Monday, August 30, 2010

Rumor has it...

...that Darden has launched its new webpage!  Check it out here!

Also, I have it on good authority that this year's application is available now.  Ready, set, go, Round 1-ers!

Friday, August 27, 2010

This Week's Cupcake goes to...

UVa Law!

Running score:  Darden - 0, UVa Law - 2

Rationale for this week's award: I actually had to bring home work one evening, but only because I've been to Darden at least twice each day for receptions, meetings, career counseling sessions, etc.  So Darden is even more demanding than the law school for a pseudo-SY student!

(If you're confused about the cupcakes, see bottom of this post).

Sentimentality for a change

Let me state for the record that I am not, by nature, a particularly sentimental or emotional person (unless you want to count righteous indignation as an which case, I plead guilty as charged).  I generally don't develop attachments to inanimate objects (well, except maybe to my old Subaru, but we were together for 7 years, and a lot of marriages don't last that long).  It takes a lot to make me emotional enough to cry, and on the very rare ocassions when I do, it's typically because an internal tempest of rage and righteous fury bursts out of my control and starts leaking through my tear ducts, not because I'm sad.  I didn't cry at my graduation from either high school or college.  I like babies (particularly some of those belonging to my classmates), butterflies, and rainbows as much as the next person, but I got really sick of Chris L. on The Bachelor and his whole shpiel about seeing his mother in every rainbow.   Like I said, I am generally a no-nonsense, un-sentimental person.  This isn't the forum for psycho-analyzing me and figuring out why that is....let's just accept it as a fact and move on, shall we?

Given this fact of my nature, imagine my shock when I returned to school (and by school, I mean Darden) and found myself feeling...sentimental.  Shock doesn't even describe it.  I mean, I didn't really leave - I've been in Charlottesville all summer, and the scanner in the student copy center and I spent A LOT of time bonding between June and August.  Also, I've only known the people at Darden for 12 months, max (OK, so I went to high school with two of them....that doesn't count).   So why on Earth did "returning" make me feel so sentimental?  Maybe it was the fact that everyone seemed shocked to see me (note: the law school, contrary to popular belief, does NOT lock 1Ls in the library), and some even seemed fairly delighted that I was coming to help out with Orientation, to hang out at the beginning-of-school picnic, or to attend the Dean's "welcome back" speech to the second year (SY) class.  Maybe it was the fact that I've hugged more people in the last four days that I have in probably the last six years of my life.  Maybe it was just that everyone was so darn excited to be at Darden.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that's it: we're all just happy to be here (heck, I'm so happy that I've been spending almost more time at Darden than at the law school this week, despite the fact that all my classes are at the law school). 

My class (or I guess I should say the Class of 2011) has bonded a lot.  Sure, we aren't all best friends, but we generally get along, we enjoy catching up with one another, etc.  Most of all, we've all survived the first year of Darden together, and there's a sense of brother-(and sister-)hood that comes with that.  As I watch the FYs struggle with their first full week of class, stressing about building Excel models and understanding managerial accounting and debating the merits of prepping LO cases in learning teams, I remember how all of those experiences brought my class together.  My section, Section E, certainly bonded over our trials and tribulations in class.  My learning team bonded as we figured out the most efficient way to get in, get everything done, and get out so we could go about the rest of our lives.  We bonded over recruiting, over the hell that is Black November, and over our delight in finally finding some time in Q4 to start to appreciate Charlottesville beyond North Grounds.  I feel closer to some of my Darden classmates than I do to people I knew through three-and-a-half years of college. 

So, now that the powers that be have decided I am in a position to provide "advice" to the FYs, here it is: just remember, no matter how stressed out you are now, so is everyone else, and there's an opportunity in that.  The person you run by in a panic as you realize that you're late for your fourth meeting of the day may be one of your closest friends by this time next year.  Take the time to take a deep breath, say hello, and commiserate with the other person running down the hallway with you.  I hope that in 12 months, you, too, will be feeling sentimental...even if it isn't in your nature, either. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Orientation/Start of Classes, Round 2 and the Camp Cupcake Award

Eek!  It's been a crazy few weeks since I last posted.  In the last 14 days, I wrapped things up at my summer job, tried to get my life in order to start school again (e.g., organize random stack of mail and paperwork, buy school supplies and books, buy parking pass, buy groceries, starch and iron accumulated pile of washed cotton sundresses, scrub floors because I won't have time to let them see Pinesol again until next summer and the Swiffer Wet-jet only does so much, etc.), and began running around between Darden and the law school like a chicken with my head cut off.

