Page 1 of 2

The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:54 pm
by StCuervo
Post the First: Wherein St. Cuervo praises The Master

St. Cuervo was reading an opinion and remarked: “Such pragmatic wisdom, it must be Posner.”

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:54 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Second: Wherein St. Cuervo announces the purpose of his blog

Yer host has found a lot of valuable information on TLS and these blogs and wants to return the favor. I’m old and married and I have a baby and I’m going to law school next year. Surely there will be something to blog about in the midst of all of that.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:55 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Third: Wherein St. Cuervo explains the Tao of Test-taking

A student was taking a practice test.
St. Cuervo asked him what he was doing.
The student replied that he was attempting to master the LSAT.

St. Cuervo said: “There exists a state in which you will not attempt to master the LSAT and the LSAT will not master you.”
The student asked: “What is this state?”
St. Cuervo said: “Give me your practice test and I will show you.”
The student gave St. Cuervo the practice LSAT and St. Cuervo tore it up.

The student was enlightened.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:57 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Fourth: Wherein St. Cuervo discusses his test preparation

Yer host studied for exactly four weeks for the LSAT. Trying to balance family, work and test-prep left me about one or two hours a night Monday through Thursday and four hours on Saturday and Sunday for test-prep. (I always took Fridays off to spend with Mrs. and baby Cuervo).

I bought three LSAT books: a Kaplan logic games workbook, the “Kaplan Premier Program” and “10 More Actual Official LSAT Preptests.” On the weekends I took a timed test from the More Actual Official LSAT book and during the week I worked through the two Kaplan books.

I tried to take a test cold just to see where I was without any work. I did so badly I gave up! The first section was reading comprehension and, as I recall, I only missed two or three but the second section was logic games and I finished just two of the four puzzles and didn’t even get them completely right. After I bombed the logic games section I was so rattled I stopped the test and just started studying.

I studied for a week before I finally took my first full practice test. I scored 170. Of course I was ecstatic – it was a big turnaround from my abortive first practice test. As I continued studying and taking practice tests, my scores all fell into the 170-173 range. I thought I was all set…

… until I scored 165 on test day.

In hindsight what would I have done differently?

* I’m not sure four weeks at ten to twelve hours a week was enough preparation. I probably should have started two months in advance.
* I now know that the Powerscore books are superior to the Kaplan books.
* I would have taken more practice tests. I took about seven total – I should have done double or triple that.
* I think I should have used more recent tests than the “10 More Actual Official” book. LSATs are numbered and that book went up to number 20-something but the actual tests are much higher and have changed substantively from the 20-series. Reading comprehension, for example, is supposed to be harder on the recent tests and I missed five in that section on test day while in my practice tests I was only missing one or two at most. Damn Chinese talk-stories…

Since the LSAT makes up such a huge part of your admissions fate, try and learn from my mistakes. Allocate enough time to study, use Powerscore, and do a lot of recent practice tests and hopefully you’ll do better than I did on test day.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:57 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Fifth: Wherein St. Cuervo recites a koan (apologies to Kerouac)

“If you have a few waiver, I will give you more.
If you have no fee waiver, I will take it away from you.”

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Mon Dec 15, 2008 11:58 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Sixth: Wherein St. Cuervo applies to law school

Because of her job, yer host’s wife, the lovely Mrs. Cuervo, is not able to move and so I was restricted to applying to jobs in the DC-area where we live. Because of our baby, St. Cuervo needs to keep his job while he goes to law school. So I was looking for part-time programs in the DC-area. This isn’t so bad, because DC has four law schools in the top-50 and Catholic U (ranked 88) with part-time programs. Admissions statistics are lower for part-time than full-time so, with my 3.9 GPA and 165 LSAT, the schools spaced out nicely to give me a reach (GULC), two target schools (GW and GMU) and two safeties (American and Catholic).

