The half-truths, omissions, and outright lies about floating through law school.

Monday 03/28/05

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A fun thing happened today. I am walking home from the gym and it's a little dark and out of nowhere an [let's just say "urban"] youth of 16 or so jumps out at me. Just lands in front of me and leans forward at me, like he is about to give me a chest-bump. Only he is not, he is there for his own fucking entertainment and that of his fat-looking friends who are not far behind. The whole purpose of the excercise, you see, is to startle someone by your presense. You jump in front of someone as close as you can and they usually react. Then you tell them off and move on, hopping along in your 4X size Ecko t-shirt and Yankees hat with a perfectly unbent front. Apparently if you are dirt poor this is how you amuse yourself in a city. Of course out of sheer reflex I react and instantly pull up in surprise. The young man in question gives me a crooked smile and mumbles out something along the lines of "You better axe somebody." Meanwhile three of his friends are making excited noises, akin to the ones in the latest basketball-themed Coke commercial. I stare at them in digsuist as they run on and do the same thing to a cute undergrad girl.

This whole thing leaves me a bit introspective. Now, this is not to say that I didn't do my share of anti-social activities at his age, but they usually revolved around some kind of benefit to myself beyond confrontation of stangers. I have heard enough critical theory bullshit to be able to explain this kind of behavior along any number of lines [acting out on feeling on powerlessness, class dichotomies, blah fucking blah]. If you follow that strand long enough though it is completely my fault and I should go find this young man and apologize to him and perhaps give him some money for a new do-rag and zirconia studs. But I don't think that is right. What about the whole underlying shitty culture of violence and confrontation and humiliation that this kid is obviously growing comfortable with? Should we all just nod and smile at that? Is it no longer acceptable to say: "this is moronic and wrong"? Probably not; then I am opening myself up at being culturally/racially/socioeconomically intolerant. Reams of critical legal scholarship have told me that. Which brings me to the conclusion that critical scholarship is an even bunch of shit than I had thought. And if you don't believe that, well then, you better axe somebody.

The Battle for New York Law Schools: A look at the numbers US News & World Report 2005

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Peer assesment:

Columbia over NYU: 4.7/4.5

Assessment by professionals:

Columbia over NYU: 4.6/4/4

Acceptance rate:

Columbia over NYU: 14.2%/19.8%

But what do those numbers mean?

Columbia v. NYU Law school: Settling the Battle Once and and For all

Friday, March 25, 2005

The decision time is upon many of you pre-Ls and for an inordinate amount of people that choice boils down to NYU Law School versus Columbia Law School. Let's have a break down of the schools to see which one has the edge in the battle for NYC legal education supremacy.

NYU: Tha Village. A fun place that's expensive.
Columbia: "Morningside Heights"...ok who are kidding? Harlem. A far less fun place that's less expensive.
Advantage: Even. Per dollar they probably come out even. I think I've been reading too much law and economics as of late.

NYU: Non-heterosexuals. It is, after all, the Village.
Columbia: Non-caucasians. It is, after all, Harlem.
Advantage: It would be un-PC to say. Either way, you're not in Kansas anymore.

NYU: Rudy Guiliani, former Mayor of this fine city.
Columbia: Mark Belnick, former General Counsel of Tyco.
Advantage: NYU. Rudy wins this one hands down. Between the good times him and Bernie K. must have had back in the day and the whole NY Post-glazed divorce, he is way more fun than a would-be embezzler who found radical Catholicism in mid-life.

NYU: Derrick Bell.
Columbia: Patricia Williams.
Advantage: NYU. Bell left a tenured position at Harvard to prove a point. You don't think he would tear you a new one in class just to prove another?

NYU: None.
Columbia: Ruth Bader Gisburg.
Advantage: Might seem like an obvious one but for anyone who has read many Ginsburg opinions, this one could cut either way.

