars there was never a very long wait from drinks. Also, for those still worried about standing in line, the bar tenders had no problem with dispensing multiple drinks to one person. The selection was large, and there seemed no threat of running dry. If less than inspired decor helped fund moar drinks, I think the trade-off was a good one.

Music: The music was well-liked on the whole, as was evidenced by the packed dance floor (the good drink service also helped). There was a mix of current and middle school dance hits, with a nice segment of Micheal Jackson songs. Still, I do have a personal beef with the DJ: he only played 25 seconds of Single Ladies before mixing to something else. That's my jam man.

Food: The food was good, while it lasted. Not a huge spread, there were mini quiches, some meaty pastry things, cheese, veggies, fruit, crackers....your traditional fancy event hors d'oeuvres. However, sadly, when at about 11:45 I started craving something savory, there were no more snacks to be had. Hard to thread the needle between too few drinks and too few snacks, I know, but I would have killed for some cheddar.

Transportation: It was cold last night, but the buses were warm and frequent. Thank god. Also, I arrived on the first bus alone with my date: it was sort of like arriving in a hummer limo. Baller, I know.

Other: Even when I arrived, well before the party started, there was a battalion of police officers guarding the (empty) ballroom. Still, despite awkwardly asking one police officer for directions to the bathroom, I hardly noticed them after awhile. And since I haven't yet heard of any major destruction to Boar's Head, I think the army was probably a good call.

Price: So, 60 bucks is pretty steep. Especially considering how much we pay for law school already. Still, Justincredible spent $60 bucks at Boylan last night and didn't get to hangout with me, so I guess it is all relative.

Overall grade : A-. A few more snacks, a few more compliements of my dress, or the chance to really shake my grove thing to Beyonce would have made the difference.

Note: Thank you J. Crew Model for formulating the above review criteria. Couldn't do it without you.

Friday, February 12, 2010

How Will UVA's LRAP Follow Income Based Repayment?

A few years ago, Congress passed the College Cost Reduction Act. As July 2009, one part of the act that went into effect was income-based repayment (IBR). For those who don't know, IBR works to reduce ones (quite possibly astronomical) monthly loan payments into amounts that are more affordable given income:
IBR uses a kind of sliding scale to determine how much you can afford to pay on your federal loans. If you earn below 150% of the poverty level for your family size, your required loan payment will be $0. If you earn more, your loan payment will be capped at 15 percent of whatever you earn above that amount. Except for the highest earners, that usually works out to less than 10 percent of your total income.
So, basically one's loan payments would be reduced such that they are no more than 15% of one's income above the federal poverty line (this is a simplification of the program - there are some very specific provisions - including some that relate to interest on loans that I am ignoring for convenience). This feature dove-tails quite nicely with another new federal program created by the same piece of legislation: the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Essentially, if you (1) work for 10 years in some kind of public service; and (2) make your loan payments (including IBR payments) in those ten years, then your total debt is forgiven at the end of ten years.

Now, as most of you know, UVA has its own loan repayment assistance program, which is called the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). Basically, the UVA program currently works as follows:

Graduates who earn less than $35,000 per year are presumed unable to pay their Law School education loans. They receive 100 percent assistance for the year. Those who earn $35,000 or more are presumed able to pay one-half of their income above $35,000. For example, if a graduate has an annual loan payment of $10,000 and earns $40,000, the program would require the graduate to contribute $2,500 each year (half of what the graduate earns over $35,000) and the Program would provide $7,500 each year. For married graduates, spousal income may be taken into account in calculating benefits.

Notice that the UVA program is based on the graduate's annual loan payment - but what if the annual loan payment is reduced by IBR as discussed above, which seems probable given the salaries of many public interest lawyers? It would seem, at least by the description of the program's website, that the forgiveness would be applied to the already reduced payments. If this is true, it's kind of a double-edged sword for graduates in that position: On the one hand the overall payment is (possibly much) lower; on the other hand, the graduate is getting less of their debt paid down by the school than if he or she did not have an IBR-modified payment. Of course, the last point might not matter so much if the graduate is planning on staying in public service for ten years and getting the debt forgiven entirely (otherwise, the debt would be forgiven entirely in 25 years).

This raises another question: will loan assistance from UVA affect count as income for federal tax purposes and affect a graduate's IBR payments for the next year? A cursory glance at the mechanics of this all - which, again, are fairly complicated, so don't quote us on this - suggests that the answer is "yes". According to this site, IBR is based on your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from the prior tax year. Payments from UVA LRAP program are most likely income under 26 U.S.C. § 61(a)(12) because they are applied to the cancellation of indebetness (is this right, tax gurus?). So, the graduate next year would have higher income in the amount of LRAP payments and thus would likely have higher IBR monthly payment amounts.

This may be all moot, because as has been noted earlier the LRAP program is being retooled to make it "more generous" than the one currently in existence. But for now, this appears to be the situation . . .

We welcome your thoughts on this, particularly from folks that might understand the nuances of these programs better than we do.

