lukegilman.com : The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Please note: I'm no longer updating this particular blog, but keep it around for archival purposes. Visit me at the current blog at www.lukegilman.com

Why I Love Police Cruiser Cams

Since police patrol cars started using in-car cameras in the 1980′s (see whitepaper on the progression of the technology), they’ve become ubiquitous. Combined with YouTube, they’re contributed to the entertainment of millions, in addition to showcasing the often harrowing working conditions of the men and women in blue. The latest to make the rounds is a video which police allege shows an accused bank robber purportedly eating the demand note.


Volokh Conspiracy, A Snack Incident to Arrest; Josh Blackman

Sometimes the officers themselves provide the entertainment.

More often than not, it’s the idiocy of the public they’re sworn to protect that provides the entertainment – from my home state of Maine (un-bleeped version). The accents really crack me up in this one.

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Lawyers and Holiday Cards

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It’s holiday card sending season in lawyer land. Texas Lawyer’s John Council shared the holiday card he received last year from Alexander Dubose Jones & Townsend, an appellate shop in Austin, Houston and Dallas, with the note “ADJT takes the opportunity to briefly wish you all an appealing Holiday Season.” Kevin and Robert Dubose help teach an excellent Appellate Advocacy class with Randy Roach at the University of Houston Law Center. Highly recommended for UHLC students.

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What Happens if a Law Professor Loses Your Exam?

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‘Tis the Season… law students return, fattened on turkey and swelled with holiday cheer… well, at least to the extent they weren’t holed up outlining the whole time. This is about the time when law students can lose it – develop nervous tics and strange analogies, attack armed robbers, lay the smackdown on home invaders, sometimes just disappear. David Lat at Above the Law hosted Anonymous Law Professor for a even-keeled, calming All You Ever Wanted To Know About Law School Exams post that is generally calculated to make already manic 1Ls feel a little bit more self-assured, at least until it got to this part -

I’m always terrified that I will lose exams. Bill Clinton, when he was a young adjunct law professor at the University of Arkansas, lost all of his Con Law finals.

I’m sorry, I must have misread that….so not only did Arkansas Law have an adjunct teaching Con Law (albeit a future President)… he LOST the finals? all of them? This is an event so horrifying that the internet dares not contemplate it, at least not in quotation marks. It’s also the point in the story where non-law-students will have a hard time empathizing – Why not just retake it? Why not give everyone an A? or change the course to pass/fail? That may sound rational to the normals, but this is law school. The curve must have its sacrifice.

There are precious few verifiable statements of fact out there on the internets to back this up, but a commenter on the Volokh conspiracy relates:

I can’t speak to Obama, but I do know people who were taught by the Clintons (as well as professors that worked with them) when they taught at The University of Arkansas Law School in the 70′s.

Bill Clinton rather infamously “lost” an entire classes finals at one point, allegedly resulting in everyone in the class being given a B- for the semester.

THAT is the solution?!?! give everyone a B minus? because a B would be too good for students who foolishly entrusted their own professor with their exams? I would like to tell myself this would never happen today – the exam software keeps a copy on your laptop, the professor’s secretary might run off a quick copy before sending it home with the absent-minded con law professor and yet…. My sole consolation is that Bill the Con Law Prof finally got his comeuppance. According to the Anonymous Law Professor, God heard the cries and lamentations of his Arkansas law students:

One of his students was Susan Webber, who went on to become Judge Susan Webber Wright, the judge assigned to the Paula Jones case. That’s a situation I want to avoid in its entirety.

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Butterflyfish Owns Blackacre: or Why It Matters What You Learn in Law School

There is a gradual but eerie transition in law school in which your circle of friends transforms from gaggle of law students to bevy of lawyers. While obvious and expected, it’s still strange to see the people you remember bombing on panel in con law or going down in flames in the mandatory 1L moot court argument now clerking for a federal judge, keeping people out of prison or getting paid several hundred dollars an hour to flail around in the case law on some obscure cause of action. The problems and stresses of law school now seem laughable. As one of the partners told a friend who recently passed the bar “Congratulations on becoming sanctionable!”

One of my frequent reads in law school, the pseudonymous Butterflyfish makes the transition clear with my old nemesis, property, in her recent post I own Blackacre:

Currently, I am reading about topics covered in first year real property. Fee simple subject to shifting executory limitations, that kind of thing. Its like studying for the bar exam again, except now it really matters that I get it right and there are no multiple choices. I spent an hour today combing through the first restatement of property. Tomorrow, I am going to read some more restatement and then I am going to go through more real property treatises. So armed, I will then delve into the case precedent, most of which will probably date from the turn of the century. I am pretty sure I am going to get to drop a footnote regarding the rule against perpetuities.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t need to know this shit in the real world, kids.

So as the ‘left behind’ in law school gear up for finals, let us re-remind ourselves that we may have a client, sooner than we think, depending on our ability to master the subject. I am now outlining with all deliberate speed. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Texting Destroying the English Language? Did Telegraphing?

James Grimmelmann‘s excellent Laboratorium included the following text in the post Texting, Telegraph Style:

t scetus tdy dodd 5 pw f potus dz n xtd to t pips, ogt all pst cgsl xgn q sj is uxl.

Before cracking open your handy desk reference The Code: Basics for Texting and Instant Messaging (which a retired FBI agent calls “a valuable asset to families who are in the dark about what their children are involved with on the internet”), consider that this cryptic message was sent not in the 21st century but early in the 20th. It translates:

The Supreme Court of the United States today decided that the power of the President of the United States does not extend to the Philippines, on the ground that all past Congressional legislation on the subject is unconstitutional.

It’s cited in Douglas Baird‘s chapter in Intellectual Property Stories on International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U.S. 215 (1918).

It should be available in response to all variants of questions like Will text messaging destroy the English language? and Is the use of “texting language” harming job prospects?

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