Law: OCI Day 3 Part I

February 25, 2008

Last Friday was my OCI day three (something like day 14 or so in the real world) and I had another Set of Interviews.  The first interview of the day was with a nitch D.C. firm.  This firm’s practice focuses on Environmental work, Land Use, nd Litigation.  I of course was interested in litigation and thought their unique blend made them an exciting potential employer.  Of course, I told them this early in the interview and continued to hammer this point home as often as humanly possible. 

I didn’t think this interview went well.  The interviewer seemed generally disinterested despite my attempts to get him to talk about himself.  He seemed to have a general belief that this wasn’t worth his time (a feeling that others I know that interviewed there were left with as well). 

I left feeling drained, although I would still enjoy working at the firm.  They have a nice size, unique practice, and they are in an exciting city.  I guess we’ll see what the future holds.  If I was betting, I would give this 2 out of 10 on the job potential scale. 

To tie up some lose ends, the firm I talked about here sent me a ding letter today.  Man did I call that one.  At least they have a quick turnaround!  That interview could be a case study in “when interviews go bad fast.”

Law: Signals

February 25, 2008

So I didn’t do much on my Ames brief tonight other than spend a few minutes citing some portions that I knew needed support.  Its interesting that lawyers have developed a series of signals that are supposed to help the reader follow the way a citation is being offered.  I think the interesting part is that, at least among law students, this idea of telling somebody how to read a passage has actually morphed into something more akin to “how much or little B.S. is your citation.” 

When you are 100% legit and your citation is what you were looking for, you just say nothing.  If you couldnt find what you want and you want to tell your reader that the case you found is more or less what you wanted but you couldn’t find anythign saying what you said is exactly right, we have a signal for that.  When you want to say “eh, I couldn’t find something and I needed a citation….” we have a signal for that too. 

In the interest of fun and goofy, I have decided to demonstrate the way I use each of these signals in Ames briefs with some examples from humerous parts of my past. 

No Signal – This means you are legit.  You have stated a proposition of law and the courts support you.  You have your ducks in a row and found what you wanted, perhaps even quoted directly. 

Angie was told that she realy know how to work a cornor.  Thomas v. Taylor, 10 B.Supp 7, 14 (Brad. 2006).  Here I wanted to prove that Angie was told she knew how to work a cornor, so I cited to a “case” were she was told she knew how to work a cornor.  No B.S. needed.

See – This means that I know I need a citation, and I found something that doesn’t say exactly what I said but says something pretty similar.  I am not “struggling” for a citation but I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. 

JC Fresh cannot dance without looking like a fool.  See, Fresh v. Normal Looking, 4 Norm. 18 (Starfish 2007).  Here I am saying “look, I can’t actually prove that he can’t dance without looking like a food, but I have a source that is in the ballpark, perhaps that he looks like a food when he dances, or that the only time he was seen dancing he was foolish. ”  I’m pushing what I can find a little bit but darnit I’m right and this more or less supports me.

See, e.g., – I made a statement and I can’t find something that says what I said is right, but I can find something that would be an application of what I said or a case in point.  What I’m saying is stronger or draws new lines, but darnit I can cite cause look, this went the way I said it should.

Josh is in love with older women, he doesn’t go after them unless they are 35 and have a house.  See, e.g., Frederick v. Momma Brec, 69 Sick.2c 07 (H. Park. 2007).  Basically I don’t know that the rule is really what I said, but it seems like it is or could be (and I want it to be) so I’m citing to an application of that claim.

C.f. – I needed a citation.  I couldn’t find a citation.  There was nothing that I could find to support my claim, so I looked for somethign tangibly relatedthat comes out in a way that would be good for the person in a similar position to the side I want to win.  The points aren’t the same, but they aren’t completely unrelated.  This hints at what I want in some way or the other and its the best I can do so get of my back already!

When a friend does something that another friend keeps making annoying comments about your family, the answer isn’t to litigate, but to make more annoying comments about their family.   C.f., G-Dog v. Submariner II, 53 X.Sup 69 (D.C. Iowa 2005).  Here I couldn’t find anything to support what I wanted to support (that you should make annoying comments) but I found a case that said something that has to do with a response in kind involving family members.  In this case, the best I could come up with was a case that said “if he hits on your sister, date his.”  Tre isn’t anything to say what I want, so I’m making an analogy.  Using an analogy explicitly wouldn’t be persuasive, so I’m doing it as a citation, take that.  If I really wanted to be correct here, I’d use a parenthetical explaining the case, but here I dont, that would hurt me.

So there it is, this is how me and the other people I know manage to find cications for all sorts of propostions that need a source but for which we cannot find an effective one.

Law: Writers Strike

November 18, 2007

Today I was eating dinner in the lounge when a debate about the writers strike broke out.  Most of the pople in the room were 100% INDIFFERENT about the strike but don’ want their shows to stop.  I agree completely with this take. 

That said, if all I was going to relay is that I don’t care how it ends if my shows don’t stop having new episodes (which doesn’t seem like it will happen) then this would be a pretty janky post. 

I don’t feel bad for the writers at all.  Actually, I hope the studios break their union over their knee like Bo Jackson with a baseball bat.  Before everybody explodes with anger (and if you care enough about this to explode, you are either 1. a tool or 2. an artist).

Before I keep going I should fess to two very important biases that (although I feel are grounded in fact) may have some impact on my views about this.

