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Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Profession of Honor and Integrity
I left a floppy disk in a computer in the main lab today. I checked back several hours later and it was gone - not in the computer, on the computer, on the table, on the floor, on the chalk ledge, or with the IT Dept. Pbfft.
Welcome, part II
I'd like to welcome Lucas Sayre, the newest contributor to Sapere aude. I've admired Lucas' work on his blog, Daily Contentions, for quite some time now. Lucas is an Indianapolis native and earned a political science degree from Notre Dame. Lucas is currently a 1L.
Although some of the other contributors here have already done so, I might as well add my own welcome to all of the new 1Ls. I'd also like to welcome all of the new readers, which probably includes many 1Ls, who have helped make this a near record week already in terms of traffic.
This is a good opportunity to note that we're always looking for new writers. If you're interested in posting here throughout the year (and beyond!) just drop a line to any of the contributors you see on the left.
Here's the scenario: You're in a small class of 20-30 people and have obtained an outlined in the class from a friend who previously had the professor. A fellow student in the class who you don't know, and who doesn't know you, notices the outline and asks to have a copy. Is this request rude and out of line? Why or why not?
Friday, August 27, 2004
First Week of School
So, my first week (3 days) of classes is over. A few observations:
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
This first day of classes is somewhat bittersweet because not all the faces have come back. Not all of us that started the journey are continuing on with it. This is a good thing though. I had an interesting temp job for the summer. One of our classmates was also there. He is a very intelligent person, but discovered that law school was not for him. He is now transferring to a masters program in philosophy. I can respect such a decision.
Law school is as much about finding yourself as it is about studying the law. If you listen closely you'll hear students murmur about finding what they want to do finally. You'll hear about the confusion of becoming a lawyer or not. Sometimes you will hear they figured out that being a lawyer is not for them. This is not the same thing as not liking law school. This black hole of time will easily suck up your life. School is HARD. It is supposed to be that way. Difficult opportunities provide rich areas of self-discovery. If you are a new first year, do not allow this cautionary tale to enter your paranoid side of self-doubt. If you're an upperclassman do pay attention to yourself though. It is one thing to be unsure what area of law you want to practice in. It is one thing to be concerned about finding a job. It is something else to believe that you don't want to be a lawyer. If you have those thoughts, then you should decide what you want to do. Do you continue on with the school of law, or put your heart into your own philosophy of interests?
Most of us will make it through school in three or four years. It will not be an easy journey, yet it should not be. The things that are worth doing are the greatest challenges to us. Yet remember the price of this challenge has casualties for others and ourselves.
Good Morning IU-Indy!
Ah...the first day of classes. Lots of new faces to the law school with this incoming 1L class. The cynical of us would say new meat for the machine. Those of a brighter philosophy will say it is the beginning of a new generation of lawyers.
For the newly crowned 2Ls, congratulations you have survived your first year and are no longer the low person on the totem pole. You now have the valued experience to survive, but higher expectations are upon you now.
Those of us who are now the grizzled veteran 3Ls it is time to rise and shine. It is our last year together and time to make our mark. Graduation, the bar exam, and jobs will be upon us sooner than we think.
Though IU-Indy is a large extended family, it is still a family. Let's try to take care of each other. Be willing to help our classmates through this difficult, yet hopefully worthwhile, journey.
Hey, why is this professor suddenly asking me questions about a case? Some things never change.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Little Details for the MPRE
For all those taking the MPRE this Friday I hope you are studying for it now. You should have already received your admission ticket to the testing site you have selected. Here are some useful tips you'll want to do before the exam.
Good luck to all on Friday.
Books for Sale
Most law students I know are savvy and thrifty shoppers when it comes to buying books for school. They buy their books in places I don't: from friends, online, 2nd hand book stores, underground black-market book dealers. But if you are one of the boring, old-fashioned students who gets their books from the bookstore, here's some info that might help.
I bought most of my books for fall classes yesterday. Yes, I'm a nerd who is excited about school starting again. But most importantly, I'm going on vacation before classes start and I didn't want to return to empty bookshelves at the bookstore. I began at Indy's College Bookstore (near the Starbucks off 10th street). Not all their books were out yet, but they did have a large amount of used books. I was the only one there in the law section so I spent time looking for books with the least markings in them. Though used books were available, they seemed pricey, so I headed to the Union Bookstore to compare.
Sure enough, used books at the Union were cheaper. However, they had less used books in stock than did Indy's. I bought 3 books at the Union and then went back to Indy's to buy one used book. In addition to cheaper prices, I saved a little bit more $ at the Union due to their early bird sale. (And if the book you want isn't in stock, they'll give you a coupon to use when you come back to get it). 5% isn't much, but every little bit helps.
Happy book shopping!!!
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
The Decline Of Jury Trials?
The A.B.A. is wondering what it can, or even if it should, do to stop the decline of jury trials.
About 40 years ago, more than 11 percent of federal civil cases went to trial. Now, less than 2 percent do. Federal criminal trials also have decreased in that time.While those numbers sound bad for trial lawyers I suggest we take a deeper look. Percentages are only one measure of things. Though difficult to find any number of cases filed in federal of state courts from 40 years ago, it is well acknowledged that more cases are entering the system now than 10, 15, and more than likely 40 years ago. We have become a more litigious society. As a result any percentage of cases going to a jury trial are meaningless without knowledge of the number of cases entering into the system.
How many cases enter the judicial system yearly? A federal district court judge usually acquires 400 new cases a year. Civil judges in Marion County, admittedly the busiest court system in the state, have over 2,200 cases filed yearly. I am willing to bet the numbers on the criminal court side are easily as busy. Given a limited number of judges, court staff, court rooms, and other limited resources only so many cases can go all the way to trial.
More accused criminals are opting for plea deals and companies are finding it cheaper to settle disputes through arbitration or other means.Of course it is cheaper and easier to settle or opt for plea deals. Because the cases can not get through the system quickly, it costs money and time to keep attorneys maintaining the case. In addition many jurisdictions have a local rule forcing civil cases to attempt mediation before the trial in order to conserve scarce judicial resources. These 'trial lawyer' that the article refers to are not performing solely trial work. They are likely representing their clients in the settlement negotiations and mediation hearings.
Is this a bad thing? Of course not. It is simply a shifting of legal styles and an enhancement of new and different skills for a attorney. One should never be afraid to learn new things nor fear what you do not know despite our ingrained habits and comfort zones. Luckily for students we have both a Trial Practice and two different Mediation classes to learn both sets of skills along with the two differing sets of mentalality required for the two different skillsets.
"This ain't law, folks," Patrick Higginbotham, a federal appeals court judge from Dallas, said Saturday at an American Bar Association meeting on the
With all due respect to Judge Higginbotham, it is law. It is the private law of settling parties that have taken ownership of their resolution process. Because the parties have a stake in the product they have helped create, they are more likely to follow through with the private agreement than a judicially crafted order. Is that not the best justice for all concerned? The decline in jury trials may the best resolution for many parties.
Sunday, August 08, 2004
Jury duty, anyone?
People want to serve on juries and would prefer to have jury trials if ever in court, according to a poll that surprised some leaders of the nation's largest lawyers' organization. Three-quarters of the people surveyed for the American Bar Association disagreed with the notion that jury service is a hardship to be dodged.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
There's a new piece of what I assume is art in the atrium of our school building. A sculpture of the scales of justice, the piece is centered between the 2 doors to the library and faces the atrium. Check it out on your next visit to the school as you either help a professor with research, study for the MPRE, or prepare for the coming school year.
The only conversation it's sparked thus far for me has been with myself: Is that artwork? Where'd it come from? Who made it?