Between 2009 and 2020, Josh published more than 10,000 blog posts. Here, you can access his blog archives.


Quinn is right. The Evolving Crackberry Culture: Why Compulsive Blackberry Checking Is Becomming Socially Acceptable.

October 19th, 2009

I previously blogged about Quinn Emanuel’s new policy, requiring attorneys to check their blackberrys every hour. I argue this isn’t frequent enough, but I do think this move has some positive societal value, as it helps develop the crackberry culture.

I applaud the powers that be at Quinn. The more depraved crackberry addicts there are, the more normal I look, and the more socially acceptable my bizarre and compulsive behavior becomes.

If you have ever had dinner with D.C. Lawyers, you will no doubt be familiar with the following site: Everyone at the table has their blackberry on the table. At any given time, one or more attendee will be pecking away an e-mail, sending a BBM, updating their twitter with a funny joke they just heard at the table, or researching the answer to a trivia question someone asked.

To those outside the urban jungle, this may seem like absolutely bizarre behavior. The first time I told people in Johnstown, PA about this behavior, they were stunned when I described these social norms. (Of course, I leave my blackberry in my pocket while eating with my Judge.)

But, I argue that the culture is changing.

As more and more people engage in this compulsive crackberry checking, norms change. It becomes less grotesque, and more socially acceptable.

I’m sure at some point it was uncouth to answer a cellular phone at dinner. Now, it is only marginally improper. I think blackberrying should be more proper, mainly because it creates no distracting noise (other than the clicking of the keys), and is usually finished much quicker than placing a phone call (i can read and reply to a message in a few seconds).

Some people are repulsed when I have a conversation with them, while typing on my blackberry, assuming I am not paying attention. I apologize for any offense I may cause, but years of blackberrying have trained me to multitask like a pro. I’ve tested this with my co-clerk, and I can usually follow 80% of a conversation while I’m typing on my blackberry. I submit that this is not much lower than what I would normally follow if I gave someone my undivided attention. From a utility perspective, I would rather be able to have 2 conversations at 80%, than one conversation at 90 or 95%.

For the present, I am still a social anomaly. But I am confident that over the years, my behavior will become more acceptable.

Pioneers always take the arrows.

Recap of the Aspiring Law Professors Conference at Arizona State University

October 18th, 2009

Yesterday I attended the Aspiring Law Professors Conference held at Arizona State University School of Law. It was intended to provide attorneys considering the academic market an insight into the hiring process. There were about 30 attendees, of varying degrees of experience. I think I was the newest attorney there (I just received my bar results on Thursday!). Many of the attendees were already VAPs. Others just finished clerkships. Others were in private practice.

The day began with a formal panel discussion. The panelists were Brian Leiter, Mark Miller, Jack Chin, Orly Lobel, Carissa Hessick, Brent White, Andrew Hessick, and Marcy Karin. All of the panelists gave fantastic advice to the approximately 30 attendees in attendance. Each spoke about their experiences entering the market including advice on LLMs, VAPs, Fellowships, the Meat Market, and Callback Interviews.

One important distinction Carissa Hessick drew, was between engaging in “selling” mode and “buying” mode. When you are interviewing at the meat market, you should be in full sell mode, and attempt to make the school want to hire you. But as you progress through the process, and get a call-back, and perhaps an offer, you should transition to buying mode. That is, you need to ask the tough questions that will determine whether this is a school you would actually want to teach at.

Another important discussion focused on teaching what you love versus teaching what schools are hiring. There is no easy way to resolve this dilemma, but ultimately the panelists cautioned the attendees from faking it and teaching something they have no interest in. Eventually, your dislike of the topic will come out, and that will leave you in a tough position for the future.

The panelists also discussed the value of an LLM if your J.D. is not from a top school. Some felt that a prestigious fellowship could suffice for an LLM. Others felt you should go directly into a VAP if possible. While the VAP pays a salary, the LLM does not make you work, and you have lots of time to write and publish. There are lots of trade-offs. I am still debating this issue myself.

After the panel discussion, the group split up into breakout sessions, where students practiced job talks and mock interviews. I found this portion particularly helpful. Some of the attendees were ready to go on the market this November, and were extremely well-prepared. I took notes.

