Thursday, September 30, 2004

So What If I'm Irrational?

Is it wrong to hate another law student I don't even know simply because he went to a school I decided not to go to and because he was one of the winners of this month's Westlaw Sweepstakes for 25,000 points (which he can use to purchase an Ipod1 AND a DVD player)? Who new ficticious points would stir up such strong emotions?

1Is it even worse to hate him because of the Ipod and not because he won all those points


From today's Washington Post Op-Ed Column by George Will:

Regarding Pres. Bush... "If ever an administration, in a reelection season properly dominated by a single issue of the administration's choosing, has earned an electoral rebuke, it is this one." I totally agree.

Regarding Sen. Kerry... "And if ever there has been a challenger who, together with his party, seemed perfectly designed to dissuade the electorate from administering such a rebuke, it is this one." Sadly, this is true as well.

I have yet to see a more succint summary of this year's presidential election.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

An Officer And A Gentleman

Today I decided to "run"1 for 1L officer in Minnesota's Student Intellectual Property Law Association (or SIPLA), and I actually won (well, I was one of three people elected). Why did I do this? Am I now a gunner? (maybe).

In reality, I had three reasons for deciding to run for this "position."

  1. Because of my work experience, I feel like I can actually contribute something useful to this organization... as opposed to many of the student organizations, where pretty much all I can do is take up space... and as many 2L and 3L bloggers have said, you should try and get involved (most notably Jeremy)
  2. The 2L and 3L officers assured us it was a really easy job (basically we have to tell other 1L's about the meetings and events, and write notices for said meetings and events on the classrooms' chalkboards); and
  3. It will look good on my resume (lets be honest... I do want to offer something to the group, but I'm not doing it completely out of the kindness of my heart... I'm training to become a lawyer, after all, so I have to start shucking my heart soon anyway)

So anyway, I am now a mostly meaningless officer in a student organization. Yeah me! Now I just have to figure out how I can get me some interns.

1I use quotes because all I did was say I would do it... but there was no real campaign

Monday, September 27, 2004

It's The Little Things

I used to take the little things for granted… naps, TV, being up on current events, reading for pleasure, Summers in Rangoon, luge lessons1. The past few weeks I have been so busy learning about this crazy little thing called law that I haven't had time for one of my great pleasures... the crossword puzzle.2 Well today, I was actually ahead in reading for all of my classes, and more importantly, I actually felt like I understood it3, so when I had about 15 minutes before class, I "pampered" myself and worked on the crossword.

While this is no earth shattering bit of news, I wanted to share the small joys and frustrations I felt while doing today's puzzle.
1. One of the DOWN clues included the answer to an ACROSS question - this was the highlight of my day
2. One of the clues was "'Time After Time' singer Cyndi" (It's Lauper, I hope)... so I got to spend the rest of the day signing "Time After Time" under my breath, to the sniggers of my professors and fellow classmates.
3. One of the clues was a four letter word for "Opinion," and all I could think of was a court opinion (A decision... no wait, A RULING!) – ARRRGGGHHHH! Law school is even invading my ability to enjoy a simple crossword.

Anyway, in case you haven't yet... take some time off and enjoy one of your little things. It is heavenly.

1Wait... those are Dr. Evil's "little things," not mine... sorry :)
2I'm not saying I’m good at crosswords, I rarely ever finish the university paper's crossword, let alone the New York Times crossword… but I still love them so.
3Except for Constitutional Law… but that class isn't until Wednesday, so it hardly even counts.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Socrates... Is That You?

Early in the week I had my first real Socratic dialogue. Although it was nowhere near as bad as it is depicted in "The Paper Chase" or "One L," it was still unnerving. Here is a brief reenactment so I can attempt to convey what I was feeling at the time:

[Fade into a packed classroom at University of Minnesota Law School. Slowly pan in on a student checking his e-mail... oblivious to the horror that is about to befall him. Enter, stage right, a law professor with a very tight bun... she is carrying a book entitled CIVIL PROCEDURE and, like always, she does not appear happy]

Prof: Mr. Unreasonable
Me: (crap) Ya... Yes? [hey look at that, my sweat glands work!]
Prof: Tell me about the case of Blah v. Bad Guy Trying to hurt Blah.
Me: Sure... It's about... (S**T, I CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT IT'S ABOUT... I know I've read it)
Prof.: [waiting]...
Me(thinking): ... (There was some guy who was fired... and... WHERE'S MY BRIEF... OK, don't panic... the professor's looking at you...)

