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Sunday, April 30, 2006

Struggling with Scalia??

Given the fact that I have asthma, and there is what used to be a small amount of black mold growing in my spare bedroom after the "great flood" that resulted from 40 days and 40 nights of rain (from a leaking water heater), and I haven't been able to light a fire under the ass of my landlord to get over and take care of it . . .

I woke up this morning unable to breathe.

So I thought I would use the time to read a little more of these two new blawgs I mentioned in my last post. And discovered both have something in common . . .

Like most law students, they hate ConLaw. I, on the other hand, am a freak and I loved it. And so I spent endless hours contemplating the fine minutiae of various Supreme Court decisions.

And then I reduced it to flow-chart form.

So for the sake of my 1L friends struggling with ConLaw, I am posting my two favorite flow charts in the entire world. I do not warrant the accuracy of either chart, or guarantee that either will help you get a good grade. But I did fairly well, and I think it is easier than reading all of the cases over again . . .

Of course, before you can get any further on any ConLaw question you first have to look to see if the case is actually justiciable. Some profs love this aspect of the law more than others. But remember: ConLaw Profs and Supreme Court justices were law students once too, and they too will sometimes look to do nothing more than is absolutely necessary.

The Court loves to confuse hapless law students by calling the same tests by different names, but in reality nearly all tests can be broken down into 3 general categories for guidance (with some carrying an additional caveat or two).

Feel free to print these out and use them as you see fit. However, do make sure that if they are helpful you give credit where credit is due. If they actually cause you to fail miserably, to then drop out of law school and to end up with a job at Chuckee Cheese's . . . then you don't have to thank me.

If you find these hard to read (I had to shrink the file for posting), e-mail me using the address in my profile or catch me on AIM at "MiMonAiM" and I will send you a better copy.

Good Luck!

ADDENDUM: While I just increased the size of the .jpg files, you will probably still have a problem with their clarity. Unfortunately, I don't know how to host files on my blog. And don't have the time to learn. So if you want the files in MS Word format, please feel free to IM me or e-mail me. Like everyone else, I will be glued to my computer for the next two weeks.

If I'd have known this would be so popular, I would've posted my "Battle of the Forms" flow chart for Contract Law last semester. But if you'd like that now, let me know and you can have that too.

If I can ever figure out how to host files, maybe I'll post my outlines. Its not like they are doing me any good now so they ought to be helping someone.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

New Blawgers

For those who've been around the blawg-o-sphere for a couple years now, you might remember a blawg called "The Anonymous Law Student" written by a student at a NY law school.

As I remember it, it was a self-serving, egotistical, my-school-is-better-than-your-school piece of crap. But I read it anyways. It has been about a year since he stopped posting, which leads me to think it may have been a joke like Anonymous Lawyer . . . but I just never got that tongue-in-cheek feeling from it like I did AL.

Anyway, there is a new Anonymous Law Student blawging from Washington -- no, not the city, the state, in the NorthWest. And he is much more likeable than the last. I encourage everyone to check his blawg out. I've added the link to the side.

Also, I loved finding PrettyLawChick who writes LawSchoolThoughts. (Were all the other names taken?) She's a law student engaged to a steel mill worker. That should be an interesting story to keep up with. If he can still put up with you after 3 years of Law School, then he's a keeper.

Friday, April 28, 2006

To the Curious Professor

Dear Curious Professor,

I understand that you are quite intent on figuring out who the person is that calls himself Moonlighting in Misery. My friend tells me that she has had some amusing conversations involving your theories on who I might be. I must say I am terribly glad that my blawg could finally bring her some small amount of enjoyment.

I am sure she will not crack anytime soon, either. At least I hope she does not. For if she does, and she no longer has you questioning her about this, then she would be left with nothing but the job of giving me a hard time for my awkward attempts at humor.

And I rather enjoy the momentary reprieve I've received.

Besides, do you really want to see the man behind the mask? I mean, maybe if I was Antonio Banderas in Zorro--sure! But, alas, I am no Antonio Banderas. And if I were I probably would not be spending my time writing some scantily read blawg besides. (I'd be busy doing something else with some scantily . . . well, nevermind, I think I'll keep that to myself).