NYU: Surprisingly frequent.
Columbia: Not as frequent but of higher quality.
Advantage: Columbia. Not only does Spider-Man go there but the campus is used in all kinds of cinematic endeavors.

NYU: Sea of white.
Columbia: Lake of blue.
Advantage: Columbia. Frankly, the NYU one looks like a mid-level CS major's end of the semester project.And this photoa looks just downright freaky.

NYU: City kids who will never leave the city, Ivy rejects, creative types, massive stoners, Olsen twins.
Columbia: International finance/engineering types, children of socialites, suburban overachivers who declined their NYU scholarships.
Advantage: It all depends on how you weigh the odds of an Olson twins sighting v. making out with the daughter of a CEO in a dimly lit fake punk bar.

NYU: Richard Fish from Ally McBeal.
Columbia: Your uncle who is a successful investment manager.
Advantage: Who knows. They both went to Yale, which shows you what the REAL top school is.

NYU: More than you think.
Columbia: Less than you think.
Advantage: Roughly equal. Both are populated by 75% or so big H rejects. Nothing to be ashamed of.

NYU: Wandering into a bridge and tunnel bar.
Columbia: Wandering into Spanish Harlem.
Advantage: Columbia. Have you ever been around a bunch of Jersey teenagers with gold chains while they are drunk? Better take your chances with the guys slinging rock.

NYU: When going out to eat knowing that your model/actor/writer/director of a waiter will almost certainly go home to Ohio to become a district manager of something or other after blowing through 40 grand a year to go to Tisch.
Columbia: When trying to get a cab having options between the licensed and the patently illegal unlicensed TownCars swirling around.
Advantage: Columbia. Gypsy cabs rule.

NYU: Remember that one glorious year when we topped Columbia? Wasn't that awesome... [Looks away wistfully].
Columbia: How did Stanford get ahead of us? Do they even assign reading there?
Advantage: Much like the conflict in the Middle East this is a struggle that will not be solved in our time. But because a shitty magazine that no one reads says so, let's go with Columbia.

This is a Pepsi-Coke type of choice. Some swear by one, some by the other, most can taste no difference. There is a plucky upstart with a little momentum versus an institution that has defined the field. I say as long as you have managed to keep yourself out of Fordham, things are going well.

Wednesday 03/24/05

Thursday, March 24, 2005

What is the big deal about Scalia opinions? You've read them one, you've read them all. Stick to the text, motherfucker! Yeah that takes a real intellectual giant to come up and articulate.

Whenever I see those backpacks on wheels being dragged around I just want to scream: "Asshole!" Especially if the girl doing it is holding out her free hand perpendicular to her waist, palm-down, in a 50s housewife-prance.

Whoever invented spyware should be killed. Or better yet sent to Iran to be killed. The upside of living like a fundamentalist savage is that you can really kill people with some flair.

If I could have one piece of movie knowledge imparted on me, it would be to hear what Bill Murray says to the kind hot brooding chick at the end of "Lost in Translation."

If you are taking an elevator one flight up and you are under 30 and not carrying anything heavy, well I have no fucking respect for you.

Are the fire-and-brimstone morons parked outside the Teri Schiavo resting place aware of what we are doing in the Middle East? If so, wouldn't sending perfectly healthy men and women to be maimed and killed for somewhat vague goals be more of a conflict with the hallowed "culture of life" than letting a woman in a vegitative state meet her natural end?

Is there a more under-rated classic rock one hit wonder than "Rock 'N Roll Hoochie Koo"? I say no.

The fact that Pat O'Brien's IM was in Paris Hilton's hacked phone goes a long way for Pat to be in on the hot celeb scanadals this year. Now if he could get to testify in the Jackson trial, he would hit the trifecta.

It is a crime that all of the cabs in New York city are cars that give no more than 12 miles a gallon. An absolute crime.

Any time there is a case and the dissent is 3/4 and up of the length of the actual opinion, I just go "What the fuck" and turn on the TV.

