Thursday, February 17, 2005

conflict resolution

Sometimes when I'm reading through nasty, war-like cases I get the feeling that lawyers are, more than anything, simply in the business of resolving conflict. If I recall, Waddams' Introduction to the Study of Law begins with a definition of "conflict". How appropriate.

Take this cartoon, for example:

You can just imagine the lawyers on either side trying to resolve this finger pointing. I can just see the case turning on the one guy having his foot in a second cookie jar. ;)

BTW, for those of you who are looking for some reading, Waddams' little ditty is a good read. Here's what Setu wrote on his blawg:
I've slogged through Hutchinson's "The Law School Book" and am onto the 'required' portion of Western's required reading list - Waddams' "Introduction to the Study of Law". Now, so far, this is a much better read, in my opinion. Hutchinson was pretty verbose (woohoo, I learned a new word! - just kidding, I knew that one already. I'm not dumb, really.) in chapter 2... either that or it's an indicator of how poorly I'm going to be doing over the next 3 years...which is to say VERY! So that was a little SMP scary. But Waddams manages to soothe the Hutchinson beast with some straight talk.
I would also recommend Waddams' book.

Have a great Reading Break! I'm (finally) getting out of the country. Let's enjoy our respite from law, eh?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Labour Law Firm tour

On Friday I attended a tour that included Heenan Blaikie (management side of labour law), the Ministry of Labour, and Sack Goldblatt Mitchell (union side). If you've been following along, this is my fourth tour. Of course, I'm not super keen on every area of law. But it has been was very interesting to see the differences from one firm to another.

A lawyer at Heenan compared Bay Street firms to high schools. "You have firms that are known for athletics, some are known as artsy, while others are more academic." For students, the trick is to find a fit. Judging by the normal hours at these firms, I can see why it's recommendable that all the lawyers get along. I'd certainly rather be burning the midnight oil with a chum.

During an interview, an articling student recounted how they spent most of the time talking about baseball. Substantive law? Nay, leave that to government interviews. If you're aiming for the corporate world (or at least the "athletic" side of it), brush up on tabloids, gossip, and the latest from the locker room.

BTW, for those interested in the lifestyles of government workers, one woman said she worked from 8 - 4 when the office is busy. Normally, she works 8 - 3. (I should add that it seemed like the others on the panel worked more hours than her.)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Law Firm Chucks Their PCs for Macs

The switch to Apple was purely a business decision. We wanted to save money by saving time — time being the most valuable thing a lawyer has. And we wanted a better sense of security. Because the integrity of our information is also among our biggest assets.
Is it still a cult if everyone jumps on board?

On the same note, during the IP Firm tour, I was really impressed with Bereskin & Parr. First, the atmosphere in the office was awesome. They exude a nice balance of casual and professional. The associates, articling students and partners all seemed perfectly comfortable to speak their minds. And, everyone in the firm uses a Mac.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Tricolour Bus to Toronto

Hopefully you'll get back and forth in friends' cars (for the usual $10), but if need be, the Tricolour bus is a reliable back-up. And for $27, it's pretty cheap. Phone: 613.533.2120

If you're in Winnipeg, here is a link for a good immigration lawyer.

Summer Jobs

While it may seem early, many students are already set for the summer. Some of us are going to The Castle, while others are working at Queen's Legal Aid, and then there are those who will enjoy their last summer doing non-law-related work. I must say, I have heard great things from the Queen's Law employment office. Thank you.

If you're still polishing up your resume, these Legal Search Consultants have a nice FAQ page.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A Lawyer's Desk

My fiancee was bugging me about my desire for a desk - a real desk. At the moment I use a puny handmedown that barely has space for my laptop and one textbook. That's it. It's so small that I keep my paperweight in a drawer. There's no room for anything to weigh down.

The Uncivil Litigator seems to have the idea. Here's his ideal:
Oak. Very heavy. So much space on the surface that I could spread out an entire aerial map in one of my road design cases, with room to spare. Something with real character. A chip here and there. A real pain in the ass to move, which I'm planning on doing by the way (goodbye house in the suburbs with a backyard, hello downtown condo or loft).
Sweet. One of these days . . .

