Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Belated blogging about law school

Mike, the person who insisted I start this blog, subtly nags: "How goes the effort to learn the majesty of the law?"

To which I reply:

It's the law, man. New classes this quarter are Criminal and Constitutional, but Constitutional focuses on the Civics-like aspect of the thing, not all the fun rights. However, since I've been a Civics nerd ever since my bizarre obsession with the Bicentennial in 1975-76, I still think it will be fun. Have I told my Bicentennial story yet? Who here read "Common Sense" when they were 8? (If J's still reading this, I expect a comment from him. He became a "miniature Alan Dershowitz" after reading the Declaration and the Constitution. Evidently he wanted to sue his parents for unreasonable search of his room.)

Criminal is so far focusing on how to accurately restate the holding from a case. Should we have learned this earlier? Probably. Our prof is billed as the school's "most Socratic." He chides students who say the opinion "quoted" an authority when it merely cited to it. Today he spent part of class talking about I.A. Richards. So far we've spent every day dragging the holding out of the case, often in excruciating detail. By the time we are done, we have stuff on the white board that looks like sentence diagramming. I'm actually pretty happy with this, being both a former English major and an anal-retentive freak.

Yesterday, I picked up my Contracts problem set from last quarter. I could not remember writing it, and furthermore, I couldn't understand what I said. Nonetheless, I did OK, gradewise (as did everyone). Typical example of my prose:
However, under Rest. 237, a court would impose a constructive condition of exchange and hold that the Broker’s promise to “use reasonable efforts to procure a ready, willing, and able Buyer of the property in accordance with the price, terms, and conditions” of the agreement is a condition of the Seller’s further performance in paying the Broker. A court would probably not hold that the Broker’s advertisement of the property, posting of “for sale” signs, and cooperating with other brokers was a constructive condition of exchange, because those requirements go to method of performance rather than the substance of performance.

Probably the clearest sentence in the whole 7 pages:
A credible reading of the contract would find that the clause is intended to manage the risk of the Seller finding his own buyer while the Broker is performing, not insulate the Broker against the risk of his own nonperformance.
OK, that's recognizable.

Eventually, after re-reading, it began to make sense. It's also kind of unfortunate that I dumped all that knowledge so quickly--I'll need it for the bar.

I got the summer externship of the odd interview, so that's good. However, I'm feeling kind of ambivalent about it because after my trip to New Orleans, I was thinking it would be good to do a volunteer gig down there this summer, because I could probably stay with Ms. C, and because helping people keep their homes is God's work, and because the whole Common Ground vibe took me back to my student co-op days, which were good. But nailing employers for OSHA and minimum wage violations is also God's work, and if I still feel this way next summer, there will be plenty to do then.

Still, I'm worrying that I'm making a choice that's safe and makes sense, but goes against my heart. Since I came to law school to find more meaningful and challenging work, that's not good. Grph.


At 11:57 PM, March 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of what aren't in Criminal this quarter (alls I know is that if the guy isn't guilty, what the hell is he doing at the defendant's table?), what means this: "accurately restate the holding from a case". Restate? What, didn't get it right the first time? The holding from a case? As in, we hold this class to be Socratic?

>accurately restate the holding from a case

You're welcome. :-)

-- Mike

At 11:59 PM, March 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, ye olde copy and paste error, definitely detracts from the intended effect. Still, one must try, try again.

>the person who insisted I start this blog, subtly nags

You're welcome.

Whew. That restatement we hold to be correct.

-- M (again)

PS My CAPTCHA string this time is "nkigaffs", which sounds like something a comic-book character might say while being stangled.

At 8:03 AM, March 30, 2006, Blogger arguchik said...

heh. my CAPTCHA string right now is "bozduake," which sounds like something bill or ted might say while being strangled.

i just wanted to say how nice it is to know that they are making use of the New Criticism in law school. nobody reads guys like i.a. richards in english anymore (not entirely correct...i had to read him, among others, in a critical theory survey course back at uvm). but then, people in psychology tell us english-y types "nobody reads freud in psychology anymore." and the economists say the same thing about marx.

At 8:20 AM, March 30, 2006, Blogger ohplease said...

Actually, arguchik, that sounds more like some kind of Japanese slash pr0n in which the Bo and Luke Duke get it on with Boss Hogg... Of course, mine's "oaxoy," about which I have nothing to say.

At 10:03 PM, March 30, 2006, Blogger arguchik said...

well now mine's "wgymmttk" which...i don't know...some weird new automated household cleaning device?

yours reminds me of edison's phone greeting: "ahoy-hoy." only the "x" makes me think aztec. aztec phone greeting?


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