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 that...pay? 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.