August 30, 2004

The Descent

The next 6 weeks should be an interesting experiment.

I have a 40 page brief for my moot court competition due in the next 4 weeks. The good news: we write it as a team. The bad news: we write it as a team. Then, there's about 60 hours of practice (not much of an exaggeration) before the actual moot court oral argument competition, which is a 4 day trip away from school. It'll be a blast and I'm looking forward to it, but the prep time is going to kick my butt.

I have journal duties including 2 hours a week of office hours, a cite check due in the next two weeks, and a source pull due the week following that. Theoretically, there's more to come immediately after the third week, but I'm not bothering to plan that far in advance, it's too overwhelming.

For appellate advocacy, I have a rough draft of another 40 page brief due within the next 4 weeks. This too, is team work, guaranteed to be simultaneously more rewarding and more frustrating than doing it alone.

Add the on-campus portion of OCI scattered over the next 5 weeks, and callbacks from the pre-law-school job search already scheduled into the same chunk of time, and well...

my commitment to golf is fading fast. It's a bummer too. E and I had been in pretty good habit of heading to the driving range one night a week and following it up with sushi.

The good news is, both the moot court competition and the bulk of OCI will be completed and done with in less than two months. Then I can re-emerge. 'Til then, I'm just going to do my best to get the extra-curricular and job search crap done as I must, stay on top of my regular classwork to the best of my abilities, do something athletic for at least 30 minutes 5 times a week, have some time to chill with E, eat reasonably well, and get enough sleep. You will note there is no dedication to a social life in that list. Bummer, but it's not like I couldn't see it coming.

Thank goodness I played so hard during summer. I'm almost happy to retreat to a life of anti-social academic pursuits. Almost.

August 29, 2004

It's All Well and Good

I'm a grammar geek of sorts. I've even read a few books on grammar for fun (and I've enjoyed them immensely). Sure, I don't follow the rule about prepositions avoiding the end of sentences religiously, but at least it's something I'm aware of.

I've also got this odd habit of acquiring the speech patterns of people that I'm around. Accents too. It's the kind of thing that can get you into trouble if people think you're making fun of them. E's from the south, but grew up in a city and speaks the LA version of English that kids learn from TV. When we visit E's family, E's speech stays the same. I, on the other hand, always manage to acquire a lilting drawl from E's father, mother, and the people in town that are immigrants from smaller backwaters. E finds this hilarious. I find it frustrating.

Because I pick up people's speech patterns, it's particularly vexing when I'm around incorrect grammar. Innevitably, I adopt the messed up grammar, unless I make myself take note of each incorrect usage and how I want to avoid it.

Lately, I've noticed that people seem to be having a particularly difficult time with the idea that good is an adjective and well is an adverb.

I think people must have heard that good is often the tell-tale sign of poor grammar (e.g. "I'm doing good. How are you?"). Because lately, I've been hearing quite a bit of:

How are you? I'm well.

It bothers me every time I hear it. I've even thought up a helpful lesson to explain the difference to people. It goes like this:

You're well? You can't be well! You can be well hung. And you very well may be. But if you're doing well, then you're good. Or maybe you're fine. But that's it. You are NOT well.

Of course, I never actually say this out loud. Recently, I met a lawyer at a firm where I'd like to work. And he shook my hand and said, "I'm well" when I asked how he was. My brain raced off into the diatribe and I tried my best to keep the shit-eating-grin from my face and the image of his response to my commentary about his anatomy from my mind.

When I came home, I told E about my day. And E pointed out that well can be used as an adjective to describe not sick. E was ecstatic to kick my ass in a grammar discussion.

I, of course, was amused to find another one of my teenage linguistic "truisms." Regardless, I need to kick the habit of thinking people who say they are well should be told about the well hung thing... that's headed nowhere but trouble--OCI is almost here.

August 27, 2004

Where They Meet

The space where BT meets the human that writes for BT is weird. In general, I like writing and I enjoy the outlet that my blog offers. I like it so much that I'm bummed at the idea that I'd have to stop doing it.

