Gratuity Not Included

It's interesting that BTQ should post about tipping (based on a SMP post about tipping.) I had started a post about tipping about a week ago, but never finished it, because, well, that's how my life has been recently.

What happened to get me thinking about tipping was that I went out after work with a group of co-workers. The bill came, and everyone threw down the amount of cash they thought appropriate, based on what they had ordered. (Presumably, everyone factored tax and tip into their contribution.) One guy said, "Does anyone mind if I just take the cash and put it on my card? I didn't get a chance to get cash..." No one objected, and he put the bill on his card.

As we walked out of the restaurant, one of my co-workers asked me to wait for her, and she slipped back in the restaurant. When she came back out, I asked her, "Did you forget something?"

"No," she said, "I noticed that [the credit card paying co-worker] left a crappy tip. I just went and left an extra ten dollars. We go there a lot, and I don't want them to hate us." I offered to give her a few extra dollars, but she refused it.

And, if you think about it, assuming that everyone factored a fair tax and tip into their contribution, that means that the guy who paid the total probably got away with paying less than his fair share, and pocketed everyone else's tax and tip contribution.

Anyway, I later got into a conversation about tipping with the co-worker who snuck back in to leave more money. She said that because she had worked her way through college as a waitress, she was always sympathetic to service workers, and always leaves a good tip.

"And now," she said, "they'll take me to the front of the line everytime I walk into Starbucks because they know I'm a good tipper." (What exactly makes you a good tipper at Starbucks? How much is a good tip on a $4 coffee? What does that make your daily morning total?)

So, Starbucks. Hmmm. While I consider myself a good tipper, I obviously don't get the whole tipping-at-Starbucks thing. While I certainly don't leave "the customary 20%" I'll drop some spare change in the jar now and then.

But, why tip at Starbucks? Does it have something to do with food and beverage service, because it reminds of a restaurant? I've also noticed a tip jar at our little local ice cream shop, but I always kind of assumed it was because they're all high school girls working there. And I'll stick in a dollar now and then, but I'm not calculating 20% of my cone. But why don't we tip at McDonald's? What's the difference?

Why not tip at the pharmacy? And what about the other places where we don't tip?

I worked in high school as a hostess in a restaurant that was in a hotel. Foreign guests would sometimes tip me when I showed them to their table. I usually told them that they didn't need to. (But once in a while, I'll admit, I'd just pocket it without saying anything.) We just don't tip hostesses. (Although, the waitstaff was expected to tip the hostesses a portion of their tips at the end of the night. And, if they didn't, guess who didn't get as many tables the next night.)

I had another friend who asked me whether I ever tip fitting room attendants. No, it had never even occurred to me. But, why not? In some places, we tip restroom attendants.

So, while Milbarge wants to know how we went from a customary 15% to a customary 20%, what I want to know is, why do we tip where we do, and not at other places? Why tip at the car wash, but not at the dry cleaner? Is it just because they have a jar out?

In which case, I totally need to carry a little jar around the courthouse with me.

8th & Ocean

Alright, I'm ready to admit my guilty pleasure... I'm hooked on 8th & Ocean.

And I must have at least one reader who is willing to admit it too.

Because I have a question. I think maybe I missed an episode.

I saw the episode where Teddy had a crush on Britt and asked her on a date. Also, in that episode, Kelly said that she wanted a boob job, and Irene Marie took her to meet with a doctor.

Then, in the next episode I saw, Teddy was on a date with Heide, and there was no mention of the boob job. Also, I assume something more happened between Teddy and Britt, because at the end of the last episode other people were talking about why Teddy puts up with Heide grinding up against every guy in the club, and someone said something like, "That's his way of dealing with what happened between him and Britt."

So, what happened? What did I miss?

Also, the way I saw the episodes, they never really even introduced Heide. I guess she's a model, but why doesn't she live in the "Models' Apartment?" What is her background? And where does she live?

Wait, now I'm remembering that Britt sees Teddy making out in the hottub with someone... was that Heide? Did Britt and Teddy have any further conversation after that? I was really hoping to see her "Oh no you didn't" side!

And, just for fun, I've added a blogpoll:

UPDATE: In the interest of fair election results, I've added photos below.

Britt and Heidi, 8th & Ocean

Sorry for the size discrepancy.

2 photos of Britt from

2 photos of Heide from
(I know they're bad, they're the only 2 I could find):

Heide on her date with Teddy.

Heide dancing up on some other guy.

The Kicker of Attorneys

Aaaaw, it's not really this bad, I swear.

Not that my parents understand what I do, of course. I think they're still pretty convinced that I'm a prosecutor.

Easter Candy

This Easter Candy quiz at APL just made me realize that I never got one of my favorite Easter candies this year...

The Snickers Egg.

