Sunday, April 30, 2006


I have hit a rut in studying, and I know I am not prepared enough for my Sec Reg exam in T-minus 34 hours and counting down....

I have the entire body of law in my head...I just need to get to that point where it all gels together. So many rules, and exceptions -- a very treacherous area of the law, I tell you.

How long does gel take to set? Hopefully less than 34 hours with two nights of not a lot of sleep...

I went to the computer lab tonight to print out my outline, and the 1Ls were there frantically cramming for Property. It brought back so many memories. I wanted to be able to share a good outline with them or something, but since I transferred my stuff would be worthless to them, as Property was a full year at my old law school. They all looked about ready to call 1L the past. I don't blame them. Looking back, 1L was more of a primer for making you realize at times, what you didn't know --- how much you didn't know. Moving onward, it became more a question of how to make a body of law manageable, and working efficiently.

I'll stop waxing nostalgic. I need to get through my Sec Reg outline one more time before bed.

Best of luck to all of the law students out there studying away.

The Undergrads Won.

With my International Law exam behind me, I have been resolved to spend as much waking time as possible reviewing Securities Regulation.

I thought I was once again safe in my apartment, because the undergrads were supposed to be out of the dorms by today, and the last of the graduations were finishing up around here today as well. As a 2L it has been striking to see all of the graduations going on, and realizing just one more year left until the ink will dry on our JDs...

So much for the undergrads having to be out of the dorms by today. There were so many parties going on around here that the 5 different songs blasting from various forms of amplification made deciphering any one song at any given time impossible. In addition, parents picking up their kids apparently joined in the fun, as they were all camped out on lawn chairs in the yard across the street.

I swore as I huddled in the corner of my kitchen on the floor because it was the quietest part of my apartment, while wearing bright orange ear plugs and clutching Gilbert's Securities, that this time I would do something -- this time I would stand up for myself -- this time I would call the City Police! I had resorted to this point because I was too lazy to get dressed and go to the library, where in all honesty it was probably packed, and I would end up running into people I know and chatting the day away.

So I did, I called the police at 7:45pm after listening to the music pounding through my earplugs for almost 8 hours (yet somehow managing to get through more than 200 pages of Sec Reg in the process). Ten minutes later, the undergrads stopped, and their parents whisked them away for parts unknown, and I had to call the police back and tell them they stopped.

So I admit defeat -- the undergrads foiled me in the end, leaving me alone with Sec Reg. As the minivans and oversized SUVs pulled away, I have to admit I almost missed them. For all my bitching about them, at least it was nice to know SOMEONE was having fun out there...even if it wasn't me.

Now it is just me and Sec Reg.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Thin-Skull Person

Thin-Skull Person.

I rolled back into town from my secret hiding spot on Wednesday, and managed to study for my first closed-book exam enough to feel like I wouldn't fail. At about 11pm last night, just as I was contemplating going to sleep in time to wake up at 6am to go over my outline one last time, wouldn't you know it... A live band erupted complete with symbols, drums, and a very loud, very bad male lead singer. I sat on my couch with my mouth agape, listening to the aforementioned cockroach-like undergrads whoooohooo-ing in their drunken haze across the street from my very large, very uninsulated windows. I briefly contemplated calling the police, until it dawned on me that after inquiring where I lived, the police would probably say, "you live where? Yeah, we don't enforce municipal ordinances in a five-block radius around that area because we have determined that it is simply futile." They would have a nice chuckle, and hang up the phone. I briefly considered calling anyway, and asking if that kind of response would authorize me to resort to self-help. Yeah, probably not.

After 15 minutes, resigned to the fact that natural sleep the night before my exam was decidedly outside of my reach, I walked to the medicine cabinet and pulled out the sleeping pills. Those, coupled with ear plugs and a pillow wedged tightly over my head were my only chance at some ZZZs -- I fell asleep somehow, despite the fear of accidental asphyxiation and the occasional base pounding through my artificial sound barriers.

