Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Power is back. No more complaining about Katrina. Especially in light of the havoc she is unleashing now in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Monday, August 29, 2005

power hungry

Day four without power. I’m afraid my house might be in the 10 percent.

I know, I know. It could be much, much worse. I could be in New Orleans.

Still, this is getting miserable. It feels like my house has become a closet. An unventilated closet. Good for nothing but stopping by and picking up my clothes, then getting out of there. Dark, too. And hot.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

no more Katrina

So the campus did not do too well. In fact all of Coral Gables didn’t do so well in Katrina. Trees downed everywhere. Including some of the really BIG ones. The ones that have been there forever. A huge lightpole crashed down on the bricks but conveniently is kind of out of the way of everything. Small trees and parts of trees are everywhere on campus. It looked like three guys with one chainsaw were responsible for all the clean up (well, I only saw three guys. I’m sure there were others—I just found it odd that this campus has a maintenance staff the size of a small African country’s army and I only saw three of them today whereas usually you can’t walk 20 feet without running into a battalion of them doing some kind of fixup work). When I drove to campus this morning I had to zig zag all over the place because roads in Coral Gables were blocked by fallen trees.

Meanwhile, let me ask you this? Where were you at 6 p.m. Thursday night when the brunt of Katrina was smacking us in the gut? I was at home. Most people in South Florida were at home. But apparently there were people here in class until 5:30 p.m. because the school wasn’t shutting down until 6 p.m. Good planning! Last time they closed for two days for a couple drops of rain and for a couple days on a weekend for absolutely nothing. So this time they figure they’ll err on the other side. It was bad at 5:30 on Thursday night. I’m glad I wasn’t here because my last class was over at 12:20. Yes I realize hurricanes are erratic and this one was supposed to hit 30 miles to the north but someone dropped the ball on this one.

And fortunately, the folks who run the law library have their priorities straight. Posted on the door today is a sign what I’m pretty sure wasn’t there before the storm reminding us not to eat in the library and that they’re cracking down on people eating and drinking except from sealed containers. Jesus. Give it a rest already.

Oh yeah...approaching the 48-hour mark without power. It seems like it's been a lot longer. Unfortunately my neighbor bought a generator. It's loud. Damn loud. Incredibly loud. Jerk. (yeah, I'm jealous. Of course. I wish I had a generator).

Friday, August 26, 2005

oh, katrina

Huh. It’s much worse than I thought. I mean I’m still fine and my house suffered nothing other than small trees downed and a crashed light pole in the backyard….but I drove around the neighborhood and it does not look pretty out there. Down the street a neighbor’s SUV was split in half when a streetlight pole fell on it. Not good. Lots of the massive trees are down although I only saw a couple on houses. My neighbor lost part of his carport roof and all of his insulation from his attic (much of which ended up on my lawn).

Downed power lines are everywhere. I drove over several. That didn’t seem like a good idea, I know, but I was following someone. I slowed down in case he got electrocuted. I was all set to back up and go another way. But he drove over it and was fine. So I did, too. I drove around a few that weren’t down but were sort of fallen so low and angled where you’d be decapitated if you walked straight into one. They are everywhere in my neighborhood. I predicted Tuesday before the power is back. At the earliest. It almost makes me wish I was a retired grandparent because my grandparents’ power came back on this morning.

Good thing I have a lot of work to do because I may as well move into the library starting tomorrow at 10 a.m.…

The other good news is that since the power will be out for a long time, I’m grilling tonight. Why not? Nothing else to do. And whatever meat was in the freezer won’t last much longer.

I just wish I could buy ice. I like ice. Ice is important to me. Cold water.

All in all, I know we’re lucky (but I can still complain a little since this is my blog and there's nothing else going on to blog about). I see that Kat (can I call her Kat?) is turning into a category 4 when it hits the Gulf Coast. That sucks. Big time. It’s just not fun at all living on the Florida Panhandle. (for lots of reasons, not limited to the neverending hurricanes, but especially because of the neverending hurricanes...

