Thursday, June 29, 2006

Progress report

I've reduced the number of mbe's I do a day to about fifty because I've come to realize that a good part of the reason why I do it is because it's easier than actually writing and outlining and memorizing.

I consider memorizing to be the most boring, grueling portion and in law school I generally avoided it by simply writing down rules as often as possible rather than repeating a rule verbatim again and again, checking to see if I got it right. I found the old approach far too time consuming. It is nonetheless essential, and if there is a glaring weakness in my game it's my inability to write and know the exact rules of law for essays. I had a set of Jeff Adachi's bar cards that someone left in the library but because it was missing a few sections, I bought a new set. I consider them absolute treasure. Everything I need to know in BLL is there.

The other issue is bar tricksterism. I've given up on trying to logically figure out why about ten to twenty percent of the mbe's are wrong. The explanations conflict with other explanations, and some day when I have the time I will do an expose. Of course it's an old issue, like affirmative action and water rights, but still it's hard to believe such incompetence is perpetuated. My naivete known no bounds.

Anyway, I was writing a wills and trusts question and outlined it, then proceeded to panic. I had spotted only the trust elements, a charitable trust, and cy pres. Considering it was a page long fact pattern, I was worried. After a little bit, I panicked so much I gave up and looked at the answer. I had, in fact, spotted everything but equitable deviation.

People say that ever bar exam answer is a racehorse. This does not appear to be the case, and I can state unequivocally that I have looked at many more tests than the average candidate. Some are and some are not. If you mistake one for the other, you are fucking up.

My fiance woke up and asked me to strip the sheets and maybe throw them in the washer and be home between three and six for the delivery of the new bed. Then she proceeds to wash dishes, making a shitload of noise while I'm going over flashcards. I'm annoyed, but shit, she has the clean the house.

I go in the kitchen and get some water and she asks me if I have four minutes can I empty the dishwasher or something like that. I exploded. I think I used the f-word several times. She asked me to not talk to her that way.

She left without saying goodbye and I sat there stewing. Now I couldn't study. It's amazing how fragile your mindset is when you are doing something like this. The only answer I could think of was to call her and have it out. We argued for an hour straight on the phone. Concluded that she needs to go somewhere else for a while. Then back to reading flashcards into a recorder...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Taking the bar exam allows me to be a dick.

People phrase is kindly. They say things like "you need to be constructively selfish" or "You have the right to say no to invitations more than any time in your life.".

I should fail the bar exam just because for the first time in my life, people actually understand why I am being a dick and say "it's okay, we understand".

Whenever I was a dick before, even in law school, there wasn't much sympathy. You chose your path, so if you don't like it, tough shit. Except for my Mom. Mom's always stick up for their sons...even after they have obvious murdered a bunch of people. I like to think my mom wouldn't like me if I was Scott Peterson, but I'm not sure. She's mom.

Anyway, I get to leave food out. Don't wash dishes. I get to be moody an irritable. I can do the normal male silent thing and not want to be conversant and get away with it! All of the things I have already been doing for years, but now suddenly it's okay!

I think I might never pass the bar just so I can continue to be a dick for as long as possible....

There are, of course those who believe that being a lawyer involves being a dick, or a bitch. There are no shortage of people who I have attended law school with who are under the erroneous impression that being a dick serves them well in the profession. I will submit to you that IMO it is precisely the opposite. If you want to be an asshole for a living, pick a different profession, like drill sergeant. These are people who I fuck with on a regular basis and who lawyers I know, if they have time, will do the same. I know of at least one woman prosecutor who pissed off my friend at the Public Defenders' office by trying to overwhelm him with frivolous motions. He made a point of fighting every single one, and eventually she quit and was committed to a mental hospital.

I don't want to be a lawyer who is a dick. Not because I am not a dick (although, truth be told, I'm usually not) but because it is too much effort. Being an asshole must be incredibly draining. The job is already hard enough.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The White Whale....

When you start dreaming about a real property outline, things are pretty serious. Somehow, in the middle of the outline, there was something about Frodo and the Lord of the Rings. Don't ask me to explain it. I just know that I've properly approached this thing. I could work harder, but I think the breaks help me generate more energy. I've already given up quite a bit to get where I am, for questionable reasons, and at this point, it's really about finishing what I started. Rewriting history. When you have already spent two days and 18 hours climbing to where you are, you don't turn around so easily. Unless your a moron. Or a quitter.

