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Topics - RickLax.com
« on: October 07, 2007, 10:37:32 PM »
In “Letters to a Yong Lawyer,” Alan Dershowitz tells the story of how Satan offers a law student a free look at hell:
“The associate sees beautiful, happy people, eating well and having fun, and so he becomes a sinner. When he finally dies and goes to Hell permanently, it’s a very different place with fire and misery. He complains to the Devil reminding him of what he had previously been shown. The Devil replies, “That was our summer associates program.”
« on: October 07, 2007, 10:34:19 PM »
I’m taking a class called “Complex Litigation: Advanced Civil Procedure."
Complex Litigation is every bit as confusing as it sounds; the class deals with large multi-party and multi-forum civil cases, and how courts and litigants deal with them.
On top of this confusion, my prof has a penchant for using what some would consider unnecessarily ornate vernacular—a virtual cornucopia of polysyllabic confabulation.
I know he’s aware of this because he just told us that one of his Anonymous Student Evaluation forms from last year read, “Could you talk more normal? I don’t know what ‘ensue’ means. Why do you have to use that word so much?”
I laughed along with the rest of the class, but I’m still not 100% sure what “ensue” means either.
On the other hand, I’d never consider faulting a professor for using a word I didn’t know; if I really wanted to know what a word meant, I’d look it up.
For the rest of lecture, the prof used ‘ensue’ once per minute.
Does he have to use words like “ensue” and “convalesce” “acquiescence” in every other sentence? Probably not; I’ve gotten by twenty-four years without using them at all. Still, the prof is a smart guy, and he’s not using big words for the sake of using big words; he’s using them to say exactly what he wants to say.
That said, many of my classmates use big words for the sake of using big words. This usually happens when they volunteer answers in class. I assume their verbage will only get worse once they get their diplomas and pass the bar; they’ll probably see their graduation and bar passage as a validation of their verbage.
But in my classmates’ defense, is there any advantage to speaking legalese for the sake of speaking legalese? For example, do clients feel they’re getting their money’s worth when their lawyer peppers her casual conversation with Latin legal phrases? Does legalese scare opposing parties into settling cases? Any advantage at all?
« on: October 07, 2007, 10:31:51 PM »
Last year, all of my classes (except for Legal Writing) had over 100 students in them. I’m currently taking a class called Pre-Trial Civil Law with just three. We had five on the first day of class, but two dropped during the second week.
The professor, a personal injury plaintiff’s attorney, spoils us by bringing special guests to most of our classes.
Last week, he brought in a court reporter.
The reporter transcribed the mock depositions we took during class, and a few days ago, she e-mailed the transcripts back to us.
I was representing a girl who fell on a trampoline and injured her elbow. The trampoline was owned by the girl’s friend’s parents—the people I was suing for negligence—who were holding a graduation party for their son on the day the injury occurred.
The trampoline came with a Safety Rules sign that read, “Supervise trampoline at all times,” and “Only one jumper at a time.” When the accident occurred, the parents were nowhere near the trampoline and they didn’t have the Safety Rules sign posted.
I took the deposition of Gerald Smith (as played by my professor), the injured girl’s friend’s father.
When I got a bad answer, I pressed Mr. Smith, and I pressed him until I got an answer I liked. Though this type of questioning, I got him to admit that he wasn’t concerned about whether the kids at the graduation party drank and drove:
Q: Were you concerned about them drinking and then driving back home?
A: Kids have to be responsible for themselves.
Q: So you weren’t concerned about the kids drinking and then driving home?
A: It’s really not a problem.
Q: But were you concerned about it?
...Something tells me that won’t sit well with the jury...
I also Mr. Smith to admit that he had been “put on notice” as to the trampoline’s dangerousness:
Q: Have you ever heard of someone getting hurt on a trampoline?
A: Not really, no.
Q: You’ve never heard of anyone getting injured on a trampoline?
A: I mean, you know, we’ve had little scuffs and bruises over the years but no big deal.
Of course, not all of the deposition went so well. I wasted a lot of time arguing with Mr. Smith:
Q: Do you see how someone could badly injure herself on a trampoline?
A: Not really, no.
Q: You don’t even see how it’s a possibility?
Q: Well, when you jump on a trampoline, you jump high—right?
A: You jump normal.