I've gotten a lot of questions lately about "how this whole JD/MBA thing works."  The answer, like many things at Darden, is "it depends."  If, like me, somehow applies to law and business schools concurrently and gets into both, at UVa you get to pick where you start.  I chose to start at Darden because for me, business was what was "new," and I wanted to be able to graduate with one of the classes with which I did my "first" year; since there is no way to do that with any Darden class, I chose to do my 1L year with the class of 2013.  So, I've finished the Darden first year, I'm doing the first year of law school now, and next year and the year after, I'll be taking electives at both schools, sprinting back and forth numerous times during the day.  Most (but not all) folks doing the JD either apply concurrently and choose to start at the law school or apply only to the law school up front and then apply to Darden while a 1L.  I think it really is a personal decision about how you choose to do it, and I think I made the right choice for me, though there may have been some draw-backs. 

So, this past week, I've been doing Orientation, Round 2, which has been an interesting experience. Unlike most of my 1L classmates, I've been in Charlottesville as a graduate student for a year, so I know where things are, how things work, and what the grad student social scene is like.  Unlike my SY Darden classmates, I'm not negotiating class swaps and trying to schedule the least-stressful 4th quarter.  At Darden, they've restructured Orientation this week, so I can't really speak to how that worked out.  I did volunteer to help out at one of the faculty receptions (lots of fun!), and I organized one of the Activity Day trips to a couple local wineries (also lots of fun!).  I also had a couple meetings with incoming first year students.  Over at the law school, I did some community service for Public Service Day, met a bunch of new classmates, attended Section H bonding activities, sat through presentations by a bunch of administrators, and attended my first three days of class.  I generally like the faculty, and the classes (as at Darden during the first semester) were selected for me, but I think they'll be interesting.  I'm taking Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, and Criminal Law this semester, as well as a year-long pass/fail Legal Research & Writing course.   Although my schedule is sort of wonky (bizarre gaps between classes, some M/W, some T/R/F, some M/W/R, etc.), I think it will allow me to get most of my case briefing done during the school day, so I'm going to try to treat this like a 9-to-5 job and not bring work home to the greatest extent that I can manage.  I'm sure there will be some exceptions, but for the sake of my spine, I want to leave my books at school as frequently as possible - they weigh a ton!  On the plus side, this arrangement meant that my homework was done by 5 pm on Friday, and I have actually been able to enjoy my weekend (section H potluck, polo, Darden picnic, winery tours, coffee dates, and catching up with friends - yay!).  We'll see if this trend continues.

On that of my Darden classmates' husband is a 2L at the law school, and he apparently refers to Darden as Camp Cupcake, implying, obviously, that Darden is "easier" than the law school. Apparently, this has been a point of virtually constant (and only quasi-serious) debate between people at both schools for quite some time.  Consequently, I've decided that I'm actually going to issue an "official" verdict on which school has the most difficult first year, as an "objective" party experiencing both.  I'm going to do this by assigning a weekly "Camp Cupcake" award to the school that was "easiest" for that point in the semester.  At the end of the year, the school with the most weekly awards will be officially declared "easier" in my perspective (clearly, this is a very scientific award process).  For the first week of school, Legal MBAyhem's Camp Cupcake Award goes to: UVa Law.  Rationale: no group work, finishing homework at school before dinner, more evening social events, only two days of Orientation, and no recruiting activities. 

