One L(ove)

April 19, 2009

Sighs of Relief and Despair

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 9:29 am
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I

Ladies and gentlemen, the summer job search has come to an end. I will be interning fulltime with one of the justices at the Appellate Division, First Department in NYC this summer. The courthouse is extremely beautiful, both inside and out. Although the internship is not paid, at least I’ll get a wealth of experience. I’m really looking forward to it and am extremely excited. After work, I could go take the bus up to MoMA to watch the films that are played there. Also, the Strand Bookstore is less than a mile’s walk away. The Bryant Park Summer Film Festival will also be taking place soon. Now I have to find a good music store, preferably with a strong jazz collection. I can’t wait for the summer to start. 

This upcoming week is my last one at my current job. I’m going to really miss some of the people there. 

II

I had my oral argument for my Appellate Advocacy class on Thursday. You wouldn’t believe what happened before it. An hour before my argument was scheduled to take place, my car’s tire blew out. Can you believe that? My partner picked me up and we both went to campus to further prepare for our arguments. As we got on campus, we saw four police cars standing outside, along with an ambulance. One of our classmates, from the first round of arguments scheduled for the day (we were the third and last), came up to us and said that one of the girls from round 2 fainted while being questioned by the judges. We were in disbelief. Surely enough, a stretcher with a girl on it was wheeled out of the front door and passed right in front of me. I hope she’s doing well. It’s really stressful. You can’t help but to have deep respect for litigators. 

I’ve realized something. Following this approach towards oral argument will make your responses to judge’s questions efficient and effective: 

III

God has made me discover the works of John Cassavetes and Phillip Glass. And I’ve been on my knees ever since. I’m also getting into opera – uh oh. 

IV

Finals are two weeks away. I’m nearly done with my first year! This means that I have to change the blog’s name. Two L(ane Freeway)? haha…that’s horrible. 

V

I hate hipsters.

VI

I promise to update this blog as much as I can during the summer. 

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Currently listening to: LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

Recently watched: Tony Kaye’s Lake of Fire

 

December 15, 2008

She tapped her foot in the elevator and said, “If there was no such thing as music, there’d be no joy.”

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 10:58 pm
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I’m back!  My last final was today. Can’t believe that half of the first year is already done. It went by so fast!

So what did I do as I handed in the Torts exam? Left the law school, didn’t look back, and went straight to the Guitar Center near my work. I bought my first bass guitar. It’s the Squier Jazz Bass Affinity series model. It came in a package with simple instructions: “Stop Dreaming, Start Playing.” So I did exactly that. It includes a 15-watt amp, headphones, gig bag, strap, DVD Instruction, tuner, and a cable–all for $279 (including the bass, of course). I absolutely love it. I just learned how to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” haha. Only my two-year old nephew would appreciate that. It’ll blow his mind away completely. I plan to play this bass throughout the next three years and hopefully upgrade to a real Fender Jazz after graduation.

So after I bought the bass, I went straight to work. Even though I was gone for a couple of weeks, I didn’t realize how much I missed some of my co-workers. Some of the people thought I got canned, haha. After a brief celebration of what seemed to be a warrior’s return back home, I got bombarded with papers. One of the partners there, after finding out that I finished my last final for the semster, gave me great advice and encouraging words. Oh, I’ve got to tell you. While driving to the school in the morning today, the Northern State Parkway was jammed because there was a car on fire on one of the lanes ahead. It was 7:30 in the morning and I had an hour to make it to my exam (I made it to the test room at 8:20). Suddenly, I hear someone honking right beside me and calling out my name. I turned my head to see who it was. I couldn’t believe it. It was Ed, an attorney from the firm I work in. He’s a Hofstra Law alumni and absolutely such a great guy. I think if  there has to be anyone who prepared me to handle law school, it has to be him. Hands down. He told me that the only way to survive law school and to do well there is to have confidence. That’s it. Anway, I’ll be working there full-time this winter. I think I’m also going to request a case from the Unemployment Action Center tomorrow. Oh man, I also have to make an appointment with the Office of Career Service to have them look over my resume.