Giving up this gorgeous summer has been hard. I have, historically retreated to the mountains in the summers and as a teacher had the time to do so. I spent them crossing clear rushing streams and watching the moonlight rise over granite spires. I've heard the coyotes calling and had my food stolen by bears. I've been bitten, slashed, bruised and battered. Burned and starved, dehydrated to the point of cramping up. And I miss it. I really wonder what I'm doing. But a while back I forgot about it all. It's supposed to be about having a better life. I guess doing things that are difficult is a part of that. I can't be an ultimate fighter (or I really don't want to be one. I've been kicked in the head while wearing pads and that hurt)although I'm fair to middlin at karate. I can get a bar number.

But now it's just wake mbe' can't even enjoy movies. That's a bad sign. I was always able to enjoy movies in law school...

Ahab's desire to pursue Moby Dick is contrasted with Starbuck's desire to run a normal commercial whaling ship. It can be seen as the clash of idealism and pragmatism.

The white whale itself, for example, has been read as symbolically representative of good and evil, as has Ahab. The white whale has also been seen as a metaphor for the elements of life that are out of our control.

The Pequod's quest to hunt down Moby Dick itself is also widely viewed as allegorical. To Ahab, killing the whale becomes the ultimate goal in his life, and this observation can also be expanded allegorically so that the whale represents everyone's goals. Furthermore, his vengeance against the whale is analogous to man's struggle against fate. The only escape from Ahab's vision is seen through the Pequod's occasional encounters with other ships, called gams. Readers could consider what exactly Ahab will do if he, in fact, succeeds in his quest: having accomplished his ultimate goal, what else is there left for him to do? Thus, the outcome of the quest is irrelevant, and actually completing the journey is not the goal - it's the "thrill of the chase" that's important. Similarly, Melville may be implying that people in general need something to reach for in life, or contrariwise that such a goal can destroy one if allowed to overtake all other concerns.

Ahab's pipe is widely looked upon as the riddance of happiness in Ahab's life. By throwing the pipe overboard, Ahab signifies that he no longer can enjoy simple pleasures in life; instead, he dedicates his entire life to the pursuit of his obsession, the killing of the White Whale, Moby Dick.
I think I need a cigar....

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Is this true?

I've never heard this before and I'm skeptical. Does anyone know if this is true?

The California State Bar Association treats bar passage as a process of "filling slots." I personally do not appreciate or like the slot I'm destined to compete in. I am discriminated against since my "slot" has such a low passage rate, which never changes over the years. I am not being given a fair chance compared to other applicants who are in the “more favorable slot" with five times my passage potential since their passage percentage is allowed to be five times higher than my passage percentage.

I am in the "slot" with the next-to-lowest passage percentage, consisting of applicants who attended ABA-accredited schools OUTSIDE of California. In addition, this category also contains practicing attorneys from outside jurisdictions, who have practiced for at least four years and are taking the California bar. I am pitted against these already practicing attorneys, making this "slot" even more difficult for a non-practicing applicant. These slots and their respective bar passage percentages are pre-determined before the submissions are graded, and each applicant’s exam answers are pitted against the other applicants in their same “slot,” NOT the entire bar-taking group, which would be equitable.


California bar exam essays

California bar exam essays, I have read, are among the hardest, if not the hardest essays in the nation. Why that is, exactly, I'm not sure. Like most of the bar, the subject matter itself isn't harder. New York, for example, tests on many more subjects. What apparently is different is the grading. The mbe score required is higher than most, and the graders, IMO have been told to grade as harshly as possible. The bar will deny this, but I love conspiracy theories when they fit in with the general demeanor of a bad actor. Did Bush blow up the WTC to get re-elected? NO. And you are retarded if you believe that. The Republicans don't know their ass from a hole in the ground. Fortunately most people who voted for them don't either. Did Enron game the California energy market? You better fucking believe it. I was watching the power go out in my classroom near the end of winter, when power usage was seasonally low. Not that Gray Davis had the testicles to stand up and be counted at that perfect moment.

