The firms are coming! (Don’t freak out.)

BY

An Introduction to the On-Campus Interview Program

It is as sure a sign of fall in New England as the brilliant foliage – Harvard Law students in suits, hurrying toward the local hotels, clutching printouts of employer websites and glancing desperately at their watches. The sense of excitement is palpable. Hundreds of students and hundreds of employers meet for a common purpose – to make a match. Employers are looking to tap Harvard’s rich talent pool and students are seeking an opportunity to take the next step toward a legal career by entering the world of practice.

This decades-old tradition is the fall On-Campus Interview Program (OCI), the most visible of the Office of Career Services’ numerous job search programs. The purpose of this article is to de-mystify the OCI process and help students prepare for the intense, exciting and stressful weeks ahead.

Sorting Fact From Fiction

With more than 700 employers participating in OCI, Harvard Law School hosts the largest legal recruitment program in the country. Despite the economic slowdown, the demand for Harvard students remains strong. If nothing else, students can take comfort in the fact that, given there are 550 or so students in a class (and that the vast majority of 3L students don’t participate in OCI) the odds are in your favor!

With such a large, intense and complex process at work, rumors and misinformation are sure to circulate, and OCS often hears them. Let’s address some of the common fears and misperceptions.

“In this market, finding a job will be impossible.”

We have been in touch with firms around the country to discuss their hiring plans. In addition, we have been actively researching and monitoring news about the legal employment market. While this will be a challenging market compared to years such as 1999, there is also ample reason for optimism. Certain firms and certain regions continue to cut back, but this is not universal. Last year saw many significant across-the-board reductions in the size of summer programs, reflecting the need to adjust for what was, in retrospect, over-expansion in the late Ô90s. Despite this, the 2001 OCI program was quite successful. While the office has heard of firms planning further reductions, this news is balanced by firms planning to increase class size. Students may need to compromise on firm, region or specialty, but a well thought out effort should yield a great job.

“Firms won’t even look at students who don’t have certain grades.”

There is no pre-screening in the bidding process. Career Services guidelines require that all HLS students, given their level of achievement and talent, should have an opportunity to interview with the employers of their choice during OCI. Most employers consider grades as only one factor among many in the hiring process – they are well aware of the rigorous selection process that goes on just to become a member of the HLS class.

This is not to say that grades don’t matter. The most sought-after employers in the most selective markets have an abundant choice of highly qualified students. They have the luxury of choosing only from the top of a class. Keep this in mind when you choose employers for interviews. It is a risky strategy to talk to only these employers.

“You don’t get to interview with the employers you want.”

OCS uses a lottery system to assign interviews to students after the process of selecting employers, or “bidding” for interview spots, occurs. A scheduling algorithm in the bidding program attempts to maximize students’ top choices, taking care not to conflict with academic class schedules, which are exported directly from the registrar’s office to the Career Services system. Do not let this apparent lack of control over your destiny make you uncomfortable. A breakdown of past statistics shows that students typically get 70 percent of the interviews they request. In addition, resumes for all the students who bid on an employer are forwarded to the employer. A student who does not get an interview is placed on a waiting list and may get a spot after the period for modifying schedules. In addition, you can contact an employer directly to try to arrange alternatives.

“The best way to insure success is to interview like crazy.”

Students too often believe that the best way to approach OCI is to bid for the greatest number of interviews possible. A more thoughtful, targeted approach is likely to be more successful and is certain to be less stressful.

As a reference point, during last year’s interview season, 2Ls interviewed with an average of 18 to 22 employers. Three-Ls, who are still sorting out their options or redirecting their job search, typically interview with nine to ten employers. (Many employers do not interview 3Ls, having satisfied their hiring needs from their summer class.) Rather than signing up to fill every available waking hour, be realistic. Taking into account the market and your law school record, sign up for an appropriate range and number of firms. Sign up for some sought-after top choice firms, but be sure to include other alternatives.

“There is no way to know what my odds are.”

Unfortunately, the OCI process can only provide opportunity, not certainty. OCS has a notebook of recruitment statistics that records the number of students who bid on each employer, the number of interviews assigned, the number of callback invitations extended and the number of employment offers extended. The information is also available on the OCS website, located at www.law.harvard.edu/ocs. These numbers provide a statistical perspective on employers and what their callback processes may yield. Unfortunately, the statistics can’t provide information about many important factors that influence firms’ decisions – such as how a student interviews – and their academic performance, previous experience and general levels of achievement. The statistics can give you a general sense of how many seek, how many are called and how many are chosen.

Getting ready for OCI

With a more accurate understanding of OCI you are ready to take the next step: preparing for the bidding process.

There is more than one way to tackle the OCI process. A surprisingly popular method goes something like this: A student looks up, sees an OCS poster on a board at the Hark and remembers that he better get his OCI bids in this weekend. On Monday evening, the night before bidding closes, he sits down at his computer. Based on a general sense that he would like to be in a city and on comments from his classmates that the best jobs are in D.C. and New York, he opens the site, searches by city and then looks over the ensuing list of D.C. and N.Y.C. firms to pick names he recognizes. Since he only recognizes two or three names in each city, he surfs over to the AmLaw 100 to get the names of other “top” firms. Satisfied that he has selected the best firms, he submits his bid. This is not the method Career Services recommends.

That said, it might well work out for this student. He may stumble on a great firm, well suited to him, in a city that he enjoys. But if he does, it will be purely by chance. Of course, there is always an element of chance and uncertainty in the job search process, but your goal should be to reduce the element of surprise and shift the odds in your favor. Below are some suggestions for how to do this.

Do a Basic Self-Assessment

First, take some time to think about what you truly want. The OCI process is a whirlwind experience, even for the most organized students. Resist the forces that cause you to lose sight of what makes you happy and focus instead on where you think you are most likely to succeed personally and professionally. Without pausing to assess your personal needs and talents, you may find yourself in a job that is empty and unfulfilling. Sorting through this kind of complex and personal issue is a highly individ
ual process. Use the methods that work for you. Some suggestions:

Try to recall what you liked and disliked about previous employment. Sit down and get the list on paper. Try to capture the underlying qualities that were important. For example, if you enjoyed editing your school paper, was it because the deadline pressure was invigorating or because you like the detail work of copyediting or because the people were great?

Engage in active discussion with friends, family and professors. Listening to the experience of others, as well as trying to clarify and articulate your own thoughts to others, can be enormously helpful.

Talk with the career services professionals here at the Law School. All of the OCS Career Counselors have their J.D. and have worked in a variety of practice areas, practice venues and geographic locations. The OCS staff has been through on-campus interviewing programs both as students and now as professional career counselors. Take advantage of their experience and expertise.

Attend panels, programs and receptions offered in conjunction with OCI and engage visiting attorneys and panelists in discussion. You can also use the alumni resource network available in OCS and the various mentoring files maintained by the Office of Public Interest Advising.

If you still find yourself uncertain, the Office of Student Life Counseling offers professional counseling to assist you with self-assessment.

Research and Select Employers

Although the legal marketplace has slowed, OCS has seen only a small reduction in the number of employers participating in OCI. You will still be faced with a daunting task as you try to sort through hundreds of employers. A number of strategies and resources exist that can assist you in learning more about employers.

OCS WEBSITE

To begin your research, be sure to visit the OCS website at www.law.harvard.edu/ocs. The website provides links to a variety of useful online resources as well as descriptions of hard copy resources available at the OCS office. Available on-line are the HLS On-line Employer Directory, the National Association for Law Placement Directory, Lawmatch.com, Lexis, Westlaw, Infirmation.com, HLS Student Summer Job Evaluations and the Vault Report of the “Top 100 Law Firms.” These resources, as well as other available in the OCS office, provide detailed information so that you are planning your career based on considered information, and not simply the perceived prestige of your potential employer.

EMPLOYER WEBSITES

Admittedly, you would find it a challenge to look at the website of every potentially interesting employer before you make bid decisions, so you may need to be selective at this stage. However, you should never enter an interview without first looking at the employer’s site. If time is limited, look for certain basic information so you will not appear obviously unprepared. Suggested areas: employer size, practice areas, location of branch offices, any information about summer programs (if that is what you are interested in) and whatever they showcase on the main page.

