Jim's Polka

The life of a former software engineer, now a law student

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Interview Update

I had the second interview with the big lawfirm today. (As rescheduled from last week.) It wasn't quite as good as the first interview, but I still think it went well. There were 6 half hour interviews with lawyers from the patent group, then I had lunch with 2 more from the group. Just about everybody was pleasant and interesting to talk to, but I did run low on energy after a while.

On the other hand, they continue to impress with their speedy follow-up. Last time, it took them 45 minutes to get back to me. This time, I got a phone call within 4 hours. The recruiter said they were happy with how things went and wanted references. Actually, she didn't even want to talk to my professors - just someone from my old job is enough.

I actually came into law school thinking that I would prefer to work for a small firm. That may still be true for the long term, but this interviewing experience has been so nice that these guys are looking like a pretty good choice, even though they're definitely not small. Everyone seems smart and they really seem to love what they're doing.

I'm Back

Well, I got back Tuesday, but I'm still in vacation mode, so I haven't been doing a whole lot.

Travel was relatively uneventful for me, but my sister got caught up in the ugliness at USAirways on the 23rd. First, her flight from Italy to Philadelphia had to be diverted to DC because of bad weather. Of course, they couldn't let her off the plane there, even though someone in the family could have picked her up easily. After 3 hours on the ground (and one incident where the paramedics took someone off the plane) they flew to Philly. Of course, she had already missed her flight to Baltimore, so they put her on the next one they had, scheduled to arrive at 9:30. They then proceeded to delay the flight in 40 minute to 1 hour increments. My brother and I got to the airport at 10:30 to pick her up, but we didn't actually leave with her until 2:30 AM. Her baggage didn't catch up with her until the afternoon on Christmas day. On the bright side, we went to pick her up in my dad's new car, so every time the flight was delayed we took it out for a spin. Not a bad way to pass the time.

As for me, I didn't accomplish a whole lot. My triumph was watching all 10 hours of Band of Brothers on DVD. It's pretty amazing. I would recommend that everyone watch it, unless you're squeamish about realistic depictions of people's legs being blown off (e.g. my mom). The show follows one company in the 101st Airborne from their training, through the landing at D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, to the end of the war. My grandfather was in the 13th Airborne, which never saw combat. I'm happy he never had to go through what those guys did.

Christmas dinner was our usual all-American blend. My dad and my stepmom hosted. My brother, sister, stepbrother and stepsister were all there. My mom was there, as was my grandmother (mom's mother), and my aunt and uncle (mom's brother and his wife). The great thing is, we make it work. I love my family.

Friday, December 17, 2004

And...... Done

Torts wasn't so bad. Of course, everyone felt that way, so it'll probably work out the same as the others when the curve gets factored in. But, at least we didn't come away with that "What did we do to make the professor hate us?" feeling, like in Contracts.

At least this week hasn't provided me with an exam horror story like these. Happily, I have 8 more sets of exams that are bound to give me a story or two. (Quarter system, you know.)

We all went to the bar at 11 after the exam. About 2/3 of my section showed up, which was pretty great. I like my section a lot, even though we've acquired an (undeserved) reputation in the law school as the super-competitive, type-A section. However, I have to say - beer before lunch is probably not my thing.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Number Two - Done

Contracts was ok. I thought it was a little better than the Civpro, but the consensus from the class is that I'm crazy, so there you go. I didn't feel like I was running out of time like in the Civpro exam. Unfortunately, it didn't help that much. I had more time to consult my notes, but I was so confused by the end of the first question that I couldn't really add anything more to it, even with the extra time. I have no doubt that I missed something, but as before, I have no idea what. On the bright side, I'm pretty happy with my answer to the policy question. I think I hit some of the ideas she really likes to talk about. And, there's the constant mantra "Only a midterm, only a midterm."

On the bright side, the weather was amazing today. Hardly a cloud in the sky. I could see the mountains to the west (snow-capped, of course) for the whole bus ride in and I even saw a little bit of the mountains to the east when I was crossing the bridge. We spent the hour before the exam started hanging out in the sun and talking about anything but school. Not a bad way to go.

Some enterprising classmates found a bar in the area that opens at 10:30, so the post-Torts beer is on. And it will be good.

Monday, December 13, 2004

The Geek Mind

Every geek should see this comic. More importantly, every spouse/girlfriend of a geek guy should read it. I'm pretty sure this is how D sees me.

