if justice is blind... Sua Sponte
My law school odyssey: three years, three time zones and beyond.


Howling aloud with laughter and clapping my hands: Justice Bedsworth's May column (okay, I'm a bit late on the uptake) includes a discussion of my first El-Dubyar memo topic. Memories!

thus spake /jca @ 9:12 PM...

Life on the outside is beautiful. You can spend all morning writing, in your jammies (note to self: must find summer-weight jammies), finally get to the gym at 3 pm, and then, on the way home, pick up your dry cleaning and get your second manicure in as many weeks. I'm still in search of the ideal manicurist; the one who did my nails in Florida airbrushed the white tips, but failed to properly address the cuticles, while the one here did a terrific job on the cuticles -- as well as patching my thumbnail, cracked at the gym -- but didn't quite understand that the point of a French manicure is to give the illusion of long and elegant nails. She painted half of each nail stark white. "A clown manicure," I remarked to my car.

I feel so spoiled. I can complain about manicures! I can get my clothes dry cleaned! I can return home from a workout and a manicure and indulge myself in a snackfest of edamame, strawberries the size of apples, and three-quarters of a bottle of Sekt, German champagne from Trader Joe's, while listening to Alanis Morrissette MP3s and pretending to write some more. I've decided not to take either of the eligible summer classes at the local law school. Instead, I'm going to have an agent-ready manuscript by the time my judicial externship starts at the end of June. Or maybe not. But I'll be close to one. Enough for a book proposal, anyways. Heck, I've got enough for a book proposal already just in this blog.


thus spake /jca @ 6:38 PM...


There is a page on my school's website that lists the classes for which grades have already been posted, by date. I found this page almost by accident, and now it tickles to think about it.

But I'm not going to check it today. Or tomorrow. Or anytime before Monday at least. The deadline for posting grades is June 9, and I don't need to think about them until then. And won't. Won't.

I refuse to worry. I'm having too much fun not worrying.

thus spake /jca @ 9:23 PM...


See this?

This is called nothing left to worry about.

It was glorious, marching into the adorable post office in Glen Echo, Maryland with the ten-ton envelope in hand. It was glorious to fill out the certified-mail forms. It was glorious to pay $9.80 to ship the thing to California, even though I planned to fly back there scant few hours later. (Did you know that, since 9/11, you can't mail a parcel at a U.S. post office with an out-of-state return address? I didn't.) But it was well beyond glorious to walk out of the post office, emptyhanded in victory except for that little green receipt. It was done. I made the deadline. I tainted yet another trip to Florida with the burdens of law school, marred what would otherwise have been a quite pleasant series of plane flights (lots of upgrades!) with a lapful of cases and a highlighter, but I did it. I entered the writing competition. I am now in contention for membership on a law journal at my school, possibly even the principal law review.

We seem to be reasonably unique in this: the writing competition is mandatory for anyone seeking a seat on any journal, not just the biggie. Elsewhere, I think, you can volunteer your way onto any topical journal, official or non; it's only the school's major law review that holds such a competition as this. At my school, meanwhile, there are six journals (not including the newest one, as yet unofficial): big brother Law Review and five younger, topical, less Presteeeeegeous siblings. To work on any one of these, you need to compete. And so we do. I applied to four: Big Brother (because you must), a topical journal which absent the Presteeeeege factor would be my first choice overall, and two other siblings that could be entertaining as well. Results should come back mid-August.

Meanwhile, I'm back home, doing laundry, running errands, crossing things off my to-do list at my leisure. In my ten-day absence my husband seems to have adopted my car. "Mine needs gas," he tells me by way of excuse, and yet no gas has been purchased for it in weeks, although he did fill up my tank yesterday. One of these days I'm going to prevail on him to sell the thing; cars should not go unloved, particularly when their fellow cars are members of the family. Either that, or I'm going to get a real stereo for it and convert it to my late-night moot court practice commute car.

Moot court and law review are not quite mutually exclusive. At least I hope they're not. Moot court lacks Presteeeeege, that elusive quality that magically transforms one's resume into the apparent equivalent of better luck a year ago. And yet it would absolutely break my heart to renounce the one aspect of law school that I actually enjoyed in favor of one whose main allure is peer pressure. *sigh*.

Mid-August. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

thus spake /jca @ 11:26 AM...


I did it! I managed to go a whole week without blogging. When I wasn't out at the barn, I was in here working on that law review competition (about which I have a great many uncomplimentary things to say, none of which should be publicly attributed to me) or out in the great room falling asleep on the couch. In fact, I fell asleep at the barn a few times too. It's tough not to when it's 96 degrees out and 94% humidity. No matter how much water you force yourself to drink, you're basically stuck in heat-exhaustion mode unless you live here. I'm not sure how Floridians do it. My mother is twice my age and flits about the barn with an almost manic energy, hauling manure with the same gusto with which she rides her horse Ernie. And I can barely hold my head up to watch. 'Course, maybe it's also the semester's stress draining out from me and leaving me limp.

