now clogging the internet elsewhere

31 May 2006

woe, part 2

The sublet disaster continues. She still has my $850, and she told me she'd have the dates nailed down "by the end of the week" three weeks ago. Now I've sent her another email asking about dates and she hasn't replied. For three days. Suggestions? (Unless, that is, your suggestion is that I kiss my $850 goodbye, because that might make me very very sad.)

30 May 2006

On your first day at a law firm, you will...

...sweat through your blouse in 15 minutes because it is 91 freaking degrees outside ...train with an 18-year-old Harvard freshman who somehow manages to be more put together looking than you are. ...embarass yourself trying to use the unnecessarily complicated "coffee system." ...walk into your newly-issued office and discover that it is stocked chock full of office supplies, including a glue stick, an "envelope moistening wand", white out (now available in legal pad yellow! who knew!), and brand-new, still in their packaging tape dispenser, stapler, and scissors. (The teacher in me nearly swooned.) ... go to a two-hour, three-course lunch, at the end of which the associate you ate with will say, with genuine pleased surprise, "hey! only $60 for lunch! not bad!" ...spend two solid hours being trained on the use of Outlook. (Who knew email was so complicated?) a video on sexual harassment, produced by the firm's labor and employment attorneys, that makes you seriously reconsider your earlier request that you be given labor and employment work during the summer. ...learn that all summer associates are going to be attending next week's Madonna concert in a luxury box, courtesy of the firm. Which is almost enough to make me reconsider working at a firm after graduation. Almost.

29 May 2006


Start job at Law Firm tomorrow. I've been reading archives of Anonymous Lawyer to prep, which is fully terrifying. Stories of two hour lunches, drunken happy hours, and screaming partners to follow.

28 May 2006

Enter BIL, stage right.

Not much happening on the law/interesting developments fronts. Finished finals Wednesday, start work Tuesday, have been sleeping and running around outside a lot on my 5 days of summer vacation. One funny tidbit, though. My Brother In Law, David, who is going to be a senior in college next year, is staying with us for the summer while he does an internship at a local social services agency. He works with kids, mostly recent African immigrants, teaching music. It's a cool job. But the coolest part has to be his two supervisors. Their names? Thalma and Luis. I swear to god, you can't make this shit up. I realized David really is much younger than I am when I cracked up when he told me their names and he didn't get the reference.

25 May 2006

I might have to go to Talbots to solve this problem. Things are getting serious.

Trying to shop for appropriate business casual clothing today, I was met again and again with that most horrific of clothing forms: the formal short. Why? Why, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Benetton, New York & Company, and Ann Taylor Loft? Why have you decided to eschew the skirt, long acknolwedged to be a classic, in favor of something that makes everyone look stumpy and is not actually work appropriate anywhere? I expect this from Forever 21, or H&M, but when I can't find a single basic black skirt, this formal short problem has gotten out of control.

24 May 2006

Live blogging my family law final

So I am not built for take-home exams. Here, "take-home" means "go lock yourself in the library and turn this in in eight hours." Sweet. I have an attention span that is approximately one hour long. I can stretch it to three hours during a time-pressured in-class exam, but an eight-hour take home? Not so much. I finished typing in four hours, seriously considered sending it in without proofreading it, thought better of it, went downstairs and shot the shit for an hour, listened to the Joe Purdy music I have on my computer twice, made a shopping list, read some blogs, and am now trying again to edit the damn thing but am blogging instead. I'd tell you about the actual exam, but that would be a problem because some people still have yet to take it and who KNOWS who's reading this shit. 3 hours to go. Definitely going to turn it in in about 25 minutes. Can't take this.

19 May 2006

Synchronicity: The Finals Edition

It is so not a coincidence that the FBI thinks they've finally found Jimmy Hoffa on the day when I am cramming my head full of labor law in preparation for Monday's Labor and Employment exam.

