Friday, October 30, 2009

Tommy Ramone plays Louisville

Since law school started in August, my social calendar has more or less evaporated. Weekly nights out with the guys have been all but forgotten, and I can't remember the last time my wife and I got a babysitter and went out for dinner. This is part of the law school syndrome. One of my third-year friends told me recently that, at the end of each year, he learns that his friends or family members had children, got married or started new jobs months earlier.
The work load makes us oblivious to our surroundings, and that's too bad in a city like Louisville, where there's always something happening. Last night, for instance, I decided to blow off studying and accompany some friends to Zanzabar, a hip club on S. Preston St. with a gritty film noire atmosphere. The lead act was a bluegrass band with Tommy Ramone(see my cell phone photo), the last surviving member of The Ramones, playing mandolin. There are scores of other great venues in Louisville. And thanks to Kentucky's generous liquor licensing laws, there are bars on almost every street corner in many of the city's urban neighborhoods. A few of my favorite watering holes:

  • Nachbar, 969 Charles St. in Germantown
  • Cumberland Brews, 1576 Bardstown Road, Highlands
  • Rudyard Kipling, 422 W. Oak St., Old Louisville
  • Frankfort Avenue Beer Depot, 3204 Frankfort Ave., Crescent Hill
  • O'Shea's Irish Pub, 956 Baxter Ave., Original Highlands

Thursday, October 29, 2009

U of L students buy golf hat for $1,040

There are at least two things that are hard to come by for first-year law students: time and money. Nonetheless, I'm really pleased with the results of an informal project that a bunch of us organized in our very first semester here in Louisville. A few weeks back, our torts professor, David Leibson, offered to sell us one of his favorite golf hats. The offer was sort of made in jest, since he uses the hat in class as a prop to talk about various legal theories. But while law students may be starved for time and money, we have plenty of ambition. We formed a group on Facebook, held a few discussions, and decided to pool our money - $10 each - and make an offer to Leibson. A couple of weeks later, we have an accepted offer, and a deal with our professor that will send at least $1,040 to the school for future law scholarships. Check out the details below in a copy of our final contract. Also, it's not too late to participate in the effort. Send an email to for details.


On October 23, 2009, the students of Leibson’s Section 1 Torts class (“Students”), at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law (“School”) offer Professor David J. Leibson (“Leibson”), the sum of $1,040 and 24 12-ounce cans of Dr. Brown’s Diet Cream Soda (“Soda”), in exchange for Leibson’s golf hat signed by Byron Nelson (“Hat”) and a presentation of stories from Leibson’s career.

The following terms apply to this offer.

1. Alex Davis and Nancy Vinsel are each authorized representatives of Students.

2. Students shall present the $1,040 and Soda within 30 days of acceptance of this offer by Leibson.

3. Leibson shall present Hat to Alex Davis or Nancy Vinsel no later than 10 business days after Students present the $1,040 and Soda to Leibson.

4. Students shall retain ownership of Hat, but will transfer Hat immediately to School with the express intention that Hat be displayed in a glass case outside School’s law library along with Leibson’s scholarly works. Students shall include in the display a brief explanation of the story behind Students’ gift. If this location is not amenable to Leibson or to School, Leibson and Students shall exercise good faith in selecting an alternative location in a timely manner. If Leibson and Students are not able to select an alternate location, Hat will reside in Leibson’s School office until his retirement.

5. Leibson may retrieve Hat and use it for educational purposes during future law classes at School.

6. Leibson shall participate in a one-hour lunch for Students at School during the 2009-2010 school year, on a date selected by Students.

7. At the lunch, Leibson shall regale the Students with stories from his legal and scholarly career. Food may be provided by a third party, and is not in any way a part of Leibson’s obligation.

8. Students suggest that Leibson use the full cash proceeds from the sale of Hat to support a charity of his choice. Students may write a check or checks directly to the charity as a part of this provision if Leibson so desires. This provision is a suggestion only. Leibson is not bound to do so. This suggestion does not apply to Soda.

9. Hat shall remain in glass case until Leibson is no longer employed at School, at which time possession of the hat reverts to Leibson.

10. In the event of a dispute over this Offer or the status of the Hat, Students and Leibson agree to resolve any disputes exclusively through binding arbitration. The arbitrator shall be the School’s current Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the time the dispute is to be heard and resolved.

11. Students creating this offer (“2009 Offer”) agree to sell Hat to any future class of first-year law students (“Future Students”) at School that makes a valid future offer (“Future Offer”) for Hat meeting conditions 11-18 of this Offer.

12. Future Students making a valid Future Offer must agree to allow Hat to remain at School until Leibson is no longer employed by School, at which time ownership reverts to Leibson.

13. Future Offer must be in excess of $1,040.

14. Future Offer must contain more terms than this Offer, which contains 18 terms.

15. Future Offer must be directed to Leibson, who will have sole authority to determine validity of offer and make acceptance on behalf of Future Students.

16. If Leibson accepts offer by Future Students, Future Students shall place a brief explanation of the story behind this offer with Hat.

17. At least half of the proceeds from any Future Offer made by Future Students must be reserved for a suggested charitable contribution to be made by Leibson. Any remaining proceeds will be used by Leibson in accordance with the terms set out by Future Students.

18. Future Students must agree to transfer ownership of Hat to future classes of law students at School in the event that Leibson approves a valid offer from a subsequent future class that exceeds the cash value of their offer and contains more terms than their offer.

To accept this offer, please sign on the designated line below the statement of acceptance and deliver this document in person to Mr. Alex Davis or Ms. Nancy Vinsel.



By ______________________________________
Alexander C. Davis
Class Representative

Nancy J. Vinsel
Class Representative


I, David J. Leibson, accept the above offer.


David J. Leibson

Date: ________________________

Monday, October 19, 2009

First exams over, but push continues

If law school is like a marathon, we've just rounded the first corner of the race. We are officially one-twelfth of the way through. The upshot at this point is that I still have lots of energy and excitement, having finished our legal research final, our Torts mid-term and our first memo. At the same time, there are days when I feel beaten down, defeated, and downright scared. The mountain looms, and it's only getting bigger.

I know I'm not alone in this feeling, and that's perhaps the most comforting aspect of law school. Here at U of L, faculty and other students are really supportive, perhaps more so than at other schools. For example, there is little sense of direct cut-throat competition between students so far, and our professors are careful to slack up a bit in certain courses when the going is rough in others. But this doesn't make like easier. Some upper-level students have told me in recent weeks that they wish they didn't work so hard during their first year, or that they wish they didn't let the pressure get to them so easily. I now have a sense of the meaning behind the maxim we were given in orientation: "Don't let them mess with your head."

The only remedy to the pressure (at least for me) is to keep working. Even with two children at home and a small business to run, I find that I am able to stay on top of the brutal demands of reading, briefing, and outlining. My case books go with me pretty much everywhere. In the last couple of weeks, I have read Civil Procedure in the parking lot outside a children's birthday party, and Contracts in the middle of my son's Cub Scouts meeting. I even finished off half of a Torts case in the middle of a Chuck E. Cheese play room. And yes, that was no small feat. For better or worse, these are the tactics that seem necessary to survive and continue. So if you see me with a glazed look in my eyes, or holding a book up to my face in the middle of an intersection during rush hour, please forgive me. I'm in law school.