Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Law School Angst

Law school angst gets people in different ways. The best way to go through law school is to figure out what role you fit and accept it. That said:

Law school admissions is a combination of LSAT (which MENSA accepts as an IQ test) and undergrad GPA. At the top there may some with relatively high scores on both ends but most of the students are either bright and lazy or industrious and not as bright. Because law school has figured out the rubric, almost everyone in your class is equally capable. The lazy geniuses are about as capable as the hard working. The law school grading scale then takes these virtually indistinguishable masses and tries to tier out their ability through scaled classes. Most of these exams are very similar. Few excel, few are really terrible. Most of the rest of us wind up in the block of random grades between B+ and C+. The only difference between B+ and C+ papers is the discretion of the professor.

These grades, while mostly random, mean everything. A student ranked at the 24% can expect double digit on campus interviews while a student ranked at the 26% will get almost none. You would never be able in a million years to tell the difference between these two people outside of those two numbers (most likely the difference between a B and B+ in a two hour course). But based on these percentage numbers from your first semester (one sixth of your law school career), you are either in or out. By the time you finish your first year, you likely have all the grades you will ever need if you get employment during your second summer. After the first year, any student trying to improve his/her standing will never really catch up for bigger law jobs.

Most law students go to law school to make a difference in the world. At least that's what we write on our admissions essays. But the entire law school experience is set up to dangle prestigious, high paying, legal cog jobs in front of us. Almost no public interest, criminal, plaintiff, or small law firms are invited to interview on campus. This means that if you want an alternate career that will lower the average starting salary of our grads which will reflect poorly on the US News rankings, you're on your own.

In short, you work and find out it makes no difference in your grades. You get the honors they make a big deal out of and find out it isn't enough to get the jobs you want. Law school is a big exercise in contentment when you realize that no matter what your mama told you, you really aren't that special. No matter how awesome you were in undergrad, no matter what kind of juggernaut you used to be, here, you will likely be one of the masses. Half of the people will be below average and they remind you of that every time you open your report card. It's being told that the reasons you were going to law school were wrong, discouraging you from helping, then letting you know you aren't qualified for the jobs they pushed you towards. That is the center of the angst.

At least, that's how I see it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

@ work related

Assuming you still read this blog occasionally, you happy now that the angst is back?

Don't worry, I promise more raccoon nonsense in the future regardless. At least now I'm filled with a sickening degree of apathy, coupled with a healthy dose of righteous fury again, eh?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ein Toast

To the end of zee semester. Fuck you. If I could, I would burn you to death with tiny fires. You have tormented me in the most hideous manners imaginable...even blog-people would not understand. Here's to you and my eternal quest to torture and murder you in your sleep.

Brief addendum:

On second thought, murdering you in your sleep might not be sufficiently satisfying. I need to flay you with the sharpened edges of my secured transactions book and papercuts from Prof. Tree Dweller's horrendously deceptive Enviro I exam.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Statistics and Late Night Thoughts

There are just over 300 Million people in the United States. There are approximately 1.1 Million lawyers in the United States. There are an additional 150,000 law students in the United States so we add about 50,000 lawyers per year.

That works out to one lawyer for every 262 people in the U.S. There are 16 million complaints (lawsuits) filed every year in the United States. That gives each lawyer 16 cases to work per year.

Obviously there are cases to work that never get filed but it does make you think. Are there just too many of us out there? What motivates people to go to law school to begin with? Does anybody here remember?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Good Reads

Two other blogs I've read that made the Blawg 100:

Gerry Spence's blog. He is one of the best criminal defense lawyers ever. His book on trial advocacy is high on my Christmas list. He has a blog. He writes on murder, capital punishment, and trial technique. Small, but good community.

That's What She Said blog on the civil liability incurred by our friends at The Office. They will try to put a dollar amount on the crazy actions of Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, and the others at Dunder Mifflin. Great way to learn employment law.

At this point I'll read anything to keep from studying for this next exam but these two were definitely worth the time.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sucks to be this guy

So there's a guy who graduated from Michigan State. Went to get an LLM. Racked up $150k in student loans. Sent out 300 resumes. And got one job interview. Story here.

I think the sad thing is, this doesn't surprise me. I have friends here with good resumes that are going to really surprising frontier outposts or are still looking for work despite sending out almost this many resumes. Granted, no LLM, but for just regular law work, you wouldn't think that would matter.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Congratulations Sharon

Congratulations to Sharon--our favorite grammarian--for being named to the ABA's Blawg 100 list. Her blog, Thank You Ma'am was one of the top student blogs. I guess that's what you get when you actually blog about something as opposed to us who give voice to the frustration and subsequent apathy of this era of law students. Instead of discussing this intelligently, I usually settle for a generic gripe and a video about nothing.

Anyway, congrats again!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why Exams Are the Best Time of Year

So my secured transactions exam is tomorrow. The prof is giving us a true 1L issue-spotting exam, but I can't bring myself to hate her because she's a bright-eyed baby prof who hasn't been torched by academia OR practice yet. It seems that way at least. Either that, or I'm just seeing what I want to see.

I care so much about this final that I've studied for roughly 4 hours out of the last two weeks, even though my de facto holiday/finals "break" started before the week of Thanksgiving. My weapons loadout for this exam will include the internet, a gift outline, and the 2000 edition of the secured transactions Nutshell. Right now, I am sipping an admittedly weak gin and tonic while watching West Wing Season 1. Earlier, I chewed through half of Scrubs Season 7.

If I could stroll out of there two hours early with a C-, I would take it and never look back.

I'm not sure "apathy" is the appropriate term anymore. As long as I don't fail any hours I'll have to make up later, thereby extending my tenure in the Fifth Circle where Dante says the slotful go, I'll ecstatically snatch my diploma from the Dean's hands, punch him in the balls, and sprint from the building...all with a goofy-ass grin on my face. Then I'll start studying from the bar ("for" the bar is merely incidental) and the grin will vanish.


So I'm finishing teaching myself an entire semester worth of material in three days. Yeah. That's going well. I swear every semester I won't do this but every semester, I do. Again, I, El Guapo, as a master of procrastination, went in search of Christmas music that hasn't been played on my Christmas radio station here in town. For all the fans of Die Hard out there, I present Run DMC's Christmas in Hollis.

I love this song. I give it credit for sampling my favorite soul man, Clarence Carter's Back Door Santa WHICH IS DECIDEDLY NOT A CHRISTMAS SONG!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Concerted Action (That's a Tort!)

So it's 11 days until my first exam... and I haven't read a single case since October of my first semester. That's over two years. In fact, before today I had not read a single page. So, today, I managed to read 13 pages of Bus. Orgs. and 2 pages of a 62 page outline... it was time to celebrate!

But I don't understand this:

My plans tonight: crack a bottle of red and watch the game. My friends' plans tonight: crack and bottle of red and watch the game. Problem is, no one wanted to watch it together.

So my question is this: is it (A) finals, (B) stress, (C) apathy, (D) the culmination and angst of almost 2.5 years of law school, or (E) all of the above?

So, we all drank a bottle of red wine by ourselves.

Now I'm going to watch Love Actually. Thank you El Guapo.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prof. Tree Dweller - 11/18/08

“Ginsburg says he loves economics as a regulatory approach…which is true. He spouts it all the time. When I was rafting with him up in Montana, I kept thinking about tossing him into the river so maybe he’d drown or something and we’d all be better off. I’m joking, you guys know that. *long pause* He had his kids with him, they would’ve been traumatized.”

Monday, November 17, 2008


How is it Christmas already? The stores are done up. The radio is playing songs. You know, they could skip the Josh Grobin once and play my favorite Christmas song by Billy Mack.

