Columbia JReubs

Monday, September 24, 2007

9/25/07 JReub Discussion

My thoughts for the discussion tomorrow are based on the lesson we all (most likely) had this past Sunday on forgiveness based on President Faust's talk: The Healing Power of Forgiveness.

In the penultimate paragraph of this talk, Pres. Faust talks about how personal forgiveness doesn't relieve the offender of being subject to justice. "When tragedy strikes," he states, "we should not respond by seeking personal revenge but rather let justice take its course and then let go."

What are the boundaries of justice in this context? If the offense was a crime, the victim may have the option not to press charges--is this "personal revenge" or facilitating justice?

Can we, as victims, bring civil suits where criminal proceedings fail (think the Goldmans v. O.J.) or where the offense isn't punished by law? Addressing this question gets us dangerously close to the question of whether, as practicing Mormons/Christians, we should sue others at all--but, on the other hand, can't we say that a court's ruling is "just," outside of the criminal context?

While surfing the Web on this topic, I bumped into an article on Christianity Today that addresses the issue of whether it's okay to sue others. I've only skimmed it, but I found the "I know the Bible says Christians should not sue Christians, but is it okay to sue non-Christians?" The title alone was enough to make me laugh, but the article does provide some insight that may help our discussion. The answer to the question, by the way, is "yes" (making us fair game to those Christians out there that don't think Mormons are Christian), but after "prayerful self-examination that is not tainted by anger over the other party's actions" (among other things). That sort of sounds like the would-be plaintiff has forgiven, but is just seeking, perhaps, to remedy a continuing problem.... Are there any situations that you can think of where you can fully forgive on the one hand and pursue a civil suit on the other?

Should our perception of justice change with the applicable laws of the land? What about degree of intent (purposeful vs. reckless vs. negligent vs. strictly liable)?

I think I'll stop here. This should keep us occupied for tomorrow's discussion. If not, maybe we could move on to abortion or gay marriage :)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Education, class, and culture

On the NE corner of Broadway and 112th, there is a placard on the first building indicating that John Dewey used to live there. So, with a nod to our neighborhood's eminent former resident, I thought it would be worthwhile to talk about education at our Monday lunch.

Although legal education will undoubtedly come up, I'd like to focus on public primary/secondary education. Many of us will be considering putting our kids in public schools soon--thus, this is a topic of current importance. Even if children are not on your horizon, public education is relevant as you will undoubtedly be someday hiring people emerging from the system.

The issues I think most relevant:

1. How does the theory behind progressive education (that discovery, which is enabled by diversity, is the essence of modern learning) square with Mormonism's belief that we are a people apart? To put it bluntly: when we separate our children from their classmates, through either ad hoc (don't hang out with certain types of kids) or systematic (gated communities; charter schools; homeschooling) measures, do we inhibit their ability to learn?

2. A related question: what is the effect of doctrine, as an institution, in modern learning? In the short selection I attached to the email, Dewey argues that customary learning (of which doctrine is part) is anachronistic, limiting. In a sense, our belief in personal revelation acknowledges this argument. However, doctrine still plays a role. How does this work?

3. I've heard our dean say to crowds that "a Columbia JD is a ticket into this country's elite." True. First, how do you feel morally about your new position? Can you be sincere to your beliefs while also being a member of the ruling class (reference: god v. mammon)? Do you cope with this by either, A, choosing not to rule (i.e. your just going to make lots of money and leave decisionmaking to someone else) or, B, thinking that ruling is not dirty work (one is reminded of the observation that "nobody rules innocently")? Second, how should we educate our children in light of the implicit class issues? For example, should I send Madeline to private school in New York so that she may have, in the words of a colleague, "the best possible opportunities"? Or is this just embedding her in a corrupt establishment? Furthermore, does my family have a responsibility to the local public school system?

If you want the most famous recent take on education and hierarchy in legal education, see Duncan Kennedy's piece at

Other than that, the only other suggested reading for the discussion is attached to the email I sent announcing this posting. It's short, but good.