A. I don’t like unions much.  I think they were fantastic 80 years ago but I think they are a joke and cause more problems than they solve now.

B. I have an issue with a lot of things “artists” do and say when it comes to money/income/quality of life/the market/etc.

Ok, with that out of the way here are some of the reasons why I hope the writers union gets broken.

Reason 1:    Your main complaint, as I understand it, is moronic. 

As I understand it, the writers are mainly angry that they will not receive a portion of the revenue generated from the sales of shows online (and similar transactions).  The writers say that since their product is earling revenue in this way, they should be entitled to a portion.  No.

Since when are employees “entitled” to pay based on company productivity?  Sure some sales jobs work on commission and “profit sharing” is an element of many benefits packages, but by and large, the standard forms of compensation are hourly pay and salary.  The engineer for GM that designs a new car doesn’t get extra money when the car is resold by used care dealer.  In fact, the engineer doesn’t get a dime for every car sold.  The employer buys the empoyees work and then takes the risk of production and receives the rewards.  If an engineer designs something badly, he might lose his job, but he isn’t paying out the negligence claims.  Your an employee, you get what your salary is, you have no “Right” to get more if your employer figures out how to get more of a return for your effort.

Some have claimed that this analogy is flawed because writers “pitch” scripts to companies, so they aren’t employees so much as suppliers.  Even better.  If  I buy widges from company A so I can put them together and make a widget moster, then I figure out how to get increased revenue from this widget monster, I don’t have to turn around and pay A more, thats stupid.

Reason 2:  They already get paid for DVD sales and this is replacing that

Agreed, they get money for DVDs which aren’t being sold anymore, but as I will address in reason 3, this argument pre-supposes that writers SHOULD get money from DVD sales. 

Reason 3:  We pay artists rights to their work

This is by far the supidest argument of them all.  Yes, there is a tradition of paying royalties to artists for using their work, and let me tell you, I think this is a stupid idea.  Artists are employees of the company that takes their whatever and turns it into something marketable.  There is nothing unique about being an artist that “entitles” you to get this money.  Now, the more intelligent among you will say “but if they can use their market power to get that benefit, then isn’t it rightfully theirs?”  and to that I will say yes, you are correct.  Unfortunately, this is almost always phrases as an entitlement, something that these poor artists should get.  This is a stupid argument.  You get what you bargain for and what the market says you are worth, nothing more.  If these writers can pull it off, more power to them, but to say they deserve it is foolish and arrogant.

Reason 4: The myth of the persecuted artist

I hate this.  Everybody that is an artist complains about how rough it is for their profession.  This is rough?  Go pick fruit in a field with some seasonal workers or do manual labor for minimum wage.  The reason it is “tough” is because there are way more of you than we need and the market pays you very little to reflect this lack of demand.  What you want to be paid to do is a hobby for many, so don’t claim like you are entitled to anything.  I eat a lot, some people get paid to do that (professional eating), does that mean that I should get paid a living wage to do it?  No.  Same with all of these out of work or underpaid artists, I’m still not sure why they get to complain about it and have it matter.

Reason 5: You are striking when you are less important

Two words, reality TV.  As this new genre replaces many other shows, the need for writers goes down.  Generally, when demand goes down people expect less of a return, but not these self-entitled people, they think they should be getting more.

Reason 6:  The studios make a lot of money, we should get more

What?  On what planet does this make sense?  All companies that are successful make much more than their employees, that is what gives the company a reason to hire them.  The company takes the risk – they front the money, hire the actors, produce the show, and hope they can sell it to someone.  They have all the risk.  If these writers thing they are having such a raw deal, they should take their scripts and develop it themselves, nothings stopping them…… except the risk and the skills needed……. exactly what the studio provides and exactly why the studio should get the benefits.

I confess that a lot of the things that I remember as some of the funniest moments of the first half of the first semester of 1L year (basically the first quarter of 1L,or as our Torts TA said, the first 1/12 of our legal education) will not be funny to many of you.  To those of you that appreciate this list, awsome.  To those of you that don’t, I’m sorry.  Some of these may be moments where you had to be there, others may be things that are so dorky they only seem funny here.

 10. “I’m the Associate Dean for research, and if you think that’s interesting… you need to get some hobbies.”

9.  My 40 year old torts prof saying he only goes to meetings on the Restatements because they refer to him as the young gentlemen.

8.  My property teacher direct quote:  “So I was writing for the New York Times, because thats where I send my random thoughts…….”

7.  Eric Cartman as part of a practice exam question

6.  Word of the Day game

5.  A classmate thinking that the ***’s in Westlaw opinions replaced swearwords

4.  Goldstein correctly observing that:  “You have a lot of views on the Supreme Court, for starters, you have Scalia and Thomas who want to peel back a whole line of decisions and believe that, more or less, there should be a presumption in favor of overturning any case where Brennen was in the majority.” – Only funny to really nerdy law students

3.  Reading an opinion that included, among other randomness, statements:  “As a matter of law I find that the house was haunted” and “Who you gonna call?  Ghostbusters.”

2.  Telling my property professor:  “Is this what you want, you look angry” when reciting a case to her.

1.  My crim law prof/section head telling a student:  “Can you think of a shoter and perhaps more correct answer than yes?”

 In closing, I would also like to hope outloud that at some point this year Kurzman can put together a similar list of random med school moments!