Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Buy me stuff

I, through mysterious ways, recently came into possession of a UCLA School of Medicine shirt. (By mysterious, I mean the store recently had med school shirts on sale while the law school shirts were full price and I needed a shirt for the gym.)

Observation: Having been a law student for a year and a half now, it has been my general experience that the girls who are attracted to male law students tend to be the "I want you to buy me stuff" type. My limited experience with the med school shirt indicates that the girls who are attracted to male (presumed) med students tend to be the "Marry a doctor to bring home to the parents" type.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Must read

While we're on the topic of big firms, here is an article that I think is a must read for all biglaw recruits. It is written by a former biglaw partner turned professor turned judge. It's a few years old, but still highly relevant. The cite is (52 Vand. L. Rev. 871) if you want to look it up on WL or Lexis.

A quote from the article features UCLAW's own Rick Abel.

"The partners of a big firm have a third option for making more money. This option involves what big firm partners euphemistically refer to as "leverage." I like to call it "the skim." Richard Abel calls it "exploitation." The person being exploited is you."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Better Legal Profession

Perhaps some of you have heard about Law Students Building A Better Legal Profession, started by a group of Stanford Law students. They've gotten a lot of press recently (NYT article here) because they are a student group that aims to rank firms based on three factors: diversity, billable hours, and pro bono, under the assumption that these three factors make law firms more humane places to work.

While I'm not certain to what degree this effort will have on firms in terms of changing their policies, I do think that any effort on the part of law students can only put pressure on firms to clean up their acts.

But I have two critiques:
1. (minor) The group uses NALP data, which is entirely firm-reported, which of course distorts the reality of the situation. Just like in law school where 1/8 Native American or 1/8 Latino will get you put into the law school's diversity statistics, 1/8 will also put you in a firm's diversity statistics. To what degree having 7/8 white "minority" partners will make a firm a better place to work is a philosophical question not to be touched on here. Likewise, the billable hours are also skewed. For example, Jones Day New York reports 1,800 billables. I would have to be stupid to believe that number, since (a) no NY firm would pass with 1,800 billables and (b) the firm's nickname is not Jones Day, Nights, and Weekends without a reason.

2. (major) The group stresses "building a better legal profession," yet their url is refirmation and tabulates the statistics only for major law firms. But to say that biglaw encompasses the entire "legal profession" is both arrogant and naive. Perhaps at elite schools, biglaw is the measure of success, and everyone not in public interest who goes to a firm earning under $100,000 is somehow a "failure." (Note: these are not my words, but is the sentiment of students at many top law schools, including my own.) But at the other 9/10 of law schools in the country, only a select few end up at biglaw. Indeed, only 10.36% of all lawyers in the entire country work for biglaw (14% of the 74% in private practice), so I really don't see how statistics about big law firms will help "build a better legal profession." How does the group help improve the legal profession for the other 89.64% of lawyers?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sad day

Driving around LA today, I could see that parts of the sky were slighter darker, remnants of smoke that had drifted here from the fires. The air also smelled differently today.


I also used up the last card in my pile of Starbucks cards that I collected over the course of recruiting season. (BTW, while I would never work for White & Case, I do give them props for handing out $20 cards while everyone else gave out $5 ones.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Raging Calif. wildfires force 1M to flee

Wow, largest California evacuation in its history, from fires that have burned close to half a million acres, fanned by high winds and 90+ degree temperatures (yes, it was 90+ today in late October and I am in law school in shorts and flipflops).

Quote of the day from a LA Times forum about the fire:
"You can scoff at people for building McMansions in fire-prone areas all you want, but don't forget that developers are the ones drawing the plans and city governments are the ones approving the permits."

Overall, I think that the fires are a huge disaster, and wish that the winds would die down. But, I keep on reading stories about stubborn people who refuse to leave their houses, because they think somehow if they're in their house, they can magically save it from burning (even though the fires have overwhelmed even professional firefighters). See stories here and here. I realize that the houses are a large financial investment, but these die-hards are merely taking away resources from the firefighting effort. And if these people eventually need rescuing, firefighters will be pulled from fighting fires to rescue these people, risking firefighters' own lives. No offense, but if someone tells me that I should evacuate because of fire, I leave. And if I decide to build a house in a fire-prone area, I will be sure to buy insurance in case there is a forest fire.

