Wednesday, July 30, 2008
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
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
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.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
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
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
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
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Seems it was a machine gun.
Story about a similar challenge arising out of Illinois here.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
"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
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
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
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 . . .
Friday, July 11, 2008
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
Judge: Are you under the influence of drugs?
Judge: Are you currently taking any prescription medications?
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's Husband (from the audience): WHAT?!?!?!
Judge: Do we need to take a short recess?
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 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
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?
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
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 seriously...it'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.
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.