Tuesday, July 31, 2007

moving on

I've never liked moving. Growing up, I moved every couple of years. Moving just sucks.

But I think packing and moving was actually good for me this time. It kept me busy thinking about something other than the bar exam. It's also kind of like a catharsis, a housecleaning, a fresh start. When I get back from Japan in a couple of weeks it will be to a new house in a new city and I will have no reason to think about the bar exam. Granted, I only moved 40 miles from my old place, so the we're in the same metro area, but it may as well be a different planet. (Those who live or have lived here will know what I'm talking about.).

Today I unpacked a box that was full of BarBri books and my massive stack of flashcards. I spent about two minutes flipping through the flashcards and each time I got a new one I knew it cold. I mean I really knew this stuff. And yet I still felt the way I felt after the exam. Anyway, the flashcards went into a hiding place (just in case, unfortunately) and the BarBri books went back in the box so I can ship them back after the trip.

If I blog again in the next couple of days it will be from Japan. And I know I won't be able to think about the bar exam while I'm in Japan because, well, you know, I'll be in Japan and I'll be too busy eating Japanese food and drinking Japanese beer and sake and stuff...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Is this the end?

I really hate when people blog about their blogs, but I rarely do it so I guess it's Ok once in a while.

So, the short answer: No, I still have a few more things to say over the next couple months (including a post I wrote before graduation about the faculty and my long-awaited promise (to myself) to call out my idiot LRW prof by name, which I will wait to do until I am admitted to the bar and then do it very carefully to make sure I haven't libeled him).

Longer answer: I'm not sure.

Now that law school is over and the bar exam is over, I'm not sure what to do with this blog. I've had this blog for two years and had another one for the year before that so I've been blogging for three years. At times over the years we were getting 70-80 hits a day. The blog peaked at about 115 per day during the bar exam. That's a lot, considering there are something like 70 million blogs out there (although in another life I wrote for a newspaper that had a circulation of close to 400,000 and almost 700,000 on Sundays so in comparison, it's sort of relative). It seems to have peaked second semester of second year and then reached new heights during the bar exam studying. And if you were reading, thanks (even if you read because you hated me, like that one guy).

The thing with law school blogs (or "blawgs," as they're called, but I think that's such a stupid word) is that there is a built-in audience. Now the built-in readership is gone - or soon to be gone. I won't blog a single word about my firm (I start in September) because everyone knows that's not a good idea. I'm not a brilliant legal scholar so I won't start blogging about legal issues. There are millions of political blogs out there so I won't do that. Some blogs that were terrific during law school become excruciatingly painful to read when the blogger talks about the minutiae of daily life - even if he's a minor celebrity and probably a future celebrity, too.

I could blog about a huge change that's coming to my life in late November but, well, that's not the kind of thing I really want to publicize day in and day out. I always thought I could be a good baseball blogger but there are so many good baseball blogs out there - and at least a few dozen sports blogs worth reading - that I won't even pretend I can come close (not too long ago I made a living writing about sports but it's tough to be good at it if you're not doing it full time).

For a good blog, you need a niche or a gimmick and I have to find one that isn't being covered. I don't know. I'll definitely post here when I get the bar results. I'll mull over what to do with this blog over the next few days and weeks. If you have any suggestions, I'm open to them (but don't suggest I blog about work; it's not happening).

In the meantime, I'll have only sporadic Internet access the next couple of days as we move and then I'll be out of the country for a couple of weeks so I'm not sure how often, if at all, I'll update.

It's been three full days and I'm still kind of on edge, irritable and absent minded. It's strange. Last night was the first time I got a good night's sleep. I guess it will take a little longer to recover than I thought.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

tough choices

A few commenters mentioned selling BarBri books online. So here's a guy trying to sell a complete set of 2006 BarBri books for $290 and the highest bid is $40. That's not enough. BarBri gives you more than that, right? I can't remember how much BarBri gives you back - I think it's $150 but I could be wrong. Here's someone selling their 2005 Conviser on amazon for $40. I don't know.

On ebay people are selling their outlines. Does anyone actually buy them? Who would do that? I guess it doesn't hurt to try and sell them and hope for a buyer? Even the PMBR CDs are selling for $40, which is great, but the high bid is much lower. Is it even worth selling them for $10? Probably not. I think I'll keep the PMBR stuff just in case.

But what if you try to sell it and don't get anything and the BarBri deadline passes and you're stuck with this crap? I don't know. I'll worry about it after I get back from my trip.

Friday, July 27, 2007

post mortem

A few random thoughts about my experience taking the Florida bar exam, in no particular order of importance or relevance (some written after day one, updated yesterday and today). Hopefully this will be the last, or one of the last, posts about the bar exam because I need to put this thing out of my mind.

1. My 'neighbor' at my table must have erased approximately 90 of the 100 multiple choice questions on Tuesday. The table was shaking nonstop. Why would anyone continuously erase the answer to every question? Don't most people make marks on the exam book, and not the answer sheet before filling in the bubble on the answer sheet? (I don't mean that people shouldn't erase - everyone erases but she literally erased almost every question). Also, she made sure I knew she was a bitch the moment I got to the table on Tuesday morning when I accidentally stepped on her laptop cord as I was trying to get to my seat and she said, 'hey, can you watch out?' I was seriously tempted to offer a smartass remark and ask her if she honestly was so stupid that she thought someone stepping on an electrical cord could possibly cause any harm to the cord, but I resisted. It's an electrical cord. It's designed to be stepped on, unless, maybe someone is wearing pointy high heels or something. But inside, I knew. Guess what? I had my suspicion confirmed when she didn't come back on Wednesday. That means she was taking Florida for a second time because she failed.

2. A lot of people said the big room - 5,000 people in one room - was intimidating and scary. I didn't think it was at all. In fact, I'd much rather be in that kind of room than crammed into one of those stuffy, narrow classrooms at school where every chair creaks and people are right behind you and next to you on every side. Also I think the massive room caused sound to disperse or something because you'd think with 5,000 people in one place there would be non-stop coughing and sniffling and whatnot, but there wasn't. Or it's possible that I was just focused and didn't hear that noise.

