Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dear law review hopefuls

Congratulations on having made finished the writeon. For those you reading this and turned in your writeon, I congratulate you for having taken six days out of your life, read a 400 page packet, synthesized it, developed a proposal, and wrote a 10 page comment complete with another 10 pages of endnotes. That shows dedication.

Now, please go out and enjoy the rest of your spring break. I know that Type A+ personalities tend to do the writeon, and the worst thing you can do for yourself now is to give in to your temptation and spend the rest of the time outlining because you were doing the writeon.

Your sanity will thank you.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Give up now

You're not going to make it on to law review. Give up now. Enjoy your break.

What I did yesterday:
-made a snowman (seriously!)
-watched basketball
-outdoor hottubbing while it was snowing around us
-"never have I ever" with random strangers in hot tub (great icebreaker!)

The cold part of my spring break is now over. On to the part where I trade my snowboard for a surfboard.

Again, stop stressing over the writeon. Do you lack that much confidence in yourself and your ability to have a normal conversation with recruiter/judge that you think that being on law review will make up for your lack of self-confidence and inability to have a normal conversation when you are looking for a clerkship/biglaw job?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Law review hopefuls: Wish you were here

You are:
Still reading your 400 page law review writeon packet and/or just beginning to write your comment. You have not gotten much sleep and have spent the last 3 days locked away in your room/library. Guy: you are wearing a dirty T-shirt, have a 4 day-old shadow, and there are half-eaten pizza/Hot Pockets boxes in your room. Girl: you have not shaved your legs in a week, and your room is full of half-empty cans of Diet Coke, Sugarfree Red Bull, and Wheat Thins.

What I did today:
Woke up hungover at 11am at [name of mountain resort], ate steak and eggs, and spent the afternoon snowboarding. Watched UCLA manhandle Kansas to reach the Final 4 for the second year in a row. Drank some more. Ate dinner overlooking pretty white-covered landscape. And I just spent the entire night playing and partying with TheLadyFriend, 2 not-too-shabby-looking blonde Norwegian models with cute accents and undoubtedly smooth legs (they beat me on the slopes today, but then again, they were practically born with skis whereas I really like the sun), an Olympic silver medalist, and members of the men's and women's soccer team from [big name sports school].

Who is having the better spring break?

It's still not too late to give up on the Law Review writeon (the odds are stacked against you anyway) and actually go and enjoy your spring break. If you need any positive encouragement regarding the law review writeon, visit matthewb. Do you really enjoy pointless punishment that much?


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Elementary, my dear

Thursday after class, I depart for spring break, which will consist of 10 days of hitting the slopes and then hitting the beach. Thursday after class, lots of 1Ls will be beginning the law review writeon competition, where they will spend every living minute until next Wednesday writing a 10 page paper and bluebooking. Sucks to be them. But hey, look on the bright side, for those who make it on, they can look forward to two more glory-filled years: one year spending countless hours a week citechecking and bluebooking and if they survive that task, they then get to spend their 3L year being a managing editor checking over citechecking and bluebooking assignments.

Some of my recent posts have renewed an interest in my identity by people here at school. I've written posts about anonymity before, and here I will spell out in one place my feelings about anonymity. Some bloggers write blogs anonymously as a venue to vent or reflect about law school, and if they were ever found out, they would automatically delete everything and fold up shop.

But that's not why I write. I write for a few reasons: a) to undo the damage that legal writing does to people's ability to write creatively, since I surely won't be able to write the next great American novel using the words "issue", "rule", "rule proof", "positive authority," and definitely not the words "Id.", "supra", or "precedent."; b) to make people realize that law school is more than just reading and making outlines, and to poke fun at "the traditional law school way."; c) and more importantly, to share my thoughts with the outside world (you've got to love the democratization of information). As I said in my last post, I hate dishonesty and pretense, so I take responsibility and will continue to stand by everything I say.

But why have anonymity in the first place if I will take full responsibility for my words when [note: I did not say if] I am found out? Answer: simply because if people know that I am the author of the blog, people will want to watch their words when around me for fear of winding up online.