"You're decompressing," Mom tells me when I complain that I'm still, for some stupid reason, having nightmares about my Contracts exam. Not the grade, the exam itself. I dreamed once that I showed up to take the exam but had already sold back my casebook and couldn't find my outline. Another time I was running through the classroom building, desperately in search of the exam room, which was on a different floor every time I checked.

The more I think about it, the less likely I am to take a full class this summer. I have two realistic options at our local law school: Copyright, which interests me and may never fit my schedule during the year, and Crim Pro, which is a bar course for which I'd love to get a grade that didn't count towards my GPA. And yet, based on how much fun it was to stick myself to the writing competition, I think I might just be better off not forcing myself to do any more of that kind of work this summer. Of course, this may change a week from now when the registration deadline approaches.

I'm off to Maryland this afternoon, where it is presumably cooler, to attend a Bat Mitzvah. Blogging should resume apace by Tuesday, when I return home to the other coast. Happy Memorial Day!

thus spake /jca @ 6:33 AM...


The law review writing competition packet is a paltry 49 pages, which still didn't stop Kinko's from attempting to charge me $26.70 to print it. Keeping in mind that I'm doing this solely as a lark, I turned around and went back home: anything over $20 for anything except postage is too much of an investment at this point. Fortunately, my husband has offered to churn me out a copy on one of the high-speed laser printers in his office. It's a bench memo for a criminal case with evidence issues, which if nothing else should at least be good practice for the work I'll be doing later this summer.

My flight to Florida leaves at 2 pm today. I should have ample time to read these 49 pages and get started on my first draft, provided that I actually stick myself to doing it. I'm getting so comfortable being on vacation; this almost feels like poking an old bruise compared to the relief of doing nothing law-related at all. But as everyone and their brother keeps telling me, this is important, and everyone and their brother can't be wrong, n'est-ce pas?

[takes deep breath]
[dives back in]

thus spake /jca @ 9:52 AM...


G R E E T I N G S Capricorn

This is the day you get to take stock of what you've been working toward. When you go over the checklist, you are absolutely delighted to learn that everything you hoped for is starting to come true. If you're in the mood to celebrate, seek out the people who can really understand what all this means to you. The time has come to look back at your hardships and laugh at them. It's only a matter of time before the whole world knows your value.

thus spake /jca @ 9:01 PM...

Just got home from a special Wednesday night premiere of the Matrix. When it's past midnight Eastern time, folks, it's past midnight everywhere as far as movies are concerned. Ahh, California!

Go see it. I recommend two margaritas beforehand.

thus spake /jca @ 1:35 AM...


I am high, drunk, spaced-out on empty expanses of time unburdened by responsibility. "I don't have to do anything," I gushed to my husband this morning. "I can do whatever I want."

"Could you clean the chinchilla cage, then?" he said.

I probably should clean the chinchilla cage. In fact, my to-do list takes up almost a full page in my scratchbook. But none of it's pressing, nothing's a burden, all of it can wait as long as I feel like. (Except the law review writing competition, of course, but that doesn't even start until Friday anyway.) I could clean the chinchilla cage, take down the trash, do the laundry, clean out my inbox and book some more travel plans and organize all the bank statements...or I could put it all off with impunity.

Freedom is juicy like a plum.

I went to the gym this morning, and round about 300 calories when I felt myself getting tired, I realized with a grin that I didn't have to push myself. No more how-much-can-you-stand-it endurance testing; I now know exactly how much I can stand. I stepped off the elliptical trainer and practically skipped back out to my car. Ah, the load off! The load off!

There is nothing I have to do now, but so much I can do. The gym advertised a kickboxing class, and I thought: I can take kickboxing! There is so much I can take! Kickboxing, aikido, tai chi, hatha Yoga. Cello lessons again. Voice lessons again. Latin, Japanese, Arabic. Dressage riding. Poetry seminars. Crim Pro or Copyright summer courses, if I feel like it. Anything, if I feel like it.

When did my life become such a treasure? Suddenly it's summer, and California is beautiful: not just Mendocino, but even the normally-dingy part where I live. The sun is brilliant, the weather is clear and warming up, and I have time, to do errands and drink pearl tea and go shopping. I need something springy and dressy anyway, for the bat mitzvah in DC I'll be attending a week from Saturday. I can drift around our terrific local open-air mall, wander into Bloomingdale's or Ann Taylor or Talbots, and just gaze at what they're offering this season. No pressure, no rush. No commitments. Well, one: I promised my car that I'd get her washed today. She hasn't had a bath since going offroading in Mendocino in March, and she's earned one.

