Section 3 voted “Best Section” by Section 3

“What a surprising, but fulfilling win,” exclaimed a current Section 3 1L  upon hearing that, for the seventh year in a row, Section 3 had won the prestigious annual “Best Section” award, as presented by Section 3. The award was created seven years ago.

Section 3, a perennial underdog for the perennial award, campaigned heavily in the weeks immediately preceding the awards ceremony, held March 3, 2013, in the basement of Professor Gary Peller’s house. 

The ceremony itself, a hallowed event in the annals of law school awards history, lasted an indeterminate amount of time, and featured a diverse (too diverse? not diverse enough? what is diversity?) selection of performers, presenters, and guests. 

Section 3 2L Jeff Liu reviewed the food, which was “exquisite,” though there could have been more emphasis on local, organic, vegan, fair trade sources. “Or more burgers. They ran out of burgers so fast,” commented Liu. 

Performers included famous Georgetown Law genderqueer  marine animal rights yo-yo troupe Stinger Swingers and Professor Naomi Mezey on keytar.

Section 3 also took home the award for “Best 1L Section” and “Best 2L section.” “Best 3L Section” resulted in a tie, for Section 3 and Section Three. 

“Competition was tough,” said Section 3 1L Taylor Matthews, who emceed this year’s awards show. “I tried to be objective, but I have to say, I was rooting for Section 3 all along.”

At press time, students from other sections could reportedly be found not giving a shit about Section 3. “Section 3 is the worst. Seriously. The worst,” one disgruntled students commented.

Kosmos’ Health Advice

Dear Kosmos,

Q: How do you stay motivated to go to the gym and work out?

        That’s an easy question. I go in search of my next hot date. People love to see their partners toned up and ready to go. I just rob some shiny oil on my body, and once I see a potential hot date coming, I jump on a treadmill, and that’s my exercise for the day. Pretty swell.

Q: How can I stay awake?

     You should get enough sleep. But if that is not possible, I would recommend drinking 5 cups of coffee a day, 3 bottles of Five-Hour Energy, and 4 cups of anything else that contains caffeine. You won’t be able to go to sleep for a while, and you will have time to study and socialize with people.

Q: I try to cook my own food so as to save money, but I despise what I make. Any suggestions?

         That’s pretty easy. Get a recipe book and follow directions. However, I have heard that there are people who have an aversion to being near the kitchen or making anything. If you are that type of person, you should make close friends with people who cook so that you can always visit them for free food. Don’t forget that there are lots of free food events, and you can sign up for the “freefoodlistserv.”

Q: How do I keep my concentration without taking drugs?

    Well you probably should sleep more, but I have heard that soaking your feet in ice cold water will definitely keep you awake. You can try that.  If that is not enough, studying in a cold room and trying to avoid thinking of the cold will help you concentrate more.

 

Where Do You Find Meaning?

1. Within the fortune cookie at your favorite Asian restaurant. If you wanted luck, this would be a good choice. But if you are seeking answers, a fortune picked at random by a total stranger would not be the answer.

2. A fortune teller. You may be able to divine the path of your soul from their predictions. But be aware that they tell the same thing to everyone that can pay their fees.

3. Philosophy. It can help you gain knowledge and understand of the meaning of life for others, but you may go raving mad to the point of losing it.

4. The rising sun. It can be a motivation to start life anew, but don’t become a roasted potato.

5. Music. If you can find your life’s meaning in music, then you can be swayed by anyone with a good voice and inspirational words. A con-artist, maybe?

6. Food and coffee. Sounds like you are just hungry.

7. Friends. Not all friends are good. Don’t try to find your meaning from bad friends or you may just end up behind bars.

8. Relationships. It’s best to already know yourself before starting a relationship or you will end up being led by the nose by your partner.

9. School. With the money you spend, you will find your life’s path, whether it’s as a lawyer or Walmart cashier.

10. Remember, however, that you can find the meaning of your life in odd places. See the picture below.

 

Surprising Retirement Plans of Georgetown Faculty

      Have you ever wondered what professors and deans would like to do upon retirement? I interviewed Professor Jane Aiken, Director of the Community Justice Project, Andrew Cornblatt, Dean of Admissions at the Law Center, and Professor David Cole to find out.

