The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Sometimes we get so busy we forget to stop and take in the world around us. Yesterday, I was busy. Today, I am stopping to enjoy the world. The sun is shining bright today. Yesterday was rain and tomorrow will bring the rain back. Today, though...today is beautiful. The only clouds in the sky are those making the wispy marks to add a soft touch to the sharp blue palette. Today, I am lucky. I am sitting with my back up against a tree in
Approaching on my right is an older gentleman. I passed him a few blocks back. He is being helped along by his son who is probably about my father's age. The older gentleman has a painful look on his face. I can tell it is hard for him to get where he is going. He walks all the way to the center of the view of the White House and he stops. His pain is gone. His smile brightens the sky even more. That is all he wanted...to just stop and take it in. His son pulls him as if to tell him it is time to go. The father remains...standing, staring, smiling.
Behind me is a child just learning to walk. With daddy by her side, some of her first steps are toward the White House. She watches daddy put one foot in front of the other. He makes it look so easy. She doesn't notice the crowds or the cameras. She only notices the squirrel. For a while, her determination to reach the furry creature far outweighs her inability to maintain her balance. She falls. Then she gets right back up and keeps on chasing while daddy keeps beaming with pride.
I have been in DC for almost four years now. I made a promise to myself that from day one, I will never lose the awestruck feeling when in the presence of a DC landmark. That is sometimes hard. I realize today that I will always be in awe of the White House. However, watching the people that have come from all over to experience our Nation's Capital is what is bringing tears to my eyes right now. I want to always be that baby girl chasing her dreams. I want to be that high school student who has the ability to tune out the others and focus on what is important. I want to be that older person who still fights to enjoy the simple things.
I realized something important today: Right now, I am living the life I have always dreamed of. What makes me luckiest, though, is that I can realize this, I can pause, and I can just take it all in. What a glorious day.
UPDATE: My wonderful day was capped with the birth of the newest addition to my family. My niece, Jessie Elizabeth, was born around 6:00 pm this evening:-)
Busy DayI am beginning to think that perhaps I am over-exerting myself. Things I did today:
Got up and got dressed (so far, so good)
Caught a ride with my roommate across town to her work because there was a printshop nearby I needed to go to. Being on the executive board of the Louisana State Society, every three months, I am in charge of getting the newsletter out...had to grab it from the printer.
Headed to school, grabbing coffee on the way, and went downstairs to read for class.
3:00ish - Began labeling newsletters. (By labeling, I mean putting on those sticky ones I printed up this morning.)
Class from 3:30-4:45.
Meeting at 5:00 for volunteers (including me) for GW Law Preview Day this Friday.
Little time to spare, finish labeling 300 LSS newsletters.
Class from 6-8pm.
Meeting at 8:10. This was my last SBA meeting as Senator. I have an interview tomorrow morning for another position.
10:30...finally out of Senate meeting, head down to library. See Mock Trial partner and decide to discuss the case for a minute or two.
11-something...get to Metro with a sixteen minute wait. Get newsletters back out and start putting 300 stamps on them.
Home a little after midnight, had dinner (two pretty Easter hard boiled eggs) and had to send emails out regarding Mock Trial witnesses, study group this weekend, Barbri Review sessions on Sat. and Sun. and Moot Court preparation with my coach.
1:15...hell, if I could fit all of that in to one day, I can at least throw a few words onto blogger.
Damn, I'm tired.
Monday, March 28, 2005
BugsAfter having only gotten a few hours of sleep last night, I am pretty tired today. This is not because I had an oral argument to prepare for, or a paper due, or even reading to catch up on. Nope, it was because I spent the better half of my evening yelling at and chasing around "the bug" in my room. This thing
First, there was the cockroach incident of the early 80's. Growing up in Southern Louisiana, I learned at an early age that cockroaches come in different shapes and sizes (big and huge) and that they do, in fact, fly. The house that I grew up in was in your typical suburban neighborhood. When we moved in, the neighborhood was fairly new and our neighbors were whatever critters were in the overgrown fields next door. One of the species of neighbor that often times invited themselves over were that huge flying cockroach breed. I recall fondly those times of sitting around watching TV as a family, only to look up and notice one of them crawling upside down across the white gabled acoustic ceiling. At that point, light switches were thrown, and dad ran to the kitchen to get the roach spray while we all piled on the sofa with mom hoping the roach would not lose his grip and fall. (Southern entertainment at it's best.) Dad would return and aim the extraordinarily long nozzle at the ceiling, which was a good 18 feet away. The moment the roach felt that first drop of Raid, he began flying around the room in a sporadic, presumably painful fit. Not sure what my brothers did at this point, but I sure remember screaming bloody murder.
No matter how often I came across those six inch cockroach monsters, I never got used to them. I think it went back further to when I was an even smaller Law-Rah. I am not sure how old I was, but I know that I was still so tiny that I had to climb up onto the toilet and upon taking my seat, my feet would dangle a foot or so off the ground. It was late one night (possibly 8:00 or so) and I think there was something going on at my house; perhaps dad's poker friends, or something of the sort. The kids had all been put to bed already, but I needed to go to the bathroom. Instead of going in the front of the house and risk being seen in my pink nightgown, I decided to use my parent's bathroom in the back of the house. While doing what I needed to do (quite proud that I was able to do this on my own now), I remember spotting the biggest meanest cockroach ever crawling toward me from about ten feet away. He was coming straight at me and I just started screaming. This did not stop him or scare him. I just screamed and screamed. Of course, no one could hear me because I was on the other side of the house and I was probably not as loud as I am now. I'm not sure of the outcome of that evening, I just remember somehow climbing up on top of the toilet seat and staying there for a while.
