Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Transcripts also required

I head back to Calgary this week for a brief vacation. This Vancouver summer has been great, warm weather, a little rain, but I suppose I really crave the unpredictability of an Albertan summer - August snowfalls, flash flooding, etc.

I'll be visiting friends, hopefully taking in a movie or two, as well as carting some of my things from home back to Vancouver (this includes my squash racquet, meaning M, you are officially challenged to a squashing duel). Hopefully with at least one successful articling interview in less than three weeks, I'll be staying in this town for a few more years at a minimum.

I'll try and post some photos from Cowtown - as so far I've been lucky at getting some great vacation shots already this summer.

Oh, and since registration is finally done, here's the official list of classes for the third and final year:

Securities Regulation, Real Estate Trans, Land Use Planning, Admin, Media & Entertainment Law, Civil Procedure, European Union Law, Trusts, Conflicts and Appellate Advocacy.

I'm taking applications for potential study buddies. Post your cover letter in the comments below.

Monday, July 17, 2006

"Gaines" was originally "Anderson"

I'm gravely concerned about this new legal drama, Justice, coming this fall courtesy of FOX. Normally I'm a fan of all things legal on television - excepting, of course, all iterations of daytime judgery (save one). But then I caught a preview for FOX's Justice, describing the exploits of one criminal defence firm and the high-tech solutions they employ to exonerate clients and alternatively create FX demo reels. It's all very glitzy and, with CSI-creator Jerry Bruckheimer's name attached, there are sure to be explosions (some of which are on the figurative level - the show's law firm is called Turk, Nicholson, Tuller & Gaines, or TNT&G... How drole.)

I just don't understand this need in television to make the law... exciting. The law is relatively boring and that's just the way we like it, thank you very much. Lawyering is very much about reading fine print and visiting libraries; it's about presenting a solid case and serving a client. Fancy exhibits are just window dressing.

I was published a while back on precisely this subject - needlessly sensationalizing the law - and while CSI wasn't the focus of the piece, it sure deserves more grief. One reason I dislike that show is because it assumes its audience cannot concentrate on a spoken investigation for too long, and subsitutes computer-generated imagery to keep you from remembering that the much superior 24 is likely on elsewhere. Now it seems that Justice has transposed that same audience into a jury box, where twelve people won't be able to render a verdict unless it's been through the MTV editing booth.

Anyway, I'll stop there - because this show will likely become a hit. But for future reference, if you're trying to spice things up, at least put your attorneys in a cape.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The nun, of course

'Tis been what we call in the blogosphere a slow news week. But since it's also a slow TV night, I'll do a recap:

First, congrats to a fellow law student on winning his first case in court. Not only is that a great way to start off a legal career, but I believe you're now also eligible to be the subject of a John Grisham novel.

I went to the horse track last weekend for the first time. (Incidentally, this is the first summer I've been away from the Calgary Stampede.) Apparently one law school course I should seriously think about taking is the Law of Averages. I sympathized with Marge Simpson: "Can't I just bet that all the horses will have a good time?"

I love this new Thom Yorke album. And what it lacks in actual instrumentation and Radiohead members it more than makes up for expansive, album-lining woodcut illustrations. I'm a fan of this style of art, and Stanley Donwood does it in spades.

I snagged tickets for myself and friends for Bard on the Beach. Unfortunately, the seasonally apt Midsummer Night's Dream was sold out, so it looks like it'll be Measure for Measure, a play I last read for an essay comparing Isabella, the nun from that play, and Lady Macbeth. Guess who came out crazier?

I think I'm the only one who has yet to see Pirates of the Caribbean, but I did see Superman and appreciated the fact that Lex Luthor wasn't so much the main villain, that honour instead going to the system which set him free from jail. You guessed it, the legal system!

Lastly, I managed to do the Grouse Grind one more time this week, beating my last time by 15 minutes. I believe I'm now eligible to be the subject of a John Grisham novel.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Blunderbusses, Plagues & Pig Iron

Maybe it's a credit to law school that it makes you pursue more erudite endeavours, or maybe it's just that law school screws with what I now find enjoyable in my spare time, but this last holiday weekend when I wanted to bring along something to read, I chose a book about Shakespeare.

It turned out better than expected. Will in the World is an amazingly detailed biography of the bard, as if Guns, Germs & Steel had been written about the formation of one man let alone all of human civilization. I'm immediately adding this to my list of favorite books, because it makes eminently vivid and interesting what was previously torturous for many in high school and beyond.

To boot, I learned a few new things about Bill Shakespeare that, to a law student, were pretty amusing. For one, Shakespeare was incredibly frugal and went to court a lot, even if it was just to secure the return of six pounds.

Even better, it turns out the famous playwright likely worked at a law firm(!), and I'll let my friends in similar positions this summer determine if Greenblatt's description hits the mark: (p.71)

"The strong presence of legal terms in his plays and poems ... has led to recurrent speculation that he worked in the office of a local attorney, someone who handled minor lawsuits, title searches and the like. No doubt much of the work would have been boring..."

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Now accepting non-perishable items

A long-weekend roundup, a study in contrasts.

The good: Escaping for a spell to a coastal island of good company, on-demand sunsets, and unsullied sea scents.

The bad: Returning to a different kind of smell. The kind you can't place at first while walking around your apartment. The kind you think you can ignore by opening windows, or thumbing your nose at biology and breathing through your mouth - until you realize the smell has a friend (for the smell is now personified) in the form of erratic clicking. The kind of staccato/stench that can only come from a fridge running with a broken motor, which is to say, no fridge at all, but a repository of rotten food and abandoned plans for chicken curry on Tuesday.

So long General Electric model "Coquette," you gave me some good times and then left me sickened - how apropos your product name was you may never know.