Wednesday, February 21, 2007

whoa -- this is NOT a public defender blog!!!

the internet is creepy. it's a scary place. it's a bathroom stall with strange phone numbers and "so-and-so luvs so-and-so 4-eva" and bad poetry written all over it. it's a dark alleyway through which one would be wise to tread lightly, and where you can't always tell who is watching.

it's like this... i have (as do most bloggers) tracking code on the html of my blog template which lets me see who visits this site. do not fear, cyberstalkers -- my powers are limited. i can see the date and time of the visit, and the IP address and city from whence the visitor hails. i cannot see names, physical addresses, or any clear identifiers (although i have been able to figure out a few from time to time). anyway, i just logged into my tracking account to see who's checking in around here and i've gotten several hits recently from a site called, where i've been listed as a "public defender blog".

so, to anyone who has found this site as a result of this pdstuff blog, um, hi. and i hate to disappoint you, but i rarely wax philosophic on the nature of public defense. mostly because i'm NOT a public defender. i'm not even a lawyer! i am but a lowly law student with an internship at the PD.

nevertheless, i'd like to add that this internship is IMMENSELY important to me and (although my attendance at work lately has been rather interrupted by the client counseling competition -- hi boss!) i consider it to be one of the most important components of my legal education.

but in the interest of full disclosure, i reject the characterization of this site as a "public defender blog". these posts have been accumulating for almost four years now, and my limited exposure to the work that the PD does is a mere six months old.

however, whenever throckmorton pops up as a link on a blog about which i am not aware, it makes me nervous. not because i ever really write anything here that is private in nature or incriminating (or, let's face it -- that's of any real relevance whatsoever), but because it's a reminder that somebody's always watching. which of course i know, but i hardly consider this a blog of any significance to anyone other than me.

i really don't want to take it down, nor do i have the time to re-work it. so for now it will stay. right here in the open.


so, there you go. here i am. and here are you.

okay, bye.

Monday, February 19, 2007

client counseling: RIP...

on saturday, krista and i, the two-time pitt law client counseling competition champs, placed second in the ABA region 3 competition in baltimore.

to be totally honest (and i'm aware of how petty this may sound), second place feels like crap.

you see, last year when we won the school competition, we had gone into it with such low expectations that it didn't matter how we did at regionals. especially since we weren't the favored pitt team last year (but for the record, we did much better last year than the favored team). this year, however, we knew we were good at this and we knew we were capable of winning, so we wanted to win. in a very real way, we had an expectation that we'd go to dallas for the national competition.

for saturday's competition, the structure was different than last year's regionals. last year, there was a preliminary round consisting of three interviews, then the top two point-earners went on to a final round. last year, the two teams that advanced to the final round tied for first place. krista and i were one point behind them.

this year, however, there was the three-interview preliminary round, but the top six point-earners advanced to a semifinal round. the top three of those teams competed in the final round.

in the prelims, our first interview was pretty good, the second kicked ass, but the third was a total disappointment. it's not that we didn't do well, it's that the judges were really focused on contract law and on fees. the theme for the competition was family law -- not contract law. nonetheless, there was a contract aspect to the problem. but what really left us feeling unsatisfied was how focused the judges were on how we should have told the client how much our services were going to cost her. wha?!?! never in our experience in this competition have judges been so focused on that aspect. these judges wanted us to map out the cost of every possible option, something that honestly would have worked against the whole "counseling" aspect of the competition and that we've never been expected to do. so we honestly weren't sure how things were going to pan out for the semifinals.

but we made it -- we were one of the top six, and our fantastic coach told us that our semifinal round interview was "the best client counseling interview [he] had EVER seen." pretty awesome, considering he's been doing this for a long time. one of the judges even said that one of my recommendations to the client was "delightful". too bad these people were all from baltimore -- i'd have handed out my resume.

anyway, this brings us to the finals... ouch. the fact pattern was incredibly complex, and involved a lot of issues that, in our opinion, needed to be addressed. but as a result, krista and i ran out of time at the end, before we had a chance to do the wrap-up component.

it was the misspelled word on the resume, the failure to stick the landing -- the easy thing that allowed the judges to hand the crown to someone else. and it fucking hurt like hell.

