Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Taking the Good with the Bad
The bad: I'm still chillin' (I don't use that word lightly - it's bloody cold and a storm's on the way) without one of my two pieces of luggage courtesy of American Airlines. Great. I do so enjoy the fact that the one ever that I decided to check the bag with my toiletries, they decided to play hide a seek with it. Of course, I consider myself way more fortunate than the cheerleader from Miami who came to NYC on spring break and lost a bag with three caps for her brother. I can assume these caps were particularly valuable since she was moved to tears (really), I felt kinda sorry for her...well, to tell the truth, not really. Who checks a small plastic bag with 3 caps? A genius cheerleader that's who.
I spent most of today at home - waiting for the AA people to call and watching VH1s latest countdown - The 100 Most Shocking Moments of Rock (or something like that). I really have to wonder, how many things can one station countdown. I've never yet flipped to VH1 and not seem them counting down something, and all of these countdowns always have at least two or three of the same clips and at least one mention of Kurt Cobain in some way, shape or form.
Aight, I'm out until I manage to get the time to steal another internet connection. Might I mention that high speed internet after GPRS is fairl orgasmic...yes I did say orgasmic.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Back in a Flash
I shall be off to the freezing weather of the East Coast tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what sort of internet connection I'll have initially while I'm there so posting will be sporadic at best - at least in the beginning. In the meantime however, my laptop will be my constant companion and I'll record interesting events such as my
Today I mentioned to my friend who's going to be picking me up at the airport how reluctant I was to be going back to the freezing weather, the following is a little snippet of the conversation:
Her: "Oh come on, don't worry about it, it's so warm now, Spring is totally here."
Me: "Really?? Warm?? Wow, that's grea...wait, warm like what?"
Her: "It was in the 50s yesterday, it was great, I only wore a fleece."
Folks, that ain't right. If you think 50s is warm, you're crazy. The last time we had a cold front in my little island under the sun...it was about 73 and everybody was flipping, expecting snow to fall any minute now. Now, that's warm.
White sand beaches, flip flops, sweat sans the gym...aaahhh, it's a beautiful thing, I'll miss it.
I've procrastinated enough, I must go pack. Does anybody even know how annoying it is to look for your various AC adapters, USB cables and such, well knowing that you'll forget the most important one...?
Saturday, March 19, 2005
I mean, I've got scholarship offers from schools since January, how is it that Cornell hasn't even started making financial aid decisions yet.
I won't even begin to bitch about the fact that I've yet to hear from UMich. Won't even go there.
Somebody help me...I need a miracle...
Friday, March 18, 2005
That said, as soon as I'm one checking my email I'm going to start sifting through the mail, I'm not going to put it off any longer, as soon as I'm done...really...as soon as I am...
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Tales from the Crypt
Before I go on, let me just say that I'm by no means an expert, nor do I speak for any cross-section of law firms. These are just things I observed and learned from...or was amused by...at my particular, nameless law firm.
- Never spam the law firms, don't send your resume every two months or send it to 10 different partners thinking that at least one's going to go through. In most cases the partners don't open their mail and their secretary automatically filters resumes and cover letters to the Human Resources Department. The HR Department in most cases has a database that they enter very single resume they've ever received so before the resume gets to the HR Manager/Recruiter or whoever sifts through the resumes they are entered into this database and if you've already sent your resume in your name'll pop up and more often that not it's automatically rejected. They figure, if we rejected him last week, more than likely we'll reject him this week. In some cases applying more than once won't really count against you, if you applied as a 1L and the firm doesn't accept 1Ls they may give your resume another look. Other than that, pending unsual circumstances, once you got rejected you're gonna keep getting rejected. Also if you've just been sending too many resumes and not getting the hint they'll slightly change the wording to something like..."thank you for your repeated interest in our firm...". It's not a coincidence fellows, by that time you've just annoyed the hell out of them.The same goes if you have 10 headhunters sending out resumes for you. More often than not they'll send to the same firm and you'll just be one of those loser spammers. Also consider that this database is firm-wide so if the New York office rejected you, the folks in LA will be able to see that when the input your data, you may have a still shot since different offices have different criteria.
- Don't kid yourself, BIGLAW is mostly about the prestige. Sure you'll find some people who didn't go to highly ranked schools but more often than not they either proved themselves at another firm before transferring or have some absolutely amazing experience. Also, sending it to a partner who went to a low ranked school and thinking that'll give you a heads up...not gonna work. See above. That said it really does depend on the climate of the firm, mine was 90% about the prestige.
