Monday, December 29, 2008

Love Affairs

The more I think about it, the more this feels like the end of a personal relationship. Like the first time I had my heart broken, I'm determined to make this teach me to recognize true love. In that vein, the best cure for a broken heart (I've learned) is to find someone new.

I need to continue my training while I search for a new job - which could be awhile, in this economy. So for the meantime I'm volunteering at two places: the Center for Democracy & Technology and at a startup called Loopt. I know people at these places, but the reality is that when you're volunteering your time, who's going to turn you away?

In addition to the training, these activities keep me from having too much time to think about my situation. When I was searching for a job at a firm, I couldn't count the number of times people shook their heads and warned me, "It's really, really competitive." I did it anyway.

Which is a little disturbing: Now, everyone keeps telling me I'll find something! But they're my friends, my family. When I listen to the news and glimpse the numbers, I see I'm in the same place, seeking the same impossibility. And I'll do it anyway.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Waking From the Dream

The economic crisis hit home for me. At the firm there were rumors of an announcement last week, but it never came. On Monday, two partners swept into my office, and I knew.

I was laid off.

They emphasized that it was not personal, that everyone really liked me and my work product. It makes sense; I was the only first year in the IP group, and because they made cuts across all departments...

I've never lost a job before. If you've read any of these posts you know how I felt about working there; I was living my dream. This felt like being served divorce papers by someone I was in love with: I felt shocked, hurt, lost.

I believe them when they say it wasn't personal, but I still feel ashamed. It's been really hard telling my family and friends; I feel like I have an infectious disease. I didn't realize how much of my self-worth was wrapped up in this job.

The only person I've been feeling sorrier for besides myself is my SO. He has to deal with me and feel all my pain, without any of the autonomy or soothing self-pity. I've tried to spare him from the tears, but I can't pretend to be happy. At times I feel like I'm having a nightmare: everything's horrible and impossible and I can't wake up.

But I'm climbing out of the abyss. I'm gathering the old strings of my network and updating my resume. I know eventually I'll get another job, and the economy will get better, and I'll live my dream again - a new dream. And someday I will look back on this and think, 'What an amazing opportunity I was presented with.'

Friday, December 12, 2008

Voluntary, Collective, Delicious

EFF is "cautiously optimistic" about rumors that Warner Music maybe exploring the long-awaited collective licensing model for music file-sharing on college campuses (which I've gushed about).

Universities would pay Choruss, a new nonprofit collecting society, in exchange for an end to the "John Doe" subpoenas seeking student identities, DMCA notices, lawsuits against students, and legislation mandating copyright surveillance of campus networks. Students who pay will be free to download whatever they like, using whatever software they like, in whatever format they like (and presumably keep it all when they graduate, since there would be no way to claw back DRM-free MP3s). The monies collected would be divided up among artists and rightsholders, based on relative popularity. The rest of the details are still to be determined, including whether it would be a mandatory fee for all students, or an opt-in fee (complete with continued lawsuits for those who fail to pay?). It's also not clear what the fee would be, although those familiar with the talks suggest less than $5 per student per month.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Law in Motion

My firm is moving to a new building in February. Currently we're in two buildings, and we're moving to a Google-esq complex with gym, cafeteria, outdoor pool. Amenities aside, the goal is for all of us to be in one building. It's amazing how proximity affects relationships, even on this scale: it's a lovely 5 minute walk to the other building, yet I'm significantly closer to the folks in my building than the other.

Because the lease on the building I'm in runs out before the other building, we're moving over to the other building for a spell. It's a tight fit: I, for example, am sharing a corner conference room with a fellow 1st year. My firm is pretty unique in that everyone - from summer associate to partner - has about the same size office.

Until now. As my bunkmate noted, "At least we can say we're the first ones in [Firm]'s history to have a corner office."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fine Print and Qualified Assertions

I'm pretty fond of website feedback (eg, my Squeaky Wheel segment on my other blog). Now that I'm working with websites, it warms my heart to see how responsive they are to their users, especially early adopters. One of my clients contacted me very urgently to request that we add a Creative Commons licensing scheme to their Terms of Service. Users can almost always slap CC licenses on their content if they want, even if the website Terms are silent, but this guy was insistent. His users were complaining that some other site had it in their Terms.... I wasn't sure what amazed me more: that users were demanding Creative Commons or that they actually read the Terms of Use.