I love that movie. Too bad my independent study won't let me watch right now. I've been buried in Westlaw all weekend.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why I stopped blogging and started going to class

In the recent months I have become employed in my dream job. While it is nothing permanent yet, it is an audition. With the added responsibilities that I have assumed with my job, I have to find areas in my life to make time. Thus, no blogging. However, this has its benefits. I am notorious for not being present in class. I have been known to make public statements to my professors, "It's okay, I will just settle for an A-minus in this class, that's still top 10%." (A-minus is the A that I will get in the class minus 1/3 of a letter grade for lack of class participation--attendance--at the professor's discretion).

Recently, I have changed my attitude about class. I have found that rather than sitting in class surfing through the end of the internet in a 3 hour period, I could, instead, sit in class, do work, and bill by the tenth of an hour. Therefore, a three hour session of boredom then becomes several dinners at a top steakhouse---or Eurotrip Christmas '08.

That said, I will not be blogging to often. If anything, I may quit hiding behind a pseudonym and start blogging on a profession blog. In the meantime, join me in the fight against preemption.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Breaking News: "Raccoon Mailer" Arrested!

Recently, one of our dear compatriots, the raccoon himself, was caught while attempting to create more mayhem. This time, the ever-anonymous raccoon was allegedly attempting to steal beer from a private residence. The following are surveillance photos and police press release images of our noble and unjustly imprisoned friend. We are currently pressing the police for authentication of these images, but they have been uncooperative so far.

Supposed surveillance image of our raccoon breaking and entering through the rear entrance of a private residence. Note that the raccoon's face does not appear in the image, making true identification impossible. The police clearly have the wrong raccoon in custody:

Here we see another unauthenticated "surveillance image" of the raccoon allegedly taking beer from a private residence. While our raccoon loves beer (especially Sam Adams Lager when it's on sale at the grocery store), the first thing HE would have done is tear those wires out of the computer in the background. Our raccoon would have likely used the stapler in the photo to staple the Sam Adams box to the destroyed computer wires. Also, who the fuck has security cameras inside their house, particularly ones that zoom in on a specific spot on the desk??? I smell entrapment.

First police press release mugshot of the raccoon. The profile angle clearly shows that this raccoon is obese, whereas our raccoon can literally fly and deliver business reply envelopes! There's no way he could do that if he was a fatass like this pathetic excuse for a raccoon.

Second police press release mugshot of our fuzzy friend. Note that the whiskers and nose are indistinguishable from those of other raccoons. Also note the ominous shadow in the background, which closely resembles the raccoon...THERE IS NO LIGHT BEHIND THE POLICE CAMERA. This is clearly a case of mistaken identity, or perhaps haunting:

Please, we implore you...contribute to the raccoon's bail and defense fund!

Thursday, November 6, 2008


As 3L's we've been beaten down with dissapointment, dissolutionment, and exhaustion. I have trouble finding the outrage for the blog. I feel like this.

Now Playing:

fat stewie video

I try to bring the rage, but it just isn't worth it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

First Strike

Preparing for launch with low-impact munitions:

That's part of the 1st Restatement of Conflicts: Torts, plus a manuscript from the Qin Dynasty. See, Work Related, I'm only trying to help the credit card companies study for finals! I'm also trying to help them get cheap Chinese food delivered from a restaurant that no longer exists.

Armed and ready for takeoff:

Successful first strike! Intel on actual damage unavailable, however:

The last image is intentionally a bit blurry to shield the raccoon's identity. I just couldn't bring myself to write "mask."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Recruiting Volunteers: Stress Relief Through Absurdity and Humor

That last post might have been a bit premature. I'm working on a new photo-blogging series about anything that screws with big businesses in random ways.

First project:
1. collect Business Reply Mail envelopes from ANYwhere
2. Mail anything you want to get rid of back to the large corporation of your choice...assuming you can fit it into a standard envelope.
3. The entire point is to pin the cost of these mailings on these companies using the most ridiculous things you can dig out of your closet.
4. Write at least three standard English letters together and in sequence on something inside the envelope. For example, I might write "GF" on a piece of notebook paper that goes in the envelope.

Yes, it's been done before. Trillions of adolescents have probably used this as a subconscious tool for rebellion, all the while chuckling to themselves like weasels about how clever they were. While I am indeed chuckling like a weasel, I don't find it terribly clever anymore since I just gained a renewed interest in it via this quote from Honestly, who gives a shit? I'm also going to call OUR rebellion "Driving Up the Cost of Sending Junk Mail: An Externality on YOU from the Minds of Idiots." I'm also naming the rebellion "I like random shit people do for no apparent reason, Or Would You Kindly Get a Sense of the Absurd."

My official title in the rebellion shall be "Grand Field Marshal Mail Ninja." I may be addressed as "Marshal," "Sir," or "Comrade." Or Guy Fawkes, whatever.

Anyone interested? Trust me, this can be an effective outlet for some of that school/work/family/life stress that's on most of us. Just forget who you are right now and do something ridiculous

Better yet, POST SOME OTHER "PROJECT" IDEAS. Just brain-dump some comments with absurd things you've always wanted to do in ANY context, legal or illegal. This includes stabbing me in the face over the Internet.

4. DO NOT MAIL/SHIP ANYTHING THAT COULD EVEN CONCEIVABLY BE DANGEROUS. This also means do not send any illegal materials, whether or not they are dangerous while in the package. Unlike the failed revolution in which Guy Fawkes participated, nothing from this fun little distraction should cause ANY type of destruction.

I'm not saying this just to cover my ass. I mean it, internet peoplez. The idea here is to have fun and mock the American financial system (economy in general?...whatever you want to mock...mock mock mock). No one gets physically injured or even put in harm's way for any reason. For some helpful info on what NOT to send, here are a couple of links:

USPS Info RE: Hazardous Materials

USPS Aviation Mail Guidelines

The Aviation Mail Guidelines also contain links to the most current USPS guidelines on most other safety areas. Also, if your mail goes out through a method other than USPS...make sure you AT LEAST follow the USPS Safety Guidelines and anything additional your carrier requires.

Gen. MacArthur as a 3L: Articulating A Departure from the Phillippines

I've lost my motivation to blog anything lately. I think the swing-and-miss with the kangaroo video finally broke my blogging will. I even have an extensive backlog of Prof. Tree Hugger quotes, including one in which we bantered about Jurassic Fight Club (the History Channel show) in classic 3L/apathetic prof. fashion. Phaedrus and I also played the primary roles in what has become known as "The Legend of the Horseman's Smashing Pumpkin" around our class.

Blogging here just isn't giving me the outlet I need anymore. Perhaps I will share more amusing anecdotes in the future, but I'm not going to personally try to keep The War alive. Such are the ways of the 3L.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ironic, Coincidental, or Mean?

Taking a lesson from my favorite lexicographer, Bender Bending Rodriguez, I'm not sure if the following is ironic, coincidental, or just plain mean:

The firm that sent me my last small envelope of rejection is sponsoring my scholarship this year. Am I good enough to pay a scholarship for but not good enough to hire?

Hey I'm not complaining, I'll take the money. Just struck me as odd . . . .

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wireless Internet: How to Hack a Secure System

I am sitting on Phaedrus's couch as I write this post. I am on Phaedrus's laptop, through which he has been leeching Comcast broadband service for over one year. Here is an illustrative anecdote to explain the intelligence level of the average [school] football fan here:

Instructions for "hacking" into a wireless network in this city:

1. acquire a computer capable of detecting wireless connections
2. allow computer to automatically detect wireless connections within range
3. select wireless network entitled "WinorLoseWeBooze#1"
4. 1st attempted password: "default"
5. 2nd attempt: "admin"
6. 3rd attempt: "password"
7. slap self for lack of insight
4. remind self that this is a football school
5. remind self that 90% of fans at this school are hammered by 5 AM (even for night games) on gameday
6. remind self it is Saturday
7. remind self there is a rivalry game today, kickoff 6 PM
8. 4th attempt: "[wearepennstate]"
9, load homepage
10. impose externality on Comcast and their customers
11. cry self to sleep several hours later because someone with the common sense to lock a wireless connection made it that easy
12. realize that among other things, "hacking" is not the correct term because it implies a degree of difficulty that at approaches Candyland

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Need Advice: New Reading Material

Since 3Ls don't believe in class or reading, I am looking for some new non-fiction material. Just assume that "fiction" doesn't even exist. Additionally, my primary interests on point are anything about military stuff, anything political, anything on economics, and most academic/"objective"-type religion stuff. Anything historical on these topics adds appeal. There, I think I threw out enough terms to encompass most information that exists.

