Saturday, July 30, 2005

Moving Sucks.

I'm going to miss this place.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Bar Exam 2005: Some observations

1. The first day, I had to check to make sure I was wearing underwear on the way over there. Fortunately, I was. Unfortunately, it seems that I had forgotten to wear deodorant. Luckily...

2. The room was no warmer than 40 degrees. I had to wrap my feet and ankles in a friend's fleece and shivered in my light zip-up sweatshirt.

3. During an essay portion, it got so intense that I was, and I'm absolutely not exaggerating, unable to spell correctly or use the correct words for what I was trying to say. There are several words that just do not exist in the English language that are in my essays.

4. A friend had to explain this ordeal to her parents, and this is how she described it. "It's as though someone told you that you have two months to memorize the phone book of a large city. Except for each line, you need to reference 10 other books in order to understand all of the information. And then, they test you on such things as the John Smith who lives on Merry St. and the John Smith who lives on Cherry St. Except it's like the question is in Spanish." To which another friend added, "And like you have dyslexia."

5. Earplugs are best used not IN the exam, but in the breaks, when there are actually people who talk about the questions and what the right answers are. I didn't think these people actually existed, but they do. Fuckers.

6. We came home to no gas, which meant no hot water, and were told we wouldn't get it turned on until August 1. At which point I got much less cordial and much more argumentative. See #1 above.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

one last time

Going about my business today, I was confronted with the fact that there are people that I will never see again. Really close friends who have departed for their respective bar exams and aren't coming back, people I've had in my life every single day for the past three years - today was the day of departure. I haven't said goodbye to anyone; it's always been, "I'll see you soon," and not in a cheezy way - but as a firm and definite statement that we both accept to be true but is most certainly false. But it's the best I can do right now. Graduation was bittersweet - it was a lot of fun, and sad to say goodbye to some. Now the rest of us are leaving, and there's no fanfare or solid goodbye moment; it's just a trickling, limping end to a time of my life that has been by far the most rewarding. I will never find a community like this again.

A dutiful fan forwarded me a picture that I thought was particularly on point for all of us bar schmucks. Good luck to all; we'll all make it through, and then the question becomes, "What next?" I look forward to being able to answer that question.

Friday, July 22, 2005

why i'm a bad person

i did about 3 hours of work today, and finally gave up and came home to
take the afternoon off. I just beat the rain, had some nachos, and sat
down to read this month's Maxim (which smells terrible) and watch an
afternoon of "That 70s House" on MTV. My roommates have been getting
wonderful gifts from their firm, or their parents, like cakes and
postcards and cookies, and I've gotten nothing at all which normally
wouldn't bother me except I'm incredibly fragile at this very second, and
the job thing has started to make me physically ill, and I can't read
another barbri book for another goddamn moment, and I actually don't have
transportation to the bar even, and the bar exam is just DAYS away... but
I just needed to relax, and then right after I got home, the sky opened
up, and for a moment everything stopped, and it just rained and rained and
rained, and then the moment passed, and the roofers next door started
banging 3 feet outside the window, and one of their cell phone's keeps
going off, loudly, over and over again over the banging, "Dee deet DEET
DEET DEET, Dee deet DEET DEET DEET," and I just can't take another moment
of knowing that the bar exam still hasn't happened yet, and that I'm not
ready for it to happen but at the same time I am SO READY and what the
fuck with this whole job thing? and please STOP THAT FUCKING BANGING IN
MY GODDAMN LIVING ROOM AND TURN OFF YOUR FUCKING CELL PHONE and if I weren't rendered 100% completely and totally numb by the stress, I think I'd be sobbing in my bed right now.

and I know everyone in Internet Land thinks I'm a total fucking psycho,
which is pretty true, except to everyone else in the world, it looks like
I totally have my shit together.

update: and right after this post, I did go to my bed, and cried so hard I couldn't breathe, and then just laid there for about another hour with my chest still feeling really clenched, and I would probably still be there if my roommate hadn't come home and come up to my room to say hi, and I'm so glad she did, and I'm back to feeling like I'm the luckiest person in the world to be surrounded by so many good people. Thanks for your kind words.
MA has increased assigned counsel rates but in the same bill, cut the max hours that attorneys can work on these cases. I'm not quite sure what the point of that is. As one attorney says in the article, the Legislature is sending the message that it's bad to do this kind of work. Massachusetts needs to get its act together already.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

nyc subway searches

I know I'm studying for the bar, and presumably I should know the answer
to this, but: can they do that? Randomly search people as they enter the
subway system? People are "free to leave" and not submit to a search, but
that seems hollow, particularly in NYC. Can this be distinguished from,
say, searches at the airport?

hang a star on THIS, asshole

The title of the post is in reference to a BarBri lecturer that some of
you will recall (the Yellow Magic Marker moment guy). I actually have no
problem with him, per se. I like his voice and his mannerisms, and he
gives a great outline and tells you to look at nothing else but that
outline after class. That's helpful - a finite body of information. My
complaint was that he then spent the class reading us the outline, which
inevitably caused me to tune out. So BarBri guy - my ire is not directed
at you, because I like you. You just had such neat little catch phrases
that I'm now going to adopt for my own disgruntled purposes.

