From a schoolwide email received the other day:
Over the weekend several students requested that they be allowed to reschedule their Monday final examinations to enable them to participate in the May 1 National Day of Action on immigration rights. After consulting with the faculty who are giving exams that day, Dean Schill has decided to permit any student who wants to participate in the National Day of Action events to reschedule his or her examination to Tuesday, May 2...
I am reminded of the old adage “the show must go on”. Scheduling around legitimate holidays is one thing. But this seems a little rich. If you want to spend your day as throngmember #35,141, great. But why should the school make accommodations for you? I mean, can’t you go join the rally in the afternoon, after the exam? There’ll probably still be space available.
You know, I really wanted to go to Coachella this year to see Depeche Mode and Massive Attack, but it was inconveniently scheduled this past weekend, during reading period. I should’ve made a bigger stink on behalf of my own special interest group, People Who Enjoy Electronic Pop In The Desert (Or Would Like To, Anyways). Why can’t the Dean feel our pain for a change?
01 May 06
No, really, I do. Today I’m starting to prepare for my Administrative Law exam and I have a feeling of joy: at last, this class is over. And with it, the 2L year. The minute I click ‘Exit Exam’, I’ll be free.
There’s something satisfying about reaching that yellow exit screen in ExamSoft and knowing “yep, that’s 4 more credits in the bank”.
Also, preparing for exams doesn’t require going to school. I stopped going to review sessions last semester. So it’s already been like 10 days of vacation.
Next year, I guess the trick is to eliminate reading and lectures.
05 May 06
One of the few reasons I would ever go into the law school computer lab is to avail myself of duplex (two-sided) laser printing. Recently, I got one of these. Now I’m not just laser printing my term papers in duplex, I’m printing them in color. Hot freakin damn. Hopefully, my use of hot-pink and orange tables will blind my professors to the blandness of my ideas and the unoriginality of my analysis.
07 May 06
Eugene Volokh reveals he participated anonymously in this year’s UCLA law review write-on. According to a leaked email message from the editor, “he did superbly”.
I think this conclusively proves that professors have way too much freakin’ time on their hands. The next one who bitches about his teaching load, or what she gets paid, or the tedium of grading exams, gets a boot up the ass.
If the law profession were made of dogs, law professors would be the pampered chihuahuas carried down Rodeo Dr in Louis Vuitton bags by leggy starlets and attended to by full-time dog nannies. If you can name a cushier legal job, me & Tinkerbell are all ears.
09 May 06
I just got this apologetic email message from Tom Horne of LawCrossing, a legal job board that sends me spam through my UCLA address:
Last weekend, an email concerning the website Judged.com was sent out from LawCrossing’s email system to a small segment of LawCrossing subscribers. This email contained inappropriate and unprofessional language that was entirely inconsistent with LawCrossing’s editorial policy and corporate ethics...
Contrition always gets my attention, so I looked for the earlier email triggering this regret. (It had been filtered out as spam, but thank god I cc: my inbox to Gmail.) The message concerns Judged.com, a new website.
[...] Judged is the largest insider source of real intelligence on law firms in the world. Find out what law firms don’t want you to know!
Judged provides an uncensored free forum where attorneys can rate law firms, discuss what it is like working inside a law firm with the people working there, and read the hottest legal news and have fun. Learn which firms rate the best and which ones rate the worst. Find out which firms have the biggest assholes, hottest staffs, highest salaries and bonuses, most job security, and anything else you could ever want to know...
It’s judgment day for law firms! Join now , and find out what many millions legal professionals have already discovered on Judged !
Sincerely, Tom Horne
Gee, I think if they were really able to identify the “biggest assholes”, that would be an impressive accomplishment. Why hide your light under a bushel? Or maybe the inappropriate language was “job security”, which unlike assholes, you’re not likely to find at many law firms.
10 May 06
Last night at 9:24pm I put the last punctuation in my independent study paper and with that, 2L is over. I will be taking a blog vacation for a week or so. I don’t have a law firm job this summer. My big plan is to go to Hawaii and get my scuba certification. I feel like that is the highest & best use of my legal skills.
13 May 06
Summer has begun, summer associate jobs have begun, and the annual spate of stories about how cushy and useless summer associate jobs are have also begun.
