Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Friday, April 30, 2004

We received our course schedules for next year, following the course lottery earlier this week. I got everything I wanted, which is good, although I got pretty much everything I wanted last year too, so not a big deal. I'm not sure whether other people have trouble getting what they want because I want stuff that's less popular, or because I'm somehow better at figuring how to rank the classes in the right sequence to outsmart the system and get what I want. I'm sure it's the former, but I'd like to pretend it's the latter. Anyway, my schedule doesn't look quite like Mitch's, but I'm looking forward to it. The "Creation of the Constitution" class I wanted in the winter term taught by a Judge on the 10th Circuit US Court of Appeals, the "American Democracy" class I wanted co-taught by Robert Putnam, a seminar with the word "Emotions" in the title, a class that used Kennedy School case studies as the reading material instead of a casebook, a class taught by a professor who has his own tribute page on the Internet, and many more! I'm excited! Or at least as excited as I can be about law school classes. :)

Thursday, April 29, 2004

The soon-to-be law student at Neo Tokyo Times writes:

I understand law school won’t be like [undergrad]. In fact, a rigorous academic schedule is something I’m worried about. I’ve never done it before. I’ve always been able to skate by, secure in the knowledge that while I won’t necessarily earn the highest academic marks, I’ll make up for that laziness with success in some standardized test score, or extracurricular or professional component to my resume. But in law school, even the choice extracurricular and professional opportunities have a significant display of academic performance as a prerequisite.

My own unproven ability to keep up a demanding study schedule is my primary anxiety about attending law school.

My current plan here is to start putting myself into a mental place where I am comfortable with the idea of sinking into a routine of constant studying and lecture attendance. The only practicing Harvard/ Stanford grad I know suggested that I ignore all non-academic extracurricular activities during my freshman year.
We've exchanged e-mails before, so I just e-mailed him some thoughts on that, but as I sent them I realized I may as well post them too. I think that's awful advice. Really quite awful. (Not to say it wouldn't work for some people, and I'm sure it was well-intentioned advice, and maybe it's actually good advice and my advice is awful, I don't know). There are people here who work harder than they did in undergrad. There are also people here who work less hard. I think most people probably work about the same. They all do fine. Law school is not some other world where people who are smart and competent and can balance school and having a life suddenly are forced to spend 12 hours a day in the library. Law school is just school. If you did fine in college, you'll do fine in law school. Probably with the same study habits. Yes, there are lots of people who were at the top of their class and are now in the middle of the class -- but it's not because they don't study hard enough, it's just because there's a curve and who knows what they're testing on, and sometimes you just don't get stuff, and you survive. And, yeah, there are people who spend lots of time studying, and some of them do quite well, but the marginal returns start to get pretty lackluster I think, and studying hard is really no guarantee of anything. But the people who try to be super-study-man, I think largely are miserable and don't enjoy their time here -- and that doesn't make continuing to study and put in the energy and focus any easier. Maybe it's different elsewhere, where not everyone gets a firm job if they want one -- and I don't mean to apply this advice where it may not belong, because I just don't know what life is like at other schools except for what I hear from a few friends but the happiest -- and most successful -- people I know here do a lot of stuff, to keep them sane -- you CAN'T spend all week studying -- there isn't that much to study! There's a fair bit of reading, but there's very little writing, much less than in undergrad, many fewer assignments to complete, it's mostly just go to class, do some reading, and have a bunch of hours left over for other stuff. I have the opposite advice -- 1L year join everything -- so you can figure out what's worth spending your time on. So maybe a month in you've gone to meetings for 12 activities and you liked 4. So you forget the other 8, but this way you've met people and seen what's out there, and started to pave the way for a happy and fulfilling 3 years and not a miserable one. Just my opinion. This advice may suck. But doesn't it sound like a happier three years than the other advice?
Quick note: someone alerted me that e-mail to my account was boucing back. I've been getting e-mail, so it's not a universal problem, but if you've e-mailed me and it's bounced back, use this one: It gets to me just the same.
Tonight I went to the annual banquet for the law school drama society, where the graduating 3Ls all get "toasted" and people say nice things about them. It's a nice thing to do, makes people feel good. It goes on forever, but I think it's a good thing. What struck me was a common theme. People kept saying things like, "You're so talented. I hope you don't waste too many years at a firm." Or "You're such a great person. I hope you end up doing something great. Something besides being a lawyer." It's all said so matter-of-factly. Like of course being a lawyer is a horrible thing, and obviously it will be sad and tragic if this is your fate. And then everyone goes off to his or her law firm jobs after graduation. I don't quite understand this. I understand why individual people think practicing law is not for them, and they want to do something else, but they've ended up here, and need to pay off loans, or need to support a family, or have no other passions, and so this is what they will do. I understand this completely completely completely, on an individual level. What I don't understand is how this works on an institutional level. How the industry can survive and thrive when *everyone* feels like this is not where they should be, and *everyone* sees it as a bad thing to end up as a lawyer, yet everyone ends up at a firm, and new students come in every year, and it perpetuates itself. Maybe the drama society is a self-selected group of people particularly not drawn to law practice. But I don't completely think that's true -- I think it's true for some people, but for at least a substantial part, the mix of people in the drama society is not tremendously different from the mix in the rest of the law school. No one here envisions themselves happy as a lawyer. I don't know what they envisioned before coming to law school and whether what they've seen is different, or what the deal is exactly -- when people's feelings changed, and why it seems to be too late for anyone to do anything about it -- and even more important, why the industry hasn't changed to reflect this, or what can be done to change this -- or something. This is not completely articulate, and I'm sure there's a logical flaw somewhere here. But really -- people in law school are generally not happy. I'm relatively happy, but it's because I like school and have found lots of fulfilling things that keep me busy and made a bunch of friends and maybe I'm really not relatively happy but just like to believe I am, I don't know -- but I just don't understand why if everyone else isn't happy, they're still here and doing things they think will make them continue to be unhappy in the future. This is vague. And I shouldn't write weblog posts at 1:45 in the morning. Time for sleep.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Questions and Answers about the end of the school year

Q: My classes end this week. I'm confused.

A: At most law schools, classes run on a "semester" schedule, which means that they begin at some point, run for a number of weeks, and then end. After the spring semester, there are normally final examinations and then a summer break. Many students get jobs over the summer break, many of which are related to things they want to do after law school, although some are really just for prestige and/or pay.

Q: So I'm allowed to leave?

A: Yes. After exams. But you should probably get a job first.

Q: But what about my apartment?

A: Well, if you still have a lease, you still have to pay rent.

Q: Even if I'm not there?

A: Yes.

Q: But how can I afford that?

A: Situations are different for everybody. But you might try "subletting." Subletting means finding a person (or people) to live in your apartment while you're not there, and pay rent.

Q: Wow. That sounds cool. But what if they break my stuff, or drink my milk?

A: If they drink your milk, you should thank them, since your milk is going to be spoiled by the time you get back. If they break your stuff, you can get a security deposit that can cover potential damages.

Q: Subletters sound great! But I need a place to go! Where can I find a job?

A: Many schools have career services professionals who can help you locate opportunities, or at least provide useless lists of nonsense for you to wipe yourself with. They often set up "career fairs" where potential employers come and look for people. Sometimes, you can just call up a public interest organization and offer to work for free. Some schools will even give you a stipend for that.

Q: What is this "public interest" of which you speak?

A: It means legal organizations that do stuff to help people.

Q: Like law firms?

A: Yes, only not evil.

Q: Oh. But all of my friends are working at law firms, and they'll laugh at me if I work for a "public interest" firm.

A: If all your friends were taking horse steroids and laughing at you because you were content to be small and wimpy while they grew a big furry tail, would you take the pills?

Q: Yes. I probably would. I cave into peer pressure easily. That's why I'm at law school.

A: Come on. You wouldn't take horse steroids for real, would you?

Q: I'm at law school, not veterinary school. I don't really know all the facts.

A: Okay. Let me phrase this in a way you might understand, since you're in law school. There are 6 people at the stables. Harry is taking horse steroids, Barry is brushing his tail, Larry is laughing at you, Cary is cutting the pills in half, Gary is going home. What would you do?

Q: I'd kill Colonel Mustard with the candlestick in the broom closet.

A: There was no broom closet in "Clue."

Q: Are you sure?

A: Yes.

Q: Oh. I must be confused.

A: Maybe it's the horse steroids.

Q: Perhaps. Where were we again?

A: I don't remember. So you're cool with all the summer stuff?

Q: Yeah, yeah, I got it. Thanks.

A: No problem.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Thirteen Things to study instead of the 1933 and 1934 Securities Acts

1. The tiles on the ceiling
2. How my mouse cord got so knotted up
3. The slightly rough edge on the back of one of my teeth that my tongue keeps rubbing against
4. The blinking light on my wireless ethernet card
5. The sound of other people turning pages
6. Why there's so much dust in the little holes in my laptop speakers
7. How slowly the sun seems to set if you watch it through the window
8. My fingernails
9. The fingernails of the person sitting across from me in the library
10. Why the air conditioning vent is shaped that way
11. Whether I can make it to Ben & Jerry's before "Free Cone Day" ends at 8:00, and whether there'll be a long line
12. The zipper on my backpack. Zip open. Zip closed. Zip open. Zip closed.
13. The "No New Messages" message in the corner of my Outlook Express :)

Monday, April 26, 2004

Attn: Harvard Law Students and HLS students-to-be

Although it's unlikely that more HLS students read this than our weekly newsletter ("The Adviser") or our automated e-mail announcements about stuff like this ("Flashmod"), perhaps the audience I'm trying to reach is more likely to be found here, so indulge me for a moment as I try to exercise my extracurricular responsibilities:

1. Anyone who might be interested in writing a regular (or irregular) column in The Record newspaper next year, about anything (or nothing at all) including 3Ls who may be interested in writing, pseudonymously or not, about their post-graduation lives and jobs (I think this could be really cool if I could find people willing to contribute), and including 1Ls-to-be who might want to write about 1L life, send me an e-mail.

