M'naghten

Mar. 12th, 2002 10:53 pm
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
We need to have a better rule than the current rule in Texas, which is, roughly, no matter how
mentally ill you are, if your illness leaves you the ability to know right from wrong, you're unable to use an insanity defense. This rule is outmoded. It's bad enough that we have a death penalty at all, but when the potential to
use it arises in cases of obvious mental illness,
it's time to look at changing the law.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
I sent out several photos of my Arizona trip, as well as one of leafless winter trees, to folks on
the postcardx.net list. Someone posted an acknowledgment of receipt of one of mine, which was very nice. I stapled the photos to the corrugated plastic, after a "return to sender--wrong address" returned mailing showed that the
superglue made for a rather artistic wiggling of the photo. I'd say something cute about maybe it's my industrial phase, but actually, I just hope the staples hold.

The frenzy of law school admissions continue unabated over at my favorite law board, vault.com.
Folks mourn because their only admits are
places like Emory, which was tons more selective than my own law school. That's something that's really changed since I was in college--folks worrying overmuch about elitism in their grad school choices. Oh, there were a few--a high school classmate who went to John Hopkins med,
a friend in college who did the whole Fulbright scholar and Harvard Law thing...but by and large, my friends and I were too preoccupied with
day to day living to worry much about professional school reputation. We felt lucky to go to the state U. law school, and to eat gyros sandwiches off nice dinner plates at the Terrace Restaurant on Friday evenings. I do remember in high school that the various class geniuses tried mightily to get scholarships to the eastern universities,
but had to "settle" for mere full ride trips to places like Baylor. The particular fellow I'm thinking of is now a successful doctor, and I wonder if he even thinks about college admissions.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
Interesting talk by the county court at law judges
at the local bar association tonight. Nice fellows, all.
Learned that fellow bar association member has his own little film company; not the first thing you expect at the little suburban bar association which meets overlooking a green. So many times I bring preconceptions to folks that might make me overlook who they are; tonight was a good lesson for me to look and listen.
Love postcardx.net. They give you random names and addresses to send art postcards.
Sent out a picture of cedars at Sister Grove
to someone up north; hope she likes a little Texas scraggle/forest after all those years among mighty trees.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
Went to Erwin Park up in McKinney. Walked the
bike trails through the woods. Sleet was still in pockets here and there, but it was not very wet,and the lack of wind made up for the cold.
After a few moments, walk, I stopped to stare at a litle pond. I hard a snuffling behind me, and turned, thinking it might be a coyote. It was a jogger with her large (snuffling) dog who had come into the park without my noticing. I laughed and said I didn't know what that was to them, but they just jogged on by. I turned back to the little pond, and I was perfectly calm, because the place was so peaceful.

This next couple of weeks is when the
law school admissions or rejections really start rolling in. Years ago, I applied to only two law schools, both in my home state, and got in each by return mail. I might have qualified for
law schools with a higher reputation, but
I really didn't want any more challenge in law school than the local State U, as I was not sure I could meet the challenge. Now applicants feel that they are not worthy if they can't go to a top 10 school. I felt lucky to get into the local State U so easily. It's funny how different folks have different perspectives.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
One of my bits of volunteer work is to answer
career questions about law on the internet (www.allexperts.com). Some college students write questions which are:
"I major in X at Y school and have Z GPA.
I'm interested in going to law school. I want to know what my job prospects will be when I get out of law school in 4 years". I give the best answer that I can, but the assumption--that we can predict the economy, much less the legal economy, in four years, is interesting. In the same vein, everyone focuses on first year salary, when
law career progress is less based on first year salary than salary progression and opportunity.
I remember being in college, and wanting to know for sure what would happen--some assurance that I would be "safe" if I chose one path or the other.
Now I feel pretty "safe", and yet I realize that
safety is illusory. The first firm I joined, which seemed "safe" and "stable", had splintered a year before I got there and was split up altogether within 3 years after I arrived.
In the long run, you do your best, you "play your cards", and things work out as they work out.
There's no warranty company to which to report career problems.
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
I like to read and participate in the internet
job boards for lawyers and law school. When I
decided to go to law school, I knew so little.
If I can help folks with those decisions even a tiny bit, then I'm pleased. Today, though, I was struck by a few posts on a message board.
One student was weighing whether to go to U of Iowa in one post, then posting some place else
an entry calling "stupid" someone who disagreed with the poster's opinion of that law school's *west coast* reputation. The more I practice law, the more I see how limited my horizons are.
I hope that my posts on that message board
reflect how my own background and experiences limit my perspective. But nobody knows as much about anything, I find, as someone who's never done any of the thing in question...
gurdonark: (abstract butterfly)
The livejournal thing works. My first post
managed to indicate how I got lost in the title,
but my rewrite left out the loop trail from hell.

This weekend I've been thinking about law firm hiring. In 1999, law firms hired new associates at exorbitant rates, and many law grads got a great job. In 2002, hiring is much slower.
I think our profession does not do a good job
of transitioning law grads into the field.
We know that middle class folks can't get their legal needs met, and yet we don't help fashion ways to transition all these law grads to meet those needs. At the elite end of the scale, though, law firms are either in boom or bust.
Either they're paying kids right out of school
120K to 150K, or they're laying off associates
imprudently hired during the boom. Although the
phenomenon is market-driven, I'd have to think that law firm planners could do better with this.
Of course, I just run a 2 man little shop, so I don't know the challenges that these megafirms face. I do know that (a) law firm hiring trends seem to fluctuate in ways that disadvatage everyone, even the firms, and (b) the also-ran law student should be helped into practice by the bar so that both new lawyer and under-served client
have a win-win situation. I guess I'll have to
shed my customary reluctance to be a joiner and see if anyone in the TX bar is working on
the underemployed/unemployed lawyer situation.

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