September 05, 2005
Blawg Review #22
Hello, class! Welcome to the Back-to-School edition of Blawg Review! I know last week was an incredibly rough week and you've all got a lot on your minds, but we have a lot of material to cover today so if I may borrow my contracts professor's trademark phrase: Ok, let's get started!
Killer Katrina: Hurricane Katrina has reshaped many many lives, including those of lawyers and law students. For example, New Orleans appellate lawyer Raymond P. Ward wondered last week if he should stay or go; he made what appears to have been a wise choice and decided to go. Ernie the Attorney tried to leave but couldn't, then eventually did make it out. Both Ernie and Raymond have lots of links to more first-person and on-the-scene sources of information about the storm and its aftermath, including a few photos.
Like everyone with family and other loved ones in the Gulf Coast area, Joey of Yayarolly goes to law school spent a tense week watching the news and worrying about
his her family. He She finally got some good news but he's she's now forced to start 1L a little behind on his her reading. Similarly, Jaybeas Corpus, a 2L at Washington College of Law at American University in D.C., worried about his family ahead of the storm, then learned they'd made it through ok. Jay also links to this terrific video of Anderson Cooper giving Senator Mary Landrieu (D, LA) hell for mouthing platitudes in the face of catastrophe.
Professor Yin summarized Katrina's big-picture impact on lawyers and law students: 1/3 of the lawyers in Lousiana (including the one Evan Schaeffer recently spoke to in a bar) have lost their offices, papers, computers—possibly their clients—and the state supreme court is under water. As Carolyn Elefant of My Shingle notes, the impact may be greatest on solos and small firms.
On the law school front, Katrina shut down Tulane University Law School (temporary website), as well as Loyola's New Orleans campus (temporary website). Both are using blogs as a way to communicate (Tulane blog, Loyola blog). To help minimize the impact this will have on law students, other law schools around the country have offered admission to the displaced students for a semester at least to give Tulane and Loyola time to clean up and get back in operation. This might just give 50 lucky students the chance to learn from Instapundit Glenn Reynolds at the University of Tennessee. Some Tulane 3Ls have posted online updates of their reactions to Katrina, including C.G. Moore's account at Overlawyered, and Asian Provocateur's thoughts on her own site. (AP: Please let me know if I'm mistaken and you're not really a Tulane 3L!) Meanwhile, some law professors are discussing postponing or moving the next Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting, which is currently scheduled for January in New Orleans.
Not surprisingly, the hurricane also prompted many other conversations in the blawgosphere, including Professor Vic Fleischer's consideration of whether it's true that what we've seen was actually a “naturally disaster.” The looting was a concern for many, prompting some to ponder whether looters should be shot on sight. Professor Orin Kerr says no, but Professor Bainbridge says there's no clear answer. Funny, I thought I learned in crimlaw, torts, and property that you can never legally (or morally) use deadly force merely to protect property. Perhaps I missed a memo somewhere? But the looters are a temporary problem; Professor Ribstein considers another, much larger issue: What kind of city will New Orleans be once it's rebuilt—an amusement park of the past or an economic engine? The answer to that will likely be a long time coming; meanwhile, at Between Lawyers Denise Howell is talking about how lawyers can help other lawyers make it through these difficult times. She also offers a few more related links on Bag and Baggage. The ABA is also linking up Katrina-help resources, including some specifically for law students.
SCOTUS: The other major headline dominating all else is the passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, followed closely by coverage of what this might mean for the Court and the country. SCOTUSblog continues to update with excellent commentary and also points to commentary by Howard Bashman at How Appealing and this roundup of reactions from Chris Geitner's Law Dork.
Hearings for John Roberts, Bush's nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor (and now apparently for Chief Justice, as well), are due to start tomorrow and Massachusetts corporate collections attorney Jane T. Woodworth says the fact that he's a man nominated to replace a woman shouldn't be an issue. “True equality means appointing the best person for the job regardless of gender (or anything else).” In addition to gender, Roberts is being critiqued on many other angles. For example, the comment section to what started out as a light-hearted self-congratulatory post on Professor Bainbridge's blog morphed into a fairly serious (and still going) discussion of the extent to which SCOTUS nominee John Roberts' Catholicism would be an appropriate subject of inquiry during his up-coming confirmation hearings. For still more angles on Roberts and the SCOTUS, the Scoplaw has extensive notes from a recent panel discussion at Georgetown about the Roberts' nomination.