Ongoing Cupcake Tracker: Darden 0, UVa Law 1. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

A couple resolutions for the future

I have been having several very frustrating interactions with outside counsel for the company with which I am working this summer.  What can I say, I was very spoiled when I working in-house at the Consulting Firm That Shall Not Be Named.  Such interactions, however, have led me to the following resolutions. If (or when) I become a practicing attorney, I hereby resolve to do the following to the best of my ability:

1.) To respond to emails within 24-48 hours and not to leave clients hanging for days on end without at least an acknowledgement of their message. If I cannot answer a question immediately, I will at least let the client know that I am working on it and when they may be able to expect a full response;

2.) To make sure I spell a client's name correctly and that I do not, in fact, misspell their name incorrectly in two different ways in the course of a 4-line email;

3.) To make sure that I remove one client's name and other information from "template" documents that I send to another client;

4.) To avoid misstating information previously provided by my client and uncessarily muddling the very clear questions that he/she asked;

5.) To provide information requested as succinctly as possible, and to provide all the information requested, rather than requiring my client to send me repeated emails asking the same thing, thereby enabling me to continue to bill said client for .1 hours of my time for each single email I read and then proceed to ignore;

5.) To avoid assuming that my client(s) don't know what they are talking about or that they have no legal experience whatsoever; and

6.) To appreciate my paralegals, because they generally have the important information committed to memory, with the applicable templates readily available.

I expect people to hold me to these rolutions.

Why didn't anything this exciting happen when I was a paralegal?

Many readers of this blog are aware that I spent nearly four years of summer and winter breaks (and one semester, working remotely from Rhode Island) working for College Firm, based in Wilmington, DE, in a variety of roles, ultimately as a Legal Assistant (They wouldn't give me the title "Paralegal" because I hadn't yet earned a four-year degree.  Phooey on them.).  During my time at College Firm, I scheduled countless depositions, spent hours and hours sitting in court trying to stay awake after getting 2 hours of sleep in 3 days, filed dozens (if not hundreds) of motions and briefs, and witnessed a whole bunch of legal shenanigans on the part of opposing counsel.  Unfortunately, I never got to travel to a deposition in another state while the attorney for whom I worked stayed home, and I certainly never got to click photos with my camera phone and then imbed them in the footer of EVERY PAGE of a motion to have opposing counsel sanctioned for allegedly tapping the foot of the deponent to signal answers. 

I think the whole motion is hilarious - it is written more like some sort of creative writing piece than anything I ever saw filed in Delaware, and it's full of the sort of rhetorical questions I was always told were a less-than-stellar idea to include with such high frequency in pleadings.  Its stylistic shortcomings notwithstanding, the motion still makes me wish I had had a chance to be such a bad-a$$ paralegal. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

LegalMBAyhem's Guide to [Getting Settled and Keeping Yourself Alive in] Charlottesville

One year ago at this moment (as I start to write this during my lunch break on Monday...probably not when it finally gets posted), I was sitting in the Pantops DMV for the second time in three hours.  Little did I know that it would take two more trips to finally get my license, title, and registration squared away...but that is another story for another time.  The point is, the first few days of August mark the time during which most Darden and UVa Law graduate students move to Charlottesville.  Their next two weeks are filled with unpacking, buying furniture, getting VA drivers' licenses, acclimating to new roommates, and preparing for Orientation.  Then school starts and your life is sucked away from you consumed by academic pursuits and school-related social events.   MissMBA recently offered some great advice for incoming b-school students, and I can't profess to be any sort of expert on the law school experience yet, but since I have lived in Charlottesville full-time for the last 12 months, I can claim some personal expertise on getting settled and keeping yourself alive in the Cville area.  I can also offer some personal tips and tricks for things that took me (in many cases) a disturbingly long time to realize/learn after I got here. 