Anyway, the bar probably has spies in barbri. But more importantly they pick ONE test that is absolutely the one designed to shake you off the tree.

Last night, I'm looking at a Wills and Trusts question that is literally two thirds negligence. And it wasn't a crossover. I suspect five questions are straightforward, and one question makes everyone go "WTF?"

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Law flashcards for yah...


Thanks to "Girl walks into a bar exam" for this gem...

Good advice vs. bad advice

I'm kind of ambivalent about my Micromash mentor. MM assigns each student a "mentor" who looks at one essay written every week for a total of six weeks. That really means that you get five opportunities to get ripped up. They give you half an hour to write them.

The first corporations essay, she gives me a 55. I'm not terribly surprised, since I'm not keen on the law. Our corporations Professor taught some of that stuff, but a lot of what we did is outside the scope of most of those classes. I only had half an hour, so I wasn't surprised, or offended. Some of the advice seemed good. She likes the phrase "dovetail". I don't do well with those kind of instructions. Show me, don't tell me.

The next assignment was a torts question in which I spotted most of the issues. Because I was cutting and pasting, I left a sentence fragment in the middle of phrase. She didn't realize it. While I spotted most of the issues and the defenses, and I thought knew the law and organized well, she gave me a "60-65". I'm no genius, but I know the bar graders don't give such scores. When someone tries to split hairs like that, I call bullshit. It's either one or the other, and if you aren't sure, that says something about the grader.

I thought some of her advice was good; don't let the facts stand alone. However, the strict IRACing that she is asking for isn't apparent in most of the model answers I 've seen by barbri and the state bar. MM model answers are without question some of the worst I have ever seen. I actually find them offensive, they are so bad; long, narrative strings with barely any headings or underlining. Exactly the last sort of thing someone who has two minutes will want to read.

I have seen model answer in barbri ordered like this; "fact, conclusion, rule, fact". I've seen "conclusion, fact, rule" all kinds of ways of approaching it. It shouldn't be suprising that they don't follow their own rules. Should the bar be different from law school? Well, yes it should. The consensus required gets us away from the petty tyrant. But it makes us beholden to the herd. If 8 out of 10 lawyers are wrong about an MBE, or a model answer, they are still wrong. But the bar goes with the tyranny of the majority. You, with the correct answer, lose.

I worry about struggling with it. You are supposed to do what they tell you. However, I've had experience with "writing teachers" before. One preceded my worst grades ever in law school, to the tune of 1000 dollars. I got a 62 in midterms on civil procedure. I fired him and on the final scored a 79 and 80 on the two finals.

That is why I'm doing the bar study myself; I always do best when I return to my natural style and don't allow to much interference from the outside. I think a good teacher, like a good coach, recognizes your uniqueness and brings out the best of you. The worst teachers attempt to clone you into them, unaware of the vast number of ways to get from point a to point b.

My mentor only offers a few suggestions each time, so I like that. But some advice she gave troubled me.

I asked how to approach memorizing the law. She said "look at the table of contents for a hornbook". Sinking feeling. Nobody reads hornbooks after first year. They rarely help, in fact, are almost as big a waste of time as the casebooks are. Commercial outlines, contrary to the orthodoxy, are invaluable for many things. I've heard judges in SF use them. My contracts teacher, who was presiding Judge of the Sonoma County Superior Court, read straight from "legalines" while reviewing for our final.

So I'm at a crossroads. Do I listen to my inner voice and go with what I hear, or do I ignore it and follow the outside voice?

Too many mistakes have been made trusting others in my life. Too often. There are too many people who act like they know what they are talking about, without any doubt. Let me give you an example: On our school website there is a chatbox where I posted this question:

me: is anti-lucas 84 or 87? Barbri says 87.

Third in the class responds:(who is very nice to me and who I like)
21 Jun : 09:25
See Wally, that's what you get for using bootleg BarBri....Lucas was decided in 1980...The anti-Lucas statutes were enacted in 1984 (FC 2581, 2640).

me:My 2005 conviser mini-review says on page 9 of the comprop outline "Jan. 1, 1987". '84 is joint tenancy. '87 is any joint form. Page 72 "Practice under the Family Code"

I've learned to not roll over and play dead because someones speaks with a tone of certainty. I have too much riding on this test to listen now to that same voice. It's a tightrope....

