Saturday, August 30, 2008

By the Way,,,

Without Wikipedia-ing it, does anyone know what Bama Bombs are?

Roll Tide!

Football season, for Alabama fans, is about to begin. The first game is at 8:00 pm (Eastern time, 7:00 pm Central), v. Clemson, at the Georgia Dome. I guess the GA dome is neutral territory or something. A lot of people went to the game, but there's still a fair number of us in Tuscaloosa who are excited about the game as well.

I just made Bama Bombs, which are cherries soaked in bourbon, and people are about to arrive to watch the game. Roooooolll tide roll!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Governor Barkley?

Charles Barkley wants to be Alabama's governor. []


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ethical Question

The professor for my Legal Profession class begins each day with a quote. Here is today's:
One of the highest services the lawyer can render to society is to appear in court on behalf of clients whose causes are in disfavor with the general public. -- ABA and AALS, Professional Responsibility: Report of the Joint Conference (1958)

What does this bring up in your mind? Mine: KKK free speech cases, religious rights, academic freedom cases (like the professor at U of Wisconsin who taught that the US government set up 9/11). What about when taking the case might lead to the downfall of your firm? For example, if a firm decides to represent a KKK member in a very public case, their law student recruitment might be hurt along with the volume of cases they can bring in. Do they still have to take it?

Live, Learn, London

My best friend in the world, Helen Van Wagoner, is beginning her year at the London School of Economics. She'll be working for a masters in international relations and documenting her experiences at

Unfortunately, she's leaving the pub photo essays out this time. Good luck, Helen!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Good Luck

I'm settling into the new classes this semester. Just about anything would be better than being a 1L, but I ended up with a pretty great schedule for a 2L. No classes on Fridays, and my only class on Monday is at 2:00 (and it's Sports Law!).

The optimism in the post is the result of surviving my first potential disaster of a class this morning. I was on call in my 8:15, but I didn't know it because I wasn't here the last time the class met. On top of that, I didn't have one of the two required books with me. Considering all that, it went very well. Let's hope the good luck continues.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Philosophy and Football

I have much to tell about my new classes, but for right now, laugh at this quote and be happy:

Academe: An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught.
Academy: A modern school where football is taught.
-- Ambrose Bierce

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Advice for Giving Advice

Last night was an SBA sponsored party, mainly for the new 1Ls, but all law students were invited. We went for a little while, and I met some pretty cool people. One 1L went to Princeton, traveled the world and has worked for the government.

On one hand, law school is a great place to learn from your peers. You're with a diverse group of people in terms of experience and goals. Some have worked for the ACLU, while some have worked for the Carnegie Institute. I really enjoy the intellectual sparring that results from throwing all these people together.

On the other hand, we're all fundamentally alike. We're all type-A personalities who are used to winning. When you throw in the first year curve, it means all those type-A people who are used to winning are competing for the limited number of As that are available. As you can imagine, this brings out ugly characteristics in people. We've had reports of people ripping out pages of library books so no one else can use them, or refusing to share study materials. It's very different from college, to say the least.

So I'm struggling with what to tell the 1Ls as advice without sounding too dark. What do you guys think?

You Just Took a Law School Exam

I had a funny conversation last night that other lawyers and law students will understand. We were talking about how the normal rules of social interaction and alcohol consumption don't apply for 24 hours after taking a law school exam. If you've never taken a law school exam (or med school -- that's comparable), don't judge.

Want to get drunk by yourself before noon, then continue drinking through lunch and substitute beer for dinner? Totally okay. Want to watch an all day marathon of The Hills while you get extremely over-involved in how the blond of LC's hair changes slightly from episode to episode? Totally okay. Want to have sex with the busted brunette you met stumbling out of the law school, then kick her out so you can take a nap? Totally okay. You just took a law school exam.

Maybe this explains why the open tab parties the law school SBA sponsors post-exams devolve into total displays of debauchery. Then again, the open tab has something to do with that too.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bitter BigLaw Associates

Anonymous comment from my post about selling textbooks:

As someone who graduated with 150K in student loans, I say go ahead and eat the 600 dollar loss per semester. In the end, it's going to pale in comparison to your huge loan pile anyway.

So, get some utility out of your books and keep them. Then, later, when you are working in a law firm, you can stack your bookshelves with them and look like a big nerd. You will feel smart and haughty. You will be superior to your other first year associates.