3. On Monday afternoon a homeless person wished me good luck on the exam. On Tuesday afternoon (after taking FL) the hotel housekeeper who came into my room to make it up saw me studying and said, 'boy, why you still studyin'? haven't you heard 'study long, study wrong?'" Two other hotel personnel wished me good luck and said I'd do fine - the room service guy and the guy who came to fix my air conditioner

4. The confusion after taking the laptop portion of the exam on Tuesday morning was bizarre and troubling. The old guy collecting disks had no idea if he was supposed to collect exam booklets and those oaths, too. You'd think they would train those people.

5. While no one got to take an actual bag/purse/laptop case in the exam I saw a few people who were allowed to bring in a little pouch with stuff like pens, pencils, erasers, earplugs, etc. Also you'd think they would have some uniformity in terms of what's allowed in. I have heard other states require everyone to have a uniform size plastic ziploc bag and specifically identify what is and isn't allowed. Here, Florida specifically says what is and isn't allowed but I saw people with gum and candy on their desk and that was clearly banned. Not that I'm complaining. I'm just saying -- you'd think they would provide clearer guidelines.

6. Our lunch (sandwiches and salad) was nicer than the one provided for Florida State. I didn't see what the other in-state schools served but FSU had only boxed lunches. Too bad. I guess that's the benefit of going to a private (much lower ranked) school. Despite my post earlier in the week about the lunch I am grateful that our school provided lunch. (and yeah, there was turkey but on both days when I got to the lunch meat the roast beef and ham was almost gone while the turkey was still all there).

7. Speaking of lunch, apparently the Hyatt offered a boxed lunch for you to pick up in between sessions but it was something like $20. Wow. Not that I can really talk when it comes to spending money for this whole thing considering how much I spent on the hotel room, room service two nights, Internet, etc. Again, I'm not complaining - every penny is worth it (especially if I pass, which I will), but this is an extraordinarily expensive endeavor. Of course this all comes on top of the $120,000 we spent on law school and additional $5,000 or so for bar review classes.

8. Flying home was a great idea. It actually sounded kind of fun when people were talking about going out (in Tampa) on Wednesday night and I'm sure it had the potential to be fun but I'm glad I went straight home. I had a few drinks on the way home, naturally. In the airport, actually.

9. I have to find a way to put this entire thing out of my head. There is nothing I can do until results come out. Obviously. I have to convince myself that I passed and move on with my life. I'm sure it will be easier in a few days not to think about it.

10. Is it a major accomplishment to have done what we just did? I think it only is an accomplishment if we passed. Otherwise, not so much.

11. I don't know what was worse - the 2.5 months of studying or the actual two days of the exam. After day one, I thought the former was worse. After day two, I'm not entirely sure. I just don't know. Wow. I'm still kind of in a daze.

12. I think it was kind of nice of Dean V. to be up there and wish everyone good look, circulate around the convention center while everyone was in line, etc. Somehow it seemed a little nice to know that the administration (even if he was the only one) actually cared about what we were going through. (I saw Prof. Evidence at the gym on Thursday and he did that thing he always does when he sees me, that 'hey' mutter, which is fine, but don't you think professors should be aware of and acknowledge the date of the exam? It's not a big thing at all but you know, a little 'hey, aren't you glad it's over' or even 'how'd it go?' (although I hate answering that question) kind of acknowledgment would've been nice.)

13. I'm glad this is over.

14. If I fail, I might not post anything about it. I might shut down this blog for good one day out of the blue (actually Sept. 17).

15. When I came home from the MPRE last August, I was sure that I had failed. Positive. Within a few hours of coming home I sat down in front of my computer and deleted all references that I'd made to having taken the MPRE because I didn't want anyone to know what I had taken it when they saw me re-taking it in the fall. Well, I didn't fail; it wasn't even close (to failing). So I'm hoping this is the same thing, although I won't go and delete all the references to the bar exam.

16. I'm still amazed at how much weight Lawfool lost. It was amazing.

17. One of the things I missed while studying for the bar exam was TV. I don't mean that I missed it, as in, I wished I had seen it. But I mean I missed 99 percent of new TV. I missed a ton of news as it was happening, but by and large I knew what was going on. One thing I allowed myself to keep up with was baseball because I couldn't survive without watching baseball and keeping up on baseball news. But I can't even begin to imagine what it was like to study for the bar exam before the Internet. How, other than reading the newspaper, could you possibly know what was going on in the world?

18. I saw only a few people wearing their Harvard or Yale shirts. I figured there would be more because I heard that people would try that stupid intimidation game. But they didn't. I was a little surprised.

19. I was trying to think of all the things I'm looking forward to doing now that it's over. And for some reason, I can't. I just want my life back in all ways. Other than spending more time with my wife and having more time during which I don't have any obligations, I don't really know what else I want to be doing now that I have all this free time. That's not to say that I don't have any ambitions or goals but I've been so focused on the bar exam that I seem to have temporarily lost sight of things I enjoy doing or want to spend time doing. Eh. It'll come back to me.

20. Is Bar Bri going to send us instructions about sending back the books? Damn, that's probably expensive. I guess it's worth it to get that deposit back. On the other hand, how much could you sell all those books for on amazon? A guy who saw me throw out my (typed) notes said I should save them and sell them on ebay because that's what his friend did last year. Whatever. Maybe I'll check out e-bay. Presumably a hefty chunk of change, considering that the buyer would be saving thousands of dollars.

21. If you've read this far, don't leave yet. I mean don't stop reading this blog. My blogging career isn't entirely over even though the purpose for which I started this blog is over (law school, bar exam). I promise not to turn this into a blog about me, me and my life. I'm not sure what I'll do with it. Anyway, I'll have a post up in a few days in which I think about the future of this blog.

