Watch Me Take The Bar
Watch Me Take The Bar
This blog, originally started as a chronicle of my taking the bar, is now a look into the mind of an attorney in solo practice in Port Clinton, Ohio.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

just so everyone knows

I am moved into my new apartment. AND I managed to get signed up for wireless Internet service for 24 bucks a month in the first few hours of being here. Many, MANY thanks to Carol for helping me move...the term saint ought to be applied to her...

I'd write more, but I'm not sure how long I'll be able to write sensibly. Plus, I'm fairly sore from carrying a bunch of boxes up four flights of stares. So I will deal with all the stuff I have to write tomorrow. Just thought y'all'd like to know I'm in!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Packing...or trying to...

I'm trying to pack.

First of all, I have a paucity of boxes here, which I will remedy soon.

Beyond that, I am finding that emotionally it's taking a toll.

Which is weird.

I mean, I moved out of a house that I lived in for much longer and which was far superior to this apartment in May. While the actual leaving was tough, packing was not.

Here, I'm sort of wandering around, trying to pick through things.

Somehow, not believing that I'm in the last few hours of living here, looking out and seeing the apartments across the pond.



Wow, breaking news...Michael Coleman has just dropped out of the race for Ohio governor.

GO TED GO!!!!!!!!!!

(that's Ted Strickland.)

I hope Democrats will clear the field and not waste a lot of time and energy fighting amongst themselves. Strickland can win.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Michael's Essential Christmas Songs

as I am moving, I have my Christmas songs turned WAYYYY UP.

I thought I'd share with you the songs that get me the most in the spirit. :)

1. Sleigh Ride -- The Boston Pops
2. Let it Snow -- Kenny G
3. Winter Wonderland -- Kenny G
4. Noel -- Kenny G
5. Carol of the Bells -- Mannheim Steamroller [not, of course, to be confused with Carol of the SUDL]
6. Hallelujah Chorus
7. Oh Christmas Tree -- Kenny G
8. Theme from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" -- Mavis Staples
9. My Only Wish This Year -- (I blush to admit this) -- Britney Spears
10. Last Christmas -- George Michael
11. All I Want For Christmas Is You -- Vince Vance & the Valiants (not to be confused with All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey)
12. Step Into Christmas -- Elton John
13. It Must Have Been the Mistletoe -- Barbra Streisand [but avoid the hell out of Babs singing "Jingle Bells," especially the part where she starts singing jinglebelljinglebelljingjangjock! Hideous was invented for this rendition.]
14. Santa Claus is Coming To Town -- Bruce Springsteen
15. Feliz Navidad -- Jose Feliciano [I think the "wa ha!" is the first appearance of the yo quiero taco bell dog. I'm just kidding. Kind of.]
16. Hey Santa -- Wilson Phillips
17. All I Want For Christmas Is You -- Mariah Carey (not to be confused with All I Want for Christmas Is You by Vince Vance & the Valiants (another great song of hers is "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"
18. Twelve Days of the Orchestra -- "six drummers drumming/five golden strings/four clarinets/three french horns/two baritone bassoons/and a bell high up in a pear tree."
19. Angels We Have Heard on High -- the Boston Pops (I think)
20. Joy To The World -- the Boston Pops (I think)
21. You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch -- Boris Karloff (all the tenderness of a seasick crocodile)
22. Deck The Halls -- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
23. The Twelve Days of Christmas -- I love this song, but I need a version with a chorus. Someone help???
24. The March of the Kings -- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
25. Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring -- I have it by a brass quintet. I also love Josh Groban's rendition
26. The Twelve Days After Christmas -- "The third day after Christmas, my mother caught the croup/I had to use the three French hens/to make some chicken soup/The four calling birds were a big mistake/Oh their language was obscene/The five gold rings were completely fake/And they turned my fingers green/The sixth day after Christmas, the six laying geese wouldn't lay/I gave the whole darn gaggle to the A.S.P.C.A."
27. Christmas Canon -- Trans Siberian Orchestra -- AWESOME!!!

There's also a great medley or two by the Boston Pops, but I can't off the top of my head come up with the name. But this should get you started as you trim the tree, deck the halls, or pack up your apartment.

Oh, wait, that's me. :)

Monday update

Well, the big news is, I found a great condo in Port Clinton I'll be living in. So, if my updates have been sparse this weekend, or if they continue to be this week ('cause it's gonna be a very long week), that's a big part of why.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Post About Michael & Music (part 2)

Monday, I had to go from Sylvania to Perrysburg, with a stop at Circuit City to buy a new DVD player for the grocery store. As I was walking through the parking lot, I heard something jangling, and I thought, My goodness, that sounds like sleigh bells.

Well, between that and the cold air, it sort of started to get me in the Christmas spirit, so I thought I'd flip on the radio and see if WRQN (more popularly known to those in the Toledo area as 101.5 the River) had started their Christmas musc yet. Never one to be delayed by being only two weeks from Halloween, as a matter of fact, they had.

Now, this was a source of just immeasurable good news to me. A surefire way to improve my mood is to get some Christmas music playing. I love Christmas...people are usually happier around that time of year and, in theory, we're all smiling a bit more.

Beyond that, there are two great things going for this Christmas season. First, I am going to New York in three weeks, which will be a lot of fun; second, and here I apologize if you are not in the same boat, this is the first Christmas season in seven years I will get to enjoy without the specter of exams hanging over my head.

PS: As some of you may know, my birthday is Christmas Day. I think I decided I want to switch with Eve, whose birthday is November 24. That way, it occasionally falls on Thanksgiving, but no one can give you a "this is your Thanksgiving AND birthday present song and dance." Definitely better. :)

They Let Idiot Ex-FEMA Directors Go Back to Horses, Don't They?

I find this incredibly disturbing.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Remember what you have to be thankful for today!

Yours in triptophane, I remain, Michael

The Post About Michael & Music (part 1)

If this blog covers many of my passions (reading/politics/law/domestic violence prevention, to name a few), one that has slipped past without much mention is music. Here and there I've mentioned that I love my iPod, am not a huge Eminem fan, and other drops of musical commentary in passing. But, heck, when others have whole blogs which are almost entirely devoted to music, Michael's music thoughts have mainly not happened. Which is odd, considering that listening to music is a huge part of my life.

And now I find myself with two music-related entries for you. The first of which starts with you needing to know that I have today returned my DVD player to my apartment. Since mid-August, it has been in grocery stores, training countless employees in the niceties of giving great customer service, preventing trips, slips and falls, bagging groceries, and avoiding selling alcohol to people who are either underage or too drunk to have it.

Anywho, I'd started to miss my DVD player, so the other day, I went to Circuit City and bought an El Cheapo model for the store, sent in the receipt to receive reimbursement, and brought mine home.

Which was good, because I recently acquired The Beatles Anthology on DVD. This was a present to myself for passing the bar. I've been wanting to see the full anthology since it came out...what they showed on TV was edited for time and TV.

So, as I settled in to watch it today, I realized that it's exactly ten years ago this week since the Beatles Anthology first aired on ABC in 1995.

Understand that, prior to this, I had never really paid much attention to the Beatles. I knew who they were, of course, and if pressed, I might have identified a song or two of theirs. I could tell my Lennons from my Lenins, and my Ringos from my Kenneths (heh, heh, heh), but beyond that, I didn't know much.

So, anyway, I saw there was going to be a program on about the Beatles and I thought I may as well check it out to figure out what in the world was going on.


I was captivated.

These guys were GOOD. Damn good.

Extraordinary, actually.

Much like I imagine my parents and others of that generation experienced it watching the Ed Sullivan show, I was finally introduced to the Beatles.

In fact, the song that first turned me on to them was the song that they first played on their first American appearance on February 9, 1964 on "The Ed Sullivan Show," "All My Lovin'."

For some reason, the tune from that song just captivated me.

Close your eyes, and I'll kiss you
Tomorrow, I'll miss you
Remember, I'll always be true.

And then while I'm away,
I'll write home ev'ry day.
And I'll send all my loving to you.

I couldn't get it out of my head. The next day, walking around the halls of Oak Harbor High School, I couldn't keep from humming the tune. (Surprisingly, I didn't get beat up in high school. I often wonder why not.)

It was clear to me from this music that the Beatles were musical geniuses, and All My Lovin' had to be their greatest hit. I knew watching the second installment of the Anthology would just be a disappointment....they couldn't have done better than that, could they've?

Then I met A Day In The Life.

I read the news today, oh, boy.
4,000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire
And though the holes were rather small.
They had to count them all.
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.

Ever since then, whenever I hear one of those news stories about how there were 15,000 this or 2800 that, I think, "They had to count them all. Now they know how many _____ it takes to_______. I'd love to turrrrrrn youuuuuuuuuu onnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn."

(I also couldn't get the melody of Got To Get You Into My Life out of my head after installment two.)