I owe debts of gratitude to so many of my steadfast chattels that could easily have sputtered, died, and screwed me over, but didn't. My car reliably trundled me to the train station such that I never missed my train, and on more than one occasion took me all the way to The City, bless her. The appliances in my apartment kindly remained fully functional throughout the semester. But the MVP has got to be my venerable old Sony laptop, which survived floppy drive issues, a burnt-out pixel that has turned permanently blue, and interminable kicking-about in my pullman bag as my indispensable (yes, 19(b) indispensable) sidekick through two of the nastiest semesters any inanimate object (or person) should ever have to suffer. I used to want to upgrade; now I'm wondering how much longer I can make this baby last.

Speaking of which, why am I still sitting here typing? I have time not to type. It's sunny and breezy and I'm getting a facial this afternoon. Salute!

thus spake /jca @ 2:49 PM...



It's done.
It's done.
It's done.
It's over.

"It's over," the proctor told us at noon. "You can cheer now." We all blinked stupidly at her for a few seconds, until B. shouted out: "Way to go, Section 5!" And that did it. We gave ourselves a round of applause.

"I have never felt so bad handing in an exam," R. told me.

"That just sucked," I agreed. I have no idea how it went. Thanks in no small part to the influx of positive energy, at least last night's panic didn't get in my way; still, I haven't a clue how many issues I missed, and have less than no desire to wonder at this point.

"Let's do one last group lunch," suggested J. from my study group.

"Oooh, yeah," I said. "But first let me dump my books."

After each exam, I jettisoned the casebook and supplements from that course in my basement locker. I now went down to reclaim this stack of literature, realizing as I did that I was leaving my locker completely empty. On a whim, I took my lock off and clamped it onto my borrowed-from-husband backpack. If the news comes back bad, I'm prepared...and if it comes back good, I'm prepared. And if it comes back neither, the lock will still be handy come August.

"That book is worth nothing," the bookstore buyback guy told me, looking down his nose at Civil Procedure in California. "I knew it!" I hollered back. He hardly flinched. I was a bit wild-eyed by then, but didn't realize quite *how* wild-eyed until the guy got to my Contracts casebook. "We're not taking this," he told me, handing me back my casebook. "Yes you are," I said, pushing the book back towards him. "No," he insisted, handing it back to me again and nodding towards a large mail cart to our left which contained a goodly number of abandoned casebooks.

"Ah," I said, and took aim. The gusto with which I flung my casebook into the cart prompted S. and I., behind me in line, to giggle. I grinned in some satisfaction, and when the bookstore wouldn't buy my Restatement, I spun around and slam-dunked it into the mail cart. This time S. and I. flinched at the look on my face, which had gone beyond wild-eyed to furious. "Bit of pent-up aggression there?" S. teased me. "You have no idea," I told him.

Everything on my law shelf (minus my Gilberts supplements and Glannon on Civ Pro, which I'm keeping since they could be useful some day), cashed in, amounted to $83. As far as expectation damages go, that's pretty piss-poor. Still, it was money in my pocket as I ventured back out into the astonishing sunlight.

We lunched at Chevy's and toasted with a pitcher of margaritas: "Here's to the best study group in Section 5," I pronounced, "long may we litigate!" We polished off another pitcher before disbanding to go our separate ways, promising to stay in touch over the summer. I still don't think any of them read my blog. That's probably OK.

I meandered down to MUNI, popped in my last token, and got on the N-Judah as usual...except that, instead of heading towards Caltrain, I rode the outbound line. Nearly an hour later, I was crossing a road called La Playa to find myself face to face with the Pacific Ocean.

DANGEROUS WAVES! read a sign.

Don't go in the water, Bill Logan had warned me. It's dangerous at Ocean Beach.

But it wasn't; it was the serenest I'd ever seen the otherwise-misnamed Pacific. Rather than crashing in one after another, the waves faded in and out over each other in no real succession, glassing over large stretches of smooth muddy sand. Ocean-fresh fog veiled the sky and cast a quiet over the scene, much the way falling snow does. The beach was near-deserted, the tide was low. Just me, the birds, the dampered lather of the ocean and a multitude of sand dollars.

Few things are as perfect -- so round, so detailed, so delicate -- as an unbroken sand dollar. I picked up at least a dozen, and there were hundreds more that were broken but still nifty. Several large brown sea gulls watched me flirt with the thin slow-moving waves (the whole sand dollars were more likely to be down by the water than up in the dry sand), standing still and staring at me with mild interest. You look almost like an albatross, I told one of them, but you're not.

