Monday, October 31, 2005

Those Were The Days My Friend. We Thought They'd Never End

Today was one of the few times this semester where I have been forcibly reminded that just one year ago, I was a fresh faced ickle 1L trying to make sense out of the big bad world. For those of you who remember my postings from year ago, and I know you all do, this is the time of year when the Career Services Office can start scaring 1Ls about jobs. Last year, I got to be the scaree, this year I got to be one of the scarors (is that a word... never mind, I don't care).

Today was the 2005 version of the 2L job panel... where hundreds of first year students got to stare blank at a bunch of 2Ls talking about what we did last summer... or in the case of some of you (and YOU know who you are), surfing on the internet.

So, I got to talk about my experience at My Marvelous eMployment opportunity.1 But I didn't really do much of that... no, I used my time to shamelessly promote the student IP group.2 Eh, if these 1Ls really wanted information, they can just ask me in person, not get it from a huge production.

As I did last year, here is my summary of the 2Ls... but now from a 2L perspective:
- In house guy (that's ME) - Well this jerk didn't really tell us anything, he just plugged his stupid student group
- Save-the-world girl - Once again, there was someone who did a public interest, save humanity job. I have a lot of respect for these people... but I couldn't do it. To her credit, this year's save-the-world girl admitted that she doesn't want to do it anymore either
- Public-Defender Lady - She had a great experience... it sounded so good, I almost would have liked to have done it too... except that I got paid and she didn't. I think everybody needs a good lawyer, but I also have this nagging tendency to want to eat.
- Lucky BigLaw Girl3 - I can't say too much that is bad about her, because she was in my section and is incredibly nice, and very, very smart. But, she did come across as the person we should all be jealous of. There was also a Lucky Not-quite-as-BigLaw guy. I didn't know him, so I could dislike him as much as I want
- Funny, Fell-into-it Guy - I also knew this guy, and he pretty much lived up to his reputation. He was funny, the job he got, he kind of fell into it... so there you go.

There were others, but none of them were very different than anybody else. Once again, the whole purpose of the event did not seem to be met, as I am sure many of the 1Ls ended up being more scared rather than less. Especially since the overarching theme of the panel was "Start early... wait, don't worry about starting early... Get good grades... Grades really matter... Don't blow your finals [underlying point is that if you blow your finals, you won't get a job]. I'm sure that was a great comfort.

Oh yeah, I also finally got to meet this 1L, who was nice enough to introduce himself after the event. He's tall. I tried to give him some sage 2L advice, but I fear it did not come across as eloquently as I'd hoped.4

1I don't want to just outright tell you where I worked
2Speaking of which, if you're at Minnesota and not doing anything tomorrow, come to our event and hear more 2Ls and 3Ls talking about their work... it's just as boring as today's program, but we provide free pizza.
3Once again, BigLaw in Minneapolis is not the same as DC or New York BigLaw... but that's beside the point.
4What with the "You knows," and "ums," and the fact that it didn't really qualify as advice in that it was probably bad.

Let's Gird Up Our Loins For Battle

Well, it looks like we are going to get the political showdown we wanted, as Bush has bowed to his Ultra-Right-Wing Conservative overlords and nominated Scalito to replace O' Connor on the SCOTUS. Any time a judge is considered the equivalent of Scalia, there is going to be a fight... so this should be interesting.

Notes from around the Blawgoshpere:
- Looks like Article III Groupie was wrong, the buzz about Alito was not a decoy... it was (as John Kerry would probably have stumbled through awkwardly in an attempt to be cool said) "The Real Deal"
- The Volokh Conspiracy and Bainbridge seem positively giddy
- Wonkette has a better idea
"Today's drinking game? Every time you hear "unlike Harriet Miers," take a sip. Every time you hear "in contrast to Harriet Miers," do a shot. Every time you hear "more judicial experience in his pinkie than Harriet Miers has in her whole stooped and shriveled body," pound yourself in the forehead with a copy of Casey v. Planned Parenthood.
Personally, I am petrified that this guy will actually get confirmed... but picking him was smart for Bush. Now there will be a fight, which will give Bush and his cronies a lot of ammunition to use next year during the Mid-term elections when they argue that it is all the Democrats fault that the country sucks. That is, if the President has any political capital left at that point after the stupidity that was the Miers nomination.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Can See Your Lips Moving, But I Can't Make Out The Words

In a press briefing, White House Press Secretary was involved in the following exchange:
McClellan said he had not sought any clarification about Cheney's involvement from the vice president or his office and bristled when a reporter asked if Cheney always tells the truth to the American people, dismissing the query as "ridiculous."
Does he mean the question was ridiculous because Cheney tells the truth, or ridiculous because everyone knows Cheney is a liar? Either answer seems plausible to me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

He Sure Isn't the Comedian-in-Chief

Big news day today... worthy of a double-posting.

