Playing the Game: How to Master Firm Receptions

Second semester 1L: Just when you thought you had a handle on law school—or at least a toehold—the mountain shifts, and you’re back to scrambling against the rockslide. They warned you about cold calls and outlines, but most 1Ls feel ambushed by journal tryouts, firm receptions, and  the summer job search. That’s a lot on top of your classes. And getting gussied up to schmooze a tax partner from Whitebread & Smith LLP on a school night may reasonably bottom-out your to-do list. Don’t let it. When firms come to town, they offer more than steak crostini and an open bar. In some cases, they offer jobs, and in all cases, they offer an opportunity to make connections, practice your “elevator pitch,” and learn what the hell transactional law is. Think of firm receptions as a moot OGI. Use them to become fluent in the language of law firms, and to figure out which of your qualities law firms want most. This is how you get a job. 

As a 1L, I went to as many receptions as I could. By OGI, I had refined my process for preparing for and attending them. I should emphasize that it was my process, bespoke for my neurotic, deeply awkward personality. Thus, some of my suggestions may not suit you, but they got me a job in my target market. Without further throat-clearing, here they are: 

Go to firm receptions.

….especially if you’re targeting NY or D.C. because most of the attendees will be from those offices. There may be some folks whose grades are so stellar, their personalities so disarming that they need only smile and nod to get a callback. The rest of us need to be able to speak with enthusiasm about the stuff on our résumés. We need to articulate our reasons for coming to law school, the things we’ve found interesting about being here, and what kind of job we want. That takes practice. But where are you going to find law firm partners with nothing better to do but gab about their firms and listen to you jabber? Firm receptions, duh. This, in my opinion, is the primary benefit of going to them. True, sometimes people get callbacks from receptions. Many more will form good connections that they can lean on when they bid on interviews in the summer. But even if you leave a reception with neither, you’ll at least have practiced talking to attorneys. That matters, I promise. As long as you’re paying attention, you’ll have learned which parts of your narrative work, and which parts leave them glassy-eyed. You’ll know why Cleary is the “quirky” firm, and Covington partners brag about profits per partner (Hint: bring up “siloing” and they’ll love you for it). 

Bring backup but don’t travel as a pack.

If you can help it, go with a friend or a group. This does a few things. One, it keeps you honest. Like a gym buddy, you’re more likely to suit up and go if you have someone else counting on you. Second, going with people you know feels a lot less awkward. If there’s a lull in the conversation, it’s easy to bring up a common activity or interest and get people talking (“John and I are both going to be in the Libel show next month! Did you ever perform in Libel?”) Rolling in with a squad will also boost your self-confidence and put you at ease, but be careful not to cling to them too much. Covering ground at a reception requires flexibility. Often, that means gracefully exiting a conversation once you’ve made a lasting impression. Orchestrating a smooth departure is necessarily harder if you’re trying to extract two or three people from the conversation circle. Traveling as a pack also makes it hard to squeeze in next to that need-to-meet partner and easy to get lost in a string of introductions. Instead, try the tag team method. If you’re eager to peace out of a conversation, and you see bae near you, pull her into the circle, introduce her, talk her up a bit, and use that as an opportunity to withdraw. Finally, carpooling and sharing Ubers makes going downtown three times a week a lot more feasible.

Don’t be afraid to eat.

Few topics get people talking like food does. That’s especially true for lawyers with their firm’s credit cards. How lucky, then, that you can always count on a sampling of Charlottesville’s finest at these events. Don’t be fooled. The food is there less for your nourishment than to feed conversation. (“Have you tried the sushi? It’s delightful.” “Oh you if you like sushi you have to try my favorite sushi joint in D.C.”) So, eat in moderation. The same goes for alcohol. One glass of beer or wine might lead you smoothly into a conversation about Charlottesville’s excellent breweries and wineries, but any more than that will sail your résumé smoothly to the trash. Dean Donovan recommends one fewer drink than it would take for you to start “feeling” it. Eating and drinking at the same time? Not recommended. You should keep your right hand free and dry at all times to introduce yourself. You can’t do that with a beer in one hand and a plate of crispy shrimp in the other. 

Do your research. 

Shockingly, many people go to firm receptions knowing next to nothing about the firm. Don’t be so foolish. At the very least read the firm’s pages in Chambers (that free book that career services gives out).  Just that will set you apart, but if you want to go a step further, read about the firm on its website. That will tell you how the firm views itself, and give you a peak at the firm’s culture which you can then ask more about in person (“I read that your firm really values collegiality, how does the firm promote that culture?”). Partners and associates will appreciate that you’ve looked into their firm, and that you’re not asking clichéd 1L questions (e.g., “So, what’s your firm’s culture like?”). If you have time, look up the attorneys in attendance either on their firm’s website or on LinkedIn. That way you can identify the attorneys you need to meet, and bank some good questions about their backgrounds. It’s not creepy. If the firm sent a list of people they’re sending, the attorneys will be expecting you to know who they are. 

Don’t be boring, but don’t be a dick.

When asked, “Where are you from?”, aspire to more than one word with your answer. It doesn’t matter how obscure, boring, or podunk your home town. Have something to say about it. This goes for more than home towns. Frequently, during firm receptions, you will be expected to pitch yourself. You might see the spotlight coming, or it may land on you without warning. I’ve been to receptions where the partner asked everyone in the circle to share his or her journey to law school, and others where a partner singled me out for a “mock” interview. Saying, “I’m from Kansas, and this is the best law school I could get into” will earn you nothing but a courtesy chuckle. Take the time to work out an elevator pitch. Write it out and practice it with Career Services if you have to. Once you’ve memorized the highlights, you can adapt it to virtually any situation. When the spotlight catches you, you’ll be ready to perform. But being interesting does not mean everyone else must be uninteresting. Don’t hog the attention. When your classmates are waiting to talk to an associate, don’t take the conversation where no one can follow. If you’ve been talking for more than a minute, hook in one of your classmates. They will appreciate it, and the attorneys will take notice.

Go on time

Here’s a secret: attorneys are just as awkward at firm receptions as we are. Many of the ones that get sent to receptions are only a few years older than us and they’re no better at making small talk. Going right when the reception starts makes it a little easier on everyone. If you’re one of the first 1Ls to arrive, you get your pick of the attorneys while they’re fresh and eager to meet you. You don’t have to worry about sliding into a conversation circle or shouting to be heard. You can even ask the recruiters to introduce you to people. You also have the benefit of talking to many attorneys at once. The typical pattern at these events is that individual attorneys spread out across the venue and each receive a cluster of 1Ls. If you show up early, the pattern is reversed. You get to hold court with a cluster of attorneys. 

Follow through.

For better or worse, attorneys will remember you if you had a conversation with them. Though they may not remember your name, they’ll certainly remember what you talked about and whether they liked you. If you feel like you had a good conversation with a few attorneys, get your name in their inboxes. This requires you to remember their name (or get a business card), and email them the next day at the latest. It doesn’t have to be flashy or poetic. Your email should merely remind them of your conversation and thank them for taking the time to talk with you. Career Services can help you with the exact wording. If you do it right, you can email that person during the summer when you’re putting together your bid list, and they’ll be reminded of the pleasant conversation you once provided. This can translate into a good word with the hiring partner, or, in some cases, an early screener interview.



Snacks and Cite Checks: A Guide to Journals

Eric Hall '18
Editor Emeritus, Jr.

There’s a lot of misinformation around North Grounds about journals, their importance, and the differences between them. With this article, I seek to clarify some of that. I won’t say which journal is the best or the most prestigious (I’m plainly biased). And I don’t seek to answer every question for every person. I can only give you my suggestions for criteria that might matter to you speaking as someone who got on a journal, served on a managing board, and found a job at OGI. 


    Should I Join a Journal?

Too often 1Ls overlook the most basic question they should be asking: is it even worth it to join a secondary journal? The answer, I think, is usually yes but not for the reason you’ve often heard parroted. You should not join a journal if you’re only doing it because you heard employers will “think you’re weird” if you don’t have one of our ten journals printed on your résumé. Of the dozens of law firms I interviewed with at OGI, only one associate ever asked about VLBR and only because he was an alumnus of the journal. By the time you interview next fall, you won’t have a clue about how a journal is run. At best, you’ll have done one cite check. Certain journals do offer 1L leadership positions, but even if you get one of those, your responsibilities usually won’t kick in until after OGI. At OGI, if you find yourself discussing your 1L journal experience, something has probably gone terribly wrong in that interview. You should have something else on your résumé that is more interesting to talk about. So, if there’s a student organization or a pro bono activity you find more interesting than working on a journal, that’s a perfectly legitimate, non-weird reason to have no journal on your résumé. 

    Don’t mistake me, journals are helpful for OGI. If there’s an area of the law that is lacking on your résumé, journals serve as a strong signal of your interest in the topic. It shows that you’re tapped in to business law, or tax law, or law and politics. This is especially true if you achieve a leadership position. You show employers that you’re not just on a journal because “at Virginia, everyone’s on a journal.” 

    The real benefit of being on a journal comes from engaging with the process of legal scholarship. Legal scholarship is unique in that we let students—often with nearly zero experience in the field—choose and edit the articles that define the cutting edge of an area of law. This bizarre arrangement is evidently built on a compact that entrusts law students with incredible power in exchange for our free Bluebooking services. This is great for us! We get to work with powerful thought-leaders at law schools across the nation, and put our names on a physical product that will (hopefully) be cited time and again. For anyone committed to studying the law, there are few more rewarding activities in law school. 


Which Journal Should I Join?

The extent to which you will have the above experience will vary tremendously, however, depending on which journal you choose and what position you hold. The same position on different journals has vastly different opportunities to engage like this. If you want to understand how a journal works, interact with authors, and have a hand on the helm, you’ll want to choose a journal that offers 1L leadership. Getting involved as a 1L is the best way to be on the senior managing board later. VLBR, for example, offers Articles Editor positions to certain 1Ls which puts them in a position of ownership over an entire article. Ask the managing board of the journals you’re considering what roles they served in when they were 1Ls.

As an editor, your ability to shape and direct legal scholarship also depends on the strength of your journal. Choose a journal that is stable and respected. You can gauge how well-respected a journal is by inquiring about its peers and the credentials of the authors that typically publish in the journal. Stability comes from the journal’s ability to attract top talent from the journal tryout year after year, the journal’s ability to maintain subscriptions and solicit articles, and—perhaps most important—its ability to publish on a regular, timely schedule. Be sure to ask about these features at your journal’s office hours and open houses after the tryout. In particular, ask when the journal published last. This year, with impending audits and the administration limiting funding to journals, stability is more important than ever. Choose a journal that will be here next Fall and after you graduate. 

Finally, it’s worth asking about your expectations as an editorial board member on the journal. Cite checks are a super-massive time sink. Most journals will only tell you how many cite checks are required, but not how many footnotes per cite check. Having only two cite checks may sound easy until you discover that each one is 60 footnotes. Will there be a note requirement? If so, can you submit a paper written for one of your classes? A good rule of thumb is that a larger journal requires less work from each individual editor. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t responsibility available to those who want it. Though you can ascend to more impressive-sounding titles quickly on a small journal, larger journals allow more direct leadership early on. Because large journals have more people, leadership positions within in actually involve managing a group of people.  

There are plenty of peripheral considerations that may influence your decision more personally. (E.g., does the journal still print? Will it have a symposium?) But the criteria I’ve named here should be central to your decision. Don’t worry too much about which journals have the best food or the fanciest office. Those are irrelevant. Instead pay attention to features that will let you leave your mark on legal scholarship.  