THE CALLBACK

Callback interviews, the second round of interviews when an employer invites you to the office to meet and interview with a number of other attorneys, offer a unique opportunity to assess firm culture and get a least a sampling of personalities with whom you may work. But to take advantage of this opportunity, you need to be prepared.

Perhaps the major student complaint about callbacks is that they seem undifferentiated – one firm seems like the next. The problem is usually that students take the wrong approach – they ask questions and listen for the reply. Because answers are likely to be shaped by an understanding of what students want and expect to hear, replies can sound remarkably similar. A better approach is to trust your instincts. Look beyond the words to get a sense of the place. How do people interact with each other? What are the offices like? How does the employer’s work setting feel to you? Formal? Quiet? Intense? Collegial? What adjectives would you use to describe the people? Equipped with a good sense of the firm, you need to determine whether this is a good fit. Ask yourself some crucial questions. What type of people do you enjoy working with? What environment is most comfortable for you and/or what environment promotes your success and productivity? Bearing these questions in mind during the callback process, you will make a more informed employment decision.

Create a “Plan B”

In light of the current market, after you have identified your ideal employers in your ideal market, you should also follow the old adage to “assume the best but prepare for the worst.” If your first choice options do not work out, what do you want to do? Again, this is a personal decision that demands that you prioritize your desires. Which is most important: a firm’s prestige, the city, the practice area or something else? Where will you compromise? You may prefer a national firm located in a less sought-after city or you may be determined to settle in a given area even if you must compromise on the employer.

Incorporate appropriate options into your bidding plans. Many fine employers who visit Harvard are overlooked because they are not well known or because they do not fit the current fashion.

Finally, Take a Moment to Think Outside the OCI Box

Are there places you should be looking outside the OCI process? Many law firms and other employers that may interest you will not participate in OCI. Many smaller firms do not have the resources to make the trip to Cambridge. Other mid-sized or more geographically remote employers feel they cannot compete for your attention, so they allocate their resources elsewhere. If you need help locating these employers, look for the OCS programs on “Finding a Job Outside OCI” offered in the fall or make an appointment to see an advisor. Rest assured, these employers would love to receive a resume and cover letter from you. Please seek them out. A good cover letter can achieve a lot, especially if you send it far enough in advance of Flyout Week to schedule some of your own interviews with these employers. Do not make the mistake of overlooking a particular firm or location simply because it is not included in the OCI process.

The First Step

You are at the beginning of your legal career, and it is unlikely that you or any one else can predict exactly where your professional journey will lead. Gone are the days when your first job upon graduation was one you would keep for many years, or even retire from. Think of the OCI selection process as the beginning of your journey and navigate thoughtfully. Your career path is unique and individually paved by you, not by the Vault Reports, The American Lawyer or a consensus of your classmates or relatives.

Through the job search process, you will learn to take charge of your career. Take advantage of the abundant career advising resources at HLS, from counselors to panelists, publications to websites. One of the most distinct advantages of attending Harvard Law School is the unsurpassed quality, potential, character and sheer number of your classmates. Over time, they will become your most effective network.

Soon, campus life will return to normal, the suits will disappear and OCI will be behind you. In the meantime, remember that at no other time in your career will you go about finding a job in quite the same way. So, relax, be yourself, learn a lot and enjoy!

The road less traveled

BY ALEXA SHABECOFF

At the Office of Public Interest Advising, we believe that practicing law is about more than making a living or representing clients competently and ethically. We believe that what makes law a profession, rather than simply an occupation, is a fundamental commitment to an equitable and fair legal system. A just system should be made accessible to both rich and poor, to those holding political power and to those profoundly marginalized; it should consider both those issues embraced and those rejected by the majority. We also believe that different jobs satisfy different people depending on their unique values, personalities and work styles. We have found that no matter what your ideals are, if you are not in the right job, you will not be happy.

These beliefs imbue our work at OPIA with a deep sense of mission. These ideals make it extremely gratifying to work with those of you who will be the public interest leaders of your generation, as well as those of you who will apply your public service ethos to making a difference by doing pro bono work in the private sector. We strive to help you articulate and pursue a professional sense of self that will enable you to achieve a confluence between your professional and personal lives. Most importantly, we hope that we can help you find the kind of work you will find both enjoyable and fulfilling.

We know that some of you have come here with a good idea of what you want to do with your law degree. But, after thousands of conversations with HLS students, we have realized that many of you may have ended up in law school because you lack a strong sense of what you want to do for a living. Having left college without specific training, and knowing that further education is highly valued, you find comfort in a place that will not only give you more time to prepare for the “real world” but will also give you skills that can be applied in numerous settings.

Yet, despite the many doors that a law degree from HLS is supposed to open, many start to see only one option: going into large law firms. There are some reasons that many of you start to narrow your vision of what you can do with a law degree:

* huge debt loads which make you wonder if you can afford to live on anything less than what the big firms pay;

* the somewhat more challenging nature of pursuing other paths, including but not limited to the public market;

* the pressure of watching your classmates gravitate to big firms; and,

* the added pressure of family or the expectations of others.

All of these factors can create a sense of conflict about the type of work you want to pursue with your law degree. Caught up in the “fall insanity” at HLS, some of you do not manage to find the time to reflect about whether you should go to a small firm, a business, a plaintiff’s firm, government work or the nonprofit sector. We urge you to think about your aspirations more carefully and find a job you love.

Clarify a Vision Behind Your Work

Take time to reflect thoughtfully on what you want to achieve professionally. One alum shared this advice: “Think first about what you like to do – not just what you’re good at, what you think you should do, or what’s the path of least resistance.” Most people who love their work have found jobs involving issues about which they feel passionate, as opposed to work at which they may excel but dislike. In discovering what it is that you really want to do, recognize that your interests do not always coincide with your talents. To find work that suits you uniquely, you need to confront questions regarding what you love to do and what really matters to you in your work. Below we share some of the issues you might want to think about while deciding what you want to do this summer and with your law degree when you graduate.

Decide: Whose Life is This Anyway?

As you begin to think about what direction you want your career to take, be sure to make your own values and passions your touchstones. Avoid being swayed by other people’s expectations of you. For example, if your family expects you to save the world through large law reform cases – as mine did way back when I was in law school – but you’d rather work with one client at a time, follow your own preferences. This can be especially hard for those who go to top tier law schools because often we have grown accustomed to judging our achievements in terms of traditional measures of success such as high grades, big salary and public praise. Until you are able to focus on what you want and what you truly consider important, your efforts at finding meaningful work will most likely be thwarted.

Evaluate Your Ambitions and Values

You alone can decide what will make you happy. Figure out what you find important and satisfying:

* What have you liked and disliked from your prior life experiences?

* What issues do you like to read about?

* What volunteer work do you gravitate towards?

* What academic subjects excite you?

Sort out what motivates you and stimulates you. Be careful to distinguish between what you truly care about and what you believe is marketable – they may not overlap. Allowing yourself to be swayed by the latter without considering the former may result in making an expedient, but unsatisfying, career decision.

Evaluate the Nature of the Work and Work Environment That Fits You

Happy lawyers tell us that in addition to working on issues that engage them, the nature of the work and the workplace setting may be critical to finding the right fit. Drawing upon your prior work, volunteer and academic experiences, think about some of the following questions:

* Do you love to research and write?

* Do you enjoy frequent contact with people? Must it be with clients or are colleagues enough?

* Are you happier juggling multiple short-term projects or spending large quantities of time digging into a few long-term assignments?

* Do you embrace responsibility and autonomy or do you prefer close oversight and a gradual increase in responsibility?

* Do you need to see the immediate results of your work, or are you satisfied with the potential for eventual large impact?

* Do you seek formal training, or will you be satisfied by on-the-job training combined with some supervision and/or mentoring?

* Do you want a formal organized atmosphere, or are you happier with a casual, non-hierarchical setting?

* How important is it for the office you work in to have a great deal of resources at its disposal?

* Do you have strong needs for political/ideological compatibility?

* Do you need to have some political activism in your job?

