Letters to the Editor: 3-14-2018

Response to “Untangling the Immigration Debate”

Max Wagner’s piece on immigration[1] is misleading, false, and xenophobic. Under the guise of an educational series, Wagner makes unsubstantiated claims that only serve to promote harmful, inaccurate stereotypes and to further obfuscate the “debate.”

The Minority Rights Coalition and the below-signed affinity groups are deeply disappointed by the ignorance and xenophobia espoused by this letter to the editor, its author, and those who endorse its views. Our intent in writing this response is not to further engage in the “debate.” But we will call out xenophobia whenever it presents itself. We will stand together as a community in support of DREAMers, their families, and other minority communities.

First, Mr. Wagner asserts that “illegal” is a more accurate description than “undocumented” by falsely suggesting that “undocumented” begs the question: “Why don’t we just give them documents?” There was no logical connection between the two phrases. Furthermore, Mr. Wagner ignores the fact that many undocumented immigrants are here on valid visas but are overstaying their visas. Unlawful presence in the U.S. is a civil offense. Using the word “illegal” to describe civil offenses is contrary to the common usage of the word “illegal” and, therefore, not the more accurate term to describe undocumented aliens. His word choice of “illegal” is misleading at best. It elicits unsympathetic responses from readers who associate “illegal” with criminality or even violent felonies.

Second, Mr. Wagner attacks perception of DREAMers with false data and premises. Contrary to his claim that most DREAMers were teenagers when they came to the U.S., the average age when they arrived was six and a half years old, and 54 percent were under seven years old when they came to the U.S.[2] Next, Mr. Wagner further attempts to mislead the readers by conflating illiteracy and lack of English proficiency. A focus on English language skills and literacy is thinly veiled racism; he uses language as a proxy to target immigrants from non-English-speaking countries. But this conveniently fails to acknowledge the immigrants from predominantly English speaking countries, to whom this English argument would not apply. Furthermore, not speaking English does not preclude people from being productive members of society. As history demonstrates, English-only laws and literacy tests have often been used to single out racial minorities. It is simply inaccurate to conflate illiteracy with not speaking English.

Third, Mr. Wagner’s account of "chain(ed) migration" fails to clarify anything. We reject the term “chain(ed) migration” not for the reasons Mr. Wagner claims, but rather because the term is an inaccurate characterization of the complex process of immigration. The term has recently been used to foster fear about an uncontrolled influx of immigrants. However, the claim that “once immigrants are issued a green card, they can apply to bring members of their family over” is grossly incomplete and recklessly misleading. Most importantly, there is an annual cap of 226,000 visas per year for family visas.[3] Furthermore, green card holders can only apply for legal status for their unmarried children and spouses, while limited by the annual cap.[4] Notably, they cannot petition for their parents or their siblings. For U.S. citizens, even though there is no cap on applications for their children and parents, applications for siblings are also subject to the same annual cap.[5] The application process is restrictive and time-consuming. The term “chain” migration is excessively misleading.

 Mr. Wagner should do his research—and learn that you cannot back up a factual assertion with an opinion column—before he publishes his next “series” on any legal topic. His article fails to clarify the existing immigration debate and may actually confuse readers with no background on the topic.

 For minority students at UVa Law, this is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that our peers feel justified when their opinions and facts are actually ignorance and lies. Surely everyone is entitled to their opinions, but the problem surfaces when one presents misconceptions and false premises as statements of facts. From blatantly racist and xenophobic comments in class, to passive-aggressive dominating behaviors at firm events, to repeated questions of “no really, where are you from?” until the minority is forced to voice a foreign country as an answer. While we are often enraged and hurt, we cannot say we are ever surprised. This was a daunting reminder that many of our colleagues hold similar views and will soon enter a profession of authority. Unfortunately, many times that position is to govern over minorities. We are used to this and will continue to bear the burden. We will continue to respond intelligently. We will not be silenced. After all, many of us came to law school to gain the tools needed to change the world. To our allies, we thank you for the overwhelming support. Please help us reduce xenophobia everywhere. Speak up. We can all do a little more.

 Minority Rights Coalition at North Grounds; BLSA; JLSA; LALO; Lambda; SALSA; WOC

 Individual names: Lola LollieAkere (saa3cq@virginia.edu), Kendy Chan (kc4dd@virginia.edu), Michelle Chang (mc3qu@virginia.edu), Stephanie Chen (sac7js@virginia.edu), Leanne Chia (lec2tb@virginia.edu), Nellie Guzman (nmg2dc@virginia.edu), Amanda Lineberry '19 (avl5wk@virginia.edu), Elyse Moy (eam8cf@virginia.edu), Robbie Pomeroy (rap3fa@virginia.edu), David Wang (dw2an@virginia.edu), Calla Zhou (cz3dj@virginia.edu)

Response to Clark Hall

When I was a freshman at UC Berkeley, I came back to my dormitory one night to discover a swastika on my door. That was just the start. Over my years as an undergraduate, I routinely found swastikas and anti-Semitic scribbling, like the “kill Jews” I found in the library bathroom. I found Swastikas painted around town as well, and the city seemed in no hurry to remove them. The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s student newspaper, published anti-Semitic op-eds and cartoons on multiple occasions. A Jewish student was rammed in the back with a shopping cart during an anti-Israel event and subsequently had to seek a restraining order. As bills to boycott the Middle East’s only democracy, Israel, were debated by UC Berkeley’s student government, I heard Jews called Christ-killers and bloodthirsty child-killers. Old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Jewish domination of the media, finance, government, etc. were aired over and over again.

My experience is common for Jewish students in the University of California system. In recent years, swastika incidents have become commonplace, and at UC Davis, swastikas were even painted on the Jewish fraternity house. At UCSD, at a pro-Israel event, a student declared support for gathering all Jews in Israel, that they might be killed more easily. At UCLA, a Jewish applicant for the Student Council’s Judicial Board was asked whether being Jewish would get in the way of her doing her job. At UC Irvine, an anti-Israel mob harassed and chased a female Jewish student trying to enter an Israeli film event. The movement of hate against the Jewish state often predictably results in hate crimes, intimidation, and violence directed at Jewish students.

I bring all this up for a reason. On February 22, the Brody Jewish Center at UVa hosted an event in Clark Hall called “Building Bridges.” A panel of Israeli Defense Force reservists were to share their personal stories and answer questions from students. The objective was to humanize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, offer students a chance to learn about Israeli society, and create a dialogue about peacemaking.

During the event, a group of students and non-students stormed in, yelling anti-Israel slogans and trying to intimidate Jewish students. The militants ignored entreaties to be part of the event and ask tough questions of the panelists. They continued harassing attendees until campus police were called, and then they finally dispersed. It is disturbing to see the anti-Israel hate movement’s campaign of violence and intimidation against Jewish students, which has become an established part of campus life at the University of California and other major universities, being brought to UVa.

