: 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

Law Student Hypochondria

Just as first year medical students are said to suffer a sort of mass hypochondria as they become aware of the cornucopia of diseases that might one day afflict them, so I think first year law students undergo a paradigm shift when they realize the simmering cesspool of liability through which they daily swim. It’s something akin to a fish thinking it’s drowning.

It occurred to me that I might be undergoing this ‘change of life’ the other night when I walked across the street to get a six pack. There’s a convenience store directly across from my house. There’s a crosswalk, but it’s about 100 yards up the street. It’s a residential neighborhood, but it’s a fairly busy street. As I scampered across on the way over via the quickest straightest line, it occurred to me that if a crazed Mr. McPsychoDriver ran me down going 20 over the limit with no headlights, no working breaks and talking on his cellphone while taking a hit from his crack pipe, Mr. McPsychoDriver’s attorney would point out that I was not using a crosswalk. I’ll let you guess which way I went home.

Phenomena Police (06E MUST SEE TV)

Court TV premieres an exciting new series this Tuesday on Halloween. Phenomena Police investigate paranomal activity in the Houston area. 06E peeps – one of our very own appears about half-way through the segment.

First Post on

I’ve just posted my first post on, Trawling the Social Science Research Network (SSRN)

In a perfect world I would have time enough to study AND read everything on the internet. Alas. If the switch were flipped tomorrow, however, the first place I would start is the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). The SSRN publishes academic scholarship in economics, finance, accounting, management and law. The amount and quality of research on the site is staggering. SSRN is often used to distribute a paper, but it’s also a great way to discover new ideas.

A quick perusal of today’s top ten list features a paper showing negative correlation between the prevalence of porn and rape, a paper on Obstacles to Educational Uses of Copyrighted Material in the Digital Age and a list of 21 constitutional curiosities by someone very familiar to this site. ;-)

If, for example if you’re a fan of the NY Times Bestseller, Freakonomics, the SSRN has a treasure trove of economist/author Steve Levitt’s academic publications of the research discussed in his book.

For law students, I recommend looking up your future alma mater (Houston, in my case) on the Top Institutions list. It will give you a feel for some of what’s going on in the faculty lounge and possible research opportunities down the road.

So far I’ve been really impressed with the quality of posting and the ideas coming from my cobloggers.

Legal Consequences of Trans Fats

I heard a tort-reform advocate spouting off about lawsuits built on obesity and couldn’t understand what why he was harping on it. Could Supersize Me have scared him that badly? Now it’s starting to make a little more sense.

CS Monitor: Lead paint, cigarettes: Are trans fats next?

In Pelman v. McDonald’s Corp., 237 F. Supp. 2d 512 (S.D.N.Y., Apr. 7, 2003), the court held that “legal consequences should not attach to the consumption of hamburgers and other fast food fare unless consumers are unaware of the dangers of eating such food.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t know Trans fats from Fats Domino, and can’t lend an informed opinion as to whether or not it’s as bad for one’s health as is suggested by some. If true, however, the addition of preservatives to which most ordinary people would be oblivious seems precisely the kind of thing court’s rule would allow.

Anyone care to enlighten me on the validity of the health impact of trans fat consumption one way or the other?

UHLC E-mail Flame Wars

As one quickly learns, law school is a boiling cauldron of latent argumentativeness ready to boil over at any moment. The e-mail system is set up to allow group e-mailing by section, which is quite convenient if you need to get info out quickly. At times it’s a little too convenient. A derogatory comment to an event announcement set off a reply-all-out flamewar this morning. In true law school fashion, it has now devolved into an argument over split infinitives. And I quote…

One should most certainly not learn to not split infinitives, as there is no such rule in English, despite what you may have been told. “The only rationale for condemning the construction is based on a false analogy with Latin.” The American Heritage Book of English Usage (1996), available at Fowler generally agrees. “The English-speaking world may be divided into those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is, those who don’t know, but care very much, those who know and approve, those who know and condemn, and those who know and distinguish.” Henry W. Fowler, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926).

Ah law school…..

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