I am a few years from applying to the market, but I am very glad I attended. I gained some fantastic insight into the hiring process, and perhaps even more important, made some great contacts and expanded my network.

Many thanks to Douglas Sylvester and everyone at Arizona State University School of Law, who organized a fantastic conference.

I also made it to the Arizona State v. Washington tailgate, and scalped some nosebleed seats. I stayed for part of the First Quarter, before I had to leave for PHX for the red-eye (I’m on a layover at Charlotte now, I should be in Johnstown in about 6 hours). I’ve never seen so many fireworks and explosions at a college football game. But a nice way to cap off a pretty cool day.

LivePic: No Security at Murtha Air

October 16th, 2009

No line whatsoever at the Murtha Johnstown airport. And yes, I asked TSA for permission to take this picture. It took me 30 seconds from the terminal to the gate. Putting my belt back on was toughest part. 3 flights a day keeps the airport pretty bustling.

Fwiw, tsa agents kinda agreed with those wall street journal op-eds ripping the airport, though they are glad to have their jobs.


I Will Be Attending the Aspiring Professors Conference at Arizona State University

October 16th, 2009

I will be attending the Aspiring Law Professors Conference. Check out the brochure here.

This conference is designed for Visiting Assistant Professors and Fellows who plan to go on the
academic teaching market:
• Learn to succeed in the entry-level law teaching market
• Obtain an insider’s perspective on the appointments process
from faculty who’ve been there
• Conduct a mock interview or mock job talk and gain feedback from law professors

Professor Brian Leiter, and several other prominent professors will be speaking. Hopefully I can gain some insight on how to break into the academic market. I will post my thoughts about the conference later.

In order to travel to Phoenix, I will be using the famed Johnstown Jack Murtha Airport for No One (see also). Expect several blog posts, with pictures, about that experience.

In addition, the weather in Tempe, Arizona (approximately 100 degrees and sunny) beats the weekend weather in Johnstown (30 degrees and snowing). Any tips of what I can do in Phoenix? I am taking a red eye, and will have about 4 hours free on Saturday night.

Though I will be missing the Penn State Homecoming Game against Minnesota. Let’s Go State!

Proposal from Harvard Prof: The Congressional Line Item Vote can Eliminate Earmarks. My Proposal: Don't Insert Earmarks.

October 8th, 2009

From Professor Iluiano (H/T Legal Theory Blog):

Congressional earmarking is an issue of growing concern in the United States. Although it currently accounts for a small percentage of federal expenditures, recent trends indicate that such pork-barrel spending will soon become a significant contributor to the national debt. The federal government must work to control this problem before it becomes unmanageable. One recent attempt to reduce the number of earmarks was the Line Item Veto Act of 1996. On both constitutional grounds and in practice, this measure failed.

Instead of acknowledging these shortcomings and crafting innovative solutions, legislators have repeatedly introduced bills that would once again grant the president a form of line item veto power. This Article, however, develops an entirely new process – the congressional line item vote – that has the potential to eliminate earmarks, reduce the deficit, and make members of Congress more accountable to their constituents.

Part IV will examine why Congress better suited than the President at crafting legislation that advances the national interest. Finally, in Part V, this paper will argue that a congressional line item vote is the best method for eliminating earmarks, reducing the deficit, and increasing congressional accountability. Because the congressional line item vote holds legislators accountable for each provision in every bill, it will force members of Congress to place the preferences of their constituents first.

Umm… I have an easier suggestion. The way to eliminate earmarks is to eliminate earmarks. Simple, right? Stop inserting them, and they won’t exist.

But of course, rationally self interested congressman have every incentive to insert. And as a resident of Johnstown, PA, my Representative, Jack Murtha, is the king of earmarks. See a recent WSJ Op-Ed about our airport for no one for more details. (I will be flying out of the Jack Murtha Airport next week, stay tuned for bloggings).

If Congress would stick to their enumerated powers, they would not have the Constitutional mandate to spend on the wide ranging crap contained in earmarks. You may argue, what about the spending power. Well, as I understand it, the spending power is linked only to power Congress has. I would argue Congress lacks the power to spend in many wholly intrastate activities. Interesting proposal nonetheless.