The adventures (and non-adventures) of a marginally seasoned attorney.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In re Kansas City Royals

One Sunday many, many years ago, I was sitting in children's church. I don't remember exactly how old I was, but we'll go with "itty bitty."

It was prayer request time. We got to take turns telling what we wanted to pray about that day. It was a big deal - prayer requests were to be about things near and dear to our hearts. Most of the kids had prayer requests about their parents, grandparents, and friends. Every now and then, a little kid would throw in a request about a pet.

It was my turn to make a prayer request. It was my time to talk about something near and dear to my heart. I solemnly told the children's church teachers that Bo Jackson was hurt and that he had to get surgery. I told them that when he came back to baseball, he would only be 60%.

When it was prayer time, all of the children got in a circle and held hands. We went around the circle and made our prayers. When it was my turn, I sincerely asked God to help Bo Jackson, because he got hurt and he would only be 60%.

A few of the older kids giggled during my prayer. I didn't understand why anyone would laugh about that.


A couple of Sundays ago, I found out that Zack Greinke, ace pitcher for my beloved Royals, was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. The news hit me hard.  I can't say I was surprised. I was just disappointed. And ticked.  I mean, it's one thing to lose a Cy Young winner, but he was traded for a bunch of no-names. That's kind of what the Royals organization does. They develop stars, and then they piss them away for prospects with sub-par fielding and .231 batting averages (if they're lucky). It's the same ol' song and dance year after year, and the dance, at its best, is on Bristol Palin's level of proficiency.

And you know, I'm really getting tired of watching a terrible team every season. I may have false hope, but I'm not delusional. I've never seriously entertained the thought of leaving the Royals, but I came darn close the few days after the trade.

However, as I was driving home the other day, "Centerfield" started playing on the radio. And immediately, I remembered what it was like to listen to this song in Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. God, what a magical place. I've always said that Kauffman Stadium is the happiest place on Earth, even when the Royals are losing. And even though the Royals lose a lot, I feel like a giddy little kid every time I watch them play.

In my a job as an attorney, I have to see a lot of the bad that exists in the world. Baseball, however, takes me takes me away from that place and brings me the delightful memories of childhood, when I got to cheer on my heroes and eat cotton candy until I got sick (apparently, it did not take much cotton candy for that to happen). The world has a lot of hurt, but on baseball's worst day, the biggest thing I have to worry about is Bo Jackson being only 60%.

For now, I am still a Royals fan. And I will root root root for them, the home team, every single time. If they don't win, no one's surprised. But I'll root for them, just the same.

Monday, November 29, 2010

How to Prep for Trial

As the outdoor air is transitioning from a mild breeze to a sharp chill, I am reminded that the semester is about to come to an end for law students everywhere. I am reminded of this not because of the weather change, though, but because the law school kiddos have started back up with their "OMG FINALS THEY'RE GOING TO BE HERE SO SOON I MUST GO HIDE FOREVER AND STUDY BUT FIRST I HAVE TO PUBLICLY WHINE ABOUT IT" cries. And that's cool, I did the same thing. I didn't start whining 'til the week before, but I whined a lot, heck yes I did.

Anyway, I used to do my public whining by blogging about finals, and I'd post my study tips every semester. But since I'm all Esquire-y now, I've gotta find a new way to fill the finals-blog void in my life. And since we here at Incidental Justice are all about providing positive learning experiences to readers, I'm going to share some real-life advice to prepare you for your legal career. Because I promise you, they won't teach you anything practical in law school.

These, my friends, are a few of the steps you need to take to properly prep for trial:

  • Stock up on junk food ahead of time - Lots of it. And buy it in bulk. This is a stark contrast from my finals rule, in which I state that one needs to make as many trips to the convenience store as possible. Don't go to the convenience store when you're prepping for trial. You're going to run into someone you know there, and then they're going to start telling you all their legal/emotional/life problems, and then they're going to want you to wave the Attorney's Magic Wand and fix it all. You barely have enough time for your own petty problems, let alone this guy's.
  • Watch My Cousin Vinny -  This is hands down the most inspirational legal movie EVER. Yes, I know that in The Rainmaker, rookie attorney Matt Damon (super delish) won millions of dollars for a family whose son died of cancer. But by gosh, after watching Vinny question a guy, I get fired up and I'm ready to whoop up on some folks in the courtroom. I have a feeling you'll be fired up, too. And If you've got trial this month, you're in luck - basic cable is airing this movie every seven minutes these days.
  • Quietly whine to yourself - You're going to get frustrated at some point while you're prepping for trial. But even if you're thinking "I am truly screwed," you need to keep it to yourself. So feel free to quietly whimper... just don't let anyone hear you. And then eat some of the junk food you stocked up on.
  • Suit up, you sexy thing - After you've done all this prepping and whatnot, you're going to look like you were hit by a truck. But no more of that! Time to put on your pretty face and dress for the best. You, my friend, have worked your tail off for this trial. You're a sharp attorney, and you deserve to be lookin' sharp on your court day. Plus, studies have shown that jurors tend to vote based on which attorney is more attractive.
Of course, in addition to all of this, you should probably be interviewing witnesses, prepping your arguments, and reading documents until your eyes bleed. But you probably already knew that.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bringing Home the Bacon... Again

(Part two in a multipart series. I swear I'm not picky.)

