Monday, February 26, 2007

On being organized, even when you speak

So maybe it is the left over tech writer in me. Or maybe it's just the OCD nature I have for organization that made me a good tech writer that manifested itself tonight. Or maybe the lady was just a numbskull. Really the possibilities are endless.

I'm an organizer. I think all jumbled up and don't rest until my head is nice and tidy. Even when I speak--when I'm trying to be clear or efficient--I'm organized. And by and large, I think folks I interact with appreciate that.

For example, when I go to say, Subway, right next to campus to grab a quick dinner, when I order I start with what is logical and group things that are like. Bread first--that's what they have to grab first, then meat then cheese. Then veggies in order of reach for the sandwich artist (snigger) then vinegar and s&p. That makes sense. Really, does it help the artist to say "a hot ham and cheese on uh, uh, italian (read: white, at subway anyway)." The artist might forget that you want it hot since that instruction is so far removed from when the artist would actually toast it. And for sure, the artist will have to ask you "what kind of cheese?"

So tonight, I walk to my favorite sandwich shop. And I am delighted to discover that the only line is a woman and her teenaged son and then me. My sandwich artists are speedy guys. We are in and out of there pronto. There's no fooling around. No slouching. Just fast, fast, fast. But, alas, alack, they can go only as fast as the orderers can process and communicate their desires. SIgh. Double sigh. So tonight. There are two artists and as far as I can tell, two paying persons (the son doesn't count). So the lady tells the son to order and he does, and the sandwich artist makes it to completion--even so far as putting the sandwich into a bag. At which point, they come to take my order and the mean bitty lady gives them a crusty "excuse me, I'm making a rather large order of sandwiches." Um, ok. Sure. So both artists go to help her. She doesn't know what she wants. Can't remember who wanted cheese, was it the BLT? or the BMT? and did johny want his heated? 3 cell calls later, we have meat and cheese on 3 sandwiches (6 inches). Yup. that was her "rather large order of sandwiches." Then she was equally dingdongish on the toppings. But what do you expect from someone who bought combos for the whole family. I shouldn't judge that part; maybe they were having a picnic in the 30 degree snowy weather, so being economical and buying a bag of chips and a 12 pack of soda wouldn't make sense.

My point being: how much time could she have saved 5 people? (me, her, the son, and the two artists). A lot. Here's how it should have gone--or at least what I would have done.
Enter store. Hi. I'm ordering 5 six inch sandwiches, all on italian except one on honey oat. The honey oat is a BMT. The others are BLT, ham, turkey, and meatball. All have swiss cheese. Please heat the BLT and meatball. When the artist is ready, the meatball is all done. The other sandwiches all have lettuce and tomatoe and mayo. The turkey has jalapenos. That's all for toppings. I would like each of them in a combo please.

The freaking end. See. Right away, the artists can decide if it is a two man job or whether one should continue to help others in line or ring the lady up to move things along.

Sigh. Organization. Now, back to my shareholder's derivative table :)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Almost overwhelmed--and just how many laws are there for corps anyway?

Geez mon! I swear we've been doing corps in BusAss for the last month, and there is no end in sight! Blergh. I'm just feeling overwhelmed at all the detail. This prof's final sounds relatively straightforward though: Facts, what does P argue, what does D argue, what will the court say. So in that spirit I think that I will organize my outline something like:

II. Corps
B. Shareholder's Derivative suits
1. When can you bring it -- blah blah
2. Filing a Demand
A. what P args; or defends for not bringing the demand (futility)
B. what D args-BJR or defense to futility (are disinterested members etc)
C. Bottom line, Ps usually lose because xyz

I might get all fancy and make a table instead. Tricky that. I'm a totally visual person--well not really. I don't like pictures and flowcharts. But I do like visually organized charts. So, tables generally work well for me.

