caminante haciendo camino
2004-02-28 | 2:26 a.m.

I realized this morning that I have only three weeks until my bench memos for the next calendar are due. This means that I have exactly 21 days to write two opinions and four bench memos, one of which is on the weightiest case our chambers has seen all year. I figure that I have, on average, 3.5 workdays to complete each project. If I donít sleep at all, then completing everything on time might be feasible.

With this bleak future before me, what do I do today? I took the morning off, for mental health reasons, of course. I slept in; enjoyed my morning coffee; took my time getting ready; and finally, around 1 in the afternoon, graced the office with my presence.

In my defense, I did manage to be extremely productive between the hours of 1 and 5 p.m. And, because Iím mindful of my 3.5 days per project time frame, I will be working all weekend. So, in all, I donít feel too guilty about my morning off.

After work, Javier and I went to give Steph our condolences. She seems to be hanging in there. She certainly looked better today than what she sounded like yesterday on the phone. And Chris, the ex-husband, was with her. Iím not sure if thatís a good thing or not. But she seemed glad to have him there.

Javier and I then headed to Durantís for a belated birthday dinner (his, not mine). The food, as always, was great. We had to sit in the bar, though. And I can still smell the lingering smoke. Yuck!

Javier is one of my closest friends (besides Steph and Melissa) from law school. He is, perhaps, one of the kindest men Iíve ever met. He has a good heart, and heís extremely loyal. Heís smart, in his own way. Yet, I still think he would do better in a different profession. I donít think he has what it takes to be a good lawyer.

Geez, I feel guilty even writing that. But let me try to explain by going back to law school. Javier didnít really have the grades or the LSAT scores to warrant his admission. He was there, I think, because the admissions director at the time was intent on admitting a diverse class.

Iím sure I can get kicked out of the Latino community for even expressing this opinion. But there you have it. I think admission standards were . . . um, letís say ďflexedĒ. . . in order to admit some minority students. And, in case itís not clear, I am definitely opposed to this type of thing. Iím confident that we can get a diverse graduate class, without having to lower the bar. I know it. I have only to look at my test scores and those of countless other minority students to know that diversity can be achieved without admitting those students who have not demonstrated the requisite indicators of success, like high GPAs or LSAT scores.

In any event, Javier was admitted and he struggled (I mean, really, really struggled) all through law school. He did graduate and he did manage to pass the bar on the second attempt. And now heís prosecuting misdemeanors for an Arizona city.

But, even though he really wants to do well and he works hard at it, Iím fairly certain that he will, at best, make a mediocre lawyer.

You see, law school is designed to do one thing and one thing only: teach you to think like a lawyer. And, despite having somehow survived law school, Javier just doesnít think like a lawyer. Oh, heís smart enough. We can have great conversations about politics, or religion, or just about anything. But his brain just doesnít approach problems in a way thatís necessary to good lawyering. He doesnít progress logically from fact, to law, to application of fact to law. Instead his thought process is more like a fireworks show, with spots of brilliance going off randomly all over the sky. While pretty to look at, itís not an effective way to solve problems.

There are other reasons why I think law isnít the best place for him. For example, he doesnít articulate very well Ė even when he knows something backward and forward, he has a hard time putting that knowledge into words. Not a good thing, especially for a trial lawyer. Due to both the random-fire thought process and the difficulty he has in articulating his thoughts effectively, his writing is atrocious. And he also somehow managed to get a law degree without ever learning how to conduct legal research. Curious, isnít it?

Iím writing this and thinking ďwhat a horrible friend you are, Jess.Ē But, although Iím writing it here, I would never show him anything other than my complete support, because I really do want him to succeed. I want him to do well in his work and feel good about himself. I just think heíd be better suited to a different line of work Ė finance, for example. He has a brilliant mind when it comes to financial matters.

And, to be honest, it just makes me blazing mad that law schools are admitting minority students that do not have adequate credentials, under the banner of ďdiversity.Ē Really, they are doing no one any favors. Instead, they are doing a disservice to the student, to the community, and to the legal profession. Damn it, we donít need a legion of mediocre latino lawyers! Law schools can, and should, maintain the goal of diversity without sacrificing excellence.

Anyway, I guess the catalyst for this rant was that all during dinner Javier kept going on about how well heís doing at work, that he totally has the knack of doing DUI trials, that everything is going so well, etc., etc. Öand I kept wondering, who is he trying harder to convince, me or himself? And it made me sad for him.

And, you know, I do hope Iím wrong about this. Nothing would make me happier than to see him do really well as a lawyer.

In any event, it was nice to talk and catch up with him.

After dinner I came home and (Netflix whore that I am) watched The 13th Warrior. Antonio Banderas. Mmmm. Heís yummy looking. And that accent. Oh, god. Itís entirely possible that I can have an orgasm just by listening to Antonio Banderas read the phone book. That accent is just so damn sexy.

On tomorrowís agenda: a crack oídawn start in order to make it to the Weight Watcherís meeting, public humiliation in the form of a weigh in and then the ra-ra cheerleader crap of a meeting, this will be followed by many hours of work, a short interruption for a birthday lunch for my cousin Elizabeth, which will, again, be followed by many hours of work. Anyone want to trade their Saturday for mine?

Listening To: the city's night noises
Reading: a few diaries
Feeling: tired, it's time for bed

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