In hindsight, I applied to too many schools. I’m not sure anyone needs two safeties in the same city. American is a much better school than Catholic so there is no reason to apply to both if I can get into American. The only way I could see myself going to Catholic is if they gave me a full ride and, even then, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t do it. Rule of thumb for future applicants: if you wouldn’t go to a school even if they offered you a full ride, don’t apply!

I got a fee waiver for GW but it was only after I applied. Here’s another lesson: take the summer LSAT (I did the October test) so you get fee waivers sooner. It is important to apply early to maximize your chances of getting accepted but it is annoying to get fee waivers after you have applied to a school. It is definitely not worth waiting to see if you get a fee waiver if you are ready to send your apps in early.

I started getting my applications together (ordering transcripts, asking for letters, etc.) the first week of October. I told my letter-writers I needed their letters the first week of November and sent them follow-up e-mails the last week of October. By November 10th I was ready to click “send.” I was complete at GULC, GW, GMU, American and Catholic about a week later.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:03 am
by StCuervo
Post the Seventh: Wherein St. Cuervo contemplates the Tao of the Personal Statement

St. Cuervo sought out Master Kozinski and asked him how to write a personal statement.

“In Romania” the Master explained, “you do not write the personal statement -- the personal statement writes you.”

And St. Cuervo was enlightened.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:04 am
by StCuervo
Post the Eighth: Wherein St. Cuervo shares his personal statement

While teaching constitutional law in the Politics Department at the University of Virginia, I once polled my students asking how many were planning to apply to law school. About 95% raised their hands. I asked them why they wanted to attend. Several said they wanted to “do something important.” Two saw the law as a stepping-stone to careers in politics. A few admitted it was “the money.” One student drew a response from the room when he somewhat flippantly asked: “What else am I going to do after I graduate?”

When the nervous laughter subsided, I observed that there were really two ways to ask that question. “The first” I said, “is where you can see yourself doing nothing but the law – this is a sign that you may have found your calling.” “The second” I explained, “is where you can see nothing but the law to do – this only shows the need to broaden your career horizons!” I wasn’t trying to discourage him, but I did want that student (and everyone else in the room) to see law as a vocation and not simply what-one-does-with-an-undergraduate-degree-in-government.

I have finally come to the point where I want to claim the law as my own personal vocation. At 32 years old, this is not a decision I make lightly. Growing up many people told me that I should be a lawyer and, after college, I dutifully worked as a case manager in a medical-legal consulting group while planning for law school. At the consulting group, I became distressed at how financial considerations impacted the attorney-client relationship. I was idealistic and it hurt me to see the practice of law reduced to a set of decisions about how to make the most profit off a case (and, ultimately, a client).

Instead of law school, I went to graduate school where I quickly found that political scientists and lawyers think very differently about the law. I took quantitative methods classes and spent a summer at the University of Michigan learning to mathematically model judicial decision-making. Not surprisingly the undergraduates weren’t interested in regression modeling, so I schizophrenically taught case-law by day while reducing “the law” to a series of calculations in my research at night. At the end of three-and-a-half years, I was deeply unsatisfied – if it hurt me earlier to see law reduced to commerce, it bothered me now to see law confined to a set of assumptions about “attitudinal policy preferences.”

My daughter was born, my wife got a great job in DC, and we moved away from Charlottesville. Financial pressures forced me to give up my graduate fellowship to take a job in a law firm. After a couple of months, my new boss, a senior partner in the firm, asked me why I wasn’t in law school. It was not the first time I’d been asked that question. I told him that I didn’t like how financial considerations impacted legal decisions. He parried by asking me if I knew of any area where they didn’t. I tried to explain regression modeling of legal decision-making. He looked at me like I was speaking Chinese. Finally my boss said, “Look, this is easy: can you see yourself doing anything else?” And, remembering that talk with my student a year before, I replied, “No. I really can’t.” To drive the point home, he then asked: “So what does that tell you?”

I went home and signed up for the LSAT that evening.