I wish I was in Minneapolis this weekend for the big party. I'll be there next weekend though that particular party will be over...

bye, Kat

We were lucky. Downed trees in our yard. Only the small ones though. A downed light pole in the backyard. Lots of shingles from the new roof in the yard.

But nothing too serious. Some of the neighbors have massive trees in their front yards so that's not good.

Power is still out. It’s getting muggy…

Thursday, August 25, 2005

More on Katrina

So now it's a hurricane.

If you’re reading this and you’re not in South Florida, here’s something you might like to know: Hurricanes – specifically the build up until the storm hits – are incredibly boring. I’m sitting at home waiting for the electricity to go out. The fridge and freezer are on the coldest setting and there’s plenty of water (and beer) in the fridge. So I’m just studying. Well, I’m trying to study. I got a ton of work done last year during the 5-day hurricane weekend. It’s hard to concentrate. You can’t go anywhere because, everything’s closed and where would you go? I know some bars are open but that doesn't interest me...

And watching too much of those helmet-heads on TV blabbing about the storm is not good for your mental stability…

Katrina, part II

Katrina is still a tropical storm. But it sure is windy.

I'm sure my house will lose power. It always seems to lose power when it gets windy. If a little darkness and humidity and being really hot is the worst thing that happens to me, I have no complaints.

I have lived in Miami for a little over a year. So I went through last year's hurricane season which sucked but did not affect where I lived so compared with people who have actually been affected by a hurricane was mostly just hype.

It's impossible to avoid hurricane-related news during the build-up to a hurricane. So I'm a little sick of hearing about Hurricane Andrew, which hit Miami in 1992 (I was visiting my grandparents in Ft. Lauderdale right before it hit. My plane took off hours before the airport closed, so I was lucky). I know Andrew was hell unleashed. I know it was supposed to hit north and then hit Homestead. I know some people were without power for four months. I know my current neighbors were without power for 27 days. I know it was utter devastation and entire neighborhoods were flattened and never repaired (people moved to Broward instead of rebuilding). I know the law school was shut down for two weeks or so. OK. I get it. It was a nightmare. Awful. Enough already.

Hurricane Katrina

Mother nature can be a bitch.

Yesterday morning I saw a double rainbow when I got to school. That was cool.

And now this.

Hey Katrina: go somewhere else.

(I once knew someone named Katrina—she was bald. I always thoght she looked strange).

Classes are cancelled on Friday! Woo-hoo! Oh wait. I don’t have any classes on Friday…

Better this weekend than next weekend when I (and lots of other people) am going out of town for the long weekend...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

all class

Professor Evidence likes to jump on desks. Fine. Whatever. It's better than the profs who drone on in monotone. It's hard enough to pay attention for two hours so if he walks around jumps up on the desks that's good. It’s funny to think about other professors jumping on desks. Many would probably die trying. Not sure about his class yet. I thought taking Evidence would be like being in a Law & Order episode. Not so much.

Professor Civ Pro II is older than my grandmother. Seriously. She graduated from college in 1947 and from law school in 1951. That’s incredible. She looks that old but (after only one day) if you weren’t looking at her you’d have no idea she was so old. Seems sharp as any of the other faculty members. For what that's worth. She used the word “daffy” in the first class…something about people saying things that drive her “daffy.” Funny.

Professor Business Associations was professor summer school. He’s the same. He loves to hear himself talk. (But is there any law professor who doesn't love to hear himself or herself talk? That's why you become a law professor, right?) Is nice enough though. Won’t bother to learn anyone’s name. Doesn’t care if you read or show up. Wants us to read 60 pages for every class but admits we won’t get to that much material so why bother, right? (he told me he’s shooting for the 30th to turn in his grades for summer school. With only 35 exams to grade he’s taking the full five weeks. I hate to see how long it takes to grade the BA exams. But for now, who cares...I'm not worried about it. I'm not complaining. I'm just saying...)

