Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Another Interesting Article

Lawyer, client charged with DUI

Madison, Wisconsin--Lawyer Rick Petri can really empathize with his client.

Police arrested the lawyer for drunken driving after he went to the station to pick up a client -- who had been arrested for the same offence.

"I can't tell you how humbled I am, how embarrassed I am," said Petri, who once prosecuted drunken drivers.

Petri, 64, said he had been out last week and had a couple of drinks. He had a couple more drinks at home before going to bed. He said police called around about 2 a.m. asking him to pick up the client. Petri said the officer asked if he had been drinking, but he responded he didn't think he was intoxicated. "I was wrong," he said.


Being Done With Law School: Priceless

  • Bar Examination Fee: $300
  • Character and Fitness: $225
  • Finger Printing: $75
  • Certified Driving Record: $8
  • Rental "Custom Fitted" Cap and Gown for Commencement: $69
  • Diploma Frame: $160
  • Commencement Photo Sitting Fee: $34
  • Getting told off by administration official for "not reading law school emails" alerting me to commencement tickets being handed out, after politely telling him a lot of people had missed him since he was "poorly labeled": Priceless
  • The fact that said administration official subsequently put on a cap and gown and looks like an idiot sitting in the lobby: Typical

What We Already Knew...

Below is an interesting (and lengthy) article from the Wall Street Journal by Cameron Stratcher. I copied it in it's entirety since it requires membership to view. I'm sure I'll be getting a cease and desist order.

Meet the Clients: Law schools rarely teach students how to be lawyers.

The recent arrest of Anderson Kill & Olick paralegal Brian Valery for practicing law without a license raises a number of questions about how the ersatz Fordham graduate could have gotten away with representing corporate clients in complex litigation--without ever having gone to law school. The more salient question, however, is: Would it have mattered if he had?

Legal education has been taking a beating recently. This month the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching issued a report criticizing the Socratic case method that dominates law-school teaching. According to the report, it does little to prepare lawyers to work with real clients or to resolve morally complex issues. Several months ago Harvard Law School announced a reform of its first-year curriculum to require classes in "problem solving," among other things. There appears to be an emerging consensus that although law schools may teach students how to "think like a lawyer," they don't really teach them how to be a lawyer.

It is hard not to agree. One of the biggest problems with the current state of legal education is its emphasis on books rather than people. By reading about the law rather than engaging in it, students end up with the misperception that lawyers spend most of their time debating the niceties of the Rule Against Perpetuities rather than sorting out the messy, somewhat anarchic version of the truth that judges and courts care about. When they graduate, young lawyers rarely know how to interview clients, advocate for their positions, negotiate a settlement or perform any number of other tasks that lawyers do every day. In short, they are woefully unprepared to be lawyers, despite the outrageous hourly fees charged for their services.

By giving students the false idea that being a lawyer is all about intellectual debate, we also drive the wrong students to law school in the first place. The hordes of English majors who fill our classes might think twice if they knew that economics and mathematics--with their emphasis on problem-solving--are the best preparation for a career in law. Flowery prose is seldom valued by an overburdened judiciary.

In addition to misleading students, the current system harms clients who often assume that their lawyers have more experience than they do. The system works for no one except, perhaps, lawyers at the biggest firms who can hire teams of associates to do the legal research that the case method is good at teaching. It should come as no surprise that most members of law-school faculties are big-firm refugees who graduated from elite schools and have little incentive to change the system.

In the good old days, of course, lawyers didn't think they could learn the law through a series of hypotheticals. Instead, like most of the Founding Fathers, they apprenticed themselves to practitioners and learned the skills they needed by doing. The case method was invented in the late 1800s by Christopher Columbus Langdell, the dean of Harvard Law School. (Harvard Law wasn't even founded until 1817.) Formal licensing requirements followed, and soon the state bars imposed exams upon the newly graduated that reinforced the notion that being a lawyer meant memorizing definitions and rules. Along the way, few bothered to ask if clients were actually well-served by a lawyer who knew the difference between assault and battery but couldn't negotiate a plea bargain for someone who had committed either.

