Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Nightmare on Memo Street (Pt. 1)

Most 1Ls have a memo due sometime during the first semester. Unfortunately law school has this idea that you should be doing some of your work without the use of LEXIS and WESTLAW. This is a rather dumb idea, since we will almost always be using them in the real world and when we aren’t, my 5th grade library skills will probably do the trick.

Luckily for me I am a slacker. Sometime before the final weekend to work on the memo we got access to LEXIS and WESTLAW. My writing teacher figured everyone was basically done with their research anyway. Not me, I hadn’t really started and this was rather awesome! I didn’t have to do book research.

This is where the good part of my story ends. Since I had not started the memo the weekend before it is due I decided that it’s probably not a good idea to get wasted and go out. As you will find out I should have. I worked diligently and was making a lot of progress; I would even say the memo was good. AND then it happened, the memo writer’s worst nightmare:

I went into my writing professor’s office hours the day before the memo was due. I had some trivial questions. But then I asked her a content based question. In responding to my question, she revealed that I put the central balancing test in the wrong part of the statute and that I would probably do better if I started over to fix the mistake. I still disagree with her opinion and think it makes far less sense than mine, but since SOME of the courts agreed with her and SHE was grading my paper, I decided that at 3:00 p.m. the day before the paper was due, I needed to scrap most of the memo and start over.

THIS SUCKED BALLS. I do not recommend writing a ten page research paper in less than a day, especially when you need to redo the research.

I scramble to get the new cases together and start writing. I can’t honestly say this was my best work, but I needed to write something. Around 10:00 p.m., I have about six pages and decide that I need more cases. So I sign on to LEXISNEXIS on my laptop and find that LEXIS isn’t working. I try another computer in the library; LEXIS doesn’t work at this computer either. After consulting with some friends I realize LEXIS is down. Luckily LEXIS has a 24 hour support network. So I call them and they have no idea what’s going on. After being reconnected and trying get them to fix their service for 45 minutes, they tell me if I leave the library and go home LEXIS should work. I tell them that I will and not to worry about calling me about the library network.

I go home and finish the rest of the content without editing or putting the citations in. It’s 4:00 a.m. and I can’t think anymore. I decide to take a 2 hour nap and finish before it’s due at 10:30 a.m. the next day. I set two alarms and go to bed (sleeping through one, which I have done before, would be disastrous). Around 5:00 a.m., I get a call. WHO CALLS AT 5:00 AM? LEXISNEXIS of course, to tell me the library is now working. My two hours of sleep interrupted.

I woke up at 6:00 and put the citations in and edited to the best of my abilities before the memo was due. This was not my finest hour, but at least I had something that I could turn in. I thought the nightmare had ended, but the Nightmare on Memo Street continues with the revision . . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is slacking at its finest.


9:02 AM  
Blogger Roonie said...

That is totally slackerrific.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took the legal writing series when I was in lawschool: LW 1 (open/closed memo); LW2 (appellate brief); and LW3 (legal drafting). These were 1 crd hr courses that took 4 crd hr time. And, you will forget it all by your third year.

Oh! don't get to attached to Westlaw. It's easy to rack up $200+ in Westlaw searches. One summer intern cost the firm $2300, on easy book quality searches, on a nothing case; he wasn't invited back. Westlaw is only free in lawschool. But the free promo pens, tee-shirt, software, mugs, and notebooks are nice.

1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:30 PM  

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