Jim's Polka

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

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Victory - 1L Year Is Done

I turned in the law review write-on at about 3 on Friday. By the end, it didn't even suck. Or, it sucked a lot less than it did the week before. And, at least I didn't have to stay up all night to finish, like one of my friends did.

D is very happy with that. She understands why law review is important, but that didn't really make her any happier that I was still working on school things after exams were over. Inconveniently, my mom arrived just 5 hours after I turned in the write-on. It's nice to have her visiting, but it would be nice to have a little quiet time with D, too.

So, now I get to move on to the next crisis. The bid period is approaching for OCI. I'm going to have to put together a cover letter, I guess. Really, though, I don't know what to do with all of the firms. Even after an initial filter - only including local firms and eliminating the ones that don't do technology-related work (not necessarily patent prosecution) - there's still 20-25 firms. It's hard to muster up any enthusiasm for the whole thing. That's particularly true since my first 2 weeks of work this summer have been so interesting and fun. Why should I look somewhere else if these guys are so great? Of course, I know that I'll be happier if I try somewhere else, too, even if it just confirms that the first firm is right for me. But, sometimes it's hard to fight laziness.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Daily Update

I accidentally picked up two new assignments yesterday. I volunteered for one in the morning, helping a partner update a presentation on trade secrets. Then another partner stopped by in the afternoon with another assignment. I didn't want to say no both because I really like him and because he's the lead for our group, so I definitely want to impress him. Also, the assignment is to write a patent from scratch, which is an experience I'd love to have. He's going to take me through it step-by-step, so it shouldn't be too scary. (At least until I get to writing the claims.) However, it does mean that I'd better not pick up any new work for the next week or two.

I'm still getting free lunches. That's nice, but it's not the reason I like the firm as much as I do. That's more about the people. Just about everyone seems to be both smart and nice. The people in the patent group are great, but so are the other summer associates (even the ones from hoity-toity law schools). And so are the lawyers from other groups. I'm into it enough that I'm thinking about teaching ballroom classes for the rest of the summer, if enough people are interested.

The law review writeon continues. After a couple major revisions, it's starting to look ok. Maybe not spectacular, but not bad either. Unfortunately, I forgot to pick up my number for grading, so I'm going to have to run up to school on Thursday to get that. And then again on Friday to turn it in. But after that, I'll be done! And I can do all those things I've been putting off, like watching the last two episodes of The OC.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Enjoy It and Quit Whining

The retreat was a lot of fun. Despite forecasts of thunderstorms for yesterday, we had a cloudy day that turned to partly cloudy by the evening. I went out kayaking in the afternoon, while D got an aromatherapy massage. As previously seen, I'm incapable of remembering to put on sunscreen, so I got another sunburn. My shoulders and back are a little sore, too, but not as much as I expected. I met some cool people at the retreat, including a bunch of summer associates from other offices. After talking about ballroom with a bunch of people over the weekend, I'm thinking of starting up dance classes for the summer. We'll see if anything comes of that.

I'm still working on the write-on. I'm revising now, which is a little easier than doing the initial draft. Also, it's come to my attention that one of the other summer associates is studying for the bar while she's working, which makes my complaints seem trifling. She came along on the retreat, but spent many hours of it listening to Barbri tapes (on CivPro, I think).

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Write-on Update

On the topic of the write-on, I should note that I just finished my first draft this evening. It's terrible. Just awful. I had a bad case of writer's block earlier in the week and I was looking for a way out. Since I tend to do my best thinking when I'm running my mouth, I decided to go for the next best thing - freeform writing whatever seemed to work without worrying about silly things like wordiness and proper citation. Hence, terrible. But, at least I have something to work with as I revise. Hopefully, it'll turn out easier the second time through. At least I'm trying my best to follow the directions. I hear that's a real problem. (In fact, one of the other summer associates is also grading write-ons for Michigan Law Review and had the exact same complaint. Go figure.)


Yup, today's my thirtieth birthday. I celebrated by working on the law review write-on. Yay.