After waking up at 6am (furiously reading my outline, trying desperately to commit it to memory) and drinking 8 cups of coffee, I took my exam. At the end I found out I had computer problems, which zapped my entire afternoon -- and my attempt to begin cramming for my next exam. On my way home from dealing with the computer people at school, an older man raced up to me. I was walking at a very brisk pace, eager to get home to just relax a teeny bit after being put through the stress that is the law school examination process.

He was panting because he almost had to run to catch up to me. When he touched me on the arm I turned, confused because I didn't recognize him. He was holding something in his hand, so I thought I had dropped something behind me, and he was trying to catch up to give it back to me. No such luck.

As I turned, he said, "oh, you aren't an Econ major, are you?" Good call, considering I was wearing a T-shirt that said "XYZ LAW" on the front (in my defense, I didn't pay any attention to what I was wearing this morning when I woke up bleary-eyed, in a sleeping pill hangover coupled with severe caffeine jitters). I said, "no...I'm not." The man proceeded to guess my nationality, first guessing (incorrectly) that I must be Italian. It didn't even dawn on me that this man, with the few gray hairs left on his head, and the deeply wrinkled skin, was hitting on me, until he finally asked, "hey -- do you want to go get a cold drink on me?" I had already guessed this man must be at least 75. Not only was he old enough to be my father, he was old enough to be my grandfather. In my naivete, I thought he was just a lonely man striking up a conversation with a girl on the street. Then again, what kind of lonely man strikes up a conversation with a girl on the street? Yeah. I really am naive sometimes. I managed to choke back the creeps and mask my shock enough to tell him that I really need to go and study, but thanks for the offer. He actually pressed me -- to my surprise, and I felt that his behavior felt oddly like he was trying to trap me in a corner, despite the shining sun and wide expanse of blue sky around me. As I saw the light turn green and the little walk man appear on the crosswalk signal, I mumbled something about going to study and walked quickly away, as he shouted after me, "but you look so look so gooooood.........."

Across the street I spotted one of the other members of the editorial board on my journal, and half ran up to him. He was standing there talking with a few other people I happened to know, and he said "who was that? We watched him chase you for a block-and-half." In case you have already pieced it together dear readers, I do not exactly attend law school in a cosmopolitan town. This isn't like the big bad wolf approaching innocent prey in a big city. As you will recall, however, Little Red Riding Hood was approached in the big bad woods, read: RURAL AREA. Maybe little towns are more apt to hide the crazies than the cities...or maybe it just shows that you can't escape odd people, no matter where you go.

Now, I'm not exactly young, but I'm not exactly old either. Apparently I definitely look young enough to be mistaken for an undergraduate, which also means that I must look like I could be in the 18-22 age bracket. I think this just adds to the creepyness. Call me a "thin-skull" plaintiff, but I found this event to be semi-traumatizing.

And I'm gonna be a lawyer soon. Very soon. I think it is time to start hardening up, and being more of a ballbuster. I have to figure out how to do that. Maybe working at the big law firm in the big city will harden me up some, but I need to learn how to handle and confront difficult situations head-on. My Negotiation class was supposed to help me with that this semester, instead I think it just highlighted the problem. Maybe I will have to look for one of those self-help books. I wonder if they have one entitled, "How to Squelch the Nice Person Within...10 Tried and True Secrets For Learning That It is Okay to be Mean."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Foiled Again!

Foiled Again!

I did it -- I traipsed off to my cabin in the woods for some peace and quiet, and some quality law-focus-time, when I felt it. The sniffles. Then the coughs. Then the sneezes! I got out...but not in time. Not in time to escape sickness-free. Aches, and zapped energy -- I spent half the time just staring at the incomprehensible drivel I faithfully typed because my big paper was due yesterday. I did it...I muttled through, and managed to get some studying in for the rest of my exams to boot. But this is not to say that I wouldn't have gotten twice as much done if I hadn't caught the dreaded cold before I left school. If I find out who passed on said illness to me, I will not be kind. In fact, I will find some way to hold you responsible for the -.2 in this semester's GPA that will result from this!