My final version of my note is due to our managing editor this coming weekend. So far, I have zero atty or prof feedback. I need to send a gentle reminder tomorrow. I'm less worked up about my note these days. I went through it with a fine-toothed comb last week and found that my arguments, in my humble opinion, were not as bad as I remembered them to be. There is one fly in the ointment and I'm still debating whether to address it. All that's left is to incorporate any recommendations I receive this week, update some of the cases I use to reflect some of the more recent cases that address my issue, and give it a thorough blue-booking. Our law review editing process is not particularly transparent, so I have no idea when they are done copyworking and editing if I am supposed to be the enterer of those changes or not. So for all I know after I turn it in next weekend, I won't touch it again until the executive edit. I really hope that is the case :)

My drafting class is getting kind of intense now. Bigger, regular, graded assignments. So that just equals more stress in my life. And that's fine. It's just another reason that I need my note to be really off my plate.

Ooh, in other happy law review news, we are coming to the end of the copywork for the year. We should only have a few smaller articles trickle through. And cheers were heard around the world! Our board for next year was selected and I did not end up as EIC, and to that I say praise everything that is holy! I got executive editor instead, and that is going to keep me plenty busy. I'm very happy with the result.

This is why I am only almost overwhelmed. I've got all of the balls up in the air right now. None of them have fallen so far, and all I can see ahead of me is someone kindly removing a few of the balls. This is doable.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I'm kind of a weenie

It's true. And there really isn't any kind of about it. Before I declare my note entirely done, I want a reality check from some practitioners, especially where I'm writing about a circuit split and essentially saying that one circuit got it wrong. So, now I need to send a note to several attys in the field and ask them to read and critique my note. That shouldn't be so hard. But I am so paralyzed at the thought of someone reading it and thinking that I am indeed a total moron. See--I'm a weenie. Plain and simple. And with much more cringing and complaining, I'm sure that I will get it sent out in the next few hours.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I've fallen and I can't get up--and I HATE hearsay

Good grief. I've got to start paying attention to the invisible memos that surely must be passed around telling you that second semester is infinitely more crazy than firsts... and that's applicable all years of law school, or at least, in my experience, the first two years.

So all is happy and so forth with my note being published, but man that's a lot of extra work to pile onto my daily plate. So I am trying to implement some strategery (thank you, Bush). I've got all my busass read for the week, unless of course she does one of her random "let's cover about 40 pages each day for a couple of days" spurts.

I've read the bloody 100 pages of evidence plus the E&E chapters on Hearsay. Unfortunately, I took a little quiz last night to see how I was coming along. Um, yeah. Hearsay is the current bane of my existence. I only got 9 of 25 questions right. And of those 9, 5 I had marked with a ? mark to indicate that I really had no clue and just guessed. Which basically means: I only actually knew the answer to 4 of the 25. Should I just take myself out behind the shed now and shoot? or will this get better? The part that is tripping me up is just identifying the intended assertion of fact (mostly whether it's really an assertion) and then whether the purpose of the testimony is to determine the truth of the matter asserted. Yeah, I like saying it that way. I mean, now it seems like I am just confused about 2 parts of hearsay... and if you are reading this and have taken evidence, then you know that those are the only 2 parts that are difficult. Sigh. Hopefully, I will have an epiphany on it soon.

So back to my strategery: it's just to get the day to day work done this weekend, so I can spend all my free time on my note this week. I really need to send it to a prof who specializes in this field by the end of this week, so hopefully, I will have feedback on it by the last week of this month. The managing editor wants it ready for copyworking in early March. Realistically, I think I need to work on three areas to make it less embarrassing: 1) throw the new cases relying on the circuit holdings into the note because for whatever odd reason it's coming up much more now (probably because of the way the 10th circuit held last year; it's quite a boon for plaintiffs), 2) take a very critical look at my analysis and ultimate conclusion--I'm just not sure about it and because of that I think my whole note is weaker, and 3) this is all based on a statute that has two mutually exclusive pieces but I've mushed the cases together--it's because both pieces of the statute define something the same way, which is the focus of my note. Hmmm. are you confused by my vagueness yet?

In any case. Long ass week ahead.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Gobsmacked by Law Review

My note is being published. Yes, jaws around the world are smacking the concrete in disbelief, including mine. I'm not sure whether to be excited (which I am) or mortified at the thought of anyone reading it because I sure didn't feel like I made any point that was all that earth-shattering. Thank heavens for editors, right?

