The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

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Checking in

Posted by brightcoast on April 13, 2013

Hello readers, assuming anyone checks this dusty old thing anymore.

I thought I’d check in for a bit to give you a brief and ambiguous update.

I think of this blog often, and wish I had the time to keep the content current, but alas I currently do not.

I never did get a worthwhile job practicing law after graduation, eventhough I graduated cum laude and passed the Bar on my first try.

I eventually gave up looking and decided to wait for a better opportunity. The rejection from Starbucks still stings!

Alas, eventually I was able to find work as a professional blawger, it was incredibly part time and underpaid, yet I did that for over a year. Then I found an even better blawging job, so I’m still doing that. I almost never get to blawg about current topics that interest me, which particularly include SCOTUS decisions, so I get my fix by engaging with former law school classmates about current legal events, and am putting off the longer copy for that some day.

I’ve started a personal blog, but out of respect for this space I rarely if ever cover legal events or laws.

I do eventually plan to resuscitate this beast when I get the chance, but I can’t say when that will be. I can tell you that the WordPress app may make this substantially sooner rather than later, but I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, hope life and the law is treating you well!


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New Law School Employment Reporting Requirements

Posted by brightcoast on July 2, 2011

Article from the State Bar can be found here.

Essentially, the new requirements address the issues such as what industry the person is employed, whether they are employed by the school, and perhaps more importantly, the number of students for whom data is unknown or unreported. In theory this will lead to more accurate data.

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Yale Kamisar Retiring

Posted by brightcoast on May 10, 2011

Great article here about renowned professor Yale Kamisar ‘s retirement(yes he’s that important he has his own wiki page). He’s also sometimes referred to as the father of Miranda (Miranda v. Arizona), which created the reading of Miranda Rights or Warnings to criminal defendants, preceding any custodial interrogation. It’s the notorious Cops catch phrase, “you have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you…” which stems from your Fifth Amendment Right against self-incrimination.

Although I never had the pleasure of taking a class with professor Kamisar, I have heard many stories of his legendarily intense lectures, which sound to me more like custodial interrogation than anything else. What strikes me the most about prof. Kamisar, aside from his legendary writings, is his inquisitiveness and realness when it comes to legal issues. He seems like the exact sort of professor that would inspire his students to follow in his footsteps of greatness. His retirement shall be strongly felt, and USD Law will be hard pressed to replace him. (Which is not to say that certain other quasi-celebrity Criminal Procedure profs aren’t similarly entertaining and noteworthy– the phrase “no thank you officer, I’d rather not say” comes to mind.)

On behalf of USD Law students I’d like to thank Professor Kamisar for his 11 years of service.

Posted in SCOTUS, The Law, U.S. Statutes, Uncategorized, USD Law | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Thank you for suing us = awesome.

Posted by brightcoast on January 28, 2011

Courtesy: Taco Bell

Article here. According to the article, the suit was filed in federal court in California. Can you say diversity jurisdiction? Or perhaps there is a federal question since it’s the FDA’s meat requirements. Civ pro aside, I heard about this ad campaign on the radio, but didn’t catch who it was about. In dispute is the actual % of beef in Taco Bell’s meat. Relatedly, I caught an episode of the BBC show “Kill it, Cook it, Eat it,” which dealt with beef in different consumer products, such as kebabs, and the woman stated that in order to qualify as “meat,” it can’t have more than 25% fat and 25% connective tissue, such as ligaments, etc. I’m guessing, based on the article, that there’s an additional 10% wiggle room for preservatives, binders, and seasonings.

Anyway, all the more reason not to eat fast food, I suppose.

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Generation “Next”

Posted by brightcoast on January 25, 2011

What I like about “our” generation, and I use that term loosely, since I’m not sure where it ends compared with the teenagers who have cell phone ring tones at such a high pitch that my “damaged” ears can’t even hear them, is the use of social media for good, or for any real purpose at all. (Aside from a waste of time or to hurt others, etc.)