22. I'm really glad this is over. I want my life back. And I'm going to get it back.

23. Have I mentioned how glad I am that this is over?

24. A commenter wrote the other day that California's bar exam results come back in mid-November. I think she was actually serious when she said that if you fail, you have to start studying pretty much right away - give or take a couple of weeks. That sucks. At least if you fail FL you have two months during which you don't have to study. Not that I'm planning to have failed, but that's out of my hands now.

25. Did you, like me, wonder what happens to all the answer sheets after we turned them in? Do they go in someone's trunk who drives them to Tallahassee? Do they travel in an armored car? Are they guarded and secure or do they just get shoved into briefcases and tossed into back seats of people's cars? Who knows? As long as they get to the right place, wherever they're graded, it's fine. Whatever.

26. Do you wish, now that this is over, that FL had the rules of some other states that don't grade your essays if you passed the multi-state? I really don't know if I'd prefer that method or not. I guess it's easy to say that I would've liked that approach but who knows. It is what it is. (Isn't that a stupid cliche?). Actually I don't think I'd like that because in hindsight after the entire thing is over I am fairly confident that I did the best of all on the essays (not that I did well, but ya know what I mean - I mean if you divided the thing into four parts (or just three parts), I'm sure my highest score was on the essay part.

27. I think I would give anyone the advice who is studying for the bar exam to spend a few weeks doing and learning the essays that are all the same, then focus on the ones that are different. In other words, once you have down the obvious essays like negligence and family's four basic issues and K formation, spend your time on the essays that differ, like the few torts essays that aren't negligence, the few family ones that don't talk about the four basic issues.

28. I have to stop thinking about this. I will. I will. Really.

29. I never, ever want to do this again. Ever. Seriously.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Over. Done. Finished. Seriously

It's over. I'm not sure what to say. The MBE was much, much harder than I thought it would be. Going in, I actually felt prepared given how much I'd done. It didn't seem to help at all. Ok, that's not true. It would have been even worse had I not done 2,000 or so questions. Where were the 25 gimmes? I counted maybe three in the morning and maybe, possibly 10 or so in the afternoon. And that's probably a stretch.

I'll have another post on the bar exam later today or, more likely, tomorrow. Soon I'll stop thinking about it. Even though I was in my own bed last night and had a few drinks in me by the time my plane landed I didn't sleep well at all. I kept thinking about the exam.

Now I have to pack because tomorrow is moving day. Fun. Actually anything is better than the bar exam.

I. Am. So. Glad. It's. Over. Thank. God.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

half done

Wow. Just wow.

Day one is over. I don't know how I feel. Not very good, I guess.

Let's see - the essays had none of the gimmes that everyone expected (people expected at least one negligence or basic family (with just the 4 basic issues, contract formation, something easy from FL Con Law (eminent domain, access to courts, privacy, etc.), etc.).

The multiple choice contained business entities instead of wills. Was it just me or did it seem like twice as many of those as other subjects? Probably just me.

The questions were brutal. This is the thing though - if I failed, I have absolutely no idea how I can do anything differently to prepare for taking it again. The questions were, by and large, as poorly written as those in the BarBri book. Few had fact patterns of more than 4-5 lines, unlike MBE questions, so they didn't make you think that hard.

I guess passing the Florida Bar Exam is all about memorizing the arcane minutiae of Florida distinctions. So maybe I've answered my own question - if God forbid, I did fail, I need to memorize the FL outlines word for word and forget about doing too many practice questions.

Damn. This is awful. I had a workout and now it's time to review some MBE stuff for tomorrow.

Hopefully he won't be pissed at me for revealing this but I saw the Lawfool, a former student here who went on to bigger and better things at a bigger and better school after 1L and I almost fell over, as a certain professor whose name rhymes with Potzky might say. Lawfool has lost over 100 pounds! Seriously. I am not exaggerating at all because I asked how much he'd lost although it was fairly obvious by looking at him. Wow. Nice job, buddy. That's a far greater accomplishment than passing the bar exam...

The told us that results will be posted on the Supreme Court web site at 2 p.m. on September 17, 2007. Wow. I'll have been at work for two weeks by then. That should be a fun morning at the office. I'll bet I bill tons of hours and have a nice, relaxing lunch with my coworkers. Nah, I won't be nervous at all. Hey, I hear other states don't post results until well into November so I'm not complaining.

Monday, July 23, 2007


It's here. I wish I had some profound words, but I don't. I spent a few hours this morning studying Florida at the Stetson law library here in downtown Tampa.

I had a roast beef sandwich at some deli where a bunch of lawyers were talking about what kind of evidentiary objections to make at the next table. At another table was a lawyer who told me she felt pity for me when she saw my Conviser.

I've seen lots of law students around the hotel and around town, but actually not as many as I thought I would. Maybe they, like me, are holed up in their rooms studying. I'm studying just a little more and that's it. I think tomorrow afternoon and night after I get back and upload my essays I will review the PMBR bluebook last minute tips and some of my notes, but I probably won't open the conviser or handout book.

I will pass the bar exam and so will you.

I will pass the bar exam. You will pass the bar exam.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

one more day

I'm in Tampa. I'm in my hotel. I got a ride up here with a friend. I decided to fly home. That will be nice. I'm grumpy. I did some practice problems and scored poorly. I know it was a tough test though and scaled score I probably passed. I should have brought the big Bar Bri Mpq book to do some intro questions just to boost my confidence.

If I fail it won't be because I don't know the material; it will be because the wording of the questions and answer choices trips me up. Whatever. I know the stuff. I have done about 2,000 questions. I will recognize the situation that is taking place in the fact pattern because those stupid PMBR questions always make it slightly more complicated than it needs to be. I will pass the bar exam, be admited to the bar and become a lawyer. So there.

