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Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:02 am
by StCuervo
Post the Twenty-Sixth: Wherein TLS scares a PT GULC prospective

Yer host was at the GULC admitted students event this past week. At one point, the prospective students were divided into groups for Q&A. There were two groups of full-time students and one group of part-time students. Of course, I was in the PT group and eagerly looked forward to the session.

We went to a classroom and found three GULC PT students assigned to lead the Q&A. The very first question was from a prospective who said she had seen on the internet (specifically “Top Law Schools”) that PT programs weren’t as good as FT programs and were looked down upon by prospective employers. The group leaders fumbled about for a response.

Part of what hindered them was the fact that two of the three presenters were PT students who were in the process of transferring to the FT program! (I think this was a major mark against GULC’s organizers: why couldn’t they find three PT students who were content to remain PT students to lead the session?) So two of the presenters were forced to say something along the lines of: “well, personally, I am transferring to FT, but there is nothing wrong with being a PT student.” Forgive us prospectives if we didn’t find those answers particularly compelling.

Also, not to be a resume snob, but the employment backgrounds of the presenters wasn’t terribly impressive. I work in DC and all I’ve heard is how all the Hill staffers and bureaucrats and important people, etc. enroll in the GULC PT program. Well, one of our presenters worked as a bartender and another didn’t have a job at all. OK – good for them – but it didn’t really synch up with what I had heard about the "high powered" working backgrounds of GULC PT students. Indeed, I was sitting next to a PhD-holding patent agent, a Congressional aide, and an analyst in the Department of Labor. But we were being told of the glories of the PT program by a bartender and an unemployed PT student, both of whom were leaving the program?

It was all so underwhelming.

I left feeling that the PT program really was a back-door to GULC – that was certainly what the presenters made it seem like. Caveat emptor, St. Cuervo, caveat emptor.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:45 am
by StCuervo
Post the Twenty-Seventh: Wherein Master Sunstein flips a coin

One time, St. Cuervo faced a seeming unsolvable problem and was perplexed. And so he went up to see Master Sunstein.

Master Sunstein was sitting on his front porch flipping a coin. Again and again he threw it up into the air, watched it turn edge-over-edge, caught it, and threw it up again.

“Master,” St. Cuervo said unto him, “I have a choice to make but I don’t know what to do.”

Master Sunstein kept flipping the coin.

“I am faced with two equal options.”

Master Sunstein kept flipping the coin.

“I don’t know what to do.”

Master Sunstein kept flipping the coin.

“I seek enlightenment.”

At this Master Sunstein stopped flipping the coin and said unto St. Cuervo: “Life is a koan whose answer lies in the choices we make.” And, with this, he went back to flipping the coin.

And St. Cuervo was enlightened.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:14 am
by StCuervo
Post the Twenty-Eighth: Wherein St. Cuervo is offered a full scholarship

Imagine yer host’s surprise this weekend when he opened his Saturday mail and found the offer of an (almost) full scholarship from George Mason University’s Law School.

I am a part-time student (only 2.1% of part-time students at Mason receive grants) with a LSAT score only a few points above the Mason median. I was in no way expecting this and, despite an underwhelming time at the GULC open-house, I was fully expecting to enroll at Georgetown in the Fall. But now everything has changed.

I have a two year old daughter at home. My wife is pregnant with our second child. The legal market is in flux (my Vault-50 firm recently had lay-offs). I’m not sure I want a BigLaw job anyway...

How can I justify taking on $140,000 in debt to finance a Georgetown education when a Mason degree will cost me about $5,000?

The George Mason open house is next week. I will be going.

I may even be going in the Fall.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:39 am
by StCuervo
Post the Twenty-Ninth: Wherein St. Cuervo explains the Tao of choosing a law school

St. Cuervo was walking outside of Hazel Hall at George Mason University when a student approached him and asked about the Tao of choosing a law school.

Responding without words, St. Cuervo threw everything he was carrying down on the sidewalk as a silent answer to the student's question.

“Then,” the student asked St. Cuervo, “what is the actualization of the Tao of choosing a law school?”

And St. Cuervo stood up and walked into Hazel Hall leaving all of his belonging on the street behind him.

And the student was enlightened.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:20 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Thirtieth: Wherein St. Cuervo Chooses

Yer host has decided to attend George Mason University in the fall.

The Admitted Students Weekend sealed the deal for me. The professors were extremely intelligent and down-to-earth. (Indeed I am having e-mail exchanges with three of them even now.) The other students I met were engaging and outgoing – the kind of people I want to go to school with. Even the building wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I’m no fan of modern architecture, but the building is functional and nice-enough and the new building, when it is complete next year, will be a fantastic addition to the campus.

I will be withdrawing from all my other schools later this week. I wish the best of luck for anyone on the wait-list at Georgetown, George Washington, American or Catholic.

UPDATE: I have withdrawn from all of my other schools.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:13 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Thirty-First: On Law Professors

Master Schubert told his disciples: "It is not necessary for a law professor to predict his passing, but if he really wishes to do so, he can."

"Can you?" St. Cuervo asked.

"Yes," answered Master Schubert. "I will show you what I can do seven days from now."

None of the disciples believed him, and most of them had even forgotten the conversation when Master Schubert called them together.

"Seven days ago," he remarked, "I said I was going to leave you. It is customary for a law professor to write a farewell poem, but I am neither a poet or a calligrapher. Let one of you inscribe my last words."