Getting settled
I'll leave the actual moving logistics up to each individual person.  That totally depends on how much stuff you have, whence you are coming, and where you are living in town.  But, once you've gotten to Cville and picked up your keys, here are some tips for other things:
1.) If you haven't moved in yet (as of reading this), make sure you do things like set up an appt. to get your cable set up, putting electricity in your name, etc. BEFORE you get here.  Obviously, who your service providers are will vary by location (e.g., you have no choice in cable if you live in Ivy Gardens), but since everyone and their mother is moving to Cville in August, you'll want to try to get a jumpstart on getting on the schedule as soon as you can.  Note that if you have not previously had utilities in your name, the local utility companies may require a deposit from you.  It can be difficult to talk your way out of this if you can't get some sort of reference letter from a prior utility provider, so be sure to plan ahead. 
Useful links:
Dominion Virginia Power
Century Link (formerly Embarq)
2.) I highly recommend taking a good bit of time before you move to set up a forwarding order from your old address with the post office, to change all of your address information with your credit card companies/banks, etc.  When you set up a forwarding order with the USPS, they will send you a confirmation of your mailing address change - to both the new and old address.  KEEP THIS DOCUMENT.  It will make your life so much easier when you go to the DMV as you won't have to bring your lease (which may or may not have an actual street address on it, as I learned the hard way) or wait to get a bank statement to show residency. 
Useful links:
USPS Change of Address
3.) Don't forget to get renter's insurance (or change the insured property with your existing insurer)!  The student budget at UVa includes renter's insurance, many leases require you to have it, and it's just plain smart to have it, in my opinion.  Since money will be tight, take some time to shop around if you haven't in a while.  Make sure you ask about things like multi-policy discounts, alumni association discounts, professional network discounts, good student discounts, etc.  It's up to you whether you choose to do all of this online or with a live agent in town, but don't forget to do it! 
4.) If you have a car, make sure you get any necessary parking stickers from your landlord, management company, or the city (if necessary).  The last think you want is to get towed (and it does happen every year)!  Also, there is generally a parking waiver at Darden (and they claim at the law school) for most of August, but the lines at the Parking & Transportation Office toward the end of the month/waiver period can get to be truly ridiculous.  Decide if it's worth it to you to pay for a little bit more of the month (while the waiver is in effect) in exchange for your sanity, and just go before Orientation starts. 
5.) The DMV in most states is pretty horrific, but VA takes the cake in my opinion.  Double and triple-check the list of documents you need to bring, and plan to spend several hours there.  If it takes less time, you'll be thrilled, and if it takes as long as it usually does, at least you planned appropriately.  Also, I recommend going and getting a VA inspection (you can do it at many gas/service stations on 29 or 250) BEFORE you go to the DMV.  Then that's done.  I love the folks at the Goodyear on 29 (by Starbucks and Jiffy Lube, just south of Rio Rd and across from the Fashion Square Mall). 
Useful links:
Virginia DMV