Learn About What Lawyers Do

Law school provides you with an unparalleled opportunity to explore different options within (and even outside) the legal profession. If you are interested in pursuing any type of public interest or government work, you can start by picking up a copy of our Public Interest Job Search Guide and brainstorming with our attorney advisers and our visiting Wasserstein Fellows. Our attorney advisers are career counselors with backgrounds in a variety of public service legal careers. Our Visiting Wasserstein Fellows can share insights about the public interest positions they have held. To get a flavor of practice settings without even leaving your dorm room or apartment, you can read narratives we have collected from alumni/ae in our Public Interest Job Search Guide, in both editions of Alumni/ae in Action and in Outstanding Lawyers in Action, a compilation of narratives written by our Wasserstein Fellows.

You can read about specific fields by picking up one of our specialty guides or printing it from our website: www.law.harvard.edu/Students/opia. You can attend panels like the World of Law series and hear from public interest lawyers about what their work entails, what they like and dislike about their jobs, and how you c
an pursue similar work if you are interested. You can talk to the hundreds of alumni/ae doing public service work who have agreed to serve as mentors to students and who will often be delighted to talk to you about their work. You can also talk to the faculty in our Faculty Public Interest Directory who have agreed to advise students in their area of expertise.

Create a Game Plan

Try out the kind of work that seems appealing to you. You will never again have such a great opportunity to experiment, so seize it! Naturally, the summers offer the biggest chunk of time for sampling different jobs. But do not underestimate the value of work done through a student group, a volunteer job off-campus, or, especially, a clinical placement, to help you discover what you enjoy in the practice of law. Working for a professor on issues that interest you can help you learn more about those issues. And if you already have a very good sense of what you want to do when you graduate, law school affords you the chance to confirm or reevaluate your expectations, to build a track record that will make you an attractive candidate for the jobs you choose to pursue, and to make contacts in your chosen field.

Figure Out What Money Means to Your Job Choice

Determine how much money you need to afford the quality of life that makes you happy. Different people need different kinds of amenities in order to be satisfied. Most public interest lawyers aren’t “poor.” Early in our careers, we manage to pay the rent, afford a suitable wardrobe, and have money left over for dinner and a movie. Later in life, most of us manage mortgages on nice homes and can afford new cars. We can provide a high quality of life for our children, giving them ballet and karate lessons, and taking them on the occasional exotic vacation. Almost every public interest lawyer will tell you that any financial trade-off they made was well worth it. Whether you will be one of the people who can be a public interest lawyer (or even a lawyer at a small private law firm that does not pay as much as the big firms) and live well depends on your own financial situation. Fortunately, as many of you know, HLS’s loan forgiveness program, the Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP), was dramatically improved and now is better able to provide those with high debt the opportunity to take a relatively lower-paying public service job.

If you have high educational debt, don’t just assume that you cannot afford to make choices about the jobs you pursue upon graduation. Come to the panel that OPIA co-sponsors with the Financial Aid Office on LIPP and HLS postgraduate public service fellowships. Go to the Financial Aid Office and find out how LIPP will work for you. Find out how much your monthly loan payments will be if you work in a particular field, and figure out whether you can live, according to your own needs, with what is leftover. If you don’t have debt, decide whether you will be happy with the lifestyle you will have on a public interest salary or whether you need more.

Consider How you Define Success and Happiness

Ultimately we all need to take a long hard look at how each of us defines success and happiness. Rather than thinking of power in terms of paycheck or employer name recognition, many of us will choose to conceive of it as the ability to effect social change or to help individual clients protect their rights and dignity. We pick our jobs because we know that we will look forward to going to work.

By shifting our focus away from the perceived expectations of others, we become free to pursue our own values, personalities and passions. For many of us, this proves a difficult thing to do. But try it: take a look at what it is that you truly want to do. By doing so, you can redefine success in terms of finding a career that will be fulfilling. Hopefully, you will join the many alums who call and write to us at OPIA, marveling at the joy they find in their work.

[Alexa Shabecoff is the Director of the Office of Public Interest Advising.]

RECORD Editorial: Students should demand more of OCS and OPIA

BY

We are scarcely a month away from November, and the Office of Public Interest Advising’s hiring process is standing still. Meanwhile, students trying to use the Office of Career Services’ snazzy new web site have been met with constant frustration, as the site has crashed repeatedly, and at the most inopportune times. It is no secret that students have a habit of doing things at the last minute, but the system should have been designed to handle the expected capacity.

OCS seems to have done the best it can, testing the system during the much-smaller 1L OCI last year, extending deadlines and generally working to help students who get burned by glitches in the system.

With regard to OPIA, the situation is a bit more tricky. When Dean Robert Clark announced the long-overdue hiring of another full-time adviser, students applauded. The move should have been made a long time ago — most of our peer schools had larger public-interest advising staffs, or at least more full-time personnel. (It should also be noted that several peer institutions have larger offices of career services as well.)

But as 2L hiring season approaches, and 1Ls gear up for their own first shot at the job market, OPIA is still without the staffing resources it needs to do the job.

Without a second full-time adviser, 2Ls will likely face long waits for advising appointments. Given the desirability of HLS 2Ls in the law firm job market, any additional barriers to public interest hiring are likely to drive them toward the OCI process, which already enjoys considerable comparative advantages in attracting HLS students (computer problems notwithstanding). Given that such a massive percentage of 2Ls and graduating 3Ls start their careers in law firms (over 90 percent, not including students entering clerkships), a move that causes those numbers to go up even more is an unfortunate mistake.

The difference between this and previous years is that this year, it seems that OPIA is understaffed by choice. According to Director Alexa Shabecoff, literally hundreds have sought the position. While her and the administration’s search for the absolute most qualified candidate is laudable, this situation does not lend itself to further dallying.

With the job market still relatively poor, this year is likely to see record numbers of 1Ls seeking public interest jobs. Ideally, one would hope the new full-time adviser would have time to get acclimated to his or her work before having to deal with the difficult process of finding public interest jobs for 1Ls. The longer that Shabecoff and the administration wait, the more difficult the new adviser’s job is likely to be. And 1Ls — already the group in the worst position job-wise — will be the ones who suffer.

OCS and OPIA’s travails both should serve as a lesson for future years. Both the computer and hiring problems could have been alleviated with better planning and more attention to students’ needs.

Boston: Still the place to be

BY BRION BICKERTON

You’ve been reading about the bad economy and the aftermath of the excesses of the high tech boom. How hard have those factors hit the Boston market, and are there good reasons to put your stake in the ground in the Boston area? Why stay in Boston?

During the tech and Internet boom period, Boston was the hottest business market in the country after Silicon Valley. Boston rose with the bubble and undeniably has landed hard with the fall in the high tech markets. While Silicon Valley is more of a one horse town, there is still strong merit to Boston’s claim as a much more diversified market, with strengths in software, Internet, telecommunications, biotechnology, biomedical, venture capital, investment management, mutual fund, health care, defense and the education industries.

While many dot-com startups have shut down, the overall balance in the Boston market has helped the city avoid a bankruptcy meltdown. By some measures, Boston has the largest biotech, life science market in the country. This industry has been the rare tech sector which has continued to attract venture capital investment. This dynamic has helped Boston maintain some stability in the wake of other gloomy economic indicators.

The weakness of the economy has had some obvious impact on the legal market. Over the past several years, firms have been laying off associates – principally undertilized corporate associates first. Few firms have remained unscathed, though those firms vested most in the technology and venture capital markets have felt the greatest impact. One firm which had a larger concentration in the telecommunications and Internet industries has suffered through four or five rounds of layoffs. Firms have responded to the sporadic activity in their corporate transactional practices in different ways. Some have significantly decreased entry -level classes (thereby, decreasing summer programs). Others have reacted more aggressively, delaying start dates for entry-level hires and, in a few draconian instances, turning away entry level hires.

Salaries have also taken a hit. Some major firms that had starting salaries of $135,000 have scaled those back to $115-125,000. Many firms have reduced or failed to pay bonuses during this period. Prior to this scaleback, many of the major Boston firms had narrowed their compensation gap with New York. Profitability at some firms has suffered, but many have offset leaner corporate practices with stronger litigation and IP business. Partner compensation at the top firms continues to rank within the top 40 of all U.S. law firms in profitability.

Corporate transactional practices continue to be lackluster and sporadic. Some time next year is the more realistic hope for an upturn. By then, the dynamics should be established for a robust recovery. In addition, the departure of laid off associates into other parts of the country and into different professional endeavors should provide for a strong hiring market in the Boston firms.

