January 05, 2005

Blogger Emeritus 

As you may have surmised from the infrequency of my postings, I have basically retired from the blawgosphere. Between classes, law review, law fellow, wedding planning (August 6th is fast approaching), and watching TV, I simply ran out of time for posting. In addition, the excitement of the first year is gone and school has become much more predictable. As a result, there are fewer interesting happenings to report. I will try to check in from time to time or perhaps I will catch the spark again and start this thing up again. But, until then, farewell to my three loyal readers.

October 06, 2004

A really bad blogger 

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been flying back and forth to California every week for interviews; Law Fellow has become a ton of work; Journal is never-ending; and then there's those pesky little classes... The job hunt should be over soon and hopefully I'll be able to post more often as things will calm down a bit.

Until then, I want to wish Ditzy Genius all the best as she rides off into the sunset. You will be missed.

August 31, 2004

I'm a Bad Blogger 

My sincere apologies for the utter void of recent updates. Life is full. Really full. Too full.

Last week was GULC's awe-inspiring and remarkably efficient On-Campus Interviewing event. 500+ students, 400+ firms, 5 days, 1 hotel, one raucous good time. I received 15 interviews via the lottery and another 5 or so by dropping resumes. All in all, I think it well. The call-backs have started to come in (though I'm still awaiting word from many of most desired firms) and I'm confident I'll find acceptable employment. My biggest concern is with scheduling call-backs and the amount of class I am likely to miss to accomodate my cross-country trips...

The Semester is off and running. I'm less than enthused thus far with my classes, but such is life. Evidence should be interesting, and the professor is rumored to be fantastic. Corporations will be corporations. Admin Law will be like Con Law I from hell. But, the Prof is a Circuit Judge so I can't complain that I'm not getting my money's worth.

I teach my first LRW workshop tomorrow. I'll report back with the results.

Work. Lots of work. Although next week we have an orientation and convocation to welcome us to the journal. Rumor has it that the 3Ls dress in druid robes and the 2Ls are placed in coffins, only to be "reborn" as members of the journal. Or something like that.

More to come soon, I promise. But, for now, I need to finalize my lesson plan...

August 26, 2004


You are Wrath/Anger! Wow... who got you so mad huh ?? You have serious
anger issues!! with a rage that seems somewhat
deadly, and a temper that is easily raised, you
are by far the scariest sin. You tend to let
the little things get to you, and are stressed
fairly easily - and woe be it to any of your
enemies. On the positive side, you're
independent, powerful and a definite leader, if
you could just control your moods!Congratulations on being the toughest!! ...and the
most independent of all the 7 deadly sins!

?? Which Of The Seven Deadly Sins Are You ??
brought to you by Quizilla

Link from Sua Sponte.

In sharp contrast, my fiancee was rated an "Angel," completely without sin.

August 19, 2004

Busy Times 

My final interview in Portland went well (in my opinion, anyway) and after spending a few hours crafting thank you letters for the attorneys I met with, I was able to actually relax and enjoy a few days of vacation. I'm glad I did.

On Monday, I began training for Law Fellow (legal writing fellow, whatever you call it, I teach weekly LRW workshop to 1Ls). Eight to nine hours a day of "training," followed by 2-4 hours of "homework." The week has been full of grand concepts and optimism. The cynic in me is stewing. I like thinking everything will be great (and our students will love us and really care about the class, etc.) as much as the next guy, but it's simply not the case. Not at Georgetown anyway. There will inevitably be some pompous idiot who thinks his Yale communications degree or failed internet start-up or "excellent" writing skills mean he doesn't have to try. There will inevitably be the person who thinks the assignments suck. Or the professor sucks. Or law school sucks. Or everything sucks. There will inevitably be the student who just doesn't get it and is questioning his/her very presence in law school. There will be the insecure, former straight-A student who is afraid to do or say anything that he/she didn't hear directly from the professor.

All the optimism in the world doesn't help when we're dealing with the realities of what we're likely to face. I think part of the problem is many of my colleagues came straight from undergrad and haven't yet faced some of the harsh realities of the world. Or maybe they didn't have the same experience as I did during the first-year. I was pragamatic. I wanted to learn how to do it so I could get good grades. Period. Save the optimism and waxing poetic about the intrinsic value of writing for somebody else. But, I will teach the curriculum I am given and I will do my best to teach it well. And it matters not because my class will love me. After all, my fiancee offered to make them cookies.

