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Messages - Thane Messinger

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Most schools will let you take time off, particularly if you have a good excuse.  You'd just not got to school at all, sort out the family stuff, then go back to your Miami school when you are ready.  Talk to you registrars office.

Phoebe -

Agreed.  Take the time off.  Family is more important, and no one will hold this against a transfer application (if well discussed).  As to your question, BikePilot is, as always, quite right: the standard in most transfer decisions is steep.  There's also a book mentioned elsewhere that might help, Art of the Law School Transfer, with stats for various schools showing a general likelihood of acceptance.

Be well, and best of luck,



* * *

The Marxist meaning based on the mid-19th century Communist Manifesto means that the inability of capitalism to expand without creating, in its wake, periodic and more and more severe economic crises (recessions, depressions, unemployment) will alienate more people. These will not only come from the ranks of the poor laborers (the proletariat) who would be made progressively more miserable under capitalism, but also business failures would lead to portions of the bourgeoisie going over to the side of the allegedly rising class, the proletariat, and this combination would lead to successful revolutionary overthrow of capitalist regimes. This became the bedrock doctrine of Marxism and its 20th century Communist successors.

Not quite.  The immiseration thesis assumed that real wages and working conditions must, as a capitalist premise, always decline, pushing the proletariat inevitably to revolution.  Crises, etc., might be a catalyst but were not the cause.  The problem, of course, is that even with our Great Recession history has shown this to be palpably incorrect; residents of capitalist economies--including the newest, partial member, China--are decidedly better off, in every measurable way.  (Ironically, looking at postmodern American society, a major problem is spoiled decadence among the . . . proletatriat just as much as their exploitive brethren.  Think this a stretch?  Since when do we NEED a television, much less multiple, high-definition, big-screen, 3D ones?  How many REAL poor laborers the world over would gladly trade their lot with the "poor laborers" of, yes, even Detroit in 2010?  Our modern crisis is one of selfishness as much as corruption or exploitation.)  What's more, Marx himself had zero patience for wishful thinking, which is what proponents of immiseration have had to be for at least several decades.  So, by Marx's own reckoning the thesis fails.

Okay then.  Back to capitalist running dog consumerist decadent spending!

= :   )

Current Law Students / Re: Dress Shirts
« on: December 16, 2010, 11:15:47 PM »

You may want a shirt or two with french cuffs, but they are a bit overdone sometimes.  I'd skip the monograms, personally.  Spend your money
on quality accoutrements such as elegant cuff links, really good dress shoes (Florsheim/Bostonian), etc.  Tailoring is extremely important.  Most men are painfully unaware when they are walking around in an ill-fitting suit.  What you are looking for is understated elegance.  Fine tailoring goes a long way toward that end. 

Marcus -

As always, louiebstef is dead on.  What interviewers are looking for is someone who is comfortable in their own skin.  They assume you've got the brains.  (You'd be amazed at how many applicants put this issue back on the table.)  There's an excellent excerpt from a hiring partner in the Insider's Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job, by Erika Finn and Jessica Olmon.  In his retelling, it's not monograms but pocket squares during his own interviews, many moons before. 

To follow louieb, anything you're not already wearing to important events (once in a while at least, yes?) is likely a bad idea.  If you never go anywhere needing to dress up, well, you really should--for practice and comfort if nothing else.  Tailoring, while less and less common, is a huge plus.   

Understated + elegance.  Check.


Law School Admissions / Re: University of Miami's Pre-law program?
« on: December 15, 2010, 07:14:23 PM »
Is the pre-law program at the University of Miami worth going to the school?

The author of Law School Fast Track, Derrick Hibbard, is from UM.  I'll send him a note and perhaps he can respond.


Hahaha I didn't work at the Blue Bell in Brenham.  I worked at the plant is Sylacauga Alabama!

Well, then.  A tip of the hat to our neighbors in Sylacauga.

= :   )

life will be a lot less hectic if i have a federal clerkship lined up for the next year. my job search will end, and i know my career will be set in place so i wont have to waste time with career bunnies 24 hours a day.

at judge's chambers that i interned for in the spring right now mail-merging 120 letters of recommendation, printing them, and having judge sign them. im so exhausted...

Swan -

Wow.  That's a patient boss.  = :   )

I hope this isn't taken in the wrong way, and, yes, I know that times they are a' changin', but for your future career, it's better to assume a much more formal approach to anything relating to the law.  In this case, it means more work earlier and harder (e.g., the earliest bar exam they'll give you) and also hitting the Shift key when typing the character for "I," as in that pesky first-person singular.