      As I prepared to interview Jane Aiken on what her future retirement plans were, I thought she would tell me any one of the standard answers—write a book, travel the globe, speak at different schools or work for the government. I never expected her answer.  She told me that it had always been her life long dream to be a farmer in Tennessee. Tennessee!! Growing up, she was exposed to family members who either were farmers or knew farmers. She grew up being aware of the growing decrease in farmers, and she wanted to contribute. However, to actually be a famer was not a line of business welcomed in her family. Her parents and older siblings had all completed graduate school, and she was expected to do the same. So according to her, “since I had a second passion for the law, I went to law school and obtained my JD. But because of debt, I had to start practicing law.”

But when I asked her why she didn’t drop out after she paid her debt, she laughed and said, “As I gained more fame as a lawyer, it was difficult to just throw in the towel and start digging the earth. I was forced to keep going. I don’t know why, but I felt that I had to keep going.” I guess that when she eventually retires, there is no need to keep going for her. She wants to rekindle her childhood dream. She plans to move to Tennessee after 2 years of retirement and take up farming. Asked whether she would not feel out of place or ashamed, she said, “I know a lot of professors in different schools or people in government or other blue collar jobs who, after retirement, have done something that no one would expect. For example, the senator who did Dancing With the Stars, so I am no different.”

     I also talked to Andrew Cornblatt, Dean of Student Admissions. His goal upon retirement was not to rekindle his second passion but to continue working with students like he always has. Apparently, his best memories are of his time spent at Camp Anawana, so he wants to volunteer at a camp. I asked him whether he could handle the daily affairs of the camp, and he laughed and said, “I will have people running the camp; I only want to open a camp for children.” I don’t think it is right to make fun of peoples’ retirement dreams, but I wonder if he has considered the liability from potential lawsuits. But if camp is what he wants, then he has every right to see his dream come through.

      I could practically predict Professor Cole’s answer.  He was my criminal procedure professor during my first year. I also knew he had worked for the Constitutional Project and was extremely pro-defense, so I wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary. So when I asked him what he wanted to do, he said he would like to educate “prisoners and susceptible neighborhoods about their legal rights so that the police could not abuse them.” What a typical answer. Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to accept it, so I pushed him to think about what he would do if the world was coming to an end tomorrow. He said, “I want law and order.” I gave up.  It was truly interesting to hear what professors and deans planned to do upon retirement. I guess there is no set track.  

 

(Happy April Fool’s! Love, Law Weekly.)

Top five interview tips meow meow meowww

Photo courtesy of Flickr.com
#dealwithit.
1. Own the room and show your dominance.

Rub your head all over the furniture as soon as you enter.

2. Keep other candidates from interviewing with your firm of choice.

Position your chair in the sun and fall asleep. If anyone comes in, attack them. If the firm doesn’t interview anyone else, they won’t be able to hire anyone else.

3. Show your playful side.

Crawl into an empty box. If anyone tries to make you come out, swat at their face with your hand.Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
It’s a cat in a box! A cat in a box girllll.

4. At callbacks, make sure you let them know you’re dedicated and ready to work.

As soon as you enter a partner’s office, lay on her keyboard and roll around. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Anything you can do, cats can do better.
Purring is a plus.

5. Go naked.

Wearing suits is for people who try too hard, and shoes are uncomfortable.

Bonus Tip: If you get nervous and throw up, you won’t want to leave any evidence. Eat it.

by Mr. Meowington, 3L

 

 

(Happy April Fool’s! Love, Law Weekly.)

THE SIDEBAR (presented by OCS and OPICS): Top 5 Things 1L Students Should Know About Early Interview Week (EIW)

With Spring Break just behind us, it’s hard to start thinking about fall recruiting, but over the next several weeks, you will hear a lot about the fall recruiting programs that OCS and OPICS will host, including Early Interview Week (EIW). Here are the top 5 things you should know about EIW.

1. EIW takes place before school starts and all deadlines are over the summer.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Probably the last thing you want to think about. Sorry.
EIW is August 12-August 16. Orientation for all participating students is August 9. All deadlines (most notably, the bidding deadline, July 17) are over the summer. It is essential that you continue to check your Georgetown email account over the summer to ensure that you don’t miss any important details or deadlines.