OK, so now, I was clearly confused between my two favorite Beatles' songs. Then I tuned into the THIRD edition of the series.

And the song Revolution.

I was also pretty keen on The Ballad of John & Yoko.

To name a few.

So I bought the CD Anthology 1. Then my friend Adam said I needed to hear Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which had Abbey Road on the reverse side.

My god, they were good. No wonder people couldn't stop talking about them.

Thus began my ten-year-and-counting admiration for the Fab Four. Even when I've heard a song of theirs a hundred times, it seems that I never grow tired of it.

So, thanks, lads. Something tells me that people will be discovering your music for hundreds of years to come, and going through the same epiphany. And so long as they don't think Yoko was the fifth Beatle -- #9 was pretty damn awful -- they'll stick around like I have.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Great Thanksgiving-eve viewing...

I'm sitting here watching Stephen Breyer on "Larry King Live," whom I've mentioned I like before.

He's talking about "the boundaries of democracy," "democratic space," and the bill of rights, and is all excited about it. Just watching someone with that much passion about government is inspiring.

Reveling in my nerdiness, I remain, yours bloggingly, Michael

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I'm Glad We're Giving Terrorism Suspects A Hearing. Now, Could We Extend The Same Courtesy To Ten Year Olds?

I've been struggling over the past several weeks with wondering about a part of a lawyer's job. That is, the part that has nothing to do with arguing in court, or filing motions or briefs. It's the question of how a system that is run by humans makes sure human error doesn't result in human tragedy.

You may recall that two months ago, I blogged about a friend who's been getting divorced for about thirty-nine months. (This divorce started during my first week of law school, when Laci Peterson was still alive. You'll note that we've now been through an investigation, trial, sentencing phase, and Scott Peterson has now been on death row for about a year.) And my friend's divorce isn't final.

OK, so, it's two people who were married, and can't get divorced. This would be mildly divorcing, if only the same lassitude of the justice system that has plagued this case (the custody issues were heard in August, 2004 and the financial issues were heard last March) weren't acting to the detriment of a ten-year-old boy.

Today, the US government indicted Jose Padilla, because they had a feeling the Supreme Court was going to come down on them for holding him without a hearing.

Now, listen, it's great Jose Padilla is going to get a hearing. I don't like anyone being held incommunicado without some judicial oversight. But, if we can give one to a terrorism suspect, why the hell can't we give it to a boy who's
  • been held down by his father and his father's girlfriend when he wanted to call his mother (after being threatened with a belt?)

  • been charged with domestic violence for accidentally kicking his father's girlfriend during same incident. (Abusers frequently race to court to make the first charge of domestic violence, so as to diminish the victim's credibility.)

  • been told not to tell his mother about same or things would be even worse for him.

  • tried to call his mother and had the phone hung up on him twice.
After the first of these incidents -- after which, his father called the police -- his mother sought an emergency custody hearing in the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas. The motion was filed on October 21.

It took until November 1 for a hearing date to be set, which was to be on November 9. The attorneys involved had a telephone conference, and my friend was all set to be in court (as was I) two days after I was sworn in as an attorney. (Not that I'm representing her; it's just that the case has been handled so abominably, I want to make sure there are people there.)

OK. So, November 7, we're on the way to Columbus for my swearing-in. And all of a sudden, here comes a call from my friend's attorney.

The judge in the case needed to get off; he had represented the father's attorney in his two previous divorces.

Which is understandable and a conflict of interest, but why did this judge sit through the telephone conference and never let anyone know?

The following day, my friend was advised that her "emergency hearing" would be set for sometime after her husband's attorney returned from vacation, which was starting November 11. But probably after November 22.

Then, Ottawa County decided to transfer the case to Lucas County. (My friend is politically active and, as such, has worked for several candidates, which has contributed to her problems. The next person that suggests being well-connected in court helps you is going to get an earful from me, let me tell you.)

Great! Off we go to Lucas County...or would, if the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas could get around to signing the judgment entry, asking the Supreme Court to assign a judge. Lucas County kept telling my friend's attorney they were prepared to act and get this emergency hearing to happen ASAP (which, isn't that what an emergency hearing is supposed to be about?), but they couldn't until the papers got shipped out of Ottawa County.

Well, today, the papers got transferred. And now, my friend is looking at a hearing date in mid-December.

What's that old saying about justice delayed?

In any case, I'd like to be around the houses of the people in charge of scheduling hearings when they catch fire.


"Hi, I'm calling to report an emergency."

"OK, we'll send someone out to your house. They should be there in sixty days."

"That won't work."

So, why do we think it does in family court?

Monday, November 21, 2005


I didn't have the idea for this post until just a few minutes ago, when I got home...and then it grew when I turned on the news. I have a post on a related topic in draft form I am working on.


When I came home, I found a plastic bag in front of my door with safety tips from the Sylvania Township Police Department. The first thing I pulled out was a spiral type thingy, with a bunch of flip-cards on all sorts of security issues. Medical emergencie/suspicious packages/flooding and water damage/utility outages/physical threats/crime preventions/homeland security.

So, I decided to flip to the "physical threats" to see if domestic violence was mentioned. And, to their great credit, the City of Sylvania Police Department did mention it.

Now, just the fact they mention it gives them an A+ in my book. I have seen some police departments refuse to enforce orders of the court regarding visitation because the signature was "stamped," and then later indicate they wouldn't have enforced them even if they were signed. (That would be the Fremont Police Department in Fremont, Ohio.) Meanwhile, other agencies, when a child asks to call his mother, simply ignore the request. (That would be the Beavercreek Police Department in Beavercreek, Ohio.)

In any case, I was pretty happy to see that Sylvania PD even mentioned domestic violence.

I was overjoyed to see they used the American Bar Association's definition for domestic violence, to wit:

The American Bar Association (ABA) has defined domestic violence as a pattern of behavior that one intimate partner or spouse exerts over another as a means of control. Domestic violence may include physical violence, coercion, threats, isolation, and emotional, sexual or economic abuse.
I want to focus on two major issues:

First, notice that it is defined as a "pattern of behavior [exerted] a means of control." CONTROL is the key thing here. Domestic abusers are control freaks. If you haven't figured that out by now, understand that they want to run the show, and it all needs to revolve around them.

Secondly, "Domestic violence may include physical violence, coercion, threats, isolation, and emotional, sexual or economic abuse."

WHAT THAT MEANS is this, and I'm going to put this in big print:



(A number of victims stay where they are because of threats of financial ruin.)



Are we clear on that?

I think, if the Sylvania Police Department wants to really be of service and step it up a notch, they could visit the Ottawa County Courthouse in Port Clinton, Ohio, with a copy of this book. Then, they could stop at the police departments I've mentioned. Then, they could distribute extras to people who are appointed to serve as guardians ad litem and believe that verbal abuse and screaming is just "hearsay" and that playing with someone's college education funds to try to alienate them from their mother is only a financial issue.

That's just my take.

/dv rant...for now


On to economic security.

As you may have heard, General Motors is closing many plants and bankruptcy is threatened. One of the commentators on the news today said that if GM goes into bankruptcy, the first thing to go will be some or all of the pensions of GM retirees.

My question is this: WHY?

Why in the world is that money available to satisfy creditors? Why hasn't that been put in an irretrievable lockbox (gosh, you never thought you'd hear THAT word again, did you?) that can't be gotten to when a company goes belly-up?


I feel that those we elect to represent us have let us down. Those who allow our retirees' economic security to be put in jeopardy.

As well as those who supervise court systems where emergency hearings can take over a month to get, while elementary-age children wait for justice.

Oops, that's the post I'm drafting...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Verdict on the Poseidon Adventure

OK. TVGuide says the original is far superior to the one on NBC.

Beyond which, it's about a boat capsizing and being upside down and people trying to get out.

And it's three hours long.

Meanwhile, on "The Simpsons," Homer is running for mayor.

I haven't seen an episode of the Simpsons on Sunday night yet this season, since I've been watching "West Wing." So I think I'll go for that. And if I want to see Poseidon Adventure, I'll rent the original.

We now return you to Uncasville..

There's Nothing On. No, Really. There is NOTHING On

So, I decided to check out TVGuide's website to see what "The Poseidon Adventure" is all about, since I've never seen it, and I want to know if it sounds like something I'd enjoy.

And I find out that NBC Sports is showing...

"Bull Riding: PBR in Uncasville, Conn."

I have several questions/thoughts.

  • How long have I been asleep that bull riding is such a mainstream sport it now gets NATIONAL NETWORK COVERAGE?

  • How many bullriders are there, really, in Uncasville, Connecticut? For that many, how many BULLS are there in Uncasville, Connecticut?

  • NBC Sports has fallen on some pretty hard times.