Meanwhile, a large number of law professors oppose Roberts' nomination. Could this have anything to do with a recently-renewed interest in the old question: Are American Law Profs Too Liberal? Professor Bainbridge (who would certainly say the answer to the question is “Yes!”) collects many links on the subject and concludes that conservative law professors need to insist that the pool of candidates for new faculty positions include conservatives. Professor Gordon Smith also commented on the political bent of law faculties in his very first first Office Hour Podcast. The good professor hopes to continue the podcast with weekly episodes dealing with a wide variety of topics, including business law, sports, and, of course, cheese.
Practice Area Bits: Of Course, Katrina and the SCOTUS were not the only topics of conversation in the blawgosphere last week—far from it! Lawyers in a variety of practice areas were busy pumping out excellent coverage of their corners of the law, including:
David Giacalone reminds us that August 31 was Love Litigating Lawyers Day. He celebrated with some of his favorite positive quotations about lawyers, just in case you were about to forget that “the houses of lawyers are roofed with the skins of litigants.” George's Employment Blawg celebrated with a great t-shirt and a little haiku. How did you celebrate?
Johnathan B. Wilson celebrated by critiquing California Attorney General Bill Lockyer's :lawsuit against a number of national fast-food chains, alleging that their sale of french fries endangers public health.“ (Also here.) Maybe Mr. Lockyer just needs to learn how to match a good wine with those french fries—Professor Bainbridge has some advice on how to do just that!
George's Employment Law Blawg features a regular weekly roundup of hot topics in labor as well as the occasional joke featuring ”a young man in an Armani suit, Ferragamo shoes, the latest Polarized sunglasses and a tightly knotted power tie“ poking his head out of a silver BMW. There's another great joke in the comments—it's funny and it's not even a lawyer joke.
Evan Brown of Internet Cases notes that the Fourt Circuit has reversed a decision of the district court which had found in favor of Rev. Jerry Falwell in a trademark infringement and ”typosquatting“ case. The court's decision places the domain name ”fallwell.com“ back into the hands of outspoken Falwell critic Christopher Lamparello.
That Back-to-School Thing: Since this is the Back-to-School edition of Blawg Review, it would most certainly not be complete without a few highlights from the student corners of the blawgosphere.
New 1L Kim Plaintive quickly realized that law students can be ”serious dorks.“ She also already had her first sitting-in-class-and-couldn't-care-less moment and although this made her wonder if she's really cut out for law school, I'd say it means she's a natural. How else is she going to make it through three years of this?
Another 1L, Kristine of Divine Angst, offers her thoughts on starting law school after being out in the working world for a few years. 1L CM of Magic Cookie shares her first experience being called on in class. Her lesson is either, a) that the answer in torts, contracts, and corporations (among other classes) is almost always ”money,“ or b) that getting called on makes you stupid.
But while most 1Ls are still figuring out how to balance classes and social lives, Mother In Law is figuring out how to be a non-traditional student who must balance class and family life. She's also got a harrowing account of trying to make her books more user-friendly.
For many students, the law school balancing act continues into 2L, and that's especially true for Transmogriflaw, a 2L and a new mother who is figuring out how to balance classes and motherhood. It's not always easy, but she seems to be coping remarkably well!
But no matter what stage they're at, law students can always use more advice on how to make their time in law school better. In that vein, following up on his piece 1L of a Decision, Prof. Yabut advises all law students that: "only a stupid a$$ doesn't self-assess. Frankly, there are enough lost, unhappy souls practicing law as it is, without you — yes, you! — adding to the numbers by blindly careening toward a career.“ Although it sounds a little harsh when put that way, this is similar to the message Deborah Schneider is trying to get across in her book, Should You Really Be A Lawyer? If you haven't had a chance to check out that book, you can now get a sample of what it has to offer by listening to an interview with Deborah in the 16th episode of my very own Ambivalent Voices podcast. It's really a must-listen for law students—especially 1Ls. Keep your eye (ear?) on Ambivalent Voices in the next few days to hear many more back-to-school interviews with law students from around the country!
