Friday, September 30, 2005

let's go to the bar

So did you see that 80 percent of first-time takers from this school passed the bar exam? That’s a good percentage, right?

But we seem to be getting mixed messages. The dean sent out an e-mail in which he:

a. congratulated last year’s class for scoring above all the other law schools in Florida
b. said unfortunately only 80 percent of first-time takers passed
c. reminded everyone graduating this year that he “expects that the Class of 2006 will achieve beyond the results of 2005 and 2004.”

So our school had the highest passage rate in the state. That seems good. But not everyone passed. That’s not good. All in all though I would think 80 percent is acceptable especially when compared with those other schools where only 50-60 percent of graduates pass. That’s awful. Of course I wouldn’t be saying that if I was one of the 20 percent who failed.

Professor Business Associations apparently has identified why we are getting these confusing signals: He said it’s this dean’s job to get upset about bar passage rates. Said the professor: “If 100 percent of people passed [this dean] would get upset that it wasn’t 110 percent.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

nothing doing

What happened to this blog, you ask? It used to be compelling reading.

Nothing happened.

I just have nothing even remotely interesting to say and I won’t bore you with details about my life and what I had for dinner or what I did last weekend…

Friday, September 23, 2005

Rita Class

Different professors react in different ways to missing class for the most recent hurricane. I’ve heard lots of people tell me they have classes on Friday afternoons which apparently is the designated make-up class time. Not me.

Professor Evidence: We’re already behind so every Wednesday class will go 35 minutes longer (luckily the class is supposed to end at 8:25 p.m. so no one has class afterwards and no one has a valid reason not to stay until 9 every Wednesday!). But the good news is this means we’ll have no class on Halloween and no class the day before Thanksgiving, which is the last day of the semester. That’s cool. For me though I’d rather have class on Halloween than stay so much later. Apparently does not take into consideration the fact that the hurricane season has another two months left and we’ll surely miss more class for more storms.

Professor Business Associations: Mutters something about falling behind. Says we’ll probably fall even more behind for the next hurricane. No change in plans.

Professor Civ Pro II: No acknowledgement of hurricane. No discernible change in anything. I’m guessing that since she’s been teaching here for more than 50 years she’s seen a few classes get cancelled and she’s not too worried about it.

Professor Legal Research: No problem. We’re ahead already. Or something like that.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

so helpful

The power supply for my computer somehow got shredded. This is a problem. So I went to the tech support at the law library to ask if they knew why the universal power supply I bought from Best Buy isn't working on my Dell.
The guy looked at the computer. He looked at the battery. He looked at the power supply.
His conclusion: "Your best bet is to get some tape and tape that thing back together."
Um, that's helpful. What great tech support we get for $34,000 a year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Rita is here. Sort of. It's actually not coming here, so that's good but we're still in the Hurricane Watch mode and it's stormy. It's pouring and there are heavy winds. The streets were deserted when we went out to breakfast.

We lost power at 3:00 a.m. It came back on at 8:30 a.m. It went off at 9:30 a.m. and was back on at 11 a.m.

Monday, September 19, 2005

it's coming so you might as well enjoy it!

So while we await the apocalypse (Yeah, I should be in evidence class right now. I wonder if Professor Evidence will start talking even faster now that we're missing another class. He's an OK prof but he talks so damn fast) how about a couple of non-law school and non-hurricane related links (I'll feel really bad if I wake up tomorrow and we take a direct hit from Katrina and it really does feel like the apocalpyse, New Orleans-style):

This is cool: the All-NFL criminal team.

And check this out: look at this guy's foot. That hurts. Oh my God does that hurt.


It's funny because it's funny.

The World Will End Tomorrow

Hurricane Rita is on her way.

Classes are cancelled tonight and the campus will be closed all day tomorrow.

Judging from the hysteria and given that everyone is thinking of Katrina it seems to me that others fear the apocalypse itself -- and not just another hurricane -- is but 24 hours away.

I'm turning off the TV...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Proud to be a Hurricane? Not so much.

