The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Monday, January 10, 2005


Some Beach! I've been typing on this blog all morning, just for blogger to swallow it up and spit in into oblivion. Starting over...

When reading cases for law school, you really must fully immerse yourself in the reading at hand. There is no such thing as laying down with a good casebook before bed. In actuality, you are sitting upright at a large desk or table with at least 5 distinctly colored highlighters, a pen or two, a Black's Law Dictionary, and a cup of coffee. You have to read analytically, much like you did when studying for the LSAT. You must constantly take notice of things such as procedural history, issues presented, caselaw and reasoning, dicta, etc. You have to tune out the world and focus only on the words you are reading, what they mean, and how they fit into the larger picture of the class. This can be a grueling task for someone who spent 5 years in undergrad playing with sticks, cardboard and super glue. (Not quite as fun as it sounds, either.) Last semester, I tried changing reading locations, varying pen colors, even tried new coffee flavors. Nothing seems to make the task any less difficult. It also didn't help that there is a lack of "interesting" cases in the two classes I took. Contracts is all about "uhhh, that's not fair, you promised you would...no i didn't...off to court." Our focus in CivPro was more about where to try a case. Who knew it could take almost an entire semester just to decide what court to file a suit in? I did get much better at reading the cases by the end of the semester, but at the same time, they got much longer. As you can tell from last Friday, picking up where we left off is proving to be a tad difficult.

However, I have two new classes added to the mix this semester. Criminal Law and Torts are thus far much easier reading. I am ecstatic that the books are much smaller ("only" a thousand pages each). Also, since we are starting from square one, there is an introduction in each book that is simple reading and the cases are all about one page. More important than the above advantages, I find the reading much more interesting. Granted, I do watch way too much Law & Order, but I am reading bizarre, morally repugnant, socially degrading cases. Fun Stuff. Over the weekend, I read about three men who killed and ate another; the lady who spilled McDonald's coffee on her lap; a man found to have committed "battery" by blowing smoke in another's face; and a guy who purposely had unprotected sex with HIV.

After numerous hours of reading about such awful life circumstances, my imagination began to get the better of me. Living in a four story house built in 1946 can lead to many strange noises. Being in that house alone all weekend can lead to many mental concoctions. On Sunday afternoon, I was reading at the kitchen when the doorbell rang. I peaked out of the blinds to see no cars or people around. The stranger rang the doorbell again, this time more repeatedly. I yelled out "who is it?" to which I got no response. I then went and sat back down. Now, the stranger opened the screen door and began knocking. I again went to the door to inquire as to the identity of the stranger. Still nothing. As I turned to head back to read, the drama queen got the better of me and I did actually begin to mentally quote The Raven* (Hey, it fit!) Anyway, I decided I would not answer the door and pray that this crazy person would just leave. I had my cell phone in hand and was crouched down low to peak out of the blinds. Suddenly, I saw an old man appear in my yard and heard him yell "come on sweetheart, they must not be home." At this point, the little Girl Scout left my porch. That's when I knew I needed a reading break. I didn't need any cookies anyway.

*Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.