Tangent - a lot of people are getting to this site by searching for
"barbri" "why barbri sucks" "fuck barbri" etc. I have to say, there is
absolutely no way I, myself, could have done this without Barbri. They
have a little schedule planned out, it's all quite organized, you know
well in advance what you're supposed to do and when. Being as anal as I
am, I like this type of structure. That's not to say that I followed it -
I'm pretty sure it's impossible in the amount of time allotted. But they
give you what you need to do well, and it's up to you to do something with
it. So, right now, before I fail the bar, I will say, I'm not
particularly unhappy with BarBri.


I have bags under my eyes. I have wrinkles. I'm up to one pot of coffee
in the morning, and down to 6 hours of sleep at night (which for me is the
absolute bare minimum necessary for functioning). My workouts have shrunk
to about 30-40 minutes, 4 days a week. However, my errands are getting
done in a remarkably timely manner, mostly because it's a good break from
studying. It helps me clear my head, gets me out of my chair, and makes
me feel like I've accomplished something. Look! Clean laundry. Look!
Dishes are done. Look! I just paid my bills. Look! I just ate an
entire bag of lime tortilla chips. And I still can't remember for the
life of me what the fuck the test is for applying which state's law in
which type of case. Domiciled in Guam, residence in California, defendant
in Wisconsin, excellent cheesesteaks in Philly, Red Sox are in Chicago,
accident happened during the in-flight movie somewhere over Nebraska,
apply the law of Tijuana. Whatever.

And the job thing - ugh. I keep getting phone calls from one job's area
code, and then I get all excited, because I'm convinced that since they
promised to offer me a job back in March, they're actually going to follow
through with that promise. Now that it's July, I'm starting to think that
I'm wrong. But anyway, I keep getting phone calls, and I get all excited,
and then I check the voicemail, and it's BarBri just calling to make sure
I'm ok, see how things are going, wish me good luck on the bar. STOP
CALLING ME, because you're getting me all worked up over nothing. After
I'm disappointed that it's just BarBri, I start worrying about the job
thing again, instead of worrying about the fact that I will never be a
licensed attorney, and that maybe law school was a horrid mistake anyway.

Move over Beauty and the Geek. I've often said that law school would make
a fascinating and ridiculous FOX reality TV show, and I still maintain
that's the case. You'd have to edit out a LOT of dead time over bar
review, but there are those priceless moments that just illuminate the
absurd intensity and coping mechanisms of people studying for the bar,
that I think would make for great entertainment. I myself refuse to speak
to anyone during the day, and to enforce that, I've started walking around
with my iPod on. I'm all like, "oops, sorry can't talk, I would totally
but I have headphones on. maybe next time?" I've also started taking the
rarely-used stairwells in the law school, and plan out my route from point
a to point b to afford as little interaction as possible with other
humans. I've found a little hidden area to do studying, and I'm camped
out there all day, only emerging to pee and eat. And surf the net.

Time to retreat back underground.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

lady in red

"You are a hot woman.  You look great in red.  Stop bye [sic] sometime." [is the [sic] supposed to come before or after the misspelling?]

So I found that sign on the front of my house at 6:15 this morning on my way to the gym.  I was bewildered.

When I tried to remove it when I came back, I realized that someone had GLUED it to the wood underneath the mailbox.  Not in the mailbox, not clipped to the mailbox like we do with our mail, not left discreetly in an envelope on the porch - no.  GLUED to the front of our house like a billboard.  Second snarky comment: is the helpfulness of the arrow pointing next door. Oh, I see.  You live that way.  Real fucking helpful buddy.  Thanks for the arrow.  Third snarky comment - um, clearly I'm hot and look good in red.  But there are THREE hot girls who look good in red that live in this house.  So which one of us is supposed to follow the arrow 'that way' to find you, Prince Charming of Elmer's Glue?
None of us were wearing red yesterday.  Two of us were wearing pink. One of us ran into one of the neighbors in town twice yesterday.  One of us has run into another neighbor a few times in the morning.  Another one of us thinks it's another, really sketchy neighbor, because who else glues a sign like that to the front of your house? 
I suppose the nice thing about a letter like this is that each of us can be secretly convinced that it's for us.  Dear Secret Admirer:  You totally made my day.  So thanks.  But please don't be a creepy stalker or the person who always steals our recycling from our porch.  I will shoot you point-blank if I see you looking in my windows.
As an aside, I would like to mention that I heretofore believed that 'secure transactions' were what happened when you order something online, and that little lock icon thing appears to let you know it's safe to put in your credit card info.  I'm in the midst of figuring out exactly how wrong I was.

