Saturday, September 30, 2006

This and that

A friend of mine told me about his bankruptcy class. The professor is having surgery next month, so they have classes for nine hours every week. And about 80 pages to read for each class. Wow. That’s rough. But then he told me that the final exam is in mid-October. Then it’s all over. I’m not sure whether I’d like it that way or the traditional way. I guess it’s a question of whether you can suffer for half the semester and keep the big picture in mind, which is that the second half of the semester, when all your other classes pick up pace, will be much easier for those people.

Does anyone know what the rule is on plagiarizing your own paper? Let’s say I wrote about a topic a couple years ago and now I’m writing another paper on the same topic. This semester’s paper isn’t the same exact topic but some of the background that I put in the last paper would go perfectly in this paper. Can I just cut and paste my old paper into this one? I am thinking that the proper way to do this is to cite your old paper just like law professors cite themselves all the time when they write law review articles. But that seems odd since it’s not like that first paper was published. I guess I’d better find out before I do anything illegal.

Sorry about that guest blogger thing. Like you, I was hoping for a little more than wet books and a sticker on the car. He told me afterwards that he was trying to build up to a climax, but I think unfortunately he missed one of the fundamental parts of good writing – capture the reader’s attention at the beginning and leave them wanting more, not less.

I accomplished one of my goals yesterday. I cashed in my Westlaw points for an iPod and one of those thingies that lets you listen to your iPod in your car. I'm quite proud of myself for playing all their little trivia contests and games. I've wanted an iPod for a while now but never wanted it enough to spend money. The iPod and the car thingie cost 22,020 points. So now I have 20 Westlaw points remaining.

I'm going to the football game today. This is the first time I'm going to a football game since an undergraduate peed on my leg at a game when I was a 1L. I think I'll wear some old clothes and dirty shoes just in case...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Did you pass the bar?

Last week we got a cryptic e-mail from the Dean telling us that last year’s graduating class scored higher than usual for this school on the Florida bar. I thought it was odd that he didn’t give us the scoring percentages but I guess there’s no mystery because fortunately, Prof. Froomkin has provided us the numbers. It looks like 85.7 percent of 2006 graduates who took the Florida bar passed. That’s terrific. I think that’s about 5 percentage points higher than in the past few years – and this comes despite a higher score needed to pass.

But the professor also goes on to say that even though we had the second highest bar passage rate of schools in Florida, that shouldn’t mean we are the second best law school in the state. I don’t know what to make of his first reason – which is that many students take bars in other states and this score doesn’t reflect those people’s results. I think that if, as the professor writes, “these out-of-state test takers include many of the best and most motivated students” those people are probably passing their out-of-state bars. So that makes it a moot point, right? Surely the majority of students – and probably well over 50.1 percent of us – are taking the Florida bar, right? Anyway, I don’t understand the relevance of this point.

His second reason, which is that law school shouldn’t be a three-year bar prep class, is strange. If I understand the reasoning, he’s suggesting that the bar exam has nothing to do with actually being a lawyer. (Actually, we all know the exam is a ridiculous hoop that everyone has to go through that has little to do with measuring your ability to be a lawyer; for proof that the process makes no sense, just remember last summer when Kathleen Sullivan, former dean of Stanford law school and the author of our Constitutional Law casebook failed the California bar exam…Do you really think the public needs to be protected from one of the sharpest Con Law scholars in the country?).

Instead, law school teaches the reasoning and thinking skills that lawyers need. But there’s an obvious problem with this logic: no matter how brilliant you are and regardless of how incredible your critical thinking and analysis skills, if you don’t pass the bar exam, you can’t use those skills as a lawyer.

Presumably law schools – or the law school process – should also prepare one for the bar exam. So maybe the problem is with the system. I’m not planning to fight the system, but it seems to me that if one goal of a law school is to produce outstanding lawyers who will do great things in the legal world, then bar passage rate is the key.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Not-So-Simple-Life...

Hello everyone---

Someguy has so graciously allowed me to write on his blog. I will write about several things but mostly I will write about the unfairness and maltreatment going on at the Holiday Inn in conjunction with the contract set up with University Village managed by JPI.
Some of you know the story already and some of you don’t. All you really have to do is stop a random undergrad and ask about the horrendous situation in housing at Unv. Of Miami. I have a first hand account and I can tell you my side. I have been reading this blog for a while now and I know we have a lot of complainers and haters and piss-ant-wannabe-players…but come one, come all and read about my adventures at the Holiday Inn.

