Diary of a 1L
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Wednesday, December 31, 2003
4:35 PM

My books for next semester arrived today! Must...not...look...must...continue...to be...lazy....aaaargggh! Just a little peek at this Rule Against Perpetuities that's supposed to be so complicated. That should either hook me in or cure me of my curiosity for a few days or months.

Saturday, December 27, 2003
1:30 PM

I got some encouraging news from my cousin Adam who was visiting yesterday: Property is a lot like math. Math and I quite like each other and miss seeing each other. I'll be pleased to be able to reconnect with my math geek roots in Property if that's in the cards.

Thursday, December 25, 2003
2:09 AM

Oh yeah...I'm up at 2:09 AM on Xmas. I'm watching closely for Santa but no sightings yet. Personally, I'm hoping to get a sack of Slinkies. Those things are awesome.

2:05 AM

I was just reading through my journal (as in my private journal that you don't get to see) from earlier this year and I realized that I'm much, much, much happier since I've been in law school than before. I haven't always been 100% confident or happy in school thus far, but it sure beats the depths of depair I experienced in semi-unemployment. I may complain about being busy but it sure beats the heck out of having nothing to do, which in turn beats the heck out of having a job at which it's impossible to succeed. It's just a good reminder of why I'm doing what I'm doing and what's good about it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003
3:50 PM

Phew! Things got real slow real fast. That's not really surprising. But darn it, I'm still here! I've got these resumes to send out. I've got cover letters to write. I've got to move these refrigerators. I've got to move these color TVs.

So where are you all at? Why don't you e-mail me? Let me check my stats...how many visits yesterday...80 visits. Some of you are still out there.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003
6:07 PM

Awreety awrighty! I'm stopped down here at school for some reason...hmm...I forgot. The library's closed now, so it's not that. I think maybe the big idea was to retrieve my laptop so that I could get at my various resume versions. I've done that. Maybe what I should do is finish a version of my resume and make it fit on one page.

Monday, December 22, 2003
11:37 AM

I went on a trip yesterday! We went to Pittsburgh and saw the Warhol Museum, the National Aviary, the Mattress Factory (not really a mattress factory), and went to Kaya for dinner.

It had been a while since I had been on a trip, unless you count Thanksgiving, which...well, yeah, I guess I would count that. But I still haven't been on an airplane for over two years.

Saturday, December 20, 2003
10:51 PM

The day after Fall Break, I wrote: "Everybody got a haircut over Fall Break. I need a haircut." I still haven't gotten a haircut since before school started! Maybe I should grow my hair long again. I like my hair.

10:21 PM

Did you know that Howard Cosell started out as a lawyer? Wow...I could be Howard Cosell when I grow up.

9:24 AM

Did you notice that I start a significant plurality of my entries either with the word "Well..." or "Okay"?

Friday, December 19, 2003
5:11 PM


Thursday, December 18, 2003
9:26 PM

Well...I'm here pretty late, but I also came real late, like 2:30. In fourteen and one-half hours, I'll be all done until next year! Hurrah! I'm getting a bit nervous about this exam because I think it's the one I should do the best on. Or, to put it another way, it would be easier for me to be disappointed in my performance on Civ Pro than on the other tests.

Tell me what you thought of my advice thingy below! If you liked it, send me more questions!

4:24 PM

I think someone is crying in the library. I'm really sorry that they're sad. I hope they're not crying because of law school. I really don't think it's so important that it's worth crying over.

10:37 AM

Okay! Here's my first customer for advice!

Dear 1L,

My boyfriend/roommate and I are spending Christmas at my parents' house in another state. My grandfather will also be present and will be meeting my boyfriend for the first time. I do not believe that my grandfather knows of our living arrangements and if he did know, he'd most certainly disapprove. Do you have any suggestions on how to field potential inquiries?