His followers thought he was joking, but St. Cuervo started to write.

"Are you ready?" Master Schubert asked.

"Yes sir," replied St. Cuervo.

Then Master Schubert dictated:
I came from brillancy
And I return to brillancy.
What is this?

This poem was one line short of the customary four, so St. Cuervo said: "Master Schubert, we are one line short."

Master Schubert, with the roar of a conquering lion, shouted "Kaa!" and was gone.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:24 pm
by StCuervo
Post the Thirty-Second: On Law Professors (continued)

Yer host has been invited to apply to be a research assistant by a very distinguished professor at George Mason University. I have learned how important it is to make contact with professors and so I offer this post as advice for anyone who might be reading this blog.

In undergrad, I shied away from professors. I made almost straight-As but I was frequently late for class, sat in the back (when I decided to go), rarely said anything, and never went to office hours. When I applied to graduate school, five years after graduating, my transcript was amazing but, of course, none of my professors remembered me. So I had a difficult time getting letters of recommendation from people who actually had me in class.

In graduate school I didn’t want to make that same mistake. Now graduate school is fundamentally different from undergrad so it is almost impossible for professors not to know graduate students but I still threw myself into it. I TA’d, RA’d, took seminar classes, and went to office hours. I got to know about five or six professors extremely well. When it came time to apply to law school, I had no problem getting three letters of recommendation from professors.

Anyway fast forward to the present and I have begun to introduce myself to the faculty at George Mason University. I met four faculty members during the Admitted Students Weekend and I was careful to send each follow-up e-mails to each one on Monday reminding them of our conversation, thanking them for speaking with me, and rehearsing a little of my background. I was specifically hoping one of them would invite me to help them with their research. I also wrote two other professors who I didn’t have the good fortune to meet during the ASW –- but thought I might want to work for anyway -- and briefly introduced myself, discussed my background, told them I would be coming to Mason, and ended by saying I hoped to see them in class sometime.

I received very nice responses to all of these e-mails and one of them actually took the bait and asked me to send my resume over! I sent him my resume and, a little later, he invited me to come in and interview for a position on his research staff.

I think every entering law student should do what I have done. Look through the faculty directory at the school you will be attending and send a short e-mail to faculty members you might be interested in working with. Worse case scenario (which happened to me) is they respond with a one or two sentence message that says something like “Welcome. I look forward to seeing you in class.” Best case scenario (which also happened to me) is that they might think you are interesting and offer you some special opportunity. Remember graduate school is fundamentally different than undergrad: you are beginning an apprenticeship to a career and you need to network.

A law professor I know once told me how he helped a student get a clerkship with a circuit court judge and that judge helped the same student get a clerkship with the Supreme Court. That is how these things work. But it won’t work for you unless you get close to the professors in the first place. Since I am not going to Georgetown or another higher-ranked school, I will need to work a little harder to make sure I get the advantages the median student at a T14 will get. I'm glad it looks like my little gambit is paying off at Mason...

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:24 am
by StCuervo
Post the Thirty-Third: Wherein a Tutor Offers to Teach St. Cuervo Legal Writing

A tutor came to St. Cuervo and offered to teach him legal writing. “The first lesson,” said the tutor “is that every mistake you make, no matter how small, will cause you to loose credibility with the reader.”

The tutor left St. Cuervo with an assignment and promised to return in a week to evaluate his work. Looking through the hypotheticals, St. Cuervo noticed: a Supreme Court that mysteriously turned into an intermediate appellate court, a state in one place that was a commonwealth in another, a reversal that was really an affirmation, missing and incorrect citations, a host of strange and unusual sentences that were difficult to understand, and various other grammatical and legal errors.

“Ah-ha,” thought St. Cuervo, “this tutor is trying to test me to see if I have taken his lesson to heart!” And St. Cuervo was enlightened.

When the tutor returned a week later, he found St. Cuervo's response memo nailed to the door. Instead of an answer to the question posed, the legal writing tutor found the following haiku:

Mistakes will reduce
credibility, but not
if you teach writing.

It is unknown if the tutor ever achieved enlightenment.

Re: The Acts of St. Cuervo

Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:22 am
by StCuervo
Post the Thirty-Fourth: Wherein St. Cuervo Confronts an Arrogant 3L

St. Cuervo's study group was attended not only by 2Ls but by students of all ranks and sects. He never quoted cases and did not indulge in scholastic dissertations. Instead, his words were spoken directly from his heart to the hearts of his listeners. And from this they learned the law.

His large audience angered a 3L because the adherents of his study group had left to hear the law from St. Cuervo. The arrogant 3L came to the table where the study group met, determined to have a debate with St. Cuervo.

"Hey, 2L!" he called out. "Wait a minute. These 1Ls and 2Ls respect you and will obey what you say, but a 3L like myself does not respect you. Can you make me obey you?"

"Come up beside me and I will show you," said St. Cuervo.

Proudly the 3L pushed his way through the crowd to St. Cuervo's chair.

St. Cuervo smiled. "Come over and sit at my left side."

The 3L obeyed.

"No," said St. Cuervo, "we may talk better if you are on the right side. Sit over here."

The 3L proudly moved over to the right.

"On second thought," said St. Cuervo, "I think I'd hear you better if you sat on my left."

The 3L moved to the left.

This happened again, the 3L moving back and forth, several times.

Finally St. Cuervo said: "You see, you are obeying me and I think you are a very gentle person. Now sit down and listen and learn the law."