Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas, Free Exercise Clause

BYU put this tree up in its law library. I really liked having Christmas trees around during finals. As a university, BYU is bureaucratic by definiton. But as a private instittuion, it has one less layer of bureaucracy than other state universities. How nice. I'm sure that certain grinches are working on "fixing" that unfairness. But in the mean time, merry Christmas from BYU.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

UI crushes BYU in Spam Race

The semseter is over, and UI wins 761 to 480 in my great administrative spam race. That's over 1,200 emails! Both law schools gave noble efforts and sent constant emails about everything from examtaking software to library etiquette. However, right off the starting line, BYU's sabbath day observance and heavier bureaucracy (e.g., requiring Lawmailer approval for bulk emails) dragged it down. The results are shown below, showing each school's running total. Level stretches represent zero emails, usually weekends or holidays.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bankruptcy Court uses Parasitic Mites:

"the state court authorized the receiver to mange the partnership"

In re StatePark Building Group, Ltd., 316 B.R. 466, 471 (Bkrtcy.N.D.Tex.,2004). at 5.

Professor Jose "Pepe" Silva

Professor Silva teaches Hispanic Street Law here at BYU. The class is a real eye opener. For example, check out this cartoon flowchart on immigration law. It addresses the question why immigrants don't come the legal way (hint: it takes 20 years). Many immigrants come legally but stay longer than their visas permit. This is technically the correct way to cross the border. And "technically correct" is the best kind of correct-- the law makes a huge distinction regarding this technicality.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What's so bad about Good Samaritans (in the law)?

Utah’s Good Samaritan Act provides:
A person who renders emergency care . . .during an emergency, gratuitously and in good faith, is not liable for any civil damages or penalties as a result of any act or omission by the person rendering the emergency care, unless the person is grossly negligent or caused the emergency.
Why can't Rule 14-802 (prohibiting the Unauthorized Practice of Law) have a similar exception for legal emergencies?
A person who renders emergency [legal services]. . .during an emergency, gratuitously and in good faith, is not liable for any civil damages or penalties as a result of any act or omission by the person rendering the emergency [legal services], unless the person is grossly negligent or caused the emergency.
A "legal emergency" could be defined as a case involving an (1) indigent (2) defendant (3) with no access to professional services (4) ill-equipped to represent themselves. (Eg., a 75 year old who can't afford rent but is being sued over medical bills, and who doesn't speak any English.)

Normally I’d agree that a layman in court is a bad idea. I also normally prefer a doctor over some witness to a car accident with no medical training. A Spanish speaking senior citizen with a high school education is a layman among laypersons, and a legal emergency justifying whatever help is available, even less-than-professional help if that's all that is available. If lawyers won't volunteer themselves they should step aside and let somebody, anybody, help. Instead, the current system would punish any legal Good Samaritans.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I attended this CLE for Family Law at BYU. It was rather interesting, and I got a cookie. Two of the speakers are featured below.
Tamara Fackrell, J.D., spoke on mediation in divorce. She asked attorneys to disclose to mediators what "hot spot" issues their clients have. Apparently these are issues which instantly trigger tantrums. Divorce clients are understandably under a lot of strain. Here's an interesting thought: If a client is really too angry and irrational to be coached and trusted to behave at mediation, maybe disclosing "hot spots" to the mediator is impliedly authorized by rule 1.14(c) to protect the interest of a "client with a diminished capacity."

Bert L. Dart, Jr., J.D., spoke on civility among lawyers. He said civility is being emphasized more yet practiced less. He introduced me to the term "paid hater." This is an attorney who attempts to serve the client by adopting their client's anger and despicable tactics (their diminished capacity). These lawyers quickly burn out at work, and quickly burn through their credibility at the bar.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Senior Law Librarian and Assistant Director of Externships, Steven E. Averett

The first person I met at BYU was Steve Averett. He introduced himself, asked if I was a new student, congratulated me on getting in, and offered me a tour. I happened to sit across from him duringa CLE today. There's no caption here, but I think the peaceful style of this drawing refects his personality.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Professor Paul Durham