Here’s an example. Pepsi is giving away various grants to different organizations for various causes and public service projects. A project very near and dear to me is the “Cause the Cure” to childhood Leukemia. You can vote for this organization here They are in the running for a $250,000 grant, which we all know is small peanuts in the medical research arena, but you have to start somewhere. On the board is a father of an 18 month old girl aggressively fighting to recover from her bout with cancer, and now the complications. You can vote both via link and by texting 105654 to 73774. Voting ends Jan 31, and I believe only the top two in the category will be funded.

Aside from my personal interest in helping this organization and family, I applaud Pepsi for giving people a sense of empowerment in causing things they care about to happen.

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How to Lower Law School Tuition:

Posted by brightcoast on January 13, 2011

Cut career services.

Now I know this is going to sound drastic, it is a major challenge to the typical law school bureacratic structure, but in my honest opinion, it would be a good savings of resources.

There’s nothing worse than receiving the confirmation letter from the State Bar of California, stating “Congratulations! You’ve passed the most difficult bar exam in the country. But you still don’t have a job that pays practicing law.” Ok, so it doesn’t state all of that…

Take USD Law in particular. There are at least 4 career service “counselors” 1 or 2 deans or assistant deans, and several front desk employees/work studies, not to mention a newly remodeled office to house all these people. This has got to be at least a $500k/year venture.

In its defense, from my experiences, career services does the following things: meets with students individually to give advice, organizes networking and speaker events, contacts local agencies or employers upon students’ expressions of interest, services as a gathering place for employers seeking to employ students, organizes and coordinates the on campus interviews, collects applications for non on-campus interviews in certain situations, orchestrates judicial clerkship applications, and has a library of information for students. (I’m sure there are other things they can legitimately claim to do, I am just not familiar with them.)

But herein lies my personal issue with USD Law career services, the amount of jobs they get for students does not justify the enormous cost of having so many people employed, and their services could easily be reappropriated to other departments. This is especially true considering: 1) USD Law tuition is incredibly high; 2) job prospects are low; and 3) bar passage rates have been steadily declining (July 2010 results here). The following, therefore, are my suggestions as to how USD can improve employment prospects of graduates while simultaneously strenghtening the USD Law student-alumni relations, and increasing bar passage rate.

1) Re bar passage rates: beef up academic support, pure and simple.

a. Course guidance: There are no course counselors available for students to discuss the various course and program options.

b. Outline banks– many clubs have them. It’s no secret that after first year you figure out that you don’t have to do it yourself, and in fact, if your professor has so thoroughly confused you that you can’t understand the difference between an intentional and unintentional tort (cough cough), looking at someone’s straightforward version of the black letter law would be a better use of your time.

c. Upperclassmen Mentors-There should be mandatory matching of upper and lower classmen, at least for the first year. It could ease much unnecessary confusion. It could also help students learn about what courses to take, etc. Alumni mentors would be even better, especially for the foregoing networking point.

d. Tutoring program- Make sure students understand at least the basic bar subjects, so they aren’t setting themselves up for failure. It’s no secret that one could earn a passing grade under the bell curve system, and yet be thoroughly unclear about the basic structure of the subejct matter. There is no legitimate reason why there aren’t teaching assistants beyond first year. There are more than enough work studies to fill the roles, and aside from thereby decreasing the debt of those students, it would increase student comprehension of the subject matter.

2. Alumni participation:

Career services itself admits to only providing about 25% of graduate jobs through On Campus Interviews (OCIs), which in most cases involve firms contacting the school. Thus, you don’t need an entire office to coordinate employers wanting to post, simply allow them access to the website, and allow candidates to select time slot preferences on the computer, as they already do. The rest is simply administrative.

Speaking of the career website listings, they are attrocious. There is something like one or two new jobs every MONTH. This is pale in comparison with several other schools USD Law grads have gotten access to (and in most cases had to pay) through symplicity. Being the “best law school in [San Diego],” USD Law must do better.

The jobs which are listed, or career services has information about are nowhere near the need of students graduating in this economy. And over the past 2 years, the prospects have not gotten better for law grads, yet nothing has changed in career services. It is a travesty.

