I actually find exam time very relaxing. I apologize to those of you who are alternating between double espressos and gin. The hardest part of law school for me has been the relentless procession of scheduled classes. For the last four days I’ve had ZERO appointments and it puts me in an excellent frame of mind. I’ve been getting a lot done, I just like to be able to do things when I feel like doing them. I enjoy them more, and I do them better.
Also, I am catching up on Resident Evil 4, which had fallen by the wayside over the last month, much to my disappointment. I love shooting zombies. Don’t you?
01 May 05
Do you have Examsoft? It worked for me last semester, though usually I had to reboot a couple times to get it to come up in “secure mode” so I could take the exam. This afternoon, at my contracts exam, no such luck. It just froze on startup. As they announced the exam would start in 60 seconds ... I decided to cut my losses and reached for the bluebooks.
It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I mean, exams were done this way for hundreds of years, it shouldn’t be a problem right. As it turns out, I can only think about as fast as I can handwrite, so I didn’t run out of time with more material to discuss. I did see something at the end and had to append it with the legend “this was supposed to appear at the beginning”.
Of course, when I took my laptop down to the IS helper to get it checked out afterwards, the Examsoft screen popped right up, ready for me to start typing.
My left hand curses you, Examsoft.
04 May 05
A colleague told me yesterday that a classmate had an unfortunate laptop meltdown the night prior and lost all of her notes & outlines right before exams. Said colleague was surprised that I refused to feel bad for this classmate. True. I don’t.
Like Doofus Runner-up #2, there are certain types of conduct that don’t justify sympathetic response. If this person had carefully backed up her work, but then both her laptop & backup were destroyed in an unlikely natural disaster, that would justify sympathy.
But given that the laptop contains months of irreplaceable work, isn’t it the cheapest possible insurance to, you know, copy it off the laptop once in a while? I mean, you could just email it to your mother. I’m sure she’d love to read about the entanglement exception anyhow.
05 May 05
OH MY GOD, this is perfect entertainment for a 1L. Because one, you get to hear about the piddling problems members of the public see fit to drag into lawyer’s offices. And in a couple years, those piddling problems will belong to Exxon and you’ll have to bill 20 hrs writing up a memo about its piddlingness.
And two, all the advice has that tone of authority-without-accountability so popular on the internet. It’s so charming when random yahoos assert “the law” and are just utterly, totally wrong. Who are these people? Hobbyists / enthusiasts / fetishists?
Folks, if nothing else, it will convince you how much you’ve really learned in the last 10 months. Laugh, because you can.
05 May 05
My schedule for my 6-hour constitutional law exam on Monday:
12-12:15 - Check in, coffee
12:15-12:45 - Light calisthenics & stretching
12:45-1 - Read constitution
1-1:30 - Lunch break!
1:30-2 - Nap
2-2:15 - Read exam questions
2:15-3:15 - Get caught up on assigned reading
3:15-3:30 - Drop by student lounge to check sports scores
3:30-3:45 - Answer a question
3:45-4:30 - Ponder “policy issues”
4:30-5:15 - Answer another 2 questions
5:15-5:30 - Protein bar break
5:30-6 - Finish writing exam
This is the 2nd longest in-class exam scheduled at the law school this semester. (Longest = a 7-hr torts exam) The shortest: the 2-hr exam for Sports Law.
07 May 05
I admit I was surprised over the course of the 1L summer “job” search to find out how many of these jobs were unpaid positions. I don’t know about you, but when someone says “job without pay” I think, “oh, so you’re offering me a hobby?”
I have enough hobbies. I’m certainly not looking to make legal reseach & writing one of them. I understand the public interest folks not paying—and students taking those jobs can apply for public interest grants to underwrite them—but less lucky are clerks for federal judges, who get paid nothing. Nothing! Not even tips!
The one law firm job I interviewed for was at a wealthy plaintiff injury firm. They wanted a full-time commitment during the summer ... a promise you wouldn’t do something immature like go on vacation ... and then a 20-30 hr commitment during the 2L year. For all this they were willing to pay the princely rate of $6/hr. I’d get a better return spending my time walking across busy intersections, trying to get hit.
I understand the concept of “paying your dues” but this is less than I got paid right out of college, many years ago, to draw computer fonts. This is less than you get starting at In-N-Out on the day shift. Apparently, going to law school for a year has reduced my market value.