Monday, June 19, 2006

Missed connection on craigslist

I know I'm supposed to be studying, but I'm going fucking bananas. My heart rate monitor crapped out so that is my new excuse for not going to the gym or jogging. So I'm reading craigslist and I shit you not, I read this in the "Missed connections" section (which is another name for "")

Cutie that worked at Taco Bell Next to SSU 10-11yrs ago... - m4w - 31 (rohnert pk / cotati)
Reply to:
Date: 2006-06-17, 12:50AM PDT

You worked at Taco Bell at the drive through window... Very cute, long dirty blond hair, Were into Horses... We went out a few times... You LOVED my Chevy truck.... r u still around?

Can you say LOSER!!!! Back to Pereira and van camp...

Friday, June 16, 2006

Annoying people and the bar exam

It stands to reason that I may be little short-tempered lately. The California Bar Exam is a difficult test. My mind wanders to what my friend Sean heard from a guy named Jim who passed the bar last year. He saw Jim at the county fair and the only comment from Jim was "it's just a really hard test".

Which is really just another way of saying "it's a super fucking hard test that you have to tell yourself is "just a hard test" and not the end of the world, a judgment on your intelligence, character or commitment."

I'm at Wolf Coffee in Healdsburg and this super-annoying group of ex-teachers come in and start discussing some political issue related to pension funds. Something to do with a district. It seems that you can always tell people who are spinning their wheels in meetings because they don't really make much sense. The lack of direction (something education is notorious for, other than picking the WRONG direction)makes it a little like listening to a xtian fundie talk; not a lot of sense to it.

One of them was this really annoying old guy who talked in a hoarse whisper. He wouldn't let anyone get a word in edgewise. They were probably hoping he would lose his voice completely, although out of the three had made the most sense. The concept of economy in relation to language eludes so many of us. Especially lawyers. Anyway, it was small wonder his voice was going.

I had reached for my earplugs before they came in to block out the sound of the fat woman having her child read "green eggs and ham". How a coffee shop turns into a fucking day care center is beyond me.

Anyway, I realized my earplugs were on my keychain, and I had left that at home, having ridden the bike through various shining subdivisions with the background of rolling green hills and various folks walking in the sunlight. I hated them.

So I sucked it up and zipped through two hundred mbe's. I do them very fast. I was done in two hours and eleven minutes. I notice that if I go to slowly and kind of hang out, my mind wanders. ON the complicated ones, it usually isn't possible to figure out all the times, dates, events and parties and which is significant without feeling a massive drain of energy and enthusiasm. I concluded from this that it is better to guess and skip on such mbe's for precisely that reason. If you hang out and don't know the law, it doesn't usually help much to spend too much more time. You either know it or you don't.

I scored a 66. I was suprised, but I also had seen a good number of them before.

Then I took a break, went hom for lunch, and went back over to the library. Just before I started some creepy guy came in and glared at me. He was chewing gum with his mouth open, like a cow with a cud, studying applied physics. Two hours and ten minutes later I was finally done, and he was still chewing gum with his mouth open. Fucking wierdo.

I scored it. 70 correct. That was a raw score of 136. I felt okay about that, even though a good number of questions were not new to me. After all, I still have over a month to go....

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Many of the professional companies tell you to do fifty in a row. That would make sense if you knew the law, but starting out you probably don't, so that advice doesn't make sense. Micromash does a neat thing in that it tells you the answer instantly after you answer the question. The problem is that it keeps the clock running, so your time per question gets skewed. I conclude there are two good ways to approach the mbe practice: real time and study time

Study time means do one, two, or at most ten mbe's in a row and correct them. Look at the answer and UNDERSTAND why you got it wrong. There are a number of reasons for wrong answers. The best one is that you don't know the law, because you can learn the law by copying down the rule of law on a piece of paper each time you miss for that reason. Maybe even copy rules down on the ones you get right. Recitation is key. The second best reason to miss an MBE is because you didn't read carefully enough. Easy to fix; just read more carefully. You will note, for example that the torts mbe's don't always mention what the cause of action would be. They trip you up by throwing in negligence or strict liability because they know you will often answer by instinct. They will put an answer perfect for strict liability in there and it's about negligence, so you are wrong.