To the people at school who really want to know who I am, I have a special assignment for you, and perhaps this assignment will be a wanted break when you're all tearing out your hai...I mean enjoying the law review writeon: 1) Take the paper facebook, eliminate all the girls. You'll be left with around 170 1L guys. Eliminate all the minorities. You'll be left with around 140 1L guys--a pretty daunting number. Then, look over everything I've written for determinative facts that I've given. Do some good detective work, and you'll probably be able to figure me out from the original monster set of pasty white boys. 2) Oh, and at least two students at school already do know who I am, so seek out these individuals and try to bribe them if playing Sherlock isn't working out so well. 3) Or perhaps the simplest way of all: just look for the ridiculously good-looking 1L guy, and that'll be me.

Another hint: I really like making lists (as you couldn't already tell by this post).

Enjoy spring break. See you all soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


One of the things I dislike about law school: people are way too politically correct publicly about many things, and especially with regards to race. The whole thing could be seen through the whole law review scandal, where people would talk among each other but no one would dare address the issue publicly.

The class that stands out the most is Crim, where anyone who doesn't think that black and brown people in Crenshaw are treated differently by the criminal justice system than white people in Westwood is basically smoking the thing that Pepper was smoking. But race was the one thing that was consistently not mentioned in class (perhaps the professor thought that he/she should attempt to teach us "the law" in theory and not in practice). But looking around the room, I saw that people who were itching to talk about race didn't want to raise their hands and talk about it publicly. The people who wanted to say that people get treated differently by the police based on their skin color is afraid to be branded as the angry liberal or the angry minority guy while the people who I have heard say some pretty derogatory things about black and brown people outside of class didn't want to speak up due to fear of being branded as a racist. Race is just one example of what happens in lots of class discussions, where people don't say what they truly believe and tow the politically correct line, which makes the law school classroom not as invigorating and interesting as it could be otherwise.

But I know that lots of people need to be careful about what they say in public, since everything they say now might come back to haunt them in 30 years when they are launching their Senate campaigns or during confirmations when they're up for a spot on the COA bench. Actually, I'm sure that most people believe lots of things that they would never admit to publicly. Except me. See examples of my brutal honesty (the critical ones call it a lack of tact and "didn't your momma ever teach you not to say these kinds of things in public?") here, here, and here, inter alia. And that's how my honesty sometimes gets me called an ass. (And no, I guess that's one lesson my momma skipped.)

As any loyal reader of my blog has known by now, there are few things I hate more than pretense and dishonesty. But then again, I'm not in law school to be a law firm partner or a U.S. Senator. I'm in law school so that I can eventually end up a beach bum.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Memo is done and turned in. Time to have fun.

Finished-o. (Sorry, my high school Spanish is failing me right now.)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Business casual

Email I got a supposed classmate of mine:

"Many people here at school seem to be suffering from "lack of sex"... I feel people in Law school are not down for completely casual sex since you have to see these people all the time and that just makes it weird. But relationships take time, effort, money, etc. The term a friend came up with was "business-casual sex" as in sex that is more than casual but less than a relationship. My idea was people who wanted to meet others in this situation could put "business-casual" as an interest on facebook but for this to work, people must know of this meaning. Hence, your blog - if you like the idea, maybe you could promote it at some point in the blog?"

My take: interesting idea and I have no problem putting the idea out there, but I think you're making it more complicated than it needs to be. That's what a) bar review and b) the undergrads at Maloney's [seedy campus bar] are there for.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Some advice

Dear smoker of a certain illegal substance in the law school courtyard:

I understand that law school can be stressful and the memo we are all writing right now does suck and perhaps you are taking the memo fact pattern and playing it out in real life. But you do realize that we are in law school and you're taking a big gamble of being caught if you ever do plan on practicing law, right? The botanical substance you are smoking also leaves behind a telltale odor, so you're not being very discreet about it even if it is outside. Just looking out for your best interests.


P.S. can you help me with the rule and test for the third section of the memo?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

On independence

On item #6 from the last post re: independence

At least five 2Ls and 3Ls have emailed me telling me that despite appearances, law review is not wholly independent in practice. As I tried to covey through the tone of my last post, it would be extremely naive for anyone to believe that something as important and/or high profile as law review would exist in a vacuum immune to outside pressure and nudging. While law reviewers are likely malleable for personal interest reasons, especially given that faculty members who read the law review will be writing clerkship recommendation letters to judges who read the law review and teaching recommendation letters to hiring committees who read the law review, it would be positive for a change if the law review actually practiced the independence that it preaches. Unlikely, I know, but one can hope.