Actually, that's not entirely true. A couple of the lawyers in my group took me out to lunch, which was thoughtful. Then one of the summer associates who started with me this week organized a happy hour in my honor, which was even nicer. Despite the short notice, a bunch of people stopped by. They're turning out to be a pretty cool bunch. (They'd better be, since we're all going on the summer associate retreat this weekend.)

The prize for best birthday wishes goes to my sister, who sent me an e-card featuring a naked, dancing monkey. And, as everyone knows, monkeys are automatically funny.

D and I are postponing celebration until after the law review thing is done. It'll be just like our anniversary celebration.

Despite the importance of the day, work continued, mostly unaffected. I spent the afternoon reading patents, which is not the easiest thing to do. I'm still adjusting to the language and everything. Tomorrow I'm sitting in on a meeting with an inventor. Which is to say, work is still going great.

Monday, June 13, 2005

CrimLaw? Ugh. First Day? Good.

OK, so the Crimlaw exam sucked. The Prof has his own special way of writing exams, which is like no exam I've ever taken. He gives you plenty of warning about it, but it's still crazy. And closed book. The worst part is that his exam problems are based on real cases, and you're expected to predict how the court ruled. I predicted wrong. Now, I'm not the kind of person that would look up the answer after the exam was over, but that's unfortunately not true of everybody. Someone in my class looked it up right after the exam was over and then blabbed it at the end-of-year picnic a half-hour later. I don't know if it'll matter, but it certainly doesn't make me feel better about the whole experience.

The first day of work, however, was pretty nice. Not overly exciting, since it was all computer training and stuff, but still good. Despite the late start, there were actually 11 other summer associates starting today. 5 of us from TVPNU and 1 from Chicago, which is another quarter system school. The rest just wanted a longer vacation, I think. (And good for them if that's the reason!) Strangely, there's only one other guy in the group. I don't know what to make of that. Anyway, it was a frenzy of training and filling out forms, basically. I did stop in to see my office at the end of the day, and let me just say: Wow. When I worked at the consulting firm, I had an office the same size, but I shared it with 2 other people. And the view from the office is spectacular. Don't get me wrong, that's not a reason I would choose the firm or not, but it is a nice little bonus. Certainly more than I was expecting.

Even better, I don't even have to be in until 9:30 tomorrow. There's a diversity breakfast, but since I'm not diverse, I don't have to go. Not so bad, really.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Dancing With the Stars

I love this show! The dancing is actually quite good. I'm not sure who my favorite is yet. I will say that making the male stars lead quickstep is rough. It's not easy to lead when you're moving that fast. Joey McIntyre did a really good job, though. The judges were right - he does need to work on his posture. But he kept it together really well and did some nice footwork.

Rachel Hunter was even more impressive doing rumba. She looked like someone who had been dancing for a lot more than the few weeks that they've been training. And, as D noted, "She's really flexible."

Update: Trista was ok. Whatever. Didn't really knock me out.

But, John O'Hurley did an excellent job. The mean British just said what I was about to say, but I'll repeat. He had excellent posture. They did an excellent job moving together. The feet looked nice. (To me, the posture is the most important thing. Mostly because it took me so long to get the hang of it.)

Update 2: Yeah, Kelly Monaco is really stiff. Good-looking, but not much with the dancing.

Evander Holyfield may just be too big for some of these dances. He seems too used to the style of movement of boxing to switch over to that of dancing.

I think these last two were the worst of the bunch. So, let's see who gets eliminated...

Final Update: Trista gone. That's wrong. She wasn't the best, but she was definitely better then Kelly. Maybe if I'd been watching American Idol, I'd be used to this.


By the way, did I mention how great it is that we're the last law students in America who aren't done with school yet? It's the best.

ConLaw? Odd

I guess any ConLaw exam is bound to be odd when it excludes the Commerce Clause and the Constitutional Common Market. We accounted for the Commerce Clause in a writing assignment a couple weeks ago and we took care of the Common Market in the take-home portion of the exam. That sounds annoying, but it was kind of a relief to go into today's exam knowing that it was only worth 60% of the whole exam grade.

