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


Without publicly airing too much dirty laundry or recent events, I have some real personal counsel for people considering law school.

Apply everywhere in your likelihood range, which is wider than you think when you discard limitations like cost and geography. Then go to the absolute best school you can. Even if it means moving, throwing away your givens, going into debt, changing your master plans. Apply to the widest range of schools you can, and do not go anywhere except the best school that takes you.

[/public service announcement]

thus spake /jca @ 5:57 PM...


I had my first facetime meeting with my judge today, to review the first opinion I've ever written. All went very, very well.

I think I want to work in the judiciary.

thus spake /jca @ 6:45 PM...


Did not intend to alarm anyone with previous post. All is sunshine-y, no worries.

Two things (well, three):

- Comments should be fixed. I'm still doing the MT migration thing, though. Promise. By mid-August (how pathetic am I?), if not sooner, all should be in working order.

- There's a ticklish margin between the blogosphere and the real world, and mine has just been transcended:

(a) I interviewed with Susan way the hell back in 1996 for an internship I never took, and then passed her much like a ship in the night during our mutual stint at the Bay Area's greatest fallen former browser company some five years later (give or take). Now she's got a blog. Hi, Susan!

(b) The circle has closed. A former coworker of my husband's -- a guy with whom I've shared many a grilled Dittmer's sausage and real-time-subtitled Sushi Seal book -- recently moved back to New York, started a blog, then started a meme, which was then picked up by one of my fellow student blawgers. Forget six degrees of separation; we're down to what, two? three? bah. Too close. My nana is probably reading this. Hi, Nana!

- Soju is a Korean sake-vodka thing and is truly, truly choice.

thus spake /jca @ 10:39 PM...


It has come to my attention that comments are apparently broken. "You really must make the move to Movable Type," says Patrick. In truth, I've already begun to do exactly that; thanks to dear Xrlq, my MT server is installed and allegedly functional. I just need to get the proper shade of purple going on in the templates, get the domain online, and oh yes, learn how Movable Type frickin' works.

Feature-rich things tend to be lost on me. I'm a simplist at heart. (And if that wasn't a word a moment ago, it is now.) MT is gleefully coy on the subject of templates; it creates three or four new HTML pages if I blink at it too suggestively, and damned if I can figure out whence they all pull their layout and color scheme. And I haven't even tried to post there yet.

Five people will now post to my nonfunctional comments with a dozen different MT FAQs, and at least ten more will thumb their noses at my apparent technophobia. How the heck did this woman manage to make a living consulting in Silicon Valley if she can't even configure Movable Type to publish daily, weekly, monthly, bimonthly and semiannual archives in the proper shade of purple? What can I say; those were different times, and anyway, I was a *marketing* consultant.

I know it's incredibly outré to grouse about the work involved in blogging with MT when it's the middleware of choice for all the Cool People. (Although -- let the record show -- Howard and Denise are still in the old school!) I'm sure if I weren't working now, and had a few straight days to bumble around in MT and screw things up and then figure out how to fix them, I'd get to a point where I could manage.

But I've got to tell you the truth: aside from work, which is très fun, life has been presenting me with some pretty significant hurdles lately. Sua Sponte is not a place I rant, so you've been spared the worst of the lunar howling, but trust me: I've been using up so much of my spare time just coping that there's not much left to invest in MT.

I promise I'll get there eventually, though. I can't give up on MT after Xrlq has so thoroughly inspired me. And it would be nice to have functioning comments again.

Just give me two weeks or so.

thus spake /jca @ 8:07 PM...


Today marked the midpoint of my judicial externship. This is only unusual in the fact that the gig started less than three weeks ago, and finishes less than three weeks hence.

I couldn't be more pleased. Imagine, a job I enjoy that actually fits my attention span.

thus spake /jca @ 9:56 PM...


More fun with the district's word-processing software:

I'm a big fan of Word's autocomplete and autocorrect functionality. On my school laptop, typing "jur" yielded "jurisdiction," "cts" produced "courts," "disc" became "discrimination," and so forth. But the folks in the state judiciary, already known for their aplomb with macros, have raised the autotext feature to an art.

It's cute, but not terribly impressive, that court computers don't let you get away with typing "evidecne," "defendnat" or "witnes." What surprised me were the hidden secret codes, upon which I happened completely by accident.

For example, while I was typing the word "sheriff," Word interrupted me to suggest an autocomplete. Curious, I accepted, and suddenly was staring down a strange case cite: "Sherwood v. Superior Court (1979) 24 Cal.3d 183." Beginning to type the word "victim" brought me a similar interruption, this time for "Victor v. Nebraska 511 U.S. ___, ___ [Lawyer's Edition reference]." By the time I started to type "nearby" and was offered two entire paragraphs which I'm probably not allowed to discuss in public, I had to run next door to my fellow extern's office and make sure this wasn't just my computer playing games with me. It wasn't.

I peeked into the autotext dialog box to see just how many of these secrets were hidden there, and couldn't help but grin when I found at least several dozen, including what looked like long and short form citations to all of the state annotated codes. While I'm thrilled at the amount of interesting work with which the goodly folks here have trusted me, I couldn't help but wish that I had some more free time to play around with all of the autotext.

Maybe it just doesn't take much to impress me.

thus spake /jca @ 6:51 PM...