A few years later came the June bug incident. I was admittedly at the stage where bugs should not scare me anymore. I was in fifth grade and it was the middle of the summer. Growing up with boys can sometimes make life as the only girl a little difficult. My older brother and all of his friends had pitched a tent and gone camping in the backyard. Well, almost. They ended up coming inside to sleep. Of course, this meant my best friend and I had to make fun of the whimps. This served as a challenge. "You are girls, you could never do it." Ha, we would see about that. I think it was the next night that we decided to prove them wrong. Partially because I was a girl, and partially because I tend to overdo everything, our camping evening wasn't quite "roughing" it. We ran a few extension cords to the tent in the back yard. We had a radio, a miniature television, our caboodles for our makeup, and a box fan to cool things off on that hot summer Louisiana night. We had it ALL figured out. We positioned the box fan at the entrance of the tent and pulled the zipper down snug against the top of the fan. Apparently, we had not thought this all the way through. Although the fan placement kept the tent somewhat enclosed, neither of us thought of the fact that the fan was not solid and could be permeated by critters. The instant we flipped the fan to ON, we were showered with the June bugs that had been accumulating while we were getting situated. Tents back in the late 80's were not as large and spacious as they are now. This is especially true when you and your best friend have shoved half of your bedroom into suitcases and placed them inside a two person tent. After a whole lot of screaming and bugs in our mouths, we eventually got out and admitted defeat that night.
I think it was 1992 when our family took our last real family vacation together. (And for good reason, we can make the Griswald's look boring.) Ma and Pa decided to take us young'uns to Disney World. My older brother and I were in high school and my younger brother was probably about eleven. I guess my mom realized we had outgrown our fear of critters and decided to try to bring it all back. She purchased a small rubber cockroach that looked eerily realistic and spent her time at Disney World scaring people. We did Disney in December, so, it was pretty crowded. Standing in line for one of the rides, we were doing that thing where the line winds back and forth and you see the same people over and over. We were making some friends. Until, that is, mom got bored. My younger brother, probably going through his "too cool for the family" stage, was standing a few feet in front of the rest of the family in this one particular line. (Okay, maybe he was still mad at us for the night before when he took a thirty minute shower and came out completely dry, so someone made reference to his 'imaginary bathroom friend' and we all laughed at him all night.) Anyway, younger bro was drinking something red out of a cup with no lid. While the cup was innocently being held by his side, mom slipped in her little rubber roach friend. The next sip younger bro took ended with a scream and a dropping/throwing of the cup and red stuff splashing all over the guy in line in front of us. The worst part is when "not happy" guy turned around, my brother just stood there as the rest of us rolled around laughing behind him. (Perhaps that story doesn't say much as to why I am SCARED of bugs, but it was a bug story and I felt like laughing.)
There were a few other bug stories over time like when I begged my parents to behave when my date to the Senior Prom showed up because he was really shy and scared of parents. Mom promised...right before she found very real looking fake flies to sprinkle in his bootaneer. Thankfully, Mikey was so scared, he could not actually move to jump or scream upon finding them.
Anyway, now that you have had a glimpse into my somewhat disturbing childhood, everyone can understand where this bug fear in my life came from and why it stayed with me for so long. That being said, in order to get some good sleep tonight, I will probably crash on the sofa. (Until that albino 50 leg critter shows himself again.)
SorryOkay, to anyone who has me blogrolled or RSS feeded or any other weird tech stuff...I apologize for my blawg-crazies today. I lost my entire template and in an attempt to salvage some things, I posted and reposted about 925 times. I will continue with my BUGS story when blogger cools off a bit!
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Purposeless Thoughts 2nd EditionSorry I didn't post this yesterday (since I am sure you all eagerly await to read my purposeless thoughts:-) I did, however, have a valid excuse: I was busy celebrating the job offer I received yesterday from my most recent (and interesting) interview! This means I will not be needing that empty coffee cup for DC panhandling this summer.
In other good news, I rocked my oral argument this morning! One of the judges told me "you looked like you were having so much fun, I think every oral argument should be like this. Another judge said "you are extremely comfortable in front of people in a courtroom. In fact, you are way too comfortable for a 1L" whatever that means! Moot court, here I come.
Not only did this week mark the beginning of Spring, but it also marked the dreaded female period of "breaking in your feet for spring/summer sandals. I spent way too much money on Neosporin and blister band-aids this week. As a male classmate told me "Law-Rah, it's not like you are in Louisiana anymore and your feet are tough from walking around barefoot all day. Now that you are up here, they stay covered and dainty." Me? dainty? haha!
I wonder if people who speak English as a second language are graded differently than me. For instance, I get points off for mis-spellings or grammar mistakes (right Greg). I wonder if I am held to a higher standard because I am a native of America. If so, does this really help the situation? Isn't this unfair, not only to me, but to the non-native speaker who is not being corrected in an effort to better his grasp of the native language?
