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05 January 2006

Why Law School is Amazing (or, "I get to study America's favorite TrimSpa spokesperson for hours and hours- what are you doing with your day?)

Through a series of gross miscalculations on my part, I find myself in a moot court competition this quarter. Though this is, technically, a sought-after position that I find myself in, I am not particularly enthused, mostly because I have to write a brief. Any lawyers in the audience would probably start scratching their heads here, as brief-writing is one of the main tasks of lawyerdom. For non-lawyers, however, my aversion to brief-writing should be easy to understand. Briefs are long, dense, often boring, long, exhaustive, exhausting, overwrought (and did I mention long?) written arguments about a case that are presented to a court. Writing them involves lots and lots and lots of research on Westlaw. (Hey, maybe I'll finally earn enough Westlaw bonus points to buy those ipod speakers!) By far the worst part of writing a brief, however, is the Table of Authorities, which is the brief's version of a bibliography. It goes at the front of the document, and it requires all of this really formalistic formatting, and you have to mention EVERY SINGLE PAGE on which you mention a case or a rule or a statue. THIS IS A TOTAL PAIN IN THE ASS. Every time you edit the content of your brief, you have to check again and make sure that the citation that had been on page 8 hasn't slipped over to page 9, and if it has, you have to change your table of authorities. It's a big huge annoying carmels stuck in your teeth kind of pain. Anyway, so I'm not so hip to brief writing. That is, I wasn't. Until I received the topic of this brief. For this year's moot court, the board has chosen to have us argue the real, pertinent, timely, and totally non-pretend case of (drumroll please....): Anna Nicole Smith trying to get a ton of money from the estate of her ancient dear departed husband who was 89 when she married him at 26 v. Son of aforementioned dear departed husband who is still smarting a little over the fact that his stepmother is young enough to be his granddaughter and has decided that the best way to seek revenge is to (I am not making this language up) declare world war III on her. I've been assigned to argue the Anna Nicole side of this, which as I read the cases seems like a pretty good side to be on. Sonny boy is a class-A nitwit, having shredded key discovery, plotted with the lawyers to prevent her from getting any money, and generally told anyone who would listen that he doesn't care if it's illegal, that tramp isn't getting a penny of his $2 billion inheritance. This is not a terrific way to ingratiate yourself to a court. Since Anna Nicole Smith is always good for some trainwreck paparazzi photos, I was really hoping there'd be visuals attached to these cases. So far, no luck. In fact, so far the case seems to be about a largely boring question of jurisdiction and the probate exception. It's all okay, though, because when people ask me what I'm working on, I get to say "Anna Nicole Smith, obviously." I NEVER got to say stuff like that when I was teaching.


At 1/19/2006 10:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure arguing the ANS side is that great. 9th Circuit opinion for "Sonny Boy" is controlling currently. The Bankruptcy judgement can't be brought back since it was non-core.

You probably would not like being the lawyer for ANS anyway. They have not been paid in about 8 years. ;-) It might also be a good idea for you to ensure that the allegations in your brief are based on evidence, rather than deemed from an unfounded sanction (i.e. based on production logs, actual witness testimony, etc). If you really are wanting to become a lawyer, then evidence is usually better.

Good luck with your brief. It's a large and complex case.

At 1/20/2006 07:11:00 AM, Blogger pseudostoops said...

no, it's pretty clear that there's no good side to be on, here, and also legally clear that relying on the sanctions doesn't give me any manner of leg to stand on. i think there is at least a colorable jurisdictional argument, but jurisdictional arguments cause non-lawyers to fall asleep pretty much on the spot, and it does make for a better cocktail party story to be on the ANS side.

At 1/20/2006 05:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right that there is a colorable jurisdictional argument either way. If it were that clear they would not still be arguing this case 10+ years later or have been granted cert. I am sure you have gleaned much from the SCOTUS briefs for ANS. "Sonny Boy's" briefs are due today. WRT cocktail party status, you are on the money there. I do not think there are many cases that will get as much mileage at a cocktail party as that one. ;-)

At 1/21/2006 04:57:00 PM, Blogger pseudostoops said...

Ah, SCOTUS I would love to be able to read thee...or a brief on Westlaw...or any news article pertaining to this case. Sadly, all are verboten.

I only wish that the reality of my existence these days (which involves an increasingly frightening familiarity with the bankrupcy code and will contests from the late-1800s,) was nearly as sexy as my cocktail party quips about ANS.


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