1 I serve as the outgoing Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Law & Business Review.

2 VLBR received 127 applications last year, 33 more than the next most popular secondary journal.



Guest Opinion: Untangling the Immigration Debate

Max Wagner '19
Guest Columnist

In the last month there has been a lot of talk about “comprehensive immigration reform” and the category of immigrants commonly called “DREAMers.” President Trump unveiled his immigration reform plan, which is extremely generous.1 During the same timeframe, the Democrats have shut down the government demanding a “clean DACA Bill.” Unless you study politics and are actively engaged in the discussion on a daily basis, a lot of these policy proposals, acronyms, and euphemisms can get confusing. It is my hope to be able to untangle some of this confusion. Because the length limitations inherent in a school newspaper, this will be the first part of what I hope to be a several-part series looking at this confusing issue. Part one will focus on three terms which have gained prominence recently, discussing their origins and how they are being used to obfuscate the issue. These words will be “undocumented immigrant,” “DREAMer,” and “chain(ed) migration.”

The first term, “undocumented immigrant,” is a term that has been contested for at least a decade. This is the term put forward by the left for those in the country illegally. The real debate is whether the adjective that accompanies immigrant should be “illegal” or “undocumented.” The difference here is not in meaning, but rather implication. The word “illegal” denotes that the person being described has, in some way, broken the law. In this context, the law or laws being broken are the United States federal immigration laws. While referring to “illegal immigrants” has the unfortunate effect of being sometimes being shortened to merely “illegals” (sometimes out of convenience, sometimes out of malice), it is the more accurate term. What is more, the purpose of this euphemistic change from “illegal” to “undocumented” is to make it seem more acceptable for the government to grant such immigrants legal status, regardless of the breaking of our nation’s laws. The change to “undocumented” raises the question: why not just give them documents? In attempting to change the term, advocates are trying to blur the lines of the debate. For this series, the term I will be using is the more accurate, “illegal immigrant.”

The next term is “DREAMer.” This term comes from the anagram for the 2001 proposed legislation, the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. The term “DREAMer” refers to a specific subset of illegal immigrants, those who arrived in the United States when they were children. Those eligible for relief under this act had to meet certain requirements, including age and clean criminal background checks. This bill never passed, and has been proposed in various forms for the last seventeen years or more. This group of illegal immigrants came to prominence with the signing of President Obama’s executive order in 2012, “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” or DACA, which is believed by some scholars to be unconstitutional. While the DREAMers are illegal immigrants, there has long been an understanding that there is a distinction between those who willfully violated the American immigration laws and those who were brought over as children. This is a distinction I agree with. DREAMers did not choose to come here, in most circumstances. They were brought here through little or no fault of their own, and it makes sense that a separate solution for them should be discussed.

It is important, when going through different policy proposals, to get an accurate idea of who this group includes. Hardliners on both sides exaggerate to make their point. The first thing to note is that a majority of the DREAMers were brought over as teenagers. This is still a difficult time to exercise autonomy in deciding where you live, but it is not the picture many on the far left try to paint—of infants being brought over before they can walk or talk. Here, they still lacked significant agency, but the claim that this is the only nation they have known is false. In order to find the best solution, we have to be honest about the experiences of members of this group. 

The next point that should be discussed is the literacy and English fluency of the DREAMers. While there are DREAMers who succeed in the U.S., the fact is many of the DREAMers lack fluency in English. According to one study, as many as 24 percent of DREAMers are functionally illiterate, with 46 percent having only “basic” English skills. To compound this, according to the same source, only 49 percent of DREAMers have a high school diploma, despite a majority of them being adults. Finally, we hear a lot about the DREAMers in the military. This is true; there are some DREAMers in the military. The decision to serve a nation of which you are not a citizen and has made no promise of citizenship is incredibly commendable and patriotic. In fact, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said he will personally defend all serving DACA recipients from deportation if no deal is reached—an admirable statement defending admirable men and women who have chosen to serve. However, the number of DREAMers enlisted in the U.S. military is roughly 900. That is 0.13 percent. This is not to diminish the incredible sacrifice and service of those 900, who should have special consideration in these discussions, it is important to know this is a relatively small number of DREAMers. While there has to be some discussion about this particular group of illegal immigrants, it is important to define who they are so we can make correct decisions.

The final term I want to discuss is “chain(ed) migration.” As you may notice, there are odd parentheses in this term. That is because we are currently in the middle of an attempted shift in the use of this term. Dating back decades, this term was used to describe the immigration situation we have now, where once immigrants are issued a green card, they can apply to bring members of their family over. This is a descriptive term. As one person is approved and arrived in the United States, successive applications create a “chain” of their family members who may immigrate to the country as well. Unfortunately, the Democrats have begun to say the term is racist. This began with Senator Dick Durbin, who claimed it reminds African-Americans of the chains slaves wore when they were brought from Africa to the United States. This is an absurd argument given that chain migration has no relation to slavery or physical chains at all, nor is the term in anyway racially motivated. We are currently in the middle of an attempted shift from “chain migration” to “chained migration.” This shift is an attempt to further call back to the slave trade and paint the term as one of racial animus. This is an insidious attempt to try and reframe the debate from terms that have been used for decades to terms friendlier to the policy proposals of the left. As discussed before, this term in no way references race or ethnicity in any way. It is a descriptive term that has been used for over seventy years. 

As we move forward through this series, there are three points to remember: (1) The attempted change from “illegal immigrant” to “undocumented immigrant” is subtle and designed to favor a solution before the discussion occurs; (2) DREAMers are a special subgroup of illegal immigrants who are not entirely what the left is portraying them to be; and (3) the term “chain migration” is not a racist term, no matter how much Democrats want it to be, nor is it the insidious “chained migration.” It is merely a description of how the immigration provision works. 


1 This plan would provide a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million DREAMers, and significant numbers of their parents. 


3 Id.

4 Id.

5 Mattis’ Statement:

6 As noted by Jonah Goldberg, this term has been used in scholarly papers going back to 1943

7 Id. 

Human Rights in Action: A Trip to Troubled Myanmar

Bonnie Cantwell '19
Guest Columnist

On the neatly gridded streets of downtown Yangon stands an abandoned Italianate building. It is turquoise in color, but a careful eye will notice a pop of verdant green. That green, on further inspection, is a tree. The building’s foundation is surprisingly stable, despite the misplaced garden and weather-worn exterior. This building, with its bright coloring and steadfast foundation, attests both to the harshness of the twentieth century in Myanmar and the opportunities for growth in the twenty-first. 

In the last century, Myanmar experienced British colonial rule, independence, occupation by Japanese forces during World War II, and the formation of a military government. Now, in the twenty-first century, the country is ruled by coinciding civil and military governments. The establishment of a legitimate civil government is no easy task. It requires the confidence of the citizenry, from both ethnic majorities and minorities. This confidence rests on the guarantee of essential liberties, which in turn requires the institutional capacity to safeguard individual rights. At each turn, there is an opportunity for reflection and dialogue. 

The students of the UVa Law Human Rights Study Project are learning from this ongoing process. We have each selected a discrete research topic, ranging from social entrepreneurship in Yangon to freedom of speech, land use, the peace process, and rule of law. During winter break 2018, we commenced field research to develop our academic pursuits in the context of Burmese culture. This semester, we will continue the project by preparing research papers on our respective topics. We now apply our academic tools, but our stay in Myanmar allowed us to appreciate the tangibility of our topics.  

If you would like to learn more about Myanmar (Burma), explore these books and film: 

Finding George Orwell in Burma, Emma Larkin 

The River of Lost Footsteps: A Personal History of Burma, Thant Myint-U

The Lady (2011)



How the Health Law Association is Changing the Game at UVa Law

Virginia Health Law Association

This past year, no student organization has generated more discussion on campus than Health law Association (HLA), which went from relative obscurity to becoming the campus’ hottest student org. Keep reading for more on this popular and sometimes controversial organization and their plans for this semester.

How long has Health Law Association been around?

Some say that HLA existed before the Law School, but we don’t think that’s important. Chicken/egg, egg/chicken? What matters is that HLA is still here and stronger than ever. We’re continuing to generate buzz on campus. For example, in September we had a general interest meeting where we offered free pizza and a free side salad. Who does that, just give away free food like that to the masses? It’s crazy, but it’s what we’re all about: inclusion and acceptance. It’s our cornerstone, really. Yeah, we draw an inevitable contrast to UVa charging $65 to go to Barrister’s. Does that make us more inclusive than UVa? Hey, you said it, not us.

What are the goals of the organization?

We want to be the best—it’s that simple, really. Consider Law Review. We all know how badly 1Ls hope to make Law Review; our goal is that in the next few years, people will want to join HLA with that same sort of fervor. And to be honest, we’re practically there already. We understand that we dominate the social scene here at UVa, and it’s not lost on us that we throw the most impressive career panels and talks. So going forward, we just want the recognition amongst the Charlottesville community of today’s reality: we are the top dog.

We also hope to reach one million likes on Facebook in 2019. Currently, we have 140 likes, so we are not quite there yet. But with our #roadtoonemillion campaign, we anticipate reaching one million likes by December. Who knows—the sky is our limit at HLA. Like us at

Lastly, we hope to eradicate the problem of a lack of suitable drinking water in this world. There has been a lot of conversation on campus about why the HLA bulletin board is blank. It’s not out of laziness; we’re making a statement here. There are currently 844 million people without suitable drinking water in this world. Safe water should not be a privilege of only those who are rich or live in urban metropolises. Thus, until that number hits zero, we at HLA will continue keeping our board barren, standing in solidarity with all those who lack access.

The barren HLA bulletin board. Nothing will be posted on it until there is no longer a lack of suitable drinking water in this world. Photo courtesy of HLA.

The barren HLA bulletin board. Nothing will be posted on it until there is no longer a lack of suitable drinking water in this world. Photo courtesy of HLA.

Why should people join?

To be part of something truly elite. HLA is greater than any one person. We provide a forum in which students, academics, professionals, and community partners with an interest in health law can collaborate to enhance our understanding of the health law practice and advance the health and wellness of our communities.

Moreover, if you’re not with us, you’re against us. And believe us when we say HLA is not an enemy you want to have. We know we have haters (we’re not dumb). But bad news: we have so much more for our haters to be mad at—just be patient. A wolf doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.

Just read what our members have to say: 

“It’s funny—you read about Jonestown and you can’t begin to grasp how a group of people could be so committed to a cult to the point where they would drink the Kool-Aid and kill themselves for it. And now, after being part of HLA, I finally get it.” – Alana Broe, Vice President of Social Events and Interdisciplinary Activities

“Being in HLA is like being hugged by an angel.” – Anonymous 1L HLA Member

“The instructions in my will are simple. Leave all my earthly belongings to my fiancé, Sanders. Except my HLA t-shirt—bury me in that.” – Caroline Kessler, President

What events have been held in the past? 

Well, in October, we had our first annual Health Law & Business Mixer. It was a true rager, so much so that Pav security got called on us. 2L partygoer Angela Dunay described it as a “huge success.” “I don’t socialize when my boyfriend Andrew is out of town, but I made an exception for the HLA party that evening. It was that sort of night, if you know what I mean,” Dunay said.

Party critic Angela Dunay has nothing but positive things to say about HLA's party. Photo courtesy of HLA.

Party critic Angela Dunay has nothing but positive things to say about HLA's party. Photo courtesy of HLA.

Then in November, we held our annual Fall Career Panel. Organized by 2L celebrity and Vice President of Academic and Career Events Will Hall, our panel featured exclusively women. This was our stance against the patriarchy. We received a lot of positive press about it, and we’ve quickly outpaced Virginia Law Women when it comes to advocating for women in the field of law.

Speaking of your career panel, would you care to comment on the controversy HLA found itself embroiled in last semester?