The current live-wire story deals with a small type flood that destroyed book (yes legal books) in my room after an air condition leak. The hotel GM refuses to speak with me about it and keeps passing the buck. How sad and pathetic. Those dang books are freaking expensive. Anyway this happened early in the first week of Sept and now we are almost in Oct. Hmmmm…can anyone tell me what legal options there are and if I can go after UV? (*Let me be fair… the law school has agreed to help as much as it can)

Next issue is the damage to my other property- namely my car…since I don’t drive and the parking is horrendous…yes even for UV people for all those out there who can’t find a spot… we have been forced by the hotel to use a valet service that will remove and move around items in our cars at their leisure… of course I don’t like valet but I am forced to utilize this method. Anywea the damage to my car…so my car has been sitting there for two weeks and upon checkin we had to give what was near tantamount to a blood sample for information regarding our vehicles to the UV folks who you would have thought would pass this info to the dumb ass hotel so that they would not tow folks cars…you guessed it…it didn’t happen. I come out to find this sticker, pretty much glued to my driver window telling me to go the front desk. Now again, the security guard has seen this car parked in the exact same spot for the last two weeks and now puts an *%#@ sticker on it… yeah I went off and only today was the sticker finally fully removed….

Folks my hands hurt and there are so many more stories and btw another students room was flooded by a broken a/c unit within the last 48hrs (hmmm…surprise surprise…) Ask me questions… I will continue to blog…


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Blah blah blah

*So yesterday I used a men’s room on campus that I’d never even noticed before. It was huge—by far the biggest men’s room in the law school. Strange that I had never seen it in more than two years here. It’s the men’s room next to the dean of student’s office on the second floor. On the inside it feels like you’re in a bathroom at the beach – way too many tiles.

*I have this professor who everyone told me is the Best Professor Ever. I just don’t see it at all. She makes assignments three or four days before they’re due, changes the due date back and forth, doesn’t tell students about the assignments, requires us to go to another professor’s class, has a TWEN page that she never updates in advance and has a syllabus that is completely useless because it doesn’t contain any assignments except for readings (and the class includes lots of substantive work besides reading). I don’t know why I’m surprised; I guess even after two years I have higher expectations than I should about the quality of the faculty here.

*Speaking of the quality of the faculty, a friend of mine, who is a 3L here, got into Harvard Medical School! Congrats. That’s impressive although I can’t say I’d want to spend another four years in school, not to mention three years of interning and residency.

*Someone commented on my last post that someguy is to blogging as Larry Coker is to coaching. I think that’s a compliment but I’m not sure. I’m thinking it means that I was once great but am now struggling. Or maybe it means I was overrated from the beginning? Eh. Who knows. I’ll admit that I’ve been struggling to come up with much to write about. We need the four other student bloggers at this school to come up with something interestin. (By the way, any 1L bloggers from this school out there?)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

See ya, Larry

I know you don't come here for sports commentary but I used to be a sports writer so I think I can write about sports every now and then. All I have to say today is this: It's time for Coker to go. Larry Coker has to be fired.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Is this funny or not?

If you were in section A or C (when we were 1Ls), do you think this is funny, depressing, sad or what? It's the contrast that I find to be interesting. I don't know if it is noteworthy or not but I thought it was interesting. (And I realize it's only a tiny bit interesting but I have nothing else to blog about so I'm struggling for ideas.)

It's from the "Faculty News and Notes" newsletter that we got in our e-mail yesterday:

Professor William Widen Receives Grant from the American Bankruptcy Institute Endowment Fund
The American Bankruptcy Institute Endowment Fund awarded a $22,000 grant to Professor William H. Widen to study the prevalence of substantive consolidation in large public company bankruptcy proceedings. Substantive consolidation is a judicially created remedy where the assets and liabilities of two or more entities are pooled, and the pooled assets are aggregated and used to satisfy the claims of creditors of all the consolidated entities.

Professor Widen’s motivation for the study is to find a correct understanding of substantive consolidation and its uses to aid courts as they consider the scope and limits of this doctrine. He has so far found that case law rhetoric, which suggests that substantive consolidation should rarely be used, is at odds with actual practice, which finds use of the doctrine to be a common and essential tool of case administration.

compared with this:

Professor David Abraham featured In Car And Driver Magazine
After spending years publishing with prestigious University presses and leading journals in law and the social sciences, and after being quoted as an authority in myriad newspapers and television programs, Professor Abraham recently achieved one of his fondest desires. The August issue of Car and Driver, which features a debate between the BMW M Coupe and the Porsche Cayman, also contains key analytical observations by Professor Abraham. See Car and Driver, Aug. 2006, p. 127.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


So I interviewed for a part-time job with a PI (that’s personal injury to you non-law school readers) firm. It was interesting. Most attorneys in big (or not so big) firms seem to think PI lawyers are the bottom rung of the ladder. They’re bottom feeders, they say.