Any thoughts, recommendations, suggestions on how early to get there, how much time to leave or other non-obvious tips for bar takers? I don't want to be first in the room and be forced to sit there and stare at my hands for an hour when the doors open at 8. (apparently you're not allowed to talk in the room - that's what the instructions say). I also don't want to be rushed getting in there and worrying that I won't be in my seat until 8:59 a.m. I think if I got in the room at 8:30 or so, those 30 minutes would be the longest 30 minutes of my life. I can't really think of any valid reason to get there early other than the fact that you won't have to worry about being late. But I also don't want to be late. Eh. I don't know.

I read one of the old letters I got from the bar and it said there is video surveillance to make sure you comply with the rules. I can kind of understand why they need to be so strict but I guess there goes the idea that the PMBR teacher suggested about bringing in some snacks or candy or whatever. Can you imagine being escorted out of there by armed bar examiners because you took a bit of a granola bar you'd surreptitiously stashed in your pocket?

One piece of advice I got: if you're typing on Tuesday, don't bring your laptop case because it takes too long to check it. Someone told me about their friend who got into the room right at 9 after waiting forever to check their laptop case. So carry it in your hands or a shopping bag, I guess. I guarantee it will rain and my laptop will get soaked on the 8-minute walk from my hotel to the CC. But I brought some plastic bags, so I'm prepared!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

thinking too much about the bar exam

So I'm reading Deadspin.com yesterday instead of reading yet another essay about the four basic Family Law issues. And I see that the Kansas City T-Bones, an unaffiliated minor league team is holding Lunar Night, in which fans can actually win a deed to a plot of land on the moon.

If I was a normal person with a normal life, I would kind of laugh and say, ha, that's cool, that's funny. Then I wouldn't give it another thought.

Instead, my mind started racing about all the potential issues, including, but probably not limited to:

1. Is the deed validly executed? (Signed by two witnesses, notarized, etc.)
2. What is the recording statute used for land on the moon?
3. Who has jurisdiction to enforce such deeds - where, in other words, do I record the deed, regardless of recording statute?
4. Will the deed specifically describe the plot? Do they use metes and bounds on the moon and have legal descriptions like we have here on Earth (or at least in the U.S.)?
5. Can lunar plots be held in the way Earth parcels are held - JTWROS, T-I-C, T-by-E, etc.?
6. Do they have the same rules up there for easements, reciprocal covenants and equitable servitudes?
7. Although profits don't seem like a big deal on the MBE, you'd think the whole profit a prendre market up there might be intense because of all the natural resources in the ground. Maybe not. Are there natural resources in the ground up there?
8. Has the moon modified the common law Rule Against Perpetuities (because I'm thinking if they don't have it up there, they ought to just keep it that way because really no one needs the damn thing, right?).
9. What about mortgages? Can you even get a mortgage for moon property?

So, being a complete dork and not wanting to go back to Family Law, I did some investigation (actually a Google search). Apparently, there is a space registry that actually sells moon plots. Apparently they are only selling about two percent of the moon's surface, so only about 100 million acres are for sale. I guess that's OK. So, anyway, this is a lot less interesting than I thought. It still doesn't answer the above questions though.

Next post: from Tampa. Can't wait. I usually like road trips. This one will not be fun...

Friday, July 20, 2007

here i come, there i go

I'm fucking delirious. Yesterday I took half a practice test and scored lower than I've scored on any set of problems in the past two weeks. I know I can do this but that's not good for your confidence this late in the game.

I don't have much else to say about the process at this point. I'm still studying. I'm actually trying to ramp it down a little instead of ramping it up. I can't go crazy. I know the material. I really do - well, most of it (not so much when it comes to mortgages or the RAP). And I've done probably 2,000 practice questions, give or take. I haven't counted. I just need to make sure I recognize what's happening on the paper in front of me. It's beyond frustrating when I've gotten a problem wrong, then I read the answer and I know the point of law but I didn't recognize that this point of law is what was happening, or I picked a wrong answer choice. I guess it's much better that this happens then the opposite - getting something wrong because you had the law wrong or didn't have a clue what the law was. Right?

Another annoying thing is when PMBR or BarBri keeps repeating the same question over and over. That happens constantly. I did a few questions from the practice test in the back of the PMBR blue book and saw a lot of repeat questions. Why do they do that? On the one hand, you're hoping that the Bar Exam will also repeat the same question - with maybe a few small variations - so maybe it's good. On the other hand, it would be far more helpful to provide different fact patterns for the same answers. Does that make sense? Or maybe it's just not possible and the only way they can test a certain thing is to use that specific fact pattern.

Damn. I don't know. I want this to be over. Actually, I want it to be here.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

i'm not hungry

So the law school provides a free lunch during both days of the bar for people who went here. I think that's good because the PMBR lady was talking about bringing a sandwich and hiding it in your pocket or driving somewhere for lunch. I'm glad I don't have to worry about that. The last thing I want to worry about is stuffing a sandwich in my pocket and hiding it from the authorities who apparently strip search you on the way in (OK, not quite a strip search but the list of what you can't bring in is long).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. But I started thinking about how our school puts no effort into planning and spends no time thinking through the consequences of its actions and almost never considers the students when it makes plans, so I was wondering what they'll serve. I'm guessing:
(a) a giant pot of five-alarm chili
(b) black beans and rice with a side of greasy fried plantains or
(c) turkey with a side of pasta, maybe with some white bread for those who need more simple carbs.
(update (d) just to make sure we all feel right at home: subway sandwiches!)

Maybe if they serve (a) or (b) people from our school will have the advantage after lunch because everyone else will be so grossed out by the after effects...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


If you weren't one of the 30 or so people who made it to Prof. Tort's evidence lecture this afternoon (or if you're one of the 15 people who walked out in the middle when you realized it was useless), you didn't miss much. It's undisputed that he's one of the country's pre-eminent experts in evidence. But that doesn't mean he can boil it down to what you need to know for the bar exam. So I've provided you with a summary:

1. It's an unsettled question as to whether you should have sex or abstain the weekend before the bar
2. You should not have a drop of alcohol between now and next Tuesday
3. The confrontation clause is incredibly fucking confusing if you want to get into the finer points and rationale and details

whew, that was fast

In the first hour of the first day of BarBri back in May, the woman told us that we would be surprised at how quickly this summer would fly by. I thought she was nuts. Staring at two and a half months of this felt like it would take two and a half years. Sure enough, it went by quickly. I almost long for the days of BarBri classes again. The thing is - even if you did a subject one day and didn't really get it and it seemed like it would be a nightmare to master, you felt like you still had time. Plenty of time. Now, not so much.