These days, to call law school a "trade school" is considered an insult to the establishment. Professors are firmly entrenched in their intellectual camps and pursue their academic agendas. Faculty members with "real world" experience are rarely hired on that basis alone--although it is quite common to hire professors who have clerked for judges but never practiced at all. The Carnegie Foundation is to be admired for advocating more clinical education, in which students will have an opportunity to learn some hands-on skills.

But at the moment law-school clinics are short-term experiences. Students engage in limited representations in a specific field of practice, usually with a liberal tilt. (When was the last time, for example, that a law school opened a clinic to help small-business owners deal with claims brought against them under the Americans with Disabilities Act?) A few more clinics will not change the fundamental prejudice against experiential training when the entire system is rigged against it.

If law schools really want to change the way they train young lawyers, they would look to medical schools. The latter require clinical "rotations" in the last two years of a student's education and then demand at least one more year of training after graduation. By the time your doctor is licensed, he has examined hundreds of patients.

While many new lawyers will start out at big firms where they will rarely get to meet a client, most still go to smaller firms where they will meet clients immediately. The state bars profess interest in protecting the public, but none seem to care whether new lawyers can actually do the tasks with which they will soon be confronted.

Of course, law schools do not have the luxury of large teaching hospitals, with a mostly compliant indigent population on which their greenhorns can practice. And lawyers can't perform needle sticks on a corpse, as doctors can (no jokes, please). They are also restricted by the accrediting rules of the American Bar Association, which limit how many clinical hours a student may take.

But law schools can still act. They could team with local practitioners and institutions and demand that their students gain sustained clinical experience--broadly defined to include anyone needing legal help, not just the usual (nonprofit) suspects. The state bars could refuse to license lawyers until they performed at least one year of postgraduate work, as some other countries require.

Law is not brain surgery. It is a skill that can be acquired through practice and repetition. This is perhaps the most interesting lesson from Brian Valery, the over-ambitious paralegal: He fooled those around him who ought to have known best. In the late 1990s, I litigated against another paralegal who later pleaded no contest to five criminal misdemeanor charges of unlicensed law practice. What struck me about him at the time was how good he was at his job. He blustered, bluffed, threatened and cajoled with the best of them. He knew the law and argued it capably. But then again, he learned his trade the old-fashioned way: He practiced it.


Monday, January 29, 2007

(Belated) Sexy Sunday # 13

Keeping with my recent discovery of Six Feet Under...I present Eric Balfour.
What can I say? I'm a sucker for a bad boy.

Today I...

  1. was rear-ended on the way to work.
  2. had a severe headache, and neck ache (see #1).
  3. limped around due to foot pain (also see #1).
  4. had to stop and get gas in what my dad referred to as "the worst area [I] could possibly be in."
  5. was told I don't have health insurance while trying to pick up $200 in prescriptions.
  6. called my parents to tell them #5, at which point my mother demanded to speak to the pharmacy clerk-as if they could do anything-to try and explain that I should have insurance.
  7. am cranky.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I am officially...

the person who shows up 10 minutes late to class, with a starbucks cup (spilling all over the place) filled with a quad-venti, non-fat, no-foam, cinnamon dolce latte.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Now, Imagine She's White."

Hound Dog, the new Dakota Fanning movie is creating a stir at Sundance, due to a rape scene (of Dakota, who is 12 years old) it contains. I don't remember there being such outrage about A Time to Kill, which contains a scene depicting the rape of a 10 year old girl.

It's been ages since I saw A Time to Kill, and I haven't seen Hound Dog yet, so I suppose it isn't really fair to comment. But from my memory the scene in A Time to Kill was fairly graphic, however, I'm not sure it included clips of the girls face, as Hound Dog does.

All signs thus far point to Matthew McConaughey being right in his closing statement of A Time to Kill.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Generation Next, Next Phase, Next Stage, Next Grade, Next Wave."

The only thing worse than being a Gen-Xer is being a Gen-Yer. You're basically a Gen-Xer who missed out on everything.

You got into Nirvana (years) after the death of Kurt Cobain, the fall of the Berlin Wall is a vague memory and something you learn about in history classes, you listened to the Spice Girls (and saw the movie, your parents fed you Ritalin while you fed yourself X1, and you were in high school during Columbine-looking around to nerdy kids and deciding to maybe be a bit nicer to them.

