April 29, 2006

Preaching to the Perverted
I love being gobsmacked, don't you? It's just such a great word that the feeling must necessarily also be great. Gobsmacked. I just like saying it. But about these gas prices and our addiction to oil, etc: Aren't we all pretty hypocritical about this? That said, it seems like every day now Mr. Resident Bush is in some new part of the country or world and every time I hear he's flying here or there (meaning, every day), I wonder: How much freaking fuel does it take to move that dumbass all over the damn world? I'm sure it's a drop in the bucket, so to speak, but hey, he said the other day when he said he'd make no more deposits to the oil reserve that “every little bit helps.” Gobsmacked. (Sorry, I had to say it again. What an awesome name that would be for a blog, but apparently it's kind of taken.)

Posted by mowabb at 08:04 AM

April 28, 2006

Arbitrary and Capricious: Frankly, yes
That's a great piece. It reminds me of something one of my fellow interns said the first summer I interned at a public defender's office. She was a devout Christian and someone asked her about her faith and the work she was doing. Her response: “Jesus was the first public defender!” So there you go.

Posted by mowabb at 12:10 AM

April 22, 2006

Arbitrary and Capricious: ID: 7-year-old in detention
That's incredible. I thought the criminalization of childhood was confined to big city schools where cops roam the halls and file police reports for schoolyard fights and temper tantrums; those reports then lead to criminal charges. Apparently this isn't just a big city phenomenon. I can't believe parents will stand for this kind of thing. Is this magistrate an elected official?

Posted by mowabb at 01:25 PM

April 19, 2006

Arbitrary and Capricious: The kids = all right
I've really loved working the juvenile cases I've handled (only 3). The kids can be a challenge if they don't trust you and it's heartbreaking sometimes to see the way they can be treated. I heard a prosecutor call one of my clients “a punk-ass bitch” as he tried to convince another prosecutor to make sure my client got sent to juve (jail). My client walked out that night with his mom and that was an awesome thing for all of us -- me, the client, and his mother. Rehabilitation was the key to that one -- the judge agreed that going to juve was not going to be helpful to my client. A couple months later and teachers, social workers, and everyone else are praising my client up and down for his great improvement in attitude, work, etc. So stories like that are super-rewarding. The upside in working w/juveniles can be huge. FYI: You may know about this already, but the National Juvenile Defender Center has some good listserves where you can discuss juvenile defense issues. They also offer some good resources for juvenile defenders, including the Juvenile Defender Resource Guide.

Posted by mowabb at 11:01 AM

April 17, 2006

Concurring Opinions: Teaching Today's Students
Just one little note about today's law students compared to those from the past: They are paying much more for every minute of class time. If they they think of themselves more as consumers and seem to be more demanding, the fact that they're mortgaging their futures to be there might have something to do with that. While I admire your attempt to think about how to become a better teacher of law, I'm skeptical of your ability to do so in the current system. Today's model of huge classes will never satisfy students or even challenge most of them. How can one teacher, no matter how dynamic or learned or enthusiastic, possibly engage 100 students at a time w/all their different levels of preparation, different interests, and different questions? It's an impossible situation for you as a professor, and a nearly-criminal ripoff for the student.

Posted by mowabb at 11:04 AM

April 15, 2006

divine angst: S-A! T-U-R! D-A-Y! Write!
Dude! Don't do it! If you've gone 40 days w/out caffiene, don't ever go back! Enjoy your new sense of balance, your natural energy cycles, your lack of dependency on some foreign substance, plus all the money and time you'll save not bothering to buy or make coffee all the time. Really -- why go back? (I'm posting this out of envy. If I could go 40 days w/out coffee I'd be jumping for joy and looking forward to the next 400 days w/out my bad bad habit.)

Posted by mowabb at 06:00 PM

April 12, 2006

Jeremy Richey’s Blawg » Useful Book for New Attorneys
To be more precise, it sounds like a good read for lawyers in firms that require billing hours and which provide them an “assistant” and who need to be concerned about building a law practice. Law students who aspire to any of those things might like it fine, too, it sounds like. While this describes a large swath of law students and lawyers, many of us couldn't care less about billing hours, are unlikely to ever have an assistant, and may never really need to build a law practice, per se. In fact, some of us might be sick of hearing about those things, especially when they're discussed as if they were the elemental to the practice of law when they simply are not.