Scott Turow said he went to law school to “meet my enemy.” I know the feeling. I’ve been running from my calling for most of my life when the truth is, all along, I could never really see myself doing anything else. The law may not be the ‘true embodiment of everything that’s excellent’ but there has to be a middle-way between idealism, questionable case-management tactics and regression modeling. I am determined to find it since, after everything else I’ve done, I still want to be a lawyer. It is, and has been, the only thing I could see myself doing all this time. I hope you’ll give me the chance to prove myself.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:19 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Ninth: Wherein St. Cuervo relates the fable of the Pencil and the Eraser

The pencil and the eraser were having an argument over who caused St. Cuervo to score higher on the LSAT. The pencil claimed she did the most work because St. Cuervo could not have gotten any correct answers at all without her help. The eraser scoffed and pointed out that, by this reasoning, the pencil was also responsible for all of the incorrect answers as well. He said that, since he was solely responsible for helping St. Cuervo correct errors on his LSAT, he did all the work towards achieving a higher score.

St. Cuervo returned to his room and found his pencil and eraser in the throes of their heated exchange and laughed saying: “There are many such pencils and erasers in all the world.”

Moral: “Only the test-taker is responsible for the good or bad that happens on test day.”

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Tue Dec 16, 2008 3:20 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Tenth: Wherein St. Cuervo relates why he didn’t re-take the LSAT

Yer host has related his LSAT preparations and how he was expecting to score in the low 170s (since I never scored below a 170 on my practice tests). I was on TLS the day the October scores were released and one of the first people to receive her score and post evidence of it got a 167. I remember thinking to myself: “I’ll die if I score that low.”

You can imagine my shock when I got 165. Mrs. Cuervo and I had company over and I was frantically clicking “refresh” after dinner when the score popped up. I have to confess that I was a terrible host that night because: A) I was checking my score in the middle of a dinner party and B) I left to sulk for 10 or 15 minutes after I got my score. But, fortunately, Mrs. Cuervo and our guests were very forgiving.

This was a surprise to me because, in addition to my high practice scores, I really felt good on test day. I got a lot of sleep the night before. I wasn’t sick. I ate a big breakfast and got to the test center in plenty of time. I was full of adrenaline during the test – “in the zone” – I finished all of the sections in record time and had extra time to go back and double check my work. I half expected to score 175! I stopped off in a park on the way home and smoked a big Churchill victory cigar. I called up a friend and gave him all my LSAT books – confident I wouldn’t need them again. I remember thinking to myself after the test: “well, whatever happens, you did the best you could.”

Maybe 165 is the best I could do. I’ll never know.

I had told myself that I would re-take if I scored 165 or below. I didn’t for several reasons. First of all I was only applying to part-time programs and the median LSAT’s are lower than in full time programs. I was still around the medians at all the schools I wanted to apply to and around the 75% mark at my backups. Secondly, I didn’t want to put my family through the stress of re-studying. It is hard to take time away from your wife and baby for a whole month and to do it again, when I scored reasonably well, wasn’t something I wanted to do to Mrs. and baby Cuervo. Third, I decided that, since I was around the LSAT-medians at the desirable schools and my GPA was well over the 75% mark, it was better to apply early than wait for the December test and apply late. Applying early really gives you an edge and I didn’t want to give that up.

I also came to terms with the fact that I can’t be in the top 1% of everything I do. Law school will be full of people who have been in the top 5% of everything they have ever tried. We can’t all be in the top 5% of law school. And it is better that I learn that lesson now than later. I will do my best and work my tail off but, at the end of the day, family is more important to me than a few ranking places.

My one regret is missing out on the chance to be more competitive for scholarship dollars.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:40 am
by StCuervo
Post the Eleventh: Wherein the Three Wise Men explain diversity

St. Cuervo arose one morning and sought out the Three Wise Men to ask them the nature of diversity.

Jack Daniels said: “The first form of diversity is under-represented minority status.”

And St. Cuervo was grieved because he was white.

Jim Beam said: “The second form of diversity is lower socio-economic status.”

And St. Cuervo was saddened because he was of the middle classes.

Johnny Walker said: “The third form of diversity is difference in thought.”

