Thursday, December 29, 2005

more guns needed?

So we got this crime alert from the campus police.

The victim, a guard employed by Vanguard Security, was working at the Stanford Gate House when she was approached by two subjects in a car. The driver pointed a gun at her and demanded money. She informed the subject that she had no money. The subjects then drove away

OK, I know attempted armed robbery isn't funny, but something about a security guard being robbed -- and not having any money because he doesn't get paid much money -- and the security guard not being able to protect himself other than to say he's broke is a little bit off kilter.

I have a solution: arm the security guards! That's what this campus needs - a few good wild-west style shootouts! Or not...

more guns needed?

So we got this crime alert from the campus police.

The victim, a guard employed by Vanguard Security, was working at the Stanford Gate House when she was approached by two subjects in a car. The driver pointed a gun at her and demanded money. She informed the subject that she had no money. The subjects then drove away

OK, I know attempted armed robbery isn't funny, but something about a security guard being robbed -- and not having any money because he doesn't get paid much money -- and the security guard not being able to protect himself other than to say he's broke is a little bit off kilter.

I have a solution: arm the security guards! That's what this campus needs - a few good wild-west style shootouts! Or not...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

more than halfway there

I know, I know, being half done with law school is something, right?

But I think I am close to accomplishing something almost as exciting: I have 13,000 Westlaw points. I need only 7,000 more for a 30GB video ipod!

I guess all that research I had to do for my Legal Research class and this paper I'm writing has finally paid off. So I might not get a job, pass the bar or even graduate, but I'll have a 30GB video ipod..

Friday, December 23, 2005

Yeah, so...

So it's almost Xmas. All I want for Xmas is to stop hearing that Xmas music. Please make it stop. (I'm Jewish so that's all I want. Really).

I'm on vacation. It's cold and rainy where I am. Really, really rainy. That's OK though. And now I am back in the U-S-of-A.

I haven't thought about law school for more than 10 minutes over the past seven days. So that's good...

Thursday, December 15, 2005


So now that I'm half finished with law school, I'm starting to wonder about the importance of grades. I've had four-go arounds with exams and three with grades (including summer school) and I still can't figure this thing out.

How is exam performance related to your grade? I have absolutely no idea.

I've taken 11 law school exams. All were brutally difficult, draining and overwhelming. After one exam, I felt like I nailed it. I was wrong. I didn't get a good grade. After two others, I felt adequate, like I probably did OK. I was right. I did OK. After one (Elements!), I felt like I got every single thing wrong except for my blind grading number. I was wrong. I did OK.

I realize one reason I rarely walk out of an exam feeling confident is that in the law, there are rarely black and white answers and the tests don't measure knowledge of blackletter law because it doesn't take any brains to look that stuff up. I've considered the possibility that I am learning but not really realizing that I'm learning which is why overall, I've done OK so far in law school. I don't know how seriouslsy to take that possibility. Learning but not realizing I'm learning? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? What's the point of learning if you don't realize you're learning?

I've never read anyone else's exams but mine and I have never had an in-depth discussion with anyone about how they answered the exam questions, so it is difficult to compare my exams to others. How much more do those who get all As know than me? How much less do those who do poorly know than me? Is that even important? I guess it's important because we're graded and ranked and grades and rankingn are important. The arbitrariness of the whole thing is very upsetting.

Speaking of grades and rank, how are grades correlated with intelligence or future success as a lawyer? Do grades have anything to do with your job? I have absolutely no idea.

Logic dictates that grades are mostly important only for your first job. Ultimately, it's your performance as a lawyer (and who you know) that takes you to your final destination in Legal Land. If you're getting Cs and Ds, Big Firm isn't knocking down your door and Prestigious Clerkship isn't happening for you. Does that mean you can't cut it at Big Firm or that you'd make a lousy clerk for a federal court judge? Of course not. But grades and ranking are a quick and easy way for prospective employers to evaluate you. How else could an employer decide whether to interview you without looking at your grades? It's just not practical to do it any other way.

I have a part-time job that I like in a small firm, but it's not an opportunity that could lead to full-time employment. So I need a job. I know plenty of people with grades similar to mine who have jobs. I don't. OCI failed me, but I know only 15 percent of students here get hired through OCI. I have to believe that my grades had something to do with failing in OCI, but did they? Of course I have no idea and I'm not going to turn this into a rant about the problems with the OCI system.

