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

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On the Mootness of Moot Court

My girlfriend brought up an interesting point the other day. The word “moot” has two quite contradictory meanings. The more common one is of meaninglessness – rendering a legal proceeding without effect or depriving it of practical significance. Moot can also mean “to raise an issue” or “arguable.” Apparently this is transatlantic mistranslation, the latter being the original or British meaning and the former an American creation.

So which is moot court? A law school exercise in which to raise an issue or argument? Yes. A law school exercise without effect or deprived of practical significance? Yes, that too. These contradictory meanings are more descriptive than either one alone. Moot court arguments are academic exercises, yet we can only really learn from them if we suspend our disbelief and tackle them as if our clients lives or livelihoods depended on it. One does not find inner peace in moot court unless it means everything and nothing at the same time.

P.S. This insufferable post is my way of procrastinating on a brief for the Vis. Now back to our regular programming…

Arizona State Law Student Goes to the Mattresses for Laptop

I think any law student would easily see the cost-benefit analysis at work here –

Arizona State University student Alex Botsios said he had no problem giving a nighttime intruder his wallet and guitars.

When the man asked for Botsios’ laptop, however, the first-year law student drew the line.

“I was like, ‘Dude, no — please, no!” Botsios said. “I have all my case notes…that’s four months of work!”

This intrepid 1L threw caution to the wind and fought off the intruder. I’ll use this opportunity to make a plug for my new favorite app, Syncplicity, which automatically backs up my laptop’s files and syncs them both with my destop at home and to a secure online server available with a username and password. It’s one of the final stages of getting to the point where I’m truly hardware independent – aside from a few applications, I can work just about anywhere in just about any environment.

Batman, Turkey Sues Over Unauthorized Use of Name

According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Real life Batman faces super test, there is a town in Turkey named Batman whose mayor is suing Chris Nolan, director of Batman Begins and the Dark Knight for some sort of name infringement, claiming rights to the royalties.

Although this might initially raise the specter for Nolan of being haled into some Turkish IP proceeding, it seems even their courts would recognize the silliness of the proceeding:

[T]he name of a local region cannot be registered as a brand name, said lawyer Vehbi Kahveci, head of the Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights Commission of the Istanbul Bar. Also having overseas clients, Kahveci said “Batman” and his image is registered all around the world. The Batman Municipality missed the period in which they could object to the registration decision for Batman’s name as a superhero, according to Kahveci.

Is homonym a defense to such an action, I wonder? At least some of Batman, Turkey’s former residents make more sympathetic potential plaintiffs:

Şafii Dağ, a former Batman resident, currently living in the Germany city of Wesel, is one of those citizens who cannot use Batman as a title for his business, according to the newspaper. “I named my two restaurants Batman. But six months ago, a team of employees from the production company of the movie Batman made me change the title. Telling them that Batman was the name of my hometown did not change anything,” Dağ said.

Baylor Law Goes to the Dogs

Here’s a great story from Waco.

When Amy Jones received her law degree from Baylor University, her playful service dog, Skeeter, got the same honor. As Jones got her juris doctor on Saturday, Skeeter received an honorary law degree. “Amy has busted through brick walls, and Skeeter has been faithfully by her side every step of the way,” law school Dean Brad Toben said. “Skeeter has become a part of our community and part of our family here at the law school.”

Though I feel sorry for Skeeter if he has to sit through the bar as well.

Malcolm Gladwell Looks at What Makes a Successful Lawyer

As I noted here in Malcolm Gladwell on the Value of the Adversity in Personal Success and of the Outsider in Institutional Growth, Gladwell’s new book deals in part with the Uses of Adversity (preview in New Yorker). One of the examples that doesn’t make the New Yorker article, but gets a chapter of the book includes the curious biographical similarities of some of New York’s most successful lawyers:

For example, one of the chapters looks at the fact that a surprising number of the most powerful and successful corporate lawyers in New York City have almost the exact same biography: they are Jewish men, born in the Bronx or Brooklyn in the mid-1930′s to immigrant parents who worked in the garment industry. Now, you can call that a coincidence. Or you can ask—as I do—what is about being Jewish and being part of the generation born in the Depression and having parents who worked in the garment business that might have something to do with turning someone into a really, really successful lawyer? And the answer is that you can learn a huge amount about why someone reaches the top of that profession by asking those questions.

Gladwell describes the rest of the book here. This one is floating to the top of my non-law-school reading pile.

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