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Black Law Students / Memoirs of a Bar Examinee
« on: May 14, 2007, 06:45:27 PM »
Having officially started Bar Prep today, I invite any and all fellow JD's out there who are sharing in the hazing process to share your tales here; and law students and pre-laws can feel free to ask Bar Related questions. Perhaps we can all get through the insanity together.

DAY 1:

Dear Future, Current, and Past Law Students of the BLSD and beyond,

Today was the first day of PMBR.  That acronym may not mean much to you now as you make your way through the jungle of the law school application process, but trust and believe you will become familiar with it.  Don't worry about what it stands be honest I don't even know what it stands for an I'm a PMBR rep at my law school.  What is important is what it can give you.  And as I write this, I have no idea whether or not any of this crap they have us going through will make the difference in passing or failing the bar, but I have to believe that it does - otherwise what the hell am I doing getting out of bed at 7:45am on a Monday. I don't get up on Mondays anymore. I don't get up on any days anymore for that matter. Haven't done that since we were actual law students (aka 1L's). 

So like I was saying, Day 1 was contracts.  They had us sit down in this crowded auditorium and take a 2 1/2 hour practice exam of the MBE.  The MBE is one acronym that is probably worth knowing - that's the Multi-state Bar Exam.  That's a fancy way of saying "Multiple Choice."  Yes, just when you thought that standardized testing was over and done with, POW! Here comes the MBE upside your dome.  The MBE...taking the substantive law that took you 4 months (or even up to a year) to memorize and fully comprehend and reducing it down to nothing more than a commercialized and meaningless "fill in the bubble" answer sheet.  What a concept.  All those nuances you learned - gone. All those exceptions to the exceptions to the exceptions - gone.  All those hours spent trying to argue "both sides" of every legal issue - gone.  Just fill in "C," Pal and keep it moving.

Oh you'll get the opportunity to write the essays that you know and love on the bar exam itself, but that's not until day 2 of the actual bar exam.  That's what BarBri prepares you for.  (if you don't know what BarBri is yet, you soon will).  Day 1 is the multiple choice day of the exam.  That's where the real fun is.  At no surprise, this is also the day that makes or breaks most law students.  People fail the bar because they fail the multiple choice half of the bar, not because they failed the essay half.  You've been writing essays on law school exams for 3 years by now, you got that *&^% down to a science (hopefully).  Mutliple choice either know it or you don't.  And sometimes, even when you know it, you still don't.  They go by this "pick the best answer" bull that basically means that more than one answer can be correct, and you have to choose the "Best" correct (or incorrect) answer out of what you are given.

So they'll say some stuff like NYU Law School is located in:

A. California
B. Ohio
C. New Jersey
D. Virgina

The answer being "C" because Jersey is the "most correct" answer, even though it is wrong.

So anyway, getting back to Day 1 of PMBR - the multiple choice people.  Today was Contracts.  I hate contracts. I probably hate contracts b/c I hated my professor who "taught" contracts. I say "taught" but let's keep it real, he didn't teach jack *&^%.  I learned contract law from Examples and Explanations, with a touch of Crunch Time.  Which basically means I know the general concepts and that's about it.  Rather, I should say I knew the general concepts, because after todays mock test I can clearly see now that I don't know jack about contracts. 

50 multiple choice questions.  I got 20 correct.  What's worse is that when the professor polled the room to see how many people got right, the overwhelming majority got no higher than 25 correct.  That's 1/2 man!  WTF? 

So there I am, graduating 3L, managing editor of Law Review, teaching & research assistant for multiple classes, on top of my game and got a whopping 20 out of 50 contracts questions correct.  HA!  :D  Gotta laugh at that one.  Straight comedy. But the cool part was nobody was really trippin off of it because as today's lecturer told us, it does not matter how many you got correct or incorrect today - the Bar Exam is in July.  You have 2 months to build on today and make sure you get these questions right when it counts. 

And in case you're wondering what type of questions they ask, since the fair use doctrine applies here and there's no copyright infringement I'll give an example of a short one (one of the very few that I actually got right):

In a written contract Singer agreed to deliver to Byer 500 described chairs at $20 each F.O.B. Singer's place of business.  The contract provided that "neither party will assign this contract without the written consent of the other."  Singer placed the chairs on board a carrier on January 30.  On February 1 Singer said in a signed writing, "I hereby assign to Wheeler all my rights under the Singer-Byer contract."  Singer did not request and did not get Byer's consent to this transaction.  On February 2 the chairs while in transit were destroyed in a derailment of the carrier's railroad car.