Everyone knows that the best way to get a job is through networking. As an individual you have to pound the pavement, attend bar events, etc. meet potential employers. Aside from organizing events, which students can and already do organize anyway, career services is absolutely no help with the personal action required to do this.

Lastly, alumni are in the legal market now. They have graduated, passed the bar, and are now practicing law. Instead of simply passing out a packet compiled with alumni who are willing to talk to students, why not match them up at some point, facilitate the relationship. This will help students get a realistic view of what they are in for.

If career services is allowed to continue, they should be required to make a commitment of substance. Obviously 100% employment isn’t practical, but something better than including any sort of employment in graduate employment stats (see NY Times article), is absolutely necessary to maintain the integrity of the program and fairness to students. $15-$20 per hour (if a position is even paid at all!!) should have to be disclosed in these employment surveys, so that students seeking to enter law school know that they will be faced with $250,000 in debt and a job that only pays double minimum wage- what they might be making after receiving a simple bachelor’s degree.

Career services is supposed to help foster careers, and they should be held to the task. Law grads have had enough of the justifications and excuses. This is just one way highly inflated tuition can be addressed.

Posted in CA Bar, CA Bar Exam, California, The Law, Uncategorized, USD Law | Tagged: , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Attention American Public:

Posted by brightcoast on August 19, 2010

There will be no mosque AT Ground Zero. The proposed Islamic community center is blocks from the site. Obama has not expressed support or discourage the building of the structure, but rather, has confirmed that the group has the legal right to do so. See, e.g. Article or gee, I don’t know, the First Amendment perhaps?

This eerily reminds me of the type of absurd debate that only takes place in moot court c , and when I say absurd, I am referring to the generally misinformed public that is arguing against building something at Ground Zero. As though any religious group would try to build there. That’s about as far fetched ad building, say, and airplane museum at the site. From what I remember, there is already a monument there anyway, so the space isn’t on the market.

I hate this WASP mentality that only mainstream religions should be protected. I don’t seem to recall any media attention regarding the building of religious buildings near the site of the Oklahoma city bombing or the Columbine shooting, or similar terroristic type attacks committed by seemingly mainstream (or more likely agnostic/atheist) groups. Think about it, has there been any objection to the building of a church in this area or any other?

You cant have your First Amendment cake and eat it to, meaning, it is in place to protect all religions equally…. so long as their practices don’t interfere with otherwise content neutral laws of general application, see e.g. Oregon (that comment was a special treat for all you other lucky ones who also just took the Bar 😉

Anyway, there is really no legal issue here, at least that has been presented. If they own the land, their proposed use is within the zoning restrictions, and they have the money, the only “real” issue is the public’s (un)justified outcry of prejudice.

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Straight from the Father of Capitalism’s Mouth

Posted by brightcoast on July 17, 2010

Adam Smith that is:

“The subjects of every state ought to contribute towards the support of the government, as nearly as possible, in proportion to their respective abilities; that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state.”[93]

Smith even specifically named taxes that he thought should be required by the state among them luxury goods taxes and tax on rent. He believed that tax laws should be as transparent as possible and that each individual should pay a “certain amount, and not arbitrary,” in addition to paying this tax at the time “most likely to be convenient for the contributor to pay it”.[93] Smith goes on to state that:

“Every tax, however, is, to the person who pays it, a badge, not of slavery, but of liberty.”[94]

I came across this language in trying to settle a friendly wager. Disclaimer: this is from Wikipedia, and unfortunately, not everything on the internetz is always accurate. But, this seems like a possibility, and I thought that with all the recent obsession with Tea Parties, and the like, it was worth relaying some knowledge from the man credited in large part with the development of our Capitalist society.

