Researching and writing by brief was a lot of fun. What made the spring brief awful was how it terrorized my schedule.
The law school administration and professors seemed completely unaware that the 1L spring brief was due: professors piled on work and the school scheduled tons of ‘special lunchtime events.’
One of these events was a Minnesota Supreme Court oral argument. It was so poorly attended that ushers made us move towards the front so that the law school auditorium wouldn’t look as empty.
I’m glad I went – the Justices were hilarious:
Defendant’s Lawyer: “It wasn’t a long time ago when I was in this very same room but up there, watching these poor lawyers getting grilled…”
Justice: “Welcome back!”
Defendant’s Lawyer: “This is an instance where the Plaintiff’s are throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks.”
Justice: “But Plaintiffs get to that!”
There were several embarrassing moments for both attorneys:
Justice: “This thing you quote on the first page of your brief…I couldn’t find it anywhere in the record. What are you citing here?”
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: “Oh, well, that’s a post-it note in my kitchen.”
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: “I took a call in my kitchen and I wrote notes down on a post-it note. It’s still in my kitchen.”1
Later, the Justices asked the plaintiff’s lawyer to find something else in the record.
Plaintiff’s Lawyer: “It’s in the Holiday Inn parking garage, your honor. I left my copy of the trial testimony in the car. I guess this is a lesson to the students of what to bring to court!”
The defendant’s attorney was also caught in an embarrassing moment when he was asked what the standard of review and procedural posture for the case was. The attorney artfully dodged the question, but one Justice would not let him get away without answering:
Justice: “Wait, you’re not answering my question. I want to hear you say it. What is the standard of review here?”
There was a Q&A session after the oral argument:
Student: “How do you decide who writes the briefs?”
Justice: “We arm wrestle!”
Female Justice: “And because we are females we always win!”
Female Justice #2: “Actually, we prefer Rock, Paper, Scissors.”2
Even though I could have dropped everything to work on my brief, I’m glad I made time to go to the oral argument and CLE class. My theory is that I’m going to be even busier as an attorney, so I can’t get into the habit of dropping obligations and routines every time life gets busy. I think that’s a bad habit to pick up in law school.
This past week felt like a vacation compared with the packed schedule of Week 7.
I forgot how pleasant and breezy law school is when I finish most of my reading the weekend before classes. Holler. I had no major obligations outside of Wednesday’s 6-hour Fee Committee meeting, so I had plenty of time to, well, sleep. I slept in 14-hour stretches. It was glorious.
Thursday was the day of The Crash, when my chair broke in class. It sent both me and a classmate to the floor. Hilarity ensued.
On Friday, it was apparent that half of the school started Spring Break early. Attendance was so bad in Crimlaw that the professor suspended the Socratic method and just asked for volunteers. I spent most of the class ignoring the rants of the other section and coding for the new layout.
And now I start my 1L spring break. Vöt!
1This is paraphrased but yes, the attorney cited a note in his kitchen. It was so shocking that I wasn’t sure I would write about it…
2 The Justices went on to say that the cases are preassigned at the beginning of each term. If a Justice does not have enough votes then the case goes to whomever feels most strongly about it, based on seniority.