A little birdie also told me another theory re: additional essay

The story is this: Law review used to be completely writeon, and since Dean Schill arrived in 2004, he has been lobbying the law review for a limited gradeon. He was initially unsuccessful, but after the 2005 writeon, he persuaded/forced the law review to adopt a backdoor limited gradeon for select top students who didn't make it on via the writeon. And law review caved in. And this little birdie also sees Schill's fingerprints all over the new additional essay, perhaps to win points with minority students. Again, I don't know anything regarding the history, so I will not comment on it, except to say that the more information that is out there, the better for the overall discussion.

What I do know is that Schill has been pushing heavily for more students to do clerkships and to get more alums placed in academia, under the premise that this is what all "top" law schools do and we want to be a "top" law school. And one integral component in the competition for such jobs is law review membership, so the theory that the gradeon was implemented to increase the viability of "top" students for COA clerkships and teaching jobs is quite plausible. I know for a fact that he has been "strongly suggesting" to certain individual 1Ls this year that they do the law review writeon [who he has talked to, what criteria he has used, and how he has approached the topic I will let you ask him yourself].

Anyway, unless there are any more big developments, I will let the law review additional essay theme die its natural death. These last two days has been interesting seeing who has been reading my blog--(law school administrators and faculty: you do realize that, despite your lurking, your IP address reveals a lot about yourself, right?)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Quote of the day

A 1L has a summer job at a university in the deep South doing some legal work. A member of the administration of the Southern school tells him that the South is going to be quite a culture shock for him. According to the administrator, girls there are "very obedient and well-groomed."

More controversy

Various assorted things re: law review writeon controversy. Again, no funnies until next time.

1. My hit counter exploded today. So many people were visiting that statcounter stopped registering hits.

2. In less than 24 hours, I have become the #4 google search for "UCLA Law Review writeon."

3. Despite the large number of visitors, I got very few comments. I know that this is not due to the inability to comment, as all one needs is a google account to do so. The real reason was not the lack of opinion but that no one wants to publicly register their name to an opinion, as this is the law review writeon, i.e. the big leagues.

4. I did however, have several conversations via email with readers, including one anonymous back and forth with a member of law review (I presume) who defended law review.

5. One theory that was offered today by some for the law review version of judicial activism: this year's law review, including the people who manage the writeon, and more so than in previous years, includes a large contingent of people whose ideological persuasions will never make them law clerks to Scalia. This contingent is also very vocal in expressing its beliefs for their causes, and the additional essay is viewed of as a product of their beliefs. I don't know any law review members personally, so I will refrain from comment or opinion on this point.

6. As much as I am against the new essay, I would hope that law review keeps the proposed changes and not cater to any pressure or discontent over the process. They've made their bed and they should now sleep in it. The law review has made the decision after (hopefully) much careful analysis and planning, and one of the key skills of a lawyer is the ability and willingness to take an unpopular stand and defend it, despite whatever ramifications that may come. According to its website, it is wholly independent: "The Law Review is a completely student-run organization and all management, editorial, and publication control is vested in its members," and if it is to live up to its name, no degree of outside pressure from other students, faculty, alumni, judges, or even Dean Schill himself should have any bearing on it reconsidering its decision. To re-examine or roll back the new process after it has already been announced will only weaken their position and the law review as a whole.

7. The following flyer was distributed in the law school today by unknown 1Ls (presumably). Again, I'm simply posting what I received to add to the discussion.

Monday, March 12, 2007


[Caution: the following post is a departure from the usual light tones of my posts, and is sort of serious. I actually have a brain and I'm not just another pretty face, you know?]

Factual background: Law review here is determined largely through a writeon process [with a limited gradeon]. The writeon consists of writing a 10 page comment and doing a citechecking exercise. The process occurs during spring break, and in a month, the results are published. Last year, and in previous years, the composition of the law review mirrored that of the school...largely people with pale skin.