Sincerely, Cautious in Columbus

Okay, I have a fairly analytical bent, and it's even more so given that I'm taking law school exams. So here's how I'm going to start my answer: Just what are your possible courses of action?
  1. You could not tell your grandfather the whole truth, regardless of whether you're asked: you could lie about who the young gentleman accompanying you to Christmas is or about whether he lives with you or both.
  2. You could tell your grandfather some stuff, but only if asked. In other words, if he asks if he's your boyfriend, you could say yes but not say he's your roommate. If he asks if he's your roommate, you can say yes but not say he's your boyfriend. (All of the sudden, this reminds me of that scene from Chinatown, except in this case it would be: "He's my roommate." (slap!) "I said I want the truth!" "He's my boyfriend." (slap!) "He's my roommate." (slap!) "My boyfriend...my roommate..." (slap slap slappp!) "I said I want the truth!" "He's my boyfriend and my roommate!")
  3. You could get everything out in the open either before or during Christmas dinner.
  4. You could punt in some way: not go to Christmas, or somehow have your grandfather barred from attending. I know this one is a little far-fetched, but I don't know how bad a scene it's going to be if your grandfather finds out and doesn't approve.

Let's dispose of #1 and #4 as too extreme. So the question is whether to tell him outright, or answer just the questions asked. The only reason I can see for not being forthcoming would be if you're certain that there's going to be a ruckus and you want to hold it off for as long as possible. Otherwise, I think you'd want to take a shot at defusing any friction at the earliest opportunity.

So, if you're going to come clean with your grandfather, what's the best way to do that? I think the next questions to ask are why he disapproves and how he might react. Would his disapproval be based on moral or religious convictions against cohabitation before marriage, or based on concern for you and what's best for you from a practical standpoint? Maybe you can make some moral and practical arguments for why you've made the choices you have. This might be in the form of: "Could be worse...I could be [for example] married, but to someone I don't really love"...something like that.

In response, is he likely to more or less just give you a hard time, or might he actually act to try to impose his will on you? If it's the latter, I think it would be pretty effective to pointedly tell him that, though you love him as family and respect his opinion, nothing he says is going to change your choice of living arrangements, and thus it's not worth his while to attempt to interfere. If he's just going to give you a hard time, you'll probably have to grin and bear it, but you'll probably feel better about yourself having been candid with him.

I get the sense, though, that there's another consideration here: I would think you don't want to upset or offend your grandfather. The thing is, you clearly don't have the same values as he does, at least in that one area, or you wouldn't have made the choices you've made. That doesn't mean, however, that all your values are different from his. So I think you should be honest and tell him what you believe, but you should point out the values that you share with him: the good qualities that he exemplifies and that you strive to emulate.

So there's my answer, Cautious. I think the more important thing than my final analysis is hopefully posing some questions for you to think about that you might not have otherwise come up with.

10:25 AM

I'm still home at 10:30. This is okay. I bought some pasta last night and darn well intend to eat it. Then, what's the most I'm going to do in terms of practice exams? Six hours? Nine if there's three practice exams? Well, probably not, anyway. There's plenty of time. I feel pretty good about this one.

My magic fingers of karma are waving in your general direction, fellow Civil Procedure examination taker, bringing good vibes for all! May the Force be with you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2003
6:44 PM

Okay, we're at 31 lean, mean pages. Wow...no more outlines for five whole months!

5:19 PM

Civ Pro is at 45 pages and counting. I just have to figure out what's important and what's not and get rid of more of the latter.

11:24 AM

Okay, I'm shifting into Civ Pro mode...the outline is at 103 pages, down from a fat and sassy 150 or so.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003
7:38 PM

Okay! Home stretch! Today was very tiring. I'm glad to have my transportation problems taken care of, though.

Monday, December 15, 2003
9:14 PM

"Service engine soon"?! BAH! Curses. My mommy is going to give me a ride to school tomorrow. Thanks Mommy!

8:27 PM

Okay, I'm ready. I'm really ready. Ready as I'm ever gonna get!!!