Like mountain rescues of foolish mountaineers where the government has begun to charge for the rescues, if firefighters eventually need to rescue these people's sorry butts from their house, they should be charged for it.

More rankings

Apparently, Princeton Review also wants to get into thee rankings game, and they recently published their own list of the top 50 law schools. According to these rankings, UChicago is the best law school in the country, Harvard is #14, Stanford is #24, and Yale is #35, so take the rankings with a grain of salt.

What I am impressed by is how UCLA is ranked #13, a fairly consistent ranking that UCLA has managed to hold across the multitude of law school rankings.

Even more impressive is how Princeton Review also surveys the average number of study hours a day at each law school. Cornell has the distinct honor of being the most studious law school. UCLA is ranked as one of the least studious schools, surpassed in terms of slackerdom among the top schools only by UT, USC, Yale, and NYU.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

California burning

Few things can be predicted with regularity.

One of these things is the annual wildfire in the Malibu canyons, threatening among other things, Ken Starr's Pepperdine. For the record, it rains less than 10 days a year in LA and the fires are always fanned by strong winds.

News story here.

Favorite line of the story:
"Malibu, home of about 13,000 people, stretches along 27 miles of Pacific coastline. The area is home to celebrities including Barbara Streisand, Mel Gibson, Ted Danson, David Geffen and Pierce Brosnan.

Last January, a wildfire driven by Santa Ana wind destroyed the home of actress Suzanne Somers and three other multimillion-dollar residences.

The community also is home to about 25 rehabilitation facilities, including Promises Residential Treatment Center, whose guests have included Brittany Spears, Ben Affleck, Charlie Sheen, Diana Ross and Matthew Perry."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lawyers of Fortune

During my interviews with firm partners, sometimes the topic of recruiting would come up and they would mention how competitive the market was for top associate talent. The solution, it would seem, would be to act like the business world and offer signing bonuses.

But in the legal profession, NALP (the National Association for Law Placement, and membership is required if firms want access to on campus interviews) has several guidelines that they make all firms adhere to. The guidelines were created to "promote fairness and informed decision-making during the recruitment process." Among the prohibitions for employers are no signing bonuses, no exploding offers, and the need to keep offers open until 12/1.

I understand the part about exploding offers and the 12/1 deadline, since they're meant to prevent employers from pressuring students.

But what I don't understand is the part about no signing bonuses. Generally speaking, I think that the free market could play an important role in terms of recruiting. Indeed, there are L.A. firms that pay NY market and those that pay below NY market. In terms of attracting associate talent, having firms pay extra for the students they really want is not that strange an idea. After all, law schools pay " signing bonuses" in the form of scholarships to get the students they really want.

Even though I've already decided, for many classmates, the current decision process basically entails choosing the firm where "they really liked the people and the culture." But if something like signing bonuses were on the table, it could definitely be a great tool to distinguish firms from each other. Furthermore, firms pay clerkship bonuses as a clerk recruiting tool and I don't see why the same philosophy can't extend to signing bonuses.

A possible critique of signing bonuses is that they're also meant to pressure students, and that's a bad idea. Well, not really. Sure, they're meant to present a meaningful financial incentive to students who might not really care about where they go--lawyers of fortune. But for those students who really care about "people and culture," signing bonuses should not factor into their decision. Thus, signing bonuses would be quite market efficient, as they would affect/pressure only the people who care about money over culture.

The real reason I think that bonuses are outlawed is that NALP doesn't want the stratification of law firms. If (profitable) firm A is willing to pay a $10,000 signing bonus while firm B is only willing to pay $5,000, NALP fears that stratification would occur--that people would view firm A as better as firm B, and thus potentially jeopardize the cohesiveness of legal employers. But such an argument likewise is faulty, since firms are already stratified (every law student looks at Vault and AmLaw anyway). In short, NALP prohibits signing bonuses for self-interested reasons: to prevent the firms who can't afford to pay signing bonuses from jumping ship and depriving NALP of membership revenue.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Um, yeah

Random firm I did a screening interview with during OCIP that never got back to me finally called me up today asking me to come into the office for a callback. I tell recruiting lady that I've already been taken. Recruiting lady proceeds to try to convince me that her firm is better than WORM. I tried very hard not to laugh over the phone, and I politely declined her invite.