Yesterday, S, a really nice girl from school, told me she read one of my posts and had imagined how it went down. She thought it was funny. I'm glad she was entertained. But she reminds me that I could negatively affect my career if my human name is ever associated with this blog. The only thing stopping people who figure me out is respect. And I suspect some of them don't read EVERYTHING I post (and how they could skip the long rambling incoherent stuff...I just don't know), so maybe they don't even know how much I wish to remain anonymous.

It's not that I'm ashamed of what I write here. It's that I'm very aware that small cogs in the machine are not supposed to have a voice. And, honestly, I'll probably start out as a small cog in a machine somewhere (more about OCI later). I'd like to keep the BT voice, if at all possible, but I suppose I'll just have to wait and see if that's possible.

August 24, 2004

Best Bumper Sticker

My other computer is your linux box

Seen by E.

August 23, 2004

Out of Control

Normally, I commute about 1 hour to school. Some days, it's faster, others a bit longer. But today, this madness won the award for the longest commute to date.

2 hours, 50 minutes.

I called K and talked for an hour, which I wouldn't normally be able to do. I sat on side roads and saw parts of towns I'd never seen before and probably never will see again. I marvelled at modern transportation and how I take it for granted that I should be able to live 40 miles from where I need to be and it should work most of the time. Back in the good old days, all travel took as long as today's commute. Amazing. Today, it is only mass transit with missed connections , or other disasters that takes as long as the good old days.

Needless to say, I missed my first class. Several people offered their notes. Days like today, I'm very happy with my school and my classmates. I really appreciate their offers to help and will return in kind to the next person who could use my help.

August 20, 2004


While I wasn't ready to start school, it started anyways, and now I've got one week down with only one day of class behind me. Professor Evidence covered more in one hour than my summer-atrophied brain could comprehend. It was a brief taste of the "2nd year they work you to death" truism. I can believe it.

ProfessorB missed class, so A-Dog wrote the section of the student handbook that allows us to leave on the board with a note. Predictably, we all filtered out. H had the next class and later told me the story of how ProfessorB showed up, opened his books and set up shop at the podium. He looked at the board and said, "cute, guys," and then proceeded to begin class. Unfortunately, one of the students stopped him and told him that his class had been the previous hour. I think it would have been better to just let him go with it and duke it out when the real professor arrived.

I had many short, "Hi. How are you? How was your summer? Oh crap, I've got to go do X." conversations. Doing X involved lots of the little crap on my to do lists, but I'm feeling much more in control, which is nice.

Other than that, not much to report. School's got the same feel, but faster, and less unknown. Some of the more hard core students transferred out and up. Good for them. Could be good for us too, if their competitive drives are missing from the herd mentality, perhaps it'll be a kinder, gentler place. Who knows?

August 19, 2004

Ready, Set...

All systems are definitely not go. Last year, I was in overdrive. This year, I've barely managed to start pushing the car down the hill and I'm praying for a jumpstart.

My dream laptop, which spent most of the summer in a blissful sleep, is oh-so-slowly downloading (18% and counting) the necessary packages to run linux on the other half of my recently partitioned (and resized) hard drive. I'm considering a love affair with partition magic and really want to kill the designers of the new and improved debian installer.

So far, I have no books for this year. I am, however, expecting a $3 check as payment for the $1000 of new books from last year that I sold back as used books. Seriously, though, if you want to get rid of your books and don't want to drag them to the bookstore only to find out they won't take them, take advantage of the oh-so-easy-to-do buyback at Barnes and Noble..

Otherwise, I'm just generally unprepared. My windows installation has no patches installed--guaranteed to get me all sorts of nasty computer STDs if I jack in or forget to turn off wireless. Do I really have the dedication to keep myself off the network for that long? Hardly. I've got the moot problem to research (was supposed to have a sense of the cases by tomorrow, haven't quite gotten started), books to buy on-line, after I go the book store and figure out which books they are, OCI firms to research, and a billion other things (or at least it feels like it).

Yup. Whether I'm ready or not, this frenzied feeling is telling me that 2L is definitely starting. Here's to hoping I catch up at some point. Wouldn't that be nice?