  • Why would anyone go to Uncasville, Connecticut, especially at this time of the year? Why in the world wouldn't they have it in, say, Los Angeles or Tampa or somewhere slightly more temperate?
Good grief...

In Which Our Blogger B*tch Slaps Some Cocky Lawyer from North Dakota

I hope GG won't mind my stealing a comment from her blog, and then my reply to it (which she has not yet approved.) However, an anonymous commenter wrote:

Congratulations. And many kudos for the informative, well-designed blog.

I feel compelled to write, however, that all these tip/coping sites contribute to testing anxiety. Keep on treating it like Doomsday and it'll seem more than it is. Bar/Bri would be proud.

I, along with most of my closer law school friends, spent most of the summer enjoying ourselves, hanging on to as much of our last summer before entering the work force as possible. Some of us partied in eastern europe all June, others part-timed at firms or volunteered at non-profits. One friend learned how to play the guitar. Most of us never attended Bar/Bri lectures after the first week, and certainly didn't sacrifice more interesting classes and professors during law school to get a jump on the bar. And we all passed. Given the hours I'm working now, I'd be downright upset if I over-invested in my bar preparation.

I comment no to gloat, but rather to present a balanced picture of bar prep, and I hope you fit it in somewhere in your blog. There are those who'll inevitably stress and feel compelled to make every sacrifice to increase their passing odds. And that's fine. But there are many law students who, realizing they generally test well, would prefer to do whatever they need to feel adequately prepared and no more. And future readers of your blog so inclined to follow suit shouldn't feel like they're condemning themselves to failure for doing so.

Well, that's nice. To which, yours truly replied:

Partying in eastern Europe all through June?

Learning to play guitar?

Well, look, if you did that and it worked out for you, great. Of course, I'm sure you spent some nervous time wondering whether the leaving BarBri after the first week was REALLY a brilliant idea. And, as GG said, maybe y'all are from North Dakota, where the pass rate is 93.9%. Congratulatins, dawg, you're an attorney in bleepin North Dakota.

Hey, even in Ohio, which had a 75% pass rate this year, I studied all summer long. And am very glad I did.

No, wait. I think I know what you want. *sighs* OK

Oh, you're just so brilliant you didn't NEED to study! We, who had to actually cram knowledge into our head, would be grovelling and licking your feet (if in fact you ever had the guts enough to show your name.) In fact, we'd be on a plane to North Dakota right now, if planes ever went there.

Seriously...obsessive bar studying may not be the sanest route to becoming a lawyer, but it IS the safest. And, if you have enough money to spend June partying in eastern Europe, to what degree is being a lawyer REALLY that important?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

To quote my dad, as we start to close the book on BMW 2005

"The great thing about beating Michigan is that you get to brag about it all year."

BTW, I think Joe Paterno has put to bed the talk he's too old to coach, don't you?

Why Is This Man Grimacing? (Oh, Right...'Cause His Team Got Beat 25-21 Today)

Ohio State 25. Meat Chicken 21

Friday, November 18, 2005

Sticky Link to California Bar Bloggers -- updates below!

[] CG Chai Divus Eve GG Heather I Fought the Law JM LawFairy Rose Roonie/Rolando

Congrats also going out to

Maisnon...whose fiction attempts today all revolved around a glass of wine.
I Fought the Law.

I swear, people. Blogging is good for the pass rates.

I want to tell you a story

About my friend Eve.

Some selected quotes from her blog:

"I honestly don’t know how, when, or why I all of a sudden became the World’s Largest “What Not to do for the Bar Exam” Example."

-- July 26, 2005

"F Property, it’s not gonna be on the exam till February."

-- July 26, 2005

"… the realization, that is, of how much things are going to suck now that I’ll be re-taking in February.*"
-- August 2, 2005

"I've never been a bar-failer before. I've never been a bar-retaker."

-- Yesterday

Well, Eve just found out

* apparently, one could follow her Bar Exam Program, MMD's and all

* she will not learn whether Property is on the exam in February

* she will not retake the bar in February

* she STILL has never been a bar-failer, and is STILL not a bar-retaker.

MS. EVE, ESQ!!!!!!!!!!!!


Lest we forget that there are other important things going on

Some poor fellow wandered into this blog covering California's results on this search string don%27t give a damn for the whole state of michigan%22&FORM=QBPR

Indeed, we don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan.
Whole state of Michigan.
Whole state of Michigan.

We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan
We're from Ohio.
We're from Ohio

We're from Ohio

We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan
Whole state of Michigan
Whole state of Michigan

We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan
We're from Ohio

If there's someone in the blogosphere we're not hearing from,

don't get too freaked. Remember that this blogger took 4 hours and 46 minutes to post his results, which were good. :)

And it's 2!

Congrats, Heather!!!!! Check it out all you want!!!


GO, GG!!!!!!

8:59 pm (5:59 California)



For the heck of it, I followed the link on GG's blog to the pass list. It hasn't loaded yet. (I've disconnected to get out of the way.)

Calm Down? Like Heck!

Hey, Heather, I had my biggest day ever in terms of raw visitors the day Ohio was released.

And you got the whole freaking state of California coming after you!

We got a live one with CG of Negligent Gnomes

she appears to be online right now. Leave her some love.

Yeah, CG, I'm delighted to be over with this, although ,frankly, watching y'all go through this is no fun, either.

LawFairy has it down...

on everyone who makes the comment that's the bane of bar examinees everyone: "You're so smart, I know you'll pass!"

Notes on checking the bar

The reviews are that a bunch of proto-lawyers checking the CalBar website may overheat it and delay things.

Heather, who's apparently gone out to dinner (brave soul to be able to eat...I wouldn't have been able to)...indicates she thinks it will take a few hours to get the bar exam site running in a decent direction so everyone can get in.

Of course, they said that about Ohio, and I got my results right away.

For a decent take on what someone getting ready to get their results is thinking...

click here. Props to CG for an awesome list.


First, for 12:24 PM today...I had my

10,000th HIT!!!

Now, this was pretty exciting to me. It's incredibly rewarding to see that people are coming here to read and get to know what I'm talking about. Thanks so much for reading, and I hope the next 10,000 are just as much fun as the first.

Now, that's cool, but my friends out in California are facing a much bigger milestone this evening as they learn their fate on the bar exam. For some reason, I am following this with great, great interest. Perhaps because the day of our results passed so quickly and in such a blur I sort of missed out on the blogging community; perhaps because several of the best bar bloggers are out there; perhaps because this is, officially, the final end of Bar Exam 2005 (may it rot in hell); and maybe especially out of sympathy.

I mean, let's think about this for a second. These poor Golden Staters. They have a quadruple-whammy going for them. Their pass rate usually hovers in the 45-55% range. They have these awful things called "crossovers," in which it's not ONE subject of the law tested, but TWO. Can you spot it? Hehehehe, they seem to be saying. They don't know for SURE which areas will be tested. And then, to top it all off, they have to wait the longest of any state.

I mean, this is it, folks. Everyone else knows their bar results. Except the poor California takers.

So, a good part of it is pity.

Anyway, I've been thinking about y'all all day and will be following y'all all night. In a bit here, I'll be doing a sticky post right at the top of the blog with a quick and simple list of links to the CalBar blogosphere so any of you readers who want to check out what's going on can click through. I'll also be covering developments as they unfold tonight, because (a) I need to do something to uphold my incredible geekdom and (b) I like liveblogging things, and this seems like a sorta unique thing to do.

Hang in there, CalBar'll know soon enough!

Breaking my rule of not blogging at work (don't worry, I'm taking a break anyway)

CA people: I feel your pain. (There are a lot of you stopping by.)

Eve is reporting she has nothing to say, which is exactly like what I was like just before the results.

GG has some pretty funny observations as the firing squad draws ever nearer. And she's checking at work. (You'll recall we know some Nervous Nellies who stage managed their discovery by going to a secure undisclosed location with Pepto Bismol in tow. Oh, wait, that was me.)

Anyway, just so y'all know, I'm thinking/praying/chanting for you. It's nowhere near what I'm sure you folks are feeling like, but I wanted to say hey. Mainly since I've been there myself, I do feel a real sense of sharing your suffering.

And don't worry, I don't have many plans, so I'll be checking in on all of y'alls blogs this evening.

As Eve said, as the moments grew nearer for my bar results to come in:

Serenity now! Serenity now!

Quick update

It's 6:09, and Michigan still sucks.

DC Doings

I got a rather sinking feeling last night when I was flipping channels and saw Congress was in at 11:30 PM on a Thursday evening.

You see, it's become a hallmark of the current Republican leadership that, when they have an icky, awful bill (that's a term that can only be used by those with poli sci diplomas, understand), they do it under cover of darkness because, let's face it, their shenanigans wouldn't stand up in the clear light of day.

So, when Congress works while you sleep, it's a pretty good indication either they shouldn't be working or you shouldn't be sleeping.