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Some Bar Study Reflection

Posted by brightcoast on June 2, 2010

Here are some random thoughts from studying for the Bar:

– Is the new AZ Immigration Law, which I will never have time to read, especially before the Bar Exam, preempted under Federal law, under the theory of field preemption? (And therefore unconstitutional)

– What self-respecting “Generation Next”-er, I think we’re considered generation x? Not sure. Anyway, what person from this generation, which I’m assuming is the 18-36-ish demographic, confuses a “grande coffee” for a “venti vanilla latte.” Seriously.

– Unlike many unpleasantries in life where the cliché is to not wish it upon your worst enemy, I would in fact wish this upon my worst enemy. Only worst enemies should have to endure three months of torture–especially during a San Diego summer.

– I find it humorous that the “characters” on The Hills would be considered “public figures” for defamation purposes.

– Random recommendations for Barbri: Apple really needs to develop a BarBri app for the ipad, not just for the ipod, just saying. Also, while it’s awesome that the CMR is available for the MBE subjects, having the CMR for all subjects would be even awesome-r. In fact, the less heavy green books I have to carry around would be better. Other than that, loving BarBri- to the extent it is humanly possible to love anything remotely related to studying for the CA Bar Exam.

– I’ve often seen status updates to the effect of “why does strange person sit in the table next to me when the rest of the entire library is empty?” Maybe because strange person is in desperate need of human contact from being stuck inside studying all day.

– Lastly, for those of you who know what I’m talking about, I have two questions for you: 1) If you throw your purse into the shark tank at Sea World, are you guilty of murder; and 2) Is Ursula committing tortious interference with Ariel’s contract? (ok so I borrowed the material 😉

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Happy Graduation!

Posted by brightcoast on May 16, 2010

Our graduation took place yesterday morning in the gorgeous JCP Pavilion on campus. The alumni speaker was the President of Skechers, and he was pretty engaging and entertaining to listen to. You can definitely tell the difference between someone who is used to presenting to large crowds v. someone who uses their notes like a crutch (guilty!)

There were a seemingly disproportionate amount of class of 76′ ers presenting diplomas to their children as they crossed the stage, which is a great tradition.

Dean Cole is quite entertaining, always attempting to bring in the relevant. He actually referenced Lady Gaga (courtesy of wikipedia, also “explained”) at one point, saying “ppppoker face.”

So anyway, it’s over and done, and now we all get to suffer for another 10 odd weeks before the dreaded exam. Then we get to wait another 5 months until we find out the results. Waiting is so much fun!

I’d like to say that I’ll miss USD, but I know it won’t be long before I am back on campus again. And while I’ll miss the interactions with profs and students, I certainly won’t miss the stress associated with having to prepare for class, and even worse exams. I do think, however, that as our alum speaker said, the USD Law degree prepares you for much more than law practice. I’m of the opinion that if you can make it through the USD Law program, you can make it through anything. And I don’t say that because I am biased towards USD in the slightest. Quite the contrary, the program is hard work. It requires great sacrifice, read, while you are in law school, particularly during finals, there is no such thing as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. There is the task at hand that must be completed, and to your personal highest standards, if you are to be satisfied with yourself, and the work you present as a reflection thereof.

Yes indeed, law school is over, the end of an era. Now onto “real” life.

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It’s That Time of Year Again…

Posted by demkid on April 13, 2010

Time for the 2011 US News Law School Rankings!  A year ago, we here at the Bright Coast were one of the first sites to leak the 2010 rankings before they were released in print or online.  It wasn’t actually a “leak” per se, we simply found where someone had posted the scanned rankings, and consolidated them all into one easy-to-read blog post.  Of course, last year’s rankings were particularly meaningful to us, because our school, the University of San Diego School of Law, made the biggest jump out of any other school.  After being linked to on some extremely popular blogs, our rankings post was viewed tens of thousands of times in the first couple of days alone, and it remains our most popular post to this day. 

