Hot Bench: Ryan Poche '19


Ryan Poche ‘19

Have you ever had a nickname?

Sneaks!!!

Where did you grow up?

A small town in Southwest Louisiana right on the Gulf called Erath (as popularized by True Detective season one).

What is your favorite word?

Plethora

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

My wife’s family owns a seafood restaurant back home and I eat probably three dozen charbroiled oysters each time I stop by. 

If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be and why?

Bradley Cooper seems like the kind of celebrity you would want to have a beer with.

What’s your favorite hobby to avoid the stress of law school? 

I love to cook Cajun food from back home (my parents are incredibly generous and send me a few key ingredients every couple of weeks). My wife and I love to go to the movies and probably contributed to MoviePass’s financial woes last year. Check out They Shall Not Grow Old while it’s still on the big screen!

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

Colorado

What’s your least favorite sound?

My Duo mobile app saying “Thank You” because I have not figured out how to text my authentication instead of calling.

If you owned a sports team, what/who would be the mascot?

The Pelican’s King Cake Baby is terrifying enough to be a standalone mascot.

Blueberries or strawberries?

Strawberries are more multifaceted.

What is the best concert you have ever been to?

A Concert for Charlottesville was beautiful.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville?

I love to take advantage of the C’ville hiking scene.

Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC?

Yikes.

What’s your favorite food(s)?

Charlottesville Thai takeout has a soft spot in my heart.

If you had to pick one song to play non-stop in the background of your life, what would it be?

Any Lil Wayne song would give me equal parts introspection and hype.

What’s the longest. you’ve gone without sleep and why?

Probably two and a half days during Mardi Gras Freshman year at Tulane because New Orleans doesn’t really let you stop.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with it?

Pay off my student loans and buy out all of the crawfish farmers in Louisiana to create a monopoly (they’re sitting on a gold mine if they would collude).

If you could be in the winter Olympics, which sport would you compete in?

The Biathlon where skiers race and shoot a rifle once in a while looks incredibly fun.

How can Law Weekly improve?

Daniel Grill has asked me if I have seen the Howard Schultz Morning Joe interview every single day since it aired—rein him in!

Biggest Grammy upset?

Scorpion should have taken Album of the Year, no question.

 

Letters to the Editor: 2/13/19


“Everyday People” Doesn’t Show My Everyday Reality

Alicia Penn ’19

 

            “Everyday People: Images of Black Life at UVA Law” is the photo exhibit currently on the second floor of the Law Library. It’s part of a cross-grounds Black History Month exhibit. However, as much as this exhibit would like you to believe it is reflective of the lives of Black people at UVA Law, it is not.

           

            The exhibit features several photos of Black people occupying space at UVA Law and, for the most part, the people in these photos seem to be happy. The exhibit does a good job of showing the happy moments of everyday life of Black life at UVA Law, but it falls short of showing the everyday reality of the incredibly exhausting experience of being Black at UVA Law.

 

            To be Black at UVA Law means choosing your battles when your peers say problematic things in class; it is deciding whether to prioritize your mental health over getting into an argument in Constitutional Law; and it is knowing that Black people are incredibly underrepresented in the student body and in the faculty.

 

            I think the best way I can convey the daily feeling I have for you is this: One of the speakers at the town hall we held after Jason Kessler’s first visit to the Law School said when she learned Jason Kessler was here, she simply said, “Oh, just another white supremacist in the library.” That resonated so deeply with me. Because truthfully, so many of my peers are complicit and benefit from the white supremacy at the roots of this school. I am very aware that this institution was not built for me. I am aware that the system was not created with me or people like me in mind. Not only that, but my peers have engaged in acts that let me know this place still is not for me: from uttering the n-word in public to engaging in microaggressions.

 

            The school loves to pretend we are all at an equal level—that everything is so fair. After all, we all are on the same curve. But imagine constantly processing these things I have just described while studying to take exams next to people who are not affected by any of these things at all. Imagine being shaken to your core by these events and knowing you are graded on a curve with someone who does not even see the problem. It is so incredibly exhausting, y’all—it is not fun, it is not all smiles.

 

            Now, I do not expect a photo exhibit to be able to display all of these complex and nuanced feelings—that is a lot to ask. But what we currently have feels dishonest and false. It feels like the school is using my face as part of a publicity stunt to show how great Black people have it here. It feels exploitative. I do not subscribe to this narrative that Black life at UVA Law is great. Personally, I have not been particularly happy for most of my time at UVA Law. I have never felt my race more than while attending UVA Law. But that is not the takeaway you get from this exhibit.

 

            I am happy that the Law Library is doing something to commemorate Black History Month because Black History Month is important and we do not do nearly enough to celebrate it. And I really like taking a look at the history of Black life at UVA Law, but the execution needs improvement. As the exhibit stands currently, it is not an exhibit about the reality of Black life at UVA Law. It is at most reflective of an outsider looking in on Black life at UVA Law.

Hot Bench: Anna Bobrow '20


Anna Bobrow ‘20

Anna Bobrow.jpg

What are you most excited for during your 2L spring in Charlottesville? 

I feel like I’m a latecomer to getting out and exploring the great things that the town has to offer, so I’m excited to go to more vineyards, cideries, UVA baseball games, and hikes.

 

What is your favorite word?

Joy.

 

What would you pick to be your last meal and why?

My mom’s macaroni and cheese, with a side of her meatloaf and this delicious chocolate pie she makes in the summer for dessert. If it has to be my last meal, I want the food to be made with love and evoke good memories.

 

If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be and why?

Roger Federer. Not only is he an amazing tennis player, but his charitable work is admirable.

 

Funniest person in the law school?

Griffin Peeples ’20. He’s also the best dancer in the Law School.

 

What’s your favorite hobby to avoid the stress of law school?

Exercise. Find me at the North Grounds Rec Center, running outside, or on a hike.

 

What’s something you wish you’d known about law school before coming to UVA Law?

The qualities and people that made you successful before law school are the same things that will make you successful during law school.

 

What is the most interesting thing/most fun fact about you?

I’ve seen Shaggy in concert…in Zanzibar.

 

(I volunteered with a nonprofit in Zanzibar one summer in college, and he was the headliner at the Zanzibar International Film Festival’s concert. It was a crazy concert: We paid $5 for VIP tickets and the venue was an old Omani fort built in 1699. There were twelve warm-up acts by local performers, Shaggy came on at 1a.m., and then played his two songs you would know (“It Wasn’t Me” and “(You’re My) Angel”) in the first five minutes, so we left right after.)

 

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Why?

London. My family lived there when I was in elementary school and I would love to live there again. Easy access to Europe (let’s not talk about Brexit) and a city with tons of history, great restaurants, and theater.

 

What’s your least favorite sound? 

When “One Shining Moment” plays for Duke. #GoHeels #GTHD

 

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

For my eighteenth birthday, my grandmother gave me a necklace that my grandfather (who died when I was a year old) gave to her when they were in the early days of their marriage. It’s a unique piece of jewelry, and I love to wear it.

 

What’s your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville?

Recently, it’s been going swing dancing on Wednesday nights at Swing Cville on the Downtown Mall.

 

If you could make one law that everyone had to follow, what would it be?

Mandatory recycling and composting in every household.

 

Which animal are you most like?

A meerkat (like Timon from Lion King).

 

If you won the lottery, what would you do with it?

Claim the ticket anonymously and donate it. Depending on the amount, I would consider the benefits and negatives of working through established community nonprofits with low administrative overhead as compared to setting up a new foundation. If I got lucky enough to win the lottery, I would want to make sure the money is spent in the most efficacious and responsive way possible.

 

If you could have any special skill, what would it be?

I’ve always wanted to be able to play the guitar. It would come in handy at sing-a-longs and campfires, and then I could also be in a band.

 

Where is a place you haven’t been but want to travel to?

I’m a big tennis fan and have been to Wimbledon, the French Open, and the U.S. Open, so the plan would be to go in January so I can go to the Australian Open, and then jump over to New Zealand to hike and hang out with sheep.

 

What would be the title of your biography?

One of my good friends suggested: “Well-Traveled Lass Takes the Road Less Traveled.” If I could live up to that biography, I’d be happy about that.

——

agb4cb@virginia.edu

Petty Judicial Committee of the Privy Council: 1L Gunners v. The Queen


Appeal Cases

Before the

Petty Judicial Committee of the Privy Council,

VOL. DCXIV

 CLXXXII Victoriæ.

 

1L Gunners

and

Her Majesty the Queen.

 

On Appeal from the Court of Petty Appeals for the University of the Dominion of Virginia

 

614 P.J.C.P.C. 913, 50 Am. P. Apps. 344. (2019) 

 

 

Statement of Case.

This was an appeal from an order of the Court of Petty Appeal for the University of Virginia, (Tang, C.J., Lorenzo & Gladden, B.B.) dated January 30, 2019 and reported sub.nom. R v. 1L Gunners [2019] 23 All V.R. (Petty) 792, dismissing the appellants’ appeal against their conviction at Chad’s Term of the Virginia Assizes Petty on two counts, viz.: unlawfully effecting a public mischief in breach of the Queen’s peace and conspiracy to corrupt the public order. At the trial before Luk, B., the jury, under guidance from the learned judge, made out a special verdict which found the facts of the case thus:

 “that on the 12th January, 2019, certain 1Ls, the prisoners, were, with upperclassmen, for the first time admixed within the lecture-halls. That, on the first day of classes, they were free to find seats among their fellows. That, on the second day of lectures, they remained in these seats. That notwithstanding they did among themselves at divers times upon these dates converse in confidence to change their seats within the halls. That the prisoners had spoken among themselves of worry at their grades and job-placements, and suggested that it would be better to take the seats of their classmates that their grades might be saved. That the prisoners felt they would improve their seats by so doing. That upon the third day, the prisoners having in secret arranged among themselves so to do, they contrived to arrive well before the beginning of the next class within the lecture-halls mentioned in the particulars of the offence and to sit upon certain places claimed by the upperclassmen. That upon the arrival of the upperclassmen they declined to move from these new seats, and with sullen looks refused to be budged. That upon the request of the upperclassmen for them to move they demurred impudently. That upon that day the seating-chart was circulated. That an indictment was thereupon drawn against them and they were carried to Scoco to be committed for trial. That under these circumstances there appeared to the prisoners every probability that unless they then changed their seats or very soon changed their seats, they would be unable to sit among their friends and that their grades would suffer. But whether upon the whole matter the jurors may find, that the taking of the seats be public mischief and conspiracy to corrupt the public order, the jurors are ignorant, and pray the advice of the Court thereupon, and if upon the whole matter the Court say that the taking of the seats be public mischief and conspiracy to corrupt the public order, then the jurors say that the gunners were each guilty of the said petty-misdemeanour and conspiracy as alleged in the indictment.” The learned Judge then ordered the Assizes adjourned until January 20. Upon the application of the Crown they were again adjourned until February and the case ordered argued before a Court of five judges; on the verdict of the jury sentence of transportation for life being passed, special leave was given to appeal to the Court of Petty Appeals and thence to the Petty Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

 

January 31. Dame L. Welch A.G., Serj’t., (M. Schmid, Q.C., and Luevano, with her), appeared for the Crown.

