Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not a creature was stirring

I swear, there are 5 people in our university's main library right now. It's incredible. I am loving the complete lack of undergrad girls running around trying to take cell phone calls in the corners. It is literally as quiet as a mouse (other than my typing, which seems unreasonably loud today).

I might actually be able to get some work done today!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Take my books, please

As part of my ongoing effort to rid my house of clutter and also to procrastinate as much as possible, I spent much of today putting a bunch of books and study aids up on ebay. I should have been writing, but whatever.

So, if you have $3.99 to burn and have an aching need to learn about Property or Civil Procedure, these books might be for you.

Check out my ebay auctions here. Here is the shortlist:

Black's Law Dictionary
Going to Law School? Readings on a Legal Career
Property: Examples & Explanations
Legalines: Civil Procedure
Get Into Law School
Property: Gilbert's Law Summaries
Law School Confidential

Winter break is for suckas

To some, the only real winter breakers are those of us writing a 35-50 page law review note or comment during the break. We like to act like we are doing something great and noble and that gives us some sense of intellectual superiority. We are the complainers. We are the whiners. We are people who won the law review lottery, and yet half of us act like martyrs for writing our articles.

Yes, it sucks to have to write a paper during break, but it is also interesting and is something that we can really be proud of later.

So to those of you writing over break, hang in there. Chin up! Oh, and stop whining!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The secret life of a law school hippie radical

Don't tell anyone, but I am a much more hard-core deadhead than I would ever let on to my classmates at school. And its not just the Dead. Its a lot of jambands. I have been to more than 200 concerts (it could be 300 for all I know) and at least 25 music festivals. I even volunteered for a concert-based voter registration organization for 3 years.

Music is my life. I own 2,000 CDs of recorded concerts by my favorite bands. I have participated in an online Grateful Dead music forum since 2002. I have traveled all over the country and even to a few islands to see live music. My head may be immersed in law school, but my heart is always sitting in the 12th row, Phil side.

The thing about school is that these qualities are underappreciated. I think that it is this stuff (not the dumb resume stuff) that makes me great and interesting. That I feed my soul a steady diet of rock, blues, jazz, funk and even some old skool hip hop is a good thing. However, I feel like there aren't many students there like me. A lot of them walk around with ipods on, listening to whatever the rest of them think is cool. Some venture out to Milwaukee to check out bands, and it is those people (though our musical tastes differ) who I think are cool.

It still isn't the same. For the other Heads out there, you know what I mean. Musically and socially, we are just different. We are the crowd whose founders stopped the vietnam war with the strength of their convictions. We are the dreamers. We are the starry-eyed idealists, constantly in danger of having the hearts on our sleeves stepped on. And we wouldn't change a thing!

Further evidence I am clueless

Further evidence that I am somewhat clueless will be provided on Monday morning. I decided to put some more time into studying evidence (even though I have already studied more for this exam than for ANY 2 of my exams last semester). I still know almost nothing. I feel like I could object if I heard a leading question, or if there was some really blatant hearsay, but other than that, I just don't know.

Many of my classmates are taking this class pass/fail. Despite what it's called, pass/fail is really a way for those with high GPAs to protect them from "damage" and it doesn't help that much. If you get a C, C+, B- or B, your transcript shows "Pass." If you get anything else, it shows the actual grade. In my case, I really would be very happy to get a B, so using a pass/fail is foolish.

I want future employers (especially those familiar with this odd little system) to see that I wasn't afraid of this class. That I was there to learn, not to get a grade. That I honestly wasn't 100% of what the heck was going on, and threw caution to the wind.

Oops! Well, I probably don't want them to know that last part, but you'll never tell, will ya blog audience? You have been great so far, so don't screw me over now! LOL!

Friday, December 14, 2007

My family law "exam"

The exam is in quotes because it was more like a series of trick questions. Rather than give an essay exam about how we would advise a client who came in with a certain issue, the exam asked us to pick the best answer out of 4. We had 150 minutes to answer 40 questions. That's not even 4 minutes a question. Each question had a long paragraph of facts and then four two or three sentence answers to choose from. Just reading each question took a couple minutes. That left no time to ponder an answer or think through anything.

What does this teach us?

In practice, if a man comes in for a divorce, I am not just going to blurt out the first thing that comes to mind. I will consider carefully his options and maybe look at the statute. Why wouldn't our exam encourage us to do just that?

While I don't intend to practice Family Law, I do intend to practice a kind of law that involves me and a client. I don't intend to practice "dartboard law" and I don't enjoy being tested that way.

I have started totally not caring about grades and wanting to just be a good lawyer. What a novelty, huh?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Not quality time, QUANTITY time

For me, the best part of all this finals studying is doing what I am right now, hanging out in a coffee shop and outlining with a group of people who I think are pretty cool. We are mostly studying, but each of us occasionally stops to share something hilarious from the internet, or to consult about a snippet of information missed during class. The chatting to studying ratio is at about 5 minutes of chatting for 30 minutes of studying. We aren't incredibly productive, but we are staying SANE.

Since I had a grown up life before law school, the joy of just having time to spend with my friends had been lost. Now don't get me wrong, finals studying isn't the ideal friend-time. Not for me, not for anyone. However, it is a lot of time, and we do manage to squeeze in a lot of laughter and commiserate about our plight. I love my friends back home, but every action lately has been planned to death. Dinner at 6:00 or a poker game from 9 to 11 pm, or Richelle's wedding on the 14th. Not much time as a grown up to just "hang." I complain a lot about law school, but getting to just do my thing around smart, funny people is really cool sometime.

Life is not that bad.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ah Thanksgiving

Sometimes, no matter how old you are, you just want to be by your mom. My SO and I got to see both our mothers last night and it was wonderful. I am way too old to actually NEED my mom anymore. I haven't lived with her for almost 18 years. I haven't relied on her for financial support for about the same amount of time. However, the feeling of being around someone who loves you for the entirety of who you are (including the things you would rather forget, or just forgot because you didn't think they mattered) is priceless.