[Cut to professor glaring at the pitiful, helpless, sweating student, who after one question appears to be reduced to a shell of his former self]

Me(thinking): ... (YOU IDIOT... your classmates are silently laughing at your inability to get a word out... they all think you're stupid, stupid, stupid... no one will even want to look at you for fear that your raging moronism is contagious...)

[pan through the class showing blank stares on faces of classmates... crickets can be heard chirping somewhere in the classroom]

Me(thinking): ... [fiddling on computer] (Just breathe... BREATHE... find your brief... you know you did a brief... here it is...)
Me(thinking): ... [phew] [reading brief] (oh yeah, this guy was going to testify against his employer, that's why he was fired... and that's why he was suing)...
Me(speaking): Plaintiff was fired because he was going to testify against defendant, his employer... [additional details of the case]
Prof: Thank you Mr. Unreasonable... now what was the issue the court was trying to decide?...

[Fade Out]

Total time elapsed during the preceding scene: about 1 second
Perceived elapsed time in my mind: 1 week, 38 minutes, and two seconds

It really wasn't that bad... except for the split second where I wanted to say "Why are you picking on me?!" But then I realized that the professor isn't Nelson, and I'm not Milhouse, and the classroom isn't the playground of Springfield Elementary. Once I calmed down I felt OK. I just hope my subsequent Socratic interludes are as peaceful.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Silence is Golden

Today marked the first day when some idiot forgot to turn of their cell phone, and it rang in class. And that idiot was... ME!1 Normally, my phone has absolutely no reception in the law building (I don't know why, but I think it might have something to do with the wireless network... or that T-mobile has no towers near my building), so I normally don't even think about my phone. Well, for some reason, at the exact moment that someone tried to call me, my phone got a signal, and you could hear my ring blaring through the classroom.

What was that old commercial about "You never get a second chance to make a first impression." Great. I'm not even that mad that it happened, or that it happened to me... Mostly I'm pissed because I was the first dolt that forgot.

1I realize that this pretty much ruins any chance I have at remaining anonymous, at least to my section-mates and the professor of that class... but I think people here at Minnesota could figure it out anyway, and I just don't have the energy to check every one of my posts to make sure I am removing any chance of anonymity... so I saidh screw it. Plus, you all have a right to learn from my stupidity, and to laugh at it.

Law Prof. Quote #1

I hope to have a lot of great quotes from my professors this year (although I may be a little too optimistic), but here is the first one that I just had to post it.

"This is law school, not fact school"
-Prof. Torts1

Update: My wife asked me why I liked the quote so much... and the reason is it made it sound like a professor of law was telling us that lawyers do not care about facts. I found that funny.2

1Explaining why for many cases all that is being decided is whether the issue should go to a jury.
2 Granted, if I think it is funny, there is a good chance that it isn't funny... especially if you have to explain why.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Election Day

Today was election day here at Minnesota... only we weren't voting for President, or Senator, or school board member, or any other useful office. We were voting for the 1L representatives for the minnesota Law School council. I couldn't tell you who I voted for, but I can sure tell you who I didn't vote for. Those are (in order of annoyance to me):
1. Those candidates who sent out mass e-mails
2. Those who put up lame, unfunny fliers.
3. Those who tried to buy my vote with suckers and key chains (although I did enjoy the sucker)
4. Those who came to one of my classes to give a speach.

These were the type of gunners that I would like to avoid in law school. I'll let you know if any of them won (my guess is the sucker girl probably did, but we'll see).

It's Alive!!!!!

There is a woman in one of my classes who has had three different bags in the three different class appearances this week, each bag larger than the last. On Monday, it was a small-briefcase sized bag. Tuesday, it was a larger rolling briefcase (the kind you see businessmen rolling around at the airport to carry their computers and a night's worth of clothes), and on Wednesday it was a gargantuan carry-on sized bag.

Are the larger bags eating the smaller bags for sustenance? Why does she trust the bag not to eat her books... or her computer... or her lunch?

I'm nervous to go to class next week, because I am sure that a FedEx shipping crate will have decimated the luggage population at her house, and will need to move on to other baggage. My backpack will be in the first ring of casualties... I like my backpack.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Lame Joke For Today

Wouldn't it be funny if the Jewish Law Students Association had a meeting scheduled for today?1 Especially if the president of the group couldn't figure out why no one was there.