Last night I went to my first journal event. It was held at the offices of Firm X and it was quickly apparent that the event had less to do with welcoming us to the journal than it did recruiting us to the firm. I did meet some of my journal colleagues and there seems to be some folks I could get along with. All in all, I think the journal experience will be doable and, at times, even enjoyable. I just need to brush up on my schmoozing.

I've got an interview tomorrown and 15 scheduled for next week. Not to mention the half dozen firms I'm not scheduled with that I plan to harass. I hope I have the stamina.

August 10, 2004

Interviewing (and vacation) Bliss 

I just wrapped up five hours worth of interviews (two firms) that I was able to schedule during my trip out west. It went fairly well I think, although it's always tough to tell. But there were no awkward silences, no fumbled questions, a good amount of laughs, and a generally pleasant conversation with the 7 attorneys I met. My advice for those interviewing: come up with lots of questions ahead of time. I had several prepared, but ran in to one attorney who had nothing to say, and quickly exhausted by question bank. It was no big deal, you can always BS a quick question or ask something you already know, but it's always nice to be overprepared!

I was skeptical about the first firm and after spending a few hours there much of my skepticism remains. The atmosphere was more relaxed than I expected, the offices plush, and the attorneys were friendly. The second firm, on the other hand, far exceeded my expectations and I left with a good feeling that it could be a "right" fit for me. It was very relaxed, collegial (the attorneys had nicknames for each other), and comfortable. Associates seems to have quite a bit a freedom and the work appears to be interesting. It looks pretty good.

Unfortunately, we will have to wait and see what happens before there's anything to get excited about. Since both firms are smallish large firms, they will only be hiring 4-5 summers associates. As such, neither firm makes their offers on a rolling basis. Instead, they hold off until they have completed their on-campus recruiting interviews. That means I won't hear much until September. In the meantime, no news will be considered good news, as both firms do "rolling rejections."

I'm spending the night in the city and have one more interview tomorrow morning. After that, I can return to the pleasant void of activity that is my vacation. I'm enjoying the rest while I can. On Monday, law fellow training begins. We've already been given our first journal assignment. And OCI is the following week...

August 05, 2004

1L No More 

It's finally, completely, and officially over. I am a 1L no more. I realize I've claimed this rite of passage before, but I have since decided that both my summer job and the write-on competition are technically 1L events. Both are now complete and my 2L year begins with a few interviews next week at Portland firms (along with a much needed vacation to visit family and friends on the North Coast of Oregon). The week after that is Law Fellow training. The week after that is OCI. And the week after that, classes start. No rest for the weary.

My last day in chambers was good. The Judge and clerks surprised me with a very nice card and some gigantic (and quite tasty) cookies. The Judge said some nice things, admonished me to drop his name loudly and frequently, and said I had a standing invitation to return any time. I will likely come back in September to observe some hearings for the cases I've been working on. The clerks also said nice things and offered to help me out in my firm search and to get me interviews at their future firms (which I will likely take them up on if the OCI lottery fails me). I finished my last assignment about 7pm, placed my key to chambers on the desk, and left.

I could not have asked for a better summer job. While it required a lot of work, it was also an invaluable experience. The time I spent in court, reviewing motions, and talking with the judge taught me more about this little system we call justice than my entire first year. My assignments were interesting, challenging, and substantive. They didn't waste my time, and I didn't waste theirs. I leave with an incredible reference (the Judge) and contacts with several attorneys in the area (both clerks and some other attorneys who appeared before the Court), in addition to an increased confidence in my own ability (although my fiancee would probably tell you that increased confidence is the last thing I need) and a much better understanding of the law and the legal system.

To all Pre-Ls out there: go for a judicial internship during your 1L summer. It may not pay, but it offers an unparalleled experience and opportunity (and from what I can tell so far, future employers dig the sight of it).

In other "official end-of-1L" news, the Write-On results are in. I was invited to join the Georgetown Law Journal (aka main journal, law review, whatever). I think I'll accept.

Off to Oregon tomorrow. Hooray!

August 03, 2004

We Don't Need No Water 

Let' see . . . what's been going on? Oh yeah, the courthouse burned down.