In the meantime, the bill the Senate passed is under threat of veto from President Bush.

What in the world, you might wonder, could finally spur him to lift a veto pen after nearly five years as President?

The bill raises taxes on oil company.

Oh, let that be his first veto.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

California Girls

namely Eve, GG and Roonie.

OK, tonight is hell night. I've lived through this. You can make it.

Except, California is extra-sadistic. In addition to being the last state in the Union to publish their bar results, they don't release them until 5 PM, California time, tomorrow night.

As Eve says, "The bastahds."

Anyway, as someone who does not drink very much at all, may I suggest a Labatt's to calm your nerves before you go to sleep?

And, since you don't have the benefit of a 7 AM release, perhaps one for the drive to work? Oops, probably not a good idea on many levels.

But, I just wanted to let you all know -- I'm thinking of you for any number of different reasons.

Roonie: OK, I don't know you as well as I feel like I know the other two, but I just had to give a shoutout to someone originally from Toledo, Ohio, who has met and taken that monster referred to as CalBar, what with its crossovers and strategies and low low low pass rate. GOOD LUCK! (And let me know if you're ever in Toledo, for Pete's sake)

GG: The Mother of All Bar Exam Bloggers! (Seriously, whenever this girl links to me in her post, a hundred people show up here.) Your mnemonics were awesome. You had the Zen of studying down, but you were also never too busy or stressed out to write a completely hilarious post. I almost consider it criminal that a slacker like me has become an attorney ahead of someone as sharp as you, but, hey, you're out in California soaking up rays and I'm in Ohio, praying the snow holds off for a little while longer, so, in the long run, it works out. Please don't stop blogging no matter what happens!!!

Eve: I know, you're convinced you didn't do well, and had some pretty crappy experiences in dealing with the bar. Just remember, there are a ton of people who walk out of the Barzam CONVINCED they failed, who find themselves as attorneys very shortly thereafter. (Or, in California, after a hellishly long period. Whatever floats your boat.) I think you will be among those people.

No matter what happens, though, you've got the right attitude in your most recent post: Look at this not as a judgment on you (because it's not), but rather on what you will be doing for the next six months. (No, you will NOT be living under an overpass.) Your sense of humor and unique eye are terrific, and I am honored to have blogged the barzam with you.

Anyway, ladies, just a shoutout from the Northcoast of Ohio to say I'm thinking of you, hang in there, and, as Anonymous of the SUDL would say, "Godspeed, John Glenn." Now, all that's left to do is sit back and watch you (never again) take that bar!!!!!!!

Perhaps the Past Three Years Weren't a Total Waste

A prospective client called me the other day.

As I was setting up an initial consultation with them, she gave me a thumbnail sketch of their problem. Beause I was on the computer and can type fast, I was able to basically transcribe what she was saying.

And, as I did, I realized -- this sounds like a law school exam question!

Now, I assure you, it was nothing terribly interesting or novel, but it just had enough twists and turns in it that it could have made it onto a final exam somewhere.

I flashed back to Professor Berkowitz (Torts) telling us on the first day of law school, "You know, a client will never come in and sit down and say, 'Well, first, I was assaulted, then there was a battery, which was also intentional infliction of emotional distress.'"

Anyway, it was interesting. It would be nice to believe law school prepared me to be a lawyer. :)

BTW, what do you get when you breed a groundhog and a Michigan Wolverine?

Six more weeks of bad football.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Congrats go out to TSC Girl for passing the bar!!!!

Not only is TSC Girl...oops, TSC Girl, Esq....a great writer, but she's also big on understanding, preventing and treating domestic violence. And, for those of you who have maintained minimal consciousness through this blog, that is something that's a big deal to me.

In any case, New Jersey is a better place today for having TSC Girl as one of their attorneys. Congrats! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Quote of the Day

“We can't walk by people on the street and think that's OK. It’s not OK. It degrades me as well as the person who's on the street.”

-- Sister Mary Scullion, activist for the homeless

Dear J. Anthony Lukas

I'm still reading Big Trouble.

I started sometime in late September. I read it through my trip to Florida. I took a brief detour, to read Not to People Like Us, about domestic violence in upscale marriages. But, I'm trying to pick away at all 754 pages of Big Trouble.

And please understand, the sheer length of the book does not bother me. One of my favorite books of all time, Truman, was 1,120 pages. Master of the Senate, another terrific one, was 1,200. (That took up the summer of 2002 and cost me $10 in overdue fees to the Ida Rupp Public Library.)

Here's my problem, J. Anthony. This book is supposed to be about a murder trial.

I just read seven pages on the intrigues of the Idaho baseball leagues at the turn of the century.

I have no clue what that had to do with the mining union blowing up a former governor of Idaho.
Nor do I understand why Ethel Barrymore visiting the murder trial (which I vaguely recall at this point) was license for you to go into a deep and meandering explanation of the intricacies of theater syndicates and actors' unions at the turn of the centuries.

And the Elks. For Pete's sake, J. Anthony, you spent TWO PAGES talking about clubs such as the Elks, the Woodmen, the Independent Order of Gophers (I swear, I'm not making this up, look at page 170), the Prudent Patricians of Pompeii, and my personal favorite, the Concantenated Order of Hoo-Hoo. All of which has what to do with the murder of Frank Steunenberg, or whatever his name was?

(When I read a book about someone's murder, I should know how to spell his name by page 610. I don't. This indicates we're into too much surplusage.)

I'm starting to understand why this work frustrated you so.

Overheard in Ann Arbor

"Will the woman who left her eleven children at Michigan Stadium please come pick them up. They're beating the Wolverines 22-0."

Hey! TSC Girl! Look here!

OK, I know. It's the night before your results come out. It's hellish.

At 7:20 PM the night before MY results came out, I was certainly freaking out. It'll get worse until about 9:30, at which point, I hope you will hoist a bottle of Labatt's, and then sleep for a few hours.

I don't know what time NJ's results come out, but, if your experience is anything like mine, you'll feel an eerie calm from the time you get up until the time you get your results.

Just breathe. Calmness. Coolness.

And if this post doesn't calm you down, know I'll be giving roughly the same speech to GG and Eve in 48 hours.

Hang in! :)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday, Monday

I have just returned to my room after an incredibly long day. Let's see...

Got on the shuttle from the hotel to the Convention Center, and managed to sit behind a fellow on a cel phone. As best as I could tell, this fellow is involved with some concern that has a garden store. Apparently, there was some sort of tomfoolery occurring there last night, because someone tried to jimmy the lock. He had no response from his security company, and wasn't very happy about it, so decided to call them. Well, he apparently mixed up the number for the security company with the number for his payroll company, and thought that was just so funny he had to laugh about it and share it with everyone.

So, he called his girl Tuesday (no, seriously, his assistant's name was apparently Tuesday...mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be days of the week), and she was having a terrible time finding the number for the security company. (Maybe his life would have been better if he'd have hired a girl Friday. Maybe they get progressively more expensive, but also more competent, the later in the week you get. I don't know.)

Anywho, when Tuesday couldn't come up with the phone number for the security company, he decided to call someone who was apparently his assistant, who was already downtown at the Convention Center. Now, why these garden store people were at a school board convention was beyond my powers of understanding, but so far as I could tell, there were one of two possibilities:

* the garden store is run as some part of a project by a school board, or

* this fellow is a garden mogul (which is nowhere near as prestigious as being Grocery Man, I assure you!) and has a fellow garden mogul get installed, with him, on the school board.

Anyway. This is the danger of talking on your cell phone on a bus.

In any case, I left Garden Guy to his own devices and arrived at the Convention Center. After talking with our superintendent, I made the decision not to go to the session on school board communication and instead went to one on school levies.




Yeah, that was a bad idea.

OK, so, then we headed into the general session, where there was a keynote speaker by a woman named Consuelo Castillo Kickbush. She gave an uplifting, emotional and fascinating speech about growing up in a barrio in Texas, and being dropped into a category of "not college material" mainly because of the perception of how people with her skin color and her address were not good at learning. She perservered, made it through college, and became a Big Shot in the U.S. Military. (Yes, she probably had a more specific title than Big Shot and was in a branch, and I don't remember either of them. I've been on my feet for twelve hours and this is my first chance to sit down. What do you want from me?)

OK, so, then, ate lunch and went to the trade show. As someone said, the trade show is a lot less interesting when you just didn't pass a levy.

I know membership in the Ohio School Board Association has many benefits, but one of them I did not expect was to have whole areas of practice I am interested and passionate in set out for me. First was a session on domestic violence. While I am all for education on the problem and believe passionately in it (and, indeed, that's one of the main points of having this blog), it was nice to be in a room with a bunch of people who cared about the issue and already understand a good bit about it. I nearly jumped up and down for joy when the speaker said, "You know, domestic violence doesn't have to involve physical actions. It can also involve emotional, psychological, verbal and [special emphasis here] financial abuse."