Ah, the elephant in the room: Laura Dern. Our Fyre Festival, if you will. Look, for that Fall Career Panel, we had a host of great speakers share their rich experiences in the field of health law, ranging from an associate working on FDA regulatory matters to a trial attorney working in the DOJ’s vaccine litigation group. But no, we didn’t have any insights from Big Little Lies’ Laura Dern, whom many people showed up to hear from after widespread rumors of her appearance at the event. Indeed, rumors ran rampant that Ms. Dern would be making an appearance to discuss a career in health law, and we know there were a lot of faces in that crowd who were feeling the Dern, so to speak. Well, we at HLA failed to quash these rumors. But let us be clear here. We learned a lesson, we have moved forward in the face of significant backlash, and we choose to live in the present. Our past does not define us.

What events are coming up this semester?

HLA has loaded the docket this semester, as we are officially the most active student organization on Grounds.

First, we have our annual Spring Career Panel on February 22 from 4 to 5 in Purcell Reading Room. This is an excellent opportunity to network ahead of OGI and learn more about law firm careers in health law. We have the hottest names in the field of law.

We’re also having a President’s Day party on February 16 to celebrate the new HLA board after elections take place this month. Should be pretty belligerent.

Can you comment further on the elections?

This February, there is about to be a tremendous power vacuum on North Grounds. The current HLA board plans to step down from their positions, and a new host of health law aficionados shall ascend to power. Students can apply for President, Vice President of Academic and Career Events, Vice President of Social Events and Interdisciplinary Activities, Vice President of Communications, Vice President of Finance, and/or Vice President of Pro Bono Activities. It promises to be the most bitterly contested, contentious HLA elections to date.

To learn how to join our movement, contact HLA President Caroline Kessler at

Comparative Studies in the City of Love

Briana Echols '20
Guest Columnist

Briana Echols in front of the Eiffel Tower. Photo courtesy of Briana Echols.

Briana Echols in front of the Eiffel Tower. Photo courtesy of Briana Echols.

The wonderful Audrey Hepburn once said, “Paris is always a good idea.” As a 1L with no real insight, admittedly this was the biggest piece of advice I relied on when signing up for the French Public and Private Law course— otherwise known as “the Paris J-Term.” Granted, I had heard a few times previously that many legal systems in Europe varied greatly from the U.S.: an inquisitorial versus adversarial system. What that meant exactly or rather what an inquisitorial system “looked like,” was a bit beyond me. Therefore, I figured it would be a good chance to do a little traveling and find out first hand.

The first night in Paris, I was joined by ten students from my UVa cohort and our professor, Madame Goré, for dinner. While I didn’t brave up and finally try escargot (something I’ve been trying to convince myself to do for a while), I can confirm French onion soup is even better in France—go figure! What I enjoyed more than the food, however, was getting to know my fellow classmates and instructor in a more intimate and authentic setting. The restaurant, La Petite Chaise, was founded in 1680, making it the oldest restaurant in Paris. Madame Goré also informed us we were the smallest class in her ten years of teaching the course – most years consisted of about twenty or so students. 

For the next eight days, my classmates and I attended our “small section” lectures, went on field trips, and had more than ample time to independently explore the city. For five of the nine days, Madame Goré gave traditional two-hour lectures. The curriculum could best be described as an introduction to comparative studies, where the similarities and differences between the French and U.S. legal systems were examined. The course offered insight into some unique features of French law and government that had evolved from cultural and historical facets of the French state over time. We also briefly discussed the development of the EU from France’s perspective and predictions of how the EU’s relationship with its various countries is expected to progress. 

Occasionally after our lectures, the class would go on field trips. We were given private tours at the Conseil d’Etat (state council) and Conseil Constitutionnel (constitutional council). These entities could very loosely be likened to our Supreme Court and Congress. Simply put, the Conseil d’Etat presides over public matters (which does not include the criminal system), giving advice on policies to the government and parliament while also settling disputes involving public agencies. The Conseil Constitutionnel, on the other hand, supervises elections and determines if passed laws and bills fall in line with the French constitution. 

On days when there were no field trips, we were left to our own devices and able to explore the city. This was the first time I had traveled to Paris, so of course I did all of the very obnoxious and “touristy” things, e.g. the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles. I also explored several restaurants with my classmates, which made for great bonding time. It is a given that Paris is a beautiful city with centuries of history behind it. All I have to offer on that notion is it does indeed live up to its reputation. On my flight home, I reflected with surprise on the amount of information I had garnered in just a few days, and how fun it was to learn it all. For anyone who enjoys interactive learning, and having a bit of fun while doing it, I’d highly recommend the French Public and Private Law J-Term course.


What’s the First Rule of Feb Club? Talk About Feb Club

Chrissy Oberg '18 and Beau Daen '18
Guest Columnists

By this point in your law school career, no matter your year, you have probably accepted the age-inappropriate nature of your social life. But while your friends spend their time wasting away at expensive brunches in various cities around the country, why not embrace your dwindling youth and join in some harmless fun the whole Law School can enjoy?

NGSL historian Charles T. Baker, after exhaustive research, has found that Feb Club dates back at least to the mid-80s when one enterprising alum (now a partner) hosted a black tie New Year’s Eve knock off on “Feb Club Eve.” “It’s a tradition as old as time, and the highlight of my year,” says Charles Baker, who is most excited about this year’s “Tide Pods & Cheese” event.

In all seriousness, Feb Club is something wholly unique to UVa Law and the general collegiality we enjoy here. It gives 1Ls the opportunity to get out of the rut of cycling between Ivy, Pav, and the Biltmore and to meet 2Ls and 3Ls in a low-stress, unstructured environment. Who knows what kind of good advice you might get in a dirty basement from some 3L in a toga who is clerking on the Fourth Circuit? Moreover, Feb Club allows the numerous affinity groups and social clubs at the school to host parties where each and every student is invited, giving everyone the opportunity to socialize outside of their usual circle. 

We are happy to have posted the Feb Club Calendar in this issue and you will be able to find more details about each party on Facebook. We encourage all students and professors to attend as many parties as possible, make new friends, come to theme parties you don’t quite understand (again Tide Pods & Cheese), and remember that exams are more than two months away.

Your Feb Club Cruise Directors,

Chrissy Oberg & Beau Daen 

Feb Club Calendar  (1).jpg


A Father-Daughter Dance: Choreography by Strunk, White, Pesci, and Holmes

Molly McDonald '18
Guest Columnist

Having taken a couple more years off after college than the average law student, I have noticed things that set me apart from most classmates. A birthdate in the 1980s comes to mind.  One of my professors was the same year in school as my sister, and my boyfriend. But another aspect of being (slightly) old for my class is that I started law school, in 2016, just as my dad announced his impending retirement after more than thirty-seven years at the law firm. Poetic, right?

Then came winter break of 2L, also known as the longest uninterrupted stretch I’ve spent at my parents’ house since 2010. The retirement announcement had come and gone, and the actual transition was upon us. Dad spent the week after Christmas cleaning out his office while Mom pressed him on where he was going to put all of the stuff once it got to the house. I spent the week watching Game of Thrones, talking to Mom for hours at the kitchen island, occasionally socializing, and devising ways to make it seem like I was producing fewer recyclables than I actually was. My laundry consisted primarily of socks and items with elastic waistbands.  

But I knew I would be gearing up for school again soon, and I wondered what retirement would look like when I left. Over coffee one morning, Dad asked me if—in my antitrust class that had ended two weeks earlier—we had talked about “two-sided platforms” in defining a market to analyze potential competitive effects. He had an article on a pending Supreme Court case due at the end of January, and I realized that his key fob might have been deactivated, but his pen wasn’t down. After all, he wrote frequently while working, turning out articles ranging from the origin of the antitrust exemption for baseball (called “Stealing Holmes”), to a more recent essay on the prolific misuse of the word “literally.”

Dad’s victory lap year, or whatever “of counsel” means, ended along with 2017. In 2017, he traveled to offices in various parts of the country giving legal writing presentations to associates in his firm’s other offices. Several of the slides he used were just written versions of things he attempted to teach me and my sister while we were still in car seats (e.g., the difference between envy and jealousy).  One slide featured The Princess Bride, because Dad is the ever-optimistic writer who thinks that English is, as Wesley was, only mostly dead. The prominence of grammar and My Cousin Vinny as topics of conversation in our family cannot be overstated. I like to think that the family banter is borne of a love of language first and foremost, which translates to law. Mom isn’t as tickled by grammar as we are, but she is a lawyer (UVa Law Class of 1980, and long retired herself), while my sister isn’t a lawyer but is tickled by grammar; it evens out. The fact that we all love to laugh is just a gloss—a thick one.  

Near the end of winter break, I sat in a minimally comfortable chair to Dad’s left in a French restaurant outside D.C. as we toasted his retirement. He recounted how, at the “goodbye” lunch the firm had put on the week prior, a colleague shared a story about him in trial (if it was elementary school for me, my guess for location would be Madison, Wisc.). Apparently there were multiple ways to argue that a certain statement was admissible evidence by stretching one of the traditional rules, but Dad said to the judge something along the lines of, “Yes, Your Honor, but I’ve always wanted to get something in under the residual exception to the [hearsay] rule, and this just seems like the perfect opportunity.” He was talking about FRE 803(24), now FRE 807, and he did it. In 2010, Dad won an appeal in the Second Circuit, but still insisted on filing a “Motion to Correct the Opinion.”  In millennial speak: I didn’t even know that was a thing. But he did it, because he thought it would help prevent Supreme Court review, and it was granted. It is safe to say that being a lawyer was fun for him, most of the time.  

I am very close with my family, and I may be extra sensitive to their pains—both physical and professional.  When we were little, my sister got hurt at an amusement park and needed stitches; I remember my poor mom telling me, as I was bawling face-down in a chair, that she couldn’t console me because she had to console my sister.  When I was six or seven I got in a car accident with my mom and sister over the winter holidays.  An old lady ran a stop sign, I hit my head, and I was generally shaken up.  When school started again, I told my teacher (exasperated, probably through tears) the accident was the exact same day that “Dad lost the jury in his case.”  Perhaps my emotional readings for physical pain and legal losses were uncomfortably close.  More than twenty years later, I just know I was lucky to have parents who cared about their jobs, even if I didn’t have a clue what the fuss was about with antitrust and baseball. 

I learned something pretty cool from my parents’ (most recently my dad’s) legal careers.  I learned what it looks like not only to be a good lawyer, but also to do something fulfilling while writing, winning, losing, teaching, and laughing.  If there were ever a baton I did not want to drop…


Innovation in Israel: A J-Term Story

Brian Diliberto '19
Guest Columnist

Students visited Israel over the break and were able to enjoy the Tel Aviv waterfront. Photo courtesy of Ali Zablocki.

Students visited Israel over the break and were able to enjoy the Tel Aviv waterfront. Photo courtesy of Ali Zablocki.

Israeli Business Law and Innovation is a unique course offered to UVa Law students during the January Term. Students interested in exploring the recent developments in the Israeli start-up scene, or who want to explore a bustling foreign business and legal market, are encouraged to apply. 

Alongside UVa Law Professors Michal Barzuza and Dotan Oliar, fifteen students spent five days (four days in Tel Aviv and one day in Jerusalem) exploring the recent developments in business law and entrepreneurship within Israel, known as the Silicon Valley of the Middle East. Having never been to the Middle East, I saw the study abroad program as a unique opportunity to engage in a comparative analysis of the U.S. and Israeli approaches, while refining my understanding of Israeli business law, politics, and culture.

In preparing for the course, I read Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle, by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. I was surprised to learn that despite being the size of New Jersey, Israel has more companies listed on the NASDAQ exchange than all companies from the entire European continent, an incredible feat considering Israel has a population of just over 8.1 million people. With the highest density of start-ups in the world, Israel has the highest level of venture capital as a share of GDP of any nation.

