Sunday, January 30, 2011

Yale Service Tours - Yale Alumni Travel Programs, Community Development, Volunteer Work

Every time I get the typical Yale Travel brochure, my reaction is the same.  These people do not get me.  At all.  I do not have three weeks to float down the Danube discussing German literature.  I do not have two weeks to cruise the Aegean Sea with a Yale professor who will explain everything to me.  And, even if I had that kind of time, I certainly can’t spend the $75,000 it would cost to take my family on such a trip.  These brochures make me nuts. 

A few months back, though, I received an e-mail about a different kind of Yale Travel program.  This one was interesting to me.  The Yale Service Tours are more manageable trips . . . with one this year scheduled for our kids’ Spring Break.  So, our son Tyler and I are going to give one of these trips a try.  I am excited about it.  And, nervous.  Mostly excited, though.  We’ve been assigned to the Education Team, which means we will be working in a school.  I will let you know how it goes.

Yale Service Tours - Yale Alumni Travel Programs, Community Development, Volunteer Work

Feb Club

Once again, the Class of 1987 has launched Feb Club Emeritus. Beginning on Tuesday, we will have about 80 parties, with at least one on every continent. Thanks to Jordan Warshaw for his leadership on this.

Visit for more information about the events near you!

Amy Chua’s ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ - Review -

Now, Amy Chua’s new book doesn’t really have anything to do with the Class of 1987 . . . except that many of us are raising children.  I wonder how many of us are Tiger Mothers or Tiger Fathers, the way Amy Chua has defined these roles.  Or, are we the softer, Westernized parents she chides? 

I wonder, as we shuttle our children from lesson to lesson, whether we are kindler, gentler versions of the driven mother Chua describes herself to be, or whether we are something different.  Most of the people I discussed this with rejected what they understood Chua to be advocating.  However, as I read her book (sitting at a swim meet and a chess tournament), I wondered.  We want our children to succeed and we encourage them to do well (very well) in school.  In fact, we expect it.  Is that so very different from what Chua says she wants for her children?

What kind of parent are you?

Amy Chua’s ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ - Review -

Jay Carney, Yale Class of 1987, is named White House press secretary

As you might have heard, one of our classmates has just been named White House press secretary.  Way to go Jay! 

Best of luck with the job!

Jay Carney, former journalist, is named White House press secretary

What 'Modern Family' says about modern comedy -

Some interesting observations from classmate Bruce Feiler about Modern Family . . .

What 'Modern Family' says about modern comedy -

Science behind a smile probed - Science -

Check out a recent article by Carl Zimmer regarding the science behind smiling.  Very interesting!

Science behind a smile probed - Science -

A message from Ray Gallo about student debt

On Friday I created a petition entitled Student Loans Should be Dischargeable in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, because I care deeply about this important issue­ based on my personal efforts on behalf of thousands of low-income vocational school students. (These particular students were sold training by a for profit vocational school where---in my opinion---both the school and the banks knew the training wouldn’t pay for itself even in meaningful part. Why would they do that? The school got cash, including our tax dollars in the form of federal grant money. Some of the student loans were federally guaranteed. And the banks securitized the rest--- locking in a nice profit.)

It is a great irony that under current law a U.S. resident can consume luxury goods on credit, file for bankruptcy and pay only what he or she is capable of paying toward the charges (for good social policy reasons), but if in seeking a better life you consume educational services on credit and cannot pay the tab, or if you co co-sign for someone else’s educational loans and neither of you can pay---a situation many well intentioned parents now find themselves in---you are insolvent for life. This rule makes no sense.

I'm trying to collect 10,000,000 signatures to restart legislation that’s been pending in Congress but is languishing. I could really use your help. A little effort in a good cause can go a long way these days. Please read, consider, and sign my petition, and please ask a few friends to take one minute to sign it and promote it as well.

To read just a little more about what I'm trying to do and to sign my petition, click here:
It'll just take a minute!

Once you're done, again, please ask your friends to sign the petition link and the word as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you and I are willing to spread the word.



Ray E. Gallo


1101 5th Avenue, Suite 205

San Rafael, CA 94901

Bruce Feiler gives a Ted Talk

Check out Bruce Feiler's recent Ted Talk, from

What would you tell a Junior at Yale?

The Junior Class Council at Yale has launched a series of career panels, which will feature alums from various fields discussing their work and how to enter their line of work. The first of these panels is on February 3 and will be featuring successful Yale lawyers . . . and me.

So, what would you tell a Yale Junior about his or her future career path. Here are my draft top 10 rules for career success:

1. Law school is not a place to find yourself.

Go to law school if you have a reason to go. Do not go to law school as a default because you don't know what else to do. So, decide what person you want to be before you go to law school

2. If you go to law school, be prepared to do the work.

For good or bad, the main gating mechanism in the legal profession is the review of grades. Grades matter. A lot. Much more, in fact, than any other professional experience you might get from an internship or a job.

3. Big law firms are not for everyone.

I work at a big law firm. Many of my best friends work at big law firms. They can be great. But, they are not for everyone. Figure out, as best you can, whether a big firm is for you before you go to one.

4. Work at becoming a good lawyer.

Many people work at becoming partner once they enter the legal profession. That is a bad move. Work at becoming a good lawyer. Good lawyers always have work. If you become a good lawyer, the rest will take care of itself.

5. Marry someone smarter than you.

This is a good idea, generally, and applies even if a traditional marriage is not the route you take. Surround yourself with people who are smart. And, if you have followed this rule, you should follow the corollary -- listen to your spouse/significant other/friends.

6. Call your mother.

Your parents are smarter and more insightful than you think they are. Call them. Seek their advice. Listen to them. They know what they are talking about more than you might think.

7. Read.

Law is a people profession. You need insight into people's motivations. You need to know history. This is also a writing profession. The best lawyers are great writers.

So, read to get understanding. Read to learn from great writers. History. Fiction. Poetry. Biographies. Essays. Whatever. Read.

8. Fight for something

Being a lawyer, or a Yale graduate for that matter, doesn't mean much if you don't fight for something. Pick a battle. Fight it.

9. Aim high, but remain humble.

All too often, I see young lawyers enter the profession with the attitude that they should be arguing before the Supreme Court . . . right now. That is a huge mistake. First, they need to learn to be advocates. Second, their impatience often alienates colleagues and impedes their progress. The best lawyers I have known, some of whom are considered the best of their generation, remain humble, while takling the biggest cases of our time. That is critical to being a success.

10. Get to know your classmates.

You are in the most diverse, intellectually alive group you will ever know. Get to know your classmates. They will write books, be judges, make movies, run companies, raise children, overcome unbelievable obstacles, make important scientific discoveries, change the world, be your friend. Spend the next year or so really getting to know them. Not because they might be able to help you get a job. Get to know them because your lives will be better because they are part of it.

Any other thoughts? Please share.

Sorry, it has been a while . . .

Life has been somewhat hectic during the last few months, so I have had little time to post to the class blog. My apologies. Work, the holidays, four kids and Feb Club have taken up a huge part of my time. Hopefully, with things getting a little calmer, I will be able to more actively post to the class blog.

What have you been up to? Any news? Please, please share!