Keeping yourself alive
1.) Try to get any and all possible doctor's appointments out of the way before Orientation starts.  You'll thank me later.  Despite all your efforts to be organized, I promise you that you will have something else pressing to do if you think you can schedule an eye exam for, say, 2 pm on October 5.  Because UVa has a medical school and teaching hospital, there are some really good doctors around.  Check out the DocFind for Aetna if you are on the UVa student plan, or check with your independent insurance company to see who accepts your plan locally.  Health Services is OK for things like sinus infections and flu shots, but I haven't had a great experience trying to get routine care from them, and if you need a specialist, you'll have to do that on your own anyway.  Plus, you can't get into Elson until school starts anyway if you haven't paid the summer fee.  Also, transfer your prescriptions from your old pharmacy NOW.  CVS is the most convenient to school, but Kroger, Walmart, Sam's Club, and Target all have generic programs that can significantly reduce your co-pays (and the line at CVS - even if you've pre-ordered a refill online - is frequently a 20+ minute ordeal).
2.)  Take an hour to drive (or walk) around and pick up take-out menus from places near school or your apartment.  You'll want to have these later (yes, many of them are online, but it really is easier to have a folder at home).  I'll be publishing LegalMBAyhem's Guide to Charlottesville Dining later this week, but figure out what is on your way home from school if you drive, and you'll be a much happier camper. 
3.)  If you want to avoid frequent take-out and think Lean Cuisines start tasting like rubber after the first or second one you eat a week, spend an afternoon preparing some of your favorite dishes.  Make 4-6 servings and then portion them out into single-serving containers to freeze.  This way, you can throw one serving in the microwave and you're only 5-6 minutes away from home-made deliciousness any crazy day.  I've found that pasta dishes (lasagna, penne with vodka sauce, etc.), saucy stir-fry dishes with rice, and many curry dishes with rice actually freeze pretty well.  The key is to make things that have enough moisture in them to help re-hydrate your starches when you microwave them, so think about adding some extra sauce relative to what you would usually make.  Red meat (beyond ground beef) can be the most tricky ingredient because it doesn't always re-heat terribly well. 
4.) Similarly to above, take some time to go to the grocery store and stock up on pantry items and other things you can prepare quickly.  I'm not saying you should live on ramen noodles (the amount of sodium in those seasoning packets is far too high!), but you'll want to have some things on-hand.   At Darden at least, there's also a lot of free food in September - first coffee, briefings, cocktails, etc.  - that can make menu-planning a challenge.  If you throw some chicken in the freezer and invest in some frozen veggies (they even freeze diced onion and peppers these days), you can whip up something homemade pretty easily without a special trip to the store if you find you have the time to do so....and you won't end up throwing out a bunch of fresh stuff you bought and then never had time to cook.
5.) Familiarize yourself with the locations of the nearest dry cleaner, ATM for your bank, the cheapest gas (I think Kroger off of Hydraulic and Sam's Club are the consistently the cheapest by far), FedEx (Barracks), the UPS Store (on 29 by Hydraulic), and the post office (Barracks and the main branch on 29 - note that the main branch accepts overnight mailings until much later in the afternoon than the Barracks branch).   Generally scope out the area and learn the lay of the land before you need something last minute and don't know where it is.
6.) If you need a new interview suit, a dress for a wedding in October, etc., go find those things now, while you have (maybe) some extra cash and some free time.  There are some nice stores (Banana Republic, White House Black Market, etc.) and boutiques in Charlottesville but not a ton, and the mall leaves a little bit to be desired at times.  However, the Leesburg and Williamsburg outlets are each about 2 hours away.  Go now!  If you're a Darden student, make sure you have a pretty solid business casual wardrobe, and if you're female, you'll want a couple good 100% cotton sundresses (that silky dress lining stuff that seems to be on virtually every nice sundress I owned before getting here is MISERABLE during August, September, and most of October) and a nice cocktail dress for Darden prom. 
7.) Do a little bit of sight-seeing.  Hit up Monticello or Ash Lawn-Highland!  Explore Richmond or DC if you aren't from this area!  Visit a winery!  Check out my posts here (at the bottom) and here to see what I've done with guests recently.  Put together a list of things you want to do (with information and websites and whatnot) that you can consult without spending a lot of time if you have friends or family visiting from out of town.
8.) Take some time to make sure all of your personal paperwork and information is organized and neatly filed before you start school.  I'm talking bank statements (if you still get paper copies), old paystubs, copies of last year's taxes, any medical records you may have, insurance documents, financial aid materials, copies of written recommendations from prior employers, etc.  Basically anything you may need to consult at some point in the next 9 months and don't want to waste precious time scrambling around finding.  It may seem silly now, but it could be super-helpful later.  If you did this before you moved, good for you.  If you just threw everything in a box that you plan to stash in a corner of your new apartment, go back and read the last three sentences again. 
9.) Try to get in the habit of going to the gym as soon as North Grounds will let you in (or start taking a regular run/bike).  If you don't make this a part of your routine very early, it becomes much, much more easy to justify never doing it.  I think I went to North Grounds a total of 5 times all year.  Not good, folks, not good. 
10.) Get sleep.  I know you'll want to go out and meet people and check out the local bars at the Corner, but don't start the school year sleep deprived.  Honestly.  Just don't.

Naturally, you don't have to take my advice on the above, and I'm sure other folks have different advice entirely.  However, I learned a lot of this the hard way, and if I can keep anyone else from making the same mistake(s) I did, I'll consider it my good deed of the day.  UVa also has a Graduate Guide that can be helpful (but I find it kind of hit or miss).  If you have specific questions or concerns, don't hesitate to email me at  Good luck!

The Hotel LegalMBAyhem

Every few months, as I'm writing my rent check, I think to myself, "Hmmmm...I could be saving so much money if I had a roommate!"  Then I realize that a.) I could also be spending a lot more money if I lived in another city/town/hamlet or even elsewhere in Charlottesville and b.) I really do love my apartment.  Particularly the fact that I have both a guest room and a guest bath, which makes hosting whole passels of family and friends from out of town very easy and enjoyable.  The weekend of my second big jam-making fest, (two weekends ago), my parents were in Cville, and this weekend, my friends and college sorority sisters M and T flew in from Boston and NYC, respectively.  For both of them, it was their first trip to the 'ville, so we made sure to pack in a lot of fun.  Luckily, the weather gods decided that Charlottesville has suffered through sufficient 100+ degree weekends, so it was gorgeous on Saturday and in the 70's and lower 80's all weekend. 