As the name of the program suggests, a major theme throughout the course was Israeli entrepreneurship, especially in the high-tech market. We met with Eitan Israeli, Vice President and General Counsel for, a cloud-based web development platform that allows users to create HTML and mobile websites, and which today boasts a $1.7 billion market cap. We also met with Nir Tarlovsky—vice chairman and co-founder of Israeli company The Time—who is one of the leading Israeli early-stage investors in the digital space, focusing on technology startups in new media, mobile, digital life, and digital video. Tarlovsky brought in several Israeli entrepreneurs to pitch their business plans, and we were instructed to ask critical questions throughout each presentation.

Israeli corporate law was a major theme: we explored topics including corporate litigation, corporate control, corporate branding, and marketing. We met with Judge Ruth Ronnen from the Israeli Economic Court, which we learned was modeled after the Delaware Court of Chancery. Further, the program included introductions to Israel’s “innovation ecosystem,” IP law, medical privacy and big data, e-regulation, and IPOs of biotech companies on U.S. exchanges. We met with Michal Rosen-Ozer, widely respected as the top white-collar criminal defense attorney in the nation, and Dr. Ilan Cohn, senior partner at Gilat Bareket/Reinhold Cohn, the largest intellectual property law firm in Israel. 

We participated in a nuanced exploration of the nation’s legal system and politics, and dived into a fascinating discussion on geopolitical issues in the region. We learned how Israel’s unique history has contributed to the country’s entrepreneurial successes; the region’s “chutzpah” was palpable. We visited the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, where we had formal presentations with the Director of International Law and discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Throughout the trip, students engaged in a candid dialogue with Israeli leaders about the impact of the Trump presidency, as well as predictions about the future of U.S.-Israeli relations.

Our trip to Jerusalem also included a memorable visit to the Western Wall, where we received a special tour of the complex tunnel system and learned about the rich history of the land. Finally, we received a guided tour of the Israeli Supreme Court, which included sitting in on a criminal appeal and meeting with current Israeli Supreme Court Justice David Mintz.

I hope to develop a strong international footprint in my legal practice, and this course certainly refined my understanding of recent developments in Israeli business law and high-tech entrepreneurship. Further, the opportunity to network with top legal scholars in a variety of disciplines and to meet with business leaders from widely respected multinational corporations— all while engaging in a comparative analysis of the U.S. and Israeli approaches and learning about current issues in Israeli law, geopolitics, and culture—was an invaluable opportunity as a law student. Overall, I give the program my highest recommendation. 


Class and Intersectionality at the Law School and in the Law

Joe Charlet '18
Guest Columnist

A version of the following was presented at the Dinner Table Series on November 15, 2017

Class fascinates me. Part of my fascination stems from the fact that Americans have eschewed the explicit stratification seen in the British social class system, yet class has always felt inescapable in the United States to me. The existence of sometimes overt and sometimes subtle distinctions in manners, speech, and expectations of what life looks like requires people to learn   how to do an interpersonal dance in order to succeed in a variety of contexts. But with class, as with all things, the burden of learning the performance—and the consequences of failing to do so—falls disproportionately on the most economically and socially marginalized.

The distinction between the economic and social components of class is particularly important. To me, economic class is something that can be measured objectively by analyzing wealth, which makes it distinct from social class, which is more subjective as it is performative and participatory. Economic and social class are clearly related because social class paradigms are based on economic class and the performative aspects generally require economic outlays, some greater than others. However, it is clear to me that the two are not synonymous, and people can move through either economic or social classes without moving through the other.

I think we intuitively understand that people can concurrently exist in incongruous economic and social classes. One example is our president, Donald Trump. While he probably has less money than he contends, he is unmistakably in the highest economic class. Yet there are a lot of people who see President Trump as occupying a much lower social class because he seemingly lacks the refined taste many associate with high social class. The way in which he tries to ostentatiously act out his economic class is precisely the reason he fails at performing the role required by the correspondingly high social class. He seems to fail to understand the nuances of social performance that his peers and “social superiors” expect, but he also seems to consciously choose to rebel against that expected performance just as often. Unlike most people, President Trump can choose to ignore or not learn social class performance because he started life in the highest economic class and thus has been protected from suffering meaningful material repercussions. 

This is why I am interested in talking about class. Here at the law school, every one of us will end up at the very least in the relatively high and broad professional social class, though given the disparities in pay in the legal world, we will also end up in wildly disparate economic classes. But exactly how successful we will be on our respective paths seems more influenced by our class before law school than it should be—and influenced much more than we seem to discuss. 

Part of the reticence to talk about class is because both economic and social class discussions have been subsumed by other needed identity-based discussion. Class expectations often are influenced by sex/gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, regional background, and other salient attributes like disability, and many social movements have developed around those needs. But class affects everyone, even people who do not have what are commonly understood to be marginalized identities, and for that reason I think it is important to discuss as a standalone topic, just with an intersectional vantage point. After all, a huge barrier to the American ideal of economic class mobility is social class since economic class mobility requires success in networking, interviewing, finding mentors, earning promotions, etc. All of these activities require social-class performance, and the people with power in these situations often interpret and scrutinize someone’s class performance through assumptions based on her identity, either consciously or unconsciously.

This scrutiny has shaped my entire life. I was born and raised in the American South. I was given up at birth by my biological mother and adopted into an all-white family to be raised in an all-white place. I was later effectively orphaned again as a young teen and emancipated myself out of foster care. I am also gay. Both in spite of and because of all this hardship, I actually got a full scholarship to attend a private boarding school for my last two years of high school and then I went to Yale on 100 percent financial aid for college. Now I am here at UVa Law, yet another elite institution. So in an effort to begin a larger conversation about class, I want to highlight some of my experiences as a particularly poor and dispossessed person in this country, who effectively leapfrogged from the bottom economic class—and certainly a lower social class—to potentially the top economic and a much higher social class. 

When I was eighteen, the summer after my freshman year at Yale, I was in D.C. working for my senator. This was an incredible experience, but a particularly stupid short-term economic decision because not only did I give up making money during the summer, I was also spending more money than I would have otherwise because D.C. is more expensive than going back home where I could have stayed with friends for free. So, unsurprisingly, for a short period of time at the end of the internship when I lost the fellowship housing I had, I was homeless. I remember going to the Gallery Place metro stop to beg for change where many others who were experiencing homelessness very differently than I was were also congregated for the same purpose, since there is so much foot traffic there. Within two minutes I probably had more than $10.00 worth of change and a lot of sympathetic words whereas everyone else who had been there for much longer did not have anywhere close to that amount and were treated far more distantly. 

The reason for the disparity was obvious. Though I do not remember exactly, I am certain I was wearing a Yale shirt, since my wardrobe at that time was mostly shirts I had gotten for free from college events. I do not want to overly psychoanalyze passersby with whom I had ten-second interactions, but I think it is fair to say that my shirt and my relatively clean appearance made me seem worthier of their even deigning to listen to my plea for money. Additionally, I was the only person asking for money who could directly approach people effectively rather than sit passively and hope someone paid attention. Certainly my relatively light complexion played a role in that. I have always felt that people are much less intimidated by being randomly approached by me than by other African Americans with darker skin, despite the fact that I am so much larger than average people, which seems like a more rational reason to find a stranger imposing or threatening. Another reason I could approach, though, is I am physically able, while an inordinate amount of the other people asking for money that day had mobility issues from lost limbs or unattended-to injuries. So I was certainly perceived to be in a higher social class simply due to my appearance, but in all the ways I was not, my appearance also led to more favorable interpretations of how I asked for money.

For a slightly different and perhaps more controversial view of class, take my youthful interest in joining the military. I felt and still feel very strongly that there is a moral imperative to serve your country and not leave truly difficult service to others. Beyond that, it seemed like military service might be a practical way for me to alleviate my economic issues by giving myself stability through work and a measure of social respect I could build upon once I left active duty. 

However, this path seemed unavailable to me because of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I was six years old when President Clinton implemented the policy to lighten what was previously an outright ban, and even this so-called lighter policy was not repealed until after I graduated from college. As I became more aware of how immutable my sexuality actually was, the military became less  of a viable option because I could not risk getting dishonorably discharged and being left with nothing. So while the military is probably the most integrated part of our country in terms of race/ethnicity and economic class, my inability to ensure that I could fit into and consistently perform in a social class so predicated by law on a certain view of heterosexual masculinity kept me from ever pursuing this path. Fortunately I had less precarious academic opportunities for advancement as well, though I deeply respect all the other LGBTQ+ people who chose to join regardless, and I recommend reading the accounts many have shared to the news media for some firsthand accounts of how Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell affected their service.

Another issue I have always noticed is people treating the Southern accent in all of its forms as some sort of marker of intellectual inferiority. There are countless times when I have seen people dismiss good ideas or completely discounted the entire person simply because of the effect of that voice. I have mostly escaped this because I saw the school speech pathologist as a child because of a speech impediment, and consequently learned to speak more in the accent-neutral way of news anchors. 

Outside the South, parts of the bias against the Southern accent can be somewhat, but not completely, overcome by high socio-economic class markers. For instance, President Clinton, one of our drawl-iest presidents, went to Georgetown and Yale Law. He is often characterized as brilliant, noting his education, but usually this recognition is despite his voice, which is condescendingly seen as a tool that connects him with lower class voters. Similarly, President Bush, son of another President Bush, who went to Yale and Harvard Business School, is not seen as smart despite the trappings of his education, and most people connect their perception of his intellect to his drawl. However you feel about the relative intelligence of either of these presidents, I have always noticed how their intellect has been discussed through the lens of their accent and regional background. 

So what does this have to do with the law school and the law? As you may have noticed, like most professional arenas, the legal world is focused on elite things—elite schools, elite clerkships, elite jobs, elite clients, etc.—even in areas where some of those considerations seem inherently counterproductive like in public service roles. Unsurprisingly, there is an overlay of class on these trappings of elitism, and it makes navigating law school and the legal world surprisingly difficult if you do not come from an economic or social class that overlaps with it because you have not been taught the interpersonal dance required to present yourself effectively. It also affects how we interact with our clients, since many people from high economic and social classes have not been taught to understand or maybe even consider that people from other classes might interact with them and the world differently. A lot of this is implicit, so even when people are not consciously considering class distinctions it is probably still coloring their experience with others.

I would like to use one of my favorite parts of UVa Law to begin to illustrate this. One of our greatest assets is how engaged and open professors are in our community. The fact that students can talk with them in office hours, have lunch with them, work on their research, and see them out in the wild is a unique and truly wonderful opportunity to get even more out of our law school experience than our peers at other schools. It is also an opportunity I personally struggle to utilize. 

I often literally have no idea how to talk to professors outside of class. If I do not have an actual question about whatever subject they teach, I just assume I have nothing to talk to them about because I have internalized my old economic- and social-class identity even though neither are strictly true anymore. I am lucky that seemingly every law professor in the world went to Yale Law, so I can use New Haven pizza and its status as the best pizza in the country as a conversation crutch, but beyond that I falter. 

Yet I watch so many of our classmates develop relationships with professors seemingly effortlessly. It is not truly effortless since students are putting so much work into their studies and building off that to connect with professors, but there seems to be something more than just diligence at play. For some people that ease seems to come from family connections, shared experiences, and other class-based distinctions that other students from different socio-economic backgrounds could not hope to share with our professors. I want to highlight this disparity in particular because professor relationships are so important to tangible outcomes like getting clerkships or highly competitive government jobs. 

I think UVa Law does a good job at partially alleviating this structurally by having small-section professors with an expected pseudo-mentorship role, through professor lunches, and through other formal and informal activities that provide access to professors. But even with access, I feel a heavy sense of reluctance to engage in even light conversation with professors since the answer to almost any personal question I might be asked would reveal either how poor or tragic my life has been. I do not want to be seen as a downer or be pitied, and I expect others might be motivated by the same reluctance. I am also reluctant to ask the questions I am most interested in asking out of fear of committing an unknown faux pas and being seen as stupid.