So now what? A whole month to myself. Hopefully, I’ll get to read some good books. Watch good films. Listen to good music. Have good sleep. Play music. Hopefully, I can dedicate time to my poetry this winter. I haven’t written a single poem in over a year and that frustrates me. I’ve looked at all the poems that I’ve written in the past and feel like destroying every last one of them. Besides that, I hope I get to spend a lot of time in the city. See some art. Hopefully, I’ll learn how to cook. I want to take care of my health. Learn French. Most of all, above anything else I desire, I hope to see that beautiful, smiling face. Sometimes I think I’m going to get hurt real badly and when it happens, it’ll be of my own doing. I guess that’s just my insecurities talking. But what would we be without our insecurities? They’re our personal prophets who write apocalyptic scriptures upon our conscience. These doomsayers explicitly warn that if we don’t heed them, we’ll lay down cobblestones that’ll create pathways to our heartbreaks. Quoting the title of a well-known jazz tune, while at the same time being fueled by the Beat-driven ethos/madness, leads to me to evoke some of the most holiest words a human being can ever utter: “So What”?

Currently listening to: Lou Reed – Transformer

November 25, 2008

32nd Annual NYU Public Interest Legal Career Fair

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 3:49 pm
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Vanderbilt Hall

Vanderbilt Hall

This is just a reminder that if you are interested in making a career out of public interest or are just looking for somewhere to work during the summer, make sure you register for the 32nd Annual NYU Public Interest Legal Career Fair. The last day of registration is on December 3rd at 3 p.m. The fair will take place on February 5 & 6 at NYU School of Law, specifically at Vanderbilt Hall, 40 Washington Square South, between MacDougal and Sullivan Streets. It is the largest fair of its kind in the country. About 200 organizations are going to be there and you can get an interview there as well for internships and post-graduation jobs. If you are a 1L and are not interested in a career in public interest, I’d still recommend you to sign up (it’s for free!) as a back up to gaining legal experience during the summer.

Currently listening to: M83 – Saturdays = Youth

November 23, 2008

Contracts is Over!…For Now

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 8:07 pm
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The reading assignment this semester for my Contracts class has officially come to an end (next semester I have Contracts II…it never ends). Even though I found this class to be really interesting (after Torts, of course), I am kind of relieved. Not only does it indicate that the semester is nearly over (two weeks from tomorrow I have my first final) but being the guy who is the second-most-called-upon-person-in-class surely gives me a peace of mind. Because Contracts is my small section class, the chances of being called upon are extremely high. However, the distribution of questions asked to each student was far from equal. The only person who got it worst than I did is the one who sits right next to me. I tried my best not to make eye contact whenever my professor (who is really cool and down to earth by the way and I definitely see myself taking more classes with him in the near future, besides taking Contracts II with him next semester) asked a question, but when we both made eye contact…BAM! All over! Each time I couldn’t look away. It’s the perfect illustration of a “deer caught in headlights.” A prey paralyzed with fear right before the fatal attack by the predator. But, as sick as it may sound, I really had fun. In the first few hundred times of being called upon in that class, it was such a harrowing experience each time. However, now I feel as if I have developed a sense of confidence in what I have to say, no matter how wrong I might be. 

I recently came across this video in YouTube. It is a skit on Contracts by the Law Revue of George Washington University School of Law. I swear to you, this is exactly how my class is and I am just like the person in the green shirt at the very back:

One of my classmates told me that a small section Contracts class from Section B is merging with my class next semester since their professor is leaving for the semester to teach at Brooklyn Law. So that means that chances of me being called upon would be minimal right? I doubt it.

I realize that this is the time of the year that seniors in colleges around the country are applying to law schools. If you are one of them and read my blog, sorry if I’ve scared you. It’s not that bad (or is it?…muhaha). Oh that reminds me, if you are applying to law schools right now and are considering applying to Hofstra and have any questions concerning the school or just the application process in general, do not be hesitant to contact me and ask them. I usually don’t try to run away from those types of questions.

