Sunday, July 24, 2005


I probably won't be posting much until at least next weekend because I have huge amounts of studying for my PR exam on Wednesday (even if studying is for chumps, as Nate has pointed out), then it's off to Chicago for the Loyola Patent Interview program (which I still have to update my resume for, crap!)...

I'll give reports of PR exam and interviews if I have time. Later.

Friday, July 22, 2005

What's 27 and Can't Believe It's Still In School?

No, not a 13-year old and a 14-year old stuck in summer school... it's me. Yes, today is my birthday where I turn the weird age of twenty-seven. I'm not "young" anymore because I don't go out binge drinking after class1 (although I still love to play video games, especially now that they're putting the good stuff in them), and I'm not "old" yet, because I haven't hit 30 and I don't have anything terminal yet.2

Thankfully, I married a woman who is younger than me and who has two younger sisters, so I at least get to pretend I'm still young for a few more years before it becomes too creepy.3

1Only after finals
2Like a kid
3Probably too late for that.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


Igots over at Color of Law has been posting fairly regularly about work at a PI firm (that's Personal Injury, not the much cooler Private Investigator) this summer. Here is an excerpt from a recent post that bothered me:
At our depo[sition] the other day, the friendly insurance lawyer turns out to be a contracted temp lawyer. She doesn't really work for them. She tells us that the insurance litigation department is experiencing some turnover.

We got several cases pending with them. So what do we do? Over the next few days, we're going to flood them with discovery requests, followed by a settlement offer. This may be a good months for us.
This sounds like it comes awfully close to being an improper discovery request that is for an "improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation," (Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 26(g)(2)(B)... or whatever the equivalent state discovery rule may be) doesn't it? Hearing an opposing attorney say that the opponent doesn't have a full staff and then showering them with discovery requests and settlement offers... sounds fishy to me. Even if the discovery requests are for things related to the litigation (and hence fair game), it seems a little unethical to prey on the misfortunes of your opponents. Maybe I'm just being naive, but this is the type of thing that can't help the perception of lawyers in our country.

Narrowly Averted

Boy, am I glad I didn't find out about this until after my summer class was done... I would have missed even more classes.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Ground Control to Major Tom

Today the Intellectual Property Counsel's Office had its Bi-Annual Report1 which included all the IP attorneys and support staff for the entire company (at least all the U.S. IP attorneys and staff). Most of this group was local to our office (I work at the company's HQ), but there was a small group that was coming in on a video-conferencing feed. For some reason not only could they see the speaker on their display, but they had set up a camera so we, the audience at Corporate HQ, could see them sitting around a conference table watching. This wouldn't have been that big a deal, but I noticed two things that distracted me from the presentation:
1) When the Big Boss Man was giving his opening speech and told a mildly-humorous joke, most of the audience at the HQ did that "Ha Ha" chuckle, and NO ONE at the remote location even cracked a smile.
2) There was one guy at the remote location who kept getting up, usually for more food.2 The best part was when he balled up his napkin and tried to shoot it, Kobe Bryant style3 into a garbage can that was off-frame, and completely missed... so he had to get up and through it away.

It got to the point where at any moment I expected one of the remote ladies to get up on top of their conference table and start doing a belly dance just to see if anyone (other than me) would have noticed. That would have been sweet.

1Or maybe it was the Semi-Annual Report... or was it the Every-Other-Seasonal Meeting...?
2Oh yeah, they provided awesome food for this thing... bagels and doughnut holes and fruit as far as the eye could see... as long as the eye could only see to the end of a long table.
3Without the rapes and *Bling Bling* spousal apologies.

Harry Potter and the Funny-Ass Post

I just read this post on the similarities between Harry Potter's world and law school on Law & Alcoholism - A Theory of Jurishprudensh (which, hands down, wins the Unreasonable Prize for Best Blog Title)... it is quite hilarious... made me laugh out loud at work... it was worth it.