Professor Legal Research…not sure if she’s considered a professor since she’s a librarian. But she’s solid. I know her already. I think I’m the only 2L in that class. Or one of only a few. I didn’t recognize anyone in there. I mean not one person even looked vaguely familiar, which was a strange feeling. But I’m terrible with names and faces and recognizing people so I shouldn’t be surprised. But compared with my other three classes where I recognized at least two-thirds or more it was a contrast…

Monday, August 22, 2005

outlines for sale?

The other day I noticed someone posted an ad on a bulletin board selling notes and case charts for Elements. I think it was about $20. I hope no 1L gets suckered into buying this guy’s notes and case charts. Why? Because plenty of 2Ls and 3Ls will give you them for free (including me). Just ask. Make sure you’re getting an outline from someone who had the same professor and used the same book as you.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

foreign follies? what?

Bricklayer has an unusual – and provocative – post in which he discusses the large number of foreign students here and their overall contributions to this law school.

I agree that in general, people find foreigners exotic; this isn’t limited to Americans. I ‘ve lived abroad and traveled extensively and often found that people want to talk to me because I looked and talked differently. Also, it seems natural to me to be interested in someone who views the world from a different perspective because his views are shaped by the circumstances in which he grew up, which differed from mine. And I hate to defend the faculty, but if I’m a teacher who gives the same lecture, uh, Socratic lesson, year after year, I’d welcome a little argument from someone whose parents grew up under communism or who is already an attorney in Venezuala or the Phillippines or just has a different perspective.

But I find it astounding that in Bricklayer’s classes over the past two years, only one foreigner has ever raised his hand. (By the way, I’m curious if his definition of foreigners includes anyone with Hispanic heritage. South Florida is practically a suburb of Central America, so a Cuban-American or Venezuelan or Nicaraguan here is only a foreigner as a technicality). Plenty of foreigners were in my section and classes last year and (I’m thinking of one in particular who asked a LOT of questions) they contributed just as much as anyone else. Or just as little, in some cases. The point being that in class it was impossible for me to distinguish among who was foreign and who wasn’t, other than by the accent.

As to his point that they congregate amongst themselves on the Bricks, well, I think Bricklayer might benefit from looking in the mirror. I don’t know who Bricklayer is, but I’m guessing he hangs out on the Bricks with his friends. They might be a diverse group or different than he is, but they nevertheless are people with whom he finds something in common. So if you’re Cuban and you congregate with other Cubans I’m not sure how that’s even noteworthy.

Finally, and I hate to sound like I learned something in law school, but diversity is important in education, and in general, in our world. (Even the Supreme Court thinks diversity counts!) It’s hard to believe that Bricklayer really doubts that globalization of society is here to stay. Do people out there hate Americans? Yes. Of course. But are we turning to isolationism as a result? Um, not exactly.

Friday, August 19, 2005

No dogs allowed

So I picked up my Evidence syllabus and supplement.

On the bottom of the first page of the packet under the “Course Policies” section it says: “You might think this could go without saying but no pets.”


Maybe not so funny. Someone brought their dog to Public Interest Law last year. I bet that person was in one of Professor Evidence’s classes last semester. Why else would a professor feel the need to tell people not to bring pets to class?

Because, to me it kind of does go without saying that unless you’re blind, you shouldn’t bring your dog to class…

Thursday, August 18, 2005


This just in: Some law students are interesting people!

The professor was assigned to a table at this year's Dean's Dinner (all 1Ls and faculty are invited; I think it might be mandatory for 1Ls) and in his group of students, several had unique backgrounds. It is difficult to read tone into a blog post, but the professor appears to be pleasantly surprised (stunned?) to discover that some 1Ls he met at the Dean’s Dinner are interesting people who have done interesting things before coming to law school.

It’s no wonder he is surprised. Professors here seem rarely take the time to get to know more than a handful of students. (By the way, this is not a criticism of the good professor (because I might take his class one day and he helped me out last spring when I needed boxes (and his curve rocks!))).