It's like my aunt who was born in 1965 who is always trying to say she's a baby boomer at Holiday functions, while all my other family members roll their eyes.

At least I'm not part of the "Internet Generation" like my brother, and know that an e-mail is not a proper thank-you and that the world did function before facebook and myspace.

1Seriously, I didn't. I was of the opinion that was pretty much the lamest drug you could ever take, and still am.

Monday, January 22, 2007

"Come on to My House, My House A-Come-On, I'm Going to Give You Candy."

My grandparents just informed me that their new favorite show is The Girls Next Door, before that is was "Vanna"1 and "Reg"2. My grandma kept asking me if "Hef sleeps with all of them" since "he kisses them all on the mouth."

1Wheel of Fortune
2Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Happy Abortion Day!

Roe v. Wade was decided January 22, 1973.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"I Don't Give A Bakers F*ck!"

Damn Straight.

Sexy Sunday # 12

He might have lost today, and he might have been featured before, but he's still my #1.

He could also have been a tight end, if you ask me...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Great Husband. Events like this make me think being a workaholic-old-maid-who-never-marries won't be so bad.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"This Isn't 'Nam Smokey, There Are Rules."

Today it took me 2 hours to get to school. Thanks mother nature.

Plus, the seating chart in my first class hadn't been passed around yet, even though there was clearly a designated seating arraignment as I had sat in the same seat the last 2 classes periods. However, someone took my absence as a opportunity to adversely possess my seat (and of course the seating chart was then passed around). I feel this is a violation of the unspoken rule that even when there isn't a seating chart if you've had a seat two days in a row it's yours.

Posting will most likely continue to be sparse, as I have no [Hours] stories and school is boring. if you're sick of checking back get bloglines or google reader.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Wednesday, January 10, 2007


  1. Still holding down the thick part of the curve rather handily, although 2 grades are still out.
  2. I want my financial aid check. Apparently my school didn't mail them until the day classes started, even though funds were dispursed a week before. Nice.
  3. I have no books yet. Because of #2 and my "poor budgeting skills" as the financial aid office implied. I finally had to break down and ask my Mommy and Daddy1 for the money to buy books despite being in my mid twenties.

1No, I don't really call them that.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


Classes start today for me. And I have to listen to at least one more year of how the SEC is the best conference in the nation, and now there is no decent counter argument. I could take Michigan losing to USC, I know Michigan plays horribly on grass, but the Big Ten going 2-5 in bowl games is a bit too much. Unbelieveable.

My loan check isn't here yet. No books for me until it arrives.

Monday, January 8, 2007

As Much as it Pains Me...

Go Ohio State!
Update: I learned my lesson, Buck the Fuck Eyes.

Let It Snow.

January 8th and we've yet to have any snow. This HAS to be some sort of record. While I enjoy not having wet pants from hiking through snow on the way to class, it is kinda pretty to look it and I almost miss it.

I will regret this post when we do finally get snow.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Killing Bill

TBS is playing something vaguely reminiscent of Kill Bill Volumes I and II this evening. However it cannot be the actual movie as "Buck" was there to "Party" and drove a "Party Wagon." Such a same.


Has anyone heard of any of the words mentioned in this article?

Sexy Sunday # 11

Sure he's a cad, but he's so easy on the eyes.

"Can't you see, can't you see, what that woman, she been doin' to me."

Whenever I see the TV ad for Goin' South I always think: "If I bought CDs, or if was the type of person who buys CDs off the television, I would SO buy that." I don't know what it is about Southern Rock but I LOVE it. So today I did the next best thing and downloaded the songs I didn't already have on my iPod. So kick ass. It's going to be an Allman Brothers and Marshall Tucker Band evening.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007


Or at least rid of [Hours].

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy 2007!

I submit that there is nothing classier than drinking Cook's Spumante Champagne1 straight out of the shortie bottle at midnight.

Now it's time to focus on the Rose Bowl. This is really cute. Go Blue!

1Which is cheaper than Korbel and Asti.