Currently listening to: Primus – Pork Soda

November 16, 2008

Let the Games Begin

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 8:09 pm
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Final Exam Schedule:

December 8 – Civil Procedure

December 10 – Contracts

December 12 – Criminal Law

December 15 – Torts

Usually I go into panic attacks but for some strange reason, I’m really calm right now. Either I’m confident or it hasn’t sunk in yet.

I’m watching Pineapple Express right now (I should be outlining!). I think the first ten minutes of that film explain service of process and Fed. R. Civ. P. 4 better than any Civ Pro casebook out there.

Currently listening to: Ramones – Ramones

November 13, 2008

Trichotomy of Globalization?

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 3:08 pm
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Exactly a month ago, I was privileged to attend a lecture by Harold Koh, the current dean of Yale Law School and also a preeminent scholar on international law. What brought him to Hofstra was a lecture series that was held by the law school in honor of the last presidential debate (which took place at the university). Dean Koh, who was one of the professors of Dean Nora, gave such an intellectually stimulating talk. He talked about how international law should play a great role in our governmental policies, how we should respect that field of law, and give it more credit than we usually do. He talked about the landmark case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and also proposed a plan of closing down Gitmo and how to deal with the prisoners there.

But what I found really interesting about his talk was the subject of globalization. He divided globalization into three:

Globlalization of Governance

Globalization of Freedom

Globalization of Terror

Dean Koh said that the first two types of globalization should unite in order to defeat the last. The United States should lead the governance aspect and should work on to regain its moral stature in the world. He pointed out that thirty years ago, when he worked in the government, there were few democratic countries as compared with non-democratic ones. But now, there are more democracies in the world than there are authoritarian ones. This makes me hopeful that if the trend continues, my children and their children will be living in a world full of democracies. This sounds highly idealistic but I do believe it is a near possibility. Now that the globalization of terror is a new threat to the globalization of freedom, the United States (through the globalization of governance) should promote the globalization of freedom by working to eradicate the globalization of terror. This seems like a neat formula but I, personally, do think that it’s too simplistic. I think it overlooks the root causes of a globalization of terror and doesn’t take into consideration the complexity of globalization as a whole. What about neoliberal governance of globalization? (Check out Pierre Bourdieu’s influential article “The Essence of Neoliberalism” in Le Monde Diplomatique) What about the waning influence of labor around the world? The ILO? While I think Dean Koh was providing a model for a political globalization, I think we still cannot ignore the impact of the model of socioeconomic globalization upon the political aspect since there is a fine line (sometimes, no line) between the social and the political. Whenever social relationships are established, they are bound to turn political. The factors of socioeconomic globalization highly impact the factors in globalization of terror. There’s evidence that some aspect of the globalization of terror stands in response to the neoliberal governance of globalization while at the same time standing against what is perceived as the Western governance of globalization. What my point is that globalization, as a whole, is nest made of webs – any attempt to simplify it with a nice little formula will only make a person lost within a prison of sticky threads.

P.S. Great news!: No more reading for Torts!

Currently listening to: Beck – Guero

November 6, 2008

Summer Jobs

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 3:14 pm
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From yesterday, finals are exactly a month away. Besides having this sense of an immediate assault of essay questions about to take place, 1Ls (first-year law students) are pressured to find a summer job related to the law. For most of us, this will be the start of our legal careers. While majority of big law firms do not usually hire first-year students as summer associates, there are other options available for us. Internships with public interest groups, smaller law firms, judges, and obtaining a research position with law professors are usually the traditional route for 1Ls. While working in the first summer in some place won’t determine your post-graduate career (this usually happens in the second summer), it would be wise to explore an area that practices a type of law you’re interested in. The second summer is going to be more intense because I’ve heard that law firms are cutting the number of summer associates they hire because of the economy’s state. But that would be the subject matter for a blog entry next year.