It was still more disturbing to see the undergraduate Minority Rights Coalition deny the Jewish Leadership Council membership, on the grounds that one of the council’s five organizations was a pro-Israel group. Thankfully, this has not been an issue at UVa Law.

One of the main strategies of the anti-Israel hate movement is to try to drive a wedge between Jews and other minorities, suggesting that Jews are not a minority group in an effort to isolate Jews. The facts say otherwise. According to FBI statistics for 2016, the last year for which data is available, Jews were subject to more hate crimes per capita than any other minority group. And according to the Anti-Defamation League, in 2017 anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. surged nearly 60 percent, the largest single-year increase on record. It is no accident that when the white supremacists came to Charlottesville to intimidate African-Americans and other minorities, one of their chants was “Jews will not replace us.”

Of course, when a culture of hate against one group is tolerated, the result tends to be the targeting of other groups as well. It was not a coincidence that while I was at UC Berkeley, there were numerous racist incidents targeting other minorities, including a fraternity hanging a noose outside their window for Halloween. And I’ll never forget my horror when I sat down at a desk in the UC Berkeley library to find “kill N*****s” written on it. 

Hate crime statistics bear out the connections between different forms of hate on the national level too. In 2016, 50.2 percent of racially-motivated hate crimes targeted African-Americans, and 54.2 percent of religiously-motivated hate crimes targeted Jews. These are strikingly similar numbers.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” In the 1960s, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King marched arm in arm at Selma, with Rabbi Heschel calling on Jews to “hearken” to Dr. King’s call for equality, and Dr. King denouncing anti-Zionism as a reincarnation of anti-Semitism. We need to rekindle the spirit of those times, and remember that all of us share a commitment to equality.

In the coming weeks, the UVa chapter of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights and allied organizations will be partnering for two events. On March 19, veteran civil rights litigator Joel Siegel will speak about how Title VI and Title IX claims can be used to address race and sex discrimination in educational institutions. On April 4, civil rights scholar Alexander Tsesis of Loyola Law and Dean Kendrick will discuss campus hate speech and the First Amendment. We hope both events will spark a meaningful conversation about discrimination in educational institutions.


Baruch Nutovic '19




A Debate on Abortion at UVa Law

This year, I have been extraordinarily fortunate to serve on the board of Advocates for Life at UVa Law, a pro-life educational and advocacy student group. Although most of our activities focus on advocacy and necessarily promote pro-life arguments, last year we decided to take on one event dedicated wholly to the “educational” end of the spectrum. On Tuesday, March 20 at 11:30 a.m., we will host that event, cosponsored with The Federalist Society: a debate on the ethics of abortion in Caplin Pavilion.

As the word “debate” implies, the event will involve two speakers, each presenting what is in her respective mind the strongest arguments for or against the legality of abortion. The speakers, Nadine Strossen and Stephanie Gray, will each have the opportunity to build a complete case within the confines of a timed debate.

Both speakers are exceptionally qualified, and I am deeply grateful to each for her willingness to come speak. Nadine Strossen is currently a professor at New York Law School. Her scholarship, though varied, has recently focused on free speech. Through her long involvement with the ACLU—she served as president from 1991 to 2008—she has also gained intimate familiarity with other regulatory and civil liberties issues, including abortion-related issues.

Stephanie Gray, a Canadian based in Vancouver, is the founder of the pro-life outreach group Love Unleashes Life and a co-founder and past executive director of the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform. Gray travels widely speaking about various topics related to abortion and, among many other recent engagements, delivered a presentation for Google’s “Talks at Google” series last year. She has built a career in apologetics and, like Strossen, is a sought-after speaker.

Both Gray and Strossen have participated in numerous debates on abortion, but they will debate each other for the first time next Tuesday!

Both women have agreed to address ethical, moral or philosophical arguments and not legal arguments, about which any student could quickly become informed through reading cases or treatises. The sole goal of the event, from Advocates for Life’s perspective, is to raise important normative questions that students, faculty and other attendees can—and should—continue to debate amongst themselves.

To that end, I extend a very warm invitation to all members of the UVA Law community to come hear the debate. Most law students have some opinions about the regulation of abortion, and I believe the educational value of the event will rise with the number of different views raised during Q&A after the debate. Both speakers have told me personally that they are very eager to hear and respond to your questions. I hope many of you will take advantage of this rare opportunity to hear two of the best!


Betsey Hedges '18

When All You Want to Do Is Moot

My team had just finished the first round of a national moot court competition. I looked at my phone for the first time in hours, and GroupMe had blown up. Apparently, someone had written an incredibly biased, hate-filled article about immigrants in the Law Weekly. Questions and comments were flying as people discussed how We (not a typo, meant to be a capital We)[1], the people of color at UVa Law, should respond.

I read through all of the messages, but I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even have time to think about what to say—the competition wasn’t over yet, and I needed to focus on prepping for the next round. But of course, that’s easier said than done. How does one shift their attention to an ultimately pointless argument about a fake case when actual racism and xenophobia are happening?

I didn’t spend months working on this problem to give up now. I prepped for the next round, went in, and did my best. We went back to our hotel and prepped for the next day. We got up, got ready, and went out to wait for the shuttle to the competition. While we waited, I looked at my phone, and again, GroupMe was blowing up. I scanned through the messages and saw pejorative terms like “stolen” and “vandalism” as people discussed what had happened that night.

Once again, I was distracted from the competition that I spent months prepping for. My white teammate, only meaning the best, told me not to worry about it and to focus on the competition. Ultimately, I pulled through and we finished the competition as best we could, but it was difficult to not let my thoughts drift back.

What was most striking about this experience was how entirely unsurprising it was. Time and time again, people of color and other minorities are forced to go through the motions of law school while having to deal with events that are incredibly tolling on our mental and emotional health. Every day, we have to walk through the halls of an institution built by slaves, past pictures of all of the white men who came before us, and literal dick pics. We are told to concentrate on our grades and journals and jobs and résumé boosters, but people don’t seem to understand that all of that is inherently more difficult when you are not a cis-gendered heterosexual white male. We are told to learn the laws of our country, but they are all written by old white men to benefit old white men. We are told not to overcommit ourselves, but we can’t simply ignore the needs of our communities and the affinity groups associated with them, so we add those on top of everything else.

No matter how hard we try to be good law students, something inevitably comes up that tears away our focus and makes all that we do that much harder, even when we’re hundreds of miles away and all we want to do is moot.


Courtney Tonks Koelbel '19



[1] Capitalization in original – Eds.


Strict Scrutiny For Libel

110th Show Theme A Product of Exacting Selection

At the heart of the University of Virginia Law School’s annual stage comedy event, the Libel Show, is a secretive conclave whose existence is known only to a select group of insiders. Each year, the theme that unites the show’s sketches is selected, in rigorous secrecy, by high-ranking members of the Libel organization, known to themselves as “the Junta.”

