My Other Accounts

Facebook Technorati Twitter YouTube

The Shark

« hit the brakes, rankings mania | Main | "sexy rexy" assuages all the king hall hysteria over a 10 slot rankings drop »

March 31, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I'm not quite sure what it is about my previous comments that can be called an "outburst". I also don't see the logic in construing my failure to respond to your reactionary allegation that my questions regarding the propriety of ALM breaking the leaked rankings on this site is somehow related to the fact that the school I attend dropped in the rankings. That's purely your's and Abony's unsupported speculation, as there is nothing in my comments that suggests that. If I was angry about the rankings, surely I would direct that at US News, or at my school. But I certainly don't see how you you have arrived at the conclusion that the validity of my complaint about ALM's journalistic standards is somehow related to the performance of my law school in the US News rankings. Would you have taken my point more seriously if my school had moved up in the rankings? Probably not, because, as should be obvious, the two things have nothing to do with each other.

I think your efforts to portray me as a sore loser because my school's rankings have dropped is evidence that my original comments touched a bit of a nerve. Which is understandable, because no one (including me) likes having their integrity questioned. However, calling me a conspiracy theorist, suggesting repeatedly that my criticism is occasioned by disappointment in the US News rankings, and now pushing forward an issue that had become a dead letter only calls your integrity and judgment into question all the more. If you can't stand the very little heat generated by comment, perhaps you don't belong in the kitchen.



Just a little joke -- especially funny now, since I made no "reactionary allegations." That was the blogosphere at large.

I'm ok with our integrity AND our kitchen.


If that's your idea of a joke, and you now find it especially funny.... well, don't quit your day job and jump on the comedy club circuit.

I'm not quite sure how you turn one anonymous commenter into "the blogosphere at large," either.

I posted a fairly straightforward comment, indicating that I found it troubling that ALM had chosen to publish the rankings in the way that it did. I further speculated that perhaps we should be concerned about that, particularly if ALM had paid for the leaked rankings. An ancillary to that concern is wondering what exactly this blog is: is it just another blog written by law students? Or is it an attempt by a major media company (American Lawyer Media, a company that was a major client of mine before law school and for which in many regards I have a lot of respect) to simulate some sort of authentic, non-MSM, law student web presence through which to sell advertising et al. The combination of these things made me wonder about the appropriateness of a non-law student (a reporter for The Recorder) suddenly posting leaked US News rankings of unknown provenance.

You might disagree that those things are relevant, or you might have addressed the merits of that claim by filling in some of the blanks. The one semi-reasonable response referred me to your "about" page, which has since been updated to include Petra (but at the time mentioned nothing about her). But that was the extent to which you adressed the merits of my comment.

You also could have chosen to ignore the comment if you found it meritless. Heck, I'd certainly moved on. But instead, writers for this site, yourself included, have engaged in, yes, "reactionary allegations" by suggesting that a) my comment was some sort of ploy to get a job, b) that I was a conspiracy theorist, and c) with today's post, that I am engaged in "outbursts" because I am disappointed in my school's rankings (yes, the original comment came from an anonymous commenter and not you, but your post today, and your puzzling contention that you are just reporting the sentiment of the "blogosphere at large", really belie your claim that you are not involved in that allegation).

A few months ago you wrote to me and asked me to link your new site. I did so, and I have occasionally visited your site since. Most of the time I have enjoyed what I read. On a few ocassions I wondered when the corporate owners were going to realize that hiring a recent college grad and a couple of 1L's and setting them loose wasn't going to turn into blawgosphere gold overnight (I don't think it's any surprise that most companies like to have a return on their investment at some point). That question was, in a sense, answered, when the company apparently took it upon themselves to post the rankings here. And when I posted one comment - one measly comment that you may disagree with but is ultimately a lot more reasonable than most of the comments on any moderately successful blog - you and your writers took it upon yourselves to offer up multiple personal attacks on my motivations, with scant attention paid to the merits on my comment.

Now, I'm a big boy, and I have been posting on the internet for some time. I've certainly seen my share of flames, and a lot worse than being called a conspiracy theorist. And as someone who because of my job and other reasons moves in legal cirles considered by the small-minded as above the "pay grade" of graduates from my (excellent) third tier school, I am relatively inured to being mocked because of my association with USF. So I can take the insinuations you have made, and whatever further ones you care to dish out.

But I can't help to note that if this is the way that you, as the editor of this site, propose to treat one of the handful of regular readers that you have (with the exception of your rankings traffic), and if this is the the level of engagement and journalistic ethics that you will bring, well.... maybe you should consider that career as a comedienne after all. Or, ALM should see how many more leaked rankings they can get their hands on to give people a reason to come here.



You're mistaken if you think I've set out to mock you or your school. Your initial comment was without merit, and I responded in kind. I also updated our "about us" page to include Petra and our newest blogger, to calm any concerns you or others might have with our (yes) corporate ownership and the (yes) non-students who post here. I directed you there initially because we have made no claims to being anything other than a Cal Law blog written by AND for law students from the very beginning.