Posted by mowabb at 10:58 PM

April 03, 2006

Will Work for Favorable Dicta: Are you peeing?
I think you should be very proud of the fact that you “exist in an extreme degree.” I don't know why, but it makes me think of Thoreau: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Unlike “most men,” you're trying to get all you can out of life -- you're singing your song, dammit! There are many guys out there who will love you for precisely that, I'm certain of it!

Posted by mowabb at 07:49 AM

March 31, 2006

unblague: Calling all bloggers...!
I started completely anonymously, then about a year and a half ago I came “out” by writing a short article about blogging, using my real name as a byline, and allowing the editors to mention the name of my blog. Since that time, I've continued to post pseudonymously, knowing full well that anyone who wants to spend a minute on Google can find my real name. I think it's better in the long run to blog under the assumption that your readers know your “real” identity or could know it very easily (e.g. via a Google search or two). If you block under this assumption you will be more careful about what you say and less likely to say something that you will regret in your “real” life. Yes, this means you sacrifice the freedom to publish whatever the hell crosses your mind, but in the long run, that's going to be better for you. I think the above is the best plan if you hope to maintain your blog long-term, but even if you just blog for six months, I still think you should do so with the assumption that your identity is known or easily could be. You may never run for public office, but someone may end up digging into your past for some other reason and wouldn't be nice if you didn't have to worry about all those crazy insane things you said on your blog? And remember, even if you delete a blog, it doesn't go away -- the Google cache will save it, as will the Wayback Machine/Internet Archive. In short, the risks of pretending that anonymity is even possible are just too large for me to accept.

Posted by mowabb at 10:28 AM

March 30, 2006

The Bitter Law Student: The Bulldog
Hey, congrats on the great feedback. Whatever they want to call you, it sounds like you did an excellent job. What really matters is not what people think of you, but for whom you put your skills to work. I think the clients who are going to seek out the “bulldog” lawyer are more often those who are trying to get away with something or screw someone. If you can make sure you never work for clients like that, you're good. In other words: Be a bulldog for justice, not greed, exploitation, or other bad things. ;-)

Posted by mowabb at 10:22 PM

Preaching to the Perverted : Steve Balmer: Idiot
I agree that Ballmer's an idiot, but just to play Devil's advocate (and in the highly uncharacteristic role of being ever so slightly critical of Apple, no less!), some believe Apple has thrived because it doesn't listen to customers either -- it tells them what they want. Steve “Apple” Jobs is famous for saying: “It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.” Is the iPod so popular b/c it's what people want, or do people want it b/c it's so popular? I don't know how it works exactly, but it seems that tech companies *do* need to listen to customers (and I think Apple does); they just need to be a lot better than Microsoft at responding to what they hear.

Posted by mowabb at 10:14 PM

March 29, 2006

Screaming Bean - temping
Ouch. I fear I will be joining you in the land of the temp job very soon. What about “document review” at a big firm? I've known law grads who have made some serious cash this way, but I don't know how common that is...

Posted by mowabb at 09:29 PM

March 28, 2006

Blonde Justice: The Devil Made Me Do It
I guess maybe I could imagine if a prosecutor let their emotions get the best of them and said, “I can't let this little girl's killer walk free. I'd rather lose my law license than this case.” Well, sure -- that must happen all the time. Prosecutors have conviction, right? ;-) I just took the MPRE last fall, and no, the law hasn't changed. You're right that prosecutors have the a clear obligation to stand up to supervisors or anyone else who encourages them to act unethically. Of course, don't you think that prosecutors commonly say the same thing about defense attorneys -- that they go too far and stretch or even break the lines of ethical conduct? We had a lifetime prosecutor come speak to a class recently who described this as a universally held attitude in the U.S. Attorney's office -- everyone there thinks the public defenders are a bunch of rule-breaking, unethical zealots who should have their law licenses revoked. My question is: When attorneys (on either side) see other attorneys acting badly, why don't they report it and press for formal discipline for the bar? I know there are reasons, but still, isn't that also one of our professional obligations? Finally, you could use Audioblogger to record and share the sound of your professor saying “dispute!” We would love to hear it!