In any case. Cheers!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A mommy law student time out

I took my daughter on a mommy/daughter date yesterday afternoon. Over all, disaster. No, really. Just so bad. The only kid appropriate movie showing in our neck of the woods is Charlotte's Web (because the whole flushed away thing is just too far over the line that I refuse to cross). And it was playing either 1) through lunch or 2) through dinner. Movie theater scheduling morons. In any case, I brought snacks galore and planned to do lunch afterward.

Sigh. Did you know that a G-rated kids movie is almost 3 flipping hours long? Blergh! They could have made it a good 5-10 minutes shorter by getting rid of the whole unbelievable 10 year olds in love story line that kept popping back up. I could have done entirely without Dakota Fanning. But the animals were great. So dauhter is bored and I almost leave with her when there is about a half an hour left, and I totally should have. The end was fabulous, so fabulous, so well-done that my poor sweet-hearted daughter bawled her little eyes out for about 10 minutes after Charlotte dies. Sigh. I totally forgot that she dies. I haven't read the book since I was about10. In any case, I got to spend the next half hour or so telling her why Charlotte died and why it's ok, and how it's not real. "But mommy, do real spiders die when they have babies?" Can I just say that deep discussions about the cycle of life was not on my agenda for our date yesterday.

SO now she is an emotional disaster in addition to being starved and tired at the Chinese Restaurant. I ended up taking all of our food home in containers and cutting our lunch super short. The best part of our date, I think in both of our opinions, was taking a nap together in my bed.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

An embarrassed investor

Seriously. Every day I go to BusAss, I learn stuff that I think I ought to have known before I became an investor. Like cumulative voting... mind you I don't have enough shares in a company small enough to make that kind of thing work, but still. It's good to know.

I do have a lot of shiny shares from my old Big Corporate Monolith. I'm making it a goal to go to an annual shareholder's meeting sometime in the next 2-3 years. I just think it would be educational (and possibly tasty).

When I really sit back and reflect, it's great that I've been a regular investor since my early twenties. Up until law school, I've always invested the full amount possible in a 401K and I still contribute to an IRA. I didn't sell all my stock after I got it from BCM. I'm actually in a good place. But what doesn't work for me is that I have really no idea what my mutual funds represent or how i would go about selling my BCM stock if I wanted to. Or how about how to sell off my investment in a crappy mutual fund in my rollover IRA and re-invest in something that is better. I am placing an inordinate amount of trust in people that I don't know. To an unacceptable degree.

Any suggestions on how to better educate myself in investing and investment management.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

whistle-blowing, general partnerships, dissolution & professional conduct

So far most of the puzzlers that I am getting out of my BusAss (yes, I am immature enough to giggle at that every time) are legal ethics questions. We read a case (977 SW 2d 543) for last week where a partner warns senior partners that the billing looks really screwy for a client. There's a whole lot of smelly subterfuge and then she gets fired for crappy work. Crappy work that the firm had never told her was crappy before. The court held that partnerships are based on trust and you don't have to keep someone on that you don't trust anymore. The dissent was much more in line with the "whoa nelly, aren't we a self-policed group of idiots? and therefore shouldn't we protect her job." But no.

The next case that leaves me confused is Haymond v. Lundy (2002 WL 1972101) where the partners have dissolve the partnership and there is an outstanding referral fee owed to another firm that is in dispute. The long and the short of it is that one of the 3 partners agreed to pay a referral fee (150K) to this other firm upon successful completion of the case. The other partners said that per their p-ship agreement, they had to consent to something like that and they didn't. Fine, all well and good. And the judge said "yup" it's all on the idiot who made the agreement. But the lasting question is: Aren't straight up referral fees a professional no-no? I thought that you couldn't do that kind of thing unless you were compensating the prior firm/atty for their actual work on the case. Maybe my state is different.

Self-policing. Hmmmm.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A thought on grades and a glimpse at my deranged day dreams

I actually saw my Bankruptcy prof last night and was able to smile politely and make the required small talk for the event we were at. As he walked away though, I couldn't help but wish that I had something to throw at his head. Sigh. This is the first semester that I have had more than one grade that requires curves to make the letter. I like letters without curves. They are pretty those As and A-s. Damn.