The record having been read,

 Sir S. Pickett, Q.C., (W. Palmer, Q.C. and Grill, with him), for the appellants objected, first, to the finding of a special verdict in the case below, both facts and conclusions of law ordinarily being within the ambit of a jury properly impanelled, second, that the special verdict, though not unknown to the laws of England, is, by the long span that has elapsed between its last invocation, become obsolescent, and as such is come into implicit antinomy with the Judicature Article of the British Virginia (Constitution) Act (32 Geo. III c.VII), which specifies “at Lawe and Equity, tryal by Jury, in accordance with the Usages of our Lawes and Statutes.” Third, that what is styled in the indictment a “conspiracy to corrupt the public order” is unknown to the common law, and it was not therefore for the learned judges to find in the facts of this case that the appellants were guilty of the offence. That so to find was contradictious with the rule of law and an ex post facto imposition of punishment for an offence hitherto unknown; that no law forbade early arrival in classrooms to secure by priority a favourable seat, and to do so could not be ruled an offence against public order, and an agreement to do so could be no conspiracy against it.

Dame L. Welch A.G., for the Crown. As to the first two points, the special verdict is of well-attested form and was invoked correctly in this instance. [She cited R. v. Washington, 2 Am. P. Apps. 122 (1778), Marsh’s Case, Walsh, C.P.E. 887 (1763), R. v Brown, 3 Terr. P. Reps. 235 (1859).]  Though not often in usage in these years, it cannot be shewn on any authority that it has been explicitly overruled either within Britain or in her Dominions. That, pace the learned counsel for the appellants, reference made by the Constitution Act to “the Usages of Our Lawes and Statutes” subjects any understanding of that document to the authority of the English common law, and a verdict found according to the law of Britain must perforce go as good law in Virginia. As to the third point, that the common law would be a faithless watchman if it were not within the power of the learned judge to apply the general principles which underly it to acts hitherto unattested. [She cited Shaw v. D.P.P, HL 4 May 1961 & R. v. Manley, 1 K.B. 529, 1933] That these principles were certainly offended by the secret arrangements of which the appellants’ conduct gives tangible evidence, &c.

[Their Lordships intimated that the above points taken on behalf of the appellants were untenable.]

 

Sir S. Pickett, Q.C., for the appellants. With regard to the substantial question in the case, on the contrary to the Crown’s contention, it is popularly recognized in the custom of the country that until the moment of the actual circulation of the seating-chart, that the place of seating in a lecture is not assigned. In the alternative, when under a necessity, set seats may be moved or exchanged. That, in fact, the gunners here were under that necessity, they having a reasonable fear that they would not be able to sit with their friends, indolently whisper pompous commentary on the lectures from seat to seat and that their grades might reasonably have been adversely affected thereby. That in 1L spring this necessity was of particularly compelling character.

[He was stopped.]

Dame L. Welch, A.G., for the Crown.

To this point, custom in this case has been superseded by statute, the Seating Chart (Assigned Class Seats) Act, (127 Vict. c. XIV). Although the seating chart may not be distributed until the third meeting of a class or later, new seats in a class may be taken no later than the second meeting. That no necessity could reasonably be adduced from the intuitions of the appellants; that most students receive a B+ average and are gainfully employed following graduation; that no doubt can be advanced against the proposition that cliques tend to irritation and offence to the public order.

 

[Their Lordships took time for consideration]

 

February 5. The judgement of the Council (Lord Ranzini, C.J., van der Meulen, Zablocki, JJ., Malkowski, Schmalzl, BB.) was delivered by

Lord Ranzini, C.J. The appellants, styled the “gunners” of the 1L class, were indicted shortly after the first of this year for conspiring among themselves to take by subtlety and convert to their own usage the preferable seats of divers members of the upper classes. They were tried before the learned Baron Luk at Scoco on the 15th of January, and through the careful direction of my learned Sister, a special verdict was returned, whose legal effect, having been twice disputed, it falls to us finally to pronounce a judgement upon.

The special verdict, as it has at length come before us, is as follows: [His Lordship read out the special verdict as set out supra.]

From these facts, it appears sufficiently certain that these were indeed gunners, and that they felt themselves under a powerful compulsion to obtain for themselves the seats which, at the first and second meetings of their classes, chance had denied them. Yet nevertheless it is clear that in changing their seats they incommoded those in whom a claim upon those places had already inhered.

Learned counsel for the appellants have made some point of the principle of legality as applied to the laws of the Dominion of Virginia and certain implied liberties which emerge from nice distinctions within the Act of Constitution and the English common law, to which the Attorney General has ably replied. These are of no moment. Before this bench is a matter in petty law, to which the First Principle of that law applies—We shall do what we want. The slights and wrongs in which the petty law deals are trivial in their apparent magnitude but would fatally unwind the warp and weft of our civilisation if left without their lawful challenge. The breadth awarded our discretion in these matters is the appointed check to these ills.

Upon the substance of this case the learned counsel for the appellants has advanced that a defence of necessity attaches to their acts. This too cannot––must not—detain us. Man is, by barbarous nature, born a casuist, but the law in its noble essence must have no truck with special pleading. Such a principle, once admitted, would be made a cloak for the impulsive evil that is in men’s souls. Necessity can never substitute for justice before this bar. No judge can tread the path of the law who strays from it on so weak a principle. True, we set up standards we ourselves too often cannot reach. But it is the prerogative, instead, of the Sovereign to exercise mercy when the terrible equity of the law lies too heavy on its subjects. Their Lordships will therefore humbly advise Her Majesty that the judgments appealed from ought to be confirmed, and the appeal dismissed, and that sentence of transportation be commuted to mild public ridicule.

—-

dwr7ed@virginia.edu

Hot Bench: Chinny Sharma '19


Chinny Sharma ‘19

Chinny Sharma ‘19

Chinny Sharma ‘19

Good morning, Chinny! Welcome to the Hot Bench, where we’re happy to interview students at the time best for them, even if it’s 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday! Let’s get started.

 

Chinny, I hear that you wake up really early in the morning. How early is early?

Probably about five in the morning. I am a disgusting morning person. But on weekends, I sleep until a lofty six or seven. I would like to definitely throw W. Campbell Haynes ’19 under the bus, because he wakes up just as early if not earlier. Just gonna use the microphone while I have it.

 

Okay, but when do you go to sleep?

Sleep’s not a thing I’m good at, but I’m getting better at it. This semester I’m definitely trying to hit some grandma bedtimes, like around 10 p.m.

 

“Trying” as in “not succeeding”?

Not so much, but trying. Now that the Digital Democracy Symposium is over, I’m definitely going to try out this whole 3LOL thing.

 

So what’s the first thing you do at that god-awful time, five in the morning?

Take out my dog who I’m fostering. You know, it’s great to go home and have a bud who’s so excited to see you. But it’s a lot; single parenting is really hard.

 

Why did you decide to come to law school?

I used to be the founder of a tech start-up. I came to law school because, while I was really interested in coding, the question I was most interested in was whether we ought to be building the things we were building. At that point, I had gotten in to UVA and had been deferring. Eventually, Cordell was like, “Hey, are you going to come?” and I finally said yea, I think I have a reason to go to law school.

 

How long were you in tech?

I started off as a consultant on the analytics team at Deloitte and they were chill, but they didn’t teach me everything I wanted to know. I taught myself how to code, and at some point a friend and I broke off and started our own start-up, focusing on collecting data in low latency and low connectivity environments. The start-up went well, but there was a point when my bank account hit thirty-eight cents and I ate a lot of ramen.

 

At what point during the start-up were you considering law school?

About eight or nine months in, I started to realize that I wasn’t going to be taken seriously without better cards in my hand. I don’t think it was justified, at all, but when you’re a woman in tech, especially an English major, people just assume you’re punching above your weight class and that you’re probably on the sales team, and not an actual coder.

 

Where did you grow up?

New York; I never say Westchester because nobody likes Westchester.

 

Why?

It’s a pretty homogenous community.

 

What’s one thing you hope to accomplish here at law school?

Have LIST maintain its current momentum and have the club gain enough prominence that the school hires more tech-focused professors, or our current professors teach more classes about technology law.

 

Chinny points at my morning bagel; is that hummus on a bagel?

 

Yes.

That’s freaking amazing. Hummus is like one of those things like carrots; there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.

 

I think you can definitely have too many carrots.

No! I can eat an entire bag of baby carrots…is that weird?

 

No, that’s not too weird.

Yea, so half the bag I’ll eat with hummus and then the other half I’ll eat with peanut butter.

 

Internal Screaming.

[Redacted – a conversation about whether peanut butter deserves to be called butter when hummus is not called chickpea butter…something something lipids.]

I’m gonna give up (on googling lipids). This is why I didn’t become a doctor like my parents wanted.

 

Were your parents set on your becoming a doctor?

Set, more like hanging their every hope and dream on it. Lawyers rank far below doctors in my parents’ eyes, but they eventually came around!

 

What is your favorite place in Charlottesville?

Ridge Road, it’s right off of Garth and it’s a four-mile dirt road that I run regularly. It’s all horse farms and big estates. The second-tier goal of my running is to come across a kindly old man who will adopt me and leave me his horse farm. It’s farfetched but it could happen.

 

Deepest, darkest fear?

Having net negative impact on the people I care the most about around me.

 

Anti-stress hobby?

Hiking.

 

Pet-peeve?

When somebody, over email, gets the Mr. or Mrs. wrong. We live in the Internet Age, look it up! (Also, when people try to talk to me when I have my headphones on. I’ve deployed the universal signal of leave me alone, people!)

 

What’s a movie that left an impression on you?

My Cousin Vinny.

 

Favorite word?

Serendipity.

 

Favorite food?

Peanut Butter.

 

I’m scared to ask, but what else do you eat with peanut butter?

What don’t I eat with peanut butter? It’s a versatile food that can be eaten with everything. Well, maybe not capsicum or potatoes––that would be weird. But I haven’t tried it yet, so maybe it wouldn’t be weird.

 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Wyoming…yea, I feel good about that.

 

Favorite sound?

Fire crackling…in Wyoming.

 

If you could ask yourself a question 10 years in the future, what would you ask? 

How’s Wyoming?

 

If you could tell yourself something on the first day of law school that you know now, what would it be?

You should have listened to the best advice you ever got, which was from George Carotenuto, who said, “Just say no to everything.” I think as law students there are a lot of things we think we should do, and we end up being too busy to do the things we really want to.

Court of Petty Appeals: Class of 2021 v. Davies

Class of 2021 v. Davies

918 U.Va. 34 (2019)

 

VanderMeulen, C. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Schmalzl, and Jani JJ., joined. Jani, J., filed a concurring opinion. Hopkin, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Malkowski, J., joined.

 

Chief Justice VanderMeulen delivered the opinion of the Court.

“Cookies and coffee are the birthright of every student of the law.” This maxim, as old as the petty common law itself, is alternatively attributed to Lord Blackstone, Chief Justice Haden, and Lisa. Whatever its origin, it is the north star of this Court’s cookie-and-coffee jurisprudence, which must today examine whether the end of the free WB coffee constitutes a deprivation of the 1Ls’ right to due process.