August 17, 2004

Survey--Thank You Letters

My supervising partner from this summer told me that he has instructed his secretary to throw away thank you cards from interview candidates. He doesn't have the time to read them and they don't offer any new information.

He does however glance over thank you emails and prefers them over the cards, particularly if they include a more thorough response to a question he asked in the interview. However, another partner at my summer firm expects a physical Thank You card.

Seems like the only solution is to send both. Also seems like sending two thank yous for a 20 minute screening interview is ridiculous overkill.

How did y'all deal with this?

August 15, 2004

Hint #2--Bread Plate, Left

My last day at the firm, a few partners took me, another summer, and a guy who was interveiwing for an associate position out to lunch.

We took a back table at a nice restaurant and enjoyed a multi-course meal followed by coffee. The partners, dressed in Valley Casual, compared war stories of how they had been hazed as young associates (required to wear suits and ties every day, yelled at on a regular basis, etc.). We all talked about how relaxed the firm was (for the benefit of the interviewee, no doubt) and how much the legal culture had changed.

After the interviewee left, the managing partner asked the other summer and I what we thought of the interviewee. I said, "It's hard to tell anything about how he'd do at the job after lunch, but he seemed cool. He didn't say anything that was socially awkward."

Partner1 smiled and said, "He didn't say anything awkward, but he did dip his bread into the oil and vinegar on my bread plate." Partner2 continued, "I know, I saw that, I thought maybe he was just confused and thought it was the general oil/vinegar plate, but I looked around the table and several of us had poured oil and vinegar into our plates, so he had other points of reference." "Huh," I said, "that's odd." "Yeah," said Partner1, "and he didn't rip off a piece of his bread to do it first. He just dipped the entire piece of bread and then bit it. I was concerned he was going to double-dip, so I just stopped using the oil." Partner2 replied, laughingly, "I was concerned he was going to do that as well." Partner1 shrugged his shoulders, saying "oh well, if that's the worst social blunder he makes in his life, he's better off than any of us..."

At drinks that evening, I asked Partner1 how the interviewee had fared over all. He was on the fence about him because he was very green and would need quite a bit of training. Partner1 has invested quite a bit of time and money training people with no industry experience, but he's not certain he has the time or desire to do it right now. He'd prefer someone who can hit the ground running, but he's not certain he'll be able to find that person. At the end of the day, this interviewee was a solid maybe.

I probably saw someone lose a job offer by not having decent table manners. This is much more harsh than it sounds. If he had been an amazing candidate, he would have gotten the offer, regardless of his gaffe. But, since he was only average, every little thing tipped the scale.

What do you know, career services isn't totally off in left field. So kids, be sure to bone up on your table manners before OCI. It can't hurt and it just might help.

August 13, 2004


Summers, don't forget to get your administrative assistant a thank you gift.

This morning, my last day, I found a Thank You card and a bottle of wine waiting at my desk.

I have 4 words:

Thank Goodness For

***Update: the card and wine were from my admin, if that wasn't apparent.

August 11, 2004

No, Really. I'm Nice.

stone heart
Heart of Stone

What is Your Heart REALLY Made of?
brought to you by Quizilla

Final Week

My feedback lunch went well. They do love me (or at least my work). I'm already starting to get a little anxious about the frenzy of OCI and the pain of competing for a job next summer, so it was quite a relief to learn that at least I have one option, which I know I'd enjoy.

With the reality of my success this Summer comforting me, I started dropping gears for a smooth stop of work. Or I was until I finished my last piece of work yesterday evening. Unfortunately, my managing partner asked me to let him know if I finished all of my work.

So, I did. I am now the proud owner of a fairly complicated patent application with 3 days to write it, draft the drawings, and file it. Oh, make that 2.5 days.

Doable, but not the last week of summer relaxation I imagined.

