Thursday, May 25, 2006

This fall, Law & Order: Shanghai

You can attribute a dearth of recent posts to a number of things (apart from the obvious fact of being out of law school for a summer and having few legal things to discuss):

My hermano was in town last weekend, which meant I got to play tourist and visit places around town. The Capilano Suspension bridge was something I always wanted to go see, and if you pay attention to the last words (not the first, sung words) in this video, I thought it may have been the last thing I'd see.

My running has continued, and I'm proud to say I've upgraded my summer goal from "don't die" to "heck, maybe you can do this." I still, however, remain a terrible judge of distances. You'd be surprised how far you have to zoom out on Google Maps to map a 5km route in deceptively small Vancouver. Is that Paraguay I see on screen?

Of course, there was an awful lot of television to keep track of as well. 24 ended up (season 6 in Shanghai perhaps?) as well as American Idol (season 6 in Shanghai please?) But what's this with NBC cancelling Conviction? Sure, I critiqued the show's incongruous mix of courts and coitus, but I still liked it. That hurt worse than bad news from Ryan Seacrest.

Then there's work, but I won't dwell on that for those whose 12+ hour work days at firms may seem a bit more daunting than wireless tax research from home.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A straight consonant student

And now back to regularly scheduled programming.

Back in January
, I likened the return of my grades to various moments in 24. The show was a handy reference point, because its tense and often painful situations mimicked quite nicely how several of my exams turned out. Now that spring marks have been released, it's only apt to describe my reaction to them using good ol' Kiefer again.

A disappointing Evidence mark aside, the rest of my exams went as well as I could have hoped. When you get to law school, you're basically told that E isn't the only vowel you won't get as a grade. So it was shocking to see that I rounded up several A's in one term. To to draw a comparison, if exams were a Christmas tree, and doing well was represented by a drunken Kiefer Sutherland tackling said Christmas tree, well, then I feel like this. (Video is TAFW, meaning "totally awesome for work.")

Monday, May 15, 2006

Blawg Review #57

I have a confession to make: I'm not sure if my blog counts as a "lawblog." Sure, I'm a third year law student who occasionally waxes legal about classes and cases, but the most erudite posts you're likely to find here concern the constitutionality of 24, James Bond-loving supreme court judges or some dirty constitutional poetry. Blawg Review has had some pretty impressive hosts: Blawg Review #28 was hosted by a defence lawyer, Blawg Review #41 a corporate in-house counsel and Blawg Review #55 was hosted by a lawyer, teacher, author and consultant.

And now you get the blogger who confessed to buying Hootie & the Blowfish as his first album. (A confession that, should you try to introduce as evidence, I will fight dearly to label hearsay.) Surely there must be more professional candidates to host Blawg Review. Sometimes I feel this place is only acting like a lawblog.

But then, when I was watching TV (as I am wont to do) I thought, don't we often learn as much about the law from the fake lawyers as much as the real ones? People who haven't been through law school might not have a handy definition of hearsay, but I'll bet they know from any number of TV shows when to yell it in a courtoom - and they know the magic word is "sustained."

So while I present to you this week's Blawg Review submissions from around the blawgosphere, I'll highlight some of the best, worst, new and old fake lawyers from TV, organizing submissions as best I can around the personality of each lawyer. Without further ado: Blawg Review #57.

Black-Letter Jack

Lawyers looking for the kindest representation of their profession need look no further than Law & Order's Jack McCoy. The real revolving door of justice is in that show's casting department, as over its 16 year history we've met Stone, Robinette, Kincaid, Carmichael, Ross, Cabot and Southerlyn. Yet none pursue black-letter law as well as McCoy. His comical resemblance to muppet Sam the Eagle belies a stern and unforgiving desire for justice. Dude even once declared gay marriage unconstitutional for the sole reason of destroying husband-husband confidentiality, thus having a murder confession ruled admissible. Talk about lateral thinking.

In honour of Black-letter Jack, some of the more serious submissions:

Works on contingency? No, money down!

Another TV show that's been on for almost two decades might just have my generation's most popular lawyer, not that you'd ever want to hire him. I speak, of course, about Lionel Hutz. From his whipsmart knowledge of courtroom procedure to his unbeatable legal deals ("in addition to a lawyer, you'll also get this faux-pearl necklace, our gift to you!") - Hutz has everything you'd never want in a lawyer. If it weren't for Phil Hartman's death, he'd probably still be appealing his fraudulent advertising case against The Neverending Story, but he's still solidified his place as our favourite law-talking guy.

