Who says you need to circumnavigate the earth in order to prove it’s round?
I applied for graduation today. Truth is, I wish I have already graduated. Reading, preparing, and studying for classes now involve little more than the mechanical repetition of the formula that I found to be most useful in dealing with exams. But at the end of the day I retain very little substantive information. 1L year was a year of experimentation and exploration, so that was very valuable; 2L year was reinforcement of the basic law school survival skills acquired from 1L year, plus new things learned through journal work. What’s there in 3L year? I am struggling with what’s “hearsay,” what’s “nonhearsay,” and what’s “not hearsay” — things that I can’t see myself dealing with anytime soon. The only thing I learned from my evidence class so far, other than the rules that I won’t be using, is that for every argument there can be a counter argument, and when judges are willing to overlook certain things to reach a certain result, they will. But I learned those in my 1L year.
Commercial transactions, like the tax class I took last year, is largely statute based. The more I look at statutes, the more I think they are like computer programs, complete with its variable definitions, conditional statements, and function calls. Judges and lawyers are like computers who compile, interpret, and execute those programs. My problem is always that the programs either core dump or fail to compile.
In a somewhat related note, the reactions to the speech recently given by the Iranian president at Columbia just shows how single-minded Americans can be when it comes to things that they were taught to believe as the absolute truth. I admit that I don’t know much about the guy, but I also believe that his remarks were fairly well-reasoned and not completely irrational like the maniac that the media has accused him of being, and that most of his critics and the protesters rely on hearsay evidence (hence the somewhat relatedness) in forming their opinions, which, had the American media been less biased against nondemocracies, would have been less of a problem.
At the end of the day, it is really easy to pretend to be politically correct in this country. Do not openly discriminate against people who aren’t like yourself, whether in terms of race, gender, religion, beliefs, etc. This rule can be relaxed if discrimination is against people who do not completely buy into the idea of freedom, liberty, democracy, equality, or any other principles upon which this country is allegedly founded. Disregard said rule completely if those who disagree are from foreign countries (and never mind the hilarity in the U.S. Congress ordering that French Fries be renamed Freedom Fries–could have just called them “Chips” like the Brits do, but wait, that’s too British and un-American).
Haven’t been home in two weeks. Now that I have few things to worry about until graduation, life is good again. Even the train ride yesterday, delayed again for an hour and half, didn’t seem that bad. I got to read ahead for classes, and even reviewed a few sections when I absolutely ran out of things to do on the train.
It’s good to be home. Anna is growing faster than I ever thought she would. She can now carry on a fairly long conversation that actually made some sense–or not. When we were in Alaska, I was amazed by a conversation that went on as follows:
Anna: why do dolphins live in the water?
Ping: because dolphins can’t walk.
Anna: why can’t dolphins walk?
Ping: because they don’t have legs.
Anna: then why do turtles live in the water?
Ping: . . .
Now I am sitting by the window watching traffic go by on Lakeshore Drive and the bluish gray Lake Michigan not far away. Life is all good again once you know how to appreciate the things you have and let go of others.
Shortly before midnight, I finally finished grading the assignments that the associate editors of the law review turned in last month and decided to walk over to Big Ten Burrito for some late night food.
On my way there I saw a young guy in his early 20s dressed in a suit walking up State Street. He approached me and asked if he could use my cell phone because he had just lost his.
“Sure,” I said, and handed him my phone.
A quick call later, he handed my phone back to me and asked, “so you go to law school here?”
I realized I was wearing that t-shirt again, and nodded, “you go to business school?” I presumed that he just came back from one of those late night corporate presentations that new MBA students have to go if they want a job.
“Nah, I graduated, from undergrad here. I work for [Prestigious Investment Bank, or PIB]. Investment banking.” He replied in rapid succession and didn’t hide his pride, “I just came back to do recruiting.”
A second later he added, “them lawyer fuckers. Always try to screw us over.”
I did not know how to respond. Maybe I should clarify that I am not a lawyer yet?
Before I responded, he added, “them DPW fuckers. You ever heard of DPW? What’s the name, Davis Polk? Ever heard of Davis Polk? They work for us. Them fuckers tried to screw us over.”
I nodded to confirm that I had indeed heard of Davis Polk, but decided not to disclose that I almost became one of “them fuckers” this summer.
“Those fuckers at Davis Polk charge us so much money . . .” he went on about how “their own legal guy” argued with DPW over a bill that DPW handed them not long ago. In all fairness, though, the bill was for less than 100k, not a big amount by either law firm or investment bank standards. But he apparently thought it was outrageous.
When he was about done, he didn’t forget why he was here, “hey if you want a job at [PIB], let me know. We use lawyers.”
“Thanks, but no. I have an offer from a law firm.”
“So which firm is that?”
. . .
“Huh? Never heard of it. I’ve only worked at [PIB] for a year so I don’t know all of the law firms we use. You ever heard of Cravath? They work for us too. Them lawyer fuckers. They all work for us.”
I often wondered how long it takes for i-banks to transform a person from an ordinary student–with whom you can carry on a normal conversation on campus, to an i-banker–someone you’d avoid talking to unless getting paid for it. Now I know the answer.
By pure coincidence I came across this page at my alma mater and found out about the story between another Wang and my beloved professor and long-time mentor at Maryland.
According to “the world’s smallest political quiz,” I am neither left nor right; I am a statist, defined as someone who “wants government to have a great deal of power over the economy and individual behavior. They support centralized planning, and often doubt whether liberty and freedom of choice are practical options.” Left-leaning statists are “socialists.” Right-leaning statists are “fascists.” My score puts me dead center.
Not sure if I agree with the conclusion and the explanation, but I am not disputing that I never really liked those libertarians anyway.
Take the test here: http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz.html
Now that I’ve withdrawn from the clerkship application process,* I’ve officially lost all motivation to study. Two weeks into the semester I still have little idea about what’s going on in Evidence. I have some vague idea about what’s going on in Commercial Transactions, but too much is going on in that class.
In other news, I finally installed Windows Vista and Office 2007 on my laptop and desktop. That took a lot time, but time is something I expect to have a lot later on this semester.
*: Disclaimer: in case anyone thinks I’m all sour grapes with the clerkship process, I am not. I still think a clerkship is a great learning opportunity and one of the highest honors a law student can get, and the process went as well as it could be for me up to the point I cancelled all my interviews–it’s just that federal clerkships are theorectially available but practically foreclosed to someone who’s married with a kid and hates to be separated from the family for a 4th year. Having to go entirely without pay for a year as a noncitizen while two loans need to be repaid and the kid is grow up fast finally tipped the balance. Did I mention no sour grapes?