That process, which the Law Weekly has learned is known internally as the “theme party,” takes place every September 30 under conditions much like the in-group gatherings that produce Popes and U.S. presidential candidates. This year’s theme was no different—and it’s already generating surprise and anticipation around the Law School.

Not only was the Charlie’s Angels theme a surprising one in an age characterized more by idealized nostalgia for the Eighties than the Seventies, when young Millennial viewers, according to market research carried out this year by SurveyMonkey, are more likely to assume that “Farrah Fawcett” is a kind of avocado toast than a middling actress, it was also a bold choice in the era of #MeToo. Adapting a show well known even in its own time for coarse innuendo, lingering bath scenes, and plots less driven by sharply written repartee than by “jiggle-TV” slow-motion closeups of the bodies of its protagonists promises to be a challenge for Libel’s production team. How well the conceit of three women overqualified to follow the orders of a millionaire with a speakerphone plays to Generation #Twitter remains to be seen. But now, less than two weeks from the show’s opening night, the Law Weekly has exclusively obtained almost 300 of the themes rejected by this year’s Junta, revealing for the first time the rigor of the theme party selection procedure, and the length of the long odds Charlie’s Angels really ran to emerge as this year’s theme. “Just running your eyes down the column doesn’t really give you a real appreciation of how much effort goes into separating out a theme that really makes the grade,” commented one theme party attendee, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. “You really have to read each one out loud, as we do, preferably in a group, to get the full effect.”

Rejected Themes:

Friday Night Libel

The Forty-Year Old Libel

Talladega Libels


Dial "L" for Libel

Sympathy for Lady Libel

Throw Libel From the Train

Slander: Or the 120 Days of Libel

Libel, She Wrote

Libel the Bailiff

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Libel Show

My Fair Libel

McCabe and Mrs. Libel

An Inconvenient Libel

Libel: Redemption

My Dinner with Libel

All Libel on the Western Front

Do the Libel Thing

Dances With Libels

A Serbian Libel

Libel Rublev

Come and Libel

2001: A Space Libel

The Libels of Navarrone

Libelminer's Daughter

The Handmaid's Libel

Libel, the Beloved Country

Libel on the Roof

A Short Film About Libel

Smokey and the Libel

Libel of the Fireflies

When Libel Met Sally

The Umbrellas of Libel

Libel the Gallant Pig

The Luck of Barry Libel

Guess Who's Coming to Libel

Mad Libel Beyond Slanderdome

Breakfast at Libel's

The Heart Is A Lonely Libel

The Big Libelowski

Stand and Libel

Bill & Ted's Excellent Libel

A Clockwork Libel

Libel On A Hot Tin Roof

A Streetcar Named Libel

Zack And Miri Make A Libel

The Libel King

It's A Wonderful Libel

The Libels of Others

For A Few Libels More

Some Like It Libelous

Libeling in the Rain

Libel Runner

The Bridge On The River Libel

Libel, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Tokyo Libel

Mr. Libel Goes to Washington

The Passion of Joan of Libel

Libel Without a Cause

No Country for Old Libel

Libel Me If You Can

Chitty-Chitty Libel-Libel

The Man Who Shot Libel Valance

Who's Afraid of Virginia Libel?

The Libel in Winter

It Libeled One Night

Touch of Libel

La Dolce Libel

The Libel Before Christmas

Libel in the Shell

This Is Libel Tap

In the Heat of the Libel

Stalag Libel 13

The Manchurian Libel

Libel is The Warmest Color

But I'm A Libeler

Libelers Don't Cry

Brokeback Libel

Libel Me by Your Name

Love And Pain And The Whole Libel Thing

Aguirre, the Wrath of Libel

Arsenic and Old Libel

Au Revoir Les Calomnies

Libel With Bashir

Straight Outta Libel

Libels from Iwo Jima

Let the Right One Libel

Back to the Libel Part II

O Libel, Where Art Thou?

Hedwig and the Angry Libel

Faster, Pussycat! Libel! Libel!

Invasion of the Libelsnatchers

A Few Good Libels

Who Framed Libel Rabbit?

Fear and Libel in Las Vegas

From Here to Libel

Libel of Arabia

The Last King of Libel

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Libel

A Hard Day's Libel

The Muppet Christmas Libel

Libel or High Water

What We Do In The Libels

West Side Libel

Libel’s 11

Dawn of the Libel of the Apes

The Libel For Red October

A Fish Called Libel

An American Libel in London

Snow White and the Seven Libels

Sixteen Libels

Libel Hard With a Vengeance

National Libel's Christmas Vacation

Last Libel of Christ

The Libel who Wasn't There

The Meaning of Libel

House of Flying Libels

Picnic At Libel Rock

The Libel of Drunken Master

And Now For Something Completely Libelous

Zatoichi: Blind Libeler

Women on the Verge of A Nervous Libel

Libel and Kumar Go to White Castle

The Man Who Libeled Too Much

The 36 Chambers of Shao-Libel

My Little Libel Show Can't Be This Cute!

Gochuumon wa Meiyokison Desu Ka?

Attack on Libel

The Opening of Misty Libel

Deep Libel

Debbie Does Libel

The Three Libels of Eve

The Devil in Ms. Libel

All About Libel

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Libel (But Were Too Afraid to Ask)

Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Calomnie, 1080 Bruxelles

Last Libel in Paris

My Own Private Libel

The Double Libel of Véronique

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Libels

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Libeler

The Accidental Libellists

The Triumph of the Libel

Song of the Libel

Birth of a Libel

Gone With the Libel

The Libel Man (this is a twofer at least)

A Libel Runs Through It

They Call The Wind Libel

The Old Man and the Libel

Gilligan's Libel

Howl's Moving Libel

Trading Libels

The Libel Trap

Romancing the Libel

Libel 2: Electric Boogaloo

A Libel In The Sun

How I Libeled Your Mother

Libel Police

Bubblegum Libel: Tokyo 2040

Sex, Libels, and Videotape

Libelous in Seattle

The Prime of Ms. Jean Libel

The Libel of Apu

Three Billboards Outside Libel, Missouri

The Shape of Libel

Libel Out

Bang the Libel Slowly

Our Libel In Havana

The Pink Libel Strikes Again

Around the World in Eighty Libels

The Libel Potemkin

Why We Libel

30 Seconds Over Libel

Libeling Miss Daisy

The Color Libel

Cool Hand Libel

Libel Farm

Blazing Libels

The Man From L.I.B.E.L.