I admit to being one of the members of the class the other day who chuckled rolled on the ground laughing when a classmate kept accidentally referring to a certain tortious behavior as wonton (like the soup).
We all know my school thinks I am "average". Well, in your face, GW...I got a letter last week from the Egg Donor people who said due to my intelligence and edu-ma-cation, they are willing to pay me $2,000 EXTRA per egg. My "average" eggs seem pretty valuable to them. (By the way, this letter absolutely falls in line with our current discussions in Contracts regarding the unwanted handing out of my personal information to random people like egg collection agencies)
I found out this morning that one of my friends from college is being deployed to Iraq next week. Ryan, you are in my prayers.
I gave in and put on a coat this week. I refuse, however, to don a scarf or gloves. It's freaking April already!
MOST ANNOYING THING IN LAW SCHOOL...the bobblehead. Seriously, there is no need to nod your head in agreement to everything the professor says. We ALL know he is right. (That is probably why he is teaching the damn class.) And furthermore, we all know you agree with him. If you didn't, you would have a problem. Keep doing it, and I WILL put you on the hood of my car:-)
Random mis-spellings I have seen this week: "adequate notice before a person can be published for criminal behavior" and while referring to a drug dealer "known for selling pots on the beach"
You know that really obnoxious "farting" that Ad-Aware makes when it is complete? It's really funny when someone in Crim Law forgets to mute their computer and runs that program during class, only to find it let's one rip right as the professor is talking.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Long overdue Thank You postDespite my low rank on that NCAA Tourney thing, my Technorati rank is skyrocketing. I jumped from being ranked in the 170,000s to the 156,000s (woo-hoo) and there are a few folks I feel the need to thank:
First off, I want to thank my readers. The fact that people (other than my mother) log on every day to read what I have to say warms my heart. When I began this blawg, I did it for myself. However, now that I know so many of you read WonL, it forces me to watch what I say, so thanks for keeping me in line.
Second, I want to thank everyone who has ever commented on WonL. I love comments, even if they are Anonymous.
I also want to thank everyone who has ever linked to me or added me to their blogroll. (Note to those who aren't up on the "lingo". A blogroll is my list on the right side of blogs I read. A blogroll can be used for many purposes, one of which is to recommend to my readers other blogs that I think they may be interested in since I obviously am.) I would like to take this opportunity not only to thank people, but also to elaborate on some of the blogs on my blogroll. These are in no particular order except that the first is the most important:
My biggest and most important Thank You goes to Evan over at Notes from the Legal Underground who has not only blogrolled me, but he selected me for his Weekly Law School Roundups #49, #50, and #52. (Apparently I was pretty boring during week 51...must have been that appellate brief.) A few notes on Evan: if there was a King of Blawging, he would wear that crown. Evan is like a father-figure, teacher, friend, up-to-date news source and dictionary all rolled into one. His readership goes way beyond law school students, as Legal Underground is frequently read by students, professors, practicing attorneys and frankly anyone interested in the law.
I have no clue how Evan has time to do all that he does. He is a practicing attorney and runs a firm with his wife (aka Senior Partner). They have 4 children that have made appearances on his site (even in audio form). He recently took a trip to Prague and blogged the whole thing, complete with photos. (I think there are 9 posts in all.) Evan has such regular spots on his site for: Wednesday Guest Posting, Law Related Things that Suck, Types of Lawyers (ex: one's that like shiny gadgets) and more. Evan does a fabulous job of keeping all his little ducklings in a row and helps us to understand each other while asking the question: Why are lawyers so stuffy? I encourage you to go check out Evan. If you are on a mission for specific info, scroll down to his categories on the right.
Second on my list is Todd over at Ambivalent Imbroglio. I first learned of Ambimb when I was reading my Student Lawyer magazine the ABA sends me like 5 times a week because I gave them $20 a year ago. Hey, it's good Metro reading. I was really excited to find there was a "famous" GW Blogger. After reading his site (and ignoring the extreme liberalism:-) he immediately became a Blidol (blog idol - phrase coined by grasshopper). Ambimb has a wealth of knowledge regarding politics, DC, public interest work, law school, etc. He's extremely approachable and extremely willing to help in any way with questions you have about school, summer work, study abroad, blogging, and more. If Ambimb cannot answer your question, he will actually get an answer for you. Wow...what a guy. I also encourage you to check out his Ambivalent Images. He posts a photo a day and many of them are around the DC area. (on a random funny note: I would consider Ambimb one of my friends. He goes to my school, he comments on my blog, and I on his, we have emailed before, and I look at his pictures. Yet...I have never met him! I had a close call today when I went to order my new GW Law gym bag and noticed he had signed up right before me. I was told he was already gone. I will continue to look for a guy walking around with a camera snapping random photos at school.)
Awwww, Idlegrasshopper, where to begin? IG is the reason I have a blog. IG is the cynic about Law School that I try not to be on this blog (hence my always linking to him and telling you to go read what he said about class last night.) IG goes into the category of "friend even before the blog". He's also a really good drinking buddy. IG also goes to my school, is in my section, is in my study group, may even be my long lost brother, who knows. Go read him!
Samer also goes into the friend not just on the internet category. I already wrote a whole post on him, so go read it...then read him:-) While he has slacked in blogging in the last few months, he still has some great posts. He is a "real beer" wealth of knowledge, as opposed to my Bud Lt. vs. Miller Lt. dillemma. He also has some great photography.
