It’s a wrap

After coming home from Day 2 to decompress, I found out about blackouts on Wednesday night in Brooklyn and realized how lucky I was. Had the blackout hit here, I probably wouldn’t have made it to the MBE on time.
My A/C alarm clock does not have a battery backup. My parents supplied the backup wake-up call (with the personal touch), but my home phone is a cordless phone that needs power to work. I leave my cell phone on vibrate, so I probably would not have heard it ring. While plugging two alarm clocks into a UPS might be going a little overboard, I would recommend at the very least, setting a backup, battery-powered alarm, such as the one in a mobile phone.
Was I the only person who did a quasi-statistical analysis of the number of A, B, C and D answers on the MBE?
Speaking of the MBE, perhaps they go a little overboard with the dire warnings about the consequences of disclosing the contents of the questions and answers?
Law.com reports on a lawsuit against PMBR by the National Conference of Bar Examiners: Firm Accused of Copying Multistate Bar Examination Test Questions

In the suit, NCBE claims that employees of Multistate Legal Studies Inc. have attended bar exams in several states for the sole purpose of copying questions to be used in its prep courses.
In response to the suit, lawyers for MLSI contend that the similarities between the questions in their prep courses and those on the MBE stem from the fact that both are drawn from the same pool of material — hornbooks, law treatises and case law — and that such similarity is entirely permissible.

Chris shares my feelings about the whole bar exam hazing process: Taking the Bar Exam & Rant: “I gotta say, this whole system of the State Bar and their weed out exam pisses me off. There’s a multi-million dollar monopoly industry (BarBri/PMBR) out there that thrives on stressing law school grads out about the bar exam. That just doesn’t seem right to me.”
Congrats to all the other bar takers, and phooey to those who are actually going away to fun places on vacation.
The review books and notes are in the closet– hopefully to get rid of in November, possibly to use all over again for February. Oh well, there’s nothing I can do about it until November.
And now that I have a J.D. and am no longer studying for or taking the bar, I guess I am officially unemployed. Oh boy.

Halfway

My bar neighbor never showed up. Guess he/she had better things to do today.
It felt like the A/C went off in the PM. It was especially cruel when the Mr. Softee truck parked outside with his jingle going. That’s when the ear plugs came out.
Why is the area around the Javits Center about 10 degrees warmer than the rest of Manhattan during sauna days like this.
One more day to go. Now I’m glad I’m not taking NJ too, but I’ll probably regret it later. At least we don’t have California’s crazy third day of exam-ey goodness.

Don’t Panic

h2g2dontpanic.jpg
That should probably be written on the outside of the Bar Exam test books.
For what it’s worth, I’m in panic mode. Fortunately, the World’s Best Mom dropped by earlier with a supply of food for the next couple of days.

Bar exam everywhere

It’s impossible to even take a few minutes off and read something non-bar related without spotting issues that might be a bar problem…

“Well, Harry,” said Dumbledore, turning toward him, “a difficulty has arisen which I hope you will be able to solve for us. By us, I mean the Order of the Phoenix. But first of all I must tell you that Sirius’s will was discovered a week ago and that he left you everything he owned.”

“This is, in the main, fairly straightforward,” Dumbledore went on. “You add a reasonable amount of gold to your account at Gringotts, and you inherit all of Sirius’s personal possessions. The slightly problematic part of the legacy– is that Sirius also left you number twelve, Grimmauld Place.”

Let’s see. If this was executed in NY, would it be a valid will? In writing? Yep. Signed by an adult testator at the end of the document? Um, maybe. Published? Apparently. Two witnesses? Um, maybe. Or, if this was valid by wizarding law, would NY recognize it as valid?

“Black family tradition decreed that the house was handed down the direct line, to the next male with the name of ‘Black.’ Sirius was the very last of the line as his younger brother, Regulus, predeceased him and both were childless. While his will makes it perfectly plain that he wants you to have the house, it is nevertheless possible that some spell or enchantment has been set upon the place to ensure that it cannot be owned by anyone other than a pureblood.”

Or maybe those traditions will not affect the bequest by will because they violate the Rule Against Perpetuities…

“Fortunately,” said Dumbledore, “there is a simple test.”

Apparently, house elves are useful not only for doing chores around the house, but also for clearing title to real property.

The Couch

Last week, The Daily Show unveiled its new set, with giant video screens and no more couch. The first uses of the video screens were hideously awful and distracting, with text zooming around behind Jon’s head, but the graphics have gotten much better in the last week.
Bloggers extort TDS to Bring Back the Couch.
Slate’s Dana Stevens discusses the couch in more detail: Talk Show Feng Shui- Is anyone else freaked out by The Daily Show’ s new studio set?

