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Randomness from a 2005 graduate of The Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University

 

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Sleepiness is overwhelming me. I cannot work. I cannot think. I need to sleep. For a very long time. Being done with exams, I feel like I should be able to relax, but I am not actually done at all. I will never be done. My papers will never be done. Why did I think I liked writing? Why did I think that even a week or two ago? I might like writing, but not when I could be sleeping. |
 

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I added a couple new blogs on the right. One is Anonymous Lawyer, which is very funny, but really depressing, even though I realize it's meant as satire. Another is Buffalo Wings & Vodka, which I have read for a long time (since he was deciding where to go to school). I never linked to him before primarily because I often had troubling loading his page, but he has redone it (beautifully), so I am optimistic that the problems are gone too. |
 
People from the past are popping up in my life in strange ways. Some good, some bad, some neutral. I would really like to meet some new people who will be part of my future though. I feel very ready to move forward. Starting my summer job Monday is a step in that direction, I guess. |
 

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Blogging was central to my favorite tv show tonight. It's everywhere... |
 
Employment law is done. Thank God. If I had 8-10 hours I could have given cursory treatment to all of the issues in the three questions. That was not the case. It felt like I did okay, but everyone in that class seems so smart, and how I feel afterwards never relates to how I actually did anyway. Oh well, moving on.

Now, just my papers remain. The one that has been haunting me since January is coming along. Slowly. I think all the criticism has paralyzed me. I know it has made me afraid to turn in drafts. I worked on my seminar paper some this evening, and I have 8 pages, so I am pleased. I think I can definitely have it done by the time I start work on Monday. I'm glad that next year I won't have any papers at the end of the year, because I think that would be really hard just before graduation.

And in good news, I got into the prosecution practicum! I'm happy. |
 
How do I text "no more Gloria Estefan songs" to American Idol? If I was in charge, I would vote 3, maybe 4, of the 6 off this week. |
 

Friday, April 23, 2004

I am relieved that my evidence exam is behind me and I am determined not to think about it now that it is beyond my control. I was fairly prepared, but could have used a lot more time on the first half. Whatever. It's over. Now the countdown to employment law begins. I have this feeling it could be my hardest exam of law school, so I better be ready. I love it that computer users have to turn their exams in at the same time as handwriters - it evens out the time advantage some.

I realized today that there is one thing I miss about being a 1L: having sections. Even if we weren't always the closest friends, being in a section together meant that we had a shared experience. And that meant that after every exam there were people with shared pain to unwind with. Now, our exams are at all different times, we're all dispersed, everything is different. There were people I could have gone out with tonight, but somehow it just didn't feel right. I went into the exam alone and I came out alone. At least now I'll get to bed at a reasonable time so I can get up and study more... |
 

Thursday, April 22, 2004

15ish hours until my evidence exam. Then 4 more days until employment law. And 2 extraordinarily long papers (long in my world) to write. I studied for like 9 hours today, so I decided I was entitled to watch the new episodes of Friends, etc. So now I'm in a good mood and about to go to bed and try to get a good night's sleep before my exam. Thankfully, I checked the channel guide and it looks like 90210 isn't an episode I can't resist tomorrow. That means I can get up and go to school and casually study for my exam a little more, or more likely work on my paper. I have never studied this much for an exam before, so I'm interested to see how it turns out. I definitely think that both of my exams are going to be hard, but nothing can ever be as horrible as BA was, so no complaints.