 

Members of the UVA Law Class of 2021 brought this case as a class action. In their complaint before the Court of Petty Claims, plaintiffs alleged the facts as follows: Beginning in August of 2018, the Law School administration (represented in this suit by Dean Sarah Davies) began setting out coffee “of notable quality” alongside real half-and-half[1] and warm cookies on Friday around 11:30 a.m. This program of coffee and cookies was especially for the 1Ls, who—in a sign of their coddling—all apparently ended class by 11:30 a.m. on Fridays, but was also enjoyed by a phalanx of greedy upperclassmen unfortunate enough to have classes on Fridays. Now, the class claims, the deal has apparently been altered. Instead of cookies with hot coffee and real, creamy half-and-half,[2] plaintiffs are left with . . . just delicious warm cookies, left to scavenge for coffee elsewhere in the Law School.

Plaintiffs allege that the Law School administration’s decision to remove the coffee from the cookies and coffee extravaganza without a hearing violates their right to due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. They seek a return of the coffee and damages for last week’s shock. Presiding at the Court of Petty Claims, Judge Ferzan ruled in favor of Dean Davies’s motion to dismiss, declaring that good coffee and real, honest half-and-half, “while sublime” was not “something to which plaintiffs are entitled.” She added—tangentially but characteristically—that students should “really consider reading the cases more closely” and “stop listening to Doran about how to pronounce ‘brooch.’” Plaintiffs filed a timely appeal.

 

II 

A

This Court’s due process jurisprudence can be traced back to the famed case of Class of 1896 v. Rotunda Fire, 96 U.Va. 219 (1895). There, in denying plaintiffs’ claim for damages against the “diabolical inferno” that “consumed the UVA Rotunda and several students’ limbs in the process of rescuing the bust of John B. Minor” in October of that year, the Court held that students’ due process has been violated only when they have suffered an “irreparable loss.” Id. at 217. See also Goluboff v. Thieves, 778 U.Va. 439 (2015) (denying Dean’s claim against “vagabonds” who stole the RFK bust because “we’re pretty sure if we ask, the Kennedy people will send us another.”).

The theme of our jurisprudence has been optimistic, declaring reparable the loss of, among other things: the Clark Hall murals; a student’s GPA; dignity at 3 at Three; three-day weekends; the sense of boundless optimism that precedes 1L year; and the sushi from ScoCo. Last year alone, we held that there could be no due process claim against the administration for the unceremonious destruction of the ash trees on the lawn (Huse v. Michael, 914 U.Va. 223), against journals for being totally useless (Pittman v. The Whole Journal Concept, Really, 916 U.Va. 879), or against GNR for not playing “Mr. Brightside” once (Grill v. Chandler, 916 U.Va. 910).

Theoretically, if an “irreparable loss” ever did occur, some sort of perfunctory, sham hearing would be necessary to deprive students of their rights. See Goldberg v. Kelly, 397 U.S. 254 (1970); SBA v. Davies, 755 U.Va. 111 (2016) (“Okay, now that we’ve had a hearing, you still can’t have the keg back.”). But ruling as we do, we needn’t reach that question today.

 

B

In light of this consistent jurisprudence, we have little difficulty in holding that plaintiffs have failed to make out a claim for deprivation of due process. They have not suffered the sort of “irreparable loss” this Court requires to earn damages or an injunction against the administration. We concede that the coffee and real, honest-to-God, no-imitation, pure half-and-half[3] were delicious. We even admit to waiting outside Professor Kordana’s room clamoring for the coffee and cookies’ arrival and complaining loudly when they were late, oh yes. And we do not renounce Blackstone’s/Chief Justice Haden’s/Lisa’s famous maxim. Coffee—albeit of far inferior quality and accompanied by woefully inadequate “cream”—may be found throughout the Law School.

But we invoke the Doctrine of Crotchetiness in denying plaintiffs’ claim. See, e.g., Abraham v. Kordana, 711 U.Va. 307 (1997) (“No, Kevin, that is where I sit.”). We members of the Classes of 2019 and 2020 had none of this no-class-past-11:30-on-Fridays business, much less cookies and coffee. These pampered punks can suffer through less-than-satisfactory library coffee and the horror of powdered cream like the rest of us. It builds character, like the look of disappointment in Professor Ferzan’s eyes during a cold call, or the realization that, actually, no one found your “comment” in class insightful.

If Dean Davies decides to bring back the coffee, we will, as always, salute her benevolent judgment. But we will not order it. The lower court’s order granting defendant’s motion to dismiss is affirmed.

It is so ordered.

 

Justice Jani, concurring.

I join my learned colleague’s opinion in full, writing separately only to note that I, a Darden student, never benefitted from the WB cookies and coffee. At Darden, we mostly do mature Darden things that don’t involve silly non-Darden things like cookies, which are the realm of the K-JD youths who inhabit this law school, not Darden. At Darden, we study serious Darden concepts and learn how to be disrupters and influencers; no one at Darden would think of complaining about something as silly as losing access to coffee, of which we have plenty at Darden. Besides, the Darden coffee is much more mature and worldly than the Law School coffee, which is delivered by people who don’t even have MBAs. Darden.

 

Justice Hopkin, concurring in the judgment.

I write separately from Chief Justice VanderMeulen’s judgment not because of the excellent legal analysis. Instead, I wanted to spend 250 words on one specific message: Screw the ungrateful little shits. The complaint is about no longer receiving as high quality of goods as they received last semester. Regardless of any legal doctrine (see Petty Rule of Civil Procedure1: “We do what we want.”), I am using my personal grievance about the situation as a dispositive reason to write separately.

You see, dear reader, Professor Schragger would reschedule his Urban Law class (consisting mostly of 3Ls) on Fridays whenever he wanted to “be a media darling.” Halfway through this ordeal, there would always be a cacophony of activity right outside the door. We later learned that this noise was the 1Ls gathering for their free coffee and desserts at the end of their week. That’s right—their week ended before noon on Fridays without exception. If this doesn’t enrage you, then you must be a 1L.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from growing up under the Boomer Generation, it’s that things should only get worse for younger generations. Furthermore, the blame for this, much like the housing crisis and the existence of avocado toast, should be placed firmly on that younger generation. 1Ls shouldn’t be benefiting from a better schedule. Moreover, they shouldn’t be rewarded with a gourmet meal for enduring such an easier Friday schedule.

This Court has no idea whether rainbow sprinkle cookies are being served to this class because the Court wouldn’t be caught dead in the Law School on a Friday, but the rage from sitting in Professor Bonnie’s Crim Law class at 5:15 p.m. on a Friday has not lessened over time.


[1] Not that powdered abomination in the library.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

Hot Bench: Tyler D'Ambrose


Tyler D’Ambrose ‘21

Tyler D’Ambrose ‘21

Tyler D’Ambrose ‘21

We have it on good authority that you were once considering getting a pug, why?

Funny you should ask, I was once moments away from purchasing one, but then I heard its deep, unsettling breath.

If you could own any bird in the world, what would it be?

A parrot. Wait, 20 parrots. All placed by my front door to greet visitors with a rendition of “Crazy Train.”

Do you really think we should eat mor chik’n? Why?

Yes, society is weak. Protein makes us strong.

Do you think Coldplay is emo?

No, but everything after 2000 is complete trash.

Who would win in a fight: a medieval knight or a samurai?

The samurai because they are well-trained warriors who fight for their honor.

How is Section A(B) doing?

On top of the world as usual. We are currently in the process of seeking tax-exempt status and creating our own Holy Book.

What is your opinion on the government shutdown?

I’m going to borrow one from my Dad’s playbook and say that I love both sides just the same.

Are you self-sufficient?

Nope, sorry.

Who is the coolest person you ever met?

Dean Faulk by a mile. The man has swagger.

Would you rather fight ten Dean Goluboff-sized wombats or one wombat-sized Dean Goluboff?

I’ll take my chances with the wombats; Dean Goluboff is an absolute force.

Do you sing in the shower?

Every time. I listen to Rage Against the Machine to get pumped up for my day. I sing along to the Frozen soundtrack when I know I’m going on a date later that night.

What is the best meal you ever had?

Jeff Ruby’s steak in Cincinnati. Although, FedSoc Chick-Fil-A is a close second.

What is your opinion on this season of the Bachelor?

Colton is not ready for love. But neither is Ari.

What is your opinion on pickup lines?

A fool-proof method to winning over any girl’s heart.

What is your favorite word?

Valor. Because when I hear it, I think of majestic eagles.

What are two truths and a lie about you (and what’s the lie)?

I’ve never been to Europe; I was hunted by coyotes in a forest; and my last name means “pleasant smell.”

The last one is a lie. It has no cool hidden meaning that I’m aware of.

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke all the way. Coke is good for every occasion. It’s a great mixer, has a refreshing taste, and makes me happy. Pepsi is good if there’s no Coke and I haven’t had water in two days.

___

tld6bb@virginia.edu

Court of Petty Appeals: Peer Advisors v. United States


Peer Advisors v. United States

923 U.Va. 710 (2019)

 

Schmalzl, J., delivered the opinion of the unanimous Court.

 

Justice Schmalzl, for the Court.

 

            The Court of Petty Appeals begins this sitting with a most intriguing complaint. The 2Ls and 3Ls who are most selfless (or maybe foolish?) among us have signed up to be peer advisors, sacrificing their time and newfound freedom from 1L stresses in order to guide the helpless and needy that is every 1L student. However, even the most patient and kind of them have had enough. This group files their complaint against the United States Government, arguing that defendant is infringing on their right to liberty, protected by the 14th Amendment, by shutting down for the longest period ever in the nation’s history. The shutdown has left the vast majority of 1Ls waiting to hear back about their applications to work for the government, heightening the normal 1L stress to almost unbearable levels––and leaving the PAs to pick up the pieces. The PAs argue the government has breached a contract to “run the damn country” and, because of this violation, should be subject to strict liability. Peer advisors seek punitive damages and an injunction ordering the government to “stop being children who cry and scream when they don’t get what they want” and re-open in order to hire the stressed-out 1Ls. This Court finds for the Peer Advisors in ordering the government to re-open but declines to impose punitive damages given all the government employees waiting to be paid.

 

I.               Facts

 

After a long semester of peer advisor meetings, small-section events, and panicked texts asking what exactly a tort is, members of the peer advisor group were excited to finally start seeing their mentees nail down jobs and realize that they do, in fact, go to a top law school from which employers are eager to hire them. Sadly, this picture was very different from reality. Numerous stories fill the plaintiffs’ brief about 1Ls calling them in tears because they cannot find work with the federal government, but one stands out as most exemplary of the issue at hand. One plaintiff, PA Sarah Smith, was in the middle of her well-deserved and much-needed Netflix binge over break when her phone buzzed. And buzzed. And buzzed.