I know how to get a job even with decent-but-not-great grades and without OCI. Network. Pound the pavement. Blah blah blah. It hasn't happened yet, but there's time. I am worried but I also realize it's premature to panic. The point, however, is that if I end up with a job through any method other than OCI, grades are probably going to be less important.

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not talking about coasting by for the next year and half, but I am seriously questioning my commitment to the hard work it takes to get good grades. This is not out of laziness. I worked hard this semester but not as hard as I worked last year. Not even close. But I still put in an absurd amount of time, effort and energy. (My wife can attest to that.) Will the time and effort pay off? That's the billion dollar question because it depends what "paying off" means. If it means getting good grades, well, that's nice, but I still don't have a job and that's why I'm in law school--to get a job. (Oh yeah, I'm also here to learn about the law and learn how to be a lawyer, but I can't count the number of times I've heard it said that you learn how to be a lawyer when you get your first lawyer job).

So what do decent grades get me? So far: nothing. So you tell me: Is it worth it?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Hey, look

Look over there. On the right side of the screen. I made a blogroll. If you think you should be on it or you think I'm missing any good blogs, let me know. Most are law student blogs or blogs of people I know, but there are a few other random ones I like.

half done

So law school is half over. This is a good thing. I think. (But wait, then I need to get a job and I don't have one and a lot of other people I know already have one and I should have one already because...OK stop. You can't worry about this right now. Take a break for a couple of weeks)

This semester law school didn't feel like it did last year. I think a large part of it was because I never got into a rhythm thanks to the hurricanes. We missed nine days of classes, two each for Katrina and Rita and five for Wilma and at my house, we went 11 1/3 days without power! (four for Katrina, 1/3 for Rita and seven for Wilma).

If you go to another law school you might think: Wow, nine free vacation days in the middle of the semester? That's awesome. Well, not so much. Hurricanes brought a lot of anxiety around here, not to mention Saturday and Sunday night make-ups in some classes and in others, a ton more reading so we could get it done without any make-ups. It's tough to make hurricane days seems like a vacation when you sit at home all day waiting for the power to go back on. It's time off from class, but it's not relaxing by any means.

So if I do badly on my exams, I'm blaming God...

Monday, December 12, 2005

how do you like law school now?

Do you find yourself down on the whole law school experience these days? Yeah, finals can do that to you.

For perspective on why so many people hate law school, read this.

(I'll be done with the semester in 27 hours--if I survive that long. This is the first go-around with finals that my sleep has really suffered. Usually it just suffers a little. I thought it was supposed to get easier as a 2L?)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

before the exam

I've decided that law school final exams are like a football game. Never is this more evident than in the hour or so before the exam. Just like in a pre-game locker room, people are doing all sorts of things. Walk into a football locker room and you'll see everything from people sleeping to guys banging their heads on the wall.

In law school you see wome people are frantically going over notes and outlines. Some are calmly flipping through notes and outlines. Others are making a point not to study -- reading the sports section online, listening to headphones, staring into space. For most people the butterflies are there.

You hear a lot of inane conversations about inane things in the classrooms. Oddly, people talk to you who have never spoken a word to you all semester -- probably because they feel connected somehow, like we're all suffering together and they forget that they won't give you the time of day in usual circumstances. Everyone gets ready in a different way so whatever works makes sense. If only you could go hit someone (you know, I mean if you really were playing a football game instead of taking an exam)...

(The one thing I can't understand is when people say "If you don't know it now, you never will." Well that doesn't make any sense. Sure, you might have a tough time learning entirely foreign concepts in the 20 minutes before an exam. But of course you can learn stuff or read stuff that will stick in your brain and that you can use on the exam. If you find a case that you'd forgotten about or see in your outline that this case goes under this rule or that amendment and until now you weren't really sure what to do with the case, well, that means you've learned something that you didn't learn. I'm not saying everyone should be cramming, because I understand that everyone needs to be doing things differently, but to say you can't learn anything in the hour before the exam is absurd.)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Not the best sign

I don't think it's such a good thing when you're taking a 160-question multiple choice civil procedure II exam and on more than one question, one of the answer choices is a term you've never heard of in your life and that's not in the book (it was open book). Quotient verdict? Law of the case? No thanks.

Wow. That exam was a doozy.