2. Any 1Ls or 2Ls (or 1Ls-to-be) who want to get involved in the Parody Show writing process, send me an e-mail. We've got a Yahoo group going where we're going to try and get input/ideas/jokes/etc from throughout the law school. A whole continuum of possibilities to be involved, from just contributing some names and stories to really trying to help us write the script.

/end of solicitation
Excerpted from the piece I might run in this week's law school newspaper, although not if I can come up with something better, since this is probably ok but not especially thrilling:

Summer’s Coming!

The driving rain and forty-degree temperatures tell me summer’s close here in Cambridge. The year’s gone almost as fast as the coffee available each morning, even though each class on its own seems to move as slow as the automatic handicapped doors in the student center. As we open our casebooks for the first time all semester and begin studying for exams, a flood of memories fills our heads -- the time we signed up to subcite for the Journal of Unmatched Density thinking it sounded like fun; the time we ran for publicity director of the Students For Negligible Reform thinking it would look good on a resume; the time we went with our friends to the professor’s office hours hoping to extract some exam hints; the time we stepped over the body of the law review editor who’d leaped from the second-floor window of the law review building to his death; and the time we fell asleep on a bean-bag chair in the library and woke up sticky.

We’ll start the summer relieved to be out of the classroom and finally putting our legal education into practice, applying what we’ve learned about sitting in assigned seats, navigating complex and counter-intuitive bureaucratic processes, skating on thin ice (even if that doesn’t make sense, I like the double meaning), and drinking free coffee. But after a few weeks away from this place, I feel confident saying we’ll wish we were back. Our community of highly-motivated largely self-absorbed young people will have been replaced by a community of highly-motivated largely self-absorbed older people; our perhaps-less-than-inspiring extracurricular pursuits will be replaced with perhaps-less-than-inspiring uber-organized mandatory social activities; our inspiring professor mentors will be replaced by people who finished just below them in their graduating classes here or in New Haven and are now actually forced to practice law; an evening at Redline [a Harvard Square bar] will be replaced by evenings redlining; lunch at Finagle-a-Bagel [a Harvard Square bagel shop] will be replaced by lunch at Prepare-a-File-for-Trial; dinner at Brother Jimmy’s [a Harvard Square barbeque joint; part of a chain] will be replaced by dinner with Partner Johnny; and nights in the Hark [our student center] will be replaced by nights in the dark, if you’re in New York and there’s another blackout. [You like the wordplay, don't you?]

I’ll be at a firm this summer, for the first time ever, so I may not be the right person to provide advice about how to make the most of your summer. But why should I let that stop me? So here’s three ideas to make your summer worthwhile:

1. Convince as many paralegals as you can that law school really isn’t the right choice for them. They look up to us; we’re where they wish they might someday be; isn’t that sad? Show them your casebooks. Let them see a copy of a journal and explain to them that the reason that semicolon isn’t there anymore is all thanks to you. See them flee. Save them before it’s too late.

2. Steal stuff. Staplers, post-it notes, personal shredding machines, trophies and plaques from people’s offices, diplomas off the wall, valuable art in the hallways, sensitive documents, the spare $5000 suit in the partner’s closet, a new BMW, the Yankees skybox pass, the pictures of the partner’s children (they won’t notice), the firm’s financial statements, your 43rd-story view. Come on, it’s fun!

3. And, finally, if you’re a high achiever, try and single-handedly undermine the rule of law in just twelve weeks. This is an awesome goal: Can one summer associate alone bring down a nation? Send Polaroid’s secret strategy memo over to Kodak. Send the partner’s uncorrected brief to The Smoking Gun. Tell the client the deposition will be held on the set of The Daily Show. I don’t know how to do it, but maybe you can figure it out. One summer. Make a big mess. You can do it. I have faith.
I want to plug a web site I just found. WhyNot.Net is a companion site to a book called "Why Not?" by Yale professors Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres that I've been meaning to read but haven't yet, but the site has a message board where people can post their ideas for little things that could improve life -- cancelable elevator buttons, alternate commentary tracks on TV sports games, TiVo for car radio, etc. Nalebuff co-wrote a book called "Thinking Strategically" with Princeton professor Avinash Dixit, who I took a class from my freshman year -- the book was really interesting (on game theory and that kind of stuff), so that's why "Why Not?" is on my to-read list... Nalebuff is also the co-founder of Honest Tea, which makes iced tea that isn't sickeningly sweet, and that I kind of like... and that I found cool when I first tried it and figured out it was the same guy who'd co-written the book I'd read. The site's fascinating. Just killed about a half hour of my afternoon reading. The book has moved up on my list of things to read.
2 stories:

1. My Corporations professor calls on people in order of where they sit, going down one row, and then snaking back the next row, etc. He only gets to a handful of people each day and it's a big class, so he made it through once but is only about 1/3 of the way back in his second pass. I sit in the fourth row, second from the end he starts on, and last week he got to the next-to-last person in the row in front of me, so I was going to be third today, and then the rest of my row, etc. So I get to class about a minute and a half late this morning -- it's an 8:30 class; I try -- and my row was *completely empty.* No one was there. At all. My friend who sits next to me did show up about five minutes later, but still, that was 2 out of about 7 in the row -- and I could see the guy in the center section, who surely expected to be safe, since there were 7 people to get through before him, pretty frantically reading ahead, in case he got called on.

During the 10-minute break in the middle of class, I noticed most of my row scattered around the room, just not in their seats -- so they wouldn't get called on (he skips you if he doesn't see you in your seat). It turned out that since tomorrow's the last day of class the professor wanted to get through the material and didn't call on anyone -- so it didn't really matter -- but it seemed awfully silly to me that the rest of my row was so concerned about getting called on. It's not like this professor's questions are particularly vexing, they're just summarize the facts of the case, maybe answer a couple of short questions about them, and he jumps right in with the answer if anyone seems like they have no idea -- so it's not torture. I don't know, called on twice a semester, you can't just suck it up and deal? Silly. Silly silly silly.

2. On the way back from class, I stopped in at a bakery and got a muffin -- I hadn't eaten anything before class. The woman behind me in line ordered a full-size chocolate cake. The guy behind the counter, out of reflex I'm sure, asked if it was for here or to go. The woman exploded at him. "For here. I'm going to eat an entire chocolate cake sitting right here, obviously. It's to go. Clearly. Gosh." And then she muttered something under her breath that is probably unprintable anyway. All that mental energy used up. Wow. Was it worth it? Did she really think he thought she was going to eat the cake there? I bet she beats her kids.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Found a sublessor for the summer. Should make him sign this:

Lawyer's First Sublet Agreement, after taking too many required classes

1. This contract, which serves as the objective manifestation of the subjective intent of Sublessor (S) and Lessor (L), binds Sublessor to pay Lessor three months rent at $X/month, payable in cash, check, or other negotiable instrument. The dollar figure provided is in American currency and is not affected by international exchange rates.

2. Lessor is not liable for any torts or crimes committed by Sublessor while in the apartment, including, but not limited to, manslaughter.

3. This agreement is not to be construed as the creation of an agency or partnership relationship between Lessor and Sublessor, as if that would actually have any bearing on anything.

4. Sublessor will be responsible for tax implications of this arrangement, whatever they might be.

5. No part of this agreement confers any ownership rights on Sublessor, and does not establish the right to any future adverse possession claims.

6. Sublessor has the right to speak in the apartment, at a normal volume, regardless of the content of the speech.

7. If Sublessor invites people over to the apartment, that does not mean it is being opened up as a limited-purpose public forum. Sorry.

8. This agreement is governed by the law of Massachusetts, and any disagreements will be resolved through binding arbitration and an implied term of good faith, which is no longer implied because I'm writing it here.

9. Sign twelve times at the bottom. Thank you.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

As finals loom closer, instead of opening up my Corporations casebook, I decided to go see Harvard's "Freshman Musical," which is a musical written and performed entirely by (undergrad) freshmen. Because seeing this stuff interests me. It was reasonably well-done -- this was the Saturday matinee, so the audience was small (about 75 people in a space that could hold perhaps 500) although I assume it was larger for the Thursday and Friday night shows and will be larger for the fourth and final show tonight. Apparently it's admitted students weekend, and that's an audience they hope to grab -- although there only seemed to be about a dozen admitted students there. It was interesting -- the female admitted students (all of the admitted students seemed to have the same bright red folder, so that's how I could tell) came in as a big group of 6 or 7, all sat together, introduced themselves to the people around them, were very friendly, and looked like they were enjoying themselves immensely. The 4 or 5 male admitted students came in by themselves, sat in seats separated from anyone else, and looked generally uncomfortable and out of place. I don't know why I noticed this -- surely if I was an admitted student I would have looked like the guys did, and would have been too shy to proactively try and make friends with people I didn't know -- but I thought the gender split interesting. The show itself was enjoyable. The music was considerably stronger than the lyrics, the script was fine and occasionally funny, the acting was solid; I was struck by how few singers were in the show -- that is, people who were trusted to sing. There were no less than a dozen and a half actors and actresses, but only 5 sang at all, and really only one guy sang a lot -- he sang perhaps 9 of the 13 songs, or something like that, although a bunch of the songs were more like song-lets. He had a fine voice. The two girls they let sing both had excellent voices. Two other guys sang a little bit. No one else sang at all except as chorus bulk in a couple of numbers. But for a show without any apparent professional influence, it was solid. I enjoyed it, which should really be the measure I guess. And I'm certainly glad I went. So anyone on the Harvard campus reading this who has nothing to do tonight -- I'll give it a plug and recommend it.
It's request day. Scroll down for more.