Roberts Rules of Order

I don't have much to say about Supreme Court nominee John Roberts right now except to say that he seems more than qualified, both in terms of intellect and experience (albeit significantly younger than I would have expected... but Bush has said he wants to make a last impression on the court, so it makes sense). I'll wait to see what kind of information, or disinformation, comes out from each side now and during the confirmation hearings. My guess is he should be confirmed, and that he will be confirmed1

The only thing I will say is didn't President Bush say he wanted to nominate a candidate for diversity (something along the lines of he wanted to nominate a candidate who would represent a diverse group of people)? But then he ended up nominating a white, male? Not exactly diverse, particularly when he is replacing a woman.

1Dems can't really afford the political capital it would take to try and block him if that's what they decided to do... what with all the backlash and finger pointing it would bring from the GOP. This is especially true if they end up being unable to block him anyway.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

What A Long Strange Road It's Been

I finished Harry Potter last night (which is why I'm dragging today). I thought it was really good... although by far the darkest of the books (even darker than Order of the Phoenix... this ending made Order of the Phoenix look like a happy walk in the park). I don't want to spoil anything, but the end was a huge surprise to me... and theories abound as to what we will learn in Book 7 (Note: Heidi's post has tons of spoilers in it... so don't read it if you don't want the book ruined for you... but note how many comments she's gotten... 750 at last count, and it's going up 100 every hour or so). I don't know if I can wait the 2 plus years until the final book comes out. Arrgh!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Emily, You Saucy B*$%#!

Some of you (OK, my wife) may remember how Charley cut my vacation short last year... and now Emily has torn through Cancun, where we had planned to go in just a few short weeks. It seems my family has bad luck when it comes to summer vacations in sunny locales.

We should know by today or tomorrow if the house we were going to be staying in still exists or is so damaged that we have to cancel our trip.

In other news, I have an exam for Professional Responsibility in just over a week that I am NOT ready for (of course, reading Harry Potter all weekend instead of studying probably did not help my preparations). I will have to start outlining tonight, and I hope it will go quickly. I don't think it will be too challenging since most of the material is fairly straightforward, but I have put it off way too long.

I also will be at the Loyola Patent Interview Program in Chicago next Thursday-Saturday. Hopefully the interviews won't interfere too much with trips to Brew & View, Second City, and Giordano's (especially Giodano's).

Friday, July 15, 2005

Harry Potter Day!

After racing through the last book in a couple days, I have been waiting patiently for 2 years for Book 6 in the Harry Potter series to come out, and the day is finally here (technically, it will be here in a little over 14 hours). The question is, can I wait until Saturday morning to get up and buy it from my local bookstore, or do I go over to the big Mall of America Barnes & Noble party and brave the sea of children for the "unveiling" at midnight? Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

HAPPY ANNIVERARY, PART II - The Revenge of the Nuptials

Today is my second wedding anniversary. I am still kind of in shock that my wife agreed to date me, and then agree to marry me, and then actually marry me... so I am really in shock now that she has stuck with me for two years, especially after being a "law school widow" for much of the 9 months of law school. But she has, and now she is stuck for the long haul, and I couldn't be happier about that.

Anyway, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Babe! Two years down, a lifetime to go. Love, M

Monday, July 11, 2005

Sweet, Hate Mail Too!

In case you haven't noticed... I seemed to have picked up a new "admirer" who is happy to post freely without hiding behind any masks of anonymity, unlike your humble blog author.1 Here are just a few of his jewels responding to this post:
Your liberal rhetoric betrays your ignorance.
Well shucks... I didn't even realize that I had reverted to my gul dern "liberal rhetoric" in this post. A comment like this is also a great way to start a frank and open-minded discussion about the issues... you know, by name calling. The rant continues...
Plus, when you insult Scalia's intelligence...
Where did I insult Scalia's intelligence? I freely admit, Scalia is brilliant. That's why I dislike him... he uses his brilliance to do what I feel is distorting the law to meet his own political aims. The rant continues...
Scalia's dissents will be remembered hundreds of years from now for their brilliance, wit, and foresight. I'm sure in hundreds of years, your first law review note will be remembered for wasting a tree.
I won't even go into the obvious crush you have on Scalia for his "brilliance, wit, and foresight" (except to say that I would never characterize Scalia as having wit... because wit to me means whimsy or fun, and there is nothing whimsical or fun about Scalia), but I would like to thank you for your comment about my yet to be written law review note for three reasons. First, because you said that it will only be remembered for wasting paper, that must mean you think it will be published... so thank you for recognizing my inherent ability to write publishable work.2 Second, because you said my note would be "remembered," that means you think it will be a memorable note... thank you for that. And third, you said it would be my "first law review note," implying that I will write at least a second note, and possibly a long line of subsequent treatises on legal theory before my lengthy, but fruitful confirmation hearing.