Elsewhere, Harvard law grad and Anonymous Lawyer author Jeremy Blachman offers some advice about law school from the perspective of hindsight.
Law students eventually have to get jobs, but will their blawgs affect that process? Related to that subject, Jeremy also recently penned an op-ed for the New York Times in which he suggested bloggers need legal protection from being fired from their jobs for blogging. Fellow Harvard Law grad Bamber was not impressed with the piece, while Anthony Rickey, a 3L at Columbia Law, says ”don't worry.“ Anthony believes a market truce will develop between bloggers and employers because employers will realize that the bad publicity they get from firing a blogger is worse than whatever minimal damage the blogger's posts might do to the employer. This is obviously a concern for many 3Ls and recent graduates who blog: Will my blog hurt my employment chances or is it going to get me in trouble once I have a job?
Finally, going back a few weeks in Anthony's archives is a brief critique of the 18th edition of the Blue Book, particularly its suggested method for citing to a particular blog post. Since the Blue Book potentially plays such a large role in the lives of most law students, and especially in this case, those who read blogs and, to some extent, depend on them for research and commentary, the topic seems relevant to this special edition of Blawg Review. For the record, I agree with Anthony: The suggested blawg citation method is ridiculous and shows that the editors of the Blue Book need to read more blawgs and learn what permalinks are. No wonder law school sucks so much sometimes—it's all the Blue Book's fault!
Well, that's going to do it for Blawg Review #22. Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions for how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.
And for more immediate blog-carnival-goodness, be sure to check out the Carnival of the Capitalists hosted this week at Rethink(ip). Rethink(ip) is a group blawg by three intellectual property attorneys from three different firms; learn more about it in the Blawg Review review!
July 04, 2005
Beer and Sparklers For Everyone!
It's the Fourth of July! Happy Birthday, America!!
I don't know what the 4th of July means to you, but to me, it means good friends, tasty animals cooked with fire, getting drunk and watching things explode. Sometimes I really, really do love America.
The 4th has all the essential ingredients of a truly great American holiday. But apparently, not everyone loves America, as Jeremy Blachman discovered in this book review that reveals Why America Sucks.
At least I'm not the only one who will be groggy at work tomorrow, since it was The Larry and E. Spat Weekend 'o' Booze.
Oh, and don't forget, the 4th of July wasn't the only national holiday recently.
The 4th of July always means that summer is indeed here and in full swing, as Legal Quandary would remind us.
Carey over at Glorfindel of Gondolin is getting a real taste of Chicago this summer. And being the low-brow epicurean that I am, I'll offer some tasty suggestions: Top Notch Beef Burger (on the way South Side) and Pequod's Pizza on Clyborn. Oh, and you must go to Harold's Chicken in Hyde Park--fried chicken served through bullet proof glass--it is the finest fried linear bird you will ever eat. Yum.
It was a busy week all around. Scoplaw's grades came back, as did In Limine's. And Cathy was busy grading a writing competition. Now if only the people grading my write-on submission would give me some insight...
In other news, Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement. The Big Blawgs were all a flutter with musings, and Obsessive Law Student offered some thoughts as well. In an un-related post, Law and Alcoholism captured my reaction with this post titled: I would sell my soul for a glass of bourbon right about now.
Ditzy Genius has the Midas Touch, which is probably a pretty good thing for a future attorney. But it's not all rainmaking, as Jeremy Richey lifts the veil on his latest creation, and reminds us of The Power to Do Good.
And speaking of the power to do good, this weekend also saw Live 8. I happened to catch some of the same MTV/VH1 coverage Jaybeas Corpus did, and I have to agree that MTV sucks.
But you already knew that.
Happy Fourth of July everyone!
June 26, 2005
Weekly Law School Roundup: Mixin' Cocktails With A Plastic-Tipped Cigar
Hey sportsfans! Welcome to the Weekly Law School Blawg Roundup! As Dave! mentioned last time, we're trying to continue the tradition started by Evan Schaeffer, but you know what? It ain't easy. Somehow Evan always managed to make the Roundup entertaining and enlightening, and that turns out to be a fairly tough thing to do. But while we can't duplicate the magic he made, we can sort of riff on it a little, so here's a bit of what's happening in various small pockets of the law student blogosphere in the heat of the summer:
Like many a recent law school graduate, Expressio Unis is studying for the bar and tracking the relative attractive qualities of the various BarBri lecturers. I can corroborate the fact that Professor Paula Franzese does have ways of making property memorable, but whether her glamor pics have anything to do with it I'm not sure. Speaking of glamor pics, I don't know how I missed this before, but check out all these other, um, “hot” law profs. Where are all the hot men?!? (BarBri aside, this is a common question at many law schools, I hear. People, Dave! and I can't be everywhere at once, ok?)
