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31
Transferring / Re: Transfers within the T14?
« on: November 06, 2008, 11:46:52 PM »
Top 15-20% to have a chance. Don't be so sure you'll be around the median. You may very well be pleasantly surprised to find yourself at the top of the class.

32
I'd advise treating it like a tennis match.

P would argue X, D would counter by arguing Y. P would respond by noting X, but D would counter by stating Z. If there's not so many claims and responses, the approach should be, for K's, to (1) state the claim, and (2) state all the defenses to the claim. Different classes (and professors) may call for different strategies but it's more or less the same in every class--state what the respective parties would argue, and then state what you think the court would likely say. If there are elements, go through each one. There may not always be multiple elements, though.

Here's an example from a practice exam I did 1L year for K's:

Claim #1: Alberto v. Beryl for breach of assurances during negotiations
   Alberto will assert a claim against Beryl for making countless promises during negotiations, and failing to honor them by not giving them the job or – at the least – not giving him the chance to negotiate for the job to completion. Beryl promised Alberto that, if given the job, Alberto would make more than he was making, and indicated that he’d get the position by discussing the matter with him to the extent that she did including her suggestion that “if an attorney could secure the regulatory approvals, he or she would have a position for life.” Because Beryl breached these assurances and Beryl relied on them by turning away new clients, hiring a nanny, and researching regulatory laws, Alberto will claim that promissory estoppel should force Beryl to pay reliance damages. See Hoffman v. Red Owl Stores.
   Beryl will counter that there was no breach of assurances during negotiation because she never indicated that she would give Alberto the position and manifested any type of assent to be bound. However, since Alberto is arguing on the basis of promissory estoppel to force Beryl to honor her assurances during negotiations, whether she manifested any assent is not as important. However, since Alberto’s claim invokes reliance, it is important that 1) Beryl would have expected Alberto to rely and 2) injustice can only be avoided by the enforcement of the promise. Beryl will claim that neither of these preconditions are met because Alberto’s reliance was not really that great – he merely hired a nanny, did some research and turned away a few clients. Further, Beryl will claim that she, a reasonable person would not have expected one to rely to such an extent on such vague, empty promises (particularly when Beryl claimed “presidents don’t make final employment decisions in casinos.” Beryl’s argument in this regard is somewhat compelling because here – unlike Hoffman – the plaintiff was not actually told to take the steps that he did, but rather did so on his own volition based on his understanding of the circumstances.
   Additionally, Beryl will counter that the assurances she made were not sufficiently definite to be enforced. She said, for example that he would make “more than he was making” and changed her mind over night over the extent of the commitment she needed – nothing was, at any point, set in stone. In order to be enforceable, the promise must be reasonably certain such that what a breach would be is clear and what an appropriate remedy for a breach is clear. See Varney v. Ditmars. However, when promissory estoppel is invoked courts are more flexible as to the definiteness of a contract and would likely nevertheless allow the contract to be enforced if they determined that the Alberto relied, did so reasonably as Beryl should have expected and injustice can be avoided only by enforcing the contract.
   Alberto will seek reliance damages as he is seeking recovery on the basis of promissory estoppel. Reliance damages amount to the amount necessary to put Alberto in the position he would have been in had he never entered into the contract which equals the cost of the nanny, the research he did, and the clients he turned away. Beryl might counter that these damages should be limited because they were unforeseeable – she could not possibly have known that, due to her supposed assurances, Alberto would hire a nanny because he never indicated as much and it could not be reasonably expected. See Hadley v. Baxendale.