BLM over at In Limine is another to thank. I am especially thankful that I gave him my password to go into my blogger template and fix something and he did not do anything retarded like turn the text sideways or make everything show up in another language. Oops, gotta go change that password. BLM is a 1L over at Georgetown and is having a fairly similar experience to mine at GW (except that he isn't eating meat;-)
Spicoli...hahaha...Spicoli of Law School Insider. He's my favorite miserable Michigonian. I came across Spicoli when he made a nasty remark about Bush and I left him a nasty comment. We've been friends ever since. Spicoli is at a second tier law school in a freezing climate trying to transfer to California where he's from. I love reading his stories about the O.C., which he calls home. I must admit that he has annoyed me lately with his countdown to finals. Dude...you are stressing me out!
Jack and Coke recently blogrolled me, and has commented here too. Thanks Jack! He's a long-winded interesting 1L at my school who doubles as a drunkard blogger. Although Jack has had his blog for a while, he is just recently begun to really find his niche in the blogging world and I am interested (and scared) to see where this goes:-)
Energy Spatula at Will Work For Favorable Dicta recently added me to her blog list. I have referenced E. Spat a few times here, as I love her writing style and cynicicm when talking about her life experiences. Interestingly enough, she recently did an audio blog with Ambimb and sounds like the cutest sweetest little thing!
Thanks to Jeremy Ritchey who also added me to his list. Jeremy is a WELL-VERSED conservative who is often the only one knowledgable enough to take on the liberal blogging world.
So, thanks again to everyone who reads, comments, writes, or just plain cares! sniff sniff.
UPDATE: Thanks also to Dwayne over at Enraged Baboon. (Waiting for the cartwheels:-) Yay for my first International link!!! Dwayne is a lazy Australian journalist turned law student who says "Apart from being far smarter and funnier, I think I am an average law student." Small world note: I think Dwayne actually attends the same "Uni" in Australia that my ex attends. Dwayne, if you come across a random American that tried to sue the Med. school last year, please do not hold it against me that I dated him:-)
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Growing upDifficult children will make difficult adults. My brother and his wife better watch out for that young'un of theirs, lest she grow up just like me. Case-in-point:
I called my brother's house the other day to speak to his daughter. My niece (AM) is the cutest most wonderful two year old alive, but she sure is fiesty. You may be wondering how I can let a two year old get to me. Well, I will tell ya. Due to my schedule, it is sometimes difficult to find time to sit and have a phone conversation. There are not too many people I have the luxury of making time for, but I would always set aside time to talk to the little angel. AM has a new little sister on the way very soon and I wanted to talk to her about it. Well, she was watching Scooby-Do and decided that Aunt Law-Rah was not worth pausing the TV for. The little brat would not talk to me!
I told my mom this story this morning and she laughed. Soooo not funny mom! She compared it to a July day years ago when she gave birth to my younger brother. Still in the hospital, and presumably pretty tired, she picked up the phone to call home. My grandparents were watching my older brother and I. After speaking to my brother, she wanted to talk to her little girl and tell me about my new little brother. I apparently told my grandparents to tell her I could not come to the phone because I was reading. (I was three years old at the time.) When she inquired as to what I was reading, she was told the phone book. (Awww, what a little angel I was:-)
Seriously, difficult children will make difficult adults.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
To the moron who hit my car this evening,
While I appreciate the gesture, it is usually customary to leave a NOTE on someone's windshield, not to leave their liscense plate on their windshield. Thanks, though.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Okay, done with basketball. It sure didn't take long for ALL. THREE of YOU to disappoint me. I will admit that I am very proud to say that I now stand firmly LAST PLACE on my tournament bracket thing. This means I could win $10 (the very amount I paid to enter) which goes to show this whole thing was pretty pointless for an SEC football fan.
Oh well, back to Crim. Law
Friday, March 18, 2005
Purposeless Thoughts of the Week - Edition 1Every week, thoughts pop into my head that I want to blog about. Often times, I go as far as to begin writing about them but something always stops me from posting. Usually, its because I dont feel the topic itself warrants a unique blog post. Maybe its not humorous, or it doesnt offer advice or basically has absolutely no purpose at all. I have tons of saved but not posted blog posts that I need to get rid of. Soooo...I decided to implement Purposeless Thoughts of the Week
Since my head is full of Purposeless Thoughts, I will try to make this a weekly occurrence. Maybe this can be my "thing" since everyone else in the blogosphere seems to have a "thing". We shall see. This is what I have:
- A friend recently brought up the concept of "face-time" at school. At first, I didn't really know what she was talking about. I completely understand now. There are people that come to school just to make their presence known. I wonder if they even attend classes, or just hang out in the lounges. For instance, there is a guy who has been sitting at a table a few over from me for about 20 minutes. He has turned around attempting to make eye contact with me at least 4 times. (Not just me...he is looking at everyone and attempting to get into any conversation that will allow him.) Anyway, he has a backpack here with him, but has yet to open it. Dude...go home and watch TV or something! (Before you even say it, I know what you are thinking: Um, Law-Rah, you are at school to blog...who are you to talk? In my defense, I have food, which is not allowed in the library. As soon as I finish lunch and this post, I will be going back to study.)
