Friday, July 14, 2006

Dental Hygenist... or Passive-Aggressive Masochist?

I don't floss. I know that's bad, but I don't do it. Do you know why? Because I don't get cavities anyway, and every six months I pay someone (or more accurately, my insurance company pays someone) to clean between my teeth anyway.

Of course, I must pay for my refusal to floss. Usually, my tribute is limited to being made to feel guilty for not flossing. The coversation usually goes something like this:

Dental Hygenist (or "The Lady [or man] With the Hook"): Your teeth look nice. You must floss regularly.
Me: Actually no, only occcasionally1
Hook Lady: (stern look on her otherwise pleasant face) Oh. You really should floss more
Me: I know. I'm sorry.2

Then she cleans my teeth and everyone is happy. I'm happy because my teeth are clean. She's happy because she got to admonish another patient for his slovenly dental care.

But yesterday I went to the dentist, and after the standard "You don't floss... well you should" routine, this particular Hook Lady smiled very nicely and with an extraordinarily pleasant voice said "Let's get started," and proceeded to attack my gums with her hook like an Amazon would attack the jungle with a machete. Several times I could taste the blood. Was this brutal hooking this woman's vengeance for my lack of flossing? Was this behavior sanctioned by her dentist/supervisor? Would I be able to make it to a doctor before passing out for loss of blood?

The swelling in my gums has finally gone down, and I think I've washed the last of the blood out of my mouth... and I'm thinking that I might seriously consider flossing in the future.

At least until next week.

1 This is code for "Never." I'd feel guilty about lying, but they know this is code for "Never" so it's cool.
2 This is code for "I'm not sorry, and I'm still not going to floss." Again, they know this, so we're all good.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Anniversary Thrice... Wow

Yesterday was my wife and my third anniversary. Although the "Leather Anniversary" is not hugely impressive compared to the silver or gold, I am still amazed that not only have we not killed each other, but we've stayed married even through two years of law school.

Congratulations, darling... since I'm sure the majority of the credit should go to you. I'm looking forward to the next 73.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

On Not Making Law Review

Although very few people probably want to hear this, let alone from me, but I recently read a post by Nick that I felt needed addressing. He, like the majority of petitioners, did not make law review. The following is a part of his recollection of his acceptance cycle (which is actually a pretty clever recollection):
Depression came next and it was profound. My legal career: aborted in the first trimester of law school. My ego was wounded, badly. It hurt I tell you, it hurt. I was listless. I could barely bring myself to have breakfast in bed and jet ski all afternoon. I had to dig deep to get through that day at the spa. What kind of career can I expect, I thought, if I'm not on law review? Is the un-cite-checked life worth living? These questions and others swirled in my head, not unlike delicious frozen margaritas.
While he was clearly exaggerating for comedic effect, there was probably a little truth in these statements (a very little). Even if Nick was completely joking (as I suspect), there probably is someone who thinks this way (i.e. that their legal career is "over" before they are out of law school). For those of you who know this, please excuse my ramblings... but anyone who might think otherwise (even if it is only secretly, deep down in the "fear" center of your brain), please read on and I will do my best to show why this is bull$#@.

First, just to get it out of the way, I know there are some freaky 1Ls (I guess most of them are 2Ls now) that I don't even know (or care exist) who might scream "If law review isn't a big deal, why do YOU post about so much?" My main response is the reason I post about law review is, surprise surprise, because I am on law review. This is my blog, so I tend to post about me, so it makes a lot more sense to post about my experience on law review than on the Civil Rights Moot Court. Also, I was happy that I made law review, and I do feel it is a great way to improve some skills which will be useful later on in a legal career. But, that doesn't mean you can't get the same skills at other journals, in your summer work experiences, or on a moot court. Each journal at Minnesota give you just as much cite-checking experience, just as much writing experience, and just as much improvement in legal argument as every other journal.

