Sunday, April 29, 2007

Case Rested

Last post! Except for graduation in three weeks, I have four months without thinking, writing, or agonizing over the law. Thankfully, though we've spent the last three years studying inside the crumbling edifice that is the Curtis Building (but a stellar exemplar for the ins and outs of occupier's liability) we get to graduate in the new, shiny Chan Centre. (The architecture almost seems to give it a halo.)

Thanks to the people that read this site, and I know some friends suggested I keep it going. Frankly, I've simply run out of legal puns. I'll let you know if I post elsewhere in the future, but for now, case, uh, closed.

Friday, April 27, 2007

I can vouch for your user experience

Some law school purists may have questioned my insistence that films can be an amazing study guide. Well, maybe now film purists can find out the same. Lawyerlike, meet IMDb!

The Hit List links here, but I've also explored this theme before, comparing first year exams to Die Hard, second year exams to the various expressions on Eastwood's face throughout the Man With No Name Trilogy (read: uniformly tough), or generally describing the law school experience as a reflection of the Hogwarts experience.

Of course, I could have compared that time I solved the mystery of the assassinated Supreme Court Judges to The Pelican Brief, but that would have been totally obvious.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

L to the L to the B

It's not a couplet, but it's close. The last sentence I wrote on my Admin final, my last final, summing up a question where I was asked to offer advice on the likelihood of a successful immigration appeal for a Mr. and Mrs. Singh, was not without its own internal rhyme:

"Things aren't looking great for the Singhs."

I'm pretty happy with the 21 pages of answers I wrote before that (yes, the longest exam I've ever written) but I especially like that last line. The cheekiness wasn't intentional, but I think it nicely represents my attitude towards law school: there's a lot of stuff to learn, but there's always room for a sense of humour.

Alright, maybe you wouldn't deliver a client bad news this way, but if writing three years worth of posts on this site has taught me anything, law school has some pretty funny moments.

Anyway, I'm officially done. Now all that's left is to recoup this staggering, staggering debt.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Era nearly ended

Here it is, my last post written as a law student. Tomorrow at 9 am is the final showdown, and then by noon it's pencils down for law school. Don't worry, I'll do at least one more post updating how Admin went (or didn't). After that, I'm out.

Again, I won't be deleting this site, not just because I sincerely hope it might entertain current or future law students, but also because deleted Blogger accounts aren't really deleted, instead often maliciously exploited by some automated porn bot, as some of my friends and former law school bloggers have discovered.

By way of wrapping things up, this blog owes a big thanks to my hermano for all the design. I know some HTML, but not enough to account for all the nice touches on this page. I do, however, take credit for the title design, which, in case you were wondering, is a combination of 3 things:

+ +

the edifice of Versailles (representing my love for all things French) + the blood-red sky from From Hell (on account of its cool nature) + the crenellated Impact font from my favorite vintage-style print (also French, and also cool).

Oh, and since I won't be doing further design updates, I'm just going to throw my favorite books and albums in the java app at the right. All I can hope is that these things are classic enough that they won't look out of place in several years, much in the same way I now seriously regret buying all those Hootie albums.

Wish me luck on Admin!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Boy Who Sued

I'm graduating from law school this week, but more importantly, this is the end of 7 straight years of post-secondary school for myself. Unlike many of my friends in law, I went straight through: from high school to undergrad to law. I don't think there's any distinct advantage or disadvantage to doing so, the only practical difference being which generation of Law & Order cast members we identify with.

It's not lost on me that the end of my 7-year journey corresponds nicely with that of another schoolboy. I think you know who I'm talking about: we've both studied in ancient English castles, we both speak dying languages (my French to Harry's Snake-tongue) and we both narrowly survived the fatal curse of an ancient dark lord - oh, have I not mentioned that on this blog before?

Of course, I'm don't share an entirely similar situation with that of an entirely fictitious British adolescent. I have degrees in English, Economics and Law, whereas the extent of Harry Potter's education ends at grade 5, just after long division but far before algebra or basic world history. Harry is British whereas I can only fake my Cockney accent (but fairly well, I might add). And Harry prefers harsh, magical retribution, while I have a tendency to over-prescribe criminal punishments on exam questions. (Maybe that last one isn't really so different.)

Nevertheless, it's the similarities which allow me to speculate on what will happen at the end of Harry's Hogwarts career. Many people think he will die, just as people suppose that law students will kill off any last vestiges of childlike wonderment for a lifetime of hard-nosed (no pun intended, Voldemort) frugality.

No, and - although I won't be vindicated until the July release of the last novel - it's my firm belief that Harry will graduate and come to several key realizations: this magic nonsense does not hold up in court, and a simple charge of attempted murder is far more industrious than brewing any number of fakakta spells to, what, kill an old bald dude? Trust me, there's an easier way to battle guys in robes - it's called the legal system.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The tickets may be overpriced

I realize some readers of this site may be just entering law, and thinking ahead to the next few years. If the notion of first year isn't daunting enough, there are still two more long years ahead. So, to help make sense of it all, I've compiled this, one of my last pieces of wisdom on law school, in the only form I know how: tenuous, filmic comparisons.

If First Year Law were a movie, it would be:

Mission: Impossible

Apt title aside, the key theme here is, "what the hell is going on?" Whether or not you're honest enough to admit it, no one knew what happened the first time they watched this movie. In fact, you could swap Henry Czerny's first appearance in the restaurant in Prague with a lecture on real property liens and you'd be none the wiser.