I’m not clear how employers do this with a clean conscience. I guess they know jobs are scarce for 1Ls and supply & demand dictates they can pay as little as they want. They also know that many people do things 1L summer that they have no long-term interest in, so there’s no point in making an investment. Further, they know many people will have a 2L job that pays $2000/wk, so if you average the two summers together, you still come out OK.
I can’t complain—I ended up lining up a few flexible contract gigs, 2 involving the practice of law & 1 involving research, and all my hours are paid. With time left over for my hobbies.
12 May 05
There is actually one more exam. I think it was a mistake to put this exam last, because it’s for our legal research class, and no one can really figure out why it exists. It’s like having the opening act go on after the last encore of the headliner.
The exam requires us to produce something called “inference chains”. I think I missed class the day the instructor mentioned this. Apparently an “inference chain” is when you take, like, a fact (“Ray is immensely fat”) and have to make an “inference chain” to a factual proposition you wish to prove (“Ray eats a lot”).
What is an “inference chain”? Glad you asked. Apparently it’s a chain of inferences. Watch how this works: Ray is immensely fat. Ray is fat because of how much he eats. (We can infer this because people who eat a lot almost always get fat.) Therefore Ray eats a lot.
You are now as prepared for the final as I am. Do you want to take it for me?
14 May 05
“Now that I’ve met you
will you object to
never seeing each other again?”
Or so went the song that came up on my CD player when I got in my car after the last exam. I tried to work up some feelings of wistful nostalgia as I left the building for the last time as a 1L ... and failed.
It wasn’t really all that bad, certainly not as monstrous as the urban legends would have you believe. I’m still glad it’s over. School blows, in general.
Things I didn’t do:
Become an alcoholic.
Take home any casebooks spring semester.
Sleep with a professor.
Things I did do:
Start a couple too many conversations with civilians “we read this great case today...”
Cut my hair (somewhat) and buy a suit.
Cheat on an exam.
Go to office hours.
Maintain a personal life.
Avoid slugging that 3L who spent all his time in the student lounge engaged in loud, profane tirades.
In some kind of weird sympathetic mechanical fatigue my phone, internet and laser printer all died within 24 hrs of the last exam. So this comes to you on an internet kiosk at LAX which requires me to avoid putting my fingers in keyboard detritus of unknown type & origin.
17 May 05
Part of my continuing quest to give readers my very, very best.
On Oct 8, 2004 I wrote: “[gay] marriages will have to [be] accepted by all the other states as legit under the [Full Faith & Credit] clause”.
Not true. The Full Faith & Credit clause has a “public policy” exception allowing states to not recognize certain civil proceedings, including marriages, of other states.
23 May 05
Law school cut into my videogaming time somewhat this year, so I restricted myself to truly rad games. Here are the 3 I finished during school, I recommend them.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Drive around a California-style region on various vehicles, committing various crimes. Legal angle: Very realistic police response. If you do a lot of property damage and destroy civilian cars, they won’t come after you. But if you smack a cop with a nightstick and take his motorbike, they will.
Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy. In addition to the usual guns & ammo, use mind powers to throw objects, look through walls, control other humans, etc. Legal angle: If you enter someone’s evil fortress with your mind, is it trespassing?
Resident Evil 4. Kill zombies and other unsavory characters with an assortment of weapons, preferably a shotgun. Legal angle: You can’t be convicted of murder if the person is already dead.
Next: God of War.
24 May 05
My speculation about Prof Property’s hair has been independently confirmed. Apparently in the past he would get it done over spring break and return fully coiffed, though he didn’t this year.
Why? I’m told his wife is hot. And if you’re a guy with a hot wife, yeah you gotta keep up. This makes me respect him all the more.
31 May 05
Epilogue 8: Buy my book
Epilogue 7: Recessionaires cont'd
Epilogue 6: Schill quits UCLA
Epilogue 5: recessionaires
Okay, I lied. Epilogue 4
Epilogue 3: The End (really)
Epilogue 2: Nov 2007
The eagle has landed
Seduced by the dark side
You've been in law school too long when...
I have only five more class days
The lone gunman
The last spring break is over
Someone saved your life tonight
Dean Schill & the Pussymobile
Help me yet again