Screw the turkey and pumpkin pie. I just wanted a hug from my mom. You are never too old for that!

With the pilgrims nearly forgotten, and the times when you would make a turkey by tracing your hand on a paper plate behind you, Thanksgiving is simply about family. The older I get, the more I appreciate mine.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Law School admin slogging through red tape

So, as a state school, we suffer with a lot of regulations by various state agencies. Recently, those regulations were found to have been ignored in the area of food sales inside the law school.

Today, I met with a bunch of perfectly reasonable administration officials about how to work within the rules.

Unfortunately, the rules mean that a few law school traditions are going the way of the dinosaurs, including the incredibly fun chili cookoff.

I think that as long as they tell everyone what the CAN do, instead of emphasizing the negative, the students can't argue much.

For those who know that I love complaining and agitating for change, it was a surprise to find myself agreeing with what was said at the meeting today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My law school hates poor people

That's the only explanation I can figure for why we haven't offered the Poverty Law or Consumer Law classes listed in the school catalog I received before I started here. Seems like they listed all these great classes to get me to accept admission, but once I got here, it was only patents, trademarks and 8 sections of legal writing taught by former 7th grade teachers.

Speaking of consumer law, does this sound like the familiar "bait and switch" sales tactic? I wonder if I can force the law school to honor its advertising....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Just stop typing and listen for once!

Question #1: When did it become OK to send a text message from your cell phone while someone is in an in-person conversation with you?
Answer #1: Never

Question #2: When did it become socially acceptable to show up at an event where someone is taking time from their busy day to give you advice and surf the net on your laptop the whole time?
Answer #2: Never

If you think that the correct answer to either of these was "sometimes or always" you should be beaten with a stick.

I have been dismayed lately that many law students seem to think that it is OK to use their electronic devices constantly. I know that you all spend most of your day on your laptop, but real human face-to-face interaction won't kill you. It is rude to pull out a laptop during the lunch hour career talk with lawyers. They don't have laptops in front of them - because they are communicating with you. Show these people some courtesy and just pay attention for 45 minutes!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Time spent in law building & my own immaturity at all time high

I received an email this morning that my Professional responsibilities class was cancelled and let out a little squeal of delight. It's not that I don't like my ethics class, it's just that any reprieve from the constant onslaught of information is always welcome. I am just embarrassed that I was as happy about class being cancelled as I was in 5th grade when our teacher had her appendics removed, and we got an extended winter vacation. At this rate, I will have the attitude and intellect of a 5 year old by the time I graduate from this place. 2

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I can't believe that these students can't fund raise!

We are trying to sell coupon books to benefit the organization that is going to the Gulf Coast this winter. I was foolish enough to assume that people who planned to make their living off of getting new clients for their firms, schmoozing existing clients, and possibly making presentations at court would be outgoing enough to sell stuff.

Not so.

Many of the people have been acting like they are doing me a personal favor by selling these coupon books (even though the money we raise helps every single student save money). They are whining about selling just three of the books, and behaving like I should buy them all myself to make it easier.

I sold 7 of the books with a total of an hours effort, just by TALKING to other people about them. Oh, that, and just by asking.

Instead of "don't ask, don't tell," I am dealing with people who are engaging in, "Don't ask, don't SELL!"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

My classmates scare me sometimes

This week, a girl in my professional responsibility class indicated that she would bill the client for time she spent SLEEPING on an out of town deposition trip.

And I used to wonder why people hate lawyers? Not anymore!

Monday, October 29, 2007

See, this is exactly the kind of stuff I wanted to avoid

So, after being way too stressed out last semester, I vowed I would ease up on the involvement with a trillion different organizations and obligations and live my life more. That's not happening. Why? Because I fail to control my ridiculous need to try to get involved.

Half the time, I get involved thinking that I can make a difference. When a difference isn't what's needed, I get stressed and frustrated. It sucks.

However, I am thinking that my involvement with at least one of the student orgs I am in can end, and it really won't matter. I have a "leadership" post in a student org that doesn't really want leaders - the rest of the executive board wants to do things exactly like we did last year. Doing what we did last year was ineffective, pointless and did nothing for our members. Why repeat it? Because innovation isn't prized much of the time in law school. Being a follower is.

I prefer to not be associated with any group that would rather follow than lead. I want to be a trailblazer. I want to try new things. I want new experiences. Isn't that why I decided to pursue a law degree at age 34?

Frankly, I think that my time is better spent getting to know like-minded students better. I also plan to do more work on things that count - like my relationship with my boyfriend and family.

Well, it sounds like I will have one less stressor on my plate by the end of the week, huh? I plan to resign my position on Thursday. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Whatever happened to the do gooders?

My friend Erlignition posted about the rise and fall of the public interest folks at our law school here.

My response: one of the people who spent last year trying to get a better LRAP (and found that the school just really doesn't give a damn in any meaningful way), I felt fear in my heart when I realized that I was going to be very very poor upon graduation and that all my classmates were not. I felt bummed that the definition of success around this school (and to many family and friends) is a big firm job that sounds prestigious and pays a lot of cash. Despite that, I still couldn't swing applying to one. I did, however, apply to a handful of small plaintiff's firms that actually PAY MONEY to summer help. Working for free is great, but it sure doesn't pay the bills! I also did the unthinkable to many of my classmates: I got a part time job!

I think that many in our class have persuaded themselves that they are taking these high paying summer associate positions so that they can "afford to work in public interest after graduation." For some reason, I just don't think that's true. I think they are kidding themselves. The same way that I was by not admitting that I wanted the recognition from my peers and others that would come if I tried for and got a prestigious firm job. For some reason, getting paid a ton of money a year for what amounts to having 2 full time jobs after graduation makes people think that you are really smart, while working in public interest makes people...well, I don't know what people think about that. In the end, I have decided to follow my gut. My gut led me here to law school, and it has been more reliable than the public service pronouncements of my classmates. :)

I don't know, because we don't see it very often. Usually for law students like for the rest of the country, greed and consumerism rule and doing the right thing is relegated to rhetoric.

