Friday Factoid: Fighting for Social Justice at Berkeley Law

Established in 1999, the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at the University of California (UC) Berkeley School of Law is a training and research center that prepares students to represent underserved communities and to be more effective advocates. The center fosters creative scholarship on issues of race, sex, and poverty and works with local communities to help educate the general public on such topics. The center bridges the gap between academia and the real world (as well as between theory and practice) in its efforts to find solutions to important social problems in the UC Berkeley area and throughout the nation. It offers a wide range of programs, including a lecture series in which prominent social practitioners present on current issues and cases, and Practitioner-in-Residence events, for which notable attorneys and scholars visit the school. The center also sponsors conferences and symposia, bringing together experts from around the country to explore strategies for social change. For example, the symposium held in October focused on the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty and the role of lawyers and law schools in fighting inequality and ending impoverishment.

The “Anti-Social” Life: A Longstanding Tradition of Follies at Northwestern Law

Law school students have a reputation for burying their heads in their books, so we offer this weekly series, “The ‘Anti-Social’ Life,” to illustrate that they can enjoy a life of leisure as well.

Named after former Northwestern Law School Dean John Henry Wigmore, the Wigmore Follies have been around for decades at the school. Poking fun at law school life, the Follies bring together faculty and students at the end of the school year and have become a full-blown theatrical presentation. In a 2010 Northwestern Law alumni newsletter, Jack Coons (’53) claims that the production is something he has carried with him through the years and that has “allowed me to immerse myself into the Northwestern landscape.” In the aforementioned newsletter, Lisa Linney (’04) recalls that the event was “an amazing experience” that “proved to balance out the stress of law school.”

Although the annual production began as a series of skits and songs about students, faculty, and life at Northwestern Law back in the ’50s and ’60s, the Wigmore Follies have since morphed into large-scale parodies of famous musicals, such as The Pirates of Penzance (which became The Pirates of Lexicon) and The King and I. In recent years, each event has embodied a theme—in 2015, the theme was “Barristers’ Brawl: The Battle for Northwestern,” a play on the law school ball tradition. The talent level of those participating in the follies has continued to increase over the years, leading to the introduction of more advanced choreography, lighting and sound cues, and fundraising efforts.

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Professor Profiles: Major General Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., Duke University School of Law

Many JD applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a law school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Each Wednesday, we profile a standout professor at a top law school. Today, we focus on Major General Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., from the Duke University School of Law.

Major General Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., formerly the deputy judge advocate general of the United States Air Force, is a professor of the practice of law at Duke University School of Law as well as the executive director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security. His teaching focuses on such topics as military justice, civil-military relations, national security, and cyberwar. He made headlines in 2011 regarding his arguments on the latter subject. As described in a Wall Street Journal article entitled “Cyber Combat: Act of War,” the Pentagon has determined that computer sabotage that originates in another country and that might pose a threat to nuclear reactors, subways, and pipelines may be looked upon as an act of war that could require the use of military force in response. No doubt this stance opened a can of worms, with arguments on both sides. Gen. Dunlap argues that cyber attacks that lead to violence are the legal equivalent of armed attacks. He, along with others in government, is cognizant that cyber warfare, unlike traditional warfare, is not covered by existing treaties. The goal of those who share this view is to have American allies agree on the rules of engagement.

Real Law School Personal Statements Reviewed: Sample 35

In this series, a jdMission Senior Consultant reviews real law school personal statements every week. What is working well? What is not? If it were his/her essay, what would she change? Find out! To sign up for your Free Personal Statement Review by a jdMission Senior Consultant, click here!

Note: To maintain the integrity and authenticity of this project, we have not edited the personal statements, though any identifying names and details have been changed or removed. Any grammatical errors that appear in the essays belong to the candidates and illustrate of the importance of having someone (or multiple someones) proofread your work.

Personal Statement:

My name is Min-Jae but I go by MJ. I am not trying to Americanize my Korean roots with this nickname. In fact, I am deeply proud of them. I was born in Irvine, CA, so by virtue of circumstance I am American. But my soul is Korean, even if my dance moves are 100% MJ – Michael Jackson.

When I was twelve, I discovered that not only could I dance, but I had moves. It was at Eliza Kravitz’s Bat Mitzvah that for the first time people took notice. “Hot in Here” by Nelly started blasting through the Music King’s speakers, as the dry ice machine kicked it into high gear. I burst onto the dance floor. Then I just started to move. I saw a popular kid named Stan Larson move out of my way which was in his best interest. I thrust and popped. I twirled and spun. Sweat poured over my cheeks and my eyes were temporarily blinded. Suddenly the song ended and when my faculties returned, the whole Bat Mitzvah party was screaming. At first I couldn’t tell what their enthusiasm was about. And then it became clear. It was about me! The dance floor had literally circled up to watch me dance, and now they were cheering. I left the floor, but my heart stayed back there, forever twelve and dancing to Nelly.

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Off the Beaten Path: Discovery Attorneys

Becoming a lawyer is not the only path you can take after graduating from law school. Every Monday, we bring you the story of a former lawyer or law student who has taken an unusual or unique career path.

A different type of attorney seems to be in demand these days, distinct from the traditional partnership-track associates. Such attorneys are being referred to as “discovery attorneys,” lawyers that will handle document reviews on a full-time basis. In the past, U.S. law firms often outsourced document review projects to practitioners in other countries—India, in particular. In 2011, the law firm WilmerHale, which has 12 offices worldwide, sought to hire 20 “discovery attorneys” for an Ohio office, each of whom would be paid $55,000 to $60,000 a year, plus benefits. Document review usually entails an understanding of the following: privilege issues, e-discovery techniques, and disclosure rules. We are interested in seeing how many graduates will be attracted to this career track amid the current challenges of this difficult legal job market.