Monday, August 15, 2005

August is for Moving

If statcounter is to be believed, there are some patient folks who continue to visit us here at Intermeddler. We've done little to reward that patience over the past couple of months, but that's only because we've been saving out energy for our latest collaborative effort. If you all don't mind moving your bookmarks just this once, we'll try not to not make you do it again.

Please visit now: Oh, Bitter Dicta.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Poetry in Motion

The other day while commuting I looked left and saw this:


Was it part of a project to use the subway-ad-zone to promote reflection and thought?
No, it was on a scratch ticket called "Cashword" the woman next to me was playing.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

This is Summer

There really is just nothing to talk about in the summer. I've noticed that people keep on coming back, and that's great. I wish we had something to offer you.

Ummm, let's see... I saw L'il Kim get a one year sentence for perjury.

That new lawyer reality show will probably give rise to a lot of op-ed pieces.



Thursday, June 23, 2005

moot agony

So the moot court team selection process goes like this: you e-mail responses to questions like whether you prefer tax or the first amendment and whether you yearn to lead or happily follow. Then the upperclass moot courters have what they ambitiously call a party. During the so-called "party" they call each future moot courter into a room and ask a few other questions, like whether there is anyone you hate so much you're willing to admit it to strangers, and why it is you want the team you want.

As far as I know it's done this way every year. This is notable because it would seem like the kinks in this whole procedure would have been worked out by now. When the process was described to me it sounded vaguely fun. I pictured lawns and keg cups, maybe even bare feet. I did not picture a completely empty luxury apartment that someone's boyfriend's parents had been trying to sell for millions about 5 minutes before we all arrived. Parties, especially parties where people end up waiting around for 5 hours, should have furniture. Parties should also have music. Luckily the apartment was spacious enough to have windowsills you can sit on. But their capacity was limited, and by the end it felt like an airport during a blizzard. People piled up against each other on the hardwood floors, periodically marching over to the helpless listkeeper to demand she get them out of there.

If I were forced to narrow down the problems to just one, it would be the particularly poor process for ordering who got called into the magic room. At first, there was a list for people that had to leave early. Sometime when I was refilling my wine or foraging for the baby carrots that would become my dinner, I guess they started having the remainder of the people sign that list also. That itself was a little lame, but acceptable. Things really got ugly when phase 3 began: whoever whined the most (or the most convincingly) got bumped up. This had now verged into unacceptable territory.

I really thought people were going to start throwing things, or screaming, or even quitting moot court. Pretty soon no one was talking about anything but how much the situation sucked, and I vacillated between not being able to believe people cared all that much and agreeing with everything they said because it did really, truly suck.

Now that it's all over, I can say one thing: I love summer.


There's not anyone in the world who's not blogging about this opinion right now. Even sites that might normally dedicate themselves to delightful pornography are instead chattering about the Court's decicion, so I'll be brief myself:

You know the majority is way off base when Justice Thomas has to take up the good fight on behalf of the powerless. In short? The Court simply screwed up.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


I'm learning that of all the appellate tricks in the attorney attache-bag, the favorite seems to be dropping the [sic] bomb. The idea is to scour the opposing counsel's brief, find every typo you possibly can (and you'd be amazed at how many seriously bad typos you'll find in briefs, it makes this blog look like it's edited by the folks at The New York Review of Books) and then find ways to incorporate those typos into your filings in opposition.

For example, if you find a line that says "has exhausted hi claims" in a habeas petition, then you write in response "petitioner claims that he has exhausted hi claims" [sic]. Those three letters really say a lot, because as everyone knows "sic" is latin for "opposing counsel is an illiterate jackass." At least, that's the impression I feel the quoter is trying to convey when I read this stuff. I don't have any empirical evidence on this yet, but I have a feeling that putting a typo in a sentence triples that sentence's chances of being quoted. That's just fcuked up.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Now we're working

It’s been a month since the last final, and now that Menlove and grades are (almost all*) out, there’s a slight sense of closure on the first year. Of course, there’s still the writing competition results. And fall on-campus interviewing (which is really not in the fall at all). And picking 2L classes. But at this moment, school is about as far away as possible, even though it’s only a train stop away from where ½ of BLS (including myself) is working.