There are two choices I can make when someone (meritlessly) questions an item we post: 1, I can ignore it. 2, I can point out that the question is without merit. I went with #2. You're right that you've been among the regular readers of this blog from the very beginning. And never before have you questioned items from Petra or the fact that we're a Cal Law blog. I'm under the impression it's ok to jab you a little a couple days later for your off-base comments, in part because of our longer term association. No doubt you felt comfortable enough to question my ethics and integrity, and no doubt you felt comfortable enough to use your "regular" status in your argument. What exactly is the problem with poking fun at a comment that is so clearly not representative of reality that comes from someone I have a relative relationship with? In short, isn't it ok for me to tease you?

Our authenticity is not called into question because a non-student posted, or because we have MSM connections. If anything we are all held to higher standards here. To suggest anything else is just silly. Why not make a silly remark (about your "outburst") in response to a silly theory?

Dave, I very much appreciate the energy and time you've put into all your comments here. I hope you will continue to do so, and feel free to espouse any theories that tickle your fancy, meritless or not. That's the beauty of the internet -- feel free. And I'll be here, to respond when you've asked a question and to discuss with you when you raise a pertinent issue. I hope a little jab at a fellow blogger is not so out of line that you now consider me to be unethical. I also hope I haven't permanently offended you or your sensibilities.

And a quick note: I very much respect your school, as I think the above item indicates.


Well, for all those "without merit" and "meritless" and "off-base" and "not representative of reality" remarks, you still have said zero of substance about the original comment that sparked all this. Did ALM pay for the leak, yes or no? Was someone besides Petra involved in the decision to post it here, yes or no? What were the reasons why this blog was selected to break it?

And what exactly is "meritless" about raising those questions? This is a pretty piss-poor legal blog if those sorts of questions are out-of-bounds. Of course, you don't have to answer them if you don't want to, but it certainly doesn't seem "meritless" to have asked them when you have clearly put a lot of effort into attacking the questioner without so much as a single shred of a substantive response. Look... no one (including me, at this point) really cares whether you paid for the damn rankings or not, or whether the decision to post them here was made to boost the traffic of a floundering project.

But given the degree to which you have attacked my fairly reasonable original questions, first through personal attacks, and now by calling it meritless, silly, whatever, I assume that you are so certain that I am just a kook, that any questions I may have raised are truly meritless.

Let's take a look again at my silly, meritless, and "clearly not representative of reality" comment:

"I love it that this is posted by one Petra Pasternak, with an American Lawyer Media email account. Did the corporate sponsors decide that the readership needed a boost? Did the company pay for the scan or the mag?"

So by you calling this comment "clearly not representative of reality", you are saying that A) no one at Cal Law or ALM besides the people listed on the "about" page had any role in obtaining or posting the rankings, no thought was given to the fact that posting them might boost your traffic, and that it is unreasonable to believe anything other than that might have been the case, and B) it's impossible to even think that some consideration may have been given for the rankings, because Cal Law is clearly above such things.

And if you expect me or the three other people reading this to believe that is true, you really do have no respect for your law student readers. Point A is clearly incorrect, because Cal Law made the most of promoting this blog by IMMEDIATELY putting the story as the top story on the front page of And while it may be true that you didn't pay for them, I don't think anyone thinks that you are above that (or, even, that you should be). However, your failure to actually say something one way or the other on that point, combined with your ongoing effort to discredit my comment, continues to suggest that you may have paid for them (but, please say so if that is not the case).

Continuing to engage with you on this is mostly pretty silly. But I don't take kindly to being repeatedly attacked by you, particularly when you insult my intelligence with your last response. Once again: I posted two simple, reasonable questions, and first you ran with the personal attacks, and now you are portraying me as a kook. Plus, you are suggesting we have some sort of "relationship" that condones "teasing", well... I don't know about that. Like I said, I have enjoyed some of what I have read here, but I am mostly bemused at watching Cal Law fumble around. And I'm not sure what my fiancee might think about all this "relationship" and "teasing" talk.

So... what will you be charachterizing me as next?

Greg Mitchell (Cal Law)

Dave -- I'm the managing editor of the Recorder and Cal Law, and wanted to address your concern about the posting of the U.S. News rankings. Someone who purchased a copy of the magazine at a retail outlet prior to the official release date sent an unsolicited photocopy of the pages to someone on our staff. After verifying that the pages were real, we decided to post a portion of the listings because they are newsworthy, and we decided to post to the Shark because that is the web site we operate that is devoted to law students and their interests. Hope that addresses your concerns, and thanks for reading the Shark.


Thank you for your professional response, Greg. However, I certainly would not be a very good law student if I didn't point out that you still have not said that you did not pay for them.

Greg Mitchell (Cal Law)

We didn't pay anyone for anything. As I said, the list was sent to us unsolicited by someone who'd purchased it at a store.



The comments to this entry are closed.