Top 3 so far:

1. any known Sun Tzu material (obviously translated, good translation recommendations would be nice)

2. Machiavelli

3. de Tocqueville

4. Ayn Rand pieces that are not mind-numbingly redundant (do they exist?)

Sometimes I think I should grow up and start living right

But it's not the liquor that I would miss...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Without commenting on who I'm voting for (b/c I honestly don't know yet), Obama just said something slightly alarming. The basic sentiment was that oil companies have a lot of land and he'd like to tell them to "use them or lose them." That sounds an awful like a step towards communism to me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Off Market

I took a job. I'm officially off the market. So there goes what little motivation I had left. Any guesses as to what percentage of our class has something lined up? This market is terrible.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

French Humor, It Exists, Oui?

Admittedly, I have an unusually strong penchant for some odd types of humor. See, for example, the immediately preceding post. However, I think almost everyone can appreciate this legitimately epic gem that is currently making the rounds online. I would not post this if it wasn't worth watching all the way through. I have only come to tears from laughter roughly four times in my life, including about 10 minutes ago. All I will say is that it involves a "jackass kangaroo."

Consider how long it probably took these insane Frenchies to get some of the shots in the video. Hopping through at precisely the right time to steal fast food as it passes through the drive-through window? Few words can describe the brilliance of this absurdity.

Friday, October 3, 2008


I have gotten a total of one hour of sleep in the past 48 hours, yet I am wide awake with no signs of slowing down. Therefore, here is a cat-related picture:

Quick, someone fill in the logic between the two sentences above the pie-eating feline.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sargasso Sea

If law school was a voyage from the old world of being a student to the new world of being professional. I'm stuck in the Sargasso Sea. My sails have died because there is no wind. My rudder keeps getting stuck in the seaweed below the surface. I have no drive and I just hope I start moving soon or I may never complete this voyage!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A One-Sided Divorce: Trees, Rabbits, and Questioning Humanity

I don't even know what to nickname our Family Law prof. He has the best stories, as most divorce lawyers seem to. I'll post some of them here from time to time. Taking suggestions on names for him.

“I represented this one guy who wanted the trees out of his front yard and the six rabbits they had. That's it, no house, no money, nothing...just the trees and the rabbits. He would NOT budge. I told him the judge would never award him the trees in the yard by themselves, but he refused to come off it. I was embarrassed to go to the other lawyer and tell him about the trees and rabbits. But the judge gave him the trees and rabbits. About a week later, I called the guy to see how he was doing.

Attorney: ‘What happened to those rabbits, they keeping you company?’
Client: ‘Nope. Ate ‘em.’
Attorney: ... ... ... ... ... *stunned silence* 'Well...what about the trees??? We dug them out of the yard, replanted them, and re-sodded the yard, not to mention the billable hours it cost to get all that done. You realize this cost you thousands of dollars, right?'
Client: 'Bitch took my stove, but not my axe, my lighter fluid, or my lawn chairs. How do you think I cooked the rabbits?'"
/end story

The sad thing is that one day, he will tell one of these stories and a student will recognize one of his/her relatives as the subject.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

To the excessively talkative gunner idiot in the front row of my family law class:

SHUT THE F$&%(@ UP! You're not funny, not insightful, and you sound like a moron.

Google Search of the Day - 9/18/08

Today's gem is straight out of Saskatchewan. At least I hope so.

"fuck the lsat for yale forestry school"

I barely even know where to begin with this one. First, I will apologize in advance for making fun of Yale Forestry School and forestry schools in general without shame. My first inclination was to mercilessly deride it for even conjuring up a concept such as the Yale Forestry School. Surely, something like this could never exist. However, a quick Google search revealed that there actually IS a Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, somewhat odd though it seems. Additionally, one of the school's banner projects is Sex and Suburban Frogs (frogs fuck, who knew), which I thought was a little racy for the front page until I discovered that it's about Jurassic Park-style amphibian gender changes in the wild. Go figure. I would look like a real fool to make fun of a search string for referencing a REAL school that I thought was fake. I can just smell the irony that didn't happen.

Since the first instinct didn't work out, my second thought would have to serve the appropriate purpose. Any search term involving some iteration of "fuck the lsat" has potential for amusement, and this one does not disappoint. Apparently this person (people?...several hits from this search) thinks it would be a good idea to blow off the LSAT so that he can attend *drum rollllllllllllll* forestry school. I don't care if it IS Yale, for what that's really worth anyway. Who the hell ever introduced himself in a conversation by saying, "Hi, I'm Sam, I go to Yale Forestry." What? I'm not even sure I understand what I just wrote.

Unless you genuinely want to be some sort of environmental crusader with Ivy League credentials to back it up, why would you do this to yourself? People would ENDlessly mock you, starting with this guy right here. "You're in what program? Where? Really? You're serious aren't you. Wait, seriously? Why? Does Can you become a park ranger with that degree? Ever run into Ranger Rick? Man, I used to love Ranger Rick magazines as a kid. Such a cute, fuzzy raccoon." Just think, your entire social life would sound just like that. Disbelief and Ranger Rick.

Another implication of this search is that the person is going to Yale Forestry SPECIFICALLY to "fuck the lsat." Either that, or the plain language means he's fucking the LSAT on behalf of Yale Forestry, which is an even more interesting concept. Anyway, the only thing this tree-planting, cheery subhuman creature will be fucking at Yale Forestry is a bucket full of burning pine cones. If I had to guess, the last time Yale Forestry had an attractive female student was 1759, when the rumblings of revolution were about. I welcome any current YF female students or recent alums who think they are attractive to post bikini photos. It's a risky move, but I'm on a mission here.

Also, if you think Yale Forestry is a better option than taking the LSAT and going to law school...well, you might be right. That's a tough call, though. Three years of being terrified, worked to death, and bored vs. however many years it takes to finish YF, the trees everywhere, dealing with Ranger Rick jokes and the like, presenting forest fire prevention speeches to schoolchildren, picking aphids off plants, etc. It's hard to say, but you might be better off getting fake boobs to get a job like one of our previous searchers. Even if you're a man.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I don't know about you, but

if I were at a very nice Italian restaurant and someone announces that the pasta is not from the restaurant, that it is, in fact, from Pizza Hut, I would not be smiling, clapping, and cheering. I would be pissed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sticking It to The Man!

I love to stick it to the man! (That's what she said, I know). When I picked up my rental car at the airport, the salesman thought he was being smooth for selling me 3/4 a tank of gas (upon return of the car) for $3.03 a gallon (Gas was going for $3.56 a gallon locally, but they assume that you bring the car back with more than 3/4 of a tank and they don't refund). Well, thanks to idiots who don't understand economics, gas jumped up to $4.93 a gallon across the street from the hotel. Meanwhile, I'm set to roll into enterprise with exactly 1/4 of a tank left. Eat it Enterprise! That's what you get for charging me $20 a day because I'm 5 months away from being 25 years old.


Don't google image "sticking it to the man" without moderate safe search on. I was going to put up an image with this post, but I now regret trying.

Some Quick, Or Not So Quick, Thoughts on The Federal Clerkship Circuit

Stuck here in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere, I'm pretty bored. There's hardly any entertainment: I've gone through my webpages faster than a four-class Tuesday, hotel tv sucks, and that only leaves watching the lines of people fill up on gas that was a dollar cheaper when I left for my interview this morning.

The last few days of travel have been exhausting. I got up at 4am to fly out on Thursday morning and adjusting for my time zone I will get up at 3:15am my time to fly home tomorrow. It is getting hard to feign energy and enthusiasm.