Stewart sent a clear message by arranging his onstage furniture in this odd but by now familiar mixture of office and living room. The host’s desk telegraphs a sense of security and professionalism: I am at my job, it says, acting in my official capacity. You can trust me. The guests’ couch, on the other hand, is all about informality and coziness: Make yourself at home, it says, never mind the audience and those silly cameras.
The advantages of the couch format are multifold. Guests can not only be seen from head to foot, giving us a sense of their physical presence, their posture, and even their choice of shoes; they can also use the space however they want. They’re free to hump the couch, as Al Green did in a Daily Show interview earlier this year, or jump up on it and make asses of themselves, like Tom Cruise on Oprah last May.

In the last few years, The Daily Show has brought on guests who would otherwise be more likely to appear on CNN or C-SPAN than on Letterman or Conan.
In The Book Standard, Jessa Crispin argues that TDS is the most influential television show when it comes to selling books: Jessa ♡ Jon: How The Daily Show Does the Book Thing Right: “Appearances by Seymour Hersh for Chain of Command, Reza Aslan for No God But God, Jim Wallis for God’s Politics and Steven Levitt for Freakonomics all led me to buy each of those books within the week. Hell, it even made me give Thomas Friedman another chance with The World Is Flat.”
Overall, TDS seems to be heavier on the authors and wonks than on the celebs these days. In the first 5 shows in the new studio, Jon interviewed Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (Washington Post), Michael Isikoff (Newsweek), Bernard Goldberg, Matt Taibbi, and Marci Hamilton (Cardozo). All are journalists or authors. None are entertainers or celebrities. OK, tonight, Jon will interview Billy Bob Thornton, who is also on Late Night with Conan tonight. TDS hasn’t gone all hard news on us.
But for the guests who are not used to being on television– the authors, reporters and analysts who won’t be on Letterman or Conan any time soon– sitting behind the conference table may be more comfortable and may make it easier to interview people who aren’t on their fourth talk show of the day. Will Ferrell and David Cross will find a way to be funny whether it is sitting on a couch or behind a desk.

Blogging about blogging

Blogging is so many different things to different people and includes many different ways of using blogs that it is difficult to peg down any single rule or lesson. This post will attempt to bring together a bunch of links and ideas that I’ve seen over the last few weeks.
The Dangers of the Personal Blog
The biggest danger of having an identifiable personal blog is the negative impact it may have on one’s career. Getting Dooced may become more common as more people blog from and about work, since labor law offers few protections for bloggers.
Today, we get a view from both sides of an employer firing an employee for the employee’s blog posts. In today’s Times, writer Helaine Olen describes her reasons for firing her nanny, based on reading the nanny’s blog: The New Nanny Diaries Are Online: “Within two months of my starting to read her entries our entire relationship unraveled. Not only were there things I didn’t want to know about the person who was watching my children, it turned out her online revelations brought feelings of mine to the surface I’d just as soon not have to face as well.”
This being the internet, the former nanny posted a response: Sorry to Disappoint You: “If you have come to this little blog today looking for prurient details of a “nanny gone wild” and another “nanny diary” detailing the sordid life of a family she works for, I am very sorry to disappoint you. Contrary to an essay published in the Style section of the NYTIMES, I am not a pill popping alcoholic who has promiscuous sex and cares nothing for the children for whom she works with.”
Follow-ups to this story at Bitch Ph.D and Pandagon.
A pseudonymous essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education warned potential college faculties members about the dangers of blogging: Bloggers Need Not Apply

A candidate’s blog is more accessible to the search committee than most forms of scholarly output. It can be hard to lay your hands on an obscure journal or book chapter, but the applicant’s blog comes up on any computer. Several members of our search committee found the sheer volume of blog entries daunting enough to quit after reading a few. Others persisted into what turned out, in some cases, to be the dank, dark depths of the blogger’s tormented soul; in other cases, the far limits of techno-geekdom; and in one case, a cat better off left in the bag.

