Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Timing, Honor, and Loyalty

I just got a call from a law firm in Lisbon, Portugal to which I sent a resume back in the Fall. They offered me a job for the summer--apparently their summer starts later than ours. The job is a feeder job as they are desperately needing US Attorneys for Section 337 litigation. Do you know how tempted I am to tell the employers that I committed to Adeus?

Impending Condemnation

The countdown is on, I owe the professor that I research for a huge project in 5 hours. I hate to admit it, but he won't get everything he asked for. He will get a lot, but not everything. I've had about 7 days to do a memo on a very rare, highly specialized, and throughly complex area of law--an area of law in which I have no background. What he will get is a memo that will be about 15 pages, heavily footnoted, and perfectly bluebooked. It will have every element, test, etc. any court has ever used, declined, and accepted. It will even have a couple of secondary sources. However, getting down to the wire, it will not have all of the secondary sources he wanted--that is, a complete discussion of the journal literature. As anyone who regularly deals with scholarly literature knows, there is a lot of crap to weed through. 7 days just hasn't been enough time. I've put in at least 10 hours days on this (including my trip to NOLA). Personally, I don't think a 15 page memo is too shabby-- especially since a seminar paper usually runs 20-25 pages. What do you think? I really dread going to his office tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

You have to be kidding me

I went to school today (when I should be packing to move to Lonestar) to see Prof. Who Possibly Ruined My Life. Long story short, my grade in his class went from one extreme (very very happy) to the other extreme (potential to ruin my life). I've known several people to whom this has happened in the past, and it always worked out for the better for them. So I thought I would go and talk to the Prof. Who Possibly Ruined My Life. When I go to see him his secretary tells me that he is half way up Mt. Everest. It took five minutes for her to convince me that she was not kidding. Turns out he won't be back for almost a month. It makes me wonder, is it just a good time of the year to climb Mt. Everest or does he hurry to grade exam and get out of town for almost the whole summer so that students cannot come and talk about grades?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Doing What Lawyers Do Best

So I did what lawyers do best and procrastinated this weekend. My sister was moving from the dorm to an apartment so I jumped on down to NOLA and helped her move. Of course, I had to take the normal gustation tour. Sadly, the line at Galatoire's was too long to get a first floor seat. A very fortunate cancellation, however, got me a table at my other favorite Friday night place,Antoine's. As always, I was torn between the Escargots a la Bordelaise or the original Huitres en coquille a la Rockefeller. The thing that amazes me about the established restaurants in the Vieux Carre is that the same waiters have worked there for 40+ years. From what I hear, someone has to die for a new waiter to get a spot. Saturday morning was great, I took a jog down St. Charles and topped it off with my favorite coffee at Cafe du Monde. My sister heckles me about being such a tourist, but I love strong coffee. There is just something about their coffee with chickory that does it for me. So I loaded up on coffee to bring home so I can have my cafe au lait in the mornings before work (and likely the nights at work) this summer. After moving my sister into her new Garden District duplex, I just rocked on her porch in seersucker, drank a mint julep, and thought "It's good to own land." Saturday night I stayed away from the Quarter and had dinner at Jacque-Imo's, you haven't lived until you've had alligator sausage cheesecake and Abita Strawberry Beer. Sunday morning was bittersweet as always, back to the cafe du monde for a quick cafe au lait and then to brunch at Brennan's- talk about a meal: turtle soup, Eggs Hussarde, and the original Bananas Foster.

Then it all came crashing down as I drove back a million miles to home where I had Moe's for dinner. I'm now drinking my cafe du monde chickory coffee and doing research for an antitrust article...blah!

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Lawyer Walks into A Bar

I highly recommend the documentary A Lawyer Walks into A Bar. It follows a bunch of law graduates trying to pass the bar. i''ll edit this post later and give a summary.

Office Amusement

I have mentally checked out for the rest of the day, which I think is legitimate considering that it's almost 4:30 PM on the Friday of a holiday weekend. Plus, I work at a state agency. Holidays and mental check-outs are perks.

To pass the time, I am biting the extremities off some mini-Teddy Grahams (cinnamon). Does it make me a sadist if I pretend that they scream?