Apparently a lot of people who graduated from my law school are also Princeton alumni.

(Hey, Jeremy, why the heck don't you put comments on your blog already?)

thus spake /jca @ 3:43 PM...


A fourth man appeared at the issue-tracking meeting today. I was intrigued -- a mystery fourth male attorney? -- but the fellow eventually turned out to be a judge.

Nice guy, too. Actually, all of the judges I've met here are nice. Maybe it's a state-court thing.

I have noticed, though: judges do not appear to have first names anywhere but on paper. If you work for Justice John Smith, you refer to him in conversation either as "The Judge" or "Justice Smith." To his face, you address him as "Your Honor" (or, more likely, if you're speaking at normal attorney speed, "y'runner"). He is not John, and he is never Johnny or Jack, no matter how nice he is or how much you get along. No, I haven't embarrassed myself by assigning my judge a nickname; the cultural norms are so palpable around here, there was never even a risk.

It amused me to the point of suppressing a giggle, watching the attorneys -- with all of whom The Judge appeared to be on a first-name basis -- respond to every question he asked with a prefatory "y'runner." Maybe my Moot Court training will serve me in better stead than I thought.

Another giggleworthy moment: yesterday, while emailing an attorney whose name began with B, I saw a name leap out of the address book like a joyous little sparkle on my screen: Bedsworth, William. *shiver of delighted awe* -- I share an email address book with The Judge, one of my earliest blogging idols. (OK, he doesn't exactly blog. But what he does, I adore.)

I wonder if he lets his staff call him Bill.

thus spake /jca @ 7:43 PM...


Well, this is nice:

"Your Brain Usage Profile

Auditory : 61%
Visual : 38%
Left : 63%
Right : 36%

JCA, you are mildly left-hemisphere dominant while showing a slight preference for auditory processing. This overall combination seems to indicate a well-working blend of logic and judgment and organization, with sufficient intuition, perception and creativity to balance that dominance.

You will at times experience conflict between how you feel and what you think which will generally be resolved in favor of what you think. You will find yourself interested in the practical applications of whatever material you have learned or whatever situation you face and will retain the ability to refine whatever knowledge you possess or aspects of whatever position you are in.

By and large, you will orient yourself toward intellectual activities and structure. Though not rigid, you will schedule yourself, plan, and focus on routine and continuity of operations, rather than on changes and disruptions

When changes or disruptions occur, you are likely to consider first how to ensure that such disruptions do The same balance is reflected in your sensory preference. You will tend to be reflective and measured in your interaction style. For the most part, you will be considered objective without being cold and goal-oriented while retaining the capacity to listen to others.

Preferentially you learn by listening and maintaining significant internal dialogues with yourself. Nevertheless, you have sufficient visualization capabilities to benefit from using graphs, charts, doodles, or even body movement to enhance your comprehension and memory.

To the extent that you are even implicitly aware of your hemispheric dominance and sensory style, you will feel most comfortable in those arenas which emphasize verbal skills and logic. Teaching, law, and science are those that stand out among the professions, along with technical sales and management."

Link courtesy of Omer Poos.

thus spake /jca @ 11:09 PM...


I'm not sure which surprises me more: how many of the staff attorneys went to my law school, or how many of them are female.

I counted three men among the crowd of fellow double-Xers at this morning's issue-tracking meeting, then checked myself against the district phone directory. Sure enough, there were only three overtly male names among the attorney listings. (There was a Chris, too, which could obviously go either way.) That yields something on the order of two dozen woman attorneys to balance out the staff. Maybe there's some truth to the rumor that government work is the favored haven of female lawyers due to its excellent hours -- there is no shame whatsoever in going home at 5 pm.

Or maybe it's just a conspiracy of alumnae from my school. There must be some sort of women's network among all of the alumni-bonding organizations, and maybe that's what tipped off so many excellent sharkie[1] chicas that there was an entertaining, rewarding, and non-burnout-track job to be had in the judiciary. It's certainly working its magic on me; every day I think, contentedly, how I could certainly do this for the rest of my life. Research and write, research and write, become an expert for a day, turn a phrase, and then go home and actually have energy to cook dinner.

Although I'd expect at some point to get paid. :)

[1] I have no idea whether the shark is my school's official mascot. Sharks appear on the rear-windshield decals they sell at the school bookstore, though, and they seem to do a reasonably brisk trade in stuffed plush sharks. I'm a Shark fan generally, so this is all fine by me.

thus spake /jca @ 7:39 PM...


There supposedly exists a California Manual of Style. In fact, I'm positive that it exists: I've seen one, on the vacant secretary's desk outside my office. But no one seems to need it, because everything in the judiciary is done by macro.

Alt-R, on your keyboard, inserts a reference to the reporter's transcript; Alt-C, the clerk's transcript; and Alt-Ins, the case citation dialog box. Once you've filled out that form, the cite is automatically pitched into your document. And a good thing, too: the format is just different enough from ALWD to be pesky, gnatlike. Where you'd expect

People v. Price, 4 Cal. App. 3d 941 (1970)

doin' it California Style yields

People v. Price (1970) 4 Cal.App.3d 941

and other such excitement. I think I might nip the manual off the empty desk, just to keep my karma up.

thus spake /jca @ 4:47 PM...

more final thoughts...

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