In other news, I cannot be a normal person and turn in assignments in the normal way. Being in a cabin in the woods 350 miles from school, and being the procrastinator that I am, there was no way that I could hand a hard copy of aforementioned big paper into my professor by 5pm yesterday. So I emailed it to him, and asked for his preferred option to remedy the situation. I could either a) fax it to him, b) fed ex it or c) bribe a friend to turn it in for me. Well, wouldn't you know -- never heard from my professor. So in addition to already emailing it well before the deadline, I ended up going with option b. Fed Ex. Still haven't heard from my prof -- don't know if he cares, don't know if I am facing a reduced grade because of my tendency to never be in this law school town. I suppose we'll see the aftermath reflected in my GPA.

Finally, the aforementioned cockroach undergrads are still enjoying the nice weather. I can hear them laughing and fighting outside in their drunken insanity. While I sit in here, staring longingly out the window, going over the gun-jumping guidelines and various forms of anti-fraud liability.

One week left to go...please let all go well...please...

Thursday, April 20, 2006



Today is going to be a short post -- finals they are a comin'.

So to give you a hint as to whose house is pictured in my Cabin in the Woods post on April 18th: He was a former United States President, and he was a lawyer.

I know that reaaally narrows it down. More hints to come.

Still chugging away at my final paper, and my first final is one week from tomorrow. Procrastination rears its ugly head, and you keep telling yourself, "I don't need to study, I'll be fine!" Until you sit in the classroom and realize..."no, I'm not fine..."

Taking classes that have final papers instead of finals always seems like a good idea when you register for the course, until it comes time to actually writing them. Then you realize how long they take, how much motivation they require, and you start thinking, "why can't I just have an exam?" This is about the point where I am. Exams, bring them on...papers, extensions please? But you know if you take an extension on a paper you will never ever do it until they threaten to not let you graduate because you need the credits. For the amount of work many of us will face upon graduation, we sure can be lazy. Myself included.

Onwards and upwards.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cabin in the Woods

Off to a Cabin in the Woods...

I have difficulty concentrating in the law school environment as finals rapidly close in. So, a la The Paper Chase, I am off to sequester myself in a secret location, where only 4 people will know my whereabouts in case of an emergency.

Two weeks from this very day I will have written a very long paper, written a smaller paper, and taken two final exams. I will also be about to write one last really long paper, hating that I still have one more thing to do, and muttering under my breath, "you mean it ain't over yet???"

I will also be cursing the fact that I have to stick around this city for a week after finals for the journal, and reading through all of the 1L journal applications. I must admit that I am somewhat looking forward to reading the 1L journal applications -- it will be very interesting to be on the other side of things finally. I also have to say that I will probably feel a bit of guilt knowing that I hold someone's fate in my hands -- but, no good deed goes unpunished. If only the 1Ls comprehended what they are getting into to....just kidding. This random strain of thought is to be continued when I am actually going through the process.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot. You get super bonus points from me if you can guess which famous person once inhabited the cabin pictured above. No hints...yet.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Not Even 2 Seconds of Fame...

Not Even 2 Seconds of Fame...

Today has been incredibly hectic. After class, there was an international law reception for members of the international law journal, and the international law society. The newly appointed boards of each were to be introduced, and all of the international law faculty was there for us to mingle with. Being a newly elected member of the international law journal's Ed Board, I attended, and had my 2 seconds of being introduced.

I find it relatively amusing that the professors I feel most comfortable talking to, are usually those with whom I do not have a class. I feel as though by seeking out my current or past professors, it looks like I am sucking up. I have this great aversion to people who suck up to professors for the sake of self-aggrandizing, and I prefer to avoid the slightest possibility that I might do something of the sort myself. On the other hand, I feel like I may have missed out on getting to know a lot of my professors -- professors with whom I may have had a connection. A huge part of what I have had to learn over the course of my higher education is that professors are people too -- and many of them are curious about us as we are about them.