Request #4: "I request 20 Questions with the Harvard Law School Ice Rink." That sounds like fun; I can do that.

20 Questions with the Harvard Law School Ice Rink

1. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. Was it hard to fit me into your schedule?

No. I'm an ice rink, and it's spring. I've melted. There really isn't much else on my plate. Besides water.

2. What did it feel like to finally get that promotion from little cubes in people's drinks to an ice rink at the world's most prestigious law school?

It felt good. I'd been working hard for this chance for a while. When the Titanic hit my cousin, I was kind of jealous of all the publicity he got, but, as they say, eventually my ship came in as well. And now, I'm the most famous ice rink at any Ivy League law school in the nation. It's quite an honor.

3. How do you feel about the new law clerk hiring plan?

Oh, I don't know much about law clerks. I'm just an ice rink. You're better off asking Howard Bashman or someone like that. Sorry.

4. Who's your favorite skater to have ever skated on top of you?

That would probably have to be the law school dean, since she got off very quickly after the promotional photographs were taken. Lovely woman.

5. Proudest moment?

Killing all the grass underneath me. It was a triumph for ice everywhere.

6. Worst moment?

When they destroyed me after I started to melt. Give an ice rink a break, okay? It was hot, I was sweaty, what do you want me to do? I tried my hardest, but apparently my hardest wasn't good enough for Harvard Law School.

7. You've already said you worked hard to earn the promotion from ice cubes to ice rink, but what was the hiring process like? Was it competitive?

Absolutely. It started off back in college, when I knew that if I wanted to be an ice rink at an Ivy League law school I would need to keep my temperature down and do well on the IRAT (Ice Rink Aptitude Test). I scored a 174, which was 99th percentile, and that was enough to put me in the mix. I submitted my application, including a photo professionally done after a trip to the Zamboni Salon, and a few months later I got the big envelope in the mail. It was an exciting day.

8. How did your family feel?

They were speechless.

9. How about your husband?

He was frozen in place.

10. Your kids?

They were a little cold.

11. Really? Why?

They knew we'd have to move to Cambridge. And they weren't looking forward to the weather. Way too warm. 6 months a year of sunshine and tolerable temperatures. It's just not wicked nasty enough.

12. I see you've picked up some of the lingo. "Wicked"? Have you also become a Red Sox fan?

Oh, no, baseball's not my sport. I'm a huge hockey fan, though. Love them New York Islanders.

13. The Islanders? Really?

Sure. Been a big fan for years. Usually I do a guest stint when their rink gets a fever a few times a year.

14. What's next for you, now that you've been melted down and destroyed?

Well, I'm capitalizing on my notoriety and going on a world tour with the Ice Capades, followed by a stint as guest judge on American Idol.

15. Hmmm. How exactly will that work?

I don't know, but they promised me I wouldn't have to appear with that insipid Simon Cowell. I hate the British. They're more fans of the rain than the ice, I think.

16. What do you like to do in your spare time?

Listen to music.

17. Your favorite artist?

Vanilla Ice, of course.

18. If you could have three people, living or dead, skate on you, who would they be?

Tinkerbell, Eddie Gaedel [a 4' baseball player who appeared once for the St. Louis Cardinals as a pinch hitter, wearing the number 1/8], and Gary Coleman.

19. Why??

They're all small. Big people hurt me when they fall.

20. I understand. Any last words for my readers?


Thanks to the Harvard Law School Ice Rink for talking the time to me. It is appreciated. You can check out the Ice Rink's blog at No, you can't.
It's request day. See below.

Request #3 comes from Matt, who asks for "I want you to write [an entry] entitled "If I Ran the Harvard Law School," in the spirit of Dr. Seuss's "If I Ran the Zoo" and "If I Ran the Circus." Do it in Seussian rhyme, and tell us what you would change about HLS if you were suddenly made Dean."

Well, I asked for it, so I guess I can't complain. I'll do my best, or at least my best given that I'm hungry and want to go eat some lunch pretty soon.

If I Ran The Harvard Law School

If I ran the Harvard Law School
There would not be any grades
All the dorms would be gigantic
And be cleaned by comely maids
All the classes would be shorter
And there'd always be free snacks
There would be no class required
And we would not offer Tax
My admissions process revamp
Would include an interview
The tuition would be lowered
The school year would be shortened too
All the faculty with tenure
Would have no more guarantees
I would hasten global warming
So the winters would not freeze
I would mandate legal ethics
I would kill the law review
I would paint the buildings colors
Maybe yellow, maybe blue
I would make the dining service
Something edible, at least
And each year, on some day special
There would be a giant feast
Where the faculty would mingle
With the students and the staff
We would be one happy family
God forbid, someone might laugh
I would banish all the law firms
There would be no jobs to seek
But if course if I did that
We would be closed within a week.
It's request day. See below.

Request #2 comes from Matthew, who asks, "How about a piece on the first couple weeks of the summer firm job?"

Well, I didn't work at a firm last summer, so I can't really help you yet. I can do some imagining though...

The First 2 Weeks Of A Summer Firm Job, The Really Quick Imaginary Diary

Day 1. I arrived. I got a nametag and a free lunch. They gave me a desk. I met Sally, my assistant who I share with 3 other summer associates. One of them already made her pick up laundry. We had a training session.

Day 2. Free lunch again. I met Bob, the partner I'll be working for. He seems like he's pretty wealthy. His assistant is gold-plated. She got his laundry for him twice today. He told me to read up on International Tax Litigation.

Day 3. Free lunch, dinner, and a Broadway show. I didn't do any work today.

Day 4. Another training session. Learned how to fill out a timesheet. Lunch was catered in. We had our first "Thursday night dinner," which is apparently a summer tradition.

Day 5. One of my fellow associates fell off the yacht they took us on and drowned. Oh well.

Day 6. It's Saturday. I'm at home, sleeping.

Day 7. A bunch of my fellow associates and I went and spent a lot of money doing something frivolous, because our summer salaries are so high.

Day 8. Back in the office. I have to write a memo. I asked someone for help. They helped me. I did some Lexis searching. And some Westlaw searching. And had a free lunch.

Day 9. They took us out for a "Tuesday night dinner," which is apparently a summer tradition. I met some more partners at the cocktail party we had in the afternoon. Bob said he's going to take me out golfing tomorrow.

Day 10. Went golfing with Bob. Worked on my memo. Had some more training.

Day 11. Went golfing with Bob again. Handed in my memo. They said it sucked but it doesn't matter. "Thursday night dinner."

Day 12. Called in sick. Firm sent me flowers. They're very nice. My assistant quit because my fellow associate made her clean his apartment.

Day 13. Saturday. No work, of course. Firm paid for lunch anyway.

Day 14. Ate in exclusive restaurant that was too expensive. Polluted a river. Don't remember how.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Like I said below, having stolen the concept from elsewhere, it's request day here, from now until dinnertime tomorrow.

Request #1 comes from Andy, who asks "I'm requesting more wild and crazy anecdotes about Harvard Law professors."

Andy, most law professors, as I'm sure you know, don't seem too wild and crazy. I had one professor make a joke about condoms that I can't quite remember exactly, and since he's in his 70s, that's pretty wild and crazy I suppose. Our former Dean used to have a beard. That's kind of wild. My Crim Law professor came to class one day holding a dozen red pens, for no obvious reason, and just held onto them the entire class. Which was kind of crazy. My Tax professor occasionally gives out candy, which may seem wild and crazy, and even had the school provide pizza and cookies one day, which is definitely crazy. My Corporations professor occasionally starts class up to 4 minutes late, which is awfully wild for a Corporations professor, although it may have to do with the class being at 8:30 in the morning and the room being half-full. That's all the true stuff I can come up with, but here's some invented stuff:

Ten Marginally Wild And Crazy Things No Professor Of Mine Has Done (Yet)

1. Smiled.
2. Showed us his tattoo of the "section" symbol.
3. Let us out early.
4. Come to class naked.
5. Have class outside.
6. Have class outside in the middle of a snowstorm.
7. Cancel the exam.
8. Lectured while patting head and rubbing stomach at the same time.
9. Used competitor's casebook when he had written one of his own on the subject.
10. Gotten through all of the assigned reading.
My computer has an illness of some sort. Lots of extra programs starting up and running in the background. Spyware, I've been told. I deactivated them from the Startup menu and that seems to be helping, but it feels like a bandaid on a headache, or something like that. But we'll see.

Besides that, I've been thumbing through the course catalog in anticipation of the "General Course Lottery" on Tuesday, which follows the "Legal Profession Lottery," the "2L Bundle Lottery," and the "Clinical Lottery" in the Harvard eighteen-step course selection system. We choose our entire year's schedule at once. And most of the good stuff fills up, so there's a whole science to ranking your choices properly to maximize chances of getting a good schedule. I did pretty well this year, and the stuff I'm looking at for next year mostly isn't on the list of stuff that regularly fills up if not a top choice, so I should be okay. I've found enough of interest to fill a schedule, but not too much beyond that. My usual plan to choose professors over classes works less well when most of the good-reputation professors seem to be on leave and there's tons of visitors from elsewhere. I'll probably end up cross-registering for some credits with classes at the Kennedy School or Business School (if stuff looks interesting) but we can't do that until the fall. In the meantime, my choices look remarkably flaky, at least as compared to what I could be taking -- Evidence, Fed Courts, Admin Law -- none of which sound especially appealing to me. I took Con Law and Bankruptcy last semester and am taking Tax and Corps this semester, so I figure I've taken enough standard stuff. But somehow "Land Use Planning," "Health Care Institutions," "Leadership in the Public Sector," "Legal History," "Law and Psychology," "Economic Regulation of Antitrust," "The Creation of the Constitution," and "American Democracy" all sound kind of liberal-artsy for law school. But those are what sound interesting to me, and if I'm not going to take the classes that sound interesting, why should I even bother taking any? Yes, I like that theory, even if it makes no sense.

