Sunday, May 27, 2007

good idea or bad?

I'm seriously thinking about switching all my reading just to the Conviser. In criminal law, criminal procedure and contracts the profs said all we need to know is in the Conviser. I don't retain much from just reading and those legal-sized pages are unbearable, especially in subjects I've never done like wills and trusts. I don't know. So far two people have told me they don't read at all. So I've started making flash cards while I read but if I do that for the regular sized outlines I'll have way too many cards. I think one of the worst things you can do for the Bar is learn too much. So I will try just reading the Conviser for the next few subjects at least, at least until someone can convince me it's not such a good idea...

Friday, May 25, 2007

still going

At least the lectures are still interesting. That Whitebread guy (that's actually his name, seriously) who lectured on criminal law was as entertaining as the contracts guy. Terrific. So it holds my attention for three or four hours. Then I go home and do the practice problems and get depressed all over again. They say 65 percent is good enough to pass but I'm not even really scoring that high in the practice problems. And so far I've been sticking to the BarBri schedule so I've only done practice problems in one subject - contracts, which admittedly is harder than other subjects, but the point is that so soon after learning contracts I should be on top of it. What a fun memorial day weekend this will be.

Hey, what the fuck is the deal with this stupid new policy of not releasing grades except on Fridays? This is the dumbest idea I've heard in a long time. Supposedly the goal is to reduce student stress but that's preposterous. Actually I don't care too much but I do care a little because I want to know I graduated (I know I did fine, but I still want to see it become official) and know my final GPA.

And believe me, I have better things to worry about - and I am, in fact, worrying about those other things (the bar, obviously).

Still, whoever came up with the idea that grades would only be released on Fridays is an idiot. And whoever came up with the idea to tell students that the reason for doing this is to reduce student stress is stupider than the person who came up with the idea in the first place. There is no possible rational reason that if a professor turns in his grades on, say, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday that the grades can't be released on the following business day. The only possible reason is laziness on the part of the registrar's office. Or incompetence.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What do you think? I don't think anything

So instead of complaining about Bar-Bri and the misery of studying for the bar exam, here are some random observations from the past couple of days:

Epstein, the Bar-Bar contracts lecturer, is fantastic. I mean that sincerely. Each of the three-hour lectures over the past two days just flew by. Of course that doesn't necessarily mean I'm more or less likely to remember anything he said (except the thing about the armadillos in the back of the greyhound bus with the yellow neckerchiefs as constituting seller's delivery on a shipping contract) in 10 weeks but he has made the first two days of Bar-Bri much less painful than I expected.

I overheard this exchange this morning before the lecture started:

Guy: I don't have a job, I'm looking in this city, that city, [blah blah blah]. How about you, what are you going to do?
Girl: Nothing.
Guy: What?
Girl: Yeah, I'm taking the year off to travel and do charity work.

What the fuck?

I have no idea how to develop a study schedule for myself. I plan to do every single thing Bar-Bri tells me to do and hopefully on the day they tell me to do it. I don't think I need to write out the specific times I plan to study, eat and sleep. The guy said something about making goals for yourself for each day. What does that mean? I was thinking of trying to review 1-2 other subjects each day besides the three assigned by Bar-Bri (one subject to be read, one to do questions for and a different one being lectured on) because my biggest concern is forgetting one subject at the expense of another. I also don't plan to be studying past 8 or 9 p.m., at least not until the last three weeks or so. But most people I know who passed said if you more or less treat it as a 9-5 job (more like 9-7, 8 or 9) (again, at least until the last few weeks) you're doing enough. I know if I do every assigned question I'll have done somewhere around 2,100 questions (including PMBR questions). As they say, quality is much more important than quantity, right?

I've gone to the live lecture every day. I'm a little sick of getting there early just to get a seat in there, so I guess I might see about the broadcast version. I actually like having a live person talking to me rather than watching someone on screen but it can't be all that much better, can it? I guess I'll only know when I try the non-live room.

So the other day during a break from the PMBR criminal lecture, this woman sitting next to me expressed her confusion about one of the problems. Basically in the problem this guy who thought someone owed him $200 knocked on the door, then went inside because the guy wasn't home. He took the guy's TV outside and set it on fire. The answer was that this was larceny, not burglary. Actually I'm not sure I got this one right when I first tried it but once we learned the difference between burglary and larceny, it made sense (no intent to commit any other crime when he entered). Anyway, the difference between the crimes is not my point.

