The advantage of spending time in private practice this summer is I got to see first-hand that the average quality of lawyers is ... average. And half of them, necessarily, are below.
Because current & future law students may wonder: does a person with one year of law school know anything useful, legally speaking? I’m here to reassure you: yes, you do.
Because when you’re in your highly selective law school, every day you’re faced with the tedious reality of being surrounded by people who are at least as competent as you and in most cases more so. Your self-esteem just can’t catch a break.
But out in the real world, it’s a different story. Spelling errors. Mistyped cites. Misquoted cases. Misunderstood statutes. Failure to observe basic rules of procedure. The list goes on. I was working on a project where I discovered such an egregious error by opposing counsel that it took me about half an hour to convince myself it was really there. It’s a good feeling.
12 Aug 05
Regular readers will perhaps not be surprised to hear that I won’t be participating in OCI at all. Not now, not ever.
Last semester, a professor of mine was known for frequently taking a moment out of his lectures to rail against the inanity of big firm jobs and the law school culture that pushes people into them.
Later in the semester, same professor was seen at a reception for new law review members held by a big firm (let’s just call them Sk-dd-n A-ps), nabbing some free snacks and advising his students who’d made it to maximize this networking opportunity.
This typifies the “bite hand then kiss ass” relationship law schools cultivate with the world of big firms. Outwardly. they want you to believe that the legal world is your oyster and that you should really devote 20 hrs a week this semester to the Oompa-Loompa Tribal Defense Clinic or whatever because hey man, this could be your career.
But the limits of rebellion are carefully circumscribed by the reality—graduates need to get placed in jobs (because it’s calculated in the US News ranking). The most jobs come from the biggest firms. Hence, when it’s time for OCI, who’s interviewing? Yep you guessed it. Not the Oompa-Loompas. Rather, the biggest, baddest, whitest law firms on the planet.
I don’t have anything against these firms or the people who want to work for them. In fact, I look forward to serving their clients with massive complaints and giving them all more exciting work to do.
For myself, the measure of success in a job search is finding the one job that fits me perfectly, as opposed to flattering myself with 10 offers from 10 firms who happened to think my suit was really nice, and liked my answer to the question “What’s your greatest flaw?“: That I just can’t let myself go home until I know I’ve done my very best.
15 Aug 05
I stopped by school yesterday to pick up a reading assignment and stumbled into the 1L orientation in progress. The three minutes I was there were perhaps the most pleasant spent at law school yet. I was filled with an expansive, peaceful feeling, accompanied by the happy mantra I’m not you ... I’m not you.
1L wasn’t all that bad. But this year will be a lot better. I wish the class of 2008 the best of luck.
P.S. You do have reading assignments for Monday.
20 Aug 05
I call my fall schedule the “flight to quality”. I’m only taking courses with professors whose evaluations ranked them up there with Jesus and John Lennon.
Federal Tax - you can guess what this is about.
Contemporary Litigation - I have no idea what this is about. I’ve been warned that despite the excellent teacher, it’s extremely dull. He says it’s about how lawsuits get going, and why and how they stop. We’ll see if he’s telling the truth.
Remedies - play for cash, play for prizes, it’s your choice.
Quantitative Policy Seminar - this will answer the question whether the world’s problems can be solved by making excel spreadsheets. I already have an idea for my paper, which is pretty insidious and cruel, but I will try to sell it to the professor.
23 Aug 05
Angeles National Forest, elevation 5000 feet, where I was one hour ago. I’m liking this new 2L schedule. I can see why people take 14 yrs to finish a PhD, there’s just so much opportunity for high-quality goofing off when you’re a grad student.
OK, guess I better go do my remedies reading for today.
PS to 1Ls: this is the “outdoors”. You can save it to your laptop for future reference if you want.
25 Aug 05
Chilly B passes along this report that law school applications are down everywhere, but the biggest drop in the country ... drum roll please ...
Showing the biggest drop in applications was UCLA’s law school, which received 13% fewer, or 6,319 applications, for the upcoming year.