The worst reason of all is because the facts or too convoluted. Some MBE's are not answerable because there are too many parties and events. I counted in one PMBR question 7 parties, 5 events, and 11 dates. Great for math majors and chess players, bad for me. Cross them out and guess.

Try to do at least fifty. I have found that I do mbe's very quickly, and the longer I spend on them the worse I do. Sorting out which ones you should spend more time on is something I'm working on. I second-guess myself and get it wrong, or I read more carefully and avoid the trap-door. There is a delicate balance that perhaps comes with experience. Some experts say you should avoid guessing on instinct; this is true, but if your instinct is combined with a rule that you are stating in your head, this is probably the best you can get. Argue with yourself. Think about which area of law they are testing and which fucked-up little wrinkle they think they got you on. I have heard that the real mbe is easier than the practice ones in commercial products, although California's requires a higher score than most. Therefore, when you come across an mbe that doesn't really explain why an answer is wrong (and I gott a hand it to the bar examiners, it's very tough, almost an art form to write an mbe that is demonstrably incorrect on three answers, which is why sometimes their answers are complete arbitrary line drawn in the sand...kind of like a lot of SCOTUS decisions)ignore it. Go for the low-hanging fruit. Do NOT go into law school over-achiever mode. While it's my instinct too, and I've scored some 80's because of it, this test is about passing. Period.

So, for example, this morning I went over to the coffee shop and finished the last fifty mbe's from a PMBR sample exam. My overall score was about 109, which if you add the 31 raw score points to make it equivalent to the actual mbe, is 140, a passing score. I was nonetheless a little pissed off. I thought the afternoon questions were harder and it seems PMBR makes the questions unecessarily difficult for the dual purpose of training their customers as well as scaring the shit out of them so they buy their stuff...I'm kind of ambivalent about that tactic. Rigorous training is good, but that whole "sink or swim" Navy SEAL trial-by-fire school of education isn't the best way to approach things. Some poster on "GIRL WALKS INTO A BAR EXAM" said it well. "Your supposed to help us, not fuck us up!"

I finished my badly made cappacino, tossed the PMBR exam into the trash, and went home....

So, in short
1. do a hundred a day, same subject unless you get so bored you want to stab yourself in the eye with a pencil...
2. Go slowly and understand why you got it wrong. If their answer makes sense.
3. If you are still reading the explanation ten minutes later, it isn't your fault. Move one.
4. Use different sources. Barpassers, Micromash, PMBR, Barbri all have mbe books you can get, and they are different. The one common thing is that they test the law.
5. Use the process of elimination.
6. scribble in the parties and important dates and facts. Don't get cheap. Just buy more books. You probably spent upwards of a hundred grand to get don't want to spend fifty bucks for a book?
7. Get addicted to them. Think of it as a game. And in a way, it's the best game, because mbe's are as objective as things get in the bar exam. No petty tyrants to fuck you up for not doing things stylistically the way they like it. Love the mbe.

Monday, June 12, 2006

There aren't too many things that chap my hide as easily as the debate on housing. I have now been telling people for years exactly what is now coming to pass; that the housing market and the "what goes up must continue to go up" crowd who were so in love with the idea of themselves as wise investors for being born and getting a mortgage, are now beginning to sing a different tune. Soon, everyone will say that they knew exactly what was happening and never bought the party line from the real estate industry, the realtors, or the fellow moron speculators who sat around eating popcorn and watching "flip this house". My landlord, who bought the pile of shit I live in now, bought this and the bungalow next door for just under a million, because he wanted to get in before "things got to crazy". You should see this house. As interests rates rise and home buyers have a v8 moment, there are STILL people out there hawking their wares, hoping against hope, and grasping for every little straw to try to put a good face on a bad thing. When you hear people talk about bright spots in the economy, I think "Well, other than that, Mrs. Kennedy, how was the Dallas?"