Contrast that class performance anxiety with another form that I find much easier cope with. As the 2Ls and 3Ls know, and the 1Ls will soon know, once you get to the interview portion of the job search, your desirability as a potential hire becomes much more about personality fit since employers have already reviewed your credentials. But because of the relatively small amount of time any student has with any one interviewer, the interactions are more akin to speed dating than anything else. But unlike more amorphous interactions with professors, there is a certain set of vocabulary and select appropriate experiences to discuss. Identifying what these are and how to approach them is one of the ways our career services provides such a valuable service to us.

Yet knowing about the topics is one thing. Actually being able to interact with the class implications of these topics is entirely another. I think the best example is one callback lunch I had where the entire discussion centered on international travel. Luckily I have been fortunate enough to travel abroad on fellowships to do research and for other privileged reasons such as accruing airline miles from reimbursed business travel. But in every interaction I have like this, I cannot help but think of both former foster youth and also my friends here at UVa Law who have never traveled abroad. What do you do when associates and partners are judging you based on conversations about things you have never been able to experience like international travel or ski vacations? If you are a woman, do you worry that you seem less fun than similarly situated men? If you are a racial minority, do you worry that you are playing into a stereotype about your race? How can you control your perception if you cannot perform as people from a higher socio-economic class expect you to be able to perform?

Due to my unique life experiences I am probably more consciously aware of class than others, but this is not meant to be a comprehensive examination of the issue. We are all affected by class and perform roles in certain ways based on class every day that are unique to our circumstances. Hopefully sharing a small bit of my views on and experiences with the intricacies of class and the way intersectional identities further complicate it as a topic can help spark a broader conversation on the barriers class creates and how to be more thoughtful about the role we play in the strength of those barriers here at UVa Law specifically and in our lives more generally.  



Nap Your Way to Success

Eleanor Schmalzl '20
Staff Editor

Are you tired? Struggling to focus? Ready to reach for that next cup of coffee? With the semester starting, some of you may be feeling sleepy at just the thought of starting another round of classes. And while I’m sure you all kept a consistent, normal sleep schedule over the long break,1 you may still be searching for a way to stay refreshed in the chaos of your spring schedule. Well, rest easy, friends, because an afternoon nap may be the key to conquering anything that comes your way.

Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.

Photo courtesy of The Wall Street Journal.

While American culture seems to frown upon the idea of an afternoon nap for adults, a siesta can produce huge benefits for hard-working law students.2 Some of the greats, including Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and Albert Einstein, committed time in the afternoon to recharge with a short nap despite their busy schedules.3 And the amount of time it takes to reap the benefits of the nap is minimal. While studies vary, some say even a five- to ten-minute snooze can improve your mood and productivity.4 Others agree that a twenty-minute nap is the ideal length to increase your energy throughout the day, while a ninety-minute midday sleep can produce long-term benefits in your health.5 Humans benefit most from a nap between 1 and 3 p.m., allowing your brain to store important information and clear clutter that you have in your head from the first part of your day.6

If additional energy, improved mood, and a clear mind don’t motivate you to set aside time for a relaxing afternoon ritual, then maybe money will. In October 2010, Spain had its first ever siesta competition and offered a money prize to the best napper based on nap position and PJ style with bonus points for snoring.7 Different variations of this competition have continued in Spain to revive the old tradition of an after-lunch nap, an important piece of their culture that is being washed away with the hustle-and-bustle of today’s fast-paced world. So, if you’re tight on cash, looking to visit Spain, or need to justify a nap for more than just health reasons, a nap competition may be exactly what you need. 

Now that I’ve appealed to the health junkies and the financially focused, I need to address the rest of the law-student population: the coffee lovers. If you need that morning brew to start your day and pick you up after a good lunch, start listening now. Coffee can be good for pushing you through your days, but can impact your ability to fall asleep at night, as most law students can attest to from personal experience. But when it comes to coffee and naps, you may be able to have your cake and eat it, too. If you can’t imagine nixing your afternoon joe, you may not have to. Drink your afternoon coffee right before your short nap and you may experience an additional power up. The effects of the caffeine don’t come until between fifteen and twenty minutes after consumption, meaning it won’t affect your ability to fall asleep.8 So, while you may have to compromise in most relationships, you and coffee can still live together in peaceful harmony if you add a nap to your list of ways to get through the busy day.

Your classmates may judge you for falling asleep in the study lounge or at your table in the library, but you may end up having the last laugh when you wake up more alert, creative, and prepared to take on the rest of the afternoon. So stop worrying about everyone else and quit fighting that urge to close your eyes—it may be exactly what you need. 


1 Read: stayed up until 3 a.m. and woke up at noon

2 “Hard-working” includes those with perfect attendance at FebClub parties

3 AKA your “I don’t have time for a nap” excuse may be invalid



6 Disclaimer: the author of this article is in no way responsible should your brain discard class lectures as “clutter”

7 I can’t make this stuff up:


A New Dawn for UVa Law?

Phoebe Willis '18
Guest Columnist

Despite my best attempts to write the open letter to the Student Records Office in a collaborative and positive tone, I can imagine that it would be off-putting for any administrator to read a letter to them in the Law Weekly without the student first approaching their office. However, instead of being upset, Dean Dugas sent an email inviting SBA president Steven Glendon and me to come discuss the letter with him. Admittedly, Steven and I didn’t know what to expect from this meeting. Higher education is known for being a bureaucratic nightmare that is often slow-moving in adopting student input. 

To our delight, Dean Dugas not only welcomed the suggestions in the letter, but he even went about immediately implementing them. Within thirty minutes of our meeting and continuing for a few days, Dean Dugas sent and Steven and me a bunch of different mock calendar invites because he wanted to make sure that he found the one that was compatible with all types of calendars and would be easiest for students to use. Taking his willingness to work with students one step further, Dean Dugas asked the SBA for a student liaison who would meet with him monthly to discuss student feedback and new ideas. Steven Glendon will be acting as the interim liaison until a permanent representative can be appointed.

At first, I was in a state of shock after the meeting, but then, I couldn’t stop talking about it. By 3L, many student leaders have experienced a less-than-positive interaction with an administrator, and this can color their perception of that person, maybe even unfairly, for the rest of their law school experience. See my own experience missing the 3L deadline to register for classes this summer. But I have to say, working with Dean Dugas to find a solution that worked for all students (and not just complaining about my own situation) was one of the most positive and enjoyable experiences I’ve had in law school.

Dean Goluboff, often characterized as a “how-can-we-do-this” instead of a “no” style administrator, just recently completed her first year as the leader of the Law School. Could she be behind this new attitude from administration for openness and collaboration with students? Only time will tell, but regardless of why my experience working with Dean Dugas was so wonderful, all I can say is his colleagues should take a page from his book. Kudos to you, Dean Dugas.



Pittsburgh Not Paris: The Cost of Choosing Coal

Julie Dostal '19
Features Editor

Photo courtesy of Business Insider.

Photo courtesy of Business Insider.

During his campaign, President Trump promised to put American coal miners back to work. The reversal of decades-long decline in coal production was the central tenant of Trump’s environmental policy. As a Pennsylvanian, this promise left me anxious and angry. Coal was foundational to the success of the Pennsylvania economy, from settlers’ first discovery of the resource in 1791 into the present day. Pennsylvania is the third-highest coal-producing state and the only state still producing anthracite coal. Anthracite coal mining dominates the eastern side of the state, while bituminous coal mines provide employment to thousands living on the western side of Pennsylvania. Coal in Pennsylvania was and, for many, still is the way of life. Thus, the promises of President Trump to reinvigorate the coal industry and put miners back to work in my home state contributed to it going red in 2016 for the first time in six elections. Based on these promises, the fading coal communities of Pennsylvania and other states like it cast their ballots with dreams of the past in mind. But President Trump’s promises were an illusion. 

In June of this year, President Trump announced his decision to leave the Paris Climate Accords stating, “I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” To the city of Pittsburgh, the comment was an affront, but to the generational coal mining towns of Western Pennsylvania, it rang with a tone of salvation. Since the inauguration, one new coalmine has opened in Pennsylvania. The Acosta Deep Mine, located an hour east of Pittsburgh in Jennerstown, PA, employs about seventy people. The mine aims to be open fifteen years and will serve an economically depressed community still reeling from the unprecedented decline in the coal industry. But in many ways, this hope is a false one. The Acosta Deep Mine, similar to many of the additional of mines planning to open in West Virginia, Ohio, Alabama, and Wyoming, will extract metallurgical coal. “Met” coal is a special type of coal used in steelmaking. The price of “met” coal is currently at an all time high, due to astronomical demand from China and disruptions in key supply chains from Australia, the leading producer of “met” coal. Favorable market conditions for “met” coal are independent from the Trump Administration’s environmental policies and may change at any time.  

One may posit that the repeal of Obama Administration regulations on coal and coal-fired power plants may be enough to save the coal industry. Yet it only takes a road trip through Pennsylvania to know these rollbacks on past environmental policies will not be enough to save communities long dependent on coal. While President Obama’s EPA aggressively regulated the coal industry, no regulation could have affected the industry in a manner as severe as the introduction of natural gas into the market. The fracking industry is booming, powering electrical grids with inexpensive natural gas. Consumers prefer the cheaper prices, and natural gas surpassed coal for the first time this year as the largest source of electricity in the country. A recent Columbia University study found that regulations accounted for approximately 3.5 percent of coal’s decline, while natural gas accounted for around 49 percent. The changing energy industry foreshadows the likely failure of the Trump Administration to fulfill the campaign pledges that so many Pennsylvanians, and other Americans, are desperately waiting to come to fruition. 

What does the failure of the coal industry mean in the long term? Coal production experienced a swift decline, reaching an all time low in 2015. The impacts of this depression are still devastating many communities in the United States. 40,000 miners lost their jobs. Suicide rates skyrocketed. Opioids are commonplace to numb the realities of unemployment. Businesses dependent on the presence of laborers in mining towns shuttered their doors. Aging miners floundered in the face of a job search for a profession not involving coal. The thought of not continuing a familiar or regional legacy of coal mining is an afterthought. To Pennsylvanians, coal was the past, present, and future. So how can American environmental and energy policy move forward to counteract what seems to be the eventual, yet inevitable death of the coal industry? The answer may be found in the rapidly evolving policies of the world’s leading polluter, the People’s Republic of China.

Perhaps the most prominent signatory of the Paris Climate Change Accords, the Chinese government signaled an unprecedented pivot away from its coal-based economy. For decades, China has depended on coal as its primary source of energy. Coal still makes up the largest part of China’s energy consumption. The coal industry has provided generations of Chinese citizens with employment and financial security. In many cities across China’s northern and western regions, coal signifies a way of life. The sentiments expressed by Chinese miners regarding their reliance on the coal industry differ very little from the testimonials of Pennsylvanians or West Virginians concerning the centrality of coal in their everyday lives. These communities have also experienced similar economic downturn over the past five years resulting in widespread unemployment and looming concerns about the future of such communities.

In response to growing distress over the future of Chinese coal mining, the government in Beijing took action. Instead of empowering the coal industry further, the Chinese government shuttered coalmines and set out plans to cut roughly 1.3 million jobs in the industry. It also moved to restrict the construction of new coal power plants. In January, China’s National Energy Administration set its first ever target for reducing coal energy consumption. While the decision to transition away from coal warms my environmentalist heart, the Chinese government was not necessarily “thinking green” in the traditional sense. Rather, the People’s Republic of China chose to aggressively pursue renewable energy, believing in the future economic payout of the burgeoning market. 