Tonight, I'm having dinner with some relatives in Newton, a train ride which will take longer than I'm giving it. I'm bringing a library book to read on the train -- Gregg Easterbrook's "The Progress Paradox," which I'm 20 pages into so far, and it's really interesting. Yes, this is the kind of stuff I read for pleasure. I'll post a review tonight or tomorrow, assuming it doesn't put me to sleep on the train. Either that, or I'll post a review of this week's New York magazine, if I change my mind and decide not to try and read a real book on the subway. :)

Also: Scheherazade did an "all-request" blog day on Wednesday that was sort of a cool concept. So I'll make the next 24 hours all-request. You e-mail me a request -- to answer a question, to write a song parody, to post the number of pairs of socks I have (what??), I'm all yours. Go. (If no one e-mails, or even if some people e-mail, I'm going to make up some requests, so be ready for that. Maybe a Zoomerang quiz to tell the real from the fake, since the last Zoomerang poll went pretty nicely.)

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Someone e-mailed me the other day asking if I had any advice as far as what to do to prepare for law school. Here was my reply, which I figured I'd post because it might be useful to other 1Ls-to-be:

I spent 2 or 3 days during the summer before law school skimming some free commercial outlines I found on the Internet about the classes I'd be taking, just to get a vague idea what I'd be learning. I found that was more than enough preparation, and actually did sort of make me familiar with some new words and ideas that came in handy to be able to follow the material right away. More than that would seem unnecessary. Honestly, I can't think of anything necessary to do to prepare for law school -- they assume you know nothing when you start, and you never know what your professors are going to emphasize and how they're going to teach the subjects anyway. Certainly any kind of pre-law class would undoubtedly be a waste of money and time. People make a big deal about study skills and that stuff, but it's not much different from college, I don't think. Anything beyond buying some highlighters and notepads would seem like more than what's necessary. Get the rest of your life in order, I guess -- and make a conscious effort in the first few weeks to have a balanced life and not spend all of your energy on law school or you'll be miserable. I don't know... it's just school... people make way too big a deal out of it. You could absolutely walk in completely cold, knowing nothing, having done nothing at all to prepare, and you'll be in no worse shape than anyone else. Really.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Scheherazade has a great post about billable hours and what it means and how lawyers deal with it and why she finds it frustrating... basically it's a billable hours primer for people like me who have no clue, and perhaps people like you. So check it out.
I need a very brief bit of very non-serious advice, by 3:00 this afternoon. In this week's law school newspaper, should I run "Wexis Training" (see directly below) or "A Job Advice Session for the Soul-less" (scroll down just a bit for Monday)? (Both very shortly below) My worry with "Job Advice" is that it's kind of angry, and people could take it the wrong way. My worry with "Wexis" is that it's not as good. I'm not going to promise to take whatever advice this poll yields, but it may help. So if you're so inclined.... This also gives me an opportunity to try something I've been thinking about for a while -- an online poll. So go here to take my one-question, completely anonymous, three-second, multiple choice survey, if you want. If there's something un-fun about Zoomerang, let me know so I don't use it again.

UPDATE: It's now 3:15, and I'm heading over shortly to the newspaper to place my column. The Zoomerang poll was 26-16, so there was a clear winner, but not overwhelmingly so. Which at least makes me feel like neither one would be *terrible* to run. Thanks to the 42 people who voted -- it's appreciated. Feel free to continue to vote, since I'm curious if the results will hold.

FURTHER UPDATE: I did a rewrite on both and combined them into one two-part column, thus removing the need for the poll at all, although it did tell me they were both decent, so that was helpful. I've made the Job Advice one slightly more palatable (for me) by replacing the bottom few paragraphs with this:

Look, maybe these really are good tips to find success in the workplace. Maybe the people who scheme and manipulate do find their way to the top. But if so, isn’t that a problem to fix and not a situation to merely accept? Perhaps ought we be working to figure out why integrity and success can’t go hand in hand, if in fact they can’t, instead of giving out revolting advice like this and encouraging everyone to make the world a more cynical and unpleasant place?

If the session was wrong, and we don’t need to sacrifice decency and integrity to have a successful career, then OCS should certainly be ashamed. But if the session was right, I think the law school should be even more ashamed, because if we’re not the people who can change the status quo, and make these places better, then who will? I believe the law school has a duty to teach us not just how to be good lawyers, but to avoid turning us into bad people in the process. I left the OCS session feeling dirty. Shameful.
The last line I'll change before it runs -- just a placeholder for now.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Wexis Training

"Thanks for coming to Wexis training, even though your firm is forcing you. I'm a relentlessly happy woman earning a substandard salary in a soul-numbing job that involves spending my entire workweek demonstrating how to search for stuff in an electronic database, with my only joy coming in the pleasure on students' faces when I give them free Wexis points that they can redeem for booze and hookers. You, checking your e-mail, here's 100 points just for smiling. Thanks.

As a reward for attending this Wexis training session, you have your choice of a Wexis t-shirt, coffee mug, set of pillowcases, money clip, or pet sterilization device. Please indicate your choice by logging into your account, clicking on the bright green button, scrolling down to the row labeled "Wexis is God. God is Wexis," and selecting your choice. While you ponder the options, I will be passing around a brochure, entitled, "Decoding the Wexis pricing plan in such a way that your firm thinks you're really efficient but Wexis gets to buy another island in the Caribbean."

I can see with my magic Wexis x-ray glasses that you're all selected your choice. Here's twenty more points for each of you. They're like crack. Now I'd like you all to click on preferences, and repeat after me: "I prefer Wexis. I prefer Wexis." You'll notice a line that asks whether you'd like to choose "time billing" or "transactional billing." Right now, as we bait the hook and reel you in, everything is free. But once you?re at a firm, everything costs a lot of money, because the marginal cost of database access is tremendous.

And while it's true that most firms pay a flat rate larger than the nation's GDP to have unlimited access to Wexis, they pass those costs to their clients with a substantial markup, so it's important to bill for as many searches as possible. Except that some clients are naughty boys and girls and they read their bills carefully and get mad when the charges are too high. Wexis wishes those clients would disappear, and is working on a Wexis client disappearing tool that you will soon be able to buy for just a few hundred Wexis points. The key, therefore, is billing as much as possible up until the point where the clients won't pay. It's like The Price is Right: find the highest cost without going over. And everything in today's Showcase Showdown is available using Wexis points. You, with the scowl on your face, here's 100 Wexis points just for not strangling me. Thanks.

We're going to start the search by clicking on "Find Some Crap," which is the red button fourteenth from the left. Clicking on this button will cost $87.50. Click twenty-one times. Now. Great. You, with your pants around your ankles, here's a hundred Wexis points just because I think you're neat. Thanks. Searching in the largest database, "All Cases, Ever," will cost $4,537 per search. But you can save your firm money by choosing a narrower database. Searching in "Justice Thompson's cases from last Wednesday? will only cost $2,719. See, a comparative bargain!
You can use "Search Destroyer" to add irrelevant terms to your search query and bring back fewer results for you to wade through in search of the applicable law. Also try "Restrict at Random" to get a sampling of cases which may or may not be useful. Clicking on "Can't Focus" will make the screen wobble back and forth, simulating how you would feel if you were me, conducting hundreds of legal searches each day, and receiving a salary entirely in Wexis points.

Clicking on "Key Search" will let you find the narrow area of the law that your topic may fall into, by 32-digit code number. Clicking on "Key Lime" will make a pie come out of your speakers. Clicking on "Key West" will enter you in the Wexis "Trip to Florida" contest. Under the "Shred A Document" tab, you will be able to remove cases from our database so your fellow summer associates won't be able to find them and you'll pass them on the firm's ranking charts, which are available on Wexis for an additional fee. You, with the facial moles, here's 100 Wexis points so you can try to get that fixed.

Clicking on "Live Support" will put you in touch with a Wexis representative, who is available for free research consultations, or, at a cost of $4.95/minute, massage with release. She will also have the code for the secret Lexis porn database, searchable by keyword, gender, or illegality by jurisdiction.

Finally, click on "History" to read the inspiring story of a legal researcher who woke up one morning and decided to start making monopoly profits by putting every published opinion on the Internet and charging obscene amounts for access. You can print his story for later enjoyment, at the standard rate of $3/line. That's also how much cocaine costs, subsidized with a portion of your Wexis points.

I'm glad to have had the chance to talk to you today about Wexis, the greatest thing ever. Enjoy your summers!"
Blog recommendation -- The Uncivil Litigator, an anonymous lawyer somewhere who seems like a pretty decent guy, for a lawyer. :)
In response to my post about career advice (below), a friend e-mailed:

Harvard's duty isn't to compel consenting adults (some of whom are good people, some of whom aren't) to be better people--this isn't kindergarten, and we don't take classes on the value of being true to yourself. Harvard meets its obligation by presenting us with a variety of theories of success (some of which you might find revolting).
I'm not sure about this one. I'd like to think Harvard, and all educational institutions, have something of a duty to better society, and I'm not sure it betters society to advise people to be jerks in order to get ahead in their careers. I don't know. And I'm not sure a couple of classes on being true to yourself, whatever that means, would be such a bad idea.
Unlearned Hand has a great post about law students and the transformation from "I want to do public interest" to "I just took my law firm offer" perhaps being too quick for some, and without the self-reflection it might deserve:

my objection is that law school does not encourage law students to actively make that choice, to engage in the debate.... Instead, there is a one-way locomotive headed for Destination Law Firm. As such, many students never decide that a law firm is right for them. They just go with the flow and that's where they end up. I suppose I'm partially objecting just on autonomy grounds, lamenting the lack of conscious decision-making.
I don't really have a ton to add to what he's got there... I'll agree that law schools really don't encourage that type of thinking, and there really is a push toward the big firms that you have to expend much energy and resist much pressure to avoid.