Professor Paul Durham teaches Law Practice Management in addition to working as a real lawyer at a big law firm. The class is unique in that it focuses on actually practicing law, as opposed to the more typical tangential relationship to the Bar Exam. For example, the older an account receivable gets the less likely it is that it will ever be paid. I can apply that to myself: if I quit paying my bills so promptly I could pay fewer of them.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Professor Stephen Wood

Administrative law has been an eye opener for the cinic in me. The constitution is the one legal document that most non-lawyers have at least heard of. And it calls for, I thought, 3 Branches of Government. That makes me a "Formalist." That's too bad, because the Supreme Court has already explained that my sort of claim "cannot turn on a cursory reference to the language of [the constitution]." Anyway, when you're as smart as the Supreme Court, you can see that between the lines and penumbras of the constitution there are 4 branches of government.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Consistency in the law:

Law in the 19th Century:

It is quite true that these proceedings would have cost you many hundreds of pounds, whereas you probably have not as many pence. But the law makes no distinction between rich and poor.

* * *

Law in the 21st Century:

The clerk cannot give you legal advice. If you need legal assistance you should see a lawyer. If you cannot afford a private lawyer, legal services may* be available.

* * *

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Professor (Judge) Dee Benson

I have drawn professors before, and I have drawn sitting judges before, and I have drawn a professor who used to be a judge, but this is my first time to have a class from a sitting judge: Evidence with Professor Dee Benson. It's also my first class with more than 200 people in it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

3L Jarom Ricks

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Professor Lynn D, Wardle

If anybody knows better Latin, please help. Prof. Wardle teaches family law. The textbook starts with a quote that I like a lot:

How small of all that human hearts endure,
that part which laws or kings can cause or cure.

-Samuel Johnson, Lines Added to Goldsmith's Traveller

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Professor Rust Tippett

So far in Wills and Estates we've covered basic concepts, but pretty soon I think we'll get to the part about the lives of the rich and messed up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Anouncing The Great Administrative Spam Race

The University of Idaho College of Law and the Brigham Young University Law School have agreed [sort of] to hold a race to see which institution can generate the most administrative emails in a semester. Being 1/2 Vandal and 1/2 Cougar (a "Vougar") I will collect emails from both schools and announce the results at the end of the semester.

So Vandals and Cougars, whether you're cleaning out the fridge at your law school or your club is announcing the third reminder of it's second announcement of a meeting, now is the time to re-double your efforts!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Here at BYU

Here's a random BYU law student from one of my classes. Time will tell if it's a good caricature at all. So my admin law book starts out with this quote:
Keep in mind that circularity is not always ridiculous
Can that be a good sign? It then quotes Shakespeare:
Though this be madness , yet there is method in't.
Should be a rad class.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

This is your Brain on Law School

Before Law School:

After 2L year:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Good Lawyers of Business

I'm still studying for the MPRE. I disagree with the ABA's distinction between personal offenses and public offenses. Take comment 2 to 8.4:
"some matters of personal morality, such as adultery, . . .have no specific connection to fitness for the practice of law"
Who writes these rules anyway, the ABA or Hollywood? In most cases, adultery (which by definition is commited by a married person) ought to violate 8.4(c) as conduct involving deceit (to family members) or misrepresentation (broken wedding vows). By ignoring the tragedy of such personal failures, the ABA plays the role of an unreformed Mr. Scrooge, "But you were always a good man of business, Jacob"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Harsh Critics

These two books caught my eye in the University of Idaho College of Law Library. Ironically, both are written in classic legal writing format complete with footnotes. They aren't as interesting as they might seem: one is merely a vendetta against three particular professors, and the other is a university's self-diagnosis and administrative spiel about improving its law school.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Coming Soon

(Cover design by T.D.W.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

You know you're a law student if. . .

You laugh at this flash card:

Could there be discrimination against a one-of-a-kind like Humpty Dumpty? It seems difficult to distinguish between unkind acts based on a dislike for giant eggs, versus unkind acts based on personal dislike for Humpty Dumpty, the world's only sentient giant egg.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Law School Applicant Pool

Concordia University Law School opens in Boise in 2011. When that day comes, Concordia will take a real bite out of UI's Moscow-based applicant pool. UI, you should have got there first.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Professor Bridy

Copyright is a sad topic. Rights Owners will stop at nothing to reduce talent to dollars. Next they will go for cochlear implants that automatically debit one's bank account whenever protected work becomes audible.

