My head is fuzzy. My temples are throbbing more painfully than Fabio’s parts in those books of his. And I have facts, objections and numbers dancing through my head. It was a kitchen knife! Relevance! Improper character evidence! 403! 404! 609!

For me, this could mean only one thing: preparation for this semester’s off-campus mock trial competition has begun.

Since I had the opportunity to compete earlier this year during my 2L Spring semester and to see the Boyfriend kill it during his own mock trial competitions, I thought and hoped that this semester things would come much more easily. That I would be less Legally Blonde (during the first part of the movie) and more My Cousin Vinny (during the second half of the movie, of course).

I’m a third year. I should totally have about two-thirds the skills of practicing attorneys, right?

No such luck, nerds. I have not become some slick courtroom savant over the summer, nor have all the Federal Rules of Evidence planted themselves conveniently in my head.

Nope. I still have to labor over how exactly to order questions in my direct examination, and how to cross examine a witness with the ease exhibited by our trial coaches, who dance around witnesses as gracefully as Fred Astaire and as lethally as Muhammad Ali.

Still, despite my fuzzy brain and the even fuzzier points of the Federal Rules of Evidence, mock trial has been one of my favorite parts of law school. Despite the hard work required to cure me of my ignorance on some topics, and the time taken away from watching my K-Dramas, I love, love, love it!

Let the trials begin!

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I hope this isn’t the beginning of a trend, but for finals last semester and for finals this semester Undergrad Neighbor has done something unintentionally, yet incredibly annoying. Last semester, the day before my Torts final, it was inviting his douchey, possibly hipster friends to talk about Picasso, smoke douchey herbal cigarettes, and scream like Howard Dean while running into walls.

What could possibly be worse than that?

One word, nerds: Drums. And not just any drum kit, mind you. From what I gather, Undergrad Neighbor has either borrowed or has recently purchased a digital drum kit, which means that there is one drum set with a million preset kits on it. And he’s going through every single one of them.

Every. Single. One.

Frak.

Now, I wouldn’t mind if he had drum skills so crazy mad that he could play the dress and undies off a feminist groupie, but that is not the case, my friends. All I’ve been hearing for the past hour or so is “bass, bass, bass, bass-snare … high hat!” tried with all the different kits that came with the drums.

To grasp my level of annoyed, think Rock Band on the easy setting played by a rhythmically challenged kitty cat, minus any potential cute factor. “But kitty cats have no hands, much less the manual dexterity afforded by thumbs!” you say.

Uh-huh.

Puppies, kittens, unicorns and rainbows.

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Episode_4_Millennium_Falcon_1Since my last video post earlier this last month, things in law school have gone from 0 m.p.h. to being able to make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. In other words: Son, this ish has picked up speed.

I turned in my final 14-page Legal, Writing and Research open memo on doorway arrests (they’re no bueno), participated in a Moot Court practice round (aka ZOMFG! Barf.)  in front of six student judges the day after the memo was due, participated in the first round of the 1L Moot Court competition, advanced to the top 32 quarter-final rounds, and accompanied The Boyfriend to his law school’s Barrister’s Ball (aka law school prom).

On top of that, the day before the memo was due, I found out that I was selected for an eight-week internship with the Open Society Justice Initiative, a non-governmental organization, in their Phnom Penh, Cambodia, office working with media rights. Another Chapman Law student was selected to intern with the same organization for six weeks to help with the monitoring of the Khmer Rouge tribunals.

For sure, I’m super excited about going and the work I’m going to be helping with, but I also had to start thinking about funding for the whole venture so I wouldn’t have to pay the costs 100 percent out-of-pocket.

whosawesomeloldogThankfully, the professor who informed me about the internship, the law school administration and upperclassmen from some student organizations were incredibly helpful in finding funding (Seriously, they’ve been super awesome). An awesome board member from the Student Bar Association arranged for me and the other student to appear before the board and request funding. It was a not-so-awesome experience there, and, um, loud to say the least, but, thankfully, the amazing people at the Public Interest Law Foundation and the law school’s Center for Global Trade & Development more than made up for the lack of support from the SBA.

So the flight and hotel have been booked, vaccinations are scheduled (so I don’t come home puking and my important bits falling off, like Zombie Cat), and now I can just focus on preparing for my flight toward the end of May.

Oh, and for those teensy, little, insignificant things called finals in two weeks.

Urgh.