In an action by Wheeler against Byer, Wheeler probably will recover

(A) nothing, because the Singer-Byer contract forbade an assignment
(B) the difference between the contract price and the market value of the chairs
(c) nothing, because the chairs had not been delivered
(D) $10,000, the contract price

Yeah.   :P   I'll let ya'll figure that one out. 

Day 2 tomorrow: Property. More to come later....

Borrowed from the Meta Discussion Board:

Our moderators are wonderful people but they are few in number and understandably busy with other things.

The time has come for a new generation of moderators.

ITT, we support the above statement.  If we are feeling saucy, we also nominate others for the job.

and, go...

There has been recent concern for more moderation with the recent influx of former/current xoxo members (allegedly some xoxo cat lost his future law firm job over some posts on the site). Currently, LSD has four moderators: myself and Groundhog (GH) are probably the more active 2, plus Andrew (the LSD admin) pops in every now and again to frequent the site for any trollish or just outright offensive posts.  I don't know if Andrew plans to add any more moderators in the near future but regardless of whether that happens or not, don't hesitate to reach out to us.  Between Groundhog and myself, we are pretty good about responding quickly to any reported problems you guys send our way (via the "Report to Moderator" button in the bottom right hand corner of each post)

You would expect future lawyers to act right for the most part but unfortunately we don't always get that lucky.


Black Law Students / Patent Law Anybody?
« on: April 05, 2007, 10:04:14 AM »
P Litigators: Worth Their Weight in Gold?
By Brenda Sandburg
The American Lawyer

As a senior patent litigation associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett,
Jeremy Pitcock was wooed by firms offering partnerships, $75,000 signing
bonuses and, on top of his partner paycheck, 5 percent of any business he
helped generate.

"I was getting calls from recruiters all the time," Pitcock says.

By the time he was a sixth-year associate, he was offered his first
partnership. He turned it down, waiting for the firm with just the right mix
of reputation and resources.

Last March, Pitcock, then an eighth-year associate at Simpson, found his
match. He jumped to Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman -- the first time
ever that Kasowitz has made a partner of an associate from another firm.
Pitcock won't say what Kasowitz did to sweeten the pot, but he clearly won't
be hurting for money. Average profits per partner at Kasowitz were $1.5
million in 2005.

Pitcock's move is already paying off for Kasowitz. He had been working on a
patent case for JDS Uniphase Corp. and brought it with him. The company then
chose Kasowitz over Simpson in a beauty contest for a patent infringement
suit against Litton Industries, Inc.

Patent litigators are a must-have item for firms. And they're willing to pay
for them -- even if, as in Pitcock's case, they have a moderate book of
business and just a couple of trials under their belt. Constantly changing
technology, consolidation of industries and the increasingly cross-border
nature of IP battles are expanding the size and scope of patent cases. The
median cost to take a patent case through trial in 2005 was in the $5
million to $6 million range, up from $2 million in 1995, according to the
American Intellectual Property Law Association. All of which means that
firms are missing a potential fee bonanza if they don't have enough lawyers
on hand to do the work.

"If I could hire five or six lawyers today, I would in a second," says
Claude Stern, co-chair of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges's IP group.
"We're really scraping." (On average, 60 percent of Quinn Emanuel's revenue
has come from IP work over the last five years, Stern says, and half of that
has been patent litigation. Since Quinn had gross revenue of $298 million in
2006, its patent litigation income for the year was around $89 million.)

Stern and others looking to hire should start adding zeros to their checks.
The rate for talent with a decent book of business can run upward of $1.8
million, with top rainmakers commanding $5 million and up, recruiters and
partners say. Be prepared to toss in a signing bonus, too.

"It's a hot area because there's such a shortage [of lawyers]," says San
Francisco Bay area recruiter Gary Davis.

The shortage isn't a new phenomenon. Patent litigation has been hot for
years, and lawyers like William Lee of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and
, Morgan Chu of Irell & Manella and Matthew Powers of Weil, Gotshal &
became bona fide litigation superstars before "Internet" was a
household word.

But several factors are working against firms trying to build a big patent
litigation practice. Law schools pump out only a handful of graduates each
year with the technical backgrounds necessary for patent law. Even with that
background, it takes years to acquire the basic skills needed to run a
patent case. And there's fierce competition among firms for the few with
that talent.