Well . . . not exactly, but the chambers of Senior Judge Laurence Silberman of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (who also happens to be a Georgetown Professor) did. And the rest of the courthouse suffered smoke and water damage. Our chambers are directly below Judge Silberman's and got it pretty bad. Despite numerous cleanings, chambers remains covered in a fine layer of soot. The smell is like a wet ashtray and it burns the eyes and throat after awhile. Our courtroom also suffered fairly severe water, smoke, and soot damage and will be closed for awhile. At least, tomorrow is my last day; I only hope I don't leave my internship with a fresh case of lung cancer to go with my nice letter of recommendation.

My last day should be an interesting one. I have quite a bit more work to do on my final assignment, so it could be a late night. Yesterday, I finally finished a two-week, 33-page memorandum outlining why a Title VII plaintiff, despite nearly 2000 pages of "evidence," simply cannot survive summary judgment. Since then, I have made good progress on my last assignment, which is a fairly complex question of Article III standing, but much more remains to be done. We'll see what happens; either I'll get it done or I'll be a complete failure in the eyes of all I care about. Either way, I'm heading to the West Coast on Friday.

Write-on results are also supposed to be available tomorrow. While the pragmatic and ambitious law student in me hopes I make main journal (aka Law Review), my heart and desire to minimize the misery of the journal experience is pulling for my second choice. Either way, I'm heading to the West Coast on Friday.

July 30, 2004

Judges, rappers, felons 

Today, during a sentencing hearing, the Judge talked about 50 Cent. The defendant had spoke about his dreams of being a rapper and the judge responded at length, and in surprising detail, with a discussion of 50 Cent and how far he'd come despite the trouble he'd had. Who knew the judge had such far-reaching musical tastes?

Actually, I think it has less to do with musical tastes, and more to do with the Judge's profound interest and concern for people. The Judge routinely spends an hour or more just talking with defendants prior to sentencing. He patiently listens to their excuses, their problems, their plans. He wishes them good luck and he means it. One can only hope all judges are so conscientious.

Controversy and Interviews 

Apparently, my expressed displeasure about the journal/resume upload fiasco has not been well received at Career Services. I e-mailed them a day or two ago outlining a few of the reasons I feel their recent decision (or indecision) disadvantages students. Rather than simply saying "we're sorry you're upset" or "we understand your concerns," I was treated to a very defensive, coarse, "go screw yourself"-type defense of their decision, rehashing all the "justifications" I had poked holes in originally. Oh well, I guess I struck a nerve.

The funny thing is this whole thing is not likely to affect me one bit! I had no intention of ruffling so many feathers; I simply wanted to point out some consequences which had obviously been overlooked. I never intended to be drawn into such a heated debate.

Update: I just talked with the folks at OCS. They finally admitted their decision may disadvantage certain students. They also finally admitted that the reason behind their decision was not for the students' benefit, as they originally claimed, but because of their own (legitimate) logistical problems. They said they were "sorry I felt let down." And so it ends. Group hug, everyone!

In other career news, I sent three resumes to three Portland, OR firms last week, inquiring about interviewing while I'm traveling in the area next month. All three offered me full (3-4 hour) interviews. If all goes well, I'll have a few offers on the table before OCI even starts.

That's the good news. The bad news is a day and a half of the eight days of vacation I managed this summer had to be sacrificed. For those who care, these firms are my top 3 choices in Portland, and Portland is my second-choice market (SF Bay Area is first, but an offer from one of my top 3 DC firms might have the power to knock everyone else down a peg).

July 28, 2004

Journals and Resumes 

Today the Office of Journal Administration informed us that the Write-On results will not be announced until August 4th (as opposed to August 2nd, as originally scheduled). I find it a bit odd that OJA can announce going to be late FIVE DAYS AHEAD OF TIME. You have 5 days! You're not late yet; there's still time!  So much for optimism.  Oh well.

The two extra days really doesn't bother me much, but it's caused a bit of an uproar at the Office of Career Services.  You see, originally, the resume upload deadline for OCI was scheduled for August 3rd.  When OJA announced its delay, it also announced that OCS would be rescheduling the resume deadline to August 5th.  Five hours later OCS e-mails us to announce they would not be extending the deadline and that we would have to upload our resumes without knowing which (if any) journal we were selected for. 