But, still. It was a little weird. Three hours for ten short answer questions with strict line limits. No typed answer could be longer than 9 lines. After an hour and 20 minutes, I had something written for all 10. I spent another half hour making sure I was happy with my answers and waiting for someone else to finish before me. For some reason, I feel weird being the first person to finish an exam. Anyway, I turned in the exam after 2 hours. I spent the rest of the time hanging out and wondering what everyone else was doing that was taking so long. (One person actually read all of Marbury v. Madison during the exam, so I guess that explains some of it.)

I also had a talk with the prof who runs the tech law clinic. I'm trying to pick a topic for a project for next year. The problem is, there are so many options that I'm having trouble narrowing things down. Anyway, I still have a while to think about it. Of course, ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Classes Next Year

OK, I think I've finally figured out what I'm taking in the fall. (I just registered for the last class today.) I have a general idea of what's happening in the winter and spring, but I stil have a few decisions to make there.

So, for the fall:
Tech Law and Public Policy Clinic
Tech Law and Public Policy (with Energy Spatula, yay!)

A nice, sensible schedule, I think. It'll all depend on how the clinic is. It runs all year, so that's one thing I don't have to worry about for the winter and spring.

This post is proof that I'd happily do anything except study for ConLaw. (Except for studying for CrimLaw, of course.)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Songs of Inspiration?

As much as I try, exams still make me nervous. Not incredibly so, but still not so fun. One thing that seems to help is to listen really high energy, jump-around-like-an-idiot music. Up till now, that's mostly been Andrew W.K. songs with the volume turned up. (My favorite is "Party Hard" although "It's Time to Party" is a contender, too. And "Get Ready to Die" is surprisingly uplifting as well.) I'm trying to broaden the selection a little bit, so I'm looking for suggestions. Does anyone out there have any ideas for songs I should add to the list? I'll post the playlist at some point.

Property? Meh

It was ok. I was surprised that there was no adverse possession on it. Not a whole lot else to say. I ended up taking the rest of the day off, pretty much. I did read a lot of the commentary on Raich, since it was decided today and ConLaw is my next exam. The prof gave us a writing assignment on the Commerce Clause and told us that he wouldn't test us on it on the exam, so it wasn't studying as such, but it was still interesting. Sadly, tomorrow I'll have to be productive.


I really like the local public library. The new building for the main library is really cool. It allows me to indulge my penchant for light reading without spending tons of money. Just as important, it lets me read a lot of books without have to find the shelf space to put it in. Oh, and they've got a nice web page. You can go there, search through their catalog and then click on the "Hold" button and they'll add you to the wait list. Then they send you an e-mail when the book is in.

The problem is, sometimes it's so easy that I get a little carried away, which is maybe not the best thing to do while school is going on. A couple months ago, I got a little carried away and added a bunch of books to my hold list. At least one of them, Collapse by Jared Diamond, is probably a bad choice to have to read in three weeks during law school. The good news is, there's still several hundred people ahead of me for that one. But, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is now ready for me. I can wait until after exams to pick it up, but I think this is going to be hell on my law review write-on.

Friday, June 03, 2005

With A Whimper (and a Whine)

Almost without being noticed, the last class of my 1L year happened on Wednesday. It was a little anti-climactic, since it was followed with a review session for Property. We applauded ProfConLaw and ProfProperty. We would have applauded ProfCrimLaw if he hadn't fled so fast. He read us a little poem he wrote, then turned red and left the room. It was actually kind of endearing.

I think the girls are going to miss ProfProperty. Apparently, they've been checking out his butt every time he writes something on the board. Me, I wouldn't know about that, but I will miss his class. He actually won a teaching award at the prom last week. He also said something about me being one of his better students, but I'm pretty sure he has me confused with the woman who sits next to me in class. Still, nice to hear.

So, I told you the whimper. The whining comes next. There's the 3.5 hour ConLaw review session that I just got home from. Useful, but soooooooo tiring. I mean, after a while, you just don't want to hear about the dormant commerce clause anymore. I have exams next week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then I get to pick up the law review write-on packet. We have two weeks to get it done. Of course, during those same two weeks, I'll be working, too. And, the middle weekend there's a retreat kind of thing for the summer associates, which I would hate to miss. Oh, and my 30th birthday. I think I'm going to officially postpone that until the law review thing is done. Wish me luck!