Related:
IBRinfo: Income Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Foregiveness

Snow: 0, Feb Club: 1 (But There is a Venue Change for Tonight's Festivities)

Well we were in the midst of typing up a "real" and "substantive" post, when we got an urgent communique that the powers to be ask that we post just in case you didn't read it on that other blog:
Due to a lack of running water at our house, we have had to move our party. Fortunately, the lovely ladies of 1108 Preston have graciously offered their house. The theme (Winter Beer Olympics) remains the same, although you may still find the magical forest from Feb Club Eve. There will be plenty of drinking games for all, and we're even planning gluten-free options.
This is the same place as the Feb Club Eve / What's Your Fantasy party. Which works out, because our fantasy is to be athlete (who drinks beer).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

North Grounds Gym Closed Today

Just in case you were thinking of heading over to NGRC to get your swoll on, tipsters inform us that it's closed due to an unhealthy amount of snow on the roof. No worries, we're getting huge by shovelin'.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Barristers-flation

Some of you wanted us to point out that Barristers tickets have gotten more expensive: OK, Barristers tickets have gotten more expensive (along with everything else) compared to last year, although there has been some amount of fluctuation in recent years.

Here's a table of Barrister's Ball ticket costs:
Year: (drinker cost) (non-drinker cost)
2010: $ 60 45
2009: 50 40
2008: 55 40
2007: [someone let me know what this was]
In "researching" this question, we came across an email from the then-SBA President about the 2008 prices that as follows:
. . . Finally, with regards to the price of the ticket, we know that $55 for a ticket including drinks is no small sum. There are a number of reasons explaining the price. First, last year’s tickets were underpriced – the SBA took a hit of roughly $15,000. Second, the costs of additional precautions have driven up the price. This year’s Barrister’s Ball will include gaming tables that will provide additional entertainment so that the event is not blatantly a “stand around and drink” concept and thus approved by the ABC. In addition to the extra entertainment, we’ve also included more food, both a DJ and a live band, busses, and more. Fry’s Spring has been recently renovated, and we think it’s going to be a great venue.
Just some food for thought. We wonder what made this years tickets (even) more expensive. Anyway, we'll be there - our first time going - and report back on whether or not it was worth it.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Law Weekly: "Students Challenged in Search for Jobs"

The Law Weekly is doing a series of three articles on the job situation for UVA Law students. We contributed to the first article, which came out this week:
. . . A relatively sizeable proportion of the Class of 2010 have faced an uphill struggle. Many who sought one of the coveted “summer associateships” at a large firm for the summer after their second year were unsuccessful, both through their On-Grounds Interview (OGI) attempts and otherwise. As the Law Weekly reported last year, the depths of the economy were still being discovered during OGIs in 2008, leaving many students grappling for a job and even more frustrated with Career Services.

Of the students who were lucky enough to land associateships, many found that they did not develop into full-time offers, something that had been all but guaranteed in previous years. The result is that a greater number of third-year students than in years past still do not know what they will do when they graduate in less than four months.

Read More.

EDIT: Dean Donovan also discussed the article in the password protected Firm Footing blog, which is accessible via email sent to students.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Tonight, The Party is in Scott Commons

The power went out on Arligton Blvd., in Ivy, and in Huntington Village. No problem - the Law School had power - and students looking to catch the big game simply headed to Scott Commons, bringing snacks and drinks with them.


If I had a better camera, you could see that this was when Joseph Addai broke a 20+-yard run.

Smile!

By the start of the second quarter, there were almost 30 people. Here they stare in rapt attention at the Tebow abortion ad.

Fun was had by all, and even the Dean dropped in after the first quarter!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

SBA Election Challenge: Candidates Can (Should?) Advertise Here

Hello all,

First, I wanted to apologize for the lack of updates recently. I've been working on a few "projects" - hopefully things that you will see up here. But in the mean time I hope you all can sit tight and not stop believing.

Second, during my bi-weekly perusal of the events email, I noticed that it is time for SBA executive board elections. As many of you remember, I ran last year for SBA President and lost in a close race (blowout). I ran on a platform of opposing tuition increases while students were in school, some key enhancements to the OGI process, more equitable system for funding summer public interest work, free coffee (it's still a good idea!), and, of course, no more special parking spots for SBA members (but I would give them special bike spots instead).

Anyway, the people spoke, and the democratic process selected someone else (who is doing a good job, I think). In any event, one thing that I noticed was that it was extremely difficult to reach people - even using this (at the time fledgling) blog to get my ideas out there. At the time, the rules of the SBA on campaigning were very restrictive: we were basically only allowed to put a small flier in one location and were otherwise limited to the most expensive, wasteful, and pointless form of paper advertising possible: mailbox stuffings. Even worse, the "debate" was a one-off affair where the candidates for VP had to respond to such bombshell questions as "What is your favorite thing about UVA Law?" (there was free pizza, though). All and all, it was a bit frustrating . . .

We want to help: this blog has grown and now gets around 600 hits per day. Sure, we'll never reach the heights of Above the Law or even TJ's Double Play (RIP), but their are still at least some people in this community who are reading. To that end, we make this offer to candidates running for an SBA executive board position: Write out a coherent platform about how you would solve the challenges facing the school / would make the school a better place, and we'll post it here. We don't want to hear about what you've accomplished as the chair of XYZ committee, we want to hear about what you're going to do when you're elected. There are real challenges and real opportunities in the months ahead - what are you going to do about it?

We'll do this for any number of qualifying candidates, free of charge. But we'll also be giving our comments, and allowing readers to leave their own (as always, vulgar / needlessly insulting comments will be deleted). We'll let you respond to questions and comments, too. And, if we like what you have to say enough, then we may even give you our critical endorsement.

We think this is a way for dedicated candidates to share their vision for the future and engage with many of their potential constituents. Filings are due this week (right?) . . . so game on.

Related:
Reflections on the SBA Election [Law Weekly]