Obviously I'll keep studying my ass off the next few days but at a certain point you just have to realize that you can't learn that much. There is only really so much material to study. Florida wills is a good example. There are about 100 questions, which I finished about six weeks ago and have done again. There's the lecture notes and the outline (and Conviser which is just the outline in short form). No more. That doesn't mean I know everything about the subject and it is not confidence inspiring. But I can do no more other than keep reading Conviser over and over.

Please let the next six days go by quickly.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

not much

Not much to say. A week from now I'll be in Tampa. Actually exactly a week from when I'm writing this I'll be about 35 percent done with the bar exam. The other day I couldn't sleep because I was taking a practice test in my head. The strange thing is that I don't think I was going over any actual material; I was just doing questions by rote and that kept me from falling into a deep sleep. Strange. It doesn't make any sense. I guess I must have been half asleep and drifting in and out of sleep. Whatever. I think last night I dreamed about learned treatises and the difference between past recollection recorded and present recollection refreshed. Or is it the other way around?

I want my life back. I keep thinking about all the things I want to do once this is over. After going out of town for a couple of weeks I still have over two weeks until my job starts. You'd think I would have this long list of things I want to accomplish but mostly the things I want to do are normal things: watch an entire baseball game on TV, cook something for dinner, not have to think I should be studying whenever I'm doing something that's not studying, not worrying about the bar exam, etc.

I talked to someone at the PMBR class who starts a job with the local public defender after the bar exam. The job starts July 30. That's four days after the last day of the bar exam. That sucks. I know someone who actually turned down a job with the local PD for that reason - he couldn't bear the thought of having only a four-day break. But I guess you make up for it by getting something like three weeks vacation a year, getting out early on Fridays, working 9:30 to 5 at most, not working weekends, etc. Not that I'd want that salary. Anyway, the worst was last summer when I took the MPRE - there were people who had just taken the bar exam two weeks before. I can't imagine being motivated to get ready for another test just two weeks later even though there's no valid comparison between the MPRE and the real thing.

Monday, July 16, 2007

this is nice, but how about sending my diploma

Did you get this e-mail today? Wonderful. This is your reward for $100,000 and all that hard work: A free transcript! It's almost embarrassing that they make it sound like a reward. Here's an idea - how about sending me my diploma instead?

Congratulations on the successful completion of your degree. We trust that your experience at the University of Miami was a positive one and will afford you a solid base for your future achievements.

My staff in the Office of the Registrar will gladly continue to serve your records-related needs as an alumnus of the University of Miami. Upon receipt of this email, you are now eligible for a free transcript containing your final grades and degree notation along with honors you received at the time of graduation. Previous requests do not apply.

To request your free transcript, please go to www.miami.edu/myum. Go to “My Academic Records” and choose “Order Transcripts”. Then simply check the box indicating you would like to use your free transcript. Fill out the entire form, including the address to which you would like the transcript sent. You may send your transcript to an address other than your own.

Best wishes in all your future endeavors.

Scott Ingold
Associate Vice President for
Enrollment Management and Registrar

about the bar exam

Just a few observations and thoughts:

I'm glad the 3-day PMBR is over. I think for some reason I had higher hopes. Whatever. I don't know how they could make it any better. The woman was kind of annyong but I don't think it's her fault.

She said to do one more practice test. Or maybe she said to do two. I don't remember. I'm not doing any more. I'm doing questions but not an entire practice test. I am dead to the world after a practice test and it takes me at least a day to recover. I never really thought I'd feel that way. But I'm fine after doing 60-100 questions in a morning and going over them in the afternoon.

The PMBR woman also said not to study next Monday. I think that's a little crazy. If anyone tells me that "if you don't know it now, you never will," I'll punch them in the face. That's just stupid. Sure, if you've never done one minute of studying on a subject and then try to cram it in on Monday, you're fucked. But having studied everything at least once, and most Florida topics a lot more than just once, I know that it will be a good chance to refresh my memory. I won't be studying 15 hours that day but since I'm getting to Tampa on Sunday I'll spend most of the day, maybe 9-5 or so, reviewing and studying. I guess I'll be doing much less on Sunday since that's when I'm driving up, but I'll be in my hotel room by 3 so I can definitely do a few hours. It's not like I have anything else to do in Tampa. What are you going to do on the day before?

A couple more interesting things she said: three or four questions on the MBE have two answers and you get credit for either. Great. I guess that's good because you have a 50 percent chance but you know when you see those you're going to struggle to figure out the right one and it's going to slow you down.

She said to add 25 points to your score if you happen to do the full test in the back of the PMBR blue book.

One thing I keep forgetting, for some reason, is about those 10 questions that don't count. I don't think anyone ever explained this well. Are there five in the morning and five in the afternoon? Does this mean there are actually 210 questions or does this mean there are only 190 graded questions? I guess it doesn't matter much, does it?

A lot of people (including me, of course) are worried about the Florida essays and keep talking about how they are worried about the Florida essays. But what about the Florida multiple choice? I'm plenty worried about those, too. I wonder what the rationale is for Florida not telling you what subjects are going to be tested. It sure makes it harder to study for. The essays are just a crapshoot - I could pick three random essays out of the yellow books and score 60-70 points on each. You could pick three random essays for me to do and I'd score about 20 on each. I'm pretty sure that everyone feels this way so there will be a mix of easy and hard.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Day one of the review was fine, I guess. On at least four questions I actually had the right answer, but erased it and put down the wrong answer. They say to always trust your first instinct. I guess I should listen to "they," whoever "they" are. And one question, No. 15, had a stupid typo that apparently no one else noticed. It said the jury had to prove something. So of course I didn't pick that; it's not proven BY the jury, it's proven TO they jury. But the word BY was in place of the word TO. I'm sure on the actual exam they wouldn't have had the typo, or if they did, someone would eventually catch it and that question wouldn't count. So anyway, I just have to learn to trust my first instincts. But how do you do that when this stuff is so confusing and it's so easy to read a fact pattern and assume you know what it's about so you pick the answer choice with the key buzzwords, but it's wrong because the answer choice contains an If, Not and Unless.