The other day I had a meeting with the corporate team on a financing, to report back on the findings of our diligence.

"So I've gone through everything you gave me..." I began. The partner interrupted me, laughing. "Spoken like a true lawyer," he said.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I passed!

I distantly remember feeling confident when I walked out of that exam, but the passage of time eroded that warm fuzzy feeling. The final three days before the results were released were hellish: I was irritable, couldn't sleep, and was plagued by dark fantasies of failure. I feared the humiliation, that at work I'd be wearing a scarlet letter.

I left the office early but got stuck in traffic, so I arrived home a few minutes before 6 pm. I headed straight for the liquor cabinet and got myself a drink before getting stationed in front of my laptop. The website counts down as you refresh: Result will be released in 4 minutes. Then the fields pop up, and you enter your numbers, and it says: "The name above appears on the pass list."

I went out that night with my workmates (all of whom passed), and we greeted each other with "Good evening, Counselor!" And predictably woke up with a college-caliber hangover. It was worth it.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Firm

I've now been working for almost one month, so I'm ready to set down some observations. (And I finally found the time!)

The first week was a bit overwhelming. I've never worked at a large firm, much less at this firm, so everything was new to me, from the document management system to the coffee machine. My fellow fall associates, who I'd worked earnestly to get to know, I rarely saw. The partners have written a book called the Corporate Partnering Manual, which comes in an enormous binder. It took me over an hour to figure out how to assemble and put the tabs into the book, which was a bit discouraging. ("I can't even put the manual together - how will I ever practice this!")

I was the only first year (of our group of 9) to start in the IP group - they all went into Corporate. The IP group is comprised of three partners and 6 associates, myself included. It's a small group, and they took me in. I work regularly with the partners, one-on-one. They go over agreements with me for diligence, patiently explaining why, for example, the copyright and trade secret clauses usually have a knowledge qualifier and trademarks and patents don't (it has to do with whether intent is relevant to an action).

I have experienced none of the horrors promised me. Yes, I've only just started, but the truth is I love it. Despite what they told me, I am actually using substantive knowledge I learned in law school. I work a lot (I've been slammed, despite the economy), but I don't mind it because everything is new and exciting, even the endless stacks of diligence on my desk.

One thing the sources did get right: everyone is very forgiving, because they don't expect me to know anything. On my second day, the name IP partner pulled me aside and told me not to be afraid to ask questions.

"If you don't feel like you're annoying people, you're not asking enough questions," he said.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Jungle

A few weeks ago, I thought to myself, "I should get a book on being a first year associate, since I have no idea what I'm about to get into." Lo and behold, a book fell into my lap. I read The Young Lawyer's Jungle Book, and here are my thoughts.

First of all, there are good pieces of information in here, especially the very detailed pieces. For example, when you're working on a project for one senior partner, and another senior comes to your door to ask if you're busy, the correct response is, "Yes, but how can I help you?"

The author also suggests keeping a list of your projects and successes, for when annual review time comes. He doesn't cushion the blow about the hardships of practicing law. I found myself dreading my new job, until I snapped out of it. This book is about the stereotypical evils: working 12 hours a day, the various offensive types of co-workers, the politics of gender and race.

But I refuse to submit to that fate. I'm excited about starting, I really like the people I'm starting with, and I don't think every big firm is the same.

The worst part of this book is the endless, insufferable footnotes - containing everything that an editor would have cut out. However, after I ceased reading anything in parentheses or in a footnote, and ignored the italics, it went smoother. The book is a comprehensive parade of horribles, but it provides advice on surviving them.

I feel prepared for the worst after reading this book, but I can't, and won't, vouch for its accuracy.

For that, I'll have to get back to you in a few months.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Questions of Morality

I received a positive determination on my moral character evaluation. (Mentioned here.) I guess it was sometime in January that I first submitted it - 8 months ago.

The envelope was a slim one from the State Bar of California. When I opened it and announced the news to my SO, he ducked his head in shame.

"I know," he confessed. "I held the envelope up to the light and read it."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My FAQs of the California Bar Exam

Here are some of the [silly] questions I had, which I was forced to ask of previous testers.