It's like all the good things I love in a Snickers (namely, the goo) without all that unnecessary bar-iness. Actually, I think the chocolate covering might be somehow softer and meltier on the egg than it is on the bar.

In years past, I've hit a few drug stores the day after Easter and stocked up on 10 cent Snickers Eggs. This year, I kind of forgot all about it, and it might be too late. But I don't really remember seeing them around either, because I'm sure I would've grabbed them.

(For the record, I did take the quiz. And my result ended up being some kind of ad for some mail-order chocolate covered strawberries. As if that has anything to do with Easter. Puh-lease.)

Finding A Public Interest Law School, Part 2

A big thanks to Dave for opening up a great can of worms. The comments to my post on Finding a Public Interest Law School have been, overall, fantastic.

I do want to add a few more cents of my own. Well, mostly dissents. (Bad bad pun, sorry.)

First, bigger schools do not mean more LRAP money. I know plenty of people in my office who went to big schools and, in some cases, (1) their school has no LRAP program at all, (2) they quickly became disqualified by earning too much (what?? how is that possible on a public defender salary??), or (3) they get such a minimal amount, it's obvious the school has "an LRAP program" in title only but isn't directing any funds toward it. Just because a school has a bigger endowment, doesn't mean their pushing any of it toward LRAP. So, if you want to know, ask. Say, "Hey, it said on your website you have an LRAP program? About how many alumni get LRAP money? How much do they get, on average? How long have they been out of school? Can I see a sample of the application?" They're there to answer your questions, so ask.

Second, I disagree with the "go to the best school you can get into" theory. At least in the public interest context, I think you have to go to the best school that suits your needs. And I think a big part of that is saying, "I know I'm not going to sell out and make as much money as I can, so I don't want to get into more debt than I need to."

Put it this way, let's imagine that at any given public defender's office new class of hires next fall, there will be at least one ivy league law school grad, and at least one state school grad. And, I'd say that's at least close to accurate for most PDs across the country. So, why is the ivy league grad in a better position? Are they more prepared? That depends more on what classes they took, where they interned, and what their real world experience is, just like the state school grad. Are they smarter? Not necessarily.

The only thing you're guaranteed to be is more in debt. (Unless, of course, you can get a free ride. In which case, take it.)

I agree that there's a difference between public interest in the public defender context and public interest in the ACLU context. But still, I think that a law school that truly puts more emphasis on public interest is going to be more likely to hire professors with this type of experience (as opposed to Supreme Court clerks), and therefore the faculty might be more likely to have more contacts in the public interest organizations. This, of course, varies from school to school, but it's a reason to consider a school with an actual public interest emphasis.

Regardless of the field, though, I think you'll find that the competition can be stiff for public interest jobs. If you read any of the law student blogs around here, you'll see that the ones looking for public interest jobs have just as tough of a time as the law firm types, if not tougher. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the public defenders' offices and public interest organizations look at more than just your law school and your GPA. Your commitment and your experience are big factors (as are the connections you make during these experiences.) It came out in many of the comments, but I'll repeat it again - internships, pro bono work, are very valuable, and definitely worth your (unpaid) time.

As for Dave, I know that you didn't get a quick list of schools, but I hope that this gave you (and anyone else in a similar situation) some things to think about. Good luck!

How To Find A Public Interest School

Dave asks, "So what schools would you say are good for public interest?"

Well, Dave, I think it depends on the region. (If you've narrowed your search to a region and want to throw it out there, maybe the commenters will pitch in.)

I'm certainly not saying you can't go to Stanford, Yale, or Harvard and work in public interest. You can, and people do. I'm sure that there's not a law school in the country that hasn't produced at least one public interest lawyer, or that wouldn't tell you on your tour "Oh sure, we encourage pro bono and public interest work."

But I think there's a difference between that and a school that has a reputation for public interest. There are schools - sometimes lower ranked, sometimes state schools, but not always - that put more of an emphasis on practical experience and have more graduates entering public interest jobs.

(You may run into the chicken and the egg problem here - do students in lower ranked schools go to public interest jobs because that's all they can get? Or do those students genuinely leaning toward public interest gravitate toward these schools?)

Any school can put the words "public interest" on their website. And most do. The best thing you can do is ask around the public interest community and see where people in the field of your choice graduated from. This may narrow your search even more - if you're interested in environmental public interest in a particular state, you may find that everyone in that field went to one particular school that's known not only for public interest, but also for it's environmental classes or clinics. Likewise, if you want to be a public defender in an area, ask a few PDs in that area where they and their colleagues went to school. In some states, you might get one big resounding answer and quickly realize that X Law School is the place to go, or, at least, the place they hire from. In others, there may be more of a mix. But it will give you a sense.