And St. Cuervo was enlightened.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:42 am
by StCuervo
Post the Twelfth: Wherein St. Cuervo records his diversity statement

Because I lived such a sheltered life, growing up I never knew I was different. There were a few signs that I wasn’t being raised like most children, but they only became apparent to me in hindsight. I remember the first time I met a non-Christian. I was eight and there was a Jewish boy on my baseball team named Archie. I asked my mother where he went to church and I was alarmed when she told me that Archie didn’t go to church “because he was Jewish.” I asked her what “Jewish” meant and I was shocked when I was told that “Jews are people who don’t believe in Jesus.” Then and there I resolved to pray for his unsaved soul. I remember another time reading an article in the Los Angeles Times about the rise of the Religious Right. The article defined “fundamentalism” as a belief system based on the literal interpretation of the Bible. I read that sentence and thought: “I’m a fundamentalist!” And so I was. I was raised a Christian fundamentalist in the middle of downtown Los Angeles.

It might seem strange for me to claim I wasn’t raised like most people when over four-fifths of the population of the United States list Christianity as their religious preference. The first thing one learns as a fundamentalist, however, is that appearances are not reality. The world is full of false belief systems and people who claim to be one thing but are really something else. Fundamentalists look at cultural Christians as worse than infidels since they have a grain of truth but do not seek out the whole measure. I was brought up with a siege mentality: only people who believed like we did were “real” Christians. Only “real” Christians were worth associating with. The problem was that there were few people who believed like we did and thus few people with whom to associate.

My father was the first person in his family to go to college. At 19 he had a religious experience and became a fundamentalist. At 20 he felt “called” by God to become a minister. The son of an oil-field worker, he applied to the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now BIOLA University) for seminary. He was a “B” and “C” student and was rewarded with a parish assignment in Inglewood. Once a working-class white community, black and Hispanic migration, coupled with white-flight, had left my father’s church a small pale bastion of salvation afloat in a sea of black and brown. It is said that Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America and I would, sadly, have to agree. Our church was mostly made up of elderly whites who could not or would not move to the suburbs with only a few non-white locals sprinkled in.

I grew up in a black neighborhood but you never would have known it by the company I kept. My parents refused to let my brother and I play outside. I was driven to visit my playmates. My family scrimped and saved to send me to private school with other kids who believed like I did (and were the same color I was). One day I told my mother I wanted to marry the only girl in our church who was around my age. Keshawna wasn’t white and my mother gravely warned me our children would be spotted with the “Mark of Cain” if I were to do so. The fact that I did not get the chance to interact with children who were of different races and religions is the most bitter artifact of my childhood.

My parents divorced, my father gave up his ministry and I went to university at Berkeley where the last vestiges of fundamentalism were flushed from my head. I had grown distant from my parent’s religion in high school but moving 500 miles away helped me break that bind once and for all. Some people, in turning their backs on their parent’s ways, reject everything associated with their upbringing. I haven’t. I have great sympathy for people who were brought up like I was. Strangely, I am defensive of fundamentalists – I often argue with the television set when I feel that the media has misrepresented some aspect of fundamentalist culture or theology!

I’ve spent some time on the negatives in this essay but let me close with the positives. Even if I no longer use the standards set by my parents, I am not afraid to describe things as “right” or “wrong.” I remember a class discussion at Berkeley where the professor was trying to get students to acknowledge the presence of evil in the Holocaust and, because of their relativism, few besides me were willing to go so far to condemn the Shoah as inherently wrong. Because of my upbringing, I have also learned to love truth. Although my love of the truth eventually took me away from the fundamentalism of my childhood, I have learned to follow the truth wherever it leads – surely a good trait for an aspiring lawyer. Finally, even if I reject their religion, I still have a family who loved me as best as they could. Many people aren’t so lucky. You can’t choose your parents, but they certainly make a huge impact in how you come to see and understand the world. Even we no longer see eye-to-eye, their impact on my life remains and my life experiences will surely contribute to the diversity in the classroom at XYZ Law if I am admitted as a student.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:17 am
by StCuervo
Post the Thirteenth: Wherein St. Cuervo learns of good and bad problems

Master Reinhardt taught them saying: “There are ‘good problems’ and there are ‘bad problems.’ A man applies to five schools and is rejected from all of them – this is a ‘bad problem.’ Another man applies to five schools and is accepted at all of them – this is a ‘good problem.’”