At least I took time out for a long dinner with 5 friends at Viognier last night. The food was amazing (fancy, but not overly so, just fresh, delicious, and interesting combinations of spices). I had seared Ahi over udon noodles with mushrooms in dashi--it was good fusion (generally, I'm not a fan of fusion, so that's about the highest compliment I ever give it). The wine list was expensive, but immense and full of excellent selections. The ambience, however, was just plain weird. K called it, as usual, by saying, "it just feels like a fancy Denny's." Regardless, I stuffed myself and spent 3 hours at the table with friends.

I sure am going to miss having a paycheck that allows me to afford nice meals and a pseudo-job where I am taken out to nice meals (today's expedition is to a nearby brewery that serves food). On the other hand, the cheap food I can afford during school should at least slow the increase of stomach girth that has been yet another perk of my Summer Associate experience.

August 9, 2004

NorCal Summer, Distilled

E had friends in town from Georgia (SoCo, not Vodka) last weekend, so we spent the weekend being good Californian hosts.

We threw a backyard barbeque where everyone ate too much beef and summer vegetables (mmmm...heirloom tomatoes). We took them to super-fresh, super-authentic sushi where we drank sake and ate too much. We played Asshole 'til 2 AM (during which time, of course, we drank too much). We went to Santa Cruz for a one night stay-over, visited a couple of beaches, played beach volleyball, did beach yoga, and went wine tasting.

Saturday early afternoon we headed out to the beach. B wanted a secluded, non-touristy beach, where she could lay out naked. E and I, wanting to be good hosts, researched the nude beaches in the area and found one that looked pretty good.

Unfortunately, when we arrived it was windy and cold. Very windy and cold. Way too windy and cold to be taking off layers of clothing. But B was determined, so she headed down the path to what looked like a more protected area of the beach. I caught a glimpse of a naked man. "Oh, it must be more protected from the wind down there, why don't we head back down."

Everyone followed me. Yup, that enclave of the beach sure is secluded. Turns out, we weren't the first people to figure out that it was private. We walked down the path to be greeted by the view of two men having sex on the beach. 30 yards away, another man was intently watching them. Surprised (although we probably shouldn't have been), we quickly retreated to a different area of the beach.

Welcome to California! Food, Wine, Beaches, and Sex-in-the-open. Everything you've heard in Georgia is true. Do we know how to host our guests or what?
Wine Notes

Overall, I'm impressed with the Santa Cruz Mountain wineries we visited last weekend. They are closer to home than our other regular wine destinations and easily competitive in terms of quality (many of the grapes are brought in from the regions we like anyways).

The Ridge Montebello tasting room was disappointing after our last experience at their Lytton Station location. Lytton Station is easily accessed, the staff was friendly, helpful, and poured for us 5 minutes before closing. Monte Bello is annoyingly located at the top of a winding mountain road (they don't call it Ridge/Monte Bello for nothing), they only had 5 bottles open for tasting, and the only selections that were noteable were on the $5 select tasting menu. The service staff wasn't very personable, and they close at 4 PM, on the dot. It's obvious that they want you (and by you, I mean young adults who don't look like they're going to drop several thousand dollars on wine) out even if you just arrived up the long winding mountain. But, it's still Ridge wine, so that makes the trip worth it.

Testarossa has an amazing facility, a great story (they've evolved from electrical engineers who knew nothing about wine production to one of the world's best pinot makers in 10 years), a friendly staff and excellent wine. Unfortunately, their wine is a little outside of the student price range. Justifiably so, with their recent awards.

Thankfully, just when we needed a good value, Picchetti, a gamble, emerged the clear favorite of the trip. It was a new wine for all of us, but everyone really enjoyed at least one of their offerings and we all agreed that it had the best combination of value and ambience (not to mention peacocks!). How can you disagree with a winery that hosts a weekly party with live music for its wine club members? Yup. I joined another wine club...

August 5, 2004


Golf's a person of indeterminate sex, but she does occasionally flatter, and man oh man. --Bear

Looks like attorneys for Google forgot to register around 27 Million shares of stock that they granted in options with the SEC.

Are you kidding me? To rectify this mishap, they are offering to repurchase all unregistered shares and options. The repurchase offer includes over 37 percent of the Class A shares they intend to IPO. Who misses this kind of thing?