As far as what to look for in a law school, the words "public interest" on a website aren't enough. I'd ask the career services office how many graduates they placed in public interest jobs in the past year and what these jobs were. (Some schools take a much broader view of what qualifies as a public interest job.) I'd want to know exactly what, if anything, the career services office did to help these graduated get their jobs (or were they just particularly motivated, doing their own leg work so that the career services office could take all the credit?) I'd look at the classes actually being offered for a semester or two (as opposed to the classes that are listed in a catalog but haven't been offered in a few years) - if you've got an entire lineup of corporate law and it's variations, it's hard to call yourself a "public interest law school." I'd take a good look at the clinics and make sure there's one that fits my interest (I'm a big proponent of clinics), and ask how difficult it is to get into the clinic, and what are the clinic professors' backgrounds.

I'd ask whether or not they have a loan repayment program for public interest lawyers. But it's not enough to just have one - I'd want to know how many alumni are actually receiving money, how much they're getting, and what types of jobs they're in. Then compare the number that are receiving repayment assistance to the number career services says are working in public interest!

That's a lot of information. If you're looking for particular names of schools, leave a comment with the geographical area and public interest area, and maybe you'll get some replies.

I have to admit, I didn't know any of this when I was looking for law schools. In a lot of ways, I was like the know it all - I didn't know what else to look at besides rankings. But the difference is, I didn't have access to any real live lawyers who were willing to give me advice about law school. So, take advantage of what you've got.

Know It All

I have a casual acquaintance who is, for lack of a better term, a know-it-all. In the worst possible way.

She's planning on going to law school in the fall. Which is appropriate.

Every law school class needs a few people like her. I wonder if there's a special box she checked on her law school application so that the schools could easily evaluate her and say, "Oh good, the ultimate know-it-all. We need one more if we want one for each small section."

I only wish that she could have started law school with Russ and Mike because I'd love to see her profiled in one of their "The People You Meet In Law School" posts. (I think she's almost a "Lucy," but more like a less intelligent Lucy wannabe; she's almost a gunner, but probably much less helpful.)

Because the worst thing about all of the things she knows is that she's almost always wrong.

Every time I see her she tells me all about law school. She tells me which schools are most prestigious. (As if I need to her to recite to me the listings she's memorized from U.S. News.)

She tells me how law school is going to be really easy for her, because she went to a really prestigious undergrad. (Yes, just keeping telling that to your classmates. They'll love to hear about that almost as much as they'll love hearing about your LSAT score. And your SATs.)

A few nights ago, she decided to tell me which schools are "really good" in public interest. And there's no way to tell her she's wrong.

I tried to explain, "Well, I work in public interest, I know a lot of people in public interest, and I don't really know anyone who went to that school. I'm not saying that you can't go there and do public interest, I'm just saying it's probably a stretch to call them 'really good in public interest.' If you're really interested in public interest, what about (naming some of the schools my colleagues went to)... "

"No, they are really good. It said so on their website."

What could I really say besides, "Oh, ok, well if it says it on their website?"

I was frustrated with her, and I just gave up. There's just no telling her anything.

But then, yesterday, it suddenly occurred to me. The perfect legal job for the know-it-all. She'd fit in perfectly at the prosecutor's office.

Victory Party

I've been having a hard time separating The West Wing from real life lately.

I woke up this morning, turned on the morning news, and thought, "I can't believe they're not reporting anything about the election."

Call it wishful thinking.

'Cause You Wouldn't Understand the Ghetto

I'm starving. Ok, not literally, but, you know. I'm hungry.

After an hour or two of indecision (which only made me hungrier), the boyfriend made the executive decision to order delivery from the local taqueria, lest I spend all night whining, "I'm hungry, I don't know what I want."

He called to place the order, and then turned to me and said, "They said it's going to be an hour. Do you still want it?" Knowing it was feast or the famine-of-indecision, I agreed to prolong my misery an hour more. He gave our order and as he hung up, I heard him give the address.

And give the address again.

And the cross street.

And the cross street again.

And then I heard him saying, "It's next to an abandoned building."

I started laughing and shaking my head.

When he got off the phone he said, "What? What's so funny?"

"You can't give directions that include 'It's next to the abandoned building,' they'll never come."

"What? Why not?"

"You might as well have said, 'Come down here into the ghetto, go past the projects, when you see the car fire on your left and the dead cop on your right, wait right there. Two guys with masks and crowbars will meet you."

He decided to call the tacqueria back and tell them he'd pick up the order.

Lucky Underwear

Your Lucky Underwear is Purple

Dreamy and idealistic, you envision great things for your life. Your lucky purple underwear can make those dreams come true!
You're a busy little butterfly. You have the most projects, interests, and friends of anyone you know.

You also have a flair for the dramatic. Sometimes too much drama comes in to your life and brings things to a stop.
If you want to focus more, and flutter less, put on your purple underpants. They'll help you get the important things done.