The White House has asked The Onion, widely regarded as America's Finest News Source, to stop using the Presidential Seal in its "articles" about the president... presumably because they "disrespect" the Office.

Hmmm... there seem to be some First Amendment problems with the Executive Branch telling a newspaper, albeit a parody newspaper, to stop doing something. Plus, as the EIC of The Onion pointed out "I've been seeing the presidential seal used in comedy programs [i.e. Saturday Night Live has used it a lot] most of my life and to my knowledge none of them have been asked not to use it by the White House."

Do you think the White House would mind if The Onion was saying good things about the president?

Update: I just saw the New York Times story on this. I think the reporter kind of hit the nail on the head with her lead paragraph
You might have thought that the White House had enough on its plate late last month, what with its search for a new Supreme Court nominee, the continuing war in Iraq and the C.I.A. leak investigation. But it found time to add another item to its agenda - stopping The Onion, the satirical newspaper, from using the presidential seal.
I wonder if the White House shut it down because Bush's feelings were hurt.

New "Role Model"

A woman tricked the biggest law firm in Minneapolis into giving her a job by faking her law school transcript and using someone else's bar registration from New York. The best part: she worked for six months as an associate before they caught her. Six months!

My favorite quotes from the Minneapolis Star Tribue article about the matter:
The truth: Her law school transcript was apparently of her own making; her New York registration number belonged to someone else.

The woman apparently knew what a real transcript looked like, using one as the model to create her own genuine-looking document.

"She was very sophisticated," Tinkham [the firm's spokesman] said.
He [Tinkham] said the firm will change its hiring practices to request academic transcripts from the schools directly rather than relying on the candidates to furnish them.
Wow. You gotta at least respect the balls it took to do this.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Yes! Screw You Packers!

The Vikings may suck... but the Packers suck worse! (for now). The Vikings made a great comeback in the second half and kicked a field goal as time ran out to send the Packers home with their 1-and-5 tails between their legs. Sweet!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I Can Be A Justice Too!

From our President's attempt to plug the leak in the damn of criticism regarding his recent "Supreme Court" "Nominee," Harriet Miers, from the mouth of a former justice of the Texas Supreme Court:
You get the briefs, you hear the arguments, you study the facts, you study the law and you try to make a square decision based on the law and the Constitution, and I don't think it matters that much whether you were a judge before
Hot DAMN! I've taken Con Law... I've been studying facts and trying to square them based on the law, and to some extent, the Constitution! I LOVE to listen to arguments! I can read briefs! I don't have any experience, but thankfully THAT DOESN'T MATTER!!!

Woo Hoo! I'm sure that I'll be receiving word of my nomination as soon as Miers's candidacy goes down in flames. Justice Unreasonable has a nice ring to it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Inciteful Class

Here are my notes from one of my classes yesterday, and I swear I was actually paying attention:
10:43 and still no notes!1

Wow, I’ve made it to 10:59 and still note-free!! How did the professor do that?
That's it. Normally this professor has good information, but he seriously rambled on for the whole hour about stuff that did not even remotely resemble the material we were supposed to be covering.

If I hadn't just paid for that hour, I might actually be happy about it.

1 The class started at 10:10.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Dark Side of Law School

Earlier this week, I got a taste of one of the worst characters in law school... the pompous douchebag (the "Pom-D-Bag").

Thankfully, my class at Minnesota is fairly devoid of Pom-D-Bags (at least my section was, and if it wasn't, they didn't show their true colors). And in pretty much all of my classes, there were very few of this horrible ilk. However, on Wednesday, I was sitting in a common area of the law school trying to study about the Hearsay Rule1 and a guy was loudly talking on his cell phone about some negative comments he had received from his editor regarding his note for his journal. Here are some comments2 I overheard (and I didn't have to listen too hard, as he was talking quite loudly):
"She's a bitch and I don't like her."

"I'm way more talented than her, so I don't have to listen to her."3

"She's just being really negative."4
I almost threw up, I was so disgusted. I know it sucks when you do something and get criticized, but I'm guessing that most, if not all, of what his editor said was constructive criticism meant to make his article better. Even if he's right, and her criticism was off base or not presented well, he needs to learn a little diplomacy and not call her a bitch in such a public place.

I hope, for his sake, that this guy learns, and learns quickly, that criticism can be helpful... and more importantly, that publicly insulting someone is not smart. If this had been at work, and the critique had come from a partner, and he had called him a "stupid asshole," he would probably be cleaning his office out by the end of lunch.

1I'd like to tell you about it, but my statement wouldn't be admissible anyway because it isn't made under oath at a hearing or trial. Sorry.
2These are not exact quotes, but they are paraphrases that are damn close.
3This is my favorite example of this guy's douchebaggery, because he is not on law review, so his "talent" is probably not as good as he thinks it is.
4My second favorite because it is coming from someone who earlier in the conversation brazenly called his editor a bitch and said he was "way more talented than her"

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Welcome to Spamalot!