A new year, a new me?

OK, that's probably not true, but it made for a great post title, didn't it? Well, in case any of you are wondering (or if any of you read this blog anymore) I did make law review. I wrote my case note while registering voters in the middle of a field in IL and partially in a hotel room in Peoria, IL and I still made it on! A miracle for certain!

Now that I accomplished that feat, I have to pick a topic to write about. Since I will be spending a long long time working on this article, I really need to make the topic a great one. I am open to suggestions, so feel free to post here.

What else is going on....

Well, I have decided to relax a bit, and I concentrate my energies on things that are a little more beneficial to me. That means that I dumped my non-profit volunteer job registering voters. I felt taken advantage of and unappreciated, and it just wasn't fun anymore. So I stopped. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it also took a 100 pound weight off my shoulders.

Those of you that know me also know that I tend to be a worrier and that I carry the weight of everyone's problems around with me. That can make for a very miserable me!

I am enjoying being a 2L, and my classes seem much more pertinent now that I did some actual lawyerly work this summer.

Tonight, I have a Women's Law Student meeting, and then bar review. I really need a cocktail!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I am still alive!

Sorry for the neglect of the blog. I am not certain that many read it anyway. Summer has been busy, so I simply haven't had the time for updates lately. I will try to put up stuff at least once a week, but to be honest, I would put up more if I had more to say. Senseless drivel is pointless.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Writing on Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review, Second Edition (University Casebook Series) (University Casebook Series): Books: Eugene Volokh

So, it's law review write-on time. That's what I will be doing until I leave to go register voters in IL this weekend.

Sorry, but there's just not enough hours in a day for eating, sleeping, writing and getting ready to start the new job on Tuesday. Regular blogging to return soon@

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

It's exam time - what did you expect?

If you are reading this blog regularly, you know I am a law student, so you also should know that it is hectic exam time.

Had my Civil Procedure II exam yesterday. It went OK.

Studying for property now. Have been procrastinating a lot.

I won't be posting much for a little bit. Hang in there - I will be back!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Is anonymous a good thing?

I have been reconsidering the decision to stay anonymous. I don't think I say anything too provocative that could hurt my career. I am fairly honest, if a bit sarcastic at times. However, if people I knew read my posts here, maybe the honesty would suffer. I am not sure that I can honestly post about my fears, hopes and dreams if I know my classmates are all reading it (and knowing I am the person behind the posts). On the other hand, in 3D, my life is pretty much an open book. I tend to be a bit moody, and others' views of me must be influenced by what mood I am in that day, but otherwise, what you see is what you get.

Same with what you read here. This is pretty much who I am, anxiety and all. I think I make more wisecracks here than in 3D, but otherwise, it's accurate.

What do all of you think about coming out of the blogging closet so to speak?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Moot court

As many of my loyal readers (do I have loyal readers?) know, I was going to try out for Moot Court, but got too lazy during Spring Break and decided not to. This week, I discovered that I am an idiot. We have to do an oral argument as part of our legal writing class this semester. I didn't prepare much for mine (maybe worked for a total of 5 hours or so). I never practiced it at all. I just wrote a one page outline of what I would talk about and showed up. Surprisingly, I did a pretty good job, and I really loved doing it. (Even my teacher said so)

Now I am kicking myself for not doing to Moot Court competition. I have had an ongoing "life issue" of not trying stuff because I am afraid of not doing well. I need to get over that. It seems like I give up on things like this, and then regret it later.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Day 15 an still no cigarettes. 28 people slapped.

Sarah, Ellen, Me & Christina

OK, I never actually slapped anyone, but my sense of humor has been slightly darker and more juvenile lately.

Last night was the exercise in futility known to students as the "Law School Prom." This is an opportunity for the male students to put on that same business suit we see them in every time they have an interview, and for the female students (whose main life talent is academics, not fashion) to put on dresses that are too tight, too short and show more cleavage than anyone ever needs to. Then, these socially awkward groups mingle. And drink. And drink and drink. By the third hour of open bar, I was seriously wondering if some of my classmates need rehab. When I saw them on the dance floor, attempting to dance to hip hop in their ill fitting outfits and uncomfortable shoes, I was certain they would all end up at Betty Ford by the end of the night.

Note: I do not know the people in the picture. I just posted it as representative of last night's fashions.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Laverne & Surly

I don't even know anyone named Laverne. I am just crabby because of quitting smoking. Cancer avoidance can be such a bummer. I don't want to die, but I don't want spend the rest of my life being mildly irritated either. I am worried that feeling so irate could be harmful to the health of others - even more so than the secondhand smoke.

Surprisingly, I stopped using the nicotine replacement stuff yesterday, because it doesn't make me feel any "nicer." I thought it would curb cravings, which would improve my mood.

I have found that I don't want a cig, I just want to slap the shit out of people. Is that wrong?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

According to American Airlines, we haven't come far at all

This post at the Consumerist blog shows us how American Airlines feels about providing service to female passengers. Apparently, we are not that smart, and all of us really like the color pink a lot.

American Airlines is hoping to attract more women travelers with a new website "for women". "We obviously have a vast interest in women," said Peggy Sterling, AMR vice president of safety, security and environmental. "There is an untapped resource." The new "women's" site mentions women friendly things like "girlfriends" and "book recommendations."
From the site:
Check the latest carry-on regulations, find advice on travel safety and wellness, and pick up tips for a stylish and efficient travel wardrobe.
Psssst. Women like clothes. Mention that on the site. This is awesome. They're totally going to fly our airline now. Make the search box pink, and get rid of all those "tools," women hate tools.—MEGHANN MARCO
To check out the site for yourself, click on the American Airlines for Women page. I am normally not some rabid feminist, but this truly is offensive to me on quite a few levels. Mostly though, I am amused that they think this will work to get more women to fly American.