Here's another "gem" from this post:
You even leave freakin' footnotes in your blog. What a tool.
First off, the "what a tool" comment... priceless. I don't know how you come up with them... particularly since you are commenting on a post where I myself used the phrase "tool." I mean, not only did you take something I said and use it against me, but you were completely unoriginal in doing it. Bravo! Second, you brought up the fact that I use footnotes in my blog. Wow, I've never heard that before! No one has ever3 mentioned to me that I use footnotes in my blog. I'm reminded of the classic Adam Sandler sketch entitled "Tollbooth Willie" from his even more classic They're All Gonna Laugh At You! album, and I quote:
We-helll, I already heard that one you fuckin' unoriginal bastard. Go suck a cock you piece of fuckin' repeating shit!
So, to sum up... 1) you're a dick; 2) you're quite brilliant (isn't that really what you want to hear?) and Scalia will be returning your calls and responding to your Valentines any day now (no wait... that's what you want to hear); and 3) the best part is you seem to dislike me so strongly, yet you keep coming back and giving me more hits, which increases my earnings on Google AdSense! Ka-CHING!

1Mr. Anonymous, in case you haven't figured it out yet... this is called sarcasm. Since you do not seem to know what this word means, I have taken the liberty of looking it up for you in the dictionary, and because I know you love footnotes soooo much (there's more of that sarcasm stuff!), I've taken the liberty of putting the definition in a foot-footnotea
2Before you start writing again, this is more of that sarcasm stuff, see supra note 1.
3Sarcasm again... I know, it's hard to keep up with... what with being a dick and all... that's why I like to keep you updated.

asarcasm - 1) a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain ; 2) a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual (hey, that's you!)

G-Mail Anyone?

I have a g-mail account, and roughly 6 gazillion invitations left that I will probably never use. So, if anyone would like a G-mail account, either put an e-mail in the comment for me to send the invitation to, or send me an e-mail and I'll send you an invite.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Mail Bag

Recently, I have actually been receiving some "fan" e-mail about this site. Maybe the rest of you bloggers have been getting e-mail for awhile, but to me this is kind of cool. Of course, most of this "fan" mail has been coming from Minnesota 0Ls who want to know what law school is going to be like1. Anyway, some of the same questions are coming up, and many of them are generally applicable, and some of Minnesota specific. But I thought I would take some time to publicly answer them and see if it helps anyone else out there.
How competitive is law school?
My answer is probably specific to Minnesota, since I have no idea exactly how other schools are, but I didn't think law school was that competitive. Sure, there are gunners2 that feel the need to show they are superior, but they generally get knocked down a few pegs by the end of the first semester (and if not, finals are excellent for peg knocking). But gunners are easy to deal with (in my experience), every time they raise their hands, I just secretly laugh at them because they think their public displays of their superior inferior legal knowledge helps their grade because they haven't figured out that law school exams are blind-graded. Ha Ha! Note: Here's a quick tip regarding gunners/tools... If after the first few weeks you look around the classroom and can't figure out who the gunner is, it's probably you. STOP IT!

Anyway, some level of competition is inevitable when you concentrate a large number of Type A personalities and tell them they will be graded on a curve, but I didn't find it oppressive (at least at Minnesota). However, I do think your school's ranking has something to do with how competitive your school feels because, practically speaking, the higher your school is ranked, the less well you have to do to get a good job.3 Thus, there is slightly less pressure to be the best. Yes, you don't want to suck, but I can be in the middle of the class here at Minnesota and still get a pretty good firm job in Minneapolis. If I was middle of the class at William Mitchell or Hamline (the other accredited law schools in MN), there would be slim pickin's for jobs here in Minnesota, and the pickin's wouldn't exist outside of the Twin Cities. Just my observation, and it may not be true at other high ranked schools.
How is the workload?
I won't lie to you, the workload in law school is very tough to deal with. I thought I would make a fairly smooth transition after working 50-60 hours/week in "the real world," at a law firm no less, but all the reading for law school still smacked me in the face (and then it kicked me in the balls). The biggest surprises for me were 1) the amount of reading, and 2) how challenging the reading was (at least at first). Each class gives anywhere from 20-40 pages per class hour, multiply that times 4 classes, and then 3-4 class hours per week for each class, and that works out to as much as 560 pages per week (although it probably averaged much less than that, say around 200-300).