It costs a lot of money to go to this school. I've always assumed that the people who work here get paid relatively well. Not that anyone's getting rich but they do fine, I'm sure, especially compared to lesser-ranked schools or those that are cheaper or state schools.

I realize this is just an assumption on my part, but I think it's a safe assumption that all in all, the people who work here get paid a decent salary and make enough for an adequate middle class lifestyle. (Hey, does anyone actually know how much professors get paid, or what the range is? I have no clue whether they get paid $60,000 a year or $200,000. I'm just curious, that's all.)

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. It is despicable that this institution refuses to pay its employees a living wage. Whether or not you agree with the unionizing effort, this is disturbing on so many levels.

Makes you proud to be a Hurricane, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Now where should I park?

Could they make parking at this school any more difficult?

We received this e-mail the other day:

On September 22nd, the University of Miami will be hosting Univision's Premios Juventud. This youth oriented awards event, featuring over of 20 the ‘hottest’ Latin artists, will be broadcast live to over 100 million viewers across the world & will highlight the University of Miami’s Coral Gables Campus.

Parking will be impacted in the lots surrounding the Convocation Center in the days leading up to the event & on event day. Below are the dates & areas that will affected:
1. Beginning September 14th through the 22nd, the three Convocation Center Lots (Hurricane 100, Convocation North, & VIP Lots) will be restricted to event parking only.
2. Beginning September 20th through the 22nd, the Serpentine Lot will be restricted to event parking only.

What? You’re closing a bunch of parking lots for some TV show? I don’t know the names of any parking lots on campus (Why would anyone bother to learn the names of the parking lots? Why to they even name them? Where are the names, anyway? If the lots are marked it’s not clear to me.) But I know that when any lots are closed, whether they are the two lots I use or not, that increases traffic at the law school lots. Last year parking was a nightmare for a month because of the presidential debate. That was a pain in the ass. But in a way it was sort of cool (and I went to the debate) and it was at least a major national event so it was understandable that they closed a few lots. But for this? Come on…

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

falling behind?

Professor Evidence was saying the other day that we’re already way behind [on the syllabus] because we lost a day because of the hurricane.

So far in more than half of my classes (including last year) we ended up falling behind. So my question is, why don’t professors figure out that they almost always fall behind? Why don’t they build in a couple of extra days onto the end of class and if they cover everything with two days remaining, either cancel class or go into some extra stuff?

I realize that every word out of every professor’s mouth is important but surely over the course of an entire semester’s worth of work they could find a few pages of reading here and there to trim and then build in a couple of extra days at the back end. Hurricanes might not always happen but something always seems to happen—people get sick (even professors!), they get busy, they go off to a conference, etc.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

park at your own risk

Who’s liable if my car scratches yours in the law school parking lot? We all know the lanes are too narrow and there’s not enough room between the spaces. As a result it’s usually impossible to open your door to its full length when you get in and out if there is a car next to you. So is it my fault if my car door scratches yours even though I used due car (eg. I didn’t open it really fast and I only scratched your car because there was no way for my car door to open fully without it touching yours)?

I’m wondering because the other day I was walking to my car and as I was putting in my bag on the passenger side, this asshole who was parked next to me actually stood in front of both our cars with his arms crossed staring at my car door to make sure it didn’t touch his precious BMW. I think it may have barely touched it—but I was careful not to make a scratch. As I walked past him to get around to my car’s driver’s side, I said something like ‘excuse me’ or ‘sorry’ because I’d been blocking his door. He just glared at me.

I’m not interested in causing problems or intentionally scratching someone else’s car but I was dying for him to say something to me about how my car door was too close to his. I’m careful. I do my best not to let my car door touch anyone else’s and I think most people here do the same. Still, my car door has lots of small scratches that weren’t there before I started law school. My car is nine years old. It’s a way for me to get from point A to point B. I’m not a car person so I don’t care if it’s a little scratched.

But other people, especially this asshole with the Beemer, care quite a bit more about how their cars look. I don’t think it should be my fault if I’m forced to park too close to someone because the school decided to squeeze in a couple dozen more spaces.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

who knew?