I am a female law student, but I am no Elle Woods!

Friday, April 6, 2007

The library during Spring Break

Who knew the law library could be so great during Spring Break? There is no one in here. It's quiet. No one is stopping by my study area and bugging the heck out of me. I haven't seen one undergrad girl in pink velour sweatpants with "hottie" on the ass. No undergrad girls means no undergrad guys wearing Abercrombie desperately trying to hit on those girls. I am loving it here right now. Sounds nerdy, but it's true!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

OK, I lied

I finished (a relative term) my trial level brief, and left for a fabulous Spring Break extended weekend to a nearby resort town with 7 of my best friends. Due to the lack of internet access in the middle of nowhere, I was forced to leave the blogosphere behind.

I have been busy lately. I have been working a lot on a lot of stuff lately. I am applying for a judicial internship for next semester. I am working on a brief (yes, another one) for Moot Court tryouts. I got elected to the SBA. I am trying to finish a newsletter I am working on. So much for break! Mine ended yesterday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Taking a 2 day break

Loyal Improvilaw readers:

Due to the looming trial level brief deadline, I will be taking a 2 day break from blogging, eating and sleeping.

Thanks for understanding,


Sunday, March 25, 2007


Two friends from back home came to visit me this weekend. While I really wanted to see them, and missed them a lot, and had a great time while they were here, I am going to be swamped the rest of the week as a result. My schedule tomorrow:

10-11:00 Criminal Procedure
11-11:30 Meet committee member to discuss org newsletter
12-1:00 Judicial Intern information session
1-4:00 Finish journal cite-checking
4-5:00 LexisNexis class
5-8:00 Work on reading for Tuesday
8-9:00 Eat dinner. Make sure S.O. still remembers me
9-10 Go through mail, pay bills, clean house
10-11:45 Watch TV, hang out with S.O.
Midnight Go to sleep and prepare to do it all again tomorrow.

Sometimes, I feel like there just aren't enough hours in a day. My schedule for Tuesday is even worse!

Here's to hoping that your week is filled with free time,


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Oh yeah, I am supposed to be learning stuff here

Sometimes, I forget that the real purpose of law school is to learn to be a lawyer. It seems like a lot of what we do all day outside of classes can have little to do with academics. You go to hear various presentations, worry about finding a job, try to socialize with other students, etc, and through most of it, there isn't a lot of talk about lawyering. Or legal theory.

I chatted today with two students who would like to try and change things so that teaching and learning are more the focus of discourse at the law school. I honestly hadn't thought about "learning and teaching" in so long, that I had to just sit and listen to them for a while. My school claims to have a more "practical" approach to legal education. That's terrific. Unfortunately, only about 10% of the professors seem to teach us anything practical. The rest of the time, it's just a bunch of theories. I find some of them really interesting, but no one talks about THE LAW outside of class.

Before I started law school, my ridiculous idealism led me to believe that we would be having discussions about THE LAW in coffee shops all the time while wearing plaid skirts with tall brown boots, and possibly berets.

I don't even own a beret. Maybe that's why all those sophisticated legal discussions never occur.

Note to self: purchase beret, plaid skirt and smart looking brown boots. Tortoiseshell glasses too!

Monday, March 19, 2007

SBA - to run or not to run?

Last semester, we voted for SBA representatives after we knew people for about 2 weeks. At the time, we all thought that all SBA does is plan Bar Review. Later, when I found out that they had a lot to do with Orientation and budgets for the student organizations, I wondered why I had voted for the biggest drinkers in the school to represent us. If someone's biggest life skill is that they can play highschool drinking games better than anyone else, should they really be put in the position of representing our class?

I am not sure.

As a result of my pondering this, the fact that women are totally underrepresented on SBA and that there are NO non-traditional students in the group, I am considering running.

However, I don't feel I am that popular or that I can drink enough to pull it off. What do you think? I could care less about planning drinking and partying, but I really care about this school and what happens within it. Should I come for the policy and stay for the beer, or forget about this altogether?

Friday, March 16, 2007

Are you a feminist?

Are the days when the word "feminist" was considered repugnant over? Do we still need feminism? Why?

I was searching for online freebies (a hobby for poor law students like me) and came across the NOW website. I have only looked at it once before. Perhaps because feminism is no longer popular. I am not sure. Anyway, I was saying "hell yeah" to all lot of the t-shirts and stuff in their store, and wondering about whether I consider myself a feminist (I do) and whether anyone else still does (if they do, they aren't saying so).

Do we still need NOW? I think that some people I know do. I know some women who seem to have given up all their "power" in relationships with men. I see others for whom the glass ceiling isn't a social or institutional construct - it's of their own making.

Hopefully, some of my readers will respond and we can get some discussion going.

Voter registration time is coming!

I have worked for a voter registration organization since 2004, mostly volunteering in the late spring through mid-fall registering people to vote at music concerts all over the Midwest. I really like it, but I would also like to see the organization grow. Big. Rock the Vote is corporate sponsored and spends a ridiculous amount of money just to register one voter. The organization I worked for registers each voter for less than $3.00. (This is the lowest per registration amount among all voter registration orgs.)

I wish that I could figure out a way to work for this organization during the school year in more of a law-related capacity, but I haven't quite worked that out yet.

So readership, are you registered to vote? If so, do you actually get out there and cast your ballot? If you aren't registered, why? Comments welcome!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Property law

Why oh why do they have to use terms like "servient estate" and "dominant estate" in property law? For some reason, I can't get this terminology to stick in my head and keep having to force myself to remember which is which.