St. Cuervo interrupted him and asked: “But, Master, why is being accepted everywhere a problem?”

And Master Reinhardt said unto him: “Because now the man must choose one, and only one, school to attend. Choices are a good thing. The first man has a ‘bad problem’ because he has no choices. The second man has choices, which is ‘good,’ but there are too many choices (since he can only attend one school) so he has a problem. In law we call this ‘too much of a good thing.’”

And St. Cuervo was enlightened.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:29 am
by StCuervo
Post the Fourteenth: Wherein St. Cuervo is accepted at Mason

Yer host received a nice phone call a few days ago informing me that I had been accepted to George Mason University. This brought to four the number of schools to which I had been accepted: Georgetown, George Mason, American and Catholic. (George Washington has yet to notify me of their decision one way or the other.)

The truth is that I was hoping I would be rejected from Mason so it would make my decision-making process easier. GULC is obviously a top choice since it is the most prestigious school to which I’d applied. I easily prefer GULC to any of the other private schools that had accepted me so far. Mason is my other top choice because it is a public school and, as a Virginia resident, I get in-state tuition. It is not ranked as highly as GULC but it is about 1/3 of the cost. I’m just not sure a Georgetown degree is worth three times a Mason degree.

I have several considerations that weigh on me:
* I have a wife and kid at home and I want to spend as much time with them as possible so I want to keep my commute short.
* I have minimal debt now but I am concerned about taking on a lot of debt because we don’t own a house yet.
* My wife and I are unlikely to move from the DC area in the near future (but she has mused about moving in the past).
* I am not interested in a BigLaw career although I would be somewhat interested in joining a “lifestyle firm” where the hours were reasonable but the pay was lower.
* I am strongly interested in clerking.
* I am very interested in getting a government job.
* I am interested in a career in policy advocacy at some point in the future so establishing political connections would be important for me.
* I work in a Vault-50/NLJ-25 firm now -- so I've seen this lifestyle -- and, I repeat, I do not want a big firm job.

About GMU:
* It is closer to my home than GULC.
* I am a Virginia resident so tuition is only about $14K.
* I am personal friends with one member of the faculty (who has promised to introduce me to his colleagues).
* Many more GMU grads go into government than GULC grads.
* Clerkship numbers are about the same for GMU and GULC.
* I am somewhat interested in the law and economics curriculum and I lean right politically.

About GULC:
* A national school with a stronger reputation than GMU.
* Tuition is 2-3 times that of GMU.
* I imagine the clerkships are more prestigious than the ones landed by GMU students.
* There is a loan repayment program for people who go into government.
* I imagine the political connections made would be superior to GMU.

These are the things I’ll be musing on for the next few months as I try to decide where to matriculate. I started a thread seeking advice so if anyone reading this wants to share their wisdom with me, please click here.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:37 am
by StCuervo
Post the Fifteenth: Wherein St. Cuervo learns from his aged Abbot

One day the Abbot said unto St. Cuervo: “My son, I hope I never retire.”

And St. Cuervo said unto him: “So too do I hope you never retire father.”

“Do you think there’s any chance of it?” asked the Abbot of St. Cuervo.

“Father,” replied St. Cuervo, “the day you retire is the day pigs sprout wings and fly.”

And the Abbot turned unto St. Cuervo and declared: “Well, there will be pork soaring through the treetops come morning!”


Another time the Abbot said unto St. Cuervo: “I’ve schemed and plotted all my life – there is no other way to be alive and in politics and eighty all at once.”


And another time the Abbot taught St. Cuervo saying: “Old age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.”