At the beginning of 2017, the Chinese government pledged to invest 367 billion dollars in renewable power generation—solar, wind, and nuclear—by 2020. The pledge may be a result of the considerable economic benefits experienced by the Chinese since entering into the realm of renewable energy. China currently produces 2/3 of the world’s solar panels and nearly half of the world’s wind turbines. The clean energy sector currently boasts 3.5 million jobs, while 10 million more are anticipated as a result of the continued investment into renewable power. China’s solar power sector alone employs 2.5 million, while the solar sector in the United States provides employment for 260,000 Americans. The Chinese regions experiencing the greatest growth in jobs from solar panel production in 2016 were those formerly dependent on coal. The Chinese government has developed new solar panel technology to help service the depressed former coal communities. Just this year, Sungrow Power Supply, a Chinese solar company, constructed a floating solar energy farm. Covering approximately 100 square miles, the farm provides power to 15,000 homes and rests atop the flooded area that was once the location of a coal-mining factory.

In the face of a declining coal industry, China turned towards renewables. This pivot in policy had immediate effects on the global market.  The solar power sector in China is so productive and inexpensive, the United States was forced to place tariffs on the import of Chinese made solar panels in a bid to protect American producers. The future promises much of the same failure for the United States to compete with China’s renewable exports. As China continues to build its renewable sector, America falls further behind. As former Chinese coal miners try their luck at new solar panel or wind turbine manufacturing factories, American coal miners sit idle waiting on the impossible promises of President Trump.  



Album Review: Taylor Swift, reputation

Tom Kinzinger ‘18
Guest Columnist

First, a word about my credentials as a Swiftie. I’ve been on the Taylor Swift train since Fearless dropped in 2008, before most of you reading this were even born. I have spent literal actual money to buy her albums (unlike everything else I listen to, which I stream or YouTube like a normal person). I have her discography on my phone at all times, the official calendar hanging on my kitchen wall, and many square feet of my living space converted into a shrine at which I perform weekly sacrifices of the merchandise of whoever she’s been most recently feuding with. (Incidentally, burning Katy Perry vinyls can cause releases of toxic chemicals. Remember to make sure your sacrificial altar is located in a well-ventilated antechamber of your sanctum.) With all this in mind, light your incense, don your cat-ears headbands and heart-eyes sunglasses, and let’s take a deep dive into Taylor Swift’s latest studio album, reputation.

Former teen witch and current regular witch, Taylor Swift, is out with her sixth album reputation. Photo courtesy of Billboard.

Former teen witch and current regular witch, Taylor Swift, is out with her sixth album reputation. Photo courtesy of Billboard.

Okay, so this album is…fractured. If 1989 represented a dalliance into the pop world, reputation is a full-on drink-the-kool-aid conversion, the Transfiguration of Taylor into Pop Goddess, Destroyer of Katy Perries and Eviscerator of Spotifies. However, the album’s fatal flaw is its attempt to give everybody what they want rather than just choosing a style and sticking with it, and the result is a half-hearted album whose first third sounds like rehashed early-00’s EDM, transitioning into a middle third that’s even more rehashed late-80’s pop, then shifting into—well, we’re getting to that. Moreover, I couldn’t help but think that most of these songs had been or could have been done better by some other artist. Let’s consider each third of the album in turn.


Part the First: I Almost Cut Myself on that Edge

Here we find the album opener “…Ready For It?” with its throbbing bass smacking you right in the face and hammering home the fact that you are entering the dark, gritty reboot of the Taylorverse. America’s Pop Goddess is now a Nolanesque avenger of internet slights. We barely have time to wonder how much better this would sound as a Rihanna or Demi Lovato track before we hit “I Did Something Bad,” in which New Taylor claims to have “done something bad” and enjoyed it, sounding for all the world like a college freshman taking that first shot of tequila, launching into a fifteen-minute coughing fit, and then insisting that the experience was in fact enjoyable. Hmm, maybe this Dark Queen of Dancepop shoe does not quite fit the foot. If you had any doubts that New Taylor is going for edgy, then the following track “Don’t Blame Me” confirms it: for the first time in recorded history, Taylor Swift says the word “shit” on a recorded song.

The front end of this album gives us also “End Game,” with its nice percussive beat and lyrics mostly consisting of languid “ooooooohs” and “aaaaaaahs.” Future phones in 22 seconds of banalities before presumably cashing his check and getting out of there as fast as possible, while Ed Sheeran, notable English crooner, swoops in to…hang on, is he attempting to rap? Oh man, this is the most cringeworthy interlude in a Taylor Swift song since the spoken-word segment of “Shake It Off,” and that one was pretty egregious.

Part the Second: And Now for Something Completely Different

Moving right along, the middle third of the album is reminiscent of 1989 and contains many of the same poppy themes and melodies, here reflected through the three years of sulking, revenge-plotting, and browsing through the dark corners of the internet New Taylor must have been doing since that album dropped.  “Look What You Made Me Do” is a banger of the first order in which New Taylor commandeers Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” beat to remind us that we collectively drove the Old Taylor into madness. The good vibes left after I’m done nodding along to this song are almost immediately soured by the horrendously misconceived “Gorgeous,” which would be an endearing confession of being besotted if the melody over which it was sung was not so—there’s no other word for it—annoying.  

“Delicate” is one of the unambiguously good songs on the album, with its mellifluous pop melodies accompanied by New Taylor’s repeated inquiries as to whether something she said was “cool” or “chill” (as if New Taylor needs our approval anyway). If you turn up the volume and play this track backwards, you can actually hear the Old Taylor straining against the walls of the New Taylor persona, struggling to burst out of the mind prison and strum along on a Bedazzled guitar. Ditto for “Getaway Car,” which flirts with being a good song: it’s another wistful recapitulation of a bad relationship gone south, but this trope has been done to death in much better ways by better artists, including Old Taylor herself. See, e.g., “Back to December,” “The Way I Loved You,” etc.

The less said about “King of My Heart,” the better. At eleven tracks in, nothing has really stood out; most of these songs would have been better converted into some other genre or done by someone else. Let’s hop right ahead to “Dancing With Our Hands Tied,” which sounds like it could have been decent EDM-infused dance-pop if it didn’t sound so half-hearted and…and…wait a minute…hang on…no, it can’t be…Goddess forbid…is this album actually…BAD?!?


Part the Third: All Hope Abandon, Ye Who Enter Here

I can’t really categorize the songs on the latter third of the record (namely, “Dress,” “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” “Call It What You Want,” and “New Year’s Day”), even though they would all probably fit into the above-two categories, because at some point during “Dancing With Our Hands Tied” I’ve realized that Taylor Swift has made her first bad record and I undergo a complete and total breakdown of faith. When I hear the bass thuds of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” they sound as rolls of distant thunder on some faraway ocean because at this point I’m lying catatonic on the floor with my hands clamped firmly over my ears as I plead for someone to make it stop. I understand suddenly how the Millerites must have felt at the Great Disappointment of October 22, 1844, a date when William Miller predicted the occurrence of the Second Coming but which in fact turned out to be a run-of-the-mill nineteenth-century Tuesday. Taylor Swift, the One True Pop Goddess, has let us down, Old Taylor is not coming back for us, and lol nothing matters.

In sum, this album is not good. In fact, in certain spots it’s actually pretty bad. I loved 1989 and am probably listening to it whenever you see me in the hallway with earbuds stuffed in my ears so that I can avoid doing the stop-and-chat with you, but reputation took all of 1989’s pop experimentation and learned precisely the wrong lessons from it. Simply giving the people what you think they want cannot be the key to artistic and commercial success. There’s nothing really original in this album and, with the exception of “Look What You Made Me Do,” there’s nothing I would stomp my feet and shout along to at the Virginian the next time I’m drunk enough to voluntarily walk in there. Oh, well, at least we’ll always have the Old Taylor, and I’ve heard rumors an acoustic version of “Delicate” will be included on the reputation deluxe edition coming out early next year. Now excuse me while I go back and listen to “All Too Well” on repeat to make sure I can still feel things.


For Your (Panicked) Viewing Pleasure

Alison Malkowski & Kim Hopkin ‘19
Television Critics

As we head into exam season, the need to retreat to mindless entertainment for breaks increases exponentially. Some of us will ignore that urge and work for hours on end.1 Others will insist that they “really do” enjoy physical exercise to fill the gaps.2 But for the rest of us mere mortals, we require something to watch as we burrito in a blanket during our semi-regular periods of existential crisis. Or maybe you’re just a 3L. This article is for those who want to branch out from their regular binging and watch something new. 

Tried and True Favorites: The following are sitcoms or dramedies popular among the binging crowd. You’ve probably heard of them, but just in case.

Parks and Recreation: This ensemble sitcom follows the Parks and Recreation office in small-town Pawnee, Indiana, and the statute of limitations for knowing about it really expired two years ago. Expert tip for re-watching: skip the first season. The show truly comes into its own in the second season, and you don’t miss anything you can’t pick up quickly in later seasons. Highlights include a low-key obsession with a miniature pony, high-key obsession with binders and pancakes, and Chris Pratt in the only role you will ever be able to picture him in.

The Office: This one should also be relatively self-explanatory; a show about an office and the different personalities who work there. The first few episodes are not consequential, but they help develop the characters for maximum enjoyment in other seasons. Reasons to keep watching: the love connection between Pam and Jim is one for the ages.

Grey’s Anatomy: This hour-long dramedy begins by following the lives of surgical interns struggling to survive at a prestigious hospital in Seattle. Shonda Rimes dialogue and catchy song selections make the early seasons incredible and witty. As usually happens in long-running television shows, the seasons involve a slow transformation into a completely different kind of show. As usually happens in Shondaland television shows, that slow transformation is accompanied by a series of unbelievable and yet somehow gut-wrenching plot twists and entirely too many lingering stares. I think this show is still engaging during later seasons, but many lose interest around season six. Reasons to keep watching: boredom and investment in the (few) characters who don’t die off. 

Arrested Development: This started as an underrated classic and has earned its place among the must-sees of the golden age of television. The new Netflix revival tries a little too hard, but the original series is always worth a watch (or re-watch). This is the story of a highly dysfunctional family and the completely implausible situations they get themselves into. The humor swings between easily recognizable slapstick, nuanced intellectual humor, and some weird creature of the in-between that involves Liza Minelli, magicians, yachts, and banana stands. Reasons to keep watching: you will understand a lot more internet memes. 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: This is an AMAZING show.3 It’s an ensemble comedy about a police precinct in Brooklyn. Although the first few episodes focus a little too heavily on Detective Jake Peralta and Captain Raymond Holt (and Detective Boyle’s cringe-inducing crush on Detective Diaz), they set up extremely important character arcs and motifs. Reasons to keep watching: the annual Halloween and Doug Ross episodes get funnier each year as they outdo the previous year’s hijinks. 

Classics: These shows are favorites from back in the day. However, watch with an enormous grain of salt – American culture has changed considerably. 

I Love Lucy: This classic follows Lucy and Ricky Ricardo and their landlords as Lucy finds new ways to get into trouble. Lucille Ball’s physical comedy is unparalleled, but some of the ‘issues’ the show tackles are removed from today’s sensibilities.4 Reasons to watch: feel-good comedy that doesn’t force you to think. 

Mary Tyler Moore Show: After Mary leaves her boyfriend who doesn’t want to get married after graduating medical school, she moves to Minneapolis and becomes an associate producer for a local nightly news show. The show holds up well and was a trailblazer for modern shows like 30 Rock, Girls, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Lesser Known Gems: These shows are famous among their viewers but don’t enjoy the wider audience that some of the above shows draw. 

A Crime to Remember: This Investigation Discovery re-enactment show takes old crimes from before modern forensic science and describes them through multiple lenses. Some are familiar stories, like the murder of Kitty Genovese, and some are forgotten horrors, like the University of Texas mass shooter, Charles Whitman. Each story is punctuated by narration from a “friend” of someone involved in the crime which adds a layer of cultural understanding or outrage to the crimes. 

