Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lawlapalooza: battle of the bands is tonight

The annual Lawlapalooza charity event will be held tonight at Phoenix Hill Tavern, at the corner of Broadway and Baxter Avenue. The event, according to the school's Web site, is the "Louisville legal community's annual battle of the bands, staged since 2005, to benefit the Judge Ellen B. Ewing Foundation. The fund provides up to $4,000 in summer fellowship funding for a University of Louisville law student to work in the areas of family law, domestic violence and spouse abuse, and HIV/AIDS." 

The Subconscionables

I attended last year's Lawlapalooza, in which a band of law students scored a sweet victory over a group of attorneys (probably the only time that will happen). Dean Jim Chen also did an amazing flying leap onto the dance floor that was vaguely reminiscent of the music video from Jump by Eddie Van Halen (memo to self: you're getting really old). At any rate, the fun starts at 6:30, lasts well into the night, and includes performances by bands with names such as 100% Legal, the Subconscionables, and the Fiduciaries. If that doesn't sound awesome, you need to sign up for awesome lessons.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Help wanted: dealing with the 2L funk

Suck it up?
I am officially stuck in a law school rut. Been there for about two weeks now, and I'm still trying to figure out the reason. There are plenty of theories. It could be the six straight rejections that I received after my On Campus Interviews earlier this month, including one that arrived almost before I mailed my thank-you letter. Or it could be the fact that this is the year we are "worked to death," which comes after the "scare-you-to-death" year and before the "bore-you-to-death" year of law school. 
We are not close enough to the finish line to celebrate, but we are far enough down the path that the shine is wearing off. I don't think I am alone in my despair. There's a lot of grumbling about the grind. So what is the solution to the 2L funk? I'm not exactly sure. Spending more time with the family, and not being so obsessive about law school, seems to help. Cold PBR also has proven useful. In general, however, I think the best antidote is to simply suck it up (perhaps with the fantastic vacuum pictured at right). As law students at U of L, we're a privileged lot. Sure, we work hard, and there is no guarantee of success. But our outlook is pretty bright, at least according to some of the school's freshly minted marketing materials for the Class of 2009. A sample: 

  • Students with jobs 9 months after graduation: 96.8%

  • Students with job offers before graduation: 68%

  • Average private sector starting salary: $80,000.

I am reminded of a quote that I tripped across the other day in a book called Contemplative Prayer, by Thomas Merton, one of my favorite Kentuckians. 
"It is sometimes necessary to practice a laborious, arid and unconsoling form of prayer; at others one may receive grace and light almost without effort, provided that he is sufficiently well disposed." 
My translation: Sometimes life is tough sledding. Keep going. It will get better.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Photo of the Week: Amazing Architecture

The Ouerbacker Mansion at 17th and W. Jefferson; photo by author, 2009
The latest photo of the week has little to do with law school, although it does hint at one of the best fringe benefits of living in Louisville -- incredible architecture at very affordable prices. The stately Ouerbacker Mansion, above, is a gross exaggeration of the principle. It's one of the finest examples in the region of Richardsonian Romanesque design, but the place is in total decay (although a massive restoration is creeping along slowly).
More to the point, law students at U of L can live in fantastic apartments in neighborhoods such as Old Louisville, which is said to boast the nation's largest extant collection of Victorian homes. Rent is reasonable, with a typical one bedroom going for around $400 to $500 a month.
Other popular neighborhoods for students include The Highlands, and parts of the city's revitalized downtown. To check out a random collection of historic images of Old Louisville, click here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Top 10 signs you may be a non-traditional law student at the University of Louisville

One of the nice things about a small law school is that you get to know all of the other students. And one of the nice things about Louisville, at least in my opinion, is that people of all backgrounds and ages are treated equally. As a 34-year-old college student, I appreciate this on a daily basis. So, without further ado, here is the latest Top Ten List: Signs you may be a non-traditional law student. Special thanks to Liam Felsen, Nancy Vinsel, Hollyn Richardson, and others who contributed ideas.

10. When at the Rock Band competition at Orientation, you ask if there is an acoustic guitar. 

9. You are the only person at Chuck E. Cheese who is reading the Federal Rules of Evidence. 

8. Your kids are sitting outside class in the hallway playing on your iPhone because you couldn't find a babysitter.

7. When you go to the SAC to play pickup basketball, you consider it a victory when you are picked last, score no points, but don't sprain your ankle.

6. Other people say that your decision to attend law school is an "inspiration" to them.

5. You remember when Jerry Abramson was not the mayor of Louisville. 

4. Your law school friends are younger than your son's MBA friends

3. You show up for Orientation and another fellow student remarks that "you must be so proud of your son today."

2. You are invited to go to the Granville on Thursday night, and you can't because your back hurts.

1. You are, literally, the one person NOT on Facebook during class.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Legos teach the law of evidence

We're learning about exceptions to the "hearsay" rule in our Evidence class this week. As further proof that some law students have way too much time on their hands, check out this YouTube video in which Lego figures describe Federal Rule of Evidence 803.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Photo of the Week: Ice Cream study break

The law school hosted an ice cream study break yesterday in Cox Lounge, one of the few areas of the building where I still feel a little uncertain. It's technically a faculty lounge, but it connects two main hallways in the building and serves as a really handy cut-through on the second floor.