Q: They limit the things I can bring into the exam room. What if I want to bring my lunch?
A: The secured exam area is larger than the exam room. In Oakland, it was the hallway that led to the exam room. Everyone stashes their bags with lunch and notes in that hallway, and they have security guards posted to prevent random folks from wandering in.

Q: Should I bring an extension cord? What if there aren't enough outlets for my laptop?
A: They run electrical lines on the ground next to the tables. There were actually two outlets per person!

Q: How do I upload my exams? Does the exam room have wireless?
A: The exam room probably will not have wireless. After you get back to your hotel or home each evening, start up your computer. The SofTest program will automatically prompt you to upload your exams, which it will do automatically when you're connected to the internet and have the program open.

Q: What happens if there's an earthquake during my exam?
A: This year there was an earthquake in Los Angeles. The CA Bar released a notice, with this relevant information:

Grading of the examination will be conducted in accordance with the Committee of Bar Examiners (Committee) standard procedures. During the grading process, however, the Committee’s psychometric consultant has been asked to perform a psychometric study on whether the earthquake impacted applicants’ performance on the first session of the examination and to report his findings to the Committee prior to the release of results from the examination. The Committee will consider its consultant’s findings and determine what action, if any, should be taken to ensure that all applicants are treated as fairly as possible.

Q: Can I bring my cell phone in my pocket?
A: Nope, don't risk it. If you get caught with a phone, it's a Rule 12 violation that will be reported to the Moral Character Committee.

Q: What's this Rule 12 violation they're constantly threatening during the instructions on exam day?
A: I have absolutely no idea.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


So I've returned from a lovely bar trip, ready to share my bar experience.

I stayed at a hotel across the street from the testing center. The first night I fell asleep pretty easily, with the clock alarm, my cell phone alarm, and a text message from my SO, all set to wake me. Unnecessary, as I woke a few minutes before they went off.

The test center was a huge warehouse, with giant ultra-bright lights shining down on row after row of narrow tables. People were crowded about and waiting outside the testing area that first day, naked pillows in hand (pillow cases being prohibited).

We showed our mailed registration cards; the applicant number was your seat number, ordered chronologically by when you registered to take the test (if you want to be at the front of the room, register immediately). There were about 1000 people in the Oakland test center. No one freaked out or harassed a proctor, that I saw. You become friendly with your seat mates.

The laptop program loaded correctly for almost everyone, as far as I could tell. I felt adrenaline, but wasn't overly anxious. The only internal lurch I felt was when the proctor said, "Proctors, please distribute the exams." ::Gulp::

They passed out the packets. We were told to begin. I opened the first page of the essay packet: ethics. As promised. I relaxed; it felt exactly like I was taking one of the Barbri practice essays. I had a watch, but I finished before an hour and then turned the page again: Con law and Crim law crossover. I adored this question. It was about whether the president had the power to create a law mandating businesses to respond to "national security requests" without a warrant. Could the president do that? Was it a search under the 4th Amendment? I'm quite interested in and have experience with privacy issues, and I genuinely had a good time hashing out all the arguments both ways. The third was a contracts problem, common law as promised.

At lunch my barmate didn't want to talk about answers, and that was fine with me.

By Day 2 there was no anxiety; I was hitting the snooze button on the alarm. Multiple choice, 800 decisions to make. For each fact set there was only one question, unlike Barbri. I found the first set challenging, the second easier.

Day 3, we were all prepared for the Civ Pro and/or Evidence with CA distinctions, which were introduced two years ago and had yet to appear. They were promised to us; they did not appear. Remedies, Property (tenancy), Community Property.

The Performance Tests were also shocking: each contained only one part. For the first we were instructed to write a memo evaluating our client's case in a false imprisonment claim. The second was applying an 8-factor test to determine whether a custodial interrogation occurred, necessitating Miranda. No closing argument + P&A, no combo anything. One question, both with exceptionally simple cases and files. Beautiful.

For each 3 hour segment I had plenty of time, particularly the last PT that I edited to perfection. The MBE was a bit tighter, but I still had time to review 20 or 30 questions when I was done.

They called that final time and we all clapped and cheered, smiled and congratulated each other. For so long you've thought about this moment, that moment of being done.

Overall I felt good. We'll see: November 21.

Next post: answers to the bar exam FAQs they never mention.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Yes, I am done! I'm bursting with things I want to post about (my answers to the true bar exam FAQs, what was going on in my mind, how hard it was, etc.) but right now I'm on holiday as they say, here in Europe.