17 May 2006

I'm pretty sure if I served John something called "Entree Loaf" he'd file for divorce

So, I may or may not be addicted to a blog called Vegan Lunch Box, run by a wonderful stay at home mom who makes her super adorable kid a homemade vegan lunch every day to take to school and then takes a picture of it to share with the internets. This woman manages to do things with beans, soy, and textured vegetable protein that we mere vegetarians can only dream about. (I am not hard core enough to be vegan. I could never live without cheese. Or butter. Or ice cream. Also, did I mention cheese? I'm not even that good a vegetarian. I recently ate a duck taco. I'm starting to ramble now.) Ahem. Sorry. Right! I had a point! And that point is: Vegan Entree Loaf. Seriously, I could try to explain it, but it's best you just see it for yourself. So many choices! So many odd ingredients! And a worksheet! Which is your favorite combination?

16 May 2006

I object! Witness is being ornery!

In my pretrial class today we questioned mock adverse witnesses. Adverse witnesses are esentially people who don't like your or your client (or who are not "on your side,") but whose testimony you think will support your case- kind of like cross examination, except you chose to have these people take the stand. It was a valuable class. I learned, for example, that if I can at all avoid it, I will NEVER CALL AND ADVERSE WITNESS. EVER. Our helpful "pretrial" textbook has examples of sample "adverse witness questioning" that look something like this: Attorney: You are a police officer. Adverse Witness: Yes Att: You have been trained in the proper use of a firearm. AW: Yes Att: The police department conducts retrainings on proper use of a firearm twice a year, is that correct? AW: Yes Att: So you were retrained in the proper use of a firearm no more than six months before the incident, is that correct? AW: Yes. Att: So, when you said in your April 18 deposition that you had not been trained in the proper use of a firearm for "at least a couple of years," you were lying? AW: Yes Then the gallery spontaneously breaks into applause, the judge decides that the case is over now thanks to the devastating testimony obtained by the amazingly skilled questioning, and Perry Mason stands up and takes a bow. Or not. Questioning for me went something like this: Pseudostoops: You were driving home when the incident occured, correct? Adverse witness: What do you mean "driving home?" I was in my car, but I wasn't, like, fixated on getting home as quicky as possible or anything. And there wasn't any incident. PS: Okay..... You were driving immediately before you sustained the injury you allege in your complaint. AW: Complaint? I just know that I got shot! Your client shot me! You bet I got complaints! PS: Well, okay, but when you first encountered my client, you were driving in a car, correct? AW: I was just driving home, minding my own business, when your client starts driving like a freaking psycho, swerving, and swearing at me, and calling me a dirty Polack, and then he kicks me in the groin and shoots me for no reason and I didn't hear him say police or nothing and now I can't work and my seven children and me are living out on the street. PS: A simple "yes or no," will suffice here, sir. Opposing counsel: Objection! Counsel is badgering the witness! Judge: Sustained. Right! Lesson learned! Friendly witnesses only from here on out!

15 May 2006

Mental Health Not So Much Their Specialty

From the "maybe this should have been obvious but it still surprised the hell out of me" files: After missing Clienette at jail two weeks ago , then missing her again at court last Monday, I went to jail again on Friday. Supervising attorney was there (hurrah!) and we headed to Clienette's unit so we could get in to see her. "Attorney visit for Clienette McClient," said supervising attorney to the guard on the unit. The guard consulted the huge prisoner list (which is printed on old-school double-wide dot-matrix paper and which is, no joke, 2 inches thick, and reprinted every single day- because who needs trees?!) and said "oh, Clienette isn't here. She's across the way at the hospital." Hospital? Our client is in the hospital? "What's she in for?" asked supervising attorney. "Dunno, you'll have to ask them," said guard. So we went across the way to the prison hospital, where we tried once more to meet with Clienette. She refused to see us. Apparently she's there because her medicines aren't working, or the dosage got messed up, or something has shifted in the dark recesses of her very very screwed-up brain, and she was put in the hospital because she had become too "agitated." No fever, no injury, just put there so they could put an iv in her and fill her with some drugs to calm her down. She'd been there for 3 days on this iv-drug-calming-down plan. Must have been really agitated. I guess I should not be surprised that we had no idea this was going on. We're not her legal guardians. But it was sheer coincidence that we went to visit her only 4 days after seeing her in court. Often, it would be a couple of weeks between visits, and we might never have known that she had been put in the hospital to be pumped full of sedatives. I don't know who I expected to call us, exactly- but it truly never occured to me that we could have a client experience a major medical episode in jail and never hear anything about it. Especially when our defense of Clienette hinges largely on her serious mental illness, these episodes are good things to know about. Even though we didn't get to see Clienette, the visit was not without value- I did get to see my partner law student sent back to his car after a search of him at the entrance to the jail revealed that he had a handcuff key attached to his key ring. Watching him, red-faced, trying to explain to supervising attorney that he just happens to have a pair of handcuffs for "personal use" and that he had forgotten he had the key with him made the whole trip worthwhile.

