January 31st 2006

dance, dammit, dance!

Well, crap. I was clearly wrong as well.

just leave me here for now

Y’all, I have fallen into a hole called Appellate Brief and I am not coming out any time soon. Never fear, I’ve got my Con Law casebook (and $27 quarter-inch-thick supplement) with me, so I won’t miss out on any of that fun Commerce Clause action. Other than that, though, it’s just me, a pile of cases that all say the same thing, and a sense of total confusion as to where I’m supposed to pull my rules from. (NB: I don’t think pulling them out of the place I usually pull things from will work. Unfortunately.)

It’s OK, though. Don’t worry. I’ll be down here for a few days, but I should surface no later than a week from today. I’ll keep y’all updated as I sort the mess of paper into a pile for Things To Keep and a pile for Things I Printed In The Westlaw Lab For No Reason But To Waste Paper.

That is all.

January 30th 2006

two unrelated items

  • I camped out at Career Services today so I could sign up for a “first-come-first-served” interview slot with a new OCI firm. Sadly, there was no preference for those of us whose interviews got cancelled. So I plunked myself down with Chemerinsky and a red pencil and waited for a couple of hours. I was first to sign up. Exciting as that is, though, it’s just a slot for a screening interview. So I guess I’d better start exercising my interview smile.
  • In other news, Mr. Angst has crossed over to the dark side; he purchased a used Mac Powerbook (financed by the sale of a PC laptop) so he can play with *nix AND have a wireless connection. I’ve been passing on tips and tricks all night. To be fair, Mr. Angst was a Mac person back in the clone days, but he hasn’t regularly used a Mac in years. So this is a treat, the two of us with our matching 12″ aluminum ‘books. (Remember, though, mine is better.)
  • January 29th 2006

    and click

    I’ve been wondering when the semester would start to work for me. I’ve been feeling sort of lost this semester. I’m sure at least part of it is that I missed the first few days of class, then I dropped one class and added another after the first week, and another of my classes was cancelled for two weeks straight. But even the class I’ve been to almost every time (Con Law) was feeling like a great big muddle to me.

    I guess, though, it just takes a little time to get comfortable with the semester, because suddenly things are better. I guess enough time has passed this semester for me to feel more settled. The readings are starting to make sense and come together, the subject matter intersections are starting to surface, and my brain feels like it’s back into school mode.

    Today, I was able to actually sit down and craft some solid, rule-based conclusions for my appellate brief (though I don’t actually have the rules fully synthesized, yet, eek). I’ve read 35 pages of Con Law and felt like I understood the jurisprudential shift the cases were supposed to illustrate. I feel intelligent again, instead of feeling like I’d just started law school all over again from scratch.

    Honestly, if every semester is going to be like this, I can deal with it as long as I know that’s what’s going to be happening. I can totally alter my expectations. Still, I hope it’s not like this every semester; it’s such a waste of time.

    January 28th 2006

    are you freakin’ SERIOUS?

    I ordered an offiical copy of my transcript this week, because I need it for the job search stuff. (I also had to send an official transcript to a law firm that requested it, which is sort of bogus. Seriously, is an unofficial copy not acceptable? Would I fake something like that?)

    At any rate, I opened my copy of my official transcript, just to look at it. I’d been told to make sure I copied BOTH sides of it, too, before I sent to anyone, so I flipped it over and read the grading system information printed there.

    And that’s when I saw it.

    “To graduate, a students [sic] average must fall between . . . ”

    Yes, folks, that’s right. My official transcript, from my law school, includes that worst of grammatical offenses: a possessive mistake. The possessive mistake can either be the inclusion of an apostrophe where the intention was to create a plural instead of a possessive, or, as in this case, the absence of an apostrophe where the intention was to create a possessive rather than a plural.

    Gah. And I have to send copies of this to law firms–and to judges (I’m shooting for an externship for next school year). I’m contemplating emailing the registrar, just to tell him about it. Mr. Angst says that’s seriously nerdy. What do you think?

    January 27th 2006

    here’s some law stuff for ya

    Here’s an article for all you Contracts lovers.