Speaking of which, the professor I wrote about in my very first post had us over for dinner this evening. This was the first time I had been a member of a class a professor invited over for dinner. Apparently this is fairly common at this school, and I think it is so wonderful that the professors care about us to the point of wanting to get to know us outside of the classroom setting. If any professors ever come across this, I hope they understand how much it means to students for professors to take an active interest in them.

For me, this couldn't have come at a better time. I think I have been getting a tad burned out as of late. Since I went to law school for two years as a part-time law student, this is actually my third year in law school, even though I am considered a 2L at my new school. I definitely feel ready to graduate, and staying focused has been getting more and more difficult. I would very much be looking forward to summer break, if I weren't starting work immediately after the semester ends. The lure of a paycheck again weighs more heavily than R&R at the moment.

I just keep thinking about how nice it would be to take a proper vacation...not soon enough, not soon enough.

Back to the books!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Well, 'tis that time...

Well, 'tis that time...

I wish I had something witty and exciting to say with regard to the fact that finals and crunch time are upon us here. Isn't it funny how my performance in the next two weeks will determine my grades for the entire semester. It has been like this for the past two years, and I can't say that I have entirely gotten used to it. Cram, cram, cram as they say...

I have a huge paper to write before I can settle down and study for finals. I think the best way to be successful during finals is to have a plan, execute the plan with rigid adherence, and then settle down and wait for the grades.

Also on my mind is the fact that I will be working in a city far, far away one month from now. For those of you who don't know, which of course you don't, because I haven't told you, I am a transfer law student. At my old law school I went to law school part-time at night, and worked full-time during the day. Although my life used to be a hectic blur, I adapted to being a full-time student all too well. All too well, in that I am busy all the time, and still somehow procrastinate.

Procrastination has been a life-long challenge. But, like I said, "'tis that time..." Time to buckle down, hit the books, and get it done...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Minus the Crack, If You Please...

Minus the Crack, If You Please...

There is an epidemic rearing its ugly, er, void among female law students these days. A trend that has only been exacerbated with the passage of time, rather than being abated (as I hoped and prayed it would be).

Ladies, please -- pull up your pants! Or try them on before leaving the store to make sure
Illustration by Darcy Paterson

they fit over your rear... your ENTIRE rear.

Countless times I have found myself sitting behind a fellow female classmate, only to glance downward and
spy more than an inch of crack climbing upwards, outside of said colleague's favorite pair of super-low-rise designer jeans.

There are three methods I have noticed that my esteemed colleagues use to cover up said faux pas -- usually when a slightly cool breeze happens to hit them in said nether region, and they realize that perhaps they are flashing more than they should to those sitting behind them.

The first strategy is to nonchalantly pull the back of the t-shirt down over the rear. I have news for you ladies, those who have born witness already know what is going on under there! We know your jeans have ventured too far down -- and perhaps you are squeezing into a size too small because you plan to start going to the gym next week. Like you tell yourself every week.

The second strategy is to again, nonchalantly, slide down in the chair as though to get really comfortable in the chair. Unfortunately, this pose can't last for the entire lecture, especially if you get called on. You eventually have to straighten-up, and bam. There it is again.

Finally, there is the blasé attempt to pull up the back of said premium denim. I think some of my fellow students actually practice doing this in such a way so as to not bring attention to the problem if it hadn't already been noticed.

Ladies, gals, females, women. Please, can we try to not to fall prey to the confines of designer denim? It is just class -- we are there to sit, listen, take a few notes, and get the hell outta there. Honestly, I won't complain (and I doubt others will either) if you save your Sevens, Citizens, R&Rs, or True Religions for the club instead of the classroom. Just throw on a pair of jeans that you can actually sit in, and call it a day.

Trust me, I think the guys will thank you too.

On or Off Campus?

On or Off Campus?

I can't help but compare, repeatedly in my head, the undergraduates at this university to cockroaches. They refuse to be quiet, go inside, or be sober. It is now 2am, and the parties in the neighborhood are still going strong. I wonder if I was this annoying when I was an undergrad? Granted, I attended a similarly large public school, but I think we were decidedly more academic and entirely less inebriated.