12 May 2006

This one's for you, TMAO

Remind me, the next time I am tempted to go to any alumni event at Teach for America ("alumni dinner," "alumni roundtable," "alumni networking night", etc.): I hate these events. They make me crabby. I act snotty at them. I come home annoyed. When I am thinking of going to another one of these things in a few months and you remind me of this, and I protest, and try to argue that perhaps this alumni event will be the one that will be fulfilling, and useful, and life-affirming, remind me of the following two tidbits from last night's "Annual Alumni Dinner":

"Law? How could you ever think to choose law after teaching? What value do lawyers add?" (Thanks! I feel really defensive now! Would you like to hear all about Client? Or my summer foster care work and my last summer public housing work? F you!)
and, my personal favorite:
"We in the Chicago office are excited and thrilled to be at the start of a major growth initiative, one that will place 30 Teach for America people in principleships by 2010 and which will continue to be a valuable source of support for this city's most entrepreneurial schools." (I guess the kids at traditional, non-entrepreneurial schools are shit outta luck.)
Also, who knew there were so many gin-and-tonic drinking Future Country Club Members of America in TFA? I'd kinda forgotten!

10 May 2006

subletter woes

So, when I move to New York for a month in the summer, I need to have a place to live. I have found a lovely sublet, a teacher who is going travelling, but it is only for a month. And she's not quite sure of the dates. And she wanted half of the money up front as a deposit before she would take the listing off craigslist. I gave her the money, after talking to her several times, and she said she'd get back to me within a week with her final dates of travel. That was a month ago. So, today, I sent her an email asking if she'd nailed down the dates yet (because hey, she's got a lot of my money, and disappearing for a month after taking it and saying she'd get back to me was making me a little nervous.) I just got an email back from her saying "I know you just think I forgot about you or am trying to take your money and run. You don't have to panic. I didn't forget. But I don't have final dates yet- I'll get back to you." So now, in addition to not knowing when this sublet is, exactly, I feel all defensive about my decision to follow up over email. Am I being anal retentive? Panicky? A nitwit? Or is this something about New Yorkers that I'm going to have to get used to, this scorn for all people who live outside of Manhattan?

09 May 2006

A whole new way to think about "flaming"

I heard a story on NPR on my way home about Flamin' Hot Cheetos and how they're the latest snack trend to "sweep the nation's playgrounds." Yeah, NPR, I could have told you that three years ago, when consumption at my school got so out of control that a 2nd grader landed in the hospital with a hole in her stomach and the school had to ban them in an effort to curb the spread of the horrific red powder they're covered in. (There was even a suspicion that some gang-affiliated youth had, shall we say, a greater-than-average interest in the distinctive indelible red coating they leave on one's fingers.) But what I didn't know, and what Dr. Fancypants Smartydegree explained during this segment, is that Hot Cheetos aren't just popular because they're trendy. Apparently, the body's reaction to spicy food is similar to the body's reaction to opiates- a particular nerve becomes irritated and inflamed by the burn of the spiciness, and the body compensates by releasing endorphins that make you feel high. You heard that right: hot cheetos make you high. (I KNEW it!) The best part of the story, though, was when the reporter asked a group of fifth graders what would happen if someone ate a whole bag and one student replied, rather solemnly, "you'd get the runs, and your booty might burn." Sigh. I miss 5th graders.