For the record: the dominant interest is the one who has a right to do something (like cross your land to get to theirs)
The servient interest is the one upon whose land the easement exists. (Like the owner of the path from your land to the road)

Fun, isn't it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

NY Times Select now for free to Student and Teachers

Well, it's about time! Students and teachers (anyone with a .edu email address) can now access New York Times Select online for free. New York Times Select is the subscriber-only part of the NYT website. Previously, you had to pay $49.95 (or $7.95 a month) just to see these articles. I just couldn't afford that much. I can't imagine that there were many students who could.

To apply for a login, just use your school email address. The nerd in me is rejoicing at this, because the newspapers where I live just aren't as fabulous as the Times. Then again, what paper could be?

Prestige whoring seminar today

Remember how some people refer to trying to get into the highest US News ranked school as prestige whoring? Well, once you get into lawschool, there is a new kind of prestige whoring.

Today, I am going to an informational meeting on moot court and journal participation. As you may know, getting on law review is one of the most prestigious law school credentials. Years after you have started practicing law, you will still be asked whether you were on law review during school.

I don't think my writing is that great, but I think I will attempt to write on to law review. Usually, students receive a packet with write-on materials right after their last exam at the end of 1L. I doubt I will get it, but as my long checkered academic history tells us, you never know unless you try! Law review is a great way to improve my writing (and citation), and to get to be a little bit more intellectual than you might in regular classes. At least I think it is. We shall see.

I will post more about the meeting when I return from it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spring has sprung!

When I woke up this morning, it was so beautiful outside that I wanted to skip my criminal procedure class. Not that I learn much in there anyway. When it comes to being monotone, this professor wrote the book. I am sitting here now blogging when I should be paying attention. However, he isn't saying anything that's not in the book. I should be reading the book in a park somewhere and enjoying this beautiful day.

I hear that the weather will be going steadily downhill the rest of the week, but for now, I feel great and am loving wearing sandals to school.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Fun little quizzes

Even though they are time-wasters, I love taking quizzes like this:

Your Career Type: Enterprising

You are engertic, ambitious, and sociable.
Your talents lie in politics, leading people, and selling things or ideas.

You would make an excellent:

Auctioneer - Bank President - Camp Director
City Manager - Judge - Lawyer
Recreation Leader - Real Estate Agent - Sales Person
School Principal - Travel Agent - TV Newscaster

The worst career options for your are investigative careers, like mathematician or architect.

Hilarious Yale Law Review article on law school culture

This Yale Law Review article is hilarious. I can't believe they actually published it. As an extra added bonus, they mention my favorite band on page 1689.

It basically analyzes the different players in law schools. It was written a while ago, and refers to gunners by the old school term, "turkeys."


All nighter update

I finished the argument section for my trial level brief by about 2:30 am this morning. However, due to my massive caffeine consumption, I couldn't fall asleep until about 5 am. I had to get up at 7 am. I usually study in the library on Mondays until about 6 pm, but when class ended at 11, I was out of there.

I had a nice lunch, a nice nap and even get to watch the national nightly news tonight. After chugging down a glass of chocolate milk, I am now ready to take on the world. (Meaning - read my Civ Pro II cases for tomorrow)

In other news, my expressions of law school angst (both in person and blogged) seem to have hit a nerve. A few really good people have reached out, some who I didn't know read this, or who I didn't know realized this blog was me. Turns out that a really bad day at law school is pretty much universal.

Note to those people: please respect my anonymity and keep my identity to yourself. Thanks!

Some things to remember about law school

I just re-read this post by The Rising Jurist, which reminds me that I am not the only one who suffers during 1L. It's seems to be pretty much universal.

This point certainly seems spot on, considering my own angst over the past week:

Be kind. It must be all the Type A personalities clashing and competing, but law school just attracts jerks. There's no way around it. You will be surrounded by people you despise the entire time you're in school. As for them, deal with it. As for you, don't be that guy. Yes, you're a law student. Yes, you will someday be an attorney. So what? Don't act like an ass. You never know who among you will be the next federal judge or senator or hot-shot partner at the local legal dynasty. So try not to step on too many people on your way up the ladder. Exception: You may find yourself faced with some spoiled rich kid whose chosen you as the next little person she has to crush on her rise to power. Feel free to yank the silver spoon out of her mouth. Some people have to be stopped, lest they become the next judge, senator or hot-shot partner. Your call.

TRJ's advice to 1L's is pretty good, and now that I am more than halfway through it, I think its worth reading again.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

In the midst of my first law school all nighter

Let's face it. I like to think that I am pretty on top of stuff, but sometimes, I screw up. I sure did this weekend. For some reason, I thought that the argument section of my trial level brief was due on Wednesday. No biggie.

I went out for drinks on Friday with a girl who was visiting for admitted students weekend.
I went out for drinks on Saturday (and dinner) with my sister and her husband and drank a lot of wine.

This morning, I woke up at 10 am (11 am really because of daylight savings time) and had a leisurely morning of coffee drinking, hangover nursing, and internet surfing.

Got to school at about 4:20 and realized that my argument section is due tomorrow. At noon.


I had a basic idea of the issue, but arguing it is another story. I began furiously paging through our legal writing text for some info on how to write this damn thing, and found none. I then stormed over to the stacks and found some legal writing "how to" books and browsed through those for an hour or two. Then I started re-reading cases so I could develop a coherent argument. I finally started typing at around 9 pm.

It's now 12:40 am and I am still working on this damn thing. I have no idea why. The argument section is technically non-graded. It only counts toward our participation grade (10 % of the total). I seriously don't care anymore. Whether I work for another 2 hours or 7 hours, the end result of my efforts is sure to be a B.

OK, back to work. I have exactly 6 hours before I have to be awake for my Property class tomorrow.