OCS justified its decision by claiming (1) one day is not enough time for students to update (add three or four words to) their resume, (2) because OCI bidding is by lottery and not pre-screened, not having journal on your resume won't make any difference in your interview schedule, (3) telling the interviewer which journal you were accepted to will be a great icebreaker at the interview, blah, blah, blah. 

What nonsense.  One day is more than enough time for such a minor revision.  While OCI scheduling may not be pre-screened, you can bet that the randomly-selected candidates are screened before their interview.  When half the class bids for firms which only hire the top 10%, it is absurd to think that every candidate gets the same quality interview.  I have no doubt resumes are reviewed ahead of time and firms decide who they'd rather not waste their time with.  Finally, announcing your journal is only a great icebreaker if (1) you make a journal and (2) you make a "prestigious" journal.  How much more is it going to stand out when everyone is announcing their journal first thing, and you're not saying anything? 

Perhaps I'm being too hard on OCS, but it really bothers me when I'm fed a bunch of BS justifications for an obviously capricious decision.  OCS made its decision and that's fine.  But, please don't patronize me by pretending you made it for me.  In the end, none of it really matters and I could really care less.  I'll get my randomly selected interviews, I'll tell them which journal selected me (assuming one does), and we'll go from there. 
That said, I do resent being caught in the middle of some sort of intramural pissing contest between OJA and OCS over who gets to set OCI deadline.

July 25, 2004

Where I'm At 

I'm coming in to the final two weeks of my internship, with several projects outstanding and not a lot of time to get them done.

It's been two months now since my last cigarette.  I kick arse.

I've begun work on some of the assignments for my Law Fellow duties.  So far, I have been less than impressed.  Why would a prof instruct students to look up a current law in a regional digest that stopped publishing in 1969?  Why wouldn't someone spell-check or proofread assignments before distributing them?  Why? Why? Why?  So maybe I'm a Type A+ personality, but I am bound and determined to fix some of these problems before they reach the 1Ls.  There are few things more frustrating than paying $32K a year only to receive poorly written and conceived assignments (from the WRITING department, no less).   Unacceptable. 

My OCI bid list is finally finalized.  I have culled the 400+ choices to 50 firms, 20 of which I could actually give a hoot about.   How one is expected to distinguish between choices 26-50 is beyond me (Oh, you mean they all have the same practice areas, crappy hours. and ridiculous salaries?  Who knew?).  The bottom line is I intend to get an offer from one of my Top 15 choices.  Period.  I have no reason to suspect that won't happen, BUT if it doesn't, I may start questioning the soundness of my investment in GULC.

My bid list is focused on the SF Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest, with the remaining spaces filled with DC firms.  I want to get back out West and there are really only three DC firms with the power/prestige to make me consider staying here (DC's a nice place, but the weather is dreadful!).  Here's hoping the lottery is kinder to me than that of the Registrar.

Oh, and the eAttorney interface sucks.  See, e.g. here.  For the bazillions undoubtedly invested in the program by Lexis, Matindale, and the participating schools & firms, you'd think they could take 10 minutes and ask some students what they don't like about it.  Even the ranking system for GULC's Write-On competition was more sophisticated and user-friendly.

Speaking of Write-On, I am still awaiting the results (first week in August, I am told).  However, congrats are due to Ditzy G and AmbImb and numerous other fellow blawgers who have been invited to join Law Review or other journals at their respective (and apparently more efficient) schools.

