Tuesday, November 29, 2005

the most wonderful time of the year

So here are a few good things about the reading period and finals.

1. Parking is rarely a problem, especially in the morning. It seems to get a little full during the day though. I spent 25 minutes driving up and down the rows looking for a spot today but I found one eventually. (Hey, did you know it’s free to park at the spots in front of the law school until they get those new machines that will replace the meters up and running? It is! Thank me later!)

2. I had a study group meeting at a friend’s house. For thanksgiving his wife had made the chocolate cake. I had a slice. It was delicious. I know chocolate. I know deserts. I know cake. And this one was terrific.

3. No more classes. So no more stupid, annoying questions from you-know-who. Hey, everyone’s entitled to ask a few questions. Even a few stupid ones. We’re here to learn, right? But eventually you have to give it a rest. Especially when it’s clear to everyone else that this material is just not that important.

4. ? (I can't think of anything else. Can you?)

Professor evidence said this yesterday at the beginning of class:

“Good news: I finished writing the exam and it’s really, really funny!”

OK. Terrific. Thanks, prof. Now I'm really looking forward to the exam. Before I was dreading it. Um, not really.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Hooray! You taught us law! Woo-hoo!

I don’t understand the clapping.

Law school has this strange tradition where students applaud the professor at the end of the final class of the semester. Why? We’re applauding them because they taught us? Because we paid $34,000 for them to do their job? Because we don’t hate them? Because we learned something? Because they weren’t too tough on us when they called on us? Because they were tough on us when they called on us and as a result, we actually learned something? Because they were considerate and actually answered our stupid questions instead of yelling? Every time it happens the professor kind of looks down awkwardly and doesn’t show a reaction.

I guess if you’re a tenured professor in law school you have no way of knowing how much or how little students like you or whether they think you’re any good. So clapping is as good a method as any, right?

(At this law school we fill out evaluation forms, but they are poorly designed, given at the wrong time of the semester and totally useless. I guess you could also check the registrations for your class online and if you notice that your class has 95 empty seats but the other professor teaching the same subject has a full class, that should be a clue that you, the faculty member, are not well-liked.)

Then there’s the non-clap and what to make of it. No one applauded Professor Civ Pro II after our last class on Tuesday but I know it’s not because everyone hated her or thought she was a crappy teacher. I thought she was fine. I know some people thought she was terrific. Did people just forget? Was it because our class lacked that one type-A person who always starts the applause?

And if we’re going to clap when the prof is good, shouldn’t there be a better way (than not clapping) to assert that you didn’t like the professor or don’t think he deserved to be applauded? Booing is one option. Throwing things is another…

Monday, November 21, 2005

blah blah blah

Having class on Sunday night was awesome! No, actually being in class on Sunday night was not much fun. To his credit, the professor was even less excited about the Sunday night class time than we were. That still didn’t make it any more tolerable. I know it’s a short week but Sunday night is when I try to take it easy for a few hours. Stupid Wilma. At least Gamma is going to miss us so we won’t have any more make-up classes than the ones we’ve been having (and have after Thanksgiving!).

Professors say the strangest things. Professor Civ Pro II said this about Rule 23 the other day:

“Rule 23 is like a Chinese menu: take four from left side and one from the right-hand column. The four that you have to ingest are the four requisites from 23a1.”

She’s wacky. I hear her exam comes straight from Glannon’s and is all multiple choice. So that’s good, I guess…

Friday, November 18, 2005

lazy lawyers? not so much

Sometimes I wonder what life is going to be like when (if?) I become a lawyer. I had lunch with a lawyer who is a partner at a Huge Firm and also chair of that firm’s nationwide practice area in something. He said he worked 3,600 hours last year, including billing, non-billing and the hours spent being the boss of this practice group.

He has a wife (who is a partner at another mega-firm) and three kids. I figure based on working 50 weeks a year, assuming he takes an occasional family vacation and a few days off here and there, he works 72 hours a week. He said he loves his job and his lifestyle and can’t imagine doing anything else.

72 hours a week doesn’t seem too crazy until you figure that 72 hours a week means working 14.4 hours a day Monday through Friday or maybe 10.2 hours a week if you work every day. And we’re not talking about an occasional 72-hour week when things get busy. I’ve done that in my previous career at times and it was fine because I knew I wasn’t doing it week in and week out. We’re talking about averaging 72 hours a week every single week.