2. It is the primary point of entry into large, national law firms.

EIW is the largest recruiting program of the year. Over 400 employers conduct 7,000+ screening interviews during the week. The employers who participate tend to be large national or international firms with hundreds of attorneys. They conduct screening interviews followed by in-office “callbacks” for positions in the following summer’s program. If you have a successful summer with the firm, you are usually extended an offer to rejoin the firm after you graduate. Very few firms of this nature engage in 3L recruiting. Therefore, if you hope to work at a large firm upon graduating, you are strongly encouraged to participate in EIW.

3. Grades aren’t the only consideration. Success in EIW requires research, realism, and preparation.

EIW is not a prescreened program, which means that employers do not select which candidates they meet with. You have 50 “bids” to use on firms that you are interested in, and Symplicity runs a lottery to assign interviews. While firms will certainly consider grades in making callback decisions, some care more about grades than others. Students who succeed at EIW don’t always have top grades, but they have spent time meeting with their counselor, researching firms and being strategic about their bid list.

4. OCS and OPICS offer many ways to maximize success in EIW.

In addition to offering individual meetings with counselors, for the next several months, both offices will provide ways to enhance your success in recruiting. Start by attending one of the 15 available EIW Information Sessions, where we’ll get the technical details out of the way before summer so your counselor appointments can focus on your individual strategy.

Also, attend one of the 1L Firm Receptions on March 27 and April 11. They are an excellent opportunity to interact with attorneys at the firms you’re considering and will help when it comes time to narrow the field of EIW employers. Attend the Pro Bono Panel OPICS is hosting on April 5 to learn about incorporating public service into a private sector career.

5. While EIW is the primary point of entry for large firms, it is not the only game in town.

OCS offers a number of other recruiting programs for students interested in private sector employment, including Request for Resumes (RFR), Government Interview Program (GIP), September Interview Program (SIP), and the On-Tour Interview Programs (OTIPs). Be on the lookout for these deadlines.

by Amy Mattock
Director, Employer Outreach,
Office of Career Services

Genocide survivors speak out at human rights colloquium

On March 1, 2013, the Georgetown Human Rights Action-Amnesty International (GHRA-AI) club hosted, in partnership with the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, a colloquium discussing “The Forgotten Genocides.” The event featured a colloquium on genocides, war crimes, and other crimes against humanity.

Eze Eluchie, an LL.M. student who was born during the Biafran genocide in Nigeria, organized the event. The colloquium was an all- day affair consisting of three panels focusing on the politics of genocides,stories from genocides, and justice after genocides. Panelists represented a variety of fields, including an ambassador, activists, professors, and survivors of genocides from four continents.

Srdjan Darmanovic, the Ambassador of Montenegro, stressed the importance of leadership and its role in the starting and prevention of genocide. The conflict between justice and peace was discussed by panelists, who determined that an agreement based on impunity would not be successful, and that prosecuting every individual who participated would also not be wise. It was noted that the lack of a clear solution could be linked to a lack of a formalized standard for punishment.

The panel of survivors was comprised of individuals who experienced genocide as children, including the Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide, the Biafran genocide, and the Guatemalan genocide. All of the survivors felt that education was the best way to prevent future genocide. They believed that it was important to learn what happened in the past because forgetting would be a form of validating the genocides.

Education can also teach people how to avoid genocides by learning the warning signs and how to peacefully coexist. The survivors discussed the role of the international community.

A group of practitioner speakers focused on the topic of justice after genocide. Professor Maxwell Bloche of Georgetown University Law Center discussed his work interviewing genocide perpetrators, including why people choose to follow orders and engage in torture. Gregory Stanton, the president of Genocide Watch, noted that “evil is not the most powerful force in the world, love is.” Stanton believed in using modes and courts of justice appropriate to individual countries, such as the methods of community hearings employed in Rwanda.

One aspect of the colloquium discussion was the recurring use of rape as a weapon by genocide perpetrators. Many of the survivors and practitioners mentioned it in their discussions.

Panelist Niemath Ahmadi, the director of Global Partnerships United to End Genocide, in particular made it her mission to be a voice for women like herself who were raped during the Darfur genocide. Many of the rape victims in Darfur, and in other countries, are ostracized by their communities because they are viewed as damaged. In addition to rape, another tool of genocide perpetrators that all the survivors remembered was starvation. By controlling food aid, planting, and harvests, perpetrators could be far more effective in their aims.

