Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More Frightening than Young Lawyers

I mentioned a week or so ago that I was amazed that 24-year-olds will soon be released into the world as lawyers. Today, I found something more frightening.

I work on the campus of a major teaching hospital and university. Today I attended a Grand Rounds lecture on psychiatric consultations with attorneys on criminal cases. It was quite interesting, and the case highlighted was a death penalty case where attorneys came to psychiatrists for consultation prior to and during the sentencing phase of trial. The defendant's family had suffered horrible tragedies at the hands of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and as a young child, so had he. There was a lot of evidence presented about abuse, low IQ, lack of proper parenting, poor language skills....etc. The psychiatrist was visibly impressed with what a wonderful job the attorneys had done at illustrating their client's history during trial and said that their level of detail was actually better than most medical reports. As a result, the client received life with no possibility of parole instead of the death penalty. What influenced the jury the most? The main items they pointed to were the horrors the family had suffered and the fact that they'd already had 5 children executed by the Khmer Rouge. This was a wonderful illustration of the powers of persuasion that we are learning about.

Another interesting note is that the speaker said he found attorneys who have sought him out for consultations are often more easy to work with and understand the nuances of cultural issues better than most medical personnel with whom he works. Interesting what that says about our respective fiels of medicine and law.

So, my actual point in all of this?
There were a lot of medical students at this presentation - students who already are treating patients. Some of them could not have been a day over 24. Now THAT is frightening.

Monday, March 20, 2006

What's My Pizza Personality?
(Seemed really important for me to know.)

Everything Pizza

Diverse and adaptable
You enjoy the full buffet of life
It's hard to you play favorites with friends... or flavors
There's very little that you dislike!
How Evil Am I?

You Are 14% Evil

You are good. So good, that you make evil people squirm.
Just remember, you may need to turn to the dark side to get what you want!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Law School Prison Blues

Law school friends - you must check out Mother in Law's blog of March 14 for a great parody on Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues.

Ewwww...need a shower now.

I just got done reading a posting from a fellow law student who found my blog, and so, I found hers.

If you are a member of the religious right or big fan of Jerry Falwell, well, not quite sure how you got to my blog in the first place, but let's just say that you won't be humored by the fact that I loved this post, despite it giving me the heebies:


Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Frightening Reality

They let 24-year-olds be lawyers.
I just read a 24-year-old's blog and she's ordered her cap and gown.

Now, before you start in on me being some kind of age bigot, let me just say, that I bet most 24 year-olds about to graduate from law school are 1) really smart and 2) just as amazed as I am that they are about to be let loose as attorneys in the real world (after passing the dreaded bar, of course). I will likely be amazed when they let me loose, as well. (I'll beat my smartass classmates to the punch and say, "I know, you will be amazed, too.)

Monday, March 13, 2006

My Paper is Done and Other Random Thoughts

WAHOO - The Argument section of my Appellate Brief is done! This is really no major revelation or accomplishment, as it is due in about 3 hours, but still, I feel relieved to have it out of my hands until tomorrow when I go over it with our prof.

Next, practice Oral Argument on Friday. I am very mixed about this. My public speaking ability has gone downhill since the days when it used to be something at which I was quite good, and actually kind of liked. Guess that means the ability really is still there, it is just in a weakened state from lack of use, not unlike many of the muscles of my body. So far, my public expression in class, except when adding a bit of levity to the situation, has been less than impressive. So, four days before practice, and about a month before the "real thing" downtown.

OK - next random thought - a revelation of sorts:
If Barry Manilow did 80's rock, he'd sound a lot like the lead singer in 38 Special. I know - that's weird. I can explain how I got there, but I won't, but I bet the next time you hear, "Hold on Loosely," you'll think of Barry.

Another? OK.
You know when you are driving and you go a distance without consciously remembering doing it? I had a prof when I was an undergrad who explained that our subconscious mind takes care of us in such situations while our conscious mind is occupied with more important things, like wondering what we are going to make for dinner, or if we turned off the oven, or in his case, grading papers. (I kid you not. He READ OUR PAPERS while driving.) Anyway, so I was thinking this morning on my way to work, how did I know that I wasn't just killed in an accident and just believed I was still going about my merry way to work? My answer: If I was dead and my mind was just making up all this stuff, I would undoubtedly leave out the mundane details, like waiting for the bus, deleting my junk mail..etc. I am not detail-oriented enough to bother retaining trivial detail, clear down to walking down the hallway to go to the bathroom and saying hi to someone I barely know. So, when I go to class tonight, assuming nothing happens between now and then, I will be alive, despite my quiet demeanor.