When a professor brings in a "guest speaker," be they practioner, judge, other professor, illegitimate child, politician, or semi-famous celebrity, they are basically telling you: "I won't be teaching you today." It's kind of like high school when the bio teacher was obviously hung over and would just show you a video instead of teaching anything. Those were good times.

Tuesday 03/22/05

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

You know what I am sick of? That Kerouac quote: "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live..." blah fucking blah. Is there a piece of writing that has been more worn down to meaningless cliche by quoted overuse? I think not.

Monday 03/21/05

Monday, March 21, 2005

I was at a club on Saturday night with a couple of friends. Some professional soccer players were there or something so the full eurotrash contingent was out in full force. Impossibly thin women who put more thought into their outfits than Laurence Tribe did into his last law review article. Impossibly sleazy men with carefully cultivated three day stubble and near-matching dress shirts that cost half a grand now that the dollar is sucking. All of this amidst music loud enough to make your balls vibrate. So I wouldn't normally spend my early Sunday morning at such a place since the odds of picking up a perfectly bronzed model-esque specimen at one of these places requires a million dollar+ annual income or a professional modeling contract, but I am with some friends who haven't had that point sink in yet, or are scoping out their future war prizes after they have million dollar incomes, or just don't care about wasting a night out.

AnonymousFriend is chatting up a group of girls who look a bit subprime for this locale so we may have a chance. I quickly saddle in behind him in the circle to find that one of them is visibly pregnant. Now I am not talking about like 8 and a half months bulge but there is a pretty obvious line of baby hanging out. I try to figure out if perhaps she is just oddly shaped in the belly region when AnonymousFriend2 rolls in. He has been drinking for the past 5 hours because, as a banker, this might be his only night off for the next six weeks. Thus he has been trying to make the best of it and is on pace to be comatose within 2 or so hours. He immediately pokes me and announces that there is a pregnant girl in the club. The music is way too loud for anyone else to hear so we run through possible scenarios: maybe the baby daddy is here, maybe she work[s][ed] here, maybe this is her last night out, maybe this is how people get rid of unwanted children nowadays.

To make a long story short, I end up drinking quite a bit more and out of pure animal curiosity meander over to woman w/child. The final tally: 1)is pregnant 2) apparently not afraid of F.A.S., although to be fair what harm could a Smirnoff Ice do to anyone? 3) the baby daddy not in the picture as she very unsubtly invites me back to her place. Lacking the prerequisite fetish, I end up at a diner until the sun comes up absolutely horrified. At least I am not irresponsible by some standards.

I end up feeling like shit all of Sunday and can't get any work done. An incomprehnsible-sounding European calls to yell at me for trying to slip his fiancee my phone number but I don't even remember that happening and in either case am too out of it to yell back.

Saturday 03/19/05

Saturday, March 19, 2005

I was away at a friend's wedding recently. It was lovely. Well mostly the open bar. That was lovely. A few thoughts:
-I have reached the point in my life where weddings are coming with an alarming frequency.
-Is it wrong to discuss the odds of divorce within five years at the wedding? If so, I don't want to be right.
-Speaking of divorces, this particular affair featured a surprising amount of sneaky-hot mid 30s women with one wedding already behind them.
-Trashing a hotel room is only a good idea if the record company will pick up the tab.
-While in possession of a rented car is there any greater joy than ruining its breaks/tires for no other reason than you can? Of course it would have been a lot more fun if it wasn't an econo-box with 15 inch wheels.
-I am swearing off alcohol till at least later tonight.

Tuesday 03/08/05

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I am in line to get some breakfast this morning and some moronic 3L who I know starts talking to me. I am trying to just move along with my muffin and not be too obvious that I am staring at the ripple of the electric blue thong sticking out of the $200 jeans of the smoking-hot Japanese girl picking up napkins off the floor. Instead of being able to concentrate, I must endure forced small talk. Where am I going this summer? To a firm in New York. Oh which one? I name it. The 3L is impressed as he is fumbling around looking for a quarter. I would give him one if he wasn't so damn annoying but instead I will hold onto it in case I need to do laundry later this month. Finally he volunteers where he will be working after graduation. I don't know why, it's a pretty shitty firm. He must have not done very well.