    My thought is, even if the plaintiffs can’t recover up to the lost opportunity costs, i.e., how much they’d have to spend now to get what they would have gotten had the construction gone forward, they can at least ask for the lost profits (lost interest) on their deposits. I hope the contracts weren’t written so loosely as to allow the developer to keep the interest. Of course, if they do try that, the plaintiffs could counter by claiming the contracts were contracts of adhesion. However, anyone willing to spend that much on an APARTMENT in the DESERT probably can’t effectively make that argument. (I don’t know enough about property yet, either, to know if there are property considerations in this situation.)

    See? I remember contracts!

    looking at it all differently

    E. Spat’s recent perspective shift gave me some . . . um, perspective.

    Today, as I stood in line to pay for my $1 pasta salad (easily the best bargain at the law school cafe), I ran into my legal writing prof. Who, by the way, I think is great. Really, really great. Anyway, last semester, she and I had talked about some research she’s doing and how she would probably need a research assistant for the summer. When she told me about her research, it just sounded really interesting–right up my alley, even. She told me if I was interested in working for her, to let her know.

    So today, she asked how my job search was going. And I talked about some of the frustration and feeling like I was caught up in what everyone else was doing–my friends are all walking around in suits, comparing notes on their interviews, and I’ve been feeling like I’m . . . off-track, or out of the loop, or just doing something wrong in waiting to start looking for a job. She nodded in understanding and reminded me that I have a standing offer to work with her. She mentioned a presentation she’d done on the project and her face lit up. I remembered why the offer seemed so appealing when we first talked about it last year. The chance to work for someone who is excited about what she’s doing is priceless.

    I feel better about things now. I know the law firm thing may not pan out, and I’m OK with that. Sure, it would be nice to make some cash this summer. But it would also be nice to spend a summer researching–and researching something I’m actually interested in. My research skills are the thing I need to exercise the most, too, and this would be an excellent chance to do that.

    So, a perspective shift. It’s contagious!

    someone did it!

    Greyhame got me excited about Con Law!

    blargh

    Second semester of 1L is kicking my ass. It’s not that I have more reading; it’s not that I’m in class more. It’s not even that my classes are harder (though I don’t really like this “beginning of the semester” thing where I’m starting from the bottom all over again). I’m just crazy busy.

    So posting will be lighter than normal, and perhaps somewhat uninspired. Deal.

    Oh, by the way, I got two more rejections in the mail. Yay!

    January 25th 2006

    running tally

    Letters/Resumés/Transcripts sent: 41

    Number of days since first letters sent: 7

    Rejection Letters: 5*

    Rejection Phone Calls: 1*

    Rejection Emails: 1

    Requests for Official Transcript: 1 (Note that this had to be ordered, paid for, and will have to be sent from the registrar’s office. Pain.)

    The last item on my tally is at least optimistic, as it suggests that if my transcript is to their liking, I could at least get an interview out of it. Also, I sent some stuff today to firms I know are still considering 1Ls for summer jobs (because they are the firms interviewing 1Ls during winter OCI. Not me, of course. Did I mention that my winter OCI interview got cancelled?). I also had a nice long talk with a friend of mine who has sent out something like five times as many resumes as I have–she’s gotten several interviews, but no offers yet. She and I commiserated. And she encouraged me not to get too down, since she knows that firms are still interviewing and considering applicants and haven’t made decisions yet. And I wished her luck on the interview she was headed to.

    All in all, today was OK. I felt a little meh this afternoon, and I’m not sure why. But I feel better now.

    *These could be deceptive; I got a call AND a letter from the firm I interviewed with.

    help!

    Someone has got to get me excited about Con Law. It’s too early in the morning for me to sit here bored stiff.

    January 24th 2006

    anniversary blogging

    I was up late last night working on a complex, multi-application, multi-attachment email merge for my summer job search. I was completely useless this morning–and, remember, today was my anniversary!–so I went back to bed and got some rest. I did get all of my Thursday reading done later in the day, though.

