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Messages - nekko

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General Off-Topic Board / Re: Calling All Republicans
« on: June 20, 2005, 02:08:25 PM »
I don't know if there is an official response but here's a relatively standard right of center response:

1) Are you sure the Downing Street Memo (which I guess really is a set of memos) says what you think it says? By that I mean what super incriminating evidence is it supposed to have (just as a point of reference Michael Kinsley and Frank Kaplan seem to downplay it and they certainly aren't W fans)?

2) One of the significant parts of the memo is that it reinforces the fact that the British had a belief that Saddam had WMD. In fact that was one of the stated concerns, that an invasion would result in Saddam striking back with WMD specifically at either Kuwait or Israel.

3) It did remark about fixing intelligence around policy rather than the other way around but I just don't see that as incredibly damning. By that I mean isn't this kind of way a lot of policy arguments are made? You have a general idea of the facts. From there you think of what policy you would like and from there you gather facts to support that policy.  Now ideally you gather all the information first and then develop what would be a good policy after but rarely do people come to an issue with a blank slate. Also there is the fact as stated above that the British really did believe that Saddam had WMD.

4) The memos commented that they got the feeling that war was inevitable. Once again though is this supposed to be damning? By that I mean this is an outside party's perspective on the situation in Washington.  So is someone thinking war was inevitable enough to say that war at that time had already been decided on? Also doesn't it conflict with the other Downing Street Memo just two days before saying a "political decision" had not yet been made (though it indicated military preparations were underway).

5) It commented about the what they viewed as the lack of post-war planning.  Damning in the sense that it either A) confirms that there wasn't enough post-war planning or B) indicates that the Brits weren't included enough on Post-war planning when clearly we would want their help. But the reasons people seem to be upset about the Downing Street Memos don't seem to be focused on the Post-war issues.

6) Don't the memos make the same points many Republicans did at the time?
A) "Kofi Annan has held three rounds of meetings with Iraq in an attempt to persuade them to admit the UN weapons inspectors. These have made no substantive progress; the Iraqis are deliberately obfuscating. "
B) " facing pressure of military action, Saddam is likely to admit weapons inspectors as a means of forestalling it. But once admitted, he would not allow them to operate freely."
C)"Despite sanctions, Iraq continues to develop WMD" (this is qualified by a statement saying that there intelligence and thus real knowledge was poor.
D)"Iraq continues with its BW and CW programmes and, if it has not already done so could produce significant quantities of BW agents within days and CW agent within weeks of a decision to do so."
E) "There are also some indications of a continuing nuclear programme"
F) "although containment has held for the past decade, Iraq has progressively increased its international engagement. Even if the GRL makes sanctions more sustainable the sanctions regime could collapse in the long-term."
G) "Tougher containment will not re-integrate Iraq into the international community...[Saddam] will continue with his WMD programmes, destabilising the Arab and Islamic world" (This is qualified by saying they don't believe the likelihood of a WMD strike had increased relative to recent years)
H) "In sum, despite the considerable difficulties, the use of overriding force in a ground campaign is the only option that we can be confident will remove Saddam and bring Iraq back into the international community."

The damning parts re WMD that I've seen quoted are, "even the best survey of Iraq's WMD programmes will not show much advance in recent years on nuclear, missile, CW/BW fronts" but this was within the context of (1) the view that there were in fact WMD programs and (2) while the programs had not been stepped up they were, "extremely worrying".

Anyway, let me know what parts need an official response to.  As far as I can tell the main issue is one of post-war planning which many Republicans have criticized.

As an aside the memos haven't been confirmed.  An unnamed source has said they appear accurate but the reporter claims to have returned the originals and destroyed the copies and there hasn't been a clear confirmation of the materials. That being said given what the memos say there's no particular reason to think that they've been forged since why forge something that isn't really damaging (although the post-war stuff hurts I'm sure).