What surprised me was that this woman next to me couldn't understand why it was any crime. She assumed that because the guy thought he was owed $200 that it was OK - and not a crime at all - to break in and take the TV outside and burn it. Uh, since when do you have the option to just invent a remedy for yourself if you believe your property has been taken? (You don't...I'm not sure you need three years of law school to realize that the American legal system doesn't allow you to take the law into your own hands). Then a day or two later I was talking to this woman again and it turns out she's taking the bar for the third time. Ouch.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

the end of the beginning

So the rest of PMBR sucked. I don't mean sucked, as in, I wish I hadn't taken it. I mean it was just miserable. I guess it's not so terrible that I learned a lot about what I don't know. I'm sure that I'll remember a few of the things I learned, like elements of arson and the difference between larceny and robbery. But this whole thing is still just terrifying, despite the assurances the PMBR lecturers keep giving and despite the Bar-Bri survival guide, which seems to lay things out pretty clearly as far as a study plan. And it doesn't help to be told stuff like that mortgages make up the largest portion of the property section. Obviously I'm not complaining that I was told this; I'm glad I was told this, but just because I know it doesn't make me feel better about it...although obviously I know to study it now. But there are tons of things like that.

(By the way, I was surprised at how many people I know who weren't taking the six-day PMBR class...wouldn't you want to give yourself every advantage? I was talking to a couple of those people and it was funny how they were rationalizing not taking it...not that I'm saying I will score higher but I'd probably jump off a bridge if I failed just because I didn't take the extra six day class).

I still can't figure out why the bar exam is so different than law school. The exam and the studying process for it is almost the exact opposite of law school exams and the way you studied. It seems like you wouldn't need three years of law school to take the bar exam. Sure, some of the lingo might be unfamiliar, but that's going to be the case for a lot of people (like me) who never took subjects like family law and will have to learn them from scratch over the coming weeks. So what's the point?

I appreciated the comments I got from people the other day. I go back and forth minute-by-minute being confident that I'll get all this stuff down and then thinking it's just too overwhelming. I know enough not to listen to what most other people are doing, especially (sorry, if you're reading this, but I doubt you are) the people in my PMBR class who went to those fourth-tier law schools. Speaking of those people, I know that I still have to study my ass off and that I'm guaranteed nothing just because the passage rate from this school was 86 percent last year (and is consistently in the low 80s) whereas from those other schools it's in the 70s and 60s. But having said that, I thought it was funny how the PMBR lecturer yesterday made a comment about how 86 percent of people from here pass and all those non-UM students started muttering or laughing or whatever, knowing full well that because they went to that school, their passage rate is much lower. I'm not sure there is a point to this rambling aside - although, again, I don't think I'm naturally smarter than those people. But it just seems like in some ways, you're starting at a disadvantage if from day one you're told that only two out of three people who went to your school will pass. Maybe not. I don't know. Sorry this is rambling.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

And so it begins

So day one of PMBR was pretty awful. Actually if today was all there was, I'd be in great shape. We did criminal today (law and procedure!). I got tons wrong on the practice test. I did terrible. But I really didn't let it bother me. I didn't even grade my practice exam because everyone told me you just get discouraged and people all around me were graduating and saying they got 15, 17, 19 or so right (out of 50). But I wasn't all that discouraged. The lecture was helpful. It was all just lists of elements of crimes, acronyms and blackletter law to look for. No bullshit, like in law school classes. I learned a few things and I took notes that I'll be studying over the next two months. But then when I think that I have five more multistate subjects, then about 25,000 state subjects (actually I'm told that we're lucky because Florida only has 13 (I think) while some states have as many as 20, but I don't feel so lucky about that...), well, uh, I'm a little less optimistic about my chances. I still can't comprehend how I am supposed to learn so many subjects, then keep them all in my head. I have absolutely no idea.

And what a letdown after the weekend (graduation, parties, etc.). Wow. This is gonna be the best summer EVER!

Graduation was a great time, but what was the deal with that elderly woman mispronouncing everyone's name? That wasn't funny at all. I know she's 84 or so years old and I heard she recently lost a member of her family but it stopped being amusing after she butchered the first 10 or so names (for example, a guy named Michael was called "Michelle" and a guy named Colin was called "Coleena"). She got my name right but when I watched the webcast I noticed she paused before reading my name for several seconds, which was longer than she paused before anyone else's name. Strange. Anyway, despite that, I really enjoyed it and am surprised that I did because I was kind of neutral about the whole thing leading up to it.

Friday, May 11, 2007

On graduation

As graduation approaches, I am thinking about the last two times I graduated. I went to a lot of different schools growing up and somehow I missed having all those quasi-graduations that some people have - graduation from kindergarten, from junior high, etc. So I've only graduated from high school and from college.