One more thing: I'm coming at this topic from the assumption that education is not socially neutral. We, with our Enlightenment tradition, like to think it is. I.e. we're just going to school to get learn objective principles/facts/theories. Perhaps this is true in the natural sciences. But it is certainly not true in law and business. Furthermore, there is always a socialization element regardless of the subject matter.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Rainmaking Video Conference?

Good evening comrades,

Those of us on the JReub politburo need some wider input on two related questions:

1. Do we want to broadcast the video conference discussed below during our weekly cabal?

2. Do we want to invite the student body to attend it also? (we'd get a larger room of course)

Please let us know your thoughts. If most of us don't answer in the affirmative to the first question, then there is likely little point in doing the latter. But we weren't sure what you would all prefer.

viva la revolucion,


> [] On Behalf Of Sean
> Nobmann
> Sent: Monday, October 09, 2006 1:15 PM
> To:
> Subject: [Jrclsstuchap] Video Conference
> Chapter Presidents:
> Some have asked for more information regarding the upcoming video
> conference. Brother Bill Atkin, former managing partner for
> various offices of Baker & McKenzie and currently International Counsel
> for the Church, will be speaking on client development, or rainmaking.
> The conference will begin at 12:20 EST on Tues. Oct. 24th. We
> currently intend to re-webcast the training each subsequent hour so that
> the schools in each time zone can show the training as near-to-live
> as possible.
> The content of the training is directed toward your whole school,
> and should be treated as a large scale event for your entire law
> school. That means: the biggest room, the most funds for lunch, and the
> highest level and quality of advertising.
> You should forward this email to your chapter members, and you
> should also get in touch with whoever is in charge of your law school's
> media department. Brother Atkin is a dynamic speaker and an extremely
> accomplished attorney. He also has considerable experience not
> only developing clients at the highest level, but also in training
> others how to develop clients at the highest level.
> Because most law professors have not been in private practice
> long enough to have cultivated these skills at a high level, client
> development is generally under-emphasized at law school. We, as
> the JRCLS student chapters, have the opportunity to fill a
> significant gap by making this training available to our peers.
> I urge each of you to make this event of high priority. It will
> take place two weeks from tomorrow. Please feel free to send me any
> questions you may have.
> Cheers,
> Sean
> _______________________________________________
> JRCLSStuChap mailing list
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> A free service of WashLaw
> (785)670.1088
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Procedure & Revelation in Ecclesiastical Trials

By popular demand, this is my topic for discussion tomorrow. Sorry I'm a day late posting.

I've been working on this paper for a while now (mostly in my mind rather than putting pen to paper). It came out of a discussion about Joshua ch. 7. Basically, the question is, if we have revelation, why is there any need for a process or procedure in religious trials?

Joshua 7: Clearly the Lord is involved in the process (v. 14), but if He is going to reveal the individual to Joshua, why the elaborate process? In the words of a colleague: "Why doesn't God just tell Joshua who it is?"

Another examples from OT: Num. 5:11-28. We assume the Lord is going to determine the outcome, rather than viewing this as superstition, by why the ritual process?

In the D&C, procedure for the High Council is relatively elaborate (D&C 102:13-23), but it clearly creates a role for revelation in making decisions (v. 23). Current practice of High Councils focuses more on revelation, but retains the basic procedural structure.

I'll post some of my thoughts below, and talk about them a little tomorrow. I'd love to have other identify other examples from the scriptures, particularly the Old Testament, contribute your thoughts and explanations, and provide comments, critiques, and criticism of my thoughts.

See you all tomorrow!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Keeping Track of the Glovers

Excuse me for taking advantage of this forum to publicize my personal life, but I thought it might be of interest to some of you that my family has moved to Spain where I have started my career with Davis Polk. We've started a Blog at where Eryka plans to provide regular updates on our adventures.