Date: November 9, 2010
Location: Sonic
Conversation topic: Bacon cheeseburger with lettuce, no bread


Me: I'll have a Diet Coke and a bacon cheeseburger with lettuce only and no bun
Near-incomprehensible voice over the speaker: ...No bun?
Me: No bun. Just lettuce.
Voice: I have a Diet Coke and a bacon cheeseburger with no bun, will that be all?
Me: I only want lettuce on the bacon cheeseburger.
Voice: Just lettuce?
Me: Yes, lettuce is the only topping I want.
Voice: So you just want lettuce? No bacon and no cheese?
Me: No. I would like bacon and cheese on my bacon cheeseburger.

Glad we cleared that all up. I checked my bag after they brought out the bacon cheeseburger. They forgot the bacon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Post-Election Walk of Shame

I slept in my clothes last night. I'd had a long evening watching election results, and as I strolled down my staircase this morning, I looked like I was having a post-election walk of shame of sorts. I wandered over to the kitchen, still in rumpled clothing from the day before, and the once-crisp campaign stickers that were clinging to my shirt were starting to curl at the corners. I had been a believer last night, but this morning, I felt like a sucker.

I brewed six cups worth of coffee as I listened to George Stephanopoulos and the rest of the Good Morning America crew. I only drank about three of those cups, but perhaps I should have looked into gulping down the rest. It was going to take a lot to cure the election hangover, and even if caffeine wouldn't fix it, at least it would be a nice distraction. The election news on the television was the same as last night - America decided to go mostly Republican. This meant I got to spend my morning being even more cranky than I usually am, and that's a hard thing to do.

I made an omelette. The omelette wasn't intentional - I was planning on making regular ol' scrambled eggs, but I got distracted and forgot to actually do the scrambling. So as I was eating this unintentional omelette, I got to hear all the morning punditry - "This means blah blah blah" and "What's going to happen in 2012 grumble grumble" and all of that exciting stuff. It's the same drivel we've been fed for months, except this time around, the pundits had more material to work with. Every number had to "mean" something, and I'm sure that for the next week, I will get to hear even more analyses of the meaning of each one.

However, in my cranky, groggy, omelette-induced state, I decided that I was not going to look into the deeper meaning of what happened last night. I know that some people like to pick apart the implications and analyze "what's going to happen next," but for the moment, I'm just going to accept the fact that we got screwed. Maybe, once post-election hangover wears off, I can take a look at what happened and think about the future. For now, I will sip my coffee and take it like an adult.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Cancer Awareness Month, Y'all.

Hey, y'all! It's CANCER AWARENESS MONTH and the local grocery store wants you to celebrate!

As you can see from the newspaper ad, the grocery store is celebrating by giving you great discounts on items such as:

  • Red meat
  • Sunny Delight
  • Coffee
  • Red potatoes
Now, call me ignorant, but I don't think the best way to promote cancer awareness is to sell food items on the cheap that will actually *give you cancer*.  I mean, unless you've got a package deal with some discount chemo, I think I'm gonna pass on your offer, Country Mart.


Alright, so I've been lawyer-ing for about a month now, and I *try* not to sound like an idiot in the courtroom, but it's kind of difficult to do. I mean, when I'm thinking "OH NO AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?? I'M GOING TO COMMIT MALPRACTICE AND I'VE ONLY HAD MY LICENSE FOR A MONTH AND MY LIFE IS GOING TO BE RUINED AND I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW I DID ANYTHING WRONG!" it's hard to be assertive.  Right now, if I can make it through a hearing and get what my client needs without looking like a complete rookie, I consider it a good day. Heck, if I can get what my client needs despite the fact I look like a complete rookie, all the better.

The ultimate goal, though, is to have all the attorneys whispering to one another when I walk into court, saying "See that gal right there? Watch out. She'll whoop your ass." And I know the intimidation factor is going to be a big hurdle for me to overcome, as I am 5'3" and apparently look more like a sorority pledge than a woman with two degrees and a law license (I really do need to tone down the eye makeup, even though I still contend it looks sparkly-fabulous). However, if I can make myself quit *acting* like a rookie in the courtroom, no one will care that I *look* like one.  And I figure if I pretend I know what I'm doing long enough, I'll finally realize that I've known what I'm doing all along.

In the meantime, court may be kind of stressful, but I'm okay with that. This is because every stressful situation calls for a Hershey bar with almonds, and I fully enforce my Hershey rights after every court appearance. Kinda hard to have a bad day if chocolate is involved, isn't it? I think so.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So, the other day...

I was driving home from Fayetteville, and I drove past a town with a giant firetruck on the side of the road. On the roof of the firetruck, there stood an Elvis mannequin. On top of the fireman's ladder, there stood another Elvis mannequin. There was nothing else in this town. Just a firetruck with two Elvises.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Three Days = Six Weeks

In my last post, I said that I would be taking a break from posting for the weekend. As it turned out, that weekend turned into six weeks. To be fair, though, during those six weeks, I found out I passed the bar exam, I got a job, and I moved away from Fayetteville.

Needless to say, I don't feel *too* terrible about leaving y'all hanging.

That being said, as I'm going to be a full-time lawyer and whatnot, I'm paying special attention to my privacy. You won't be hearing specifics of where I live, where I'm working, or what I'm doing in my job. However, my life as a young attorney in a brand new town has already given me a whole slew of material to work with - and I've only been here for a week.

Let the adventures in lawyering begin.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Okay, y'all. I love you, but I'm going on a mini-vacation in about five minutes. Spark Week will be on hiatus until Monday.