The Libel Always Rings Twice

Libel Indemnity

St. Elmo's Libel

The Man With the Libel Arm

You've Got Libel

Charlie and the Libel Factory

Honey, I Libeled the Kids

Stop! Or My Mom Will Libel

On the Libelfront

Libels Wide Shut

Libel Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance

Violent Libel

Libel Royale

The Year of Libeling Dangerously

Merry Christmas, Mr. Libel

My Big Fat Greek Libel

How Green Was My Libel

Libel: the Professional

A Tree Grows in Libel

Libel At Bernie's

Daddy Longlibels

Edward Libelhands


The Squid and the Libel

20,000 Libels Under The Sea

The Best Years of Our Libels

Django Unlibeled

Libel By Me

Into the Libel

There Will Be Libel

The Deer Libeler

The Libel of the Sierra Madre

Libel History X

My Side of the Libel


3:10 to Libel

Shakespeare in Libel

Libel vs Libel

Sophie's Libel

Libel Day's Journey Into Night

The Libel of Emile Zola

Libel on the Bounty

Seven Libels for Seven Libelers

The Six Million Dollar Libel

Five Nights at Libel's

Four Libels and a Funeral

Three Libels in the Fountain

2 Libels 2 Libelous

One Flew Over the Libel's Nest

Zero Dark Libel

Chariots of Libel

Close Libels of the Third Kind

How to Succeed in Libel (Without Really Trying)

Libeling For Godot

Libel Came the Stranger

Citizen Libel

Philadelphia Libel

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Libel

In the Realm of the Libels

Of Mice and Libels

American Libeler

The Libels of Wrath

The Libels of Cherbourg

Libel, She-Wolf of the SS

Tuskegee Libelmen

Those Magnificent Men In Their Libel Machines

Field of Libels

Libel Doesn't Live Here Anymore

How To Lose a Libel in 10 Days

Butch Cassidy and the Libel Kid

Libel at the Museum

The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Libel

Sweet Sweetback's Liibeeeeelous Song

Three the Libel Way

Cornbread, Libel and Me

Libelz ’n the Hood

Death Libels a Horse

Libel of the Flying Guillotine

The Texas Chainsaw Libel

Straw Libels

The Hurt Libel

Defamation: Libel on the Street





Libel on 34th Street

How the Grinch Stole Libel

It's the Great Libel, Charlie Brown


David Ranzini '20


Musings from the Resident Dog-Nut

Lt. Johan Hein USN
'19 Guest Columnist

Do you love dogs?  Let’s be honest, you do.  Do you need extra belly rubs and a couch-cuddler in your life?  Certainly couldn’t hurt.  Are you unsure if you’re ready for a dog, but are willing to spend some time helping both a dog and local animal rescue?  Answering “yes” to those questions launched my wife and me into an ongoing adventure as rescue dog foster parents.

 From right to left: Tulip Hein, Hannah Hein, and Rosie Hein. Phot courtesy of Jonah Hein.

From right to left: Tulip Hein, Hannah Hein, and Rosie Hein. Phot courtesy of Jonah Hein.

While living in South Carolina, my wife, Hannah, and I adopted our dog, Tulip, from a rural dog rescue, which raised our awareness of the enormous abandoned animal problem across the United States.  At the time we adopted her, the Charleston, S.C. animal shelter was acquiring up to 50 to 80 dogs a day.  These pups were either directly surrendered by their owner or abandoned and taken to the shelter by people who found them in the wild.  Unfortunately, in rural shelters, many are euthanized due to the lack of shelter space and inability to find them a suitable home.

Motivated to find a way to help, we started fostering through a rescue organization which pulled dogs from high-kill shelters in the Carolinas and Virginia and placed them in foster homes.  At first, I was extremely hesitant.  I never planned on opening up my home to a dog we knew nothing about.  We had no idea the issues the dogs might have or their medical situation.  As “foster parents,” we cared for the pups while the rescue organization advertised for “furever” families on Petfinder and other sites.  Though most of our fosters have been hounds, we also had the pleasure of a super-snuggly boxer who loved squeaky toys, an elderly pit-bull who was a sucker for belly rubs, and a few attention-demanding beagles.  It didn’t take long for something that was initially a minor commitment to evolve into a passion for Hannah and me.

Since coming to Charlottesville, we’ve fostered dogs from a local rescue (Caring for Creatures) and volunteered for a local nonprofit that provides dog houses, food, and medical care to dogs that live their entire lives outdoors on the end of a chain (Houses of Wood and Straw, or HOWS).  My wife serves as the Forever-Home Coordinator for HOWS and works around the clock (on top of a full-time job!) to find homes for outdoor dogs, provided the owner can be convinced to surrender them.  These dogs are placed in foster families while we look for an adoption family that will help them lead a healthy, normal life indoors.

Fostering rescue dogs has been one of the most rewarding experiences we have ever had.  Being able to “turn around” a neglected dog and deliver them to a caring family has brought us tons of great memories and plenty of stories to share with the world.  At the end of the day, fostering is a way to make our corner of the world a little better.  
Are you interested in joining us?  Fostering is a flexible activity and can be either short or long in duration.  Basically, it’s having a temporary dog: you’re able to provide a pup with food, shelter, and love while the rescue advertises and seeks an adoption family.  Over the years, we have fostered rescue dogs for as long as three months, and for as short as overnight, in situations where another foster is traveling and needs a dog-sitter, or where the dog may have a veterinary appointment the next morning.

 Author Jonah Hein and Rosie. Photo courtesy of Jonah Hein.

Author Jonah Hein and Rosie. Photo courtesy of Jonah Hein.

Full disclosure: fostering is not all sloppy kisses and snoozing.  Many of these pups have lived rough lives outdoors and have never experienced people, the inside of a home, smooth floors, food bowls, or walks.  But the good news is that most of these hurdles are overcome with two simple measures: kindness and patience.  After a few days, almost every foster dog we have hosted is over the moon to have a soft bed and regular meals!

I’ll admit, the toughest challenge of fostering is parting with your foster pup once an adoption family comes along.  Over the years, we’ve grown particularly attached to many of our fosters; however, the satisfaction we receive from seeing the joy that they bring their new families overwhelms any sense of sadness as they leave our house.  Hannah calls this our “happy-sappy” days.  Most of these dogs have so much love to share, we can’t possibly keep it all to ourselves.
I have to admit that there are few things as pure as the unadulterated, butt-wagging joy that I receive at home after a long day of studying.  Some of my section-mates have joined the fostering bandwagon and can attest to its benefits as well (looking at you, Siarra and Hutton).  Given the continuous stream of rescue dogs through our home, we’ve taken to calling it the “Hein Hound Hotel,” and some nights, it feels like we’re booked to capacity.  Right before Christmas this year, we had six dogs in our house!  If fostering is something you’d like to try, let us know: we’d love to open new locations for the Hein Hound Hotel!  If you’d like to learn more, we even have a website (www.HeinHoundHotel.com) where you can review our distinguished former guests, learn about local laws we are trying to change, and apply to foster.


Mingalabar Myanmar!

Maria C. Dieuzeide
L.L.M. Guest Columnist

Jordan R. Silversmith
'18 Guest Columnist

 A monk walks by a Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Photo courtesy of Maria C. Dieuzeide.

A monk walks by a Buddhist temple in Myanmar. Photo courtesy of Maria C. Dieuzeide.