If you want any insight on the expat lawyer experience, feel free to contact me. I won't necessarily be a fountain of knowledge this early in the process, but in a year I should be much wiser by about 3000 billable hours.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Clerkship advice

Cliff asked me to put up a little advice for those applying to clerkships (5 or so of you). Hopefully Heather, Nate, Bim, and whoever else I'm forgetting will also weigh in because everyone seems to have a different experience. But here is my $.02:

1. Somehow you have to get pulled out of the stack. Judges get unbelievable numbers of applications for 3 or 4 spots. The most selective judges will sort you by grades, and will not look at you unless you make a certain grade cut-off OR there is something extraordinary on your resume (really extraordinary; grades are really 80% of the application) OR a professor calls them. The not-most-selective judges want to strike some sort of balance between getting the best candidates ("best" not necessarily best grades, but best all-around) and offering interviews to those they think will take the job.

For these judges you need to figure out some way to communicate to them that you are serious about them and/or the city or state in which they sit. If you know a former clerk, or have some sort of mutual aquaintance, their notifying the judge of this fact (and including a personal endorsement of you) will go a long way. Also, if you get any interview in the city or state, call the other chambers and tell them that you are most serious about them, and that you are scheduling interviews in the area and would like to meet with the judge while you're there. But I can't stress enough that you need to figure out some way to get this information to the judge.

2. Once you get interviews, you need to schedule them in your order of preference while keeping in mind that by over-committing to the interviews for which you are "on the bubble," you can get really hosed. I knew lots of kids who wanted a certain circuit, and got one interview there and 5 or 6 elsewhere. They went to the circuit they wanted the most first, and scheduled the rest of their interviews on the second and third days of interviews. They didn't get their first choice, and by the time they got to their other interviews, they were competing for 1 or 2 spots, not 4.

I hope you applied to enough judges that you will get multiple interviews. If you didn't, I would consider trying to put together some last minute ones, or at least be ready to send out more if you don't get any interviews on the first day. There was an Articles Editor on the Law Review the year before me who got 1 interview because he sent out too few applications, so he scrambled the couple days thereafter, and then ended up with a great district court clerkship in a great district.

3. Don't be picky at first. Don't pass up interviews because you think you can do better. Schedule interviews with the chambers that call, and if your top choice judge calls, then call the chambers back and change your interview time. BUT, but, but, don't answer your phone on the day of. In fact, since many judges go early, don't answer a call from an unknown number all week. Let every call go to voicemail, then you can get it and think about it clearly, decide what you're going to tell them, and then call them back.

4. All of the above presupposes information. Information is key in this race, and you've got to figure out if and/or when your top choice judges have made calls so you can write them off. You've got to know if one of your top choice judges is going to call before you schedule your 10th choice judge first on the first day of interviews. If you were to know someone on the L. Rev., that person may be able to help you with information that they will surely track and not make available to the rest of the school (such punks). Last year there were random blogs set up to follow judges as well. I imagine it changes every year, but you've got to figure out how you're going to get information.

Lastly, don't get discouraged. I know many, many people who after the first and second days thought it was all over and they were out of luck. Then Bushie nominates a judge to the 9th Circuit and they get hooked up there with a better clerkship than they would have gotten in the first place (true story). If nothing comes the first day, talk to your professors and get their advice, see if they are willing to call any judge to try and get you pulled from the stack. But more importantly, keep up on the nominations and new judgeships and don't give up hope.

That's all that comes to mind. Ask questions, and I (along with hopefully others) will do my best. Good luck everyone!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Interview Prep

All: comment here to indicate your availability for an interview prep session.

2Ls: also let us know if you have any particular questions that you'd like addressed (e.g. how to pronounce "Debevoise"? pink tie/shirt? how to explain your Civ Pro grade? mention the kid(s)?).

3Ls: let us know if there's any particular wisdom we should impart (assuming you're going to be out of town or too jaded to participate -- if neither apply, then just come along and bring yer wisdom with you).

NB: bring any pictures you may have of Alan Lewis. We'll be setting up a small shrine in the corner of the room so that he may preside over the meeting, if in spirit. And bring some votive candles too. And chips and dip.

Matthews, Brice and Jennejohn