Sunday, April 29, 2007

is commercial law funny?

It's been a long time since I last looked at Prof. Contract's web site but I checked it out thanks to a commenter a couple of days ago. I think Prof. Contracts has gone off the deep end. You tell me, what is the deal with this comic strip about plaid coat man and the UCC filing officer? Is this funny to anyone? One of those so-bad-it's-funny deals? I don't know Prof. Contracts too well but I know him a little and know enough to know he's completely devoid of a sense of humor so I'm wondering if this is the kind of thing that strikes him as funny. If it is, that might explain a lot. Or maybe I'm just ignorant because I never took commercial law.

I need for the next nine days to go by quickly. All I have left is two exams, one on Sunday and one on Tuesday. Actually I have this takehome exam for ADR Policy but that's almost done.
It's a little difficult to motivate myself to spend everyday between now and Sunday studying but because the exams are so close together it's not too tough to get motivated. I'm going to study this week.

Friday, April 27, 2007


So did you see the e-mail from campus police informing us that this grad student pictured above (not a law student, repeat: not a law student) has been issued a trespass warning, meaning she is not allowed on campus? I wonder what you have to do to get banned from campus? I guess it has to be serious but not serious enough to warrant other misdemeanor or felony charges? The picture looked like familiar, like I've seen here before. I Googled her and it says she is (or was) a student in the geography department. I didn't even know we had a geography department. Yeah. Strange. I have nothing else to say or write or blog about.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

News: dean quits; students go on about their lives

We received this e-mail today from the dean. He's stepping down as dean. The only thing that makes this remotely interesting to me is his desire to spend time with students once he steps down and becomes a professor again. It implies that he likes spending time with students. If that's true, why have I seen him a total of four times around campus since orientation three years ago (not including the time I made an appointment to talk to him?
Today I announced to the faculty that the 2007-2008 academic year will be my final one as dean. These past eight years have been the most challenging and rewarding of my professional life. We have hired very talented young faculty, expanded clinical programs for our students, significantly increased student scholarships, and almost doubled the Law School 's endowment. I am grateful to my faculty colleagues for their shared dedication to the quality of the education we provide our students. I want to thank the staff for all that you do to assure the success of our students. I firmly believe that the University of Miami has one of the most talented and socially committed student bodies in the country. We have a wonderfully supportive alumni community who have demonstrated their faith in the School's educational mission by their generous support of the Capital Campaign. It has been a privilege to serve as your dean. I am looking forward to my final year as dean, to rejoining the faculty as a professor, and to being back in the classroom with our students.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

no class

I had my last law school class ever today. It's strange to think that I'll never again do something so that was such a constant in my life for what seemed like so long. I might go back to the law school, but no more law school classes. Of course, it's not like anything is really over since I still have two finals and a paper (oh, and the bar exam, but we'll worry about that later) before graduation, but it does seem like an accomplishment if for no other reason than that I vividly remember my first full week of classes and how far off this point seemed. And now it's here. And I'm done.

I can't say I have unhappy memories of law school classes, but they aren't necessarily fond memories either. Some professors made class interesting and worthwhile. Most were up and down - they just taught the law and sometimes it was interesting while other times it was dull. One prof (Prof. State/Local Govt) spent the majority of the semester raving about his personal paranoid delusions and how much he despised the students - and everyone other than himself - because we were morally, intellectually and emotionally inferior to him . One (Prof. Crim Pro) turned every class into the opportunity to deliver a political manifesto so far on the left of the spectrum that even I was appalled. One (Prof. Contracts) rambled about whatever came to mind and left it to us to learn the subject, which as it turned out, wasn't all that complicated after all. One (nameless) was incapable of teaching without actually reading from the casebook - as if he didn't know the material, which was strange. Another (Prof. ADR Policy) literally made every class a pleasure to go to. One (Prof. Evidence) was so hyperactive that it stressed me out, but somehow also made me study hard. One (Prof. Con Law II and Prof. BA) lectured non-stop for the entire two hours and could've been talking to a room full of cats; his lectures were the same. One (Prof. Con Law), who I think was a good professor and a very good person, criticized the justice who wrote every opinion and thought almost every opinion was wrong. Another (Prof. Torts) liked to yell at students and his voice cracked when he yelled. One prof (you know who) put on race-goggles for every case. Another (Prof. Civ Pro) turned the color of a tomato one day, then kept teaching as if nothing happened. One (nameless, but no longer employed here) was a miserable, wretched person who hated his students (unlike Prof. State/Local, who despised us but also despised everyone).

