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Messages - nekko

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Current Law Students / Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« on: June 01, 2005, 07:49:56 PM »
other options were available.
Other options to war are almost always available. I presented what I believe to have been some of the options available. I found none of those options preferable to war. If you want to argue that these options were in fact preferable to war explain how.

well it seems to me that wars are not to be taken lightly and can only be fought if there is a high threat from another country or there is a multilateral coalition ready to contribute that also considers force a necessary option.
Certainly wars are not to be taken lightly but a viewpoint that anything is better than war I argue can often lead to results worse than war itself. Relying on a multilateral coalition as a necessary requirement for war is flawed. This is because what is the incentive for other countries to involve themselves in the coalition if they can assume the benefits of a conflict without the cost? Meaning France/Russia/whoeever can make deals with Saddam, trade with Saddam, do whatever and make tons of money doing it. If Iraq turns out to be a problem they can rely on the U.S. to stop Iraq from becoming a significant threat. But there's no reason to them to worry about so long as they think the U.S. will take care of it.

think of it in terms of how the law in teh US allows people to use force.  can you hit someone without provocation?  for breaking the law?  no, you have to be presented with a threat, that threat has to be reasonable and you must respond with proportional force.
There is a severe problem in using analogies based upon U.S. law or any law in which there is a central authority. If someone is threatening me I can call the cops. If someone is threatening the US can the US call? Is there some strong overriding central authority that will ensure peace? No. You can't compare the rules of behavior in a legal environment with rules in an anarchic environment.

I guess where I get lost is here:  We didn't want Saddam to go in to and take over another country (Kuwait), but its okay for us to do it?  Maybe I'm missing something, but who gave us that power?  Certainly not the United Nations...
This kind of moral equivalence is very narrow. We didn't want Saddam going to take over another country because (A) as more information has come out his regime has clearly been shown to extremely despotic, (B)consolidation of Kuwait would have resulted in a significant increase in his power and possible expansion of Iraq into Saudia Arabia or turning SA into a client state. The UN didn't give us permission to bomb the Serbs to help stop the genocide in Yugoslavia, was that a bad call too?

Current Law Students / Re: Was the war in Iraq a war of choice?
« on: May 31, 2005, 05:51:05 PM »
since saddam wouldnt do anything htat he knew would get him ousted or invaded.  Saddam was too rational to attack the US.
Doesn't the fact that Saddam did in fact do things (Stall inspectors, fight the restrictions, defy the no fly-zone, etc.) that did result in him getting invaded and ousted eliminate this argument? Also I think it's a common problem to think a rationale course of action is necessarilly a correct or even reasonable action. He wasn't necessarilly irrational in committing the acts that he did, merely incorrect about what the ultimate result would be. He gambled and lost.

Nothing necessitated our involvement because if it did then we would be involved much more in a dozen other places around the globe.

1. Define 'necessary'.
2. Involvement in one place for a certain set of reasons does not necessitate that we involve ourselves in other places even if the same set of circumstances exist in those areas. If I give a homeless person a dollar it does not in fact obligate me to give every homeless person a dollar even if they are all in a similar set of circumstances as the person I gave money to. Also even if there was an obligation, because there are limited resources why is it unresaonable to prioritize? Do we have to do it all at the same time?

Argument for war:

What were the alternatives to war?
1) Continue the status quo.
(A) status quo was falling apart; the French and Russians were ready to pull out of the sanctions regime, the Chinese were supplying weapons despite the sanctions and an increasing number of countries were angling for change.
(B) If we believe human rights orgs. sanctions were killing thouands if not tens of thousands primarily concentrated among the young, old and infirm.
(C) Sanctions certainly were not effective in toppling the regime and there was no sign at all that it would have such an effect.
(D) Sanctions (or sanctions in conjunction with other measures) appear to have been successful in preventing WMD research, however the reports indicating this also claim that Saddam wanted to immediately produce WMD as soon as the sanctions regime was lifted. Meaning that either Saddam had to go or we would have to maintain the sanctions for essentially his life if our main concern is WMD. In fact they likely would have to be maintained beyond that since the heir apparents (either of his sons) were at least as ruthless, possibly less sane and likely psychotic.

