Monthly Archive: July 2007

High Achievers

Work at the Articles Office has picked up again as authors begin to send in their summer writings. One article that caught my eye was by a recent YLS grad who was on the editorial board of three journals including the YLJ and is currently a CoA clerk–and it turns out that he’s already well published and has two more articles in this cycle before he even completed his clerkship. You gotta wonder where did people like him find all this time and motivation and talent to pull this off.

Equally amazing was a submission by an inmate in a federal prison who identified himself by his prisoner number. He probably has a lot of time on his hands, but the motivation is no less impressive because most others spend their time writing pro se motions, not law review articles. And apparently he has the talent too. According to the editor who screened this batch of incoming articles, this was among the better ones.






当然,这一切的考量计划和小算盘都是以我能找到这样一份差事为前提的。既然又是一拨申请,那么不妨把基本进程也记录在此,以供现在和以后的同学参考。申请的绝大多数是巡回庭的法官,从第一到第四,第六到第十巡回区都有些,外加几个纽约南区和夏威夷的审判庭。成绩推荐信和杂志社相关条件还算有竞争力,弱项是:1)学校不是顶尖那几个(耶鲁和斯坦福各有20%以上的学生去做联邦巡回庭助理,哈佛则有10%以上,不过象在哈佛这种地方混个前10%恐怕也不是我所能,2)不是美国人(有的法官会很“爱国”——所以有意避开第五巡回区),说话也夹着中国味(但还是那句老话:不收美国人,要求讲中文的好工作这世界上也不少。;) )。



I’d been confronted several times this summer with the same question, “I heard you run a website that offers people advice on law school admissions. Is it true?”

I didn’t know whether I should answer in the affirmative or negative–I do have a website, but it’s just a blog, like millions of other people out there all do nowadays. Mostly I just write down random law school-related thoughts and rants, and never intended them to be “advice” of any sort, especially since I am not even qualified to give advice on any subject (with the possible exception of digital cameras purchases–go buy a Fujifilm F31fd while these little gems are still available).

In any event, I figured if I’d been found guilty I might as well commit the crime. Some of the readers of this blog will be doing the fall interviews very soon. Here are a few suggestions on the interviews I wrote for another purpose, and I am pasting them here.

Two pieces of advice for people looking to spend a summer at a big law firm:

1. Relax (you will get a job), then

2. for those firms that you are really interested in, research your interviewers. Read their bios, google them (as they will probably do the same to you). Find out where they grew up, where they went to school, what they studied before law school, prior work experience, clerkships, sports, hobbies, etc. Find potential common points to talk about at the interview. It’s all about the small talk and how to kill the otherwise awkward 20 minutes between two strangers. If there is absolutely nothing in common between you and the interviewer, a) think again whether you want to work there, and b) compliment his/her shoes.

An additional comment: for big law firms, whatever little tidbits you can glean from Vault/Chambers/Firm Website will have been regurgitated to the interviewer a dozen times that day already, so research the firms only to the extent that the information you gather is helpful to you, and don’t attempt to impress your interviewer with your knowledge of the firm, especially if your knowledge is common to hundreds of other eager candidates. In the words of one hiring partner, it’s “nauseating” to hear interviewees recite from the Vault guide.




Law School Class

I may become a visiting student at Northwestern Law in Spring ’08, so I browsed through the school’s course offerings, and then I came across this course:

LAWSTUDY 603 Evidence of Historicity Jesus

The last decade has seen a dramatic increase in the number of books, essays, and web sites challenging the historicity of Jesus Christ. Their authors point to the fact that no one ever reported meeting or seeing Jesus. They argue that the evidence that Jesus walked the earth is, at best, circumstantial. Although over a billion people today are convinced as a matter of faith that Jesus existed, faith can be defined as a belief in something for which there is no evidence. A law-school approach must be evidence-based. Yet what kind of evidence would be needed to support or refute the actual historicity of Jesus? What about negative evidence (evidence from silence), for example? What does the gathering of this kind of evidence tell us about the role of circumstantial evidence in ordinary courtroom cases? This seminar will examine English-only sources and secondary materials in order to organize and assess the tenor and persuasiveness of available evidence concerning the historicity of Jesus.

Can you spot a winner?

All default settings. Pretty obvious which camera produces the sharpest image. The first three are 8MP point-and-shoot cameras: Minolta DiMAGE A2; Olympus SP-350; Fujifilm F40fd. The last one is a 6MP DSLR: Minolta Maxxum 5D, with Minolta AF 24-105mm lens (admittedly not a very sharp lens).

Random Thoughts

Work at the firm has picked up again and I got myself another due diligence assignment on the corporate side and a brief drafting assignment on the litigation side. Now I actually don’t mind doing due diligence work that much. It’s certainly not “fun,” but it’s a lot easier than the more substantive assignments. Unlike research assignments for which you don’t know if there is an answer out there and keep wondering if you’ve missed that case or ruling exactly on point, you know you will be able to complete due diligence work no matter what and bill a lot of hours without expending too many brain cells. But my life, and that of countless other summer and first-year associates, could have been much better if all contracts were available in searchable PDFs instead of scanned, password protected, or encrypted documents that must be read line by line, page by page.

The Law Review has selected its new batch of incoming associate editors over the weekend. Calls are going out today and tomorrow. About this time last year I received mine, and little did I know how much time I would end up spending on Law Review projects and assignments and with my LR colleagues. At the time I also did not know how little having LR on my resume would affect my career prospects (as far as the summer gig is concerned, at least). In retrospect, however, the year with the LR changed my perspective on the function of law school (it’s not just a mill that churns out greedy biglaw associates or clueless young bureaucrats by the hundreds), rekindled my interest in academic research (which was subsequently re-extinguished by reality), and made me some really good friends that I would otherwise not get to know. It was well worth the effort–albeit a lot of effort. On the balance, my conclusion is that–like I always told the 1Ls that asked me about LR–if you are offered a spot on the LR, go; but if not, you are not missing much–what I valued from the LR experience can be had at just about any student journal, the moot court, or a lot of the student organizations.

I’ve also gotten my clerkship applications to the school to be forwarded to the judges. I have to admit that, as I looked up clerkship statistics of various schools and judges, there was a brief moment that I wished I’d gone to Yale or Chicago. But over the years I’ve learned to be content with and proud of what I have instead of regreting what I don’t have, so the next minute I was busy stuffing envelopes again.