Nearing the Finish

10 02 2011

So I had to do all the pre-graduation polls and surveys that my school requires us to fill out before we shuffle off this law school coil.  I’m still in denial.  Less than four months to go, and I don’t think I’m ready to leave yet.  Not because I enjoy law school necessarily, but because of all the relationships and connections I’ve built in my almost three years here.


Also, I don’t want to take the bar exam.  Why oh why wasn’t I born in Wisconsin?


Yeah, it’s been entirely too long.

21 01 2011

My school’s graduation requirements require that a student does some form of externship or clinical program before they walk at commencement. For my requirement, I am going to Ann Arbor two days a week to work for the public defender’s office, primarily doing misdemeanors.

A typical day’s work starts at 8:30 am or thereabouts, when the particular judge enters the courtroom. Students like me working on the office get to appear on the record under Michigan Court Rule 8.120, allowing us to actually practice as attorneys (in a fashion). The majority of cases are either minors in possession or driving violations (mostly suspended licenses that are quickly resolved before the defendant even gets to court). It is fair to say that a lot of my appearances on the record are to ask for adjournments, in order to obtain more discovery documents (like the police report) to represent the client better.

One thing I’ve learned as that court proceedings are not as formal as I am used to in Mock Trial and Moot Court. Usually when one of the defenders or externs are up on the record, another one will be trying to cut a deal with the prosecutor, mostly to plead guilty to lesser charges which often do not require jail time. In other words, there usually isn’t as much “order in the court” as television shows would have you believe.

In addition to courtroom time, externs are sometimes asked to go interview clients in the holding cells. There is a stark difference between the individuals in street clothes fighting minor things and the people in jail, usually there for more serious misdemeanors (alcohol or drug related, and sometimes retail fraud). It’s sobering to think that these people are around our ages (or even younger), and forced to spend a few nights in a jail cell.

I’ve only been in court a few days so far (but am going back tomorrow, at least based on the time I’m writing this), but already I’ve had a few touching moments. I think the moment I most felt proud of was getting a person out on bond from a marijuana possession charge, even though the prosecutor was against him being released. Poor guy had a busted arm and mental problems, but he was so eager to submit to drug testing in any effort to stay out of prison. I even got to speak to his mother, so getting him out of prison was pretty cool. My hope is that he learns his lesson and doesn’t come back.

So I’m getting anxious for court tomorrow. I’d like to see what the city of Ann Arbor did over the weekend. Should be an interesting day.


Citation Hell

25 05 2010

I think I have developed a love/hate relationship with the Bluebook.

A Break From Regular Programming

16 05 2010

Today, Ronnie James Dio, one of the greatest (if not the greatest) heavy metal singers of all time, passed away.  He was 67.

Dio is best known (for better or for worse) as being the original replacement of Ozzy in Black Sabbath, as well as fronting Rainbow (Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple fame’s band) and having rather successful solo albums.  One of the most timeless things he left us with was the devil horns that have become ubiquitous in the heavy metal community.

His contributions to music have always been immense, and he will leave a void that will not be filled easily.

Rest in peace.

We Apologize for the Inconvenience

14 05 2010

Yeah, it’s been a while since the last time I blogged.  The whole Kagan nomination (and of course classes) has taken up a lot of my time.  That and getting some sweet music (currently some Beck, Bogert and Appice).

The second week is behind me (for the most part), and I’m sitting in an airport waiting to head home for the weekend.  Next week brings the student organization fair, several social “Meet and Greets,” and who knows what else.

Hopefully I’ll finish “John Adams” over this weekend and start on my next “pleasure” text: Administrative Law and Process in a Nutshell.

Still a little over a year before I’m done entirely.  Counting down the days.

Because I Love Moot Court and All That

11 05 2010

From Discourse dot Net:

This case, pitting the fatal-paprika-allergy-warning dog vs. the co-worker with the serious allergy to canines has great facts and a knotty legal problem — surely it is coming to a moot court or mock trial near you?

Fearing a fatal encounter with paprika, Ms. Kysel’s parents and grandparents chipped in to buy her an allergy-detection dog, which works much like a narcotics-sniffing dog. After she had extensive talks with her employer, the City of Indianapolis, officials gave her permission to take the dog to work. The golden retriever, named Penny, cost her family $10,000 — it jumps up on Ms. Kysel whenever it detects paprika.

On the first day Ms. Kysel took Penny to work, one of her co-workers suffered an asthma attack because she is allergic to dogs. That afternoon Ms. Kysel was stunned when her boss told her that she could no longer take the dog to work, or if she felt she could not report to work without Penny, she could go on indefinite unpaid leave. She was ineligible for unemployment compensation because of the limbo she was put in.


This would be a good problem for maybe a national team or the class we have.  Unfortunately our first-year Criminal Procedure competition focuses on the Fourth Amendment.

I’ll have to look into this one more.

Second Week

11 05 2010

So far this summer term has been quite interesting (apart from the early morning shifts at work that I am doing now).  The case summaries for the Moot Court class are taking  up the bulk of my time, but I seem to be getting the hang of this researching and summarizing thing.  Hopefully it helps when I get closer to writing the dang brief.

Business Organizations is a trip.  I had the same professor for Wills, Trusts, and Estates last semester, and a bunch of people I know are in that class, including one infamous “gunner.”  Funny story:  it was about the third hour, and I pointed out to one of my friends via IM that the gunner hadn’t opened his mouth yet.  She scolded me, saying not to “jinx it.”  Two seconds later, his hand goes up, and he launches into a long “what-if” question (despite the professor’s warning in the beginning of class NOT to use those sorts of questions).

Family Law took a grand total of 35 minutes.  We don’t need to buy the book, and the exam is based on what we go over in class only.  The professor came highly recommended, so it should be fun.

Advanced Criminal Procedure is the one I really looked forward too, even if it’s on a weekend.  The professor works for the Department of Justice, but is actually very easy-going and informative.  The professor also made me reconsider some things for the rest of my law school career.  First, I think I’m going to take Administrative Law next semester as an elective, just because it seems it might be more important to future criminal work.  Second, I may consider the Department of Justice Honors Program, which the professor went through so many years ago.  I don’t know if I want to be a Fed, but it wouldn’t hurt, would it?