Litigation Batman Style

I have never wanted to be a litigator because I’m a baby when it comes to public speaking. I’m sure if you examined my childhood there would be explanations for this. Regardless, the following quote from The Dark Knight made me rethink litigation. I would appear in court if just to say this:

Sometimes, truth isn’t good enough; sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.

In what context could I say this?

Is it possible to deliver something better than “truth” in a system that so cherishes it? At what cost?

Super Bowl Prediction

When asked about sporting events I reply that I hope it’s a close game. Most of the time I don’t care about the teams involved. Even if my team is playing, I want the game to be close. I consider spending four hours watching a blowout a waste of my (very precious) time. I want something that will captivate me into the last few minutes. My standards for sporting events are no different that those for a good suspense story – an outcome that hangs on a twist of fate – an extra heave-ho from one team or the other – a four-leaf clover growing on the right side of the field.

With that said, and acknowledging that I honestly don’t care whether the Arizona Cardinals (9-7) or the Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) win, I pick the Cardinals to beat the Steelers by a score of 35 to 24.

What is your prediction? Do you care about the game or are tuning in for the commercials alone?

Movie: Frost/Nixon

I saw Frost/Nixon this afternoon at the reduced rate of $7. The movie was worth the time and money. I don’t know much about Nixon beyond the loss in the debates to Kennedy because he looked tired and the Watergate “blemish.” And I’ve never cared much about Nixon as his time was before my time. Regardless, the movie does a good job of doing what it set out to do – get me up to speed on what I need to know about Watergate to have an appreciation for the significance of Frost’s devastating interview.

Frost/Nixon frames President Nixon as a smart, calculating and well advised individual who was, for most of the movie, a more than worthy adversary for the fumbling Frost. But what is revealed in the final interview – the interview about Watergate – the interview where Frost gets his act together – is a weakened and regretful, but no less dedicated, Nixon. His face shows the burden carried by a man who has failed a country.

It was at this point that I thought how nearly impossible it must be for any president, good or bad, worthy or not, republican or democrat to carry the burden of their actions – and the effects those actions have on the American people. The presidency is an official office and the president is an official. No matter how regimented of an approach the man elected to that position takes, his conscience must be incredibly heavy at any moment. I’m not sure I would want to be in that position.

25 Random Things About Me

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged (to do it next). You have to tag the person who tagged you.

I was tagged into this meme via Facebook. Here are 25 random things about me:

1. I recently purchased a miniature grappling hook for my key chain.

2. My favorite television show of all time is The West Wing.

3. I’ve recently been reminded of an old nickname: Mr. Elite.

4. I love frozen chocolate chip cookies.

5. I will never believe you can beat me at golf until we’ve played 36 holes together.

6. Looks like I’m headed to Chicago to practice law. Or at least take the bar.

7. I have hiked the Grand Canyon twice. That’s enough for awhile.

8. I would like to live in a small log cabin in the northern reaches of the Adirondack region, write and hike. For a month a year. That would be cool.

9. I am an unforgiving driver who doesn’t realize his own faults. Follow the rules!

10. I have never broken a bone.

11. It is virtually impossible for me to memorize lyrics. I envy those who can pick up a song after listening to it one or two times.

12. I enjoy driving long distances. Either alone or with someone. It doesn’t matter. I like the feeling of “going somewhere.” I like that I might see something happen that no one else will see. If you ever drive past me, you may see me taking pictures out of my car window.

13. One of my favorite places to be is in an airport before my flight departs. Despite being around thousands of strangers, I feel very alone in airports. Nothing can touch me once I’ve passed through security. At that point in the trip, I can exhale, find a coffee shop and start reading.

14. I need to be more Rhett and less Ashley.

15. I will be happy if I end up practicing law, although I imagine that I will be happier if I can do something more creative. That latter, however, requires an equal amount of effort and dedication as does the former. I realize this. But in three years of law school I’ve been unable to fully kill-off that part of me that wants to explore. For some reason I’ve yet to figure out how to join the two interests – law and everything else – but one day… one day…

16. I have more than a few gray hairs. This is because I worry about things and sweat the small stuff. I have some learning to do.