Q: Right. But because it’s a trampoline, you go higher off the ground than you would go if you weren’t on a trampoline.
A: You can only get so high.
Q: But you can get higher than you can get without the trampoline.
A: So what.
Q: So if you fall from a high height, you can hurt yourself.
A: If you fall off a cliff, you could hurt yourself.
Q: And would you let your daughter go on the edge of a cliff?
A: She has gone hiking.
Well, that accomplished nothing. I know I should have asked more open-ended questions. I should have asked better follow-up questions. I should have spent more time committing Mr. Smith to his answers....but how do you know when to do which? And how do you avoid slipping into cross-exam mode?
« on: October 07, 2007, 10:20:41 PM »
Here's what I figured out after 3 years of law school regarding seating chart penmanship: most professors employ do-it-yourself seating charts, and most professors call on each student only once per semester. If you want to be called on towards the beginning of the semester, write your name in large capital letters and use a felt-tip marker. If you want to be called on towards the end of the semester, write in cursive and use a dull pencil. If your last name is Smith, Jones, or Brown, you’ll be called on during the first month of class no matter how illegibly you write. If your last name has four or more syllables, four or more consecutive consonants, an umlaut, or any sort of clicking sound, don’t bother doing your reading until the last week of class because you won’t be called on until then.
If anybody reading this has a complex last name and was called on during the first week of class, I want to hear about it.
« on: October 01, 2007, 02:41:48 PM »
I want to do an externship at the FTC...but so do a lot of people at my school. I've been a professional magician my whole life. You think I should sell myself as a magician who can see fraud and deception from a mile away...as somebody who's used to lying? Or should I stay away from the magic thing?
« on: September 30, 2007, 11:38:42 PM »
Don’t join one—not if you want to get any studying done. Studying in groups is fun, but studying isn’t supposed to be fun and it isn’t supposed to be social. That studying in groups is so palatable should tell you something.
You know how you prefer the elliptical machine to the treadmill? Thats because it’s easier and doesn’t burn as many calories.
You know how you love having muffins for breakfast? That’s because muffins are cake, not a legitimate breakfast food.
The reason studying in groups is fun is that it’s not studying.
But what harm do study groups do? They eat up your time. Every hour you spend “studying” in a study group (i.e., gossiping about your classmates and criticizing your professors) is an hour you could have spent actually studying the law.
Has anybody reading this actually gotten any work done in a study group? Has anybody learned a single thing except for how useless study groups are? I suspect not.RickLax
« on: September 30, 2007, 11:33:35 PM »
Is it worth $50 to see all my classmates freakdancing with each other? RickLax
« on: March 02, 2008, 10:06:32 PM »
Every Sunday I get a chicken sandwich and dinner salad, to go, from Bennigan’s.
I’ve been doing it for about two years now. I always get fat-free honey mustard salad dressing on the salad…or so I thought.
See, there was somebody new behind the bar tonight. Well, she wasn’t new—I had seen her working as a server throughout the past few years—but she wasn’t the person I usually order from.
I gave her my order and told her that I wanted the fat-free honey mustard dressing and she said: “We don’t have fat-free honey mustard dressing. Well, we haven’t had that for like a year-and-a-half.”
“That can’t be right. I’ve been ordering it every week for two years now.”
“You might have been ordering it, but you weren’t eating it. The closest thing we have to fat-free honey mustard is low-fat Italian. You want that?”
100 salads x 2 tbsp dressing/salad x 10 grams of fat/tbsp = 2,000 grams of fat I didn’t know I was eating and wouldn’t have eaten had I of known.
So can I sue Bennigan’s or what? LawSchoolBlogger
« on: February 26, 2008, 02:12:49 AM »
I’ve been studying at the Barnes & Noble next to my school for three years now. Most of the time, they play classical music and jazz…only now, they’re starting to play more and more techno, and they’re starting to play it really, really loud, and it’s starting to really piss me off.
Is the bookstore hoping to “make reading cool again?” Does techno music increase sales? Or does Barnes & Noble just want me study somewhere else?
« on: February 19, 2008, 12:52:27 PM »
Studying at the Peninsula hotel in Chicago today...wondering...how am I supposed to get any work done when Chris Rock is sitting at the table next to mine and being really funny?LawSchoolBlogger