Thursday, April 19, 2007

hooray, we're No. 5!

So we had the fifth-highest bar passage rate on the February exam. Yeah, that's not good. At least we beat Florida Coastal. If the for-profit law school ever beats us, well, that would be embarrassing. The Dean said a couple of interesting things: First, FIU apparently strongly discourages some people (ie. those who won't pass) from taking the bar exam. Second, our rate, while lower than other schools, was higher than it had been in years (for the February exam). Whatever. I'm already terrified about the bar exam and I'm planning to devote every waking moment (more or less, with a few breaks) from May 15 through July 25 to it. But it's not so much because I want better statistics for this school - it's about me. I want to pass. I know when I pass it says something good about this law school, but that can't be my major concern, contrary to what the Dean said at that meeting.

From the Herald:

Florida International University's most recent crop of law school graduates had the state's highest percentage of first-time examinees passing the bar.

Of the group of 18 students who graduated in December 2006, all but one student passed the bar -- a 94 percent passing rate.

That's a higher percentage of passing first-time bar examinees than those of Florida's nine other accredited law schools.

''This is only our second cycle and the fourth bar exam taken by our students, so this is a special honor,'' said Leonard Strickman, the dean of FIU's College of Law.

FIU's College of Law, which opened in 2002, is the country's newest accredited law school.

The exam was administered in late February in Orlando, according to a news release just issued by the bar examiner' board.

Next on the list: Florida State University, with an 88.2 percent pass rate (30 out of 34 students), and the University of Florida, with an 83.3 percent pass rate (130 out of 156 students).

Rounding out the list of pass rates are Stetson (82.1 percent), University of Miami (76.9 percent), St. Thomas (74.2 percent), Florida Coastal (70.1 percent), Barry (69.2 percent), Florida A&M (52.4 percent) and Nova Southeastern (48 percent).

The 74.2 percent figure is a big improvement for St. Thomas' law school, which last year had a 35.5 percent pass rate for the February exam.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

move the law school downtown?

Hey, what did you think about the dean's idea to move the law school downtown? I saw a letter from the dean on the printer. I assume it was sent out in an e-mail but who knows. I also saw it in the Herald (last item). It sounds like it's a long, long term project so it's not like it would affect me or anyone who is a current student. Apparently the reason is that the new city comprehensive plan might end up killing the law school's planned expansion. Or something like that.

But it's interesting to think about what law school would be like if it was downtown. Downtown would be close to the courthouse so students would be more likely to do internships or clinicals. Otherwise I can't think of a single benefit. Traffic downtown is horrible (ok, it's terrible here, too, but EVERYONE commutes to downtown; not everyone commutes to Coral Gables). Downtown isn't just ugly; it's one of the most ugly downtown major cities in the country. Something about going to school among the palm trees is, well, I don't know how to quantify it but I'm sure I would've been less attracted to this school if it was housed in an office building downtown. You wouldn't have the Wellness Center or any of the other benefits of being on campus. Parking would be just as bad - presumably if they built a law school downtown they'd build a parking area, but considering how poorly they manage parking on campus that's no sure thing. What else? It just wouldn't feel like being in a campus environment.

On the other hand, law students are here to learn the law so I guess they can learn it anywhere, right? I don't know. I just don't think it's a very good idea because other than being able to say
the law school is downtown near lawyer's offices and the courthouse, there are few benefits. But I bet if they started over, they could get the bathrooms right...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

not much

I was thinking about how I only have eight more classes left in all of law school (not including bar review classes, of course). I remember my first ever law school class. It was Civ Pro. It was on Friday at the end of a dizzying week of orientation, first assignments, an LRW class and I had no idea what to expect. I just knew that this was really it. This was the start of law schoool. I remember being terrified that I would be called on, then being relieved to learn that because there was not yet any seating chart the prof would go in alphabetical order. So this poor woman whose last name starts with an A was called on. But it wasn't bad at all, neither for her nor for anyone else. I remember being impressed with how well she did. Of course I don't remember anything she actually said and looking back now, considering she was talking about the first case we ever read for law school, it's unlikely she said anything brilliant. But that's not the point. I remember thinking it was such a BIG DEAL to get called on in class. It was HUGE in those early days. You were scared to not be prepared to say something intelligent, to show that not only had you done the reading, but that you could put it in context with the other cases. At least I was. Yeah. Times have changed, although now I think we're about to come full circle because - at least if you're going to be litigating like I am - if you get called on, so to speak (by a judge, by a partner in your firm, etc.) you'd better be prepared to say something smart, right?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

learning vs doing

I think one of the many reasons I'm sick of law school is that I'm anxious to try and apply what I've learned in the real world. I'm sick of all the learning. OK, that's not entirely true and spare me the platitudes about how I should be learning all my life, not just when I'm in school. I know that. I don't think I know everything. I don't think I'll ever know anything. I like learning stuff and I am confident that I will always be learning new things.