 

            Sarah looked down to see her 1L’s name popping up again and again––One message; two messages; three messages; four. The messages read as follows: “Hi, Sarah! Hope you’re having a great break. I’m reaching out because I’m kinda freaking out about this whole job search thing. I’ve been applying exclusively to federal government jobs in D.C. and haven’t heard back from anyone. Do I need to start applying elsewhere despite having my heart set on solely government work? If the government can’t keep functioning under stress, how can I be expected to get through the spring semester? Was coming to law school a terrible mistake? I really need to talk through all of this with someone, are you too busy for a phone call?” Sarah, feeling deeply for her 1L, slowly and painfully shut her laptop screen in order to talk through the 1L’s concerns. As they chatted, she could only think about how much less stressed her kiddos would be if they could actually move forward with the job–search process, uninhibited by the government shutdown keeping them from obtaining jobs that most 1Ls pursue every year. After half a dozen phone calls spent talking the 1Ls out of dropping out of law school to pursue a career as a Starbucks’ barista, Sarah banded together with her fellow advisors to file this complaint.

 

II.             Discussion

 

In defense of their actions, the U.S. government first claims the shutdown is “inevitable” and “we don't know how to stop it.” In response, plaintiffs have submitted a video of 1Ls around the Law School halls, with sad music playing in the background, displaying clear evidence of their dismay. The video, so grotesque that some members of this Court couldn’t even bear to watch it with both eyes open, makes us wonder––is this really “the best course of action” by the government? Has anyone thought about all the aspiring 1Ls across the country, begging to work for free this summer and near death at the thought of having to go somewhere besides D.C. and pay less than $1,500 a month on rent? Despite the fact that law students across the country naturally walk with their noses a little too high and are prepared at any moment to use words such as “res ipsa loquitor” and “wherefore” in every day discussion with their non-law school friends, most are actually very fragile creatures that are always on the edge of a mental breakdown. As such, there is little support for the notion that a government shutdown is truly the best decision. The government is teetering on the line of cruel and unusual punishment by forcing this added stress upon 1Ls and leaving the PAs to pick up the pieces. In short, the defendant’s argument seems implausible and not well-thought through––as such, it is not enough to merit their current actions.

 

In addition to the above defense, the government maintains that this is a non-justiciable political question and, as such, this Court does not have the power to rule over it. To this the Court refers the government to its ever-favorite Petty Rule of Civil Procedure 1: We do what we want. Therefore, we clearly establish that no one, not even the U.S. government, is out of this court’s jurisdiction. Sry not sry.

 

The Court finds in favor of the Peer Advisors, and hereby orders that the United States government re-open, like, yesterday, and immediately begin hiring UVA Law 1Ls so all their mentors can get back to being slacker upperclassmen. It is implied in the UVA Law culture that 2Ls and 3Ls are not obligated to do much work beyond scrambling during reading period to understand something about Federal Courts or Administrative Law, and the government is preventing the upperclassmen to act in accordance with this clearly established norm. And, while this Court is sympathetic to the Peer Advisors’ desire for punitive monetary damages (see the fact that tuition prices are $60k+ a year), this Court is tired of having to stay overnight in airports because security personnel are taking their vacation while waiting to get paid post-government shutdown and, therefore, wants these and other government employees to be paid ASAP. Additionally, even this Court fears what the U.S. government will do if it owes another dollar in debt, and so we will deny the request for monetary sanctions.

___

mes5hf@virginia.edu

Hot Bench: Moussa Ismail '20


Moussa Ismail ‘20

Moussa Ismail ‘20

Moussa Ismail ‘20

Hi Moussa! Thanks for coming to Hot Bench. We’re happy to have you. Let’s get the ball rolling with a few easy questions. What is the story behind that brown hat you love to wear?
It’s my trademark look. It’s like Mario and Luigi, my twin brother and I both have our signature hats.

You have a twin! There are a surprising number of twins at the law school. What does your twin do?
He’s in med school. He’s also in his second year. He and I keep in touch, and we still mentor people from our flipped incubator program.

What’s a flipped incubator program?
A traditional incubator program brings in companies to help them grow, but for us, our focus was on the people who would go on to build those companies. My brother has this thesis: “Talent is everywhere, but opportunity isn’t,” and we ran with that idea. We worked exclusively with underrepresented minority students in community college and high school. They went on to win at seventeen major league hacking competitions!

Wow! Is the incubator what you did before coming to UVA?
Actually, my background is in echocardiography and vascular technology, I am a registered diagnostic cardiac sonographer. I spent over five years helping physicians diagnose conditions of the heart and blood vessels in adults and children (and no, children aren’t just small adults!) I also built two companies with my brother.

What made you give up that glamorous life for law school?
I got tired of paying the lawyers so much! But really, it was something of a journey. I originally wanted to be an interventional cardiologist, but during my last year in undergrad, I realized that a lot of the problems in healthcare aren’t clinical problems—they’re mostly business and legal problems.

Were you deciding at that point between an MBA and a J.D.?
Well, I knew I wanted to be done with graduate school before thirty, but I wanted to spend at least five years working in healthcare to make sure I really understood the field, so I split my time between the hospital and my companies. About four years in, I realized that many of our business problems were really legal problems masquerading as business problems! It was then that I decided on the J.D.

What kind of impact do you hope to have as a lawyer?
I’d like to shepherd the next generation of great companies, especially those addressing issues in healthcare and the life sciences.

Moussa, at this point, you have tried to work the word “shepherd” into a few of your answers, and so I have to ask, what is it with you and “shepherd”?
I come from a long line of shepherds. My dad was a shepherd as a kid growing up in Ethiopia. He would spend long stretches of time in the wilderness with his flock.

Did you ever want to be a shepherd?
No, I have the worst sense of direction. :(

Let’s do a lightning round!

Favorite place in Charlottesville? The BLSA Office.

Anti-Stress Hobby? Creative writing.

Pet peeve? Dirty bathrooms! We’re all adults, there’s no reason why it should be so dirty.

Favorite word? Why.

Favorite food? Maybe lasagna, but my favorite dessert is definitely tiramisu made with ladyfingers and no rum.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? If I had the option, I would just keep moving. I would be a nomad. It’s in my genes!

What’s one movie that left an impression on you? The Pursuit of Happyness.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with it? Disappear. I would claim the prize anonymously and then quietly invest in things that will change the world.

If you could pick one song to play in the background of your life, what would it be? Nothing! But it would be pink noise if I had to choose.

What is your least favorite sound? A fork scraping a plate.

What’s your spirit animal? A stoat! Stoats breakdance to catch their prey.

Where’s a place you’ve never been, but would like to go? China.

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what would it be? I would make it mandatory for everyone to travel and live somewhere with a culture very different from their own for two years.  

Fake News: Law Student Incapable of Interaction with Non-Law Friends


Graham Pittman ‘19
Staff Satirist

In just three months since starting law school, first-year law student Brian Krantz has managed to completely alienate himself from all of his non-law school friends.

Although Krantz’ friends were initially supportive of his decision to pursue his dreams of becoming a lawyer, they became increasingly alarmed as their interactions with Krantz soon revolved exclusively around law school.

“Brian used to be a pretty cool guy, but he needs to chill out with this lawyer stuff,” said Jeff Holt, Krantz’ former roommate and childhood friend. “It’s like he’s completely incapable of having a conversation that doesn’t involve jurisprudence or gossip about his classmates who I’ve never met. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to explain to him that I have no idea what a tort is, much less why it’s funny that some guy in his section didn’t understand how Judge Learned Hand’s negligence calculus informed the development of duty of care in the American common law system.”

Other sources corroborated Holt’s assertions that Krantz has become insufferable since starting law school, citing numerous instances where he derailed perfectly normal conversation about non-legal topics by shoehorning in various Latin phrases and legalisms. “Brian’s been acting like he’s the next reincarnation of Justice Scalia ever since he took the LSAT. Like we get it, dude. You go to law school. We actually had to kick him out of our group chat a couple weeks ago after he went on a four-paragraph rant, including footnotes, about mens rea and something called the Exxon Doctrine after someone shared a meme about President Trump. I’m like 90 percent sure he hasn’t even taken a constitutional law class yet . . . ”

Krantz’s long-term girlfriend, Emily Johnson shared similar concerns. “I understand that long-distance relationships are supposed to be difficult, but we’ve really started running out of things to talk about. I don’t know how much longer I can pretend to be interested in the social dynamics of his study group or what he learned in Civil Procedure. Brian’s also been spending a lot of time with this one girl in his section, but he says not to worry about it because she has a long-distance boyfriend. I’m sure it’s nothing.”

CONTINUED ON PAGE 23.

Court of Petty Appeals: Smith v. 2L and 3L Gunners


Smith v. 2L and 3L Gunners

903 U.Va. 122 (2018)

 

Schmalzl, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which VanderMeulen, C. J., and Hopkin and Elicegui, JJ., joined. Ranzini, J., filed a dissenting opinion.

 

Justice Schmalzl delivered the opinion of the Court.  

            The class action before the court concerns the complaints of several 2L and 3L students of the sort that arise around this time every year. Members of the class have come back from Thanksgiving break with a semester of cases not read, outlines not begun, and no fucks to give about finals despite their immediate threat on the students’ grades and pride as they realize C+’s do, in fact, exist.[1] However, defendants in this action arrive back from break[2] under very different circumstances: all cases read with accompanying reading notes, outlines up to date on the course material, heavily highlighted and annotated supplement books, and in search of new E&Es for more practice problems.[3] Plaintiffs allege that this group of students, whose true size is unknown due to their deceitful lies about “not doing anything” as upperclassmen and secret studies in the alcoves of Slaughter Hall, are committing multiple wrongs deserving of punishment and remuneration for plaintiffs. First, plaintiffs allege defendants are breaching an implied covenant contained in the contract of making it to the second and third year of law school, namely that all upperclassmen can’t care that much or work that hard so they all can ride the curve into the sunset of graduation. Second, plaintiffs allege that defendants are taking without due process of law plaintiffs’ property, here taking the form of wellbeing and enjoyment of life that is guaranteed to them after the hell of 1L and OGI ends. The court first summarizes the facts and reviews the lower court decision before addressing plaintiffs’ complaints.

I

            The named class plaintiff, 3L Smith, filed this complaint after a recent interaction with a “friend” she ran into upon returning from Thanksgiving with her family. After sauntering up to the coffee machines in MyLab and delighted to see no line and two functioning machines, she was humming “Santa Baby” when said “friend” entered the room. Cheerily, Smith asked that “friend” about his break and what fun he got up to, to which he replied with a cackle, “Wasn’t able to make it home this year, had too much work to catch up on.” Concerned by such an odd response from an upperclassman, Smith inquired about the work to be done. The defendant, unnamed for his own safety and protection, began discussing the supplements he needed to read, the class lectures he needed to re-listen to, and the questions he needed to ask his professors that would certainly take up the entirety of their office hours. Smith, resisting all urges to throw her freshly brewed hot coffee on the defendant, smiled politely as she swiftly moved to the exit and filed the complaint that gave rise to this opinion.

            Judge Luk below, sitting in her normal chambers in the hallway where the annoying bar review people sometimes give out free stuff, ordered summary judgment in favor of defendants on both counts of plaintiffs’ complaint, citing so-called “legitimate” reasons for studying as an upperclassman such as “a desire to clerk,” “wanting to get the most out the opportunity to attend a T14” and, most absurdly, “a goal to get the most bang for their buck” due to tuition costs. This court condemns the lower court decision and reverses in favor of plaintiffs on all counts for reasons set forth below.

