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.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Name that Nuisance

Radio stations often have a "name that tune" or even a "name that random sound" contest with lucrative prizes. I never listen to the radio, even in my car, but I confess to playing the latter game simply because my living arrangement makes me a necessary player.

Indeed, my apartment building makes random noises, and late at night when traffic from outside falls to a low din, the contest begins. I have been declared a winner before: it took me months, but I successfully figured out that the brief, echoing, metallic shuffle that occurred at purely random times was in fact the elevator down the hall closing its doors behind portly occupants.

I write about this now because last night, the night before my first exam, we began a new contest. And because it kept me up most of the night, I compiled a list:

Things I have narrowed down the repeating, cyclic, sharp, scraping noise to be:

- The upstairs neighbour printing out a 40+ page document on a circa 1990's dot matrix printer, where the printer is located on a hardwood floor and he can only print between the hours of 2 am and 6 am.
- An alarm clock woefully attempting to mimic the sound of a cat meowing, lodged somewhere in my bedroom wall.
- A cat meowing, lodged somewhere in my bedroom wall, with an acute sense of timing.
- Tiny jet airplanes flying consecutive passes through the concrete parking garage below.
- A radiator comandeered by a loveless couple, constantly fighting between heat and cold, having never heard of the idea of room temperature, or reasonable hours.
- The ghost of Kurt Vonnegut, because I hated Timequake.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

F in Cardiology, A in Malpractice

Exams start tomorrow, so a good luck to all those in law school - again, I'm forced to wonder if there is a med school blog, and if anyone wishes good luck to the test patients instead.

For my own part, I have Civil Procedure, International Trade and Admin Law exams coming up (the latter mercilessly scheduled on the very last day of exams). It's certainly stressful, but in a way it's also not to be exaggerated, because the next time I consult my British Columbia Rules of Court on the deadlines for filing a Statement of Claim, it'll be the real deal.

Mind you, if I ever personally invoke Article XX(b) of GATT, check CNN, I may have just started an international incident.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Enemy of the Candy Industry Association of America

One possible sign that I've spent too much time studying with my computer: I tried to scroll down a piece of paper today. That's right, while reading the GATT provisions for International Trade Law, I dragged two fingers down the side of a piece of paper out of my coursebook, expecting the list of exceptions to trade barriers to, what, magically rearrange themselves, I guess. Wow.

This stupidity/absent-mindedness is right up there with the time (during the heydey of Napster) when I entered a convenience store and convinced myself to hold off on a purchase of Skittles, telling myself, "I'll just download them when I get home."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We Litigious Few, We Band of Lawyers

It's only fitting that I wrap up this list of Top 5 Things I Will Miss About Law School on my last day of class.

#1: The people

Learning about contract formation and minimum age requirements wouldn't have been quite the same if there hadn't been someone to ask whether putting a pen in a baby's hand and forcing him to sign qualifies. Property law only really came into focus when I realized I wasn't the only one confused. They told us when we started that we'd know the people from our law school year forever, and I believe it's true, notwithstanding the fact that they are best equipped to get me out of a legal jam real quick-like.

When I think of the people at my law school, I'm reminded of Band of Brothers - not in the sense that these people would take a bullet in the trenches for me (which, incidentally, would be a nice gesture), but that they would ruthlessly prosecute the shooter on my behalf and procure all reasonable damages, perhaps even a future garnishing order on the sniper's salary.

That's it, people are why I will miss law school. That goes for everyone: the notetakers, the CAN-makers, my peers and professors (particularly the ones with a cunning wit: "Where there's a will, there's a relative.") My small group Bane, moot partners, moot point-makers, the LSS, law revue sidekicks, the law review editrix, exam invigilators, visiting litigators, anyone who's made a ride home on the 99 B-line more bearable, anyone who ever gave me a ride to school and thus spared me that indignity, the lower years and upper years, the lawbloggers and blog readers.

Now, I make it a rule to never solicit comments on this site, a practice that I find sullies many otherwise respectable blogs out there, but don't you think this is such an instance where it might be nice to drop me a line, as it were?

So, any and all readers of this site, take the time and let me know what you think, for indeed, this post is for you. I know my mom didn't hit refresh 17,000 times, so that site counter tells me there should be quite a few of you. I even invite you in a race to see who can post "first!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Fraudulent Goggles of Misrepresentation

Two more classes to go, and number two on the list of Five Things I'll Miss About Law School:

#2: Being able to say, "I'm a law student"

Tell someone you go to university, and you only have to answer more questions, like what your major is and what proof you have that a job market actually exists for it. Tell someone you go to law school, however, and you've rendered them momentarily speechless. It's like you've handed out beer goggles: you're that much more impressive, intelligent and, I daresay, attractive. It explains that playful retort, "so when I commit a crime I can come to you for advice?"

Law students are always perceived to be on the cusp of something great, and it makes people forget that by sheer statistical function at least some percentage of graduates must go on to practice divorce law or star in personal injury commercials.

When you actually become a lawyer, though, that magic wears off. It's not so funny anymore when your friend actually shows up for advice on that capital crime she's committed. Somehow you're expected to lose a part of your personality - something I've never agreed with, as the majority of lawyers I know are incredibly creative, funny people.