This is a large school so it’s not practical for professors to get to know everyone and students to bond with professors but I’ve always wondered why the faculty is so isolated from the students. Think about it: they work in the library, but they have their own private entrance and stairway so they never have to associate with the students. (Actually anyone can use their stairs but it’s right by their entrance so why would you use it if you didn’t come in through the faculty entrance? I didn’t know they had their own stairs for at least the first two months I was here last year).

I have been told that professors interact more with 2Ls and 3Ls than 1Ls. Nothing seemed different about professor-student interaction in summer school when I guess I was already a 2L but I’ll find out whether things are different starting next week. Somehow I doubt it.

I don’t know – I don’t expect much. I don’t think all my professors should be required to learn my name. Or where I’m from. Or what I did before law school. But it seems like this law school could establish more opportunities for student-faculty interaction. Sure, students are busy and so are professors. Surely though, they could build in some interaction in between the Dean’s Dinner and graduation.

Hmmm…come to think of it, maybe I should be careful what I wish for…

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

back in the saddle

Back from vacation. First class is in five days. Not dreading it but not ecstatic, either…

Got some good news while on vacation: I got a part-time job. That’s cool. Experience the legal world; something different from what I did over the summer. Money is good. I don’t mean that this job pays good money. I mean money itself is good and it’s good to have a tiny bit of money coming in. The job pays about what most part-time law clerk jobs pay…

Got some other good news, too. That was surprising. More on that later…

This is my second summer in Miami but I’m still amazed at how fucking hot it is. It says the heat index is currently 100. I beg to differ. It feels like about 475. I know, because when I stepped out of the airport it felt like I was walking into a preheated oven. Damn…

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

get a job!

I need a part-time job. I interviewed for two jobs posted on the Career Placement Center web site and got rejected from one and haven’t heard from the other.

Sometimes it looks like the CPC is posting good jobs that are begging to be filled by a student here. A firm in Miami or Coral Gables or Hollywood or Boca is hiring a clerk. Sounds like a good fit for a law student here. So the CPC can be a useful resource.

Other times, I see these postings and ask: WTF? Is anyone home at the CPC?

To wit: yesterday three jobs were posted that made no sense.

First was an internship in the spring semester with the U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Minnesota. Yes, that makes sense. Many students will commute from Florida to Minneapolis. Right. I guess it’s conceivable that someone will take a leave of absence to go work there for a semester, but shouldn’t that be a separate category from the jobs for current students seeking part-time employment?

Next was a job as “Microcomputer Analyst Level II” for the 7th Judicial Circuit in Florida. (running the computers for the court up there). Huh? Why is this posted on the “clerk” section of the web site? Is this the kind of job I’m supposed to be chasing when I graduate? Is this a joke? It’s a tech support job. Nothing wrong with working in tech support, of course, but why is this posted in a law school career center site?

Finally, JP Morgan Chase is seeking a compliance officer. The office is in New York City. Um, that’s not a part-time job for a law student at this school. It involves “legal research” so maybe it’s a job for an attorney or law student but this is not helpful.

I’m not even really trying to be critical because I think the CPC does some useful things. But as a student here, I find this to be frustrating and kind of embarrassing that this is what we get for $90,000...


I finished the casenote. That’s good. Turning it in tomorrow morning. That’ll be a load off. What a crappy process. Good thing they use blind grading numbers so no one doing the judging will connect my complaints (ok, whining, but it’s all over now) here with my casenote…

I noticed they’ve already posted the assignments for some classes. None of my professors have posted assignments yet. That’s good. Not that I’d be starting homework already but I just don’t want to have to think about it yet. And even though I wouldn’t be doing any work, if they’d posted my assignments I’d be thinking I should do them. My first class is still 13 days away...

I did buy my books the other day. I figured I’d beat the rush. I bought new books and spent half the amount I spent first semester of last year. That’s cool. I was smart (brilliant!) to save my Civ Pro books since Civ Pro II uses the same books.

It’s been exactly two weeks since the summer school final. Is it way too soon to be checking for grades?