Damn. I don't know. A week from now I'll be 18 or so hours away from leaving for Tampa. Wow.

The dean sent out an e-mail about a lecture by one of our professors on Florida Con Law. The lecture was on Thursday. I received the e-mail on Friday afternoon. That's helpful. I went to the lecture because someone else happened to mention it. As with everything this prof does and says, it could have taken 45 minutes instead of two hours but I think it was useful (I actually like this professor although a lot of people don't; he drones on and on but you know how some professors are incredibly boring and you hate them because they're so boring? Well he's boring but you don't hate him. I'm not sure why. Because he is a good prof I will refrain from commenting on one of the nutty things he was wearing during the lecture (or, more specifically, how he was wearing it and what it had on it.). By the way, there's an evidence lecture next week, just in case you still haven't received the e-mail.

I complained more than once while I was still a student about the e-mail system. (My favorite incident was when they sent out an e-mail to all students saying that outside consultants would be on campus to solicit student opinion about how to improve technology on campus. The consultants were coming on a Wednesday. I received the e-mail about this on a Thursday. It was sent out on Tuesday. Naturally, when I replied to whoever sent it and told them that I would have gone to the meeting to tell them about the e-mail system's flaws, that person just ignored it--that makes me wonder whether it's the technology that is poor here or the people who run it are incompetent--probably a little of both. They are definitely incompetent but the system also is about five years behind the times.).

Anyway, when I complained, they said nothing was wrong. And yet I still only receive a fraction of the all-student e-mails. Whatever. I don't give a shit any more because I'm graduating but if I was an administrator or admissions person at the University of Miami School of Law I would be embarrassed about how poor the technology is here. I have better things to worry about so I won't dwell on it, but it's amazing that this school's technology is so poor that it can't even figure out how to e-mail all the students.

One more point - I haven't been inside a professor's office in at least six months so I'm relying on hearsay but I heard all the profs recently were given new flat screen monitors so each professor now has TWO monitors and you can apparently drag things from one to the other. Why? It sounds like a terrific way to spend technology dollars because professors spend a lot of time doing graphic design and layout, which is the only reason I can think of that anyone would need two monitors. I'm being facetious, of course, about professors doing graphic design.

Friday, July 13, 2007

PMBR, 3-day

Wow. That PMBR test was brutal. No, that's an understatement. It was impossible. While I was doing the last 100 questions I basically narrowed about 90 percent of them down to either A, B, C or D. Yeah, I know. (In case you're reading this and not studying for the bar there is no E, F, G or H). That sucked. The entire afternoon I couldn't stop telling myself that I was in the process of ruining my life by failing the bar exam. I always have a problem staying focused - random thoughts pop in and out of my brain at the worst times - and I started thinking about what career I could pursue if I didn't pass the bar exam. That's just stupid. I know it's not the real thing, but it was so demoralizing. Driving home I was angry and depressed about the whole thing (although I just graded it and let's just say I'm in the ballpark of the national average so it actually wasn't as terrible as I thought).

Here's the most frustrating part - when this is over next Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. I can honestly say that I did all I could. There was nothing else I could have done. Could I have studied a few more hours a day? On some days, sure. But not really because 14-hour days are wasted on me. I did all I could do. process nothing after a certain point. Maybe I need a prescription for adderal or something if I fail. I had a family crisis earlier in late May and as awful as that was, it has stabilized and I am incredibly lucky that it happened in May and early June as opposed to now, and also lucky that my family completely understood what I was going through and kept telling me to focus on myself rather than the crisis. I'm getting off topic. The point is that maybe I could have added a total of 10-15 additional hours over the 2-3 weeks that the crisis was in full swing. But again, it was the last week of May and the first two weeks of June. And I still studied a full day every day, keeping up with the BarBri paced program and even doing more on my own.

Bottom line is that realistically there wasn't much else I could do. So, yeah, there you have it. I am actually looking forward to the review of the exam tomorrow. I know it's sick but it breaks up the monotony of sitting on my ass all day doing problems and then reviewing them, know what I mean? I wonder if I should do questions on my own after the review? Probably not. Probably do a few hours of FL at night. I can't wait for this to be over. I thought the day I got the results would be the best day but walking out of that exam room might make me even happier.

End of incoherent, ramble. Rest for a little while longer and then do some essays tonight...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

PMBR, take 2

The three-day PMBR class starts tomorrow. So that means 200 questions tomorrow. I guess that's good. Not good as in fun, but good practice for the real thing. This will be the last time I do 200 questions in a day, that's for sure. I hope it goes better than the BarBri practice exam, although I scored a few points above the national average on that.

When we had the six-day PMBR class there were these people who were, let's see, how should I put this politely...as my friend K called them at the time and again earlier this week, "fucking savages." That's a little bit of an extreme characterization for my tastes but they were loud, fat, ugly and stupid. Not all, of course, but there were about a dozen or so Neanderthals that all sat together. Am I too mean? Eh.

There may have been more than a dozen because at one point apparently they were stomping on the floor of the room above me (I was in the live room) because they were protesting the prof's jokes or digressions or what. Incredible.

And once when I was in the video room one of these guys kept flipping off the TV monitor - and get this - he wasn't just giving the finger, as if that's not stupid enough, but he was doing that thing that 10-year-old boys do where they flip you off with both arms, you know, with one arm in the elbow of the other. Hard to describe on the blog but just picture it and you probably know what I mean.