It was during one of those very hot days in August in Charlottesville when we first heard that we were among the eight students who had been accepted to the Human Rights Study Project of the University of Virginia School of Law. One email and the word “Myanmar” were sufficient to feel happy, if not also a bit of trepidation, and to start dreaming of and organizing what would turn out being one of the most amazing experiences of our lives.

Getting ready for the trip was no easy task. Vaccinations, malaria pills, visas, forms and more forms, almost twenty-seven hours in transit, layovers in basements with ominous signs that read “THE EXIT OF FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS,” many coffees (with milk!), and watching four movies on the plane were part of the preparations. Nor does that include the strange eleven-and-a-half-hour time difference that made the beginning of the trip full of sleepless nights, groggy afternoons, and a strange enduring hunger for Five Guys.

But everything was worth it. After we arrived in Yangon, we discovered that finding good food would not be a problem in a city with curries and noodles from the many different ethnic groups of Myanmar, along with exquisite teas. We also found out that this place has a special mysticism. It may sound a cliché to say that “life moves at a different pace here,” but that doesn’t make it any less true. Once you get used to the traffic (something similar to Hanoi with its thousand motorbikes, or Manhattan with only ten percent of its traffic lights, which makes that a two-and-a-half mile trip can take forty-five minutes) and to speaking a mix of English with a small quota of Burmese words and a great amount of body language and imagination, you start to understand some of the elements that make Yangon a distinctive place.

Myanmar article 1.jpeg

Indeed, the stark contrast between dilapidated British colonial buildings, the immense Shwedagon Pagoda and other Buddhist stupas, impromptu markets and stunning new hotels all piled on top of each other is something you can only find in Yangon. Among all of them, the markets best depict Yangon. Wherever you go, you will encounter huge markets that seem to appear out of nowhere, with hundreds of shops that offer a fascinating insight into the ethnic diversity of the city, the interaction of different cultures, their history, their traditions, their art and their patrimonies that vary from clothing, jewelry and handcrafts to vegetables, thanaka, and different sorts of meats. All this is surrounded by miles of railways and the Yangon Circle Line Train that several times a day circles around the city through the rural outskirts and gives you the chance to interact with local people and get a sense of their daily routines.

The picturesque organization of Yangon and its peculiarity cannot be completely understood without trying to describe the Burmese people. They are intense fans of international soccer and of the Myanmar National League, dress in longyis that vary in colors according to age, gender, and ethnic group, and cover their faces with swirls of thanaka to protect themselves from the bright sun. But what most surprised us were their broad smiles, their kindness and their generosity. No matter whether they are hanging out at 19th Street (the most popular night spot for locals), listening to music or playing the guitar next to Kandawgyi Lake, commuting back home by the Circle Train or studying at University of Dagon, local people always smile to visitors, are fascinated by learning from other cultures and do their best to make everyone feel at home. This scene is complemented by the presence of little novitiate monks everywhere with their pink robes, flooding the marketplace and streets with magic and charm.

Myanmar, like every country, contains contradictions and multitudes. Yet, what is distinct about Myanmar is how the country’s paradoxes are apparent, with such clarity, every moment of every day. A country of astounding ethnic diversity, Myanmar is home to at least 135 recognized ethnic groups. Its government has treated one ethnic group as its defining ethnic identity; it has a dominant religion, Therevada Buddhism, that is profoundly conservative yet whose votaries—the monks and nuns one may see in their flowing saffron robes at all hours and in all places—have no qualms about using their iPhones to take selfies in front of the skyline-defining Shwedagon Pagoda; a citizenry that, having endured in isolation more than half a century of the vicious whims and barbarism of a military junta, nevertheless manifests a profound curiosity about the world and such endearing kindness towards strangers, the homeless, foreigners, tourists and visitors; and, of course, a country whose name could be Myanmar, or Burma, or neither, or both, or something different altogether. While, the convention of whether to call the country “Burma” or “Myanmar” is a subject of contention, Roman transcriptions of those two names hide the fact that both “Burma” and “Myanmar” are pronounced almost identically in Burmese; what’s more, people there call themselves “Myanmar people,” so it seems wise to let a country’s population determine who they are. For a novice traveler, Myanmar can seem like a lot, even too much. But if you spend several weeks there, as we did with the Human Rights Study Project over winter break, you come to a new realization: there’s a reason every person greets you with a smile and says mingalabar. The word means “it’s a blessing,” or “we are blessed.” And that’s what it’s like to be in Myanmar: a blessing.


Letters to the Editor in Response to Last Week

Last week, the Virginia Law Weekly ran a letter to the editor from Max Wagner ’19 entitled “Untangling the Immigration Debate.” The Law Weekly publishes letters without regard to content or viewpoint. The paper does not endorse the positions taken by authors of letters to the editor. Below are the responses the Law Weekly received to Mr. Wagner’s letter. As was the case with Mr. Wagner’s letter, the only changes our editors made relate to grammar, style, and clarity. 

Kevin Jackson '20

Last week, guest columnist Max Wagner threatened our fair school with not one, not two, but an entire series of opinion pieces on immigration.[1] Mr. Wagner’s first piece objects to liberal terminology and suggests that we adopt a more Trumpian tone. I’m not an expert on immigration. However, I am in the process of getting a visa for my spouse, and I have lived abroad most of my life. I helped with the Migrant Farmworker Project and will soon begin immigration internships. Admittedly, I’m only a few weeks into Immigration Law classes. But since last week’s piece set the bar for discussion very low, I’m happy to proceed on these few credentials.

Mr. Wagner is right that words matter, especially the ones we use to sort human beings. He loosely frames his article around the terms “undocumented immigrant,” “DREAMer,” and “chain(ed) migration.” He argues that we should call people “illegal” instead of “undocumented” immigrants. “Undocumented,” he says, is meant to sound more sympathetic and distort the debate. “Illegal,” to him, is more factual.

In terms of accuracy, neither holds up well. “Immigrant” itself may be confusing because, under federal law, it denotes a category of people intending to stay permanently. It does not include everyone who crosses the border unlawfully. “Undocumented” is arguably under-inclusive. Some people do have documents but then overstay. “Illegal” is also potentially misleading. Crossing the border without authorization is not in itself a federal crime as Mr. Wagner seems to believe. If it were, there would need to be due process instead of summary deportation. Of course it isn’t the legal route, and the government can deport you for being unlawfully present. Is this splitting hairs? Yes, but we’re in law school. We all use these terms loosely in daily conversation and writing, and that’s fine. But the more precise terms are “unauthorized/unlawful alien/noncitizen.” If accuracy alone is your goal, pick an adjective and a noun from that set and you’re golden.[2]

I personally prefer “undocumented immigrant.” Yes, that’s a partisan choice. It implies that the problem is the system, not the immigrant. It tells you where I stand in this debate. A strong preference for “illegal immigrant” is also telling. Illegal activity is done by criminals. Criminals are bad people who should be punished. At least, those are the normal, non-lawyer connotations of those words. “Undocumented” and “illegal” are both understandable but imprecise. Neither is neutral. Mr. Wagner has not chosen an accurate term; he has merely chosen the one that facilitates President Trump’s agenda.