QI: A British panel show hosted by Stephen Fry (and later by Sandy Toksvig) where British comedians tackle historical or scientific trivia topics with questionable levels of skill and more often than not, a quasi-related anecdote instead. This show, however, doesn’t just take away points for wrong answers (although the scoring system is at best made up and arbitrary); it also sounds an alarm when a comedian makes a joke answer or common misconception that producers had previously identified. Reasons to keep watching: special guests like Daniel Radcliffe, Hugh Laurie, and David Tennant, and the fact that many contestant answers mirror the exact internal dialogue you have during exams (e.g. “Is the answer…neither?”).

American Housewife: If you temporarily suspend your expectations for any kind of serious social statement, this show is hilarious. It follows the middle-class Otto family living in a very affluent Connecticut neighborhood with an overly honest stay-at-home mom, a passive, intellectual father, and three comically flawed kids. Reasons to keep watching: Katy Mixon’s excellent comic timing and flair. 

Schitt’s Creek: This show has everything: Eugene Levy’s eyebrows, Eugene Levy’s son, Eugene Levy’s daughter, and the mother from the Home Alone movies (she has finally located all of her children). The Schitts are tossed unceremoniously from their home when all of their assets are seized by the IRS5 and their only remaining asset is a town that Eugene Levy’s character bought “as a joke” to “teach his son a lesson.” Reasons to keep watching: Daniel Levy and Emily Hampshire’s unconventional friendship is every sarcastic mood you’ve ever been in, and the show only gets better with each season. 

Moone Boy: In the role he was born to play (with an honorable mention to the hapless IT guy of IT Crowd – “Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?”), Chris O’Dowd stars as a 12-year-old boy’s imaginary friend in a small town in Ireland. Highlights include either of the two sisters and quotes like “He’s very enigmatic for a man who doesn’t own drinking glasses.”

Rosemary and Thyme: Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme are just two enchantingly grumpy biddies who met, fell in BFF, and promptly started a landscaping business, through which they repeatedly happen upon and then solve a series of incidentally plant-related murders to the astonishment of somehow no one. No further description necessary.

iZombie: This show is written and produced by the same team that made Veronica Mars happen. If you didn’t watch Veronica Mars, then you may not have been a teenage girl in the 2000s looking for a role model in early onset sarcasm, and that is ok. iZombie is delightful, combines a procedural mystery format with an overarching plot about zombies, and is also a little gross.6

Dear White People: Full disclosure: this is a remake of the original movie, and there are far more detailed and wonderful critiques comparing the two and their social commentaries available across the internet, but I just include here to note that the remake as a television show is extremely worth watching. It is in turns hilarious, familiar, and heartbreaking, and always beautifully formatted. 

To Look Out For: This show won’t be released until 2018, but is worth mention here because (a) it sounds amazing and (b) we all know you won’t get to any of these until you hit that beginning-of-the-semester procrastination binge period anyway.

Making It: A craft show, hosted by Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler from Parks and Recreation. In other words, the American answer to The Great British Bake Off. You’re welcome. 


1 But if that’s your jam, why are you taking time to read the Law Weekly? Get back to work and leave us underachievers alone. 

2 While the author respects these individuals, she also places them alongside people who just don’t prefer desserts and refuses to trust them. 

3 Let it be known one of the authors has the BIGGEST crush on both Jake Peralta and Andy Samberg. 

4 See the “Equal Rights” episode where a wife being treated as an equal apparently means being treated like a male stranger.  Also, the constant jokes about being Cuban at the expense of Ricky.  #differenttime

5 The show is filmed in Canada, so presumably the Canadian equivalent. But since it is unclear to me which will be in place after the Kordana-predicted Canadian invasion, let’s call it “IRS” for simplicity.

6 There is a lot brain-eating because that is how she solves mysteries. Do not overlap with dinner, especially pasta.



"Family Freak Out" Favorites


Kendall Burchard '19
Guest Columnist

In 2015, Saturday Night Live correctly pointed out that Adele’s “Hello” was the cure to most, if not all, family feuds during the holidays. With few topics safe from heavy politicization, here’s a playlist for talented, critically acclaimed artists to express your frustrations about our society to your family members without directly involving yourself in what will surely be an uncomfortable conversation. 

When Explaining How Law School is Going – Ozzy Osbourne, “Crazy Train” 

You think you have a cognizable claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against most members of the faculty, and if you think you’ll win it, you haven’t outlined Torts yet. Let the song speak for you

When Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, or Roy Moore Come Up - Beyoncé’s “If I Were a Boy”

Because when your family suddenly becomes very invested in the presumption of innocence after a man has been accused of making sexual advances against a 14-year-old, sometimes you just gotta let Bey speak truth for you. 

When Someone Asks if You are Dating Someone - Daya, “Sit Still, Look Pretty” 

No. I’m in law school. Do you know anything about the distribution of marital property after divorce? Do married people really know what they’ve gotten themselves into?1

When You’re a Victim of “The Turkey Dump” – Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart” 

Your well-meaning family members may want to console you after a break up. It’s sweet. But emotions are high. Law school is hard. Grab a glass of wine, remind yourself that limiting distractions before finals is for the best, and remind your family that you’ll bury their sorry butt on the curve.

When You are Doing the Turkey Dumping - The Pussycat Dolls, “I Hate This Part”

Explaining why you broke up with your significant other can be as exhausting as explaining why you aren’t in a relationship and why you just got dumped. There’s no winning. 

So How Bout That Election in Virginia? - Imagine Dragons, “Believer,” and/or R.E.M, “It’s the End of the World” 

Maybe you’re pumped. Maybe you’re pissed. Maybe your family feels similarly, or maybe they don’t. Maybe play whichever song sums up your feelings quietly…with headphones in. Maybe you should avoid anything that broaches politics like the plague. Maybe that’s just me?

When Your Family Asks About Your Law School Friends – twenty one pilots, “Heathens” 

Depending on your Crim class and who among your classmates have designated as the murderers/murder victims in your professor’s hypos, you may be “lovin’ on the murderer sitting next to you” or be located next to a “psychopath.”2 Or maybe your friends are still insufferable after OGI, and they are the heathens “ask[ing] you who you know.” Sound about right? 

When Climate Change Comes Up - Toto, “Africa” 

Yes, “bless the rains down in Africa.” Apparently Charlottesville also needs some rain. Houston and Puerto Rico, however, need less. Play “Africa” and hope that everyone begins to sing along to arguably one of the best songs of all time and forgets their personal grudges against Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the majority of the scientific community. 

When the NFL Comes Up - Lady Antebellum, “Need You Now” 

Knee-d…you now. Get it? Get it? 

…I’ll see myself out. 

When Trump’s Twitter Comes Up - Elton John, “Rocket Man”

Because if Trump continues to pick a fight with the “short and fat”3 leader of North Korea Rocket Man may answer with a bang. 

When The Russian Probe Comes Up – Who Freaking Knows, “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” 

Because Mueller = UVa Law = collegial = softball. Hey, let’s talk about softball instead!

When a “Did You…Did You Just Say THAT?!” Moment Occurs - Mariah Carey, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” 

This song will thoroughly confuse your family and is sure to provoke an alternate discussion about the proper time to begin to celebrate other upcoming winter holidays, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, or what have you. Someone will also probably start dancing. Distractions can be a blessing. 

When, Despite Your Best Efforts, You Tell Off a Family Member and Immediately Regret It - Taylor Swift, “Look What You Made Me Do” / Demi Lovato, “Sorry Not Sorry” 

Less about avoiding the discussion, more about how to make yourself feel better after. Whoops. But you were justified, right? 

When You’ve Made It Through the Meal – Queen, “We Are the Champions” 

Family still intact? No one’s lives taken/seriously threatened? Convinced the people who have otherwise stormed out of the room to come back to the table? You’ve accomplished what many before have failed to do, and your efforts should be generously rewarded. 


1 Cf. Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S.Ct. 2584, 2600 (2015) (“Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there.” So can dogs, Justice Kennedy. And good friends. And coworkers because BigLaw hours. Shush). 

2 Do psychopaths qualify for the insanity defense? Anyone in Bonnie’s class know? § G? §A?

3 His words, not mine. @realDonaldTrump, Twitter (Nov. 11, 2017 4:48 PM), (“Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me ‘old,’ when I would NEVER call him ‘short and fat?’ Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!”).


You (Yes, You Specifically) Need to Get Out the Vote

Joe Charlet '18
Guest Columnist

Right now, control of the Virginia House of Delegates may be determined by just nineteen provisional ballots. The Virginia Department of Elections reports that in the House of Delegates’ Ninety-Fourth District, encompassing Newport News, incumbent David Yancey (R) is currently winning by just thirteen votes over Shelly Simonds (D). This .06% difference is remarkable given that, in 2015, Simonds lost to Yancey by 15.2% in a race that had almost 10,000 fewer votes than this year’s. Now, there are two major differences between the 2015 off-year election and the 2017 off-year election, one being the raging dumpster fire of endless controversy and senselessness that is the Trump presidency and the second being that 2017 included the gubernatorial and other executive statewide races in Virginia. However, I do not want to focus on why different stimuli created an uptick in voting, but rather on voting itself and why getting out the vote matters so much, even in higher turnout years. 

Virginia delegate districts contain approximately 80,000 constituents. In the Ninety-Fourth District, 78.6% of these constituents are of voting age. Almost 88% of the approximately 63,000 possible voters in this district are registered. Yet, even in 2017, only 23,878 people voted, 43.1% of registered voters. Compare that to the Commonwealth as a whole where, according to the Virginian Pilot, 47% of registered voters exercised their franchise this year. That sad figure is actually a record turnout for gubernatorial elections not seen in twenty years. Similarly, the 43.1% voting rate in the Ninety-Fourth District is impressive historically. In 2015, only 27.5% of voters turned out. Thousands and thousands of possible votes were never cast at all. 

Low voting rates inherently create legitimacy issues in representative government on a conceptual level. Does a representative who wins a plurality of less than half of the electorate really have a claim to be a representative of their constituents? The way election results are reported completely obscures conceptual legitimacy concerns by only focusing on percent of the turnout. This obfuscation is not due to any malevolence or negligence. Turnout and the votes cast are simply the measure for election that our system is built around. Still, it is disconcerting to know how few people are determining the outcomes in our elections, particularly in non-presidential years. In the last three presidential elections, the percentage of the total Virginia electorate that voted was in the low 70s, and the only way to know how few are voting is to look at the absolute numbers. 

Practically speaking, this low level of voting does not just affect elections; it affects governance. The current governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, broke the record for most bills vetoed in Virginia history after just three years in office. This is not simply due to the fact that the General Assembly is controlled by the Republican Party, because McAuliffe only vetoed 18 of 880 bills that made it to his desk between March 2016 and March 2017, but those bills he did veto, as the Washington Post characterizes them, consisted of “cutting support for Planned Parenthood, imposing more requirements on voter registration, restricting absentee voting and expanding access to handguns.” I do not want to get into the merits of these bills, but I do want to point out that according to most of the available polling on these issues the majority of Virginians did not and continue not to support them, though slimmer majorities oppose these policies depending on the exact framing of each issue.

This brings us back to the Ninety-Fourth District. For the next four years, Virginia will again be led by a Democratic administration. Yet, whether Governor-elect Ralph Northam has to veto an absurd number of bills that the majority of Virginians do not support, or merely a normal number of bills that is more representative of the normal push-and-pull of legislative politics, may be determined by an incredibly thin margin. There are actually three other delegate races that are close enough for a state-funded recount, but the Ninety-Fourth District’s razor thin margin highlight the fact that your individual vote does not just help determine who represents you, but also the amount of concrete power all representatives of your political persuasion may have.