It'll take you about 6 months before you have enough paper, redwelds, and files in your office to need to empty out your textbooks from your bookshelves. Then, you can take your books home and use them as firewood in a magnificent bonfire. It's great to burn books. Makes you feel alive. I do that sometimes. That and shots of Patron.

bitter biglaw associate

I love:
1) That biglaw associates read this blog,
2) That they are every bit as bitter as I'm told, and
3) That they leave comments.

Keep it up, homes.

Cheers, Everyone

This is the last weekend before my second year of law school begins. I'm pretty excited about not being a 1L anymore and the privileges that come with that. We get to choose our classes ourselves this year, and I'm taking some that I expect to be interesting. I'm also glad to have the confidence that comes with one year under my belt -- not that I've mastered the game or anything, but I don't have that 1L white-knuckled fear anymore.

The rest of law school will not be easy, but it won't ever be as difficult as last year again. Part of the difficulty of the first year of law school is the changes that you have to make. Coming into law school, we all had been successful as students in the past, and we all had our own ways of achieving that had proven effective for us. For the most part, those methods didn't work anymore, and we each had to figure out a different way to survive. By now, we've (hopefully) figured out how to do the work of law school, and I expect the next two years to be much more fulfilling.

So cheers, everyone. Here's to a good year.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I've Seen the Light

Last year, I was stupid enough to think that I needed new (or newish) textbooks from the law school bookstore. Each semester I was spending about $600 on books. This year, I've seen the light: Amazon, eBay, and other websites that save students from wasting their money in college and grad school bookstores. I bought all my books this time for under $250, including shipping.

Yesterday, I also listed some of my old textbooks on Amazon. I've tried to sell old textbooks before, but I always used eBay, which charges you just for listing an item and takes forever to set up a listing. Amazon is my new favorite internet store. It takes maybe 2 minutes to list a book, and they only charge you if your item sells. I listed 6 books yesterday, and by this morning 5 of them had sold. While I may have been able to sell them back to the law school bookstore for $50 (total), I just made $300 overnight.

I highly recommend this to incoming law students.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Exam Strategy

The lack of posts in the past couple of days was due to my Business Organizations exam on Monday morning. I pulled two all nighters in a row for it, which I've never done before. I was loopy with exhaustion by the time it was over. Since then I've been recovering by sleeping copious amounts and generally being lazy.

I tried a new strategy with this exam. While I was making my outline of the class, I wrote paragraphs on all the issues that could possibly be on the test. It took forever, but I think it saved me time on the actual exam. I didn't have to think about how to accurately describe the relevant law; I just spotted the issues in the fact pattern, rewrote the appropriate paragraph, and then applied it to the facts. It also helped with citations to the statutes and cases, because they were already written in my paragraphs. We'll see how well the strategy actually worked when grades come out.

To other law students out there: Have you ever tried this? How did it work out? Alternatively, what's your general exam strategy?

Friday, August 08, 2008

"[Y]ou chose to use two spaces and I just wanted to park in one."

I found this picture while browsing through the grammar group's pictures:

"Dear person,

I'm sorry I put a dent in your car. I didn't want to but, I did it when I tryed [sic] to park next to you. I am not leaving my information because you chose to use two spaces and I just wanted to park in one. The scratches are because I used a towel that had sand on it to try to clean the dent/paint off. Beaches are fun.

Please look your car over for the dent and scratches and each time you see them remember not to park in two spaces.


I don't even care that it's probably fake. It made me giggle.

First Glimpse of the 1Ls

I'm getting my first glimpse of the 1Ls today.

Right now, I'm studying for my Business Organizations exam in one of the study rooms that we call a "fishbowl" because one wall is made of glass that faces a main hallway. Studying in here can make you feel a little exposed, but it also lets you people-watch.

Orientation for the 1Ls begins next week, and the little overachievers are here buying textbooks today. So far, they don't look as scared as I felt in their position, but then again, they have no idea what's coming.

(How, you might ask, do I know who the 1Ls are? The law school has fewer than 500 students in it, so it feels a little like high school. If you don't know a non-1L person, you definitely recognize them. All the rest are 1Ls. Plus, the 1Ls just look too young and hopeful to be 2- or 3Ls.)


The Summer Olympics started today in Beijing, China. It's the 29th holding of the modern Olympic Games, which began in Athens in 1896. However, the first written records that we've found of the Olympics being held dates back to at least 776 B.C. The ancient games were held in Olympia, Greece.

I studied abroad in Athens during the spring of my junior year of college, and we visited Olympia. Here are a few pictures of the ruins where the Olympics began:

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Tipping is Complicated

The summer is winding down. The exam for Business Organizations, the class I'm taking right now, is on Monday. Alabama has an exchange program with a Swiss school, and the Swiss exchange students arrived a couple days ago. Soon the 1Ls will be here and my class will finally get the ego boost of seeing other students running around in a panic.