- I went to a RNLA luncheon yesterday to hear Senator Thume speak about his victory over Tom Daschle. At one point in his speech, he was discussing the changes in political campaigning due to the blogosphere. He noted the trend of people away from the mainstream media and toward the world of blogs. Although WonL is not political, I did feel a twinge of pride knowing that I am a part of something like this. Despite the jerk who said YOU have a BLOG? How dorky.
- The author of Things I Hate About my Flatmate has moved out, so the blog is over. Funny stuff!!!
- Scott had some really funny jokes for St. Pattys day yesterday. (I'm too lazy to link to each post. If you go to his site, just scroll down and look for the green.)
- I love it when you use someone else's outline (to supplement your own, of course) and they have slang terminology in theirs. For instance, did you know that in Crim Law, the Retributivist theory boils down to "just punish the bastard"?
- I have a wisdom tooth coming in. I have yet to have time to get them removed and ABSOLUTELY will make time once exams are over. The problem is that the tooth coming in is coming in facing straight out. My tooth has now worn away the chunk of my cheek in its way and its really beginning to hurt.
- The law school has refrigerators that we are allowed to keep food in. They clean them out every night and anything you left gets thrown away. Over spring break, I thought they may relax that rule a bit. Nope! Not only did they open up my little blue canvas bag and throw away my fruit and yogurt...they also threw away the damn spoon I had brought from home.
- In typing the above Purposeless Thought, I mistyped "sexams" and thought...hmmm...that would be wierd.
- I get annoyed that I have to hit the stupid "br" for break every time I want to show a break in the post. Isn't that what "enter" is for?
- I have a guy in my class (well call him Jim) who has fascinating things go on in his life that could amount to good stories. The problem is he always leaves out the MOST relevant/important part until the end. For example:
- I am currently tied for 113th place (out of 135) on my NCAA Tournament picks. Good thing there is a prize for absolute last place, otherwise, I would have nothing to aim for!
I was riding the Metro with Jim once and he was asking me some CivPro questions. I'm not talking about "hey, I didnt really understand how the court came to that conclusion" type questions. Oh no...this was more like "hey, I have to figure out by tomorrow morning where I can get personal jurisdiction over my wife's boss, can you help?" There was some situation where his wife's boss had been withholding extra taxes and Jim wanted to take him to court. Jim is also trying to figure out if it financially worth trying the case and if he actually has a shot. He lays out all of the facts and we are analyzing everything. None of us are really understanding the issue here. Then he lets us know that not only had boss had been withholding money, but he had the refund check sent to the company, forged her signature and pocketed the money. HELLO?!?!?!?
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
NCAAJust finished my Appellate Brief (WHEW!)
I guess I should start watching some basketball considering ALL . THREE . SCHOOLS . I have attended/am attending are in the tournament. So, if things go my way on Friday night at 7:10 and then again at 9:30...my undergrad will end up playing my grad school. That's fun!
Going make copies...and this time, I am NOT looking at it!
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Journal Write-On CompetitionIn my recent "Law-Rah" Landers style of using this Blawg as a fairly useful method of offering advice, I figured I should post a realistic entry regarding the GW Write-On Journal Competition. I am not sure how other schools handle their journals, so I am not sure how universal this post will be. But, for my evening friends and anyone that comes along later, I offer some advice:
With all of the moaning and complaining from everyone regarding the Journal Competition, I must admit that I actually enjoyed it. It was an intense four/five days that forced me to learn the things I have been ignoring in LRW all year. Regardless of the outcome (of which I will not hear until July), I must say that I thought it was a great learning experience for me.
First piece of advice: do not treat the words of current journal members as sacred. We were offered many tip sessions by different organizations where current members of each journal told us how they handled the competition and subsequently made the journal. Although they emphasized that this was what worked for them, I scrupulously wrote down every word figuring if it worked for them, it will work for me. This is not so! An example for you: everyone I spoke with said to do the Bluebooking portion first. The theory is to get it out of the way and then hit the reading and writing sections hard. Well, as someone who is absolutely horrible with the bluebook, this proved to be excruciatingly painful for me. I sat down that first night with the sources and the bluebook.Two hours later, I had nothing to show for it. By the time I went home, I was so intimidated by those 15 sources, my enthusiasm and determination stayed at school. I slept on it and decided to start over the next day...this time with the reading. We were also advised to become familiar with and tab the bluebook in advance. I only heard this advice a day before we started and therefore did not have time to do this. During the competition, I seriously regretted not taking the extra time beforehand.
The reading was the most painful part for me. Granted, the topic was interesting and the cases were colorful, but that does not overcome the tremendous amount of reading. The subject case gave me hope, as it was printed in what appeared to be 16-point font. I thought at that rate, how bad could 213 pages be? Considering the next source was printed in 8-point font in two rows on the sheet, my smile quickly faded. The sources contained a mixture of cases, newspaper articles, speeches, etc. Personally, I liked mixing things up a bit because a Washington Post article was a hell of a lot easier to read than a Supreme Court case. I was warned ahead of time that I need not read all of the source material. I ignored this advice thinking "whatever, I will read every last word." That did not last long. I ended up leaving two of the cases for skimming purposes, as I knew they would not greatly contribute to my argument. (Keep in mind many of the sources are cited in the other sources so you can skip right to the important stuff.) Still, by the end of the day, it was all beginning to sound the same to me. I hit one of those blocks where you reared a paragraph five times and still do not know what it says.