I had several miniature bottles of various things alcoholic stowed in the backpack, but wasn't inclined to do shots. Instead, I chose one: a bottle of amaro, Italian for "bitter." Bitter it was, but textured. So was law school. So was this year. I polished off the bottle and tasted the taste in my mouth for another twenty minutes. These things take time to wear off.

On the train home, for closure, I queued up The Swan. I did this for a whole damned year, I thought silently as the sunlit bay flashed by outside the windows (over on the bay side of the peninsula, it was still astonishingly sunny), and now it's over.

It's over.
It's over.
This should sink in soon.

thus spake /jca @ 10:05 PM...

Last night at about ten-thirty, I shut off the light in my room at the Abigail and settled back into bed. And then about the worst possible thing happened.

I had a night terror -- one of those terrifying insomniac panic attacks that I thought had stopped bothering me in college.

For at least three hours I couldn't sleep; my heart thudded in time with the really annoying bass line blasting in from a nearby room. People seemed to be stomping up and down stairs, slamming doors, yelling, coughing, and otherwise making a ruckus all around me. At midnight I had some vodka. At one-thirty I put in my earplugs and managed to release some tension by crying a little. I must have managed to doze off, only because I saw the the binder clip fall off my outline and all the pages go flying around the room (including into the toilet); by the time I pulled it back together it was apparently 9 AM and the exam had already started. This was clearly a dream, therefore I had to have been asleep. Although I couldn't tell you how much rest I actually got.

The terror never quite passed; there's still a hard thrumming nugget of it stuck right between my lungs. I'm doing my best to breathe it out.

In a few minutes I'm going to pop out my Wi-Fi card, pop in my floppy, and kick up my exam software. Contracts starts in about twenty minutes and goes for three and a half hours. It could scare me per se if I let it, even if I weren't recovering from a panic attack. Please send me all the support you can spare, for the next four hours, starting now. Thank you so much. Thank you.

It will be over so soon...

thus spake /jca @ 8:15 AM...


Have I mentioned what a bad idea it is to do Professor Contracts' exams while sleep-deprived? I think I want to cry.

I think it's time to take a break, go next door and check in to the Abigail.

thus spake /jca @ 4:42 PM...

Plugging away at practice exams on four and a half hours of sleep; since I'll be spending tonight at the Abigail and my elderly laptop doesn't run Visio 2000, I had to get all the flowcharts done before I took the train into The City this morning. I've got five, or six, or some large number of pages floating around that are proving to be reasonably helpful. I just need to get back in Professor Contracts exam mode: talk, talk, talk, just go on at length on anything, write entire paragraphs about defenses that don't apply, etc. If I can somehow retain the mojo that mysteriously graced my midterm in December, this will be the highlight of my year. Oh, Contracts, Contracts, speak to me, baby.

Call me
Call me
Call me
Unconscionable too

In other news, one of my friends and longtime studygroupmates seemed to be giving off a strange vibe this morning. She sat down next to me at Professor Contracts' review session, and I had an odd thought: She almost looks pregnant. But being far from trim-waisted myself, and knowing how much fun it is to be reminded of same, I thought better of saying anything.

I didn't need to. "I have some news that's not about Contracts," she told us afterward as we clustered in one of the private weenie-bin study rooms. "I have a bun in the oven."

We were all floored. I hugged her with tears in my eyes; several other studygroupmates did likewise. She's joked about dropping out of school to have a baby before; but then again, most of us (women) have. This, she tells us, was completely coincidental to any such fantasy -- it was an oops. Moreover, the dropping-out part of the plan appears to have been scrapped. "I'm not planning on taking any time off," she said, "but it does help that I don't have any finals next semester." She planned that on purpose, it turns out. Of course we all tried to plan it; but her purpose was a bit more concrete than our general distaste for exams.


Must. Focus. Contracts, yes.

thus spake /jca @ 2:25 PM...


The Zone. It's the place where your second wind carries you, where you're running on nothing but momentum and adrenaline. "Why bother stopping now?" you hear yourself say. "Might as well keep going." It's a place where obsessive tendencies can all too easily thrive.

I spent an hour and a half at the gym this morning, burned 500 calories, and realized as I left that I was shivering and my skin was clammy. That's not supposed to happen.

I fear I've lost my sense of my own limitations.

Maybe that's a good thing.

thus spake /jca @ 1:19 PM...

About a week ago, Lexis Nexis stopped incrementing my loyalty points. Does anyone know if they plan to start back up any time before the fall semester begins?

thus spake /jca @ 10:26 AM...


It's finished, it's finished, it's twenty-two pages long and it feels reasonably complete. Remember when anything over twenty pages felt long? Now, with my record at 42 pages, a 22-pager impresses me by its sheer economy. This is the slimmest, most efficient outline I've done this semester. Almost makes me worry that I missed something.

thus spake /jca @ 10:47 PM...