II

            Plaintiffs’ allegations, that defendants are breaching an implied covenant not to work hard post-­1L spring and that defendants are unlawfully taking plaintiffs’ property in the form of wellbeing and enjoyment of life guaranteed to them after 1L, are supported by long-standing tradition, precedent, and public policy considerations. Plaintiffs’ contention that the implied covenant is either (1) a sacred tradition as old as the Law School itself; (2) a norm handed down from the days of Jefferson himself; or (3) a custom since at least whenever the hell they moved OGI to August is viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, and therefore accepted as fact. Defendants argue that, as the times change, the customs and traditions must change with it. Further, defendants claim that they are preparing themselves for the profession they are about to enter, namely one of (1) secret late-night gunning in the heights of the skyscrapers in NYC in hopes of receiving a promotion as well as (2) a life of courteous-but-limited interaction with anyone they meet for fear of developing meaningful relationships that might tempt them away from the office. To these defenses the Court responds with little sympathy; if these defendants wanted to perpetuate the harshness that is the legal culture, then they should’ve known better than to attend the collegial[4] school that is UVA Law. A desire to “fit in” to the legal world does not excuse the clear violation of cultural norms that this school has long held dear, and as a result, defendants lose on these claims.

Further, cases such as Mitchell v. Those Damn 3Ls Gunning When They Should Be Taking the FebClub Challenge, 423 U.Va. 7 (2014) and Goluboff v. Students Who Lie About Neglecting Reading in Violation of the Honor Code, 771 U.Va. 225 (2015) support a decision against defendants and all the studying they’ve engaged in this semester. Oddly, defendants cite no cases but urge the Court to overturn prior precedent despite the clear role precedent plays in the Court’s decision making today. We respond by rejecting defendants’ “argument” and urge them to review Constitutional Law and the importance of stare decisis in the Court’s jurisprudence. Our anti-gunning jurisprudence is clear, and any exploration of the specific claims levied here is unnecessary.

Finally, public policy considerations support a finding for the plaintiffs. While defendants claim that studying after 1L is important to secure public interest jobs, find clerkships, and complete the bar exam, the Court does not find any of these considerations as important as the wellbeing of upperclassmen and their ability to go to Bilt, play softball, and, most importantly, nap. The Court, in considering that UVA Law is the Disney World of law schools, cannot endorse practical concerns like employment, résumé builders, and being successfully barred over the ultimate desires of happiness and laziness that 2Ls and 3Ls are guaranteed to enjoy. Consequently, any arguments put forth by defendants regarding policy concerns are not considered here today.

III

            This Court reverses Judge Luk’s decision in the Court of Petty Claims and finds for plaintiffs in the class before us. As a remedy, this Court orders an injunction against studying for all upperclassmen who have gunned all semester and compels them to write, “I must not tell lies or try to out-study my classmates” again and again in detention with Professor Dolores, visiting professor from the unaccredited Hogwarts School of Law. This Court passionately advocates for an end to the cruelty that is upperclassmen studying and hopes this decision is a step in the right direction for Law Students everywhere.

It is so ordered.

 

Justice Ranzini, dissenting.

The Court today announces a decision whose sentiments I applaud, but whose implications I must deplore. No one may doubt the sincerity of my brethren Justices’ solicitousness to the suffering of the plaintiffs here, or impugn the impulse to shield the innocent from harm. But that, as Justice Holmes might have put it, is not the whole of the way of the law.

 

It is the proud Anglo-American tradition whose flame we tend in this court, the spirit of Hobbes and of Burke, of Locke and of Hamilton and Calabrese and the Chicago Boys. From specter-haunted Europe with its talk of egalité and fraternité we maintain our majestic remove. But the French jurists have put their finger on what is essential to the law in the name they give to what we call “a public policy argument”. In the original, it is resort to the ordre public, the public order, and that is what my brethren jurists fail to appreciate today. Law school has never been more accurately described than as “training for hierarchy”[5] and an essential component of that training must include, every once in a while, the sacrifice of a select few pour encourager les autres. Without the goading presence of “gunners” among them, and the specter of failure, financial ruin, and social ridicule, how would our law students make the rod they need for their own backs—and for their classmates’? What would be left to us as legal lodestars in such a world? Mere kindness? Humanism? Mutual respect?

I respectfully dissent.


[1] Note: The Court hasn’t actually confirmed that C+’s do, in fact, exist, but it’s heard they do and that’s pretty much the same thing.

[2] If they even left.

[3] One was even overheard in the Library Reserve Room, cursing the librarians for not stocking enough old versions for additional practice.

[4] ®

[5]            Duncan Kennedy, Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy, 32 J. L. Educ. 591 (1982)

Spotlight: Law, Innovation, Security & Technology Society


Jeremy Gordon ‘20
Guest Columnist

That new technologies like drones, autonomous vehicles, cyber warfare tools and artificial intelligence are “disruptors”—that they can and are transforming markets, societies, and traditional approaches to problem-solving—is a common refrain. As these technologies reshape our world, they will also create some of the most pressing and most interesting legal questions that law students will face over the course of their legal careers. Lawyers will need to know, for example, if their company faces potential liability for a data breach based on the security of its data storage systems or whether using a hash function to search computer files violates the Fourth Amendment. Clients expect and a well-functioning legal regime requires that lawyers understand the technology underlying these types of questions. Too often, though, lawyers lack tech fluency—they may think they are too busy or that it’s too difficult to learn.

So in the fall of 2017, a group of UVA Law students came together to launch the Law, Innovation, Security & Technology Society (LIST). LIST’s mission is to educate law students about the legal issues that a range of complex emerging technologies pose, provide students opportunities to gain hands-on experience working on those issues, and launch them into careers at the intersection of law and technology. We accomplish this mission through our speaker series, education and training program, and networking opportunities.

All of LIST’s programming is intentionally designed to be accessible to students with a range of experiences, from humanities majors to hardcore coders. I did not have much of a “tech” background when I joined LIST. I joined because I was particularly interested in the implications of emerging technologies for national security law. Once I became involved, though, I could not help but be fascinated by the many opportunities LIST had to offer, and I decided to get more fully involved.

Speaker Series

In its first two semesters, LIST has been fortunate to attract leaders from government, the tech sector, law firms, and nonprofits who shared their experiences and introduced students to their areas of expertise, giving LIST members career advice tailored to our specific interests. Speakers have included a former cybersecurity director on the National Security Council, public policy officials from Uber and Verizon, and a prosecutor with the Computer Crimes & Intellectual Property section of the Department of Justice. LIST’s speaker events introduce students to cutting-edge legal issues, provide students with role models and networking opportunities, and are engaging and enjoyable while asking for little of students’ time.

On January 25, LIST is also co-hosting, with the Virginia Law Review, a symposium on digital democracy. The symposium will feature panels of speakers throughout the day on the role of technology in antitrust and competition, racial justice, and national security, and will convene leading experts in business, government, nonprofit and the academy, with the Virginia Law Review accepting student pieces for publication online.

Education and Training

LIST believes strongly that the most effective learning comes through practice. To that end, LIST started its own pro bono program, the first of its kind at the University of Virginia School of Law. The pro bono program is designed specifically for LIST members and is made possible through partnerships with nonprofits in the technology and cybersecurity fields—and almost all of our projects qualify for PILA hours. LIST has sponsored more than thirty law students, pairing them with organizations like the Global Cyber Alliance and the Future of Privacy Forum, which do innovative work in AI, smart cities, and more. The program culminates in a student panel at LIST’s annual spring networking event, where students who participated in pro bono projects have the chance to present their work to an audience of peers, professors, and employers.

This fall, LIST also teamed up with a group of students from UVA’s computer science department to host MetaCTF, an all-day cybersecurity competition involving technical, legal, business, and policy challenges. The event provided law students with no computer-science background the opportunity to practice solving coding problems, and meanwhile get exposed to fields like reconnaissance, cryptography, and web exploitation. Employers like Baker McKenzie, the NSA, Raytheon, and Capital One all sent representatives to meet the participants.

Networking Opportunities

LIST is grateful to have the interest and support of a number of employers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, who work with LIST to expose students to the ways in which practicing attorneys interact with tech issues and prepare students to enter practice themselves. Hogan Lovells, Baker McKenzie, Arnold & Porter, and Venable have all actively supported and collaborated with LIST. We also work directly with government employers who are interested in LIST members for their skills and interests. LIST recently hosted a panel of attorneys from the CIA on careers at the agency’s Office of General Counsel, and we look forward to hosting the General Counsel of the NSA, Glenn Gerstell, for a discussion of his office’s legal work and career opportunities in the spring.

LIST members will have the opportunity to meet attorneys from many of these organizations and others at our spring networking event to be held on March 27 of 2019. In addition to the student panel, in which our pro bono students will speak about the tech law and policy research they worked on throughout the year, the event will also include a panel of professionals, a networking reception, and dinners with firms in attendance.

My involvement with LIST has been one of my most valuable experiences in law school: It has informed my career goals, helped me take steps toward achieving them, and introduced me to an incredible community of students and practitioners who I can look forward to building professional and personal relationships with for years to come. LIST is always happy to welcome new members, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me at jbg4uq@virginia.edu if you are interested in joining.

Hot Bench: Kendy Chan '19

Kendy Chan ’19

Kendy Chan ‘19

Kendy Chan ‘19

Where did you grow up?
I split my childhood between Hong Kong and Oakland, California.

What are you most excited for during your first year in San Francisco?
There’s a vegetarian pizza place called Cheeseboard that I dream about. I know. Potato and corn pizza sounds like an abomination but tastes like pure happiness.

What is your favorite word?
No.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Street tacos in Mexico.

What’s your favorite hobby to avoid the stress of law school?
Cooking. Also failing at cooking.

Where is your favorite place to vacation?
Lake Tahoe.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?
I never wake up in time to eat breakfast.

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?
Prediction of financial markets. As Batman and Iron Man have shown, money is the best superpower.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I’d like to have a little ranch in northern California.

What’s the best (or worst!) PG-rated pickup line you’ve ever heard?
“Looking?”

What’s your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville?
Complain about Charlottesville.

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what would it be?
Tipping would be illegal.

What’s your spirit animal?
Let’s not appropriate Native American culture. Otherwise, hippos.

What’s your favorite food(s)?
Late-night, non-sober carne asada fries.

If you had to pick one song to play non-stop in the background of your life, what would it be?
4′33″ by John Cage.

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep and why?
Four days. I was camping for the first time and discovered I hate camping. I’m weak and cannot sleep in the wilderness.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with it?
Make it rain. Then donate it to charity.

If you had Matrix-like learning, what would you learn?
Mandarin. I’ve been trying to learn for years and it’s going nowhere.

If you could be in the Winter Olympics, which sport would you compete in?
Bobsledding. Other than the sled driver, it seems like the rest of the team just chills in the sled. I could do that. Maybe.

Where is a place you haven’t been but want to travel to?
Antarctica. I want to see it before it changes too much because …. CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL. 

What are the seven wonders of the Law School?
I don’t know if this counts as a wonder, but everyone should try to chat up the security guards at the law school. They’re some of the nicest people on Grounds.

Court of Petty Appeals: Angry Horde of 3Ls v. Fuqua

Angry Horde of 3Ls v. Fuqua

901 U.Va. 76 (2018)

 

HOPKIN, J. delivered the opinion of the unanimous Court. UNANIMOUS, FRANCES.