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:00 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Sixteenth: Wherein St. Cuervo discusses his employer

Yer host has been very fortunate with his current boss. The boss has had a long and distinguished career and is well regarded in his field. He is a partner at a major firm and a prince among men. He is extremely supportive of my plans to go to law school. He also has a track record of getting his assistants promoted to exciting positions within and outside of the firm and, to top it all off, he chases me out of the office every day at 5:30!

Everything you could hope for except for the fact that he is 82 years old and I don’t know how much longer he has left.

This past year has been rough on my boss and I think his health is failing. This impacts my law school plans in several ways. First, as long as he is alive, I have a patron who can help me advance my career goals. Unfortunately I am not ready to leave his care yet. I have been in my field for less than a year and I still have a lot to learn. Also, since I am starting school, I would like to stay at a position that is a strict 37.5 hours a week to give me more time for my studies.

If my boss dies (he will never retire), the world looses a great man and I loose my patron. I won’t be able to leverage his assistance to get a better position when I am done with law school. My next boss may not be supportive of my part-time law school plans or may want me to work a lot of overtime which might negatively impact my schooling.

Post the fourteenth recorded my difficulty with the decision between George Mason and Georgetown. If my boss were a man in his 50s or 60s, I might prefer Mason since he could help me overcome any lack of prestige in the degree. If he passes away, however, he won’t be able to help me (from this world anyway) and so I might need the extra prestige from a Georgetown degree.

These are morbid thoughts, to be sure, but things I have to consider in deciding where to go. If I don’t have a patron in four years when I am done with school, I will need all the help I can get from a Georgetown degree.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:43 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Seventeenth: Wherein St. Cuervo exchanges e-mails with a reporter

A reporter was writing a story on hostility in internet chat rooms and sent an e-mail to St. Cuervo asking for his opinion on the matter.

St. Cuervo wrote back to the reporter: “Internet chat-rooms aren’t hostile and I’ll kill anyone who disagrees.”

The reporter wrote back to St. Cuervo: “I don’t think we can use that quote.”

And St. Cuervo was greatly saddened.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo (Full-time Dad, Part-time Student)

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:18 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Eighteenth: Wherein St. Cuervo laments the lack of decorum on TLS

At the time of this writing, yer host has less than 350 posts on TLS – only a fraction of the number of posts some of the longstanding members of this community have – yet still I feel the need to comment on something I have observed after being here for several months: there is a measurable degree of hostility from certain senior posters towards other, more junior, TLS members.

This is most unfortunate. We should all try to be more welcoming to fellow TLSers (especially new members). I know that I have posted some things (here and in other places) that I later wished I wouldn’t have posted. No one is perfect. But I think a good rule of thumb is to pretend the forum is one big dinner party (with Ken as our host). If I wouldn’t say something to someone face-to-face at a nice dinner party, I probably shouldn’t type it out here and click "submit" either.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 9:40 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Nineteenth: Wherein St. Cuervo recounts the Tale of the Hungry Beggar and the Unjust Magistrate

In a certain country there was an unjust magistrate who neither feared God nor loved men. The magistrate took bribes, set the wicked free and oppressed widows and orphans. One day a hungry beggar saw the magistrate walking home and said: “there is the unjust magistrate who neither fears God nor loves men.” In his hunger, the beggar resolved to get some food from the unjust magistrate.

“Your honor, give me food” cried the beggar as the magistrate hastened down the street. “Please your honor,” called out the beggar chasing after him, “feed a starving soul!”

Block by block, the hungry beggar followed the unjust magistrate pleading for food. Finally the magistrate said to himself: “Even though I neither fear God nor love men, yet because this beggar keeps bothering me, I will see that he gets some food so that he won’t wear me out with his cries.”

Moral: “Persistence pays off.”

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 10:00 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Twentieth: Wherein St. Cuervo records his patented Begging LetterTM

Financial considerations are important for yer host. With a wife and daughter at home, law school will be an expensive proposition impacting more than just me. We don’t own a house yet, so it is hard to justify spending a hundred and fifty thousand dollars for a Georgetown degree when I can get a similar degree from George Mason for less than half of that amount. GULC is surely better than GMU, but I am not sure that it is two or three times better.