17. I believe that teachers hold tremendous power and influence. As a graduate student I’ve had my share of good and bad teachers. The good professors captivate me, regardless of the subject. The bad ones can ruin even the most interesting topics. What makes a good teacher and a bad teacher is tough to say.

18. I don’t mind cold weather. I’m a tough guy.

19. I appreciate home more now than before.

20. I eat the ends of french fries and hot dogs now without even thinking about it. For many years I had a strict “no ends” policy.

21. No matter how much I like an apartment when I move in, I end up finding something wrong with it within six months. This makes me wary of buying a house.

22. I have never ridden on a motorcycle or a snowmobile.

23. I would never buy a suit from Banana Republic. I really don’t know why, though. It just seems like an odd place to buy a suit, regardless of the quality.

24. I don’t mind doing dishes. It’s relaxing.

25. I need to find a job! This should be #1.

Illinois Bar It Is

I don’t know if deciding on a state in which to take the bar and subsequently practice law was easy for most, but it was subtly grueling for me. There are many factors I can cite that have complicated the decision. First is that I do not yet have a job lined up. If I did, it would be a no brainer to take the bar required to start my job. Second is that I’ve spread my networking base and presence a bit thin over the past five years by working in Virgina and going to law school in New Hampshire, and now have to make adjustments and work harder to make up for my past.

With that said I’ve decided to apply for the July Illinois State Bar Exam. My intention is to practice in or near Chicago. I like the city very much, it is close to family, and many of my friends now live and work there. Further, if the decision is between the Illinois bar and the Michigan bar, I have more leeway in transferring my MBE score from IL to MI (3 year) than I do from MI to IL (1 year).

While the Feb 1st deadline is forcing my decision, it is by no means the reason for my decision. I have for a long time been undecided, but MI and IL have always been the forerunners unless there was something significant that compelled me to go elsewhere. That hasn’t happened, and if it does I’ll deal with it in due time.

For the immediate future, my focus is on finishing the Illinois application in the next three days, then diving into the job search.

Movie: Revolutionary Road

Couple falls in love. Gets married. Moves to suburbia. Has two kids. Man toils in a job at the company his father worked at for 20 years.

Revolutionary Road is not the portrayal of a happy family. The movie opens with a fight between Frank and April Wheeler on the side of Route 12 in Connecticut. Frank almost strikes April, but instead hits the roof the car instead. From this point on I found myself pushing myself back in my seat to get away from the hate that seethed from just beneath that which the Wheeler’s acknowledged to one another.

Whether the Wheeler’s had grown apart or had simply never loved one another does not matter by the end of the movie. It is clear that for them to remain together one of them will have to sacrifice so much of who he/she is that the changed person would no longer be who they were. This reminds me of a scene from Marley & Me where Jennifer Aniston’s character says that she never imagined she would have to sacrifice so much of who she was to be a good wife and mother. April simply seems not able to accept this, although her situation seems much more isolated.

It is sad to see Frank unable to accept how miserable April truly is. Is this a 1950s family dynamic insensitivity? Or is it something much bigger? Their problems seem much larger than his selfish approach to his family.

Nothing was bigger than the Wheeler’s to the Wheelers. Life was about achieving their dreams, but before they even realized they weren’t fulfilling their dreams they had sold out to suburbia.

This movie mad me think a lot about how impossibly hard it must be at times to be happy with someone else. It is hard from day to day to be happy alone, let alone caring for a spouse and children. There has to be a huge amount of understanding, trust, and effort visibly put forth. By no means am I saying that I don’t think it is worth it, but this movie cemented for me the importance of seeing the best in the person you are with. The importance of listening. The importance of not being scared to take a risk.

Final note: There was no mention of religion in this movie. It seemed like a deliberate statement. There is a default set of values and a community of support that comes along with being religious. Even if you are on the fringe, I believe just knowing it is there for you – believing that there is a God – gives you something bigger to turn to when everything you can see, touch, feel, smell, and hear makes no sense to you. I can only wonder how including religion in Frank and April’s lives would have changed the outcome of the movie.