Monday, February 07, 2005

Article: Blog at Your Own Risk

This piece is a nice follow-up to my post On Blogging.

There are often no rules in the "blogosphere." Blogs can be fictional or anonymous, or both. They can spout opinions about politics or television, religion or pets; many act as miniclipping services, providing links to a wide variety of news articles or even other blogs. Often, the sites allow visitors to post messages in responses to posts.

"It's like having a diary that talks back to you," Mosteller says. Indeed, some blogs take on the confessional flavor of a diary: A young congressional aide named Jessica Cutler was fired last year after anonymously blogging about her supposed sexual conquests among Washington's halls of power. Cutler, who calls herself "The Washingtonienne," now has a book deal.
Mmmmmm. A book deal. I wonder if I could . . .

Funny, funny

Editorial cartoon by Theo Moudakis

Recent editorial cartoons of the Toronto Star

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Skills Beyond the Classroom

Crucial information for surviving the evenings in law school:

The Rules of Poker

Texas Holdem

Hangover Cure

Tips to Stay Healthy and Fit (.pdf file)

Cooking for Engineers (and other analytical types)

The 10 Best Books of 2004 (none are law-related - yea!)

How to Make Lists of Everything

The Onion

Wisdom from a UofT writer

Friday, February 04, 2005

On blogging

If you haven't noticed, this blog is sparce on personal details. I include tidbits about volunteering at the Law Journal but this blog is not an online diary. You ask me, why? I'll let Heather B. Armstrong help me with my answer:
I started this website in February 2001. A year later I was fired from my job for this website because I had written stories that included people in my workplace. My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET. If you are the boss, however, please don’t be a bitch and talk with your hands. And when you order Prada online, please don’t talk about it out loud, you rotten whore.
Since I've started writing, 2 blogs from Canadian law school students have shut down. The reason: the personal details they included on their blogs caught up with them and bit 'em in the arse. Other bloggers fear similar situations, but they just keep on blogging. (I wonder if blogging will be the next addition. Cigarettes, booze, blogs, . . . )
In fact, it's becoming clearer and clearer to me that it's no coincidence that I decided to out myself on my blog. I started the thing in order to talk about my work anxiety, and the question of trying to find a new job, and whether I am undermining my job search by not being little Ms. Publishing Machine, and whether I really want to even be a professor or whether, really, the whole anxiety thing is just more fucking trouble than it's worth and instead of working hard to "grow" past it, I should just fucking allow myself to avoid it and run the fuck away. Dude. I got my Ph.D. What more do I have to prove? (That's why the degree is so ostentatiously presented in my blog title, even though I also think it's fucking obnoxious to brag one one's degree-having. It's more a memo to myself than to anyone else.) But I started talking about my sex life because what is causing me problems in my work life is feeling dishonest, feeling inauthentic, and feeling insecure.
The excerpt above is from a Prof. Yep, I'm serious. Well, at least she says she's a prof. Her blog is actually one of my fiancee's bookmarks. It's pretty juicy, eh? Actually, it seems like both women above are following the advice of How to Blog. It lists many rules on how to produce a successful blog. Here's rule #4:
4. cuss like a sailor.
Not really my style, but hey, whatever works for ya. Oh, and How to Blog also has advice for the previous point. Rule #5:
5. dont tell your mom, your work, your friends, the people you want to date, or the people you want to work for about your blog. if they find out and you'd rather they didnt read it, ask them nicely to grant you your privacy.
Good advice, for some. For others, (for me) assume that someone you know will eventually read it and write with that in mind.

[My favourite, Rule #27:
27. nobody likes poems. dont put your poems on your blog. not even if theyre incredible. especially if theyre incredible. odds are theyre not incredible. bad poems are funny sometimes though, so fine, put your dumb poems on there. whatever.]
So, that's my take. Just wanted to let you know.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Macs coming out of our Yin-Yang

Apple Yin-Yang
Originally uploaded by dougward.