I’m not so sure about this. It sounds like an interesting field, although I don’t know if it’s for me. If you get enough cases it seems like you’re almost guaranteed to earn money and if you get a handful of big money cases you have the chance to make lots of money (maybe not millions of dollars a year but a pretty substantial salary). And because almost everyone has insurance, if you have enough volume, you can’t lose. That’s how these two guys pitched it to me, anyway, and that's what I saw last year when I did a paper for a class about Small Claims Court. I’m sure there are some PI lawyers who make no money. These guys insist that in a couple of years they will be making far more than their law school friends at the Really Big Firms. Who knows if that’s true.

I know that torts was my most interesting class. But every case in torts had crazy facts, like the guy who rigged his cabin to shoot the intruder or the poor schlub who was walking past the warehouse when a barrel of flour fell on his head. As a PI lawyer these guys told me almost all cases are run-of-the-mill slip and falls or car accidents. That makes sense. They also said it’s nice to know you’re helping people who suffer in accidents although they admitted that it’s not always about helping people, especially when clients call twice a day demanding the money that they know is coming.

The other sweet part about PI work is that apparently in Florida lawyers are eager to refer cases to you. I was unaware of this rule until recently but apparently if a lawyer refers a PI case to a PI lawyer, the referring attorney gets 25 percent of the attorney’s fees. This almost sounds too good to be true. So it’s three years from now and I’m a lawyer practicing say, land use, and hypothetically my neighbor gets rear ended and needs a lawyer. If I refer him to a competent PI lawyer (like one of my law school buddies) I automatically get 10 percent of the settlement amount (which is 25 percent of the attorney’s fees if my math is right…and as we all know, attorney’s fees in PI cases in Florida are more or less standard at about one-third if it settles and about a quarter if it goes to trial; obviously almost all cases settle eventually). So his Hummer was totaled and he missed three months of work and has lingering back pain so he can’t work in his garden anymore. He was hit by say, a UPS truck and the other driver was at fault. UPS has insurance so eventually after all the paperwork is done and the parties go back and forth, they’ll throw $30-50 grand at him (I’m ballparking this figure obviously—maybe it’s more like $10,000? $150K? I don’t really know…I guess this is the part where it depends on how good the lawyer is.). And just because I referred him to a lawyer, I get a check for $3-5K. For doing nothing. Is it really that easy?

Thursday, September 07, 2006


They say karma is a bitch, but maybe it goes too far sometime.

Last school year I worked at a small firm with four lawyers. One of the lawyers – who I almost never worked for – was a real asshole. He screamed at everyone: colleagues, paralegals, secretaries, opposing counsel and even clients. His way of dealing with opposing counsel was to bully them. He single handedly made that office a miserable place to work both for me and for the support staff. It’s no coincidence that they went through about eight different file clerks and secretaries during the eight months I worked there. Every couple of weeks there were new support people. His office was next to mine so I spent a lot of time listening to him yell at people. He regularly reduced one of the secretaries to tears before eventually firing her. I concluded that he was just a nasty, despicable person. I only saw a human side of him once when I caught him and the paralegal making out (yeah – kissing) in his office.

Anyway, I recently ran into another guy who worked there when I was there. He told me that this lawyer blew his brains out about a month after I left. He did it in the office. Disturbing. Needless to say, the firm moved to a different office…

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Back again

Good news for me: I passed the MPRE! It wasn't even close (to failing). When I left the test I was sure that I failed. I was positive. It was frustrating because I knew the rules, took the Bar-Bri class and did as many practice problems as I could. I treated it like a final exam -- spent four full days studying. But the answer choices were ridiculous -- in many cases they literally made no sense. I could have explained in an essay what was wrong with the situation in the fact patterns but the choices were written in a way that was so convoluted and confusing that I was completely baffled. Oh yeah -- and the loud explosion-like noises coming from the roof of the hotel where I took it didn't help, either. Anyone want to buy an MPRE Bar-Bri book? I actually have two of them (bought one for PR class last semester and got the other one when I signed up for Bar-Bri).