Claim #2: Alberto v. Beryl for breach of contract to offer 2 year employment or, in the alternative 1 year employment
   Alberto will sue Beryl for breach of contract for promising to provide him with one year employment when she stated that “initial employment” of CFS’s offer was 1 year and assured Alberto that he’d be making more than he was making which he accepted by stating “I’m sold! Let’s settle the details in the morning.” This, as Alberto will argue, constituted an acceptance of Beryl’s offer to employ him for a year. Additionally, Alberto may claim that Beryl breached a contract by promising to hire him for two years by stating that they’d “need a two-year commitment from whomever it hires” to which Alberto accepted by stating this was fine.
   Beryl will defend by noting that there is no breach because she did not assent to be bound. Contractual liability is voluntary. Accordingly, for a contract to be enforceable the promisor must assent to be bound by his or her promise. Beryl will argue that the purported promises were mere preliminary negotiations. Context is generally indicative of assent and courts use an objective standard by which to assess whether a party assented to be bound. Here, it is likely that a court would side with Beryl because she was continuously noncommittal throughout the process. She stated, for example that “if an attorney could secure regulatory approvals, ’he’ would have a position for life” and that the company would need a two year commitment from “whomever” it hires. Both statements stress the extent to which Beryl was talking in generalities and not making any specific offers to Alberto.
   Further, Beryl might argue that the promises were not sufficiently definite as discussed under the heading of Claim #1. The argument is more compelling here, because ostensibly Alberto will be seeking expectation damages rather than reliance damages. Given that none of the contractual terms were clear, it is likely that a court would find the contract to be unenforceable just as in Varney where it was unclear what a “fair share of the profits” was.
   Additionally, Beryl might claim that the statute of frauds bars enforcement of the promise because – at the very least – the second “offer” to employ for two years could not possibly be completed within a year. It is likely that the first offer could similarly not be completed within a year because it suggested that performance wouldn’t commence initially (N.B. the fact that it stipulated he could work for life if he did something a particular way is of no bearing because he could have died early). A promise in which one party could not possibly completely perform within exactly one year must be evidenced in writing to be enforceable. Alberto will claim that the promise is evidenced in writing by Beryl’s “call me about the job after 10:00 a.m. Beryl” napkin. This is a weak argument at best, because it does not relate to the contract in any way. Alberto may seek to ameliorate the statute of frauds by relying on promissory estoppel although only a minority of states allow the statute of frauds to be avoided in this sense. See Monarco v. LoGreco. If Alberto relies on promissory estoppel, he would – as above – have to seek reliance damages.
   Alberto would seek expectation damages which would be the costs of whatever he was going to make (ostensibly, more than he was currently making) minus the costs he would have incurred subtracted by those he already incurred in doing the research, and hiring the nanny. Beryl would claim that some of the damages could have been avoided without undue burden, risk or humiliation because Alberto could have gotten another position which was in no way inferior. See Parker v. Twentieth Century-Fox. At the very least, he could have retained his other position and received the extra money he would have made however hard it would be to measure as discussed above.

33
Law School Applications / Re: T14 v. T20 w/ Scholarship
« on: October 30, 2008, 10:51:34 PM »
I went to GW for 1L year. There were a lot of bright people in my class because of tons of these scholarships going around. I'm obviously generalizing, but a lot of people with the full rides did not do very well. I, along with countless friends, received no financial aid and ended up being very successful there. So to the extent (if any) you believe your numbers equate to class standing, be advised that this is not the case.

Additionally, there's one quick point I'd like to dispel regarding the supposed "safety net" you get at a top school. I'm at one now, and although that's certainly the perception everyone had coming in, I've heard (anecdotally) that a lot of people still do not have jobs. Some of the jobless folks are not even at the bottom of the class. Granted, the economy is really sucky right now, but it's worth noting that there's more to getting a job than school pedigree. So while going to a better school is a "safer" option to the extent that it positions you better for gainful employment, it's not going to be the guarantee everyone you talk to (including your law school's administration) will make it out to be.

Still, I'd go to a higher ranked school...I've seen way too many of my GW friends struggle this year, and a lot of them are actually top students. They'll land on their feet, I'm sure, but they do (generally speaking) really have to work a lot harder to get the opportunities that are readily accessible at elite schools.

34
2L job search / Re: Thoughts on Williams and Connolly?
« on: October 29, 2008, 02:12:43 PM »
If you want to work in DC or if you're pretty set on lit, go to W&C.  I mean, it's the best for both.  Go do second looks at W&C and other places you're considering to get a better perspective, try to figure out the lit/transactional thing, you do have a little time.

what about w&c versus a DC branch office of a big NY firm (eg, dpw or s&c or debevoise)?

DPW-there are 8 ppl in the DC office. They don't have a summer program there.
S&C-people apparently do this, but I don't understand why.
Debevoise-same as above.

If you want NY, go to a top NY firm. If you want DC, go to a top DC firm (W&C, Cov, Wilmer, etc.) Each option has its draws and drawbacks, but the bottom line is you have to just trust your instinct and pick.

If you really wanted a NY firm in DC, I'd go with S&C from that list.

I thought Debevoise and S&C would be hidden gems in DC -- you get NY pay but the DC cost of living.  What are the drawbacks to a NY branch office in DC like the ones you mentioned? Is it just the work?  Partner contact? 