(A) Don't have to do much and it's containing the problem but of course because of the problems outlined above the benefits would be short-term and a decision on what to do next would have to be established.

(2) Inspections
(A) How do you maintain the pressure to continue inspections? Restarting the inspections regime required deployment of 200k+ troops. Absent a war such a deployment seems untenable. What's to stop Saddam from stopping and starting the inspections regime as the threat of invasion increases and decreases?
(B) Restarting the inspections regime would seem to require continuing sanctions. If we don't continue sanctions than even if we stop WMD development we don't stop Iraqi growth and potential threat.
(C) Non-WMD threat of Iraq is important. US troops in Saudi Arabia are/were untenable for continued deployment. There deployment in Saudi Arabia was a key factor in Al Qaeda attacks. If impossible to continue troop deployment in Saudi Arabia what response would be possible in the face of a conventional Iraqi threat, particularly to Saudi Arabia but also Kuwait, and the rest of the region.
(D) If we do maintain the inspections with the sanctions then we believe the likely result (once again if we believe the various human rights orgs.) will be thousands or tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths not including those killed directly by the regime itself.

Upside: We stop WMD development. High resource cost in terms of deployment, redeployment but lower than the cost of conflict (at least initially).

(A) Incite terrorists/the region
(B) Very high resource cost both in monetary terms and in lives
(C) Disrupts the status quo. Even if we eliminate known threats such a big shift in events would/did likely result in different previously unknown problems.
(D) Long committment required.
(E) Complicates and significantly affects US international relations.

(A) Eliminates need for continued deployment in Saudi Arabia.
(B) Creates potential model/example for other Middle East countries (Positive events in Lebanon perhaps directly attributable to invasion of Iraq).
(C) Eliminates what was generally considered a particularly despotic regime.
(D) Eliminates need for sanctions (and the passive deaths it resulted in)
(E) Provides leverage against Saudi Arabia to curtail terrorist support.

This is all kind of a general view of my current thoughts. Sure I missed stuff but I have to study.

These are thoughts off the top of my head. I'm sure there were other alternatives to war but they don't come immediately to mind.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Is law school really as hard as people say?
« on: September 11, 2006, 01:37:21 PM »
None of us found LS difficult the first two weeks.  Let us know your feelings in December.

I don't suppose you're able to expand on this some are you? 

I'm 3 weeks in, and like QC, I'm not finding the material terribly oppressive (and I do have a fulltime job, so I'm obviously not overdoing it on the study time). The only thing that does cause some concern is the fact that none of the other folks in my section seem inept enough to not get this themselves. I wonder at how we can possibly be curved (though obviously we will be) when the material is so painfully obvious that none of us should not understand it.   Am I overestimating my classmates?  Am I missing something critical?  Is the grading really so arbitrary?  Or, God willing, will there come a point in the semester when concepts more complex than offer/counteroffer slip in to seperate the boys from men as it were? 
Some concepts are complex.

You may be missing something critical.

There is a certain degree of arbitrariness (although it is certainly not totally arbitrary).

People often find it much more difficult applying the concepts to an open-ended hypo as opposed to applying them during the particular unit. So someone might understand offer/counteroffer really well when they know they're dealing with offer/counteroffer issues and be able to talk for hours about it. But they might have a lot of trouble when confronted with a hypo.

In general being a paralegal wont help you in the admissions process although depending on the length of time you spend as a paralegal it can benefit you significantly down the road depending on where you worked and what your experiences were.

With regards to the "experience what it's like" argument: You could come to that same conclusion by doing a summer internship or volunteering in a clinic. You don't have to be a paralegal for a year after school. The time you take off between UG and LS is very precious. Why would you want to go work in a firm when you have your whole life to do that?
This isn't true if you're going to work at a large corporate law firm. The practice of law is very different in a clinic and most other places where you can do a legal internship just out of undergrad. Also there's some merit to doing ANY sort of work for a year or two out of UG because a lot of dissatisfaction comes from a lot people just not having any real experience other than school and summer jobs/internships.