I did have one fairly major mishap in my planned system based on tip sessions. We were told to read, reared and get to know the subject case, as this is what your entire paper will be based on. Good call. We were also told to come up with a theme or opinion in the beginning. This way, you can have your theme in mind when you read the rest of the cases. I had my theme and it was a damn good one. Apparently, so good, that when I got to one of the later sources, I realized some dude had written 23 pages on my theme. Um...I don't guess I could just write a paper on why I think that guy is smart? I went home after having read the source material and just let it sink in. This (for me) proved much more fruitful, as I could spend the rest of my evening with it all swirling around in my head.
By the next morning, I had made sense of it all and was developing a new theme. I tried the Bluebooking again and it was not QUITE as hard this time. Advice: write down every BB note/rule/page you use. I only began doing this on source 7 or 8. After bluebooking all 15 sources, you are surely going to have to go back and check over them (hopefully). Having a citation and not knowing how you got it can prove frustrating. On half of my sources, I had jotted down BB rules and page numbers, so checking my citations was easier.
After the reading and bluebooking, I hit the ground running on the paper. I had briefed the subject case, so the objective portion of my note was really just copy and paste. (HIGHLY recommend briefing the case. Not only does it help you to understand the rule and application...but it also saves you writing time later.) When I got to the subjective portion, this is where Ambimb's advice came in:
free-write your argument quickly, writing it like you would if you were writing a note to a friend or something casual, your own language, just getting the points down that you want to make. Then go back and revise and expand that into something slightly more formal and support it all w/good citations.
This was by far the best advice ever! Not only was this good for the journal, but I think it is good for me overall. I have always been a fairly good writer (although the Blawg may not seem so) and I have always had my own style. Since coming to law school, I have been struggling with legal writing. It was not until the Journal Competition that I realized why. All of our writing classes are so focused on teaching us "how" to write, not "what" to write. What happens when the how does not work the same for everyone? Why not focus on examples of actual memos and briefs and casenotes? You just tell me what I need in the end, and I will get there...my own way. This being said, I have struggled with this stringent "week 1-writing plan; week 2-outline; week 3-point headings" way of doing things. I work much better if I can just sit down and write. Granted, my first draft may have contractions, first person, and even some "there are"s. However, it will be thorough and it will be clear. I can, and will, always go back to formalize it. I realized that legal writing is just adding another step...legalize it (add relevant caselaw and citations.)
I decided to use the Journal Competition as a way of testing my way of writing. I put all of the source material away and just wrote. I had over four pages of an argument written before I took a breath. After that, I condensed it, played with the grammar, legalized it, and called it a day.
Last words of wisdom...be prepared for anything to go wrong in the end! The casenote was due at 8pm and I had no intention of waiting until then. Right before I left my house, I noticed the last page of my casenote was missing the last line. No clue where it went. CRAP! I fixed it, reprinted, and still got to the Metro at 6:30 with plenty of time to get to school and make my twelve copies. In waiting the 11 minutes for the Metro, I decided to look over my paper one last time. Good thing I did, because I had my social security number very wrong. CRAP! That will be points off. Mental fight over whether or not to just go to school, white it out and re-write it. Hell no! I did not spend this much time to turn in a less-than-perfect paper. I left the Metro and jogged the ½ mile back to my house (in 2" heeled boots and jeans) to re-print. Entering freak out mode. My roommate had just gotten home from an actual jog and agreed to drive me to school. On the way, we stopped at Kinkos to print my 12 copies. In stapling together all of my copies, I noticed page 5 was missing. CRAP! That will be major points off. After a good few minute panic and going out to Catherine's car to get my old copy with the wrong SSN, I realized the copy machine had merely stuck p.5 and 6 together. Whew. Un-staple, copy p. 5, sort, re-staple. Got to school, turned it in, took a breath, then went out for a cold beverage or two.
Monday, March 14, 2005
M.I.A.I apologize for my blawg absence. I would love to tell you it had something to do with spring break and that I was at some exotic locale sipping margarita's on a beach with a cabana boy (not E.Spat's cabana boy, though). However, sadly, this is not the case. In addition to the Journal Competition casenote due last Monday, I also have an Appellate Brief due Wednesday. I think I have declared an all out war on this memo. I have also locked myself in the attic (aka my bedroom) until this is finished. Although I had no such aforementioned interesting spring break, I will admit to having tried the best ever key lime martini at Blue Gin on Saturday. I will be back when I have signed a peace treaty with my LRW lady and turned in this monstrous memo.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Woo-Hoo, I made the Metro Blog Map! (okay, so perhaps "making the map" isn't all that difficult as all you really have to do is email them and say "hey, I'm Law-Rah, put me on your map please:-)
In this well organized step in the blog/voyeur/stalking world, these folks have compiled all of the Washington DC area blogs into a Metro Map. I find this to be one of the cooler things I have ever seen. It also goes to show the magnitude of this "blogging" trend in my area, which seems logical in such a political, lawyer-ridden, edu-macated part of the country.
Although it's really not funny, I did have to chuckle upon scrolling over Arlington Cemetery to find "Nobody here yet". They could have possibly come up with a better way to word that, as I seriously doubt there will ever be anyone blogging from Arlington Cemetery.
Still, great site to check out. And if you are a DC area blogger, get yourself on the map!