I have therefore resolved to be aggressive (but polite) in trying to get money from Georgetown. They have already admitted me, so what do I have to loose? The other day on TLS, I saw that GULC had begun inviting select people to apply for scholarships. Not surprisingly (given my low numbers and part-time status) I was not given an invitation. So I sent the following patented Begging LetterTM to the admissions office:


Thank you again for your offer of admission to the Georgetown University Law Center. Georgetown's prestige and the strength of her clinical programs make your school a very appealing choice for me. I can definitely see myself as a student at the Law Center later this year.

I am writing to update you on the status of my other applications and ask about the procedure for scholarship applications. I have been admitted and am being actively recruited by several schools -- I had brunch with a Professor from George Mason Law last Sunday and will be visiting George Washington Law next month. My choice on where to matriculate next year is going to come down to the financial aid package offered by each school. I have a wife and a 21-month old daughter at home so minimizing debt will be very important to me. Any scholarship assistance Georgetown University can offer me will be greatly appreciated and could be pivotal in my decision-making process. Would you please let me know when and how to apply for merit-aid?

I believe my credentials are strong enough to warrant a scholarship award. My undergraduate record puts me in the top four percent of Berkeley graduates and my LSAT score was above the ninety-fourth percentile of test-takers. I have a graduate degree from the University of Virginia and my graduate research used statistical modeling to study judicial behavior. I was invited to present a conference paper on the impact of selections systems on judicial decision-making at a major political science conference in 2007. At Virginia, I taught my own course in Constitutional Law and was awarded a prize from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for excellence in teaching. I have experience working as a research assistant for three professors. I was awarded two fellowships at the University of Virginia and a third fellowship to study statistics for a summer at the University of Michigan. Just as I look forward to learning from them, I believe my unique academic background would greatly enhance the classroom experience of my colleagues in the part-time program at Georgetown.

Do not hesitate to contact me if you need further information from me. Thank you, again, for your offer of admission. I do hope to become a law student at Georgetown University next year.

Very Truly Yours,
-St. Cuervo

Within a few hours, I received an e-mail with instructions on how to apply for merit aid!

The pessimist in me says they won't give me more than a token amount but any money is good money as far as I am concerned. Maybe persistence does pay off…

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:00 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Twenty-First: Wherein St. Cuervo is reprimanded

St. Cuervo went to visit Master Volokh to inquire about the law.

Master Volokh served tea. He poured St. Cuervo’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

St. Cuervo watched his cup overflow until he could no longer restrain himself: “The cup is full Master! No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” Master Volokh said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations on the law. How can I show you the law unless you first empty your cup?”

And St. Cuervo was enlightened.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:32 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Twenty-Second: Wherein St. Cuervo visits a law professor

Yer host had brunch with a professor of law at George Mason University last week. This professor very kindly invited St. and Mrs. Cuervo and their daughter into his home to have a charming late morning meal featuring his world-famous “libertarian waffles.”

Of course my law school plans were item number one for discussion and he made a strong pitch for my matriculation at Mason. The professor argued that, if I knew I didn’t want a big firm job, then my employment opportunities would be substantially similar at either Mason or GULC and that Mason might actually have an edge when it comes to getting me a government job. Will Consovoy was a student of his, and he suggested that something similar to Will’s post-Mason success could be mine even if I didn’t go to GULC.

Upon hearing of my graduate research into judicial decision-making, the professor also gave me two chapters of a book he is writing on judicial decision-making. I was honored to be asked to comment on a work in progress and diligently set-forth reading the manuscript. I won’t deny that I felt some pressure to come up with something creative to “prove my worth” as a prospective student. Fortunately I remembered the famous koan ‘A Cup of Tea’ (reproduced in Chapter Twenty One) before I started commenting.