I imagine this might raise hackles in some quarters.  Here's the perspective of a senior practitioner:  if they ever see an "i" where they should see an "I," whether in an "informal" forwarded email (i.e., there is no such thing as "informal" in the law) or (God forbid) anything that gets near a client, they are . . . unlikely to say anything.  But your odds of succeeding in that firm are almsot certainly reduced by, oh, one-third for each character.

Job Search / Re: Getting a Job with the Federal goverment
« on: December 10, 2010, 12:48:42 PM »
Do you think there's any marked difference between basic attitudes/ personalities between the three branches?

Excellent reply by louiebstef.  As to different attitudes and personalities, what comes to mind is a conversation with a Navy JAG officer, who sat next to me during the bar exam.  She remarked during break that the Air Force JAG folk came to the Navy for advice on trials involving various brands of misbehavior.  Seems the girls and boys in (light) blue didn't have nearly as much fun.  [Insert favorite branch joke relating to telling time, chewing and walking, etc.]

Thane, I just wanted to say that I am (almost) done reading your "Get In, Get Good..." book on my kindle and it is fantastic.

Many thanks, cvargas84. Much appreciated. 

Please feel free as well to send a private message if there are any sections that might be improved, or other thoughts as to how it might better help.  Critique accepted in good cheer.


I have a 3.8 undergraduate GPA and an LSAT score of 175.  I received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a concentration in law enforcement from Jacksonville State University.  I was a member of the pre-law society, a member of Lambda Alpha Epsilon and I have work experience from Blue Bell Creameries. 

I have already applied to several schools but no one has let me know anything about scholarships yet......any thoughts??

Dmurphy -

Congratulations!  As part of the calculus, consider too the trade-off.  Scholarships usually come when the school wants you, as opposed to the other way 'round.  That happens when you're more attractive to them than they are to you.  There's a reason for this, which goes in part to how attractive you will be to employers a year hence.  Note too that, as unbelievable as it might seem, your entrance stats will have, at best, an imperfect correlation to your first-year grades.  Your first-year grades will have a nearly perfect correlation to your job opportunities.  So, while scholarships are a serious consideration, they shouldn't be the only one.


PS:  Anyone from Brenham has my vote!  = :   )

Current Law Students / Re: Contracts Consideration Question
« on: December 08, 2010, 11:38:27 PM »
I'm reading the Aspen E & E on Contracts. 

A consideration is a promise or act that has been given in exchange for the return promise or performance.  The promisee must suffer some form of legal detriment for a consideration.  This legal detriment can be an immediate act, forebearance, or partial/complete abandonment of a right.  IT could also be a promise to act, forbear, or abandon a right.

Here is my question.  I am unsure why the following example is not considered a consideration (no pun intended) but rather a condition of a gift

Al Imnus promises to donate $10,000 to his alma materand specifies that his money be allocated to the college's scholarship program. The college accepts the promise and agrees to use the funds as specified.

The E & E states this is not a consideration because the promise is not a legal detriment.  At the time of the promise, Al has not handed over the money to the college, and the college has no right to Al's money.  Therefore it does not forbear on any legal right that it has on the time of payment.

My supposition is that the school is promising to forbear from using his money in any other manner than for the scholarships.  So is there future promise to give up a right to spend the money as they so choose a detriment?

Depending upon the jurisdiction, in some consideration is not required for a charitable contribution to be binding, while in other jurisdictions a charity's "pledge" to use the funds for charitable purposes can be sufficient consideration.  There are a few cases in the latter jurisdictions that make this messy, however, and if the facts warrant it there's always promissory estoppel (albeit as an equitable remedy this would be only for the value relied upon, which is not necessarily the same as the amount pledged).  Notably, detrimental reliance is fairly easy for a charity to establish: by virtue of their budgets they rely, sometimes desperately, on pledges.  Courts have been fairly lenient, as well, on public policy grounds.  In one case language by the donor that they intended to be legally bound was sufficient.  (Note that it would not be in a non-charitable contract.)

For an exam, the key is to note the points and reason them through.  Unless it's a basic point (in which case you just state it), it's fine to pose the legal test and give the "if x, then y" tests.  Lots of points therein.  The key is to tie those legal tests to the relevant ones being asked, and those to the real legal problem posed: Does D have to pay or not?  If there's no fact relating to reliance, the most you'd put is "No facts support reliance, thus no equitable remedy of promissory estoppel here."  (If reliance applies elsewhere, be sure to separate those out.)

Hope this helps,


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