Pushing Words Around a Page

August 8th, 2010

While editing the the latest issue of the law review, I have grown a new appreciation for the work of editors everywhere. I don’t work with the grammar and the text, just the formatting. It is odd how this is all divided, but while I may notice errors of grammar and fix them, mine is to find the widows and orphans in the text. What I have come to realize is that pushing even one small thing around the page, shifting the spacing within a single line, entering a soft return to break an html link where I want it, will screw everything up. Suddenly, five or six orphans spring up on the next few pages. These things quickly cascade throughout the whole document. I don’t even really know why all these orphans appear, the change I made should not have shifted lower lines, it is often in a footnote, broken off on the next line… I look around, and I can hear Word 2007 laughing at me.

This, I think, has nothing to do with law. At the same time, it has a great deal of potential application to the law.

Just a Thought…

August 5th, 2010

My perception of the quality of Microsoft products would be improved if, when forced by circumstance to use Word 2007, I could select text without it crashing every fourth time. Click and drag selecting is pretty basic, and while I know this is an outdated version of the software, I would have hoped they had that worked out by now. If I didn’t have a publishing company dictating the software, things would be going much faster right now.

Law School and Debt

July 3rd, 2009

The NYTimes today has an article about an aspiring lawyer who amassed over four hundred thousand dollars of debt. The New York state bar denied him admission based, essentially, on the size of his debt. The story is itself sad, as reading it entails playing witness to a man who did what might not have been sensible, but was definitely determined and inspiring, in pursuit of his dream.

But it is my continuing obsession with comment threads that causes me to write. This article already has over three hundred comments on it. Now many of them are about the absurdity of his being denied, in light of the other transgressions that practicing members of the New York bar have gotten away with. Well, that seems like a pretty good point. But there are two other dominant types, the first being of the “this proves lawyers and judges are evil” variety, all too common I’m afraid. Lawyers and cops always get judged by their worst members, and both professions have a spotty record for policing their own.

The other group attack the student loan program and the cost of education. Now, I’ll be the first to say that the cost of education has gotten too high. We’re in a situation where other countries have arguably better secondary education, and the one real advantage the American educational system had was its colleges. Now we’re putting those out of reach, and the ones that remain in reach are often places where you have to get a good education in spite of those around you. I’m not saying a good education is impossible at a lower tier state school, but it’s going to be a hell of a lot harder to get it.

So people take out loans to afford it, and then many have trouble paying it back, because you have to take out the same damn loans whether you major in accounting or social work. We do want social workers, right? We don’t all want to live in some warped Ayn Rand nuthouse, do we? So we need the loans, and we should really consider how much we charge the people who will be working lower paying jobs that we really need done. (Also, anyone reading this who’s going to be doing social work or other public interest work, there is a public service loan repayment program. Check it out.) But who in the hell are these posters talking about when they refer to lawyers getting quarter million dollar loans and then expecting to pay them back? Are these K-J.D. people? Because I have no idea how it would get up that high. If this is a mix of Stafford and Plus loans, you’re looking at around 7.5% interest averaged out over all of them. That’s going to be just under $20,000 a year to hold even. Sure, you can pay it pre-tax, but it’s still a big pill to swallow.

I’m going to save some more rant for later though. First off, I want to talk a bit about undergrad. Second, for some reason every time I’ve tried to save this draft the past three times I’ve written it, I got cut off at 440 words.

Edit: And it turns out to be the connection on campus.

Not Dead

May 11th, 2009

Two semesters down, and four to go. I’m starting to work on picking up the balls I dropped over the past nine months. Hopefully a little fiction writing over the summer, some camping, and some interesting legal work.

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On Textbooks

September 21st, 2008

Now that I am in law school, I find that most of my textbooks come from one of two publishers, Aspen and Thompson West (of the infamous Westlaw). You would think that as makers of textbooks, these two publishers would be largely the same. Not so. The key difference? Page thickness. When highlighting in an Aspen book, there is noticeably more page warping and color bleed through than with the Thompson West books. Ah the little things you find yourself noticing.

Raid!

August 30th, 2008

It looks like I left the Twin Cities just in time to miss them going all police state. It was bad enough that many of my friends are having their commutes completely destroyed, making it hard for them to get in to work and, you know, keep their jobs (just what the Republicans should be doing you know, they don’t already lead to enough job loss). The idea that these people are having their houses raided… I mean, at least it’s a creative end run around the 1st amendment I suppose. They haven’t yet freely spoken, or peaceably assembled, so you can’t just go in and complain about it in court. Also, holing them up in their house before you get the warrant, and then getting one only for the house next door seems a pretty easy one to knock down.

For a more qualified assessment, here’s someone who actually already has his JD.

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