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

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

Other Internet Meanderings…

in which I link to other student blawgers who’s posts are much funnier than mine…

From Will Work for Favorable Dicta:

In other news, I’m seriously considering killing my office mate, who is, right this moment, SLURPING something (sssssssssssssssssslurp, sssssssssssssssssssslurp) and keeps furtively getting up and running in and out of the office, turning the computer on and off each time he goes (Ding, ding, ding…Windows is shutting down motherf*cker!), like he’s protecting state secrets and I’m a Soviet mole or something.

Homicide is OK if you’re really annoyed. Discuss.

This next one proves a point I never would have imagined I would ever get to make – that exclamation points counterintuitively buck the expected trend of diminishing marginal return on funniness by making something funnier the more excessively they are used. Glossing over the fact that using the phrase ‘more excessively’ may lead to my english degree being revoked, I submit:

Blog: Artsy Fartsy Shopaholic Goes to Law School

!1!: Since the The Knight and I have been living with his parents, we have been sleeping on his two twin beds from his childhood room!! Recently, his parents got a new king-sized bed, so we inherited their old queen!! It is wonderful, big, and allows the Knight and I to coexist as married people in the 21st century rather than Lucy and Desi!! This is big news, by the way!!

!2!: The Knight and I are on the brink of becoming full fledged tree hugging nature people!! This weekend we went canoeing!! Next weekend we are also going canoeing!! I still don’t like spiders or snakes!!

!3!: I also drank beer while canoeing!! Most of you know that I don’t like beer!! But maybe now I do!! Especially when it is the only thing available to drink!! Other than spider infested river water!!

!4!: I have gained 4 lbs in 3 weeks!! I don’t know how this is possible!! It might have something to do with eating with attorneys every day!! At restaurants!! Did I mention that in addition to being a verbal vomiter, I am also a nervous eater!!

!5!: I have been whitening my teeth!! I can’t tell if it is working yet!! I feel I might be counteracting its effectiveness by drinking massive quantities of coffee in the morning!!

MySpace Inadequate Protections Case

Here’s a case worth watching. Social networking website MySpace is being sued by a 14-year-old girl in Texas state court in Austin for failing to provide adequate protections against sexual assault.

I have to wonder how MySpace, aside from being an almost perfect target for this kind of suit (cash reserves + negative publicity on this very subject), is any different from any other online forum these two might have met. The answer, I think, is it’s not, and therefore this case could have farreaching and interesting implications on how we interact online. For instance, if the court finds that Myspace has a duty to very actively monitor and thwart suspicious activity, I find it hard to see how they could avoid a direct and messy collision with privacy issues.

The WSJ has a copy of the complaint (.pdf)

This, however, takes the cake. The alleged sex offender wants to file a counter-claim that if MySpace is liable to his alleged victim, then it’s also liable to him.

The defense attorney for Pete Solis, the 19-year-old Texas community college student charged with sexually assaulting the girl dubbed “Julie Doe” in her lawsuit, told TIME that if the Texas courts accept the premise that MySpace is liable because the two met there, then his client also has a claim, since the alleged victim falsely portrayed herself on the website as 15 years old. [time magazine article]

Maybe I’ll find out next semester why whether or not the victim falsely portrayed herself as 15 years old is a rational defense.

MySpace’s new security guru, Hemanshu Nigam, has his work cut out for him. The media has latched on to MySpace as the poster-child for a problem which essentially is true of all social networking and in fact true of the internet in general, which indicates there are a lot more where this came from if the case shows any traction at all.

MySpace users who are 18 or over could no longer request to be on a 14- or 15-year-old’s friends’ list unless they already know either the youth’s e-mail address or full name. That means they won’t have access to personal information on their profiles.

“They’re going to lie about their ages,” said Monique Nelson, executive vice president of online safety advocate Web Wise Kids. “There’s no way to check age verification. In that respect, I don’t think that’s going to be very effective.” [forbes]

What’s a law degree worth?