"You can't practice IP for five years and say, 'I've got it,'" says M.
Patricia Thayer, co-chair of Heller Ehrman's 80-lawyer IP litigation
practice. "It is a profoundly difficult subject area that requires knowledge
of esoteric areas of law and technology and the ability to try a case and
talk to a judge."

Considering some of the amounts at stake in several recent patent cases,
firms may want to consider sending lawyers back for a science degree. Among
the top patent verdicts of 2006 were Hynix Semiconductor Inc.'s $306.9
million award in a case against Rambus Inc. (Daniel Furniss of Townsend and
Townsend and Crew
was lead counsel for Hynix, and Gregory Stone of Munger
was lead for Rambus; the award was subsequently reduced to $130
million by the judge); z4 Technologies, Inc.'s $133 million victory in its
battle against Microsoft Corp. and Autodesk, Inc. (Ernie Brooks of Brooks
represented z4, and John Gartman of Fish & Richardson represented
Microsoft and Autodesk); and Tivo Inc.'s $74 million award in a fight with
Echostar Communications Corp. (Irell & Manella's Chu represented Tivo, and
Morrison & Foerster's Harold McElhinney represented Echostar).

"There's no end in sight," Stern says, "We're in a technological era of
remarkable invention and market consolidation. Given the confluence of these
factors, I can't see how IP in copyright, trademark and patents will

In 2001 Medinol Ltd., an Israeli company that manufactures coronary stents,
sued Boston Scientific Corp., claiming theft of its stent technology. The
company hired Cravath, Swaine & Moore -- not your typical IP player -- to
handle the case. By September 2005, Boston Scientific had paid Medinol $750
million to settle the case, and a loyal Cravath client was born. (Partner
Rory Millson led the case for Cravath.) Cravath has since handled another
major Medinol patent suit against Guidant Corp., as well as several other
litigation matters. Cravath has found one of the advantages of patent
litigation: It can bring on a good deal of additional IP work. Companies
invest a lot of time in educating outside counsel about their technology, so
if they are successful in one case they are likely to get hired for future
patent cases. Such familiarity with the company's technology "is one of the
considerations for which firm we select," says Tom Burt, Microsoft's deputy
general counsel for litigation.

The fact that Cravath appeared in the middle of a patent case also signals
that elite Wall Street firms are tuning in to IP. That's a far cry from a
decade ago when such cases were almost exclusively the province of boutiques
and a few forward-thinking general practice firms like Morrison & Foerster
and Heller. Cravath continues to score. Partners Evan Chesler, Richard Stark
and David Greenwald are leading a case for Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and
Sanofi-Aventis against Apotex Inc. over its generic version of the heart
drug Plavix, which had sales of nearly $6 billion in 2005.

But firms with little experience in patent and other IP matters should be
careful. As The American Lawyer's sibling publication IP Law & Business
reported last June, some of New York's leading dealmakers -- including
Shearman & Sterling and Davis Polk & Wardwell -- have had trouble hiring and
keeping patent litigation laterals. They aren't alone. Morgan, Lewis &
had trouble keeping litigators after it acquired the 35-lawyer New
York patent boutique Hopgood Calimafde Judlowe & Mondolino in 2001. At least
30 members of the group left the firm in 2005, in part because the Hopgood
group was placed in the litigation practice rather than the IP practice, and
turf wars developed. Partner Craig Opperman says Morgan "has learned
whatever lessons there were to learn" from the Hopgood group's departure.
The firm has since tweaked its firmwide management for IP lawyers. Last year
Morgan Lewis bolstered its IP ranks somewhat with the acquisition of 10
lawyers from Dorsey & Whitney after Dorsey closed its San Francisco office.
The group, primarily patent prosecutors, had previously been with the patent
boutique Flehr Hohbach Test Albritton & Herbert, which merged with Dorsey in

"There is a real challenge finding the right people and getting them to
move," says Morgan Lewis patent litigation partner Craig Opperman. Opperman,
who had been at Cooley Godward before becoming general counsel of OpenTV
Corp., joined Morgan Lewis in 2004. The following year the firm recruited
Daniel Johnson from Fenwick & West and David Bohrer from Dechert.

Keeping a patent litigator happy is not necessarily an easy task. Leora
Ben-Ami, a rainmaker who jumped from Clifford Chance to Kaye Scholer in
2003, says she "wanted to go to a firm that understood what patent
litigation was all about. A lot of general practice firms consider it to be
like any litigation." Ben-Ami's jump coincided with a period when partners
were fleeing Clifford Chance's U.S. offices, but her point about being
understood is one echoed by several patent litigators.

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