1For all my fellow gentiles, today is Rosh Hashana

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


I love the sound of laptops in the morning... it sounds like... victory.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Adrenaline Rush

If you ever feel like your life needs some excitement, just wait until your professor asks the entire class to raise their hand if they think a case's holding is right or wrong... then when EVERYBODY rasies their hand to say they think it is right, be the ONLY person to raise your hand saying you think it is wrong. Oh yeah! That'll get your heart pumping.

The above scenario is also an excellent way to ensure you get called on in class.

When Podium Pouncers Attack

Today I went against my general policy and made a bee line for the professor after one of my classes this morning. I am proud of myself that I did not waste the classes time with the question (see last Thursday's and Friday's posts), but now I wish I would have either e-mailed the professor the question, or sought her out during office hours.

I was one of a line of at least 10 people that had questions for her. There were so many people asking her questions, that she eventually had to ask the remaining people (7 or 8 students) to walk with her in the hall because she had another appointment to get to. I think from now on, I will give the poor woman a break, and ask my question by e-mail. I can probably articulate my question better in writing anyway.

By the way, I heard that the IOC is adding the 15-Yard Podium Sprint as an exhibition event in the 2008 Beijing Games. U.S. law students are expected to have a "jump" on the competition1.

1Lame pun intended.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Old Skool?

I shouldn't venture over to the main campus... it makes me feel too old. Today I decided to eat in the Union of the main campus instead of hanging around the law school. Big mistake. First of all, there's still the melee of all the new students getting their books in the bookstore and it's lunchtime so people are crammed into the cafeteria. So I went into the convenience store to maybe get a snack to tide me over until the crush at the pizza stand works its way through and the song "My Own Worst Enemy" by Lit comes on the store's radio... and I hear someone utter the following.

"Wow, we're really going old school with this one."

I couldn't believe it. Either I am too old for this, or this kid was way too young... because he was referring to a 5 year old song as "old school." Isn't old school like stuff from the '60s or '70s, and in some cases the early '80s. I better sit down before I break a hip.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Are You Ready For Some... Briefing?

How cruel is it that college football had a ton of great games yesterday, and the NFL season starts this weekend, and instead of being able to spend my desired weekend vegging out on the couch watching football, I get to read cases about battery or whether summary judgment was proper? Good times.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


I have a lot of trouble in new social situations, because no matter how outgoing I may seem on this blog1 I am really shy and quite when I first meet people2. A bunch of people from my section announced in my last class today that they were going to a bar that is close to the law building after class to "celebrate finishing the first week of class" (but I really think it was just an excuse to drink some beer). Anyway, initially I wasn't going to go because I wanted to get some reading done before I went home3... I mean, I have the whole semester to get to know these people, right?

But then I thought about it, and I realized that most of the friendships I'm going to make at this law school are going to start early, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity... so I bit the bullet and went. It was nice, plus it was really great to just sit with nothing to do but drink my beer and talk to people, even if a lot of the conversations turned to school. Plus, nice days in Minnesota tend to be in short supply once September starts to turn into October, and yesterday was gorgeous (although that might have been enhanced by the fact that class was done for the week), and I didn't want to waste the opportunity (we all say out on the bar's patio).

I'm glad my section at least wants to make an attempt at being social, because I would not like to be in a section that was completely full of gunners who don't leave the library until it's dark4

2 That's when I FIRST meet people, after I know people, they have trouble getting me to shut up
4 Side note, does anybody actually have someone like that in their section that they know about. So far no one in my section strikes me as the super-gunner you hear about in "One L" and "The Paper Chase." Maybe I should give a couple weeks first.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Let's Make It 20

To add on to the topic of yesterday's post, I have a new gripe, this time for the professors. Tell the students asking so many damn questions to "Shut Up!"1. It's your job to teach us, and it is difficult for the silent majority to learn when you keep letting this small, but very vocal group monopolize our class time.

Here's a new rule... every time you let the class questions get out of hand (as occurred in Contracts today), the professor owes me $20...

That's one Mr. Jackson, Woo!2
They ain't for real.
Let all of the students ask you "Why?"
You should tell them "Shut your pie (hole that is)"
Now give me a Jackson, Woo!
Let's Make a deal

Ha, two really bad references to Hip-Hop music in two posts... beat that!

