Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I'm flattered

Random girl I talked to for five minutes tonight at a bar, to me:
"I can tell right now that you're just trouble."

I am in law school.
After class, went to play racquetball and took a nap.
At the bar, I was still dressed in a shirt and slacks from a law firm reception I went to earlier today.
After the reception, I went home and spent 4 hours doing my taxes, FAFSA, and need access, all of which I have yet to finish and are due this Friday.
After which I went to the bar.

As I told her, she had me read like a book. I'm just trouble.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Law school

You know you've been in law school way too long when during research for your upcoming memo, former frat boys who think they are god's gift to the world (no, not me) get all giddy and excited about finding a really good case on point for their side.

Friday, February 23, 2007


I've got some haters!

For a hit log that shows only the last 100 page loads, this is not bad.

Some people apparently really don't like me/my blog.

All the uncool kids are doing it

Apparently, there has been a bit of negativity in my recent posts and I've been asked by a reader whether I hate law school.

Au contraire. Let me explain.

I actually enjoy law school quite a bit, and I'm actually glad that I'm here. For starters, I turned down some of the East Coast "T14" schools basically because a lot of the students I met/know there were very dissatisfied with the rat race, whereas UCLA is much more chill (and the surfing is also much better).

My negativity recently was towards the job hunting process and towards the mainstream approach to law school. Even the chiller than most law schools classmates here have started freaking out over the whole jobs/law review/GPA thing. One of the reasons I enjoy law school is that I march to the beat of my own steps and am not concerned with what others are doing. I've always been a little unorthodox in my ways and I always been rebellious. As a kid, whenever my parents said something, I would always say instinctively no. Except my parents would always get me and tell me that I couldn't go to bed, and I would rebel by saying that I want to go to bed. (I never said that I was very smart!) But that rebellious streak developed by the time I was five has always stayed with me.

I don't stay in the library until 11:30 every night doing reading or outlines but rather do my work in a smarter (in my view), more efficient, and definitely not law school professor approved way. [Email me if you want to know my method--I'm happy to share, though I should warn that it's not for everyone]. That leaves me time for surfing, going to concerts, some Mammoth and Big Bear action, and also time to break a few hearts. If I had to do law school the "mainstream" way, I would definitely hate it and probably go the way of LSV and LTF and quit.

To answer the original question, I enjoy law school because I've gotten to the desire end goal: I have a decent GPA and I also have a summer job lined up [in the Central District of California!][that pays!]. But without the pain.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Big Brother

Someone doesn't like it at UChicago Law:

Funny this happened the same day as Lioness' post.

Another reason I am glad that I did not apply to Chicago. Its conservative, law and economics reputation would not have jived too well with me.

We enjoy pain, don't we?

Today there was a meeting that lots of 1Ls flocked to as if our futures depended on it. No, it was not a career services meeting. Nor was it a big firm reception. Nor was it a workshop on outlining.

It was the introductory meeting for Law Review.

I went out of sheer curiosity, but left resolved not to do it. Today we were introduced to the write on competition, the general way of attaining law review membership [There's a weird limited grade on, but only if you do decently on the write on]. The entire atmosphere was just a little too stuffy for my taste, and the room was filled with lots of high achieving gunner types. The editors there also gave off a sense of "look at me, I'm a demi-God" feel that I have no desire to emulate. Meanwhile, I was there waiting for the free pizza.

Law review write on also occurs during our spring break, and there's no way I am going to give up my spring break and my beach time for the chance/punishment to work as a cite checking slave my 2L year. The law review hopefuls should be glad that I will be spending spring break drunk on a beach and not suffering in the library, as there will be one less person competing for a coveted law review slot.

Today, the editors talked about the benefits of law review (research, writing, and working to shape the direction of the law). Being the person who enjoys disposing of pretense and asking questions that make others squirm, I so wanted to ask the following question: What makes law review more desirable or valuable than membership in any of the other 12 journals here?