    Mr. Angst and I celebrated today by grabbing dinner at a landmark restaurant that’s closing in a few weeks. (We’re actually having a fancier anniversary dinner this weekend, but today’s early dinner was perfect for celebrating two years of marriage.) I made a dessert when we got home, and we had some wine.

    Oh, and I got two rejection letters! Admittedly, one was from my Friday interview, and I’d already spoken with them about how I wasn’t getting an offer. But the other was just bonus!

    You know what makes the rejection letters no big deal, though? The dessert I made: individual chocolate soufflés with créme anglaise. And a bright Reisling. And Scrubs. Two rejection letters are really no big deal–after all, I’ve got dozens of other irons in the fire. (Note that I am not exactly optimistic about any of those irons actually doing anything. But they’re still out there.)

    January 23rd 2006

    more on the waste

    I should also mention that I spent close to $200 on shoes last week preparing for an interview that was fruitless and an interview I won’t have. (My navy shoes did not arrive in time for my Friday interview, so I ran out and bought a pair of black pumps figuring that I needed a pair anyway.)

    So now I have two hot pair of career-appropriate heels and no foreseeable opportunity to wear them.

    /end whine

    well that was a waste of mental energy

    All that deep thought about big firms vs. small firms, about what kind of options each would give me, turns out to have been wasted. No, I didn’t put all my eggs in the two baskets I was looking at (last Friday’s interview and the OCI interview) but I was very excited about them, very excited about getting to shine.

    Well, Friday’s firm called me today to tell me that they really liked me (they really, really liked me!) but that they had only a few slots for 1Ls and, therefore, could not extend me an offer. OK. Not a great big shock–though certainly not a fun thing to hear.

    But wait! It gets better. This afternoon I received an email, stating that my OCI firm was cancelling all of its interviews with 1Ls because they were recently acquired by another firm (another firm which, presumably, has already hired its summer 2006 class).

    So now I’m back to square one. Sure, I’ve sent out some resumes and cover letters to other firms, but mostly out of fear of being behind the game. I sent stuff to firms that might not be of interest to me, simply to get off my ass with the whole job search thing. And that was probably not such a bad idea. But I am still back at square one, now, with no upcoming interviews–and no job offers.

    I’m disappointed. Sure, undoubtedly, I’ll look back on this moment some time in the future and realize how silly it was for me to dwell on my disappointment. I’m pretty sure I’ll get a job of some kind. But right now, I feel kind of sad. All that energy I was putting into researching my OCI firm was wasted. The firms I’ve sent stuff to aren’t necessarily firms I want to work for. I have no idea what I want to do this summer. Angst! Angst! Angst!

    So I’m picking my ego up, dusting it off, and reminding myself that two rejections in one day (essentially) doesn’t reflect on ME, personally.

    he’s wrong

    There is NO WAY tomorrow can be the worst day of the year.

    After all, tomorrow is my anniversary. Happy two years, Mr. Angst!

    January 22nd 2006

    people watching

    Today I saw a woman wearing the largest, most absurd hat I’ve ever seen. She was tall and queenly, covered in a full-length fur coat and carrying a Lord & Taylor bag. The hat was big, wide-brimmed and over-feathered. She was walking with two men, who I assume were her husband and her grown son. The son was developmentally disabled, and walked between his parents, holding hands with both.

    I caught myself staring at her hat. And then I wondered if she chose her hat deliberately for its large absurdity, so that passersby would stare at her instead of at her son.

    via Citations, I bring you a quiz!

    You are “Noscitur a socii”! You look to neighboring words to shed light on the meaning of ambiguous words. You’re a sociable canon, and always look at everything in context. However, you’re useless by yourself.

    Which Canon of Statutory Construction are You?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    January 20th 2006

    weather

    It’s been rain-snowing since mid-afternoon. But the ground is wet and it hasn’t been all that cold, so there’s been no accumulation.

    But just a minute ago, I looked out my window to see big, fat, swirling clumps of snow coming down. Do you think snow beats ground temperature if there’s enough of it? I wonder. I don’t have enough experience with winter weather to be able to say, “No, the snow will just melt when it hits the pavement, and we’ll end up with wet, maybe icy, roads.” But that’s what my intuition says will happen.