Speaking of the Swiss, I went to dinner with a group of them the other night. When it came time to pay the bill, I had to explain the intricacies of tipping in America. In Switzerland, the server is already paid a living wage, and you can tip if there's exceptionally good service, but there is no obligation. I didn't realize how complicated American tipping is until I had to explain it the other night. Here's an approximation of how the conversation went:

Me: Fifteen percent is standard, but 20 percent for good service.
Swiss: What about taxes? Are those included on the menu price?
Me: No, they add that at the end, and you tip on top of that.
Swiss: What does "gratuity" mean? [It was on the check, since we had a large group.]
Me: Oh, I forgot, if you're in a big group -- usually more than 6 -- the tip will be included on the check and you don't have to add anything. "Gratuity" just means the same thing as "tip."
Swiss: Do you have to tip at supermarkets?
Me: No, just at restaurants.
Swiss: What about McDonald's?
Me: No, only at restaurants where a server brings your food to your table.

It's complicated! The Swiss kids weren't being obtuse by asking all those questions. I can see how it's confusing to people unfamiliar with it. The alternative is to switch to a system like the Swiss, where servers are paid a flat wage like workers at other jobs. The drawback is that there isn't as much incentive to work hard and give great service, but since tipping is common where the service is excellent, the incentive to work hard isn't removed entirely. It's like having a safety net -- you can't go below a certain rate of pay, but you are rewarded for being great at what you do. That system is sounding better and better.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

One L

Right now I'm reading One L, the story of Scott Turow's first year at Harvard Law School. The orientation packet that Alabama sent out before my first year recommended that we read it, and although I half-heartedly looked through a few bookstores for it, I never tracked it down until now.

I can't decide if it really is a good idea to try and prepare yourself for an experience like the first year of law school. On one hand, knowing what's coming theoretically gives you the advantage of being able to prepare for it. On the other hand, the anxiety of knowing what you're about to go through could work against you. I came into law school painfully ignorant. I specifically remember saying to myself, "Oh, it's just school. You're good at school; you've done school all your life. How hard could it be?"

I was so naive.

Anyway, here's an interesting passage from the book:

Right now admissions at most American law schools are based on predictions of how well applicants will do in school, which is to say how high they will rank on exams. Those forecasts, based on statistical formulae that combine LSAT scores and college grades, are often quite accurate. But that amounts only to saying that American law schools admit people who will be good test-takers rather than good attorneys. Correlations between exam success and worthwhile achievements in the practice of law are speculative at best. Until that connection is better established, the narrow and arbitrary nature of exams will continue to dictate a narrow and arbitrary means of selection for training for the bar. And that is a peculiar state of affairs for a profession and an education which claim to concern themselves with rationality and fairness.

I'm not sure I fully agree with Turow here, but it is something to think about. How can we make law school exams better predictors of how great an attorney a person will turn out to be, rather than how great a student that person is now?

The Glasses Shot

Here it is, Sharon with glasses. Thankfully, I only have to wear them in class and while driving at night, but all in all I don't think they're too bad.

(Last night Blogger wasn't letting me upload pictures for some reason, so more NOLA pictures will be up later today.)

Monday, August 04, 2008

New Orleans Part II

We were in the Big Easy for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and, for those of you who know NOLA, we stayed in the French Quarter on Toulouse Street. The whole city surprised me with how beautiful it was and how much spunk it had. The rainbow-colored houses and wrought iron porches reminded me of Charleston.

Then there was Bourbon Street: a free-for-all party zone. The alcohol is served in "to go" cups and cars are blocked off from the area at night so you can drink and mingle in the street. My only NOLA experience before this was running around the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary when my dad got his PhD (I was 3), so this time around was a very different trip.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

New Orleans

Just a few pictures. The first drink of the night (to go! Cause NOLA is cool like that.):

Bourbon Skreet:

Today we wandered around and found the Supreme Court of LA:

More pictures to come!

IN THE COMMENTS: I'm pleasantly surprised by the sass in the comments. Argue away, everyone.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Can I have some beads?

This weekend, I'm going to New Orleans. My parents met in NOLA, but not in the typical way that people meet there. They both went to seminary in NOLA and met there, and my dad is now a Southern Baptist pastor. I haven't been there since I was about 3 and my dad was getting his PhD.

We have tons of recommendations on where we should go, and the maps, cameras, and credit cards are ready. Expect some great pictures in the next few days, and wish us luck!