Have a lovely weekend and a Happy Greinke Day!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Spark Week: Johnny Damon

Ha ha! You knew I'd have a baseball-related post, didn't you? But you thought it would be about the Kansas City Royals, didn't you? Ha ha! This post is about Johnny Damon! I tricked you! I tricked you so good! I tricked you just like Johnny Damon has tricked every single baseball fan who decided to put a little bit of faith in him!

Johnny Damon (c)
I care about Johnny Damon more than I care about sharks. This is because I think Johnny Damon is a terrible human being and I want him to fail at the game of baseball. He is the epitome of all that is wrong with the game today. Except for the whole juicing thing. I don't think he does steroids. Judging by the distance he can throw a ball from the outfield, I actually am POSITIVE he doesn't do steroids. But despite this lack of juice, he's managed to rake in millions more than he's worth every season, thanks in part to some major sucking up.

Johnny Damon wants you to think he is committed to your team. He told this lie to the Royals. He told this lie to the Red Sox. Oh, and he lays the lies on SO thick. But once free agency or a trade deadline comes along, Johnny Damon starts crying. He cries like a 25-year-old recent law school grad who just watched the finale to The Bachelorette. "Boo hoo!" Johnny Damon tells the press. "This team isn't committed to me! Boo hoo!"

And if you aren't familiar with Johnny Damon's schtick, you probably think to yourself "Why isn't my team committed to him?! Johnny Damon wants to do great things with this team! Johnny Damon is going to WIN A WORLD SERIES with this team!" And then about a month later find out that he's actually signed a 25 gajillion dollar contract with a team that you hate. What's even worse, when Johnny Damon comes back to play his former team, he starts crying again.

"Boo hoo!" Johnny Damon tells the press in your hometown. "I wanted to stay here! This team wasn't committed to me! They forced me out! Boo hoo!" Which is baloney. And I don't know about you, but when Johnny Damon trash talks my beloved team (yes, the Royals), I get mad. Apparently, everyone else in my section of the stadium gets mad, too, because we all boo to our little hearts' content whenever he comes back to Kauffman.

I know that Major League Baseball is ultimately a business, and I don't expect players to stay with one team forever. But shoot, don't lie about why you're leaving a team. I mean, kids watch the game. And if you lie to a kid, you're a bad, bad person.

In fact, you're worse than a shark.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Spark Week: This bag of chips

This is a bag of chips. It is sitting in my kitchen.

The bag is shiny. The chips are tasty. Sharks are neither shiny nor tasty. Based on these facts, I think that this bag of chips is more interesting than any shark.

In fact, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that this bag of chips is more dangerous than a shark. You see, Frito Lay has decided to lure us all into thinking that we're getting a healthy little treat when we eat these chips because the chips contain "all natural oil."

However, after closer inspection of the ingredients, we see that one of the first ingredients listed on the bag is "Monosodium Glutamate."

According to the Mayo Clinic, monosodium glutamate has been known to cause headaches, nausea, chest pain, and weakness. According to the internet, monosodium glutamate also causes cancer, aggravates your asthma, makes your phone send text messages to your ex that you swear you didn't send, and you'll probably burst into flames if you stare into the sun after consumption.

These things scare me far more than a shark.

"But [Glutton for Punishment]!" you say. "Sharks are killing machines! They will eat your legs! They will eat your babies! They will FIND YOU IN YOUR SLEEP because they HATE YOU because you chose not to watch Shark Week and I HOPE THEY FIND YOU, YOU TERRIBLE HUMAN BEING." But because I don't plan to swim under water and shove a camera in ol' Sharky McGee's face any time in the near future, I think can rest pretty easy tonight.

Now, don't let the fact that I'm not taunting a shark make you think that I'm a wimp. No, I prefer to live dangerously. In fact, I think I'm going to eat some chips right now, monosodium glutamate and all. Take that, Shark Week.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Spark Week: The Black Crowes

The Black Crowes are a southern rock band hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. They have had no cultural relevance since 1992. Their biggest hit was a cover song. However, The Black Crowes on their most boring day are infinitely more interesting than a shark.

Let's get things started by meeting the current members of the band:

Chris Robinson, vocals: Remember that period of time when Kate Hudson always brought a really ugly dude with a scruffy beard to the red carpet? This is that guy. They were married for a while, and now they're not. We can ignore that dark period, though, because Chris Robinson has the voice of an angel. An angel that tokes up a lot, but an angel, nonetheless.

Sven Pipien, bass: Good bass player. Good backup vocalist. Good job, Sven.

Rich Robinson, rhythm guitar: Rich Robinson does not smile. I've seen two Crowes shows, and the entire time, Rich just blankly stares into the audience. I think it's because he's thinking to himself "I wonder where the nearest Denny's is," throughout the show and planning out the quickest route in his mind. But maybe he's just super deep. I don't really know.

Steve Gorman, drums:  Sometimes he has a scruffy beard. When he doesn't, you sing to yourself "One of these things is not like the other," when you see him on stage.

Adam MacDougall, keyboards: He's a recent addition to the band, and most diehard Crowes fans can't stand the guy because they think he botches the keyboard solo in Wiser Time.  I should feel sorry for the guy, because a lot of hatred gets thrown his way. But I don't, because his Wiser Time solo really is that bad.