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After crossing my fingers through my September birthday and through Christmas in the hopes of receiving a Chapman Law sweatshirt, and subsequently being disappointed that I didn’t get one (Boyfriend, I’m looking at you if you’re reading this), I finally decided to bite the bullet and just buy one for myself.

Yup. Today I ponied up the $60 for a law school sweatshirt. $60! That’s not nearly as much as the almost $200 a pop for each of my casebooks, but somehow it still seems a bit much to me. But who am I to complain? I still bought the thing, didn’t I? I guess it’s a small price to pay to keep from freezing to death in the 45-degree California winter.

While waiting in line at the bookstore to purchase said sweatshirt, one of the bookstore supervisors grabbed some bags of candy and asked if anyone knew who was in the Super Bowl this year. I looked at the undergrad girl behind me who had the same bewildered “Dude. Wtf?” look on her face.

Wrong people to ask. Seriously. When some of my Facebook friends’ feeds were abuzz with the matchup between some team and the Jets, all I could think of were scenes from West Side Story. Like this one:

Needless to say, neither I nor the undergrad behind me got the candy.

funny-pictures-kittens-may-or-may-not-be-listeningSpeaking of cool, one of the more awesome law school class moments came up this morning during Torts. The teacher, lets call him Mr. Giles because he reminds me of Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, had someone on deck, but he had opened up a question to the entire class.

I sit in the front row, and I knew better than to look up and make eye contact with the teacher if I didn’t want to answer the question. I had done so in the past and had learned my lesson: Never. Look. Up.

I kept my eyes glued to my screen, typing some gibberish about a psychiatrist’s duty to warn, and maybe some lines from Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”. Luckily, I escaped teacher’s eagle eyes. The student seated to the left of me, however, was not so lucky.

Mr. Giles: So what do you think, Mr. Student?

Mr. Student: Um. Sorry. I wasn’t listening.

There was a teensy moment of silence: Reverence for Mr. Student’s ballsy answer? Fear for Mr. Student’s life? We may never know. But rather than bite the student’s head off, Mr. Giles laughed. The student laughed. The class laughed. It was awesome.

Mr. Giles: (laughing) If I wasn’t listening, I would have at least covered it up.

Then Mr. Giles looked down onto his roll sheet to look for someone to put on deck for the next case. Mr. Giles scrunched his face, seemingly trying to decide whom to call on next. He looked up from the roll sheet, looked around the room, and, not missing a beat, turned his head to my side of the classroom once again.

Mr. Giles: Mr. Student, can you please tell us about the next case?

And scene!

Photo: I Can Has Cheezburger

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Beavis_and_Butt-headOne thing I’ve noticed since starting law school is that when there is something even remotely funny in a case or in what a law professor says, I laugh out loud, snicker, or, at the very least, giggle on the inside.

This phenomenon had me giggling whenever I came across the words “duty” and “penal”. And you can imagine the party in my head when I read about a faulty bunghole in Torts.

What can I say. You take your laughs where you can find them when you’re a coffee-guzzling, grade-obsessing, sometimes sleep-deprived law school first year.

Second semester hasn’t changed this at all.

Based on the facts contained in a memo that we drafted last semester about the misappropriation of a trade secret, me and my fellow 1Ls now must draft a settlement letter offering the other side a reasonable settlement deal.

First thing that popped into my head?

And when we were discussing proximate cause relating to a second injury caused by a weakened condition from a prior injury in Torts, I couldn’t help but remember this scene, also from Austin Powers.

Image: Wikipedia

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So here we are, kids. I am a little less than 24 hours away from taking my first law school final. It’s been a heck of a ride, and I know that it will only get harder from here. I also know, however, that it will get a bit more tolerable once I know what is expected of me during these exams. Still, that is little comfort when tomorrow’s Torts exam determines 95 percent of my grade for the semester. And the professors are required to curve the grades, which means you are graded against your fellow class members. Gulp.

But seeing where I’ve been also makes me feel a smidgen of accomplishment. If you’re a fellow 1L, you should be proud of yourself too!


Number of pages read in Torts:

300-ish


Number of pages read in Civil Procedure:

400-ish


Number of pages read in Property:

400-ish


Number of pages read in Contracts:

400-ish


Number of LRW memos written:

2


Number of pages written for memo No. 1:

10


Number of pages written for memo No. 2:

14


Number of cases read for memo No. 1:

3


Number of cases read for memo No. 2:

20-ish


Number of supplements consulted:

6-ish


Number of pages in outlines:

Super secret


Number of times I’ve used FML in a status update:

0 (hurrah!)

