Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Goodness of Fit

At church last week, the pastor gave a sermon about reality. One of the verses he pointed out stood out to me:

"Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
'This is the way, walk in it,'
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left."

- Isiah30:22, NKJ

Sometimes life throws you choices, and you don't know whether to turn left or right. Law school was one of those turns for me. There was a time that I thought God wanted me to go to law school. Maybe there was a reason why I was there even though I did not end up becoming a lawyer. After all, if I had not gone, I wouldn't have a book!

A few weeks before I withdrew from law school, my Sabbath school group leader presented us this quote by Arthur Miller, author of The Crucible:

"It is wrong, it is sin, to accept or remain
in a position that you know is a mismatch
for you. Perhaps that's a form of sin you've never even
considered--the sin of staying in the wrong job.
But God did not place you on this earth
to waste away your years in labor
that does not employ his design or purpose
for your life, no matter how much
you may be getting paid for it."

- Arthur Miller

Occasionally I revisit the quote, and it has always been helpful when I consider redirecting my path. We all have abundant possibilities. Sometimes they are just a turn away.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ex parte and Lingerie

Last Wednesday, I went to my favorite Toastmasters group (Toastmasters is a nonprofit that teaches public speaking and leadership skills). During every meeting we have Table Topics, in which we have a Table Topics Master assign topics to speakers randomly, and then the speakers talk for a few minutes about the topic. If you know about the subject you can go for it, but if you don't, you can "dazzle with BS," as one of our veteran members likes to say.

The week's table topics came from Black's law dictionary. The Table Topics Master, a local attorney, thought (however sadistically) that we might enjoy talking about legal subjects.

The first topic: ex parte. The Table Topics Master called on one woman in our group. She started off, "Thank you Mr. Table Topics Master, Fellow Toastmasters, and most welcome guests...ex party." (She pronounced it party). A blank look crossed her face, but then she began to smile. We knew some dazzling BS was in store, and she didn't disappoint. The topic became a mini speech about lingerie parties, "ex party" style. I would tell you the rest, but I have been sworn to secrecy.

If you want to know the real definition, you can always follow the link: http://blackslawdictionary.org/ex-parte/. It basically means "on one side only," which I'm sure would be a lot less exciting to hear about during a Table Topic.

My point is, there are so many legal words that can't be discerned at first glance. Love it or hate it, the language of the law is a beast of its own. But hey, if you don't like legalese, you can always join the "ex party" crowd.

Gina :)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Arguing in the Alternative

When you go to law school, you learn to "think like a lawyer." But what does that mean?

It means you can spot a lawsuit wherever you go. When you walk through a parking lot of a grocery store, and you see a large pothole in the pavement, you think, "oh, that's a tort lawsuit waiting to happen." Someone could easily fall if they were to accidentally step into the pothole. Is the injury foreseeable? Yes. Is the grocery store responsible for maintaining a safe parking lot? Most likely yes.

But wait. There is another side to the story. What would the other side say? 

I was recently editing a legal memo for my sister for her paralegal class, and recommended that at the end of the memo, she add a brief paragraph to "argue the alternative". When I was in law school, my torts professor took great pride in getting us to think like a lawyer. Part of that process is learning to argue in the alternative. In other words, what would the opposing side say? What would they argue in response to your case?

For example, the hypothetical scenario from my sister's legal memo was about a guy who went to a bar and got drunk. He left the bar drunk and got into a terrible car accident. The issue was whether the bar was responsible for the damages caused by the drunken man's behavior. My sister argued the bar was indeed liable and cited several cases with similar circumstances in which the court found the bar responsible.

However, what would the other side argue? Perhaps they would say the guy was drunk before he got to the bar. Maybe they would say that nobody saw him leave the bar drunk, so the injury was not foreseeable. There is always another side...and another lawyer to argue it.

What does all of this mean for me now that I am not a lawyer? I can't enjoy myself when I walk across a parking lot.

Gina :)