(A great quiz, via E. McPan.)

And true! My lucky underwear really are purple! I know, you thought I'd say pink. But my everyday underwear are pink, purple is for something special. Like jury selection.

Not that the jury sees it, of course.

Women's Tourney Results

And the bragging rights to go to... Milbarge of BTQ!
Congratultations to "Milbarge Loves the Ladies!"

Thanks to all who played. We'll be back next year (maybe.) And, in the meantime, get to work on your Blawgers' Fantasy Baseball Teams!

(And a special thanks to pseudostoops, who protected the rest of us from last place. What happened? Probably this vacation.)

Welcome, Spring!

All good things return in the Spring.

Sunshine, baseball, the little ice cream stand that sells homemade ice cream, and All Deliberate Speed. Welcome back, Donald!

Just In Time For St. Patty's Day

Well, not quite, but maybe it was inspired by St. Patrick's day...

Check out this new Ben & Jerry's flavor. I haven't tried it, but I'd love to hear from anyone who has.

I can't even imagine...

(Also, if you live anywhere near a Ben & Jerry's scoop shop, they now have a Baklava ice cream. Which I would like to try, but I don't live near a scoop shop.)

Practical Ethics, Part 2

My previous post on an ethical dilemma garnered quite a response, so I'll just add a few more of my cents before we move on.

I chose to write about this particular scenario because I think it's an interesting challenge between our first instinct (both as lawyers and as laymen) that it's more ethical to be honest, and the actual Rules of Professional Conduct, which place confidentiality before honesty.

Obviously, I agree with ACS regarding confidentiality. While I didn't consult the Professional Rules (other than what I remembered from law school) in this situation, I did consult my supervisor (And, we're back to the "My supervisor told me to do it," which is where this all started).

My supervisor's position, conforming with the rules on confidentiality, was that when new counsel takes over, we only hand over what is part of the public record (the file that the court gives us at arraignment, any discovery received, and anything that was stated on the record).

That's what I've done throughout my tiny career, and this is the first time I've had an attorney call me back to ask me something substantive (as opposed to, "Page 5 is hard to read, can you fax that again?"). Thus, putting me in the situation of, ethically, having to place confidentility before honesty.

And which also makes me wonder whether "jasonpw" is right, and there was a specific reason why new counsel asked about a "written statement." For example, I sometimes have to use my clients' written statements to confront them ("This is a fine story you're telling now, but it's very different that what you wrote out for the police"). There may also be other reasons where a lawyer feels that they need any written statements.

I think that I was in an easier situation because I didn't have a written statement to turn over, either for or against my client. I found it much easier to say, "No, I don't have what you're looking for," than to have one and be unsure of whether to disclose it.

Now, as for the interview-by-suggestion technique that I addressed briefly in my original post, and which some of the responses mention. I know that there are attorneys who do this regularly. I know at least one attorney who barely asks his client a question before he provides them with what he believes to be their ideal defense. ("But it was for your own personal use, ok?" or "But you thought you were allowed to use that car, right?") While, I can't think of any particular ethical rules this violates, I think that (1) it just isn't my style - I'm in this job because I like to hear my clients' stories; and (2) I think it does a real disservice to your client has a unique defense or just really wants to be heard.

I've had trials where I know that if I could have given my client the ideal defense, if I could have told my client exactly what to say or how to testify, they could have had a better chance at acquittal. But I know that my clients aren't always that good at following suggestions, and I know that, ultimately, if those clients lose after telling their own story, they feel better that they had their day in court. Conversely, if they were convicted after telling the story the way that I coached them (or, more likely, some mixture of the my story and their story), they'll just feel that they were screwed by the system again. Which isn't to say that I don't help my clients by saying, "Here's why I think you can leave that part of the story out," but that's very different than saying, "Let's present an entirely different story than the one you originally told me, or than the one you would have originally told me if I ever gave you a chance to speak."

At this point, I don't think it's necessary to address every other comment but I am interested in throwing another fact into the hypothetical to see if it changes anyone's mind (particularly those of you that were with me).

What if the private attorney's message had instead said, "Hi, it's private attorney again. I spoke to client and she told me roommate is her alibi witness. I also spoke to the prosecutor, and she said that she'd just dismiss the case if I can get a written statement from the roommate. You said you spoke to the roommate, so I wanted to see if you took a written statement from her. I didn't see it in the file you sent me, but I just don't want to reinvent the wheel if you've already done it. Could you call me back and let me know? I'd really like to get client's case dismissed as soon as possible so she can get on with her life."

Anyone feel like this changes anything? Does anyone think that I have more of an obligation to come forward if the case is likely to be dismissed? Anyone feel like maybe I have less of an obligation, since, if the prosecutor is so willing to dismiss the case, maybe he knows something else that we don't know?

Just curious.