He does not object to the term “DREAMer” itself. He simply wishes to say that Dreamers are not as successful, not as fluent in English, and not as literate as their advocates would have us believe. His source? An opinion piece by a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation.[3] That piece, in turn, gets its statistics from the Center for Immigration Studies. We don’t have time to go into all the problems with CIS. Its executive director wrote a book called The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal.[4] We can just leave it at that.

Advocates of any cause will find the most sympathetic cases and highlight them. And of course not every Dreamer fits the poster child description. But that’s not really the point. We support Dreamers because it’s wrong to deport people who are part of our communities, who are harming no one, and who have been building their lives alongside us. English fluency, lack of exposure to their birth countries, and military membership are rhetorically helpful but ultimately irrelevant. Dreamers are Americans too, and the law should reflect that.

If Trump’s immigration plan is “extremely generous” to Dreamers, I don’t know why Mr. Wagner feels the need to make them seem less sympathetic. He’s right that we should “be honest about the experiences of members of this group.” The best way to do that is to listen to Dreamers themselves. We should read and hear their experiences before we draw conclusions. I dare say we’ll need more than just CIS statistics filtered through an anti-immigrant opinion piece.

Finally, Mr. Wagner claims that “chain migration” is neutral and descriptive. He disapproves of “chained migration,” a reference to slavery that implies “chain migration” is a racist term. Strikingly, he neglects to discuss the far more widespread “family reunification.” “Family reunification” is perfectly descriptive, since that is what bringing family members to the U.S. does. It is used in U.S. legislation and regulations.[5] “Chain migration” may not have always been derogatory.[6] However, it is only familiar to most of us because President Trump uses it in his anti-immigrant rhetoric. Presumably it’s easier to rail against “chain migration” than it is to openly attack families.

Last week’s article is not the impartial guide it purports to be. It characterizes Trump’s immigration plan as “extremely generous.” It puts “clean DACA bill” in scare quotes. Throughout, it makes negative references to “the left,” “the far left,” and “advocates.” The closest it gets to balance is a vague reference to “hardliners on both sides.” It purports to guide us through partisan terms, but it’s not hard to see the charade for what it is. So rather than “untangling” it, let’s just cut through the knot of terminology and make our positions clear. I, like many others at our school, stand with the undocumented. Others stand with Trump. Still more stand somewhere in between. It’s a high-stakes debate, but there’s no need to be coy. Since we must be partisan, let’s at least be straightforwardly partisan.


[1] Max Wagner. “Guest Opinion: Untangling the Immigration Debate.” https://www.lawweekly.org/col/2018/2/21/guest-opinion-untangling-the-immigration-debate

[2] I’m drawing from Professor Kevin Cope’s January 23 Immigration Law course lecture. The analysis of immigration terminology is my characterization of that content, and the application to last week’s article is my own.

[3] Hans Spakovsky. “Not-so-beautiful Dreamers: The reality behind the media airbrushing.” https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/25/daca-demographics-show-less-ideal-dreamers-media-i/.

[4] https://www.cis.org/Krikorian?type=blog

[5] 22 USC §7832(b)(2)(B); 8 CFR §204.11(a); 8 USC §1227(a)(1)(E)(ii); 45 CFR §400.115(c)

[6] Blair Guild. “What is ‘chain migration’?” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/what-is-chain-migration-definition-visa-trump-administration-family-reunification/

W. Augustus "Gus" Todd '19

Last week saw one of the most shameful displays of ignorance and intellectual cowardice that I have witnessed since coming to UVa for law school. As many of you may have noticed, last week’s issue of the Law Weekly disappeared from the stands Thursday night. It appears that members of our community, after reading an article they disagreed with,[1] removed the remaining copies of the paper off of the stands to prevent others from reading the article. While reasonable people can and should continue to discuss the merits and flaws of the article itself, this reaction to the article must be forcefully condemned. Rather than confronting the ideas they disagreed with, the people who participated in removing the papers attempted to silence the person holding them. Our society should not tolerate this conduct anywhere. It is hostile to the very concept of the freedom of speech and it is abhorrent in an institution of higher learning where academic honesty and intellectual freedom are paramount virtues.

However, the problems with the events of last week run deeper and speak to the very core of who we are as students at UVa and as future leaders in our communities. Here at UVa, we pride ourselves on our support for one another. We pride ourselves on treating each other with dignity and respect and we hold ourselves to a higher standard in our interactions with one another. The foundation of trust that underlies this school is a large factor in why UVa has come to be consistently ranked as not only one of the best law schools, but also one of the best places to go to law school.[2] The events of last week undermine that trust. Silencing a fellow student is not respectful and is emblematic of a much larger problem facing our society.

It should be uncontroversial to recognize that right now we are a divided nation. America is facing serious issues that in the coming years we are going to have to confront. At home, we still have yet to come to terms on how we are going to treat healthcare and we are in the midst of a debate about whether the individual right to bear arms has continuing relevance in a modern world. Issues concerning race, sex, drugs, abortion, and religion are all still very much part of our national dialogue. On the foreign policy front, we are embroiled in a conflict with one dictator who gasses his own people and may soon be at war with another one hell-bent on launching ballistic missiles at our homeland. It should surprise no one that it appears a Cold War foe is seeking to exploit our current division for its own geopolitical benefit.

If we are going to solve these issues as a nation, we are going to have to do it together. Are we going to initially agree on the best path forward? Of course not. It would be a bad thing if we did. Instead, we will forge our path by arguing with one another—the crucible of vigorous public debate will yield the right answers once we are ready for them. But this kind of robust debate cannot happen if we are not willing to treat each other with respect. The further we divide, the less likely it is for us to engage with the other side and the easier it is to demonize those with whom we disagree. Our inflamed rhetoric portrays each other as evil and lacking humanity while at the same time we retreat into echo chambers that reinforce a sense of our own virtue and righteousness. This is a dangerous cycle, but it is one that we are capable of breaking.

As soon-to-be lawyers, we are entering a profession where we must learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. Wherever our careers take us, we will be in a position where resolving conflict will be part of our everyday lives. Building strong working relationships with those on the other side of the table is a skill that will be crucial to our long-term successes. These relationships will not be fruitful unless we can interact with one another with respect and honesty.  

But more than that, as graduates of an elite law school, we will be in a position to lead the debate on the issues that continue to divide America. Every person at this Law School is intelligent and has ideas worth taking seriously—we wouldn’t be here otherwise. After we graduate, people will look to us for guidance on how to think about these issues and our voices will set the tone for these ongoing debates. We must keep our role as future leaders of our communities in mind when we talk to one another and treat the ideas advanced by our colleagues with due respect, especially when we vehemently disagree with them.