The new economy presented some more interesting opportunities for Boston lawyers. With the proliferation of emerging companies in hot technology areas, an unprecedented need developed for attorneys at ever earlier stages in their careers to assume general counsel and business development roles. A decade ago, most lawyers would have found themselves working slowly up the institutional ladders at corporations, only attaining general counsel roles over a longer period of time. Because of the dearth of high-tech start-ups and the improbability of going public in the current economic climate, there are many fewer opportunities for entry-level associates to make the same kind of leap common just a few years ago. However, particularly within the biotech industry – where there is an enhanced need for biotechs to rapidly develop business relationships and strategic partnerships – lawyers continue to be asked to undertake business development roles in addition to their lawyering roles. But for those lawyers seeking to move into the business side of a corporation, the picture has presented many fewer opportunties.

Boston has strengths in many practice areas. However, attorneys looking to launch a career in areas such as entertainment, admiralty, capital markets (commodities, derivatives) and international law will find many fewer opportunities. Certain other areas of practice, like environmental, have stagnated for several years and do not show signs of rejuvenation.

Law firm options in Boston have been multiplying. With the long-term promise of its economy, Boston has drawn a lot of attention from out-of-state firms looking to secure a foothold. Florida-based Holland & Knight and Greenberg Traurig, which developed branch offices a couple of years ago, have continued to grow. Weil Gotshal just opened a branch office this fall, taking over a corporate group from an existing Boston firm that is dissolving. Existing branch offices of Pittsburgh-based Kirkpatrick & Lockhart expanded by merging with a mid-sized Boston firm, and Chicago powerhouse McDermott Will & Emery made some key partner hires, increasing its size to almost 100 lawyers. Defying the trend to go big, other partners from established firms have opened up new law firms with the expectation of developing niche practices.

Boston remains one of the most attractive cities to call home. Extensive new construction projects along the waterfront call for such diverse developments as a new arts center and a European-style housing community. The “Big Dig” project, which will put underground the current elevated autoway, is within sight of its 2004 completion date. By then, Boston’s infrastructure will have been upgraded to keep pace with the rest of the economy.

Brion A. Bickerton is the founding partner of Bickerton & Gordon LLC, which specializes in the placement of lawyers in Boston and New England. He formerly practiced in the London and Boston offices of a major Boston law firm and can be reached at 617-371-2929 or bbickerton@bickertongordon.com. Bickerton & Gordon hosts a web site which provides updates about the Boston legal market and its opportunities (see BickertonGordon.com).

Letters: The coy tactics of JAG opponents and Palmer-Dodge corrects the RECORD

BY

Gays not of one mind on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Lindsay Harrison and Matthew DelNero may have good reasons to oppose the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but to call it “irrational,” as both do, is false and not a little disingenuous. Homosexual activists and theorists are in fact of two minds concerning mainstream “hetero-normative” institutions such as the military. For every Andrew Sullivan urging homosexuals to assimilate into bourgeois society as noiselessly as possible, there is a Richard Goldstein, who in a recent The Nation piece castigates Sullivan’s “homoconservatism” for impeding the project of political and moral emancipation. Goldstein and his ilk view assimilation as either impossible or undesirable, and advocate joining mainstream institutions only in order to subvert them.

Thus, while they stipulate, as the radical queer group Outrage! put it, that “[e]verything about the military is inimical to queer freedom: hierarchy, domination, prejudice, aggression, conformity, and authoritarianism,” they applaud the work of Steve Zeeland, who has published several books (all The Advocate bestsellers) of homosexual erotica involving the military.

Now, it is one thing to want gays in the military so that they may improve it, but quite another to want it only to the extent that they may destroy it. To speak to a predominantly heterosexual audience as if the latter school of thought does not exist – and to insinuate that no heterosexual can say otherwise without countenancing bigotry – is no more than a rhetorical ruse, if not, shall we say, a technique of domination designed to silence dissenters.

In the meantime, the armed forces – to say nothing of the public – are perfectly justified in waiting to see what homosexuals’ intentions are before consenting to become a laboratory for social experimentation.

Coy tactics such as taking up all the JAG corps’ time slots for interviews, I might add, can only increase their suspicion. Dean Clark’s politic but pusillanimous letter to the contrary, I cannot see how inviting Eros into the barracks will make our soldiers more efficient killers any more than inviting him into the seminaries has made Catholic priests more caring pastors. I, for one, should be glad if the custodians of our establishment institutions continue to place the burden of proof on homosexuals, and not the other way around.

– Austin W. Bramwell, 3L

Law firm contests rollback allegations

On September 19, 2002 The RECORD published a Career Guide which listed Palmer & Dodge as among the firms that have “rolled back salaries.” (See page 12 of the guide.) This is not correct. Palmer & Dodge increased its starting base salary for first-year associates to $110,000 in 2001, and it has remained at that level since that time. (This is in addition to substantial bonus compensation which is available to all associates, including first-years, who work in excess of 1800 hours of billable time, including pro bono time.) Nor has there been any roll-back in salaries for other associates. I also am pleased to note that we welcomed all of our new fall associates to the firm earlier this week, without any deferral of their start dates, and that we enthusiastically made offers of full-time employment at the end of this summer to all 14 of our 2L summer associates.

Harvard students are bright and savvy consumers. Gathering accurate information is essential at the start of any job search. I appreciate this opportunity to set the record straight.

– Daryl J. Lapp
Hiring Partner
Palmer & Dodge LLP

A gag order hits the (almost) all-male Review

BY GREG LIPPER

Of the 88 members of the Harvard Law Review, only 28 are women. This year’s incoming class of 43 contained only 11 women. So how is the Review addressing the situation?

Well, I’d tell you, but then I’d be violating the Review’s Rule of Confidentiality: Anything that happens at any meeting, any statistics or other data that are generated relevant to this or any other problem, cannot be shared with anyone outside of the Law Review community. Among most members, this “rule” is accepted as gospel like the common law itself. You won’t find it written down anywhere — as far as anyone can tell, this rule has never been voted on or enacted pursuant to any procedure. But it’s a presence nonetheless — the straitjacket of silence is wrapped around Gannett House.

So guess what, 1L women: The Law Review is holding a party to figure out how many of you will join our ranks next year. Not only aren’t you invited, but we’re not even going to tell you what kind of cake is being served. In both its maleness and its secrecy, the Law School’s bedrock of legal scholarship is beginning to look more and more like the Catholic Church. Perhaps we should be called the Cardinal Law Review.

In most cases, secrecy on the Law Review makes sense. For instance, candid debate about the selection of articles requires that students speak openly without fear of retaliation by professors who might get wind of their comments. But when the subject of the debate shifts from the ivory tower to the glass ceiling, this silence is deafening.

The Review may be a nominally independent organization. I’ll even overlook its free rental of Gannett House from HLS, the Dean’s ex officio seat on its Board, and its prominent link on the HLS website. But whatever its technical status, the Review is a central symbol of HLS merit, and a critical rung on the ladder to legal power. Granted, the Law Review is certainly not the end-all, be-all of legal success (Laurence Tribe didn’t make law review, after all). But all things being equal, those lucky enough to make Law Review will be teaching the next generation of law students and making the next generation of laws. The Harvard Law Review is not the bridge club; it’s a bridge to the legal elite.

If Arthur Miller were to walk into the first day of Civil Procedure and inform his students that their exams would be graded only by their classmates, protests would erupt. And yet policy decisions that are often just as important to students’ futures are reserved for the 85 or so 2Ls and 3Ls who can’t help but be more concerned with their position in the rat race than with those who are still shackled to the starting line. Indeed, Law Review gender affirmative action has traditionally been most strongly opposed by many of its women, who fear that enactment of an affirmative action policy will lead others to question their “merit.” There may be something to this position. But the fact remains: those who have already climbed up the ladder always have an easier time kicking it down. Those who got kicked off the ladder are rarely considered and are almost never consulted.