Last Tuesday the Democrats were able to organize effectively enough to win state-wide races by huge margins. Northam won the governor’s mansion by almost nine points. Even without the four still contested districts, the Democrats won an unprecedented shift in legislative power by winning fifteen seats outright, up to forty-eight seats after only holding thirty-three of the 100 before the election. Many of these individual votes were not the “one” vote that decided the race, but I think the framing of voting efficacy as first past-the-post efficiency is inherently ridiculous because the margin of votes itself expresses legitimacy in various ways. Nevertheless, concrete power rather than expressive support in Virginia may be decided by somewhere between one and thirty-two votes in the Ninety-Fourth District—a district, like many others, where literally tens of thousands of additional votes could have been cast but were not.

This is why getting out the vote matters. A small group of dedicated people of both parties organized get-out-the-vote (GOTV) operations in the Ninety-Fourth District, just like small groups did in every district across the Commonwealth. Even just a small amount of additional work on either side would decide the election in the ninety-fourth district, almost certainly would affected the three other recount races, and could have generated more comfortable leads for winners in all the other delegate races across the state. This year, dozens of UVa Law students were part of those small groups working for the party or independent candidate that best aligns with them and spent the past two months canvassing. 

I was one of those law students. Personally, I hate canvassing. There are few things I dislike more than knocking on the doors of strangers and interrupting their lives to talk about something as personal and potentially antagonizing as politics. But this is how elections are won on the ground level; not by changing minds door-to-door, which is not supported by the data, but by actively ensuring your own supporters get out and vote. Looking back, I probably spent fifteen to twenty hours spread over the past two months going door-to-door in various neighborhoods around Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Fifteen to twenty hours over the course of two months is an unbelievably small sacrifice for someone with as flexible a schedule as a law student has. Others did way more and spent all of Election Day providing rides, directing people to their polling places, and any other manner of supportive activities. The aggregate result of all this work was a historic sweep for Democrats. If the Ninety-Fourth District had just a few more people getting out the vote on either side, the future balance of power in the Commonwealth of Virginia would be much clearer. Even just one or two people spending a single afternoon going door to door or phone banking could have gotten out enough votes to determine the Ninety-Fourth District.  

There are a lot of post mortems being written about this election in Virginia and what it means for the Commonwealth and the nation as we move into congressional midterms elections in 2018. Some of those are interesting, and some of them may even turn out to be correct. But the only true take away one can glean from any election is that voting matters. You must vote. You should tell everyone you know to vote. But, if you really want to do more than just hope that an appropriate aggregate of other voters express your voting preferences, then you need to get out the vote. 



Running From the Law, and How You Can Too

Wade Foster '19
Guest Columnist

Badass who moonlights as a law student, Wade Foster, puts everyone else to shame. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Badass who moonlights as a law student, Wade Foster, puts everyone else to shame. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

First, I will admit, I’m biased—I find sick joy in running long distances. However, I would like to offer this modest proposal—that you, too, can and should be a runner. To demonstrate, I would like to offer a totally “objective” list of the pros and cons of running. 

Pro: Running improves your fitness level. Studies have shown that regular running improves bone density, strengthens joints, and improves aerobic endurance. Improved aerobic endurance means that you will have an easier time doing other vigorous activities (escaping zombies, racing to class, etc.). 

Con: Running hurts. There are two kinds of pain associated with running, the good kind and the bad kind. The first is general muscle fatigue and soreness, this is the good kind, pain is weakness leaving the body. The second kind is the bad kind—it’s the kind that feels like you sprained something, bruised something, or pulled a muscle. If you rolled an ankle you have a pretty good idea where this pain comes from. If you have shooting or sharp pain when you run any variety of things could be wrong (muscle imbalance, shoes, inflammation). Normally this can be addressed with better shoes and a visit to the physical therapist—but it needs to be taken seriously. 

Speaking of shoes: Pro: You get an excuse to buy new shoes, and who doesn’t love new shoes?! Depending on the type of shoe and your running form, you need to replace your shoes every 300–500 miles. Run more, get more shoes! Running also gives you an excuse to buy other brightly colored articles of clothing—shirts, socks, shorts, hats—the options are endless! As an aside, brightly colored clothing is encouraged not just for the fabulous fashion statement you make wearing it, but also to help drivers see you and not run you over (this is especially important as the days get shorter—consider adding reflective items to your obnoxious neon mix). 

Con: Running shoes are expensive! But when you amortize the cost of the shoes they are cheaper than a lot of the alternatives, like double bypass surgery.

Pro: Running burns calories. The exact number is a function of your body weight, your fitness level, your level of effort, and the distance you run. There are multiple calculators online to help you figure out how many calories you are burning,1 but a general rule is about eighty calories per mile.  So two miles burns a beer, ten miles burns five beers! That will almost make up for your night at Bilt. And the calorie burn doesn’t stop when you stop running, running increases your metabolism throughout the day. 

Con: Running a lot means being hungry a lot and that leads to eating a lot. Eating a lot takes time and money. But, is an excuse to eat really such a bad thing? 

Pro: Running gives you a reason to get out of the library and go commune with nature. There are miles and miles of trails and farm roads close to the Law School. Running gets you out into the fresh air and gives you a chance to be one with the squirrels. 

Con: Running is boring. When you run on a track or a dreadmill, running IS boring. You can alleviate boredom by finding better scenery or listening to music. If you are still bored, you might need to lower your standards for entertainment. 

Pro: Running improves mental health. Running has been shown to have a variety of positive effects on mental health, including improving focus and creativity, improving ability to learn and retain new information, alleviating anxiety and reducing symptoms of depression. They don’t call it a runner’s high for nothing! Running also helps you sleep better and we all know that law students can use more and better sleep. 

Con: It takes time. Running, eating, and sleeping all take time, but so does checking in on Facebook, but Facebook doesn’t make you svelte and improve your mental focus. Given the myriad of benefits running provides dedicating an hour out of your otherwise busy day will be worth it. 

*Disclaimer: There is no right or wrong way to run; fueling, shoes, distance, and exertion level all need to be tailored to your personal preference. There are many sects of the running community that think their way is the right way. The only right way is the way that works for you. 



A Letter to the Editor

Jessie Conover '20
Disgruntled Reader

Dear Virginia Law Weekly,

I have LRW in one hour and should be working on my major memo outline, yet I instead take the time to write to you about a petty issue in [last] week’s Virginia Law Weekly.

I wish to call attention to an inaccuracy in the article titled “Young Children Terrorize North Grounds.” The reporter referred to the apples in the Community Fellows’ apple bobbing tub as “Honeycrisps,” which is worthy of correction for three reasons:

(1) They were not Honeycrisps. They were Empire apples. Honeycrisps are larger, juicier (owing to their larger cells), and ideal for eating raw. Empires are a much more standard, old school “lunch box apple” that is perfectly fine but not great. They are also smaller, on average, than Honeycrisps. This factual inaccuracy alone would be enough to issue a retraction, but I will continue nevertheless.

(2) Do you know how much Honeycrisps cost? We* appreciate the compliment, but we are not about to spend upwards of $3 per child for a little fall-themed fun. Even Section G with their full-size candy bar wheel didn’t spend that much.

(3) Honeycrisp apples, while more delicious to eat, are a terrible bobbing apple. Their large size and firm skin make grasping them with one’s teeth nearly impossible. Combine that with the small aperture of a child’s mouth and the frigid water temperature of the bobbing water and you are practically accusing the Community Fellows of torturing young children. Shame on you.

I read-skim the Virginia Law Weekly at least once a month and I am astounded at the uncharacteristic lack of professionalism on display here. For the love of print media please factcheck your articles, particularly when it’s an issue of high import such as a terrorism exposé.

Faithfully yours,


*This is a rhetorical “we.” I have no authority to speak on behalf of the Community Fellows.


**Editor’s note: The Law Weekly apologizes for the error, we guess, but also applauds this diligent reader for her knowledge of apples and willingness to confront others about apple-based ignorance. The world needs more Jessies.**


Doing the Rounds: Golfing in Charlottesville

Taylor Huse '19
Guest Columnist

At the University of Virginia, we are blessed with the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors in a manner that most at nationally ranked law schools cannot due to our location in Central Virginia. Not only can you hike the Shenandoah or compete on the softball field, you can also get out and enjoy several great golf courses within a short drive of the school. As a lifelong golfer, I played three of these courses and provide my thoughts on them here.

A lonely bridge extends accross a hazard at Birdwood Golf Course. Photo courtesy Virginia Golf Vacations.

A lonely bridge extends accross a hazard at Birdwood Golf Course. Photo courtesy Virginia Golf Vacations.

Birdwood Golf Course

Partially private and home of UVa’s golf team, Birdwood is a solid track that will challenge you with elevation changes and several water features. The signature hole is a downhill par three to an island green that is characteristic of the course in that it is both challenging and fair. This is not a long course, especially by modern standards, measuring only 6,316 yards from the men’s tees and 5,073 yards from the women’s tees. Experienced golfers can also challenge themselves by trying out the back tees which play at 6,907 yards. The design provides a mixture of long and short holes that will force you to hit most of the clubs in your bag with some reachable par fives on the front nine and lengthy par fours on the back nine. 

Located only two miles from the Law School and one mile from Ivy Gardens, Birdwood is a great place to go for a quick nine after classes on a weekday. It’s also pretty affordable for the quality of the course. Green fees are $25 on weekdays and $40 on weekends. Cart fees are an additional $12 for 9 holes and $22 for 18 holes. Birdwood also provides a student membership option that runs at approximately $450 a semester and $1,200 for the year. Here is a link to their website for more information:


Keswick Golf Club – Full Cry Course

In a word, Full Cry is breathtaking. Built in 2014 and rated number three in Golfweek’s 2016 list of “Best Courses You Can Play in Virginia,” this Pete Dye design will have you feeling like Tin Cup at the US Open (they even provide Titleist golf balls on the range). Though the course is private, the PILA auction usually includes one or two certificates granting a round to a lucky foursome, and who knows, you may meet a member during your 2L summer at a D.C. firm who will invite you to play. Too far from D.C. you say? Don’t worry, this place has a helipad for easy transportation (you’ll see it on your left when you get through the security gate). 

Being exclusive has its perks, mainly that the course is in pristine shape. Bent grass greens roll as true as Augusta National, but good luck hitting them consistently. They are small and surrounded by litters of bunkers, which are a small mercy since the bluegrass rough around the greens is deep. However, Dye characteristically leaves closely mown bail-out areas on at least one side of the green, so your score will depend on how well you control your misses. The fairways are more forgiving. When I played, I couldn’t hit a driver onto a landing strip, but the rough was manageable—this coming from a guy with a physique more like Jim Furyk than Tiger Woods. If you get to play this course, take time to soak in the natural beauty of the perfectly manicured Virginia landscape, and don’t worry about holding anyone up, there will be no one playing behind you. If nothing else, check out the pictures on the website:


Meadowcreek Golf Course

Meadowcreek is the typical municipal golf course with a laid-back atmosphere and easier layout. It’s perfect for golfers on a budget or who are new to the game. It’s the shortest course in the area, playing at only 6,073 yards from the back tees and 4,595 yards from the women’s tees; however, it’s only a par seventy with three par fives and five par threes. The layout features mostly tried and true hole designs, but a few holes play awkwardly (especially the first hole), so an experienced golfer might want to steer clear. When I played it in the spring, the bent grass greens were in surprisingly good shape, but the fairways were pretty beat up.

The course is located at Pen Park on the northeast side of town. On weekdays, eighteen holes costs $24 and nine holes costs $16. On weekends, eighteen holes will be $29, and nine holes is $20. Carts are $11 for nine holes and $18 for eighteen holes. Here is the website for more information:

With so many great course options within a short distance from the school, this is the time to learn how to play golf or sharpen your skills, especially if you’re a 2L or 3L.1 Get out and play; you’ll be glad you did.


1 However, as a 2L, I dispute the claim that we are supposed to have significant free time. Lies.