Accordingly, here are some light-hearted Blawg Review submissions:

Professional Irresponsibility

Lionel Hutz may be bad, but he has his charm. If you're looking for the flat-out, worst lawyer who destroys all your faith in a law degree, Barry Zuckerkorn from Arrested Development is your man. Bloggers would be pleased to know he once hosted his own website, (Of course, his successor, Bob Loblaw, maintained the Bob Loblaw Lawblog.) Barry's been known to tell his clients that a husband and wife can't be prosecuted for the same crime, and taking plea deals because they are literally quite heavy.

On that note of professional irresponsibility:

  • Steve Bainbridge writes about a peculiar indictment, involving insider trading within insider investigations in Grand Jury Leak = Insider Trading?
  • George Wallace has two posts about extortion and blackmail with the California Auto Industry, and what also sounds like a good screenplay for a George Clooney/Russell Crowe political intrigue film.
  • I've said it before, zombies are cool. But, if you're the creator of an army of them and just plead guilty to unleashing them upon a computing public, well that's not so cool.
  • Law Professor Paul Secunda blogs about Cyberslacking, but was he at work when he wrote it?

Single Female Lawyer

Ally McBeal's importance to fake lawyerdom shouldn't be understated. With female attorneys usually relegated to whatever haircolour Jack McCoy liked that season, Ally McBeal was smart, funny, maaaaaaybe a little too thin, but ultimately a leader. In her own way, McBeal was cutting edge. If her show spawned the advent of bad viral videos and terrible soundtracks, well she shan't be blamed for that.

Accordingly, here are some posts about cutting edge law:


You can't write a post about famous TV lawyers without mentioning the grandaddy of them all. Matlock may have a high criminal defence fee of over $100,000, but he gets results dammit! A veritable Columbo and McGuyver of the courtroom, Ben Matlock is just as popular with the old crowd as he is with the judges. There aren't many shows nowadays where a criminal defence lawyer is the protagonist, but I wouldn't rule out a sitcom about Saddam's attorneys. Imagine the zaniness!

In honour of Matlock's almost ancient, sage-like wisdom, some more historical posts:

Lady Justice is his Lois Lane

Finally, there's the new attorney in town, Jim Steele of NBC's Conviction. Sure, the show is filled with noteworthy attorneys, like Billy Desmond who constantly boasts about his lossless courtroom record, and Brian Peluso who, sporting an ugly leather jacket, goatee and Red Bull addiction, proves that not all lawyers are the catches they seem. But Steele is unique amongst L&O ADA's in that his M.O. is S-E-X! Simultaneously bedding his second chair and his boss, Steele is as vainglorious as his name.

In honour of Steele's libidinous personality, some of the more salacious submissions:

There are obviously too many TV lawyers to mention. (f/k/a even chimes in on CourtTV's 15 most popular Movie Lawyers.) But some honourable mentions for TV include Harvey Birdman, Jackie Chiles, Sandy Cohen (The O.C.'s heavily eyebrow-ed attorney), Boston Legal's Deny Crane, The Practice's Eugene Young and CNN's Nancy Grace. I know, I know - but some part of that hilarious Southern persona must be fictional!

So finally, some odds and ends:

And remember, it's always OK to say TV made you want to become a lawyer.

Hopefully everyone enjoyed the issue. I appreciate any comments you post, and if you want to add your favourite lawyer from the silver screen, let us hear it!

Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Absolutely not about Jack Bauer

Next Monday this blog will play host to an edition of the Blawg Review, a weekly - and fairly presitigious - collection of articles and posts by writers/bloggers discussing recent news and developments in the legal world. So, if you stumbled upon my law blog looking for this kind of legal perspective, well then you'll be pleasantly surprised, as I promise there'll be some interesting stuff.

But if you are a regular here and expect a post about Jack Bauer - say, a nailbiting scene from 24 set to the Golden Girls theme - well then I shan't disappoint you.

Check back on Monday.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

If we can't laugh about Exxon Valdez...

Just overheard at the beginning of this Oilers/Sharks hockey game:

"Normally when sharks and oil meet it's an environmental disaster, but tonight it means good hockey!"