But oh, for those heady law school days when hope springs to a maximum of 14 years, but no less than 7, things are grand.

(I didn't have a handy image for this list item, so in keeping with #5 and #4, here is a 3rd picture of someone about to be eaten alive - by 2 mouths at once no less.)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Five-Bar Exam

While I switch gears from studying International Trade to Civil Procedure, I thought I'd add another entry in the Top Five Things I'll Miss About Law School.

#3: The Foos

I'm tempted to talk about how the foosball table was initially a safe haven between first year law classes, where legal discussions flew back and forth with the same unpredictable trajectory as a ball on that slanted table, a veritable watercooler of legal theory. I'm inclined to argue that though the table may be falling apart (yet still no more dilapidated than the rest of the Curtis Building) it's nevertheless as much a part of the three years as reading case law.

All of that's true, but the reason it's on the list is simply because I really liked becoming a respectable foosball player - mastering the "Prism" if not quite getting the "Jahlalabad" (amongst others) - even earning a nickname for my own shot: the end-to-end, blink-and-you-miss-it, powerhouse slapshot, "The National."

Trademark pending.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The tingling is normal

More in the list of Top Five Things I Will Miss About Law School.

#4: How It Changed Everything

Law school may only constitute 15 hours a week, (12 if you play your cards right before third year) but damned if it doesn't permeate every minute of your life. Whether you like it or not, every piece of information going to your brain will be filtered through everything you've learned in class. You may be inclined to categorize this as an annoyance, and it sort of is. But in another respect, it's also a form of heightened awareness, and the closest I'll ever get to possessing Spidey Sense.

Here's just a short list of things irrevocably changed after 3 years of law school:

- Buying and selling property in a friendly game of Monopoly
The second half of Law & Order
The casual dismissal of small print
- The letters R, V, J, and a vowel of your choice
- The first half of CSI (being even more stupid now)
- Enjoying the ignominious fate of Donald Gennarro in Jurassic Park (replaced with a hint of sadness)

(The fact that both this and the previous entry involves pictures of persons inside gaping maws is, I assure you, a pure, but not unwelcome, coincidence).

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

God of Statutory Interpretation

Let's see if I can actually follow this plan through... Over the next month I'd like to compile the Top 5 Things I'll Miss about law school. Sure, most of us just can't wait to finish with exams, but I'd hate to spoil the opportunity for making lists.

#5: Becoming an Expert

By third year, you start to recognize your strengths in certain areas of the law, and when you're not so sure, you've built up a network of friends that can fill in those blanks. In turn, they can rely on you for your expertise.

For example, I was recently asked two questions by my peers:

Q1: Do you know of any case law or legislation saying that if a court has interpreted a certain provision one way, and then the statute has since been revised, they should interpret that new provision the same way?

Q2: OK, I've been at it for hours... how do you defeat this Hydra?

I can tell you now my knowledge in one area grossly exceeded the other.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Litigating Out Loud

I've written about the inexplicable dearth of Canadian law school bloggers before. Maybe I'm the only one who finds the connections between Jack Bauer and developments in Constitutional Law more than tenuous, but I still find it strange that there aren't more Canuck lawyers-to-be on the scene.

And as close as the legal systems between Canada and the US seem, convos with American law school bloggers were previously limited to cursory, non-law questions like, "Do you get CBC down there?" and, "Do we want it?"

Turns out I have more in common with American law school bloggers than I thought. Chatting with Frisco Bay-area blogger (and Lawyerlike recommended), Above Supra, about purchases we'd finally like to make as paid lawyers, it turns out we're both united by faulty consumer products and litigious instincts:

LL: I'd like to get a new tv, if only to replace this aging, wonky remote that randomly turns any button into the mute button.

AS: Whoa - your remote does that too? Maybe it's a common Sony design flaw.

LL: Hold on, are we both talking about Sony Trinitron remote control model RM-Y116?

(here there was a rapid-fire exchange of omgs and lols.)

AS: Are you thinking what I'm thinking? ...


(If there are other Sony buyers with similar "muted" experiences, contact one of us. This may be the new "big tobacco.")

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Chaaaarge.... them with battery

Two hockey games in one weekend. The Vancouver Canucks versus my hometown Calgary Flames, and the UBC Law Circus recreational team versus some motley team made up of I'm not sure who. I was proud to cheer on my law school team, and I also think I caught the first photographic evidence of both our team in action and lawyers not brutalizing their adversaries. (It was a no-check league after all).

One game was a nailbiter, the other was a romp. One game was tested my allegiances, the other was really, truly a huge romp, like 10-5. Neither game made socially acceptable my legal-themed shouts of "appeal that goal!" or "challenge that check!"

Guess which game this crowd was attending.

Here's the crowd for the UBC Law game, i.e. the team itself.

If there was one skills department where UBC Law outshone their opponents, it was faceoff formation. (All kidding aside, the game was a lot of fun to watch, and it's too bad our team didn't get farther in the playoffs. Let's go law-yers!)

Say what you will about the litigious nature of lawyers, at least they would have recognized the futility of such an argument long ago and recommended a settlement.