For this summer, I don’t know what to do. The Office of Career Services (OCS) at Hofstra strongly advised that 1Ls gain legal experience during this summer. I should make an appointment with my OCS counselor, update my resume, and start searching (hunting!) by the end of this month. I think it’ll be great to work for a professor and even a judge (imagine the depth of conversations!) but I really want to be in an environment this summer that is dedicated to one of my interests so I can figure out if it’s right for me. What are my interests? Labor & employment law, environmental law, international law, and, more recently, law & economics (uh-oh!). Although I already work at a law firm (as a file clerk though) in Mineola, I think I might leave it this summer if they are not willing to hire a first-year law student as a law clerk. Therefore, there are several options I’m considering:

1. Summer abroad program. I’m leaning towards doing a summer abroad program. It’ll be amazing going overseas (preferably somewhere in Europe), picking up a new language, eating different food, listening to different music, go sightseeing, and meeting different people–all while gaining legal experience, regardless if it’s in the corporate field or public.

2. Unemployment Action Center. I’ve joined Hofstra’s chapter of Unemployment Action Center. It’s a really cool organization run by students of seven law schools in the NYC area. What we basically do is represent real clients and argue that they should receive unemployment benefits from the New York State Department of Labor. Workers cannot receive unemployment benefits if they quit or they were fired. We basically have to argue in front of a judge that our client should receive the benefits because either that person was fired not for a good reason or that person quit because he or she couldn’t stand the work environment (for example, the worker might have been sexually harassed). I think it would be a fulfilling experience to work for the Center during the summer. However, I’m definitely going to be working on it this winter break and next semester.

3. Environmental organization. It’ll be nice to work for Earthjustice. I found out about it after doing a little research on one of my favorite persons ever: John Muir. He was the one who founded the Sierra Club. Earthjustice was known as the “Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund” when it was founded by a couple of volunteer lawyers in 1971. Recently (actually today!), I found out about the existence of Riverkeeper. It is dedicated to protecting the Hudson River, or as I like to call it “The American Ganges.” It’d be amazing to work for a legal team dedicated to protecting this sacred river. I wanted to go backpacking this summer but it doesn’t look like it since I have to dedicate that whole time to gaining legal experience. However, working for an environmental organization this summer would be ideal for that reason.

While I’m eyeing at the summer abroad program, the other options seem equally enticing. I’ll blog more about it after I’ve actually started the process of searching and decide where to work. If there are any advices and suggestions or great opportunities you know of, please be sure to let me know!

Currently listening to: The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland

November 2, 2008

Ruining Lives

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 12:35 am
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I handed in the memorandum of law I wrote for my Legal Writing class and am now feeling such tremendous relief. I went two pages over the 15-page limit but that’s expected since I’ve always believed quantity is greater than quality. This is the second-to-last assignment for the class but the last one is just adding small details to this one. Basically, the assignment divided the class in half by the students’ last names and called upon them to write a memorandum of law. One half had to write a motion for summary judgment for the defendants and the other half had to write a motion countering that motion since they represent the plaintiff. I, of course, represented the defendants. So what is the fact pattern of this case?

A worker, who happens to be the plaintiff in this case, was working on removing a billboard ad 30 feet above a roof of a building which is owned by one of the defendants. The worker’s job was to upgrade the steel frame and also remove an old ad from a billboard and replace it with a new one. In the process of removing the ad, the catwalk on which the worker happened to be gave way because it was rusted (this catwalk is owned by the other defendant, who also happens to own the billboard). While he fell through the hole in the catwalk, he suffered a great laceration on his right arm. Fortunately, a safety harness was provided to him by his employer and it prevented him from falling all the way down to the roof, meeting an untimely demise. But (of course it didn’t have to end there), there was a slack in the safety line and this caused the worker to fall ten feet more. Then the line stopped the worker from falling more with a sudden jerk, causing him to sustain three herniated discs to his lumbar spine. He brought action against the defendants under New York’s Labor Law sec. 240(1), also better known as the Scaffold Law.