    I think I’ll make soup tonight, though. This is definitely soup weather.

    Update: I posted too soon! The big fat clumps have made way for small, icy clumps, and my ears are full of the clicking sound they make on my windows. Tap-tip-tap-tip-tiptiptip-tap. No accumulations yet.

    decompression

    My interview went well . . . I think. I mean, there were no awkward pauses and I didn’t make any obvious gaffes. I had some good (if probably standard) questions to ask them, and gave them interesting answers to their questions. In general, pretty standard interview stuff, I think. I don’t know. I’ve never had an interview that I thought was clearly a bust (or at least not a first interview. I did have a follow-up interview that was dreadful once, but I think I was out of the running at that point).

    So we’ll see. This firm would offer me all kinds of options for the summer, and there are huge benefits to that. The people seemed very nice, the facilities are stellar, of course, and from what I’ve heard from other students, it’s a great place to summer. Now it’s just waiting to see what happens next.

    January 19th 2006

    a crisis of conscience

    (Ed’s note: this post has been edited since I posted it. I realized it didn’t quite say what I wanted it to. So apologies for changing a post around, but I thought, in this case particularly, that accuracy was really important.)

    I didn’t come to law school for the money or the prestige or the power. I came to law school because I like to write and the kind of writing lawyers do seemed to suit me.

    I’m not especially seduced by big firm salaries; I’m not set on making six figures my first year out of law school. As long as I make enough to pay down my loans (the quicker the better, of course) and am doing work I find at least somewhat intellectually stimulating, I’ll be happy. Sure, my plan all along has been to work for a firm after graduation, if for no other reason than training. And then, when I have some experience, try to teach legal writing and get published. But I’ve always thought I’d want to work at a small boutique firm rather than a multinational one.

    For my 1L summer, I had intended to focus on working for a judge or as a research assistant. My thought was that I could work for a firm next summer and that I should take the opportunity this summer to do something else. But then time slipped away from me and I hadn’t sent letters or resumes to judges and people around me were getting interviews and I was starting to get VERY nervous. So I threw my lot in for winter OCI and waited to see what would happen. And I figured I might as well apply for some firm jobs outside of OCI — my grades would make me at least competitive, if not a lock, for a job as a 1L and the prospect of being paid (and not having to take out more loans) was attractive.

    Yesterday, on the advice of a friend who had recently heard from a particular firm, I sent a resume and cover letter to them via email. Six hours later, they called me for an interview. The interview is tomorrow.

    And that got me thinking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled! But I’m also a little freaked out. In comparison, my OCI interview didn’t give me any twinges because I had looked into their work before I bid on them. They’re small, they do work that interests me, and they’re well-regarded. No problems there. But my interview tomorrow is at a bona fide BIG firm — they do everything — and I don’t know very much about them. Yes, there are good sides to their broad practice areas (and bad sides to the large number of attorneys they employ) but somehow, part of me feels like I’m selling out by even considering them. (Is selling out even the right phrase? I’m not sure.) Of ocurse they have practice areas that interest me — even a group that does the same kind of work as my OCI firm. But it’s BigLaw! I wasn’t going to do that this year! I was going to do something . . . different! Something that wouldn’t be exactly like what I’ll be doing next summer.

    I don’t want to be one of those law students who comes in with goals and ambitions that are outside of the big firm model yet who gets seduced by not just the pay but also by the ease of working in such a firm. Applying to big firms, after all, is by far the easiest route to take. (It may not be the most fruitful, but it is indeed easy — no cold calling, no door-knocking. Just send your resume to a bunch of firms and chances are you’ll get at least a few interviews.) It also gets the most institutional support.

    That is not to say that the big firm thing might not be exactly what I am best suited for. I just don’t know, and I thought I’d take this summer to try something I might not have a chance to try some other time. And yet I seem to be falling into the big firm thing. I wish I could say the reason is that I AM suited to a big firm, but I just don’t know. Obviously, I do not have an offer of summer employment yet. I may yet end up as a research assistant. But I still wonder what am I doing? as I consider the possibility that I’ll end up with an offer from a big firm.