Dylan Goes to Law School
Sunday, January 11, 2004
Headed back

I hadn't really intended to take a blogging break while I was on break. It just worked out that way.

But now it's time to head back. The line-up for this semester: Criminal, Constitutional, Labor and Intro to IP. I'm pretty excited about the line-up. The crim reading was more interesting than I expected and everything else looks pretty good.

I got out my job search letters and bought a new suit. Now I just need someone to offer me an interview.

Basically, I'm ready to go back. Refreshed and well-rested. And the Eagles won today, so I'm in a good mood.


Friday, December 19, 2003
Doneness

It feels amazingly good to be done.

Congratulations to all my fellow 1L survivors.

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening at three different parties celebrating doneness with my cohort. And I was still in bed by 10:30.


Monday, December 15, 2003
The Post-Mortem Ban

This parody over at Jeremy's weblog is exactly why my friends and I have banned substantive post-mortem discussions of exams. It'll make you crazy, particularly on an exam where it's essentially impossible to discuss all the points the professor would like to see.

It's pretty difficult to avoid, though. More than once, now, I've had to leave the room to avoid getting pulled into post-mortems.

Still...in 3 days, I'll be on break and avoiding post-mortem discussions (and all other law-school-related talk) will be pretty easy.


And Then There Was One

Torts - Check.

The exam was significantly harder (by which I mean requiring more nuance in the application of doctrines) than the practice exam, but I think it went fine. I just can't bring myself to get too worked up about the individual exams at this point. I just want to be done.

Thursday - 1:00 - that'll be me running down the street shrieking with glee.

Here's lookin' at you, Civ Pro.


Friday, December 12, 2003
Dreams...still getting weirder

Right...I meant to post this before the exam but it didn't happen:

Last night I dreamed that I was taking my Contracts exam (at least I've moved on to dreaming about the proper subject) and I was writing my response in the form of a christmas carol. When I woke up, I was having problems with verse 3, which dealt with waiver of conditions.

Lucky exams are over soon or I might be irredeemably insane by the end. Could happen anyway, I suppose.


That's Two

Contracts is no more. The end is in sight.

Didn't go badly, though I did my best work in the last 30 minutes, which is a little scary. I also noticed (quite by accident) a little point in my outline which, had I missed it, would have resulted in me saying something really dumb.

Now to take the afternoon off. Ahhh....


Thursday, December 11, 2003
Procrastination Aid

Someone got to the blog today after searching for "rule against perpetuities exam questions" and spent half-an-hour here. Clearly the season of procrastination is upon us. Sorry I couldn't help with the exam questions.


A Good Omen

I received a good Contracts omen yesterday: on my way home, I passed a truck with an old sticker from the Reading Pipe Company on it. This just has to be good.

[For those of you who aren't in Law School (hi, Mom) - there's a very famous case involving a contract for a house, which specifies the use of Reading pipe.]


Tuesday, December 09, 2003
How to Google a Blog

Jeremy's got a funny post here about the sorts of searches that tend to get people to blogs this year. I've gotten several "rule against perpetuities" hits because I talked about our professor telling us we didn't need to know it. I've gotten lots of hits from people looking for old exams, no doubt because I keep talking about taking them.

Today I got one for "slept before finals law school." Just in case that's a popular question, I'm going to come out strongly in favor a sleeping before (but not during) finals. Apparently, there was a final at the school once during which a student thought the student next to her was taking a nap. It turned out she was in a diabetic coma. The notes from the dean before finals now remind us that no one sleeps during finals. This morning he also regaled us with stories of disrupted exams past (including the snarling dog that people in the front row spent twenty minutes fending off while still writing and the homeless guy who wandered in and was ignored by the students who thought he was a proctor).

Speaking of sleeping...I'm pretty worn out after today's final, so I'm going to go do some of that now. Tomorrow: Contracts.


One Down

Property is now behind me. All in all, I think it went pretty well. The exam played to my strengths, which was a lucky break. I felt well-prepared. It's an intense experience, though. I started writing the exam and the next time I looked up to check the time, an hour had gone by. I walked out of the exam pretty seriously dazed. But now Property is done. The rest of today is vacation and then it's time to dive into Contracts.


Monday, December 08, 2003
Wish me Luck!

Well...I've done many old exams as practice. I have my outline in hand. Nothing to do now but take the exam. This time tomorrow, I'll be a quarter of the way to done.