"Magical rotating lead guitar player," lead guitar: Count the number of times I thought about dropping out of law school, double it, and that's the number of lead guitarists The Black Crowes have gone through during the last 20 years. However, I think the current lead, Luther Dickinson, is super delicious. And he SMILED AT ME one time. I was sitting second row at a concert, and I yelled "We love you, Luther!" and he looked at me for a good FIVE seconds and smiled. I was smitten.


Anyway, I went to my first Crowes concert back when I was still writing this blog anonymously, and it changed my life. It sure as heck was a lot better than Shark Week. All sharks can do is swim around in salt water and then bite you when they're feeling mean. The Black Crowes can give you a mind blowing musical experience that will take you on highs and lows throughout the entire set and leave you buzzing for days. For the record, I am sober and I am not a hippie.

So, for those of you who need something to watch other than Shark Week (and I know you do), The Black Crowes will be on television several times this week, heck yes they will. They're on Leno tonight (ew) and Kimmel tomorrow. Apparently, they'll be on PBS, too, but I'm supposed to "check my local listings" to figure out when that's on.  This is all because they've released a new album this week, which I highly recommend you purchase. Even better, you should purchase tickets to their farewell tour, which starts on August 13.

I'm not telling you all this because I'm getting a cut of the band's profits. I'm telling you this because everyone deserves to have some good music in their lives. And more importantly, everyone deserves an alternative to a boring ol' shark.

With that, I leave you with one of my favorite performances of all time:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Spark Week!

If you've surfed facebook or twitter this week, you've probably read about 27 updates that look a little somethin' like this: 

Hey, guess what! It's SHARK WEEK! OMG SHARK WEEK! This might be the best thing that EVER happened to me and I think I might have to CALL MY MOM because this is so AWESOME and I'm going to PEE MY PANTS I am so excited!!!

Despite all of these incredibly informative updates, I really couldn't tell you what Shark Week is, other than 1) it's on TV and 2) it involves sharks.  And while I'm very happy that you've found such joy in your life... I don't care about sharks. And I probably never will care, unless one of them happens to bite me on the leg.

Anyway, I told my friends how little I cared about shark week, and a few of them suggested that I make a blog post called "SPARK WEEK." This idea thoroughly amuses me, so here is what I am going to do:

Every day this week, I am going to make a post dedicated to something that I care about more than Shark Week. And I'm going to have a lot of fun with this, because this means that I pretty much get to write about anything that exists in the universe. 

I guess this means I'd better get to brainstormin'. Oh, what to write about first...

EDIT: The "every day this week" starts tomorrow. I'm too busy bawling my eyes out over The Bachelorette finale.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two-ish Weeks

Don't worry, m'dears - I'm still alive. Alive in a zombie-esque state, but alive, nonetheless.  I refuse to complain about bar prep, so I won't say anything about the process.  That being said, no time for a full update, just a few favors to ask of you.

For the next two weeks, please don't

  1. Start a fight with me
  2. Decide to tell me all your problems
  3. Start a fight with me because you think I'm the cause of all your problems
  4. Insist that I need to go out because I have to take a break sometime
  5. Ask me if I think I'm ready for the exam. 

Love y'all. See you in two weeks.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bar exam prep, haiku style

I got my J.D.
Now I study for the bar
Hopefully, I'll pass

Three hour lectures
On a Saturday morning
Summer break is fun

There is a rule against them
I still don't get it

Article 9 sucks
Really really really sucks
It sucks a whole lot

I studied all day
And then I got a cupcake
That was kinda fun

Practice MBE
Practice MEE, as well
Time for more caffeine

I should review Torts
Instead of writing haikus
Haikus are more fun

Monday, June 7, 2010

BarBri Supermodel

Okay, I'm three weeks into studying for the bar exam, and I've decided to use BarBri's StudySmart software to help me out.  The program has been helpful, but good grief it looks awkward.

This is a screenshot of the program:

And this is the closeup of the male model portraying someone studying for the bar:

I can assure you this person is not studying for the bar, and I highly doubt the kid's even stepped foot in a real law school. How do I know this?

1. The recreational reading materials sitting next to him. There ain't a single book in that stack that's big enough to be a BarBri book.  And they sure as heck aren't legal study aids either. I've seen every single brand of law school commercial outline, and I promise none of them look like that.

2. The smile. Yeah, buddy. Study U.C.C. Article 9 for three hours and I promise you won't be smiling anymore.  (Note: I'm making it a point to have a positive attitude this summer, but I've reserved the right to complain about U.C.C. 9 at any time.)

3. The lack of beverage in the picture. If he were actually studying for the bar exam, he'd have a drink next to him. This drink would contain either caffeine or alcohol. Maybe both.

I have to give BarBri credit, though. If they showed a picture of someone who was actually studying for the bar, we'd all be so terrified that we'd never open the program. So I'm okay that they're using male models with blank stares on their faces instead.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The To-Do List

Well, m'dears, you probably think I have abandoned you post-graduation, seeing that I haven't posted in a few weeks. In fact, quite the opposite is true.  I've got nine unfinished posts swimming around my editing page, believe it or not. I doubt they'll ever get finished, but that's okay. Because for the next two months, I don't have to do any assignments if I don't want to, darn it, because I am FINISHED with school. FINISHED, I tell you, and I've got an obnoxiously large piece of paper stuffed in a drawer to prove it.  And it has my name on it, heck yes it does.