M flew into Cville's wee small airport late on Thursday night, so she spent Friday doing some work and chilling in my apartment while I went to the office, and in the afternoon, we drove to Richmond to pick up T from RIC.  M had put in a request for good barbecued southern meat products for dinner, so we stopped at Alamo BBQ before jumping back on the highway.  Very, very tasty pulled pork, and scrumptious jalapeno mac and cheese!  Then, we schlepped back to Cville along one of the most boring and uneventful stretches of highway I have experienced with any sort of regularity.  Naturally, the boring car ride made us hungry again, so we stopped for Arch's frozen yogurt (a Charlottesville institution) before making it home and spending the rest of the evening catching up. 

Saturday was a whirlwind of planned activities.  We got up early to try the breakfast tacos at Beer Run and then drove to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.  They've actually added a new tour that (for an additional fee, of course) lets you do the original house tour and then a "behind the scenes" tour of the second and third floors of the house, including the family rooms and Dome Room.  We wandered around a little bit before and after our schedule tours and then headed down the mountain past TJ's grave.   I've been to Monticello a few times (both with S last August before school started and with the 'rents in April), so I've got a bunch of pictures I haven't posted anywhere else, and I might as well post them here:

Looks like the back of a nickel, huh?
The crowning moment of my photography career, right here, folks.

The hazy view from the mountain
Flowers along the path this spring

More flowers in the garden

View over the terraced gardens, which had tiny little plants in April and a jungle of produce in August

I love daffodils


Another shot of the "West Front"

Gorgeous budding trees in April

Yes, I could totally live here

The deer that greeted us on Saturday when we stepped off the shuttle

This is what happens to an artichoke if you don't drown it in butter and eat it first

T was scared of the naturally I needed to take a picture of this vicious creature
After Monticello, we grabbed a late lunch at the historical Michie Tavern (yep, totally touristy, but you've got to try it once) and then spent the afternoon doing wine tastings at Jefferson Vineyards, Blenheim Vineyards (owned by Dave, he wasn't there, and much to our disappointment, none of the bottles magically started playing "Ants Marching" when you took out the cork), and Kluge Estate Winery & Vineyards.  On the way back towards town, we drove by Carter Mountain Orchard, where we picked up some peaches (for me) and some peach cider donuts (for T).  Carter Mountain also happens to have a wine tasting room that offers $2 tastings of Prince Michel  wines, including some made from Carter Mountain fruit, with the proceeds going to charity, so of course we had to try that, too.  Duh.  When we finally made it home, we decided to spend the evening in with a Redbox DVD (which we never watched) and take-out Indian and some more wine, and H and J (local friends) came over to join us for a bit. 

On Sunday, I made breakfast (mmmm....blueberry pancakes...mmmm), then T and I dropped off M at the Cville airport, picked up sandwiches at Bellair Market, and drove to King Family Vineyards hoping to catch one of the Sunday afternoon polo matches (I'd gone with C, K, and H to the Pink Ribbon Polo match in June when it was a million degrees outside - random token photos from that below, last one of us talking to the player courtesy of C.  Note my ability to find an appropriate and color-coordinated polo hat.).  Unfortunately, the match had been cancelled due to rain the night before (and drizzle that morning), but we did a tasting and then sat outside on the patio enjoying our tasty sandwiches and the beautiful views.  Then it was back to RIC to drop off T, and the Hotel MBAyhem cleaning staff had to start doing laundry and re-making beds. 

The power of the interwebs

Like most bloggers with a little bit of free time and some curiousity on their hands, I occasionally take a few minutes to check and see if people have been visiting my little corner of the internet world.  I think it's neat to see where my readers live, and as Darden has publicized my blog, other sites have referred readers to it, too.  I've also done some shameless self-promotion by tying a blog feed into my Facebook status updates and adding my site to Hella's List and the Clear Admit business and law blog lists (and thanks for the two shout-outs in Fridays from the Frontlines a couple weeks ago, folks!).  After all, my reasons for starting this blog were three-fold: first, I wanted to keep family and friends "in the loop" while I vanished into the deep, dark depths of Charlottesville; second, I wanted to provide a perspective on student life as a JD/MBA student at UVa for those who are also considering UVa and/or a dual degree; and third, I needed a forum to vent periodically.  So, with the exception of the third reason (which is mostly for my mental health and frankly cheaper than paying for therapy would be), promoting my blog and linking it to Facebook helps me achieve my goals for Legal MBAyhem. 