- Nepotism - Ah, it's great if you can get it but in BIGLAW it's real hard. Here's why, most law firms have at least two rounds, a pre-screen and a full round interview. If you know Partner Joe and he's got enough clout to get you an interview (and don't kid yourself, you have to have good credentials in the first place or else Partner Joe'll probably just lose your resume in the pile of papers on his desk cause come hiring meeting he doesn't want to look like the moron who's just trying to get his wife's hairdresser's son a job just because he can), if you make it pass the pre-screen (you'll probably see two people - recruiting manager and hiring partner or some such combination) you've still got the full round (you interview with 4-6 people) and if you don't impress enough of them to tip the scales your way, you're out of luck. How this normally works is the lawyers who interview you will write their impressions down/or input in the database mentioned in my first point. These impressions get taken into the hiring meeting where all the folk with the real clout actually decide your fate. The recruiting manager and the hiring partner will be there so you probably want them to like you more than the rest...I'm not saying nepotism is out of the question all together, it's just that unless you know somebody real big like a managing partner, there's no point. Knowing any random partner won't help you, most of them have never done an interview, you've gotta know one that's plays an important role in the hiring process. All you know are associates/counsel/junior partners? I'd say the most they can guarantee is that your resume will be reviewed with a little bit more care, it's certainly not going to guarantee you an interview.
- Don't ever call. Really. Don't do it. It's most definitely "a don't call us, we'll call you kind of thing." If you call to check up on your resume, sure your name will probably stick in their heads but you're "that dude who thinks we don't have anything to do, seriously does he not know how many resumes we get every single day??" If you must call I suggest you get your headhunter or something to do it for you, they're paid to be annoying, it won't really reflect on you.
- Oh man, I've seen this a ton of times. Don't ever send your writing sample with your resume unsolicited. Straight up. Noone's going to even glance at it. I kid you not. You also look like a complete and total moron. That stuff probably won't even make it past the secretary much less to the recruiting manager. I've seen people send documents over 50 pages long. It does not give a positive impression. Trust. Lets face it your resume and cover letter get seconds of attention, noone's going to read whatever boring article you had to write for a class or a journal to see if they want to meet you.
- Oh, this has been said all over the place but I still see people do it. Man, chill with the mail merge. I swear I can't even count the number of cover letters that came with the wrong name/address/company name, I remember one cat sent his resume in with all of the inter-changeable information in bold, another dude did it in italics. If you manage to actually pull off the mail merge properly, don't make it obvious that you did a mail merge dude...Automatic rejection letter. Oh yeah, speaking of rejection letter, if they tell you how great your credentials were and how they regret not having a chance to meet with you, believe they told it to everybody. It's not an invitation to apply next week. They can use mail merge. And they do. Do you know how many resumes they get every single day??
- Also, everything I just said, forget all of it if you've got fantastic credentials. If you were Editor in Chief of the law review, had a 4.0, Order of the Coif and clerked for the Supreme Court, seriously you've got to be a total ass to get rejected. No matter how bad your cover letter is and how much of a jerk you seem they'll still interview you because your record shows that you're brilliant and while they may not like you, there's tons of rainmakers at the firm that they don't like but who are brilliant and absolutely fantastic at their jobs. You've gotta pretend to at least respect them though - at least in the beginning interview, if they think you're too arrogant off the bat, it's not going to go well for you.
OK...I'm done typing now...next week, if I remember, post-interview comments made by interviewers.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Question of the Day
This time I'm going to be smart about it, I'm going to do online research. It's off to WebMD and Google I go.
P.S. If I had a pound or a dollar (Euro currency of course - it's worth more) for every invitation to an online chat at some law school, I wouldn't be worrying at all about financial aid.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Why oh Why
Monday, March 14, 2005
What do you say...
He's waiting for 11 schools. Absurd. When do they intend to let us know? How about now y'all, how about now?
Update: On further reading, I see Kristine over at Divine Angst has posted similar, yet more eloquent thoughts on the matter.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
About Santa Clara
Here we go:
- Rent - Really expensive. Apparently $450-$550 for a room in a house with 3 or 4 others and upwards of $850 for a 1BR unfurnished.
- Professors - The usual mix, some good some bad and the IP program shines above all. There's also a very high bar passage rate there. And as we all know, Santa Clara gets much props in Cali - outside the region the rep isn't that hot.