However... even though I don't *have* to complete any assignments for the next two months, I *will* be completing assignments. You see, I've got this little ol' thing called the bar exam coming around the corner, so I'm taking a multi-week bar preparation course from the kind folks at BarBri. Or, as I like to call it, Law School on Prozac, Steroids, and Refined Sugars. [Note to the state board of bar examiners, in case you are reading this: I am not on prozac or steroids myself, pinky promise.] Anyway, as a part of my BarBri bar prep, I have do do all sorts of readings, essays, practice quizzes, etc. every day. I've managed to keep my sanity, or whatever's left of it, in tact so far. If I can keep doing what I'm doing, I should be able to make it to the bar exam without being too miserable. Hopefully, by the time the exam rolls along, I'll finally know all the material,  because passing the bar exam the first time would be nice.

Now, some of you might be wondering what I wrote in my nine unfinished blog posts.  Basically, they were all attempts to make the transition to life as a Juris Doctor sound really profound.  But none of the posts seemed to work for me, because life as a J.D. doesn't seem profound yet. At all. My life just seems like a big giant checklist toward becoming a lawyer, and the degree was just another checkmark on an unfinished project. A big checkmark. But not the final checkmark.

So, my friends, bear with me the next few months.  The final checkmark on my to-do list is the bar exam, and I'm going to take this as seriously as I've taken anything in my life. I promise I'll keep you all in the loop throughout the process with some less-than-serious posts. But don't take it personally if I'm a bit cranky with you during this time.  I'll try to be nice.  If you bring me cupcakes, I'll make an even bigger effort to be nice.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The day after

I graduated yesterday. Soon, I will post an update.

But today, I sleep.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm on Step 7

It's a beautiful week to be a 3L. For those of us about to graduate, it's our sixth time to be taking law school exams, so we're finally at the point where we know what the heck we're doing (for the most part). In honor of this joyous occasion, and because I love sharing little tidbits of wisdom, I'm going to tell you the steps you need to take to study like a 3L. Because if anyone knows how to succeed in law school, it's a soon-to-be-graduating student.  It may only be a C-minus level success. But a it's a success, nonetheless.

Step 1: Stare at your computer screen
You know the movie Office Space? When Peter says that he spends his first hour of work "zoning out"? That's exactly what's going on here. Except you're not trying to convince anyone else that you're actually working.  You've managed to convince yourself that you're working, even though you're not. But that's just as good as actually learning, I think.

Step 2: Make a trip to the gas station to buy junk food and caffeine
What's better than enjoying a delicious snack while studying? Enjoying a delicious snack that costs three times more than what you would've paid had you gone the extra four blocks to the grocery store.  And once you get far enough into finals, the clerks will start remembering all your quirky purchasing habits ("You want the megabucks game, right?" "What, no Diet Coke this afternoon?").

Step 3: YouTube videos of cute babies
Okay, you made it through steps 1 and 2. It's time you give yourself a mental break. You know, clear your mind of all the bad stuff that's filling your mind. And there's no more effective way of clearing your mind than watching videos of cute babies on YouTube.  My personal favorites are this one and this one.

Step 4: Look at your class notes
CONGRATULATIONS! You're actually looking at something that is somewhat related to passing the exam you're going to take in two days! Heck, you might even start editing some of these notes into outline form. You are ROCKIN' the studying now. In fact, you're going to manage to rock it for 19 more minutes.  And then you will not rock it anymore.  Because you're going to get angry...

Step 5: Let everyone online know how much you hate law school
This may be done in the form of a tweet, blog post, facebook status update, or instant message.  Bonus points if you can do it in the form of an inside joke ("I may not know anything about the law, but at least I know how to use gmail now"). NOTE: To those of you who got IMs from me last night in which I told you that you should drop out of law school while you still can because it's NOT WORTH IT AHHH MAKE IT STOP IT'S SO NOT WORTH IT... I really am sorry about that.  I'm not saying it isn't true. But I probably shouldn't have said it.

Step 6: Go back to the gas station
Did you know that it costs ten bucks to get Velveeta, tortilla chips, and a Diet Coke at EZ-Mart? Sheesh.

Step 7: Multitask
Okay, you're finally ready to look at your class material again, though you're probably going to be watching TV or g-chatting at the same time.  But you know, I happen to think that multitasking is one of the most effective ways to prepare you for practicing law.  It's rare that you'll find a day at work when you're not interrupted 23 times while working on an appellate brief.  So you're actually preparing yourself for life, not just a final. *cue sappy music*

Step 8: Make false promises
Heck yes, you've made some progress!  So now, you start convincing yourself that you will keep up the good work. "I'm going to read three more sections before I go to bed," ..."I'm going to finish this outline in an hour,"... "I'm going to go through all these flashcards twice," et cetera, et cetera.  We all know that this is a load of crap, though.  You're going to make good on about 1/4 of the promises you make to yourself (if that) before moving on to Step 9.

Step 9: Say "screw it," and go to bed
In about a 24 hour period, you've managed to put in about two-and-a-half solid hours of work. And that's about two hours more than you spent reading this entire semester. Way to be, 3L. Way. To. Be.