Work is interesting in theory. In reality, lawyering seems absurdly time-consuming. I don’t want to say boring. I can’t say boring, since it’s what’s lined up for at least the next few years. So far, it’s not unlike school. Get an assignment, cut and paste together a bunch of quotes from cases, and add some connectives. Somehow, this takes a long time, though it’s probably because I don’t know anything about the field I’m working in. The only Economics I’ve been exposed to is from an intro class 9 years ago (1st year of college was really that long ago…) and the skeletal theory taught by our Torts professor. Both are completely useless at the moment, so I’m trying to fill in the vast blanks in those times I should be sipping martinis at gimmicky bars. Luckily I hate both of those and ♥ the Sherman Act.

My only real complaint is that there are two other interns sitting within a foot radius of me who eat loudly for most of the day. It sounds crazy, but it’s really difficult to concentrate when someone is cracking open pistachios in your ear. Other than that, it’s a good group. We’ve compared school stories, and it turns out much is the same, but, surprise, there are definite perks to going to upper rank schools. Who can deny it? We don’t have Supreme Court justices visiting us, or firms kissing our asses. On the other hand, we are all eagerly awaiting the Geraldo’s about to open in the new dorm.

*why do you continue to torture us, Property Professor?

Thursday, June 09, 2005

It Is So Hot

It seems like all kinds of great material should be coming out of summer work, but I don't really know what kind of things you're allowed to say. I do know that the assignments don't feel that much more real than anything we did in legal writing. I have to constantly remind myself that there are real parties with real interests who'd prefer I don't take the write-whatever's-easiest approach that saw me through my first year.

In a moment of regression a couple of days ago, I headed up to the city bar association to watch a panel entitled "The Role of the Federal Courts in the War on Terrorism." It was co-sponsored by the federalist society, so I knew there'd be some serious legal action going down. It always amazes me to watch a forty-two year old lawyer (who has never worked outside the beltway in his life) presume to explain to a retired rear admiral and life-time jag officer how military law works. Before you can recover from the shock, he's gone on to explain to a 2d Circuit Appellate Court Judge what the Padilla case was really all about; ignoring the fact that this particular judge had actually sat on the case in the intermediate court. What they lack in consistency they make up for with what I heard politely referred to as "testicular fortitude" today.

Of course, these are people who cite approvingly to Quirin and Kortematsu because "hey! they haven't been overruled yet! (knock on wood)." Two completely different worlds: I live in the world not steeped in paranoid fantasy. It's warm and humid lately, but otherwise better in every way.

Monday, May 23, 2005

That's That

I've never been so happy to have turned my back on my parent's religion as I was today. As I stumbled to school this morning with a stack of completed competition essays, I realized that I was done. Those poor Sunday sabbath observers though; they're still looking at two more days of this business (down to only 35 hours or so hours at this point, it goes fast).

That gives me an extra day to think about fall OCI. I guess they're already passing out packets listing the firms that'll be recruiting us in a few months.* I can't even think about this stuff yet. I haven't even thought about the summer job I actually have to start next week. I know I need to buy some ties or something. When I do get around to worrying about next fall, this government recruiter puts things into perspective. In the meantime, total freedom for seven days. There's something spiritual in that I think even my parents could understand.

*To the firm that is only taking law review and top 5%, fuck you too.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


I remember the first time I watched the Terminator how terrified I was at the idea that there was something out there that just wouldn't die. You shoot it, it keeps on coming. You crash a tanker filled with diesel fuel into it, it strolls out of the wreckage and flames. You crush it on some assembly line, its little red eyes flash back on. You somehow manage to spank your way though finals, and now it wants you to write-on to law review. At least that's what I thought as I sat crammed into room 401 with everyone else who wants to play writing-competition roulette this weekend.

The week away has been kind of nice. I went to the gym for the first time in a few weeks; and felt as out of place as an old hooker on her first day at her new job as an insurance claims adjustor. I am very, very weak. I looked at myself in the mirror and could see in my pale, yellowish skin and in the dried and caked soy sauce under my fingernails all the signs of someone who's lived in a dank apartment on take-out financed by selling my books back. Needless to say, I am an ugly sight and I'll spare you more details.

Anyway, there's something horror-movieish about the way school just won't die, and as I look over my summer calendar, I realize that between preparing a resume for fall's on-campus interviews and stopping by financial aid for work-study checks, there's just enough going on to keep up the suspense. But I guess that makes sense; if this is a ninety minute movie, we're only thirty minutes in. There's no way you'd kill off your villain in the first thirty minutes --we'd all want our ticket money back.