 

The case before the Court is whether a group of 3Ls (hereinafter “Angry Horde”) can sustain a breach-of-contract claim against the UVA Student Bar Association (SBA) for the severe lack of “Wednesday Socials” held recently. Angry Horde brought this suit against President Frances Fuqua (hereinafter “Dictator Fuqua”) in her personal capacity and requests specific performance of the contract to provide Wednesday Socials. This Court upholds Angry Horde’s claim against Dictator Fuqua and grants an injunction mandating an SBA Social to be held within the next twenty-four hours.

 

I

SBA entered into a valid contract with the Class of 2019. If the Court remembers correctly (and the Court does), this means there was offer and acceptance and people were totally allowed to be drunk. See Lucy v. Zehmer, 84 S.E.2d 516 (Va. 1954). The Court finds two separate ways to fulfill these requirements. First, when the University of Virginia School of Law admitted the individuals in this class, Dean Cordel Faulk promised “a great law school experience.” The man is a saint, and his word is interpreted by this Court as black-letter law. See Dean Faulk v. Sniveling Law Student, 578 U.Va. 80 (2016) (“The Court didn’t get into any other schools and managed to squeak past the Quality Assurance section of Admissions, and, therefore, like really owes Dean Faulk. He wins on summary judgment. We don’t even know what this case is about.”). The Court has previously held that “great law school experience” means “two kegs of beer and one keg of cider with some kind of cheap food if you show up on time.” Entitled Class of 2017 v. Dean Davies, 593 U.Va. 94 (2017). Therefore, the Class of 2019 was offered bread and circuses and accepted by attending UVA Law rather than another school. The Class of 2019 gave consideration when they turned down other schools that grade on a “High Pass, Low Pass” system.

The SBA, led by Dictator Fuqua, modified this contract by offering Wednesday Socials every other Wednesday during the Fall 2018 Semester. A subsection of the Class of 2019, Angry Horde, then accepted by religiously attending the socials when they were held. Angry Horde even talked some Professors into skipping breaks during class to let students out at 5:30 p.m. instead of 5:40 p.m. so that Angry Horde could enjoy the cold food offered alongside the beer. Therefore, under both theories, Angry Horde entered into a contract with UVA Law for Wednesday Keg Socials to be fulfilled by the SBA under the leadership of Dictator Fuqua.

 

II

Dictator Fuqua has allowed SBA to breach this contract. For several Wednesdays in a row, Angry Horde has shown up to an empty Spies Garden. In the words of one member of Angry Horde, “What—and I cannot emphasize this enough—the f*ck. I seriously cannot find the keg.” The Court finds this behavior so repugnant that it cannot comment further on the breach except to say, “RUDE.” I mean I thought we were friends, Frances. We shared a drink special at Bilt—you can’t just turn your back on that.

 

III

The most appropriate remedy for this breach is specific performance. The Court cannot place a number on the amount of damage this breach has caused. Any dollar amount given to Angry Horde would fail to make these parties whole, because no amount of money can satisfy the need for cheap beer and cold pizza the way an SBA social can. Damages are, therefore, impossible as a remedy here. Therefore, the Court grants an injunction to Angry Horde ordering Dictator Fuqua to hold a Wednesday Keg Social within the next twenty-four hours.

Dictator Fuqua is lucky that Angry Horde brought this action under breach of contract rather than intentional infliction of emotional distress. (Although so is the Court because all the Court seems to remember about this doctrine is a horse cuddling a toddler and Professor Abraham saying, “It really worries me that you can’t understand basic fact patterns.”)

Even though the Court agrees with her general sentiments, the Court will not consider the amicus curiae filed by Kate Duvall calling Angry Horde “overly dramatic” and urging them to “please study” because she’s “seen [their] grades.” Everyone knows 3Ls don’t study. So silly.

 

Conclusion

Shaaaaamme. Shame on you, Dictator Fuqua. And Read. And Taz. The people need access to kegs, and you purposefully withheld them. Angry Horde will be in Spies Garden this evening ready for kegs—you better bring them.

Finally, Professor Setear requests that you have a cold Diet Coke ready for him in addition to the kegs. There’s no real legal basis for this, but you’ve upset the Court. And the Court would like to earn above a C- in his class. Two birds, one injunction.

Also, if this Court incorrectly used any Contract Law terms or doctrines, it has been ages since this Court attended any class that even refers to Contract Law. If you push it, the Court is not afraid to use Criminal Law on your insubordinate attitude—and the Court actually learned that subject. See Justice Hopkin v. Her Nemesis, 362 U.Va. 71 (2017) (maintaining a conviction against someone who consistently parked over the line in the D3 lot against a charge of malicious prosecution because of Petty Rule of Civil Procedure 1: “We do what we want.”) 

 

It is so ordered.

Looking Back: 70 Years of the Law Weekly


It’s PILA time! In honor of this weekend’s PILA auction, please enjoy this collection of PILA-related news from over the years before Sunday comes along and brings us the despair of outlining season.

 

“Also generating much auction-worthy attention was a getaway beachfront-villa vacation in Hawaii, donated by members of Section L of the first-year class. The winner, who had to survive a fierce bidding competition, was third-year Lauren Griswold. If one takes the broader view, this transaction represented a construction transfer of wealth from the television game show Greed (which Griswold handily took to the cleaners) to the deserving pockets of U.Va. students laboring in public interest. Hear, hear!” Jonathan Riehl, “PILA’s Annual Auction a Roaring Success,” Virginia Law Weekly, Friday, Dec. 1, 2000.

1) 1Ls, please step it up. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s here for a beachfront villa in Hawaii. 2) Hope everyone’s ready for this year’s transfer of wealth! Hopefully everyone gets something good in exchange for their hard-earned (or borrowed) cash.

 

“Yep, it’s time for the auction again, the event that has given Virginia Law students a reputation as, well, the people you’d most want at a party as long as the party isn’t at your house. ‘Up until last year, the auction was held at a university building,’ explained third-year Auction Director Jennifer Tink. ‘Unfortunately, the Law School got so out of hand that the University won’t let us use any of their buildings.’” Susan Burgess, “PILA Auction Coming Nov. 15,” Virginia Law Weekly, Friday, Nov. 2, 2001.

Friendly reminder that mens rea will be imputed even if you’re intoxicated. I expect everyone to be all glammed up and on their somewhat-best behavior. On the plus side, we’re back at the Omni again this year so we must not have ruined anything too badly last year!

 

A sampling of “Top Ten Items We’d Like to See at Next Year’s PILA Auction”:

·       “An NGLS commissionership.”

·       “24-hour access to the library.”

·       “Twenty votes in the Electoral College.”

·       “Law Review membership, minus those abusively long cite checks.”

·       “Dean Jeffries’ ‘Reserved for the Dean’ parking space.”

·       “Tenure.”

Brent Olson, Virginia Law Weekly, Friday, Nov. 5, 2004. Just in case any 1L sections out there need to make some last-minute donations to prove their dominance as the best section ever.

 

“It is the eve of exam season. I know this because the PILA auction is this weekend. This UVA tradition funds charitable work and gives us one more chance to celebrate before everyone becomes unwashed, bleary eyed, sweat pant wearing zombies. However, the PILA auction is not all fun and games… I have compiled some warnings and advice for this year’s PILA auction.

 

1.     Bidding Wars Suck

2.     Watch Out for PILA’s Drink Tickets

3.     Clothing Optional

4.     Provide/Buy Creative Auction Items”

Lee Gilley ’11, “Keep Your Eyes Open at the PILA Auction,” Virginia Law Weekly, Friday, Nov. 13, 2009.

Eve of exam season = meh. Clothing optional = still meh. I know how much pizza this law school consumes. Stay clothed, my friends.

Hot Bench: Jeremy Pushkin '19


Jeremy Pushkin ‘19

Hot Bench Photo (Jeremy Pushkin '19).JPG

Have you ever had a nickname?

Pushkin. And in law school various combos of J-[noun] – J-Bird, J-Bone, J-Dog, etc.

Where did you grow up?

Baltimore, Md., with summers in my mom’s hometown of Sassoferrato, Italy.

What are you most excited for during your first year in San Francisco?

Finding the best burrito in SF.

What is your favorite word?

Apericena: when aperitifs and small plates become your dinner.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

Chirashi at the Tsukiji Fish Market.

What’s your favorite hobby to avoid the stress of law school?

Planning trips to vineyards and never being able to make it the next day.

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

Bermhooda [@bermhooda on Instagram].

What’s something you wish you’d known about law school before coming to UVA Law?

That it’s like being back in high school.

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

An everything bagel with cream cheese from a non-Bodo’s bagel shop.

If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?

Knowing the Mega Millions numbers in advance.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Rome (Italy, not Georgia).

What’s your least favorite sound?

The sound of a random undergrad’s scent diffuser going off at the table next to me in the library 1L year.

If you owned a sports team, what/who would be the mascot?

The Montgomery Biscuits already perfected it with Monty, an anthropomorphized buttermilk biscuit.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

The email informing us that “[w]e have had complaints that people are juuling in the Law School.”

Blueberries or strawberries?

Blueberries with breakfast, strawberries for everything else.

What is the best concert you have ever been to?

Danny Brown and Childish Gambino. Donald Glover told me he loved me.

What’s the best (or worst!) PG-rated pickup line you’ve ever heard?

I hope it’s not Shabbos because you’re turning me on.

What’s your spirit animal?

According to a Buzzfeed quiz I just took, a “very cute kitty.”

Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC?

*NSYNC. Don’t @me.

What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep?

Four days.

If you won the lottery, what would you do with it?

Start my own vineyard.

If you could be in the winter Olympics, which sport would you compete in?

Curling. I’m just waiting for my mustache to grow out so I can really fit in.

Where is a place you haven’t been but want to travel to?

St. Petersburg, Russia.

Court of Petty Appeals: Gunners N' Roses v. Panic! at the District Court

Gunners N’ Roses v. Panic! At the District Court

901 U.Va. 74 (2018)

 

Elicegui, J. delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ZABLOCKI, Hopkin, and Ranzini, JJ., joined. VanderMeulen, C. J., filed a concurring opinion.

 

Justice Elicegui delivered the opinion of the Court.

 

A group of precocious 1Ls formed a band and joined the staff of the newspaper. As a result, the 1L cover band stole the cover photo of the newspaper from the Law School’s official, beloved cover band, Gunners N’ Roses. While such chutzpah might be considered praiseworthy, the 1Ls acted without regard for the laws and social norms which govern our community. Given the relevant laws, which provide that 3Ls rule the school and give property rights to the original creators of great ideas, and the justice system which provides a remedy to the aggrieved, the 1L cover band breached an implied contract, trespassed, and stole the thunder of GNR and must make amends accordingly.

 

I

 

On Saturday, October 20, the members of the Law School’s beloved cover band, Gunners N’ Roses (“GNR”), took to the stage to headline SBA’s new event, Fauxfield. Fauxfield was a replacement for Foxfield, the Law School’s annual event where the 1Ls must provide food and beverages to the upperclassmen to thank them for welcoming the new students into our school. Our treasured band performed their hearts out for more than three hours. By all accounts, they crushed it and demonstrated to the school their countless hours of rehearsal were worth it. During the three-hour performance, Gunners N’ Roses played twenty songs and even refrained from too many beers to ensure they gave it their all.