Good luck to all the rest of you who have exams tomorrow.


Saturday, December 06, 2003
Still on Schedule

There were a few moments there in liquidated damages where I thought my head might explode before I finished, but I did, as planned, manage to finish the Torts and Contracts outlines today. Now if only my reward for being on time was that I got to take tomorrow off...


Friday, December 05, 2003
Thanks to JCA!

JCA over at Sua Sponte has set up a non-denomonational, belief-independent prayer circle for us 1Ls on exam days. We appreciate it, I can tell you. All help is greatly appreciated.

For those of you who aren't following along over there, my exam schedule is:

Property - 12/9
Contracts - 12/12
Torts - 12/15
Civ Pro - 12/18

and then I will have survived my first semester of law school.


Hmmm...what should I do now...

...I know. How about working on an outline!

For more than a week now, I've been introducing variety into my life by switching from my Property outline to my Torts outline. Still, progress is being made. I finished Property yesterday and I'm almost holding to my original schedule which would have had all the outlines done tomorrow. I think Civ Pro will still be hanging out there, but it's my last exam, so it'll get done sometime.

Sometimes I wonder what the point of spending all this time building the outline is, but then I go take a practice exam and realize that it really does help to have all the elements at my fingertips. Besides...I don't think I have enough unused neurons to actually store everything in RAM at the moment, so I think I'll be one of those people frantically flipping through my outline all through the exam.

I said down with a friend today and went through some old property exams. Aside from one major misstep (after much discussion we decided that a tenancy at will had been created...then we flipped to the answer sketch from the prof who said "aside from a few inexplicable detours into licenses and tenancy at will, most of you realized that this was a basic adverse possession problem") we were basically able to work our way pretty easily through the questions. Still...about half the time when I look at old exam questions my immediate reaction is "I have absolutely no idea...nope...nothing at all to say." After another 90 seconds or so, the answer starts to take shape, but there's definitely a moment of sheer panic that sets in.

We had a review session for the Civ Pro practice exam today. Aside from one major blunder (I forgot that foreseeability matters for minimum contacts...that won't happen again, I assure you) I felt like I'd pretty much avoided saying stupid things and even said some pretty smart things.

But every time I make a major blunder, I add a few points to my outline and know that I won't make that one again. Now the trick is just to make as many major blunders as possible on the practice exams.


Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Yippee (1)

Last day of classes today. Now it's just finals. It sounds a little odd to say "just finals," but at least the work that remains to be done is clear and the end is in sight. You'll see a much bigger "Yippee" in 2 weeks. Now back to Contracts...


Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Finals Stress Creeps into the Classroom

As finals approach, I've noticed two contradictory behaviors showing up in my classmates.

The first is that either less reading is being done or its being done less carefully. This is no great surprise. I'm spending less time on my reading 'cause I want to focus on exam prep. But it's pretty noticeable.

The second is a need to understand all the details of the doctrines were covering. Gone are the days of figuring we'll get to that later in the course or that we'll figure it out when we read commercial outlines or whatever. We have to know now.

The combination of these two leads to a huge increase in the number of clarifying questions that get asked in class. It's a bit maddening. It seems as if, particularly in Contracts and CivPro things have come to a screaching halt. Ah well. In a week in won't matter anymore.


Anonymity is no more

My Sitemeter told me an interesting thing this morning: someone found this blog by searching for just my full name. I tried it myself and it works. In fact the blog comes up first.

This brings up two questions:

1) Why does this come up? My last name appears no where in the HTML for this page. I checked myself. Twice. So how does Google manage to associate this page with me.
2) Who's searching for my full name? I haven't sent out any resumes yet. So who's looking for me.

In any case, in the absence of answers to either of these questions, I've decided I just have to live with my lack of anonymity. There's nothing here I wouldn't happily stand by, but it is a little disturbing to have that imagined veil thrown back once and for all.


Thursday, November 20, 2003
Parodies of Note

Two parodies of note this week:

The first, of a piece with Tom Lehrer's (also Harvard-generated) setting of all the chemical elements to a tune by Gilbert and Sullivan, is Jeremy's listing of Supreme Court justices to a tune by Billy Joel.

The second is a timely addition to the Model Penal Code courtesy of Wings and Vodka.

Enjoy!