So what kind of life does someone like that lead? I’m not averse to hard work (Hey, I’m in law school; I put in a lot of hours) but working 72 hours a week every week? When does he see his kids? When does he see his wife? I’m speculating wildly here but I figure between the two of them they probably make close to $1 million a year, give or take $200,000 (maybe they make $400,000-500,000 each?). So when do they enjoy spending that hard-earned money?

Being rich would be great. No doubt about that. But how fulfilling is a life in which you work 14.4 of the 17-18 or so hours you’re awake on weekdays -- or more likely, work 72 hours spread out over seven days so you almost never get an actual day away from work? How do you take time for yourself if you devote so much time to work and presumably, what little other time you have, to your family? Is this considered a sacrifice so he can give his kids the best of everything they want? Is that a good way to raise kids? Do his kids ever see their parents? Would I be happy with that lifestyle? Well, I’d be happy with his salary but it makes me wonder.

Does it come naturally to work that hard if you have an intense passion for what you do (and how much you earn)? Does it mean I’m lazy if I don’t want to work that hard every week for the 35 or so years I’m going to work after law school? Does my attitude mean I’ll never be a partner in a Big Firm?

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Well, our guest is gone. Too bad. I apparently chased him away.

Maybe he'll keep us updated at his old blog.

So if anyone else wants to do some guest blogging, let me know...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Did you notice that on the materials they handed out before registration it said 95 percent of students on the wait list get off the list and into the class? Today was the second day of the wait list. It looks like only one of the waitlisted classes had more than two people per day get off the list. Something is fishy about this process...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

what a guest!

Finally, we hear what it's like on the other side of the tracks. I'll have to post my comments on his posts later. Right now the main thing I think is that Fool never gave the students here a chance. (This isn't a criticism; he admits as much). A lot of 2Ls inhabit different universes than they did when they were 1Ls and forced to be with the same people all day long.

Now we need a blogger from a fourth-tier law school to round out the perspective. One of the interesting things I learned this summer from a fellow intern who goes to St. Thomas (the one in Miami, not the one in St. Paul) is that all classes there have a mandatory attendance policy that is uniform. Here the profs set their own attendance policy but apparently there it's four free absences from four-credit classes and then they dock your grade.

This blog will let Lawfool carry it as long as he wants because I'm flat out of stuff to say (and a little busy these days, what with outlining and Sunday make-up classes)...

(And by the way, if anyone else wants to be a guest blogger, just e-mail me.)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Better or not, here I came


I guess I’ll start with the touchier subject. The biggest question I’d want to know is “are the students better?” Of course, I can do a lot of hemming and hawing about this, and most of it will be true. There are a lot of unknowns that make answering this difficult.

First, I have had very little experience with upper level classes at MIA. Therefore, I have little to judge by when it comes to classes like Enterprise Organizations (Business Administration in some other schools), or Secured Transactions (UCC-9 stuff). So, I don’t think I can gage anything by sitting in those classes. What I can tell you is this: Mich has a very liberal pass/fail option (called limited grade option). If you want to graduate with honors, you must have 60 graded credits, if you don’t care about honors, you need not. This means that many students do one of two things. 1) They get to the GPA they like and when they hit the 60 mark, they take everything they can P/F or 2) they don’t give a crud about GPA and take as many P/F right off the bat. Now, one might think this would create a poor class environment (lots of people not reading, playing minesweeper, etc.), however, the classes I am in have quite a bit of students who seem prepared everyday. Now, that isn’t to say that a fair amount are either missing or there in body only, but I would say the majority have read the material and can speak about it with pretty good insight. Of course, as with most classes, there is a strong core of people really interested in the class, and they tend to take most of the class time – not gunner-wise, but with questions, comments, and the such. Take that for what it is worth.

However, because I did not have Crim. Law in MIA, I am required to take it. Because it is a 1L class, I am in there with all 1Ls. I am the only non-1L. Now, these would be brand new, “green” 1Ls, but I picked the class (pure happenstance) filled with “summer starters”. So, these 1Ls have one semester of classes under their belts. I must say, I am quite impressed with the level of discourse and preparedness in the class. These “kids” seem to be ready to go at the drop of a hat. The professor (I plan to broach the subject of professors in the future if “some guy” doesn’t get too bored with my pontificating) is very good, and she hits many students each class with questions (as “Socratic” as it gets these days). I’ve yet to have a student blatantly pass, and I have very rarely have thought someone should have. I am also impressed with the depth that some (by no means all) of the students seem to have thought out the issues presented in the course.

