Friday, December 16, 2005

What to do...

I have a few days to decide whether or not to take my Crim Law exam for a grade or pass/fail.  I am in the class with all 1Ls.  I don’t know if I have the nerve.  I thought I’d know what to do after my first few exams were done.  But I feel like I tanked them.  Of course, the eternal optimist that I am, I feel like I tank every exam.  What to do, what to do?  It isn’t hard, Crim Law.  Make a list of the crimes, the defenses, the splits in the common law, what the MPC does.  But the cases.  I am terrible at case recall.  I remember the cases in much more abstract ways.  I think Con Law is the only place names really matter.  Other law is much more fluid (I know, I know, it is ALL Con Law, but you know what I mean).

My first two exams were both essay/multiple choice.  I HATE multiple choice law exams.  Hate them!  Crim is 100%, pure, uncut, essay.  No room to knock it out of the ballpark with multiple choice. Grrr.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Rant 1

The law school rant in several acts. It seems that some students are getting a little gnarly out there in law school land with exams coming up. They are complaining about law school sucking, and “what’s the point?”, and “screw this”, and “screw that.” Well, let me write on the other side of the argument, if I may? Let’s start with law review. There seems to be quite a bit of consternation over getting onto law review, and all the benefits that come with being “in da club.” But, really, law review is a very accurate measure of the type of lawyer and lawyerly life you are going to live. Look, how do you expect to make it in the world if you don’t know whether the comma in between “see, e.g.” should be italicized or not? I mean, this is truly important stuff. Some might argue that this is just a bunch of hooey, perpetuated by a bunch of self-important pinheads, destined to be academics, with lots of time to waste giving a crap about this stuff—well, if that’s you, you're just plain missing the point. I mean, if you don’t have the citation in small caps where small caps is needed, and if you underline an article title when maybe you shouldn’t have (at least according to the fine Bluebook folks), how do you expect to communicate effectively with people? Much less, how do you expect anything you write to hold any weight at all? I mean, when I see a period or comma outside of a quotation mark, when it should be within, well, I’m sure you agree that the author has lost all credibility with anyone worth their salt. Should we look to the content and ideas trying to be expressed, and consider the message in the work over the form? No way! That’s crazy talk. If a parenthesis is misplaced, I just start to wander. I no longer have any idea what this person is talking about, and I’m disappointed that I even started reading the piece in the first place. Who can keep you safe from this? The folks on law review. That’s who! So law review people get an office, and soda, and better jobs. And sure, they can share great outlines to maintain their superior class ranking. But why shouldn’t this attention to tedious, manufactured, arbitrary detail be rewarded? This is truly important, meaningful, and vastly rewarding work. Don’t go all “sour grapes” about it. You just don’t understand how crucial getting every sentence and citation perfectly spaced from the next one is in the grand scheme of life. I mean, how could you understand? You aren’t on law review.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Rote

Today ends my first semester of classes at my new law school.  I have lots of studying to do.  My laptop has been a flop ever since I purchased it, but these last few weeks have been pretty rough.  So, my level of stress has been tweaked slightly to the up end of the scale.  I am struggling with whether to take one of my exams pass/fail instead of graded.  I thought I’d tough it out, but the prof seems pretty bent on case citations.  I blow at case citations.  I’m going to stick with:  “the case where the guy kills some guy for making fun of his nose” (which, for some reason did not reappear in our insanity chapters).  Is this any more valid than saying “the Smith case”?  I mean, a history major shouldn’t care as much about the exact year the Pilgrims came to America – just that they came and for particular reasons.  I liken remembering case names to rote memorization of useless facts.  Like, how important is it for me to know then name of that one case where Adams tried to give that commission to some judge and Jefferson wouldn’t finish the job, and then the would-be-judge sued the Secretary of State and then the Chief Justice like said the Supreme Court had the power of judicial review.  Mar-something v. Mad-someone. Yeah, that one.