It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

It's over

So that’s it. We’re 2Ls now.

Last night we celebrated student style – lots of booze, and quickly. I have never been around so many jubilant people in my life. It was too bad I didn’t get to enjoy it more, since by midnight, I was a disaster. Thanks to those who accompanied me after I darted out of the bar with my hands over my mouth. Sorry Mr. Cab Driver, since yes, that was nasty, but no way in hell were you getting the 40 bucks you demanded to clean it up, especially since by then I had already lost my wallet. And thank you, selfless one, for leaving early with me and staying close by lest I began to choke on my own vomit while sleeping in your tub.

What happened? Not eating a proper dinner, random kind people handing me drinks (actually, I hope they handed them to me and I didn’t just grab them), and relief, I suppose, all converged to cut short the evening. I left before any juicy stuff happened. Any bizarre hookups? Brawls? Love confessions?

And then there were the questions about this. I was surprised that people I know had been reading it, but that no one said anything until last night. Except the guy who asked me during that freaky anticipatory silence 15 seconds before the property exam was about to begin (sorry I lied, but I was caught off guard), and Saucy Intruder, our chattiest visitor.

Alright, time to remember how to have a life again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Property professor, sadist

The overwhelming response to the exam was: what the hell was that?? The questions on future estates were far more complicated than on the practice exams, (so many trusts!), and one of the essays involved intellectual property, which was also not on any of the past exams, so I didn’t study it. I just figured it was a diversion in the class based on our professor’s specialty. One of the issues was whether a plastic surgeon had rights over her special face surgery technique that transformed her hideous husband into an international supermodel. Kind of fun in hindsight, though completely unanswerable.

The policy after each exam was not to talk about it, but this time it was inevitable, since the test was just too ridiculous. Was the Rule Against Perpetuities applicable anywhere? Who would wait 21 years to bury their mother? Can you adversely possess someone’s face? There was a word limit?? I was too relieved to be worried at first, especially after a couple of beers. But then I got home and tossed out everything property related so I could pretend the whole thing never happened.

Monday, May 09, 2005

The worst is almost over

I should have been studying all day, but after being cooped up for two days, it was impossible. I went to school for the first time since the civpro exam, and saw exactly what I wanted to avoid. People wigging out. It’s difficult enough to sort property out in my brain, and then when I hear other people’s questions, I start wondering whether I have any idea about anything. I left the bulding as soon as possible, but not before printing out 4000 pages of supplementary materials to take as comfort to the exam tomorrow.

Now it’s dark outside. I’m beginning to feel crazy about this test. My outline is repetitive and probably missing a whole lot. Fuck. Thinking about last semester, I know I’ll probably remember very little of what happens over these two weeks, except that there were some obnoxious rules that don’t matter anymore. It's like that hormone that women in labor emit so that they forget about the pain and are willing to go through it all again later.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Typo of the day

"when you improve someone’s property w/ your labor, it can become hard"

this managed to survive all the way from my property notes on labor theory to my outline, where I just discovered it

Friday, May 06, 2005

The great sell-back

Nothing feels better after an exam than heading to the bookstore and exchanging a weighty casebook for a wad of cash. The gradual clearing of my bookshelf as the end of exams gets closer is sooooo satisfying, both physically and symbolically. Plus, the sell-back comes just as most of us are realizing the loans have run dry and searching our floorboards for quarters, or personal assets that might be liquefied (can you still sell CD's? what about plasma?).

I started thinking today about what this might say about the kind of educational process we're engaging in here. I remember selling books back in college, but much more selectively. A few still linger on my shelf, mostly for sentimental reasons, and there are a few I wish I hadn't sold back (countless times since moving to New York City I've wished I could look up buildings in my modern architecture textbook). Are we heartless law school drones who care about what we're learning only until the moment the exam is over? Well, yes and no - law school does require a level of acceptance that you will be judged for some things on dumb and arbitrary grounds, and that you will learn some things for the exam and not because of your burning personal passion for civil procedure.

But there's also something nice about what the book sell-back says. The casebooks are just tools to help us understand concepts (evidenced by the fact that most people barely open them in the process of studying for an exam). The fact that the answer is never going to be inside the book (and the fact that everything changes so continually that no book can ever be current) is something I'm growing to like about this whole law thing. That and my wallet being $50 heavier...