I hate the snow, it snows here. Strike one. It's pretty here. Plus one. I'm torn on living here for a year or two, bottom line. Let me back up.

My interview went well today. Even though I got tag teamed by not one, but two, federal judges today, it went well. I didn't really get any zingers. The judges had obviously reviewed my application packet, because they did not feel the need to ask me questions about my resume (it was just assumed that I was qualified). Overall, I liked both judges a lot. I think it would be great to work with them, they are jovial and brilliant. After my interview, when the judge explained that the law clerk plays a substantial part in writing the opinions and scholarly articles that this judge likes to publish, it became clear why I was chosen to interview: the judge and I think a lot alike and have similar writing styles. This makes me feel good. During the interview the judge told me, after briefly reading over my writing sample again, that I should look at a piece of his. I'm so bored today that I did. Again, I think the judge is brilliant and I would learn a lot working from him. Not to mention, he is the kind of guy who feels like a judge. That is to say, he could serve one day as judge, retire and everyone would always call him judge, just because it feels right.

I ponder what life would be like as a law clerk. I imagine it to be lonely. There is a reason my potential office was so nice and full of fancy electronics. Then again, it could be a period to be Jeffersonian--devote a year or two of my life to my books (reading, brushing up on my latin, learn some more Greek mythology, find myself, and write the elusive Great American Novel). I imagine it to be full of dinners by myself editing something and people watching (which is what the last two dinners and lunches have been like). A clerkship means uprooting myself from family, friends, and everything I know to move to a place that does not feel like home, but is comfortable. On one hand, that is fine, I'm social, I will meet some people. On the other, I have no incentive: everything here would be ephemeral. You know what I mean, Vern?

Related, I hate the federal hiring plan. I had to turn down a clerkship interview which I would have preferred to take today's interview, because I had already committed. If you aren't familiar with the hiring plan, judges hire and interview at the same time and hire on a rolling basis, giving "exploding" offers which one cannot refuse (not in that way). I call it Law Clerk's Dilemma (any game theorists out there?).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Worst Interview Question... EVER!

I've been traveling the East Coast trying to fit three federal clerkship interviews into two days. In my first interview came the worst question I have ever been asked:

"What is the worst case you read last semester and why?"

I couldn't answer that I have not read a case since October of my first year, but my real answer would have been the worst case I have read would be the Nutshells, they are so small. I prefer the Understanding series or the High Court Case Summaries.

Ultimately, I went with Carroll Towing because it was the only case name I could remember other than Pennoyer or Int'l Shoe and it's progeny. How can you criticize the latter two?

Also, watching a replay of The Office as I type this, Michael Scott just said my fourth favorite line on the show, "If you don't get no respect, you might be a redneck."

El Guapo's #2 Rule of Law School

Facts are for 1L's and gunners. Generally forget them unless they germane to the black-letter rule. Or better yet, don't read them at all.**

** When working always ignore this rule.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Poor Kids...

Someone brought two very young children to the law school today...young as in the older one was probably 2-3 and the younger one was just starting to walk.  It was just after 12 PM, so perhaps a student's spouse brought the kids to school for lunch.  Perhaps they belonged to a law professor. I actually wondered about it for a minute as I walked to my car.  Instead of thinking "hey, cute kids, I wonder whose they are," my first thought was "who is the cruel motherfucker who is indoctrinating these kids in law school before they can even say 'law school'?"  I am corrupted.  Those kids are probably on their way to hell too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

El Guapo's #1 Rule of Law School

If they tell you it is prestigious, RUN! It isn't worth it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Worthy of a Re-Post

Courtesy of the Rising Jurist

The Gunners of Southwestern Wisconsin

The gunner is a widely recognized entity, an inevitable evil of every law school class. Each semester, as I had been exposed to different styles of gunnery, I had determined that there were four discrete types of gunner. After a semester of careful observation, I have determined that yet another breed exists. For your consideration, the Gunners of Southwestern Wisconsin:

The Money Gunner
aka, The Student Who Believes He Is On Jeopardy!

This is the classic gunner, the student who is eager to answer each and every question. The goal appears to be to impress the professor and, to a lesser extent, the other students. Of course, most students find the Money Gunner annoying, either for their own desire to answer a question or just for having tired of hearing the same person talking. Incidentally, even professors will tire of this student, frequently avoiding calling on them with the phrase "Let's get someone else in on the discussion." The Money Gunner can easily be recognized by their hand, constantly raised.

The 2-Ton Gunner
aka, The Student With Real World Experience

This is a rarer breed of gunner, one whose contributions to class discussion are always laced with hints that the answer is the product of some experience—previous schooling, work experience, age—that makes their thoughts inherently superior to all other comers. The 2-Ton Gunner tends to be the most annoying for other students and the most likely to elicit audible groans. This breed is often identifiable by a catch phrase such as "When I was working toward my PhD" or "I remember 1985."

The Funny Gunner
aka, The Student With a Thousand Quips

This gunner is less concerned with the substance of his answer as he is with the witty delivery. Any answer invariably comes with some quip or condescending commentary, undoubtedly meant to illustrate a deep understanding of the materials, one that goes beyond what is printed in the case book. The Funny Gunner's only audience is fellow students and the slightest chuckle from even one such classmate is enough to create a sense of accomplishment in this entertainer. Funny Gunner should not be encouraged.

The Un-Gunner
aka, The Student Who Hates Awkward Tension

This final type of the first-identified gunners is a funny breed, barely a gunner at all. Above all, this student despises the uncomfortable silence that ensues when a professor (a) asks a question of the class and receives no volunteers, and/or (b) asks a question of that student and receives no answer. Thus, the Un-Gunner will leap to action either to (a) give some answer, so the professor will stop pacing, or (b) answer an easy question, thus avoiding being called on unexpectedly for a later, more difficult scenario. This is a docile breed and should not be provoked.

The Shot Gunner
aka, The Student Who Hopes to Get One Right Eventually

This is truly the rarest breed of gunners; indeed only one is known to exist in my research pool and was only recently identified. The Shot Gunner volunteers to answer with nearly the same frequency as the Money Gunner. Unlike the Money Gunner, however, the Shot Gunner rarely knows the answer. The goal seems to be to garner the favor of the professor for having tried to participate, coupled with the expectation that, eventually, a correct answer will be delivered. This gunner has the potential to be the most obtrusive to classmates because it combines the worst qualities of the Money Gunner with the uncanny ability to provide nothing useful to class discussion. Shot Gunners should be considered a threat to natural order and culled.

Gunner defined?

I hate people that talk in class excessively. Why is it that these people never say anything insightful? It seems fairly inevitable that whenever these people talk, they're just repeating something someone else said, or just spouting off on something completely irrelevant or inane. Personally, I think of these people as gunners. However, I've heard other people define gunners as people who not only talk excessively, but they also have to be making such a detailed point that that's what makes it irrelevant. So my question is what exactly is a gunner? And if the stupid people aren't gunners, then what technical lingo is attributed to them? It can't just be stupid people.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Adventures with Undergrads (No, not like that)

So there's this law/anthropology class that is part law school part undergrad. Here is my favorite line from last night:

Prof:: Where do Llamas live other than India?

2nd Career Undergrad: Indiana!

Prof.: WHAT?!?!

2nd Career Undergrad: Honestly, I've seen them in Indiana.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Finally, A New Character: Introducing Prof. Tree Dweller

Prof. Tree Dweller teaches pretty much every Environmental Law course offered at this school.  I took Enviro II with him last semester, but I didn't pay enough attention most of the time to get the good lines.  I pretty much tuned in just in time to catch all the CERCLA stuff that was on the exam.  I refuse to miss another opportunity this semester in Enviro I, so I will write these things in my notes as I did with the original character, Prof. Son of a Bitch.