It's nice to see someone who understands this. I just wish she had a job as a judge or a guardian ad litem.

From there, I wandered over to Starbucks, and came back to the convention center, where my next session was a session on public records. (Seriously, if there are two areas of the law I am passionate about, it's protecting battered women and making sure public records are available to all. In that order.)

After that, we went to dinner. I didn't have dessert, although I would have if only they'd have had University of Michigan cookies on the menu. But I understand why they weren't; it's a tough recipe.

Put in a big bowl and beat for three hours.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Greetings from Columbus

Just wanted to let you all know I have made it to Columbus for the annual Ohio School Boards Association conference. They tell me that it is the largest school board conference/trade show of its kind.

Yeh, I don't care, either.

In any case, they do have some interesting discussions/panels. One of the ones I was particularly interested in is one on the effects of domestic violence on student achievement. Then there's a discussion on public records. Who knew you could come to a school board conference and learn about your law practice???

We are right down the street from Ohio Stadium and the campus of OSU. What better place to be for Beat Michigan Week? (Or, as they call it around here, BMW.)

With all the craziness surrounding this week, if you live in the Buckeye state, you may be irritated by the fanatics running hither and yon trying to convince you to pick a side. They have been known to create encampments in fans' yards. While the only way to rid yourself of a Buckeye fan is to join us in the wearin' of the scarlet and gray, I am pleased to advise you there is a way to ward off Wolverine fans.

Simply erect a goalpost in your yard.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Children of the Eighties, Rejoice!

Are you sick of 3D, realistic-looking games?

Tired of your brother and sister thinking they're right IN the action?

Are you disgusted with the fact that today's gamers feel like they could be taken out at any minute?

Do you long for a simpler time?

Well, joy cometh in the morning. You no longer need to own an NES to play the original Super Mario Bros.

Just a java-script enabled computer.

Now, admittedly, the screen is ridiculously small and there is something not quite like playing Mario on your TV. And, using x and z in favor of hte A and B buttons IS a little different. But if, like me, you haven't played Mario in, say, ten years, you may get quite a kick out of this little site.

Of course, I've just gotten a kick out of being a bum today and doing nothing. Later on, I am hopeful I will be able to hook up my printer. But right now, I need to get really ambitous and run to the store.

Saturday update

Thought I'd better do an update so no one out there thinks I've disappeared/stopped blogging for good/gotten disbarred already/gotten so many clients in my first week I have no time to blog. I was horridly busy last week and, with all that going on, the little "writing gene" has a tendency to go dormant. So, that's why there've been no updates since Wednesday.


One thing I did start a draft post about: in the guise of letting GG, Eve & TSC Girl know that, as they enter a pretty darn hellish week (Wednesday is R-Day for TSC [New Jersey finally gave them a date, six days before the actual date of release], Friday for GG & Eve), to keep a sense of perspective, which was brought home to me this week.

I hadn't talked to my closest friend from law school, who is really one of two people I keep in contact with (and both of them on a very sporadic basis), in some time. Anyway, we finally managed to synchronize our calendars and talked on Thursday night. She mentioned it had been a stressful time for her, as she'd had some friends pass. I asked what was up with that, and she said that a college friend had died. "And then you knew that [law school classmate who graduated with us in May] died Friday, didn't you?"

Actually, I didn't. I asked what had caused it, and she said he'd d had cancer. Hadn't I noticed he was bald last year?

Well, that I did, but on the other hand, in today's world, baldness is oftentimes much more a fashion statement than anything else. In retrospect, I recall now that I think of it that I think I saw him occasionally using a cane to get around, but other than that, he looked like a healthy, ruddy, 34-year-old, father of two; at least to me.

Anyway, it kind of hit me. He and I really just chatted at the law school when we'd run into each other in the Forum or waiting for class to start or whatever, but he was always a guy I had a sense of was going places. My friend told me that he had told folks at the law school he wanted to work a few years before he died so he could save up some money for his kids.

Instead, he died one week after the bar exam results were released.

I checked to see if he had registered for the bar exam, which he did, but his name was not on the pass list. I think I recall seeing him there, in which case, he must have had a terrible summer battling his illness to have not passed the bar, because he graduated cum laude. Or else he was ill enough he chose to defer the bar in hopes of taking it another time.

In any case, to make it through law school cum laude knowing you had an illness that would probably kill you sooner rather than later is quite an accomplishment. Remember life is short, and the bar exam does not equal life.


Speaking of life, here's a recap of mine the past week, so you have some clue why I haven't been around. Monday, of course, was swearing in; Tuesday, election day; Wednesday, Democratic annual dinner. All three of these things are BIG events that are emotionally draining by themselves, but together they were a heckuva whammy. And, at the end of them, I needed to get back to the store beause I suspected I'd be terribly behind.

As it turned out, I was right. By Thursday, mid-morning, knowing I'll be gone NEXT week the first two days to Ohio State, I realized my goal was not to get caught up, but try to limit the carnage. I think I did an okay job of it.


I need to say a word or two about Pat Robertson. Ah, yes, Pat Robertson.

By the way, Pat, Dover, Pennsylvania is still standing, so far as I can tell.

Let's start by reminding those of you just joining this program of some of Pat's "greatest hits." as compiled by CNN. For instance: "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women, it's about a socialist anti-family political movement and encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

Or, how about when he said about the State Department, which is located in the Foggy Bottom section of Washington, DC: "Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up like Newt Gingrich wants to do."

I assume that Newt's plans, kooky though they frequently are, did not include detonation of a nuclear bomb.

You'll recall Robertson recently said that if the President of Venezuela "thinks we're trying to assassinate him I think we really ought to go ahead and do it, it's whole lot cheaper than starting a war."

Oh, yes, then there was the comment that the threat of liberal judges is "probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."

Yeah, so long as you're not IN one of the buildings, ON one of the airplanes, or standing on the ground. Or have any sense of decency at all.

Look, I don't have a whole lot of love in my heart for right-wing conservative judges and don't think they're doing the Republic any favors, but I would never compare them to terrorists flying into buildings.

Here's something I found disturbing from the CNN story: Robertson is STILL consulted by the White House for advice, such as the Harriet Miers appointment.

OK, does this bother anyone else? I mean, Dubya, if you must have your leaking-CIA-informants'-names deputy chief of staff, your glib-but-clueless SecDef, and your slick-in-oil-money...well, just about everyone...that's fine. But you don't REALLY endorse comparing liberal judges to terrorists, do you? Especially when the comparison comes out favorably?

I think I might rest a little more comfortably if I knew the person who is steering the ship of state wasn't talking to someone who's advocating nuking the State Department, making taking out liberal judges a higher priority than the War on Terror, and accusing feminists of witchcraft.

Witchcraft, Dubya! Didn't we get over that in, like, 1692?

If we can't have the truth on Iraq, if we can't balance the budget, if we can't do something about the incredible number of societal problems we have, couldn't we at least have the assurance that you'll stop talking to this guy?

You know, Pat, I started thinking yesterday that it would be funny if in the next few weeks, God would just get really irked and bring some form of devastation down on your city, which is in Virginia Beach, VA. Then, I realized it might feel so good to do that, God might get carried away and decide to take out Lynchburg, Virginia, home of Jerry Fallwell and Liberty University. Which would be bad, in my view, since Laura also lives in Lynchburg (at Randolph Macon Womens' College, whose students the courtly southern gentleman Falwell has dubbed "the whores on the hill.")

Beyond which, Pat, there's plenty of innocent residents who live in both Virginia Beach and Lynchburg, just like there are in Dover, Pennsylvania. And besides which, could we all remember that all the Dover, PA folks did was threw their school board out?

Aren't there cities in the world which have had people do worse things? (This is an argument I make smewhat tentatively, insofar as I am an incumbent school board member myself.) Isn't there more sin, both net and gross in, say, New York City? (Oh, wait, you happily nodded when Jerry Falwell said 9/11 was God's revenge.) San Francisco has a ton of sodomites, Pat, and it's been sixteen years since they've had an earthquake.

I'm sorry, Pat, but the God I believe in doesn't just go around taking out whole towns because of the sins of some folks. (He also doesn't take a stand in local school board elections.) I'm looking forward to your meeting him someday. I think the conversation should be quite interesting.


Ohio State @ Northwestern, noon today. And when it's over....

it's Michigan week!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Attorneys, Virtues of Conversation With

"Lawyers are much maligned by society today, but I have always found it interesting to converse with people who are self employed, well educated, and have enough showbiz in them to address a jury."

-- Hal Davis, How To Start a Solo Law Practice

A Two Car Motorcade And A Wheelchair: The Story of How Michael Became A Lawyer

At a certain point on Monday, I turned to my friend Carol and said, "I am so going to write about this."