By the way, I am very sad to see my 3L friends graduating. I do not like it when people leave. |
 

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I had a very productive day today working on my independent study paper. Maybe it was just because I couldn't handle studying evidence anymore, but I was feeling mildly inspired. I am trying so hard to stay excited about writing. After nearly 4 months of writing, that's a challenge, but I think I'm still enjoying myself. Thank God I still love law school... |
 

Monday, April 19, 2004

I have become so focused and hard working that I don't recognize myself anymore. I wonder if it will pay off... This has got to be the only benefit of being single. That and not being told what to do (oh wait, that shouldn't be part of being with someone either). But anyway, I have working like a madwoman, and yet somehow it doesn't seem like it is going to be enough. Maybe I should be working even harder. I've never been like this before, and I don't want to get consumed now when I've made it through two years already, in a relatively sane manner. |
 

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Tick...tick...tick...tick... |
 

Friday, April 16, 2004

About half an hour ago I got a call from a friend of David's (New Year's guy). Apparently David went to the bathroom and this friend decided to randomly call people who were in his phone. I am about 80% sure that it was actually a friend, and not him. I had no idea who was calling since I had deleted his number a couple months ago; apparently he had not done the same. The friend asked me all kinds of questions...it was strange. I wonder what David will think if and when the friend tells him that he called me. I don't especially care, but it was an odd interaction. I am remarkably good at moving on from casual encounters, so it always surprises me to hear from people from the past - or their friends. |
 
You know that feeling you get when something suddenly reminds you of someone you used to love? That "momentary pang"? When a certain song or smell or place or almost anything just suddenly, overwhelmingly reminds you of someone? And it's not necessarily bad or painful, just nostalgic?

I just experienced that feeling for my old life. I was walking past the Newport and tonight G Love and Special Sauce is playing. I was suddenly back in Seattle, living in Madrona, getting ready to go to Whidbey Island for our AmeriCorps retreat. I made a mixed tape (already, that dates me) for the drive, and my roommate requested that I include a couple of songs by G Love and Special Sauce. Today I wouldn't recognize one of their songs if I heard it, and I don't recall even liking them, but seeing their name on that marquee just transported me 3,000 miles and 5 years. |
 

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Tomorrow the topic being presented in my seminar is “Drug & Alcohol Use of Pregnant Women: Whose Problem is it? Our Forgotten Children.” Let me begin by saying I have no idea what position the presenter is taking, or exactly why certain information was provided to us.

When I first picked up the packet of information I thought this could be an interesting topic, ripe for discussion about what sorts of behavior ought to be criminalized. After reading the materials, I am feeling very disturbed, and not in the way you might expect. I began reading about the effects of drugs and alcohol on fetuses, and was predictably saddened by the descriptions and statistics. As I continued reading though, I found myself feeling very skeptical. Of course I don’t doubt the reality of fetal alcohol syndrome, but the statistics just seem a little off somehow. For example, on one handout, we are told that of Fetal Alcohol Effects (less damage than fetal alcohol syndrome) individuals between the ages of 12 and 51, 95% will have mental health problems, 60% will have “disrupted school experience”, 60% will experience trouble with the law, 55% will be confined in a prison, drug or alcohol treatment center, or mental institution, and 52% will exhibit inappropriate sexual behavior. Assuming these statistics are true, I would guess that the statistics would be quite similar if the alcohol factor was removed, and the statistics were solely compiled based upon individuals living below a certain income level. Later in the same handout, it says “More than 60% of prisoners are likely affected by alcohol in utero.” And what present of prisoners are affected by poverty? My point is, that by the time I finished reading these materials, I felt this uncomfortable feeling that attempts to criminalize alcohol use by pregnant women are really attempts to criminalize poverty.

