Archive for September, 2009

Senate Meeting

The SBA Senate will be having it’s second meeting (and first with our new 1L Senators!) next Wednesday, September 30th at 8:30pm in L301.  All are welcome to come and observe. Additionally meetings from the first meeting are posted on the SBA website, gwsba.com.


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I was reading this article the other day about whether the House of Representatives should be expanded based on the disparity if how many people each congressperson actually represents.  I won’t summarize the whole article here, but the gist of it was that the congresspeople from Rhode Island represent approximately 530,000 people each, while the congressman from Montana represents over 950,000.  That means that the 1.05 million people in Rhode Island have two votes in the house, while the .95 million people in Montana have one.

My first gut-level response to all of this was that the current system doesn’t seem fair.  The 400,000 person disparity is just too large and it is possibly unconstitutional as well.  I won’t go into detail on that issue here, but feel free to comment about it (and for some background on the issue, here’s a link to the Supreme Court’s decision in Baker v. Carr ).  But then I read on in the article for an estimate of how large the house would have to be in order to make things more “fair”–the answer was between 932-1761!  Woh.  The number 435 seems pretty arbitrary to me, but the thought of two times as many representatives on Capitol Hill just makes my head spin.

Even after reading the whole article and thinking about it for a few days, I still don’t really know what to think, and I’m curious about other people’s thoughts–especially those of you who have worked on the Hill and seen the way the House works.  It seems to me that doubling the number of representatives can only make it harder to get things done in the House.  On the other hand, it would make voting districts smaller, which means the representatives would (in theory) have to raise less money and would be more accountable to their constituents.  It also might make them less likely to follow the party line and tailor their votes to their home district’s needs/wants instead.

Forgetting about the logistical problems of fitting 1000 representatives into the Capitol, do you think expanding the House would lead to better or worse government?

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Over at The Atlantic, Philip Howard offers a run-down of existing ideas to rein in medical malpractice suits.  If you listened to or read the President’s speech last week, he suggested that one way to help lower medical costs would be to implement some tort-reform measures.  Because tort reform is an issue that is near and dear to the hearts of trial attorneys (or at the least, should be), I just wanted to bring it to your attention.

Among some of the ideas he mentions are:

  • Special medical courts
  • Limits on damages
  • Malpractice screening panels
  • Insulate doctors from liability for following certain national standards
  • Apology statutes – this sounds very interesting!
  • Early settlement incentives

Check out the article and let us know your thoughts.

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Student Blogs

The GW Hatchet just published an article profiling four student run blogs on the GW campus.  I’m happy to say that Sua Sponte was one of the blogs profiled.

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Did you get a call yet?  Tell us about it.

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How Goes the FRP?

Open thread.  Let us know what’s going on with your job search.

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On Being a 3L Without a Job

I worked at a boutique litigation firm this summer in a mid-sized city.  The firm pays very well for the market, and has great benefits. The partners and attorneys were easy to work with.  The work was stimulating and exciting.  In sum, it was the best 2L gig I could have asked for.  Unfortunately, the work was also slow.  I had to ask for projects almost weekly.  There were a few times when I literally had nothing to do.  In hindsight, this was a bad sign.

When I left, the recruiting attorney told me to expect a decision about an offer within a few weeks.  The call came last week.  When the first words from the caller are “this is one of the hardest calls I’ve had to make,” you  know it’s not going to be good.  In short, I was on the receiving end of the “it’s not you, it’s me routine” a la George Costanza.  The firm simply could not afford to hire another attorney.   The other summer associate did not get an offer either.  The work had slowed down substantially since they gave me an offer last year, and they weren’t expecting it to pick up any time soon.

I was speechless.  Literally, I had no idea what to say, and I stammered quite a bit.  Suffice it to say, the conversation was a little awkward.

The panic and insecurity set in immediately.  What did I do wrong?  I thought I was a fantastic personality fit with the firm.  My work was, I think, as good as can be expected from a person who’s had four semesters of law school.  I sacrificed and moved across the country to take the job.  I have ok grades.  And yet I was no-offered; it was an unexpected punch  to the gut.

Now what?  My wife and I wanted to buy a house.  We were thinking about having kids.  Now we stay up at night faced with a very uncertain future.  Who hires 3Ls?  Where will we be living next year? Will I be stuck in a dead-end job?  How many more cover letters can I write?  I don’t know how many more times can I fake my way through an interview.  “I’ve been interested in [insert practice area here] since I started law school!”

I try to put on a happy face.  I have a lot of things to be grateful for.  I’m not going to starve.  My wife still loves me (thank goodness).  I have a roof over my head.  But I’m still frustrated.  I wish I could direct my anger at someone, at some tangible thing, but who do I blame for this?

In the end, though, I think law school has prepared me for this.  My facetious mantra during my second year was to “expect disappointment.” But there’s some truth to that.  You must have realistic expectations.  Chances are, you’re not going to be in the top ten percent of your class.  Chances are, you won’t be an editor on the law review.  Chances are, you won’t get that job you’ve been dreaming about since before law school.  However, you will likely develop the
mental toughness to overcome disappoint, to work through frustrating times.  I guess we just need to harness those skills and learn from the painful experiences.  Everything will probably work out fine in the end.

— Anonymous

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