I'll be back August 20th, but I wanted to drop a line here to say I survived, and that I felt good about how it went, and most importantly, to give my deepest thanks to the folks who dropped me a line (by blog comment, email, phone call, Facebook post, or text message) wishing me luck and giving me encouragement. It really made a difference and warms my heart to think of it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Deep Breath

A week from today I'll be done, and not a moment too soon as I feel like I'm losing my mind a bit. If you're studying for the bar, I know what you're thinking: only just now? Yeah, just now:

I've been obsessing for several days about how absurd it is that I've been in law school for three years and I never came up with a shorthand abbreviation for "judgment." How could that possibly be? (I settled on "jmt.") While we're on the subject, why doesn't MS Word auto-correct "judgement" (with the E) into "judgment"? Do you know how many times I've typed that wrong?

I made about 30 flashcards yesterday. I know I did this because I remember deciding to do it, and I remember reading through my torts notes. All the same, when I went through the cards today, I had no recollection of writing them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One Week Till Go-Time

A fellow bar-slave of mine came over to my place the other day for a visit, and she was, naturally, immediately drawn to my study location to examine the scene. She's using outlines, not flashcards, but she commented that my flashcard piles were much smaller than those of other's she'd seen.

"Well," I offered with a sly grin, "I only make flashcards of the stuff I don't know."

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'd Rather Be a Hammer

Penultimate day of Barbri: essay workshop. Professor Sakai reiterated Professor Honigsberg's command that we act as sheep and follow the herd in our essays. His version:

"As my dad told me, 'It's always the nail sticking out that gets hammered down.'"

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Lay of the Land

I was in Oakland yesterday, and naturally I had to scope out the territory. The Oakland Convention Center is in a giant Marriott hotel. A friendly security guard took me back to the convention halls and unlocked the door so I could peak in. A giant empty room with hard floors. It reminded me of taking the MPRE, which I should have realized would be good practice.

I almost got sick on the ride there. But once we arrived I calmed down and felt ready.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Closing In

Friday was my last substantive Barbri lecture. We had Thursday off with a regular homework assignment, and jeez, that was sweet. I felt like I was able to devote my highest energy levels to studying. After three or four hours of lecture in the morning, it's hard to attack the homework with real vigor.

Community Property was the last area of law, and the only one I'd never taken a course on in school (although there is some overlap from Wills & Trusts). At the first run through, all these substantive areas seemed overwhelmingly detailed, even the ones I'd taken. My brain is in 5th gear by now though. I read the Mini Review, then the next day I hear the lecture and make flashcards from my notes. I go through the flashcards once, and I can answer an essay question pretty well after 24 hours in the subject.

My brain feels primed. I think I've become sharper from a month of studying, but my SO suggested it was all the blueberries I've been eating.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Physical Manifestations Requirement

Three comments having to do with the physical impact of studying for the bar:

1. I have a second gray hair. I discovered the first one about a year ago in law school. I'm 26 years old.

2. Speaking of hair, I have this nervous tic when I'm doing a lot of concentrating and studying, which is that I rub my eyebrow. My right eyebrow currently has a gap from incessant rubbing.

3. Finally, I'm experiencing a bit of pain on my middle finger. You know that spot on your middle finger of your writing hand, where you got a callous as a kid from holding a pencil? I haven't taken written notes since college, and that callous no longer exists. Frankly, the only pen-n-paper writing I do in daily life is for a grocery list. Filling in the blanks of the in-class workbook, writing over 500 flashcards, outlining essay hurts!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Affectedly Modest, Reserved, or Serious

I had a fond memory from Civ Pro my 1L year today. (Seriously!) I remember my professor teaching us about California's answer to a complaint, which is known as a "demurrer."

He had us repeat it out loud as a group, to be sure we wouldn't embarrass ourselves some day by pronouncing it "demure-er," as in more demure. The correct pronunciation is "duhmuhrer."