Think more along the line of Tin Man's utter surprise when they found some balding middle-aged "Willy Loman" pulling a few levers and talking into a microphone behind a curtain.

Get the picture?

I have not been a student in your class--much to my misfortune, according to my friend. And I probably will not have the opportunity either. Though I do appreciate the small compliment you have bestowed by your continued reading and wondering who I am.

I will make you a deal, however. If you'd really like to know who I am, then I will tell you. But you must first buy one of my t-shirts and wear it to school, preferrably in front of your group of 1Ls. I could use the free advertisement, and it would be rather entertaining besides. Then I will seek you out and tell you.

Until then, I hope you continue reading. And I hope I don't make a complete and total ass out of myself much as our beloved Dunce Blawger did. I do promise, though, I will never mention the lining, or lack of, in your suits if you will continue to be kind about the humor, or lack of, in my writing.


Moonlighting in Misery, soon-to-be 3L

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Reason # 3,478 the Supreme Court was Wrong and should reinstate the death penalty for 17-year-olds



To Kill a Mockingbird

"I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house; and that he'd rather I'd shoot at tin cans in the backyard. But he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted - if I could hit 'em; but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird." (Atticus Finch, from To Kill a Mockingbird)

In the state of Texas, not only is it a sin, it is also against the law.

But I wonder what Atticus would have said had he attended TTU School of Law and had to worry for his life every time he walked through those glass doors to face the fear of a quick beak, a loud scream, and those "blood-soaked talons."

Probably not:

"I reckon because mockingbirds don't do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat people's gardens, don't nest in the corncrib, they don't do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us."

Here at Tech Law we are in the midst of a great brooding uprising, urged on by one noble soul bereft of fear and courageous enough to stand up and declare:

No more will I fear the mockingbird!

It all began last week with this e-mail . . .

Fellow Students:

Last night, as I was leaving the law school, I notice a bird approaching me at an alarming rate of speed. I assumed he would divert his course, but I was wrong. Dead Wrong. The bird furiously attacked me by dive bombing my backpack and head. I took off my cap and swung at it, but this bird is, to say the least, fearless. Needless to say, I looked like a mad man, running around swatting at a bird with my hat. When I made 50 or so yards away from the tree located on the left side of the circle, the attack subsided. Finally, I was safe.
Having completely forgotten this malicious attack (likely from repression of the frightening events), I walked by the same tree this morning. Suddenly I felt something hit my arm, and as I turned, I saw an angry bird, fiery hate burning in its eyes. Again, I sped my pace and narrowly escaped a gruesome fate.

I tell this story not in jest, but to protect each and everyone of you. I propose a call to arms where we each go to Wal-Mart to purchase a Red Rider BB gun and rid the world of this hateful and dangerous creature.

Mr. Courageous

And what has ensued has been a harrowing nightmare for us all . . .

Attack after attack, we all live in fear. Those beady eyes. That sharp black beak. That blood-curdling screech as you know, you feel . . .

Your time is at hand.

But, alas, our fearless administration has stepped in to save the day!! The sages have determined the problem can be solved by a barricade, a police line, a cordoned-off crime scene. They have attempted to make peace, to strike a repose, by promising the evil demon creature that we will not pass into his territory if he will not pass into ours.

The sign says it all, no?

But the Malcontent Mockingbird refuses to recognize our offering of peace, and has not been satisfied by the barricade--choosing to chase our innocent brood regardless of where we travel.

And even the local media has picked up on the story. "Murderous mockingbird terrifies helpless law students! Story at noon!"

As far away as Austin, our plight has become known. No one is safe.

As I write this, I have locked myself into my room. Professor, I won't be coming to school today. I probably won't be taking my final either. Can you just forward it to the e-mail address above?

I feel it will be safer that way.

Until someone is brave enough to have a little "come to Jesus" session with our Mockingbird . . .


He Got the Clap; I Gave It Proudly

Many blawgers, including myself, have written about the somewhat bizarre ritual of applause that we Law Students are expected to give to each professor on the last day of class . . .

And I think most would agree that at least 50 to 75% of the time, the applause is more formality than genuine appreciation.