Yeah. These people were annoying. I guess everyone is annoying everyone these days even if you're not too stressed out. Anyway, I'm not sure what law school these people went to but it must have had its own BarBri class because none of them were in the BarBri. I can't wait to see them again...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

the characters

I find myself distracted by the strangest things these days. In the PMBR problems, a large percentage of the characters are named after sports figures. I have such an encyclopedic knowledge of sports and sports history that it's a little distracting. Yeah, whatever. Here is a partial list of ones I can think of off the top of my head and by skimming through the book as I type this (you see a distinct California bias although it's not all California based):

Dykstra and Blackman (Len Dykstra, Wally Backman, mid-80s Mets)
Mantle, Mays and Snider (Hall of Fame baseball players)
Al Javis, owner of the Reno Raiders football team (Raiders owner Al Davis)
Al McGuire, president of a frat at Marquette (Al McGuire - Marquette bball coach)
Kent Stabler, a buyer of land (Ken Stabler - former Raiders QB)
Larry Browning, Kansas City University basketball coach (coach Larry Brown)
Joan Wooden, president of a college that tried to hire away Browning (John Wooden)
Jesus Alou (former baseball player, brother of Felipe and Matty)
Archie Cox, coach of the Whittier College Football team who cut "Dickie Nixon" (Archibald Cox and Richard Nixon)
Jay Johnstone, baseball card dealer (former pitcher Jay Johnstone)
Alan Page, who interviewed for a job with the law firm Mantle, Mays & Snider (Page is a Minnesota Vikings hall of fame defensive lineman and a Minnesota Supreme Court justice)
Y.A. Thrower and O.J. Rusher, bank robbers (Y.A. Tittle and O.J. Simpson, football players)
A battery between Martin and Jackson & Rizzuto was the prosecutor (Reggie Jackson and Billy Martin; Phil Rizzuto...get it "battery"?)

I've noticed a few references to things, too:

Wolfie's Liquor Store in Miami Beach (Wolfie's was a famous chain of diners in Miami Beach before it got cool)...i guess this is the only one I can come up with now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

14 days

The bar exam is two weeks from today. Start studying more? Start studying less? Do the same? I'm thinking option No. 3 - do more or less the same. I've been studying a lot. I could probably squeeze in an extra hour or two of studying a day but then I might go nuts. I don't know. They keep saying it's a marathon, not a sprint. I've never run a marathon. Do you sprint at the end? I think you do but only for the last 500 feet or so, right? Not for the last three miles. Eh. I don't know. I hate running. Unless there's someone chasing me. I work out regularly but I don't jog, although I've always wondered if I could run a marathon. I actually think a triathlon is more my speed although I hate biking so that's probably a bad idea. Ooops, sorry, I got a little sidetracked there...

I'm going to take one of the two Florida practice exams tomorrow. The Florida essays are brutal - I do great on some and on others I am sure I would barely crack the minimum 40 needed to pass.

I did some of the BarBri released questions. I scored slightly higher than on the other ones. Does "released questions" means exactly what it says - that they were actual exam questions once? I assume so but I don't know. The MDR book also has a practice test. I like doing questions when they are "mixed" so you're not doing 15-20 in a row of one subject, then another subject, then another subject. I think it's more useful this way.

I haven't even finished all the questions in the big red PMBR book and I have yet to crack the PMBR bluebook. I'll probably do the 200 mixed questions/practice exam in the back of that bluebook later this week or early next week. Probably next week, I guess, since we have PMBR 3-day this Friday through Sunday. I don't think I'm ever going to do more than 100 at a time. It just makes no sense, unlike what I suggested earlier, to try and do more than 100 at a time. It has the opposite effect of what you might think - it makes my brain more muddled, rather than less. If you want to use the old analogy of the brain as a muscle, it's like me trying to bench 350 every day for a week - I'd be sure to rip a muscle or two and would get nothing accomplished at the end.

I did awful on a set of problems on Sunday so yesterday I did some of the BarBri Intro problems just to make sure I hadn't forgotten everything. I did well on those Intro problems so things aren't as bad as I thought. It's weird because even though I did well they didn't seem easy. I guess this means I know a little?

Two weeks. It's better if you don't think too hard about it (about the fact that it's two weeks away).

Monday, July 09, 2007

the male (mail) man

Let me tell you a little bit about a problem I'm having with my mailman. It might not interest you but it's probably more interesting than talking about the bar exam.

I'm afraid that my mail man is in love with me. Or at least he has a thing for me. Let me tell you a little bit about my mail man before I tell you why I'm afraid he has a crush on me. My mail man is a short, muscular 40-ish Cuban guy who is, well, how should I put this...he looks like he's straight out of central casting. He's as flaming as they come (disclaimer: this is not an anti-gay post; I'm in no way homophobic or afraid of or against gay people). Anyway, he wears his standard U.S. Postal Service uniform but he's managed to customize it to fit his uh, stereotype. I don't know much about fashion but his shorts are way, way too short. They are not standard issue. In fact, it's like he got them altered so it looks like he's wearing a U.S. Postal Service issued speedo. Or not quite the speedo but you know thos super short, tight shorts that men generally don't wear but 19-year-old girls wear? Well that's what his look like. And he wears the shirt with the top three or four buttons unbuttoned. So it's basically buttoned on only one or two buttons and his entire chest is visible. For all intents and purposes, he's naked. It's not pretty. He looks like the gayest mailman of all mailmen. Which isn't a problem for me but, well, I'm happily married so I'm not interested. As I said, he's straight out of central casting as if they'd ordered up a flamboyant gay mailman.

While studying for the bar exam I'm usually at home during the afternoon studying. I guess he's lonely or bored or something so he occasionally rings the doorbell to give me my mail. He pretends he's asking a question about our magazines because I once had to complain to him and filed a complaint on the web site about how how Sports Illustrated never showed up on time and he did a good job of feigning concern. But that was resolved about six months ago and he still finds the need to ask me about it once or twice a week. Even though he's the one delivering it (almost always on time since we resolved the issue). So that's no big deal, right? That doesn't lead you to think he's in love with me.