4:35 PM

Okay...just did a practice exam. My answers don't look too bad compared to the models, but one of them was a lot better organized than mine. They broke down their answer by "claims against" X, Y and Z first and then under each said who could sue them and what for. Anyway, I feel pretty confident that I'm getting somewhere in the neighborhood of "B" level understanding of Torts.

1:58 PM

Well, I think my Torts outline is in good enough shape to call it finished. Alternative explanation for ceasing work on said outline: I'm so hungry that I'm shivering.

11:56 AM

Okay, my Torts outline is at 60 big pages. I need to get it down to size soon so I can do a couple of practice exams this afternoon/evening. Maybe I'll also write out some answers to some Glannon or Gilbert's practice questions. Then I'm so done.

I think it was a good move to take some Excedrin and drink some pop. That stuff makes my eyeballs feel much better.

Sunday, December 14, 2003
9:42 PM

Well, I didn't leave my apartment today...but I had an excuse! It was snowy out! Now it's a bit late to go out, so I think I'll hunker down and spend some quality time with my Gilbert's and my Glannon and then go down to school tomorrow. No seriously, this time I'll really go.

I have my first customer for advice! I need some time to mull it over because I want to do a good job. But I'll post it here with my awe-inspiring wisdom (or not) very soon.

1:00 PM

I got really caught up in studying and didn't hear about this Saddam Hussein thing. I guess it's probably because I hadn't turned on TV or the computer (the one connected to the internet at home) until now. I have a lot of funny things to say about that, but I think they're too controversial, and frankly, I don't want people to not like me for a dumb reason. But if you want to tell me what you think about that or anything else, e-mail me and I'll tell you what I think.

Saturday, December 13, 2003
10:58 PM

Well...I didn't study at all today, at least to this point. I know saying that here will mean my mother will find out, but she'd probably find out anyway. I just wanted everybody else to know that you're not the only one if you decided not to study every minute of every day leading up to finals. There's probably someone else whose parents are both partners at Jones Day who is thanking their lucky stars that their class rank is going to rise by one by virtue of my slackage today. Well...you go! Have a great life making lots of money with no time to enjoy it!

10:22 AM

Someone flatteringly suggested that I should do an advice column. Thanks for saying that! Well, if anybody wants any advice about anything, I would more than enjoy providing it. Just send an e-mail to the address on the upper right of the page, and ask me anything, and I'll try to come up with a good, or at least funny, or at least at least funny by way of stupid answer. Also, tell me whether or not I should use your name. Yes, Mom, and yes, Jessica, you can send me questions, and yes, I won't say who you are. All the better to grease the wheels, or prime the pump. This could be really fun!

Friday, December 12, 2003
1:05 PM

Okay, only two more exams. Ummm...Dressler told us not to think about the exam after it's over, so I won't. Also, I think I'm going to give myself a break from studying for just a little while before I forge ahead into Torts.

Thursday, December 11, 2003
1:28 PM

My eyeballs feel like they're on fire. I need a break from looking at stuff.

10:47 AM

All of the sudden, I feel like I'm not ready for tomorrow's exam again. This is basically because I'm too tired to think and I want it to be vacation already. It could be that I've already studied enough and I'm ready to go and more cramming my head won't work, and neither will more practicing doing the stuff I'll be doing tomorrow at exactly this time. Practicing is hard because you know in the end it's just practice.

I've been daydreaming about all the great classes I can take and boring classes I can avoid if I decide right off the bat that I'm definitely not going to take the bar. It seems like if you actually want to be a lawyer, your schedule is set in stone not just for your first year, but more or less forever. Folks, I need to learn more stuff. I just can't see letting all the calculus I learned go to waste, for example. I want to teach. I want to write. I want to entertain people. I want to be creative. I want to help people solve their problems. On the other hand, I don't want to starve because I'm unemployable, and I guess that's why I'm here.