"They built a huge ski lodge out in California with all this secondary development.  You know, restaurants, bars, all those things people want when they ski.  If I went to a ski lodge, I would be sitting in a hot tub with my brandy watching people break their legs as they came down the slopes.  I guess then I would probably chuckle and get some more brandy."

I didn't even know they had hot tubs in trees!

Edit:  This is my first post in over a month...yeesh.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

GPA Destroying Post

Here are the things currently destroying my GPA:

Free Tetris

Free Space Invaders

Free Frogger

Free Pacman

Quick, give me something else before I start studying.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Last Best Hope

Well my last, best hope for staying in the city I now call home was just flushed. I got a letter saying the firm would not be able to make a decision before BigLaw needs an answer from me. I'll try to find something in town but I can't turn away that much cash on the hope that someone will come to their senses in the spring.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fun Quotes

Here are some things overheard/spoken to me today:

"What is the sunken cost of sex?" - Prof. Suave

Talking about placing library books in the law review carrel: "So are you going to put the books in the carrel or are you going to make those little shits do it themselves?"

Friday, August 8, 2008

I've Had Enough

I'm sick of trying to build my resume. I want my life back. I'm a law student, not an associate at a New York sweatshop firm.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

All Against All Roundtable: Salaries, My Take

I think the difference in Salaries is that some firms have a guy with an eye patch working for them--a Number 2, if you will-- and some of them don't. Those who have hired a guy with an eye patch (Number 2) are more in trend with the times, thus, they pay more. Those who don't have a guy with an eye patch don't have anyone to update them on the current salary trend (i.e, how much more a J.D. is worth than an LL.B.).


Personally, I think I'm worth $100,000,000,000.


Nalp is reporting what we've known all along. New lawyer salaries are bimodal. Quite a few people graduate law school and make a lot of money. About the same number graduate law school and make very little money. Both have to pay off the same amount of debt. Almost no one comes out and gets what they truly deserve.

In our area what this means is, there are a limited number of $100,000 jobs. If you get one, good for you. If you don't, your first offer will probably be between $35k-50k. I honestly feel like I'm worth somewhere between $60k-80k. Much more is lagniappe and much less is not worth the debt (or effort) incurred to get the degree. Unfortunately, those jobs don't exist. The difference between big and small law firms in this instance is staggering.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Successfully teaching an old dog new tricks!

As the crazy Russian guy, Borris (go figure) in James Bond used to say, "I am invinceeeeeeeeeble!" Finally, after a year of subtle hints, I got the professor for which I research to learn proper usage of em dashes and serial commas!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bad News Nobody

Well, today was my last week at my dream law firm. The main partner came in today and gave me the "It's been great working with you. We don't know if we'll hire but if you have a good offer already out there, it's hard not to take it." It isn't an official no but it certainly isn't a good sign. Here's what I don't get about law school.

1) I go to the best school in my anonymous state.
2) I want to work in a field that my resume is definitely good enough for.
3) I am willing to work relatively cheaply to work in my chosen field in my chosen town.
4) No one is willing to offer me a job.

I know, I know. I can hear the readers now. "El Guapo, you selfish bastard, why are you complaining because you failed to get a second job?" Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the offer I have. It's a helluva offer. It's just that I'm living in the only place I think I'm going to have to leave before I'm ready to.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Not My Job

This person is my co-worker. I hate my co-worker.


Do you ever turn in work that you know is just adequate and you dread checking your email and finding a response from your supervisor? I've had that feeling a couple of times this summer, including tonight. I want to blame it on my supervisor's incredibly high expectations of me, then again he has every right to expect my absolute best-because that is what I advertise. It's a premium. I think of it like a car: if a bought a Lexus and found out it was a Camry with the Lexus logo (even though that's essentially what it is), I would be pissed. Then again, I'm a law student--I'm not sweatshop labor yet.

I dread the email tomorrow. My supervisor is very, very good to me. I need my supervisor for some good recommendations, and my supervisor is always happy to write me extraordinary letters. Our working relationship, however, is very quid pro quo. That bothers me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Taken for granted--Texas Need to Come to Jesus

In the south sweetened ice tea is taken for granted, like the idea that stock car racing is our national pastime and that the Southern Baptist church is a legitimate arm of the Republican Party.

Fred Chappell, "Include Me Out: A Reflection on "Ice Tea"

Perhaps, I was just having a bad day, maybe I was a bit homesick. I would like to say I was taking a stand against injustice. It has been 63 days since I have had a glass of Southern ambrosia--sweet tea. Thursday was a normal day in the office and I had just finished my routine of reading all the football blogs when one of my coworkers walks in. "Hey, Bama!" he was grinning ear to ear, "I found a place that has Southern meet and three." It is no secret around the office that I'm an aficionado of tea, meat, and three varietal, and I had begun to take the hint that I needed to prove it to the office when I said our food is better in the Land of Cotton. My rant usually occurs after we eat lunch at an office favorite that boasts the "Best Cornbread in Town!" Now this usually is met with comments like "This ain't like granmomma made it," or "momma always said these were magic shoes." So all the way to lunch I try to explain the concept of chicken fried steak to my co-workers from New England. The whole walk turns into a sociology class-I talk about D.R. Hundley's Social Relations in Our Southern States, W.J. Cash's Mind of the South, and the War of Northern Agression. Now, I'm not one of these Rebel flag carrying apologists, but I am an Old South Romanticist and I love reconstruction era sociological writings. After the history lesson we get to the restaurant and go through the food line--the food looked okay, but not like my grandmother's (the ultimate of standards). At the end of the line I saw the light. The tea dispenser had a nozzle for "unsweet" and "sweet!" I was in heaven! After months of drinking this nasty tea with hints of fruit and flowers, there was finally some tea with lots of sugar. As I've learned the hard way, I always try a bit of the tea before I get a full glass. The tea did not taste right, there was something off. It was tea, it was sweet, but it wasn't sweet tea. There was not a divine intermingling of tea and sugar. I don't know what lead me to do this, but I opened the lid. When I opened the lid I saw that there was a pouch of a sugary syrup that mixed with the tea when the dispensing lever was pulled. I went off.

As I like to do when someone messes up a sacred recipe, I asked to speak to the owner/manager to talk to them about their sins. Back home we call this a "Come to Jesus" meeting. I informed the manager that the perfect infusion of tea and sugar that makes sweet tea occurs when sugar is added as part of the brewing process. Sugar, by no means, is not a post hoc ingredient. The owner then told me that she lived in North Carolina and that what I was drinking was, in fact, sweet tea. Let's get something straight, there are three measurers of Southerness that I use: (1) you go into a restaurant for breakfast and they bring you sweet tea and grits without asking; (2)if you go to a restaurant and want tea without sugar, you have to expressly order "unsweet tea;" (3) they know what a grit is. It's just one of those things, like if you want a "soda" there is one universal name for it: Coke. Doesn't matter if it's pepsi-it's a coke. Having sweet tea with a sugar syrup is like eating yams without marshmallow.

My rant did not get me anywhere. The owner had a novel product that for some reason sold in the restaurant. I was surprised to see the owner somewhat offended, after all she claimed to be from North Carolina, and way down south in Dixie it is only polite to inform someone when a batch of sweet tea has been improperly prepared. In fact, it is my duty. Much like my recent trip to Philadelphia where I walked into a really nice restaurant/bar in a seersucker suit and the bartender said "I've got just the drink for you." Then I get some grassy, sugary, green mush drink that was supposed to be a mint julep. I then had to show the bartender how to muddle mint in a drink and that you do not take up volume with syrup, the ice melts (or it should, but I don't think they have the humid heat to do it in Philly). You should not destroy the mint like it's been in a blender, you should caress it.

I don't know why I went into this. Maybe I'll do a part 2 where I go and find all of the links to reconstruction era writings on food-it's pretty fun to read.