Monday, July 18, 2005

make it end


I would rather be in combat.  As I see it, at least my body is fallible, and mortal.  I know when I jump into the middle of a circle of snipers, throw my arms out, and yell, "I'm heeeeeere!" the risks are known and concrete, and what I'm capable of contributing is definite and finite.

Cf., the bar exam.  I have knowledge.  I have some knowledge.  I have a decent amount of knowledge.  I need more of it.  I'm not sure how much more of it.  The knowledge that I do have doesn't always make sense - what I have in my head isn't always pieced together correctly.  Or, if it is pieced together correctly, it doesn't quite fit with the multiple choice answers I have available in front of me.  (DIE, TORTS, DIE!)  I'm not sure what I'm going to be capable of giving, but it's not finite - there's always more information or more analysis that could be crammed into my head, if I could just get it in there.  I feel no definite boundaries, no sense of, "Ok, here I am, here is where I am safe, and over there is where I am not."  I don't know if I currently know enough, I don't know if I will ever know enough, but I sure as hell know that I'd rather be dodging physical bullets, because at least those are tangible.  And the worst that happens?  You die.  Worst that happens if you fail the bar?  You live for 2-3 agonizing months wondering if you failed the bar, then you find out that you DID fail the bar, and you have to live in constant, tortured agony of 1. having failed the bar, 2. having to tell people you failed the bar, 3. paying off your law school debt while not being able to work as an attorney, and most of all 4. HAVING TO DO IT ALL AGAIN.

I need a hug.  Preferably a big, naked hug.  Involving tequila.  And maybe a cowboy hat.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


How is a girl supposed to study when Tim Wakefield is pitching tonight?  Swoon.

Least favorite Yankee:  Gary Sheffield.  I very, very strongly dislike him.  Ass.
Most favorite Yankee:  Tino Martinez.

Least favorite Red Sox player:  David Wells. 
Most favorite:  Pretty much all the rest, but love in the Biblical sense, Tim Wakefield.

Wait.  Did Al Leiter, brand new again Yankee (3-7) just strike out Johnny D?  Damn.

Friday, July 15, 2005

quite right.

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

that can't be right.

Those are the words written in the margins of one of my barbri handouts. I didn't think about the phrase that prompted this response while I was writing it down, but when my friend to my left pointed it out, I realized it's times like this that illuminate why lawyers are fucked up.

I had written, "valid trust as long as W had a vasectomy."

It is, indeed, correct.

I told my partner in crime that the reason why he didn't understand future interests and the Rule Against Perpetuities is because the "life in being" that he drew on his outline was ugly. He was busy jazzing up his stick figure with a baseball hat, a gun, and a beer when the discussion of vasectomies ensued.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Tell me I'm pretty

One of my friends used to say it jokingly. "Tell me I'm pretty," she'd say, either imploringly or while striking a ridiculous pose, when she was having a bad day or feeling silly and wearing an outrageous outfit or just feeling unloved. I've adopted the line as my own. I used the same line on the administrative assistant when I was a social worker having a bad day. When I'm feeling particularly lost, helpless, stupid, or vulnerable, that's what I think to myself. It doesn't work so well with the law school crowd. One of the essential circumstances of the "tell me I'm pretty" line is having the correct response, which is something equally silly like drawling, "You are a pretty pretty princess" or prancing around the room with the utteror of the statement.

I emailed my boss from this past summer in regards to my fellowship, since the proposal is based on my summer job, and I also need her to write me a letter of nomination. I asked her whether she thought I should continue to go forward with this. I wrote her sometime last week, when I was feeling particularly helpless and rejected. I got an email back from her today that was exactly what I needed to hear - why the project is useful, I should totally do it, she'd be glad to write the letter, and she also raved and raved about me to the other job. I was so happy to get her email and I could so accurately picture her very boisterous throaty voice and Irish-American energy emanating from the email that I started to get all teary. It's one of those things where you feel like you just want to cry to your mom, except you know your mom always pisses you off, so crying to a maternal supervisory figure is so much better?