The AP also took this angle: Blog it now, regret it later? “Blogs are everywhere — increasingly, the place where young people go to bare their souls, to vent, to gossip. And often they do so with unabashed fervor and little self-editing, posting their innermost thoughts for any number of Web surfers to see.”
But the personal blog is not the only way to use reverse chronologically posting things to a web page. For individuals and companies, the blog is a way of keeping track of and categorizing new information and sharing that with co-workers, clients, or potential employers.
The upsides of smart blogging likely outweigh the dangers of imprudent blogging. Let’s look at two general ways of using blogs for good:

  1. Knowledge Management
  2. Communication and Shameless Self-Promotion

The Private Blog: Knowledge Management
Posting relevant links to a blog is the easiest way of filing such information. It gives you an archive by date and by subject and is searchable. At the job I had immediately before starting law school in 2002, I launched the use of blogs to keep track of information. If nothing else, I found it very useful. Of course, a blog is not the only way to do this– a wiki or expensive software may be used for the same purpose, but with blogging, it is obvious when the information contained within is dated.
These blogs are not meant to be posted to the internet as a whole. Living on private servers or behind password protection, these blogs will not have the same potential external impact as a public site, but may be substantially more useful, as private bloggers do not have to worry about the rest of the world reading their posts.
Bruce MacEwen, Adam Smith Esq: Blogs As KM Platforms: One Result Is In

After six months or a year, your firm would have a valuable—and proprietary to you—knowledgebase in, to my mind, a near-perfect format: By default, sorted chronologically so that whenever “timeliness” is deemed important, it’s automatically presented in that format; archived by category so that subtopics can be immediately zeroed in on; and open to comment threads so that the author’s first draft is not necessarily the last word, and ideas can be refined through interchange. Even better, no one has to be trained to create and maintain a blog; as a Sun Microsystems analyst observed, “they’re like pencils and paper; people know what to do with them.”

Blogs may not only be easier to use than specialized software, but also much cheaper.
Keeping a constantly updated flow of information is valuable. The value of transparency and a flow of information can make blogs a useful tool on the public web, as well.
The Public Blog: Communication and Shameless Self-Promotion
Robert J. Ambrogi: Blogging’s contrarians: “”As sure as thesis breeds antithesis, blogging’s popularity within the legal profession is drawing some to question its value, mostly with regard to marketing.”
The more transparently the blog is used for shameless self promotion, the less valuable it will be as a tool for that purpose. Simply putting forward well-written information is the best way to make a good impression.
In Between Lawyers Roundtable: The Future of Legal Blogging, Tom Mighell elaborates on how lawyers can use blogs to promote their practices: “By publishing regularly updated content in your area of practice, you can become known as a ‘go-to’ person in that field. Clients and would-be clients will send you work because of the valuable information you provide to them, and other lawyers who read your blog will refer work to you because you are a trusted authority in that area of law.”
Kevin Heller emphasizes the importance of having an authentic voice and not trying to be obviously marketing, “Fundamentally, blogs are about connecting with others, not shilling”
For example, Wired editor Chris Anderson addressed concerns about the magazine’s subscription policies on his blog: Wired subscription concerns

I normally don’t delve into my day job here, but I’ll make an exception today for expediency’s sake. On Friday, the SF Chronicle’s consumer-rights columnist ran a piece about complaints from Wired subscribers that they were getting threatening letters from a collection agency when they let their subscription lapse.

Without using his blog, Anderson would have had to wait until the next issue of Wired or edit his response to fit the constraints of a letter to the editor in the Chronicle.
For aspiring writers seeking to break into a different field, a blog is a cheap and easy way of getting noticed.
Gawkerist blogged about Gawker and eventually got a job at Gawker Media: Nick Denton Finally Pays Us to Stop Blogging: “Many correctly guessed that Gawkerist was a stunt to attract attention and finagle work through nontraditional channels. What I didn’t necessarily expect was that the first people to guess this (on day 2 actually) would be everyone at Gawker Media.”
Jeremy Blachman managed to turn The Anonymous Lawyer from a blog into a book deal. I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of people who have managed to use a blog as an entrée to a book deal, paid blogging gig, or simply a better job vastly outnumbers– by an order of magnitude– the number of people fired for indiscriminate personal blogging.
However, these two examples of people who managed to turn their blogs into something more lucrative were both anonymous. Those of us who are looking for work while blogging under our own names may be creating more problems for ourselves with pointless non-proofread posts that have no worthwhile conclusion.
(also posted at AndrewRaff.com)

Anheuser-Busch takes Hungary

The AP reports that Anheuser-Busch won in the latest counrty to weigh in on the long-running trademark dispute over the Budweiser trademark: Anheuser-Busch Wins Latest Court Battle: “A Hungarian court has ruled in favor of the St. Louis-based brewer, ordering cancellation for Czech beer-maker Budejovicky Budvar’s use of the “Bud,” “Budweiser Budvar” and “Budweiser Bier-Budvar” labels in Hungary”
Previously: More Budweiser TM, Beer, Branding and Human rights, This trademark’s for who?