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Law Firm InterviewingI had my first "rotate me from office to office to discuss my resume" BigLaw firm interview today. I must prelude here by letting you know I think I nailed it. On the other hand, I thought I nailed the past two interviews I had, and well, I am still searching for a job. Everyone has a strength (and weakness or two) and mine is interviewing. The problem with being a 1L attempting to land a summer job with a firm is that the minute you put 1L in your cover letter, it's off to the shredder for your resume. I finally got my foot in the door somewhere and was not going to let this one slip, so I spent all night preparing for this interview.
Findlaw has a great synopsis on law firm interviewing tips. They also have a great batch of questions for you to arm yourself with. (Keep in mind, as with any type of interview, it is more important to research the firm you are interviewing with and have questions specific to them on that list as well.) That being said, I formulated a pretty good list of questions. Some questions were to actually get to know details about the firm, some were to impress them by showing them I had done my homework, and of course some questions were mere filler questions in case I got stuck. Questions aside, I also did a bit of research on the four folks I would be interviewing with. Luckily, my interviewers each had a bio on the company's website. (I also looked them up on Martindale in case the website missed something.)
In reviewing the Findlaw guide, a lot of it was common sense (how to dress, don't be late, sell yourself, etc.) There was also some interesting information about how Law Firms conduct interviews. For instance, most firms do the rotation interview so you are exposed to more people and so that when you leave and they "grade" you, it's an average and not just one person's opinion. Furthermore, most firms will put at least one younger Associate in the rotation. Supposedly, this is where they "get down and dirty" and this is where most often, interviewees let their guard down. I was determined not to fall into that trap. I even went as far as to formulate specific questions to keep my younger Associate on track and so she couldn't trip me up.
The first guy I met with was really personable and things flowed smoothly. We stayed pretty much right on schedule and at one point, he even said he was enjoying speaking with me. My second guy was a little less easy. He was very nice, but had a dry sense of humor that threw me a bit. Furthermore, he had a thick foreign accent and I was having trouble hearing him. I asked him to repeat himself twice and after that, just began nodding. Who knows what I just agreed to. Third up was my young Associate.
I had seen from her photo that she was gorgeous. People that strikingly beautiful always make me nervous that what they got in looks will be lacking in personality. My fear subsided quickly. She was the most pleasant easy to talk to glowing pregnant lady I had ever met. We got off to a great start and she was extremely down to earth. She spoke with me much more candidly and threw out a few cuss words here and there. She even did a "just between you and me" comment or two. We had covered most of the basics and she innocently glanced down to say surprisingly "oh, I just noticed your address and I think we are neighbors." By this, I assume she means neighborhood. She tells me her address and it's only one number off from mine. (My initial thought process: wait, we know all of our neighbors. In fact, we babysit for one, our housework is done by another, and ...the only neighbors we don't know are the jerks across the street. OH CRAP! She is one of "those people" across the street. Those people we seem to be in a parking war with. Those people who told another neighbor they were going to call the police for our daytime July 4th BBQ. Those people who, at one time, hit my roommates car and then left.) What actually comes out of my mouth: "Hmmm, I'm not sure which house you are in." So, she describes the house and I attempt to cover with "oh, you must be across the street where my roommate accidentally parks sometimes when she gets home really tired and late. Yeah, I've talked to her about that before and I can apologize on her behalf." She brushed it off as no big deal (which both of us knew to be bull) and we continued. It took me a minute to bounce back, but I think it ended okay. She took me over to my last rotation, Partner lady who heads up the summer program. In saying our goodbye, I turn to Associate and say "thanks so much for your time, it was great to meet you and I shall make sure to speak with roomie for you." At this point, Partner looks at her saying "Associate, I told you not to bring that up!" Associate busts out laughing with "I swear, she brought it up, I didn't" and we all got a good laugh out of it.
I am sure she and her hubby are going to have a great dinner this evening discussing how she made me squirm. I guess that was one that no amount of research could prepare you for! So, if I don't get this job, I know who to blame and I know where she lives:-)
CLARIFICATION: The above post reflects the drama queen in me. The "you are the mean chick from across the street" portion of the interview was minimal. Overall, it was a really great interview and I walked out on a positive note (at least I think I did).
UPDATE: I got a phone call today (Friday, March 25th) from the partner at above mentioned firm offering me a summer job!!!
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Competition learning...summed up
I learned a lot this weekend during the hellacious process they call the journal competition just like I learned during exams and I kept track this time as well: (By the way, I fully intend to do an intelligent post with regards to the competition, I just must first recover:-) I learned...
When you enter a room that fits three people at 9am and lay your materials out, there is plenty of space. By 11pm, the walls have closed in to such a degree, that you can barely turn around to reach that highlighter you dropped.
If you wear baggy pants with a lot of pockets, you can sneak food from the vending machines into the library.
After Wendy's, vending machine Fritos, and reheated spaghetti, a three-person closed door room really begins to smell foul.
Too scared to test this one, but assuming the library folks would not be too keen on the idea of lighting incense to overcome the french fry smell.
If you find a small critter (bug) crawling across your hand while flipping through the Bluebook, do not instinctively fling it across the room. Disposition in such haste will only serve to distract you for hours as your mind and eyes continuously wander around the room in search of said bug.
The BlueBook offers no guidance on how to cite to the Law and Order epidsode this past Tuesday that directly supports your case note proposition.