I happen to be on Step 7 right now.  After I post this, I'm going to re-read my Nonprofit Organizations outline before heading to bed.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

More great moments in note taking

Okay, the "great moments in note taking" post was really difficult to compile this semester. I didn't have a lot of notes to work with.  This is definitely because I only took 12 hours this semester and absolutely not because I gave up on taking notes sometime in February.
  • Johnson v. Rockwell Automation – Plaintiff's bar hates this. This is the first definitive case... ___? Has more to do with ___? This is a certified question.  
  • Something about a magazine... and it was an integral part of the election process. I quit paying attention. But they wanted to make sure everyone has access.'
  • Direct and grassroots lobbying,... something. Lobbying nontaxable is a certain amount, 15%,10%, 5%, et cetera. La la la.
  • Technical jazz. Yay.
  • (There has to be fear)(How do yuo show fear?)
  • Public charity – get the ???. If you donate to the charity
  • But still required to engage in activities for exempt purpose. Blah blah
  • If you have substantial commercial activity that's unrelated... you lose exemption. Blah blah again.
Happy finals week, y'all.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Well that was fun.

About 20 years ago, my dad walked me to my classroom for the first day of kindergarten.  I was wearing a dress.  I don't remember which dress I was wearing, but it was probably a sun dress. I was carrying a blue Sesame Street lunchbox.  I was a little scared, but my feelings of fear were overwhelmed by the accomplishment I felt for making it past preschool and the excitement of starting "real school."

When I walked into the classroom, I met a boy named Allen. He was an energetic child who wore gray velcro shoes.  He would say a few words to me, place his hands on the floor and do a donkey kick, and then go back to talking.  He did this until the teacher caught him and told him to sit down.  I don't remember much else about my first day of school, other than that a kid named Blake decided to punch me in the face twice. He got into a little bit of trouble for that. 


I just finished my last class ever.  Environmental Law, specifically. And just like my first day of school, I'm scared, I feel accomplished, and I'm excited.  Thankfully, I did not get punched in the face.

When I started kindergarten, I had a pretty good idea that I'd be in school for a long time.  Now that I've finished my last class ever, I have no idea where I'm going. I think that's how things are supposed to be, though.  I'm a single, 25-year-old, soon-to-be career woman (oh lord, that sounded like a singles ad), and I'm not going to be cocooned in the comfort of a class schedule anymore. The choices in front of me are overwhelming, and I am incredibly blessed.

God has given me so much to be thankful for.  My only hope is that I can humbly use those gifts to better humankind and to show unconditional love and service to all people whose paths I cross.

And so ends a very long, happy chapter in my life.  My formal education is about to come to a close, but I'm ready for the new adventures (and non-adventures) to begin.

(Oh, and y'all get ready. Next week marks the start of my finals-related blog posts. Heck yes.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bringing Home the Bacon - A Lunchtime Conversation

Date: April 3, 2010
Location: Chili's
Conversation topic: I want bacon


Me: I'll have the green chili chicken soup and a side of bacon
Waiter: A side of bacon?
Me: Yes, a side of bacon.
Waiter: (peering over at the menu) I don't think the soup comes with a side.
Me: I know. But I want to order a side of bacon.
Waiter: So you want like bacon bits in the soup? Would that be alright?
Me: No, I want bacon slices.
Waiter: On the side?
Me: Yes, on the side.
Waiter: So do you want two or three slices?
Me: A couple of slices.
Waiter: ... so is that two slices?
Me: Yes, two slices of bacon.
Waiter: On the side?
Me: On the side.

Glad we got that all cleared up before the meal came out. The bacon was delicious, by the way.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Getting a Law License, Part 1

Well, I've officially submitted my bar application - the first step to getting licensed to practice law.  That's right, there is a distinct possibility that I might be representing legal clients in a court near you sometime soon, so you might want to make preparations in case the world caves in on itself.

Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with the bar application, it's a 15-ish page document with questions such as "Have you ever abused drugs?" "No, really, have you ever abused drugs?" "C'mon, you can tell us if you've abused drugs."  The bar examiners want to make sure that we're fit to practice law, so they've got a series of questions like that to make sure we're not going to steal our clients' money or take the drugs that they've allegedly been selling (It was a misunderstanding, your honor. He thought they were vitamin supplements.)

And those questions are all well and good, but they're part of what is titled the "character questionnaire," and I don't think they get to the heart of a person's character.  I mean, if I were on the board of bar examiners, and I really wanted to know a person's character, I'd be asking questions like "Have you ever cheated on your boy/girlfriend, you sorry excuse for a human being?" or "When's the last time you called your mother?  I bet she misses you."

I suppose if those sorts of questions were asked, there'd be about 10 lawyers admitted to the practice of law every year.  Which would work out in my favor, because I don't cheat and I call my momma quite often.  But I'm sure all those clients who accidentally sold those vitamin supplements would have quite a difficult time finding the representation they need, and that's not a good thing. 

Anyway, if the bar examiners decide that I'm morally fit to practice law, all that's sitting between me and a law license is a diploma. And an obnoxious two-day exam.  And all the studying that is required to pass the obnoxious two-day exam. But after that, I'm free to lawyer to my little heart's content.  And hopefully, at the end of this whole law school / bar exam ordeal, my little heart will still be intact.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A guide to small towns

If you're one of the thousands of soon-to-be law school grads that is still searching for employment, there's a good chance you're going to wind up working in a small town after you graduate. This can be a scary idea for some, especially for those who have always thought of a small town as a place where the bars don't stay open past one.  But no worries, I've spent most of my life living in small towns, and just so long as you know what to expect, you'll be just fine. 