Four days later, GNR’s lead singer, Betty Rizzo, arrived at school to find the front page of the Law Weekly contained a giant picture of Panic! At the District Court (“P!ADC”), the 1L “cover band,” or, as appellant’s brief asserts, a cheap knock-off version of GNR. Rizzo couldn’t believe her eyes, particularly because P!ADC only played four songs (that’s all they know) and she was still hoarse from singing for more than three hours. Rizzo gathered the other members of the band—Marty Maraschino, Danny Zuko, Sonny LaTierri, Putzie, and Kenickie—to discuss this outrage. As a result of that conversation, appellants decided to file the foregoing suit.

Appellants asserted that P!ADC infringed on their copyright, breached an implied contract, trespassed on their property, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon them. Appellants first argued that, as the rightful heirs to the school’s first law-pun cover band, they own a trademark over such band names any other group looking to found a law-pun band must pay them the appropriate trademark fees. Second, appellants argued that, implicit in the 1Ls’ acceptance to UVA Law, they created an implied contract to “wait their turn” to form a band and “know their place” in the Law School hierarchy, which they breached. Third, appellants argued that, as the rightful heirs to the discoverers of the successful formula for law-pun band success, they hold property rights over all Law School musical performances under the doctrine of discovery, and that P!ADC trespassed on their property by performing at Fauxfield without their permission. Fourth, appellants contended that P!ADC intentionally induced other 1Ls to put their picture on the front page of the newspaper in an attempt to sabotage GNR and upset the band members. Appellants asked the lower court for monetary damages, paid in the form of four kegs of good beer, and a permanent injunction preventing P!ADC from performing at future Law School–wide events without their express and written permission.

For their part, appellees, through their lawyer, third-year student Julianna McCarthy, denied all claims.[1] They asserted, “That’s not how trademarks work,” and questioned if the members of GNR had even taken Copyright Law yet. Appellees responded to the breach-of-contract claim by explaining that contracts require an objective intent to form a contract, and no objective person would agree not to form a band when they were as talented as the members of P!ADC and the competition was so weak. Appellees also asserted that the doctrine of discovery only applies to land and is no longer a permissible form of establishing property rights, given that the underlying logic is “pretty racist” and ignores the property rights of the indigenous peoples. In response to the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, P!ADC argued that “Gunners N’ Roses shouldn’t be such pansies” and “competition makes everyone stronger.”

After a two-day bench trial at the court below, Judge Jacob Jones found for P!ADC on all claims.[2] Judge Jones ruled that GNR had no trademark on law-pun band names because, “Eh, I don’t know what a trademark is and neither brief really explained it.” He also found no implied contract between the 1Ls and the larger student body and agreed with P!ADC that GNR shouldn’t be “such prima donnas. Who do you think you are, anyway?! Upperclassmen?” Finally, Judge Jones found the doctrine of discovery doesn’t apply because he hasn’t taken property yet. Appellants timely appealed and we granted them a hearing. We now reverse on three of GNR’s claims and remand for a calculation of damages.

 

II

 

First, we address appellants’ trademark-infringement claim. Like Judge Jones, the members of this high court have yet to take Copyright Law and aren’t sure what a trademark actually is. We surmise, though, that trademarks only apply to more specific and original ideas than law school puns, which are a dime a dozen. See Students of UVA Law v. Common Law Grounds, 818 U.Va. 545 (2017) (“As a student organization at UVA, you have a duty to have at least one board member who hates puns to guarantee you don’t subject the student body to events like ‘Confirmation Bias’ focused on judicial confirmation hearings.”). Given this Court’s past pun precedent and Petty Rule of Civil Procedure 1,[3] we do what we want and we don’t want to research what a trademark actually is. Therefore, we uphold the lower court’s decision on this claim.

The lower court erred, though, in finding for the appellees on the breach-of-contract, trespass, and intentional-infliction-of-emotional distress claims. The Court will now take them up in that particular order.

UVA Law is a school where students respect their elders and all students who accept their offer of admission form an implied, but binding, contract with the 3Ls to allow them to shine all year. Under this contract, 1Ls, 2Ls, and professors may not require anything particularly strenuous from 3Ls or interfere with their fun in any way. We don’t call it #3LOL for nothing. See Grey v. Collins and Dugas, 713 U.Va. 27 (2014) (“Fed Courts is hereby enjoined from being held on Friday and messing up the 3Ls’ three-day weekend. And don’t even think about doing any cold-calling in there, either.”). Because GNR is made up of several 3Ls,[4] the band functions as an agent of the 3L class and is therefore a party to the implied 3L contract. P!ADC breached this contract by stealing the cover photo from GNR and must make amends for that breach. Besides, wasn’t it hurtful enough that these youngins didn’t have to provide us with food, booze, and ponies?! Where will this madness end?!

While the doctrine of discovery may no longer apply to land, the doctrine is still in full force at UVA Law and GNR has full property rights over all school-wide musical performances and law-pun band names. Although GNR is not the first Law School cover band, GNR is the successor in interest to Jefferson Clerkship[5] and inherited all Jefferson Clerkship’s property rights when the original band broke up. This bundle includes the usual sticks (right to exclude, right to destroy, right to use, right to sell). Given that GNR has the right to exclude others from Law School–wide musical performances and from using law-pun band names, P!ADC violated these rights by performing at Fauxfield without their permission and sucking up GNR’s rightful press coverage.

P!ADC’s transgressions against GNR caused the members of GNR emotional distress and justice requires Panic! At the District Court make amends for the pain they have caused. See Ex-GF v. Ex-BF, 673 U.Va. 1145 (2016) (“You can’t just be a dick and get away with it. Wrongs must be righted, and sometimes the only way to do that is by saying sorry with a keg.”). Because P!ADC breached the laws and social norms governing the law school community, they owe GNR beer to compensate.

 

III

 

The upperclassmen of UVA Law can’t just let these meddling kids get away with it. Therefore, the lower court’s holding is reversed and the case is remanded for a calculation of damages not inconsistent with this opinion. And this opinion has nothing to do with the fact that a majority of this Court’s justices are GNR groupies.

 

It is so ordered.

 

VanderMeulen, C. J., concurring.

 

I join in full my colleague Justice Elicegui’s able opinion. I write separately to note additional precedent that supports the holding outlined in her opinion. Can it be that the 1Ls have never heard of the famous SBA v. First-Year Council, 323 U.Va. 882 (1983)? There, the Court outlined its seminal, nuanced rule controlling 1L cases: “1Ls lose.” Like Professor Kordana’s “female plaintiffs lose” rule, this principle of the law is a time-honored and intellectually sound maxim strongly supported by the Petty Academy. Through the decades, the Court has applied it again and again, with increasing certainty and vigor. See, e.g., Class of 2005 v. Jeffries, 580 U.Va. 100 (2002) (“The 1Ls lose.”); PILA v. Annoying Smelly 1Ls, 612 U.Va. 205 (2009) (“The 1Ls lose.”) (Opinion of Watkins, J.)

 When applied to this case, the outcome is clear: The 1Ls lose. Strongly endorsing this ancient and sound rule, I concur.


[1] Appellees retained Ms. McCarthy’s services because “We’re 1Ls and don’t know any law yet. The doctrine of discovery?! That sounds like some made-up mumbo jumbo to us.”

[2] Judge Jones is the author of the article that originally ignited this dispute. This Court was unimpressed that he didn’t recuse himself from the case, but recusal is up to each individual judge, so our hands are tied. We are excluding him from social events for the week, though.

[3] “We do what we want.”

[4] We ignore, for now, the presence of that 2L guy in GNR. See Footnote 3.

[5] RIP Jeb.

Spotlight: Muslim Law Students Association


Hamna Ahmad ‘20
Guest Columnist

Kareem Ramadan ‘20
Guest Columnist

When we came to Grounds last fall, the Muslim Law Students Association (MLSA) did not exist. Similar to a number of affinity groups at the Law School, the events of August 2017 served as a rallying cry to come together in order to show solidarity with the community and with affected minority groups. For the both of us, it made it easy to give our support to reinvigorating an organization for people that needed a voice within the law school. Thanks to the effort of a number of then-1Ls and 2Ls, we were able to get MLSA off the ground and running after a ten-year hiatus from the Law School. While the events of last August added a sense of urgency to restarting MLSA, the ultimate mission of this group is a simple one: To create and foster an environment for Muslims and allies of all backgrounds to come together as a community, while also functioning as a vehicle to ignite conversation with regard to Islam-centric and minority-focused issues. We both got involved to help future Muslim students find a place they felt comfortable in when they arrived on Grounds, whether that is finding a spot to pray or recommendations for halal food.

 

Aside from being a space where Muslim students and allies can come together and engage one another with difficult topics, MLSA has served as an excellent way to make new friends and connect with people throughout the school. From game nights to lunchtime discussions, this group has given us the chance to learn about people from all sorts of backgrounds that we may not otherwise have had a chance to otherwise. Most Muslim Student Associations on campuses tend to be ethnically homogenous, but we are lucky to have a Muslim population that has a mix of South Asian, Arab and Middle Eastern, African American, East Asian, North African, and European American students! This allows us to be exposed to Muslim traditions from all over the world, even ones that we may not have known about previously. One of the best experiences of this year was observing an Ashura fast, the first time for both of us. Ashura is a traditional holiday mostly observed in Shia communities throughout the world, and it was great to observe it in our own small group in Charlottesville.

 

Furthermore, we realized that there is a need for a cohesive network of Muslim attorneys across the public and private sectors. We want to ensure that Muslim students have the same access as other students to career opportunities in the future, even though many of our members tend to come from families with no connection to the legal world. This summer, both of us struggled to find Muslim attorneys at firm receptions in our respective markets. To make Big Law a more diverse experience in the future, it’s vital to create this sort of network starting from the ground up—in law school. As our members start to graduate and enter the legal profession, we hope that they will create a foundation of alumni for future Muslim law students.

 

We are lucky to have an established Muslim community in Charlottesville. The Islamic Society of Central Virginia is a great mosque that our members attend in town, and we encourage all interested students to stop by Friday services if they are interested in learning about our prayers. Furthermore, the undergraduate Muslim Students Association puts on excellent programming that MLSA members are always invited to, including Quran studies and service events. This year, we hope to forge closer relationships with the Medical School and Darden’s Muslim Student Associations as well.

 

Although we are primarily a faith-based organization, we realize that the Muslim-American identity has been highly politicized; we, as Muslim law students, do not have the privilege of opting out of the contentious politics of our time. According to the Pew Research Center, assaults and crimes against Muslims reached new heights in 2016, surpassing 2001, the year of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Last semester, the University released a statement condemning “Punish a Muslim Day,” a hateful event originating in Europe that spread to the US. In July of this year, our MLSA signed on to an open letter with Muslim law student associations across the country to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision in Trump v. Hawaii. It was an amazing experience to see the collective power of young, engaged Muslims speaking out against a legal ruling that has affected and will affect our own community and families. Our members are Muslims who grew up in America during the turn of the century, and we have seen our religion twisted by both those who claim to follow it and those who claim to hate it. For many of us, this was a motivation to attend law school: to learn about our rights and privileges as Americans, and to ensure that our faith was treated with as much dignity and respect as all faith groups in this country.