When racial tension plagued the Law School last year, students couldn’t go ten minutes without receiving an e-mail from some Dean assuring us that the law school was going to take action. Though the problem emanated from a single 1L section, it was viewed as a significant problem affecting the entire campus, and there was no shortage of open discussion. Yet when the subject is a chronic problem of equal representation on the Law Review, the discussion never leaves Gannett House. Even The RECORD’s recent article about the issue quoted exclusively Law Review members. Was the rest of the school’s line busy?

Many students on the Law Review have taken a legitimate interest in remedying its gender imbalance, and many of them are working hard to devise what they believe will be workable solutions. For the most part, the Law Review’s membership cares a great deal about its gender problem. But the reality remains: A group of 85 2Ls and 3Ls, an overwhelming majority of whom are male, are assuming complete responsibility for solving a social problem with implications for women in the entire Law School as well as the legal profession. And they refuse to tell people what they are thinking until they have already made up their mind.

Dershowitz, Catholic Law Dean debate pledge of allegiance

BY CLINTON DICK

The battle over the pledge of allegiance finally made its way to HLS last Thursday, as Professor Alan Dershowitz took on Dean Douglas Kmiec of the Catholic University School of Law.

The debate centered around the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Newdow v. U.S. Congress, in which it was held that the phrase “under God” in the pledge of allegiance was unconstitutional. For over an hour, Dershowitz and Kmiec dueled about the case, as well as the broader and more complicated issue of religion in government.

Kmiec argued that the invocation of God in the pledge is recognition of both the imperfect nature of human institutions and of a higher law that should guide human affairs in their ordering of society and government. Dershowitz contended that the pledge, as it is currently worded, unfairly excludes both atheists and those who do not feel that “under God” encompasses their understanding of a higher being. It was, in the words of 1L Hugo Torres, a “thought-provoking discussion that raised several interesting questions that we will continue to grapple with now, and in the future.”

Kmiec began his defense of “under God” by saying, “I do not believe in any factual sense of the term that the pledge is a prayer.” Instead, he argued, the pledge is a promise of loyalty or fidelity to the nation and thus, the phrase “under God” is a way to communicate the ideals that were present at the nation’s founding. The founders, Kmiec continued, recognized that because of the imperfection of the human mind, human rights had to be grounded in a law higher than human law. Jefferson recognized this connection between rights and God when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, Kmiec said, and that is why “you cannot have the Constitution without the Declaration.”

Using the example of slavery, Kmiec attempted to demonstrate how in that instance, human law had been construed to justify a wrong that the law of nature and nature’s God always held to be wrong. “A reminder that there is a higher power limits the state from assuming God-like powers,” Kmiec said. Otherwise, he said, “the state would be God.”

Dershowitz responded initially to Kmiec’s arguments not with an attack, but with a concession on two points the Dean had made: The pledge was not a prayer, and Newdow would be overturned either by the Ninth Circuit or the United States Supreme Court.

But that marked the end of the two men’s agreement. “I have never said the pledge since ‘under God’ was inserted,” Dershowitz said. He reminded those gathered that not every child feels comfortable saying those two words. “I think when it comes to issues about God, elementary schools and high schools are dangerous places to have these debates,” he argued. He told of his own personal confrontation with the issue when his rabbi told him the God in the pledge was not his God.

Dershowitz distinguished the pledge from other governmental religious references, such as the “In God We Trust” inscription on coins and prayers before sessions of Congress, which he said have no real impact on people’s lives. But things are different, Dershowitz reasoned, when dealing with children.

Dershowitz concluded with a passionate attack on the justness of natural law. “Natural law is an invitation to lawlessness,” he said. He went on to argue that for too long, humans have looked to God to create a just society, with the consequence that we, as humans, have neglected to shape the world that we live in. Our own Constitution is an embodiment of this effort to shape government, and that is why, he argued, “natural law should not be something we feel comfortable resting our Constitution on.”

Notwithstanding a few light moments in the debate (including Kmiec’s comment that he would have to go to confession because he thanked Dershowitz for correcting a comment he made), many students said the debate led them to question their own views on the issue. One student in particular, who chose not to be named, said he went into the debates believing the phrase should remain in the pledge, but left agreeing with Dershowitz.

One-L Peter Leröe-Munoz focused on the argumentative style of Kmiec and Dershowitz: “It was a fanciful political and theological debate, with each side vehemently presupposing the correctness of his case,” he said.

Staring down death

BY KRISTEN NELSON

Living for five weeks in a hotel room in Alabama working 12 hours a day and most weekends wasn’t exactly what I expected to do this summer. Heading to Atlanta to do post-conviction capital defense work for the Southern Center for Human Rights, I anticipated a time to relax after a difficult 1L year. On my agenda were things like finally completing half-finished summer novels, renting lots of movies, taking weekend trips and going rock climbing.

As it turned out, my summer reading list collected a substantial amount of dust, and I never did make it to the rock climbing gym. Due to what can best be described as an extreme and unexpected crisis in Alabama – a state whose grossly inadequate indigent defense system is perpetually crisis-ridden – the Southern Center accepted five new clients on Alabama’s death row on an emergency basis shortly before the summer interns arrived. Typical preparation for a post-conviction case takes a year or more. We needed to do the same for these new clients within about two months. With the clients’ state habeas deadlines looming at the end of the summer, the Center equipped five of us with several days of training, a hefty investigation manual and sent us off to unearth potentially life-saving information about our clients.

I got to know my client well during my three lengthy visits to death row. An African-American man of marginal intelligence and with no prior criminal record, he was eighteen at the time he was sentenced to death by an all-white jury for participating in the armed robbery of a pawnshop, during which his co-defendant shot and killed the shop’s two employees. His trial attorneys, one of whom was later suspended from the practice of law for failing to adhere to minimal standards of professionalism, completely neglected to present a meaningful mitigation case to the jury during the penalty phase of his trial.

I spent the majority of my time in the Birmingham area developing my client’s mitigation case, gathering an extensive array of school, medical and various other records, and getting to know his family on a deeply personal level. I ate meals with them, went to family birthday parties, hung out for hours at my client’s uncle’s automotive shop, and had many of them over to my hotel for a pool party. During all of this, I learned their life stories and that of my client – stories that were full of rich and powerful mitigating evidence my client’s jury never heard.

In addition, I met with his trial attorneys and questioned state witnesses. On the weekends, my colleagues and I organized into teams and interviewed the jurors from our cases, searching for areas of potential juror misconduct. At the end of the summer, I helped write a substantial portion of my client’s state habeas petition.

Death penalty work is exhausting and can, of course, be extremely disheartening. The salaries are exceptionally low, even by public interest standards. The pace of the work varies dramatically – a case can literally sit for years at various stages of the appeals process (as the one I worked on likely will), but can require a marathon of sleepless nights in a flurry of last-minute attempts to stay an execution. The losses are devastating, but the victories result in unparalleled exhilaration.

That said, this mentally draining, emotionally wearying summer was easily one of the best experiences of my life. Though I was often overwhelmed and frustrated by the sheer enormity of my task, I found it immensely fulfilling. The attorneys (and summer interns) I worked with are bright, extraordinarily dedicated, interesting, funny and compassionate. To them, their work is more than just “work.” It is – rightfully – an all-consuming lifestyle. For me, their enthusiasm was nothing short of infectious.

One year later, still waiting for transformation

BY

A year ago today, Lower Manhattan was covered with a layer of ash. Ash that filled the lungs of its residents, ash that stung the eyes and smelled of death and filth. A year ago today, Lower Manhattan and the United States awoke as places changed forever.

Yet that morning at HLS was tranquil as ever. No dust fell upon our halls. We had seen the violence and fire of the day before only on television. We had faced few hard choices — we did not have to ask ourselves whether or not to leap, whether or not to flee, whether or not to call our spouse or significant other or our parents first. We at HLS are connected to America’s greatest city, where we send a majority of our class each year, by family, by friends and often by birth. On September 11, our task was easy. Few, if any, of us were physically touched. We were asked only to grieve.

For most Americans of our generation, last year’s tragedy was probably the singular national event of our lives. Here it is no different. And like us, most Americans were asked only to grieve, to give to charity, to care, to be better people.

Unlike many Americans, our lives were safe on September 11 in an academic enclave far removed from the workaday world. We are fortunate daily for this shelter, but it also presents a challenge.