I am seriously too old for this crap

I think that it would have been a lot easier if I had gone to law school 10 years ago. I can deal with the workload and the stress of the job hunt, but the rest of it drives me nuts. I don't think that I am a typical non-traditional student, but I still don't always fit in. I don't know about who is dating who unless I find out by accident. I don't get invited to parties very frequently. People make a whole set of assumptions about me yet I continually fight myself to not make assumptions about them.

Despite being treated like an old lady socially, I don't get any credit for having years and years of professional management experience or years of volunteer leadership experience when it comes to dealing with people on regarding classes, clubs and other stuff I do all week. They think that since they've been in law school for a year or two more than me, that I am supposed to "look up to" them somehow. That my experience outside of law school is not valuable. I don't think I act like the "traditional" non-trad. I am assertive though, and people tend to act more passive-aggressive in law school than straightforwardly assertive.

I seriously don't know what to do about any of this. I have tried listening more and talking less. I have tried just not attempting to have friends at school. I have tried to be myself. I have tried being super nice and super friendly. (That gave me a "super" headache)

Maybe I should just give up. I will go to class, and study and hang with my non-law school friends, and that will be it. No law school organizations. No attempt at friendships. Nothing.

Friday, March 9, 2007

I am "The Guardian"

Because I didn't feel like reading more cases for my brief, I took one of those personality-typing tests. Here are the results:

Your Temperament is Guardian (SJ)

Guardians are the cornerstone of society, for they are the temperament given to serving and preserving our most important social institutions. Guardians have natural talent in managing goods and services--from supervision to maintenance and supply--and they use all their skills to keep things running smoothly in their families, communities, schools, churches, hospitals, and businesses.

Guardians can have a lot of fun with their friends, but they are quite serious about their duties and responsibilities. Guardians take pride in being dependable and trustworthy; if there's a job to be done, they can be counted on to put their shoulder to the wheel. Guardians also believe in law and order, and sometimes worry that respect for authority, even a fundamental sense of right and wrong, is being lost. Perhaps this is why Guardians honor customs and traditions so strongly--they are familiar patterns that help bring stability to our modern, fast-paced world.

Practical and down-to-earth, Guardians believe in following the rules and cooperating with others. They are not very comfortable winging it or blazing new trails; working steadily within the system is the Guardian way, for in the long run loyalty, discipline, and teamwork get the job done right. Guardians are meticulous about schedules and have a sharp eye for proper procedures. They are cautious about change, even though they know that change can be healthy for an institution. Better to go slowly, they say, and look before you leap.

Guardians make up as much as 40 to 45 percent of the population.

What's interesting to me about this is that the other test I took said a very different thing.

People of this type tend to be: friendly, strong willed, and outspoken; honest, logical and demanding of selves and others; driven to demonstrate competence; creative with a global perspective; decisive, organized, and efficient.

The most important thing to ENTJs is demonstrating their competence and making important things happen.

That site said good careers for me would be:

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Network integration specialist
  • Management consultant
  • Politician/political manager
  • Franchise owner
  • Corporate finance attorney
  • Personnel financial planner
  • Real estate developer
  • Marketing executive
  • Intellectual property attorney
  • Investment consultant/planner
  • Economic analyst
  • Chemical engineer
  • Educational consultant
  • Judge

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Go out and make the world a better place kids

Oh wait, you can't afford to do that. You have student loans and lots of them. This education isn't free kiddo. Yep, we lured you here with high-minded ideas about truth and justice, but we didn't want you to go out and actually help those poor people! We do an annual clothing drive for them, and the 10 sweaters law students donate is enough charity, isn't it? Those clinics happen to focus on social justice issues, but the real purpose is to prepare you to get jobs working at Wal Mart corporate HQ.

You want to work at Legal Aid now? Oh no! You can't do that. See, we made sure that you've got $100,000 in debt. Those Legal Aid people will only pay you $28,000. Do the math bleeding heart liberal - you can't pay back that monstrous debt with $28,000 per year! The joke's on you do-gooder. When we talk about public interest law, we are talking about wanting to help the underprivileged - we don't actually want you to take a job doing that! Wake up and smell the poverty 1L. It's time to sell out.

Why the heck did you take that summer job at Legal Services? They aren't paying you a dime. While your classmates are good little boys and girls and took firm jobs that pay $2,500 a week, we are going to have to give you a $2,500 grant for the whole summer so you can at least pay your rent, you pitiful slacker.

After you graduate, if you keep this up, we will try and make the world think that we give a damn with our lousy LRAP. The year after you are done with this place, we are gonna kick in $978.00 toward your student loans so that the rest of the world thinks we care about you and what you are doing. Don't be fooled we don't. After that, you are on your own. I know that we recruited you saying we wanted our students to be compassionate and go out and make the world a better place, but we didn't mean it. Now buck up and get your ass over to Dewey, Cheatem and Howe and get a real job!


Your Law School

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Tiny Bookstore Manager makes over $50,000???

While I was looking for information on professor's salaries, I found the IRS Form 990 (Statement of income, expenses, etc for a 501(c)(3) org) for the law school's tiny little bookstore.

Turns out that the manager of the bookstore only works 35 hours a week and makes $52,000 plus $10,000 in contributions to his/her retirement plan.

The bookstore is only open for 5.5 hours a day most of the year. The only time I see it as being busy is at the beginning of the semester when all of us buy our books for the semester. I have purchased stuff from the bookstore before, and was always waited on by someone who looked like a student getting work-study.

Here is a damn good question: Why isn't the manager the one working the counter if she is getting paid so much? I would like to offer to take her job for $45,000. The school would save $5K a year, and I would have a job that is likely to be more lucrative than the public interest position I intend to pursue after graduation.

Better yet, perhaps we should just buy our books from the University Bookstore, located less than a block away and eliminate the law school bookstore entirely. I might end up paying 2% more for books, but I would also be able to pay with a credit card and be able to shop from 8 am until 8 pm or so (more than 7 hours longer than I can here).