Microsoft Exasperation (tm) of the moment: when, every time you save your Word document, the file size increases by another 300K or so.

Why does it do this? My Contracts outline, midway through expectation damages, is a scant twenty pages and has no excuse whatsoever for being 1.1 MB.

It is a gorgeous clear day out, with a fine fresh breeze wafting through my living room and over the couch where I am still sitting, still working. Apparently annoyed by this, Word seems to be slowing things down, fattening helpless files at random, and otherwise flirting with the idea of crashing my laptop outright -- something which would be kind of inappropriate at the moment.

Maybe it's just feeling as sulky, fed-up and petulant as I am right now.

thus spake /jca @ 7:20 PM...


I'm going stir crazy. Too many consecutive hours on this couch, too much Contracts left between me and the end of the outline. I'm about up to spring break, and have given up all hope of finishing the thing tonight.

The only food in our refrigerator right now is a piece of smoked mahi-mahi and two packets of instant udon. Everything else is either a drink or a condiment. Fortunately, we have no shortage of drinks. Unfortunately, I still need to work tonight.

My Chi candle has burned almost halfway down.

"Ugh - i am SO TIRED of studying," emails J. from my study group.

"I am seriously having a hard time doing anything," replies C.

"I feel I am about to anticipatorily repudiate this class," adds D.

I send out an email in response: "Glad to hear I'm not alone."

thus spake /jca @ 10:27 PM...

Can someone explain to me why "rescission" is spelled with a double-S? Shouldn't it be rescind --> rescision?

thus spake /jca @ 5:26 PM...

I'm starting to resent the fact that the law review writing competition kicks off a week from today. It's going to take every last ounce of juice I can muster to get myself keyed and focused on Contracts. I'll be lucky indeed if there's anything left afterward except brain salad, unlimited exhaustion and a hangover.

At least everyone else is in the same boat.

Ah, remember when that used to be consoling? And didn't imply that you were more screwed than you already feared?

thus spake /jca @ 9:59 AM...


Well, that happened.

I didn't freak out during the exam. I didn't even really freak out after the exam. But it didn't particularly help to hear C., high on a post-exam dim sum binge, remark: "In the middle of the exam I just had a moment where I thought, you know what? I'm perfectly OK with a C+ on this." Because I'm still not, even on a stomach full of dim sum.

I did what I could. I did all I could. I stayed calm, consulted the outline, consulted the checklists, and did all I could. It's out of my hands now. All that's left to do is pray, have a drink, and finally go see X-Men United. And then hunker down to four days of hard-core Contracts.

But that shouldn't be a problem. Contracts, I've done before. Edie, I'll never have to do again. Works for me.

thus spake /jca @ 4:46 PM...



I've got three sweet pages of checklist, a solid outline, and plenty of time left to practice this evening. I have no further reason to freak out. Therefore, I will stop freaking out. In fact, I already have. Ipse dixit.

I'm going to go now, go and pick up a burrito and one of those little fourpacks of miniature wine bottles before I catch the northbound train. I'm going to thumb-index my outline on the way up to The City. Maybe I'll do another practice exam. Maybe I'll take a nap, if I can. I am, of course, restricted to one of those little wine bottles on the night before an exam; the remainder will stay in my locker until after Contracts. Or maybe I'll have one after the exam tomorrow, if it winds up kicking my butt. Of course, it may not. No reason to worry about it or anything.

Please think all kinds of good calm thoughts -- tropical island beaches, forests in winter, tea ceremonies and zen gardens -- in my general direction from 8:30 to noon tomorrow. Your support is extraordinarily appreciated.

thus spake /jca @ 5:27 PM...

Must. Fight. The Fear.

We originally had a study group date scheduled for this morning; one by one, in the wee hours of last night, people started to opt out. The sad truth was that none of us felt prepared to answer a question. I've done one since then, and am not disgusted with the result, but I'm still just so damn freaked-out about this whole deal that I'm starting to physicalize it. Neck muscles like coaxial cable, stomach full of lava. Phantom hunger and waves of thirst. Hot chills. The apparent need to go to the bathroom every twenty minutes or so.

Ambient music: "Cello for Relaxation," a CD I bought myself as a prize for making the Moot Court team. (My answer to the "How do you manage stress?" question on the application: "I meditate and listen to cello music." This purchase naturally followed.)

I should do some yoga.

thus spake /jca @ 3:08 PM...

Suddenly Edie has become one of the scariest exam preparation experiences I've had so far in law school.

This is Professor Edie's first time teaching the class; obviously, no old exams of his are available for practice. He thoughtfully recommended a selection of practice exam questions from previous Edie professors, which should at least be useful to bone up on how an Edie question actually gets answered (even if the questions at issue are easier ones than Professor Edie is known to pose). The only problem is that none of these old exams is furnished with an answer.