- 1L Opportunities - Are mostly volunteer but they exist so you should find something to do in the summer.
- Upon Graduation - Salaries are in the usual over $100 000 range but the cost of living is really high, so it pretty much works out to $60 000-$70 000 in real dollars.
- The Weather - Doesn't get much better than that. An estimated 20 days with rain throughout the whole winter and 5 or so below 50 degrees.
- Stuff to do - You need a car, apparently Santa Clara is straight suburbia so you need to get to San Jose or San Francisco to get your party on.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Once a Day the Tables Will Turn...
Via the Volokh Conspiracy
Late Fall, 2004 - I leave the US for a while and tell the morons to put my plan on the vacation plan. They say sure, no problem, hold a few minutes while we do it. OK Narkoleptik, it's done, you're good to go.
Sometime November, 2004 - I decide for no particular reason to check my PCS account online. I see they have me owing them for 2 months. I send them an email basically saying...dude...what the hell?!? They say, oh Narkoleptik, sorry for the mistake we'll fix it right quick.
Yesterday, 2005 - I again decide to check my PCS account online, wanted to make sure everything was OK so I could resurrect my cell service when I hit the states from the Vacation Plan. I see I'm in arrears for almost $200. I email them, they're like oh, we don't know what's going on here, we never put you on the vacation plan. Here's what we'll do, we'll put you on the plan this morning, oh and just so you know, when we put you on the plan you'll have begun another yearly contract with us.
I say, no way, you guys are way too stupid. Cancel the contract, I want nothing to do with you. They say, Oh Narkoleptik, we're so sorry but if we cancel your service you're going to have to pay $150 because you're on a contract with us until March 10, 2005 - remember we put you on one this morning? So that said, we highly advise you to stick with us.
I got pissed, although it wasn't evident in the series of emails that I sent them attempting to rectify the situation - I was trying to polite route. When that didn't work I had to get nasty, what do you know, being nasty gets results. I'm not free of Sprint sans cancellation fee. Praises be.
Now I gotta go get a new wireless carrier, I'm thinking the only option is Verizon? Everybody else seems to bitch about the other options like T-mobile and Cingular and what not.
Oh yeah, I know none of you really needed to know that, it's just that I feel so...free!
Fight to the death troops! Don't make those evil wireless carriers take advantage of you.
Star Wars Who?
There has to be one other person out there. Just one.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
The Good Life
Let me see:
- Write a paper with controversial opinions.
- Piss lots of people off.
- Your employer threatens to fire you.
- You threaten to sue employer if they fire you.
- Employer then caves and pays you ridiculous amounts of money to leave the job.
- You retire to your own island in the Caribbean.
- People are still pissed off.
- You can now say even more things to piss people off (in between sipping drinks on the beach of course).
- Because the first time you did you got paid so much you never had to work again.
- Sounds like a bloody good plan to me.
Good job Colorado University. Good job.
Somebody please tell me where I can get a gig like this.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
The Deed Is Done
Now I gotta book cheap tickets to the law schools.
Anybody ever try booking tickets on a volatile gprs connection?
God help me.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
The Secret Blog
Seriously though, are there too many people out there who would love it if ten or twenty (to vastly exaggerate the number in the quote) read their blogs and no more? I gotta agree with Tony Pierce here, these people would probably choose email for their purposes.
So yeah, can any of you really say that when that statcounter passes twenty readers for the day you feel violated? You're like damn, I wish those surfers would just stay the hell off my blog! Anybody?
The Grapes of Wrath a la Mexico
I decided to post on this because I found this article on MSNBC that completely and totally threw me back in the book. It's about how the adjustments in border security is having very little impact on the flow of illegal Mexican immigrants. Here's a quote from the article:
One of the men on the porch was Jesus Alonzo Camacho, 44. He and six friends had left home in Michoacan state, where they earn about $6 a day working in the fields. "We can't support ourselves at home; we need the money from the other side," Camacho said. His only plan was to slip across the border and walk north until he found someone to give him work. "Anyone," he said. "Anywhere."
Too many similarities to point out; I have few profound observations on Mexicans trying to get across the border other than obviously something else needs to be done since clearly current steps aren't working. They've also become an important cog in the wheel of US agriculture/industry so maybe it's time to come up with a more sophisticated plan than spotlights, dogs and helicopters, particularly since those can't even keep the criminals out.
Also, I'm considering getting in on this 50 Book Challenge bit, I wonder...does it work retroactively...?