We had between eight and eleven people we thought were going to Columbus. So, we did some transportation/logistical stuff and worked out that my parents would drive my dad's car, which seats five, and Carol would drive my grandparents' van, which seats seven. A friend who has had some knee problems needed to be able to put up her leg, so that took two seats. So, we thought we were pretty jiggy.

All went according to plan, except for everything.

My grandma decided she could do most of the driving to Columbus. OK, that worked.

Then, we had to put down the back seat of the van to get a wheelchair in, so my mom, dad, grandpa, Carol and I ended up in their car, and three people (my grandma, my friend, and my great-aunt) in the (allegedly) seven seat van.

Nonetheless. Off we went to Columbus. In Delaware, (Ohio), we picked up my brother, who had driven down ahead of us, and he drove the van (so my grandma sat and held Mrs. Bahnsen's leg.) We got to Columbus about 1:30, which had me sweating just a few bullets, because I was to be seated by 1:45.

So, I get out of the car while they get ready to park and high-tail it to the Ohio Theater. Get there with plenty of time. The Ohio Theater is a beautiful building, if just a little less well-lit than I would like.

My grandma asked me when I got to her house that morning if I was nervous at all. No, I didn't really have to do anything, for heaven's sakes, at that point. I was nervous before the bar exam. I was NERVOUS before the results came back. I knew they were going to swear me in.

Got the question from my grandpa, "Have you heard about a job?" Somehow, I don't think solo practice was quite what he was thinking of as a job.

When I walked into the Ohio Theatre, though, I will say the magnitude and excitement of the day hit me. As I sat there, waiting for the ceremony to begin, I was very, very happy.

Did not see a ton of people from UTLaw. I think the coolest thing that happened was probably at the morning ceremony to OLS, who basically found herself sitting in the middle of two other bar bloggers. WOW! (And she mentioned she wish I and another blogger had been there.)

I was trying to finally make contact with and meet Linds, and I DID see her, but never did get to meet up with her. (Linds, I got your second email after I got home. Ach, well...)

OK, ceremony. Organ music -- good organ music, to boot. Don't know what order they seated people in, but obviously, there was one. Welcome by Chief Justice Moyer. Remarks by dean of the Northern Kentucky law school. (During the bar exam, I joked I was seated so far in the back of the hall, I was applying Kentucky law.) Remarks by the President of the Ohio Bar Association, who sorta confessed she might not have passed the bar the first time. Swearing-in and remarks by Justice Alice Robie Resnick, who made comments about making mistakes and owning up to them. (For you out of staters, she had a DUI in February.)

Then, they called us up to the stage. And they moved through it quickly. Thought it kind of cool my name was called by Marcia Mengel, who I dubbed the voice of the Ohio bar exam, because I got so used to hearing it in July. Finished.

Ran into a few people from law school -- Shawn, whose greatest quote was when I asked her what she was going to do now: "Hopefully, pay off my loans!" Shelby, who faced her own challenges in passing the bar, was there. Other folks I remembered from my first day of law school. Cool, very cool. We're attorneys!!!!

Leave ceremony. They had a fire alarm during it, which, sometime, I will tell you why that had particular significance to me. Didn't empty out the theater, just had firemen running through with axes and such.

Went to Cheesecake Factory. Ate. Enjoyed. Thanked my family for coming to this initial consultation. Advised them any advice from here on out would result in charges. (Jokingly. Half-jokingly.)

A day of promise and potential. Very exciting.

Oh, and in case I haven't mentioned it yet....

I'm a lawyer. :)

Since I mentioned it...

...I should let you know that our levy failed by 229 votes. :(

I feel bad for our community, which would have benefited greatly by new, improved schools, and for our kids. It puts us as board members in a challenging position as we decide how to go forward from here with buildngs that are aging and that will cost more to maintain than the cost of new buildings to build would have been.

But, I understand change can be difficult, and our levy was a thing to swallow. It's not a great economy, either.

On the other hand, my election nights seem to follow a weird pattern. While locally it was a not-very-happy night for me, Democrats won governorships in Virginia and New Jersey. Virginia is especially sweet because George Bush went to campaign for the Republican governor, and is now being credited in part for electing a Democrat.

As an AP reporter put it, "Iraq, Katrina, CIA leak, Harriet Miers. Things couldn't possibly get any worse for President Bush.

"Wait, they just did."

Actually, it's interesting, because at the election night party I was with, I talked with a Republican who has some inside-the-Beltway connections. I asked him if he was comfortable going into 2006, and he said yes. He said the big indication was going to be how things went last night in New Jersey and Virginia.

Wonder if he's as comfortable now.

And these off-year elections can be bellwethers. There are a lot of people who think the first sign of Clinton's 1992 victory was when Bush 41's former AG, Dick Thornburgh, lost his race for governor of Pennsylvania in 1991.

Always interesting...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I spent today as a volunteer in the "war room" trying to pass the PC schools bond issue. We're trying to reduce our number of schools from six to four. It's Election Day. I'm spastic. Tomorow's the Democratic party's dinner. Then things calm down after that.

much more on this later, for a variety of reasons, including...

  • it's election day and I have stuff to do
  • I'm in a sort of weird mood;
  • there's a bunch of stuff going on;
  • I need to do my registration with the Supreme Court;
  • my laptop is not picking up our wireless connection here at home, which is really ticking me off;

but anyway, what I wanted to say is...


Monday, November 07, 2005

To-Do List Today

1. Become a lawyer. :-D

Sunday, November 06, 2005

three things

1. I didn't think there were things more annoying than commercials until I met Ellen DeGeneres in the West Wing non commercials.

2. Afternoon ceremony. :)

3. Eve. Stop stressing.

The Post About The MBE...or...Watch Me Take The Bar (Again?)

I've been meaning to write this since I got my actual, score-type results last Saturday, and have been meaning to talk about the MBE.

I think those who took the bar in July, 2005, will always be looked upon with some sort of awe and spoken in in some hushed tones. "Oh, yes. They took the MBE of...[dramatic pause] July, 2005."

You see, EVERYONE agrees it was one of three things:

  • a fluke (highly unlikely, since the NCBE seems to be bent on not permitting flukes.)
  • some disgruntled testwriter giving the middle finger to every single examinee right up a very unhappy part of one's body (wait, I think that's every single MBE)
  • the NCBE laughing derisively at the fools who spent hundreds of dollars to spend six days listening to Feinberg/PMBR.
I tend to believe it was a combination of the second and the third.

Anywho, because we were all wandering around going, "WTF was that?" after the MBE, everyone figured the scale would be HUGE. So, when I got my results, I found that my raw score was 140, and my scaled score was...147.

7 points? That was it? Isn't it usually something like 15 points?

Now, I may be showing my ignorance here. The scaling is a mystery to me, much on the order of how 60,000,000 Americans could vote for George W. Bush. Hell, I haven't been able to get my score to add up correctly.

Is it because I had a fairly decent raw MBE score? Or did everyone get seven? Just everyone in Ohio?

How does this all work?

But here's the other thing. In Michigan, if you get a scaled score of 150 or better on the MBE, they basically read your essays to make sure you wrote something down related to the law, and not just "purple monkey dishwasher." So, if I could get, say, three more questions right (and I know where I could improve), I'd be licensed in Michigan.

Which, since I want to do work on high-conflict divorces especially involving custody, could be very valuable. When kids cross state lines, life gets even more difficult, and people are often told they have to hire a lawyer in each state.


But, seriously, does anyone else have any thoughts on the MBE scaling thing?


This started out as a quick take on my MBE score, but the Gods of Happiness have hijacked the post, and talking about "raw scores" and "scaled scores" in this post just doesn't seem right.

It's starting to come to me that tomorrow is the swearing-in, that all this stuff is behind me, and just writing the first half of this sentence makes me very, very excited. I mean, tomorrow, I'M A LAWYER. Something I've wanted to do for, well, I don't know how long, forever.

I don't know when I decided to go to law school, actually. When I was in elementary/junior high school, seven years of school BEYOND high school seemed like SUCH a long time. And it is. In fact, I think in college, I considered not going to law school, although it wasn't a terribly lengthy thought. For Pete's sake, I was getting a degree in poli sci and a degree in CLEG (Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics & Government.) With CLEG, they TELL you you have to have a double major or else go to law school because no one will hire you just because you're a CLEG graduate.

Eve said in her blog the other day she doesn't know how she will feel the day after her results come out, pass or fail, and you know, she's right. I think I am just now starting to feel the euphoria set in I expected after I passed the bar.

Now, don't get me wrong -- at 7:09 AM on 10/28 at the SUDL, Anonymous and I were pretty damn happy, and I was a grinning idiot the rest of the day. But I knew then that the magnitude of what had happened hadn't hit me yet.

It's starting to.