At the same time, I've been immersed pretty much all the time in an environment where everybody assumes that we all have the same goals and we're all trying to end up in the same place. It's important for me to step back every once in a while and remind myself why I'm here and what I want to do.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003
6:09 PM

I forgot to mention that we found out during the last Criminal Law class that the exam is going to be radically open book: we can bring anything: commercial outlines or treatises (such as Dressler's), other people's outlines, the Golden Sheet of Goodness, whatever. So now I wonder if it was worth so much of my time to do my fancy and now only 43-page long outline. Probably it was. Hopefully it will be helpful to other people.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003
5:32 PM

It's a dank, desolate, internetless world here in the law school at exam time. You can get a marginal wireless signal here in the lounge, or a good one in the library, but you can't talk there. How can I go a single minute without being able to check Google news or look at my Yahoo Fantasy Basketball roster???

Well, classes are all done. It's all exam gettin' ready type stuff all the time from this point on.

D'oh! It's 5:31. I promised myself I would stop screwing around at 5:30. Okay, I officially declare this not screwing around. Thence to the outlines!!!

7:13 AM

Maybe that's why I can't get my head around Criminal Law: it seems so petty to expend such heavy thinking on one (probably bad) person when millions or even billions of people are being harmed by our government's policies. Even our very worst citizens get food and a roof over their head, so we apparently feel that it's a crime worse than murder to not be One Of Us.

I'm sure a lot of people would disagree, and I probably don't even have the intellectual and rhetorical tools to rationally argue for my position (yet), and hell, I may be dead wrong. But my point is that this is what really gets my blood boiling, not whether someone who shot someone else is going to be sentenced to 3 years or 6 years or 11 years.

Monday, December 08, 2003
8:43 PM

I hate farm subsidies so much. Hate them, hate them, hate them, hate them. I'm surprised that we apparently only spend $20 billion a year on farm subsidies. It would be money better spent if we paid everyone that works in agriculture to sit at home and twiddle their thumbs so that farmers in other countries can get some business (like, I dunno, hello...AFRICA?). We get cheaper food and get fatter, and more money gets taken away from us and given to ADM while people in Third World countries are poor and starve.

It really ticks me off that nobody cares about this...then again, because people are apathetic, I don't have to worry about what other people will think.

5:34 PM

The end is in sight! I'm at 63 pages in my Criminally Long outline. I'm done with reading for the semester.

I think I need to step back a little and think seriously about my joint degree idea. If I'm not going to practice law, there's far less reason to get myself all up in arms over every little class. I've given it a pretty good chance, but I don't feel like it's really bitten me.

I don't think I "love the law" or really like or respect it much. That's not to say I don't think it's worthwhile to study it or that the people who study it or practice it are bad or anything, but I don't feel much more like it's really the thing for me than before I started.

That's also not to say that I won't finish law school, I have every reason to. And I could still be persuaded that it's wonderful and I should take the bar and all that. But I think I can have a satisfying career doing the things I like most--writing, teaching, helping people and so on--without the extreme stress of trying to come out at the top of my class so I can have a thin shot at a law professorship in particular.

Do you all think I should go and do the Oxford program next summer? Mysterious forces are at work trying to get me to go, but I've had some bad international travel experiences in the past that I may describe here later.

Sunday, December 07, 2003
9:35 PM

I do not, do not, do not understand criminal law. It just doesn't seem to fit together. Contracts makes sense. Civ Pro makes sense. Torts is sort of unified under the theory of "more money for lawyers". But criminal law...or Criminal Law...it's just like let's make it as complicated as possible without figuring out how to reduce crime. Maybe I've just been brainwashed by Steve Levitt.

Saturday, December 06, 2003
5:20 PM

I'll do the best I can, but don't think I have much chance of an A in Crim Law or Torts. I just lost a lost of steam by the end of both classes, and though I can somewhat make it up, I can't have it down as well as if I hadn't gotten so lost.