We are privileged by virtue of being here. But that privilege comes with a cost: We must strive not only to be better people, but to be the best kind of people. The name of this place can make us powerful, but will also magnify our failures. We cannot let this place shield us from our faults or let us shirk the onus of responsibility. We must choose to be leaders rather than followers, champions of justice rather than prophets of empty rhetoric.

We should look through the pain of last year for transformation, for new ideas and new reasons for our shared existence. Yet so far, we have not. We who would be leaders still speak far too often in the churlish manner of sheltered academics. Instead of new ideas, our debates have often clung selfishly to old ones.

HLS is a place of law and of learning, where possibilities are articulated and dreams are realized. Yet still we hide, avoiding the chance to do justice, to advance reason over mysticism and chaos, and to foster lives of decency, dignity and respect for intellectual debate.

Instead of seeking transformation in tragedy we have too often clung to partisanship and dimestore pedagogy. People on this campus still spend too much time talking past each other and not enough time listening. The motto of this great University is “truth,” yet we too easily accept its ideological substitutes. All too often, in the opinion pages of this newspaper, in campus protests and classroom discussions, we see examples of people not trying hard enough to connect.

In last year’s terrible collapse, in that onrush of dirt and blood and ash, one truth should have seized us all: We cannot be agnostic about the future. We cannot believe that our choices do not matter. And we cannot make a better future, first and foremost, without listening.

As President Summers said, some truths are unassailable. But many assumed truths — and worn ideologies — need reexamination. We cannot be leaders or ideologues unless we are willing to defend our ideas, not by shouting others down, but by critically rethinking our perspectives. We cannot be teachers unless we are still willing to be taught.

One year later, the opportunity to transform, to listen, still stands. There is still a chance to seize this privilege by the reins, to use our time here to force ourselves to rethink.

We should be sorrowful on this somber day, but we should also use this moment, once again, to search for inspiration.

Harvard commemorates September 11th

BY JONAS BLANK

On a somber, breezy afternoon yesterday, over ten thousand students from around the University gathered to participate in a memorial service commemorating the September 11 attacks.

Held in front of the Tercentenary Theater in Harvard Yard, the service featured devotional readings from many of the world’s religious traditions. Four students read passages on the theme of remembrance, while four more read on the theme of hope. A choral performance, composed by University junior Carson Coonan, came in between the sets of readings.

The subdued crowd spilled across the quad onto the steps of Widener Library, some students sitting, some sobbing lightly. Many students bowed their heads throughout the ceremonies.

University President Lawrence Summers spoke last, delivering a charged message that urged students to respect diversity and work for change even as he drew sharp political distinctions.

He called last September’s events “a calculated plot to murder innocent, unsuspecting people… because they were members of this national community enjoying the fruits of freedom.” Echoing many of President Bush’s speeches of the past year, Summers said that the terrorist attacks “reminded us of the eternal existence of evil.”

Summers’ speech also reflected on the nature of the University and its role in the search for truth. He called for students to recognize the “moral clarity” of the fight against terrorism in all forms.

“We debate the nature of truth,” Summers said, “but there are some truths beyond debate.” He urged the assembled students to, “advance our common purpose by refusing to excuse or legitimate terror.”

Summers called for respect for diversity and tolerance, as well as for the men and women fighting terror around the world. Acutely aware of the surrounding academic environment, Summers repeatedly implored students to look for positive solutions.

“Ultimately, we will be judged not by what we oppose, but what we work towards,” he said.

Summers’ remarks concluded with the tolling of the Memorial Church bell, which lasted for two minutes.

Tuition hike: Bad economy and rising costs blamed

BY JONAS BLANK

Along with the usual stress of exams, students this past May were treated to a nasty surprise: The largest tuition hike since 1995. A May 13 schoolwide e-mail from Dean Robert Clark brought students the bad news that full tuition for the 2002-2003 academic year would be $29,500, a leap of 7.3 percent from last year’s $27,500. Along with the Law School’s estimated living expenses of $17,900, that brings the total cost of a year at HLS to $47,400.

Clark’s e-mail detailed a number of reasons for the increase, including the hiring of Professors Ryan Goodman and Guhan Subramanian, funding the new pro bono office, and adding another full-time OPIA employee. Compounding the Law School’s problems was the abysmal year on Wall Street, which resulted in a paltry two percent increase in endowment income, which is the money that the University allows HLS to spend out of the interest on its endowment. Even though the Law School kept its costs from rising too much

Five win Sears Prize

BY LEA SEVCIK

In a couple of unusual twists, this year’s Joshua Montgomery Sears, Jr. prize went to five recipients rather than four, and all five of the recipients are on the Harvard Law Review. Together, the five have pretty impressive resumes: starting an equity fund, pursuing Ph.Ds, even an attested interest in professional skiing.

The prize is awarded annually to two 1L and two 2L students with the highest grade point averages, which at HLS means over an “A” average. This year, three 1Ls received the prize due to a tie. The 2L recipients are Michael Shah and Michael Gottlieb, and the 1L recipients are David Landau, Christian Pistilli and Jared Kramer.
Despite their academic similarities, this year’s recipients differ in many surprising ways. They range in age from 22 to 27, they all study in different ways, and their paths to HLS could not have been more diverse.

A Closer Look: The 2Ls

Michael Shah has the unusual distinction of having won the Sears prize twice, and is thus likely to graduate at the top of his class. Yet Shah is not eagerly embracing an illustrious legal future. He will not be clerking next year, and after a summer split between Wachtell in New York and Susman Godfrey in LA, Shah says he is still considering investment banking.

When Shah finished his pre-med major at Harvard University, he wanted to “get started in life” rather than pursuing a lengthy medical degree. He spent a year at the London School of Economics getting his Masters in finance and economics, and immediately put his skills to use. Together with two other LSE students, Shah started a private equity fund that raised over $2 million. It was only when the equity markets crashed that Shah decided to go to law school.

Today, Shah is still keeping involved as an investor and a financial and legal advisor in his friends’ startups. One of his current projects is an artificial sweetener called Sucraslim, which has no calories and is safe for baking. “We’ll be rolling out the infomercials in the next couple of months,” he said.

When it comes to class, Shah says, “I try to take things that are useful if I don’t end up practicing law,” like secured transactions and real estate.

Michael Gottlieb graduated from Northwestern University with a political science major and a thesis on the diplomatic norms of the Association of South East Asian Nations. He twice won the National Debate Tournament in college, then spent a year in Boston coaching debate at Harvard University.

As a 1L, Gottlieb was an “HL Central person,” participated in the HLS Democrats, and helped to found the HLS American Constitutional Society. In his 2L year he researched for Professor Laurence Tribe and kept busy with the Law Review’s articles committee.
He also went the law firm route last summer, splitting between Jenner & Block and Cleary Gottlieb in D.C. Next year he will be clerking for famed Judge Stephen Reinhardt in the Ninth Circuit. Beyond that, his plans for the future are hazy, although he says that “I loved D.C., that’s probably where I want to end up.”

So if Gottlieb could do anything in the world right now, would he still study the law? “I doubt it. I’d probably still be interested in the law, read Supreme Court decisions. But I’d probably be a professional skier.”

The 1Ls

David Landau majored in social studies at Harvard College, was editor-in-chief of The Independent, and wrote his thesis on how presidents gather support in the Ecuadorian legislature. He then went straight through to HLS, where in his 1L year he was a subciter for the International Law Journal.

Landau admitted that he was “miserable” for part of his 1L year. He found HLS to be a “pretty cold place sometimes,” and he missed the “academic buzz” of college. He also didn’t take an immediate liking to law. “It’s something you have to become perhaps more committed to, understand better before it becomes interesting,” he said.

Landau said his work on Law Review has helped him to like law school better. “It’s neat to be in a smaller group in a school like this.” Also, “you see what people are doing on the cutting edge of legal scholarship, it gives you a very different exposure than what you see freshman year and it’s usually much more interesting.”

Despite his legal success, Landau’s plans may not include the law: “I’m not doing recruiting this fall. I want to teach, and I’m seriously thinking of a Ph.D in government. I almost did that before coming here.” Next summer he hopes to work for professors: that would give him a better idea of whether or not he liked legal research.