Graduating from high school was great because I couldn't wait to move on to college. It seemed like a monumental occasion; I was leaving home! Not that my home life was miserable or sad or anything less than idyllic but as an 18-year-old I was ready to see what else was out there. And I spent only my senior year at this particular high school so there weren't many significant memories, either good or bad, that I was leaving behind. On the other hand, it never occurred to me that I wouldn't graduate from high school; I literally never contemplated the possibility. So for that reason, it didn't seem like so much of an accomplishment as it felt like a turning point and a milestone.

Graduating from college was bittersweet. I loved my four years of college. To this day (12 years after graduating) my closest friends are people with whom I went to college, not people from high school. So scattering and leaving friends was tough. And it was difficult because although I thought leaving high school meant entering the real world, I quickly found out that going to a small liberal arts college in the midwest was like living in a oasis; it was not the real world. Now, suddenly, I was really entering the real world. I had no idea what I was going to do (see above: I went to a liberal arts college and got a degree that they told me qualified me to do anything but in reality qualified me to do nothing.) Actually, I had tons of ideas but no real clue how it would turn out. I had a job for the summer but nothing else was out there after the summer. I knew I wouldn't stay in the city where I was working for the summer but had no idea where I'd go. I knew I was young and had my whole life ahead of me. I was ready to graduate, or so I thought, and just like when I left high school, see what else was out there in the world.

Now that I'm graduating from law school, I also have an uncertain future. I have a job lined up as an attorney. I'll be moving but only about 30 miles from here, so we'll be in the same general community but 30 miles away from here may as well be a world away. And I'll be working long hours - longer than I worked in my previous working life - but probably not as long as I worked during the first three semesters of law school when I worked like a dog. And I have no idea if I'll like being a lawyer. There have been many times over the past three years when I've told myself I don't want to be a lawyer; at other times I've said that I do. Now I definitely want to be a lawyer but I can't and won't promise I'll be one in 10, 15, or 20 years.

Mostly graduating from law school feels like it's a significant accomplishment more than a turning point (although as I wrote the other day, there are things I'll miss about being a student). I never doubted for a second that I would graduate from high school and although college was stressful at times, college graduation was never in doubt. But I had doubts even before I entered law school that I would graduate and the first year didn't give me confidence that I'd survive the entire three years and manage to actually graduate. But now it's here (actually it's on Sunday). I have a cap and gown and a medal and an invitation to the reception and tickets for the graduation and, well, I don't know what could stop me from graduating.

Of course the fact that graduation is just step one, and step two involves 12 weeks of studying which apparently will be just as bad or almost as bad as being a 1L tempers the excitement of graduation a little, or at least makes it short-lived excitement.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Have you seen this? Someone sent it to me in an e-mail. I assume it's been making the rounds. Some are funny. I think it would've been really funny when we were 1Ls. Anyway, here you go.
1. You consider dropping out of law school approximately every 3 hrs,
but after that first semester you realized you're already in too much debt
to be anything other than a lawyer.
2. You can't remember if you decided to come to law school b/c you
wanted to help people and make a diff in the world or b/c you hate yourself.
3. You aspire to one day own Blackacre.
4. The drama in your life now rivals that of high school.
5. You can name w/out hesitation at least 3 people who make you want to
throw things when you see them raise their hands in class.
6. You think IRAC and CREAC are just code for saying the same thing
over and over.
7. You are truly and deeply unnerved by the thought of some of your
classmates becoming attorneys.
8. You wonder if that one professor who always seems angry and
irritable and treats students' minds as his personal playground is actually a
sociopath or just didn't get enough hugs as a child.
9. You know and understand the complicated epistemological and
metaphysical differences between coffee and red bull.
10. You think whoever came up with the Socratic method should have his
face lit on fire and then beaten out with a rake.
11. When someone is expressing their frustration or anger bout
something that is in any way related to the law, you can't be sympathetic b/c
you're too busy figuring out in your head if they have a cause of action.
12. You're pretty sure the reasonable prudent man is a friendless tool
who still lives with his mother.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Done. I'm not a law student any longer. I guess I haven't yet graduated but I'm done. Copyright exam was fine. (surprisingly I was drained afterwards but I think it's more being drained and worn out from law school in general as opposed to from the copyright exam in particular). Compulsory licenses? What the fuck? Yeah.

Anyway, it's over. It seems strange. Calling myself a law student was part of my identity for so long. And I knew I was going to be starting law school in August 2004 as early as February of 2003. Now I'm not in law school anymore. Work still seems so far away (I start Sept. 4 which apparently is exactly seven days before I find out if I passed the bar exam...that's one good thing about this state: they grade the bar exam really fast compared with other states) what with the bar exam and all. So now I do a bunch of stuff that's been piling up, then graduate on Sunday, then start PMBR on Tuesday.

Monday, May 07, 2007

go faster, damn you

Can there be a mechanism to speed up life? This time tomorrow, I'll be done with law school.