Monday, March 07, 2005
Clearly I have too Much Time on my Hands.
Coke or Pepsi? Coke most definitely, in fact, I can't tell the last time I actually saw Pepsi.
Chunky or smooth peanut butter? I absolutely detest peanut butter. *Shudder*
White or wheat? Not a big fan of bread in general, I avoid it at all costs but if absolutely forced I'd go white.
Vanilla or chocolate ice cream? Chocolate baby, vanilla is just so...vanilla!
Perfect "after sex food"? Ice cream definitely, and chocolate if there's any...but always ice cream.
Butter or margarine? I really have no idea what the difference is, really - not a clue.
Coffee, tea, or neither? I avoid hot drinks at all costs (burns my tongue man, burns my tongue) but I can dig some iced coffee, and also some iced tea now that I think about it...I probably prefer the iced coffee a bit more though.
Sweet or dill pickles? Dill baby, dill.
Stupidest thing a boy told me that I believed? Dude...
What do you want to be when you grow up? Rich, slim and happy. I'm not kidding! I'd like to be a writer but I'll settle for being a lawyer right now :)
Sunday, March 06, 2005
While I may indeed accept the fact that I need to pull 16 hour days for a few years to get those law school loans off my head, trust that I don't pull those hours because of a deep love of monotonous paperwork or because the art work on the walls of the office so thrill me that I want to spend as much time as I can in the office. I do so because I want to pay off my student loans and because I like that I can have a meal somewhere other than White Castle after paying my loans and my rent. (Yes, the $500 cabbage soup entree sounds fabulous! May I have two?) I will, more than likely bail in a heartbeat if I'm offered a higher paying job or one with equal salary and less hours.
Having worked at a firm though, I'm quite aware that the firm is no more loyal to its employees than they supposedly are to it. I've seen the spate of senior associates who flood the HR office with resumes because they were denied the partnership they were assured was in the bag. I also know that if God forbid an associate fails the bar, he's out the door. If an associate opts to take the "family friendly" route you advertise they are virtually assured of not making partner. I also know that you the senior partner stays at work until 9:00pm every night - having reached the zenith of your profession you still spend the same, if not more, hours in the office as the associate (note the distinction between spending the same hours in the office and actually working the same hours.) Is it because after so many years of being loyal to the job, you have no idea what to do outside of the office? If that's the case, that's really really sad. If it's not...dude...go home.
It's clear that according to today's standards, a loyal, motivated worker should have very little life outside of the office. I'm willing to pay my dues, but if, as I've said before, I can't make some sort of compromise between paying those dues and having even the semblance of normal life (read: not indentured servitude - I've heard it whispered that some lawyers make it work), then hell yeah, expect me to be disloyal. Hell, call me a slacker. I'm "Gen Y" after all, it's inherent. Isn't it?
Update: I was writing a response to Janine's comment on this post and then it got long so I decided to tack it on this post:
I haven't really thought this through so bear with me but...I'm beginning to think that a large part of this may have to do with the fact that more women are working outside the home and men are trying to become more than just the breadwinner and part-time family man. Back in the day men were probably more willing to leave the raising of a family to the women and spend all their time in the office - they were the breadwinners after all and so it was easy for them to remain loyal to work and family. Stay the extra hours and make the boss happy and bring the extra bucks home and make the wife happy.
Now, we have more women in the work force and more men trying to play active roles in their families which doesn't create such an easy dichotomy between work and family anymore. This then creates a shift from workplace loyalty to family loyalty in the sense that apparently it is difficult to be loyal to both. There are no clear-cut breadwinners any more since both significant others' often work and since there's no longer the guarantee that one parent will be a full-time parent (or pet caretaker, whatever), it turns out the job will get the supposed shaft since it's become only a source of income and a way to pass the time you'd rather be spending with family.
If I decide I hate this template, I won't have the time to do anything about it for a while.
Also: I shall try to post something of consequence in the near future.
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Einstein watch out! Narkoleptik's on a roll tonight!
A: The answer's just too obvious...and detrimental to my self-esteem.
Friday, March 04, 2005
To identify cases of TBI, doctors at Walter Reed screened every arriving service member wounded in an explosion, along with those hurt in Iraq or Afghanistan in a vehicle accident or fall, or by a gunshot wound to the face, neck or head. They found TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) in about 60% of the cases. The largest group was 21-year-olds. The wound may come to characterize this war, much the way illnesses from Agent Orange typified the Vietnam War, doctors say.