So what should you expect in a small town, other than "not much"?  Most small towns fall into one of five categories, which I have listed here along with descriptions.  And though these descriptions certainly aren't thorough, they're a good place to start:
  • The small town with the Walmart Supercenter - Oh my gosh. If you are a small town with a Walmart Supercenter, you are a BIG DEAL in the small town world.  People from small towns all over probably FLOCK to your town.  When Berryville finally got a Supercenter, people from all over Carroll County were taking their kids out of school to go visit.  Unfortunately, citizens of Supercenter towns have a bit of a superiority complex, so don't fall into that mindset. 
  • The small town that's next door to a big town - You'll be fine. You can commute from the big town if you want.  And your clients will probably be very loyal to you, as they chose you over one of those fancy Fayetteville attorneys.
  • The small town that's kind of isolated (I grew up here!) -  You fall into this category if you're more than 45 minutes away from an interstate. The good news is you probably have a Sonic.  The bad news is you'll get to know everyone in this town, and therefore, you'll get to know everyone who works at this Sonic. And you wouldn't trust ANY of those kids to get near your food.
  • The small town that's REALLY isolated - Take your dramamine, folks. It's going to be a long, winding drive to this town.  And you don't even get a Sonic treat at the end of the trip.  But sleep tight, because the big corporations have stayed far, far away from here.  Enjoy a slice of apple pie. This is America.  Not a very exciting version of America. But America, nonetheless.
  • The small town that's REALLY isolated and doesn't have its own high school  - You're guaranteed to be the only attorney in this town.  Unfortunately, you probably only have two potential clients: Your great-aunt Effie and some kid named Charles who's getting suspended from elementary school for smoking cigarettes on school property.  But Charles gets in trouble quite a little bit, so at least you have constant business.
So don't worry. You're going to be just fine. And one final note: small towns are a lot like law school. Everyone knows your business, everyone talks about your business, and everyone has an opinion about your business.  But think of it this way. After going through law school, you know how to handle this gossip. So take comfort in the fact that law school prepared you for something practical for once.  

Monday, February 1, 2010

I hear Darth Vader is looking for a sales manager, too

What a nice email I received this morning:

Dear Sales Professional,

We have received your application/resume in regard to our search for top direct sales and marketing executives in your area.

Your application will be forwarded to the Regional Manager in your area for review and you will be contacted within 24-48 hours.

We are experiencing rapid growth and we are looking to speak with you.


[Some shady corporation]

cc: [He's probably shady, too], VP - Sales

While I am flattered that [shady corporation] is looking to speak with me, there are a few small problems here:

1. I am not a sales professional 
2. I never submitted my resume to this corporation
3. Until I received this email, I had never even heard of this corporation

Now, I could just blow this email off, but I've got to keep in mind that I'm still unemployed post-graduation. So after the message popped up in my inbox this morning, I decided to google [shady corporation] in case I decided to advantage of this exciting job opportunity.  As it turns out, [shady corporation] is an "Accounts Receivable Management Firm," which in plain English means "debt collectors."

I'm not saying they deserve it, but debt collectors probably rank at the top of the "people most likely to get punched in the face" list, if one were to compile such a list. I mean, even people in the Bible talked smack about debt collectors (though Jesus befriended them anyway, because he's forgiving like that).  That being said, I do not believe I will be pursuing this job opportunity.

Economic times may be hard, and the legal job market may be atrocious right now, but I have faith that the right job will come along. And if it doesn't, that's okay, too.  Just so long as I can pay my bills, I'll be in good shape.  And if I can't pay the bills... I guess I know who will be coming after me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Half-Marathon Training, or: How I Learned to Stop Whining and Love the... MY LEGS ARE BURNING MAKE IT STOP!!

I was never an athlete.  When I was a kid, the coaches stuck me out in left field during t-ball season because no one could hit the ball that far (except this one portly kid, but he couldn't run very quickly so my inability to throw or catch the ball was irrelevant). And though I was never the last one to get picked for dodgeball teams back in the day, that was because I never actually played dodgeball.

As you may know, though, I've been running road races since my 2L year.  I'm not exactly sure why I decided to do that, but it probably had something to do with the fact that I was addicted to Hershey bars with almonds at the time and was not willing to give up that high-calorie habit.  Anyway, I'm usually one of the last ones to finish each race, but I've had a good time at them.  I've had such a good time that I've decided to run a half marathon in March.

The problem with this half-marathon decision is that I decided to quit running for the entire month of December (thanks, finals!).  And a good portion of January, too (thanks, laziness!).  So now, it's 40-ish days to race day and I'm getting exhausted after running only 4 miles. Since running the whole dang thing is looking less and less likely, I'm trying to come up with ways to not fail miserably:

  1. Run as much of the race as I can, walk the rest of the way, and congratulate myself afterward on a valiant effort
  2. Run as much of the race as I can, find a "shortcut" along the way, and impress the masses with my excellent finish time
  3. Put on a sweatband and walkman and join the power walkers
  4. Not join the power walkers but put on the sweatband and walkman anyway
I'm willing to bet that the final result is going to be a combination of #1 and #4.

Anyway, I'm going to get through all of this without whining, mark my words.  The chorus of my running theme song starts out with the lyrics "He's fat and he don't run too fast. But he's faster than me."   And this pretty much describes every race I've ever run, but I always manage to finish with a a smile on my face.  So you go, man who don't run too fast!  You'll see me at the finish line in a few minutes.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Please, won't you be my neighbor?

I stay at home quite a little bit.  This, of course, has nothing to do with the fact that law school has turned me into a cranky old lady who would rather sleep or sit on the couch than spend an evening out on the town. Anyway, I'm getting to experience all the fun things about life in an apartment complex.  And as you know, no experience is worth having if it doesn't involve fascinating people.  So let me introduce you to the fine people who've surrounded me at some point during the last two years.