I am a student, not a master, and it is critical to divest myself of any importance I might have in my own mind with regards to my study of the law. Although I have studied “law” for four years in graduate school, there is a world of difference between being a law student and being a graduate student studying law. Sometimes I forget this, but the truth is there is very little I could teach a full professor about the law.

Very carefully, I wrote and re-wrote three single spaced pages of comments, and e-mailed them to the professor. I don’t think my pride got in the way! I only hope that I was able to add something to his work-in-progress. Only he can say.

I remain divided between GULC and GMU. I can certaily say that one faculty member at GMU is doing very interesting work! I will probably find the same when I visit GULC next week...

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 2:47 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Twenty-Third: Wherein Mrs. Cuervo raps St. Cuervo on the head

St. Cuervo smoked a pipe since his college days, but Mrs. Cuervo, even though she was a cigarette smoker, was loathe to permit it. Every time St. Cuervo suggested having a pipe, Mrs. Cuervo would rap him on the head.

Finally St. Cuervo asked Mrs. Cuervo’s brother to coax her permission to smoke. This her brother did and he reported back to St. Cuervo saying: “It is arranged. I have fixed it for you to have a pipe with me.”

St. Cuervo went to Mrs. Cuervo to thank her for her permission. Mrs. Cuervo answered by giving him another rap on the head.

When St. Cuervo related this to Mrs. Cuervo’s brother, her brother said: “What is the matter? My sister has no business giving permission and then changing her mind. I will go and tell her so!” And off he went to see Mrs. Cuervo.

“I did not cancel my permission,” said Mrs. Cuervo. “I just wanted to give him one last smack on the head because, when he returns, he will smell of pipe and I will not be able to go anywhere near him!”

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:42 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Twenty-Fourth: Wherein St. Cuervo introduces Mrs. Cuervo

Yer host’s wife is an amazing woman. After all, she is willing to put up with her husband attending part-time law school for four years. Throughout this whole application process, she has been my number one cheerleader.

But I sometimes wonder how hard this will be on our marriage and, if I could talk to myself in five years, if I would say the wear-and-tear on our relationship had all been worthwhile. Starting sometime in August, I will be going to work all day and then going to school until 9:00 at night or later at least four days a week. I probably won’t get home until 10:00 PM at which point, I imagine, I will want to go straight to bed. I will have to study all day Saturday and Sunday to get ready for the week. And then, on Monday, the roller-coaster will start all over again.

When will I have time to spend with my wife? When will I have time to play with our daughter? How will I make it through finals?

These are difficult questions. I know others have done law school part-time, so it can be done, but at what cost?

The following passage from the Gospel of Luke weighs heavily on my mind:

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, “This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” Or what king, going to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an embassy and asks terms of peace.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:10 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Twenty-Fifth: Wherein St. Cuervo discovers he is a member of the ‘Law Militia’

And St. Cuervo went forth to Georgetown University Law Center and saw many signs and wonders.

One of the signs proclaimed the existence of a “Law Militia” and St. Cuervo asked a nearby 2L of its meaning. “The ‘Law Militia,’” explained the student, “works to promote gun rights at Georgetown and in the District.”

St. Cuervo asked the 2L if he was recruiting members for the Law Militia. The student explained that everyone in the room was already a member since all able-bodied citizens were members of the state militia. St. Cuervo was confused (since the District is not a state) but nevertheless asked if, in light of his militia membership, he could be awarded the rank of Field Marshal, given command of a division of militiamen and assigned an aid-de-camp to attend to his personal needs.

The student was puzzled at this request and asked St. Cuervo if he “even” owned a firearm. St. Cuervo explained that Mrs. Cuervo forbade it.

Upon hearing this the 2L was greatly troubled and asked if Mrs. Cuervo, “valued her own personal safety.”

And St. Cuervo said unto him: “Oh yes. In fact that is why she has forbidden me to own a gun – you see, I am quite clumsy and, in the event of an emergency, am as likely to shoot Mrs. Cuervo as I am to shoot an intruder.”

St. Cuervo awaited the Field Marshal commission until his dying day.