Monday, June 30, 2008

Subject to Numerous Exceptions

After over an hour of 47 pages of Civil Procedure in my Conviser Mini Review last night, I almost lost it when I read this paragraph:

Judgments are generally enforceable while post-trial motions are pending unless the court orders otherwise. Thereafter, if the judgment is appealed, a federal court will stay execution if a bond is posted, unless the order was for an injunction or receivership. In California state court, subject to numerous exceptions, enforcement of the trial court judgment is automatically stayed with the timely filing of a notice of appeal. However, enforcement of certain judgments (eg, for money, sale of real or personal property, appointment of a receiver) will be stayed only if trial court so orders or if an undertaking is provided. The California appellate court may also issue a stay.

Reading that paragraph is the kind of thing that could make you hit The Wall.

On the other hand, occasionally I feel a bit sad, knowing that after the bar, I'll never know this much law in this many areas ever again. It's like preemptive nostalgia.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I saw the Wall today. As in, "Late June is when you'll probably hit the wall in your studying."

The assignment for today was a practice half-day MBE, so 100 questions in 3 hours (mixed subject). I glimpsed the wall when I saw the rest of the assignment: simulate two remedies essays.

I got about 60% right on the MBE practice, and I'm not sure where that leaves me. It's really painful to check your answers when you have a binge of incorrect answers all in a row. (Each time I think to myself, "cluster f*ck.")

I always feel worse when my answer is physically distant from the correct answer: when I said "A" and the answer was "D." It's silly because the answer choices don't work like that, but all the same some part of me helplessly thinks, "Damn, I wasn't even close!"

Sometimes I think the best part of the real MBE will be not having to check my answers.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Water People

Our Real Property professor, Paula Franzese, is probably my favorite so far. She's fast and she's funny, and she sings for us. (She's also the only woman we've had so far.)

Today was the last day of Property, and during the last segment she was covering the miscellaneous water rights. Our outline provides the text of the rules with blank spaces for us to fill in the words.

For example, the outline provided, "The water belongs to those who own the land _____________" and we dutifully wrote in "bordering the water course" when she said it. The next line: "These people are known as _________________." Paula says, "water people." There was some giggling, but we dutifully, robotically wrote "water people." Paula paused.

"I'm kidding. They are not known as water people. They're riparians." And we all laughed, and scratched out "water people" in our outlines.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Bar Review Burden on SOs

It's exceptionally valuable having a supportive significant other while studying for the bar. Mine has involved himself in my studying by quizzing me with flashcards. I realized this morning just how involved he's been.

My boyfriend's band has a show in two weeks, and he usually has a friend of his video record their gigs. I've started assisting his friend, but I'm not exactly a film school student, so my boyfriend decided to hunt for someone to help me.

Managing three cameras would be pretty intense for an amateur; besides, he informed me with perfect innocence, "I don't want the recording to be an undue burden on you."

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Little Things

There's something about the Barbri books that's been driving me completely nuts: page numbers.

The In-Class Workbook is a prime example. The book is divided into multistate subjects and state subjects, and these subjects are divided alphabetically within the book (small comfort). There are page numbers within each subject, but no universal, book-wide page numbers. (I rationalized this by telling myself that Barbri wanted each professor to be able to refer to their "own" page numbers. Today, however, Epstein - contracts - informed us as an aside that he had no control over them.)

Without universal page numbers, the table of contents is useless for finding the subject each day. This book is approximately 2 and a half inches thick! Can you imagine how annoying it is thumbing through it to find the subjects? Yes, the subject is listed at the top of the page, but everything is in a different font and size because the materials are the professor's proprietary notes.

And there's not even a uniformity to adjust to:

The Essay Exam Workshop book: overall page numbers, but no subject headings at the top of the pages. Must use table of contents.

Conviser Mini Review book: Divided between multistate and state, with universal page numbers. No table of contents, therefore universal page numbers are useless. Must use subject headings at the top of the pages.

I also found their abbreviation system intolerable (CGAB, CICW, CEWB, etc.) until I realized I didn't have to figure out what they stood for: the abbreviations are on the upper-right side of the cover of the book. Positively sensible.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Today we watched Erwin Chemerinsky's DVD lecture. Chemerinsky is the god of Con Law, revered by many generations of attorneys who were taught Con Law by him in Barbri. (I flew 600 miles with a stomach virus to hear him speak.) The most remarked upon quality of his lectures is that he uses no notes whatsoever.

Without using any books, notes, or even a podium, he guided us through out handout, referring to "major subpoint 3" or "subset c," or, my personal favorite, "little 4." He recited the notes word-for-word.