Second, while I shouldn't need to tell anyone who reads this, being on law review (or not being on law review) is no indication of your intelligence or your legal prowess. I am certainly evidence of this. I'm a normal guy who gets normal grades, who definitely has no strong passion about "the law" (or at least not so much that I feel the need to discuss it outside of school or work). The other summer associates at my summer firm are also great evidence of this. Only one of them is also on law review, yet they all got a job at this firm, which is no small feat. Two of them also go to Minnesota and aren't on law review (one is on the Journal of Law, Science, and Technology, and the other is a rising 2L who didn't make law review and has yet to hear what journal he will be on) and have picked up the tricks of patent law much faster than I did. My office mate isn't on law review at her school, and she has a much better grasp of the law than I do, and she goes to Pittsburgh for gosh sakes.1 If law school teaches you anything, let it be this... grades or anything else law school uses to indicate that one student is "better" than another is total B.S., and has more to do with how well someone scraped together a good written argument on a random day than with actual intelligence.

Finally, although it certainly is helpful to have "Law Review" on your resume when you are looking for jobs, the fact that you don't have it on there won't be a hindrance. If you have great grades and publish a really good article for JLI, you are in much better shape for getting a firm job or judicial clerkships than someone with mediocre grades who couldn't get his crappy note published for law review. Employers know that there is much, much more than law review, so just don't worry about it.

OK, that's enough of the lecture... I'm sure there will be plenty of anonymous commentors who will love to tear into me for it, so bring it on.

1I actually have nothing against Pittsburgh or its law school, but I couldn't go through the entire summer without giving K at least some crap on my blog.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Anonymous Lawyer: The Book

As many of you know, law school blogger Jeremy Blachman has achieved the ultimate dream ... rather than having to practice law to make a living, he got a book deal. Granted, Jeremy is funny, and is also the author of the hilarious Anonymous Lawyer blog and was outed by the New York Times, which led to him getting a book deal to write Anonymous Laywer: A Novel ... but the point is, he got a book deal while the rest of us will have to "work."

While I was trying to swallow my jealousy over learning about this, Jeremy was kind enough to send me an advance copy of the book in exchange for me sharing my thoughts on this little ol' blog.

First, as many of you may know, this book doesn't take the form of a normal novel, but is written in the style of a blog with a few e-mail interspersed between the postings. I was a little dubious of this style of writing at first, because while blog posts can be quite conducive to telling short stories (evidence on this blog notwithstanding), I was unsure if an entire novel-length story could be told in blog form. However, Jeremy pulled this off beautifully and made a great (and not surprisingly funny) story.

Anonymous Lawyer the novel, like the blog, focuses on the hiring partner of a ficticious BigLaw firm in L.A. It also includes references to Anonymous Wife, Anonymous Son, and Anonymous Daughter. But, the novel also adds Anonymous Lawyer's arch nemesis The Jerk, who is challenging A.L. as the next Chairman of Anonymous Law Firm.

Things go smoothly for A.L. until the new Chairman (on the job for only a few weeks) has a heart attack at his desk1 and he must find a way to make sure he is made Chairman instead of The Jerk.

Like Anonymous Lawyer: The Blog, the novel is full of heartless and horrible honesty from A.L. about how things "really work" at BigLaw. Like how third-year associates aren't allowed talk to the Summers, so that Summers will accept their offers without knowing what it is really like working there... or how leftover food from meetings is not for the secretaries and should be thrown out instead... or what code words to use on a client's bill which mean the attorney was really taking a dump.

But, even more surprisingly, we learn that A.L. himself isn't totally heartless (we wouldn't really like him much by the end of the book if he was), he's just been forced to be an A-hole by the environment he's worked and thrived in.

The only complaint I really had about the book is that it is too short and the ending is kind of abrupt.2 But overall, I highly recommend that you buy Anonymous Lawyer: A Novel when it comes out on July 25.

1By far, one of the funniest parts of the book is the e-mail the new Chairman writes to the firm as he is having his heart attack... followed by the subsequent e-mails from readers of Anonymous Lawyer's blog from every major city in the country claiming they now know who he is becuase their Chairman also died of a heart attack that day.
2Of course, I couldn't write a novel that was half as long or one-tenth as good... but everyone has room for improvement.