Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dollar bills

Went to San Francisco recently for callbacks.

At the airport, I bought a $3 bottle of soda with a $20. Got back change all in dollar bills.

On the plane, I bought a $5 sandwich. Flight attendant was this no-nonsense mid-40s lady. I took out my wad of dollar bills.

Her: That's a lot of dollar bills you've got there.
Me: Yeah, long night last night at the strip club.

She responds by giving me the death stare.

All I know is that I'm grateful for the lack of prepared meals on airlines, as she would have definitely spit in my food if she had the chance.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Being a rebel

Standard interview attire for men:
black suit
power red or medium blue tie
white shirt

Having the luxury of sitting on an offer, I can ignore the conventional business advice.

For callbacks, I wear:
dark navy suit
light pastel tie

I am such a rebel!

(for the Quinn callback, however, I will be sporting a Hawaiian shirt)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Best news ever!

The following was great news in my mailbox today, from the Dean. I have selectively edited the email to show the highlights (in my opinion).

As many of you may have already heard or read in the newspaper, the U.C. Regents approved a fee increase of 15% for our students for next year. They also approved a plan that would increase fees by 13% for each of the two succeeding years. Total tuition and fees for in-state students are therefore estimated to rise to $31,113 for 2008-09 . . . In furtherance of this commitment, we will take several steps to ameliorate the impact of the fee increase for those who can afford it the least. We are going to increase financial aid significantly – more than 1/3 of this fee increase will go to directly to improving our financial aid . . . Since I became dean three and one-half years ago, I have repeatedly acknowledged that fees would need to increase to support our growth, especially in an era where state subsidies are unpredictable and trending downward. At the same time, though, I remain committed to keeping our fees lower than our peer institutions. According to our estimates, once the fee increases are implemented, the total cost of a year at UCLA School of Law for in-state residents will be approximately $6,500 less than peer public law schools such as the University of Michigan and University of Virginia and $13,000 less than our peer private law schools. Our fees will also be slightly lower than Boalt’s . . .

My thoughts:
1. Tuition this year was $26,856 and it will jump next year to $31,113. That's a lot. But at least I'll have to pay the increase for only one additional year.
2. By my math, tuition at my state school will be $35,157 for academic year 2009-2010, and $39,728 for 2010-2011 (adding on a 13% yearly increase--quintuple the rate of inflation).
3. And thus, the entering class next year will pay $105,998 for their three years of law school. I, by comparison, will have paid around $75,000.
4. Assuming the Dean's math, law school tuition in 2010-2011 will cost $46,228 (39,728+6,500) at UVA and Michigan for in-state tuition. Law school at USC will be $52,728 (39,728+13,000). Either law school is going to be really expensive in three years or I don't trust the Dean's math.
5. Again, I might not be the most logical person in the world, but I really don't get the point of increasing tuition and then turning around to give 1/3 of it back to students. Why not only increase the tuition by 2/3 of the proposal and let students keep the money?
6. I was at some 0L recruitment events last year, and I heard the Dean specifically try to sell students by saying "don't you realize that coming to UCLA is like getting an automatic $15,000 scholarship because we're cheaper than private schools?" I find it hard to believe that the school will be able to hold the same sway in terms of attracting T14 students as the price differential becomes smaller.
7. I know that higher education costs money, but did I mention that I am so glad that I will be paying the increase for only one additional year?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Two sides

Interesting article on the front page of today's Wall Street Journal about the recruiting season from the perspective of students from lower-ranked law schools.

It's funny, since I hear two different pictures about legal recruiting from lower-ranked schools. The (negative) side is mentioned in the the WSJ article. But I also hear stories about big bad law firms expanding their traditional recruiting pool because of the booming legal market and the need to find more bodies. Even UCLA has benefited from this, since while all the major West Coast firms always come to recruit, the top NY firms have started coming out this year and last year, as the major East Coast law schools produce only a finite number of graduates. This has been a fruitful to the rare kids here who desire to go practice in NY post-graduation.

Which side of the story is true, I'll leave it for you to decide.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Harvard is evil

You said it, not me.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Like bears to honey

I had a callback today. Nothing special. 2 associates took me out to lunch at the end. Went back to school. Went to dinner with the screening interviewer (young female associate) to "talk more about the firm," a dinner also paid for by Uncle [Firm Name]. Dinner was highly awkward, as I was basically tricked into a dinner-date. (Fine, I'm not that socially clueless to fail to realize that "talk more about the firm" implies the possibility of not merely only "talk[ing] more about the firm," but still, I was shocked at the forwardness.)


Was also real facebook-friended by a [male] associate I interviewed with during a previous callback. Also highly awkward. The pending friend request is sitting idly.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Child's play

One observation from OCIP: just how much of a joke law firm interviews are.

Having started the callback process, I'm absolutely amazed at the amount of fluff that occurs in interviews. During screening interviews and callback interviews, we law students are expected to talk about ourselves for 20-30 minutes at a time. No offense, but the stock-boy job I had when I was 16 made me go through a tougher interview process than this.