As AmbImb has also noted, spammers have become more persistent and ingenious. Blogger has a new system which supposedly helps cut down by requiring word verification before a comment can be entered.

Since I'm not getting that many comments anyway, I figured this won't be too much of a deterrent, and maybe then I won't have to spend 30-40 minutes every day deleting comment spam about hair growth, and buying property in Maryland, and hair removal, and fabulous time shares in Florida, and...


My current employer wants me to work at least 10 hours a week, but my current school universe of classes, interviews, and law reivew really only lets me work on Fridays, so I only roll into work once a week. Well, the go-go life of a 2L law student can change very fast, so that you can almost be a completely different person from one week to the next.

I had just such a transformation during last week. Two Fridays ago, I was dejected because I had been on literally dozens of interviews for patent law clerk positions, and all I had to show for it was some very kindly-worded letters on very pretty stationary telling me, basically, that I sucked1. In my mind, not only was I not getting job offers for next summer, but I was sure that my current corporate employer would suddenly discover that it didn't have the budget to keep me on.2

Then, during the following week (that would be last week), I got the call that changed my outlook completely. Yes, me, your lowly blog author, received an offer from a local Intellectual Property Law Firm... but not just any firm, but the one firm that I really wanted to work for. So, last Friday, I "got" to tell my current employer that I received an offer to a law firm. I did this mostly because I had several questions I wanted to know about in making my decision whether to accept the firm offer or to remain in-house at the company (i.e., How likely am I to get an offer for full time employment if I stick around, assuming you still like my work and my grades stay good? If I take the firm offer, can I come back (either as a part time clerk during next year, or full time if I don't like the firm)?).

Yeah, that was weird. I've never actually been "in demand" before,3 so it is odd to be working for one company that supposedly likes me and my work, and having an offer with another company... and then freely discussing that offer with your current company. Weird.

1 Well, not so much suck... just suck for their firm. It wasn't that I was bad, I just wasn't good enough.
2 At least that would be the "official" reason, but the real reason would be that they just didn't like me, and didn't want to prolong the pain.
3 Not that I am in demand now, necessarily, but for the sake of this post, let's assume I am.

Sunday, October 02, 2005


This is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. A kid in Dayton was born without legs but still plays football for his high school.

There is probably not much that can make you feel like a worthless hack than a legless kid who is better at football than you were with two perfectly good legs.

How Do You Italicize a Period?*

I apologize for the considerable lack of communication during the past month. I have been hella busy thanks to Interviewing, classes, the cite check police. And now, the law review Nazis1 want me to actually start writing my article so I can "contribute to the body of legal scholarship." Blah blah blah.

So this weekend I have been holed up in my little office, forced to watch the beauty of what is probably the last nice weekend of the year2 through my window, and crank out a background section on the research "safe harbor" of 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1)3. Anyway, because we are a "serious" law journal, and care about such mundane things as what the Bluebook says about how to short cite a report of Congress,4 I am having to re-figure out how to cite all kind of stuff, as well as getting back into the mode of citing every few words with a footnote.5

As many of you will remember, the Bluebook gets into such painstakinglyy pointless detail as to tell you what to italicize, including punctuation. My favorite, as I am sure it is yours, is the proper way to use the term "Id." (referring to the exact same reference as the last cite6). You would think that it wouldn't matter what you do with the period in id., but you would be soooooooo wrong. "Note that the period at the end of "id." is always italicized."7 Because the world would end if you had cited a souce as id. rather than id. (I swear, I italicized the period in the second id., but not the first... don't tell the Columbia Law Review Association, et al.)

Welcome to the world of high legal scholarship.

* And more importantly, why should you have to?
1 I use the term "Nazis" strictly as hyperbole - and because it has been in fashion to use the epithet for awhile - not to insinuatee that the law review office is some kind of work camp where us lowly staff members toil away at the whim of the Editorial Overlords... which of course it is.
2 Yesterday was sunny, temperature in the mid-70s, and gorgeous. Today is less nice, but still pretty damn good for October in Minnesota.
3 I know how dead sexy this topic sounds, but please refrain from throwing your underwear at your computer screen... especially you, Brian and Phil. This will not win my favor, and you are only setting yourself up for heartbreak later.
4 Philly boy, put the boxerbriefss down. Phil!
5 Can you tell?
6 As in, Phil! I mean it, put down the undies! See id.
7 THE BLUEBOOK: A UNIFORM SYSTEM OF CITATION R. 4.1, at 64 (Columbia Law Review Ass'n et al. eds., 18th ed. 2005) (Note, this is the only actual citation in this whole post... I loves me my footnotes!)