Where we do disagree, we must use the means available to us to respond in a constructive manner that seeks to move the debate forward. Write a response article. Try to get organizations to arrange a debate. More than anything, seek out those with whom you disagree to learn from their perspective. In the process you will recognize their humanity and we will all be better for it. There is some irony in the fact that the article that initiated this uproar was itself the first step in starting a discussion over the words we use when we debate immigration policies. It saddens me to see members of this community having such an antagonistic reaction to an opposing viewpoint. Although the individuals involved do not represent the broader UVa law community, their actions represent a breach of trust that we must take seriously. That is not how elite law students carry themselves, and it is not something we should want to be associated with. Because if this is happening here, I shudder to think what it means for the rest of the country. We can do better than this. We must.


[1] The article attempted to clarify terms commonly used in the debate over immigration and referenced statistics that allegedly show many “DREAMers” lack literacy skills and fluency in English. I have read the article, but do not know enough about the ongoing immigration debate to have a well-informed opinion about the topic or the issues raised by the article.

[2] No citation needed.


Toccara Nelson '19

Last week, Max Wagner wrote an article titled, "Guest Opinion: Untangling the Immigration Debate." In this piece, Wagner explains his position on why many undocumented immigrants should be called illegal immigrants, while providing his divine benevolence over the status and categorization of DREAMers. Wagner states:

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.

He demands that the public be truly “honest” about the experiences of DREAMers in order to inform the U.S. government’s immigration restrictions. Wagner then, in all his precious sympathy and benevolence over DREAMers, cites that DREAMers en masse have high illiteracy rates, lack fluency in English, and lack high school diplomas. The study Wagner cites fails to list any sources or methodology in support of its statistics. This study was briefly described in a Washington Times article, which only quotes but does not cite the source.[1] In fact, the study was allegedly conducted by the Center on Immigration Studies, which is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a group with ties to white supremacist organizations and whose employed policy analyst was pushed out of the Heritage Foundation for forwarding racist pseudoscience.[2]

Based on what Wagner himself spells out in "Untangling the Immigration Debate," the U.S. government should “define who [DREAMers] are” through DREAMers' allegedly (but unfounded) high illiteracy rates and low levels of English fluency and high school diplomas, so that the government “can make correct decisions” regarding immigration policy. It is not a foregone conclusion to see that if Wagner had his way, the U.S. government wouldn’t support DREAMers because, in Wagner’s eyes, they bring nothing of value to the United States. 

It should be very easy to dispute Wagner’s claims about DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants. It should be common sense for this Law School community to know the value that DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants bring to the United States;[3] we should also not be forced to engage in respectability politics to appeal to this Law School community about the value of DREAMers and undocumented immigrants to society.

It should also be common sense that the United States of America was created from immigration from Europe. But those immigrants, unlike the DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants Wagner and so many others malign, violently colonized this land from Native Americans, and ripped numerous of Africans away from their homeland by forcing them into slavery and forcing them to build the nation we now know as the United States of America. Wagner, unsurprisingly, makes no mention of those immigrants. Wagner also fails to mention the U.S.’s role in destabilizing numerous nations with its interventionist policies, and that destabilization causes many to emigrate to the U.S. seeking stability and prosperity.[4] He instead dismisses the worth of DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants. For DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants, their sole crime is to seek a better life in a nation in denial of its own sins. Wagner’s piece is the embodiment of America’s denial.

The fact that students are forced to write a response to blatant racism featured within an article from an institution where the best legal scholars and attorneys supposedly are present is ridiculous. This is not the most desired use of mine or anyone’s time. Consistently students at the University of Virginia School of Law are forced to dedicate time to combat emotionally and mentally triggering instances of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, islamophobia, etc. forwarded by students. The time taken to combat such issues is spent away from doing weekly readings for courses, outlining and preparing for final exams, going to office hours for professors, and this ultimately affects our academic performance at UVa Law. The fact that marginalized students have to respond to an article forwarding racist and xenophobic ideologies further indulges, legitimizes, and publicizes such farces of views in the first place. But here we are, and unfortunately based on this institution and the reactions from members of our community, this is the only “acceptable” way to respond to such ignorant, dangerous, violent, and triggering rhetoric.

I implore the Law Weekly not to continue Wagner’s series about immigration. It is patently obvious that he is misinformed about U.S. immigration policy on a sociohistorical level. The sources he cites prove to be unfounded conjecture. Neither I nor anyone else should have to write this for an article like Wagner’s to be maligned and condemned. But as tradition goes at UVa Law, the burden continuously falls on the marginalized to fight against our own marginalization. And it is utterly exhausting. 


[1] https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/dec/25/daca-demographics-show-less-ideal-dreamers-media-i/

[2] https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/center-immigration-studies

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/storywall/american-dreamers

[4] https://revista.drclas.harvard.edu/book/united-states-interventions



Last week, this paper published a guest opinion that stirred controversy on grounds and led to an unidentified person removing all the copies from the library newsstand. I would have been completely oblivious to this drama were it not for the Law Weekly’s Facebook post that blew up my news feed. The post (and re-posts) made no mention of the article’s content. So naturally I had to track down a copy and settle in for a challenging read, which I figured I would probably disagree with on the merits. That is not exactly what happened for me. In the words of someone who shared the Law Weekly’s post about the theft, “fight content you disagree with using better content.” I agree, and so this is my attempt.

I’ll grant the article’s take on words like “illegal” vs. “undocumented” or “chain” vs. “chained.” What ideology doesn’t just hate it when the other side comes up with an effective word or phrase to carry their message? What “pro-life” proponent wouldn’t love to cement “pro-ending-life” into the lexicon? Discussions about linguistic accuracy are worth having—for better or worse, the legal term is “alien”—but I’m not writing this to have that debate. I want to write about a different kind of chain—a chain that is, in my opinion, far more harmful to the country than so-called “chain migration.” That is the chain of sourcing that normalizes baseless and/or utterly false information, which then ends up in our news feeds, accumulating attention, acceptance, and legitimacy.
To its credit, the article recognized that DREAMers are not inherently bad people. They are often children brought to this country at a young age “through little or no fault of their own”—because what small child isn’t occasionally a little at fault for their parents fleeing to another country? I’m sure my parents considered it. Putting aside that “a majority of the DREAMers were brought over as teenagers” is a notion that was left unsupported in the article and is at least disputed,1  my interest was really piqued over a “study” the article cited regarding literacy rates of DREAMers. Digging into the source of this study, I found a sadly common example of legitimization of poor sources through a process whose name I will make up—chain citation.