It really has been getting me down lately that the legal career is so isolated. I mean this on two levels: regionally and internationally. It seems very hard (but not impossible) to move to a region other than where your law school is located, regardless of the prestige of your school. Second, trying to work in another country is practically impossible. I wish I would have considered this more before I came to law school. However, as I have long asserted, the legal calling is a type of natural selection--either you have it or you don't, either you're good at it or you're not. I don't know what I would do with my life if it weren't for law, it is the only thing that I'm really good at career wise(well, other than global domination). 

I've decided that I'm going to work my butt off (not that that notion is hard to come by in the practice of law) for the next two years, live like a student, and pay off my loans. Then it's au revoir for me. I'm going to go live somewhere near the equator, some place still dependent upon corn. If you want to find me, then you have to take a 3 hour donkey ride and the locals will only know me as "El Gringo." Who knows what I'll do. Maybe I'll own a casino, maybe a bar & grill, maybe a fishing charter. Then again, I could go on the Euro side for a while. Run with the bulls, make art, live off the government, and all of the stuff Europeans do.

This summer has burnt me out. Crash and burn, bad. Maybe it's just pre-thid-year syndrome. Maybe it's that I do not have a job that I want lined up for after graduation. Maybe it's just getting out while the gettin's good.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm Ready for School to Start

It's not that I'm tired of my job or dislike it, it's just that I miss my post lunch naps.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Google Search of the Day - 7/24/08

After several days without one of these posts, I ran across a brand new search string that has led to hits on our blog several times lately. This one was not in the list the last time I checked a few days ago, so it has resulted in 11 hits in a relatively short period of time.

Google search of the day:

"i seriously got a biglaw job offer because of my breast implants"

I could not make this shit up. Congratulations. You are a whore in every sense of the word. You are the reason men are convinced that attractive women take a significant portion of biglaw jobs simply because they are attractive females. You are the reason hot girls in the bottom 5% of the class are still seen interviewing for the most lucrative associate positions and prestigious clerkships with horny old judges. You use your newly perky and unnaturally large double-Ds on your 110-pound frame to game your way into the legal market like other people use a resume and cover letter. You don't see anything wrong with using the body god (and your plastic surgeon) gave you to your professional advantage. Soon, you will sleep your way to partner at your new firm in record time. I hope you enjoy throwing your ankles into the air while old guys put it in you and motorboat those implants. At least have the decency to get on top. That's the whole point of breast implants anyway, right?

All of that is not to say that I find women with breast implants attractive. On the contrary, I prefer the boobies on my women to be natural rather than fake, rigid, and pointed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


So I almost melted down in Barnes and Noble. I've been looking for a copy of Garner and Scalia's book, Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges for quite some time. They don't carry it in regular stores or in our law school's crappy bookstore. Well yesterday I saw they had it in stock at a local Barnes and Noble. They've never had it in stock anywhere nearby so I went today. Apparently it was on hold when it arrived in the store and gone by the time I arrived. I started to go off on how they could not have a legal writing book in the top 400 selling books on Amazon on the shelf ever. I was seriously this close to having a meltdown when I realized what a nerd I was. I ordered it online instead.

No matter what you think about Antonin Scalia, the boy can write. Bryan Garner is the man. Anyone in law school who has not read Legal Writing in Plain English should do so immediately. It will change the way you write and edit your work.

And before I get "judged" by my favorite law school grammar nazi who reads this blog, just know I am more relaxed in my blog writing than my brief writing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


So I got done with the monster project I've been working on for almost a month. As a reward, I get to summarize a trial transcript. It fills a box. I know this is part of the practice of law but wow is it dull. I'm waiting to get to the juicy portion of the trial. I hope I find it in the next two weeks before I leave.

Overheard in the Office - 7/22/08

Overheard in the basement computer lab eight of the AG's office clerks have invaded:

Church of Christ Clerk: "How many Church of Christ members does it take to change a light bulb?...Light bulbs aren't mentioned in the New Testament and thus should not be incorporated into contemporary worship services."

Church of Christ Clerk: "How many Southern Baptists does it take to change a light bulb?"
Southern Baptist Clerk: "You have to form a committee first."
Church of Christ Clerk: "...change?...huh?"

Monday, July 21, 2008

2008-09 Law Review Schwag

Law Review t-shirts are often a subject on this blog. Most notably for their effect on intoxicated undergraduate women. So without further ado, I present the 2008-09 Law Review T-Shirt:

As you can see, this year's model reflects seniority. Also, in accord (get it?) with the third-year lifestyle, this year's design will include a beer koozie:



Sunday, July 20, 2008


This is a real item on Link here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

No Freakin' Way!

So this just in. Heller. Yes that Heller. The man who appealled his right to own guns all the way to the Supreme Court and won. The man who inspired a moot court problem that ate away the better part of three months of my life. The man who changed the Constitution by allowing the Supreme Court to say the right to bear arms belongs to individuals will not be allowed to register his gun in the District of Columbia.

Seems it was a machine gun.

Story here.

Story about a similar challenge arising out of Illinois here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Always Something Good in The Economist

From The Economist, "What a way to run the world," July 3, 2008 print edition:

"Faced with the need to reform international institutions, the rich world—and America in particular—has a choice. Cling to power, and China and India will form their own clubs, focused on their own interests and problems. Cede power and bind them in, and interests and problems are shared. Now that would be a decent way to run a world."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Law Overload

I've been around so many lawyers lately you'd think I had tobacco juice leaking out of my breast implants.

- Jimmy James, Newsradio

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


So my first job this summer involved a lot of, "Can you get it to me tomorrow?" kind of deadlines. This job has a lot of, "Sometime before you leave" deadlines. I'll tell you nothing saps you motivation more than staring at a screen with a question presented on some basic discovery issue, knowing that if you get it done in the next three weeks, it'll be just fine.

I mean I was pretty tired after the six weeks I got put through first half but I think it was better than working on these no pressure, sleeper projects.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I am not unhirable or undesirable! I just got a job offer. Seriously a job offer job offer. I'll see what their details are and what else comes up but it is good to feel like once in my law school life that I have a world of yes in front of me. I know, I know. If I accept I'll join the ranks of biglaw associates who are overworked. I may not be seen by loved ones including my wife for weeks at a time. I'll take my chances.

Again, I haven't accepted anything and won't for a while but thought I'd share some good news on the forum I usually complain about life on.

I'll let Randy Newman tell you about it . . .

Weekly Law School Blog Roundup Posted

This week's roundup is posted at Thanks, But No Thanks. A direct link to the roundup post can be found here. The War of All Against All made it into this week's roundup with the Google search post regarding what it means to be in the top third in your class.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Google Search of the Day - 7/11/08

Today's search string is near and dear to my heart.

Google search of the day:
"what does top third meanin law school"

The quote is verbatim, including the lack of a space between "mean" and "in." Being in the top third probably means that you are more intelligent than most of the people ahead of you, but you are likely unmarried, not to mention lazier than the students in the top 10%. Top third in law school means you have a reasonable shot at making it onto your school's law review if grades are a factor, but you'll have to bust your ass on your student comment and Bluebook exam. It also means that you'll be infuriatingly close to the top 25%, which is the point at which some firms roundfile resumes. Being in the top third also means that you'll struggle in OCI because the big firms won't hire you, but smaller firms won't interview you either because they think the big firms WILL hire you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Some People Just Deserve What They Get

I was in court today watching a rearrangement for a defendant who was entering into a plea agreement. The judge was going through the traditional colloquy:

Judge: Are you under the influence of drugs?

Defendant: No.

Judge: Are you currently taking any prescription medications?

Defendant: Yes.

Judge: You are? [You dumbass! A simple "no" is all you are supposed to say.] Which medications are you currently taking?

Me (thinking): Please say something great like oxycotin, codene, or something great that will get you in even more trouble or invalidate your plea agreement!!!! Please!

Defendant: Valtrex.

Defendant's Husband (from the audience): WHAT?!?!?!

Judge: Do we need to take a short recess?