 

Next semester, we are hosting an event with the Jewish Law Students Association (JLSA) about minorities in faith in Big Law, and how to stay steadfast with your faith while meeting the demands of the workplace. We are also partnering with the Virginia Law and Business Society to host a panel event on Islamic Finance in the U.S. and abroad. We invite all students to attend our advertised events and to ask engaged questions about Islam and allyship.

 

Note from the Co-Presidents: Although we are only in our first year of being a registered student organization, we are indebted to so many individuals at this law school. First, thank you to Muskan Mumtaz, ’19, for creating this group and getting us organized. Thank you to JLSA for helping us through the certification process and for exhibiting the truest form of sisterhood. Thank you to everyone in the Office of Student Affairs for making us feel welcome and for organizing prayer spaces for our members. Thank you to Professor Thomas Nachbar for reaching out to us and wanting us to feel welcome. Thank you to the Office of Admissions for being mindful on how we can grow our representation on Grounds. May God bless our efforts, and allow this group to be a light to all members of the Virginia Law School community.

Hot Bench: Ben Elron '20


Ben Elron ‘20

Ben Elron ‘20

Ben Elron ‘20

Have you ever had a nickname?

I grew up being called Belron, it’s always a bit confusing when people call me Ben. 

 

Where did you grow up?

Charlottesville, Virginia. 

 

What is your favorite quote?

“What’s next?” –Jed Bartlet

 

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

I once spent a month wilderness-kayaking in the Kenai Fjords. Tents, sleeping on icebergs, no resupplies, the whole nine yards. After week three, we were eating nothing but preserved/powdered food. On our final day we walked straight from the dock to the closest restaurant––some random pizzeria in Seward, Alaska restaurant–– and ordered an entire pizza each. We all got very sick, but it was still the best pizza I’ve ever had. 

 

If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be and why?

Dr. Blasey Ford, so I could give her a hug and a high five. 

 

What’s your favorite hobby to avoid the stress of law school? 

I work as an Emergency Medical Technician on the local Rescue Squad, which is actually quite stress-reducing. I think it has something to do with taking something that’s wrong and fixing it (vs. the law, where we take things that are wrong and argue about them). 

 

Where is your favorite place to vacation?

Anywhere without cell phone service. Usually Ontario. 

 

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Pav machine-coffee and those fruit snacks in Student Affairs. 

 

What’s your least favorite sound?

Engine-out in an airplane (I’m a pilot). 

 

If you owned a sports team, what/who would be the mascot?

It would be a team of Battling Robots, and the mascot would be Kristen Stewart. 

 

Blueberries or strawberries?

Whichever one they decide to throw on the firm reception cheeseboard. . .

 

What is the best concert you have ever been to?

John Legend at a small, private event in San Francisco. He was great, but it was the best concert because of the person I was with. 

 

What’s your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville?

Close out the Virginian. I was raised in Charlottesville, but I grew up standing on those booths. 

 

What animal do you most identify with? 

Human. 

 

Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC? 

Justin Timberlake is as close to perfect as pop celebrities can get. 

 

What’s your favorite food(s)?

Egg and feta bagel at Bodo’s (THE MAGIC IS IN THE FETA). Also, bacon-wrapped dates at Mas, house dressing at Take-it-Away, anything at Lampo. Alternatively, anything I get to eat while sitting next to good people. 

 

If you had to pick one song to play non-stop in the background of your life, what would it be?

“Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” by Baz Luhrmann.

 

What’s the longest. you’ve gone without sleep and why?

42 hours during a search-and-rescue for a lost child (we found him). 

 

If you won the lottery, what would you do with it?

Drive to CVS, buy a disposable camera, take a picture of the ticket (so it doesn’t exist digitally anywhere). Drive to Bank of America, open a safety deposit box and put it in there. Immediately find a lawyer with expertise in this matter and fly to see her. Tell nobody. Claim the prize in the name of a trust a day before the deadline. Found a new political party, take control of the House and pay off Trump’s taxes as a gesture of goodwill. . .(jk). 

 

If you had Matrix-like learning, what would you learn?

How to go back and take the Blue Pill. 

 

If you could be in the winter Olympics, which sport would you compete in?

Triwizard Tournament (which I would have founded using my lottery winnings). 

 

----

Ben Elron

ebe8ca@virginia.edu

Court of Petty Appeals: Class of 2021 v. Doe

Class of 2021 v. Doe 

903 U.Va. 12 (2018)

 

VanderMeulen, C. J., delivered the opinion of the unanimous Court. Schmalzl, J., filed a concurring opinion.

 

Chief Justice VanderMeulen delivered the opinion of the Court.

A bright-eyed, smiling young woman laden with heavy textbooks reserves a room on the second floor of the Law Library on a Saturday morning. She sets up her laptop and her books, readies her PowerPoint, and starts writing her equations on the . . . wait a second . . . equations? Smiling?? Is that a . . . chemistry book?!

That’s right, folks: they’re back. Once more, the undergrads of UVA are making felt their presence in our quaint northern outpost. Before you know it, we’ll be inundated with sorority sweatshirts, Roots-to-go, and Juuling in the library.[1] Fortunately, forward-looking plaintiffs have brought the issue before this Court, which is determined to act to protect the Law School.

The instant dispute reads like so many others: appellants Sarah-Jane Lorenzo ’21 and Jacob Jones ’21, representing the Class of 2021, found themselves in the library last Saturday morning[2] grappling with vexing questions about proximate cause. As they approached the doors of the Mason Room, they saw a brown-haired, glasses-clad woman occupying a seat at the long table in the center of the room. According to appellants’ brief, they immediately realized something was amiss when they saw the woman’s PowerPoint was entitled, “DNA Repair and Genomic Instability: Cells, Tissues, and Mechanisms of Disease.” While appellants’ brief admits they “have no idea what’s going on in any of [their] classes” and “couldn’t tell a railroad turntable from rum-ship explosion,” they insist that what they saw “had nothing to do with law ’cause it was, like, numbers and stuff.” Appellants allege this occupation of the Mason Room constituted false imprisonment and a violation of their property right to access Law School facilities. They argue for a categorical ruling barring undergrads from using Law School spaces.

In the court below, appellee Dane Joe—whose identity has been shielded for fear of threats to her person—moved to dismiss plaintiffs’ suit, arguing it failed to state a claim upon which petty relief could be granted. Judge Davies granted the motion, ruling for appellee that appellants had failed to state a claim in their complaint. Appellants timely appealed and we granted them a hearing. We now, shockingly, reverse.

II

First, we address appellee’s motion to dismiss. Petty Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(5)[3] allows for dismissal of a plaintiff’s suit if the pleading fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.[4] In reviewing a granted motion to dismiss, this Court views all evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Davies v. SBA, 718 U.Va. 221 (2015) (“The keg is not, as defendant contends, ‘without any redeeming value whatsoever.’ It has at least a teentsy-weentsy bit of redeeming value! The lower court is reversed.”) Here, the lower court held appellants’ false imprisonment claim “completely without merit because they were not imprisoned.” Appellants contend being locked out of the Mason Room counts as imprisonment, and also note that they endured “excruciating mental imprisonment” at being reminded of their inferiority in the hard sciences.

As for the property claim, appellants present a novel claim in their petition, arguing that law students should have a unique right to enter Law School premises, including a right to exclude undergrads from those premises. Appellants claim the Law School’s 1974 move from Main Grounds to North Grounds established a unique “stick” in the proverbial bundle that Professor Doran so adores. They propose that any Law School student, faculty member, or staff member should have the right to exclude from Law School premises any “Obvious Undergrad.” Judge Davies dismissed this claim as well, holding there is “no such thing” as an “Obvious Undergrad.”

III

We’ll be honest: These claims are pretty weak sauce. Normally, for a claim of false imprisonment, we require a showing of, well, “imprisonment.” See, e.g., Section A v. Verkerke, 810 U.Va. 445 (2017) (“You were stuck in that exam room for how many hours??”). Perhaps, in some circumstances, anguish alone might do. See, e.g., Malkowski v. Cohen, 811 U.Va. 907 (2017) (“Though the door was technically open, appellant’s inability to escape discussion of securities violations in a Professional Responsibility course rendered her sufficiently imprisoned to state a claim.”) Never have we held that plaintiffs were falsely imprisoned for a mere inability to enter the premises of the Law School.

Nonetheless, here we must reverse the lower court. Appellants’ claim may be a bit, eh, creative, but the damage done to them is real. By occupying the space reserved for law students, Doe locked Lorenzo and Jones out of space to which they had a lawful right. By covering the white board with her accursed and befuddling equations, Doe imprisoned appellants in the confines of their own inferiority. That must count for something. And besides, Doe is an undergrad. Is there any more proud a boast than that we are a government “not of laws, but of men”? Were we to allow Doe to stand on equal footing before the law, would that law even be petty?

Similarly, appellants’ property law claim must be reinstated. We declare categorically that denizens of the Law School have the right to exclude “Obvious Undergrads” from any study premise, library table, or coffee-machine line within the School of Law. Contrary to Judge Davies’ holding below, we find that there is such a thing as an “Obvious Undergrad.” Telltale signs include open display of Greek letters; Main Grounds student-organization laptop stickers; math and science textbooks; picture books (!); vaping in the library[5]; untrodden spirit; and “’Potle” bowls, as these despicable cads call Chipotle. Law School denizens are urged to use caution: this right to exclude applies only to OBVIOUS undergrads. If the sneaky lads and lasses manage to disguise their undiminished souls and chemistry homework, they must be allowed to remain.

IV

Stay vigilant, Law Schoolers! The invasion is upon us. Left unchecked, our way of life is at risk. Some undergrads, we assume, are good people. But they are not us. And lurking among them is an even greater threat: Darden students disguised as undergrads. Make no mistake: we will grant no safe harbor to these invaders. The lower court’s holding is reversed, and appellants’ complaint is restored.

It is so ordered.

Schmalzl, J., concurring.

I join the Court’s thorough opinion in full, but write separately to note what I think is a glaring omission from the Court’s decision: the snacks and the coffee. Undergrads who occupy study rooms are bad, yes. No one would deny this. But what about the ones who take snacks! Is there anything more sacred to us than snacks and coffee? And these children come north and just take them. It’s disgusting. And by ignoring the threat posed to law students’ ongoing ability to be adequately fed and sugared, the Court kicks the can down the road once more, leaving for others a threat it should address itself.

On this basis, I object.


[1] The Court once witnessed an undergrad vaping “surreptitiously” on the second floor. She looked like a teapot, vapor streaming slowly out of her nostrils. All hail Queen Davies and the benevolent SEC-028.

[2] The Court takes no position on whether plaintiffs violated this Court’s anti-Gunning injunction, but we’re going to keep an eye on these lads, don’t you worry.

[3] Yeah, that’s right, 5. We do what we want.

[4] This standard should be familiar to anyone who paid attention in Civ Pro, aka that one weird kid with the UVA undergrad ring and no one else.

[5] Sorry, Shanna.