The panelists are hopeful for the future, believing that with education, global attention, and a mechanism to hold perpetrators account able, genocide can be brought to an end.

by Hayley Webster, 1L

Clinic students Gibson, Wang save man from torture

Center for Applied Legal Studies students triumph in Immigration Court, win Torture Convention protection for Egyptian refugee.


Lee Wang and Elizabeth Gibson, 2Ls

The political upheaval in Egypt and the continued use of torture against political opponents and members of the LGBT community there may not be standard curriculum for most Georgetown Law students.  But in the fall, clinical students with the Center for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) mastered these issues to win a case before the U.S. Immigration Court.  With the hands-on legal skills taught through CALS, Lee Wang (2L) and Elizabeth Gibson (2L) prevented their client from being deported back to Egypt, and probably saved his life.

Wang and Gibson enrolled in CALS hoping to learn about immigration law, develop litigation skills, and serve a client in peril.  At the start of the semester, they were assigned to represent Waled Ahmed, who fled Egypt in 1995, at the age of 18, after being severely tortured by Egyptian security officials and police because of his sexual identity and his political opposition to the Mubarak regime.

As a gay adolescent, Waled also experienced beatings by religious fundamentalists in his Cairo neighborhood. The Egyptian authorities first tortured Waled and his boyfriend after the boys were picked up at a police checkpoint near Waled’s home.  Months later at a university protest, Egyptian authorities again arrested Waled and his boyfriend and tortured them for eight days in the infamous Ministry of Interior headquarters in Cairo. When he was released, his parents resolved to get him out of the country.  He obtained a visitor visa and fled to the United States.

In the United States, Waled was convicted of a drug offense that brought him to the attention of immigration authorities.  When Wang and Gibson first started preparing his claim for protection under the Convention Against Torture as a defense against deportation, Waled was still being held in detention and was subject to deportation.  Fortunately, the immigration authorities released him under an order of supervision in October, but he still faced his deportation hearing.

“Recognizing that Waled’s life depended on winning this case, Wang and I felt a daunting sense of responsibility.  “But Waled was such a source of inspiration. We just wanted to do everything we could to win his case.”

Waled had applied for Convention Against Torture protection, a status that enables those who face torture in their homelands to live and work in the United States.  In the course of the semester, Wang and Gibson faced the challenge of building a persuasive case in light of a strict legal standard and the need to help Waled remember the details of horrific events that occurred years earlier.  They interviewed Waled, meticulously investigated human rights conditions in Egypt, researched applicable asylum law, and wrote (and re-wrote) a substantial brief.  At the same time, they accumulated documents from Egypt and secured assistance from experts on LGBT issues, human rights violations in Egypt, and their client’s psychological and medical condition.  In all, they compiled a 700-page stack of 36 evidentiary exhibits that they filed in court.

Witness preparation and country conditions research posed particularly important challenges.  The two students had to ensure that their client, who suffered from memory issues because of posttraumatic stress disorder, could convey his story on the witness stand with sincerity and credibility.  Gibson and Wang faced the additional challenge of trying to accurately convey conditions in a country still in the midst of political upheaval.

“CALS students perform such heroic efforts because the cases are so demanding – we have to carry a significant burden of proof in immigration court,” said Professor Andy Schoenholtz, director of CALS for the Fall 2012 semester.  “Our students have proven to be incredibly dedicated, sustaining the long hours necessary to build the case, and learning how to pull it all together in court on the day of the hearing.”

After a formal judicial proceeding that lasted about an hour and a half, the government’s lawyer conceded the case and the judge granted Waled Ahmed relief under the Torture Convention.

Reflecting upon the semester’s experience, Gibson commented: “Before participating in CALS, I never had any real litigation experience.  The clinic’s supervisors did an excellent job helping me learn a wide range of lawyering skills, from making objections to subtle things like finding the right tone for a particular judge.  By the time the hearing arrived, I felt prepared and ready to advocate for Waled, and he was confident in Wang and me.”

The pedagogical philosophy of CALS stresses placing the students into situations of real responsibility.  The cases “belong” to the students, who make all the critical decisions and execute all the legal tasks.  The teaching staff (one professor and two graduate fellows each semester) is very closely engaged – the teacher to student ratio is only 4 to 1, ensuring a secure “safety net.” However, the students, not the teachers, undertake the essential tasks, such as drafting and signing the brief and speaking in court.