07 May 2006

Sweet talking my way into shady situations since 1997

I've talked here before about how depressing I find the juvenile detention center. It should go without saying that adult jail would be much much worse, a fact I learned last week I went there for the first time to visit Clienette. Clienette was 17 at the time of the offense for which she was arrested, and in Illinois, being 17 makes you automatically an adult, which means your ass goes to adult jail. (Does this seem backwards to you? Illinois is one of the only states in the country where 17 is considered the age of adulthood for criminal law purposes. "hello, teenager, we think you're still a little too irresponsible to, you know, vote, or buy cigarettes, but we'd be happy to call you an adult if and when you're ever incracerated!" Terrific.) Because I am only in my second year of law school, I have yet to receive what is called a 711 license, which allows me to meet with clients and represent them in court on my own. This means that any time I want to meet with a client, I have to be accompanied by a licensed attorney. The supervising attorney I work with at the clinic is an amazing woman and a tremendous lawyer, but she is notorious for forgetting meetings and being terrifically late for the ones she does remember. We were supposed to meet at 9:30, but I had a parking snafu, and didn't get into the right unit until 9:40. No sign of supervising attorney. This could mean one of two things: either she had not yet arrived (very very likely) or she had arrived right on time and had gone in to see Clienette already (very very unlikely.) So I sat on a bench next to a preacher (there are a lot of preachers visiting this jail. Maybe that's true in all jails, but it's certainly not true in the juvenile detention center. What, don't the teenagers need god, too?) and waited for supervising attorney to show up. And waited. During this waiting, I had the following conversation with a guard: Guard: What do you do? Pseudo: I'm a law student. Guard: What kind of law do you want to do? Pseudo: (mightily resisting urge to launch into whole tortured explanation of why that is such a hard question): criminal defense. Guard: Oooh, no. Not me. I wanna wear a suit. I'm going to law school at night and when I'm done, I'm going corporate. I've had enough of criminals. Pseudo: Yeah, I'd imagine you've seen a lot. Guard: Well, and these laws are just dumb. I had some guy steal my identity, you know, identity theft? And I had to spend so much time and heartache to get my financial situation back on track. And he only got probation! Give 'em the death penalty, that's what I say! Amount of sufferin' that guy caused me- I think identity theft should get the death penalty! Pseudo: um..... At this point, the preacher to my right was starting to look like an old familiar friend, since preachers are usually, you know, anti-capital punishment. But the guard must have taken a liking to me, because about 3 minutes later she said: "I looked up what unit your client is on. Do you wanna go in there and see if your supervising attorney is there?" Well, sure! So I went into the jail and to Clienette's unit, where I met another friendly guard and had the following conversation: Guard: What kind of law you wanna practice? Pseudo: (this gets easier every time I say it): criminal defense. Guard: you should do divorce. Pseudo: but then I'd have to be around fighting couples all the time, which I think would get tiresome. Guard: I tell you what- this no fault divorce thing is crap. My girlfriend's been trying to finalize her divorce for three years- and it's his fault! If we had fault divorce, it'd be over by now. But at this point, the only one who's going to end up with any money is the f**king lawyer. Divorce lawyers must be loaded. Pseudo: Yeah, but they can't make as much money as those of us practicing indigent criminal defense, right? Am I right? Haha! Guard: Really? You guys make a lot of money? Pseudo: Um, no. Sorry. Guards, I think, must be lonely, because after this little conversation the guard on the unit decided we were old buddies, and a few minutes later called me over and said: "Let me see your letter. Yeah, it says you need a supervising attorney, but you seem alright. You can go in if you wanna." Just like that! Apparently, if you sit around long enough, they'll feel bad for you and let you in jail, even if you aren't supposed to be there! Family members of incarcerated folks, take note! Since I've never actually met Clienette, and she has some mental instability issues, and is known to threaten members of her legal team who she knows and likes- I decided that going in by myself was a bad idea. But good to know that if, in a pinch, I'm ever dying to get into jail- I've got connections.