But with the professor of which I spoke yesterday--especially following his legal equivalent of Churchill's "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" Speech--the applause I gave was willingly doled.

But, best of all, he did not linger to wallow in it.

No. He jogged out.

I just wish, when he had reached the top of the stairs, he would have turned--still jogging in place--and raised his arms victoriously in the air.

If his speech did not make the whole semester worth it, that would have. Most definitely.

NOTE: My post yesterday was meant to be a bit of an homage to this professor. As is my policy, however, I did not give his name. Neither will I give his name without his permission. But if you are that professor, and you've stumbled upon my oh-so humble blawg, I will gladly give you credit if you e-mail me. You can find my e-mail by clicking on my profile to the top right.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"Five Years"

A Professor walked into class today and began by saying, "I am entitled to one free op-ed a year. Now I've probably used more than that already, but I'm going to rant today."

And then he gave us his 6 essential lessons on being a lawyer.

I have done the best I can to rewrite his speech, and I probably did not do it the justice it deserves. But I think it important that more than those fortunate enough to have him as a professor get to hear what he has to say. For this reason I have done my best to faithfully--though definitely not completely--recreate that lecture here.

He began with the two words: "Five Years."

1. You are not a real lawyer until about 5 years after you graduate.

Give yourself five years of making mistakes and freaking out before you finally become a decent lawyer. That doesn't mean that after 5 years you won't make any more mistakes, it just means you won't freak out when you do. When you make a mistake, fix it. Don't ignore it and hope no one will find it. Just fix it and move on. But after 5 years--between 3 and 7 years out of law school--you will be at your most marketable. You've just spent 5 years making mistakes on someone else's malpractice insurance. That's when people are really willing to hire you, and that brings me to my next point . . .

2. Never stop looking for your next job.

I don't care how much you love where you are, very very few people work for the same firm for 30 years. Keep checking the papers, the journals, register with a good headhunter and then check up on what they may have for you. No matter how happy you think you are, you never know you may be happy somewhere else. Just keep your options open; never stop looking for your next job.

3. Never be afraid to ask for money.

Each hour of your time given to the work of a client, even a friend, takes an hour away from you, your family, your life. Your time is all you have. So every time you let a client walk away with 2 free hours of your time you die a little. And while that 2 hours may not mean much, a lifetime later you can look back on all of the time you gave away by taking that time from you and your family and it will make you miserable.

4. Learn to say "no."

We are all lawyers, we are all people pleasers. We hate to say anything but, "yes." You have to learn to tell your family no. Churches, organizations, you have to tell them, "no" or they'll have you on every committee, doing every job imaginable because you are a lawyer. I once had to fire a minister. You want to talk about a bad feeling, try walking into a pastor's office, looking at him with that big picture of Jesus behind him, and telling him he's being kicked out of his house. That will teach you to say "no."

5. You can't have everything.

You can be competent in a lot of things. You can be pretty good in a couple of things. The truth is most of us will not be the best lawyers in the state of Texas. Don't try. Take comfort in that. Be the best father, the best mother, the best boy scout leader, whatever . . . Next time you see a picture on the front page of a magazine of Mr. "Big Shot Lawyer" stop and think: I wander what his wife thinks of him? What is kids think of him? When was the last time his neighbors borrowed his lawn mower? When was the last time he got to read a book? Or take a nap? The look at what you have that he probably doesn't. And be happy.

6. Finally, don't compartmentalize your life.

Just remember this: Being a lawyer is the greatest job in the world. You aren't digging for coal, you aren't picking cotton--that makes this a good job! You come here for three years and you leave and get to wear nice clothes, drive nice cars, and everybody thinks you are smart. You may be the worst lawyer in the world but you ask your aunt or uncle and they'll smile and think you're a genius. In nothing else can 3 years of education get you all of the benefits that law school does. And, just between you and me, you really don't learn a whole lot in those 3 years either. Being a lawyer is absolutely the greatest job in the world. Go out and enjoy it!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Let's Bring it Down for a Moment

I just have a few thoughts I'd like to share with everyone today . . .

The Good: Special Champions.