But it gets better. Sometimes when I'm home by myself sitting at the kitchen table doing practice questions I have my shirt off. I know, I know, this is probably a little too much information for you but it's my house and no one is around so if I want to study with my shirt off, I will. Look, I promise I'll keep my shirt on during the actual exam. Really. So sometimes when I'm in the middle of studying I answer the door with my shirt off. Why bother putting it on? It's either the mailman or on rare occasions the UPS or FedEx guy. This isn't a sitcom and I don't live in an apartment building full of fellow law students so I never get unannounced visitors at my house.

So a few weeks ago I did what I just described above: opened the door with my shirt off. Not only did the mailman just stare at me for a full thre or four seconds before blinking three or four times and saying in a bizarre sing-song way, "Helloooooooooooooooooo." I didn't think much of it although it literally sounded like the hello you would see a character give if he was playing a gay character on a Saturday Night Live skit or something.

But the other day he rang the doorbell to ask if we were moving out because we filed change of address forms that are supposed to take effect in August. This time he shirt was COMPLETELY UNBUTTONED with no t-shirt on underneath and he had a flower (a daisy? a pansy? I don't know my flowers too well) in his ear. So I'm talking to him and he's staring at my chest and I can't help staring at the flower tucked into his ear. I didn't say a word about it though. After the conversation about the address change, he gently touches me on the arm and starts into this long speech about how the flower makes him feel better about himself and has the added bonus of keeping bugs away.

Um, what? Ok. Sure buddy.

Ok, so maybe he's not in love with me but he's definitely trying to flirt with me. I think I'll keep my shirt by the door and if the doorbell rings while I'm studying, I'll put it on. The last thing I need is a suddenly jealous or vengeful mailman coming after me while studying for the bar.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

how quickly we forget

Superbee has a short memory.

No offense, Superbee.

Nothing else worth posting today. FL practice exam was today. Fine on two of the three essays. Totally missed a key point on essay No. 3 and probably got only half the available credit, but would've passed the essay portion based on my first two essays. Scored my multiple choice. No idea if my score translates to passing or what. We'll see tomorrow. I'm dreading Prof. Peacock. Why do they have the worst professors teach the hardest subjects? I might not stay the whole time but we'll see...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

not so advanced

Are BarBri's advanced problems too hard, too unrepresentative of the actual exam? I've heard people say that. I don't know. It seems to me that you're going to get a handful of those advanced type questions on the real thing but you're not going to get 20-30 questions like that. I understand the logic of doing them - if you can ace the advanced questions you can obviously do the easy ones. But does that mean I shouldn't do the easy ones at all? I don't know. Just keep plugging away.

By the way, check out the comment section to yesterday's post. Apparently PMBR has given different answers to the same question (no. 21 in evidence the gray book from the 6-day and no. 179 in the big red book in evidence). If anyone can figure this out, let me know. I might call their office next week (busy tomorrow and Friday with the FL practice exam and review session) and demand an explanation. We're paying too much money for this. How the fuck are we supposed to learn anything if questions have two different answers? Stupid PMBR. Stupid bar exam.

I think my head is going to explode. I did some multistate questions this morning and have been doing FL questions all day. I can't concentrate at all. You can only spend so much time going over the same questions again and again. I had a good day on practice essays and was hit or miss on multiple choice. I think I've done just about every multiple choice question in the two yellow books. I'm saving the two practice FL exams for next week or the week after - actually probably one next week and one the following week. I wish they gave us more questions. I never thought I'd say that. And some of the FL answers are weak. Actually most of them are pathetic. They don't go far enough in explaining the answers.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

outta there

I heard some people talking about staying in Tampa after the bar on Wednesday night. I guess everyone is different so I can see why you might want to stay put but I know that I will be grumpy and pissed off (even if I feel confident in how I did) and will want to get the heck out of there, even if it means being stuck in rush hour and getting home at midnight. (The bar is in Tampa).

I changed my reservation so I get in on Sunday and stay three nights. Originally I was going to get there on Monday but it seemed like a good idea not to have to worry about potential car trouble or anything else that would create anxiety or other problems on Monday.


I've never hated law school as much as I do right now although technically this isn't law school, this is post-law school, right?

I think I'm cracking up. I was in Richter library today for the first time in a long time and when I got back to my seat after a bathroom break my ear plugs were gone. The entire little bag I had in my backpack was gone. I was this close to yelling at this guy who was sitting a few desks down and who was sitting there watching me as I opened all the little pockets on my backpack and looked around the desk and floor to see if they had dropped (in other words anyone could see I was clearly looking for something). I'm not really that type to go randomly accusing a stranger. I have no idea if he stole them. They probably fell out somewhere although I don't know how that's possible because I had them when I sat down to start studying and then they disappeared when I left. Odds are slim that someone actually went up to my stuff and rifled through my bag and took only one thing - a small bag of ear plugs. Who would want someone else's ear plugs? just to fuck around, I suppose. My point is that I'm cracking under the pressure - I think paranoia is the first sign you are becoming delusional.

Speaking of cracking I am seriously considering giving up on property. My scores are not getting better. ON the one hand the PMBR questions are pissing me off and I assume the actual bar questions are somewhat easier because I scored well on the practice released questions test from BarBri in that MDR book. On the other hand it's killing me to spend so much time on property. The right answer to this problem is to work even harder to get down property. But maybe I should be focusing on the other subjects instead so those subject scores are significantly higher and can pull me along if I get a low property score. Of course the problem is that just because I start devoting the howevermany minutes a day I now spend on property to other subjects doesn't mean I'd do better in those subjects. Would I really do better if I devoted an extra 10-15 minutes a day to those other subjects? I doubt it. But with three weeks until the big day (THREE WEEKS!) if I did no more property between now and then, it's safe to assume that I'll do shitty in property. Ah. I don't know. There's no good answer really.