This was the problem I had with Torts last semester: I did an astonishing number of practice exams, on which I apparently taught myself to make the same mistake consistently. One good A answer would have straightened me out. None were provided, and I wound up paying the price in my grade. And Professor Torts was reputed to be a generous grader. Professor Edie shares no such reputation.

I've also come to rely on student answers as teaching tools -- not so much for the material, although they can be helpful there too, as for test-taking techniques. What do Edie professors want to hear? In what order, and to what extent? What facts flag which particular issues? It gives me the jitters that I still don't know, have no real way of finding out, and the exam is tomorrow.

The good news is that we're all in the same boat. Or maybe that's the bad news.

UPDATE: Turns out we're not utterly without sample answers, for what it's worth; three questions include them. Still, I really need to calm down...this is entirely too unnerving...

thus spake /jca @ 11:28 AM...


Edie outline is done! Not a moment too soon. Two days in between exams is simply not enough time to prepare, particularly when you haven't even finished outlining for the upcoming exam until one of the two days has already elapsed.

The beast is 42 pages long, which I think is a new record for me. Much of it is policy. Most of it is probably useless on the exam. Still, as with all of my big honking huge outlines, I'll be glad I included all the obscure policy butterfat should the need arise to cite to it.

Problem is, I still don't feel as though I actually know the law enough to issue-spot.

No one seems to. Rather, everyone knows the basic black-letter law -- of which there isn't really very much -- just enough to worry about where Professor Edie is going to go with it. He's such a sweet guy, such a clear professor, with no overweening political agenda and an apparently genuine interest in actually teaching us something. He also has managed to earn the sobriquet "The Killer" due both to the reputed difficulty of his exams and the documented harshness of his grading. Between the astronomical number of class-hours we whiled away in rambling policy discussions (and, I'll confess, games of Snood), and the paucity of complex hardcore rules to play with, no one's quite sure how this exam is going to bludgeon us all to pulp. But we're nervous nonetheless.

Tomorrow, which will be spent entirely on study group and practice exams, will hopefully help.

thus spake /jca @ 11:26 PM...

A funny from my Edie casebook:

We find greater merit in the district judge's third ground, that "sick bitch" -- and, we add, the other verbal abuse, and the obscene gesture, that Bullock directed toward Galloway -- was, in context, not a sex- or gender-related term.

[Judge Posner's etymology of the word "bitch" is omitted.]

I think I might just miss this class.

thus spake /jca @ 7:27 PM...


One week from today this will all be over.

One week to the minute from right now, I will hopefully be stumbling around Ocean Beach in drunken bliss, searching for sand dollars.

[checks clock]

Actually, by six o'clock, I'll probably have finished my beachcombing jaunt and already be home. The drunken bliss, of course, will be sustained as long as possible without treading into hangover territory.

Seven days was all she wrote.

thus spake /jca @ 6:00 PM...

Decision time: trek up to the City for Professor Edie's review session at noon...or spend the rest of the day finishing my outline and go to his office hours tomorrow? (They start at 9:30, which would mean the sunrise train, after I told myself I'd never take it again.)

OTOH after the outline's done, at least I'll have something to talk about.

Still, it's tough to say no to a review session. There remains a ray of optimism among first-year students at my school: maybe this will be the revelation, the one magic moment where everything comes together and makes perfect sense. And with that feeling comes the companion paranoia: you don't want to miss an opportunity for things to be clearer, every little bit helps, etc. Of course, this being [school name], there's also the danger that the session will be mobbed by other people whose only mission in life is to beat you on the exam.

UPDATE: I wound up going. *sigh*.

thus spake /jca @ 10:00 AM...


No more Property! No More Property! NO!! MORE!! PROPERTY!!!!

I had a brief encounter with the fear this morning (*huge wash of gratitude for all the support!*), and, while it passed, I'm still having difficulty right now internalizing the fact that Property is over. It's over. No more relativity of title. No more takings. No more covenants running with the land (I wound up not using the Gilberts estimation, incidentally). No more frickin' Rule Against Perpetuities. No more watching Professor Property berate those poor souls who still bother to raise their hands, or fawn over the folks who rhapsodized about legal revolution.

I should be riding a wave right now. And yet I'm mostly just tired.

Not crushed, not borderline depressive, not anything nasty like last semester. I feel rather like I'm leaving the gym. Good workout. Now I could use a shower and a nap. The test itself was unpleasant, but not unprecedented given the number of practice exams I did yesterday. No panic. Slight difficulty focusing every so often when things just got too dense, but I stayed in control and managed to finish with enough time left to review my answers. They looked passable. It's anyone's guess whether they actually are. It's not worth wondering, right now.