 

 by the Clinic for Applied Legal Studies

THE SIDEBAR (presented by OCS and OPICS): Law Firm Receptions

Large receptions, such as cocktail mixers, banquets, and award ceremonies, provide a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and colleagues and build new relationships. For law students, large receptions are often the first contact with larger, private-sector employers. With Early Interview Week (EIW) just a few months away, firms will be hosting events and coming to campus to meet students and educate you about what sets them apart. Before attending, prepare by researching employer websites and individuals’ bios.

“Does it really matter if I attend? How will it help me?”

There are at least two reasons to attend. First, informal conversations are an essential way to learn more about the employer and can provide insights about a firm that you aren’t able to glean from the marketing materials on websites.

Second, attending and speaking to attorneys shows interest in the firm. Demonstrating such an interest will prove useful, for example, when explaining to a firm at EIW why you bid on them.

“What should I wear?”

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Bad idea.
Unless otherwise specified, business casual is perfectly appropriate.

“What do I talk about?”

While receptions are a great way to connect with attorneys and learn more about an employer, they’re not interviews per se, so conversation doesn’t need to focus entirely on “work.” It remains a good idea, as in most social situations, to avoid polarizing topics like politics. These conversations are an opportunity to get to know potential future co-workers so the conversation can be light.

“Should I bring business cards? Resumes? How do I follow-up?”

We generally don’t recommend business cards for JD students. Most employers consider them “cheesy” and certainly don’t expect them. We also don’t recommend bringing your resume either because these are social functions, not job fairs.

To follow up, we suggest getting business cards from the people you meet and sending an email the next day saying how much you enjoyed your conversation and meeting with them.

“How do I politely leave a conversation?”

When the conversation has run its course or you feel it is time to move on, it’s perfectly acceptable to initiate an exit. One strategy: “Well, I’d hate to monopolize your time; I know that others want to speak to you/you’d like to speak with others. Thank you for your time.” If there’s a legitimate deadline looming, such as a study group, early class, or piles of reading, then cite those reasons. Be honest and pleasant, and be sure to ask for a business card before parting.

Receptions are a great opportunity to practice your networking skills and get to know employers before recruiting season kicks off later this summer. But remember that these receptions are only one type of networking. Personal connections, informational interviewing, and other one-on-one interactions remain important pieces of your job search and professional development.

by Amy Mattock
Director, Employer Outreach,
and Rob Cacace
Assistant Director, Small Firm Initiatives,
Office of Career Services

Students give back with alternative spring break

On March 3, 2013, 28 Georgetown Law students headed  down to New Orleans, Louisiana to  spend their Spring Break providing legal services on a pro bono basis for four organizations: the New Orleans Public Defenders Office, Juvenile Regional Services, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, and the Workers’ Center for Racial Justice.

The assignments at  each office varied, depending on the organization’s purpose. Students working with the Public Defenders Office accompanied attorneys to court, observed jury selection and trials, and conducted jail visits. Those at the Juvenile Regional Services had the opportunity to observe their attorney supervisors in action defending children and help draft memos and writs for their clients.

“I think these Spring Break trips are great in general because students get a chance to connect in a low pressure  environment with professionals working on some interesting cases,” said Daniel Smith, 2L, who volunteered  at the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services office.

At the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Smith and the other volunteers performed initial client interviews, helped clients obtain immigration visas, and researched everything from tax issues to conditions in Iraq, to help a client who had been denied SSI (supplemental security income) benefits because of a house owned there before he fled to the U.S. to avoid persecution for helping U.S. troops as a translator during the war.

“I am a big fan of legal aid offices, which provide legal services to low income individuals in areas from consumer law and housing issues to employment and benefits. SLLS is particularly interesting, as students worked on lingering housing issues from hurricanes, such as contractor disputes and FEMA payments, and projects related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, such as helping individuals document economic and other available damages,” said Smith. “While I was there, I helped out by researching an equal protection theory regarding unemployment compensation and drafting documents related to an issue dealing with food stamp eligibility procedures and homelessness.”

After working hours, the Georgetown Law volunteers enjoyed authentic Cajun and Southern comfort food, live jazz performances, and  the vibrant nightlife of Bourbon  Street. Although some returned “needing a vacation from their vacations,” many had an “experience of a lifetime” helping the people of New Orleans and enjoying life in the city. “New Orleans is a great city and there are many things to do beyond the bars,” said Smith.

 

by Lauren Refinetti