July 20, 2004

The Haps 

My apologies for the lack of updates.  The pace of my summer is quickening.  Only 2 and half weeks left in chambers before I head out west to the beaches of Oregon for a much needed vacation.
I was able to sit through a jury trial (guns & drugs) from start to finish the week before last.  It was eye-opening.  Fairly miserable lawyering all around.  I'm not entirely sure what the Defense's theory of the case was, but it certainly wasn't a very good one.  Numerous questions about and discrepancies in the Governments case went unasked and unanswered, despite practically being lit up in flashing neon, and the Judge alluding to them with his infrequent words from the bench.  The jury was out almost three days before returning a guilty verdict.  For what it's worth, I believe the Defendant was probably not innocent, but any attorney worth her salt should have no problem making a stronger case for his being "not guilty."  Now, the Defendant is facing 10 to 12, and he's only 23!  I wish I thought he'd come out a better person in 8 or so years, but I'm not so confident.
I spent last week sorting through a "bulky pleading" in an employment discrimination case.  The plaintiff may have a legal argument worthy of examination somewhere, but her attorneys certainly didn't shed any light on it.  Note to self: when crafting a memorandum in opposition of summary judgment, don't bury the court in 1,000 pages of "evidence," and hope the interns can figure out your case.
This week I'm tying up loose ends and drafting some orders the judge issued based on my disposition recommendations, all in an effort to leave an empty plate when I leave here next month.  Unfortunately (and also fortunately), the Judge has taken to assigning me new cases for that "should only take a minute" on a fairly regular basis.  I'm sure I'll get through it all.
As for fall recruitment.  My OCI firms are reviewed, rated, and finally ranked.  My resume is up-to-date.  I'm ready.  I'll be sending out a few letters this week to some Portland, OR firms to see if I can land a couple interviews while I'm traveling in the area next month.
As for other school matters, my Law Fellow duties have begun and I will be spending the coming weekend writing the students' first memo and completing their research projects.  These things don't need to be done until Law Fellow training next month, but I'm hoping to scratch them off the list before I head west.
That's all I can think of.  I better get to work...

July 13, 2004

Run On Sentencing 

For all the other geeks out there who can't get enough of the Blakely sentencing guideline carnival, Professor Berman's blog is the best resource I've found for the latest developments. Stay tuned because the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet in a few hours to discuss the current upheaval.

Quick Recap: At least six District Courts (I've lost count) have declared the federal guidelines unconstitutional; one Circuit (7th) declared the Guidelines unconstitutional, another Circuit (5th) upheld them, and another (2nd) dodged the issue by certifying three questions to the Supreme Court for guidance.

In the small corner of federal jurisprudence where I spend my days, we had a "guilty" verdict yesterday and the Judge was prepared to have the jury reconvene to separately decide sentencing enhancements, but the prosecution was ill-prepared and could not point to the specific guidelines at issue. As such, sentencing will proceed (pending DOJ appeal) without any enhancements.

July 09, 2004

Destroyer of the Weak 

I'm not usually one for online quizzes, but if both Ditzy Genius and Beanie thought this personality quiz was worthwhile, surely I could spare a few moments. My results were eye-opening and fairly insightful (no matter how much I may want to deny it), but I think it vastly underestimated my wackiness.

Here's what I learned.

Wackiness: 8/100
Rationality: 50/100
Constructiveness: 46/100
Leadership: 50/100

You are an SEDF--Sober Emotional Destructive Follower. This makes you an EVIL GENIUS. You are extremely focused and difficult to distract from your tasks. With luck, you have learned to channel your energies into improving your intellect, rather than destroying the weak and unsuspecting.

Your friends may find you remote and a hard nut to crack. Few of your peers know you very well--even those you have known a long time--because you have expert control of the face you put forth to the world. You prefer to observe, calculate, discern and decide. Your decisions are final, and your desire to be right is impenetrable.

You are not to be messed with. You may explode.

Sometimes People Are Nice 

The subway conductor speaketh:

"Metro would like to remind its riders that today is Friday, so perk up, look sharp, and have a great day."

July 05, 2004

No News is Good News 

I apologize for the lack of updates recently, but there wasn't a whole lot to report. There have been some interesting cases coming through the court lately. Unfortunately, I can't say too much about them. Federal courts are in a bit of chaos and confusion regarding how to respond to the Supreme Court's Blakely decision. The Court slipped this little bombshell in under the radar the same day Cheney came down (or didn't, depending on how you look at it), and in so doing cast severe doubt over the continued viability of the federal sentencing guidelines.

Many folks are cheering this development, but my response is a bit more measured. I'm not a big fan of the Guidelines, but I truly fear what might replace them. Anyone thinking the Guidelines will be jettisoned and replaced with unfettered judicial discretion is deluded. Instead, I see fixed term sentencing coming into play, with no discretion at all. In the alternative, Congress may drastically increase the length of sentence across the board, and allow judges to depart downward under certain circumstances. The end result of either option is likely to be longer sentences for all and even less corrolation between real conduct and real punishment. If Bush & Ashcroft keep their jobs it could be even worse. But, I digress. If you want the opinion of some other folks, check here, here, here, or here.