The Scaffold Law gives workers an awesome amount of protection by making sure that owners and subcontractors provide a safe working area for them by preventing them from sustaining injuries that are elevation-related risks. It provides:

1. All contractors and owners and their agents, except owners of one and
two-family dwellings who contract for but do not direct or control the
work, in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting,
cleaning or pointing of a building or structure shall furnish or erect,
or cause to be furnished or erected for the performance of such labor,
scaffolding, hoists, stays, ladders, slings, hangers, blocks, pulleys,
braces, irons, ropes, and other devices which shall be so constructed,
placed and operated as to give proper protection to a person so
employed.
No liability pursuant to this subdivision for the failure to provide
protection to a person so employed shall be imposed on professional
engineers as provided for in article one hundred forty-five of the
education law, architects as provided for in article one hundred
forty-seven of such law or landscape architects as provided for in
article one hundred forty-eight of such law who do not direct or control
the work for activities other than planning and design. This exception
shall not diminish or extinguish any liability of professional engineers
or architects or landscape architects arising under the common law or
any other provision of law.

Now, I had to write a summary judgment which states essentially that the worker has absolutely no claim under the Scaffold Law. To write a summary judgment, the moving party must show that there are no material or triable facts and therefore, “as a matter of law” (when these five words are uttered, it lets you know that something tremendously important is happening that could either ruin your case or get a “pistol and wink” from the partners at your firm), the movant is awarded judgment in its favor after it has establised a prima facie case and the party that opposes the motion fails to produce evidence that there are indeed material or triable facts.

I divided my motion into two arguments: 1. The activity performed by the worker does not fall under one of the activities enumerated in the Scaffold Law; and 2. the injuries sustained by the worker was not due to a violation of the statute by the owners.

I argued the first argument extensively (13 pages!) since the fact pattern favors the defense here incredibly. According to cases such as Munoz v. DJZ Realty and Hatfield v. Bridgedale, removing a billboard ad is just “cosmetic maintenance or decorative modification” and therefore is not one of the activities enumerated in the Scaffold Law. The worker argued that his work was “alteration” which the Joblon v. Solow case defined as making “significant” physical changes to a structure. But I argued that it doesn’t since changing an outward appearance of a billboard is not making a significant physical change upon its structure.

The second argument was tough to prove for the defense so that’s why I dedicated 3 pages to it, haha. The Scaffold Law imposes strict liability upon owners and subcontractors whose violation of the statute is the proximate cause of a worker’s injuries. Also, New York’s Industrial Code provides that the safety line should be arranged such that a worker would not fall over five feet! Totally screwed here. With cases like Kyle v. City of New York (which held that even if safety harnesses safe a worker’s life and was inadequate, the owners are still liable and also that the owners did not ensure that the harnesses were attached to separate safety lines) in the plaintiff’s arsenal, I argued (apparently the one I love to make when I am cornered) that there is no evidence in the record to show that the owners didn’t ensure that the safety line was properly arranged and that the plaintiff cannot provide evidence based on mere wishes and speculation. What a weak argument!

The assignment was designed so the plaintiff’s side could wreck their brains over the “alteration” issue and, similarly, the defendants on the injuries issue.