I pray to God every day that I get half a chance to sue the bastards who have been purveying interest only, variable-rate mortgages to people who are now hanging upside down with kids and a job that pays squat. I guess I should hate them too, but it's kind of hard can only really get angry at the people who should now better.

"Investors were a bigger part of the market than many thought, including ourselves," said Hovnanian, whose company builds primarily in the Northeast. Would-be flippers are not only not buying new properties, they're selling what they already own, adding to the record number of homes already on the market.

I suppose it's possible that he's telling the truth. I don't know. But the term "snake-oil salesman" comes to mind....

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Some discussion on the mbe

online tips for the mbe

I especially like this post


totally agree re tactics.
I found PMBR/BarBri explanations to be tedious, prolix, and painful to read. Awful stuff. [PMBR quoted treatises, and BB was so repetitive that it was like some kind of cult programming.]
BUT I forced myself to read them thoroughly so that I got the "why" of it and wasn't just picking "D" due to reflex or familiarity with some prep-course's material.
Eventually, it stuck in my head.

On MBE day, I used some test-taking gimmicks to goose myself:
-- Purposely tracked and underestimated my available time by drawing a line after Qs 40/140 (one-hour mark) and 80/180 (two-hour mark)
-- Answered "I know it!" Qs immediately, based on gut response, but skipped those that required more than 30 secs' thought.
Then, after hitting Q 100 (or 200), went back over the blanks -- sometimes leaving REALLY rough ones blank.
Then went over those really-rough blanks, from 1-100 or 101-200.
That was three passes, just to fill in one bubble per Q.

At the end, I still had time to go over each set of Qs (1-100, 101-200) twice, but intentionally did NOT change any answer unless I knew that I'd really & truly guessed at it, as in "Duh, oh Hell -- B looks nice."

I am NO test whiz. But I was freaked by the MBE matl and its huge importance on the exam -- so I forced myself to absorb this geeky stuff and come up with a coldblooded Survival Plan. The Plan's basics were:
(1) I can't POSSIBLY know everything, but must know how this test works and what it wants.
(2) I can't afford to get stuck or not finish this %$#@ thing and lose points on stuff I know, due to lack of time.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Are killing me. I got less than fifty percent on the intermediate drills in Gilbert's, and now I just got roughly fifty percent on the advanced drills. Go figure.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

This sucks

This sucks.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Mt. Langley

Mt. Langley

With only a half hour break the entire day, I walked from dawn until dusk and hiked 21 miles up four thousand feet of elevation and back. While there wasn't much real climbing, it was the longest single day hike I have ever done. Slow plodding was the key. I'm hoping that works for the bar exam.

"The universe is intimately and violently constructed with a subtle beauty of form. Mountain shapes, born of fire and force, portray a similiar magnificience."
-(I think that's Emerson)

"All theory is gray, dear friend, and green the golden tree of life."-Henry Van Dyke

it's not a small world...

I had a strange memory last night as I lay in bed letting the insomnia have its way with me. I was suddenly in the bookstore at SFSU, and I could see the white towers and sunlight falling on the cement and grass areas of the campus. When I was seventeen, more than twenty years ago, that feeling of grandeur and the inspiration that seems to be a part of youth was so prevalent. I flipped through books of history, poetry, literature. Archaeology and political science. Their pretty graphics and long-winded sentences. I loved the university. But I didn't know why, other than the fact that the world seemed so much larger when I was there. That I had room to grow. My world is, and always will be, a spacious place. I may have only traveled to Europe and Mexico, but my mind has been everywhere, and every place.
In the pages of those books I have been with quasars and on remote islands in the Pacific. I have climbed the tallest mountains and been in the deepest oceans. I have talked with great minds, and seen horrors. You can't live everything. But you can dream about everything. And that can be a bit of a trap.

I looked at the walls of my study now, filled with words, and glanced at the evidence outline on the wall. It dawned on me that the study of law was inherently practical, and that was what I've been missing for a long time. But now that I have that, the thing that I miss most is the useless.