The response I would have heard would have been something about serious intellectual exposure and unparalleled academic experiences. The real answer that the editors would likely not give, but every editor and 1L in the room knew, was that law review is more prestigious. And it helps a lot when vying for a job with White, Male, and Rich, LLP.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Killer Bees

Email from a reader:
"I really enjoy your blog and I'm sure you've gotten this before, but you're a very good writer. It's a shame that you are in law school and not writing full-time."

Thanks for the complement. But do not fear, for I can pretty much tell you my future right now. I'm going to finish school and become a unhappy associate at White, Rich, and Male, LLP and grumble constantly about how life sucks. One day, I predict around the three year mark, I will quit the firm and the profession and decide that I will write the next great American novel. [Read the following sentence, listening for the sarcasm] Somehow, I figure that I will succeed, even though thousands of people more talented than me have attempted and failed to write the great American novel, simply because I have gone to law school and that a legal education is useful in lots of professions. Barring that, I will drop my pants and return to my former career as a male underwear model.

And in the event that the beer I have drank in order to cope with law school and the law firm will have made my six-pack abs no longer worthy of gracing boxer brief boxes, I will probably open up a surf school and shop, and spend the rest of my days as a shaggy haired surfer. And write a blog, "(Boxer) Briefs, Barristers Ball, Billables, and a Beach Bum."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pants on fire

Hypo: A MBA-wannabe is applying to business school, lets say at Darden or Wharton or Anderson here at UCLA. He does well on his GMAT. He has work experience. He has good recommendations. He writes his personal statement about how he wants to go to business school so that he can help the poor and the underserved so that they can get better community economic development.

I'm no expert on MBA admissions, but I would think that a) this student would be a rarity as most put something to the effect of "I want to leverage my past experiences and combine that with a business education to increase shareholder value and increase productivity and profitability," and b) this idealistic student probably would get typed by the MBA admissions people as being too idealistic and not cut out for the business world.

Forward to law school admissions. How many of us wrote our personal statements about wanting to go to law school in order to help the poor and underserved so that they can get adequate legal representation or about how some volunteer experience has opened up my eyes of the legal injustices that face the disadvantaged? Probably most. Better yet, how many of us wrote our personal statements about wanting to go to law school in order to be a partner at a V100 law firm and to make bucketloads of money by representing companies that screw over the poor? Probably few.

Why the difference between these two applications? Perhaps it is due to our belief that law applicants will be typed as greedy bastards if we say that we want to be lawyers only for the money whereas it is okay to be a greedy bastard in B-school. Or that saying something about wanting to "help people" is the right thing to say on a law school application. Or saying that I'm only going to law school because I'm a 21-year old English major with absolutely no employment prospects and is bad at math and science and can't stand the sight of blood is a little too honest.

I'm sure law school admissions people understand and expect that most go to law school to make money, so why do we feel that we have to hide our true motivations for going to law school?

Anyway, the 1L job hunt has put this facade and charade to rest. We have, to quote a 1L I know, made liars of our personal statements. And we wonder where lawyers get a reputation for being lying sharks.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Last call

Any serious interest in finding out who I am?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Quote of the day

(class discussion)

Student: "I disagree, that argument is absolutely retarded."
[Prof X]: "Are you going to use what you just said when you are arguing in court, counsellor?"
Student: "I disagree, your honor. That argument is absolutely retarded."

Monday, February 12, 2007

What happens in... stays in...

I turned down an offer for summer employment today. A biglaw offer. That pays. In Vegas. In a firm that represents some of the major players in the gaming industry. DOH!

Three months in a firm in Vegas would have been probably been the best experience of my life. We've all heard about the social offerings that law firms offer their summer associates. Now imagine these offerings, but only in Vegas and in Vegas-sized proportions. Knowing me, I would have come back from those three months with a penchant for fedoras, a string of drunken marriages and subsequent divorces, a habit for blow, and an addiction to the "specials" advertised on the glossy cards offered by the peddlers up and down the Strip. (On second thought, I would come back fitting in perfectly in L.A.)