As a bonus, the school could take the $60,000 they are saving (not to mention the cost of the student help and other operations costs) and put it into the LRAP every year. This would more than triple the amount that they could give to public interest students.

What is more of a social value - law students avoiding a block-long stroll to the bookstore, or us encouraging and fostering public interest work?

Seems that this school is choosing the former.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Community Justice Week

The law school is having Community Justice Week, which started today. Basically, it is a public interest oriented week packed with various events. Today, I attended a panel discussion which featured two public interest attorneys. One of them started a public interest firm which provides low-cost legal services on a sliding-scale to people who normally could not afford an attorney. His part of the panel was really interesting. One thing that I really liked: when I asked which classes were most useful during law school, both panelists said that the clinics were the most helpful, and didn't mention a single other substantive law class. They both agreed that taking those classes with a professor who was a practicing attorney or one who actually had a current law license was the most important factor in choosing which classes to take.

Don't drink the water

Another day, another friend who is pregnant. Kudos to L. and S. ! Now, don't get me wrong, I am happy for my friends. However, all this fertility is starting to make me afraid....very afraid. I can't be havin' any little ones during law school. It seems like there is a pregnancy epidemic as of late. A quick tally:
M. and D.
H. and her hubby
N. and D.
L. and S.
J. and M.

That's 5 couples I know who all found out they were expecting in the last 2 months.

Time to take my pill!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

A new Packer fan is coming!

I found out today that my friends J. and M. are expecting. Separately, they are both really cool people, but together, there is just something magic about them. I was surprised with the news, because they are newlyweds, but thrilled at the prospect of the person that this beautiful couple could produce.

J. is hoping for a boy. Right now, the house is filled with women (his wife and her two daughters). While the ladies of the house seem to endure his insane fandom (which is about as fanatic as this guy's), I don't think they truly love the Pack the way a Wisconsinites(and J.) does. I think that he intends to raise this hypothetical man-child to be a quarterback and lead the team to gridiron victory just like his beloved Brett Favre.

Anyway, Improvilaw is going to be an aunt again. Ah, another child to spoil!

A blast from the past

Someone asked me why I have such a strong interest in social justice issues, and I remembered my high school music teacher. I remember him having a huge influence on all of us "band kids." He made being involved in the music program cool. At other schools, I have heard that the kids in band are called "geeks" or made fun of. Not my high school. We explored all kinds of music, from blues to country. We played Janet Jackson songs in the marching band. We played Led Zepplin in the jazz band. He encouraged us to explore music, and to learn about not just what was played on the local top 40 station, but to open our minds to other genres. I loved this. As a result of meeting Mr. S, I am a huge music fan, and have seen musicians of all types perform.

Mr. S also was very fair. He made sure that everyone could participate in the music program. He found a way to get all of us instruments, even if our parents couldn't afford it. We raised money by selling candy bars. That taught us how to work for what we wanted. He also made sure that we respected each other, not only for our similarities, but also for our differences. You weren't allowed to be mean or rude, or cruel to other students during music classes. Those who were had to stand up and justify their actions. No one wanted to be pointed out in class, so we just learned to get along and appreciate each other.

I did an internet search today and found out that his wife died in 1996. That he seems to have stopped teaching sometime in the 1990's. He was music director at the Unitarian Universalist church for 30 years. I discovered that he formed a choral group in 2003. A few minutes ago, I found an address listing for him. I think I am going to write him a letter. It's important to express gratitude to those who were a positive influence on your life.

I am kind of nervous to do it though. However, I think he would be excited to hear about how his fostering of my musical interests have taken me all over the U.S. and to a few other countries. I think he would like to know that I am in law school. (He used to tease me and say that I should be a lawyer, not a chemist, and that's what I ended up doing!)

Results of this correspondence will be posted soon.

If you read this, go ahead and do the same thing - let someone who influenced you know how they did, and the effect on you.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

"Secret" menu items at fast food places

Turns out that you can order a bunch of stuff from various fast food joints that is either not on the menu, or that was previously on the menu. This means that it is completely legit for me to order a "Veggie Whopper" again at Burger King. For those of you who aren't familiar, this is a whopper minus meat, with extra cheese. Don't knock it until you try it. Check out the the list of things you can order at the Consumerist's blog.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pulled in 10 different directions

I am being pulled in 10 different directions this week. Besides classes, I have two meetings on Friday regarding the school's crappy LRAP and how to improve it. I also have another one on Saturday on contacting the alumni regarding LRAP. On Tuesday and Thursday after class, I have my study group for 2 hours. I have a Lexis training on Wednesday after Legal Writing. I also have to try and work on stuff for my volunteer work for an event that starts in 12 days. Also on friday, I am going to a friend's dance concert.

The worst thing about 1L is trying to get your reading done, while also trying to juggle 20 other things. Sometimes I wonder if I should just not be involved in all of this stuff, and become a hermit. On the other hand, I am making lots of good connections with other students and making some new friends.

Monday, February 26, 2007

This from a 12 year old?

"I want to be a leader. I want to be an example." This was the statement made by an impoverished 12 year old South African girl interviewing for Oprah's LeaderShip Academy. If this child who has suffered so much can dream big dreams, I should too. I think that I sell myself short too much. Being an older student sometimes make me feel like I don't fit in. When did I start thinking that way? I have been all over the country. I have met all kinds of people, rich and poor, educated and illiterate. I was able to relate to them all. This should be no exception.

Another girl asked Oprah, "Am I good enough to be at this school?" This indeed is the question I ask myself at least once a month, when I am having a bad day. The answer that Oprah gave the girl, "you know you are" is the same one that I sometimes have a hard time telling myself. I know that I wouldn't be here if I wasn't good enough.

I may not always make the right choices or work as hard as I should, but when I do, I can do anything!