I'm meeting up with some old friends for dinner and drinks, which should help revivify me nicely. They're running late, which in turn gives me some time to get more work done on my Edie outline. Edie is in two days. I should probably worry or something.

Nah. I just need a glass of wine and a good night's rest; tomorrow, as with any good workout, my energy should come right back.

thus spake /jca @ 5:39 PM...

Churning this morning. I'm afraid I'm going to run out of time on this exam, afraid I'm going to miss things.

Please send waves.

thus spake /jca @ 9:40 AM...


Too many hours spent on Property practice exams can turn an otherwise congenial, upbeat person into a burnt-out bitter zombie with a migraine and persistent nausea. I might be able to do one more question tonight; then again, it's not yet 9 pm and I could just as easily blink once and find myself in REM sleep. I know I complained at Professor Civ Pro's parsimony in sharing old exams; Professor Property is far more generous, which turns out to be less of a virtue than I thought. If I didn't still have two exams waiting to be taken, I wouldn't feel so bad about taking a break.

Of course, if I do take a break, I should spend the time making more progress on my as-yet-incomplete Edie outline.

[considers this]

Nope, can't do that either.

All right. A few glasses of water, maybe a piece of chocolate, and one more practice exam tonight. I can do that.

thus spake /jca @ 9:13 PM...

I've switched from stress relief candles to a different school of thought. The candle now burning on my coffee table is not designed to relax, but to inspire: "Chi -- Vital Energy," its label boasts. "Grapefruit, Ginger & Verbena." Just what I need to power me through the remaining five (aaaaarrrgghhh) practice Property exams between here and the real thing tomorrow at 1:30 pm.

Once again, I'm thankful for afternoon exams, particularly open-book ones. I plan to spend the train ride staying calm and thumb-indexing my documentation: my outline, my policy notes, maybe even a few key pages in my casebook. My husband tells me that my checklists should be sufficiently solid to obviate consultation of anything else. They're nice, to be sure, but you never know when the professor will be in the mood to pull something nasty. I'd rather be glad I covered my backside than overconfident.

(Worst trick seen so far on an exam: giving three principal characters virtually identical names with completely identical initials. Professors: PLEASE don't do this!)

thus spake /jca @ 3:23 PM...



I am unbelievably ready to be done with Property. The material itself is starting to make me angry, hair-tearing and booze-chugging angry. It is a quarter to midnight and I am working on my gott-damned common ownership flowchart (is there a lease implied in fact? does the lease sever the joint tenancy? does the lease survive death? and what about the statute of frauds?) and I am not allowed to go to sleep until I figure out, and internalize, the difference between an easement by estoppel and a constructive trust.

I am in this to learn the law. The exam can rot in hell.

current theme song

thus spake /jca @ 11:41 PM...

Seeking advice on keeping one's energy up. These marathon fact patterns are just sapping mine, and I haven't even gotten to the policy questions yet.

thus spake /jca @ 5:52 PM...


K. decided that we needed to stop on our way up to The City to pick up some munchies from Whole Foods. ("We", lately, consists of a carpool of K., C., me, and K.'s large dog, who comes along for the ride.) We snagged the standard hummus, sesame blue corn chips, rice crackers, Ry Krisp and guacamole, along with a bottle of lemonade for good measure, then ducked into Peet's Coffee for a caffeine spike. C. and I both ordered chai; I probably should have paid better attention when C. took a sip of hers and immediately threw the rest away. "That's awful," she said. "Bitter. The soy milk must be bad or something."

I took a sip of mine, in which I had forgotten to request soy milk, and had the same problem. "It's not the milk, it's the tea," I said. "It's just nasty." But instead of doing the smart thing -- kissing my $3 goodbye and just tossing the drink -- I added some honey and Sugar in the Raw to cut the bitterness, then wound up drinking the entire cup. And now I'm nauseous as heck. Maybe I'll take a study break in an hour or so and toss my cookies. It wouldn't be inappropriate.

The caffeine turned out to be necessary, though: we spent our entire three-hour study group session on the one massive four-part issue spotter from last year's Property exam. These things are not for the faint of heart; Professor Property has all but admitted that they're designed to trigger panic attacks. "I make my exams difficult," she said, "but I grade them generously." Hopefully the latter is as true as the former. We'll have to take her word for it.

Two people did not survive until the end of the study group session. L. succumbed to the panic while we were puzzling through the ambiguous conveyance analysis: "I just need to get back into my own space," she said without confidence as she packed up and left. We could all identify. S. toughed it out through the takings section, but finally hit the wall as D. and I argued over the test for abolition of a core property right. "I'm so sorry I'm so lame today," she stammered. "I'm so sorry." She was not lame today, we told her; she went home anyway. Once the fear infects you, there's nothing you can do but detox.

