Friday, April 22, 2011

You Betta Check Yourself...

Ramblings Post #186
"You betta check yourself before you wreck yourself". The words from the wise sage of my age, an O'Shea Jackson, better known by his public persona Ice Cube. It's a way of saying that overconfidence can get you big trouble. I'm no stranger to overconfidence, especially on those things I think I know. Okay, call it arrogance. And since I don't like myself when I get like that, and it's a slippery slope, I tend to stay low-key. But then there are moments like this...

Yes, that is a "Mike Tyson" quote....go figure.

I'm getting the big head.

My litigation class, and the subsequent exercise associated, is a pass/fail class. Now, they are handing out two A's in the section, but provided you showed up enough, turn in all the assigned work, participated and can actually show them you have a grasp of the material via the aforesaid exercise, you get to pass the class. Which is how the vast majority of the class views it. Way too much work for just a chance at an actual grade.

And since I have two other what look like very lengthy exams, a 24 hour and a 72 hour open book take home, I was all ready to just get on through this so I could concentrate on my "substantive" coursework. I really hadn't thought about being a litigator. Then my first assignment got good marks and I started thinking I could get the A, I got a little excited. I mean, who couldn't use an A on their transcript? But I figured it was wishful thinking.

Then it happened.

My "opposing counsel" had a mini-fit over a minor difference of interpretation, and insisted we all interpret the discrepancy his way, which happened to be in his favor. I had originally joked to the three people in my exercise, my trial partner and the two opposing counsel, that we simply script the whole thing out, pass and keep it moving. Then he decided he wanted to win. Needed to win. You could see it in his eyes. It was a must have.

So I'm not gonna let him.

So for the past two weeks, I've actually gone over this thing with a fine tooth comb. And since you've got either be a witness or juror for one other exercise besides your own, I've been to a pair that have been pretty straight forward if not basic. The exercise is a "fact pattern", designed to have issues both sides are supposed to exploit to show they understand the law and it's application. Our little two person teams will make the legal arguments, develop testimony, the whole schmear, as judged by an actual practicing litigator.

The whole idea of the problem as proposed is that there is no actual answer. Both sides are supposed to put on the best presentation and a group of individuals, typically the first year law students - who know none of the facts until we present them - act as a jury. In the end they reach a verdict and we get graded on if we hit all the needed parts to pass the class. It's a murder case, and its supposed to so ambiguous it could go either way.

Now, I think I've solved it. THINK, mind you. Solved it as in figured out who the real killer is. You see, when I was a kid, my mother got us a subscription to GAMES magazine, which my brother I fought over, and it included puzzles like the two minute mystery. So I've been looking at this as a big something to unravel. I don't think I was supposed do that though, so I got a problem.

What I'm trying to do now is figure out how to get through the session without getting smug. Okay, overly smug. Without playing to the imaginary cameras in the back of the room. Without turning into Vinny Gambini. Without believing that I have been anointed with the undeniable truth and will smite those who blaspheme against my message, as no weapon can be formed that can cleave the solidity of the word, as I have seen it. Which I have occasionally been prone to do. And have occasionally been wrong while doing it.

I mean, I could use the A, but I'm not sure what I want to do, how I want to play the whole thing will actually get it.

Some of my previous strategic decisions regarding law school have not gone over as well as I'd hoped (no complete disasters, I'm still IN law school). I so want to just get through this. Well, wanted. Past tense.

Now, because of my ego. I have to win.

Whoa. I DO have an ego. Well, there goes that theory.

Barkeep. A five hour energy drink and hot toddy.

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