Archive for December, 2010

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

December 29, 2010

In the spring, I’m volunteering for the VITA program at the law school.  We help low income people file their income taxes.  To do it, I have to complete an IRS online training course.  I started it tonight.  It looks long.  At the end I have two chances to pass a certification test.  Hopefully I learn something about income tax from this.

Digging in Deep

December 27, 2010

Yesterday, I was at Kroger when I dropped a Coke I was drinking.  It spilled all over the floor.  I told a store employee, and they started working on getting it cleaned up.  This wasn’t the first time I’d dropped something in a business.  But it was the first time I really thought about the store’s legal liability due to the spill, and my own.  Law school is taking over my mind.

Happy Holidays!

December 25, 2010

Way back in the last millennium, I was a mere freshman at Purdue, around the holidays I put together a “Twelve Days of Purdue,” set to the tune of “Twelve Days of Christmas.”  It’s not a perfect fit, but it does make me laugh thinking back.  So enjoy.  Merry Christmas.

On the first day of Purdue, my true love gave to me:

A walk through the fountain
Two long walks
Three hour labs
Four hours of sleep
Five big exams
Six hours of homework
Seven classes waitin
Eight TAs babling
Nine different projects
Ten profs a grumbling
Eleven days of grilled cheese
Twelve migranes drumming

Crushing Student Debt

December 23, 2010

Many, many people would say that the rising cost of medical care is a problem for the United States.  Student debt is rising at a rate three times as fast.  Right now, there’s over $800,000,000,000 in student debt in the United States.  Personally, I think that’s a problem, especially if it’s being invested in an educational field that may not pay off.  Article from MSNBC/CNBS on rising student debt.  Analysis from Above the Law on said article.  Both good reads.

Personally, I don’t want to automatically blame the system.  I think there’s a lot of silly educational decisions being made.  They’re not being looked as investments.  Which, given all the long range implications of borrowing a lot of money to invest in an education in the hope of paying back all the money borrowed, might be a bit much to ask of high school seniors.  Would a high school senior be expected to competently sign a mortgage agreement with a bank?

“The Things They Carried”

December 21, 2010

This book was not what I expected.  It’s about soldiers fighting in the war in Vietnam.  That’s a conflict I want to learn more about.  The very begining is literally about the things they carried, and how much they weighed.  I imagined humping through the jungle with pounds of gear weighing me down.  I was excited about where the book would lead.  Unfortuantely, the realism took a dip from there. 

About half way through, I turned to the back cover to see if there was a classification snuck on there.  There was: fiction.  Not history, fiction.  A little after that the author wrote about how some war stories are true, and others are entirely made up.  Reading that, the floor fell out on realism and reliability. 

The book was much more like Slaughterhouse-Five than Chickenhawk or The Long Gray Line.  Which is okay.  I liked Slaughterhouse-Vie.  I just didn’t want to read a book like it on the war in Vietnam.

Thirteen Days Latter

December 21, 2010

So this is what it feels like after law school exams.

Just Can’t Get Enough

December 19, 2010

I’m not even having bad dreams about the right exams anymore.  My only remaining exam is torts, and it’s this Tuesday.  So what do I dream about last night?  Criminal law and civil procedure.  Those exams were a week ago tomorrow and last Friday, respectively.

For crim law, I first dreamed that there weren’t enough exams, and I didn’t receive one.  While everyone else was working away, I was waiting thirty minutes for another copy to be found.  When I started looking at it, it was sixteen photographs from around the world.  I was supposed to write about criminal law for such fabulous vacation destinations as the south of France or Tahiti.  I had no idea what I was supposed to do.  It felt like some sort of criminal law travelogue.  It was not pleasant.  And everyone else was busily working away.

Then, I found myself wondering about civ pro.  I almost want to say that was after I woke up from the crim law.  I was worried which question it was.  Was it the Erie question?  The personal jurisdiction?  Subject matter jurisdiction?  I never knew what the question was, but I know I was worried about what type it was. 

Maybe tonight I’ll have a bad dream about first grade spelling tests.  Those were never fun either.

The Other Air Travel List

December 18, 2010

The government has a list of people it will not allow to board airplanes.  It’s a “no board” list separate from the “no fly” list.  USA Today reports there are thirty two people on it, and all have tuberculosis.  Reading this, I couldn’t help but think these people are being singled out for their membership in a class of people (those with tuberculosis), and I wondered if there was any sort of due process notice and hearing for the people.  That’s law school for you!

The End of Civility

December 17, 2010

The civil procedure final was going to be three questions: one about personal jurisdiction, another about subject matter jurisdiction, and a third about the Erie doctrine.  We knew this.  The professor had told us.  Every civil procedure exam he gave was set up this way.  Three questions, three major topics: one question per major topic.

But, like they say, the trick was in the details.  Each question would have at least two subparts.  In the first subpart, the majority of the points would be tied to the major topic of the question.  But there were other subparts, minority subparts for lack of a better term.  These were over the ancillary topics we had covered.  Collateral attacks.  Rule 12 motion sequences.  The significance of dismissing for lack of personal jurisdiction versus subject matter jurisdiction.  Preclusion.  All sorts of stuff about class actions. 

Last night, the night before the exam, I was reviewing old exams.  These minority subparts were driving me a bit nuts.  There’d be one saying something like, Frank filed a Rule 14(b)(1)(iii) motion, which the court had denied.  Considering how this might impact his chances of renewing the claim in a different venue, or precluding additional counter claims, what should Frank do?  My first thought was, “I don’t know, go eat a sandwich?”  Seriously, I couldn’t figure out what the question was answering.  I don’t think the challenge of an exam should be in decoding the questions so that they may be answered.  I think the challenge should be in answering the actual questions.  So I was worried that I’d get to the minority subparts of the three questions and have no idea what was going on.

Fortunately, that wasn’t the case.  I even figured out what one of them was really asking, instead of what it initially looked to be asking (or at least I thought I did, time will tell).

Positive Thinking About Civ Pro Exam

December 16, 2010

Tomorrow in my civil procedure exam, and there’s something I’m actually looking forward to: it’s only three hours.  There is no way that it I am going to have another three hour and fifty minute exam.  Not that I think this one won’t take all the time allotted.  But it can’t take more than it.