So, I am sticking out for something in the Central District of California.

I simply couldn't and wouldn't want to see what would happen if I lived and were surrounded by the casino industry. Every day, I would probably wind up drunk on the Monorail without any socks (canal mishap at The Venetian), pants, or dignity belting out Springsteen, terrifying a group of elderly Japanese tourists.

Not that it has happened to me before...I'm just saying what could happen. Um, yeah.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Highs and Lows

Going to law school in South Bend or Ithaca must be kind of lonely in the sense that you're the only law school in the town. (I passed on thick packets from both these schools.) No other 1Ls around from other schools in town to cry with over your misery, cry specifically over your collective misery over generous helpings of alcohol. In larger cities with multiple law schools, there is a unique animal called the law school mixer.

In LA, there is an "all law school party" (UCLA, USC, Loyola, Pepperdine, Southwestern, etc.) each semester and various bar reviews throughout the semester co-sponsored with other law schools. EX: while I did not go to the one last night, it was a UCLA-Loyola bar review. The official story behind these events is so that we get to meet the other law students going to schools around town and to network.

Here's the unofficial story of how these work out in practice, all based on true things said after liberal consumption of alcohol:

I should come as no surprise that law schools across any particular city are ranked across the board on a certain weekly news magazine's rankings. These rankings determine, among many things, the types of legal employers who will recruit at a particular school. And as a general matter, the future lawyers of America look better the further you go lower on the rankings list.

Guys from higher ranking schools go to these events to chat it up with girls from lower ranked schools. Lots of the guys claim that throwing out the UCLA/USC name is all it takes for a lower ranked girl to see dollar signs, and these girls subsequently throw themselves at the guys. Girl wants to meet her future husband, guy want to meet the girl for tonight. Likewise, girls from higher ranking schools complain about how much cuter the guys are from the other schools, but that there's no future because the guys see the girls as future sugar mommas.

So, what these law school parties wind up being is a testament to our shallowness. Some of us hunt for temporary satisfactions, using our school name to do so. Others hunt for long-term options, guided only by a singular focus on the school name. But in the end, all of us are left drunk and unhappy, and go back to school the next morning complaining about the lack of hot girls/guys or about a lack of future sugar daddys/mommas at our respective law schools.

And we wonder where lawyers get a reputation for shallowness.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Two bite the dust

First things first, UCLA 70, USC 65, in front of a packed Pauley Pavilion, featuring in attendance John Wooden and the Governator. (eight clap)


Today I flipped on the news and caught a defense attorney's reaction to a particular murder charge where his client was found guilty. He was all animated and combative, proclaiming his client's innocence. His temples were flaring and his hands were pointing, saying that the jury was wrong and that he was going to appeal his client's case "all the way to the Supreme Court of the 'U-Na-Tid Stay-tzz'."

Pre law school, I would have thought, damn, that's one good attorney, going to appeal all the way to the SCOTUS. That's some pretty good client representation he's providing.

Having taken/taking Crim, I thought to myself that any attorney who is proclaiming that he will take a ordinary murder charge up to the SCOTUS either a) never took Crim or b) is trying to make a show in order to drum up more clients who are impressed by bluster.

Further reasons why I don't watch TV news and why I don't want to be a criminal defense attorney.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Public service post

Yesterday, I was sitting out in the law school courtyard, as it was 75 degrees out. Yes, 75, in February. Someone interrupts me, and introduces himself saying that he was a new admit and wanted to talk about how I like law school. A minute in, a group of undergrad females in appropriate warm weather clothing walked by, and the admit was stunned, and I said that life could be worse. Seriously, though, I tried to give him a true picture of law school here, as it was only a year ago I was applying and deciding on where to go.

As a public service, I'm repeating here what I told him, to give any potential 0Ls an accurate picture of UCLAW.

