2006年1月26日 星期四

My little office

My summer internship is in a patent boutique firm in Falls Church, VA.

The firm is known for "wine and dine"--they usually have good food and party.
The people were also kind and welcoming.

In fact, I was surprised how easy-going the people are. I was expecting a more harsh, people-as-slave working environment. But the hours are reasonable, and people seem to have normal lives.

Last weekend the firm had a 3 day trip to Rocky Gap, MD.
The place is a resort, with a golf course, a lake, some biking tracks and a pool.
I went bass fishing (got 6 fish) and paint ball shooting (漆彈射擊) both were new to me and interesting.

All and all I'm quite happy with my summer internship.

2006年1月25日 星期三

My schedule of this semester


除了照例有15個學分 (大約每週需K書30小時),這學期還要申請暑假實習 (約丟出上百封履歷,被reject 99次)。

第一項功課是一次練習oral argument (一週後,演說三分鐘,資料20頁),另外有兩個書面brief。一個是motion brief (兩週內,4000字),一個appellate brief (再兩週內,字數不詳)。


每一個brief交出去之後就是口頭辯論。Motion brief之後是課堂辯論(在DC的地方法院,由三位法官評審),Appellate brief之後是1L的全校辯論賽("Moot court")。

Moot court 共三輪,最後約10%的學生會被選進Moot Court Board。

春假前開始journal competition。每個人發一個包裹。根據包裹裡的資料,四天內寫出一篇motion brief。基本上這四天不用睡覺。

根據你的寫作能力,再加權學業成績,大約有10%的人會被選進學校的五個期刊board。最優秀的進Law Review。

春假,想去佛羅里達Disney World。Anyone?

春假後就是期末考了。期末考什麼狀況請參照 The end of first semester.


除此之外,當然還要排時間參加舞會、clubbing、跟事務所面試等等有的沒的事 (別人啦)。

我覺得我們學校今天可以爬到TOP 20的位置,以及它的學生出去有一定的口碑,課程的挑戰性


2006年1月20日 星期五

The anticipation of grades

Today, at 5PM, is perhaps the most important moment of my entire law school career.

It's the time the first-semester grades are announced.

The anxiousness flew in the air. Professors after professors gave their "prep talk" at the end of each class, emphasizing how unimportant the grades are and how students with unsatisfactory grades should not lose their faith in law school. They would share their little stories, about how worried they were before the grades were published, but how insignificant the grades became after they look back many years later.

But of course we all know, the more they play down the importance of grades, the more important the grades actually are.

Apparently not too long ago, the school used to publish the grades, at once, on the wall of records office, AKA "the whaling wall." Students would crowd in front of the whaling walls and stand tall and long to find their grades. Students would look for their grades as anticipated as wives and kids comparing the numbers of whales their husbands have killed.

Nowadays they send grades online, which greatly diminishes the excitement.

Because of my Taiwanese education, which focuses mostly on one big test and cares little on GPA, I'm usually not a grade-sensitive person. In fact, I almost care too little about my grades. But after all the professors gave us those "cheer up" talks, I'm starting to feel the stress.....

Now, in about six minutes, I'll be able to see the value of my semester-long effort, and the value of myself in the prospective legal market.

Five minutes.....

Four minutes.....

2006年1月17日 星期二


1. 課業成績在班上前半段
2. Apply for summer internship。最好是有薪水的。
3. 完成寫作課滿意的motion brief跟appellate brief。
4. 參加Journal competition。不求Law Review,只求增進寫作經驗。
5. Mock trial報名已經截止,要參加Moot court competition嗎?
6. 春假--Florida 或 Spring internship?

1. 睡覺
2. 運動
3. 放輕鬆. Relax, Relax.

2006年1月13日 星期五

Another complaint to Bennington ﹝給房東的一封抱怨信(2)﹞

Dear Amy,

Unfortunately I had to complain to you about relatively the same issue in such a short period of time. As I type this letter, I am again locked out of my door waiting for the locksmith.
It is midnight now, so I do understand you do not provide spare key during this period of time. That is not the issue here.

The fact is as below: yesterday I requested a repair of my dryer and the door light. The workers apparently efficiently finished the job today before I come home. Unfortunately, when they left, they locked both the upper lock and the lower lock. I only have the key to the lower lock since I moved in. Thus I am locked out now.

You may ask, if I didn’t have the key to the upper lock, why didn’t I request a key for the upper lock before this ridiculous accident happened? In fact I did request a key at the time when I first moved in. I (orally) requested a key from Hamid (the leasing manager), who walked through the apartment with me and promised to provide the missing keys to me (and my two other roommates) before he turned over the apartment. Those keys were never produced and I never bothered to re-request the key. Instead I only lock the lower lock ever since. Locking only the lower lock has never caused me any problem, until now, four days after the first time I called the locksmith.

If you (or Hamid) argue that I should have re-requested the keys and put the request into written documents, and if you argue that I have no proof that I’ve ever requested those missing keys, I would not be able to counter-argue because your statement is true. I do not have any evidence except the fact that none of the residents of Apt# 1419 ever received the key of the upper lock (therefore we couldn’t possibly locked the door from outside). I have no concrete support of my request of keys, except the common sense that residents would have requested all applicable keys before they move in.

You may find my recurring complaints annoying, or even suspicious. But I assure you that I do not enjoy being locked out of my apartment, at the midnight, waiting for the locksmith for almost an hour and a half by now. I do have personal business that I found more important than asserting frivolous claims. And I do hope you agree that the best way to prevent this kind of situation happening again (to any future resident) is not by holding the responsibility on the residents to relentlessly pressure the leasing office to generate the keys, but by holding the responsibility on the leasing office to spontaneously provide all keys before residents move in,.
Because I have never obtained the key to the lock locked by Bennington’s workers, I hereby request the reimbursement of the locksmith fee $160 (late night + difficult lock). Receipt and work order provided upon request.