I'm ready to take my Copyright final exam now. I think taking it pass/fail was a stupid idea, not because I'm afraid I'll get a C- (which at this school is equal to an F if you take it pass/fail; where's the logic in that -- if you're not taking it pass/fail a C- gets you sufficient credit but if you are taking it pass/fail a C- means you don't get any credit) but because I think I'll do much better than a C.

I don't know how to study to a C so I've been studying as if it's a normal exam for a normal grade. I was afraid if I half-assed it I'd fail. Whatever. I won't fail. Anyway I've had about enough. The exam is 1 p.m. Tuesday. I wish it was at least in the morning so I wouldn't have to stare at my notes and force myself to reread them for 3 hours before it starts.

On another note, how the heck do you sustain concentration for two days of the bar exam? Yesterday I had my admin law final, then met with a group for about three hours in the late afternoon to go over copyright. By about 8 p.m. my brain was mush and all I'd done was take one three-hour exam and study for another. How do you take the equivalent of four final exams in 32 hours (two 3-hour exams each day)? I have no idea. None.

I guess I can start getting stressed about that a week from tomorrow when PMBR starts.

Friday, May 04, 2007

the good with the bad

So any reader of this blog knows what I won't miss about law school once I graduate, pass the bar and move back into the real world. I've blogged about what I don't like ad nauseum.

But I was thinking lately that there are a few things I'll miss. Here's a list in no particular order of what I'll miss when my three-year hiatus from reality comes to an end and I rejoin the working world.

1. Wearing shorts every day
Yeah. Better than wearing a suit (or even business casual).

2. Taking naps whenever I want
I loved having the option of taking short naps in the middle of the day.

3. Answering only to myself
You have class and some group obligations but you can put in as much or little effort as you want, unlike when you work for someone else and your paycheck depends on it.

4. The Wellness Center on campus
Or, more specifically, having time and the opportunity (because it was right on campus) to work out every day.

5. How everything changes every four months.
With each semester, then the summer, your entire routine changed. I liked this because you weren't stuck doing the same thing day after day, month after month, year after year. And if you found you were stuck in a rut, you knew it would all change in a couple of months.

6. Summer, winter and spring breaks
Duh, self-explanatory

7. The vague and rare sense that my future as an attorney is wide open.
Many things interested me. Lots of others didn't. Most lawyers say they had no idea back in law school that they would end up doing X or Y or Z and now they love doing it. So I find the uncertain and hopeful future to be something exciting. Not that I was all starry eyed about my prospects, but I'm just saying that occasionally I felt like I had a whole world out there available to me and that seemed exciting.

8. Free Westlaw and Lexis access
OK, it wasn't free given how much we paid in tuition but that stuff is expensive so you'd better have a damn good reason for looking up some random issue once you're working.

9. Unlimited printing
So despite the uproar last fall about printing limits, I ended up with unlimited printing because of a campus group I belonged to. I didn't abuse the system. Seriously. But damned if I didn't print out stuff that I wouldn't have printed had it not been free.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Listening to the bar

So I'm still studying for finals but I'm already thinking about the bar studying.

I finally got around to opening the package from PMBR and it contains two massive books, a huge pile of index cards and a box of CDs. By my count, that's 35 hours of lectures on 30 different CDs. Am I supposed to listen to this stuff? Maybe I need to put it on my iPod so I can listen to it while I work out? I don't really have a commute to school (10-15 minutes each way) so I'm not sure when I'll have time to listen to the CDs. It seems excessive - and almost counter-productive - if I have to sit around listening to the CDs; I can't pay attention that way. I assume the CDs replicate the lectures but who knows? I guess I'll find out whether they really need to be listened to in a few weeks once the fun begins...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Still need a job? Here's some great news!

Hey, are you graduating in 12 days and still looking for a job? Have no fear, for the Career Placement Center at this school is looking out for you! Here's the latest job they think you're qualified for as a graduate of this school (based on the fact that it's posted on the password-protected jobs database available only to students and alumni of this school):

Busy Brickell Ave mediation practice requires full time scheduling secretary; excellent computer/phone skills a must; bi-lingual helpful, but not required; non-smoker; litigation experience required; you will be working directly with and for owner of business and will be assisting in all aspects of the administration and scheduling of his day-to-day practice; must make an excellent appearance, be able to multi-task, respond efficiently to instruction, and communicate well with other professionals and para-professionals in law firm environments; salary and benefits commensurate with experience. Respond to xxxxxxx with resume and availability for interview.
But wait, here's the best part:
20,000 - 29,999

What is wrong with these people? Does anyone pay attention to the jobs that get posted? Do they really expect graduates of this law school to become secretaries? What's next? Busy law firm seeks janitor; must be highly motivated, able to multi-task and able to communicate well with others.