So, outside of ice cream study breaks, is it kosher for students to traipse through the faculty lounge? If you want to weigh in on this important topic, participate in our handy reader poll at right.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Packing schedule not a problem at U of L Law

As if our courses weren't enough to keep us busy, there are a gazillion things going on at the law school this fall, from softball teams to bake sales to moot court competitions. This is sort of the blessing and the curse of law school here at Louisville: outside student groups and activities are a welcome relief from the drudgery of reading and taking notes, but if you engage in too many of them you become more stressed out by, well, not having time to read and take notes. At any rate, there are a bunch of great opportunities in the coming weeks, many of which are profiled in the Daily Docket, the online calendar that we receive via email. A sampling:

Law School Softball Team Opens Tournament with Two Big Wins

The law school softball team - the Bottom 90% - posted two impressive wins this week, each by a score of 15-0. Phil Lawson pitched two complete games, the second a no-hitter. Slugger Chris Ballantine crushed an inside-the-park grand slam. Team captain Gulam Zade stated that this team is poised for a big run in the tournament, and could win it all. You can catch future Bottom 90% games at the Byrne Street field.

Intrastate Mock Trial Team Try-outs

The Kentucky Intrastate Mock Trial Competition is an annual event between Chase Law School, UK College of Law, and Brandeis School of Law. Each school hosts the competition every third year, and this year it's our turn. With winning comes bragging rights for the next year, but participation provides so much more. Mock Trial involves preparing openings, closings, directs, crosses - in other words, it's an actual trial (not like the 1L oral arguments). This is one of the few opportunities you will have as a student to really practice and integrate the skills necessary to conduct a trial. Not only will your participation in this competition give you an edge over your competition in today's competitive job market, you will receive academic credit AND you will learn the Rules of Evidence backwards and forwards.

Thursday! Thursday! Thursday!
Lawlapalooza 2010 t-shirts and tickets will be on sale in the Mosaic Lobby ...
  • Thursday, September 16 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm,
  • Tuesday, September 21 from 5:15 to 7:15 pm, and
  • Wednesday, September 22 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.
T-shirts are $10. Student tickets are $5, and general admission tickets are $20.
Bonus: Every student who wears his/her Lawlapalaooza 2010 t-shirt to the show, Thursday, September 30 at the Phoenix Hill Tavern, gets his/her first drink FREE, compliments of Westlaw.

20 Minutes with Tracey Roberts

Tracey Roberts, assistant professor at the Brandeis School of Law, is new to Louisville and to the University of Louisville.
She's started a group called Louisville Faculty and Friends to help newcomers connect with other people in the community. UofL Today recently asked her about the group and herself.
Roberts: Everyone should feel free to join our Louisville Faculty & Friends Google group.
Full Story: "20 Minutes with Tracey Roberts on faculty newcomer group" (UofL Today, September 14, 2010)

Upcoming Events


Faculty Presentation - Tobias Keeber

September 15, 2010, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Government Honors & Internship Handbook Session

September 15, 2010, 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Career Development Session

September 15, 2010, 5:30pm – 6:30pm

Lawlapalooza Tickets & T-shirts On Sale

September 16, 2010, 11:30am – 1:30pm

The Brandeis "Brief"

September 16, 2010, 3:30pm – 4:00pm

3rd Structured Study Group Session

September 17, 2010, 11:30am – 12:30pm

LexisNexis Training

September 17, 2010, 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Harlan Scholars: KAPLAN LSAT Preview & Practice Exam

September 18, 2010, 9:00am – 5:00pm

LSAT Prep Event

September 18, 2010, 9:00am – 4:00pm

Alternatives to OCI - The KBA

September 21, 2010, 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Faculty Meeting

September 21, 2010, 12:00pm – 2:00pm

Lawlapalooza Tickets & T-shirts On Sale

September 21, 2010, 5:15pm – 7:15pm

Lawlapalooza Tickets & T-shirts On Sale

September 22, 2010, 11:30am – 1:30pm

4th Structured Study Group Session

September 24, 2010, 11:30am – 12:30pm

Freedom Sings

September 24, 2010, 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Diversity Forum Series

September 28, 2010, 12:00pm – 2:00pm

Faculty Workshop - Chris Slobogin

September 30, 2010, 12:00pm

Lawlapalooza Tour 2010

September 30, 2010, 6:00pm – 11:00pm

Friday, September 10, 2010

Photo of the Week: On-Campus Interview schedule

Today's photo of the week may be visually boring, but this interview sheet is a conspicuous reminder of the competitive, and often nerve-wracking, nature of law school. These sheets are posted on various doors throughout the first floor of the school on days when employers visit campus to interview students. The process is sort of like speed dating. Typically, about a dozen students engage in separate, rapid-fire 20-minute interviews with one or two lawyers from the firm. Perhaps two or three of those students are selected for "callback" interviews, from which usually one person is offered a plum summer job. The number of employers participating in the so-called OCI process (On-Campus Interviews) for 2Ls increased significantly this year compared to our 1L year. I'm told that upper-level students generally have a better chance of landing a job through OCI. It's also nice to know that most decisions (at least at the larger firms) for the following summer will be made in the next few weeks. If I'm not able to score a job through OCI, that will give me plenty of time to network with smaller firms and solo lawyers. Got an OCI story of your own, or a question about the interview process? Share it in the comment field below.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ignore study tips at your peril

Another Labor Day weekend has come and gone.  According to the law school's Academic Success Program, I broke every rule in the book for studying on a three-day weekend. Here's what the program  says about long weekends and holidays:

"Tackle your most onerous study task as early as possible this weekend.  That way, it won't hang over you during the long weekend and add to your stress.  Also consider tackling your hardest study tasks when you are most alert.  Your brain will absorb material more easily for greater understanding and retention.  Consequently, you will feel better about your study session and lower your stress."
Although I failed to follow this good advice (we went on a camping trip that started Friday, so I couldn't really study until Sunday and Monday), I generally pay close attention to the tips coming out of the ASP office and its director, a veteran attorney who did very well in law school. Here's another sample of advice that the program offers about taking effective notes in law school.