Brown Paper Bag Man - Okay, the first few times I saw this guy in my old neighborhood, I was really confused.  This guy would sit in his car for extended periods of time, listening to the Spanish-language radio station. And he always sipped from a brown paper bag during each of these extended stays in the car.  He did this EVERY DAY.  I've decided the reason he drinks in the car is because he has kids in his apartment, and he doesn't want to drink in front of them.  Good for you, Brown Paper Bag Man.

The Little Drummer Boy Upstairs -  So there's this guy who lives above me.  He doesn't actually play the drums.  But he does like to play a certain bass line very loudly at very odd hours.  And I'm pretty sure it's always the same bass line.  I certainly hope it keeps him as entertained as it keeps me annoyed. Pah rum pum pum pum.

The Daysleepers - Oh I MISS these guys!  They lived in my old neighborhood. Such good neighbors. They played a lot of video games, and they had boxes piled up all over the place, but they were very, very quiet.  My roommate and I never actually saw these guys during the day.  The only reason we knew they existed is because we'd see them walk into their apartment with some Taco Bell late at night.

Willy D -  Willy D's is the name of the piano bar in Fayetteville.  Willy D is also the name I have given my next-door neighbor, as he received an electric keyboard for Christmas.  He, just like the musicians at the piano bar, plays his keyboard into the wee hours of the night.  I think he needs to learn some Journey so the neighborhood can sing along.

And last, but not least:

The Happy Meal Bandit - Hey, we all like our quarter-pounders and fries.  Someone in my neighborhood, however, likes their McDonald's treats so much that they can't wait to get out of the parking lot to eat them, and they leave all the wrappers in the front lawn.  There was someone like this in my old neighborhood, too - a Fudge Rounds Bandit, if you will (roommate and I think it was one of the Daysleepers).  Apparently, the bandits have not been reading all the news reports on obesity in America. I sincerely hope that the Happy Meal Bandit will become a Baby Carrot Bandit one day instead.

Anyway, I should probably go introduce myself to these people.  I'm willing to bet that one of these guys is going to have the cops called on him or get sued for being a nuisance.  And when that time comes, he's going to need an attorney.  Incidental Justice, at your service.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mighty Matt and his Super Hearing Powers

I'm on Christmas break, so I'm taking a break from writing about law school, as well.  Here's a tale from my undergrad days.

I was a dorm rat throughout most of college. Even though the rooms were tiny, and funky smells seeped out of the room of the computer science major who stayed inside all day to play video games, I kinda liked dorm life.  Not gonna lie, it pretty was nice not having to wake up until 15 minutes before class started. I'm sure no one cared that I showed up to class in pajama pants and with sheet marks across my face.

Actually, the only real problem I had with the college residential experience was dealing with the dormitory rules. Not because I could get into any kind of actual trouble for breaking said rules; I got written up nine times my freshman year for noise violations, and clearly, it did not affect my ability to graduate from college.  No, the problem was the people who tried to enforce these rules - specifically, my senior-year RA Matt.

Oh, Matt. Matt was younger than my roommate Erin and me.  He also lived right across the hall from us.  He also was on a power trip about his RA duties.  His excuse was always "Hey, I don't care what you do, I just have to enforce the rules to keep my job." Sure, Matt.

The first time Matt decided to enforce these "rules" was the week before classes started.  Erin and I moved into the dorms about a week early, and there were *maybe* 25 people in the entire dormitory during that time. And at about 10:30 p.m., Erin and I were talking. At 10:40, Matt decided to knock on our door and scold us for our naughty noisiness.  Nevermind the fact that his knocking was louder than our giggling.  And that no one had to go to class in the morning.  And that it wasn't quiet hours yet.  Anyway, Erin and I then dubbed him "Mighty Matt with his Super Hearing Powers" and decided that if he was going to make things difficult for us, we were going to make things difficult for him.

Erin and I really didn't do anything *that* mean-spirited throughout the school year.  For example, when Mighty Matt made us fill out a cheesy "roommate agreement" the first week of classes, we didn't take it entirely seriously.  And by "didn't take it entirely seriously," I mean that we filled in the blanks with silly, harmless things such as "I don't want her making out with guys in the room while I'm studying," and "We will resolve all disputes by mud wrestling." Anyway, after we turned in this "agreement" to him, Mighty Matt knocked on our door and scolded us for not writing serious things in the blanks of our agreement. He told us to write up a new one and said, "Sorry, I just have to do my job." God forbid that he'd get fired and we'd be forced to have an RA who did something other than scold his naughty residents.

Anyway, after a year of putting up with our shenanigans, Mighty Matt wound up getting the last laugh.  I moved out of my room on graduation day, and Mighty Matt came by to do a final inspection of the room to make sure I hadn't destroyed anything.  As he inspected the furniture I said "The drawers in the dresser haven't worked all year.  I turned in a complaint to maintenance, and it never got fixed."  Mighty Matt laughed.  "Yeah, I know they don't work," he said.  "That dresser was in my room when I moved in.  When I found out that it was broken, I switched it with the one on your room."

I glared at him as I stood there in my graduation cap and gown. "Thanks, Matt," I told him.  There wasn't much else I could say at that point.  And you know, it was kind of a fitting end to my days in the dorm.

I have no idea what Mighty Matt is doing right now, and I really do wish him all the best.  But if some of his furniture happens to break, I probably won't feel all that bad.