"You know, I hear they are going to raise associate salaries. If not this year then the next. These firms have been losing mid-level associates...[lisp as he bites into bagel] in troves..." I don't say anything to that except to grunt but where OH where do these morons come from? First of all, even if SOME firm out there raises salaries, it is by no means automatic that your piece of shit firm will join the fray. Then, even if that did happen, it would just cut into the bonus that they pay now. And finally, in some off chance that total compensation did go up in its totality, all that would mean would be more forced layoffs. The billing rates can only go so high and the partners are sure as shit not taking any pay cuts.

More importantly though, losing mid-levels is how the firm is structured. If 100 first years start, the big firm doesnt WANT more than oh, I don't know, 20-30 fourth years, if that. The salaries went up in the boom-boom 90s when associates would leave in EXTRAordinary amounts and that was only possible because there was a whole universe of non-legal employers willing to throw down some cash. Oh dot comes, where have you gone?

Far be it from me to delve into the heart of law economics but it amazes me how little thought most law students give to their potential employers. The supermajority of law students have no idea how firms operate, what the valuable practice areas are, what the fuck a billable hour is and why it is there. It's amazing. Is it a function of being a graduate student or are lawyers just inherently so poorly endowed with a sense of the real world that they just act so completely fucking stupid? I wonder if med students waltz into a hospital when they graduate and have no idea how a hospital makes it money and what it does to stay afloat. Do physics PhDs slave away for years on manipulating greek letters without any thought of how labs or universities operate?

My muffin was terrible by the way. Last fucking time I eat one of those around here.

Monday 03/08/05

I was in an elevator today going up to see a prof. Two maintenance guys were loading a cart of office supplies into it. I had to stand there for what seemed like a damn eternity watching them roll this thing in, then roll it out when it wouldn't fit, then roll it in, then all over again. I am watching these two guys who are obviously in no hurry to go anywhere because, well they are maintenance guys, but I am since I just woke up and need my fucking coffee. Finally, after a few more grunts they roll this cart in and we start the trip up. I am relieved at first but then I realize that something is wrong: one and/or more of them has definitely ripped ass. And I am talking about in a major league way. The eleveator is not that big and there are three of us in there and the stench is so beyond awful I am about to cry. I mean my eyes are watering with sheer agony of being in the middle of this thing. While I am trying not to lose it, the two jackasses are fiddling with the cart. Then one obviously smells what is going on and fake-punches the other. The culprit in turn lets out a belch followed by an extremely dirty joke in Spanish. I practically hurdle the cart when it is time to get out. I am tempted to tell the gaseous wonder that judging from what I just experienced, he should probably have a LOT less pork in his diet, but I refrain. I am pretty sure that a sizable minority of the staff is here through some kind of second-chance fellon program.

Sunday 03/06/05

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I have seen a lot of pretty awful people in my day: soulless fratboys, angry crackheads making demands on my money, worthless foreigners, but no one gets my blood boiling quite as much as the GirlLookingForHusband. Well that's not true. But I just ran into one this weekend and I am just pissed off. I was a few drinks in, as per usual, when I found myself in a particularly dark corner of a particularly dark bar near the Bowery talking to a blonde who did not seem alltogether bad looking. She did seem to be showing an awful lot of interest in basically hearing my resume recited. In my drunkeness I assumed that she was interested in the same thing as I was--a trip back to her place for a little reactreation of William Jefferson Clinton & Intern, followed by perhaps a delivered pizza and the Cartoon Network. In fact she was just trying to approximate my lifetime earnings potential. When she was a few drinks in and instead of making out with me on a couch, as good taste would indicate, had the poor poor POOR taste to inform me that if she still single by 30 she will shoot herself or move back to her midwestern suburb, I knew exactly what was going on. Ah yes, another GirlLookingForHusband.