I wasn’t sure what to think about my 1L classmates at first. Initially, I thought it might not be smarts as much as a level of striving not seen at more “relaxed” schools. However, I took the plunge and went out with a few one night for happy-hour. The people I spoke with were very friendly and very well spoken. Some of them seemed to have committed views on certain issues of law that they could back up with more than gut feelings. It was a very nice evening, and I left feeling like the caliber of student might, indeed be higher. However, I must say that my MIA contingent of law friends was very small. And, the few friends I did spend time talking (read: fighting) with, were in their own right quite bright. One of the closest friends I have in MIA is extremely level-headed, and very insightful. So, maybe I suffered from lack of exposure, and am not in any position to say who might or might not be better.

Expectations. The one ting I have noted is that the students here are aware of the school’s ranking, and understand that they will have opportunities to more easily end up places people at other schools will have to scratch and fight to get to. The students don’t seem to take this for granted, but rather, they seem to know that such opportunities come with an expectation of excellence and intelligence. Clerkships, top firms, government positions—these are great chances to make a mark in the world at an accelerated pace. Many understand the shot they have, and I think they are doing the best they can to capitalize on it. This creates a different environment from other schools (I am guessing). I honestly believe that most people will rise to the expectations placed on them. And, let’s face it, there are doors more easily opened for some schools than others. However, these students are not given these shots outright, just given access if they do the things they need to. When the opportunities are somewhat limited (in the aggregate) this weighs on the inertia of education.

So, better? No. Different. And, if you ask me, as long as it isn’t all encompassing, a little chip on your shoulder (maybe a tougher hill to climb) might make for a hader worker as the years roll on.

Blogging and blogs

Look: a new blog. One of the bloggers is a law student here. One used to be. The other isn’t. OK, that's all. Get back to outlining...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I am humbled

I have designs on answering questions such as: Are the students better? Is the school superior? Was it worth it? Any regrets as of yet? How did OCI go? Etc… But these are introspective and serious issues that I need to give a little more attention to, and I have a limited bit of time today. I wanted to let “some guy” know how grateful I was for the opportunity to express some of my thoughts, and I didn’t want him to think I wasn’t thinking about what I had to say.

With that said, I’ll just give you a snip of a moment this week from Michigan’s moot court competition. It is called the Campbell Moot Court Competition, and it is very big up here. The first round consisted of about 50 teams and will be cut to 8. We will not find out who made the cut for several weeks. The first round included 4 “moots” for each team – 2 off brief, and 2 on. If you make it to round two, you are rewarded by having to re-write your first brief, as the page limits are increased, AND, you must write the other side of the brief as well. That’s right! All winter break, writing two 50 page briefs, from both the petitioner and respondent.

Anyway, I thought you’d like a quote from an exchange between a judge and a contestant. I don’t think the contestant’s team is going to make the cut.

Student: The Fifth and the Sixth Amendment are very similar and therefore, any protections accorded under the Fifth would also extend to the Sixth.

Judge: Counsel, do you have any support for that assertion?

Student: Your Honor, look deep within your heart. I think, in there, you will find all the support you need for my assertions.


Friday, November 11, 2005

something new and exciting is coming

Something new and something exciting is coming to this blog. Seriously. I'm not being facetious. I can't say what it is or when it's coming, but for a hint, check out the top right corner of the screen. So stay tuned...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

$34,000 a year for this?

I'm sitting in Room 209 right now watching a DVD of Professor Business Associations. He apparently taped tonight's class yesterday in his office. So he's sitting there basically rambling to himself. Out of 100 or so people in the class I'd say about 20 are in the room.

Sounds boring, right? It's brutal.

But wait. It gets better.

The air conditioning is broken.

Not a big deal, right? It's nice and cool outside so why should that make a difference? It's November in Miami, one of the nicest months of the year.

Well, not in here. It's like a fucking sauna in here. I swear to God the heat is on. (Are these buildings even heated?)

WHY IS THE GODDAMN HEAT ON? Why is it so hot in here? This doesn't make any sense that it's so hot but I don't really care about the logic. I just know It's miserable. And it smells awful. Yes, the doors are open. It makes no difference. This sucks.

How is it possible we pay $34,000 a year and they can't have working air conditioning? Hello? Dean F? Hello? Anyone?

Discrimination at this law school?

The bricklayer is back with another provocative post about discrimination here.

As I understand it, he equates the military's discrimination against gays with affirmative action and a law firm's "discrimination" against white people in its offering of a scholarship.