For serious, kids. There are starving babies in Africa. And something called medical school, which is super hard if you believe Grey’s Anatomy. It’s called perspective.

For some more perspective on finals at my law school, check out this column!

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hypnosis2For some strange reason, I feel more compelled to post to this blog during this week before finals than I did during the course of the semester. Maybe it’s the guilt of not writing that’s catching up to me, or just general avoidance of my casebooks, class notes/outlines and commercial outlines, but here I am.

It could also be the fact that my Undergrad Neighbor, a student at a local university, decided to invite his noisy friends over to his place, which I share a wall with. Dudes, I haven’t met any of you, but you all sound like complete turds.

Yup, I heard one of you trying to sound smart and worldly by talking about Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica” while puffing on your cigarette. But, seriously, fool, anyone who’s taken a community college art history course can regurgitate art speak that sounds vaguely brainy and deep. Next thing you know, you’ll be talking about chiaroscuro, melting clocks and how Gauguin made you confront your own mortality. Turd.

Yeah. Finals make me feisty and grumpy. Folks who wear sunglasses indoors, you’re next on my list.

I know I could study at the library, especially now that it has extended hours for finals. But I study best when I’m at home where I have a hot pot of free coffee nearby.

Thankfully, I can drown out the noise with music from imeem and white noise from simplynoise.com. Just in case the partying undergrads get unbearable, however, I looked up my city’s noise ordinance:

“It shall be unlawful to conduct or allow to be conducted any party where there is loud and unreasonable noise between the hours of 10:00 P.M. and 6:00 A.M., if such noise is sufficiently loud and unreasonable in volume level, duration and character to maliciously and willfully disturb the comfort, health, peace, safety or repose of reasonable persons of ordinary sensibilities. Continuation of an activity prohibited by this section after notification by a peace officer that the activity is disturbing the peace, shall be prima facie evidence of malicious and willful intent.”

I’m not sure if the group next door is large enough to be considered a party, but looking up the ordinance made me feel better. It also led me to this little gem about hypnosis buried in the municipal code:

“No person shall carry on, or practice, exhibit or teach the business or the art or practice of hypnosis, nor teach self-hypnosis to any person undergoing a course of treatment or program of self-improvement except … Nothing in this section shall prohibit a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2 of the California Penal Code, from utilizing hypnosis in the fulfillment of his or her duties as a peace officer.”

Maybe the police can come over and hypnotize Undergrad Neighbor’s friends into not being turds anymore. Oooh, and maybe they can use this video:

If you have noisy neighbors, here’s what someone suggests you do.

Photo: launceston_lad / Flickr

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Hi, all! Trying out a new website I stumbled across called ToonDoo, which lets you create your own comic strips and customize your own characters! Yeah, I should be studying. Back to it then.

Finals mode

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It is now less than a month before my first set of law school finals, and a mild panic has set in. If you’ve ever been at the top of a roller coaster drop or have waited on the side of a stage for your cue, you probably know the feeling: that in between-ness, a rubber-band ball that fills your gut and your ribcage, that tugs and pulls you between calm and thoughts of impending doom.

This is also a close approximation of what it may feel like:

cheezburgersqueeze

Now take that feeling, and stretch it out over one month, and you’ll get a better idea of what the weeks before finals are like for first-year law students. Well, this one at least.

Photo: I Can Has Cheezburger

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It’s hard to believe it, but I am at the halfway point of my first law school semester. Theoretically, I should be half as stressed as I would be during the final in December, but that is, sadly, not the case.

Why? One word: Midterms.

I really shouldn’t be. Of my five classes, the LRW memo “midterm” is 25 percent of the final grade and the Torts multiple choice midterm amounts to just 5 percent of the final grade. However, the fact that finals is just under two months away is not helping me sleep any better.

Despite the stress, we 1Ls still find things to laugh about, like this morning before the Torts midterm.

After going over the written instructions, the test proctor asked if anyone else had any other questions.

Student No. 1: Um. I’m not sure if this is a problem, but I’m not ‘Frank’ and Frank’s name is listed under the name on the Scantron.

Proctor: Oh. Yeah. That might be a problem.

Student No. 2 (a female): My name is also not Frank, and it’s on the Scantron.

Proctor: Anyone else named Frank?

(One more student raised his hand.)

The whole incident was really not a big deal, but it gave the class a teensy chuckle. Also, in retrospect, and after seeing the content of the entire episode written down, it’s really not that funny and probably would not be funny to an outside audience.

Just another testament to how law school is slowly chipping away at my sense of humor, I guess.

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