Even during callbacks, we're expected to talk about ourselves and repeat the same pitch multiple times to different people. (Granted, we're expected to ask the interviewer the same five stock questions towards the end of the interview). And as a result of talking about ourselves for 3 hours, we're effectively handed a six-figure job.

Come on, I'm an aspiring lawyer--of course, I can talk about myself. Easiest job I've ever had to interview for.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Right Loses

Latest on Chemerinsky...

It seems that all the negative criticism has finally gotten to UC Irvine and public opinion basically neutralized the conservative bloc's power.

Chemerinsky returns to UC Irvine (LA Times)
Furor Ends in Deanship for Liberal Scholar (NY Times)
Official Statement (UC Irvine)

One interesting note: Chemerinsky obviously came out on top here, and was the big winner. It would be fun to know what he was promised to accept the job this second time. It probably wasn't more money, but rather probably something involving greater freedom, responsibility, more discretionary spending, etc.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


During recruiting season, there is much talk about the preferred firms. Indeed, there was a piece written about which firms are the "hot" firms this year.

The piece (written by a east coast blogger) profiles the east coast firms hot among this year's law students. None of the firms in the piece are remotely close to being popular destinations for west coast students.

With the exception of one.

Which brings me to my question...why do law students cream their interview suits over Latham?

I interviewed with them (they had 10 full schedules here at school), but did not find anything special about it vis a vis other firms. I still don't get why L&W is so desired. Feel free to comment or email me to explain the Latham fetish.

And in case people can't articulate a good reason other than "I heard it is nice," it just shows the arbitrariness we law students use in evaluating firms.

UPDATE: The only response I got was that the firm has a laid-back reputation (compared with its peer firms) and that it has nice people. Personally, not very impressive reasons.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I work too hard

So, OCI (for me at least) ended on Wednesday, and there was no better feeling than not having to go through any more repetitive 20-minute "so how do you like law school " "tell me about your summer" and "why firm x" interviews.

While it is hard to tell during a screening interview how you're doing, here are my general observations:

You know interviews are going bad when:
-interviewer, around the 7 minute mark, starts the "so, do you have any questions for me" routine
-looks at the resume of the next interviewee during your interview
-interviewer tells you that it's been a long day and that he's ready to get out of there
-checks his crackberry during interviews
-you make an anti-SC comment to an interviewer who went to SC

Interviews go well when:
-you talk about your shared favorite sports team for most of the interview
-interviewer says: "when you come in to the office, I want you to meet x,y,z."
-interviewer tells you about the terrible interviews he/she has had today
-interviewer offers you callback on the spot

I also subscribe to the school of thought that you should be relaxed and make several semi-inappropriate jokes during the interviews, something that Career Services explicitly warns us not to do. Granted, it's easier for me to not stress out about the process since I already have a fallback offer from 1L summer, but being fun definitely made me stand out (read: be memorable) when most others go in really professional, be a robot, and give the stock answers we're taught to give (What is your greatest weakness? I am a perfectionist and I work too hard.)

But the downside with the informal attitude is that the interviews I've really bombed have been with really formal interviewers who didn't take too kindly to my semi-inappropriate jokes. My response to the weakness question? I have a weakness for cheap beer and for easy women. (OK, so maybe I don't actually say the second part out loud, but cheap beer is always my response when asked about my weaknesses.)

Anyway, I have a slate of callbacks lined up for the next month or so. Even though we will all continue to hate the process, at least we'll get a free lunch out of each callback. Good luck to all.

P.S. you guys should also continue to watch the UC Irvine Law fiasco continue to unfold.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Growing pains

I will stop the OCI posts for this one important post, mainly about how a UC to the south/east-ish of UCLA has really screwed something up.

UC Irvine sometimes feels like the ugly duckling to UCLA, and about a year ago, it was announced that there was going to create its own new law school to launch in 2009. The new law school should have some important implications for, not so much UCLA and USC, but for the lower-ranked LA law schools and the existing Orange County law schools. The school got a $20 million donation from a conservative billionaire real estate developer, and will be named the Donald Bren School of Law.

Any 1L who has taken Con Law will be familiar with Erwin Chemerinsky and his hornbook. He spent 20 years at USC before moving to Duke. He is perhaps the foremost liberal Con Law scholars in the country, and supposedly awe-inspiring. And he was recently recruited by UC Irvine to head the law school and he accepted. Getting him to be the Dean was a major coup. Dean Chemerinsky!

At least for a few days.

Mere days after being hired, he was fired, the stated reason being that the school didn't realize how liberal he was when they hired him. If Irvine didn't realize that the country's foremost liberal Con Law scholar was a liberal, they must not have conducted the Dean search very thoroughly or they were just stupid. See news stories here and here. The official response from the Irvine Chancellor is here.

The real reason: the conservative donors at Irvine, including Bren, didn't like liberal Chemerinsky, and threatened to withhold further support unless he was fired.

