April 1 is a dangerous date. It’s a day when punking people becomes the national sport. It’s not just traditional pranksters like College Humor marking the holiday. Law firms and law schools have been getting in on the fun today as well.
Shortly after your ATL editors got back from lunch, we got an alarmed email from a Columbia Law student, upset about Columbia’s plan to block some popular websites starting Monday:
From: Student Senate
Date: Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 14:25
Subject: Selective Website Blocking
When the Dean’s Advisory Committee addressed the Senate last month, it conveyed the faculty’s concern regarding student inattention and declining participation in class. The consensus among professors is that in-class Internet use is the primary cause.
Yesterday, we were informed that IT will begin blocking access to certain Internet sites inside the Law School’s three main buildings, while classes are meeting. Selective site blocking is scheduled to begin Monday morning. Among the 2-3 dozen sites affected are Facebook, Gmail and Above the Law. Others may be added later.
A full list of these sites is available at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/law/senate/siteblocking.html. We’ll update this page as more information becomes available…
We’re honored to be part of that Holy Trifecta of websites, though Elie was initially quite upset at Columbia — until he visited the linked website and “got Rick-rolled for the first time in years.” Judging from the flood of emails we’ve gotten, he’s far from the only one.
An M&A partner at Weil sent out a firm-wide email this morning about a new tradition for retiring partners. The subject was “Retirement of Attorney Numbers”:
In addition to its other duties, The Selection Panel has been tasked by the Management Committee with selecting partners for the honor of retiring their attorney numbers – so that no other attorney will ever be permitted to use it.
This singular and unique honor will be bestowed first on the partners listed below, and representative time slips from the honorees will be permanently posted in the New York Dining Room in a special area akin to Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. Each honoree will also receive a gold lapel pin in the shape of their number.
Jesse D. Wolff 6
R. Todd Lang 10
Ira M. Millstein 11
Harvey Miller 20
We ask you please to join us in congratulating our first honorees at a ceremony tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 in the Dining Room. We also solicit your suggestions for additional honorees to be recognized for their contributions to the firm.
Please send an RSVP today (so we can get a count for refreshments) for tomorrow’s ceremony to email@example.com.
Please also use the same email address for suggestions for additional honorees for the next round.
We imagine Weil associates must have quickly realized this was an April Fools’ joke, since none of the partners wanted to be #1.
Meanwhile, Yale also upset some of its students with this cerebral prank:
To: All Students
From: Student Representatives
Re: Writing Requirement Policy Update
Date: April 1, 2010
In light of the current economic climate, and in response to new educational initiatives at other law schools, changes to the law school writing requirements are being implemented for the Fall 2010 term. A faculty committee has been regularly consulting with the student representatives regarding these changes.
These new requirements will serve to distinguish our graduates in the increasingly competitive job market, and will ensure that Yale Law School remains the premier institution for future legal academics.
The changes to the writing requirements are as follows:
1. All papers will be subject to minimum length requirements. All papers receiving Substantial credit must be a minimum of 15,000 words, and all papers receiving Supervised Analytic Writing credit must be a minimum of 25,000 words. These length requirements will ensure that students fully explore the normative and theoretical aspects of their topics and do not confine themselves to mere doctrinal analysis.
2. In order to create greater uniformity in faculty oversight of papers, and to foster increased student-faculty contact, each SAW paper must be supervised by a committee of three faculty members.
3. Each student will be required to make an oral defense of his or her SAW before a committee of senior faculty. Students may choose whether these defenses are open to the Yale Law school community.
Please note that while these new requirements will not apply to students graduating this term, they will apply to all students as of the Fall 2010 term. Returning students who have already submitted their SAW or Substantial will be required to revise and resubmit their papers in order to conform to the new requirements.
By providing for a more rigorous writing experience, these new requirements will improve the ability of our graduates to compete with graduates of other law schools, and will thus ultimately make law school a less stressful, more community focused environment.
This memorandum provides a broad sketch of the coming changes. More detailed requirements will follow in the weeks ahead. Although we do not anticipate any problems with this new system, please direct any comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Your Student Reps
In keeping with the schools’ reputations, Yale’s practical joke was a bit dry in comparison to Columbia’s. Rather than outrage, a student who sent it to us says it “generated a lot of discussion and consternation.”
In our opinion, the best April Fools’ jokes have a reveal in them.
What did your friends and colleagues do to punk you today?