By far the best thing about the WSJ law blog is the comments section, which today featured a lively debate on what a law degree is worth. There are of course any number of ways to measure that. The most useful is to ask, what is a law degree worth to me? as in what do I really want to do and what will a JD mean in pursuing that goal? Of course, few law students know themselves or law practice well enough to make a truly informed decision on that count, but it’s a good thing to be thinking about.

One of the big reasons I am where I am, in the evening program of the University of Houston, is that I know what the legal environment can be like and what debt does to your choices. I’m working full-time and it doesn’t make for much of a social life, but getting out in four years with a JD I expect to be on the same if not better financial footing that I am now, before I get a job, and that’s going to make a significant difference in what I can do. If I want to chase partnership, it will be because I want to, not because I have to. If I want to take a public interest job, that will be my perogative.

Of course there are lots of reasons why it might be worth your $38,000 a year. The law is nothing if not class conscious, but make the means work for the ends, not the other way around.

Volunteer Guidance Counselors

As I mentioned yesterday, in What are you going to be when you grow up?, what kind of law I might practice someday is a frequent subject of conversation. Today this blawg’s loyal readers have turned up the following helpful suggestion – perhaps I could follow in the footsteps of Connecticut attorney Eugene Riccio whose legal career hit an obvious high-point as he helped a cat avoid the death penalty. Yes, I too, Brady & Tiffany suggest, could be a pet lawyer. Go ahead, google pet lawyer right now and see if it doesn’t challenge your faith in darwinian natural selection.

At least the news is having some fun with this one

A Connecticut judge on Tuesday spared the life of alleged serial-scratcher Lewis the cat, whom even Prozac could not tame, but ordered that the felonious feline remain inside his owner’s home at all times.

Cisero had faced a charge of reckless endangerment. Neighbors complained that the cat’s long claws and stealth have allowed it to attack at least a half-dozen people and ambush the Avon cosmetics lady as she got out of her car on her neighborhood rounds.

“Felonious Feline” … I feel a hairball coming on. In my humble opinion, it’s not the cat that needs to be put out of its misery. Check out Lewis the Cat’s MySpace page. Allow me to point out the 4,171 strong lonely hearts club band signed on as friends, and the 1,386 cries for help left in the comments for our felonious furbag.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…

It tolled for me. I think that’s one of the first times I’ve heard “Mr. Gilman” and realized someone was talking to me – just one of those hey, guess what you’re really an adult moments, like buying socks. The Ragazzo treatment wasn’t so bad. I had read the case. I knew the facts. He let me slide on a point or two. I only got one amazing.

Here’s my feeling on the whole socratic method thing. When done well, and I think Ragazzo does it very well, it’s bar-none the best kind of educational experience, particularly for the law. You’re forced to think on your feet, to go in unexpected directions, to match wits with someone who knows a lot more than you, to stretch, in other words, and to find your bearings in unfamiliar territory. Most importantly, you have to know your material in a way that you typically don’t in most educational settings. In most undergraduate courses, particularly liberal arts, being familiar with the material is sufficient, if you say something halfway intelligent about it you know it. In law, knowing takes on whole other dimensions. You have to be able to take it apart and put it back together again, mess with it, break it down to the essentials, see how it works in different situations, with different fact bases. You have to own it. Bullshitting is typically not an option. The nice thing about socratic method is that it informs you of exactly how much you don’t know, before the exam.

When it comes down to grades, however, the whole socratic class thing is an ego trip. By that I mean my ego trip, not Ragazzo’s. I’m splitting time between class prep and exam prep and having gotten called on out of the way I can give more attention to exam prep and there’s a heck of a lot to do there. Before tonight, I didn’t want to be embarrassed, so I boned up on the material, which isn’t a bad thing, but the time for synthesizing, identifying standards, seeing the ebb and flow of cases, just hasn’t been there.

Anyway, enough midnight blawging. T-minus 11 days and counting.

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