I met an attorney this summer who believes that Congress/the Supreme Court will not extend the term of copyright again. Oh, to have such faith.


When I was a 1L, I took notes by hand. . . at least sometimes. Recognize anybody?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Checking for Grades

This is an old cartoon I did, but still true. It's that time of year again. Some people are very Zen about their grades, maybe they never look at all. For those of you who are obsessive compulsive freaks, I recommend the FireFox Add-on Reload Every. It will keep your session from ever timing out by automatically reloading every x minutes, you'll never need the f5 key again. So really, you're only checking once every time you boot up. Sounds like healthy behavior to me!

Friday, May 15, 2009

A light at the end of the tunnel

2L year is over! The bookstore is not buying very much back this year, but yet there is hope. A light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. Represented here through my slightly modified copy of Constitutional Law, 2nd Edition. Curse you 3rd edition. Curse you.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Professor Trapper Stewart

uI've never had a class from Professor Stewart, but he did come and guest lecture in Professional Responsibility.


Thanks to Eric here for bringing Inter Alia back from the dead.


The 24, 7, 365 Rule

Monday, April 27, 2009

President, Sergeant-at-arms Emeritus

In general, I'm suspicious of student governments. However, in this case I have to give them props, nay, KUDOS, for installing an art scanner in the basement of the law library.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lawyer cartoons with sock puppets

This cartoon (above) is by Charles Fincher in 2008. Fincher has used sock puppets in his lawyer cartoons as a reoccurring theme. Below is a cartoon posted by David Mills in 2009. I usually love his work, but this is unoriginal. He copied Fincher's idea, held a caption contest for it, and posted it as a new cartoon. A good idea if you're in a hurry, i guess.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Law Review

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mr. T

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Con Law

Here's three 2L's hard at work during today's lecture on assorted fundamental rights. From left to right: Aaron Calkins, Arch Harner, and Randy Todd. Lecturing in the front of the class is Prof. O'Callaghan. Jason Naess appears right above Aaron's left shoulder. The rest are too un-finished to warrant mentioning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mr. Ben Onosko

Prof. O'Callaghan's syllabus recommends doodling as an alternative to surfing the net during class. An excellent policy. As you might deduce, Ben sits to my left in that class.

Not Mr. Chief Justice Roberts

He came. Unfortunately, none of my sketches of the Chief Justice turned out good. However, it wasn't a complete artistic flop, I drew this guy. I don't know this student, but people have recognized the drawing as "Stacey." Hope you don't mind, Stacey, you're famous now.

Professor Mark Anderson

Was kind enough to save his hand-drawn diagrams from fall semester 08. There were a lot. I scanned them in and they appear as the background here.

Professor Jack Miller

Business Entities tax is quite the beast. Prof. Miller is more cheerful than I am, at least at 8:00 am. "It's not bad enough to warrant sarcasm," he says. So when he says, "This is it, this is the heart of darkness." You know for sure that the code is big fat and wrinkly.

Dean Don Burnett

The Dean teaches PR. PR stands for legal ethics. My favorite quote of his is "Some Clients may insist on that sort of chicanery." I had to look that one up. And believe you me, we have read about the worst chicanery in the book. The book of chicanery, also called Problems in Legal Ethics. Anyway, I now have every intention to act professionally, and to get fewer than 900 parking tickets.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Turns out, doodling during class—or meetings—may actually help your concentration.

So says Newsweek anyway. I agree.

Doodling can be a good thing. If there's a choice between doodling and daydreaming, you're better off if your students are doodling. Of course, it's best if you aren't boring them at all, but doodling isn't necessarily a sign of your students being naughty—it's a sign that it may be hard for them to concentrate without something visual.

--psychologist Jackie Andrade of the University of Plymouth

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Professor Michael A. Satz

I took a class called "consumer law" from Professor Michael A. Satz. Consumer law is about the good ways consumers can protect themselves, assuming they haven't received an envelope-stuffer relegating them to binding arbitration.