Tell me I'm pretty.

As an aside, this post from This Fish Needs a Bicycle got me particularly choked up. She hit it, dead on.

Monday, July 11, 2005

changed my mind

I'm not sure I want the fellowship anymore. I think I want the other job.

movie review: "Crash"

Perhaps this isn't so much a review as it is a reflection on the issues the movie illuminates. I struggle to be articulate and insightful about these sorts of things, so I apologize in advance for the jumbled and incoherent nature. It's also really hard to discuss without summarizing a lot of it, which is both complicated and a killjoy to those who have not seen it.

"Crash" is Sandra Bullock's new movie and it has LUDACRIS in it. I cannot tell you how much that influenced by desire to see this movie.

The movie tracks five or six people in L.A. and how their lives are unknowingly intertwined by racism. The first half of the movie develops each character, so you have a frame of reference. The second half of the movie is the culmination and resolution of each storyline. During the first half of the movie, I kept thinking that it would be so much more powerful if the racism was more subtle. Sandra Bullock's character makes derisive statements about the amigo gangbanger who is changing her locks. (By the way, Brendan Frasier is Sandra's husband in the movie, and he plays a very wealthy D.A. You should see their house! Who knew criminal law could be so lucrative?) Ludacris and his buddy talk about not getting service in a restaurant. Don Cheadle tells his mom when she calls mid-coitus that he's banging a white woman. Don says to the now-angry woman, "I would have told her you were Mexican, but I wanted to piss her off." Then the woman informs Don that her parents are from Puerto Rico and El Salvador, which is not Mexico. To which Don replies something along the lines of, "And how is it that these wonderfully diverse cultures all get together and agree to keep junked cars on their lawn?" The great thing about this movie is that the bad guys have good moments, and the good guys have bad moments, so no one is without blame.

So for the most part, the racism is quite blatant, which I don't think is ever really an opportunity to learn. Everyone can walk away thinking "THAT is racism, and I don't say or do those things, and thus I am not racist." The racial undertones that are more subtle are the ones that give cause for reflection. Ryan Phillipe's character has to watch Matt Dillon harass an African-American couple and tries to make up for it later - you see him stick his neck out a few times on behalf of African-American characters but the movie, by the end, gives you something to think about in regards to what racism means. Don Cheadle, a detective in the movie, has to decide whether the theory of the case is that the white guy (cop) has shot his third black man (also a cop), or that the white guy really was acting in self-defense. The lead investigator or D.A. (I couldn't figure it out, but he had a badge anyway) was white and wanted to go forward with the "White man killing three black men" routine, but Don wasn't sure that was the story. The investigator then went off on a politically correct rant about the black community, and the struggles they face, and why things are the way they are, etc. I'm sure at some point we've all said those things. But the kicker is that Don Cheadle, as a black man, has to decide whether (as the white investigator said) the black community needs another dead black man, or a hero killed tragically as a result of racism? I think it's interesting to see how Don Cheadle's character has to resolve this obvious racism issue within a subtle racially motivated framework - that is, the white guy wanting to save the black people using racist (or what some would call reverse-racist) beliefs, and how Don Cheadle has to choose his evils between accepting the white investigator's theory of the case or pursuing what he thinks is the actual turn of events.

If nothing else, it showed how truly shitty police officers (Matt Dillon was a BAD cop but in the end redeems himself, hmph) and D.A.s can be if they want to. There was nary a public defender to be seen, but I'd like to think it's because the movie didn't want to besmirch the wonderful reputation of public defenders. And Ludacris was really good. He had the best rants. I can't say much more without giving away some fun points in the movie, so I won't.

It got me thinking a lot about some of the things we discussed in my critical race theory class, and the role that public defenders play in an inherently racist legal system. I know that there are plenty of people who think that critical race theory, feminist jurisprudence, and the like are just trashy pop-culture politically-correct bullshit classes. I find it to be quite useful as a technique to take another look at what we're doing. We've been taught law in a particular manner, and as such we've adopted this as the objectively correct approach. I think it's instructive to take that lens off from time to time and use a different lens to look at the same picture, and see what sorts of things it turns up. I won't argue that everyone needs to accept these doctrines as absolute truths - you're all smart enough to sincerely study these approaches and draw your own conclusions. But there is not much to be gained by refusing to acknowledge that there are different ways to approach a problem, or a profession.

In the end it's pretty much all resolved, which is good, because if the outcome was all violence and evil and bad shitty things, I'm pretty sure it would have done me in considering my fragile mental state. I know I wasn't so coherent, but man it takes too much energy to write any more deeply or in much more detail, and I'm still not finished processing it all myself. Nor will I be, anytime soon. But here is my assignment to all of you, particularly the public defenders: Go see this movie. Then let's talk about it. Mmmmkay?