You might get an understanding of what's going on, but in no way are you really participating in the process nor does your job resemble the job of those who are actually practioners.  I mean, I'm sure a very small handful of pros got their starts in the clubhouse that way, but I think it's probably overrated.
This is true but in some ways misleading. The work an entry level paralegal is doing is not close to what an attorney is doing. That being said you'll often have a very good opportunity to see the type of tasks that attorneys do at the type of firm you're working at. This is not really something you can get elsewhere. In baseball I can turn on the tv and watch and have a pretty good idea of what the job entails (at least on the field). I have yet to see a televised document production or dispute about interrogatories.

How are we defining success?
If you want to be an academic then where you went to school is of overwhelming importance.

If you want a job in corporate law then where you want to school is extremely significant.

Want to do family law, criminal defense, certain areas of state/local gov't, mid-size to small firms then where you went to school is very helpful but not of overwhelming value particularly when you talk about specialized areas where it's more important that you know about X topic with Y connections than where you went to school.

If we're talking pure money terms then school is very important but I think you're most likely to find people on the extreme money end from lesser schools since the lawyers who make the most are often plaintiff attorneys but being a successful plaintiff attorney on that type of scale is essentially like being a major league baseball player, i.e. one success out of thousands of failures.

Also the comparison to undergraduate schools isn't useful since a lot of those studies showing the value of school do it from a monetary perspective. This makes sense to a degree but people don't tell teenagers that majoring in medieval literature at Princeton is vastly important for them to make money instead of getting an accounting degree at Rice or something.

Vapid Unicorn
  Not sure what I can say to you. A big thing the admissions try to do is focus on diversity and I think that's more or less part of the deal with Michigan. Also in terms of your specific preference, I'm not sure where you'd find that at any top law school. I mean you'd certainly find individuals with those attributes but as a whole I think top law schools in general are filled with people who generally aren't content with living a quiet life in some small community. After all if that was their focus they'd likely not pay the cost of a top law school since they could almost certainly get a full-ride some where else and the type of jobs for the quiet life in a small town aren't typically the kind of jobs that require a top law school education.

  As to a lack of homogeneity I don't know enough students at other law schools to really be able to say. I know a lot of lawyers from different law schools and never really found Harvard grads had a particular feel v. Yale grads or whatever (although I did sort of get a feel from the Mich, Chicago, Northwestern attorneys...hmmm all midwest). On the one hand I concur that students at Michigan are all really different but I'm not sure you maintain that feel once you're in the school. You all talk about the same classes, professors, events, etc. that you certainly get the feel everyone is similar. Sure people went to different undergrads, some want to make tons of money, others to do public interest but even with all that there's a lot of commonality since you're all going through the same experience.

  I understand having a problem with a rigid acceptance of the status quo of the law and why you would feel that many law students are that way but I think it's also important to understand the perspective of many law students.
A) Even if one disagrees with the law or how it's interpreted/applied it's critical to understand that it is interpreted in a particular way by the courts. Take for instance the Solomon amendment litigation. It's fine to question the law and make the arguments they did and say things should be interpreted a particular way. But it's also critical to understand and be clear in your head that it was a losing battle (in this case a unanimous loss) given the precedents.

B) I think it's important to understand that even if the status quo is flawed it's not necessarily the role of lawyers to fix it. It's kind of like when your only tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail. Not every problem can be fixed by lawyers or even the law and what might seem like rigid acceptance of the status quo is instead just an understanding that the law, lawyers and the legal system have limitations.

Michigan 1L here. I'm glad to here many of you had a good time during preview weekend (either the first or second) and I'm sorry to hear that some of you had some bad experiences. I didn't participate in any of the preview weekend activities but I know some of the people who did and know they tried their best to provide a good image of the school and still give honest and objective assessments of its plusses and minuses.