This year is going to be different, with the traditional elements of the writeon still intact, but also with an additional essay. I went to the law review meeting today where the new process was introduced to us. While I am not doing the law review competition because I will not be suckered into doing something solely for prestige, I am a sucker for free food. Except there was NO FREE FOOD today. What I got instead was a very interesting discussion regarding law review.

Before the meeting today, an email was sent out to the entire 1L class. The relevant part:
"In order to publish legal scholarship that leaves a lasting impact on the community and shapes legal discourse, we also need to ensure that our staff reflects a wide range of perspectives. This is critical to sustaining a vibrant intellectual community. The Additional Essay will provide you with the opportunity to give the Law Review a sense of what other skills, talents, interests, and experiences you believe will shape your contribution to the UCLA Law Review. "

So, the law review people basically announced today that diversity will be an additional component of the law review selection process, though it will be weighed less than the production test. Specifically what they are looking for in terms of diversity they would not say, and they would only say that the additional essay will be a prompt where one's "skills, talents, interests, and experiences" will come out. And of course, quite a few people at the meeting were upset for reasons I will not mention but I assume we all know, especially given the ramifications of law review to a person's r****é (guess the four missing letters).

I am against the new process for two reasons, and I will address each in turn. The two common justifications of law review are a) it helps supposedly when vying for a clerkship or a job at places like OMM, WLRK, etc. and b) law reviews, especially those at the top 20 schools, shape the direction of legal scholarship. For each part of my two-part response, I am working on the assumption that the diversity law review is looking for is the kind of diversity that is visible to people's eyes.

On (a): This is an easy one. I don't think that anyone, regardless of any factors, is automatically entitled to a job at WLRK or a clerkship with Kozinski. You have to work for it, and if law review is going to give advantage to certain people so that membership reflects "a wide range of perspectives," law review is giving preferential treatment to a group of students who do not deserve it.

On (b): I'm pretty sure that everyone will agree that anyone who claims that people with pale skin all think alike is extremely misguided. Likewise, to assume that admitting people with
diverse "skills, talents, interests, and experiences," (as they put it) will automatically make law review more intellectually diverse is plain wrong. I agree that exposure diverse intellectual opinions is necessary for significant contributions to legal scholarship; wouldn't it make sense then that the kind of diversity you should look for among law review members is intellectual and political diversity? UCLAW is pretty liberal, and diversity could be better accomplished by looking for members across the political and intellectual spectrum, so as to "publish legal scholarship that leaves a lasting impact on the community and shapes legal discourse."

(And an aside, law review writeon is completely anonymous, and wouldn't revealing one's "skills, talents, interests, and experiences" potentially jeopardize the process?)

As you all know, I'm actually in favor of affirmative action in regards to admissions. Aren't my opinions then contradictory? Here's the nuance (or "distinguishable" in lawyer speak): I'm in favor of a school that represents the U.S. and I'm in favor of access, and what people do with their education is up to them. I view grades and LSAT as simply one proposed indicator of how successful a law student one might be, and I am not in favor of shutting out people who don't possess that one attribute.
You obviously can't be a lawyer if you can't get into law school, and I am all for granting access so that the 150s can prove admissions wrong. There are many definitions as to what makes a "good" law student and a "good" lawyer, but with regards to law review, you are a good law review member if you can citecheck and edit well, and the proposed diversity component does not a good law review make.

Anyway, that's my take on the buzz that occured today at school. Comments?

Across the pond

I never knew that a) my influence extended that far across the pond and b) the presumably high status of my readers from across the pond.

I'm scared

OK, this global warming thing is really start to scare me.

90+ degrees in March? I know this is LA, but even this does seem excessive for Southern California standards for this time of the year.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Shameless plug

For all you UCLA people reading this blog and people in the LA area, here's a shameless plug for the public interest auction that supports law students more altruistic than myself during their public interest summer jobs.

Saturday, 3/10, 6:30 PM Covel Commons

There's lots of stuff that has been donated that can be yours. I was looking through the gift list, and one thing struck me. UCLAW alum and 9th circuit judge extraordinaire Alex Kozinski is offering poker for a group, as one of the items for auction. He is arguably the school's most famous alum, one of the most prominent judges on the 9th circuit, and surely a name that most law students will run across in any casebook. Through a utterly scientific survey, he was also named the #1 Male Superhottie of the Federal Judiciary.