And then I sit back and think, wow I am super greedy because one curvy grade (fine it was a B+) was in a class where the whole test was multiple choice, and honestly I don't ever expect to do better than that. And then my bankruptcy class, where there were only about 22-ish kids and of those only 2 or 3 were NOT in the top say 15% of their respective classes. So getting a B+ in there, really, truly, after the horrible experience that was that test . . . it was actually pretty damn lucky.

Sigh. I'll keep my on track status for coif, if just barely. And I will kick it in high gear and find some way to break through the B+ ceiling on my exam that will be once again, all multiple choice. I hate MC tests. Really, truly, what does that indicate about my future abilities as an atty. Is the nice judge going to stop the opposing atty in the middle of the trial and say

"counselor yaya, there is a possible objection to raise here: do you think it is a) irrelevant because we have other photos that provide the same evidence in a less gruesome manner, b) relevant but not probative because this the third similar testimony offered to the court and is a waste of time, c) an objection becaues that information was obtained through statements your client made in negotiation or d) there is no objection because you weren't listening carefully and have no idea to what this witness just testified?"

Counselor yaya: "well Judge, you should know that I've always sucked at multiple choice, so I'm going to have to call in co-counsel to answer this one, in the best interests of my client."

yeah, I might be a little bitter. And I am so not going to be a litigator.

Friday, January 19, 2007

slow and steady wins the race

Well, week 2 of this semester is now past, and I really really think it's going to be great. I'm still interested in all of my classes and my first TA session went reasonably well (btw--if anyone has any suggestions of where I can get multiple choice property questions, please do tell). My evidence class is taught by stories. It's awesome. I am so muhc more likely to remember what a rule is when I have some crazy story to go with it. And I was so proud of myself for shouting "Rule 410" at my TV last night while watching Shark. Hooray.

My note is back in. I'm 98% certain that I will not be published again and that I will have to redo my note again in March. Sigh. So it is.

One of our 1L class assholes wants to work at my firm. Um, no. But now I don't have to worry about anyone at the firm asking me about him because he froze on exams. Actually, I don't think he froze, I think he really thought SO much of himself that he just didn't study. I don't understand people like that. I mean one would think that by the time you get to law school at least a handful of people have to have let you know in some persuasive way that you are in fact NOT the most brilliant person on the planet.

I have all but one grade back, and it was the one that I have absolutely no clue what the prof wanted. So who knows how the semester ultimately shook out. So far I'm giving it a "not quite as bad as I thought, but woah nelly, still not so good"

Which is why, I'm back to reading bus assocations.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I hate my note

Blerg. Blech. Blah. Yuck. Yick. Ugh. Phooey.

that about sums up my feelings of redoing my note for law review. Our board has the 2Ls keep re-writing the same note all year until either it is selected for publishing or the year ends. The next drop is in the next few weeks, and I so don't want to work on it. I told myself that I would do it over break and never found the motivation to do it. I've got to get most of it redone today. Boo.

And to add insult to injury, not only is it colder than ass outside, but my fingernails are actually purple because of how bloody cold it is inside the damn library. Sigh. Not my day.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

And another 2L semester begins

I am back and mostly refreshed. When asked if I had a good break my standard reply is yes... because I slept and did almost nothing productive. Lots of sleeping, reading trashy novels, watching girly movies, and playing with my daughter. I knew I accomplished my goal to get lots of sleep when my daughter asked me why I was awake so early on Monday. :)

I've been through all of my classes now, and I think I am in love. Seriously, this could be the best semester ever. I've got an advanced drafting class with an adjunct who is all about practicality. If it's not real world-related, then let's not bother doing it. :) :) I'm in Business Associations and the prof is really great at explaining things and drawings and all of the other types of teaching techniques that my brain typically responds well to. And then I'm in an Evidence class that is pretty entertaining. And let's face it: I need to be entertained. Last and for whatever reason most frightening: I'm a TA for a 1L property section. I've got mixed feelings on it. I love property--lots. But I admit that I am totally intimidated by the responsibilty of teaching it. But then, I know it's not really teaching it--just filling in holes etc. But for whatever reason, I am little nervous about my first group session next week.

What else? Law review elections are coming up next month, and I've decided to be a glutton for punishment and run for editor-in-chief. Who knows if it will happen, but here's to trying.