The final handout, which I desperately hope is an attempt at showing a negative response to the problem, truly left me shaking. It was an article describing a woman in California who started a group that pays drug and alcohol addicted women to be sterilized. As I read it, it almost felt like it had to be a joke. How could this be legal? Some of her critics compare her to Hitler. I understand, and mostly agree with, this comparison but the criticism needs to go further. In her effort to eliminate the birth of children affected by drugs and alcohol, and to inhibit the reproductive freedom of their addicted mothers, she is preying upon an incredibly vulnerable population. If a drug addict or alcoholic, living in poverty, is offered $200 to be sterilized, she is likely to jump at the opportunity. Such an important decision should not be made because a woman needs money, probably for drugs or alcohol anyway. To offer such an opportunity to these women should be criminalized. I’m not sure if I would criminalize some of the other behavior discussed, but I would definitely send that woman to jail.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Tonight I had the honor of listening to Marc Mauer of the Sentencing Project present this year's Reckless Lecture at the faculty club. He spoke about the current state of prisons, and the effect of the prison situation on offenders, on their families and communities, and on the larger society. The lecture itself was nothing all that new, but the message is very important. Unfortunately I would guess that most of the people listening already recognize the problems and for the most part agree with Mr. Mauer. Too bad the Ohio General Assembly wasn't present. I am surprised more attention isn't devoted to the collateral consequences of conviction. Last fall I did some research and discovered just how many jobs ex-felons are either partially or entirely barred from holding in Ohio. And in doing that research I found, unsurprisingly, that study after study finds that meaningful employment is the single greatest factor in preventing recidivism. The most frustrating thing about being excited by criminal justice policy issues is that no one seems to care about logic, let alone justice or mercy. |
 

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I splurged and spent the $9.95 for StatTracker, and it sure is worth it. I love my team so far. Scott Rolen is en fuego. And Pods is going to take me all the way on stolen bases alone. That is always my biggest strategy; everyone else worries more about other categories, so I am sure to draft players who will guarantee me points in stolen bases. It's too early to see how my pitching is going to work out, so I'm holding out hope that I will pick up some points there. |
 

Monday, April 12, 2004

Today is the journal open house. I promised to hang out in the office the whole time, so I hope people actually come. I remember going around to all the journals last year. The main question anyone asked was how many hours per week would be required, which of course now we all realize is a question that cannot be answered, even though last year we all thought they were being evasive. Last year I started in the criminal law journal office (it's first when you walk down the hall). They were very friendly and informal and seemed really excited about being part of their journal. Then I went to JDR where they were still fairly friendly, but seemed obsessed with convincing everyone that it was still beneficial to join JDR even if we weren't interested in dispute resolution. And lastly, I visited the Law Journal office. There, the atmosphere shifted, the conversation became formal, people were wearing suits, and the misery that you hear about could be felt closing in on you from all sides. My battle to choose journals last summer was stressful, but looking back, I could tell where I would be happiest from my 15 minute tour of the journals last spring. I hope the 1Ls today ask more questions than how many hours they will have to work, because there are so many other factors that are more important. And a year from now they will realize that. |
 

Sunday, April 11, 2004

I was just wondering, how many people have never cheated on a boyfriend or girlfriend, or been the other man or woman? And that question demands an answer to the apparently unanswerable question, what counts as cheating? Just wondering... |
 
Happy Easter! Last night was much better than I anticipated. Maybe they have mellowed with age or there were enough other people to deflect attention from me. I discovered I definitely wasn't imagining how bad it had been though. Two of the other girls there told me they had not brought their boyfriends for a long time because of how badly mine was tortured the last time I was there. And it wasn't just typical questioning of the boyfriend sort of stuff - they made him dig up the horseradish in the backyard while everyone stood around and laughed. But, there was no torture this year, so I should be grateful. Besides, it's Easter; there is every reason to be thankful today. |
 

Saturday, April 10, 2004

What does it mean when the little publishing arrows won't stop going back and forth??? |
 
I am currently trying to mentally prep myself for a night of religious turmoil and family induced torture. Tonight is my family's seder. For any Jewish readers, yes, I know it's the wrong night. Let me just point out that we often celebrate Hannukah in February because that's when my cousins from New England have spring break, so actually we are doing quite well. This (unlike Hannukah) will not even really be a family gathering. My father, step-mother, sister, and sister's girlfriend will be there. Other than that, there will be a random assortment of family friends, including the host who is a rude, drunk, mean, offensive man. Other than having to deal with him, I am dreading the inevitable religious persecution I will experience beginning in just over an hour.