Working on outlines seemed sort of liberating at first because I didn't have to read what I was told when I was told. Now, of course, it's getting really boring. Let's see how many pages are currently in my Crim Law and Torts outlines...130 and 133 pages, respectively. The Torts outline will certainly need more stuff added. The Crim Law outline needs to be sort of molded into the form of Dressler's commercial outline. I sort of think of it as making a statue (it's really hard to type statue and not statute!) of Professor Dressler (or his outline or The Law itself), and the clay out of which I'm molding this statue is my notes and briefs.

Friday, December 05, 2003
5:00 PM


res judicata = CIA adjuster = data juicers
res ipsa loquitur = squirrels' utopia = prosaist liqueur = turquoise spiral
in personam = insane romp = Roman pines
respondeat superior = our desperate prison = turnips adore repose
promissory estoppel = prose implores typos
nulla poena sine lege = a lone pun in legalese

4:49 PM

Somehow, I had the idea I was going to work on my Criminal Law outline right now. Instead, I just spent...wow...probably two and a half hours making anagrams. DAMN YOU, ANAGRAMS! A non-sugary madam. No! A sugary madman!

2:33 PM

EXTRA! EXTRA! Amazing anagram discovery! "Adimes Irkok" is an anagram for...wait for it..."Mike is rad, OK?"

10:56 AM

Yes! The rumors are true! There is new stuff on my website! You can read a paper I wrote in college! You can also look at the PowerPoint presentation I gave when I got to fly to Detroit for the day during the first week of orientation in college!

The reviews are already in! A mysterious stranger by the name of "Adimes Irkok" says: "You are a dork. You are a big dork." She, I mean, he or she went on to add: "I jig single-sided cash!"

9:46 AM

Wearing my glasses is probably okay for my eyes. Not wearing them is probably okay. But I think I've discovered something really irritating: repeatedly taking them off and putting them back on again. Anything but that.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003
6:34 PM

I have some suggestions for things to write here. One thing is whether I have any advice for how to make the beginning of law school better or easier. One thing is that I've started to make time to socialize, especially with people I've met here at school, and I wish I had done that earlier. It's an important priority, and you shouldn't feel guilty if you carve some time out of your studying to get to know folks.

One thing that you should know if you're reading this and you're about to start law school (like if you're reading this next fall)...don't buy Black's dictionary. You will be able to access Westlaw for free when you're in law school, and you can get the full text of Black's, copy-and-pasteable, from there. So don't buy it!

Study groups aren't for everyone. Don't get pressured into one if you don't really want to be in one. If you get in one and don't like it, get out!

Try to make your routine once you start school as much like your routine before you started school as you possibly can. For example, if you worked out before school started, keep doing that!

Get Word and use AutoCorrect to enter in common words and phrases. For example, whenever I type smj[ (that's a right square bracket there after the "smj"), Word automagically changes it to "subject matter jurisdiction". When I enter in a state abbreviation and then the right square bracket, like oh[, il[, ny[, and so on, it changes it to "Ohio, Illinois, New York"...I also have things like "cany[" for "Court of Appeals of New York". To set this up, you just go to the Tools menu in Word and then to "AutoCorrect Options..." and the AutoCorrect tab. If you do ALT-T, then press "a", it will get you there and you can start entering your own nifty shortcuts! My dad gave me the idea for this.

Highlighters are good. I like using lots of colors and having the colors mean certain things. I also like writing in my books and drawing little pictures! Go nuts! They're your books! Unless you are going to try to sell them back...but I wouldn't recommend it if you don't have to do it.

So, that's a few things. I'll think of more later.

8:44 AM

The Criminal Law outline is at a whopping 223 pages! Long ways to go...

Tuesday, December 02, 2003
11:02 AM

I'm finding less and less to say about law school. It just gets harder and harder to imagine living any other way than I am. It's sort of the same feeling as job security: when you know you definitely have something to do for the next three years, it's less necessary to look around for other things to be doing.

Monday, December 01, 2003
8:06 AM

It's that magic day of December 1st when everyone starts going for the big summer stuff. I don't really have my stuff together yet. I can't believe people were lining up outside the door at 5:30 this morning to try to get into the DC Program. Maybe I don't know what I'm missing.


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