I attended the Special Olympics of North Texas on Saturday. I used to think the "special" in Special Olympics was like that "special" as in "riding the short bus" special.

I have changed my mind.

This "special" definitely refers to the fact that out of 365 days in the year, the most meaningful, most fulfilling, and most entertaining day you can spend in that year would be volunteering to help at these Games or at least attending and cheering on the athletes.

My sister-in-law won a 4th place ribbon in the shot-put, 3rd place in the standing long jump, and 2nd place in the 50 meter dash.

I can't tell who got more out of it -- her or me.

The Bad: Arrest of Dr. Wang at White House.

Dr. Wang, pictured below, was arrested last week on the lawn of the White House and faces 6 months or more in prison for "threatening a foreign official."

She used her press pass to demand attention for the human rights abuses occurring in concentration camps in China set-up for the harvesting of the organs of innocent Chinese citizens being persecuted for practicing Falun Gong exercises.

President Bush apologized to Chinese President Hu Jintao for being confronted with Dr. Wang's outburst. The U.S. Government refuses to recognize or investigate that any such abuses may be occurring.

The chapter of International Justice Mission here at Tech Law will be hosting a speaker on Thursday who has been advocating more awareness of these human rights abuses that have been occurring for 7 years now.

The Ugly: TomKitten?

All weekend long I could not pick up a magazine, turn on the news, or check my favorite news sites online without being slapped in the face by news of Tom and Katie's new baby.

I really could care less . . . unless, of course, the child turns out to be the promised alien messiah who will be taking us all back to the home planet. In which case, I would like to know so I can start planning my departure.

I did hear on the radio this morning a report that TomKat was wrong about the name they chose for the baby. As the report said, they thought it meant "Princess" but it turns out it may mean "Pick-Pocket" instead.

After Minority Report and War of the Worlds, how appropriate.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

In the Interest of Equal Time

It has been pointed out to me that yes, indeed, Ninjas can be vicious creatures. And Ninjas, being mostly human, can also make mistakes.

If Ninjas make mistakes then that must mean there are some people who may find themselves the innocent victims of Ninja violence . . .

So to provide equal time to Pirates after my admittedly Ninja-sympathetic post of yesterday, I am providing this space as a public service announcement to any who may have been the innocent victims of random Ninja violence.

So, here it is:

Trouble with a Ninja?

Ninja Victims, you should know you do have someone on your side who is willing to fight for you.

Call Captain John Hooke Silver, Attorney at Law (who does not like ninjas) and he will get ye the booty ye deserve.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Government is Pro-Pirate, Anti-Ninja Actions Show

In this MiM update regarding the great Pirate vs. Ninja debate, we discover the real truth regarding the U.S. Government's supposed neutral stance on which of the two --Ninjas or Pirates -- is totally the sweetest:

Dateline Lubbock -- Last Tuesday, federal officers with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms -- in a daring and certainly suicidal attempt to rid the University of Georgia campus of its Ninja faithful -- tackled and forcibly detained one black-robed greenfoot as he was slinking his way across campus in broad daylight.

The ATF special agent in charge Vanessa McLemore, defending against any allegation of discrimination, replied to questioning by pointing out, "Seeing someone with something across the face, from a federal standpoint -- that's not right!"

Despite the government's protestations, Ninjas across the University of Georgia campus quickly realized that a plan for systematic persecution had been implemented as signs sprang up around Macon, Georgia, announcing curfews applicable only to those of the clandestine-clad persuasion.

Signs announcing the new curfew were noticed immediately following the incident.

The Ninja response was quick in coming. They had released a video to the media by Thursday afternoon showing several members of a group calling itself Focusing Youth On Unity and More Acceptance for Ninjas (FYOUMAN). In the video, FYOUMAN made a plea for greater tolerance from the government in exchange for not totally freaking out and killing everyone in the city of 100,000.

The group made a plea for more tolerance from the government and Macon community.

Messages of support were directed at the Ninjas from various groups throughout the Macon community -- including one group, responding to McLemore's comment regarding facial coverings, that called for more solidarity amongst all the the mask- and hood-wearing groups across the nation.