Oh brother. Discriminating against gays. "Discriminating" against white people. One and the same? Even putting aside your views on affirmative action, it is difficult to make this argument. ("Discrete & insular" anyone? Con Law? Hello?)

I'm keeping politics out of this blog as much as possible so I'm not going to write what I think about this argument here. Suffice it to say, if Bricklayer really lumps gays and white people as distinct groups who suffer (or don't suffer) biases because they are gay and white, respectively, well, I think bricklayer and I could have some lively political debates some day. Just not on my blog.

Maybe I misundersand the point of the brickster's post. Maybe he's just pissed at the career placement center because he doesn't have a job yet. (Actually I don't know if he has one or not. I'm just speculating...)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

nothing much

Have you noticed the new security guards at the law school? Looks like we switched from 50-State Security to Vanguard. These guys where blue shirts instead of brown.

Why the change? I’m thinking one of the 50-State guards got a little too aggressive in their food patrol. Maybe someone told the wrong professor not to bring in a sub or bag of chips. Maybe Shalala herself walked into the law library while chomping on a sandwich and a 50-State guard tried to kick her out.

Yeah, I know: not a very interesting blog post today. Hey, it’s November. Give me a break. Only a couple more weeks of classes (actually more like 3 thanks to Sunday make-up classes and post-Thanksgiving classes). Then finals. Outlining and studying is no fun. Not at all.

Monday, November 07, 2005


A little civility would be nice. Don't you think? It's not too much to ask, is it?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Didn't they see Lost?

Non law school post:

So this cruise ship owned by a local company was attacked by pirates.

This brings to mind only one question besides whether the people on board have ever watched TV or seen movies. Why the hell would anyone go on a cruise to Somalia? Hey, I like travelling to exotic places, too, but Somalia? Um, no thanks. Even if there weren't pirates I don't think I'd be cruising to Somalia any time soon...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Evidence class on Saturday night! Fun!

It’s 5 p.m. Saturday. I have a class starting in an hour and a half. It goes until 8:25 p.m. On Saturday night.

Hurricanes suck. Yes, I know everyone is making sacrifices and many are suffering (for example, on Thursday a guy in one of my classes still did not have power. He is living in a motel. Someone in another class said she still does not have power or water. Wow. That’s miserable. That's suffering.)

Still, I can complain. Part of this make-up class plan is ridiculous. Few people have class on Fridays. No one has class Friday afternoons. So why isn’t the Friday afternoon make-up slot assigned to Saturday which would mean no one would be in class on Saturday night? Why are they making up Friday classes on a Sunday when only a small percentage of students even has class on Fridays? I still hate Wilma.

The library is getting more crowded these days. That means the stupid people are coming out of the woodwork. You know the type – they’re oblivious that most people around them are sitting quietly. They and their friends take up a table near the study carrels or better yet, several carrels and they’re passing stuff around, walking around to look at each other’s computer, talking to each other. Totally oblivious to the rest of the people trying to study. They don’t care. They’ll probably make great lawyers some day if you judge the quality of the lawyer by how big of an asshole he is. Oh good. Now they’re feeding each other. It’s cute. No, it isn’t. I’m this close to going over there and asking them to shut up. I’d say it politely. Really. I know how popular that makes me (!) but I don’t care. I have so little tolerance for stupid people (I equate inconsiderateness with stupidity. I know some people think that’s a stupid inference.)

I’ve complained enough about the third-world-like conditions in the parking lot. It’s almost justifiable when a non-law student goes the wrong way or gets stuck because it’s so poorly marked and it’s confusing and there is no room and there are massive puddles and the arrows on the signs actually point the wrong direction from the arrows on the pavement. But when a law student (a 2L no less so he’s had a year and a half to figure it out) goes the wrong way down the one-way lanes? Idiot.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Lawfool lives!

Breaking news: the Lawfool wishes he could come back to us.

Does he regret transferring or is he joking?

Is the weather starting to bother him now that it’s November? If so, has he heard about the hurricanes and make-up classes on Saturday and Sunday nights?

Are the students at his new school more or less the same as the students here and does that differ from his expectations?

Does he have a problem with the professors?

Is the parking situation at his new school worse than it is here?

Or is it just a personal thing—does he miss his family?

Hey big guy, fill us in…

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

done with wilma

The lights came on late Sunday night so that’s good. Now all I ask is for:

(1) cable to come back and
(2) Publix to re-stock the Ben & Jerry’s. The ice cream aisle was sadly empty last night…