One more on Tuesday and then I'm done...

not so good

this isn't good. i shouldn't be awake right now. my exam starts in 5 hours and i've slept for 1 and a half hours. lucky for me someone's house alarm in my neighborhood has been going off constantly since 10:30 p.m. not constantly but it goes off for 5-10 minutes at a time at seemingly random intervals, every 5 minutes, every 20 minutes, every 2 minutes, once it was off for an hour, etc. makes it kind of tough to sleep. this is awesome...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Professor Bleeding Heart?

I was rifling through the big stack of handouts that Professor Civ Pro II handed out this semester. I saved all of them but rarely looked at them. I figured it would be a good idea to check them out before the final. (I know -- I come up with such great ideas!)

So it's a bunch of stuff about Class Actions and interpleaders and discovery and typical Civ Pro junk. But mixed in with all that is a column by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times in which he writes about how China is really ahead of the United States on being green (as in environmentally efficient) and how in 10 years the U.S. will be buying its green technology from China.

Huh? It seems kind out of place. Professor Civ Pro II never said a word about her politics all semester. Unlike some profs she kept her personal views completely out of the class, probably because it's tough to get overly political about joinder devices. I'm almost wondering if it was a mistake, like she grabbed the wrong classes' handouts from the copy center. If not, I can't imagine why she gave it to us...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


So I took the Evidence exam. I did not find one word of the 15-page, four-hour exam with a fact pattern based on a sitcom that is not funnyeven remotely amusing. No, it wasn't funny at all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

law school final exams are fun!

Let me see if I have this straight.

Evidence is a four-credit class. The exam is four hours.

Civil Procedure II is a three-credit class. The exam is four and a half hours.

How does this make sense? I'm just saying...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

reasonable reasoning

In the men's room on the second floor of the libary is a gaping hole where a urinal used to be.

Above the gaping hole is a sign that says "Out of Order"

Hmmm...really? I think if I've learned anything in law school I've learned enough reasoning skills to infer that when there is a gaping hole in the wall where a toilet once was, it's out of order.

Friday, December 02, 2005

gotta go - yet again

In the men’s room on the 3rd floor of the library – and maybe in more bathrooms; I’m not sure – is a new sign that says “If this restroom needs maintenance, call the facilities helpdesk at 8-2525.” (What are the first two digits of the phone number? How am I supposed to know this? If you have an office on campus you have an in-house phone and you can dial extensions but most students don’t have their own office and phone).

The only place I can remember seeing a sign like that is in highway rest stops. It makes sense to have those signs at highway rest stops because it would be stupid to have a plumber or janitor on stand-by at every highway rest stop. That is not logical. But on campus, there is a small army of janitors patrolling the library at all times. A larger army of workers is just outside – I assume this includes plumbers, engineers, general fixer uppers, etc.

So why is it my responsibility to call someone when the bathrooms need fixing? It’s not that I don’t have time to make the phone call (once I figure out the first two digits in that phone number). That’s not the point. Look, I'm part of this law school community so I don't want it to crumble around me. If I spotted something happening that looked like it was out of my jurisdiction, so to speak, but that seemed like it needed to be brought to the attention of someone, I would speak up. But once again, that is not the point.

Why can’t the people in charge of these things keep the bathrooms clean and not flooded? At 99 percent of public bathrooms it’s someone’s job to come in and make sure everything works. At this law school, it’s no one’s job. It’s up to the students and faculty to make sure the bathrooms are clean. We're talking about the bathrooms. Everyone uses them. We're not talking about some obscure thing that is utlized by only 10 people a day.

(The bathrooms break down pretty much daily around here. I can’t remember ever having gone more than two or three consecutive days without walking into a bathroom with a huge, disgusting puddle on the floor – or the remnants of a recently evaporated puddle).

And by the way, I don’t know a damn thing about plumbing or toilets but here’s a small clue for the people in charge of the bathrooms: if you have that many problems, perhaps the trouble goes beyond having someone check in to make sure nothing has flooded. Maybe, just maybe, you need to re-build something or fix the pipes or whatever.

Ok. end of rant. I just don’t think it’s asking too much to have bathrooms that are clean, don’t stink and are not flooded every other day.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

what a day

I just want to say that it's days like today that make me glad I'm living in Miami. It's December 1 and it's 75 degrees and sunny. If you lived somewhere else it is 19 degrees.

Unfortunatley it's also the kind of day that makes me wish I wasn't stuck inside studying all day...