Perspectives: Anti-Cell Phone Use While Driving Laws

Oh noes, it's another "substantive" post that goes beyond our usual sarcasm and bitching. Yesterday, I experienced an increasingly common phenomenon for the first time. While on the phone with my sister, who currently lives in New Jersey, she said, "I have to go, I'm about to start driving and it's illegal to hold the phone up to your ear while driving in New Jersey." This was the first time anyone has ever ended a phone conversation with me because the person was about to go driving.

I usually reserve my planned phone calls SPECIFICALLY for driving time so I can sort of multitask instead of having those calls take up time I could spend doing something else. I also like to spend driving time on the phone because it is an effective way to occupy my mind while performing the relatively mundane task of keeping the vehicle under control.

Many states now regulate cell phone use while driving in some form. One of the most common regulatory approaches is to require the use of a hands-free device for cell phone use while driving. However, opponents of regulation often argue that the problem lies in the distraction of the conversation, not in the use of the phone itself. While I agree with that to some extent, are those opponents willing to entertain the notion of making it illegal to talk to one's passengers? I don't think that would ever happen, but that's one logical conclusion of that argument. Here is a color-coded map of states with various levels of laws on point:

What do you guys think about this issue? Should states be regulating cell phone use while driving at all? What form should this regulation take? Do we like the hands-free requirements already adopted in many states? Do we need to go further and require drivers to bind and gag their passengers to avoid conversational distractions from backseat drivers? Please discuss in the comments. Seriously.

I anticipate a debate of epic proportions in the comments, by which I mean I expect to get at least one post from Phaedrus being a dickhead, one from El Guapo employing some good ol' boy Southern sense, and one from mootgoescow including at least one internetism.

Google Search of the Day - 7/10/08

Today's Google search string is more encouraging for all you optimistic little go-getters out there:

Google Search String of the Day:
"i suck at law school"

I'm going out on a limb and guessing that this ambitious searcher thinks he is terrible at all things related to law school. My friend, if you are so desperate that you are entering this search string into Google, it is time to reconsider getting that Ph.D in entomology that you always wanted.

After actually running this search, I was amused to find that the Brooklyn Law School 9-month employment statistics for the class of 2007 page is the first hit. Perhaps it is time for BLS to close its transfer program because a lot of "sucking" 1Ls are apparently finding their way into the BLS 2L class through that page.

I could not figure out why that BLS page was the first hit to save my life...then I thought about it a little bit. I wonder if someone at BLS, perhaps in the IT department, figured out a way to make "i suck at law school" find that BLS page. They then repeatedly Googled it and followed the link until it became the top hit for the desired search string. This sounds like something the All Against All bloggers would (should?) do with our school's Career Services Office page.

It's probably a big joke the BLS 3Ls tell the incoming 1Ls to scare them during the first few days of class. That's almost as good as selling pool passes.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Career Service

I've been on this website quite a bit the last few days.

My Shingle

There are a lot things I don't know about court rules and procedure that I would like to learn on someone else's dime but on a scale from 1-10, how dumb is the idea of going solo right out of law school?

Things I Learned in Jail

I finally got to make a trip to the federal prison and take a tour with my summer job. I learned something very stunning: a pack of cigarettes goes for $300. The reason is that smoking has been banned in federal prisons since 2005. So as you might have guessed, the #1 contraband (and bartering item) is cigarettes. Any guess on #2? The most muled in item (and #2 contraband) is creatine.

Google Search of the Day - 7/9/08

These posts are always fun. The blog has been around long enough to accumulate some fairly amusing search terms resulting in hits to our site, so I will post one of these every few days. I will also add some brief commentary that I hope will elucidate why these enterprising Googlers would resort to such search strings. Think of it as a little amusement pellet to get you through your otherwise boring day.

Google search of the day:
perversion school 02

Note that this is a different item from the one mentioned in a previous post in which I revealed the "perversion in the school" search term. This suggests someone actually GRADUATED from somewhere known as PERVERSION SCHOOL and is proud of his '02 class. I think it was Phaedrus.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Summer Job Analogy Part 2 - Ford Escort or Geo Metro?

Second Half - State AG's Office

Enter the second half of the summer. I am currently clerking for the Attorney General's office in my home state. Things are a bit different here. In my car analogy, working for the AG's office is a 1987 Ford Escort or perhaps a Geo Metro.

Unpaid Clerkships - Are the Resume Builders and Rec Letters Worth It?
The clerkship is unpaid, which I'm guessing might be the usual situation for AG clerkships in most states. I think the officials justify the unpaid aspect of the clerkship by telling themselves (and us) that clerks gain "invaluable experience that you can't get anywhere else." Perhaps that is true, but not getting paid still sucks. It feels a little bit like being slave labor for law review, but at least we earn credit hours for that particular brand of torture. I was aware of the unpaid nature of the clerkship in advance, so I suppose I can't complain too much.

At the end of the clerkship, I theoretically will have something nice to put on my resume and some decent rec letters from people in the office, so at least there's some payoff. I wonder if the resume building aspect is even equal to what I would get from working at one of the private firms I had to turn down because I accepted this position early. I suppose it depends on which type of work I want to do, which is government anyway, so perhaps this position will work out in my favor. Look at that, I bet you didn't know I could have an optimistic thought!

The Politics of AG Offices - Surely It's Not Just a Southern Thing
This place exudes the politics of the Christian right and the good ol' boy network. I can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone who is talking about how excited he is to witness an execution or how she loves working for an office that promotes "good Christian family values." I consider myself "conservative"--although some would disagree--but not THAT type of conservative. I expected to encounter this political climate in the AG's office, but I'm not sure I was really prepared for it. Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Austin anymore. Actually, the Texas AG is probably the same (or worse?) in the political arena, so perhaps this is also standard for AG offices, particularly in the South. I realize that attorneys who work for AG offices tend to be a little more politically conservative than most, but I think it has to be worse here than the majority of states.

State Agencies Are NOT Always Underfunded...Nevermind, I Forgot What State I'm From and Our Insane Tax System
This place is either woefully underfunded, horrendously mismanaged, or both. The IT department is straight out of 1999. The computers are running Pentium III processors with monitors reminiscent of the Apple II days. At least the monitors and processors function correctly most of the time. I admit I'm a bit snobbish when it comes to computer technology, but I don't think it's asking too much for offices to upgrade roughly every ten years. The average law student's laptop is roughly three times as powerful as these machines.

Not only do law clerks not get their own desks (I'm not talking offices or cubicles here, I mean DESKS), there aren't enough ancient computers to go around. We have to fight over the few computers that are in the "computer lab" (eight computers) and the office library (two computers). There are twenty clerks working in this office during the second half. A quick calculation shows that exactly half the clerks can simultaneously use a computer. Someone double check my simple addition and division.

Again, I don't necessarily expect them to set each of us up with a brand new commercial grade workstation and a laptop to match, but's time to spring for the Pentium IVs or even newer processors and some extra RAM so we can simultaneously run more than Internet Explorer and two Word documents. Checking my e-mail has never been this difficult.

In Soviet Russia, Internet Browse YOU
There is also an Internet filter that reminds me of the one I encountered at the rural public high school I attended for two years. It blocks most sites that might POTENTIALLY display "offensive" content. The definition of "offensive" is extremely broad in this office as one might imagine. Facebook, all video game-related sites, and the BBC website (too objective/liberal?) are blocked. It's not like I want to waste away the entire day on the internet, but it would be nice if I could check my usual forums over lunch or read some relatively unbiased news on occasion. However, in an astounding stroke of good luck, the filter does not block this blog. I am surprsied it doesn't filter all the widely-used blog sites considering there is a LOT of porn out there on personal blogs. In my opinion, they should stop spending money on web filter software and start spending it on paying clerks and buying new (and more) computers.