Waddling Thunder, who also has a post from today pointing to my post below about the job advice session -- he was there too and also found it pretty appalling, writes that he doesn't really have any moral qualms about working for a firm despite that the argument can be made that they sometimes defend people and companies who do bad things. One thing he writes (and UH quotes it in his post) gives me pause, though:

the moment lawyers begin making self righteous judgments more than very occasionally about who we are and aren't going to represent zealously, we endanger the rule of law.
Maybe this makes me a bad law student, but I don't know what this means. I don't believe that I have at any point in the past two years reflected on "the rule of law" and who deserves to be represented by lawyers and who doesn't, and whether society would fall apart if we didn't let tobacco companies have lawyers. This may just mean Waddling Thunder is better suited for this law stuff, which may be the case. But I wonder whether my lack of reflection over whether concerns about the rule of law can trump any moral qualms about law firms is atypical.

Monday, April 19, 2004

A 'Job Advice' Session for the Soul-less

"Go to firm social events, and collect information from what people say when they're drunk - but you can't be hammered yourself." This is apparently what the Office of Career Services exists to tell us. At today's session, "What Law School Doesn't Teach You, But You Really Ought To Know," I learned that I should spend my summer lying, manipulating, brown-nosing, scheming, and "the most important rule: don't be yourself" in order to ensure my law firm success. Aside from the shameful fact that there are actually people who will take this advice and become just a few more examples of why people hate lawyers, it's even more shameful that the school has its name on the session. If my tuition is paying for this, I want my money back. We should aim higher than this.

"I'm going to teach you how to turn fabulous opportunities into great careers," we were told. And how to turn pounds of raw meat into delicious beef jerky in just twenty-five minutes with the brand-new, state-of-the-art deluxe Food Dehydrator. "It's not how smart you are. It's how smart people think you are. It's not how hard you work - it's how hard people think you work." Come on. "Don't be yourself, and don't follow your instincts." In other words, be phony and disingenuous. Exactly the kind of person everyone loves to be around.

"Students often ruin their image by making casual comments around the office. If someone asks you how you like the job, say 'I'm learning a lot,' even if what you're thinking is 'I'm learning a lot about how I don't want to work here.'" At this point in the session, I was learning a lot. I was learning a lot about sad the world is, and how pathetic it is that someone thought this was something students would benefit from. Here are some more things I'm going to say when they ask me how my summer is going - not lies, of course - just ways of "disguising the truth" - "I've never had an experience quite like this," "It's certainly been something," "What a great question," and "Pardon? I'm not quite sure I caught that."

"Always carry a copy of the evaluation criteria with you - so you can constantly check that you're getting the right experience. Keep a file, and write down every compliment you get." November 13, 1:25 P.M. Paralegal said she liked my tie. November 14, 2:03 P.M. Senior partner thanked me for holding the door for him. November 15, 9:17 A.M. Fifth-year associate said I have nice penmanship. What exactly is the file for? Creeping people out, or evidence for the wrongful termination lawsuit after you're accidentally "yourself" one day and tell someone you think you might be coming down with a cold. Tsk, tsk.

"Make friends with the support staff to get gossip... one associate [bribed them with] muffins every week." Wait, wait, wait - so you're not supposed to make real friends at work - "work is not a confessional" - but you're supposed to make friends to the extent they can feed you gossip (if you feed them muffins). Got it. Personal integrity, no, I don't think you're part of this session, sorry.

"Never get defensive when people are criticizing your work." "If someone comes back to you and says you did something wrong, you should just show them the e-mail you sent them to confirm the assignment, and prove [they're the ones wrong]." Uh, consistency? "Not my fault - the e-mail I sent you said THIS!" sounds pretty defensive to me.

Bottom line: I think this stuff is awful. I think that the law school underestimates us if they think any advice like this is helpful advice, and should be ashamed if they think that this advice in particular is appropriate, dignified, or even any good. The workplace environment the speaker would like us to create is an environment I can't imagine anyone finding fulfilling, enjoyable, or even tolerable, whether a law firm or any place of business. My "most important rule" from now on: don't go to sessions like these (unless you need to write a column).
Another 20 Questions from Howard Bashman to a judge, this time a federal district court judge, whose answers make him sound like a quite pleasant person.
Two people told me my weblog was ugly (although they liked the content). So I've changed the background color from gray to blue. So if you're noticing something looks different, you're right. Anyone who wants more radical change is going to need to volunteer to html-code it. :) Seriously, let me know if you want the gray background back, or any other minor suggestions that I can reasonably do without much risk of messing other stuff up.
Oh Well, At Least I Tried

The New York Times has an article in Monday's paper about BloggerCon, which I wrote about below. I had my fingers crossed that I would get quoted in the article, which would have been so freaking awesome, but it was not to be. During the "Blogging as Business" session, I got there after all of the seats were filled and sat on the floor near the front of the room. A few minutes later, a woman got there and squeezed in next to me. Her nametag labeled her as Julie Flaherty, New York Times. "Serendipity," I thought to myself. "Somehow, I must at least make an attempt to get quoted in her article, because that would be ridiculously cool." So, I carefully formulated a pithy soundbite: "Writing a weblog is fun; talking about weblogs, not so much." And at one particularly boring moment during the discussion, she turned over in my direction, and I caught eye contact, and decided to share my "spontaneous" thought. She laughed, and wrote it down. And asked me my name. And wrote it down. "Cool!" I thought. A minute later, getting greedy, I formulated another pithy sound bite after someone mentioned they spend 5-6 hours a day trying to sell ads on their site. "Blogging is supposed to be fun. People want to make money doing it because it's fun. Selling ads 6 hours a day doesn't sound like fun. It sounds like work." She scribbled that down too. I figured if I said anything else she'd think I was just being annoying, or trying to get quoted. Or maybe she figured that all along, since she didn't use my quotes in the article. But the article was short, and she had lots of pages of notes she took. I wasn't really expecting to get quoted, but it would have been so, so, so, so cool. I'm a little disappointed. But I can't feel too bad. At least I tried. I would've been annoyed at myself had I not at least tried. At least she laughed and wrote it down. That made my day at least a little bit.

NOTE 1: One particular blog mentioned in the article currently gets an average of 367 visits/day, its sitemeter says, with about 450 on a weekday. I am profoundly curious what happens to that number over the next few days, based on the article. I have no idea how to predict how many NYTimes readers will follow the link, especially readers not reading online, but I am really, really curious.

NOTE 2: I'm sort of heartened by the fact that one person there, who was *clearly* trying to impress the NY Times reporter, and went so far as to pass her a note -- and he actually runs a real business that does stuff, so it might have been legitimate to quote him -- is not mentioned in the article. Good for Julie Flaherty!

Sunday, April 18, 2004

I don't know what's up with all of these short posts today. Anyway. Today is admitted students day here. I sat at a table for the a cappella group and talked to about 4 potential students who sing. I wasn't particularly energetic. Kind of sleepy and unengaged, I don't know. There are people better at acting excited than I am. Anyway, it was cool to see lots of people milling around who will soon start law school. If any prospective Harvard students have stumbled on here and have any questions, I'm happy to answer them as best I can without making things up and pretending that if you got into Harvard and Yale you should obviously choose Harvard, because I really don't know which one you should choose, whether it matters, why it would matter, and what's different there. e-mail
In some sort of weird cosmic coincidence, my grandmother went to see some show today and found herself sitting next to a friend of one of my friends. I actually don't find it at all strange that they were able to figure out this connection, because my grandmother is blessed with the awesome ability to engage strangers in conversation and immediately make a new friend. Amazing.
Thought of the day: the first between Westlaw and Lexis to include a selection of pornography in their online databases will be the one that breaks out of the fierce competition between the two of them and conquer the market.
Random but interesting: my Harvard classmate Ory has a post about "mitumba," used clothing in Kenya. Her blog is called "Kenyan Pundit," and probably should have gotten a link from me a while ago.
The Jewish Law Students Association Boat Cruise I went on last night was fun. I made the observation that one song the DJ on a boat would do well to avoid playing is the theme from "Titanic." Although the weather, unusually for Boston, was nothing approaching iceberg weather. I suppose icebergs are big enough they don't just melt on the first day it's warm though.
For more on BloggerCon (see my post below for what the heck I'm talking about) -- see BuzzMachine, which is the blog of Jeff Jarvis, who facilitated the session on "blogging as business," and, despite my skepticism about the prevailing wisdom of the room, I thought he did a marvelous job moderating and engaging and making the session the most interesting one I sat in on.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Usually the lack of posts all day means that I've had nothing to say. But today I've actually been away from my room, attending a couple of the sessions at BloggerCon, a conference of bloggers (I know, that sounds soooo dorky) hosted by the Berkman Center here at Harvard. It was free -- otherwise it would have really been a Blogger Con -- and I didn't pre-register, so I didn't get a cool nametag that labeled me as being a person who decided to spend a bit this beautiful Saturday sitting in classrooms listening to people talk about how weblogs are transforming the universe.

But I got to meet a few people I hadn't met before (if I was trying to be slick, I would link each word of 'a few people' to the site of a different person I met, but I'm not, so I won't). Including Scheherazade, who I've linked to a bunch and is even cooler in person that on her site. And TPB, a divorce lawyer from New Jersey, who I've never linked to before, but who was also nice to meet. I also met a couple of other people, but no one else whose sites I've ever read, so they don't get links. :) Although I'm probably going to browse through the list of attendees on the BloggerCon site (I'm not there -- in case you're looking -- because I didn't register) and see if the people who came off during the conference sessions as articulate and interesting also come off that way on their weblogs -- and -- of course -- the inverse. Which is more fun. I'll link to anything particularly amusing I find.