You learn all sorts of fascinating things in law school. Today in Civ Pro II I learned from the professor that when a judge in Pennsylvania hears an admiralty case he puts a big oar on the bench in front of him to make sure everyone in the courtroom knows he's using admiralty law instead of 'regular' law.

It brought all sorts of questions to mind:

Does the judge bang the oar instead of his gavel?
Is it a special oar or will any oar from any old rowboat suffice?
Is the professor sure it's an oar and not a paddle?
Isn't an oar slightly obsolete? I haven't taken admiralty law but I doubt that these days many admiralty cases come up where one of the parties was rowing.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

the devil that was

Now that Elements is a distant blip in the rear view mirror and a whole new crop of 1Ls is experiencing the misery, it is clearer than ever to me that 2Ls and 3Ls here have perfected the art of terrifying 1Ls so much so that it’s become a sport (notice the 2nd comment!). A sport that’s not much fun for those on the receiving end of the ‘wisdom’ imparted by the 2Ls and 3Ls. I guess this was evident to me last year, too, but it was difficult to see the forest for the trees when I was in the middle of Elements.

It’s funny because most 2Ls and 3Ls (and I include myself in here) were just as miserable or terrified of Elements when they were 1Ls. And they heard from their elders the horror stories about how nothing in class was on the exam, about how no amount of studying can possibly prepare you for class each day or for the final, or how it’s a process and not to worry about it but to just try and slog through it every day and not let it get you too down. Most people I know craved some nugget of truth, some hard facts, something to grasp on to in Elements, if only to ease the frustration (the other three classes were hard enough, but at least we understood the general point of Torts, Contracts or Property and Civ Pro). It just seemed impossible to wrap yor arms around what you were supposed to be learning.

You hear mixed results from alumni, too. I’ve met some that had professor Elements (the one who taught section A last year) and curse him to this day. Others say it took them a few years of practice but suddenly it hit them one day that they were living what they once learned in Elements. Others loved the Elements professors but said years later they still didn’t have a clue what was happening in that class. People from other law schools – students or alumni – just give you a blank look when you try to explain the concept of Elements. Whenever I tried I just told them the title of the book—as if The Theory and Craft of American Law means anything to anyone…

Still, it doesn’t make me feel better to torment 1Ls with stories about Elements. Just dealing with it three times a week is hard enough. I have no grand conclusions here. If it makes you feel better to tell 1Ls about how awful Elements turned out to be, then so be it. It doesn't make my life any better to bitch to them about how much it sucked and how horrible it was but how wonderful I must be for surviving it. I guess the only piece of advice I can offer a 1L is to look around – there are 800-some 2Ls and 3Ls here. They all survived Elements. If they did the reading and gave a legitimate effort in and out of class, they probably got a decent grade. So will you…

Thursday, September 01, 2005

gotta go

Complain and you shall receive…

Loyal readers (all 20 or 30 of you!) of this blog and my old blog know I like complaining about the subpar bathroom facilities on this campus.

Actually, I don’t love complaining but I like pointing out how poor the bathroom facilities are here. It gives me hope that some day, some how, someone would heed my complaints and do something about the fact that the bathrooms on this campus barely exceed the quality of bathrooms at a large urban public high school.

(Were you like me—did you fear the men’s room at your large public high school? I did. Probably because the men’s room was just one big dark, dank room with urinals and toilets. No stalls. And the bad kids smoked cigarettes in there. Scary place for the nerds like me).

Anyway, it looks like the last few weeks have seen some drastic improvements in bathroom facilities on campus. I’d like to take credit for these changes although I’m 99 percent sure that I’m not responsible. Still, if no one wants to own up to being in charge of bathrooms and we can’t give credit where credit is due, I’ll gladly steal the credit.

Without further ado, the improvements I’ve noticed lately:

A stall-like apparatus in the first-floor classroom area men’s rooms separating the urinal from the sink. No more washing your hands 6 inches from the business end of someone taking care of business.

A Jetsons-esque urinal in the men’s room. It not only looks like the Urinal of the Future, it saves water, too!

Wow, right? 2005-06 is going to be a great year!