Poker. With a famous 9th circuit judge. And a hottie. Enough said.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Return on investment

Today was a first for me since I started law school: I was stopped for a traffic violation. Or so the officer thought.

[license, registration, blah blah]
Badge: You know you just made a left turn that is not allowed.
Me: No I didn't.
Badge: Yes you did. You just made a left turn in front of my eyes.
Me: I'm not disputing that I made a left turn, only that that it was not illegal.
Badge: The sign there clearly says no left turns.
Me: I think this is a violation of my due process rights guaranteed to me under the 14th amendment of the Constitution. [never mind I don't know what due process is since I haven't got that far in Con Law and I said it only because plaintiffs always claim a violation of due process when something is unfair]
Badge: Do you even know what due process means?
Me: I do [lying through my teeth]. I'm a law student. [show my Bruincard]
Badge: Oh.
Me: The sign there says no left turns from 7AM to 7PM and right now, it is 7:10 at night. You can still cite me, but there are procedures to document the current time, according to the Federal Rules of Evidentiary Evidence [I don't even know if such a thing exists, but it sounded official]. I was reading about it the other day in my casebook.
Badge: Oh. Well, I'm just going to let you off with a warning then. Just don't make any more illegal turns.

I guess a) the random law terms I picked up from a semester and a half of law school finally came in handy, b) the semester and a half of law school has provided me a good foundation into the key skill of a lawyer: lying through my teeth but making it sound very credible, and c) how little I've learned in law school that's directly applicable to real life situations.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


One of the recent hits from my blog was from a Harvard I.P. address, arrived here through a google search of "law school miserable."

And here I was thinking that everyone was happy at the #2 law school in the country.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I am bad.

Quote from Diversity Reception:

(random banter beforehand so that I get one of their giveaways)
Firm rep: "So, how interested are you in our firm?"
Me: "Little to none."
Firm rep: "Why is that?"
Me: "Because your brochure looks like it was made by a 12 year old. I know I'm being superficial, but if law firms are superficial enough to judge students based solely on GPA, I'm going to be superficial and judge firms based on brochures and how good looking the associates are."

I know, I have big cojones to have said that. (The vast quantities of free alcohol I consumed at the reception helped immensely. And that I already have a summer job and was there only for the free alcohol and USB drives. And because my name tag had fallen off by that point and there was no way the firm could track me down.)

Positivity for a change

Here's a plug for two news releases that I felt were pretty cool, and shows the Dean and the school's craving for a higher USNWR ranking, under the premise that top law schools are always looking at and doing research on the new frontiers of the law.

UCLA Law to Establish Unique Chair: A $1-million-plus gift from a gay couple will help fund the nation's first endowed professorship in sexual orientation law.

UCLA Law Hires New Faculty Member Doug Lichtman: Strengthen's School's Program in Entertainment and Intellectual Property Law

On #1: Regardless of your personal view of gay marriage or the like, I would think that most would agree that setting up a first endowed chair in the nation is pretty impressive, and shows a willingness of the school to look at the emerging issue.

On #2: To have recruited a professor from Chicago is a coup, just like Mnookin from UVA a while back. Strengthens the IP program for the school, and it is good to see that Dean Schill is leveraging our location and proximity to the entertainment industry to attract a foremost professor in the cross-section of entertainment/IP law.

Friday, March 02, 2007

More shallowness

I was at a UCLA law firm diversity reception recently, even though I am not diverse. But neither were probably the majority of the students there. There were about 40 large firms there to show their support for diversity in the workplace. I was talking with some people from a law firm, and one of the career services people butts in to introduce a 3L on law review. Never have I felt so inadequate when everyone stopped talking to me, and focused their attention solely on the law reviewer. Law firms might be shallow, but the real question is what a 3L on law review is still doing trying to find a job as a 2nd semester 3L.

A unnamed New York-based large firm today also tried to bribe their way into our hearts. In our mailboxes were chocolate bars, with a customized wrapper that merely said "[Firm name] Summer 2008" in big red letters. If a law firm thinks that I can be bribed with mere chocolate and stationary (which I picked up some more of yesterday at the diversity reception), they are some smart people. No wonder they make the big bucks.