Like the movie, there's definitely a sense of progression to be felt, but without a whole lot of context. And the relatively late emergence of Jon Voigt as villain has the same surprise as 100% final exams. True to the movie, by the end of it all, things are moving really fast and you're likely to witness some explosions.

If Second Year Law were a movie, it would be:


Just like Tony Montana, second year is all about rising to the top. You're likely to find yourself propelled by a strong boost in confidence, which is good, because there are serious employment opportunities on the line. But just like Tony's insistence on surveillance, there's also an overwhelming sense of insecurity.

You've made it through so far by relying on your peers - the Manny Riberas of graduate study if you will - but you have to wonder, are they stealing from you? And do not get high on your own supply of CANs. Share them. (I'm not going to attempt a metaphor for the whole Tony/Gina brother/sister love thing, that still weirds me out in the film.)

If Third Year Law were a movie, it would be:

The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Extended Director's Cut)

Just throw the damn ring in the volcano already! Face it, you never read the books, but you still want to see how it all ends. Do you realize that at over 3 hours into the movie, Sam and Frodo are still what looks to be 100 miles away from Mount Doom? That persistent sense of far-offishness is what characterizes this year, a concept underscored by the arguable overuse of slow motion shots during the film's denouement.

And that irrepressible Gollum? Why, he's either that nagging truth that you don't have a law job, or that inescapable worry that you somehow might not get hired back after your articling year.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Double-sided Jeopardy

There's this concept in the law that you can "beat the system." Those who avail themselves of double jeopardy loopholes or statutory limitation provisions are considered lucky for dodging judgment in spite of overwhelming guilt.

I feel like I've beat the system in law school: how? I just printed off my last CAN for Admin Law and my printer still has toner.

I bought this printer 2 years ago, and while it came with a complementary half-supply of laserjet toner, it's been a prevailing fear of mine (seriously) that it would run dry just as I was printing out my last essay or assignment right before it was due. It would have meant scrambling to replace it hours before a deadline, spending a lot of money, and talking to those frightful people at Staples.

Everything in law school was working towards this: printing the roughly ten 25-pages or more essays I've written, the numerous CANs which usually involve at least 40 pages each (in addition to all those times when I messed up double-sided printing and ended up with one-sided/double-layered notes, where reading becomes like spotting those damn 3D images), several drafts of a 45-page screenplay (which, believe it or not, provided the appendix to my Entertainment Law essay) and that regrettable instance where I printed out a high contrast map of downtown Vancouver so I wouldn't get lost on the way to a wine and cheese - only to leave the map at home. (I didn't get lost, but I didn't get an interview either.)

Well, the joke's on you law school, there's still toner left! Also, I'd like my diploma in the highest dpi resolution possible, please.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Section Fore! Subsection Oh!

With 5 days left till the end of law school, I find it difficult to focus on studying for my last class. At the same time, I'm thinking of things I plan on doing this summer, and the new focus it will require. Such as:

- Reading novels, without isolating facts, relevant issues, holdings, and Denning quotes.
- Going to a friend's wedding, closing my mind to the newfound tax implications of this momentous event.
- Making road trips in my car, acknowledging only the road signs and not the new legal jurisdictions I enter.
- Relaxing on a beach on the Amalfi Coast, selectively considering the wisdom of public nudity laws.
- Touring the Whitechapel area of London, without consulting the Statute of Limitations should I solve the identity of Jack the Ripper.
- Practicing my golf swing, resisting the urge to compare mulligans to de novo appeals.
- Enjoying a zombie movie, without questioning whether the actus reus element of zombie murder is sufficiently made out.
- Practicing my golf swing on zombies... OK, that's definitely some kind of illegal.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Notes for Easy Reference, Space Travel

For anyone ever wondering what law students take into an exam, here's the answer to the question you actually never asked. These documents were my own personal Rosetta Stone for Secured Transactions Law, which I took in December of second year. I'm a big fan of flowcharts, so I spent a few days whittling 50+ pages of class notes into 4 labyrinthine diagrams, sort of in the same way med students make their flowcharts: Leg Bone > connected to the > Hip Bone > connected to the > Red Thing.

Anyone remember that scene in Contact where they get all the alien schematics and Jodie Foster discovers that they piece together in 3D? Yeah, these flowcharts don't do that, but don't think the possibility never crossed my mind.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Few Good Exams

Three exams done, one to go. I know what you're wondering: if my courses were a movie (specifically, the best lawyer movie of all time) then how would my experiences with each final exam correspond to scenes from said movie? I'll tell you.

Entertainment Law:

This one's tough to gauge. It's a paper course, and I've handed in my essay, which I feel strongly about - but there's no real advance measure of how well I've done. So a scene about driving through Guantanamo Bay as the particular focus of trained enemy snipers seemed appropriately descriptive.

Civil Procedure:

In a word, confidence. If you recall, in this scene, Cruise bluffs his opposing counsel into submission by boasting an extensive knowledge of pre-trial procedures and evidentiary motions that can delay a trial seemingly indefinitely: damn if that isn't exactly what I did on this test.

International Trade Law:

I want the truth, if the truth is an A on an exam I'm pretty sure I killed. Self-assuredness is no guarantee, however. Being wrong for Tom Cruise meant treason and death - for law students, being wrong has no effect on the credits you earn. Literally, you cannot flunk out of law school. Seriously.

Administrative Law:

Since I haven't written this one yet, and it scares the hell out of me, this is my best guess.