"This is not the South of the 1950's," a spokesman for the group said. "Jim Crow is dead, and we ought to demand fair treatment for Ninjas. What happens to those masked in black could just as easily happen to those masked in white. By fighting for their rights now, we are ensuring we will have our rights tomorrow."

Spokesman for one group publicly supporting the Ninjas.

When asked for a comment, a spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Pirates muttered something about "Davey Jones Locker" and then returned to the conversation he'd been having with his bottle of rum.

Since Tuesday, the government has shown little resolve to continue with what at least one observer is calling a "pilot program for the intimidation and extermination of Ninjas across the country." This has not, however, put the Ninja community at ease. While things are quiet now, the atmosphere remains noticeably tense.

"Until the equal rights of all Ninjas have been recognized by either a democratically-elected body -- or a slight majority of 5 Supreme Court Justices -- we are all in peril," commented Macon resident Chris the Pirate Ninja. "And that is so not cool."

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Knight in Shining Armor???

Elle at LegallyBlonde has called me her "knight in shining armor" because of my agreeing to now take over and head up the LegallyBlonde Feedback Department.

Really. There is absolutely nothing chivalrous about this.

I am just tired of getting all of these complaints second-hand in a copy-&-paste conversation. I think I'm the only one laughing when she passes them along, and I figure it will be funnier to hear it myself.

Don't think I actually want to talk to you if you IM me to complain about her blog. I'm just looking for a good laugh.

Don't let me down, people.

And you are welcome, Elle.

Law School Lesson of the Day #32

Read and Follow Directions.

As a tutor, I've learned something extremely invaluable. I'll pass it along to you . . .

When our professors say one of the best ways to earn a good grade is by reading the directions --

Get this -- are you ready?


As Law Students in the days and hours running up to the final exam, we spend our time frantically memorizing our outlines and attempting to get a firm grasp on the black letter law and its sometime esoteric theoretical applications . . .

We work so damned hard to grasp the concepts behind the Holder in Due Course, the Palsgraf rule, the Correlative Nature of Property Ownership, the Rule Against Perpetuities, the Hotchpots of various shapes and sizes . . . and so on and so on . . .

When -- like the lawyers struggling to remember a dead person can't sign a document -- we are having difficulty remembering a lesson we should have learned IN KINDERGARTEN

Follow the freakin' Directions!

Seriously. It works. We're going to be lawyers, shouldn't it come natural?

I don't know how many times I've shot myself in the foot before, but I swear I'm going to try this novel idea when I take my exams in May.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pick Your Poison, Fellow Patrons

The U.S. News & World Reports Law School Rankings are out! So who's buying???

Everyone is drinking something, though it is definitely more apparent with some than others . . .

Here at Texas Tech, our rankings regarding Trial Advocacy and Legal Writing -- which place us 14th and 23rd in the nation, respectively -- are being touted as a victory for the recognition of our school.

And yet, sadly, we have actually fallen a couple rungs down the Tier 3 ladder.

Being unsure of what exactly this all symbolizes, I've chosen to defer to you . . .

Either that or I just am far too indecisive to decide myself, but here are four possible thoughts:

1. Remember -- Law Schools are run by Egos, stocked with Egos, and supported by Egos. (Present company included, of course). And, though most deny it, Egos actually read the U.S. News & World Reports.

2. It is a sad commentary on the legal profession that a school which ranks so high in trial ad and legal writing -- two areas absolutely essential to the successful advocacy of your client -- can yet still be ranked so low . . . based on what? The publications of the faculty? Or the quality of the journal(s)?

3. Or, perhaps, it is a sad commentary on this school that, though it ranks 14th and 23rd in trial ad and legal writing, other aspects of the school are so poor that it can't be ranked any higher.

4. Or, finally, the Dean might be right. Maybe it is just a demonstration that regionally we're being recognized for our strengths . . . but on a national scale we are yet an "unknown" still "making our way in the world today" and, by God, its going to take everything we got!

All of the above could be correct. Though I do have a qualm with #4 . . . if regional recognition is enough to push those particular two programs to the top of the rankings, how come these same regional actors aren't also pushing the school as a whole up to at least the cusp of Tier 2?

