Thursday, July 19, 2007

Keep it Simple Stupid

I hate Performance Tests. No really, hate them. And not that warm, fuzzy kind of hate either. Its not the subject matter of the Performance Tests, although it is partly that, its just soooooo long. AND completely impractical. Let me tell you how things are done in "the real world":
1) Partner tells you "write a memo/brief/questions for deposition"
2) You go into the firm files and find a memo/brief/questions for deposition. Using that as a guide, you fill in relevant facts to the current case.

Compare this with how the performance test works:
1) Partner tells you to write a memo/brief/questions for deposition
2) You have never done this before
3) You have no samples
4) Basically you have three hours to pull something out of your ass, which shouldn't take 3 hours, because really, there's not that much in your ass.

As much as I hate them though, I knew I had to practice at least one more before THE BAR so I sat down today to force myself to do it. And I had a special strategy. Honigsberg recommends that after you've read through the file and the library you take a little break. So I took a little break. I used my break time to make cookies. Mostly because making cookies is one of the least time consuming things you could possibly do. I laid out all my ingredients before starting the test, and after reading the file and library I dumped them in a bowl and mixed. During this time I thought about what an idiot my client was. He cashed a check that was marked "payment in full" while he was in a suit disputing the amount of money he should be getting. Now, I understand he's a patent attorney, but didn't he have to take the bar? Didn't he learn over, and over, and over, and over again that you NEVER cash a check marked paid in full????? Didn't he learn it in his property review? His contracts review? Hell even his remedy review? I have lost all sympathy for my client and thinks he gets what he deserves. Once the cookies were in the oven I sat back down to write - but I kept my opinions about what an idiot client is to myself, instead offering him numerous options of what he could do. Turns out, I was right on the money, the sample answer didn't accuse the client of being an idiot either.

The rest of the day was pretty normal:
Community Property: It's funny, in school this was not my strong subject. As I was reviewing the material today, I was thinking that the key to community property is not to examine it too closely. I started noticing things that led me to question my knowledge. Woooaaahh there, why am I questioning things now? I used to gloss over the material and felt very confident on the essays. Today I was thinking - Lucas? Pro Rata? I don't know this stuff at all! But really, I think I do, I'm just looking too deeply.

Community Property essay: See, this was an easy one so I did okay. Periera/Van Camp I can do. Pro rata contributions of community property into separate property, separate property into community property? I'm getting nervous.

Crimes: The more I study, the worse I do. I should have taken this test last week. At least I had cookies to cheer me up.

And the cookies? They definitely cheered me up. I made them with the idea that I would take them with me next week for a little mid day pick me up. This meant I had to make them 1) semi-healthy, and 2) something Jon wouldn't eat. I had seen oatmeal raisin cookies in Delilah's blog earlier this week and thought they would be perfect. Jon doesn't do oatmeal raisin cookies. Something about them not having chocolate in them. And with all those oats and raisins they were basically granola, right? And besides, I have a soft spot for Delilah since we share the same birthday, so that must make these lucky oatmeal raisin cookies. I made them even healthier by 1) using whole wheat flour (I really need to get to the store to buy AP flour) and 2) subbing dried cranberries and blueberries for half the raisins. Unfortunately, Jon saw the cookies. Still I thought I was safe, I mean Jon doesn't like oatmeal raisin cookies.

J: What are these?
K: Cookies for me to take to THE BAR.
J: Oh, are they those oatmeal cookies you get from TJs?
K: no
J: Wait, did you MAKE these?
K: yeah
J: Do you promise? (code for "are you lying?")
K: I promise. Why don't you believe me?
J: They don't look like you made them, they look store bought. (takes and eats a cookie) Woah, these are really good! And I don't even like oatmeal raisin cookies.
K: Sigh, I know, that's why I made them. I knew if I made chocolate chip cookies there wouldn't be any left by Monday.
J: Yeah......(looking slyly at the cookies)

- Looks like I'm going to have to hide the cookies.

Keeping with the simple theme, and trying to up my iron count before the test, I made steak for dinner. With one of the simplest recipes I know. Salt, Pepper, grill pan. That's it. I'd post a real recipe, but it would look something like this:
1) Rub a buttload of salt and pepper all over the steak pressing it into front, back, and the sides.
2) Heat the grillpan super-de-dooper hot hot hot. It should smoke. You should fear for nearby paper products.
3) Place the steak on the grill pan and sear both sides to lock in the juices. The steak should now be a great brown color.
4) Lower the heat significantly and cook until your desired temperature. We like ours medium rare.

-Lately I've been dressing up our steaks with marinades. Tonight was simple. And the response may sum up my new philosophy of "keep it simple."
J: This is the best steak you've made in a long time. Sometimes all you need is a little salt and pepper.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Fruit Cookies
(adapted from Delilah's Corner)
1/4 pound (1 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 1/2
cups Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
cup raisins
cup dried cranberries
cup dried blueberries

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and fruit; mix well.
2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.


  1. What?! How can you hate performance tests? SO EASY!

    I hate to tell you this, but sometimes you do have to recreate the wheel. It sucks.

  2. Glad the cookies turned out!! That sounds like a tasty twist I'll have to give a try!