Friday, February 29, 2008


Law school prom tonight. Let's hope for less drama this year (2Ls will know what I mean).

I will be out of action/recovering all weekend.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Last year as a 1L, another male 1L and I were out at a local watering hole known for being a undergrad hangout. We were talking to two girls. They said they were first-years. [UCLA doesn't use the freshman, sophomore, etc. categories but uses instead 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years.] Assuming that they were first-year college students, my friend and I said that we were first-year undergrads as well (well, the first-year part was true).

Except that the two of them turned out to be first-year med students. So, I had just talked my way into being 4+ years younger than them. Way to go, genius, I thought to myself. And by then, it was too late for a save.

Fast forward a year. Yesterday, I ran into one of the girls on campus, and who remembered me. And she asks how my 2nd year of college is. Good, I say. Have you decided what you want to major in? English, I say. What do you want to do after college? Probably law school.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

something in the water

Something to be proud of.

And the best tap water goes to ... L.A.?

"It means they give special care and attention to their water and how it is processed," said event producer Jill Klein Rone.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Spare a dime?

A friend of mine from college is now in grad school somewhere in a "flyover" state. He was telling me how annoyed he was that his rent for his apartment just got raised. From $275 to a whole $300/month.

As a resident of Southern California, where I pay just a slightly bit more (and by slightly I mean 400% more), he was not getting any sympathy from me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I did inhale

Professor A in my previous post is none other than UCLA's libertarian child prodigy Eugene Volokh (also legal advisor to the Yes on Proposition 209 campaign). Professor B is Richard Sander, a specialist in affordable housing and housing discrimination. And as shocking as it may sound, I will go as far as to claim that Sander is more reviled than Volokh by liberals, or at least by a segment of liberals. According to them, Volokh has always been Volokh, but Sander has sold out.

Why? Because of Sander's 2004 well-publicized law review article, where he claims that affirmative action is responsible for the high failure rates by African-American students on bar exams around the country. To prove his theory, Sander this year asked the CA State Bar for data from previous bar exams, including individual scores, race and academic credentials, a request that was rejected. One of his colleagues on the faculty wrote opposing his request (see here and here [registration required]). And not surprisingly, a Wall Street Journal article written by a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights supported Sander's request. (Current 2Ls have even emailed 1Ls who have Sander for property both to alert them of Sander's research but also to assure them that he is a very good property professor.)

As I've made clear many times in previous posts, I am a strong supporter of affirmative action for admissions purposes. I believe that it is a great shame that the undergrad and the law school's racial composition are so far skewed so as not to reflect, in the slightest, the broader racial composition of LA and of California.

Despite my support for affirmative action, I also feel that its supporters are bullying Sander and the CA State Bar to keep secret the information. I personally don't know whether or not Sander's theory is valid. But I would like to know. And the way theories are proved or disproved in an institution of higher education is through research and experimentation. The hallmark principle of secular universities, I believe, is academic freedom. And the withholding of CA State Bar data, arguably public data, stifles the development of legitimate academic research.

If Sander's theory ultimately is false, why not release the data, and have affirmative action backers be able to say "I told you so" to Sander's face? For those scared that Sander will artificially manipulate the data, have the CA State Bar make available the same data to the pro-affirmative action researchers to serve as an effective check on Sander's work.

If Sander's theory ultimately is supported by the data, denying the data is only serving to deny the truth, and is a great disservice to minorities. Ignoring the existence of a problem, if there is one, is akin to being the proverbial ostrich head in the sand. If there is some truth to Sander's theory, the provision of the data will enable law schools and the CA State Bar to understand how to create corrective solutions that will ultimately help minority lawyers.

The anti-Sander crowd is being rather hypocritical, I feel. They consistently use CA State Bar racial statistics to back up their claim of the lack of minority lawyers, yet are loathe to allow the same statistics to be used for "unapproved" purposes. But by selectively using data to further one's own purposes and excluding it for "incompatible" purposes does not good research and educational policy make.

Ultimately, my position in based on my belief in the value of free-flowing information, both good and bad. Not to be philosophical here, but I believe that truth can come into being only through a unfettered access to information. And much of my disapproval of Bush 43 (AKA Shrub) has been based on the secrecy and paranoia that seems to pervade his version of democratic government.

As an Obama supporter, I recognize that his past drug use and his "present" votes in the Illinois state senate represent potential liabilities. But I am more appreciative that these harmful facts came out rather than have them hidden by a political spin machine. Likewise, even if the CA State Bar data is not pretty and might weaken current affirmative action theory, our academic pursuit of truth demands its release. In my view, the data's release will ultimately help, more than it hurts, minority lawyers.

Friday, February 15, 2008


There are two law school professors here at school who garner a lot of press:

Professor A according to his biography, "teaches Constitutional Law II (Free Speech), Copyright, Firearms Regulation, and the law of government and religion. He is a nationally recognized expert on the First Amendment, cyberspace law, harassment law, and gun control...clerked for Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit...graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in math-computer science at age fifteen."