Haverford College grad Christian Pistilli focused on Kant and pursued a philosophy Ph. D at the University of Pittsburgh. But the “tough road” to a Ph. D lost its appeal when Pistilli decided he wanted to become involved in the world in a more practical way. He left his degree behind and traveled to Maine to join the Senate campaign of Democrat Mark Lawrence against Olympia Snow. When Lawrence lost, Pistilli went to work as a paralegal at Hunton & Williams in New York, then made his way to HLS.

Pistilli found HLS a natural fit: “Law school splits the difference between grad school and politics,” he said. Pistilli added that he enjoyed his first year experience: “Lots of people come in with low expectations and expect it to be tough. I found the people wonderful and the class work not as bad as I was lead to believe.” He loved his professors: Professor David L. Shapiro was “brilliant and terrifying,” while he found that Professor Lewis D. Sargentich’s jurisprudence class presented “the closest thing to what I remember really liking about philosophy.” Pistilli also became a subciter for the Journal on Legislation and joined the HLS Democrats.

This summer, Pistilli worked part time for his torts professor, Jon Hanson and also enjoyed “being a bit of a bum” and doing some leisure reading. Where would he like to end up? “I don’t want to run for office, but I can see working in government or on the Hill, or teaching.”

Princeton grad Jared Kramer was well on his way to a promising career in computer science until four months before his 1L year, when he chose HLS over a computer science Ph.D. He still sometimes feels “not quite at home” in law school. “I find it very frustrating not to have any answers. In computer science you’re either right or wrong or too stupid to find out, and either of those three are comforting.”

Still, Kramer enjoyed his 1L year. “The constant argumentation is interesting and stimulating,” he said, adding that “the non-quantitative nature of law is both good news and bad news, but the people are good news.” Kramer subcited for the Journal on Legislation last year, but this year he plans to be involved only with the law review “to placate my girlfriend who lives in New York.”

In his spare time this summer, Kramer also found the solution to a computer science problem that he had stumbled upon on his professor’s website. Jared’s professor urged him to publish the solution, a task that Jared is currently coordinating with another person who discovered the solution at the same time — a professor at Northeastern University.
Jared spent the summer at Fish & Neave in New York, and this summer he hopes to work for the Department of Justice. In the long term, Jared is “more of an academic,” although he is also drawn to litigation.

The Surprise of the Prize

Most Sears Prize winners attributed their good fortune to chance rather t
han design. Gottlieb says: “One of the reasons I was so shocked about the whole thing, and why I never expected to win the Sears Prize, was because I got rejected from HLS the first time I applied, and in off the wait list my second time. So I never really thought I’d be in the running for an award like this.” As a result, he says: “I was literally shocked when I got my grades.”

Landau said he was also caught off-guard: “I thought I’d done pretty well, but you never think you’re going to do that well. I feel like in many ways it’s just luck.”
Kramer agreed: “I didn’t think I did that well in Crim Law and I ended up doing best in Crim Law. That just goes to show that you have no idea what happens when you get out of an exam.”

Law Review Posts More Low Female Numbers

When the Class of 2004 Law Review members congregated as a group for the first time this August, they found that a surprising three-quarters of them shared a common characteristic — they were men. Despite a “double-blind” selection process and recruitment efforts geared towards women, only 11 of the 43 successful 2L applications this year were those of women.

The percentage of incoming women this year is the lowest it has been since 1995, when the numbers also stood at 11 out of 43. In the years between, the figure has hovered between 30 and 50 percent. In 2001, 17 out of 46 editors chosen were women; in 2000, the numbers were 18 out of 41.

These dramatic figures — especially given that women make up 44 percent of the class of 2004 — have led Review members to question why the numbers turned out the way they did. However, the very mechanisms that are intended to ensure anonymity and fairness during the selection process inhibit efforts to unearth the root of the problem: Whether women are simply self-selecting out of the application process, or whether something much deeper is going on.

“What is frustrating to us is that it has been important historically that the application process be extremely confidential,” said Law Review treasurer, 3L Allison Tirres. “We have a double-blind process in place which stands in the way of our trying to gather the data that might be helpful for figuring out, for example, whether women simply aren’t taking the competition.”

The Law Review makes every effort to ensure the selection process is totally blind. Applications are filtered through two layers of numerical assignments before they are read by as many as six different editors. The process is so secretive that even after it is complete, the identities of those who “graded on,” who filled the discretionary spaces pursuant to the Review’s affirmative action policy, and those not chosen at all are never revealed, not even to the members themselves.

Included in the application materials was an optional demographic survey not used in the decision-making process. However, “not even a majority of applicants filled one out,” said Tirres, rendering it difficult for the Review to gauge from the surveys how many of the 171 completed applications came from women.

Given the importance of this data to understanding the problem, Law Review president 3L Bert Huang said the Review would consider consulting an independent third party to review the list of applicants to provide an accurate gender ratio of applicants, which he perceives as a “critical piece of information” to have in understanding the issue. In addition, Huang said that although the current 3L editors voted last year not to make the optional demographic survey mandatory, the current 2L editors could consider making it mandatory for next year’s competition if they wished.

If the low number of women is an issue of recruitment, 3L editors were particularly disappointed given their recent efforts. Last spring, the Review held special information sessions for women, hoping to address specific concerns of women about life on Law Review and to attract more of them to take the competition. In light of this, 3L Executive Editor Elizabeth Kennedy felt disappointed and worried when she learned of the gender ratio among 2L editors. “Our efforts to prevent the percentage of women from slipping [even lower than in years past] just didn’t work, and that is dispiriting,” she said.

An alternative explanation for the gender imbalance on the Review is that the 2L editor positions reserved for those who “grade on” adversely affect women. Prior to the institutional changes made to the first year experience, the top three applicants from each of four sections were evaluated for admission based 70 percent on grades and 30 percent on the writing competition. Last year, the two applicants with the highest GPAs in each of seven sections graded on, increasing the number of grade-on spots from 12 to 14.

Several studies, most notably one conducted in 1994 by Professor Lani Guinier from a sample of University of Pennsylvania law students, indicate that men earn higher grades than women on average in law school and by the end of the first year are more than three times as likely to be in the top ten percent of their class. Similarly, a Law Review gender task force formed in 1996 found that the median GPAs of women who applied to the Review were lower than those of men.

Two-L editor Amanda Straub sees this issue as an important starting point to correcting the gender imbalance. “We should question why [the imbalance in first-year grades] is so,” she said. “Are pedagogical strategies not as conducive to the way women learn? Is the format of the average 1L exam unfavorable to the way women think? Maybe these disparate numbers point to a greater problem in the law school as a whole.”

In addition to these larger institutional questions, this data has made some Review members reconsider the role grades play in the selection process. Eliminating grades from the process altogether was considered in 1996 in the wake of the findings of the task force, but the proposal was rejected 47-21. In light of this year’s low number of women editors, Kennedy suggested it may be time to “rethink our entire selection process. . .Perhaps we should reduce or eliminate the role grades play in editor selection,” she said.

Various editors have also speculated that inherent biases in the substance and structure of the competition could provide another possible explanation for the low number of women. However, as 2L editor Corrine Irish explained, “These are just guesses. It’s really hard to say without investigating the issue.”

One potential remedy to the under-representation of women on the Review is the addition of gender as a discretionary category to the Review’s affirmative action policy. Currently, the Review reserves seven to nine discretionary spots for which they can take into account an applicant’s physical disability or membership in a historically underrepresented or disadvantaged racial or ethnic group.

Last winter, the Review seriously considered a proposal to add gender as a category. The change was initially approved by the then-2L class of editors but was ultimately rejected when voted on by the Law Review at large. Although the low number of women in this year’s class has prompted editors to re-engage in the affirmative action debate, members still have mixed feelings.

“There are strong feelings among the editorial staff on both sides of the affirmative action issue,” Tirres said, “which is not surprising given that we are on a law school campus, where these things are hotly debated.”

“It would be unfortunate to use only an affirmative action remedy but permit the competition to continue to be corrupted, if that’s the case,” said 2L editor Meaghan McLaine, “but if it isn’t feasible to take a holistic approach, I’d support a systemic one like affirmative action.”