What struck me overall about the conference was how weighted the audience was toward adults. I say adults because I think of myself as a 12-year-old, but I mean people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s. And people who don't do what I do -- who don't just write some stuff about their lives and hope it's interesting and try to build up a readership. It was people on the technology end of things -- using blogs in their workplaces, programming new blog tools, making new blog applications, selling blog ads, aggregating blogs into communities of blogosphomy (I'm making up that word, but I like it), and people (trying to be) on the business end of things -- wanting to either "use" blogs in their businesses to help achieve some other goal, like more sales, or more customer feedback. Or people who want to make money as a full-time blogger, who want to sell ads on their blog, and sell subscriptions, and migrate their blogs to paying hosts. Basically, people who saw blogs certainly not as just a cool thing to do, and not even just as a means to an end (like the magic wish that a writer for the Daily Show will stumble on my site and hire me to write for them), but as an industry that they wanted to make their business.

I don't think I buy this.

And here's why. It's very clear to me why having a weblog is rewarding. It's very clear to me why someone might want to make money with one. But to jump from there directly to trying to form a trade organization (which was one idea that got a bunch of talk), or trying to standardize ad sizes, or counters, or get group health insurance -- it seems to ignore the crucial question. What are blogs providing that people would legitimately want to pay for? In business, I imagine they're a hindrance more than a help. Reading and writing takes time. As a replacement for an internal message board, fine. As a new consumer helpline, fine. But these aren't new paradigms, they're just a new form for old stuff and not providing any huge new killer value. Not in business, it's a substitute, in most cases, for specialized magazines and newspapers. There was talk in one session about "competing" with old media, like the New York Times and ABC News. Come on. Those organizations have infrastructure, have capital, and -- I think most important -- have credibility. Blogs -- not even the biggest ones -- aren't competing with the New York Times. They're competing with fringe magazines and journals for people's "extra" attention -- maybe. Like I might read some weblogs instead of reading the Utne Reader (I have never read the Utne Reader, but my 11th grade English teacher did, and so I assume it's some high-brow literary publication -- if it's not, and if it's offensive in some way to anyone, I apologize, and please sub in "The Weekly Standard" instead, which may actually be offensive to more people), if I find weblogs that are good enough. Maybe. Maybe that's the attention base. Maybe I'd pay $30 a year total to have access to every weblog I read. Not if I was paying for Internet access in the first place though. is not replacing the New York Times. is not replacing Consumer Reports. At least not now. And not unless people start their thinking at the level of making killer content instead of coming up with killer ways to make money with Amazon's referrer program and ad clickthroughs.

At least I don't think so. Then again, when I was 12 I predicted computers would never last. So what do I know.

I love the New York Times. The New York Times has survived radio, TV, and the Internet. Instapundit is not replacing the New York Times anytime soon.

I'll have more on the conference later -- especially if anyone links to this post and responds. In the meantime, I'm off to the Jewish Law Students Boat Cruise, which I'll also post about later. Nice day for it, at least.
I posted this over at De Novo last night but figured it was funny enough to post here too. :)

I read somewhere the other day that the Air America Network, the liberal radio network with Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo designed to compete with Rush Limbaugh and his fellow conservative radio talk show hosts, had missed some payments and was off the air in some big cities. The article also emphasized that Franken and his fellow hosts don't have much experience in radio and haven't been taking best advantage of the medium. I don't have a link for you. In fact, I only mention it because it gives me an excuse to try and be funny. Emphasis on "try."

The Air America Radio Network: Programming Schedule for Saturday April 17

6:00 AM -- "Liberal Morning," the show where radio personalities describe what they see as they watch the sun rise through a smog-filled sky made filthy by corporate polluters who get tax breaks.
8:00 AM -- Listen to a man who looks like George Bush get pies thrown at him.
9:00 AM -- Hear the sounds of endangered species over the radio dial for an hour.
10:00 AM -- Game Show: Who's More Liberal, with Ted Kennedy and Dennis Kucinich
11:00 AM -- Yelling at Republicans
Noon -- "Lunchtime on the Streets," the show where poor people complain that they have no food because the Republicans don't care about them.
1:00 PM -- Three hours of reminiscing about how wonderful Jimmy Carter was.
4:00 PM -- "The day the Republicans ended the world," a radio drama featuring the voices of Barbra Streisand and James Brolin.
6:00 PM -- "You may be eating dinner, but only if you're rich."
7:00 PM -- One hour of reflection: this week, we'll be listening for an hour to a tape of Michael Moore snoring.
8:00 PM -- Listen to someone throwing darts at pictures of Dick Cheney
9:00 PM -- Alternative Family storytime.
11:00 PM -- Obscenity, because the first amendment still exists. For now.

Friday, April 16, 2004

It's about 4 weeks until my first exam, which is when my Four Week Exam Plan gets started. Here's how it goes:

Day 1: Organize notes. Make sure I'm not missing any. Look under my bed if any are missing. Shake hard drive. Check garbage pail. Ask friends for copies of theirs. Try not to lose them too.
Day 2: Get some outlines off the Internet. Feel productive while downloading lots of stuff I'm never going to read.
Day 3: Sneak into journals office late at night and print outlines for free. Never tell anyone I do this. Oops.
Day 4: Go to bookstore. Look at study guides. Memorize without buying. Go back five minutes later, ashamed of myself, and buy study guides. Feel bad for the rest of the day.
Day 5: Pick a treatise, get it from the library, and pretend to read it cover to cover.
Day 6: Print out every practice exam I can find and will never actually do. Feel productive while stapling them.
Day 7: Condense notes into an outline. Get tired on page 3. Use outline I downloaded instead. Feel productive while going through downloaded outline line by line correcting typos.
Day 8: Catch up on reading for semester.
Day 9: Look for notes I lost since Day 1 when I had them all neatly in a pile.
Day 10: Go to professor's office hours hoping to extract clue about exam questions. Fail miserably, but feel productive for having tried.
Day 11: Restaple stuff.
Day 12: Read another treatise.
Day 13: Do a practice exam. Convince myself that if I had a model answer to look at, mine would be just as good.
Day 14: Try the outline thing again. This time get to page 8. Decide you really want to have a small outline. 50 words or less. Feel productive for making a completely useless 50-word outline.
Day 15: Pretend I don't have an exam in less than two weeks. Read US Weekly, TV Guide, or something else really vapid.
Day 16: Wake up refreshed after a day off. Realize how good that felt. Take another day off.
Day 17: Two practice exams. Compare answers with the dumbest friend I can find. Feel satisfied I'm not as dumb as he is.
Day 18: Make some new outlines. Fail miserably.
Day 19: Read the outlines I downloaded, and the commercial study guides I shamefully purchased. Convince myself I know this stuff.
Day 20: Re-read the outlines. Realize nothing stuck. Bang head against wall.
Day 21: E-mail friends at other law schools for their outlines, just for the heck of it. Print them out and immediately throw them away.
Day 22: Practice exam and interminable session with smart friends where we go over answers. Feel satisfied I'll have a happier life than they will.
Day 23: Lots of sleep. For no particular reason.
Day 24: Catch up on American Idol recaps on the Internet.
Day 25: Final attempt to make useful outline. Sort of helps. Feel productive.
Day 26: Last practice exam.
Day 27: Lots of Vitamin C.
Day 28: Take exam. Cry myself to sleep.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

One of my friends and fellow law students here has my eternal gratitude for something very, very small, but very, very important. I've written (once) before (a long time ago) about the sad state of the little red mouse nub in the middle of my laptop keyboard. While I use a "normal" mouse (I don't know what that means, but it's a normal mouse, like it fits in the palm of my hand and rolls around) when I'm home, during class I'm forced to use the little eraser-like nub to make the cursor move. And, for about the past year or so (my laptop's almost 4 years old... actually, its birthday is coming up in just two months... I should get it something special, like a CD burner), my red mouse nub has becoming more and more fragile. No, fragile is too polite. Destroyed. It had a little rip, which became a bigger rip, which became quite a decent-sized tear. And the fuzzy surface on top wore down to be smooth and shiny. Making it hard to get rolling. And making the thing pop off the laptop once a class or so, and make me scramble around on the floor to find it. Fun stuff. Anyway, my friend had an extra one, from a time when he had to order one for his laptop and they came in a pack of thirty or something unnecessary like that. And now I have a brand new gray mouse nub, and, despite its lack of color, it's very lovely.
A discussion in tax class yesterday and today about how if people (like OJ Simpson's neighbors, who actually litigated this) live in a house near a high-profile murder than causes their property value to fall, does that count a "casualty loss" defined as stuff like fire, flood, tornado. (The answer: no) But we learned in class that two people's parents live in or near houses or apartments that were once the sites of murders. Fun. Other things that cause property values to fall but are probably not casualty losses:

Loud dogs
Ugly plants
Ugly dogs
Loud plants
Unseasonably cold temperatures
Lingering manure smell from nearby stables
Surly mailman
Lousy school system
Nuclear war

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The Law School is having a talent show later this month. It's called the Law-lapalooza. Not a great name choice, IMHO.
Jesse Ventura Speaks At the Law School

Here's most of an article I'll have in the law school paper this week about a brown-bag lunch today with former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. He was a pretty interesting guy.

“I tell the truth,” said former professional wrestler and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, at the start of his brown-bag lunch with members of the Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law (CSEL) on Tuesday. Ventura briefly discussed his career and then spent almost 90 minutes fielding a variety of questions from students, in a freewheeling discussion that touched on subjects as diverse and controversial as steroid use in professional sports, the California recall election, his wrestling career, President Bush, organized religion, the second amendment, and his current experience as a resident scholar at the Kennedy School of Government.