Passover is all about deliverance from religious persecution. Okay, that's a slight simplification, but close enough. My family and the other people who will be at the seder tonight do not actually believe in God. But when you're Jewish, you don't necessarily have to, because Judaism is far more than a religion. What this means however is that throughout the evening, the gender of God will be changed when reading from the haggadah, political commentary will be frequent, and there will be far more instructions to "Drink!" than are actually included. Because I am a Christian, there will be interjections of "Is this offending you?" and "Oh, wait, she's a Christian." These sort of comments will increase exponentially as everyone drinks more. And they always make me read the wicked child passage. Also, although unrelated, everyone seems to feel the need to randomly yell out, "It would have been sufficient." Yes, this comes from the text; no, it doesn't relate to ANYTHING.

I have actually not been invited to Passover for the last several years. They invited me the first couple years after I became a Christian, and it turned out to be very unpleasant. Then I moved away, and it became a non-issue for a while. When I moved back to Columbus, I was just never invited. I figured I should go this year since they cared enough to invite me, but I am definitely apprehensive. My comfort will be that I will actually be thinking about the overarching religious meaning and particularly the Christian implications of Passover while they are harassing me. So I will be getting something out of it spiritually and I will know how much it would make them crazy if they knew what I was thinking. |
 
Scheduling: Done (mostly)
I got up at 7:30am this morning to be ready to register online precisely at 8:00. This was the first time OSU has offered online registration, and it went fairly smoothly. I am a little anxious about the fact that I can't see my position on the waitlist for the one class I really wanted - the prosecution practicum. I'm not overly optimistic about getting in, since it is such a small class, but anything can happen. The backup plan is to take negotiations. Does anyone have any thoughts on that? I hear it is an easy class. Do you learn much? Is it stressful (I saw how intense people were when we negotiated for employment law)? Is it useful? I am also still waiting to hear if I get a judicial externship or not. So my fall semester is still a little up in the air, but winter is set. In the fall in addition to the previous classes, I will definitely be taking criminal procedure-adjudication and law of cyberspace. I also might take civil rights. I have heard very conflicting things about powell. Any thoughts? Winter I'm taking sales, telecommunications law, white collar crime, trial practice, and legal professions. Both semesters I have Fridays off, and Thursday too in the fall if I don't get into the practicum. So even if I don't get everything I want, at least I get long weekends. |
 

Thursday, April 08, 2004

I just watched The World Premiere of the Spiderman 2 Trailer. It really didn't grab me, but maybe that's just because I'm not into the whole superhero thing. It seemed like they just kept saying things like, "There are things bigger than you and me" over and over. I'll probably only see it if some friend of mine really wants to and talks me into it.

I got some law school validation tonight, which was desperately needed. Not that I have any less stress now, but the small things will have to sustain me. I'm actually half way smiling, which is a major accomplishment lately.

I also had my very last SBA meeting today, which was a wonderful relief. Now I'm feeling tempted to be on some committee, but hopefully I will have enough sense to resist that feeling. If I start to write a letter of interest I just need to remember the very loud debates about issues that no one genuinely wants to resolve, and that we also have no power to resolve. Although I have to say we had an extremely productive meeting today resolving the extraordinarily important issue of precisely what should be printed on the three page (plus instructions, and one duplicate page) application for student groups to request funding from SBA. Honestly, I am glad we clarified the procedure and the factors to consider, because we had basically turned into the pizza party fund. It's just kind of ironic that this was probably our most productive act of the year.

Oh, and based on the first few days of the season, I am really pleased with Scott Podsednik. He was 4 for 5 tonight with a stolen base; I'll take that any day. I really need a pitcher who gets some Ks though. |
 

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I have no will power. I am already hooked on the new Bachelor. Even though I can already see that it isn't going to disappoint me as well. It got me thinking about what it would be like to date a professional athlete. If it was a professional baseball player it would be awesome because I would get to go to lots of games. That would be the biggest perk. I wouldn't really care about how much money he made, because I am quite confident that somehow money always takes care of itself, so that is the last thing to think about. Now, if it was any sport other than baseball, I'm not so sure what I would think. I wouldn't want to watch a million soccer games. I wonder if wives are realistically able to travel with their athlete husbands. Because I would not be willing to sit at home alone all the time. It would be weird not to be able to really have a career, but that would be better than not being able to be with my husband. Okay, I am thinking about this a little too much since I will never meet, let alone date or marry a professional athlete. Back to reality... |
 