Honestly, this was probably the worst decision Irvine could have made, made 2 years before the school even opens. Ave Mari...I mean UC Irvine, will now forever be branded as a "conservative" law school, despite its status as a public UC institution. But perhaps more importantly, it tells the academic community that it is subject to outside political influence and that nonacademics will be the ones making the academic decisions. And finally, it sends a warning message to potential faculty members that their academic freedoms will always be subject to check by outsiders.

I might be no university administrator, but I have two words for Irvine if they are so worried about the conservative donors jumping ship: liberal donors.

Wikipedia entry on Bren: here
Volohk Conspiracy commentary, including nearly uniform criticism by conservative scholars

The LA Times today (9/14) did a 6-page series on the whole affair. Some highlights:
-Main LA Times article today: here
-Chemerinsky's op-ed: here
-Chancellor Drake's attempt at a response: his explanation is that he is convinced that "Professor Chemerinsky and I would not be able to partner effectively to build a world-class law school at UC Irvine."

UCI reportedly working on a deal to rehire Chemerinsky (9/15)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Whatever it takes

Day 6 of OCIP has finished. So tired.


Had screening interview recently with a young female associate. Got a callback with said firm. Callback has been scheduled.

So, what does it mean when said female associate has called me twice already asking if I have additional questions about the firm and to see if I wanted to go to lunch or dinner either before of after my callback?

Hey, if it's going to help get me a job...

Monday, September 10, 2007

More stories

So someone today, as he entered the interview room, totally tripped and took a spill. Despite his high level of coordination, he was unable to walk the 5 feet from the door to the seat without incident.

But he is still cool.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


With each marriage of your single friends makes you ponder your singleness (or how much you don't want to be married). With each passing of an elderly person's friend makes him ponder his own mortality. And with the retirement of each law school blogger only makes you think of your own limited shelf life. Here's to you, Lioness.

Being a blogger who doesn't really comment on other blogs, I'm not sure how people feel about this. And so, here is a poll:

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Interview stories

(1) Firms will usually print out a copy of the interviewer's bio and stick it on the door of the interview room. I am waiting for my interview and reading over the interviewer's bio. My face is 8 inches from the door. Previous interview finishes. Interviewer opens door to let the previous student out. My face is still 8 inches from the door. Pretty obvious that I was unprepared and reading the bio right before the interview.

(2) Another interviewer to me after interview was over: "Thanks for the highly entertaining interview. I don't think I've laughed so hard so hard during the recruiting cycle this year."

(3) I have amassed a large collection of post-it highlighters and Starbucks cards.

(4) Latham consistently gives out the best toys. They were the first firm to start the USB drive trend about 2 years ago. This year's toy is a 1GB USB drive that is the shape of a credit card and fits into a wallet.

(5) Today was only day 4 of OCIP. I am absolutely wiped out.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

All things to all people

So, I've had a request for anecdotes. It is currently is the recruiting season, and all of my posts will deal with recruiting and going back and forth between the school and the Guest House. But in two days of recruiting so far, I'm already sick and tired of the process.

Two true interview stories:
Interview (a): large firm, young male junior associate. First time at UCLA. Sees lots of good-looking undergrad girls walking about campus. I was his first interview of the day. He starts off telling me about the hot UCLA undergrads he's seen. We proceed to spend most of my 20-minute time slot talking about college girls. How this relates to my abilities as a summer associate, I'm not sure.

Interview (b): large firm, bookish senior associate. Comes out that I wrote a paper on James Joyce in college. Proceed to spend the rest of the interview talking about Joyce and the rest of the writers of that era. How this relates to my abilities as a summer associate, I'm not sure.

And I got callbacks from both these firms.

What this tells about me (and the interview process):
1. I'm simply a renaissance man I guess, being able to talk intelligibly about college sorority girls and modern American writers within a 1-hour period.
2. I'm a good BSer and schmoozer, and this ability is the key to getting callbacks (once you've met their GPA requirement, of course).

Monday, September 03, 2007


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I don't think your chances are that good.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Food for thought

On the eve of OCIP, when all of us are preparing our suits and looking over NALP for the three-week process starting Tuesday, thinking about what we will all buy with $160,000 a year, I would like to introduce you all to one concept. The concept is even more striking given the rumors of a salary increase.

It's called the rule of threes.

The rule means that you will have to bill (not just work) to earn your salary. Three times that it. To earn the $160K in a law firm, you have to bill three times that, $480,00. That's right, to earn your salary, you have to bill half a million dollars.

One third of your billing is your salary. The other third of your billing is to cover firm overhead and benefits (health insurance, subsidized gym, car service home, Blackberries, free Starbucks, office personnel, and your office rent). The final third goes to the pockets of the rich white men sitting in the corner offices.

Cheer up though. I've heard rumors that the rule is no longer rule of 3s, but is moving to a rule of 3.5-4 ($560,000 - $640,000 on a $160K scale)

So, when we are all hoping for an associate salary increase or shopping around for the firm paying the highest salaries, just keep the rule in mind.

With that said, let the madness that is OCIP begin.

um, yeah

Imagine if you gave this answer in a law firm interview...