A few margaritas make your subjective argument much stronger.
Jogging laps around the stacks in the basement of the library can make you dizzy.
They say New Courier, 12 pt font, double spaced, no more than 28 lines per page. I can attest that the aforementioned constraints only allow 25 lines per page. I will get 28 if it's the last thing I do!
"F.U." is not in any of the standard abbreviations pages of the Bluebook.
The little girl on the front of the UTZ pretzel bag does not have a nose.
When you bitch about the Bluebook to your non-law school friends, they automatically assume you are selling your car.
After four+ days of looking at it, every thing in the Bluebook starts to swirl together and become the same three words over and over: cite according to.
Absolute best word ever invented: "id"
Monday, March 07, 2005
Bad timingHahaha...for some stupid reason, I agreed to indulge some of my classmates in my presence at a study group this evening. Need I remind you the Journal Competition is due in less than 12 hours? I decided that perhaps my agreeing to a study group on this particular night was not one of my more ingenious ideas. I wrote them a letter to attempt to get out of it:
This letter comes to you in opposition of said study group this evening. (Statement by Law-Rah at 1). While I am not opposed to YOUR continuation of the Torts "beginning to study" session, I am opposed to MY presence at such an event. Id. (emphasis added) The Journal Competition, otherwise known as worst weekend of my life, has truly kicked my ass and my mental stability is not currently what it should be. Id. I firmly believe in order to attain such clarity in my life again, I need to follow up the "turn in" of the journal with a few drinks and not a Torts outline. Id. Furthermore, I am pretty sure any contribution I could offer to a study group this evening would be minimal if existant at all. Id. Please accept my sincerest apologies if any of this evenings plans were shifted on my account. (Statement directed at Mike at 1).
Hahaha...they should at least give me points for creativity!
Saturday, March 05, 2005
I got nothin'I am officially saturated; my brain will hold no more. I can no longer intake any information with regards to this Journal. If I have to read another case, magazine article, law review article, newspaper article, Target receipt, or letter from the egg donation people, I will scream. I cannot read another damn thing. In fact, I am having to look away from the screen right now, as the very thought of seeing more words in print makes me want to cry. However, I think that as dry as my eyes are, nothing would come out of those sockets in my head. You wanna know what punishment is? This, my dear, is punishment. Not quite sure what I ever did to deserve this, but it bites.
Okay, whining done. I think the worst part of this "worst weekend of your life" is over. I have conquered all that I intend to of the 250 pages of
I just read what I wrote and not only are my thoughts fairly incoherent, but my eyes hurt! Have a fabulous evening...I sure will:-)
Friday, March 04, 2005
Bad KarmaYou wanna know what is so NOT FUN?
Spending two hours flipping through the BlueBook to look down and realize you have only done three of the fifteen "must be perfect" citations for the competition
THEN realizing that of those three, you are only sure of one
THEN admitting that you are only 50% sure of that one
AND realizing it is 11pm and you have only had a banana and Diet Coke as nourishment in the last 9 hours
THEN deciding to call it a day and head home
THEN not being able to start your car because you left the lights on
THEN having to wait 30 minutes in 15 degree weather at the 7th floor of the parking garage for a jump start.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Ode to the Spring Journal Competition
The school is abuzz
With chit-chat galore
About life standing still
Come tomorrow at four.
The 3Ls are thanking God
Their time is almost done.
Now they get to sit back
And watch all the fun.
The 2Ls are reminiscing
About this time last year,
Awaiting "the packet"
With excitement and fear.
We 1Ls are stressing
Over how much to prep
Even without a topic,
We plan our first step.
We got all our answers
To the questions on TWEN.
We're now down to mere hours
Before the fun will begin.
Preparing for citations,
We read the BlueBook
To know what it says
Without having to look.
There's ink in our printers
And quiet places to read.
The fridge is now stocked
With all the
250 pages of cases
Reading, writing, citing
It's off to the races!
So without further ado,
Wish me good luck
And hope my reaction
Is not WHAT THE ???
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
ThresholdI have a professor that keeps referring to that point in law school when that light bulb in your head goes off and you "just get it." I guess it can be compared to a runner crossing that "threshold" after which, the act becomes more natural. Supposedly, a law student will likewise cross a threshold. The difference here, is that is upon crossing it, the student then slows to a leisurely crawl. I think I am getting there.
Often times, we read cases in which the opinion contains a statutory excerpt crucial to understanding the case. 'Beginner student Law-Rah' used to read and re-read the statute portions numerous times. In the beginning, I would highlight the entire indented blockquote. Later, I began putting a big star next to the whole thing. In a good judicial opinion, right after the statutory exerpt, the judge will enlighten you as to which sentence in the statute is actually important and why. At that point, I took out a pen/marker and underlined that important sentence. I then re-read the reasoning behind it's importance so I made sure to understand everything.
I just finished reading a case with a crucial statute in the opinion. After I read the whole statute, I highlighted one sentence. As I began to read, two sentences down in the text the judge actually quoted the important language as being "blah blah blah" which so happened to be the PRECISE words I highlighted, start to finish. (Excuse my excitement, but this seriously is a rare occasion.) Does this mean I have passed the threshold? Is there still a need to continue reading as to why they thought it was important? I already knew it was important. So, I am done, right?