Fortunately the fear did not infect me. I just need to practice, practice, practice Property exams. These five-page, four-part, nasty rambling fact patterns are fundamentally formulaic once you get used to them. There's always a taking, always an adverse possession issue, always an ambiguous conveyance whose analysis involves both the RAP and a covenant. There are a finite number of rules that we've covered. If I can get them all to fit together, get my time spent issue-spotting down under a half hour, it will help. And Professor Property's policy questions all have a "correct" answer; it's simply a matter of making the law fit it, which should be an entertaining exercise in contrarianism for me -- but eminently doable, with practice.


Off to practice.

thus spake /jca @ 3:07 PM...


A quick property question, for those up to the occasion:

My notes, my outline, and a handout from Professor Property all conclude that, for the benefit of a covenant to run with the land at law, one must show ownership of the land, intent of the grantor, and vertical privity of estate. My Gilberts supplement, meanwhile, insists that the three tickoff items are grantor's intent, "some form of privity of estate" and the touch-and-concern requirement as well.

Which is correct?

thus spake /jca @ 3:59 PM...

These, I guess, are the basic questions I'm considering right now:

Moot court team + law review = worthwhile by general consensus, if I can manage the time commitment...

~ but ~

Moot court team + non-law-review official journal = worthwhile?

~ or ~

(Moot court team + non-law-review official journal) > (moot court team + unofficial journal)?

(Moot court team + unofficial journal) > moot court team alone?

* and yet I'd like to have as many options as possible.

thus spake /jca @ 11:27 AM...


Interesting...the competition seems to be undersubscribed this year:

Subject: Deadline extended for Inter-Journal Writing Competition registration

Just in case those darn old finals distracted you . . .

The deadline for registering for the Inter-Journal Writing Competition has been extended to Monday, May 5, 3:30 p.m.

Stop by the Scholarly Publications Office to pick up a registration packet. Then bring the Registration Slip on the packet's last page (with your name and student identification number written on it) to the Records Office by 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 5.

The Inter-Journal Writing Competition starts on May 16, and ends on May 27, 2003.

I signed up last week, but have to wonder why they would be extending the deadline from today until Monday. Could they really be suffering from a dearth of applications?

thus spake /jca @ 8:52 PM...

The more I think about the Civ Pro exam, the more I get scared that I actually did blow it. I've been valiantly trying not to think about it at all, but nasty little flashes of "Hey, you forgot to ______!" have been interrupting my concentration all morning. I need to just dive into my Edie outline, finish it today, and then start to crank on Property. Civ Pro is over. "It's in God's hands now," I said to I. as we packed up our laptops yesterday. "I don't know if I'd go that far," she replied. "Okay," I revised, "it's in Professor Civ Pro's hands now." Anyway, it's out of mine.

I've just done something that might turn out to be rather stupid: I booked a flight to Florida leaving on May 16, a.k.a. the first day of my school's interjournal writing competition. I'll stay by my mother and the horsies for a week, then fly up to Washington D.C. for a bat mitzvah [1], then finally return home to California on May 27, a.k.a. the last day of my school's interjournal writing competition. I signed up to enter the competition, but really have no major stake in getting on a journal:

- my usual luck in legal writing isn't such that I'm likely to make it onto the official law review;
- the five other journals apparently don't get the respect that law review does among employers;
- if merely having a journal on the resume at all is a tickoff item for employers, I've got that already in my unofficial journal -- which comes with its own story;
- Moot Court competition is reputed to take up all the time you have and much that you don't;
- I would much rather spend 150 hours working the kinks out of a sweet oral argument than cite-checking;
- I'm not sure I have 150 hours to spare for a journal anyway, even though maybe half of those hours are allegedly spent partying.

On the other hand, the journals -- with the exception of the main law review, where everyone takes themselves über-seriously -- all seem to be laid-back social organizations, and the note you write for your journal in the spring of your second year satisfies your graduation writing requirement. It would be neat to work on the communications law journal, to befriend like-minded folks I haven't yet met, to write my note on Internet law rather than flailing about the shallow course catalog in search of a writing-requirement seminar I could force myself to care about. There was one woman this year that I know of who did both Moot Court and a journal; she won her Moot Court competition, too, so she must have done something right. Maybe it's workable.

At any rate, I'll probably be bringing my laptop and ALWD handbook along to Florida, which would be supremely ironic on a trip which was supposed to represent the official sloughing-off of my 1L skin. Then again, it would just be typical of law school to permit no such thing.

[1] Waddling Thunder: will you be in town? Drop me an email.

thus spake /jca @ 9:37 AM...

more final thoughts...

sua sponte
transferring law schools
on the moblog
the short list
otherwise of note
recurring themes
fellow travelers
other blawgs