Allow me to point out -- I don't intend to demean my school. On the contrary, I was accepted to and offered partial scholarships to schools ranked much much higher.

I came to Texas Tech because nothing offered elsewhere could beat free.

And I do not regret my decision. I do think this is a great school.

But there is a problem, of which the faculty and administration are aware. Isn't that the point of drafting a Strategic Planning Committee? Isn't that the point of desiring growth, development, and change?

But obviously strength in Trial Ad and Legal Writing is not going to make Texas Tech School of Law a formidable school. It will make good lawyers, but it won't make a nationally-recognized school.

There are areas screaming for improvement, areas in which we apparently are completely unwilling to budge from the traditional "maintain the status quo" mantra.

There is so much more I could possibly say on this topic, but this blawg is likely not the proper forum for such criticism.

Let me just end with this:

I watched A Bug's Life again over the weekend and I can't help but think of a line spoken by the Queen Ant in the movie . . .

"That is just the way it is. The ants pick the food; the grasshoppers eat the food. That is just our lot in life. It isn't a lot, but its our life . . ."
Visionaries can recognize the good, and yet still view the possibility of there being something better.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Throw Down Your Hammer, Thor

My camping story is a lot less exciting than Walking Tort's.

After buying the fishing gear, tackle box, and tackle, adding to my other camping supplies, fueling up the car, and loading up the camping food and necessities,

we'd spent $200.

Then I called the Parks & Recreation department to ask how the camping was . . .

(I didn't need to know how the fishing was--it is early spring, the water is just warming up, and I could've landed more bass than . . . well, than . . . [insert your own relevant topical reference here])

And I was told not only was the statewide Burn Ban still in effect,

But I couldn't even light a grill to cook our hot dogs and smores.

. . . Uhm, what?

We still haven't had enough rain to ease up on the burning restrictions?

I'll tell you what -- don't be alarmed if you drive by my house and I'm dancing around the tree naked in my front yard. Maybe I can make the Big Man upstairs laugh until He cries, and we can get some rain . . .

Or at least maybe the state will let me have my campfire.

I am seriously considering moving to Seattle.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I Never Giggled When He Said The Word "QWERTY"

The all-powerful soothsayers claim to know that in a few years laptop computers in the classroom will be a "thing of the past."

And I don't think they are referring to nuclear winter. (Check out the link!)

I would have to disagree, though. And not from an emotional perspective.

I think it is a matter of logic and economics:

Law Schools are run by lawyers. Lawyers have egos. Therefore, egos run law schools.

I continue . . .

Law Schools need students. Students want laptops. Therefore, students will go to the law schools that allow laptops.

So . . .

If egos run law schools, and law schools need students, and students will go to law schools that allow laptops

Then the egos will allow laptops.

One might question this logic, pointing out than an ego would also like to have a student's full attention in class.

To this I say:

1. Student's will never pay full attention in class. Sometimes even solitaire tic-tac-toe can be more exciting than a lecture on the Holder-in-Due-Course. AND,

2. Egos need students in the seats before they can hope to get their attention.

See, it is all a matter of logic and economics. It would take nothing short of a miracle for every law school to make a death pact, signed and initialed in blood, that they will not allow laptop computers before the unlucky bastards that choose to come to law school 5 or 10 years from now will have to worry about taking notes with a pencil.

But that will never happen. Because law schools are run by egos, remember? And an ego will use every tool for the advantage of being better than the rest.

Besides, don't you think the implications were discussed before the first school installed wireless internet and allowed laptops in the classroom. Sure! They thought about it and laughed because they were the first . . .

Oh well . . . I'm off to go camping. Catch you on the flip side.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Fun With Voir Dire

During voir dire for a criminal trial in which the defendant has been charged with the intentional assault of his wife . . .

Defense Attorney: Uh, uh, uhm . . . Mrs. Rogers -

Prospective Juror: Roberts.

Defense Attorney: Sorry, Roberts. Mrs. -- uh -- Roberts, have you ever accidentally done something on purpose that you didn't mean to do?

Prospective Juror: Well, nothing that would put me in your client's chair.

This from the mouth of a St. Mary's grad . . . Sorry, St. Mary's.
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