Law is practical. People need ways to resolve conflicts fairly to reduce social tension. And this is no easy task. As much as people complain about the law and what a travesty it is, most of the time it works pretty well, and compared to most other places on the planet, it's at times a bit of a miracle. But you would have to go somewhere with no security or justice to really understand that. Evidence,for example, is an amazing interplay between logic and justice. The hearsay rule exemplifies that in a gorgeous way. We can't test the statement for veracity, so it's out. But if it falls under an exception that gives it some legitimacy, it's in. It's ethereal but practical. Nobody lies while making excited utterances. Or dying declarations.

I cannot say that I appreciate the practicality of the RAP, however. The Rule Against Perpetuities, the law students most dreaded enemy in school, is arcane, foolish, and you can't even be charged with malpractice in California for not knowing it.

It goes "no interest is good unless it must vest, if at all, within 21 years after some life in being at the creation of the interest".

The policy behind it makes sense. You don't want dead people controlling property for more than a hundred years. It fucks things up. The better way to do that? Say "An interest must vest within 99 years". There are statutes that do this already. So while, all this law isn't very well crafted, and serves simply to perpetuate the incompetence of public policy makers from ancient England, some of it is quiet amazing.

And that is where the useless comes in. Useless mountains. Useless books on Roman history. Useless people like teachers and astronomers. Useless music and painting. Useless poetry. Useless museums.

All the useless things in the world that make life worth living. Assuming your world isn't a small one.

And there is the beauty of having a practical profession. You appreciate all the useless things you have done in your life.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Eight hours later

I swear I haven't even got halfway through what I need to do....

Got an email from my Micromash mentor today, making me feel a little better about MM. You see, last Friday I was supposed to log in and get my mentor information. They assign you a writing tutor to look at five essays you will write for them, once a week.

I have heard that this is the weaker portion of MM and while I intend to take full advantage of it, the fact that my email had a list of around fifteen other people in the "to" field was a little disturbing. I zipped off an email making certain if I had the right assignments, because being a wannabe overachiever and a fool, I had purchased MM early on, not realizing they were revising their materials. I don't imagine it will make a big difference, but it is a good example of why not to jump the gun at times. She mailed me back a terse email "your assignment is due June 9 and it is corporations question 2". Apparently she's in Arizona. I worry for a moment about how much California law she might know, and then realize it won't matter. Bad writing is bad writing in any state.

Anyway, the log-in information says "type in your number MMB-2818". Incorrect instructions. As it turned out, I was only supposed to type in 2818. They operate on bankers hours, so my calls over the weekend went unheard.

In any case, people under the stress of such events need comfort and attention, and a little more accomodation. I know I'm asking too much, I only paid fifteen hundred, and I haven't even paid it yet. They are probably thinking "cheap bastard. If you want someone to kiss your ass, go to BARBRI!!".

In any case, I woke up and went over corporations and quickly realized I have already forgotten everything, and that a lot of things I learned are useless for the bar. And some things I have never seen before. Of course, it wasn't Prof. Wargo's job to teach us everything on the bar.

So I ran through Travis Wise's flash cards, listened to two hours of lecture, looked at four essays, did forty mbe's, and it's already five. I had no idea that eight hours could go by so quickly. There was of course, a noon time swim. I had to wait for the bobbers to get out of the pool.

You know the bobbers. They take up the whole fucking lane even though they are bobbing like buoy up and down. I realize it's tough when you get to be sixty, but I know for a fact that part of the problem is when you treat your body like it is all broken down. You either use it, or you lose it, and when you get it in your mind that if you actually swim and sweat, and get that heart rate up, that you are in danger, then you should get the fuck out of the gym.

Sure, age does destroy your body. Let's face it. But mental age does too.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Evidence brain-drain

So I hit the torts hard for a couple days and come back to Evidence....and instantly have a melt-down.

I can see the issue here. I can spot issues. I can do MBE's. The problem is that I don't remember the rules that well. Not well enough. So no matter what anyone says about "exam technique" and whatnot, for a lot of people such as myself, the problem is that we don't know the rules. Or at least cannot state them.

YOu hear a lot of crap. "You already know enough law to pass". "It's not about who knows more law". THese are both statements that are, to some degree, completely true. But in law school, as in many venues, the reason why people do poorly is because they don't know the law. And there is no way around not knowing the law. You have to memorize. In that light, I have committed myself to memorizing Travis Wise's flash cards. The results to date are impressive. 80% on thirty of Barbir's introductory mbe's, and moments ago, nine out of eleven correct answers on the intermediate questions.