Makes me surprised that during the earlier game between Colorado and Anaheim the awful American hockey commentators didn't serve up this one:

"Normally when water fowl and a wall of rushing snow meet it's a sign that migratory instincts are way off, but tonight it just means terrible play by play."

Any other interesting matchups you can think of?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Arrrr! v. Jones

We've been given the slate of class times for next year, which means I can start deciding which areas of law I'd like to learn so long as they don't start before 9 am (so long Civil Procedure!).

There are two schools of thought when it comes to choosing courses: one, you take the courses that are likely to be covered when you take PLTC (which stands for Law School Doesn't End at Third Year) so that way you aren't surprised for the bar exam. The second way asks, why learn something twice? Take what you want now, as Piratical Law of the Seven Seas is not favoured by PLTC curriculum makers. (Oh how I wish that was offered - sure, International Law touches on it to some degree, but I fail to find plank-walking anywhere in the UN Charter.)

In my case, I've got another decision to make. Having maxed out on courses during my first two years, I've got the opportunity to ease up on a third year schedule. Any suggestions as to best use the free time?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Same story with Bernard Radiohead

Alan Cross is a guy known for hosting the always-interesting Ongoing History of New Music on Canadian radio stations. He also used to tape a segment you could hear on airplane radios in the late 90's if you didn't want to watch Frasier reruns or a movie you never wanted to see. I don't mean to write the ongoing history of radio hosts, I just wanted an interesting segue into this new album I like.

For me, Alan is the guy that introduced me to Gomez, one of my favourite bands that make albums to look forward to and enjoy. It was on a plane to Paris, France that he played "78 Stone Wobble" by the band and since then I've been hooked. The song was different, weird, but captivating in a way that maybe you had to be above the Atlantic to appreciate. (Incidentally, Cross also played the Dandy Warhols covering AC/DC's "Hell's Bells," saying, "Here's what Brian Johnson would sound like if he was really, really sleepy," a song that also made me a fan of the Dandy's for life.)

Anyway, Gomez put out a new album this week and it's fantastically good - How We Operate. It's full of their signature unclassifiable sound, if that means anything. And I suspect that if I heard new song "Charley Patton Songs" (scroll down here for link) at 30,000 feet, I'd be as much of a fan if I hadn't heard anything else.

Another interesting Gomez fact that's fun to relate. I always liked the history of the band's name: apparently they were nameless, and were playing a gig they wanted their friend Robert Gomez to see. Robert didn't have directions, so they put a sign outside the bar with the word "Gomez" written on it and an arrow pointing inside.

Summer sundries

"Returning" is a big theme this summer (see here and here) and since moving into a new apartment, finishing second year law and getting back internet after a week in the lurch, I feel recharged. I have "returned," if you will.

It's been my tradition to compile a snappy list of things I've learned after each term of law school. One week out of second year and I can barely tell IP from Magnum PI. (FYI, Selleck could patent, trademark and copyright that thing if he wanted). So listing ten things from the past few months seems a bit hard. In lieu of that, I'll offer these three:

1. The number of laughs a Law Revue receives is positively related to the number of hours you get a liquor licence for.

2. If you bring in a 1.5 litre bottle of Coke into a 3 hour exam and open it up when things have reached their quietest, make sure it hasn't previously been shaken - a lot. (This didn't happen to me, but provided a welcome diversion amidst an IP exam.)

3. If you count articling, we're technically only halfway to becoming lawyers, not two-thirds. Damn.

But now summer's afoot, so any law worries can wait for four months. In the meantime here are some things I've got going:

I just signed up for a running clinic. As my friend and writer of the Fluff to Buff blog noted, the first few pounds of weight loss come from your wallet. Without money on the line, there's little incentive to keep up an exercise regimen.

With only four teams left on the Amazing Race and Ray and Yolanda still in the game, I have a 1 in 4 chance of scoring 100 bucks. This still won't cover the surgery to erase from my memory last week's episode where racer Barry, aged 61, announced how the race was affecting his sex life. Ewww.

I'll also be checking out Portuguese sensation Seu Jorge at the upcoming Jazz Festival. (I'm assuming he's a sensation, but so far he's the only Portuguese singer I know, and he does David Bowie covers.) If he sounds familiar, then you're obviously a Wes Anderson fan, and you're obviously cool.