Monday, January 12, 2009

The Last First Day of School

Today was my first day of the last semester of law school - and the last time I can ever say that it was the first day back to school for me.

After decades - literally decades, plural - of going to school, I am almost done. Last semester's grades did indeed turn out to be a very good set of grades; my best ever in law school, actually. Graduation and the bar is starting to look very real.

Fortunately I have some classes I'm really looking forward to for the last semester. I had my first transactional drafting class today, and I think I will enjoy it greatly. Law school emphasizes theory, but not practicality. It will be nice to draft a contract or promissory note for the first time, and at least this time is practice.

Another class I have is remedies, taught by one of my favorite professors in law school. The class is unique because every case in the book involves a known wrong, you're just figuring out how to compensate the victim.

The first case of the semester was certainly heartbreaking. I'll let you read for yourself:
Plaintiffs are eight families of Navajo Indians who have lived for generations on open range land owned by the United States. Plaintiffs' livestock grazed on the public lands along with livestock owned by whites who held grazing permits. The United States and these white stockmen considered the Indians to be trespassers, and in separate litigation sought to have them ordered off the public lands.

While those lawsuits were pending, government agents rounded up plaintiffs' horses and burros and sold them to a glue factory. United States v. Hatahley, 257 F.2d 920 (10th Cir. 1958).
Yeah. Wow. Poor Indians. The Indians were given money to compensate for the loss of their animals and for emotional suffering; the issue was whether the money damages were correct compensation. The course raises interesting issues of how to compensate individuals for their losses in tort and other arenas. I think it will be good bar study material indeed; like torts or contracts redux.

OK, time to go cut Dave's hair. (Too bad he can't cut mine; I could use a trim.)

1 comment:

Dave Musser said...

I would certainly be happy to try, but I doubt you'd appreciate the "well, I guess it's even on both sides" result. :)