Professor B "has been working on questions of social and economic inequality for nearly all of his career...was one of seven UCLA faculty members and staff who launched the Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, which created a distinct curriculum aimed at public interest students...and [helped] launched the Empirical Research Group (ERG), an entity designed to help faculty members undertake ambitious empirical projects and introduce more quantitative and methodological sophistication into their policy-related work."

Which professor do you think is more controversial? Which professor is better loved by conservatives? Better yet, which professor do you think is more vilified by liberals?

Stay tuned for my take...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"I share the lament and disgust about the general level of associates' attire"

The latest flap in the legal profession recently were remarks by a biglaw partner lamenting how biglaw associates dress too informally. I will not opine about whether they do indeed dress too informally. But obviously, there are certain firms where casual dress is the norm (e.g. Quinn) and other firms (e.g. Wachtell) where business formal is expected everyday and there are firms somewhere in between (most firms).

But the comment that seemed to get the most flap was how this biglaw partner was partial to expensive $3,000 suits. And a bunch of associates responded that they can't afford nice suits because they make only $160,000 and not the millions of a partner, and hence they are forced to dress casually.

All I know was that when I was at the evil legal enterprise last summer and when the partners would take me along to court, I definitely saw prosecutors and (gasp!) federal public defenders in nice suits, even though I'm pretty sure that they don't make what a 25 year-old 1st year makes.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


This upcoming week features basically the worst known day for the segment of the human species that have Y chromosomes.

It should be bred into human male DNA to avoid starting any sort of new relationship in the month before then dreaded V-day. Why? Because financially it makes no sense to do so.

The female species has evolved to expect things like dinner at Spago [Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in Beverly Hills] and other similarly expensive things. What ever happened to homemade cards made of construction paper and having the guy cook for the girl? And I would fear the wrath that would befall me if I were to use a line like "why do we need a special day to celebrate our feelings for each other when we should celebrate it everyday?" Or, "It's just a holiday made up by companies to sell stuff."

Basically, why start something before when you can start something on, say, February 15, and escape all sorts of expectations?

But for those who've been together since before the one-month window, I guess you'll just have to give in and fork over your dignity and wallet. [Lesson for me: D'Oh!]

[P.S. I was talking to a friend at Northwestern Law who told me that it was 3 degrees today in Chicago. I was in flipflops and shorts enjoying 80-degree weather as we spoke--another reason I'm glad to have chosen school here over school in colder climates.]

Friday, February 08, 2008



A: Because you're masochistic and/or insecure and/or have very demanding parents.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Young turks

1L OCIP has arrived.

They're all dressed up, ready to explain to firms how "working at a firm for the summer will allow me to put my legal skills to use and to see law in practice and not just in theory, something that I felt was lacking in law school." And how at your firm, "working with the brightest and most talented lawyers in town will teach me and challenge me, and how my one year of legal education will hopefully provide a valuable addition for your team."

They've started to master the art of interview nonsense-speak.

My 1Ls have all grown up. (sheds tear)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Quote of the day

(Background: law school, generally speaking, are pretty liberal places, and lots of attention was paid in school today to Super Tuesday democratic primaries. My state has apparently been won by Clinton.)

Two law students are having a discussion:

#1: "For the good of the party, I don't understand why they don't just create a dream ticket. Afterwards, in 8 years, Obama can have his turn at the White House."
#2: "I agree. They should just join forces and create a dream ticket that will unite the party. And in 8 years, Hilary can get her own shot at running for president."

Sunday, February 03, 2008


If any of you (and I suspect most of you) follow the legal gossip on the various legal blogs, you will undoubtedly know about the rough time that one of the "Big 3" LA firms has recently been having. Likewise, another big LA litigation firm boasting of trial lawyers that win 92% of their cases has also been recently dragged through the online mud.

Whether or not any of the information is true or not, the presence of the rumors on the legal blogs is something that law firms really need to keep track of. How these rumors affect their business, I don't know. But I do know that the rumors have definitely affected their law school recruiting efforts.

Since us law students don't know any better, we turn to rumor mills contributed to by anonymous individuals to inform us and shape our opinions of the various law firms out there when it comes time to picking where to interview and what offers to accept.

At least at our school, both of the aforementioned firms had tough times recruiting this year, as many of students with offers from both these firms chose to go elsewhere. I'm not sure the degree to which the rumors on these rumor mills were the students' deciding factor that contributed to their decision not to accept their offers, but I know that it definitely did play a part.

Despite the degree to which law firm partners bemoan the existence of the rumor mills, they do serve an important democratic purpose in terms of making it harder for firms to hide potentially damning information. I do admit that the rumors spread can sometimes be misleading or downright false, but a form of collective validation tends to weed out the false rumors from the real ones. If I were ever a law firm partner (and I sincerely hope that I will never become one), the legal rumor mills would be something that I would pay religious attention to, given their ability to change and shape the main asset for a law firm, namely the field of public opinion.

Wait, what? Drama and rumors in the legal profession? Shocking, since there's absolutely none of that in law schools.