Other than that, things have been pretty uneventful. The 4th came and went with barely a whimper. I had no intention to battle the throngs of people down at the Mall, and the thunderstorms just sealed the deal. We were able to watch the show from our balcony and actually could see things pretty well. We barbecued, ate a lot, and watched The Sopranos. What's more American than that? On a sidenote, July 1 was Canada Day and the Canadian embassy across the park from the district court was in full celebration. There was bad music and a giant BBQ with hotdogs and hamburgers (traditional Canadian cuisine?). The whole event unnerved me. Not only is Canada right on our border, but they look just like us. We must all stay vigilant.

I've got my classes for next year pretty well sorted out and am still in the midst of selecting the firms with which I will seek interviews. I've got 10 or 15 I'm certain about and another 50 maybes. One thing I've noticed: the more "presitigious" the firm, the less inviting the culture, and the more miserable it sounds to work there. Oh well.

The only other thing on my plate right now is journal preferencing for the write-on competition. What should be a simple process has become a bit of a headache for me. I can't decide if I want to preference the Main Journal at all. I think I have a realistic chance of getting on it, but have little desire to do so. I'm sure there must be some good folks on the Journal, but the few I've met have been a bit, shall we say, off-putting. In contrast, the folks I know at some other journals seem a bit more down-to-earth and fun to work with. Journal is a two-year committment, and two years can be an awfully long-time if you hate what you're doing.

Main Journal certainly carries the prestige, but at what cost? And it's not like the other journals are "unprestigious"... Advice anyone? I'll probably end up preferencing Main and possibly regretting it for the next two years. But, if I don't preference it, I'll always wonder: what if? I'm growing increasingly tired of the hoops and the jumping through them...

June 28, 2004

Scheduling Crapola 

They have finally released the registration results for next year (after two months!) and my schedule is crap. Apparently, my strategy failed. To complicate things further, one of classes I did get into conflicts with the LRW class I'm one of the Fellows for, so it will need to be dropped. In addition, I was able to get my top choice for Spring, but not the prerequisite for it in the fall; either I need to get into the pre-req or it will have to be dropped, as well. Basically, my schedule as it stands is worthless and a whole lot of tweaking will have to occur during the add/drop period... We'll have to wait and see, I guess.

Here's where it stands now:
Admin Law
Law Fellow
(Need Corporations here) UPDATE: Got Corps (although not with my desired prof)

Securites Reg
Trademark & Unfair Competition
International Law
Law Fellow
Plus one more class: Labor?, Antitrust?, Tax?, who knows? UPDATE: Added Decedents' Estates & Labor Law as space holders.

June 27, 2004

Moore Thoughts 

We saw Fahrenheit 9/11 last night and it was pretty good, as far as unabashedly one-sided op-ed pieces go. Moore, as is his M.O., draws a lot of conclusions, but fails to make many connections (A=C, but very little in the way of B). Also, I felt the film's narrative was undermined by Moore's digressions into his tangential vendettas. But, overall, the message was clear. And it was definitely eye-opening. However, when you're spoonfed only one side, it's tough to leave the theatre with any new (and defensible) opinions. Some of Moore's points are incontrovertible; others are pretty weak. Nonetheless, I think the film is definitely worth checking out; while it doesn't offer "the answer" and won't change the election, hopefully, it will open a dialogue between all Americans about what our leaders are really doing in Washington... Unfortunately, those who might benefit the most from such a dialogue will never see the film.

For those still interested, AmbImb offers a much more thorough post about the film (from which I stole most the links for this post) or you can check out the film's unofficial blog here, or some other articles here or here.

June 25, 2004

Observations & Luncheons 

I couldn't help but smile when I heard of Cheney's outburst; and all this time I thought he was a robot. The news also left me sometwhat confused. You'd think he'd be happy and it'd be W on edge. Go figure.

In other news, The Honorable Alberto Gonzales, counsel to President Bush, came to the Courthouse today for a lunch/speech/q&a session. I was fairly impressed. He seems pretty smart and is quite adept at dodging questions. Plus, the knot in his tie (a double-windsor, I think) was something to be admired.