Wednesday, January 30, 2008

bling bling

I was pulled over today for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. In contrast to the last time I was pulled over, I admitted that I was wrong, and I got a ticket.

The police car that pulled me over was a unmarked police car, yet it was not very difficult to spot. It was a dark-colored Ford Crown Victoria. Since an incident 10 years ago, where the LAPD was outgunned by bank robbers and had to raid a nearby gun store for additional firepower, all police cars in LA now carry assault rifles. And these guns are visibly stored vertically in a case between the center console of all LAPD cars, even unmarked cars.

After I got my ticket, I started wondering what the point of unmarked cars are if everyone can tell that it is an unmarked car.

Perhaps the counterargument is that since lots of drug dealers/ rappers have assault rifles in their cars, you can't automatically be sure that any car with guns in it is an unmarked car. But when have you ever seen a rapper riding around in a Ford Crown Victoria?

(Actual line from 50 Cent's "Get In My Car": "So much chrome on my Benz, you see ya face in my rims."--Something tells me that "So much chrome on my Crown Victoria" wouldn't have sold as many records.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

2 more months

Dear UCLA 1Ls: (post doesn't necessarily apply to other schools)

So, I usually save Law Review discussion for closer to the spring writeon. But I felt that this post is important now for 1Ls since they are considering right now whether or not to spend spring break doing the writeon competition. Law Review will also be beginning their recruitment/publicity efforts soon.

I am not anti-Law Review as some people would like you to believe I am. I am merely against the notion Law Review tries to sell that everyone needs to do the Law Review writeon.

There are some legitimately valid reasons to do Law Review:
1. I aspire to be a law professor.
2. I want a federal appellate clerkship.
3. I want to help influence legal scholarship.

But there are also some extremely poor reasons to do Law Review:
1. Because I think that it is prestigious.
2. Because everyone else is doing it.
3. Law Review members tell me to do it. (any surprise?)
4. I will regret it if I don't try.
5. Being on Law Review will get me a biglaw job.

The last point that mere Law Review membership alone will get you a biglaw job or that Law Review is required for biglaw is the biggest myth perpetuated by Law Review. Since its aura of prestige is maintained only if students continue to view being on Law Review as valuable, why not make impressionistic 1Ls believe that they need Law Review in order to get a job?

To debunk the whole Law Review=Biglaw myth, let's do a simple study. We will pick a large representative L.A.-based firm, and see whether or not current 2Ls needed Law Review to get hired (in a bad economy, no less) .

How about the L.A. firm of Latham & Watkins? (1) It is UCLA's largest employer, (2) it is the highest ranked West Coast based firm, according to Vault, (3) it was surveyed this year as a popular firm among students, and (4) more UCLA students did on-campus interviews with them than with any other firm.

So below, are the numbers of students going to each Latham office and the numbers of Law Review members out of the total number. Example: 2/5 means that out of 5 total people going, 2 of them are on Law Review. If people are splitting between offices, they are counted in the office where they will spend the majority of the time. This list includes most, but probably not all, of the summers. (How do I know so much about Latham? Hmmm...)

Los Angles: 1/10
Orange County: 1/2
San Francisco: 1/4
San Diego: 1/3
Chicago: 0/1
Washington DC: 1/1

Total: Out of us 21 Latham 2008 summers, only 5 are on Law Review. I think this ratio alone debunks the myth that you need Law Review to get a biglaw job.

So, in conclusion, you 1Ls have 2 months until the writeon. I'm not telling you not to do the writeon. During these two months, I merely want you to ask yourself, "What do I want to achieve after law school and will being on Law Review help me accomplish those goals?"

(Oh, in case Law Review tries to convince you that Latham is an exception, consider the following--it is also the firm where the 2008 Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review spent her 2L summer. And where the 2007 Editor-in-Chief spent his 2L summer.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Rain, rain, go away.

I was recently forced to go and buy an [overpriced UCLA bookstore] umbrella. Believe it or not, I had gone a year and a half without owning an umbrella. But due to the recent uncooperative weather, my dreams of going three years without an umbrella have been dashed. And because of the rain, I have been forced to stay inside and (gasp!) study.

Dear Mr./Ms. Weather, this is Southern California, and it's not supposed to rain.

That's why we have massive brush fires and drought, and rob the Colorado River of all its water.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

blahblahblah <-- this is what I hear

Why do people gun? That is the proverbial question.

Regardless of the reasons, I have been glad that many of the former 1L gunners have calmed down, and no longer feel the need to say something for the sake of hearing their own voices. That ridicule from the rest of their peers have perhaps had its desired effect. (There are a few exceptions, like with any rule.)