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

I just spent the last hour and a half printing materials to pass out for my seminar presentation. That certainly doesn't mean I feel ready for the presentation Friday, but at least I am ready (except for excessive copying) to pass out the materials tomorrow. I have even started my paper, so I am feeling as good as possible. About that class anyway... I don't have a clue what I am supposed to know for employment law, and I know all too well what I should know, but don't, for evidence. But it's kind of like a play - it always comes together somehow.

I'm going to get called on soon in employment law. I hope I don't sound like a neo-fascist. (Apparently, it's a common problem in our class...) I think we will be talking about workers compensation when I'm on call. Workers comp is one of those areas where I actually get confused about what I think. Generally, I think that it is more beneficial for individuals to have a right to sue rather than be limited by some sort of regulatory scheme which usually is out of the individual's hands to enforce. In the case of workers compensation though, I think that overall more workers are helped by regulation than are hurt by the lack of a judicial remedy. It is just frustrating, because there are clearly areas where workers comp may not be sufficient. Fortunately there do appear to be fairly reasonable exceptions to workers comp being the exclusive remedy, at least in some states. One of the things that informs my opinion though, and makes me dislike the entire workers comp scheme, is my knowledge of the health insurance system. If someone gets hurt at work, the claim will almost certainly be processed as a workers comp claim. Then if the workers comp people deny it or the employer challenges it because it is not work related, etc., it will get sent to the individual's normal insurance company. That insurance company will then deny it because the injury occurred at work and should be paid by workers comp. And then the individual is screwed. And probably doesn't even know it, because the health care provider probably hasn't notified them and won't until they have already sent the bill to collections. So in the end, the individual is probably better off just paying the bill rather than wasting time and money fighting it, going to hearings, consulting attorneys, alienating the employer, and on and on and on. So, if I get called on, I'll just say, "I'm really not sure. I think that what the person in front said sounded right." |
 

Monday, April 05, 2004

The last two Average Joe series should have taught me my lesson. But no... How could Adam even consider Samantha? She dresses her dog. And he seemed appropriately disgusted by that. Also, I was not especially sympathetic to her decision to lie to his parents about her modeling/acting experience. If I were a man, I would marry Rachel. How could he do this? That's it, no more reality tv for me. Come on, the woman dresses her dog! |
 
I've decided it's my turn to share my thoughts on rankings. When I was deciding where to apply to law schools I looked at the rankings obsessively, but they were far from the decisive factor. After talking to a lot of attorneys, I decided to only apply to top 50 schools, because it was clear from what they told me that I would have far more opportunities if I went to a higher ranked school. Looking back, I am glad that I considered ranking, but that I did not give it undue weight.

From among the top 50, the first factor I considered was location, because I did not want to be miserable for 3 years living in the middle of nowhere. I also thought about where I wanted to end up, and considered what sort of reputation individual schools had in those areas. Then I eliminated any school that did not consider a student's financial status independently of the parents'. Next, I looked at faculty/student ratio and any other information I could find about interaction with faculty, because that was the most important quality I was looking for. Then I looked at size of the school, because I had an idea of what I thought would be the ideal size. I ended up applying to several schools throughout the top 50. My choice to attend Ohio State was ultimately based on location, price, and the feeling I got from the professors. So far I have not been disappointed.

I worried when I selected OSU that I would have certain opportunities closed to me because it was not ranked high enough. Now, with nearly two years of law school behind me, I think that was a valid concern. But I also think that Ohio State is where the most of my needs and desires in a law school could be met. And I never doubt that passion, dedication, hard work, and faith can make all things possible. I worry that people (students) who focus too much on rankings create unnecessary obstacles and close their minds to opportunities. Yes, employers may focus too much on rankings as well, but I think that as long as the student does not do so, the employer bias can be overcome, in one way or another. We need to have positive attitudes and believe that we can conquer the world.