Still Here

I realize it's been more than two weeks since I posted, but I'm still here. We've now entered the calm before the storm: Legal Writing is done, just a few classes left. I'd probably be better off if I were further along in my outlining, but, no doubt, I'm not the only law student saying that at the moment.

Actually, I feel pretty ready to face finals. Sure I can't remember all the elements of res ipsa loquitur, but I've got some time to remind myself. At least I remember that it exists. I was beginning to worry that my brain was just full and that I wasn't going to be able to fit everything in that I needed for finals, but that seems to have passed.

My dreams have been blissfully law-school-free up to this point, but not so anymore. Night before last I dreamed that I was adding Vosberg v. Putney to my Civ Pro outline (odd since we didn't even read it for Torts, much less Civ Pro) so I've decided that work done in my sleep is probably unreliable. Too bad...it'd be great to be able to finish my outlines while I slept.

Now if I can just stay relatively calm for the next month, everything will be OK.


Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Degrees of Failure

One of my classmates made the observation yesterday that works in law school (answers in class, written assignments, exams, whatever) can be good, great, even outstanding, but they are never satisfactory. Instead we are left with varying degrees of approaching "correct" without ever actually getting there. I guess this doesn't bother me. In fact, it's kind of nice working where there's no right answer, just better or worse answers. Still...every once in a while I get a hankering for something that's just "right" or "true." Guess I'll have to look for that elsewhere.


On a More Amusing Election Note

The town of Bolinas, CA passed the following measure, yesterday:

Vote for Bolinas to be a socially acknowledged nature-loving town because to like to drink the water out of the lakes to like to eat the blueberries to like the bears is not hatred to hotels and motor boats. Dakar. Temporary and way to save life, skunks and foxes (airplanes to go over the ocean) and to make it beautiful.


Apparently the measure's sponsor wears hats made of tree bark and newspaper.

I miss California.
Election Day Thoughts

Some thoughts, post-election day:

1. For the first time in my life I voted for candidates from 3 different parties in yesterday's election. I've always been more or less a straight ticket voter (though I make myself vote each office individually rather than pulling the big lever (or, with the new voting machines, pushing the big button)). This year I'm particularly fed-up with city partisan politics, and I guess my voting patterns reflect that.

2. Why do I have to vote for the Registrar of Wills? And why is it a partisan office? Does this person make major policy decisions affecting the city's deceased voters? I don't get it. As my little protest vote, I voted for the non-incumbent, non-majority party candidate. She didn't win.

3. I've always thought election of judges was a bad thing and partisan races for judges were an even worse thing. This year, either because I'm in law school or because partisan politics are upsetting me more than usual, this got to me even more. I'd like to maintain the idea (whether or not it's true in all cases) that judges are relatively unbiased public servants rather than partisan idealogues.

I guess this can all be summed up as: partisan politics are really starting to get to me this year.


Monday, November 03, 2003
Made It

OK...I survived last week. Two rehearsals, two concerts, a family visit, and my regular workload later, I'm still here (although I spent a fair amount of the weekend sleeping it all off).

We had our unofficial kickoff with the career planning folks last week. Now that the concert's over and I've got all this free time it's time to look for a summer job. I suppose it would help if I had any idea at all what I wanted to do. Any and all suggestions from the former 1Ls out there are appreciated.


Thursday, October 23, 2003
Lifting the Veil (a little)

For those of you who are local, you have an upcoming chance to match the blog with my place in the real world. The chorus I sing with has a Halloween concert coming up next week. It's Thursday the 30th at 8 or 10PM at the Episcopal Cathedral (38th and Chestnut). Check out the website for ticket info.


Climbing Out from Under

OK...things are getting better. The memo is in, I have a draft of the Contracts write-up, and Thursday is well on the downhill side of the class week. Now it's time to start on the open-research memo. This should be fun. I figure, if it's not, the next 5-10 years are likely to be pretty bad and I should get out while I can. But I'm looking forward to trying out my newly acquired research skills on a real problem. Soon, I'll be all about attorney-client privilege in Tennessee courts.


Thirty-something computer geek leaves working world and goes to law school to become a geek of a different color.

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BLOGS I READ

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BOOKS I'M READING

William Gaddis, A Frolic of His Own

Richard Posner, Law and Literature

Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife

RECENT BOOKS OF INTEREST

Denis Guedj, The Parrot's Theorem

Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas

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