Saturday, September 16, 2006



Summer is over and it's back to school.

It is not uncommon for law students to let their legal skills atrophy over the Summer. This is especially true if you're interning or clerking for a law firm. To help re-acclimate you to the new school year, How to Law School has put together the following materials to keep you sharp.

1. Two trains depart Pittsburgh at 10:00 A.M. Train A travels west at 55 mph, Train B travels northeast at 62 mph. Train A and Train B collide outside of Baltimore. Using the Erie Doctrine, explain how collision occurred, who is at fault? The law of which state should be applied? How did each train end up in the Baltimore-Metro area?

2. Using thirty-five words or less, explain how the Eleventh Amendment violates The Eleventh Amendment. How would Roscoe Pound draft a revised Eleventh Amendment? How would Ezra Pound? Show your work.

3. Using nothing but construction paper, glue, gauze pads, cotton balls and pipe cleaners, create a Federal Court personal jurisdiction board game.

4. Discuss and distinguish the differences between traditional Anglo-Saxon contract law and the theories underlying magical contracts in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Pay special attention to the elements of offer and acceptance.

5. Rent and view Bend over Babes I - VI. Which films meet Justice Stewart's definition of obscenity? Do the 'Bent over Babes' films (I through IV inclusive) constitute copyright infringement of the former works? Is that necessarily a bad thing?

BONUS QUESTION: Pursuant to Aztec custom, the losing side in an appeal was ceremonially put to death. Should the United States revive this custom? What about interlocatory appeals?

Saturday, April 01, 2006


How To Law School has adjourned for Spring Break. We'll reconvene in a few weeks.

Friday, January 27, 2006


The lifeblood of any law firm is the time sheet. The time sheet is where, you, the associate, will record your billable hours, thoughts and dreams. This is the single-most important function you have as an associate. You and your time sheet will become inseparable. Some overly obsessed associates have even been known to fabricate laminated pouches so the time sheet can accompany them into the shower.

Up until this point, you may have measured your day in 55 minute blocks (a class) or 30 to 60 minute blocks ( television shows). Now, you'll measure time in .1 (or 6 minute) blocks of time. Get ten .1's and you'll have an hour, get nine 1.0's and you'll have a day, reach 80000.00 and presto, a career!

Time sheets differ depending upon your employment. Some firms demand minute detail for every entry:

.1 letter to client re: OSHA documents needed for responding to Plaintiff's 11/7/05 Supplemental Demand for D&I;

Others may require only:

.1 letter to client re: documents.

For larger projects, time sheets can come very near equaling humanities finest, most beautiful works of art. For instance, a partner once described my time sheet on a motion for summary judgment as, "easily surpassing the heights attained by Michelangelo or Donatello. I actually cried when I read it and it still haunts me."

As a new associate, your time sheet will make or break you. Craftsmanship is important.

Sample time sheet for new associate, week 5:

.3 - Drank three large coffees

.1 - Urinate

.1 - Letter to client re: Deposition dates

.1 - Receive and review letter from Plaintiff's attorney re: extension to respond to discovery

.1 - Urinate

.2 - Renew senior partner's subscription to Juggs Magazine for Gentlemen

.1 - Urinate

.1 - Make pot of coffee

.7 - Review NYT's On-Line

.2 - Check box scores

.8 - Re-arrange office

1.3 - Phone call from college friend

.2 - Spill coffee/clean up spill

.2 - Conference with partner re: upping billable hours

1.1 - Internet search re: untraceable handguns/murder for hire

1.2 - Phone call to student loan company re: deferment (1.1 for hold time)

.1 - Phone call from student loan company/ no on deferment

.9 - Research help-wanted ads/part-time work

.1 - Resolve to bill more than required time in order to make partner

.8 - Get high score in on-line Tetrus tournament

.2 - Conf/ office manager re: bill for Big Beautiful Women downloads

.8 - Conf with other assoc re: how much work you have