Last week our dean sent out an email discussing OSU's ranking. I understand that she was trying to emphasize the positive growth OSU has experienced recently and encourage us not to take the rankings too seriously. But by her sending the email, for me at least, it only emphasized how much credence the school gives the rankings. We should all have a little more faith in our own capabilities and the quality of the education we are receiving, and the rankings will cease to matter quite so much. |
 
I am actually feeling somewhat revitalized. First, I got to watch 90210 this morning, which always puts me in a good mood. Then, I met with my independent study professor, and I don't have to start over. I have soooo much work to do still, but I'm heading in the right direction. I left all excited to get back to work on it. Evidence was painful today, but that will happen. Then I went to the coffee shop and worked on my paper and my seminar presentation. It was almost fun.

And, most importantly, IT'S OPENING DAY! Okay, really yesterday was, and some teams don't play until tomorrow, but as far as I'm concerned, it's today. Pudge and Podsednik are 2 for 5, with a homerun a piece, which is a nice start. I am so tempted to pay the $9.95 for live stat tracker. I have a few days to decide before they take away the free trial. |
 

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Do I really have to get up tomorrow? And go to school? And do things that are productive? I would so prefer to watch some 90210 and then sleep all day. Now that would make me happy. |
 

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Here are some random thoughts and updates.

I quit my job and Thursday was my last day. Just thinking about not having to go back makes me happy. Very happy.

I got my hair colored today. It's not very different, but hopefully now I won't find grey hairs all the time.

I turned in the third first draft of my paper. Monday I find out if I have to start over again.

That's about it. Nothing exciting, but nothing really bad either.
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Thursday, April 01, 2004

In response to the requests for scheduling advice, here is my very non-expert opinion. To start with, I have some general principles I adhere to. First, pick professors that you like (or think you will) over everything else. I personally cannot learn from professors I dislike personally or who have teaching styles I dislike. Second, choose classes that sound interesting. This is your very brief opportunity to learn; take advantage of it. Third, consider which classes you think will be useful in your career, in preparation for the bar, etc.

Now, OSU-specific advice. I will not, as has been requested by a couple of people, mention professors to avoid (although I have very strong opinions - email me). Here are the professors I recommend (in alphabetical order, so as to be fair). I recommend them for very different reasons though, so think about what you're looking for. There are many more professors who I have heard are good, but I don't want to comment on anyone who I have not actually had for class.

Brudney - Really smart (even by law school standards), demanding, engaging, entertaining, political...I really like him. And he encourages a lot of class discussion.
Dressler - Some people complain that he is arrogant, but I don't get this from him. He is highly organized and does not try to trick students - he makes what he is teaching very clear, so if you pay attention and read the assignments, you will learn and do well.
Enns - She seems dry, but really she's funny and interesting (even if she's a vegetarian) and really encouraging - can provide good real world perspective and advice.
Shane - High expectations, but very nice and kind of funny - definitely policy focused. Plus, everyone should take admin law to understand what goes on in the real world - it's not just common law anymore!
Simmons - He tries really hard, has great pictures on his slides, makes evidence as interesting as possible, and is quite good looking for a law professor. He has weekly online quizzes (which don't count toward your grade) to provide feedback, and gives 3 short writing assignments.
Swire - I adore him. He likes to encourage debate, is very policy oriented, and his DC background informs his teaching in a unique and wonderful way.
Travalio - He was the most demanding professor I have had in law school. This means I learned a LOT from him. It took 3 months for me not to be afraid of him, but I ended up wanting to take anything he offered.

So, good luck to everyone as you figure out what to take next year, and don't close me out of my classes! |
 
Brandon just emailed me...! :) My ecstatic reaction to a purely friendly email belies my claim of not caring. |