UCLA law school dean Michael Schill said that an analysis of the applicants’ qualifications indicated that a decrease represented a group of applicants who the school would be “least likely” to admit.
“Students who really don’t have a chance of getting into the law school are not applying as much as they used to,” Schill said.
Ah, the old “that’s cool, I wasn’t really that into you either.” Though I’m curious how the admissions office came to this conclusion—how do you determine the qualifications of people who didn’t apply?
26 Aug 05
I want all of you playing at home to understand you can’t swing a cat here at UCLA without smacking it into a large pizza pie. Whether the topic is sex or genocide, pizza provides the perfect accompaniment to any student gathering.
Under the link below, I will keep a chronicle of pizza as it becomes available in the 2005-06 school year. These are the times of our lives.
MEET YOUR MENTOR/COURTYARD SOCIAL: If doing something for your future isn’t your thing and instead you’d prefer to socialize with your classmates over a tasteful soda pop and some pizza, then join the SBA in the courtyard on Thursday at 4:00PM.
- Want to work with today’s most dynamic, cutting edge law? Then, join the Dukeminier Awards Journal of Sexual Orientation Law! ... ALL are welcome to our Intro Lunch Meeting ... Thursday, August 25 ... Free Pizza!
- The Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs will be having its informational meeting on Monday, August 29 from 12:15 to 1:00 pm in Room 1357. Pizza and soda will be provided.
- The first meeting of the UCLAW Veterans society will be held on Wednesday, 8/31 in Room 1327. It will be informal and there will be pizza!
- PUBLIC INTEREST LAW FUND / Informational Meeting
Wednesday, September 7, 2005 12:15pm Room 1347
Pizza will be served
- A Conversation with Barbara L. Mulvaney, Senior Trial Attorney, UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
“Genocide and Rwanda: A Prosecutor’s Perspective”
Wednesday, August 31
[pizza will be served]
- Representatives from the New York offices of Latham & Watkins, Jones Day, and Paul Weiss will speak to and answer questions from students about law practice in New York and the area’s unique legal market. Tuesday, Sept. 6th, 4:30pm - 5:30pm, Room 1430. Pizza will be served.
- PROGRAM IN BUSINESS LAW AND POLICY and BUSINESS LAW ASSOCIATION cordially invite you to a panel discussion with U.S. Tax Court Judge Maurice Foley ... Tuesday, September 20, 6:30 P.M. Room 2448. PIZZA WILL BE SERVED
- Wednesday, September 21, 12:15 : 1:15 p.m. [pizza will be served] Room 1430: “Empowering Citizens to Fight for Clean Air, Clean Water, and Healthy Ecosystems around the World” : A Discussion with Bern Johnson, Executive Director, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (E-Law)
- Federalist Society - Monday, October 3, 12:30 PM ‐ 1:30 PM
Location: Room 1430. Parent‐Child Speech and Child Custody Speech Restrictions, a talk ‐ with free pizza! ‐ by Prof. Eugene Volokh,
with commentary from Prof. Dan Lowenstein
31 Aug 05
My man “YL” told me my name was on the Jones Day schedule for OCIP. As usual, I was skeptical. But damn! He was right!
I have no idea how that happened. Let me assure you it was quickly fixed. There is now an opening on the Jones Day morning schedule, if you want it.
BTW, doesn’t this home page image from the Jones Day website make it look like two partners are about to be assassinated? Or is that just my imagination running wild?
31 Aug 05
Epilogue 8: Buy my book
Epilogue 7: Recessionaires cont'd
Epilogue 6: Schill quits UCLA
Epilogue 5: recessionaires
Okay, I lied. Epilogue 4
Epilogue 3: The End (really)
Epilogue 2: Nov 2007
The eagle has landed
Seduced by the dark side
You've been in law school too long when...
I have only five more class days
The lone gunman
The last spring break is over
Someone saved your life tonight
Dean Schill & the Pussymobile
Help me yet again