Monthly Archive: January 2007

Some observations…

I just realized I haven’t written a whole lot about my law school life lately. One reason is that I’ve been busy reading for classes and reading a few articles for my research assistant work, leaving very little time for my to contemplate on what little things might have happened to me that I should record here. Another reason is that I am getting used to the law school life, more or less, so that few things seem as noteworthy as they used to. Life has gradually settled down into short walks between the dorm, Hutchins, Law Library and the dining hall on weekdays, and a long drive between Ann Arbor and Chicago on weekends.

One thing I also realized lately: I’ve been thinking and writing in the form of “First… Second… Third…” or some variants of that, probably as a result of reading judicial opinions and law review articles that write that way. I don’t know this is good or bad. At least now I don’t write “on the other hand” as often as I used to as an econ major — a common ailment of the economists that supposedly prompted an American president to say, “Give me a one-handed economist.”

I’ve now past the mid-point of my law school career. My remaining three semesters of law school will hopefully be as enjoyable as the first three, minus the occasional frustration and disappointment. But they also seem hardly suspenseful now. I pretty much know what classes I will take (Evidence, Federal Courts and some seminar in one, and a clinic or externship in the other), and what my life routine will be like.

In the next few days I will write a post on Animus Revertendi to explain what I’ve been reading for my research work lately. It’s an interesting area of property law, and I am curious as to what civil lawyers, especially Chinese lawyers, with the new Chinese Property Code in place, think about such things.

Fell asleep

When I was woken up by the alarm of my next door neighbor, I realized that I fell asleep last night reading a long and winding law review article. I wasn’t reading it for fun (who would?). It was assigned by the professor for whom I am working as a research assistant.

When you fall asleep reading perhaps one of the most influential articles in recent years defining the boundary between property rights and contract rights, you know you are not dreaming about becoming a law professor.

MLR Ed Board Selection

Now that all apps are in, here’s what I know:

28 people applied. There are 25 spots on the editorial board altogether. This may seem that it is fairly easy to get a spot on the ed board, but think again.

MLR is organized in the following way: there is one Editor-in-Chief, one Managing Editor. These two are the highest on the totem pole. The next two, immediately below them and arguably above anyone else, are one Executive Articles Editor and one Executive Notes Editor. They lead the Articles Office and the Notes Office, respectively. Articles Office selects and edits pieces from scholars; Notes Office selects and edit student Notes. There are around 5 Articles Editors in the Articles Office, and 5 Notes Editors in the Notes office. These members perform the traditional functions of a law review and every law review has them, although some may name these positions differently, and some journals have more than one executive notes or articles editor.

Then there are the generic “Executive Editors” and “Executive Editor of Technology.” Executive Editors do incorporation and pageproofing. Executive Editor of Technology runs the technical side of things, like the Web site.

Then there are the Book Review Editors and Symposium Editors. They take on more specific tasks such as publishing book reviews and organizing our annual symposia.

I think it’s fair to say that, other than the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor, most people think that the most desirable positions are the Executive Articles Editor and the Executive Notes Editor, followed by Articles Editor and Notes Editor. Other positions are generally less competitive.

I only applied to two positions. Just about everyone applied to more than two positions, and just about everyone applied to both of the two positions that I applied to. It will be interesting to see what comes out of it.

Good News

It looks like my resume needs to be updated with the following line:

Note, Now, Later, or Never: Applying Asymmetric Discount Rates in Nuisance Remedies and Federal Regulations, 105 Mich. L. Rev. __ (2007).

The Editor-in-Chief told me informally that this would make me the first 2L to publish a Note at the MLR in years, if not decades. I have no intention to back up this assertion with hard evidence, but it is certainly ego-boosting.


Drove to Chicago on Thursday and brought with me tons of things to do over the weekend. During the 250-mile drive in solitude yesterday I realized what crazy thoughts I’ve had in the past week to take up yet more work for myself. I contacted the chambers of a CoA judge, and inquired about internship opportunities, but was told there was none. I also asked a professor whether he would direct my independent studies, and was told he was oversubscribed. After the sobering long drive, however, I realized I probably would have taken up more than I could possibly do if either one of them had said yes.

I don’t know whether I should look forward to the law review editorial board selection. I would be deeply disappointed if I don’t get selected, but will be equally worried if I do, because the duties start immediately, which will mean more work and less sleep for the rest of this semester and beyond.

All of these efforts are completely irrational. I am not doing them to enhance my employment prospects. I am not doing them for my personal enjoyment, in the narrow sense at least. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I was on a course to seek out challenges to prove myself, but to whom?

Deadmen’s Hand

I spent quite some time over the weekend and today reading for my English Legal History class. Reading for history-type of classes is a novel undertaking for me, and it was fun for the first 30 minutes, less so in the hours that ensued, and after 50 pages of ancient Roman statutes and medieval English cases it got downright frustrating.

“If I think it is a virgin I am buying, whereas it is a woman, the sale will be valid, the mistake not having been as to sex. But if I sell you a woman and you think you are buying a man, the sale is void, because the mistake is as to sex.” Says one Roman law treatise from the 6th century.

“If you commit an outrage on my daughter in potestas who is married to Titius, an actio iniuriarum lies against you not only in her name, but also in mine and Titius.” Says another.

“Gif man pone lytlan finger ofaslaeht, XI scill’ gebete.” Proclaims one English statute from the 7th century. (You gotta love the fact that the written form of Chinese stayed pretty much the same over the years.) Roughly translated to modern English, it means “If a man strikes off [another’s] little finger, he shall pay 11 shillings compensation.” My professor confessed in class that even he couldn’t understand why a little finger is worth more than an index finger (9 shillings) or a middle finger (4 shillings). The prices for the thumb and ring finger, in case you are curious, were 20 and 6 shillings, respectively.

Hours later, just as I thought I was done with reading these archaic laws from centuries ago, I opened up the reading assignment for my Learning Foreign Law class. There it was, pages and pages of reading in the ancient Greek law, with the Greek original and English translation.

I figured I’ve had enough revelations in a day, and climbed into bed.