That is clearly enough for one day.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Reality on a Unicycle

Why is it that the majority of people, yours truly included, will conform with whatever norms society has set and live as if that is what life is supposed to be? That is really more rhetorical than anything. I imagine there are a myriad of psychological and sociological answers, including, it’s easy, provides public acceptance, blah, blah, blah. What if we didn’t buy the myth so readily?

I’ll start with something very common – work meetings.

What if everyone was really honest and said what was on their minds?

“I hate these things. I hate these people. I hate mornings. I should have had more coffee. Who’s bringing the coffee?”

“Brent’s tie is hideous, not unlike that report he sent out yesterday. What the hell was that?”

“We’d save a lot of time if we just make up the numbers. After we’re done crunching and managing, that’s all we’ve done anyway.”

“You just let me know when you are going to say something I should really be listening to.”

“She’s hot. I want to have sex with her, as long as she doesn’t talk. Talking would totally ruin it.”

OK, so maybe those are good reasons for conforming.

Seriously, though, how severely do we limit our experiences and the potential of our lives by buying into society’s norms, or even the laws of the physical universe? Can I break those? If I stop believing in gravity, will it stop believing in me? How much must we pass along to our children so that they can be a "success" in the "real world" and how much should we allow their own free spirits to soar? What if I wasn’t raised to believe that it’s desirable to get a good education, so I can get a “good” job, so I can buy a house, settle down, and raise a family? Whose fairy tale is that? What if I’d been raised to believe the most important thing in the world was being able to ride a unicycle everywhere I go, and that was the focus of my life? Happiness would depend on being able to navigate stairs while bouncing and balancing on one wheel. Hmmm...maybe not so very different from my life now, after all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Oregon Supreme Court in Action

You know those moments when you are in a situation but observing it, too? (Hadas will appreciate this post.) Standing in line, waiting to enter the Supreme Court / classroom today I had one of those moments. The Oregon Supreme Court held court on our campus today. Students, especially 1L's, were encouraged to attend. As I waited in line with many other students, hoping for a seat in the court room, rather than in the overflow area, I watched people and tried to figure out their reason for attending - some seemed to look at it as a just a good reason to skip regular classes with potential for socializing pre-and post-game. Others seemed quite serious, maybe hoping to someday be one of the attorneys arguing before the Court. Others, like me, were most likely in the middle somewhere. Most were dressed casually, but a few, particularly the "door guards" were dressed up. (Funny how some people "look" like lawyers and some just don't, even when dressed up.I know, I've been poisoned by too many media stereo-types.) Still, hanging out, looking at the crowd, it was strange to think that some day most of these people would be attorneys, all with different motivations, thoughts on life, and belief systems. I also realized that some will realize this is so not the profession for them. Interesting.

More interesting was being in the courtroom and realizing how easy it would be to do something inappropriate - like start asking questions out loud, or talking to my neighbor, or something...and I realize that I often have these thoughts in public arenas. (Though this one varied in that it did not occur to me to yell "fire," as it often does.) This would be a really bad way to start a career, and would probably actually end it before it ever really begins. Guess it is good I have impulse control. I then thought about the attorneys and Justices all joining in on a musical number (thank you, Hadas) and before I got far on that I was actually sucked into the details of the case, all thoughts of inappropriate behavior gone.

Witnessing the Oregon Supreme Court in action was interesting and highly recommended, especially if you are a law student. It's always nice to see what we are learning about in practice. I'm glad we had the opportunity presented to us in such a convenient manner.

Wow. I just reread this. How non-entertaining can I get? Quite, apparently. Still, it's written and I am going to subject my dear readers to it, because at least it is a post, and as was noted during February, I sometimes do not update frequently enough. So there.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

This is SO COOL:

There is this website business that will robot your website (or blog!) and make up a "word cloud" based on it. They then offer to sell you a T-shirt with the image on it. They do other cool things, too that I will have to go back and read about.

Check 'em out: http://www.snapshirts.com/custom.php

I started to order one of these shirts for my partner, based on her web site, but she has so many, figured it was a personal thing that she'd probably prefer to decide for herself. (Sorry, babe.) Besides, maybe she doesn't want people reading the fine print on her chest, as I, apparently, do *grin*. OK, well, I haven't ordered one yet, but I might! I really got a kick out of seeing the words that are so relevant to my life right now. Made me laugh to see "appellate" on there, actually "appellate argument." The word combinations are quite remarkable. By the way, if you aren't impressed with the first cloud, you can go back and try again, they seem to change a bit each time.

Thanks to LawMom for the link :)