So another law friend just got an iBook. He actually bought it over ebay and I think it was quite cheap. My fiancee was getting on my case because she says I'm persuading too many people to buy Macs. "There're going to start writing viruses for Macs!" she claims.

Without a doubt, many new Macs have appeared since September. A friend (who is actually a die hard Windoze guy) estimated that 20% of law students have Macs. That seems REALLY high to me - I think it is still within the 5% - 10% range.

PS. Beautiful Mac blog: YukonMac

Do I belong in Law School?

This is a question that has been on the minds of some law students recently. With one semester under belts, I suppose by now we know what we're doing. We have a pretty good sense of the study of law and potential future career paths. So, with all this knowledge and understanding, we wonder if we belong here.

According to a 2nd year student, about 10% of the class don't come back after 1st year (for whatever reason). That number seems awfully high to me, but I suppose the combination of drop-outs, transfers, and taking-a-year-off students, it may be accurate. In fact, I was talking to a friend yesterday and she swears that there was a guy who started with us but only lasted about 2-3 weeks. So there's one gone already.

Another friend thinks that he might go to Asia for a year. I suppose if you want to do it, better to go before you graduate.

There was a nice post on EZBoard about transferring schools by saccodicazzi. It might be gone by the time you click the link, so here it is (you can find responses & more info at the link):

I transferred to U of T this year after 1L (as did a number of people on this board). It's not hard to do as long as your marks are above average. However, it is a bit of an unpredictable process, since for most schools available slots depend on 1Ls leaving, and different schools use different criteria. For instance, some schools are mostly about numbers (U of T), but some really want you to justify your reasons for transferring (UBC). I got transfer offers from U of T, UVic and Ottawa, but was waitlisted at UBC and rejected at Oz (?!). It's worth noting that for the last few years, U of T has taken a LOT of transfers. 25 this year, to be exact. Aniz may be able to shed some more light on U of T's specific transfer policies.

As for perception, within the school I found it a bit tough at first, because it's like starting all over again. Except it's a bit harder to break into the 2L class socially, because they've already been through 1L together. I can only speak for my experiences at U of T, but most everyone has been really welcoming. It might be tougher at commuter schools.

In the legal profession, I don't think people really care what school you came from once you are actually out and practicing. In terms of finding summer jobs, I found firms will invariably ask why you transferred, and depending on your reasons, may view you as a bit of a flight risk. If you're transferring back to where your family etc is, this is no problem, but I was going the opposite way, so it was a bit harder. But I will be on Bay St this summer selling my soul alongside all the 'normal' students here, so I don't think it hurt me too much.
OK, back to work.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

It's Reasonable Man!

"Here he comes to save the day! It's REASONABLE MAN! Whenever you're in trouble and the case is difficult he is there. When you, as a judge, are perplexed what the hell was in the mind of this silly accused individual, he can guide you! Ask not what the accused actually thought, ask only what Reasonable Man would have thought."

The above is the intro to my new TV show concept. A superhero swoops in and saves legal problems by stepping in and solving the most mystifying quandaries. Sound good?

Hollis v Dow Corning Corp (1995)
[Another judge] applied the modified objective test [to a similar problem]. The test applied ... was as follows: would a reasonable woman in [the plaintiff's] circumstances have consented to the surgery if she had known all the material risks?
OK. How the heck is anybody supposed to answer that question? If RW is a prostitute, if RW would want breast implants, if RW etc, etc, etc, then would RW have consented to the surgery? All I see are evidentiary problems.

One of these days, I'd like to meet this "reasonable woman/ man". I have many questions. Maybe she is Chief Justice McLaghlin but the judges don't want to name her outright.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

"In 1st year they scare you, in 2nd year they work you, and in 3rd year they bore you."

Moot Auditions today

Yesterday and today a panel of 3 judges is assessing 1st year students to decide who will be on the International Moot team. It's very difficult to get on the team and Queen's has a strong reputation to uphold so many students are taking the audition quite seriously. Last year, Queen's came in second place. This year hopefully we can do better. :) For info the Fasken First Year International Law Moot.