I'd be damn grumpy if I'd early exercised my options only to have them offered for repurchase at the cost I paid plus interest (7% in California). The people who were too lazy, suspicious, etc. to early exercise are only being offered 20% of their strike price plus interest.

There's a joke in the valley that the people at Google are all drinking the proverbial kool-aid. I guess this will separate the true believers from the others.

The options are: 1. Take the "deal." 2. Hold out for the IPO and assume that once your shares are registered it'll all be cool. 3. Sue, now or later.

How many lawsuits do you predict?

August 4, 2004

Inventors, Take Note

If you are an inventor on a patent, when you finally get around to signing and faxing the declaration back to your lawyers, feel free to send a confirmation email.

But don't say, "Oh, and by the way, Bob (inventor 1) and Jan (inventor 2) haven't finished reviewing the application. They should be able to get around to it sometime next week."

Why? Well, the DECLARATION is a statement by the inventor(s) that says lots of things about the invention and the patent application like, "yup, that's my invention" and "yup, that's how it works." In order to say this, the declaration starts with a one sentence paragraph which basically says, "We, the undersigned inventors have reviewed the application."

So, if after you've signed the declaration you send me an email that says, "we didn't actually read the patent application yet," it doesn't matter that you plan to do it in the next few days. Now, I've got to be an annoyingly anal lawyer type and send an email back that says, "please re-execute the docs when all inventors have read the application. It would be great if you could try not to contradict the statements you're signing. Thanks." Only I have to write a nicer email, which takes more time, which I then have to bill.

August 2, 2004

Mixed Messages

I've got a couple of weeks of work left, and a lunch meeting for feedback with my managing partner this Friday. Word on the street (via associates) is that they love my work and want me to come back, which is excellent, but I'll believe it when I hear it from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

Despite my love affair with work, school is creeping back into my life. It looks like the trends from last year will continue for BT, and 2L will be filled with ambiguous feedback, at best.

The results from the journal competition came back, and per normal, I'm disappointed on one hand, relieved on the other, and resting in limbo. More than anything, I'm suffering from the winded shock that arrives in your chest when you convince yourself that you are good enough for something and anticipate its occurrence only to find you were wrong. I didn't get an invitation to law review or the tech-focused journal. I suspect my LWR grade takes a decent chunk of the blame for that, which is a bummer since my moot court brief won accolades. Oh well. Hindsight I'll offer to 1Ls: if you want to join a particular journal with grades that are only slightly above average, then you probably have to put in the time and effort for both LWR and moot court, even if they aren't GPA courses.

The other side of the coin is that I did get an invitation to another journal, which covers topics that interest me.

Benefits: exposure to a cool area of law that I wouldn't otherwise get to know. Longer release cycles for the journals (less stress and a semblance of a life while balancing 2L, journal, and moot court). Exposure to tons of legal writing, citing, and editing, which, apparently, I need.

Drawbacks: if journals are mainly resume fodder, all this work will be focused in an area where I don't intend to practice. If my goal really is to have the highest possible quality of life while obtaining a great education, perhaps spreading myself even thinner by joining this journal isn't the best decision. Maybe I'd be better served by writing a note on my own and doing my best to get it published. I'll mull it over but chances are, I'll just join the journal and enjoy myself immensely.

In other news, the moot court ramp up has begun. Meetings and work assignment will occur this week. We've got a huge brief to write in a very short time.

Add a quickly approaching job fair (may just wear the old suit, running out of time to buy a new one), OCI research and bidding, mucking with the old resume, finishing up my work before I leave the firm, booked weekends from now 'til after Labor day and I'm swamped.

School hasn't even started.

August 1, 2004

What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander

Back in the day, Real successfully invoked the DMCA against Streambox in order to obtain a preliminary injunction. (link thanks to Ernie.)

Now, Apple is talking up the same game plan against Real. Real recently announced the release of Harmony Technology for Real Player which promises interoperability with the iPod. Apple, of course, isn't too stoked about Real offering an alternative music delivery scheme.

Queue Fighting Music.

Should be interesting to see how this all plays out.