But I've spent the past three years getting ready to be a lawyer. Now I want to try being a lawyer. By no means did my three years in law school convince me that being a lawyer is the only profession I will have until I retire. I didn't discover a love of the law but neither did I learn to despise it. I'm just not sure if I learned what I was supposed to learn. Law school supposedly taught me how to think. Did I successfully learn the right way to think? I don't know. I won't know until I can actually practice law. I want to use some of what I've learned, whether that's the caselaw or blackletter law or more likely, the way of thinking that lawyers must use.

I remember kind of feeling this way way back during my first semester of law school. We spent what seemed like forever learning stuff but having no way to apply it. Then finals came. And while they were pretty miserable, it wasn't as bad as I thought. In fact, finals in later semesters were much worse because as a 1L, it was almost, sort of, a little bit exciting to be able to apply what you learned. I remember the five hour torts final, which was our first one. It was brutal. And that's putting it lightly. But afterwards I remember feeling slightly euphoric because I had all that knowledge in my brain and although I didn't know whether I got a C+ or an A+ I knew I did OK because I put down a shit load of stuff on the page.

But the novelty of exams as an actual method of testing what you know has long since worn off. I want to use what I learned in the real world. Here's hoping I actually learned something I can use, even if it's just a way of thinking...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

ungrateful asshole

So there's this person in my Copyright class. I don't think I've ever had a conversation with he or she in all of law school. Ok, it's a she. She was also in my Evidence class. I found her to be really annoying based on the questions she asked. No big deal. That kind of thing happens - we all occasionally think someone is annoying for whatever reason. (I'm sure some people even find me to be annoying! (shocking, I know!) (although it wouldn't be based on annoying questions because I rarely talk in class.)

I don't think I spent a single second outside of Evidence class (this was a year and a half ago) thinking about her. Until one day last year when I was standing on the side of an aisle in the theater waiting for a speech to start. For no particular reason I just randomly turned around to look into the seats and she was glaring at me (I was standing against the wall; she was looking right at me, not behind me or elsewhere) giving me this look that said "I hate that guy. I fucking hate him." Strange. Still, so what? So nothing. I wondered why, but still thought nothing of it for more than about five minutes. No big deal, I thought. She doesn't like me. I don't care in the slightest.

Then the next time I saw her other than in passing was at the beginning of this semester in Copyright. She didn't ask anywhere near as many annoying questions as in Evidence. I still didn't give her much thought other than to think "oh, that's the annoying girl from Evidence."

Until recently when the professor announced that this person had her laptop stolen, so could people please e-mail her their notes. First I smiled to myself and thought, 'no fucking way, she's annoying so why would I give her my notes?' But for some reason, I thought that even though I've still never had an actual conversation with her and she probably hates me for reasons unknown to me, I'd send her my notes. So I did. I've never had my laptop stolen but I've had it crash and it's a pain in the ass. Although I wouldn't necessarily expect anyone to help me if that happened, I would sure appreciate it. So I did what I thought was a nice thing, you know, kinda like the whole golden rule.

And what did I get in response? Nothing. Not a thank you, not even an acknowledgment e-mail or in person, nothing. Nothing. Nada. Seriously.

Now I hope she is practicing law in the same area as I because if I ever face her in litigation, I will destroy and crush her (and her client). I promise.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


So I went to barrister's last night. It was fine, I guess. The chicken was worse than inedible. Whatever. It looked like about 98 percent of the people were there for the open bar. I didn't get wasted. Many people did.

I don't know why, but for some reason I was surprised to see professors and deans there. Only one of the two profs who I despise (well, there are three counting one who's no longer employed here) was there. I wonder how often people get drunk and say stupid things to the profs or deans?

The best thing to happen to me all weekend was when I discovered that the Publix near my house now sells Leine's Sunset Wheat, the best thing to come out of Wisconsin since uh, since, um, yeah It's true! Now if only they'd start carrying Honey Weiss...