There’s no doubt that a significant component of the summer associate experience is marketing–until you sign on permanently, firms can’t afford to treat you like you have no other choices.
But I’m not persuaded by the theory that the big firm summer job is 10 weeks of goofing off on someone else’s dime. My uncle, a former personnel executive, used to say that it’s pretty easy to tell if someone can do the job; it’s a lot harder to figure out if they will do the job.
That is very true. Every employee I’ve ever fired looked great on paper. They had to, in order to get hired in the first place. It was clear any of them could do the job they were hired for, it just turned out that they didn’t.
Big firms love junior associates because they’re a core profit engine for the firm. But they’re expensive to hire and train. And turnover is already dreadful. And come on people, you’re not being asked to do many things your first couple years that couldn’t be handled by a good paralegal. If you got a callback, that means the firm was persuaded you can do the job.
The summer associate gig is designed to reveal if you will do the job. And that involves evaluating a lot of ‘soft’ factors, like how you get along with others, what your energy level for loads of boring work is like, whether you buy into the firm culture, etc. (These factors are often collectively referred to as ‘fit’, which is sort of an overused HR term, but apt.)
All these are arguably more important determinants of your longevity at the firm than your law school GPA. There’s no other way to evaluate them then to have you show up and act like an employee. Summer associates: do you think that the other associates & partners you meet aren’t talking about you, comparing notes, etc? Yes, they are, all the time.
As for the call for more ‘substantive training’ during the summer gig, I think this is misplaced. If big firms convert their programs into boot camps they’ll be making their associates more capable, but losing the ability to evaluate fit.
How would the firm benefit? Or, for that matter, the summer associate? There’s plenty of time to train later. If the associate washes out shortly after hire because they hate the firm culture–that’s an expensive problem to fix, and avoidable.
25 May 06
A couple weeks ago Dean Michael Schill wrote an op-ed in the LA Times about compensation of professors in the UC system. This is part of an ongoing mini-controversy about what the UCs disclose about professor pay.
There are four major problems with this op-ed.
1. Schill was the wrong person to write it. If someone wants to appear on the pages of Calif’s largest daily paper to defend UC compensation practices, it should be Chancellor Albert Carnesale, or a joint piece by the Regents, etc. Schill’s main motivation seems to be to launch a defense of his own pay, as he was previously identified as a highly-paid faculty member (PS Schill is far from the highest-paid person in the UC system–many members of the medical faculty get paid more.)
2. Schill ignores the core issue. He rolls out a free-market defense why professors are paid as much they are (and, in particular, why he is paid as much as he is). I have no problem with that reasoning.
But the main issue is not how much profs are paid per se. The issue is that the UC Regents have repeatedly violated their own compensation policies by keeping pay packages secret. The original leak of UC salaries through the SF Chronicle was primarily intended to overcome this secrecy. Schill suggests the pay system must be “transparent” and “accountable” without noting this is the core of the current controversy.
3. Schill puts up a smokescreen when he identifies what he calls “the real UC scandal”: the declining share of UC costs borne by the state. True, student fees have gone up a lot during the last few years because of Calif’s financial difficulties. Even so, attending school at a UC is still significantly less expensive than a comparable private school (e.g. UCLA law is about $10K per year less than USC).
I have to wonder if he’s thinking that increased tuition removes one of the competitive benefits of attending UCLA law. If students start saying “Sheesh, for that money I could go to USC”, UCLA might face a smaller applicant pool (Oh wait! It already has.) This leads to less selective admissions, which leads to lower GPA/LSAT medians, which can lead to a drop on the U.S. News rankings.
4. Schill is dismissive of private fundraising. At most universities, private fundraising is all there is. The government is not picking up most of the tab. It seems hopelessly retrograde to imagine that UCLA law can maintain its ranking (let alone move up) without getting into serious alumni fundraising.
Near as I can tell, alumni fundraising at UCLA law is dreadful. And Schill may be an excellent administrator but I’m not aware that he has experience leading a major capital campaign, which is a core competency for deans at private schools. Not that they like it. But it must be done.
To be fair, in Jan 2005 Schill was receptive to privatizing UCLA law. Interesting that he didn’t mention this in his op-ed.
30 May 06
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