I would also like to note that Shawn has been very friendly and helpful in this incidence. She could testify that I was indeed locked out of my door twice in 4 days, that I did not create these claims just to deduct my rent.



2006年1月8日 星期日

Life is like a shit sandwich

When I was a child, I had an unconventional English teacher John. John likes to say: “life is like a shit sandwich. The more you eat, the less is left.” If life is a shit sandwich, then New York is the “Subway”—the biggest sandwich store on earth.

Lots of shit happened in my 5 days tour in NYC. To begin with, when I first arrived New York, I discovered my sublease room had a disgusting bathroom. It was a bathroom shared by three students but cared by none. There was grease on the floor, the shower curtain curls and sticks to anything that touches it (including human body).

The shit meter heightened when we started to use the metro. The smell and dirtiness of the underground system reminds me in which city I am. I’m always surprised how adventurous Americans can be to advance technologies and change business models, but at the same time be so careless to details and administrations. Americans can build the most complicated financial transaction system on the ground of lower Manhattan, but they can’t keep a safe and clean metro system under. Dust everywhere and the water never plumbs fluently. I used to be ashamed of the dirtiness of my own bathroom, but my pride was restored in New York. In comparison, my bathroom is not the dirtiest in the world.

The shit meter peaked at Time Square station. I need to change trains at Time Square Station so I walked to the elevator between the platforms. The elevator door opened. I stepped one foot in. And I stepped back and run. There was shit in the elevator. Human shit. Squeezed, already-stepped-on, aged human shit. The smell of the shit infiltrated the station, and pedestrians who were rushing to join the New Year count down at Time Square.
Of course there were good memories in New York. I even felt like Carie in Sex and the City as I type Carie-like lines: “Is it harder to find a New York metro station with a clean elevator? Or is it harder to find a New York man who can keep his shit in his bathroom?” New York is such a grand city that throws all kinds of pretty and ugly things into your face.

Perhaps the most memorable stop was at where World Trade Centers once stood. The place is now called Ground Zero. Where skyscrapers used to stand is now hallow. But memories prevailed and new meanings implanted. Looking at the now-empty scene behind the fence, I couldn’t help reexamining the purpose and priority of my life. And I thought that was the perfect way to start my new year.

As the new year begins, I hope everyone can start from Ground Zero, and step out of any old shit. I would also revise John’s favorite line: “Life is like a sandwich. If you eat enough, eventually you’ll enjoy it.”

Poor Bennington Management﹝寫給房東的抱怨信(1)﹞


話說我剛從紐約回到DC時,在房間門口才赫然發現房間門被由內往外鎖了。這十分懸疑,因為房間門沒有鑰匙,所以我出門時從不關房間門,更不會鎖 房間門。在一陣敲敲打打之後,由於已近半夜,Bennington(我的公寓)沒有工人在,只好找鎖匠開門。鎖匠花了兩秒鐘開門,要價$85。


星期六我出門忘了帶公寓鑰匙,回家時已是PM 4:40分。我跟Front desk要我家的備用鑰匙,那個死女人居然不給我備用鑰匙!她說因為已經過了PM 4:30,manager都已經下班了,她不能給我鑰匙。我氣得手腳發抖。不幸兩位室友一在波士頓一在台灣,最後只好又找鎖匠。又是$85元大洋。

回到家看當初簽的契約,也沒看到哪裏寫 office hour之後就不能拿鑰匙了。話說回來,備用鑰匙不就是在office hour之後,大家想回家的時候用的嗎?哪有人會在office hour回家的?總之又讓我不禁對美國管理的低素質低效率大聲罵一次幹。

* * * *

以下是我的complaint letter:

To whom it may concern,

I am a resident of Bennington apartment. This is a complaint of the poor service of the front desk. Yesterday, 2006/01/07, at roughly PM 4:40, I asked the front desk to provide me the spare key of my apartment. I had used the spare key once before. The lady at the front desk, whose name I don't know, refused. She told me that there is a policy that after office hour (which ends at PM 4:30 on Saturdays), when the managers are off-duty, she cannot give me the spare key. Eventually the only thing the lady can do is to give me numbers of the locksmith. I had to call the locksmith to enter my apartment, at the cost of $85 (receipt provided upon request).

First, I failed to find that policy on my contract. The only relevant agreement I found was on p.4 of the Resident Service Directory "Who hasn't found themselves locked out of their apartment, usually with six bags of groceries in hand and a phone ringing inside? If it happens to you, we'll be glad to give you a key, though we'll need to see some proper identification first...." The language suggests a strong willingness to provide the spare key. In fact, the language suggests a scene NOT during office hours. Nothing in the text mentioned that the spare key is only provided during office hours.

Second, assuming such policy does exist, then what's the point of having a spare key? Residents usually do not need a spare key until AFTER office hours. They need to WORK during office hours. They usually go home AFTER office hours. The front desk is supposed to exist to serve residents to their convenience. But the purpose of the assumed policy provides convenience only to the administration, not to the residents. I doubt how many residents expect that they can only get their spare keys during office hours.

Assuming such internal policy exists, I would withdraw my complaint to the lady at the front desk, who was merely strictly obeying the policy, and not doing anything else.

Unless there is any evidence that shows the "office hours" policy was agreed upon, I request a reimbursement of my $85 payment. Reciept provided upon request.