Listening to an audio cd was helpful. The narrator said "in evidence, ask why the evidence is being offered." I knew that. I just forgot it. Just like everything else.

I spent Friday night seeing a comedy show and then shooting tequila and jaegermeister in a bar. By noon, however, I was back in action. Yesterday i took a short jog and it felt wonderful, although it was far too hot to be running. I stayed in the shade and took it easy. My heart rate monitor crapped out, which was a tragedy in the making, but I no longer push myself the way I did when I was in shape.

I'm impressed how many people are coming to my graduation. It was an ANNOUNCEMENT, not an invitation, but I guess they like me. No accounting for bad taste....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

That's right

29 Micromash torts at 29 more at 72%....NOW WHAT!!!! YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME!!!

What gives with PMBR?

I think I understand a little better what "girl walks into a bar exam" was talking about in her gripe against PMBR. The questions are often too difficult, way beyond what is required for the bar. Although I've already complained about this, I'm not done yet. If you don't like it, stop reading. I'm here to vent. Your here to waste time. You will never get back the two minutes it takes to read my dribble.

I went through about forty pmbr questions in the blue second book, and was utterly destroyed by the torts questions, getting below fifty percent. I threw the book across the room at it is now lodged in the five inch gap between the wall and the bookshelf. I think it will stay there.

I go back to Micromash and do 29, and end up with about 65%. That's a fifteen percent point differential. A guy who I respect, who passed the bar exam the first time using Micromash, said the mbe's are the best part of MM.

While I find 65% to be unacceptable, MM says that is the minimum level of competency. With just less than three months to go, I should be able to bump it up. As long as I stay away from the notion that unecessarily difficult questions help me, I'll be fine.


From the underclass....

Murray Cockerill wrote:

I should not have looked at my exams...the words "arbitrary and capricious" seem to be the only way to express my thoughts on it. As you well know.

Old 60 grit sandpaper snatch property professor gave me over a 90 on one essay and a 65 on another. She spent most of the red ink she spilled on my exam complaining that I really need to proof read.

On the 90 she said the classic, "though I don't agree with your conclusion you did show the ability to make a reasoned argument."

Yeah, I would interpret that as, "though I never thought about this particular argument when I made the test, you showed me that I don't know everything and it's too painful for me to admit it."

On the 65 test she wrote, "it seemed like you were struggling with your answer." Thanx...that was helpful. I should appeal on just her call of the queston alone. The call was two LONG sentences that called for us to construct a legal memorandum that would discuss the relative 'STRENGTHS and WEAKNESSES' of this parties' argument vs. this parties argument.
I'm paraphrasing but her call was so fucked up it took me serious time to think about how to come up with a response. And, obviously I didn't give her what she wanted.

Wally, you were so fucking right about the part where I just KNOW that I knew more, answered better than others and still got a lower grade. That really has begun to chafe me crack. I need to let that go and just enjoy going on to third year BUT, it's not objective and...anyway you know the rest.

I lost, four percentage points in property to my mid-terms,

Lost two percentage points in evidence to my mid-terms

And one percentage point in Civ Pro to my mid-terms

That, is the reason I should never have looked at my exams.

Oh, well...fuck all of that onward and upward.

Keep the faith bro
On the other hand you should have at least looked at civil procedure, because he is fair. I wouldn't have even bothered reading Property, other than for the morbid fascination akin to watching a car accident.

One thing that makes me feel better is that I know this kind of bullshit won't happen so easily on the bar. The bar exam is unfair, but for different reasons. Some of the mbe's are simply wrong or so ambiguous that there is no demonstrably correct answer. The essays you at least get six graders for each test, who are "normed" in order to make the standards all at least "standard". If there is some question of whether you pass, you get another grader, and even another, whose job it is to give you a lower grade, for the most part. but at least you aren't at the mercy of a single petty tyrant with near godlike power whose grade can almost NEVER be overturned on "appeal".

There's nothing like witnesses to make a person honest....

I'm going to put this exchange on my blog...