“People tell me wrestling is fake… I take offense to that,” Ventura said. “We put our bodies on the line. If something goes wrong and someone gets paralyzed, that’s not fake.” He explained that during halftime at professional basketball games, sometimes a man on a trampoline will come out to perform, and “he’s called an artist. But I’d like to see the trampoline artist miss the trampoline and land on the floor and then we’ll see how much of an artist he is.”

Ventura said that for thirty years wrestling has been the third largest spectator sport behind NASCAR and horse racing, “and horse racing only because you can bet.” In part, he said the popularity can be explained because wrestling is year-round. “The NBA gets three months off… we don’t take off for the summer.”

About professional wrestling, he said that only the finishes were planned out, but everything else in the ring was ad-libbed. In noisy arenas, he said, you could whisper the next moves to your opponent. Above all, “protect your opponent’s body like it’s yours.”

Because of the grueling schedule, wrestlers, he acknowledged, have been particularly prone to using steroids and other drugs. Ventura said “something like 57 pro wrestlers have died before age 52 – well-trained athletes,” and he blames the early deaths largely on drugs. “People live for the now, the glory, no one knew the long-term problems… and now you see wrestlers dropping dead,” Ventura said. He doesn’t believe the problem can ever be solved: “the steroids are always one step ahead of the testing… [like] human growth hormone stuff where they turn you into chimpanzees.” He acknowledged he tried testosterone a few times. “[Steroids] do work. I was bench pressing 315 pounds and within 30 days I was up to 390… Testosterone is the one steroid your wife’ll remind you to take because your sexual prowess goes up strongly,” he said.

Ventura criticized those who say Ralph Nader ought not run for President. “Nobody owns your vote. This nonsense that he spoiled the election… Gore didn’t win in his home state. [Or] if he had won Bill Clinton’s Arkansas, he would have won the election… And that idiotic electoral college. It served its purpose long ago. How can [Gore] get 500,000 more votes and lose?” Ventura asked.

He said he initially thought the Reform Party would grow into a legitimate third party, but “Ross Perot, he had it, he killed it, it’s sad… it’s about Ross Perot and his ego… when I won [in Minnesota] he hated me because I took publicity from Perot.”

About the current election, he said the difference between Bush and Kerry is “like Coke and Pepsi” and both have been paid off by the same lobbyists anyway. “Will someone tell me how the President creates jobs without expanding government?” he asked. “I’m gonna create three million jobs, they say – well, name me one.” He said if he was running he would attack Bush “for not being a conservative when it comes to economics” since Bush has grown government spending by more than 20%.

Ventura called the California recall election “a complete misuse… [It] made a signature more powerful than a vote. How hard is it to get any idiot in a shopping mall to sign on a line?” He asked, “How many Californians are here? You should be ashamed.” He recalled that reporters would ask him how he felt about Arnold Schwarzenegger doing what he had done, and he would say, “Arnold’s not doing what I did. I ran in a real election against two endorsed candidates and beat them, not this recall nonsense.”

He talked about kids today and tattoos: “Don’t they realize it’s permanent? I can’t believe how kids tattoo themselves like that…. Wait until your kids say, mom, dad, what’s up with that?”

Asked about his varied career, Ventura said, “I haven’t embraced the concept of reincarnation… until I do, I’m going to do everything possible on this planet. I get bored. I want to try something new…. This summer, I’m going to do nothing. Fish, golf, drive my new Porsche. It cost me more than my first two houses.”

Finally, Ventura was asked about his time at the Kennedy School. “There’s nothing more gratifying than to pass on your knowledge to the next generation,” he said. “I did the Hasty Pudding Show and it was the first time I ever dressed in drag. I don’t know where they get those size 13 heels. They said a transvestite store.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Fire Alarm

I was in class this afternoon and the fire alarm rings. It was a siren sound, a few times, and some lights flashing. And then the siren stops, and an automated voice comes in over the loudspeaker. If this was a real emergency (it turned out to -- apparently -- be nothing, although they evacuated the building, firemen came, but ten minutes later we were all back inside), we'd all be fried, because we'd still be listening to the long-winded automated emergency voice. Which said -- and I think I'm only barely exaggerating:

The sound you just heard indicated the emergency response system has activated. Following this brief message, the alarms will sound again. You should calmly pack up your things, grab all of your belongings, and slowly exit the building through the nearest door in an orderly fashion. Once the emergency situation has been resolved, the alarms will stop sounding, and you will be allowed back into the building. Please follow the instructions of the emergency personnell, as they will instruct you on the proper steps to take once you have calmly and carefully exited the building. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. We hope to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. Watch your step. Happy Holidays. God Bless America.
OK, the last part was an exaggeration. But, come on, we all know what a fire alarm means. "Get out of the building. Now." If they must have an automated voice, that's all it needs to say. I know professors are paid by the word, but fire alarms??
Westlaw Training Session: Prepare to Practice

The firm I'll be working for this summer (as well as every other firm in the world, it seems, so nothing unusual) asked its summer associates to take an hour of Westlaw and Lexis training at school sometime before the end of the year. My Lexis training is scheduled for next week, but I just finished the Westlaw one, and thought I'd report.

People completely in the dark: Westlaw and Lexis are competing legal research databases. They are virtually identical except one uses quotation marks to denote a phrase and the other assumes the quotation marks even if you don't put them in. They're free to law students but expensive to law firms, so they want to get you "hooked" (as opposed to going to actual books and searching by hand) so they make lots of money from firms.

But: most firms actually pay a flat fee, so your searches don't cost them *added* money -- BUT the way they bill their clients is to tell them what it would have cost if not for the flat fee... so, since clients don't like seeing big "legal research" tabs on their bill, the encouragement is to keep the cost down... BUT, since it seems that the firms turn a profit on this stuff, I can't imagine they want you to keep the cost down too much. Clearly, I'm a little confused on the motivations and incentive structure here. Nevertheless, I take at face value that the point of the training session was to teach us how to save money on Westlaw, but not so much money that Westlaw still doesn't make a huge amount of money, and inspire your loyalty so the firm continues to pay the flat fee, which approaches three zillion dollars a year.

Things I learned from the Westlaw representative teaching the class:
*You can either select to have your research charged by the minute, or by the transaction.
*If you select, by the minute, you pay approximately (all of these numbers are approximate, she said) 80 cents a minute for doing nothing. You then pay an added fee on top of that whenever you're in a particular database -- so "all Federal cases" would be $8.75/minute, but a smaller database like "all Massachusetts" might just be $4.00/minute.
*Hearing about these insane per-minute charges may make you want to be billed by transaction. Ha. The federal database will cost about $75.00/search, but the Massachusetts "only" about $35.00 per search. "So choose the smallest database possible."
*If you deign to print a document off of Westlaw, you will be charged 3 cents per line, or $5.50 per document, your choice. So start counting lines. Or just cut and paste into Word and they'll never know.
*A few things are free. Their help line, 1-800-REF-ATTY (which, with the dash moved just one space over, is 1-800-RE-FATTY, which is funnier) is free. Also apparently if you are not logged into Westlaw and not searching, there is no "you are not using us now" surcharge.
*Anytime you click on anything blue (that's what she said, I don't know), it's $5.50. That means cases and stuff.
*Linking from a table of contents, also $5.50.
*Each KeyCite citation is $4.75, but in the per-minute pricing it's $4.50 a minute, so make your choice wisely.
*Accessing your research history is free.

In the session, we went through a "sample case" about someone being deported after conviction of a felony. I wonder if the felony was stealing legal research.

Monday, April 12, 2004

In Communications Law today we talked about the government classifying programs as children's educational programming based on spurious justifications -- e.g., this cartoon teaches kids to stay away from dragons. I thought I'd offer some justifications for some popular current TV shows.

Justifications For Classifying Some of Today's Most Popular TV Shows as Children's Educational Programming

1. Teaches kids that doctors are helpful.
2. Shows kids why they shouldn't do anything risky, since risky things may lead to accidents, which may lead to hospital trips, which will certainly lead to fire, plague, famine, blackout, earthquake, helicopter crashes, AIDS infection, unwanted pregnancy, or other desperate moves to increase ratings.
3. Helps child learn useful medical jargon.

American Idol:
1. Teaches kids that British people are mean.
2. Shows kids that the best way to get adults to pay attention to them is if they sing annoying pop sounds slightly off-key, week after week after week.
3. Demonstrates that the key to success isn't education and hard work, but being naturally blessed with a good voice and telegenic personality.

1. Teaches kids that having friends is good.
2. Counteracts the myth that New York apartments are very small and prohibitively expensive.
3. Imparts the lesson that the best kind of people are pretty people.

Queer Eye For The Straight Guy:
1. Shows kids that gay people are different from everyone else.
2. Illustrates how quick and easy it is to remodel an entire house.
3. Teaches kids that sometimes even marginal cable networks can produce a show with media buzz.

The Local News:
1. Teaches kids to lock their doors.
2. Shows kids that there's lots of crime right in their neighborhood.
3. Demonstrates the necessity of guns for self-defense purposes.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

I'm about 10 days with the link to this one, but check out this post from the always-entertaining Score Bard.
Debunking Course Selection Myths

1. The more words in the course name, the more interesting the class.

I know you've heard this one. Everyone always says to look for the classes with the long names. Forget "Copyright" (1 word) -- what you really want to take are "Citizenship, Multiculturalism, Identity and Human Rights" (6 words), "Contemporary Islamic Legal Thought: Law, State, and World Order" (9 words), "Comparative Corporate Law and Governance: Germany, Switzerland, the U.S., and the U.K." (12 words), and "Human Rights, State Sovereignty, and Persecution: Issues in Forced Migration and Refugee Protection" (27 words).