Today, as I was perusing "Recent Visitor 'Came From' Activity" and "Keyword Search" information in StatCounter,  I realized that it is almost creepy how quickly even a relatively small and largely inconsequential blog can spread through the "interwebs."  (Thank you, Al Gore.  Just kidding!)  That realization led me to do some Google searching of my own - for my name (including nicknames, since I use my full name and shortened name pretty much interchangeably now), my blog's name, and various combinations of "Virginia Law," my name, "Legal MBAyhem," and "Darden."  Obviously, I expected my posts to show up at some point when I searched for Virginia Law and Darden, and I know that Darden posts my name in connection with this blog.  When I last Google-searched my name during the recruiting season, the only forum in which my name and my blog were publicly associated was through Darden.  However, when I searched for my name today, I got all sorts of links to this blog.   While I don't have a big problem with that (hey, I chose to post in a public forum, anyone who knows me knows that my online persona is a direct reflection of my real-life persona, and if a business or law firm chooses not to hire me because of something I posted here, that is their perogative), I did notice that 1.) the number of websites that aggregate all sorts of information and then try to link it to keyword searches for goodness knows what junk is OUT OF CONTROL; and 2.) a lot of people and sites seem simply to have done away with good blog etiquette (by which I mean referring to someone who runs a fairly anonymous blog by the name of their blog/online persona (e.g., referring to me as "Legal MBAyhem" or "UVAJDMBA2013"), not by whatever name you were able to uncover for them somewhere else).

So the whole searching process got me to thinking about blogs and the internet and anonymity and whatnot.  I don't slap my name all over this blog primarily because I don't want to deal with total creeps and obnoxious people using that information for some nefarious purpose.  After I go (back) into business or become an attorney, I also don't necessarily need potential clients and co-counsel or coworkers reading all of my blog posts when they Google search my name.  I also generally try to keep my blog free of specific, attributable references to otherwise innocent people or companies who may not be thrilled about the fact that I am blogging about them.  For instance, I refer to my last major employer as "The Consulting Firm That Shall Not Be Named,"  I refer to most friends (except those who also blog and use their first names to do so) by their initials or some other moniker, and there are some subjects and people I just don't blog about (yes, I have an  "I need to have a ring on my hand to blog about a man" policy). 

But of course there is a tension between keeping part of my life shrouded in mystery and anonymity and being open and honest about my experiences, thoughts, and feelings as I work through Darden and UVa Law.  Anyone who knows me (including many of my classmates) will be able to "undisguise" my disguising and concealing efforts.  In my mind, that's fine - if you actually know me AND you read my blog, you will obviously know more about the topics about which I post than the average person who stumbles across this blog inadvertently.  If you actually know me, I've probably told you a good bit more about me than I post here.  Naturally, you should "know" someone you've actually met better than someone you've only "met" online. 

On the other hand, some people have periodically accused the Darden Student Bloggers of offering a biased or censured perspective of Darden and the student experience here.  For the record, Darden has absolutely zero authority to tell me about what I should blog or not blog; we bloggers make all those decisions on our own (I have no idea if the law school knows that I blog or if they particularly care).  Sure, if I started posting daily Darden-bashing entries, they might stop linking to my blog off of their Admissions page...but the ocassional Darden-critical post certainly makes it through, with a direct link from   I can't speak for the other bloggers, but for me, my decision not to post some more critical things about Darden, certain people, life, etc. stems more from a personal desire not to air all of my own dirty laundry and to avoid preserving in perpetuity on the internet my fleeting displeasures with some experiences or individuals.  Everyone has bad days or makes mistakes; I don't feel the need to immortalize all of those - either mine or others' -  here.   I do periodically rant, and those of you who read my Cannes post will see that sometimes, I certainly do articulate my "beefs" with others.  I try to only do so when I am a.) attempting to keep my head from exploding or b.) after I've thought long and hard about it and think that someone else reading this blog may actually benefit in some teeny tiny way from my 100% honest perspective about some particularly unpleasant experience or encounter. 

Anyway....I think I started writing this post with a totally different idea of where it would go, but here's where it's ended up.  Just my random musings, I guess.  I might as well post it, since I've spent the time typing it, right?