especially since we've NEVER run out of time! that's a rookie mistake -- never in the two years that we've done this competition has timing been an issue! NEVER. which is why it was all the more awful when that was what kept us from winning.

and i say "kept us from winning" with some evidence -- two of the three judges in the final round very strongly indicated that had we not run out of time, we would have been the winners. and that makes losing all the more painful.

i shouldn't complain. really i shouldn't. we performed incredibly well -- i'm so proud of us. krista was fantastic. i was fantastic. we were an amazing team and that feels great. but today, as i was sitting in my family law class, learning about valuation for the purpose of equitable distribution, i literally had to hold back tears because my mind kept thinking about that moment when the judge cut us off because we had run out of time. i really wanted to win. second place isn't so great.

we got back home at about 2:30 in the morning, after an exceptionally long day and a drive through curvy roads and blinding snow. the weekend was emotionally exhausting on a lot of levels, and krista and i had to steel ourselves against not only the pressures of the competition, but a particularly odd and unexpected aspect of the trip, something that is really too juvenile to go into on this blog. what is worth mentioning, though, is that donny and andrew, the other pitt team who traveled to baltimore for the competition, were amazing with their support and their knowledge and their company. and kevin, "our" coach, was seriously incredible.

oh! and one of our judges, who represents indigent defendants, told me after the preliminary round that he thought i'd make a really good criminal defense attorney, and given that he had about an hour of exposure with me, i was pretty psyched about that. also, one of the judges in the final round referred to krista and me as being "future public defenders"!!! hooray! i guess that means i'm on the right track!

all in all, krista was the best client counseling partner ever and we consistently got compliments on our teamwork and our ability to balance each other and work together. we made an amazing team. we make an amazing team! there's a lot to be said for that.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

sNoW dAy!!!

wow! a real live snow day! from college!

okay, so it's not a full day -- the university cancelled all classes from 4:00 p.m. today until noon tomorrow (including law school classes!), but i only have morning classes tomorrow, so it's good enough for me!

to celebrate, i baked some banana bread (to do something productive with the sad sad looking brown bananas in my kitchen), i'm gonna watch some episodes of the sopranos, and knit!

oh, by the way, krista and i won the school's client counseling competition...again! we defended our title, and will go for the big win at the regional competition in baltimore on saturday. the whole scene has been quite an adventure for k & me. to say that it's all been incredibly worthwhile isn't quite the truth. if anything, it's been a lesson in choosing our battles, but as with most things, krista and i will come out on the other side better for it.

or something.

gooooooooo snow!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

dungeons and dragons...

no, this isn't to be a disclosure of a new-found geekdom. the dungeon in question is the basement in my old-as-the-steel-industry building. the dragon in question is my weird, uncontrollable, and irrational spurts of anger that seem to be haunting me these past couple of weeks. i really hope this is attributable to stress and isn't indicative of a new personality development. but i digress.

my intentions with this post are to write about how in the middle of having one load of clothes in the dryer and another in mid-rinse cycle in the washer, both laundry machines in the basement stopped working. kaput! of course, i got pissed off. PISSED! and started swearing and storming around, my head full of images of draping two loads of laundry, one that includes sheets and a blanket, over any surface in my apartment, only to have two stupid cats decide to make them into a playland. grrr...

now, these laundry machines are old. way old. and the dryer is pretty much on its last leg. but given that both machines went out, the probable culprit was a blown fuse and not machine error. but i didn't really feel too keen on snooping around the basement fuse boxes, trying to figure out which one went to the laundry room, especially given that it sounded like my landlord was at home, and i didn't want to suddenly immerse him in darkness by playing with the fuses. so i called him.

and there was no answer! guh! i left a long message, and then waited about half an hour to see if he'd call back. then i started to get antsy about my clothes sitting downstairs in various degrees of dampness, so i grabbed some extension cords and journeyed to the basement.

...and that's why there's a big chain of extension cords running from one side in the basement to the other providing power to the laundry machines. and now i'm much less pissed off.

oh, and my landlord did call back while i was rerouting the power supply. he suggested that we all start doing our laundry against rocks in the backyard. it may come to that, i fear.

* * *

look, i realize this post is next-to-worthless, okay? i just wanted something other than a link to an article about mat herpes to be the first thing people read when they click on this blog.