04 May 2006

Sort of makes me wish that the guy I went to prom with senior year hadn't brought his boyfriend with him when he asked me.

It's pretty rare for me to miss high school- the drama, the funny smelling hallways, the working your ass off all the time because you MUST get into a good college- who needs it? But today as I was driving to school down Lake Shore Drive I got a little nostalgic as I drove by a series of signs, placed about 50 yards apart, that said: Will You Go to Prom With me Olivia? And there, standing next to the "Olivia" sign, was the hopeful asker, dressed in a blue blazer and a hopeful embarassed smile, watching hundreds of cars speed by on their way to work, waiting for his best girl to drive by.

03 May 2006

Business casual 1, business casual 2, hooker.

Instead of panicking about finals (which are alarmingly close,) today I decided to panic about the business casual dress codes at the places where I am working this summer. I am spending the first half of the summer at Law Firm, which has a "business casual" dress code with the emphasis squarely on the "business." I'm spending the second half of the summer at Child-Loving Non Profit, which also has a "business casual" dress code, but this time with an emphasis on the "hippie non profit child advocates but we're still lawyers so we can't really let you wear tie dye to work but do you have some flowy skirts and an gauzy blouses and a slightly edgy haircut because maybe then you'd fit right in with our aesthetic?" I don't have the shoes for this. Since I am not getting paid for the Child-Loving Non Profit portion of this program, I am hesitant to sink too much into a new business casual wardrobe (or, technically, two business casual wardrobes, as what works at Law Firm will almost certainly get me laughed out of town at Child-Loving Non Profit.) I have decided that the perfect pair of shoes to buy would be a nice, well-tailored pair of flats- ballet flats, maybe, or "skimmers"- something without a rubber sole, but also without three inch heels that make me want to walk barefoot across town to save myself another step in agony. So I went to and entered: "color: black, size: 10, height: FLAT" into the search boxes. I shit you not, this is what popped up: Riiiiiight.

02 May 2006

Viva Las Gringas! *

Yesterday, I and 400,000 of my closest friends went marching from Union Park to Grant Park in Chicago. The news media seem content to call it a march for "immigrants rights," without being more specific, I think in large part because a many participants, when pressed, are unable to actually be more specific. This is what happens when you accidentally start a movement with a simple protest against a particularly ill-conceived House Bill. (Seriously, making illegal immigration an ongoing felony? Not only felonizing the act of entry, but the ongoing condition of being an illegal immigrant? A felony? Really?) Anyway, I thought about bucking the trend and getting more specific about what "immigrant rights", specifically we were marching for, but I realize that I would presume far too much to put words into the mouths of the hundreds of thousands of mostly-latino marchers who I joined yesterday. The movement has yet to articulate one clear defining message beyond the protest against H.R. 4437. The Chicago Tribute noted this, with some scorn, in an article yesterday (which I can't find now, of course, because it's hidden behind their subscribers-only area.) For right now, I think this lack of a particular proposal is forgiveable, given that what is now (correctly) called a "movement" was created less two months ago. I'm pretty sure that El Pistolero, a Chicago radio dj who was instrumental in that original protest, didn't have any sense it would get quite this big quite this fast. So I'm willing to give them some time to craft a message, instead of just stating my view of what immigration policies might be better. After all, I'm just a law student taking a seminar on national borders who suddenly thinks that means she knows something. And I'm totally content for now to protest making illegal immigration a felony, because man, is that a bad idea. *Though not as well known as the more popular "si se puede," Mason and I were the proud recipients of a brief chant of "viva las gringas!" from a group of men marching next to us who were both surprised to see two white girls marching alongside them and surprised to realize we understood Spanish.

01 May 2006

So glad I wasn't raised in the 50s.

Text of birthday card received from grandmother along with care package containing a matching set ofserving tray, placemats and cloth napkins and box of home-baked cookies: "The cookies are for John." Apparently I must watch my girlish figure to ensure that I am able to glide sveltly around the room as I serve my husband cold gin and tonics from my new serving tray.