This fact combined with the fact that recruitment numbers have fallen significantly since the beginning of the war will no doubt have some serious implications for the miltary. Kevin over at The Yin Blog has a pretty amusing post about the Pentagon's reaction to this "startling" news about recruitment numbers.
I've been wondering what the Bush administration's next move is going to be in Iraq. There's little indication that peace is anywhere in the near future for the Iraqis, the suicide bombers are having a field day. Saddam has been ousted so Bush can't blame him, and the Iraqis have had their first democratic election so he can't argue that all they really need is self-government to put them on the right track. I'd really love to know what the plan is, you know Plan Q or so since all the others have failed.
In other news, Cornell sent an email saying they're the number one college hockey team. Great. The only hockey games I've ever seen were those incorporated in the movie The Might Ducks. Good to know though. I do wish I'd received some financial aid information though.
"Among the hard-working graduates of CLS were several lucky souls who were on vacation and had turned on out-of-office autoreply messages. Now, I just located the original message and hit "reply" (without sending, mind you!) to see how a return email would be addressed. It appears that, if one uses "reply" and not "reply all" that responses should go only to the sender. For some reason, however, those autoreplies, once they went back to the dean, were forwarded to the list. As were all the responses by all the people who became increasingly shrill as they received more and more and more email in response to the initial demands for removal...Which is why I came home tonight and discovered sixty-plus law-school related emails in my home inbox."This reminds me of quite a few embarrassing incidents at college when a person would hit reply to sender and the email would get sent to the entire listserver. Break-ups have happened that way, scandals have been disclosed that way...
Sad, sad sad.
Boy was I wrong. I'm not saying it's a bad blog, I'm just saying it's the same blog it was before he went fulltime. I'm disappointed. Also...dude, you're supposedly a fulltime blogger...is one to two posts a day the best you can manage?
Thursday, March 03, 2005
No, I'm not wondering anymore, I really must have lost my mind.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
I know they've looked at my application, they must have, they've had it almost six months. I don't have any anomalies in my application that would cause them to need to spend longer than necessary (read: six months) going over my decision. Why then must the torture continue? I haven't even been waitlisted/deferred. Georgetown took twenty-nine (29) days from my submitting the application to my receiving a response. See: quick turnaround, I like that. I also like that I got in.
You know what, it's the post office. They're screwing me over, I'm sure it's them. Dammit.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Are They Worth It?
I didn't take a Prep class and I did pretty well, I know people who took Prep classes and did better than I did and I also know a people who took Prep classes and did worse than I did. I ended up treading the middle ground and telling him to take a few tests and see how he does and then decide whether or not he thinks he may be able to swing it on his own or if he'll need Kaplan, Princeton, Powerscore or one of the myriad of LSAT Prep courses out there to help him out. As I type this I know I gave him pretty bad advice the only "redeeming" factor is that I did offer him a disclaimer and assure him that what I have to say on the matter should by no means be taken as gospel (a cop-out if ever there was one).
I ended up studying for the LSAT on my own for two reasons, one, I was broke at the time and shelling out $1300 for some Prep courses seemed just ridiculous - rent and food come first you know and two, after I totally bombed the first practice test I did and resolved to sign up for a course courtesy of Visa or American Express I found out that all the registration dates had passed and I'd missed at least two to three weeks of classes.
After being convinced that I was bound to get a 150, I pulled myself together hit Barnes and Noble and bought some practice tests, ordered some of the most recent ones from the LSAC, bought the Powerscore Logic Games Bible on Ebay (the games were kicking my ass) and spent the last few weeks before the LSAT taking practice tests when I had the time. That worked, I took the LSAT once and was happy enough with my score to not want to do it over again.
On the other hand, I have no idea if I'd have done even better had I gone to any of the classes but I sure as hell know that the classes can't be the be-all and end-all of LSAT Prep since people who take the classes often do poorly.
Hmm, I'd thought that after putting this down on paper...err...blog, I'd have come up with some better advice for him. Oh well. The one thing I can resolutely advise him against is using any of the Barrons' books, I'm not a big fan of Kaplan's books either but really Barrons just plain sucks. I do think practice is the key, whether you do it in a class or on your own, if you don't do as many of those practice tests as you possibly can (set a high bar though, don't do 3 and think that's all you can do), if you do fine in the practice tests odds are pending some catastrophe exam day you'll do fine in the LSAT.