This is what they do when we aren't here

I'm sitting in the law school today (while everyone else is on summer break) trying to finish up some work so I can head out of town for the summer. While aiding and abetting LEXIS in killing a rain forrest, I noticed that all of the secretaries in the school have donned some pretty spiffy white tennis shoes and have started power walking the school for the last hour. I was very tempted to play Eye of the Tiger to let them know that their behavior is very distracting.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Who has grades already? Do you have all or just some?

It takes forever to get our grades, but the shortbus school has had grades for a week or two.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I know it's "summer," but come on people. We are actually posting regularly for once, so leave us some comments! Bored summer clerks need attention from the internets while at work.

Excuse me, Mr. Smith, but...

All of my life, I have heard everyone complain about how the power company here in my home state is ripping everyone off and that we should open up the market to competition. I don't know how it is where you live, but the government grants a monopoly to one company in return for the large investment into the energy infrastructure. To be honest, this has never bothered me. So now I'm moving to the Lonestar State. I learn that in my area (the city where some cowboy in the back stood up and yelled "cotton eye Joe") we have many power companies to choose from. What's scary is that they are all variable rate companies unless you can sign a 24 month contract, which I can't because I'm only there for 12 weeks. The amazing thing is that in this free competitive market, the price is about 50% more. That doesn't even include that they have a minimum use quota which is more than I've ever used in my very large abode in home state, I can't imagine even coming close to that in my Lonestar janitor's closet.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Papers, papers, and more papers

20 days after my last final I am still writing papers. I still have 10 days left to procrastinate. After editing (and often rewriting) 5 issues of Law Review, I have adopted a new approach to writing: I call it Think Like a Scholar. Basically, I write the paper without spending too much time on research before hand. As I write a sentence that needs authority to back up my assertion, I add the dreaded [ADD AUTHORITY] in the footnote. This approach of not backing up your assertions and finding a source to support your statement after writing the paper was very popular among every article I had for law review this past year. It has worked out well for me. For next year's junior editors, I've already added a hot key that automatically inserts "[ADD AUTHORITY]" in a footnote.

DC Circuit Holds US Paper Currency Violates Rehabilitation Act

In an order released today, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals held that the US Treasury Department's failure to issue paper money that is readily distinguishable to visually impaired individuals violates the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 504 (codified at 29 USC 794) right to "meaningful access" to government services. The order affirmed the DC District Court opinion in the American Council of the Blind v. Paulson case, which has been ongoing for roughly six years.

DC Circuit order released today.

Read a brief story about the opinion on CNN/Money.

Read the DC District Court order on Findlaw. Note that this is the lower court decision, not the order released today.

Wikipedia article on the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Dept. of Health and Human Services Info on Rehabilitation Act 504

Monday, May 19, 2008

Overheard in the Office - May 19, 2008 - Part 2

Senior attorney: "I had never been to court either before my first time."

Feeling Underdressed...

The other two clerks in the office started today. One of the attorneys took the three of us to a hearing on a motion for a preliminary injunction on the U. of Texas affirmative action admissions program. I knew about this hearing last Friday, but the wording of the e-mail instructing me to attend led me to think that it was an internal administrative hearing by the University. Clearly, I was mistaken.

Since our office dress code is "casual" by most standards (for men, khakis and a tucked-in collared shirt), I showed up at work wearing my usual khakis and dress shirt. I was mortified when I heard that we were going to a federal court hearing. To make matters worse, both of the other clerks independently decided to wear a suit on the first day of work even though it is not required (or even preferred). Needless to say, I was the only person in the hearing who was not wearing a coat and tie. I was even more conspicuous because I chose a light green shirt, a color that starkly contrasts with the usual coat and tie colors. At least the judge didn't call me out. Apparently he is known to do such things, so perhaps I just lucked out.

Overheard in the Office - May 19, 2008

Attorney (A): So you got your 15 minutes of fame in the paper. You were a pallbearer eh?

Non-attorney (N): Yes, but it's actually today.

A: Oh my, who was it? How did it happen?

N: One of my best friends. Our kids grew up together. He had stomach cancer, and it got him less than two weeks after diagnosis. Not a bad way to go I guess, he died in his sleep.