Posted by mowabb at 07:46 AM

March 27, 2006

parenthetical statement: phoenix
Congrats on your new home here. I'll be interested to see how things go w/iWeb and iLife for you. I've played w/iWeb and it's great for putting a cool site together quickly, but using it for a blog? May you find it to be as simple as you hope!

Posted by mowabb at 08:47 PM

March 26, 2006

Blonde Justice: Destination Unknown
It seems to me that the only way in which being a public defender is a “starter job” is that it requires a lot of energy and dedication -- things that tend to wane a bit for most lawyers over time. I very much respect and admire the “lifers” I've known in the office where I interned and during my clinic experience b/c these are the people who know the most about what they are doing. They have accomplished things I can only dream of and they have what appear to me to be very satisfying and high quality lives. I don't know if I will be a public defender for three or 30 years, but I know I could do much, much worse than to have a life like those “lifers” have. (Of course, I need to get a job as a public defender before I can worry about how long I can keep it, but I'm trying to remain optmistic about that part....)

Posted by mowabb at 05:39 PM

3L Epiphany: Taxonomy Work Thus Far
This is looking very interesting -- much more helpful than I'd initially thought. One suggestion: I would not put Blonde Justice into the “humor” category. Yes, some of what she writes is very fun, but that is balanced by quite a lot of serious and very informative commentary on criminal defense law and what it's like to be a public defender. Lots of blogs make readers laugh once in a while, but I really don't think it's fair to Blonde Justice to suggest that is its main goal.

Posted by mowabb at 05:32 PM

March 25, 2006

MA criminal discovery & V for Vendetta
1) That MA decision just blows. I wonder how common the FL approach is v. the new MA rule. I'd never heard of either extreme before this. 2) I still have to see “V for Vendetta” and I definitely will, thanks to your recommendation. I was excited about it when I first heard of it, less excited when I heard some of the initial reviews, and now excited again....

Posted by mowabb at 01:52 PM

March 23, 2006

Arbitrary and Capricious: Trying times
I just had that co-defendant plea problem, too. Twice. My client had two terrific cases but once his codefendants took pleas and gave statements, suddenly our good cases were up in smoke. I hate it when that happens!

Posted by mowabb at 09:59 AM

March 21, 2006

3L Epiphany: Question on Alphabetizing Blogs
I gotta say I agree w/“some guy” here. You see blogrolls alphabetize with “the” only b/c the software is doing the alphabetization and it's not smart enough to ignore articles. If you're going to arrange the blogs in your taxonomy by hand, alphabetize like a human (ignore articles), not like a machine.

Posted by mowabb at 07:02 PM

March 20, 2006

buzzwords: beach books
Well, I understand that South Beach isn't what you would call paradise, but I can't help pointing out that you're still technically in law school and yet you're in a place where you can just casually say “I was sitting on the beach last Saturday....” Sorry, I just can't feel too badly about the dearth of coffee shops. ;-) As for books, I'm sure Amazon delivers to SoBe. I tried to read Galapagos a few months ago and got about 1/3 of the way before something else grabbed my attention. It was interesting, but... One of my friends thinks it is one of the best books ever so I'll probably get around to reading it at some point. Zen and the Art was a transformitive book for me in H.S. I don't remember why I loved it so much, but love it I did. I think it was just the whole mood and tone of the thing -- the whole existential exploration deal. I expect now it would seem narcisistic or overwrought to me, but who knows? I'll look forward to hearing what you think if you end up reading it.... I do think most of us don't stop often enough to ask what we're doing with our lives and why, and I think ZatAoMM encourages you to do that. In fact, right now might be the perfect time for a little soul-searching and self assessment as you finish school and transition to a career. Can you tell I really wish I could go to the beach and read a good book or two?

Posted by mowabb at 09:20 AM