If this were last year, the updated rankings would have already been posted on this site.  However, the people over at US News decided to ruin all the fun.  Instead of releasing the print version first (or at least releasing it to newsstands so that certain individuals can snag a copy and scan the pages), it was decided this year that the rankings would be released online well ahead of time:

Our new America’s Best Graduate Schools rankings will be published online on April 15. Highlights of the graduate school rankings are scheduled for publication in the May issue of U.S.News & World Report, available for newsstand purchase on April 27, and in the America’s Best Graduate Schools guidebook, on sale April 20. The most comprehensive version, including all the extended rankings and the most complete data, will be available only in the premium online edition at

So, to prevent the kind of leaks that happened last year, the rankings will be online a good five days before any print version is released.  No fun!  It seems that unless a true insider decides to leak the rankings (and how would that be verified?) ahead of the online release, everyone will have access to the 2011 rankings at the same time.  That time looks to be tomorrow night, at midnight, on April 15th.  Can we expect anything new from these rankings?  Robert Morse says this on his US News blog:

This year, we have improved and modified both our part-time J.D. and part-time M.B.A. program ranking methodologies. U.S. News‘s new part-time law rankings are based on a 5.0-scale peer assessment survey, median LSAT scores and median undergraduate grade-point average for fall 2009 entering part-time students, and an exclusive part-time J.D. curriculum index that measures the extent to which a law school offers a rich part-time program to its students. U.S. News‘s previous part-time law school rankings were based solely on the number of times a part-time program was nominated to be among the 10 top programs.

Being that USD Law had the 7th-ranked part-time J.D. program last year, it will be interesting to see how things change now that they are using this new and improved methodology.  In any case, if I happen to see any reliable leaked rankings before midnight tomorrow night, I’ll be sure and post them here.  If not, I’ll post the new 2011 rankings here shortly after midnight.

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Another CL Gem

Posted by brightcoast on March 30, 2010

Link to posting here. Yes, that’s right, you can get paid $12 an HOUR to be a full time associate at this firm. Assuming it’s a 2000 billable year, just for fun, that’s $24,000 a year–meaning even if you paid every dollar of your paycheck to loan payments, you might still not make enough for just that one payment. Hello retail!

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Thought Police Finally on the Internet

Posted by brightcoast on March 16, 2010

Story here about the feds spying on criminals online. My opinion, either don’t be dumb enough to commit a crime, flee, then post your location on the internet, or learn how to make your profile private. It’s funny, because it’s not the case of a person being investigated as a possible suspect for committing a crime, but a guy who literally already has been charged. The obvious issue is the lack of a clear moral, discernible line, between using the information for good and using it for ill. E.g. framing someone, making incorrect or illegal inferences, etc. However, I must say that the law doesn’t discuss the FRE, which should play an important role in a discussion of this nature. For example,  just like pretending to be someone’s cell mate and having them confess a crime to you, having someone pretend to be someone else on a social networking site doesn’t seem that far off. The fact that agents violate the cites’ user policies isn’t really relevant to the determination of whether their information gathering should be condemned.

 Big Brother is watching you.

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Bayh’s retirement

Posted by brightcoast on February 15, 2010

Link to article here. Apparently our party is worried that this will result in a GOP resurgence, which would be in accordance with the nature of the ebbs and flows that accompany attempts at major change. My concern, however,  is not which party is in power, but rather the cop out that “the system is broken,” or “there is too much partisanship.” Well Bayh, and Governor Palin, how will anything get resolved if all of you idealists and those who really are for the people abandon ship when the going gets tough? How will the up and coming generation be inspired to pursue a career in government if prominent leaders continue to proliferate the system that it’s all about party politics.

It reminds me of a piece I saw about the race in Texas, Bailey was commenting that she wants to change something or other, not unlike Meg Whitman’s ridiculous ad about the Welfare System in California. (Which by the way, I believe misses the point, if you require people on welfare to earn their GED or to get a job, who’s going to watch their children to make this happen? Will you provide them with more funds so that they can pay someone else to raise their children in the name of goals you force upon them? I’m not saying change isn’t welcome, but let’s be realistic)

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Isn’t that how the saying goes?

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USD’s faculty ranks third

Posted by brightcoast on February 4, 2010

among private schools in CA, and apparently potentially just behind Harvard and Yale. Link to article here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »