Tuesday, February 28, 2006

working and blogging

So the Unicco (maintenance) workers voted to strike. That's interesting. But a strike vote is not the same as an actual strike. The professor has a take on it here. He won't cross the picket line, which since he's not teaching, won't affect any students. None of my professors other than Prof. Seminar has said anything about not crossing the picket line, so we'll see what happens. My guess is Judge Professional Responsibility will have no problem crossing the picket line. Not too sure about Prof. State and Local Government and Prof. Sub Crim. I can see the latter siding with the picketers.

Well, whaddaya know? I've discovered that another of my classmates has a blog. It's infrequently updated, but that's OK. Pretty much all blogs at this school are rarely updated, except for the professor's (and this one). I'm shocked that, from just skimming his earlier posts, he and I might share similar political views. I'm absolutely stunned by this. No kidding.

Monday, February 27, 2006

pick me, pick me

The other day I sat down at a desk in the library and saw what looked like a children’s book that someone left on the desk. So I picked it up. On closer inspection, it’s a hardbound recruiting tool from one of the Really Big Firms with offices here in Miami that pays its summer associates $2,000 a week. I opened the book and it’s full of stick figure drawings, really bright colors and cheesy slogans like “You don’t want to be one of the herd, you’d rather be one of the heard” and “You don’t see rain, you see a chance to sell umbrellas.” Ugh. So my question is this: Are the students who are being recruited by the Really Big Firms actually impressed by this stuff? Somehow, I doubt it…

Friday, February 24, 2006


Speaking of OCI and all 9 (yeah, it's up to 9 now) employers that this school is bringing on campus, low paying jobs and trouble finding work, I forgot to post a link to this story in the Herald. Apparently in this city you can earn just as much money standing on the side of the road dressed in a Statute of Liberty costume as you can earn as a clerk at a law firm if you go through the career center's jobs database. That's awesome.

off to work we go

Hey, did you notice that the Unicco (maintenance) workers are voting on whether to strike? That’s cool. Not because I’m pro-labor but because Professor Seminar won’t cross picket lines so we won’t have class next Thursday! Woo-hoo!

Ok, I’m kidding, sort of. It’s true that he won’t cross the picket line and we won’t have class.

But I am glad this story is finally getting the attention it deserves. I was glad to see Shalala sent out an e-mail saying she’s setting up a ‘work group’ or something to study the issue. I’m not going to pretend I have been following all the details of this story, but I’m not sure that her promise to let the Unicco workers ‘attend classes and health fairs’ on campus will solve their problems. The answer is not that complicated and do not tell me for a minute that because the maintenance folks technically work for an independent contractor, not the university, that the school doesn’t have control over how much they are paid. If Shalala can raise $1 billion (yeah – billion – with a B) for this school, we can afford to give these people a living wage. Oh yeah, then there's the 29-foot boat she bought for herself, as the New York Times reported a couple of weeks ago.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

How much longer?

Why is law school three years instead of two? Although life in general is more enjoyable without the intense stress and pressure of being a 1L, wouldn’t it make sense to pack the second and third year into one and make both years as intense as the first year? It seems like a lot of people I know are sorely lacking in motivation at this point in law school. And we’re barely past the halfway point.

I don’t see law schools eliminating the third year any time soon even though I’ve read in other places that people think two years is enough.

I can just see the discussions at a Board of Trustees meeting:

Trustee 1: “Let’s eliminate the third year and make law school a little more practical. Maybe let them do an apprenticeship or something that third year instead of sitting through classes.”

Trustee 2: “Um, you realize they’re paying us $30,000 a year, right?”

Trustee 1: “Oh yeah. Forget I said anything. In fact, strike what I said from the record and burn the record right now.”

Actually I realize it wouldn’t just be one school deciding this. It would take change of the entire institution of law school and the ABA would have to approve it. Anyway, it’s a thought. A good thought for any 2Ls wishing they were 3Ls and almost done with all this…

On the other hand, it's a big, bad world out there, so maybe I should shut up and enjoy my hiatus from reality while it lasts...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Any blogging geniuses out there know why I can't leave comments on other people's blogs? Obviously people are able to comment on this blog and I can also comment on this blog. But when I try to comment on other blogs that are on blogger it just won't let me no matter how many times I type in the word verification thing. It's really annoying.


Any blogging geniuses out there know why I can't leave comments on other people's blogs? Obviously people are able to comment on this blog and I can also comment on this blog. But when I try to comment on other blogs that are on blogger it just won't let me no matter how many times I type in the word verification thing. It's really annoying.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

All hail the geniuses!

This is an interesting story from today's New York Times about professors and e-mail.

(Disclaimer: this blog post applies to professors in general, not any particular faculty member at this fine institution. All professors here are brilliant legal scholars and I'm lucky to get to be in their presence on a daily basis).

Apparently - and this will shock you - most professors don't like when students e-mail them. They particularly dislike it if the students dare to criticize or complain! (I don't blame them for being annoyed when students e-mail to ask if they should buy a binder or because they missed class because they were hungover. Obviously students like that need a lesson in how to function in the real world).

But the gist of the e-mail is disturbing. I mean God forbid professors should interact with students and address students' concerns and woe to the student who dares not to defer to the mighty professor, simply because the professor is a professor. It's especially hard to understand why they hate e-mail when they are tenured profs who walk out of class immediately after saying the last word without giving students time to get to the front of the room and ask questions and then never spend any time in their office because their office is cluttered with books and they have tenure anyway so they're not accountable to anyone for anything...

Monday, February 20, 2006


So OCI starts today. Currently there are a total of five employers scheduled to come to campus for on campus interviews. Five. That’s all. Five.

Look, I am not here to insult the people who work at the Career Placement Center, but are you kidding me? This is ridiculous. I know there are more employers that are accepting “resume referrals” or “direct contact” (which is a little strange – I’ve never really understood the “direct contact” thing. I guess these employers are permitting students here to send in their resumes…I mean that’s nice and all, but I can send in my resume pretty much anywhere, even without an invitation, right? … You can’t possibly tell me that this is a huge coup for our school that they posted that we’re allowed to send in our resume to the city attorney of Cleveland, Ohio.).

I didn’t have very high hopes for OCI because I know only 15 percent of students get jobs through OCI in an average year but now that I see what’s out there, it’s even more depressing than I thought. Oh yeah, and since I don’t want to be a prosecutor, don’t have a finance background and don’t speak Spanish, I am eligible to bid for two of these five employers. And my wife doesn’t want to leave her job and move to Fort Myers, so that leaves a total of one. Awesome!

A lot of people are fond of hating the Career Placement Center because “they aren’t doing anything to find me a job.” I don’t subscribe to this view because it’s not their job to give everyone here a job. You have to work at it. The CPC is there to help. But here’s the thing: I AM WORKING AT IT. I’M WORKING REALLY HARD to find a good summer job. It would be nice if the school would help a little. (Although my career counselor, if she happens to be reading this, has always been very professional and nice and she’s been helpful to me by answering questions, reviewing cover letters and resumes, etc….but that kind of assistance only has so much value).

Saturday, February 18, 2006

blah blah blah

I know, I know, not much blogging lately. Sorry. But in fairness to me, there just isn’t much to say (if anyone wants to be a guest blogger, let me know…although that didn’t work too well last semester when the Lawfool did some guest blogging…I mean it worked great when he posted here but then there was that little dustup between he and I and, um, well, let's not get into that again and he was gone. ... Meantime, where is the ol' 'fool? He hasn't blogged in two months. Here's hoping he hasn't frozen to death in his first real winter.)

So, here goes:

*I never use this particular men’s room but a reader of this blog was kind enough to point out to me that one of the urinals in the bathroom on the first floor of the library has been busted for two weeks now. Surprise! More problems with the bathrooms.

*I finally got my class rank in the mail on Saturday. (Why does all correspondence from the school come to my current address, but the law registrar mails my class rank to my old address? Wouldn’t you think they would get the address from the same place the rest of the school gets my address? Strange.) There are only 18 fewer people in our class (399) than there were after last year. I guess this kills my theory about all the people transferring. Or maybe it doesn’t because I know some people transfer in to this school. So I guess we’ll never know how many people transferred out.

*Only three weeks of school until spring break. This is a good thing. But then it means not too many weeks left until it’s time to start studying. I mean time to start studying a lot more.

*OCI starts bidding on Monday. Of all the companies listed as of right now, I’m eligible (or interested in) a total of two. Great. Yup. I should have no problem getting a job through OCI. No problem at all. Um, right. Sure.

*Yes, I know it's Saturday night and I'm sitting at home blogging. So what?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Nothing about law school

It's that time of the semester again. Nothing interesting is happening. It's the grind. So I'll tell you about my neighbor.

My neighbor is a professional lobster fisherman. Does this sound strange to you, that I’d be living in a house in This City adjacent to a professional lobster fisherman? Yeah, me too. I guess he fishes in the Keys. I should qualify that statement: He purports to be a professional lobster fisherman and there is some evidence of this assertion. The evidence is limited to the following: a lot of lobster traps in his backyard, his wife told us that he is a lobster fisherman and his wife once dropped off six live lobsters on our doorstep. (I ate them all. I grilled them. They were tasty. Florida lobsters are different than lobsters most of us are used to. Florida lobsters have no claws and apparently are closer to crawfish than lobsters. In any case, the tails are tasty when you grill ‘em up. Mmm…..lobster…ok, sorry where was I?).

Unfortunately, it sounds like we live next to an industrial warehouse. I have never seen him preparing to go fishing or doing anything other than pounding away with a hammer on his lobster traps in his backyard, which looks like a construction site. It’s littered with crates, lobster traps, old appliances, tools and auto parts. He has so many tools and building materials that he could probably build a new house back there. He literally would not be allowed to live in a lot of American cities because he’d be in violation of about 1,000 zoning laws or homeowners association regulations. It’s hard to envision when he fishes because I have sometimes been home studying and heard him pounding away on a lobster trap for 8-10 consecutive hours. It gets a little bit annoying. OK, it’s more than annoying. It drives me insane when he spends 8-10 hours a day banging a hammer six times on a piece of wood every two minutes. I estimate that he’s home about 90 percent of the time so I don’t know when he goes out fishing. He often loads the lobster traps onto his van, then drives away, only to come back an hour later and unload the traps. I don’t know much about lobster fishing, but I know an hour is not enough time to get to the Keys and back, not to mention, time enough to actually fish.

Anyway, he is actually a nice old man. I estimate that he’s either about 70 years old or the sea has prematurely aged him. He does not look well. He does not speak a word of English. His wife, a nurse, is very nice. She speaks English. She is about 20 years younger than he is. Both are friendly.

They are not the main source of my problem. The problem is their adult son, who we’ll call Junior. Junior is an obnoxious, loud, inconsiderate, alcoholic, lying, hypocritical deadbeat. He appears to have no occupation because he’s seen at home at all hours of the day and night. Unfortunately, because his parents’ house is small, he conducts much of his “business” on the front lawn, which often involves screaming into a cell phone in the Spanish-English hybrid language that’s so common around these parts. He claims to be building a $500,000 house but that seems doubtful. He tells people he’s involved in his dad’s business but I doubt he has ever worked a day in his life.

He’s a Grade A Loser. We don’t talk much, but I know his type. Junior is the type of person who always has some scheme going and thinks nothing of operating his schemes at any time of day or night. It’s not uncommon for me to be woken up after midnight by the sound of loud voices and noises coming from next door. It’s Junior unloading something or other from a truck. Or it’s Junior and a bunch of friends just having a grand old time in their front yard. Don’t get me wrong – I know people can use their property for whatever they want. I’m not even opposed to my neighbors having the occasional loud party, even one that goes well past my bedtime, as long as it’s an occasional thing. With Junior, however, he exhibits this behavior all the time.

One of the sad things about him is that he walks all over his parents. They do whatever he tells them. I know this because for the first four months we lived here, he kept a pit bull-like dog in the backyard that his parents told us repeatedly they didn’t like or want. But they just shrugged as if to say, ‘Eh, what’re you gonna do. That Junior is such a little rascal!’

This dog was kept outside 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was in a pen on the side of the yard. They never walked it. Ever. Its pen was like a narrow corridor about 10 feet long so it did get a little exercise, but not much. It was a huge dog and had a loud, nasty bark. It would often bark for several consecutive hours for no reason whatsoever. I am not exaggerating. It would often bark for three or four consecutive hours at the top of its lungs, even when no one was in the backyard or nothing was disturbing it.

One day, we were at our wit’s end so we called the cops to complain about the noise and ask them to investigate. It was not a stretch to wonder if something was seriously wrong at that house because the dog had been barking for about four straight hours. I called at 8 p.m. They showed up at about 3 a.m., rang my doorbell, asked me if I called, rang Junior’s doorbell (unfortunately his parents were out of town that night so it was only Junior at home to be awoken) and they discussed the situation with Junior. Junior told the cops to tell me he was sorry. I said to the cops, “bullshit” and the cops chuckled and said to have a nice night.

About a week later, Junior knocked on my door in the middle of the afternoon while I was studying Evidence. He said he wanted to talk about the situation. He reeked of alcohol. This was about 3 p.m. on a Monday. Strangely, even though his house is 10 feet from mine, he had driven from his house to my house and parked in my driveway. Naturally, he left his engine running while we talked. This conversation did not go well. He blamed my wife for his problems because my wife once asked him – in front of his disgusting, skanky girlfriend who is never seen in anything other than a bikini (no we don’t live near any body of water and he does not have a pool) – to take the dog inside. He insisted that my wife demanded things of him that he could never do.

It was obvious to me that he was threatened by having his authority questioned by a woman, even though literally all my wife did was ask him to take his dog inside. She asked him to do something. He heard a demand.

Anyway, so we kept talking for about 20 minutes. I was trying to dumb down everything I said because he is not very intelligent. He promised to keep the dog quiet but said the dog was staying put because his new $500,000 house is too small to keep such a big dog and his parents’ house (the one next door to me) is also too small. Oh, and he also said it was a special dog that cost him about $5,000 and had to be flown in from Spain. I couldn’t help wondering why anyone would pay such a huge amount of money for a dog that had to be stuck outside every day all day for eternity. Why do people get dogs? Isn’t it for the companionship and because a dog is man’s best friend? Or maybe for protection or to show off? Yet this dog never moved from its pen. Ever.

Naturally, nothing changed. The dog only went quiet during hurricanes when it disappeared from the backyard. I don’t know where it went during the hurricanes, but it was gone. This gave me a clue that perhaps, maybe, just maybe, there was somewhere it could live other than the backyard.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving day. If you’ll remember, it was a beautiful day. So the windows were open all day long but as the day progressed, the dog’s barking got louder and more incessant. It had been barking all day long. Finally, we were eating Thanksgiving dinner and I had had enough. I went over to his house, knocked on the door and politely asked Junior to make the dog be quiet. He said, Oh sure, he would. Sorry. Fortunately he was in the presence of his Dad, who berated him in Spanish and about 10-15 other family members who glared at me while I interrupted their Thanksgiving dinner. Of course nothing happened.

Later that night, about 11 p.m., I was trying to sleep but the dog would not stop barking. I went outside to go knock on his door and tell him I was about to call the cops again. He was standing outside on his front lawn talking to a woman. I quietly explained that I was going to call the cops if the dog did not stop barking. Junior promised he would stop barking. I was very quiet and calm. Junior was either drunk, stoned or both because he was very agitated but not angry or mad at me. He seemed agitated in general. He was not fully coherent and kept saying he would get rid of the dog by Monday. I said I didn’t believe him but for today I would hold off on calling the cops. Then I said that every single time the dog barks for more than one hour straight, I would call the cops. Of course this was an empty threat because I could call, but I guarantee the cops would do nothing.

He just looked at me blankly. I went back inside.

Then something incredible happened: the dog was gone. Since a few days after thanksgiving, the dog has been gone. My theory is that he has had trouble with the cops before and maybe has a record as a small-time criminal and that’s why my idle threat to call the cops scared him into removing the dog. I think this must be the proverbial calm before the storm, because every day when I come home, I expect to see the dog. But it’s been a couple of months now and still no dog…

Sunday, February 12, 2006


So the other day I was talking to this lawyer about jobs. He’s a partner in a mid-size firm (70-80 lawyers) with offices around the state. (Unfortunately it wasn’t an interview; it was more of a networking thing.)

Anyway, I asked him what it’s like for first-year associates here. Are they expected to sink or swim? Does the firm have a training program? How much responsibility does a first-year associate have? His answer was that I had better not ask a prospective employer about training programs because law firms expect you to learn how to practice law while in law school.

Um, what?

Before law school, you learn that law school will teach you how to think. You get to law school having no idea what that means. Then in law school, all we hear is that this is not a trade school; we’re learning how to think like lawyers, not how to practice law. The first law job is where you learn how to actually be a lawyer.

At this school, there are no clinical requirements and few clinical opportunities. Other law schools have a much heavier clinical component than this one does. I wonder if students at those schools graduate with more real-world lawyer skills?

Granted, this partner I talked to said he’s not involved in the recruiting or hiring process and he never has first-year associates working for him, so maybe he’s out of touch. So I sure hope he’s in the minority here because even though I’m learning things, and I’m even working in a small firm and sort of, a little bit, kind of learning what lawyers do, I don’t think law school is actually teaching me to be a lawyer.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Dell is the worst company in the world

Just for kicks, I'll tell you what happened to my computer. Finally I got it back from Dell. And not only was the problem not fixed, this time the computer DIDN'T EVEN TURN ON. So they failed to fix the problem and they made it worse.

It almost defies logic, but the dimwits who 'fixed' it at their Memphis plant did not bother to spend the 60 seconds it takes to turn on the computer before shipping it back. In world in which logic, common sense and reason prevail, it's almost impossible to believe that after fixing a broken computer, the person responsible for making sure it's fixed would hit the power switch and turn it on, just to see if it's working. Let's say a mechanic rebuilt or repaired an engine. Even if the engine looked, in his mind, perfectly fixed after all his hard work, I guarantee the mechanic would attempt to turn the key and start the car just to make sure his work. Am I right? How could any mechanic be stupid enough not to star the car? He couldn't.

But the technicians at Dell operate in a parallel universe. Dell is terrible. Dell tech support is awful. Dell is incompetent. Everyone who works for Dell is an idiot. Dell sucks. Dell computers are OK but if they ever break down, you are screwed. Dell is the worst company on earth. Dell is terrible. I hate Dell. Soon I will sue Dell for breach of contract (the warranty).

Thursday, February 09, 2006

being a lawyer is hard work

Check out our old friend Superbee, a 2005 graduate of this institution who is now a real, live practicing lawyer. Apparently, being a real, live practicing lawyer is more than a little bit stressful.

It's good that he recognizes that although he's stressed by his job, he is optimistic that he will get better at it. It sounds like he works in a firm that values his contribution, so that's good, although he never really talks about whether he likes his colleagues.

This was a nice paragraph:

And it's that that's really getting to me...because when I don't know what I'm doing, I panic, and I stop breathing, and I get knots in my stomach and in my shoulders, and heartburn, and my jaw tenses up, and I get headaches, and my hands go numb, and lately I've been pretty sure I've been having a heart attack on numerous occasions.

Should lawyering really be this stressful? I'm not picking on Superbee. We've all seen the statistics on high burnout rates and high acloholism rates and low job satisfaction rates among lawyers. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to deal with all the nuances of litigation. I mean there are so many damn things that can trip you up, it's like (in my very limited experience as a clerk in a firm that litigates) you have to spend every minute of every day avoiding potential landmines -- while also coming up with your own landmines to plant in front of the opponent. That's stressful, even if, as Superbee points out, he's on the civil side, so no one is getting killed or sent to prison.

Still, I bet earning a paycheck is better than listening to Professor State & Local Government express his sheer contempt for students day in and day out...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

new rule!

Remember when you were a kid and you could just make up rules? Usually these rules were kind of absurd. You’d be out playing with your friends and you would just say something like “Ok, new rule: last one to the whatever gets rocks thrown at them,” or “Ok, new rule: if a blue car drives down the street, I get to hit you in the arm, but if it’s a green car, you get to punch me in the leg.” (Ok, so maybe my childhood wasn’t like yours, but I wasn’t a violent kid. Really.)

Well, sometimes I wish I could still make up rules. Here’s one: If you have a job for the summer, especially a plum summer associate position, you’re not allowed to ask anyone else if they have a job. But if you don’t have a job and you want to ask someone if they have one, you can. I know this creates a few problems – namely, how can you know if someone has a job when you’re not allowed to ask them? I don’t have an answer, but if we were kids we wouldn’t really think through all the steps involved in the rule, so let’s just leave it at that…

Know what's depressing? When you get excited about someone returning your call and explaining, in detail, why they won't be hiring you, but more importantly, why they won't be hiring any 2Ls for the summer even though they usually do. That happened twice yesterday and I appreciated that a busy lawyer actually took the time to call me and explain that, in one case at least, they are only hiring 1Ls because last year's 2L summer associates were given offers but are doing clerkships so might join the firm in a year and blah blah blah...like I said, I really did appreciate that the guy took the time to explain this to me and it was almost like he was defending himself and his firm, but the bottom line is that this doesn't help me at all, other than to know that it's one fewer firm that might some day call me out of the blue to hire me...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

say what you mean and mean what you say

One of the things I like about being in law school is that you get exposed to a lot of different opinions. For me, this is a good thing, because in the years leading up to law school, I started spending a lot of time with people who had similar political and social views as me. I don’t think this is anything extraordinary – we all tend to spend time with like-minded people, right?

So I’m sometimes fascinated with the different views expressed by fellow students. Other times, instead of being fascinated, I’m disturbed. Yesterday in Sub Crim, for example, we were talking about a case where two guys were fighting and one died later in the hospital because he pulled the tubes out of his arm while having an involuntary spasm. A student raised his hand and said something I never thought anyone would actually say, which was along the lines of “screw the victim because he had it coming.” So this guy wasn’t interested in debating whether the defendant (the other fighter) was responsible for the death or the chain of events that caused the death. Instead, he things (this is a direct quote) that “if you fight you consent to what happens to you” and “‘but for’ keeping his mouth shut, he wouldn’t have gotten his tubes taken out.”

I mean what can you possibly say in response to that kind of logic?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Look, I used my brain a little

In response to Prof. Froomkin’s post noting that I failed to speculate about the legal implications of my experience with Dell, I’d now like to speculate on the legal liabilities facing Dell when they transferred me to a phone sex line the other day while I was on hold trying to get my computer problem fixed. (Geez, even the commenters on Prof. Froomkin’s blog are getting on my case now…)

The first thing that actually came to mind when I was writing a complaint letter to Michael Dell and the only two other Dell employees whose names I could find on the web site (I wrote the letter while I was on hold after I hung up and called back) that maybe I should blackmail them or cc my letter to major media outlets. But blackmail didn’t seem like a good idea (I just finished filling out my bar application and I have no criminal past, (other than 2 speeding tickets in 1993 and maybe three parking tickets in my entire life) so I don’t want to go back and add that I’ve been convicted of anything, so I’ll steer clear of legal problems) and it’s too much trouble to look up addresses of media outlets. (Not to mention – my story is slightly hard to believe and if, back when I was a reporter, I had gotten a letter like this, I probably would have said ‘ok, sure, whatever’ and thrown it away).

Ok, anyway, back to the legal implications:

1. Infliction of emotional distress (intentional or unintentional)

I was emotionally distressed, but not for the reason you might think. Although I am not that type of person to use phone sex, I don’t, in general, think it’s something that should be banned or outlawed. I’m a very tolerant person and I’m all about the free market economy, so if people want to get their jollies from phone sex – and other people can make money charging for it – then I have no problem with it existing.

Also, this cause of action might be hard for me to win on. For the most part, I was amused, surprised, shocked and angry. I can’t really say I was all that emotionally distressed. I was annoyed because I had already spent so much time dealing with Dell that I knew it would be another 20-30 minutes before I could get another human being on the line.

On the other hand, I was angry that this happened. (But not too angry – I mean how can you not laugh at this situation, right?) And I was emotionally distressed by the fact that something had delayed my tech support issue. So maybe I’d have a slight chance on this one.

2. Breach of contract

Dell has a duty to fulfill the terms of the warranty which covers my computer. By connecting me to a phone sex line, have they breached the duty? But I hung up the phone after a couple of minutes of listening to the phone sex line (I thought it might be a joke or public service announcement or something; I know, I know that’s a pretty stupid thought but I was kind of incredulous that this had actually happened so I kept listening for a couple of minutes), and talked to someone else about this problem, so the contract hasn’t quite been breached yet. (by the way, to anyone who is actually wondering about the computer, I sent it off to Dell…thanks to my awesome wife for letting me commandeer her computer until mine comes back…also I can’t tell you how happy I am that before law school I bought a USB backup hard drive, a little thing that I hook up to my laptop once a week and that backs everything up so as a result I only lost a day or two of stuff)

3. Negligence

There has to be some kind of breach of a duty here. I see a problem with the fact that it was not reasonably foreseeable that this would occur, but my feeble legal mind (torts was a looooooooong time ago) doesn’t know what to do with this lack of foreseeability. Is this a Cardozo thing – the fireworks going off on the train tracks? I’m really not sure. In any case, we don’t really have injury so I don’t know how the negligence would happen, unless the emotional distress is the injury.

4. A violation of obscenity or indecency laws
I don’t know anything about obscenity laws, but surely this is obscene. On the other hand, is it? What I heard was the recording that apparently happens before you get to the phone sex. The woman was saying, in a sultry voice, things like “we have the hottest girls” and “we know what you want” and “pay $xx.xx per minute” and “it’s OK if you don’t have a credit card…just press the pound sign and you can pay by personal check.” So other than her tone of voice and the things she suggested in vague terms, it wasn’t really obscene.

Are the obscenity laws stricter for minors who are subjected to obscenity? I don’t know. I’m not a minor but it’s not implausible that a minor could call and have this happen. But I’ve read enough caselaw to know that that’s not a very strong argument: “Jury, you must convict because a minor could maybe possibly happen upon this awful thing, even though the minor didn’t, in fact, come across it.”

Anything else?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Brilliant ideas (not mine)

Damn. Why didn’t I think of this?

Check out this guy’s blog. A 3L at Ohio State, he is actually getting law school credit for writing a blog. I wondered how he suckered his school into this one? (If nothing else, his school is cutting edge; kind of like Elle Woods' old room!) Should be interesting to see what happens with his blog. So far it is a bit vague as to what it will contain, other than to say that it will be a blog about blawgs.

Maybe I’ll try it next semester. I imagine the conversation will go something like this:

Me: “Hey dean [or whoever is in charge of deciding to give credits for things like this], do you want to give me a couple of credits to criticize everything I don’t like about this school, rip the third-world bathrooms, complain about the woeful parking conditions and idiots who run the parking shuttles, moan about my lack of job prospects, point out the absurdities of law school, wonder whether it’s all worthwhile, take note of the eccentricities of the faculty, mention my incompetent LRW teacher, and occasionally reveal my personal problems?"

Dean: “Um, no. I don’t think so. Get the hell out of my office now.”

Friday, February 03, 2006


I found a company more incompetent than Comcast: Dell! Oh my God. So less blogging for a little while until this thing gets fixed.

I think the best part about all this is the time I was waiting on hold for one of the tech support people to transfer me. I heard music. Suddenly, I was listening to a phone sex line! I am not making this up. Let me repeat this: While I was on hold with Dell, I was somehow transfered to a phone sex line. Seriously. This really happened. What the hell is wrong with these people?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

OK, one more about grades

Prof. Froomkin apparently was unable to comment on my post about the arbitrariness of law school grading, so he wrote his thoughts here. (Not sure why he wasn’t able to comment – 10 other people managed…on the other hand I have found that I’ve had trouble commenting on other peoples’ blogger blogs for some reason. I type in the string of letters, hit comment and it just refuses to take my comment. So I’m thinking it’s a blogger problem).

Anyway, I think one of the most interesting things the professor said – and it’s something I had never considered before – was this:

On the other hand, if you could think of 20 more things you coulda shoulda said, which tended to create a bad feeling, it was a sign you knew the subject pretty well.

In some ways, that makes sense because that’s when I did well on exams – when I could think of 20 more things I would’ve said if I had more time.

The problem is that I don’t think this is necessarily a good thing and it doesn’t seem too applicable to the real life practice of law. A good argument, brief, memo or document setting up a transaction has everything it needs to make it good. I doubt good appellate lawyer ever submitted a brief and thought “Oh, I wish I could have submitted more.”

Sure, I know when appellate courts have page limits lawyers wish they could have written more. But they present the best arguments on which they think the court will rule. Do they wish they could cram in 20 more arguments that support their position but that are each weaker than the next? Doubtful, although I’ll admit that I’m not sure.

On my Evidence exam, there were tons of important concepts that I never got to write about that – heading into the exam – I was sure were crucial to put somewhere in the exam in order to get a good grade. These weren’t extraneous, braindump, get-everything-you-learned-in-class-in-the-bluebook things; these were, at least in my mind, important concepts. And I did well. So how does this translate into the real world?


The prof has another interesting post about how he hates when people come into his class late. I have heard of other profs who have the same views on lateness but I've never had one. It’s funny because I am one of those people who is always on time and usually early, both in work and non-work life. And lateness is definitely a pet peeve of mine, too.

But in my extremely limited experience observing lawyers work, I have found that lawyers are always, always, always late. In court, lawyers spend hours sitting around waiting for their case to be called. Often there is a lot of sitting around before the judge even gets into the courtroom, which is later than he was supposed to start. Courts here in Miami set dozens of cases all at the same time and lawyers line up in the courtroom, waiting for their turn. Usually if a case is called and a lawyer isn’t here because he’s late, the judge just calls it again later. Lawyers here always seem to be driving from courthouses in Miami-Dade to Broward and back again and they are always stuck in traffic, which makes them late to court, then late again for their next meeting back at the office.

I’ve had two semesters of civil procedure so I know that being on time counts in a lot of things in litigation. But sometimes it seems like the time limits are mere suggestions, not requirements. I’ve seen plenty of court cases where opposing parties simply didn’t respond to orders, motions or requests in time, gave an excuse to the judge, and everything was OK. Of course I haven't had that much experience in court though, but usually when I see a party fail to meet a deadline, the judge just shrugs it off. Any time I've looked at a case file at work, I've noticed that neither party ever seems to comply with the time limits for responding to motions. And the other side doesn't care, although this might be a product of the cases I end up working on (the less important ones) than the real world of litigation; I'm not suggesting that I plan to ignore all the time limits when I become a lawyer.

Having said that, none of my profs have ever had a lateness policy like Prof. Froomkin does. So in every class I’ve ever had, people come in late. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest (except in the one class I have in a small room – but that’s because they crammed too many students into one room in which he desks were laid out by a kindergartener who purposely tried to make it as difficult as possible to get around -- seriously could they have possibly designed that room (room 302) any worse than it is? -- so anyone who comes in late has to shuffle and dance behind a dozen students to get to an empty seat.) As far as I can tell, it doesn’t bother most profs either because they are engaged in the teaching. It’s no more of a distraction than when people get up to go to the bathroom, make or take a call or do whatever else people do when they go out in the middle of a class.