Tomorrow, I wake up in the same state I've always been -- what Hopperton, a property school professor at UTLaw, would call a "civilian." And I go to bed as a lawyer.

How awesome is that?

OK, enough of the happy dance. I'll post this, and then do my MBE score post. :)

The Price of Admission

So, while visiting Obsessive Law Student's blog today, she mentioned what I think I knew but had forgotten (repressed?) There's a $300 attorney registration fee the Supreme Court gets from new lawyers. The good news is that gets us registered for the next two years, at which time, we get to pay another one.

OLS then helpfully breaks down the costs associated with taking the bar exam, from the Great Probing Inquisition -- er, I meant Character & Fitness -- to the Attorney Registration Fee, and they even out to $910. Plus, if you didn't live in Columbus, you probably had to take a hotel room.

It's probably best not to think about it. Thank heavens it didn't cost us anything to get our law degrees.

In the meantime, it's starting to hit me that in about 31 hours, I'll be an attorney. That's quite exciting. And a little scary.

Making sure all my i's are dotted and t's crossed, et cetera.

All right -- busy day ahead. Need to put finishing touches on my podcast, go into work for a few hours to get ahead for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday's podcast, and tonight, go to the world's greatest political fundraiser.

In fact, let me tell you about it.

It's for a fellow named Peter Ujvagi. (The j is silent.) Peter is a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, and on the Sunday night before every election, primary and general, he has a fundraiser in a church basement.

Now, you think of a fundraiser in a church basement, you think a few tables, maybe 40, 50 people, right?

No, this is St. Stephen's Church in East Toledo, a beautiful old Catholic church with a CAVERNOUS basement.

Most anyone who is a Democrat in Toledo is there. Quite frequently, it draws statewide and nationally-known folks. Lots of press coverage.

I get the feeling it's what old-time political rallies were like.

But, while I go to support a good cause, I keep going back for another reason.

The food.

Now, believe me, I've gone to enough fundraisers and eaten enough rubber chicken and cocktail wieners that I understand the words "political fundraiser" and "mmmmmmm" rarely, if ever, go in the same sentence. That's because catering isn't cheap.

Well, the ladies of St. Stephen's aren't caterers. They are food artists. Think chicken paprikash, cabbage rolls, and -- I think -- dumplings. There's also bread and desert involved, although I usually don't get around to those.

Politics and good food. What could be better?

(And then I'll be home by 8:00 for the live "West Wing" special.)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The quote of the day not related to ipod porn... won't that pick up some odd search-engines?

Anyway, GG picked up on a question Eve was asking about the swearing-in ceremonies. (Personally, ladies, I think you're just tempting fate even THINKING about these sorts of things when you're TWO WEEKS OUT from your results coming back. If someone had talked about this to me two weeks before results came out, I would have been tempted to commit a harmful or offensive touching upon them. But, hey, that's just me!)

Anywho, because California is such a huge state, they apparently have multiple swearing-in ceremonies, some tied to law schools, some sponsored by the California Bar Association. GG found out that the only Bar Association-sponsored ceremony is supposed to be at the very same place se took the bar exam.

And, as she said:

"Because yeah, I really want to relive THAT memory."

Was This Guy Really Thinking When He Said This?

...from an article discussing the possibility of porn movies appearing on the new video iPod:

"It could be a huge percentage of our business," says the company's chief executive, Steven Hirsch. "People love watching adult movies and to be able to carry an adult movie in your pocket is a powerful tool."

for those who don't buy the arguments about income disparity

I had on CNBC last night when I came home from work. (Yesterday was an incredibly busy day at work which did not end until about 6:30. I was so pooped I was asleep at 9:15.)

Anywho, I was having a snack, which turned out to be more like dinner because I hadn't eaten yet, and watching CNBC.

The first segment I caught were people arguing about the economy and what will happen to it because there is so much consumer debt and with heating prices going up so drastically, they thought it might take a huge chunk out of the economy.

Without a commercial break or anything, they turned to the next segment.

It appears it's going to be a good year for those selling superluxury items.

And I mean, superduperluxury items.

$100 million yachts are all the rage. Got yours?

Stuff on that order.

And, the thing to do, apparently, for the $100 million-yacht crowd, is to make sure you buy something very few people have.

Because, after all, now just anyone can own a Gucci or one of those other items that "used" to be a luxury item. (Really?, he said skeptically.) Now, how can we tell them that have from them that have not, if some poor schmoe who's only pulling down fifty or a hundred g's is able to own Gucci.

Clearly, the hoi polloi are at the gates.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not sitting here arguing we need a redistribution of wealth or anything like that. If you have gone through life and made good choices and been successful and are to the point that you can own a $100 million yacht, good for you.

But I find it very jarring that we are at the point where this is a big enough sector of our economy it warrants time on an economic channel to discuss how this will impact the economy, right after we talk about how a lot of people won't be able to pay their heating bills.

It just was...disturbing, to my mind.

Friday, November 04, 2005

In Case You Were Wondering... your blogger, now that he has passed the bar exam, is going to eat. (If you're really wondering, you could always click on the ads on this page. They're not here just for the fun of it, you know.)

I'm pleased to tell you that I have accepted a position with the law firm of Me, Myself & I.

The guy who interviewed me said I was the most brilliant interview he'd ever had. (Hey, after probably 200 interviews, I should have been pretty good at it!) They thought I was brilliant, and they'd be crazy not to have me on board.

OK, so, that's all a cute way of saying I'm going to hang a shingle. (Where in the hell did that phrase come from? I hate that phrase. I'm not a roofer, I'm a lawyer.)

So, here's how this all came about. I've never wanted to be a partner at a Big Law Firm, make what Laura would call "tons of mons," and have no life. I've always remembered the quote by one lawyer at a Big Law Firm..."Yeah, I have a BMW, which I use to drive me to work and from work." In addition, I need some flexibility in my schedule because of some political stuff I do (school board, et cetera) and wish to pursue.

So, all of that left me with going into private practice.

But that's supposed to be scary.

REEEEallly scary.

Like, don't eat scary.

So, I wasn't sure how all that would work out.

Then, I started doing this HR thing and I found I like it. I decided it could keep me at least fed and maybe in clothes while I work to build some clients. I could have an office to work out of at my condo.

OK, but now, the question became, where do I meet with clients? "Come over to my condo and let's discuss your divorce?" Something sounds sleazy.

Good news, though. My father has an office he uses away from the grocery store. He needs someone for help with his real estate pursuits (which wouldn't be bad for me to pick up on, either, since the man's a genius at real estate), and he hates paying lawyers. So, it's sort of a barter thing.

So, I've got a place to meet with clients. If you've ever seen me type, you know I don't need a secretary; and for those things I do need help with, I'm blessed to know several legal-secretarial-types who are always looking to pick up some extra cash.

I'm pretty clear on what I want to do, and this won't come as a surprise to you: work with victims of domestic violence. I believe the family court system does a terrible job of understanding domestic violence, and from what I've seen, many lawyers don't offer very good representation when it comes to these victims.

Because I'm interested in this, and because often financial resources keep battered women out of court, I'll work on having a pretty competitive fee structure for them.

I'm also going to be interested in doing work in the field of government and election law. I've worked with both.

Obviously, for a while, I'll do what I need to do to pay the bills, although those two things will be my focus.

I've had conversations in the past few days which have convinced me it's a viable plan. I won't have a ton of overhead. I will (hopefully) have some clients.

I'm very excited.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Memo to Congressional Republicans

You missed something.

While you were busy passing a bill which, according to our friends at the fair and balanced Fox News Channel, "makes mild cuts to the health care programs for the elderly, poor and disabled" and "permits exploratory oil-drilling in an Alaskan wilderness area," the article also notes you forgot something.

The bill "leaves the food stamp program untouched."

C'mon, guys. You can do better than this. All these poor people will eat another day!

Get on the stick.

does anyone else find it disturbing...

...that we are still paying Michael Brown, as in ex-FEMA chief Michael Brown, who was writing emails saying, "Can I quit now? Can I come home?" the day Katrina made landfall, $148,000 of taxpayer money a year STILL?

I mean, wasn't it pretty clear this guy got fired for gross incompetence in the Bush Administration? The Bush Administration, for Pete's sake. Y'know, as in, "The Bush Administration: Giving Gross Incompetence A Bad Name Since 2001?"

I hope we aren't paying him to consult. Unless it's to listen to what he'd suggest we do, and then do the opposite.

Good grief...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

If we must have a conservative on the Supreme Court...

..why couldn't it have been Judge Alex Kozinski?

I mean, any guy bury two hundred movie titles in an opinion; claim in an opinion to perform a Vulcan mind meld; tell major companies to "chill;" and put some humor into the domain wars over (which were already pretty funny to begin with) can't be all bad, even if he would take away a woman's reproductive right.