2. Legal research classes are awesome.

Compare these excerpts from descriptions of two different courses:

(A) "The emphasis will be placed on understanding the role of race, ethnicity, disability, socio-economic status, gender, language, immigrant status, and other important student characteristics in the development of education policy and practice."

(B) "Emphasis will be placed on contemporary developments, such as the new Lexis headnotes feature."

I think that pretty much speaks for itself.

3. All of the required professional responsibility classes are the same.

(A) "The casebook will be Kaufman and Wilkins, Problems in Professional Responsibility (4th ed., 2002). Students should also have one of the Professional Responsibility standards handbooks, such as the current Dzienkowski edition"

(B) "The materials will be Kaufman and Wilkins, Problems in Professional Responsibility for a Changing Profession(4th ed. 2002) and Professional Responsibility Standards, Rules & Statutes (Dzienkowski ed. latest ed.)."

(C) "We will use Kaufman and Wilkins, Problems in Professional Responsibility for a Changing Profession(4th ed. 2002) and Selected Standards on Professional Responsibility (Morgan & Rotunda latest edition)."

See, that third one is hugely different. Apparently Mr. Dzienkowski did something to make professor C want to use a competitor's statute book. Or maybe the professor just couldn't remember how to spell his name.

4. Take Evidence.

Because every lawyer should know Evidence. Well, why the heck shouldn't every lawyer know Pottery? If you've gone through interviews, you surely noticed how boring all of the lawyers you encountered were. These people are boring because they took all of these required classes. They didn't take Art Law. I mean, they wanted to, but they couldn't get in. So they took the stuff everyone "recommends" and became dry, boring people without interests outside the law. Cross-register. Drop out. Become a sculptor. Don't take Evidence. (I don't mean to pick on Evidence. You can substitute anything in its place. Don't want to make any Evidence professors mad at me. They know how to kill me and not get caught. Evidence. Get it? Yeah, me neither.)

5. The best classes meet on Friday afternoons.

Everyone's always trying to get Friday afternoon classes, but don't fall into that trap. You don't want to choose classes just based on when they meet. You want to choose them based on what the grade distribution will look like and whether or not there's a final exam. Don't be part of the herd racing to take Friday afternoon classes. It won't be worth it.

6. Take classes you'll need for the Bar Exam.

Because everyone fails the bar exam unless they've taken all the relevant classes. Come on. Everyone is smart enough to learn Evidence (sorry to keep picking on Evidence) from a book, or, if you take Bar/Bri, from a sixteen-hour videotape we'll watch in a high school classroom with fifty other students whose firms are paying thousands of dollars for us to watch TV for six weeks. You only need to worry about the bar exam after you fail it the first three times and your firm is about to crucify you (an appropriate metaphor for me to use on Easter, right? I was hoping to get the word 'crucify' in here somewhere).

7. No one should graduate from law school without taking classes from the worst professors at the law school.

That's what everyone always says. "You'll love the worst professors -- no matter what they teach it's always... horrible." A bad professor can ruin an interesting topic. A good professor can make a boring topic come alive. But, as it seems, most professors split the electorate. "He's great," "She's terrible," "He's boring," "She's fascinating," might be the four comments you hear about the average transgendered professor. So how can you tell? Well, back to the conventional wisdom: listen to the people whose opinions you trust the least.

8. Follow your heart.

This is a myth. If we followed our heart, we'd be in cooking school / art school / writing the Great American Novel. Follow your brain. It's what got you to law school. Look, few if any classes are truly terrible, and it's impossible to really know what the great ones are because they're different for everyone. So I choose based on the free promotional materials each professor sends to induce students to sign up for their classes. What? You didn't get the yo-yo?
A few weeks ago, Howard Bashman (I'm not motivated enough to go find the actual post, but it's there) wrote about watching "Shattered Glass" on DVD and enjoying it. Chris Geidner (again, not motivated to find the post -- and in this case it may have been in an e-mail, but he gets a link anyway) had similar thoughts. And some other blogger who I unfortunately just can't recall wrote that he usually doesn't watch director's commentaries on these things, but the "Shattered Glass" one was awesome.

I saw the movie, and loved it (you can find my brief thoughts somewhere below, when I linked to Howard's post initially) -- and really wanted to watch the director's commentary. My mom got me a DVD player for Hanukkah in December -- I told her to get literally the cheapest one she could find, this one was like 35 bucks and looks more like a George Foreman Grill than a DVD player -- it's blue and plastic and just extraordinarily cheap-looking, but it totally works and that's all that matters -- and I only own 3 DVDs, the sketch show Mr. Show (Seasons 1 & 2, although 3 &4 are on my Wish List -- if I ever finish watching 1 & 2), The Ben Stiller Show, which I got for a few bucks on, and a James Taylor live concert, which I also got for a few bucks on I rented a couple of DVDs last summer when I was subletting a place in Washington for a few weeks, and the guy had a DVD player. But, anyway, the point here is that the number of DVD movies and director's commentaries I've seen is about three -- Wet Hot American Summer (great movie: go rent it), Sweet Home Alabama (not a great movie: don't go rent it), and Rodger Dodger (also not a great movie: and a pretty useless director's commentary) -- but I'm completely enthralled with the *notion* of director's commentaries and how cool they *should be*.

Anyway, reading the blog posts about Shattered Glass made me want to rent it and watch the director's commentary, even though I've seen the movie. So I signed up for a membership with a video store right near here (this is how many movies I rent -- I have no membership to anything... well, I have a Blockbuster card, but I've never been to the Blockbuster around here, although I do know where it is and suppose, now that I think about it, I just could have walked the extra 3 blocks, since I was going in that direction anyway...) just to rent Shattered Glass to watch the director's commentary.

I'm 6 minutes in. It's really good.

That was the entire point of this endless post. "I'm 6 minutes in. It's really good." Why am I watching this at 9 AM on Sunday? Because if I don't watch it now, it's not going to get watched and the DVD will be due. Why did it take me three paragraphs to get to the point? I don't know.

UPDATE: I'm 16 minutes in. It's *still* really good. What's cool is that the director is commenting, along with Chuck Lane, who was head of The New Republic and is a character in the movie, and has insight into what's real and what's fictional. The totally weird thing is that these two people seem so genuine and so decent that listening to them talk about this movie is really cool. I think this was the director's first film. Cool stuff.

UPDATE 2: The rest is good too. A nice sense of how a movie gets made, really worth watching/listening to. Great commentary on top of a great movie. I have nothing but praise.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Blogger doesn't seem to be working so well today. Of course, posting about it is kinda useless, since it's not working and you won't see this post.
Waddling Thunder writes about professor evalutions. He actually writes something serious about them. I, on the other hand, will not. Thus:

Proposal for New Law Professor Evaluation Form

On a scale of 1 to 5, rank the professor's ability to...

...Control the lights and window shades with the appropriate switches and dials
...Wear a microphone without causing either feedback or fire
...Make the audiovisual equipment work within the class session it was intended to be used
...Learn student names
...At least fake it by glancing quickly at the seating chart instead of repeatedly calling on students by the wrong name
...Keep track of hypotheticals posed
...Pretend he has not given the lecture twenty-seven times previous
...Notice when a student has raised his hand
...Keep the class awake
...Cover each session's assigned reading in that session
...Deliver pre-prepared jokes so as to produce genuine laughter
...Drop hints about exam questions veiled enough so that the students paying no attention miss them but not so much that the students really paying attention don't
...Notice which students are playing solitaire and calling on them repeatedly for the amusement of the rest of the class
...Bully the gunners into acting civil and polite
...Admit when he does not know the answer to something
...Prepare for class enough that he doesn't know the answer relatively infrequently
...Answer the question asked, and not the question he thought was being asked when he interrupted the student halfway through
...End class on time
...Provide enough time to fill out the professor evaluations

Friday, April 09, 2004

Me, laundry bag in hand, waiting for elevator to arrive to go down to the basement.
Other person, laundry bag in hand, arrives at elevator.

Elevator comes.

Elevator gets to basement.

We both exit and walk to laundry room.

Three machines free.

Me, reluctantly being polite: "Were you going to use one or two machines?"
Other person, looking at me I'm crazy: "Actually, I'm going to use all three."
Me: "I guess I'll come back later then."

I posted this on De Novo last week, but I've received two e-mails about it, so I figured I should post it here too:

The Real World, Lawyer Style

Variety reports that Fox has a new reality show in the works -- all about lawyers!

[Fox] has given a eight-to-10-episode production commitment to the tentatively titled "The Partner," an hourlong skein in which a group of newly minted lawyers will battle each other to win a job as a partner in a major law firm...

Contestants will be divided into two teams -- one made up of Ivy League grads, the other consisting of players who attended less prestigious schools. Each week, teams will compete by serving as prosecutors or defenders in mock trials inspired by actual cases. A jury of real people -- selected by the lawyers/contestants -- will determine the winner of each trial...

Fox and Rocket Science are in talks with several well-known lawyers about coming on board to serve in the Trump-like role as judge. Talks are also under way with several law firms about serving as the sponsoring firm for the show. Lawyers from the chosen firm will act as advisers to the two teams...

"Lawyers are so verbose, so opinionated and want to be on camera," [exec producer] Darnell said.

1. Lawyers, quick! Get your resumes into Fox before Johnnie Cochran gets there first!

2. The winner gets to become a partner?? Right away?? Is there any reputable law firm that would agree to that? How much partner-level work can this recent grad do, no matter how talented he or she is? No experience, no connections... and imagine the terrible press within the legal industry. "Yeah, they have that partner... from the reality show." That makes you sound really classy.

3. I can tell from that last quote that this show plans to go a long way to correct stereotypes about lawyers... right....