Saturday, July 09, 2005

BarBri's Fifth Level of Hell: Getting Stupider

As if trying to learn every legal principle / doctrine / analysis ever created wasn't bad enough, there comes a point when you are not as far along as you need to be, but then your brain starts leaking information it collected earlier.

I managed to rock my simulated MBE such that, had it been my score on the actual MBE, I would have passed with some points to spare. Since that time, I have not managed to get over 30% of my questions correct on any subsequent practice test and I don't have a blessed clue what the fuck I'm doing anymore.

Wills & Trusts and Corporations squeezed Property, Evidence, and Contracts out of my tiny little skull. That explains why my right ear keeps popping.

Friday, July 08, 2005

and the fellowship marches on

Despite every desire to do so, I've managed not to roll over and play dead yet. I had a nice chat on the phone with one of the attorneys at my Host Agency today, and it seems feasible to rework this proposal. We are waiting for feedback from others involved in the project. I promised to get a basic barebones version of the final proposal out to them by Monday or Tuesday. (Why, God? Why? Who do I think I am?)

Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement. I don't particularly like using the blog as a sounding board, but I do anyway, and it's nice to look back and see people cheering. And thankfully, I have wonderful friends who are interested in what I'm doing, who are excited about it, who tell me how proud they are, who offer their help, who pull me out of bar review class to give me important mail, and who still like to hang out with me despite the fact that I'm bitching and moaning relentlessly. From time to time, I stop and think how it is that I manage to have any friends at all, because I annoy the fuck out of myself so much. The fact that I seem to have so MANY wonderful friends is nothing short of the work of a Higher Power.

And having the Counting Crows' hits album, "Films About Ghosts" on the iPod? That's just icing on the cake, baby.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

because this is my life, and you just can't make this shit up

Roommate beckoned me out of bar review class today.  I got outside the classroom and shut the door, and she pulled out a big envelope from Funding Agency.  We opened it and viola! an invitation to submit a full proposal.  Roommate clapped and squealed and hugged, and I just stared blankly.  My mind was reeling.  The continuous uncertainty of all of this is wearing on me.  Today was a particularly grouchy day for me because I got very little sleep last night, so I got no work done, and I've gone through the past two days of bar review having truly not heard one word that was spoken.  This letter should be happy news - I should be excited that there is a chance I can work this out after all.  And I really want this to work.  But I'm tired, and I don't want to keep fighting this fight, and I want to just whine and cry about the fact that it's not fair that everyone else knows what they are doing and where they are going - at least, where they are going - and I don't even know that.  NOT having a job at all would be less stressful at this point, because at least I could study for the bar uninterrupted, take August off, and then figure this shit out. 

I'll save my rant about the timing of this proposal (when it's due) and the work necessary to accomplish it for another day.

But hey!  Look at me.  I'm a rockstar.  Round 2.  here we go.

Pardon me while I repeatedly slam my head in the door.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

BarBri's Fourth Level of Hell: piercing the corporate whale

I lurrrrrv corporations.  Oh yes I do.  It's so cold and calculating and has such fancy terms of art.  I'm loving corporations a little too much right now - things are starting to look blurry.  But I just got to the part about "piercing the corporate veil," which is the doctrine by which the court will disregard the corporate entity and hold shareholders liable.  Sexy, no?
In a corporations class not my own, I heard lore of a European law student who was intent on pontificating on corporations "in [his] country" for 1/2 of the class time.  He would raise his hand, start his lecture by stating, "in my country" and then ramble, thereby alienating all fellow students, permitting them to perform uninterrupted acts of solitaire, spider solitaire, minesweeper, poker, and war games.  But what perked up the ears of these alienated students is when he, in his European accent, would discuss his and his country's views of "piercing ze corporate whale."  Oh, how the students snickered.  And now, every time I see the court disregarding the corporate entity, I have visions of 'piercing the corporate whale' - a large beluga, perhaps, pierced with a mighty pointy harpoon.  Or with a badass gold hoop earring.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Fourth of July

Hope everyone had a relaxing weekend!

We had the craziest party ever this past weekend. We were going to spend the weekend studying, but instead spent it recovering, physically but mostly psychologically, from our "Bar Review Students Gone Wild" weekend.

Here's to bringing down the curve.

Friday, July 01, 2005

O'Connor resigns

I predicted to my peers here in law school that she would resign before Rehnquist.  No one believed me.  I win.