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: UC Davis vs. Loyola LA. Anyone?
« on: May 26, 2005, 09:28:07 AM »
partners, by nature of what they have to accomplish to get where they are, are extremely independant thinkers
Depending on the size of the law firm this isn't really so. At larger firms partners get where they are in spite of being extremely independent thinkers. The bigger the firm the more likely the individual will have to conform in order to move ahead.

does anyone here REALLY think a partner at a big firm will sit through several one on one interviews with a graduate, where this candidiate has developed a laundry list of unique accomplishments and experiences (not to mention COMPLETELY unique inter-personal skills, etc)  only to let a MAGAZINE RANKING determine who they will hire???
It's not really a question of whether a partner will let a magazine decide who to hire it's whether a magazine accurately judges reputations of various schools. The largest component in the rankings is reputational scores. I think for the top 20 schools USNWR pretty much ranks the schools where most hiring partners would rank them. They might quibble Georgetown over Northwestern or Michigan over Penn, etc. but they would generally agree with the overall rankings.

ucla/uva   loyola/davis

this will NOT be the deciding factor in getting a job folks.
I think you're wrong about UCLA v. UVA. UVA truly has a national reputation that it has maintained over decades. You would definitely get more of a cushion by going to UVA over UCLA. Loyola v. Davis could very well be a deciding factor except here it's more likely to be based on geography rather than rankings. That being said I've been hearing from a number of attorneys that Davis is a great school, many of them putting it above Hastings (which I found surprising) so maybe Davis's reputation is better than I thought making the difference between Davis and Loyola more significant.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: UC Davis vs. Loyola LA. Anyone?
« on: May 25, 2005, 10:26:06 PM »
The three firms I spoke with ALL echoed the same sentiment:  if it's not top 20, it's all the same.  And that top 20 is a little regional I'm sure..  I doubt a UVA degree would be as good in LA as UCLA. 
In terms of the top 20 it's regional but there's a big difference between the Top 20 schools and the Top 10 schools which I think generally everyone agrees UVA falls into the latter category. UVA would definitely do better than UCLA in LA all other things being equal if the goal is to work at a large national law firm. Biglaw tends to be fairly standardized in their hiring, i.e. going for the top schools with spaces for top local schools. It's the mid-sized, small firms that tend to be more idiosyncratic, like where they might hire all Loyola grads or be dominated by USF people or something like that. Also it's not really all the same outside of top 20. Regional reputation differ wildly, I think Santa Clara would be considered on par or better than Loyola in the Bay Area. Not so LA where I don't think Santa Clara would even be in the same ballpark.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: UC Davis vs. Loyola LA. Anyone?
« on: May 23, 2005, 07:45:20 PM »
If you want to practice in LA I say Loyola. Davis is a good school but it doesn't have the reputation to make up for a free-ride at Loyola. School prestige does matter but if we're talking LA then there would be minimal additional prestige associated with Davis v. Loyola. You'd have to graduate near the top of your class to get a job with a top firm at either school. An attorney I know who was managing partner at one of the major firms in SF told me that I'd have to be in the top 5-10% from Hastings (actually it might've been 5-10 people) for the firm to want to take a look at me (and actually the only recent Hastings alum I knew who had a received a job at the SF office had graduated number one in her class). Now if you're willing to take a job at pretty any firm willing to pay you 6 figures then there's more give but I don't think it'd be significantly different whether you went to Loyola or Davis. So just go with the free ride, assuming you want to work in LA. If you want to work in the Bay Area or Sacramento then maybe Davis is reasonable depending on what you want to do and if we're talking zero fin. aid at Davis or something even if not substantial.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: 'BigLaw' Who Wants it? Who has it? Why?
« on: May 13, 2005, 08:31:24 AM »
I think a 50% estimate of billable time is remarkably low. At least where I work 70% or higher is a good general rule. If you're not billing at that rate then it might just be not taking in enough work.

Why not become an entrepreneur? Most people coming out of law school can't afford to buy a rundown hotel in hawaii. For that matter most people coming out of law school can't afford to buy a bedroom in a rundown hotel. But that aside there's the risk factor. If you want to be an entrepreneur why go to law school? Why not just get an MBA? Also sure you can make money by putting out your own shingle but it's not exactly easy and the likelihood of failure is very high. It's a very competitive market. Plus if you have an interest in a particular area of law you can't exactly graduate and then start getting clients for international work or whatever.