Our DVD emphasized this point by filming him for the first 20 minutes from the feet up, before zooming in on his face as they typically do. At that moment, my friends on either side of me both leaned in to whisper, "Does he have a teleprompter?" and "Does he have it all memorized?"

His lecture is about 8 hours long!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Non-Acrimonious Acronyms, part II

Courtesy of Wikipedia, two relevant pieces of information:
In 1974, both San Francisco-based "Bay Area Review" (BAR) and Chicago-based "Bar Review Institute" (BRI) were bought by publishing giant Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, and promptly merged.

And, source of the Conviser Mini Review book:
Richard J. Conviser became president of the merged subsidiary.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Staying Awake

I've started Barbri this week! I'm doing the taped version ("DVD version" would be more accurate). The teaching professor appears as a giant Wizard of Oz head on the projector screen.

We started with Evidence; here's a highlight from our professor while discussing the use of a document to jog the witness's memory on the stand:

"Lawyers call this 'refreshing the witness's recollection.' Lay persons call this 'bullshit.'"

Also, here's a selection of the emailed thoughts of some attorney friends of mine, on studying for the bar:

"It really isn’t that bad. Bar summer is A LOT easier than actually practicing law at a firm – I can tell you that for shit sure."

"It's a terrible, stressful experience, but I do think that it prepares you well for the bar. In short, taking Barbri sucks so that taking the bar doesn't have to."

"Barbri isn't all that bad – just a bit mind-numbing. Don't spend too much time studying."

"Just stay awake and you'll do great."

I take the bar July 29-31.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Non-Acrimonious Acronyms

Graduated! These three years went by quickly, but still, I feel like a different person. When I think back to who I was when I started, it feels like a long time ago. The timing is right for me - I wasn't sick of school, but I was tired of it, and I'm ready to move on to something different. I'm excited to start working, but first: the bar...

I did PMBR last week - Preliminary Multistate Bar Review. (My boyfriend: "Isn't 'multistate' two words? Shouldn't it be PMSBR?" MS Word: it's one word. Firefox: it's two words. I've heard of PMBR for three years but I didn't know what it stood for until last week.) I took the 6-day review. PMBR gets you ready for the multistate bar, which is one day of testing the same for all law students nationally. For PMBR, in the morning you take a 50-question exam on one of the 6 subjects (Con Law, Evidence, Crim, etc.). In the afternoon, the instructor goes over the answers.

It's kinda crazy having all that law from 1L year come bubbling to the surface (fee simple subject to condition subsequent? A Terry stop? Seriously?).

But really, it wasn't so bad at all. You've forgotten a lot of things, but at times it's amazing what your brain dredges up. No point in getting freaked out, because that won't help. Better to be cool.

Next week: Barbri. Just don't ask me what that stands for.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bay Area Blawgers 3.0

Sadly, I'll be out of town for the 3rd Bay Area Blogger's meetup. But the invitation is open to others:

The High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law is pleased to sponsor Bay Area Blawgers 3.0, the third gathering of legal bloggers in the Bay Area and friends. This time we're thrilled to co-host the event with the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology at the UC Berkeley Law School. As we have done in the past, we'll spend about 1 hour of our time in a structured discussion, with the balance of our time for informal chit-chatting. The details:
When: May 20, 6-8 pm
Where: Goldberg Room, UC Berkeley Law School. Directions and parking.
Who: Everyone is welcome, but this event principally will cater to active legal bloggers. Bloggers and friends who have said they plan to attend include: Tsan Abrahamson, Robert Barr, Eli Edwards, Cathy Gellis, Eric Goldman, Beth Grimm, Kimberly A. Kralowec, Ethan Leib, Cathy Moran, Dana Nguyen, Aaron Perzanowski, Elizabeth Pianca, Mark Radcliffe, Jason Schultz, John Steele, Kevin Underhill and J. Craig Williams. (This list will be updated as new blawgers and friends RSVP).
Cost: Admission is free.
CLE: This event qualifies for 1 hour of general CLE credit. Santa Clara University School of Law is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider.
RSVPs: RSVP to Eric Goldman (
Some background materials:
* Announcements of Bay Area Blawgers 1.0 and 2.0.
* Recap of the first gathering
* Photos from the second gathering at Fenwick & West's San Francisco office. More photos.
* List of possible discussion issues
* Census of Bay Area Blawgers

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Who Knew?