If you have lived in a major urban center, you have seen her too. She is between 25 and 30 [after that she is no longer a "Girl"], she came from an nice--but not TOO nice--upper middle-class home, she at one point had the potential to do something socially productive with herself but quickly lost all motivation to do anything and now is just looking for a man to hang onto. She watches a lot of romantic comedies, drinks a lot of cosmos, and skanks herself up for at least an hour and a half before going anywhere, and is generally borderline intolerable in conversation. There is a good reason why she is single: if you are the kind of guy to be in a committed relationship, you would run like hell from her. She isn't interesting or particurly bright but she IS needy and hopelessly, terribly boring. Like a Potamnkin Village, undernearth her low-plunging top and short short skirt she is probably wearing underwear big enough to parachute herself down the Chrysler Building.

This species has also apparently found a home in law school. Now I am not saying that every young woman I know who is a budding lawyer falls along those lines but sadly enough of them do. They have come not for the JD but for the MRS. They go to the firm receptions for 1Ls and make with the sexy at the herds of male associates that come before them. They go on an endless stream of dates with guys in their mid-30s, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.

The one nice about them though? If they go to class at all they at least don't try to make asinine comments in class because they have, as a rule, not done the reading. Heavy duty dating takes a lot of time.

Wednesday 03/02/05

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

"Why bother with indigent services if you don't like it?"

Why bother with anything? To get one more step on the ladder towards something or other. Climb the tree faster than the other monkeys trying to get a banana. It's nothing new really.

You take advanced classes in high school and do extra-curricular activities that you could not care about in the least. Then you play some stupid sport with a psycho coach and sweat away your afternoons instead of enjoying the best years of your life. Then you plop down a grand a half to take some ridiculous test, ALL in order to get into a school that a third-rate weekly news magazine has appointed as one of the elite institutions in the nation.

Then you go there and you realize that to actually do anything worthwhile with yourself you can't just get by, you need to do "well" since the name on the diploma alone won't impress anyone despite being really really really fucking expensive. So you once again burn the midnight oil taking classes that are of little interest to anyone but might give you the "skill set" and/or "tool box" and/or "insert buzzword here" to become a consultant/banker/trader/financial asshole since they are the only ones paying anything remotely close to a living wage straight out of school. Of course by the time you are ready to graduate the market has crashed and Phi Beta Kappa econ/math double majors are ready to blow fat old men just for a second round interview: so it's on to law school.

Being at your super-duper university doesn't mean shit because the law schools have to impress the above-mentioned third-rate piece of shit weekly news magazine that absolutely no one reads except for its academic rankings. So you have to spend a shitload more time and money getting ready for yet another ridiculous test that will determine 80% of your admissions chances.

You do well and now get to go to a super-duper law school. 99% employment rate and all of that. But to go to a firm that won't make you clean roaches in the basement of the storage room during your lunch hour, you once again need to do well. All of this among a field of classmates with an average 99% LSAT. So you have to do "well" in classes but the curve is set up in such a way that the mean predominates.

So to differentiate yourself you need to get on a journal so you do that and you write some stupid crap and spend enough time at the library that the legal "scholarship" has burned its intiials into your brain. But this is it, right?

Not so fast, my friend! You also need to "clerk" for a judge for fucking peanuts so you can show your employer that you are smart and a go-getter and know how the legal system and courts works. Apparently three fucking years of law school is not enough. But to get there you have to develop some relationships with professors and find yet more ridiculous extra curricular activities.

So I have just described eleven years, eleven stony grey steps toward the grave, you know, the box. Which is waiting, extra-curricular activities, interesting resume or not.

I sincerely hope that this answers your question.

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