The Boalt Bagel


The end of another week in my illustrious law school career — well, in my career as a law school staff member — and time for another Boalt oddment. I noticed when I walked into the building for a job interview in May that the "C" in one of the "school of law" signs looked improvised; in fact, it looked like it was improvised with a quartered bagel. And so it was, and is.

The mystery here is how long this particular bagel has been doing sign duty; a while, I guess, because another staff member talked about it as one of Boalt Hall’s well-known quirks. I wonder if it ever needs to be replaced. Or whether Boalt’s archivist will ever claim the bagel piece for his collection.

Law School Gig, Week 2


Times I’ve locked myself out of my office: 1. Boalt Hall has one, and only one, "key lady," someone named Wendy, who made the long trek up to my little room to let me back in.

New term:
"Chart strings" (University of California talk for "account numbers" when you need to bill expenses, like those for business cards or stationery.

Sight I can’t account for (above):
A stone bearing the legend "Knowles" that sure looks like a grave marker. It’s in an out of the way place in the angle between stairways at Boalt’s northwest corner. I haven’t been able to find a record of anyone named Knowles who ever went to the law school, or who has figured prominently in the university’s history. An architect named Knowles did design a nearby house for a professor, but that wouldn’t explain the marker.

Odd experience:
Talking to reporters who are looking for sources for stories. Hey, until not too long ago, I was on that side of the fence.

Brilliant idea that went nowhere, for now:
To have Barack Obama come out and do some event for the law school. It’s too long a story for tonight. But for one thing, I hear that about 400 people have the same brainstorm every week. 

The Law School Gig


I’ve only been at my new job at Boalt Hall (UC-Berkeley’s law school) for three days, but already I’m gaining insights into the profession and how future practitioners are trained. For instance, on the hike up to my temporary office, which is in an annex to Boalt’s main building, I pass an open window in the stairwell. What’s eye-catching is how the window is held open. A fresh-air lover in the greater Boalt community, showing laudable imagination in finding new uses for the law, has pressed a volume of "West’s Annotated California Codes" into service as a prop.

Employment Notes

In an unexpected turn of events, I’ve just been hired for a public-affairs position at the University of California’s law school, Boalt Hall. What’s unexpected is that two weeks ago, I didn’t even know this job was out there. But taking a look at the university’s job listings the Saturday before last, I noticed an opening for a senior writer doing media relations and development (fund-raising) work at Boalt. I posted my resume online and heard back pretty much immediately. A couple of interviews and several reference calls later, I got the job. I’m both excited and a little amazed; not that I was hired, because I’m not a complete bum; but because it happened so fast. Anyway, it’s going to be an intellectually challenging experience — the school’s dean, Christopher Edley Jr., is a recent Harvard transplant who has big plans on every front (expanding the school, for instance, hiring more faculty, and launching initiatives like the new Berkeley Civil Rights Project (a cousin of the project he started at Harvard in 1996). It ought to be pretty interesting to be close to the middle of all that. I start next Wednesday, and I’m going to walk to work.