After handing in the assignment and putting it in my professor’s inbox, I was utterly relieved. I found the assignment to be stressful, yet incredibly fun since I’m interested in labor and employment law. But (here we go again), I couldn’t help to imagine how it would be if all of this was real, if a worker really fell and sustained horrible injuries, if I was actually writing a summary judgment on behalf of the defendants who didn’t bother to check if the goddamn catwalk and safety line were in good condition. I imagined myself before the judge, arguing that the summary judgment should be granted in my clients’ favor. And when the judge says that it has been granted, and we all smile and pat each other on the back, I look to the other side of the aisle and see a guy totally paralyzed and worrying sick how he’s going to provide for his family. That kind of stuff breaks your heart because you know the douche bags you represent didn’t care to check if the safety devices were in proper condition. My Civil Procedure professor is a labor and employment lawyer and he represents defendants. He says the same thing, that he knows that some of his clients just didn’t care. I guess as a lawyer, you might feel such tremendous emotions because you know that in the back of your mind that the American legal system is based on the adverserial system. It’s a beautiful system (those of you don’t trust authority might appreciate this) since incredible power is put not into the hands of a judge, but the two opposing parties (for example, the judge does not bring his or her own expert but the parties do). The two parties basically duke it out with all that they’ve got and whoever presents a more convincing case, wins. This is how our legal system is founded. It’s basically your interpretation (story) of the facts or the opposing counsel’s version that is up for sale in the courtroom. Being a lawyer and knowing that makes you feel emotions in their highest intensities since you know that you play a great part in bringing about a loss to someone. This can’t help but to think of Robert Cover‘s starting sentences in his seminal paper “Violence and the Word”:

Legal interpretation takes place in a field of pain and death. This is true in several senses. Legal interpretive acts signal and occasion the imposition of violence upon others: A judge articulates her understanding of a text, and as a result, somebody loses freedom, his property, his children, even his life. Interpretations in law also constitute justifications for violence which has already occured or which is about to occur. When interpreters have finished their work, they frequently leave behind victims whose lives have been torn apart by these organized, social practices of violence. Neither legal interpretation nor the violence it occasions may be properly understood apart from one another.

Jesus! I wrote a lot!

Currently listening to: Sonny Rollins – Way Out West

October 27, 2008

Battered Woman Syndrome & the Bush Doctrine

Filed under: Uncategorized — galileehitchhiker @ 12:28 am
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The traditional view of the self-defense doctrine states that there is an imminence requirement before one can use deadly force. That is, a person is entitled to use deadly force when the threat of death or great bodily harm is imminent to that person. However, as the casebook Cases and Materials on Criminal Law (4th Ed.), edited by Joshua Dressler, points out on page 535 (believe it or not, I just turned around to see if my Legal Writing professor was standing behind me, ready to shout: “You didn’t Bluebook, you filthy s.o.b.!”) that some are seeking to abandon this requirement in both domestic and international law:  

Should the imminence requirement be abandoned in battered woman cases? President George Bush declared in 2002 that the United States “must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist client before they are able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction***.” The National Security Strategy of the United States, http://www/nytimes/com/2002/ 09/20/politics/20STEXT_FULL.html. If so-called “preemptive self-defense” is being conducted at the international level, is there any reason to deny the right to battered women to kill their “rogue” and “terrorist” partners before they are able to use deadly force?

Professor Jane Moriarty, while rejecting the Bush Doctrine as too extreme, defends so-called “anticipatory self-defense” (ASD). She writes that “[t]hose who favor ASD in international law do not restrict the doctrine to the moment when the missile is in the air.” Thus, for example “[p]ursuant to international law, ASD may be legitimately invoked if a targeted country has been victimized by prior attacks and learns more attacks are planned. When a prior aggressor threatens to commit future violence, international law treats the threat as real. So should domestic criminal law.” Jane Campbell Moriarty, “While Dangers Gather”: The Bush Preemption Doctrine, Battered Women, Imminence, and Anticipatory Self-Defense, 30 N.Y.U. Rev. Law & Soc. Change 1, 15, 25 (2005).

Referring to this passage, my professor calls upon one student to explain what “The Bush Doctrine” is. The kid explains it in a sentence or two. Then the professor asks him, “According to the doctrine, when should it be employed?” He answers: “Umm…whenever President Bush wants it to be.” At the time it struck me so funny and wise that I had a strong urge to run across the room (that can fit up to 200 people) in order to give him a huge bear hug. I decided against it, however, lest he interprets my approaching as either a threat or, God forbid, an imminent infliction of deadly force…

Currently listening to: Nico – Chelsea Girl

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