A: Well, I guess he was no Jimi Hendrix. *chuckle*

N: *uncomfortable courtesy chuckle*, I suppose not.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I have managed to get back into my favorite part of Summer and Christmas break-Casual Reading. I've gone through three books in the last two weeks: Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned, Wouk's Don't Stop The Carnival, and Yale Law Prof. Jerry Mashaw's Seasoned by Salt (About his year sabbatical sailing). I highly recommend all three.

I beg for any recommendations from our readers...

Recent Ironies and Other Minutiae

It seems as though our bloggers have gotten off to a good start at our respective summer jobs. I am solidly on the government lawyer track, as I am working for the Office of General Counsel for the University of Texas System for the first half and the state AG's office in my home state during the second half.

The UTOGC office seems like a great place to be. It's laid back (read: no suit and tie dress code), yet quite busy at the same time. The workload will be sufficient to keep me busy, which is always nice because I despise having nothing to do at work. Plus, it's in Austin TX, perhaps one of the most amazing places to live in the country (world?). The city is well-planned, clean, and relatively safe. There is a broad range of activities available to suit almost any taste, including live music of all kinds, sports events, the most diverse bar scene I've ever encountered through my admittedly limited experience, art museums, great restaurants, political meetings, etc. On top of that, it's within easy driving distance of Schlitterbahn, the world's largest water park, and a Six Flags location. I'm no hippie, but there is something nice about living in a place where "keep [the city] weird" is the semi-official local slogan. It's one of the little blue islands in the great red sea of Texas. On my first day out to lunch, I was accosted by Greenpeace demonstrators and a guy who was freewheeling downhill in what appeared to be a wheelchair designed for racing. Austin is an interesting place indeed.

Some recent tidbits I found amusing:

1. While sorting out the inevitable IT issues one encounters when starting a new office-type job, I had occasion to visit the UT Office of Technology and Information Services. When the tech went to print the form that would allow me to upgrade my user account, he discovered that his computer did not have the proper printer installed.

2. While watching a VH1 episode of Sex: The Revolution, I noticed that they had to censor all the nudity. Apparently the revolution has not reached FCC regulations.

3. Saving Private Ryan was on TNT, and they did not censor any words except "fuck." However, other programs on TNT change "Jesus Christ" to "cheese and rice" and do not allow the use of "God damn" or any of its iterations. If they can air the word "bullshit" a few dozen times during a movie, why on earth are they still worried about offending the sensibilities of religious people who are probably already changing the channel because of the "cursing"? I'm all for just letting it all out, sensibilities be damned.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Well after a long time trying I finally made it to BigLaw. The day long orientation which included a lot of computer and phone training was kind of dull but the lunch at a posh cafe spiced it up nicely. These people have softball teams and retreats to the beach. Everywhere else I've worked have been highlighted by trips to buy my own lunch. Nothing against those places, I've worked for some great lawyers, but it is nice to be recruited and pampered some.

Now I have six weeks to:

a) make them like me enough to get an offer
b) figure out if behind the niceness, they run an associate salt mine.
c) off topic but find a place to park my car 24/7!!!

More to come but for now, I'm happy.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I think that at this point in law school (and this goes DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE for the bar exam) a closed book, closed note exam is absolute crap. Seriously. I've worked three law jobs. At no time did my boss come to me and say, "Without going on Westlaw, what is the common law rule on the Collateral Source Rule?" I haven't had one say, "Here's our client. He's been busted for distribution. While fleeing the scene, he swerved to intentionally run over a spotted owl while lighting a crack pipe with the Antonin Scalia's blazing fourth amendment novelty lighter in violation of federal law. Having a better hit than he intended he accidentally ran over his own grandmother. He stopped the car and robbed her. Without looking it up, what is our best defense based solely on the 16th Amendment?" Do you know why they haven't done that? Because doing legal work closed book, closed note, closed Westlaw is usually called malpractice!

I think all exams should be take home exams. These can be as complicated as you want to make it but make us show you that we can practice in this area if we had to! Worse case, make it timed with our notes.

Sorry, pet peeve.