Not only that, but the actual reading is difficult enough that my reading pace slowed way down. If I was reading at my "normal" pace (i.e. when I'm reading a novel) I can probably crank out at least 50-60 pages in an hour (maybe more... I've never really timed it). But during the first few weeks of law school I probably didn't top out above 10 pages per hour, and even when I became more efficient I was still only around 15-20 pages an hour. Part of the reason for this is there is a lot of legal jargon in the cases that you've never heard of and that is generally not in use anymore. Also, many people (me included) took notes on what they were reading to help remember it if they got called on in class, which adds even more time.

Thankfully, the workload starts to feel more manageable as your first semester goes on and you start to get into a groove... so it only sucks for a little while.
Speaking of getting called on in class, what's that like?
It is hard to adequately describe the Socratic Method (which is really what you are asking, hypothetical friend), but I think this is the best I've been able to describe it. The first time you get called on it is terrifying, and you feel like the stupidest person on the planet... and you feel like you sound way stupider than anyone else in your section. Afterwards, someone will tell you "Good job," and you'll say "No, I sounded like a moron." But, when it is that person's turn, they'll sound really smart, and you'll tell them "Good job," and they'll say "No, I sounded like a moron." That's when you'll realize that it's all in your head... and that's pretty sweet.
Is there any social life?
Yes Virginia, there is a social life at law school... although at first, it is mostly forced. But remember, at every law school I've ever heard of, you are put in a section with the same 50 or so people who you take every single class with during your entire first year, so you are going to get to know some people very well.

Also, just about every law school has what's called "Bar Review," a clever little word play on the hell that recent graduates are going through. But, this "Bar Review" is all about going out to (also known as "reviewing") a different bar (also known as "a bar") each week and getting drunk with your classmates (hence the "Bar Review.") It is just one of many drinking opportunities you will probably share with your classmates. We may all be law dorks, but we know how to party like geeky Business Schoolers.
Did law school live up to your expectations?
Um, yes. Wait, no. I guess so. It was about what I expected, but with worse grades and fewer women throwing themselves at me when they hear I'm a law student (still just my wife that does that... and now she only does it when I talk about res ipsa loquitor and what not).
The weather really sucks, doesn't it? (U of Minnesota Law School Specific... or at least northern law school specific)
Why yes, it does get a little chilly in Minnesota during the winter. But I love it up here. That just means I get to do winter activities (a whole lot of winter activities) AND summer activities. Plus, the summers are usually absolutely gorgeous around here, so it's a fair trade in my book. Look at it this way, even if you hate the cold, you're going to be shut up in the library for much of the winter anyway, so why would you want it to be wonderful outside when you can't enjoy it anyway?

That's about it for now. Wow, that was a long post! If anyone else has any questions (either general, or Minnesota specific) just ask. And if any of my classmates have anything to add, what do you think the comments are for?

1 To be a 0L again. Anxious for law school to start, and excited for the future. Ah yes, I remember it well.
2 a.k.a. "Helium Hands," a.k.a. Dorks, a.k.a. (my favorite) Tools, a.k.a. the dreaded "Power Tools"
3 Don't believe me? I ask you this, where would you rather be... at the bottom of your class at Harvard Law School, or at the top of your class at a Tier 4 school? Most sane people would chose HLS, because even the bottom at Harvard will be able to get a great firm job somewhere.

"Original" Ideas To Prevent Terrorism

My discussion of overused phrases yesterday, along with the tragic terrorist bombings in London have got me thinking; the Department of Homeland Security and its local counterparts throughout the country need to borrow an overused phrase from Corporate America: "Think outside the box."