If you are considering law school and reading this, know that this experience can make you doubt yourself. It can also remind you that you are capable of more than you ever dreamed. It will test you, and "making it" is the reward for enduring.

If those girls can endure, so can I.

Hurricane Katrina

While stuff about Katrina's aftermath is mostly missing from the mainstream media, people are still blogging about it. There is an interesting post here, about the effect on the legal system.

When I was in New Orleans, there were some students still working to free people who had been in jail for petty offenses since before the storm. In America! That still shocks me!

If you want to get involved and help the Gulf Coast to recover, check out the Student Hurricane Network's website.

This scares me!

All over the prelaw sites, there are people who think that this guy knows something about preparing for law school that the rest of the world doesn't. As far as I am concerned - he's just another low rent scammer trying to breed on the paranoia of future law students. I always want to call the author of posts like this one, and tell them to stop driving themselves nuts. Most law students don't do much to prepare, and I agree with that.

If you read Black's Dictionary before you start law school, you will be in the same place as the rest of your class within a week or two. Unless you are going to school with morons, no amount of preparation is going to help you, outside of sneaking into classes a year before you actually start school and taping the lectures yourself.

Relax pre-law students. You will learn the material - all in good time.

Why oh why?

Sometimes, I wonder why some of my classmates came here. They don't seem that interested in the law academically. Those who volunteer or participate in class a lot are called "gunners", making the rest of us afraid of the stigma of being an active participant in class. Many of them only seem to care about the money they can make, and not about doing something good in the world. I feel like I am on an island here.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscars tonight

I am hoping to see another fashion disaster this year. Yes, I know that's terrible, but after Bjork's outfit a year or two ago and the hilarious jokes that resulted, I just love making fun of the fashion faux pas.

No motivation

I was so full of promise at the beginning of the semester. I was ahead in all my class, outlining early. I had my shit together. Suddenly, a blast of snow knocked it right out of me. I spent this morning watching Band of Brothers DVD's and goofing around on the internet. Now I have 4 hours to get my Property reading done and at least start on Crim Pro. What a slacker! I think I was doing better before I got a job. I work well under giant amounts of stress.

In other news, my volunteer work is really getting crazy. I thought I wouldn't have much to do until summer. Now, the team leader in the other region hasn't done his work and I have to pick up the slack for him. Why do I always say yes when I should just say "hell no?"

Friday, February 23, 2007

I am starting to like getting up early

My mama always called me "night owl" when I was younger. I do love staying up late, but I had to change my ways this semester because I have the dreaded "early schedule." Everyone who hears this always says "oh, you poor thing." I used to whine about it, but I think I have come to like it at this point. I always have a jump on the day, getting here before 90% of the other students. I don't have to fight for a good spot in the library, and I get out of here hours before the rest of the 1L's.

Maybe going to bed at midnight is worth it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I got a job offer!

I got a job offer! At the job fair last weekend, I only had one interview, and missed the time-frame to get an an interview for a second job as an "alternate." After my scheduled interview (which went well, but is in a nearby city), I talked to the people from the organization that had me as an alternate. I basically told them that I would follow them around on their errands if that's what it took to get an interview. They agreed to meet with me, and a normally 20 minute interview was stretched to 45 minutes.

I got an email on Sunday offering me a position from the second interview. Looks like persistence pays off. I went from "out of the running" to offer pretty fast!

Now I have to make a decision. The people that interviewed me "on the fly" almost seemed as if they were trying to talk me out of working there. I was surprised they offered me a summer job, because they kept concentrating on my background in another area of law. Their discussion with me almost makes me not as interested in working there. However, I really don't want to deal with staying with friends in another city 4 days a week for the whole summer. That just gets old after a while.

I am torn between wanting to wait and see the results of my first interview (in the other city) and just accepting my fate to work here in town.

Two days ago, I had no options, now I feel like there are too many!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Is it just me?

Is it just me, or should my significant other be able to reheat a pizza without my help? I thought so! I know that I might be a little Type-A and stuff, but expecting that someone should be able to turn on an oven, put the pizza in it, and not start a small fire isn't asking too much!

Job Interviews - the bane of my existence

My mama keeps telling me, "Don't worry honey, you will find a job soon." Sure doesn't seem like it. Since I don't want to work at a firm and am concentrating on public interest positions, AND I have to stay within driving distance of my apartment, I don't have a ton of options. I really don't want to stay with a friend, or pay rent in two places at once. The significant other is really becoming a liability in some ways. Can't sublet the apartment with him living here. Can't afford to pay rent twice. I feel a little trapped.

Then again, having the SO around has saved me from having to take the bus to school a lot. (It's been pretty cold here lately.) He also takes out the garbage, and does all the grocery shopping. However, I sometimes wish I was single like my friends are, with a nice empty house to come home to, and no one to interrupt their studying.

Well, my interview for a job in a nearby city went fairly well yesterday. Sleeping in my sister's guest room wouldn't be terrible for only 4 nights a week. I will survive.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Breaking news!

Since I am a relatively poor student, I have turned getting LexisNexis and Westlaw points into my part-time job. My mama is proud of me for doing something that can earn something.

Today, I hit 6,800 Lexis points. That's enough for an Ipod Shuffle. I need 26,150 to get the big 80 Gig Ipod Video. At this rate, I will have enough for that by the first semester of 3L year.

I am thrilled!

I would like to thank my friend V. who suggested that I should take advantage of LexisNexis, and of course, good old mom for the inspiration to achieve this free stuff milestone!


I started this blog, and then haven't even bothered to make a second post. What an idiot! Speaking of idiots, I found out recently that a guy with no personality whatsover in my law school class is #1. Well, good for him.

My mama says that I shouldn't worry about how others are doing, and worry about my own shit instead. She has a point, but she certainly doesn't know "Martin the Gunner." Martin is so stiff that I sometimes wonder if he is a cardboard cutout and not an actual human.

Well, time to do more civil procedure.