Given the distracting state of the undergraduate population, this got me to thinking about whether law schools are better off being situated on campus. My old law school, while part of a greater university, had its own campus at least 1/2 mile from the main campus. My new law school, while encompassing its own city block, is adjacent to the main campus.

During class this week I had to present my final project on a day that just so happened to be one of the first really warm days of spring. The fraternity across the street from the law school decided to start blasting Notorious B.I.G. two minutes into my presentation, and of course the professor didn't bat an eyelash and expected me to continue seamlessly. Meanwhile, the other students in the class started bumping and grinding to the music, while I proceeded to trace Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence at the turn of the twentieth century.

Flash forward to this evening, and the undergrads keep taking shots on their front porch, while singing loudly and drunkenly to Journey. I would have thought Journey would be a bit old for current undergrads, but then again I suppose it shows how music transcends generations.

So, should law schools be situated on or off the main university? In large urban centers like Chicago, Washington, DC, Boston or New York, I suppose it doesn't really make a difference. Students there don't tend to live right on-campus anyway, and you have more that commute to school. But in more rural university towns removing the law school to far corners of the city might help students focus. Granted, I don't know how many times I had to trudge to one of the other campus libraries for a source for an article I was dealing with on the journal this year.

I think when I was at my old law school, I missed the buzz of academia in the air that being part of a greater university community brings to the mix. I missed walking across a campus, seeing the various disciplines represented, and feeling like I was part of a greater whole.

So, while my apartment is a mere five minutes walk away from the law school, I think I am going to have to throw in the towel, stop battling with the drunken undergrads, and move away from campus. Every five minutes I think about going out there in my pink polka dot pajamas and asking them to please, for the love of God, just go to sleep. Goodbye five minute walk, hello commuting and parking issues. The things we put up with for a good night's sleep.

I haven't even mentioned my downstairs neighbor who loves to wait until 3am to blast music -- just when I am hitting that good part of REM sleep (what he does until that time, I will never know). But I'll save that for another midnight post.

Isolation or drunken communion --- which is worse?

Friday, April 14, 2006


Friday, April 14th, 2006


Well, this is the start of something. I don't know what exactly, but you have to start somewhere, and this is it.

Yesterday in the last day of my seminar, as I watched the clock count down to the end, a stream of older people flooded into our tiny seminar room. The room is at the very top of the law school, in a room I affectionately call the "Crow's Nest." From the three windows on each side, you can see the wide expanse north, south, and west of the greater University, which feels strikingly academic -- as though you have reached the top of the ivory tower and have nowhere else to go but down.

When some of the faces streaming into the room started to look familiar, I realized they were all law professors. And when the dean of the law school materialized, I knew we were about to experience something few witness in their law school careers. As the influx began to subside, our professor looked to the floor, and told us, "They are here to tell you this is my last day."

He kept lecturing, but now to everyone, and not just the nine students in the class. As he finished, the entire law faculty erupted in applause. I looked around the seminar table, and stood to join the faculty in applause, and one by one we stood, until we were all standing, giving the professor a standing ovation. Our professor looked at each of us, and at the faculty he worked with for just one year shy of forty years, and tears started to well in his eyes. I started to choke up too -- I think most of us did. In that moment all of us, students and faculty, all at different stages of our legal careers, came together in appreciation for one person's life, dedicated to education and inspiring others to move forward in the legal profession.

In that moment, without any warning, we were witness to one of the grandest traditions at our law school -- on the last day of class, during the last class the professor will ever teach here, the entire law faculty sends him out with a standing ovation. I am grateful students are able to bear witness to the tradition -- to allow it to inspire us to do more, and be more.

And so with an ending, becomes a beginning. I can't promise that I will be faithful, or that my thoughts will always be poignant, entertaining, or funny. But they will, over time become a middle, and after awhile, an end. Hopefully there will be something in all of this mess others can take away and find useful. By way of banal background information, I transferred from a low East Coast Tier 1 to a top 10 law school. I am now a 2L at my new law scool, and reflecting on the decision I made to transfer.