Re: avg. hourly rate comparison
A) That excludes bonuses. If you're averaging 70hours a week with a normal amount billable you should be hitting bonuses for billable hours ranging from 5-15k.
B) So the head janitor or someone likely to have been working several years makes a little bit more than someone who is just starting their career? Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

I would recommend Michigan well ahead of UCLA but a lot depends on what you want to do. I know in the SF market Michigan would put you substantially ahead of similar UCLA grads. Things may differ in the LA area market though. I do have to say I've met multiple UCLA law grads doing paralegal or contract attorney work (in the SF area) but I haven't seen any Mich, Northwestern, Georgetown folks having to do such work. Now part of that is probably self-selection (folks from UCLA are more likely to be people willing to come up to SF without any solid job prospects than someone coming from the Midwest/East Coast but these people didn't do terribly and were struggling to find jobs. I think the Sanders report (primarily about affirmative action) had some interesting figures for UCLA employment that you should look up. I can't remember exactly what they were but they were much lower than I expected to see for a school that I personally might have chose over say Northwestern, Georgetown, Cornell.

Financial Aid / Re: Michigan Fin Aid awards
« on: April 25, 2005, 04:00:00 PM »
5k per year merit, like 8k or something need. I think they are going to be revising at least some financial award notices though do to changes in the summer cost estimates (I believe revising upward).

Law School Admissions / Re: The predictbility of LSAT
« on: March 30, 2005, 12:33:35 PM »
Most trials procedings are small criminal suits or people filing litigation against eachother. Their lawyers don't need to sit at their desks all day answering 28 totally unrelated and logically complicated questions correctly every 35 min. That is just compeltely not representative of the job (though the abilitiy to do things correctly, quickly, is of course a helpful trait).
Right and most of these trial proceedings are handled by attorneys from lower ranked law schools where LSAT standards aren't particularly high so what's your issue? If you want to do that kind of work there are plenty of law schools you can go to which seem to weigh the LSAT relative to the type of work done.

Law is a tuff, overpopulated profession and nobody is nessecarily "fine" at a lower tier school just because their goals are not the biggest lawfirms! Prestigious public interest firms particuarly value prestige. I don't know where you are getting these assumptions from.

Prestigous public interest firms also have to do a ridiculous amount of work, perhaps even more so than BigLaw attorneys, because unlike BigLaw attorneys they have to cover multiple depositions without someone backing them up, have to go through a document production by themselves without tons of contract attorneys and paralegals helping weed things down, etc. Prestigous gov't positions are similar. Prestigous PI firms are prestigous because they can handle doing multiple depositions on short notice, they can rip through document productions that without the contract attorneys and paralegals that BigLaw firms have, they can sort through hundreds if not thousands of claims, violations, etc. They are not prestigous because they do work they handle small criminal suits or private civil suits in the same manner as everyone else.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: rankings dont mean shi%
« on: March 30, 2005, 12:16:17 PM »
Specific rankings don't matter. General rankings matter a lot. It's not Top school=Riches, Bottom school=Food Stamps but clearly the higher the rank of the school the easier your life is in terms of what you have to do to get to the next step. If you graduate from Random school X you'll have to do a lot more to prove yourself than someone coming out of Harvard. You'll also need a lot more luck. When you go to a top school you're in a sense increasing your luck, people will more often give you the benefit of the doubt, take a look at your resume, listen to what you have to say, etc. Going to a lower ranked school makes it harder even if you are really talented because you're more likely to have less chances to show your talent.

Law School Admissions / Re: The predictbility of LSAT
« on: March 30, 2005, 11:36:00 AM »
you are giving a pretty one sided portrayal of job related, speed nessecity. Lots of other professions where speed is  important (some even with life or death decisions) have standardized tests which are less time limited.

We are not all first year associates at NY/DC biglaw (nor are we all aspiring to be such)
Whether lots of other professions have speed as a component isn't particularly relevant unless you have some indication that speed is a component in the same way that it is in law and particularly law school exams.

It's certainly a bigger issue in BigLaw but it's more general then that. It's essentially lawyers who work on large scale cases. The amount of information that has to be processed and discarded is huge. Sure this still isn't all lawyers but then for those who aren't going to be working on big cases or BigLaw aren't really the ones who really need to stress as much about the LSAT. Don't care about working in BigLaw then if you do reasonably well on the LSAT it's not a problem since you don't have to go to a top school. You could go to a school with much lower LSAT standards and still be fine.

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