Huang said it was important to guard against knee-jerk reactions. “I think it’s easy to react and say, ‘What great irony — clearly it was a mistake [not to add gender as a discretionary category],’” he said. “But I think there is a lot of learning and data-gathering, a lot of looking into what the task force in 1996 found, before we can understand the situation. Once we have that information, we will have the material for a serious and open discussion about what is the right thing to do.”

Regardless of what the Review chooses to do in the future, many members expressed concern that the 11 women in this year’s class feel welcome. “I was afraid that [the 2L women] would feel isolated or have a negative experience on the Review either because of their small numbers or because they would immediately find themselves, simply owing to their gender, in the center of a controversy that started before they joined us,” said Kennedy.

To guard against that, 3L women editors have made special efforts to reach out to 2L women. Tirres and Huang arranged for 3L women to contact 2L women before they even arrived on campus, and 3L women hosted a women’s night during orientation.

Thus far, 2L women report positive experiences despite the low numbers. “Working on Law Review has just been a wonderful experience so far,” said McLaine. “It’s an incredibly friendly and open environment, with a lack of competitiveness that is refreshing after the stresses of 1L year.”

Two-L Alice Wang agreed. “I’ve had a great experience so far. The women in my class are very active and vocal, so it doesn’t seem like our small numbers are detracting from our experience as a group.”

Perhaps what the 2L women lack in numbers, they compensate for in strength. As Kennedy noted, “They seem to me to be a particularly strong and confident group of women.”

Orientation and the Fleet Bank Man

BY JEREMY BLACHMAN

If there was one phrase that kept getting repeated over and over again during the week of 1L orientation — aside from “it’s really nothing like One-L or The Paper Chase, we swear!!” — it was “here’s another very, very important piece of paper for you to read very, very carefully.”

This year’s registration seemed to require a wheelbarrow to take home all the brochures, flyers, handbooks, guides, maps, floor plans, and encyclopedic volumes about Ethernet.

We got stuff like the helpful “Playing it Safe: A Guide for Students, Faculty, and Staff,” which introduced the handy R.A.C.E. acronym for fire safety: Rescue. Alarm. Confine. Extinguish. As opposed to my initial guess, Run Away Carrying Everything.

Plus we got goodies from our new friends at Lexis and Westlaw. It took me a minute to figure out why Lexis had a sweepstakes where you can win a Lexus. And then, after way too many minutes thinking about it, I got it. Lexis, Lexus! Those legal research tools sure are funny.

I don’t understand their competition yet. But from what I’ve heard, I’m surprised their tables at orientation were allowed to be right next to each other.

Westlaw’s coffee mug probably edges out Lexis’s notepad for best bribe of the day, although I don’t really understand the fake velvet case. Kind of matches the Fleet Bank sunglass case. They’ll go great together in my trash can.

Along with my new Fleet Bank ATM card, which I really only signed up for because I felt bad for The Fleet Bank Man. All alone at his table, surrounded only by Fleet Bank paraphernalia and forms with really small print.

The first time I passed by the “please, please, please sign up for an account” table, The Fleet Bank Man was polite. “Have you signed up for your free Fleet Bank account yet?”

By the fifteenth time I passed him, I felt pangs of guilt as I saw other students mocking him. So I finally stopped, if only just to listen.

“Get a free mouse pad, keychain, and white board.”

Wait a minute. Did he say mouse pad, keychain, AND white board? Not “…OR white board?” How could anyone be passing this up?

“But I don’t know my mailing address,” I said. “Leave it blank — just put your name and we’ll find it,” the Fleet Bank Man said. “Or not even your name. Just your mother’s maiden name and the last 3 digits of your favorite number. We’ll figure it out.” Sounded a little desperate to me.

But I didn’t know the half of it. The next student who passed may have been the straw that broke the Fleet Bank Man’s back. He tried to walk by, but The Fleet Bank Man notices everyone. I overheard the other day:

“Have you signed up for your free Fleet Bank account yet?”

“I’ve already got a bank account.”

“What bank?”

“Bank One.”

“But we’ve got an ATM right there on campus.”

“That’s okay. I’m happy with Bank One.”

“Did I mention we’ve even got an ATM right on campus?”

“I’m happy with my current bank account.”

“Happy? How can you be happy when we’re the only ones with an ATM right on campus? Do you even know what “happy” is? You don’t until you’ve signed up for your free Fleet Bank account.”

“Sorry, I’m really not interested.”

“Wait! Bank One gives children tainted candy on Halloween! And pushes elderly people out of their wheelchairs! And we’ve got an ATM right on campus….”

I think the Fleet Bank Man may need to take advantage of the Office of Student Life Counseling. Which, incidentally, has a lovely brochure.

JAG policy calls for meaningful action and discussion

BY MATTHEW DELNERO

Like many gay and lesbian students, I was saddened to hear of the law school’s decision to permit the use of OCS services by military recruiters, despite the military’s noncompliance with the HLS sexual orientation anti-discrimination policy. Partisan bureaucrats in Washington forced HLS to abandon the practice of denying military access to OCS facilities, despite the fact that military recruiters have been able to visit the campus through other channels, such as the HLS Veterans Association.

Although the Clinton administration never challenged Harvard’s policy regarding military recruitment through OCS, the Bush administration has taken a heavy-handed approach to interpreting the Solomon Amendment, a 1996 law making federal research funding contingent on the military’s ability to recruit on-campus.

The challenge now is to formulate a community response that is meaningful, sincere, and, of course, effective. I believe it is important to respond vigorously to the Defense Department’s behavior; students and faculty should be outraged that the Bush administration has forced the Law School to abandon its principled stance against discrimination. But I urge that members of the HLS community not partake in actions directly obstructing the presence of military recruiters on campus.

Throughout the summer, members and allies of HLS Lambda have engaged in meaningful dialogue regarding an appropriate response to the Bush administration’s actions against HLS. We all aspire to the same goal: to let partisan bureaucrats in Washington know that while we respect and honor those students pursuing the noble calling of military service, we reject the Defense Department’s strong-arm tactics and irrational discrimination against its gay and lesbian service members. As to how to best reach that goal, there is a fortunate diversity of opinion here.

The approach that has been most publicized, however, is that of subverting the military presence by occupying every military interview slot with gay students who are not actually interested in military service. While I share the frustration of those who advocate that tactic, I am convinced that such an approach would not serve our intended goal and may inadvertently show disregard for those students (whether gay or straight) who are genuinely interested in JAG Corps service.

Prior HLS policy on military recruitment provided the perfect balance between idealism and pragmatism: Those students wishing to interview with the JAG Corps could do so through the Veterans Association, while the school maintained its principled stance against the military’s irrational discrimination towards its gay and lesbian service members.

Under the new HLS policy, however, military recruiters will participate in the On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) process and presumably will not opt to use the Veterans Association’s services. If, however, all interview slots are filled with students not actually interested in a position with the JAG Corps, then those students genuinely hoping to interview with the military may be disadvantaged.

While it is possible that the military will add more interview slots in response to the seeming surge in demand, there is no guarantee that they will. Rather, aware that they are caught in a dispute between Harvard students and the senior leadership in Washington whose orders they must follow, JAG Corps recruiters may simply opt to abandon their efforts at HLS. While the departure of the recruiters may initially seem to be a victory, such a position ignores the need to support and honor the men and women of our military while we express our opposition to the Defense Department’s harmful and unproductive discrimination against its gay and lesbian soldiers. Signing-up for JAG Corps interview slots in protest fails to serve that delicate balance.

Despite my disagreement with the tactic of signing up for JAG Corps interview slots in protest, I look forward to participating in other expressions of dissatisfaction with the Defense Department’s violation of HLS anti-discrimination rules. My colleagues in Lambda, as well as many other students and faculty members, are considering a variety of promising actions. We all agree on the necessity of a visible presence that expresses opposition to the Defense Department’s irrational discriminatory policies.

The Dean’s open letter to the HLS community, in which he demonstrated sensitivity and thoughtfulness in explaining the unfortunate change in OCS policy, was a laudable first step. Going forward, the law school could host a forum regarding the discrimination against gay and lesbian soldiers in the military. HLS may also wish to initiate or participate in future legal challenges to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and/or the Solomon Amendment.

Through these and other actions, we will hopefully accomplish what the Defense Department has sadly failed to do: the honoring of all the men and women, both straight and gay, who have valiantly served the United States in its armed forces.