The Obligatory Shitty Parking
The only non-metered, non-2 hour limit parking available to clerks is a 10-15 minute walk from the office. Keep in mind that this is a small city (very small by most standards), so there is no reason to expect to walk many blocks to work like one would expect in New York, LA, DC, etc or pay much for parking. My commute from home to the parking lot, and thus the area near the State House, takes 10-15 minutes. In other words, the walk from the parking lot doubles my commute time. Granted, a 20-30 minute total commute isn't bad at all in most places, but it's a lot considering the size of the city and the length of the drive.

The extremely short commute was supposed to be one of the few benefits of working here. Dammit, I'm counting those minutes spent walking as work time. I should start bringing tennis shoes to work and think of the walk as exercise instead of a foot-blistering journey in dress shoes and a suit in the 95 degree heat at the end of the day. Alas, I am a pessimist, so I will stick with the foot-blistering aspect of the walk. At least some of the attorneys in the office have to park out there too.

Anticipated Responses From Our Wonderful Readers

You're Working at an AG's Office, What Did You Expect?

Well, I expected some of the things listed above to be better here even if the problems still existed. I suppose it's an issue of degree for most of this stuff. In particular, the computer situation and parking problems are probably the most annoying because they weren't as foreseeable as the other issues. I think a lot of the problems in this office are the result of funding issues stemming from this state's reliance on a state sales tax as the government's primary source of income. Sales taxes are highly vulnerable to economic trends, so when the economy is down, so is the state budget. A case in point: I bet the only reason we have Pentium III machines instead of original Commodores is that the economy was doing well in the early 2000s just after the Pentium IIIs were released.

AG's Offices Are Filled With Ultra-Conservative Nutcases. Did You Not Realize This, You Fucking Moron?

I know, I stated in the earlier paragraph that AG office attorneys tend to be more conservative than most. Read the post before you judge me for bitching.

How Can You Whine About a 30 Minute Commute? My Commute Is 17 Hours Each Way In 175 Degree Heat In a Car Without AC

That this city is tiny with very little traffic and that I live roughly six miles away means it should take me 10 minutes to get to work. This means I should be able to roll out of bed at 7:35 and still look presentable while making it to work by 8 AM. If I was working in NY or DC, I wouldn't complain because a 30 minute commute would be miraculous. It's all relative.

An Analogy for My Summer Jobs - Acura RSX

First Half - Office of General Counsel, Austin TX
As some of you know, I clerked for the Office of General Counsel for the U. of Texas System during the first half of the summer. Even though it is a state agency, they paid me a reasonable hourly wage, although not nearly what I would have made at most private firms, and the office was nice and well-organized. Each clerk had an individual cubicle with a new computer, there were free sodas and coffee in the office, and we had lunches at least once or twice a week funded by the office or individual attorneys. The dress code was business casual, as in khakis and a collared shirt. The only reason to show up in business attire was for a court appearance. Everyone was laid back and friendly in that familiar Austin-y sort of way.

I left that clerkship with a positive outlook on government work, especially if I could find a way to get into a government job in Austin or a similar market. If I had to compare working at OGC to a type of car, it would be an Acura RSX. It wasn't a top of the line Aston Martin or Lamborghini like a BigLaw firm in a large market, but it would qualify as a reasonably nice upper middle class type of automobile in this analogy.

Monday, June 30, 2008


So I came to this job with the idea that they were looking to hire if things worked out. I'm starting to think they just like having clerks. I really want to work at a firm like this one. If it isn't this one, my options start looking slim. Great reveal the first week on the job. Maybe I'm reading it wrong.

Is it ambitious or obnoxious if I get all my references to call in while I'm there?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Back to Reality

So I'm working second half at a small but good law firm in the town I now call home. After six weeks of people clamoring to take associates out to lunch and doing 28 projects in six weeks, this office is surprisingly quiet. I think they have a lot of trials going on. I really like the slower pace. It lets me get back on the diet.

With any luck, this job will work out.

I am starting to question their retirement plan. The first name partner died last year in his 80's. He was preparing for trial. The second name partner who is in his late 70's was reading in the law library when I left at 5:30. The third name partner is in his late 60's and spends more time in court than any lawyer I've ever been around who wasn't a prosecutor. Either they have no IRA's or they just love working there. I hope its the latter.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Overheard in The Office 6/24

Our librarian at the firm is pretty good for quotes while she is on the phone. Today we overheard a good one:

"What!!! What did you say about going to second base?"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Fucking Rankings Post

The law school gods want my soul, and they're pretty close to getting it. Class rankings were just released, and I again raised my GPA by a substantial amount that allowed me to move up several spots in the class. Unfortunately, our class yet again lost JUST ENOUGH people from the bottom of the class to keep me from crossing over that ever-elusive top-X% cutoff I've been chasing since my first law school grades were released. This cutoff will string me along until final grades are released next spring, leaving me precisely one spot outside the cutoff.

I fucking give up. Fuck grades, fuck rankings, fuck the gamesmanship of letter grade avoidance, fuck job searching, fuck employment, fuck "T14" (whatever that really means) elitists, fuck law school, fuck the legal profession in general. What the fuck does it fucking take to move up in this system? How valid can an evaluation system really be when the evaluation criteria are complete bullshit and on top of that, there is no possible upward mobility?

Perhaps the answer to this problem is to game the system like most of the people ranked above me do. Fuck all these substantive classes, I'm going to look up the classes with the highest possible grade distributions and exclusively take those! After I get the ranking I want, I'll take non-graded classes and judicial externships so I can keep my GPA artificially inflated, thereby making it impossible for anyone to overtake me! I see the light at the end of the's the brilliant flash from the energy released when the law school gods finally sever my soul from my body and make me one of their minions.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Last Days of BigLaw

Sorry I've been so silent so long but the last six weeks have been a blur of lunches, drinks, smoozing, and work. Let's not forget the work. I've been part of 22 interns trying to squeeze into 8-14 spots. They offered 25 expecting 10-15 acceptances and were very surprised to find 22 people like me with no particular place to go.

Much like our law school, the collection of students have been awfully nice considering how the success of our friends leads to our ultimate failure. I suppose all you can do is do work, hope you're significantly better than the home grown products, and wait. No reason to be nasty about it.

Best things I've seen here.

An open bar . . . at a clerks do's and don'ts meeting for all BigLaw in the city.

An honest to goodness flood that came up above the bottom of my car doors in the street. I think I floated over a median trying to get to the trolley tracks which I drove down to get home.

The Statue who doesn't get it. Just some dude who paints himself silver and hangs out playing a guitar in the square.

A bar tender make a Gin Fizz. Starts with gin, powdered sugar, and egg whites and gets weirder from there. Tasty though.

I'm sure there's more but I forget and its late. On Monday I go back to B'ham SmallLaw. I'm excited about this job but I will miss the daily lunches and two to three times weekly open bars. Everybody should have this gig once. Only once though. Twice'll kill you.

Sexism in the Workplace: A Lesson from Google Chat

Ladies, take note. Do NOT get involved with, date, sleep with, kiss, touch, associate with, or especially marry our new blogger. He will claim you as .7 of a person for tax purposes, and you don't need all those headaches from the IRS.

Disclaimer: The views expressed over various IM services by any individual blogger do not reflect the views of this blog and are posted solely as a public service so our readers can avoid being sexually harassed by mootgoescow. If you take this seriously for any reason, you officially have no sense of humor and should immediately commit suicide by ingesting several boxes of rat poison.

Guy Fawkes
I would be perfect happy if the two of you ended up happily married with 14.7 children
mootgoescow: gross
Guy Fawkes: what, the .7 children?
i know, dividing kids up is can be an extremely bloody process
mootgoescow: no, that's easily explained by us having one girl
the 14 part is gross
Guy Fawkes: wait, girls are only .7 of a child?
mootgoescow: yea
Guy Fawkes: so a woman is only .7 of a person?...or does the ratio change somewhere along the way
mootgoescow: no they're only .7 of a person
when have girls ever really been our equals? please
Guy Fawkes: nice
brb, i need to visit the blog real quick so i can alienate all our female readers
mootgoescow: haha
oh that's going to be bad