lukegilman.com : High on the Hog Blog
Purveyor of Idle Observation

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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

Blawg: Preparing for the first day…

In which I engage in a flurry of activity that will likely prove useless tomorrow…

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Introducing the Blawg

Starting May 30th, 2006 I’ll be a 1L in the evening program at the University of Houston Law Center in Houston, TX.

I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now with my own High on the Hog Blog and as a regular contributor to Metroblogging Houston so it only made sense that I would join the blawgosphere as well.

My plan is to post on the law school experience, specifically at the University of Houston, as well as relevant legal and community news. If you’re a blawger, particularly in and around Houston, please let me know and I’ll add a link to your site to my blawgroll. I’m also considering a separate website project that would aggregate the RSS feeds of law-related blogs in across Houston and possibly Texas as a whole.

Questions or feedback, I would love to hear from you. The comments are open or e-mail me.

Visit the Blawg

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Orientation at the University of Houston Law School today

First up – take a test. It was an evaluation of our writing proficiency, but still. It was very test-like and made law school feel that much more real and looming, which of course it is. Our first class is next tuesday.

By far the best part of orientation was getting to know the group of people I’ll be spending the next four years with. Great people and a really diverse and interesting group. We had a couple drinks with some 2Ls in the evening program at Little Woodrow’s afterwards and got the low down. Apparently the next month in particular is really gonna suck. Civil Procedure. Three hours a day, four days a week of “how a lawsuit or case may be commenced, what kind of service of process is required, the types of pleadings or statements of case, motions or applications, and orders allowed in civil cases, the timing and manner of depositions and discovery or disclosure, the conduct of trials, the process for judgment, various available remedies, and how the courts and clerks must function.” (wikipedia) And it’s taught by Ragazzo, who’s reputation was almost to a person some variant on the word “ass” – ranging from “hard-ass,” as in ‘I respect and fear his knowledge and abilities’ to the other end of the spectrum with “asshole,” as in I really, really fear his knowledge and abilities and also did not really enjoy the public humiliation I suffered as a result of his socratic method. Otherwise the consensus is that he is extremely proficient, fair, always means what he says and adheres to a no-nonsense grading system that can’t really be argued with.

Ragazzo actually came to one of my undergrad classes, Psychology & Law, to demonstrate the socratic method. Mark Yanis, who co-taught the course, was an appellate lawyer and UHLC alum and wanted to give us a taste of it since so many of us were interested in law school. We read and briefed a case and prepared for “the method.” I happened to be the first one he called on. Hopefully that will give me some sort of karmic immunity this time around. I have a funny feeling about that though. I answered his questions and he let me sit down with my dignity intact. I’m not expecting a repeat performance. He’s known for cutting you off two or three words into your first sentence if he thinks your going down the wrong path and demands that you be able to support your statements with authoritative attribution at all times. Fun fun fun. When I got home I had this in my inbox -

I can’t wait to learn about lawyerpults.

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Investigating Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

Part of my transition to law school mode has been trying to think of all the things that it might be nice to know how to do before crunchtime. I sat in on Johnny Rex Buckles’ Taxation of Non-Profit Organizations last week and one thing I noticed was that Buckles would bring up an obscure or just overlooked aspect of the material and everyone would be sent flipping through the book to find what he was referring to. Every time it happened my left hand subconciously twitched into the CTRL + F position, which any good geek will tell you means “find” as in return me all instances of the phrase I’m about to type in that occur in this here document. It’s an extremely useful feature. I sure wish my brain had it. All the students had laptops open and were taking notes, but the books were lying there outside the computer, pathetically undigital and uselessly unsearchable.

Why oh why didn’t they have a pdf version of their textbook? But then how would they get one? Book publishers are notoriously terrified of digitization, and the makers of big expensive law books are not likely to be an exception. If a digital copy is available it will likely be some heinous DRM-laden executable. So assuming I get no help from the book publisher, how do I have my book and search it to?

Optical Character Recognition software has been around for a while, so my plan is to finally put it through its paces and see if it can handle a real-world problem in a cost-effective manner. More on this in days to come…

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