In general, UCLA (and U$C) is a lot more laid back due to its location in Southern California than probably every other law school in the country. It's definitely a quality of life choice for many, having turned down higher ranked schools for UCLA due to the quality of life and the desire to practice on the West Coast. Because it is a public school and most of the students came from undergrad either here or at Cal, there's also a slight underdog mentality, which I tend to appreciate. And a lot of the horror stories that I hear about other law schools doesn't really happen here either. Most 1Ls I've talked to genuinely enjoy being here (as much as someone can enjoy 1L I guess).

But that being said, the Dean and the new admissions director are both East Coast folk, with desires to turn UCLA into a powerhouse of the East Coast variety. The new admissions guy was the former head of admissions at numbers-heavy Cardozo, the "up and coming" NY school (or so they claim). As a result, I predict that UCLA will move to a harder "GPA+LSAT" model from its current reputation about caring for soft factors and also move to admit more Ivy League undergrads.

-Teaching quality: With few exceptions, I've genuinely been impressed by the quality of the faculty. A lot of them like to teach and like being at UCLA, and it shows. People like Yeazell and Volokh could probably get a gig at any school in the country, but choose to remain here because they like it.
-Location: Westwood, and not Watts, Hyde Park, Morningside Heights, or West Philly. Enough said.
-Weather: 75 in January and not -20 windchills.
-Best law school in Southern California: you're set if California is where you want to practice.
-Campus is beautiful
-Cheap: It is a state school, and unlike other state schools, even out of staters can become residents after 1L, so it's the equivalent to an automatic 30K scholarship for in staters/20K scholarship for non-residents over three years.

-State school: Being comparatively less well-endowed than other peer law schools, there is definitely less money to go around. I won't say that academically the school suffers, but facilities wise, the school is not as shiny and fancy as other law schools.
-Little public transport and needing to drive and be stuck in traffic everywhere.
-Probably not the place if you're looking to be a law professor, a SCOTUS or COA judge, or if your definition of success is measured by an offer from a V5 firm.
-Lack of diversity because of Prop 209.

There you have it. Email me if you have more preguntas.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Someone pay me

OCIP began today. Law firm interviews all this week. A week of boring robotic conversation. Bestill my heart.

I also had an interview with a firm downtown. A firm of the "ass-fishing" notoriety. And nothing about my interests came up in conversation. But that is because I graciously offered an extra, thoroughly proofread copy of my resume when the interviewer could not find the original one that I sent in.

Let me also say that I find something surprisingly attractive about women in business suits. A natural beer-goggles effect, I suppose.

Oh, and the drive from Westwood down Wilshire to downtown during the day was a major female dog.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Reader email

Cutest email I've gotten from a reader:

From a ?L here at school:
"I'll bake you some cookies if you tell me who you are."

Friday, February 02, 2007


You're trying to meet that special someone. You feign interest in stuff you don't care about. You lie through your teeth. You exaggerate things about yourself. You have conversations that don't require any brain power. Alcohol usually helps the process along. Sound familiar?

Welcome to the world of law firm receptions, where we're looking to get employed and firms are looking for their new summer class of brown-nosing drones.

During receptions, we try to feign interest in their firm of White, Rich, and Old, LLP (not to be confused with the firm of White, Rich, and Male LLP that had their reception yesterday). We ask associates about how their work is. How do you like the firm. What is the pro-bono policy like. We get their cards. We email them to say that it was good meeting you. We ask the recruiting coordinator if they're hiring 1Ls. We stalk and see if the hiring partner is present. We just happen to have a copy of our resumes and wonder if we could leave a copy.

Let me propose a better, less painful solution that eliminates all the pretense:
STEP 1: "So, you hiring 1Ls?"
(if no, proceed to step 6)
STEP 2: "How much do you pay a week?"
STEP 3: "What's the GPA cutoff?"
STEP 4: "I'll sell my soul as long as I get paid."
STEP 5: "Who's butt do I have to kiss to get hired?"
STEP 6: "Now give me some of your engraved freebies. I need another highlighter and flash drive to add to my pile."
STEP 7: "Now give me some free food and alcohol."