Because you know that anyone Dubya picks is going to want to do that, anyway. We may as well have it with a smile and some brilliant scholarship on the side.

Let's start with US v. Syufy 903 F.2d 659 (9th Cir. 1990). Now, on first reading, Syufy appears to be a pretty dry antitrust case involving a chain of movie theaters. But, get a movie buff to read the opinion, and they may start laughing.

You see, Judge Kozinski buried the titles of 200 movies within.

It starts before the opinion does, as the counsel are listed as

"Robert B. Nicholson, Department of Justice, Washington, District of Columbia, for the Plaintiff-Appellant

Maxwell M Blecher, Blecher & Collins, Los Angeles, California, for the Defendants-Appellees"

Note how Mr. Blecher is missing a period after his name?

Some more samples, with the bolding mine...

"It is the nature of free enterprise that fierce, no holds barred competition will drive out the least effective participants in the market, providing the most efficient allocation of productive resources. And so it was in the Las Vegas movie market in 1982. After a hard fought battle among several competitors, Syufy gained the upper hand. Two of his rivals, Mann Theaters and Pitt Theaters, saw their future as rocky and decided to sell out to Syufy." Syufy at 662

"Unlike centrally planned economies, where decisions about production and allocation are made by government beureaucrats who ostensibly see the big picture and know to do the right thing, capitalism relies on centralized planning..." Id at 662

The first link I gave you is just the dry case. This is a link to the Syufy Rosetta Stone, which has all the movie titles underlined.

Then, we turn to the case of Dreamwerks. No, that's not a typo; and that's exactly it.

In 1984, someone in Florida started Dreamwerks, which was in charge of organizing StarTrek conventions. (Reader: Insert your own punchline.) All was going all right, although not in any bonanza-type way, when along came three fellows named Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen, who decided to form a company called DreamWorks SKG. You may have heard of it.

Well, Dreamwerks might have been delighted, if only its customers didn't think they were doing business with the same geniuses who brought us ET, Pixar and a bunch of great records. Unfortunately, they soon ran into folks who thought Dreamwerks were just poaching off of someone else's name.

You can see how the Trekkies would be upset. They had the name first, and then here came these Hollywood hotshots, and now people think they're at a Star Trek convention organized by some Dreamjerks.

And it's not like the Hollywood folks were trying to poach off of Dreamwerks' business -- it wasn't exactly a household name at the time. Others were believing that the Trekkies were poaching off SKG's. (See what Kozinski says about absence of malice at footnote 12 of the opinion. Another reason to love the guy.)

Thus was born the case of Dreamwerks Production Group, Inc. v. SKG Studio, dba Dreamworks, SKG, 142 F.3d 1127 (9th Cir. 1998). Now, if you follow that link, make sure to skip past the summary right down to the opinion. The people who right the opinions for the Ninth Circuit apparently do not have the finely honed sense of humor of Judge Kozinski.

Why read the opinion? Well, here's how it starts: "Dreamwerks, a company harldy anyone has heard of, sues entertainment colossus DreamWorks SKG, claiming trademark infringement." In the facts, Kozinski goes on to explain that "Everyone -- or most everyone -- has heard of DreamWorks SKG, established in 1994 by what many consider the three hottest names in Hollywood: Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen (each of whom graciously contributed an initial to form the SKG part of the trademark)."

Meanwhile, Dreamwerks, Kozinski said, "clearly caters to the pocket-protector niche." Gotta love this guy.

While admitting that, on first looking at the case, one might be tempted to say "Pshaw," (and that is exactly how Kozinski phrases it), he goes on to address that Dreamwerks "somewhat wistfully" had hopes of growing its own business, and didn't want any goodwill it had built to be destroyed by missteps on the part of DreamWorks SKG.

The standard in cases like this is to look at what the -- and here, he sighed heavily, because this was a phrase he had not used since July -- reasonably prudent consumer would do. So, Kozinski said, he would have to do a "Vulcan mind meld" with same. (How did he find him, I want to know? I want to do bodily harm to a reasonably prudent ANYTHING.)

Kozinski goes on, but you need to actually read this case, so I won't spoil it for you. Basically, he remanded the case for trial. It appears it was settled.

Now, before I go to the next Kozinski-inspired case, I should warn you, you're going to have a very irritating song stuck in your head very shortly. So, you might want to find something to drown it out when I tell you the lyrics:

I'm a Barbie girl,
In a Barbie world,
Life in plastic, it's fantasic!
You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere
Imagination, life is your creation
Come on Barbie, let's go party.

You might be irritated, but not nearly as irritated as Mattel, which has made Barbie for years, was. They sued MCA, the record company that had Aqua's 1997 hit Barbie Girl on its label. Thus was born MCA, Inc. vs. MCA Records, Inc., et. al.

Or, as Judge Kozinski opened the opinion: "If this were a sci-fi melodrama, it might be called Speech-Zilla meets Trademark Kong."

"With fame often comes unwanted attention," and Mattel certainly did not want this attention for Barbie. So, they sued basically anyone who had produced, marketed or sold the song, stopping short only of the guy who drove the truck that took the CDs (which were things we used to have before iTunes and such) to the mall.

Press releases were fired off from both parties, and spokespeople got snarky. Next thing you knew, MCA had countersued Mattel for defamation. Apparently, the folks at MCA did not find it amusing to read that their putting a disclaimer on the back of their CD that the song was only social commentary was "akin to a bank robber handing a note of apology to a teller during a heist."

I'll let Kozinski finish this one off:

"MCA filed a counterclaim for defamation based on the Mattel representative’s use of the words 'bank robber,' 'heist,' 'crime' and 'theft.' But all of these are variants of the invective most often hurled at accused infringers, namely 'piracy.' No one hearing this accusation understands intellectual property owners to be saying that infringers are cutthroats with eyepatches and peg-legs who board galleons to plunder cargo. In context, all these terms are nonactionable 'rhetorical hyperbole,' Gilbrook v. City of Westminster, 177 F.3d 839, 863 (9th Cir. 1999)."

And with that, Judge Kozinski concluded, "The parties are advised to chill."

But, my favorite Kozinski case -- and the one that got me writing this entry -- has to be the case of the missing domain name. Sounds fairly dull, until you add Kozinski.

And the fact, the name of the domain was

I could retell the whole sordid story here, but it's best left to Judge Kozinski, who starts out his background on the case with the following line: ""Sex on the Internet?," they all said. "That'll never make any money." The case ranges from the guy (of, as Kozinski states, "boundless resource and bounded integrity") who convinced the domain services people to give him the domain name which belonged to someone else; to the poor owner who lost the domain name; to the wanted poster on; to Mexican bounty-hunters.

Like I said, this stuff is not to be missed.

Once you read that, you can find out that the domain-name hijacker has recently been returned to the US.

Ah, well. We may not get Judge Kozinski on the Supreme Court. But his opinions are worth a look.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mission Statement

While passing the Ohio bar exam was an achievement I am very proud of, it is only a means to the end of further achievements. I believe I can bring to the legal profession a concern for those who suffer at the hands of a system that often seems not to know, to care, or to understand their plight. This is particularly evident to me in terms of domestic violence (which I have discussed in many posts on this blog.) So, as I go forward, this blog will make the transition from a blog to a blawg. (It's a blog about the law, which we just misspel to make ourselves feel important.) It will continue to be a chronicle of my day-to-day activities and my observations of all things interesting and not so interesting; but it will also be my "take" on the bar...and my taking on the bar, too.

Stay tuned.

A PS to the Mission Statement

I remember exactly when the idea, and name, for this blog popped into my head.

I was sitting in Professor Hopperton's Land Use class, and I thought, "Blogging the bar exam...what a cool idea." Then I came up with the name, and thought, hey, it could even have utility beyond the barzam. (Check mission statement for all.) I could see it in the classic white-on-black Blogger template...I was off and rolling.

Y'know, if I'd focused on Land Use, perhaps those poor New Londoners wouldn't have been in such trouble. Just kidding.

Anyway, when this blog started, it was originally used as a chronicle of my travails in preparing for, taking, and waiting for the results of the Ohio bar exam.

The bar has been passed, and as I embark on a career as a lawyer, I now want to take a moment to give you an idea about what I'll be doing with this blog.

You'll note the name of this blog is not, and never has been, "Watch Me Take The Bar Exam," but rather, "Watch Me Take The Bar." "Bar," as in the bar that is used to refer to attorneys.

So, in what way do I plan to "take the bar?" Am I going to go at it with my head to be used as a battering ram, just butting and screaming at any injustice I see?


Do I plan to just sit on the bloglines and complain?


Do I plan to be a selfless missionary, working for peanuts and only taking enough money to make a thin gruel and perhaps purchase a few slices of bread occasionally?

Most definitely not.

What do I plan to do with it? That's the next post (which I'll create a link to on the sidebar and hence didn't want to muck up with all this backstory...)

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