From a CALI exercise: someone can be your stand-in at your marriage.

Occam's Razor

Wednesday I had my last law school class, a Corporations pseudo-review session. (My professor: "I don't want this turning into a pop-quiz of the professor. Don't go asking me for the elements of the Business Judgment Rule.")

A week from today is my Corporations final, my only one. (I also have a paper due in another class, but all it needs is a polishing.) When I was a 2L a 3L friend advised me wisely to take as few exams as humanly possible in the last semester. I'm reading an Emmanuel's supplement and taking CALI exercises online.

Also, I cashed in my Westlaw points! (Westlaw and Lexis are the legal databases. Students are granted free access and opportunities to earn "points" that cumulate throughout law school. Reminder: they expire 30 days after you graduate!) I chose a 10-blade kitchen knife set (about 3000 of my 4000 points).

I guess you get what you pay for: it only had 9 knives.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Moral Teasers

You've seen it before: the folks at PMBR, or student groups in the promenade, sitting there behind a table with a bowl of candy. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Nerds, Starburst two-packs. You have zero interest in whatever they're offering you, other than the candy of course, in which you have an immense interest.

I hate this moral dilemma! Do you:
1. Feign interest and listen to their pitch as you take a piece of candy,
2. Grab the candy openly and shamelessly and walk away,
3. Wait till they're not looking and snag some candy as you slip by, or
4. Give them apologetic, questioning eyes and take the candy with your head down.

I hate this dilemma so much that I usually suffer through the last option, which is: not take any candy at all. Such a tease!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


My Corporations professor, after a reading assignment on shareholder distributions (dividends and selective repurchases):

“If anyone had fun doing tonight’s reading, please see me after class." He paused. "There are therapies for that.”

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Short-Form Mergers

My Corporations professor, an adjunct - he's an Antitrust partner at a firm - was recently offered a permanent position to teach the course. Last week he admitted he was horrified to learn that we law students refer to the class as "Corps."

"I know this class isn't as exciting as some others, but really guys - we have come up with something better than that!"

The amusing part to me was that he didn't know we called it that! I've known it as "Corps" from my first year, and I assume the reference is passed down every year. (Other examples: Civ Pro for Civil Procedure, Crim for Criminal Law.) As weird as it may sound, I don't actually think there are negative connotations.

I mean really, how else are you gonna abbreviate it?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Like a Phoenix

The oft-repeated summary of life in law school:

1st year: Scared to death
2nd year: Worked to death
3rd year: Bored to death

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

P2P, Renewed

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the recent news in net neutrality. Comcast has agreed to work with BitTorrent, the P2P megasource, and to begin ceasing discriminating against BitTorrent traffic. I credit the pressure from the FCC investigation and the overwhelming business sense: P2P is becoming a vital way to transfer video legally.

In other news, Warner Music is exploring subscription-based music downloading on the ISP end, the idea of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Fred von Lohman, which I stumbled on almost exactly a year ago. Jim Griffin, who's heading the project at Warner, "forecasts that such ISP add-on fees could generate as much as $20 billion annually to distribute between artists and copyright holders."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Sun, Light

Last week the GC/VP of Sun Microsystems Mike Dillon came for a Q&A as part of an event my student group hosted. He was fantastic, and he has a (Sun-endorsed) blog! Here's an excerpt from a post I particularly enjoyed on recommendations for life as in-house counsel:

Always be the calmest person in the room. Too often attorneys inflame a stressful business situation, rather than providing calm and dispassionate counsel. In this regard, a quote from former U.S. President, Woodrow Wilson is one of my favorites: "One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty counsels. The thing to be supplied is light, not heat."

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Step Before Running

My last Spring Break! Probably for ever. I went to Vegas (for a friend's wedding) and on a road trip to Big Sur and Santa Barbara. I focused on total abandonment of reality, which was largely successful except for a panicked moment at the hotel to register to take the Bar. You register as a 1L, so this was choosing my test center. The nearest is in Oakland; the San Francisco test center is written-only (Oakland allows laptops). Don't even get me started on the absurdity of that.

For the record, my panic was over whether I was going to be forced to truck it out to San Mateo (my second choice), not about taking the Bar itself.