But it's not all hotness on the bar review circuit. In fact, according to Woman of the Law, studying for the bar pretty much blows, and it sort of sounds like it doesn't help when all of your problems revolve around cocktails. Um, E. McP? How can you study for the bar when you're playing around with your music collection? Oh, and for another diversion, what do you think about women who carry condoms?
Kelly is also studying for the bar (and commenting on instructor appearances), but she's also got a loan consolidation question. Damn. That July 1 deadline is coming right up, people! I have a letter telling me that Sallie Mae's “team of Concierge Specialists” are ready to help you “start saving now” at 800-609-6865! Perhaps we should all give them a call—you think?
Somewhere around the other end of the law school anxiety spectrum, lots of people are waiting to start school this fall. That's where T Sinister sits, poised to start at Harvard in a month or two. He's optimistic and learning all sorts of things about 1L from Madisonian Theory. He's also thinking even further ahead, preparing for his first-year associate gig by reading the Stankowski Reports, courtesy of the inimitable Evan Schaeffer (the father of the Weekly Law School Roundup!).
Speaking of pre-laws (and also pre-pre-laws who have not yet made a firm decision to attend law school), keep an eye on the new Should You Really Be A Lawyer? blog. There's not much there yet, but it could be great as it grows; it's being written by Deborah Schneider, author of possibly the best book for anyone trying to decide whether to make the law school leap.
So where were we? Oh yeah, somewhere in between preparing for 1L and studying for the bar, which means we are .... applying for judicial clerkships! Or not. According to PV, it's a royal freakin' mess, and that's really all I can say about that since I've dropped the ball on it so I'd just prefer to pretend it's not an opportunity I'll be missing, thanks. But hey, applying for clerkships isn't the only thing you can do between 1L and the Bar; you can also join those like the Unreasonable Man who are waiting to hear if they made it onto a journal, or you can join Tony at Parenthetical Statement and decide to get another degree. More school? No thanks.
Elsewhere and more randomly, it seems that Divine Angst is getting baked, although not exactly in the way you might think. Transmogriflaw is blending her legal career back into her life and it appears she's learning to expect the unexpected. (Her blog is becoming an invaluable first-person perspective on the challenges of balancing motherhood with law school and a legal career, for any of you who might be curious about that.) Lawrah is learning about bathroom bureaucracy, Energy Spatula rocked her finals and loves her job, and Bad Glacier survived the needles. Schteino was not pleased with a recent Hollywood blockbuster, Anthony Rickey was at least mostly satisfied with another, and Janine has been enjoying some audiovisual entertainments from the past.
June 15, 2005
Weekly Law School Round Up
Welcome back the Weekly Law School Round Up! Although I posted this originally on my site, the intention all along was to host it here on Blawg Wisdom and rotate editorial duties... so here's the First Edition. -Dave!
Evan Schaeffer used to perform a valuable community service with the Weekly Law School Roundup. Unfortunately, with his format change, he dropped the feature. Given the number of blogs I read each week, I figured I would take a stab at it, at least for a bit. If people like it, I'll keep it up.
Things are kind of slow on the law student front, what with the arrival of summer. A whole bunch of law students are law students no more: Sua Sponte, Jeremy Blachman, Law Dork, and the Class Maledictorian have graduated. Congrats to you all!
Now, let's see what's cooking with those of us still in hell:
Summer associates are eatin' right... WonL has a round robin welcome dinner as a new summer associate. Meanwhile, Heidi is living large in the Windy City. E. Spat might be busy getting ready for the summer gig, but she still had some time to serve up a little beefcake.
What are you going to wash that down with? Milbarge clues in the unenlightened.
Meanwhile, back in the trenches, Nudum Pactum wants to know... Is nothing holy?
And finally, Jeremy Richey is cooking up something exciting, but I've been sworn to secrecy...