This citation begins with an article from the Washington Times, a notoriously conservative paper whose viewpoint I do not identify with. However, that does not spell trouble—let’s go to the next link in the chain. The article cites the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). I’m not an immigration expert; it sounds reputable enough. Let’s check it out. Search results show that CIS was listed as a hate group in 2016 by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for “its repeated circulation of white nationalist and anti-Semitic writers in its weekly newsletter and the commissioning of a policy analyst who had previously been pushed out of the conservative Heritage Foundation for his embrace of racist pseudoscience.”2  Not looking good so far. But I hear you, 50-percent of readers: “SPLC is a liberal-leaning organization that has its own agenda. What about the study itself?” Let’s hit the next link in the chain. Using the direct quotes from the Washington Times article turned up one article on CIS’s website, “Time to End DACA.”3  Still, this article is not the source of the data. Fortunately, the article directly links to the study.4  The study’s author? Remember the policy analyst pushed out of the Heritage Foundation for his racist pseudoscience? Bingo. The study’s author’s name is Dr. Jason Richwine, a Harvard Ph.D. whose dissertation was entitled "IQ and Immigration Policy", which argued that genetic and/or environmental factors have made “today’s immigrants . . . not as intelligent on average as white natives” in a way that will “have substantial negative effects on the economy and on American society.”5  I hope by now you’re convinced that the literacy data from last week’s article is insufficiently supported. But in case you’re willing to accept this data because all I’ve done is attack the source ad hominem, let’s walk this study back to the article. Even if you are willing to accept the validity of Dr. Richwine’s immigrant literacy study, it wholly doesn’t support the premise for which it was cited. The study purports to quantify literacy rates of Hispanic immigrants as a whole. The CIS article that cited the study linked its Hispanic literacy rates (without questioning accuracy) to DACA recipients merely because “80–90 percent” are Hispanic.6  Therefore, that author’s “estimate” was that “perhaps 24 percent of the DACA-eligible population fall into the functionally illiterate category and another 46 percent have only ‘basic’ English ability.”7  The author doesn’t control for variables or provide any evidence that DACA recipients are somehow representative of Hispanic immigrants writ large.8  This is how a study, which wouldn’t be relevant even if accurate, makes its way from the mind of a racist, through the conduit of a hate group, into a slanted newspaper, and onto the pages of the student newspaper of one of the best law schools in the country. Chain citation—people have a right to be mad about it.

It should be obvious from my taking the time to write this that I support a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers, unqualified and unsullied by political maneuvering. Further, I take serious issue with the unspoken, rhetorical conclusion of last week’s article, which is that DREAMers somehow do not deserve legal status because they are illiterate, or nearly so, and they have no high school diploma. It’s a dog whistle, plain and simple. It is fundamentally no different from the nativist xenophobia that was typified by anti-Roman-Catholic and anti-Asian movements in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Replace “DREAMers” with “Asian” in last week’s article and you’ll see what I mean. Articles like these are problematic not only for their improper research, but also because they continue to marginalize people who would undoubtedly be more successful in our country if we opened our arms rather than stereotyping and ostracizing.
I’m not saying you have to agree with my point of view on DREAMers. What I do hope you agree with is that we in the law school community should attempt to rise above the inadequacy of modern discourse. Neither “side” is innocent of flippant sourcing that feeds our arguments and our egos, myself included. But we should at least attempt to raise the bar, where we can, and refuse to add noise to the debate. Thoughtful and considerate research and argument is paramount, not just in our future careers, but also in our every-day interactions with each other.


1 https://cdn.americanprogress.org/content/uploads/2017/11/02125251/2017_DACA_study_economic_report_updated.pdf (noting that average age when first arrived to the United States was 6.5).

2 https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/center-immigration-studies.

3 https://cis.org/Oped/Time-End-DACA.


5  https://www.scribd.com/doc/140239668/IQ-and-Immigration-Policy-Jason-Richwine.
6  https://cis.org/Oped/Time-End-DACA.
7  Id.
8 The author, Dr. Steven Camarota, does have a master’s from UPenn and a PhD from the University of Virginia.



Nathan Tyre '19

Can we all please stop the yelling? We get it. The far right are xenophobic, gun-toting racists who are looking to protect white America at the expense of, well, everyone. And the self-righteous left, correct as they may be on many issues, believe that government cures all ails and if you get in their way they will smear you with names like racist, sexist, xenophobe, and/or bigot. While there may be more than a few on the right that deserve such a description, it is not all of them. And while some on the left want to burn the constitution and start over, most do not.
My primary issue with Mr. Wagner’s recent article is not with his opinion. He’s entitled to be wrong. My primary issue is that it wasn’t worthy of a UVa Law student. This is a school, so we don’t have to get too serious, but Mr. Wagner’s article added nothing to the debate on immigration. It was a poorly written, poorly sourced echo-piece. The article served only to add a microphone to the political right’s talking points.

The provocateurs who responded to the article by throwing away copies of the Virginia Law Weekly and penning an unsigned response also did nothing to advance the debate. Mr. Wagner’s article was inflammatory. It contained arguments that I would call racist—for instance, the argument that those who break immigration laws are “illegals” but those who break other laws are not so branded. But the arguments that Mr. Wagner offered were not his own. He simply repeated them. We’ve heard them before. And we’ve heard the response before as well: He’s a xenophobe. Like I said, we get it. Can we turn the page?

Our country, and certainly this law school, should be a place where ideas and policies are debated with open minds. But instead we walk the halls and hear echoes of ideas we already know to be true. There is no room for debate when minds are made up and battle lines drawn. If you know you are right, then have the confidence to read Mr. Wagner’s article and respond to it with truth and reason. If you are confident in what you believe, have the humility to read Mr. Wagner’s article, look past its inflammatory comments, and reason with the issues. And if you are going to engage in the debate, be disciplined enough to come up with original thought and to properly source your articles. Finally, the debate should be respectful of these conditions and of people. Mr. Wagner’s article wasn’t respectful. It wasn’t original; it wasn’t properly sourced; it wasn’t offered with humility; it didn’t respectfully consider the other side; and it ignored the human element. We should set the standard a bit higher.

To his credit, Mr. Wagner signed his name to his response. His article may have been supremely deficient, to put it mildly. But he engaged. I hope he continues to submit articles to Law Weekly. But I hope he does so in a thoughtful and disciplined manner. I hope his writing improves with each attempt (I hope the same for my own writing). I hope that his future articles are respectful of others and of the debate itself. And I hope that those responding to his article will in turn put down the megaphones and engage with the substantive ideas—it is why we are all here.




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. 

2 https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/20a17/dec/25/daca-demographics-show-less-ideal-dreamers-media-i/.

3 Id.

4 Id.

5 Mattis’ Statement: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/08/jim-mattis-military-dreamers-no-deportations-398991.

6 As noted by Jonah Goldberg, this term has been used in scholarly papers going back to 1943 https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/01/31/chain-migration-racist-term-no-its-just-you-democrats-jonah-goldberg-column/1079100001/

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 facebook.com/HLAatUVA.

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 cdk2rh@virginia.edu.

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 Wix.com, 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

4 http://thedinfographics.com/2012/07/31/napping-types-statistics-facts-and-history-infographics/

5 https://sleep.org/articles/napping-health-benefits/

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: http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/10/15/spain.siesta.championship/index.html

8 https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/napping

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), https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/929511061954297857 (“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!”).