Going on vacation so not much blogging for a few days …

Monday, August 08, 2005

spam=not good

anyone know how to stop spammers from making comments?

Take my advice and uh, you know...

Here’s my advice for 1Ls at this school. I’m not that smart (if I were smarter, I wouldn’t be doing the write-on competition—I would have been invited to walk-on) but I was extremely stressed out last year at this time, and I survived it. So take the advice for what it’s worth.

1. Go to Dean’s Fellows. DFs are 2Ls or 3Ls who took your class last year or the year before and got an A. They’re not necessarily the smartest people in law school but they have figured it out. They know what it takes to succeed in law school and in most cases they mastered the way your prof teaches. I had 7 DFs last semester. Four were terrific. Two were fine. One was awful, but I still went because occasionally the DF would throw out a useful nugget. Use the DFs as a resource. They’re doing the DF job because they want to help you. Take advantage.

2. Don’t let Elements get you down. It is the bane of many 1L’s existence. Understand that you’re not supposed to really get it from the beginning. For most people, it starts to come together at the end. Don’t panic about Butler v. Wolf Sussman. Read it. Then read it again. Then one more time. Then don’t sweat it. It’s not supposed to make sense after one case. Elements is a process.

3. Eat at Subway as infrequently as possible. If you can avoid it, eat somewhere else or bring your lunch. You’ll end up eating plenty of meals at Subway and you’ll get sick of it soon so avoid it whenever possible.

4. Join lots of clubs and go to lots of lectures. Most serve pizza. That’s a free lunch.

5. If you start a blog, don’t use your real name. Use a pseudonym. Like Klio or Lawfool or Tortious intereference.

6. Don’t be a gunner. People hate gunners. There’s a clear line between being the guy who talks a lot because he answers the prof’s questions and the guy who has a “What if…” question and anecdote for every case and who argues constantly with the prof. Don’t be That Guy.

7. Start outlining early. It makes exam time more tolerable. But not too early. The point of outlining is to get a general overview of what’s important in the class. You can’t do that for at least a month, maybe six weeks or so.

8. Do not get stressed about the midterm exam. This school has an odd tradition: It gives all 1Ls one midterm – you’re randomly assigned to take it in one of your classes. You get written feedback from the prof, but no grade. The prof will never know who wrote it because you use blind grading numbers and they’re handed back with blind grading numbers. It’s a one-hour exam. It has no relation to real law school exams. It’s a waste of time, an exercise in frustration and nothing more than a reason to ruin a good weekend.

9. Don’t necessarily do what other people do. Law school is rough. People manage it in different ways. He goes out and gets hammered five nights a week. She never goes out and studies until 2 a.m. He never seems to study (but that’s because he gets up at 4 a.m. and does all his work before class). Whatever routine seems to work for you is fine. The problem is you’ll have no idea what works for you because you get no feedback until after the first semester. By the end of the semester you’ll have a sense of how much you know and how hard you need to work during exam time.

10. Carry an umbrella. It rains a lot in South Florida.

11. Ignore most advice (including the advice on this blog) and do whatever you think works for you. The first year of law school is no picnic for most people. But you’ll get through it. Although it’s tough, the purpose here is not to weed out people. (I’m not sure what the purpose of making it so grueling is, but I know the objective isn’t to weed you out; the school needs your money um, I mean wants to educate you.)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

can you stand it?

Hey, can you stand one more complaint about the write-on competition? I promise to stop bitching about it soon. Here's my complaint: it sucks. I hate doing this. My paper is garbage right now. And I haven't even started the endnotes. I definitely see why it's so difficult. I know one person dropped out of the competition so at least my casenote will be better than his...

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Do you know what else I don't like about the write-on competition? The little rules. I can understand having to learn the nuances of bluebooking because that's what you do if you're on Law Review. But the little rules are ridiculous. This paper has to be triple spaced and according to the rules, I have to use "standard" margins, which are defined as 2 inches on top, 2 inches on bottom, 1.5 inches on the left and 1 inch on the right. That's silly. That leaves almost no space on a page.