1Feel free to substitute the more PC "Be quiet," or "Stop asking stupid questions, idiot"
2 These awesome satirical lyrics are printed without the express written consent, or any consent for that matter, of Andre 3000, Big Boi, or anyone else associated with Outkast... but they still rule.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Amen, Brother

Following up on this post from the Free Speach Zone, a blog by a fellow engineer in law school. Basically, Mr. Free Speach is saying that students should self-censur from making too many comments and asking too many questions so that the class can get through the cases that it needs too, because at the end of the semester, we are still going to be responsible for all the materials, and he would rather cover it all in class.

This really rings true for me as I am sitting in CivPro waiting for all the pointless questions to stop. I get that we are all excited to be in law school, and we want to get it right... but at the same time, think about your question before you ask it... if you think it might be a question that is better for after class, or by e-mail, then please, PLEASE ask outside of class. You're wasting all of our class time. Remember we are paying an exorbitant amount of money for this class instruction (I think it breaks down to at least like $10 per class hour, although I haven't done the math, so don't quote me).

Lets make a new policy... anyone who asks a question that isn't relevant to the class owes me $10, cause when you're a poor law student, it's all about the Hamiltons.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


I can't believe how much reading we have to do. I understand that we can't possibly go into incredible detail in each case, and that we are going to be reading a lot of stuff we won't have time to cover in class just so we are exposed to it without having to be in law school for 10 years... but this really seems like they are pouring it on just to show us how much reading they can give us... or every professor forgets that we have 3 or 4 other classes to prepare for.

By the way, the above paragraph is entitled "Standard and Cliched things that 1L's bitch about during week 1." I knew there would be a lot of reading... I'm just amazed at how much. I've always been a fast reader, and since my job I worked at before law school, I've been much better at critically reading and digesting difficult material, but that was nothing compared to this. I'm not overwhelmed yet, but if I didn't have a weekend coming up, I sure as hell would be. Anyway, I don't have time to bitch anymore, Torts, Legal Writing, and Constitutional Law awaits.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

First Day In The Can

Well my first official day of law school is done, and it was a lot more like every other first day of school I've ever had. I don't know why I

I'm just taking a break between reading my Civ Pro assignment (I just finished Bridges v. Diesel Service, Inc.1) and reading my Constitutional Law assignment, which I expect to be exciting and fulfilling {sarcasm}

Here are some random thoughts from day 1.
- I laughed when I saw lockers during all my school visits, but those damn things are going to save me from a hernia operation this year (which I am sure is NOT covered under the law student health insurance plan)
- Prof. Torts is probably going to be my favorite prof (still need to here from Prof. Constitution), because he is funny, looks like a hippy, and seems to be very good at actually teaching using the Socratic method without being frightening2
- Where did all the hours in the day go? It's 9:30 and I still have too much reading! Argh!

Anyway, happy law schooling to all my fellow new 1L's. I'll see you tomorrow... unless I snap and take my busmates hostage during the commute tomorrow morning. Hasta la bamba.

1 For those of you who care what this case is about... don't
2 We'll see if I still agree with that once my time comes

Playing With Fire

Time until first law school class: 44 minutes

Percent of reading completed for said class: about 50%

Reason: Idiot blogger did not pick up course packet outside of bookstore... and lucky for him, no more packets were left early this morning when he arrived.

Likelihood of being called on for this missing material: somewhere between 6000% and 50,000,000%

Update: I defied the odds, and my normal pattern of luck, and was not called on in class. Luckily, someone decided to be about 10 minutes late for class, so the professor decided he was a more reasonable target. All praise Mr. Tardy.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Orientation: Cliche-Fest 2004

"Remember, law school is a marathon... not a sprint."

This phrase was uttered at least 3 times within a span of 15 minutes during my first day of law school orientation; once by the dean, once by the law council president, and once by the federal district court judge who was giving the welcoming speach. I didn't keep track of all the other cliches, but there were lots of them.

Originally, I was going to name this post "Orientation: Tool-fest 2004 - Where power tools come to play," but I decided that wasn't fair to the freaks who couldn't stop raising their hands to ask inane questions or to jump at the chance to try and look smart (emphasis on try) during our case-briefing session. I'm sure they were just excited to be starting law school, and just didn't realize that they were teetering dangerously close to becoming "those people."

All in all, orientation was almost exactly like all the 2L bloggers described it last year, so I won't bore you with all the wonderful details. I'll just take this time to say welcome back to Unreasonable Land, have a cookie.