First One Down

The Civpro exam was ok. I haven't thought of anything I missed, which is a good sign. Of course, I haven't really thought very much about it at all. I definitely didn't walk out of it feeling cocky. The prof claimed that each problem (there were 2) should take about an hour, but he was giving us 3 hours to do it. Very generous. :-) As it was, I worked on problem 1 for an hour and a half, switched to problem 2 for an hour, then switched back to 1 for the last half hour. So, yeah, not so much with the 2 hour exam for me.

So, on to Contracts. We'll have to see how things go when I have to throw policy into the mix, too. I'll be happy when its over.....

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Some Good News

On the bright side, I just had my best game ever of Spider Solitaire.

Oh, and this site has the best t-shirts ever*. (via BoingBoing) I can't decide which Blue Screen of Death shirt I'd want the most.

* if you're me.

Worst Assignment Ever

***** Below is a post that may walk a little bit on the wrong side of that line between ranting and whining. Please feel free to ignore it. ***

I just finished a required self-evaluation sort of thing for BLS (Basic Legal Skills). The people running the program, in a brilliant move, decided to make the thing due the same day as our first exam. That's pretty sensible to me - I mean, what could we possibly have to do the day before our Civpro exam other than answer their ridiculous questions. Luckily, they decided to help us out by giving us questions that were pointless and almost insulting. Somewhere in the middle of the thing, I started to think that it would be better to just drop out of law school, rather than finish this idiotic assignment.

First we had to evaluate ourselves on a series of questions that are basically how well we understand "lawyer stuff" and list the thing that we've worked on for the class that best shows our ability for each question. (e.g. how well do you understand stare decisis?) Then we get stupid, middle-school level questions about whether we've learned to be better people in the last quarter.

The sad thing is, this isn't a bad class. I definitely know a lot more about legal writing now than I did 3 months ago. I produced a couple memos that were pretty good (I think). They're just obsessed with this self-evaluation/reflection thing, which really sucks away my enjoyment of the good parts.

However, I've made it through the thing without dropping out of law school, so it could be worse. I'll have to think about whether to leave this post up. Back to studying......

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Study, Study, Study

There are a lot of problems with being on the quarter system, but there is one advantage for 1Ls. Our first set of exams are only mid-terms, so they all count for no more than 10% of our grade. In the case of CivPro, the test doesn't count at all if you do better on the final. Despite that, I'm still stressing, for some reason. Maybe I can't help myself, or maybe it's a side effect of hanging out around other people who are stressed.

Anyway, I finished my last outline (Contracts) on Thursday. It was nice to see that remedies made a lot more sense now than when we were learning about them back in October. Some 2Ls have told me that ProfContracts likes to see policy incorporated into our analysis. I guess I should have realized this before, but I hadn't given it much thought before, so now I'm looking through all of my notes for any nugget of policy that I should be thinking about. So, we'll see how that goes.

The CivPro exam is Monday. I just took a practice exam that went pretty well, so I'm feeling OK about it. Contracts is on Wednesday. I'm less sure what to do about that, but I guess I have a little more time to think about it. And, Torts is Friday morning. We're planning to go out drinking afterwards. Some people might say that 10:30 is too early to go drinking, but we'll show them. Oh, and my second interview with these people was originally scheduled for next Monday, but they had to reschedule, so I'll be doing it on Dec 30, instead. Given how well the first interview went, it can only be downhill from here.

Oh, and I'm heading back to the East Coast for Christmas. D can't come because her first day of work is next Monday. I wish she could come, but I know she's been incredibly bored sitting around the house for the last 3 months. And, it'll be a nice switch to have some money coming in for a change.

An Interlude of 1L Geekiness

According to this article, the Palsgraf family has had nothing but bad luck since the famous case was decided. They sound a little bitter about it, too. (Thanks to ProfTorts for the story, thanks to Orin Kerr for the link to the story.)

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Joy and Pain

The stress around school is getting thicker and thicker. There's definitely been a touch of panic, even though it's all midterms for 1Ls, so exams only count for 10% or so of our final grade. Somehow, I can't get past the worry.

On the other hand, I was extremely productive over Thanksgiving. There's not a lot to do in D's home town and there was no internet access, so I really didn't have a lot to do except study (and play on the Game Boy). So, I used the time to catch up on my outlining.

As a bonus, the final memo for BLS is due Monday and we have some weird quiz on Tuesday. The memo's almost done, although I'm skating at the edge of the word limit (21 words under, but I think I have a few more cites to add).

On the other hand, I do have some pretty good news. Thanks to super-mentor, I got an interview with the patent group at one of the biggest law firms in town. I went to lunch with two of their lawyers yesterday and I had been invited back for a full interview within 45 minutes of leaving. Since I'm not a jerk (I think), I'm avoiding talking about this at school. Hopefully, my one reader from school will ignore this little bit of bragging. :-)