But that doesn't mean upper-level classes are free from this particular annoyance.

So the question I would like to pose is, why do transfer students and foreign LLM students like to gun? LLM students presumably disliked gunners while in law school in their home country. Likewise, transfers presumably disliked the gunners while at their former school as well.

I don't think it's because the two groups feel the need to gun because they want to seem smart in front of their new peers, because we all know that hearing something smart coming from gunners' mouths is a rare occurrence.

My proposed explanation is this: gunners tend to transfer to a higher ranked school and seek a foreign law degree at a higher rate than non-gunners, since the same competitive attributes that explain their desire to gun tend to correlate with their seeking to transfer and do a second law degree.

Now, please shut up gunners so that I can return to my solitaire, snood, and scrabulous. They enlighten my brain more than listening to you ever will.

P.S. I'm not saying that all transfers and LLM students are gunners--many of them are actually quite nice--but that they tend to be gunners at higher rates than the general law student population.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


My grades have all come in, and I find myself shocked. I spent most of last semester getting wined and dined, missing class and not doing reading, yet I managed to do around the same as I did 1L year when I was actually a diligent 1L. I chalk it up not to any brilliance on my part, but to how none of my classes this semester were curved (well, brilliance that I decided to take non-curved classes and independent study, and leave the fancy schmancy curved business associations and fed tax and accounting to the hardcore types). Almost like undergrad all over again, where I took all the wishy-washy English major seminars (my personal favorite: Literature and Motion Picture, where we read books and watched their movie adaptations) and stayed the hell away from any kind of math or science or econ.

To the 1Ls who weren't satisfied with your grades, here are some pointers:
1. First-year classes are curved, so only 1/4 of you will get some sort of A. [25-70-5]
2. Law school is different from undergrad, so what worked for you in undergrad does not necessarily work in law school. So, no more of the cramming and regurgitating that served you so well during undergrad.
3. Y'all focus too much on classes and not enough on exams. No matter how smart or stupid you sound in class and whether you gun or not and whether you suck up to the professor or not does not make the slightest difference in terms of your grades. It is your ability to take exams and wrestle with the material that matters. So, focus on the exam primarily. From day one. Do practice exams, practice problems, practice exam writing, practice arguing in the alternative.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Living in a closet

I've been trying to catch up with the first week of classes, so hence the lack of posting.

Winter break is over. Back now to the second half of law school.

Ventured to New York City for a few days over the holidays, and it reminded me of why I prefer the West Coast, and why I did not even bother to apply to law school in New York. And how the whole "New York holidays" thing is highly overrated. Oh, and it was also cold like you would not believe.

Random thought...why is it that "boutique" hotels in New York think that they can charge $450 for a room barely big enough to fit a bed? Does the price justification go something like this--sure the room is tiny and the bathroom is like a prison bathroom, but hey, there's neon blue lights in the room and we have an overpriced martini bar in the lobby, so you not only get the tiny room but also get to savor the (neon-blue tinted) "ambiance."

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Happy return to law school!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

And, we're back

The theme of law student blogs at this time of the year all seem to be about grades (or the lack thereof). I offer below my explanation and the explanation that has been given to me by many professors. You can choose which makes more sense.

My explanation:
The root of the problem lies in the kind of people who become law professors. It should be of no surprise that the vast majority of people who have law degrees practice law [law school»law firm]. With the practice of law comes deadlines requiring promptness (e.g. deal closings for corporate types and motions and briefs for litigators). If you don't get them in by the deadline, [client loses case»client loses a lot of $»lawyer is out of a job--see here]. Therefore, experienced lawyers learn to get things done quickly and efficiently.

But law professors are a different breed. The standard trajectory of law professors is [law school»clerk»firm/govt for 2 years (optional)»academia]. Professors thus either have practiced law and hated the billable hour expectations or have never practiced law altogether (if you don't believe me, there are several professors at every law school who are not even admitted to the bar). How professors really earn their paychecks is not by teaching 4 hours a week but by thinking of ideas and putting them on paper. And they all claim that you can't set deadlines on geniousness. Also, while firms expect associates to work during the winter holidays, professors feel that they need a break because thinking of ideas and putting them on paper is taxing on their brains.

Professor's explanation:
Objective and careful grading takes a lot of time. You have to (1) read each answer carefully, (2) reread, (3) assign points, (4) count up points, (5) make curve, (6) submit to records office. [N.B.: at most schools steps 4-6 are done by professor's assistants]. And because teaching is a small part of their job, they have to balance grading with their other academic (e.g. committee work) and family commitments .