See, here's the problem... right after 9/11, the majority of increases in security focused on airports and airplanes. Understandable, but at the same time I would have been shocked if al Quada decided to try another terrorist activity that mirrored the 9/11 attacks. I did see a little bit of increased security on Chicago's el (which had pretty much disappeared by last summer when I moved to Minnesota), and some more barricades around buildings downtown, but otherwise, that was it.

Now, after the attacks on the London Underground and a bus, what are our local security forces doing here in America? Why, they're beefing up security in subways and buses... and that's all that is mentioned.

Don't get me wrong, I do think it is important to learn from past "mistakes" and shore up places where terrorists have been shown to do damage... but shouldn't keeping mass transit safe have been a no-brainer after 9/11? Hell, shouldn't it have been a no-brainer before 9/11 (after the Sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in the 90's)?

It seems our biggest security problem is that we seem to be strictly reactive and we don't "think outside the box."1 What are we doing to seal the borders to prevent an influx of terrorists and the materials they will use? What is being done to keep the ports from allowing terrorist ridden ships from coming to our shores?2 The terrorists have already shown that they have the ability to "think outside the box" in their attacks... shouldn't we counter that by trying to anticipate their next move?

Just my thoughts.

Update: Anthony over at Three Years of Hell... is working over in the UK for the summer and has a good post on his impressions "on the ground" in London. Helps you remember these are real people over there (in case you could have forgotten).

1 This is just my perception, and hopefully Homeland Security is doing more behind the scenes that we don't see... but I can't really comment on what I don't know about.
2I seem to remember this being a point that John Kerry brought up during the presidential debates, and yet I have heard nothing about it since then.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Overused Law School Phrases

I've been thinking about words and phrases for awhile... particularly how law school has a language that is completely different than the rest of the world. I even posted about it here. Anyway, I was reading another student's blog today (name removed to protect the innocent), and he used a phrase that I hate, and I know he probably used it because it has been burned into his brain from overuse in law school. So I present a couple phrases that are overused in law school; one by professors, and one by students:

"The slippery slope..." - Man I hate this phrase, and professors use it all the time (especially in Con Law) "But Jimmy, if we apply heightened scrutiny to restrictions based on gender or age, can't we slide down the slippery slope so that even pedophiles, be they a quasi-white pop singer or part of a large Association of man-boy love, can claim that laws against child molesting violate the 14th Amendment?1" "Maybe professor, but only if the Supreme Court is on vacation that day, and they all let their pets decide the case."2 So what if there's a damn slippery slope, that's why we invented climbing gear.

But, as much as I hate the slippery slope, it is nothing compared to the following phrase heard at least 40 or 50 gazillion times every year in law school classrooms:

"But, what if..." followed by a ridiculous hypothetical... and then usually followed with some variation of "would that be _______, Professor?". It doesn't matter how straight forward the question, or how easy the concept (folks from my Contracts class may remember the "Mail-Box Rule Incident"), someone will find the stupidest question imaginable. "[Waving Hand In the Air] Professor, but what if the assailant doesn't actually touch the victim, and the victim suffers no harm, physically or emotionally, would that be a battery or assault, Professor Torts?" The only good things about this phrase is 1) the look on the Professor's face when they realize how stupid the question is, and 2) (if the Professor is nice) his or her attempt to make it sound like a good question and still explain this basic concept to someone who is clearly clinically retarded.

1Sweet! My first Michael Jackson reference (and it's so fresh too) and my first N.A.M.B.L.A. reference, all in the same post!
2To be fair, I've heard Ginsberg's cat, Judge Learned Paws, and Scalia's canary, John Jaybird, are quite the legal scholars.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Go Section E! You Rock!

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from the Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review letting us know who all made the staff for next year. Looking through the names, I noticed that out of the 35 slots open to rising Minnesota 2Ls1, my 1L section (1 of 5 sections) managed to grab 1/3 of the slots.

I knew my section rocked the hardest... but this is hard evidence that helps prove it.

Section E, rock on completely with some brand new components. How could we avoid our law review lifestyle?