If you any of you have questions that maybe didn't get resolved during preview weekend (particularly if you have questions about being a summer starter) I'd be happy to try and help.

In terms of some things I saw on this thread already
(1) Studying: I think people are generally pretty social but it's not like it's an all out party scene. Part of it is that the people most willing to participate in preview weekend stuff tend to be the most outgoing and social and thus the biggest partiers. If it's studying you want, you can go to the library and find plenty of people there from opening to closing. It may be true that Michigan as a whole doesn't have the 24/7 studiers present at other schools but so much depends on who your friends are and who you hangout with in determining what your environment is like no matter what the atmosphere of the larger school.

(2) Lack of some common identity. I think it's true that very few people came here because of the small town environment rather than in spite of it and that a lot of people choose Michigan for it's geographic flexibility because they're not sure where to go. That being said I'm not sure I understand the problem. It's not like all the Californians hang out together separate from the New Yorkers or anything. Also I think there is something of an identity that develops as Michigan students.

(3) Elitism from other students who went to prestigous undergrads. I haven't experienced it but I have heard random experiences from students who went to tiny colleges in the middle of no where that have heard a comment or two. But for the most part I think this is outside the norm and if you talked to the bulk of students here I think people would agree that the person was a jerk.

Okay enough Mich cheerleading for now. Must sleep.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: SF Pre-Law-School Study Group Forming
« on: December 17, 2005, 01:21:48 PM »
Hmmm a pre-law school study group sounds a bit psychotic. But if you're going to do it don't bother spending too much time learning to read and brief cases. Reading cases is not that hard and briefing cases isn't either. There's just no reason to practice it beyond just having a basic idea of what you need to do and what you need to look for. If you're going to prep for particular subjects I think the Chirelstein book on Contracts is good since it's short, gives a nice broad overview and is easy to understand. As to other subjects I don't have any particular opinions. You might want to just check out bookstores and take a look at the various ones and give yourself an idea of what the various supplements look like and whether the structure and organization is one you think is suited to your style of learning. If you knew what school you were going to and what profs. you would have then there's lots of things you could do if you were really psychotic but without knowing I think a lot of stuff you might do as prep would just be a waste of time.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Golden Gate really that bad?
« on: December 16, 2005, 09:31:58 AM »
Absent special connections or doing extremely well it is that bad. Just look at their bar pass rate. There are successful GG grads out there but the Bay Area in general is a tough market (w/Stanford, Berkeley, Hastings, USF, Santa Clara, Davis all being localish law schools) so GG grads have an exceedingly difficult time getting a job.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Northwestern vs Michigan
« on: December 15, 2005, 07:01:16 AM »
I had the choice between Northwestern and Mich and ended up opting for Mich. As many posters said you can't go wrong with either school. Although if you want to work in CA I'd definitely go with Michigan. I imagine it's all the same anywhere else except maybe other west coast destinations. I love going to Michigan but all the attorneys I knew who had gone to Northwestern thought it was a fantastic school. They weren't quite as rah-rah about it as the Mich. folks but they definitely enjoyed their experience. If you're inclined towards being an academic Mich. tends to have a measurable albeit not overwhelming superiority in terms of scholarly reputation (either based on USNWR or Leiter rankings). If you're thinking private practice I doubt there's much if any difference between the schools. There might be some difference if you're looking for a gov't or  public interest job but even there I'd assume it'd be more so for the latter than the former.

Cornell v. Michigan
Don't know much about Cornell so couldn't say. In an academic/general prestige sense I think there always has been and continues to be a view of Mich. being superior on the academic side. But if you're looking to go into private practice I'd be surprised if firms viewed any real difference between judging students from Cornell v. Mich.

Mich. the new Boalt? Not sure what that means but despite its normal fluctuation in the USNWR rankings Boalt continues to be thought of very highly by academics and I haven't heard of any problems employment wise for Boalt grads on the private sector front.

USNWR bias towards public schools? Is this serious?

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