Almost as funny as when the Davis Law admissions person was trying to tell me that Davis Law was a better school than UCLA when I called to withdraw from Davis.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Law Review, reviewed

If you are a regular reader, you probably know my position about Law Review. If you don't, it's basically the following--do it if you want to be an academic or clerk, but if you're doing it for the perceived prestige or the perceived job benefits, then you're buying into the hype.

Back during spring break when more than 1/2 the 1L class was doing the writeon, I adamantly refused to buy what Law Review was selling. I have no desire to clerk or to be an academic (utterly dreary professions in my humble opinion). But that is not why most people did the writeon. Most people did it because they thought that "it would look good on my resume" and "help me get a big firm job."

Now that the recruiting season is over for me, let's review on how my lack of Law Review has affected my job hunt.

I recently accepted with WORM, a pretty good firm (according to Vault at least, anyway). Granted the firm extended callbacks and offers to some Law Review members, many other Law Review types who interviewed were shut out by the firm. And the Law Review callbacks were people with high GPAs and good personalities to begin with, and Law Review was thus not the determinative factor. During my callback interviews with WORM and with other firms, at no time was my lack of Law Review ever even mentioned or discussed. (The dirty little secret that Law Review does not want people to know [and thus my obligation to let people know] is that there are some members, including current 3Ls, who are having difficulty with the job hunt.)

So, my lesson I would like to share is that GPA + personality absolutely trumps Law Review, EACH AND EVERY TIME. Membership is neither necessary nor sufficient for the desired end goal for most students: a big firm. Plus, I don't have to write that dreadful required comment.

Basically, everything that I said about Law Review when the writeon occurred has proven very accurate (at least in my case). Whether you think that my experience (to the utter dismay of the Dean and the Law Review leadership who would delete this post if they could) is representative is for you to decide, but I think that it is.

[EDIT: I am not speaking for any law schools other than my own. I do not profess knowledge of the relationship between Law Review and employability at any other law school.]

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I had to save this tidbit, as I could not post it when it happened. But, now that I've accepted my job, here is the quote of my recruiting season.

[Me and alum interviewer talk about UCLA]

Interviewer: Do you read the blog by the UCLA 2L? The one named after Pierson?
Me: [shocked, but with a totally straight face] Yeah, I read it from time to time.
Interviewer: Do you know who in your class writes it?
Me: I'm not sure, but I have a pretty good idea.

Friday, October 05, 2007

One less robot

*Important Announcement*

The Fox is off the market.

The job market, that is.

After much indecision, I have chosen to accept a summer position at the venerable firm of White, Old, Rich, and Male LLP. [It will be referred henceforth as WORM]

Ten potential reasons why I was chose the firm (Note, only one of them is the real reason, and as a hint, it is not reasons 1 to 9)
-#1 The firm has a low partner/associate ratio
-#2 Associates get plenty of client contact
-#3 Great diversity
-#4 Billable hours of only 100 hours a year
-#5 I get my own ocean-view office
-#6 The firm pays above market
-#7 Partnership track is only 1 year
-#8 I can do unlimited pro-bono work
-#9 The firm invented the cure for cancer
-#10 I really liked all the people I met.

Anyway, I'm so glad the process is over. There's only so much fancy lunches, dinners, and fakeness that I can handle before I puke. I can finally go back to class.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Big Time

Observation of the day:

You know the people who work in recruiting departments across the country. Generally all female, young, good-looking, personable, seem nice, and who I try to hit on at all callbacks and receptions. Anyway, they're all really nice until you call/email to [decline the callback/cancel the callback/decline the offer]. I called today doing just that, and the nice fake recruiting lady turns into a robot. No, "I'm sorry you won't be joining us next summer" or "do keep us in mind in the future." Just, "where are you going instead so that I can close your file." And then she hangs up the phone. [EDIT: interesting story over at TJs about recruiting coordinators]

Apparently UCLAW has finally made it--We've finally been mentioned/ridiculed by Above The Law: Top Tier Law Schools Have Problems Too

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Quote of the day

I went downtown for a callback today in one of tall buildings housing 6 different firms. I was dressed as usual--suit, tie, with my leather folder. I walk into the revolving door and head to the security guard to check in. Without prompting:

Guard: You here for interviews?
Me: Yes. [firm name]. How did you know?
Guard: Y'all all dress the same and look the same.

Wow. As sure an an indictment as any on all of us law students. We're sheep. We like to follow and conform.