1As opposed to slots reserved solely for transfer students.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Oh, Sandy.... Why...Yi...Yi...Yiiiiii?

Sandy can't you see
I'm in misery
We made a start
Now we're apart
There's nothin' left for me
Love Has Flown
All alone
I sit... and wonder
Why - yi-yi-yi?
Oh why... you left me
Oh Sandy
Although I normally don't comment much on SCOTUS goings on (as you may have noticed by my lack of commentary on Kelo, the Ten Commandment Cases, and Grokster),1 I must admit, the resignation of Sandra Day O'Connor from the Supreme Court makes me sad.

First, no matter your feelings about her, she deserves her status as an iconic figure in American history. She's the first women to sit on the Supreme Court. On many controversial issues, she provided the much discussed "Swing Vote" that decided the issue, and for pretty much all of them, she made her decision with a good balance of legal, moral, and practical justification. When she was nominated by Reagan, the President said that she possessed "qualities of temperament, fairness, intellectual capacity and devotion to public good." When asked during her confirmation how she would like to be remembered, O'Connor replied "Ah, the tombstone question. I hope it says, 'Here lies a good judge.'"

Second, to me, O'Connor is one of the prime examples of what a judge should be. Yes, she didn't write her opinions with the sweeping prose you got from the likes of John Marshall and Oliver Wendell Holmes... but so what? She wasn't the poet laureate, she was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Yes, she didn't write with the "passion" of Scalia2. Yes, she wasn't as predictable as the Right Wing had hoped when the Reagan administration nominated her3. But, she clearly had as good of a legal mind as any of the justices (better than most in my opinion), and if it was hard to tell how she would come out... GOOD! A judge shouldn't be predictable, because every case if different, and a judge shouldn't make up his or her mind until the case has been heard. As the article said, "In court, O'Connor's demeanor is serious, studied, her questions spare and pointed..." While not flashy, O'Connor was a good judge.

Third, O'Connor was a wonderful voice of moderation on what has been a fairly divided court. Call her the fulcrum of the teeter-tooter between Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist on one side and Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Souter on the other (plus wherever the heck Kennedy decided to fall that day). I am convinced the Court avoided many rash decisions because her pragmatic approach cast the deciding vote. I am very concerned that the Bushies will not respect this type of moderation, but rather will try to pack on whatever ultra-conservative nut they can to swing the court into Anti-Roe land and please the Bible Belt. This is really what frightens me. I guess we'll have to see, and hope that if he does, the Senate wises up and says "No."

1This is mostly because I do not claim to be, nor do I wish to be, any kind of Constitutional expert. I did my year of time in the Con Law prison, and until the bar exam, I'm done with it.
2Of course by passion, I mean... well, the meanness and snarliness that drips from the pages of a Scalia opinion.
3Gasp! How dare she write an opinion that goes against our beliefs!

Weird Stuff I See On Cars

Today while driving into work, I spotted a big Ford Pick-up (or as my Grandpa used to call them "Pick-em-up") towing a four-wheel ATV. Not that shocking. It is Minnesota, and there are tons of trails up north that are snowmobile trails in the winter and ATV trails in the summer. Then I looked in his cab rear window and there was a big sticker that says "Sierra Club Sucks." Again, not a big shock that someone who drives a big, gas-guzzling pick-up truck has negative feelings towards an environmental group.1 But then I looked at his license plate, and he had one of these "Critical Habitat" plates, which require the person getting them to pay an extra $30/year toward the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Needless to say, I did a big "WHAAAAAA?" as I sped past the guy. I may be wrong, but I think it is a bit inconsistent to be an "environmentalist" who supports our "Critical Habitat" while tooling2 around in a big honking truck.

The only time I was more confused by a "car display"3 was back around election time when I saw a Prius with a George Bush campaign sticker on it. Maybe these people are driving around because Irony levels have dipped to dangerous lows. No, that can't be it... we've got irony coming out of our arses.

1I mean, why would you want to enjoy trees and breath when you can tow shit... and I mean big shit... with your big truck that proves you are a MAN?
2And I mean TOOL-ing
3Other than the obsession with the magnetic "I Support Our Troops" ribbons on cars of people who voted for the man who put those troops into the line of fire