The Bar is just too extensive for a small and immediate emotion like panic.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bar Smarts

I was reading my Legal Drafting notes this afternoon when I noticed an amusing slip. Our prof had advised us we should never bring any outside knowledge into the performance part of the bar exam. You only want to work within the closed universe the testers provide. My notes read:

"Don't be creative. Don't bring in actual knowledge."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Checking Up

I've been contacted by former employers in the past week about my moral character evaluation. I haven't received word from any of my personal references, but if anyone is wondering, apparently they at least check up with former employers. (California requires attorneys-to-be to fill out a 37 page application with questions like, 'List every address you've lived at for the past 8 years.' The fee is $431.)

This got me thinking about the first legal job I had as a legal assistant after college. I was working for a solo practitioner in medical malpractice. After one deposition, my boss lamented that he still hadn't figured a way to prove the doctor at issue had a continuous doctor-patient relationship with our client. I tentatively suggested the "It's Time For Your Checkup" postcards our client had received. My boss reacted with excitement and delight over this simple and obvious answer. At that moment I decided I had what it takes to be a lawyer.

How naive!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Post Symposium

Our Symposium on Net Neutrality was a success! You can find live-blogged details here by my co-writer on Webbed Footprint. We'll be posting the recorded event on our website soon as a podcast. Thanks to everyone who attended in person and online!

I'm still recovering from the energy expenditure of hosting this incredible event, and the subsequent celebratory debauchery. I did get to hang out with this cool guy, however:

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

No Immunity

UPDATE: This photo appeared on Boing Boing!


From the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Legal Director Cindy Cohn:

We're asking folks to take a picture of themselves with a sign that
says something like: "Stop the Spying - No Telecom Immunity" and
indicating their city and state. They can also do a short video. We'd
like them to email the photo or video to us and we'll post them on
our website and a corresponding Flickr website
we've set up with tagging, etc. We'd like folks to be creative
(include babies, different settings, etc), but respectful too. When
we get enough, we're hoping to convey them to Congress in some
fashion. I'm hoping to get enough to put together a collection of
them on a big poster board that Senator Dodd and others can use on
the Senate Floor but we may not have time.

Send an email to!
EFF info
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Legal Posturing

I'm currently taking a course called Legal Drafting. Every other week we take a three-hour exam from real Bar exams. They consist of the Performance Exam section of the Bar. You're given an assignment (write a memo, an appellate brief, etc.) called a task memo. You're provided with two stapled packets: a Library of cases and statutes, and a File, consisting of lower court briefs, deposition testimony, etc.

Our professor instructed us on the first thing we should do when we get the exam: tear off the task memo sheet.

"Why, you ask, should you tear off the task memo?" He demonstrated with a powerful flourish the ideal motion. "First, because it will help you avoid 'mission creep.' Mission creep is when you lose track of the assignment. Secondly, you should tear off the task memo because it will freak the hell out of everyone around you."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Well Fed

My Corporations professor discussed agency on the first day of class. He proposed a hypothetical where his assistant (he works at a firm) bought lunch for a meeting and paid with a firm credit card that she'd been told specifically never to use for that purpose. The firm eats the food and then refuses to pay the bill. The question was whether his assistant was an agent of the firm such that the firm could be held liable for the lunch.

My prof asked, "So, will I have to pay for the lunch?" He let us marinate on it a moment and then said with a smirk, "You know I’m gonna have to. Because there’s no such thing as a free lunch."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Network Neutrality Symposium

Do you live in the Bay Area? Would love for you to attend my student group's symposium! Anyone who comes and tells me they read it on my blog gets a special surprise gift...

Net Neutrality refers to free access to the Internet without discrimination based upon content, how often a user accesses the Internet, or the type of services and programs used.

The University of San Francisco School of Law Intellectual Property Law Bulletin is sponsoring The Toll Roads: The Legal and Political Debate Over Network Neutrality, a symposium to increase awareness about network neutrality, bringing together lawyers, academics, economists, and technologists for a balanced debate on the issue. Panelists include Tim Wu, Richard Clarke, Lawrence Spiwak, and many others.

When: January 26th, 2008 8 AM - 7 PM
Where: Fromm Institute on the University of San Francisco main campus
Cost: Professionals (6.0 Units MCLE Credit): $100
Non-professionals: Free - $75 (see registration page for details)

(And with this I'm officially outing my school on this blog.)