The DC office of those firms, as I understand it, are all about making money for the NY office (there are satellites that are rather independent; not the case with these two). That makes you expendable, and puts you away from the power base of the Firm. The money is better, perhaps, but I'm not sure that's the case. It depends on the bonuses. W&C pays more than market for sure with no bonuses. I'm not sure of what the bonus structure is at C&B and Wilmer.

35
2L job search / Re: Thoughts on Williams and Connolly?
« on: October 28, 2008, 11:32:03 PM »
If you want to work in DC or if you're pretty set on lit, go to W&C.  I mean, it's the best for both.  Go do second looks at W&C and other places you're considering to get a better perspective, try to figure out the lit/transactional thing, you do have a little time.

what about w&c versus a DC branch office of a big NY firm (eg, dpw or s&c or debevoise)?

DPW-there are 8 ppl in the DC office. They don't have a summer program there.
S&C-people apparently do this, but I don't understand why.
Debevoise-same as above.

If you want NY, go to a top NY firm. If you want DC, go to a top DC firm (W&C, Cov, Wilmer, etc.) Each option has its draws and drawbacks, but the bottom line is you have to just trust your instinct and pick.

If you really wanted a NY firm in DC, I'd go with S&C from that list.

36
2L job search / Re: How's the job search going?
« on: October 08, 2008, 10:59:17 AM »
T10 transfer from T25. Top 1%, law review and skills boards there so I thought I'd be fine without leaving and only left for personal reasons but--as it turns out--I have a lot of similarly situated friends who have really struggled. Not sure what to make of that.

20 screens/16 callbacks/12 attended, 8 offers, 2 dings and 2 pending.

37
2L job search / Re: What is my best option at this point?
« on: October 04, 2008, 01:33:46 PM »
What does this Guerilla book say, exactly? I based my entire job search through OCI, so I'm curious what else there is to do when that doesn't work out...

38
Transferring / Re: Top 25 to top 14
« on: October 02, 2008, 08:41:43 PM »
First, evaluate WHY you want to transfer. If it's for prestige, maybe it's not worth it. If it's for personal reasons, that may be something that's more worthwhile for you although I can't presume to know how important these considerations are or are not for you.

Second, don't really worry all too much about this until after first semester. Though I don't think grades are a "mixed bag" like some say around here--that is, I think they're not arbitrary at all, but are rather exactly what you deserve based on effort--I do think it's premature to be contemplating a switch. Particularly since you haven't really given your current school too much of a chance just yet.

Third, once you DO have grades, this is what I have to say. If you're top of you're class, you can write your own ticket more or less. If you're not, you still have tons of options. I started out at a T20 and transferred to a T10 school. At my T10 school, there are other transfers from my old school who had grades placing them between the top 15-25%. One of them got into schools in the HYS range, actually, and chose to come the school I did because it seemed like a better fit based on location, etc. But the bottom line is, you can have really good options even if you're not quite #1. Although, as noted, it doesn't hurt to be #1 ;).

39
Law Firms / Re: Are NY firms going to $190K
« on: September 29, 2008, 04:20:03 PM »
190k is on the way, but it won't matter with our wheelbarrow economy.

40
I've heard that my Civ Pro professor thinks that good answers on his exams will have a lot of policy issues.  Would someone clarify what is meant by this?  Perhaps with an explanation in the context of Civ Pro? 

Congress articulated an exception to 1367(a) in 1367(b) which notes that when a district court’s jurisdiction exists solely on the basis of diversity, they shall not have supplemental jurisdiction under 1367(a) on claims by original plaintiffs against persons made parties under Rule 14, 19, 20 or 24 when doing so would be inconsistent with the jurisdictional requirements for complete diversity. The Supreme Court has read this statute literally and, in doing so, has noted that a court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a diverse party in a diversity jurisdiction case despite an insufficient amount in controversy. See Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Services, Inc. (supplemental jurisdiction could extend to a party who meets diversity requirements except for the amount in controversy; could not extend to break the rules of complete diversity). Though the exception carved out in 1367(b) was almost certainly an attempt at codifying the rule articulated in Owen Equipment & Erection Co. v. Kroger, its implications are – when read literally, and not considering the statutory history as the Court did in Exxon – sometimes puzzling.

Policy is bolded, although this whole paragraph is aimed in that direction. Good luck.

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