The Klimczak Kronikals: Klimczak Causes A Ruckus

Written by Amanda Klimczak
Edited by Lindsay E. Landstrom

This is the first entry of a journal chronicling my six weeks as a judicial extern in Portland this summer. Don’t expect fireworks, people.  I am fully aware that this is not going to be groundbreaking stuff, but maybe I can manage to dissuade some hapless 1L who believes that you are a mini-lawyer as an extern.

In pure Klimczak fashion, I manage to make a blunder as soon as I enter the building.  I was told to come to the courthouse at 8am (rude awakening as I am staying a hour outside of Portland with traffic), so I could fill out paperwork to get my badge. I arrive downtown at 7:55am and go through the line with the “normal people” (not employees or attorneys) where the man in front of me was muttering about the “germ laden doors to hell” and refusing to touch the door causing it to slam into me.  I am overdressed (as usual) and struggling with my Cole Haans. Having the disease-enriched hell doors slam into my ankles puts me in a mood. I get up to the metal detector, remove my shoes, and walk through.

Immediately there is a loud beep. It’s my watch. When I take it off and hand it to the security woman, she takes this opportunity to size me up and snort, “nice watch.” Before I can fashion some sort of witty response, another security officer ushers me away, claiming he found a knife in my bag. What!? I had no clue what he was talking about, especially as he made it sound like they found a switchblade caked in blood. Four security guards then confronted me. One by one, they moved aside to allow the man holding my contraband to come forward. In his rubber-gloved hand, the security officer held…a butter knife. Probably from a Court Café bagel I ate last year.

Rubber Gloves lectured me in front of everyone in the lobby, which was made only more humiliating by the accompanying snickers of the officer who thought me a snob due to my offensively expensive watch. Rubber Gloves dangled my IKEA butter knife as if it was the murder weapon in a high-profile case and declared that I had to take it outside and get rid of it, or he could “dispose of it” himself. After struggling once with my shoes and having made it through the germ laden doors to hell, I didn’t want to brave the general public entrance line, so I told him to throw it away. His eyes widened and went blank as he pressed “play” on the tape recorder in his head to give his spiel in this type of top-level-priority situation: “Ma’am, you understand that by telling me to dispose of this knife, you will not receive it back in your possession and the weapon will be destroyed?”  Umm… dude, it’s only a butter knife.

Cole Haan specialtiesAfter the fiasco of my overblown potential-courtroom-terrorist activity, I walked upstairs to check in. I was given a two-page explanation of statutes that forbid anyone with a badge to carry a knife into the courthouse.  I don’t know if it was just my emotions running high, but all I could think was that the Rubber Gloves and the Watch Witch had made a call on the Batphone to my supervisor the second I waddled away from the security station struggling to clasp my overpriced shoes and refusing to touch any germ laden railing to balance myself.


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8 Responses to The Klimczak Kronikals: Klimczak Causes A Ruckus

  1. Disappointed says:

    This makes Oregon Law look bad. They didn’t think you were a snob because you wore an expensive watch. They know you are a snob for thinking you’re clever for referring to court security as “rubber gloves.” I’d like to think Oregon Law grads would easily recognize that it is wise to keep all court staff on a high pedestal.

  2. Not disappointed at all says:

    I disagree completely with the other commenter. Clearly this article is written in jest, highlighting how obviously awkward it is to start a new job, get through security in a heavily-populated courthouse, and deal with the nerves surrounding it all. Anyone who has ever been through government security knows what it’s like to be unduly hassled by overzealous officers. The author is just being honest in her thoughts. If the Disappointed commenter wants to read straightforward legal dispositions, I recommend OLR and the other fine journals at Oregon Law. Nobody with a sense of humor would take offense to this article. Great job, Amanda. Keep up the good work!

  3. Humanity says:


    Amanda, thank you again for reminding our legal community that both lawyers, law students, and court staff are all human.

    All first year students (even you, Disappointed) are disillusioned by the illusory concept of ‘the law.’ When we’re first years, we think we’re either above it or below it, and when we graduate, we think we ARE it. That prescribes some basic parameters of being in relation to ‘the law,’ but between classes and in the morning after with the gal from the green section, we discover we mostly all exist between in the blank spaces of the pages.

    On my first day clerking for a judge, I went to Fred Meyer two hours early and bought three shades of too-thick panty hose, a venti Starbucks, and spend the extra hour in the parking garage wondering if I would appear too pretentious drinking Starbucks. I don’t come from a city with a Wandering Goat serving free-range vegan lattes, but maybe the Judge did, and I should probably drink what she drinks and wear what she wears because she’ll totally and unilaterally determine my future, which I may or may not have, so I better finish the latte before I go in just so we don’t start off at odds, etc. and so on and so forth.

    All first days are like that.

    And if your torts professor didn’t tell you judges wear workout gear under their robes (which do come off) and talk about lawyers appearing before them and have problems at home, then you’re probably a) relieved you aren’t the who has worn the wrong panty hose or swindled knives on your first day, and b) appreciative some law students present their experiences honestly and openly, like a human.

    To make the case that the author has tarnished Oregon Law’s reputation is laughable. And you’ve decided that Rubber Gloves “knows” our author is a snob? Also laughable. What isn’t laughable? Furthering our rep as law students for being pretentious assholes.

  4. Matt Mertens says:

    LOL at Disappointed. The best part of his/her comment: court security apparently knew you’d be a snob because of their Minority Report ability to see the blog post you wrote about it three months after the fact!! Whooo for asinine commenting! Hey Disappointed — next time you climb up on your own “high pedestal” to be a total PITA about an article that COULD NOT more clearly been meant in jest, have the balls to post your own name so I can know who to sneer at in the halls for being a total lameass.

  5. Justin Bechen says:

    Dear Disappointed:

    …as opposed to being a snob who thinks they’re clever by trying to throw insults from behind the supposed safety and comfort of Internet anonymity?

    Just asking.

    I’m also curious to know what the preferred means of referring to two individuals (Sheriff’s Deputies, to be technical) whose names are not–and were not–known? Deputy #1 and Deputy #2? Because dehumanization is a wonderfully high platform.

    We’ve all been in situations like that before, at some point, and talking about it with a little levity is hardly snobbish, or insulting, behavior. (Come to think of it, I’m not sure how exactly one takes an article series with the word “Kronikals” in the title to be a completely serious commentary on, well, anything.) Taking an opportunity to claim offense in the name of Oregon Law is wholly disingenuous. I mean, how embarrassed must you be every Friday morning, in the wake of stories from ThuNBaR?

  6. Why? says:

    I don’t know who decided that this year the legality needs to try it’s best to emulate Above the Law but it’s truly a disservice to those who worked hard to build this journal. Ms. Climzak, I’m glad you had a clerkship this Summer and the thought of somebody describing the clerking process for those who may be interested is appealing but it should not be a main feature of this journal, especially written in such a colloquial manner. Go back to the archives and read a few articles and it’s pretty clear that the writers were writing about legal topics, not swearing about 1L’s freaking out, posting opinion pieces on prosecuting pot growers, or half heartedly lampooning your own experience in your clerkship. There is a place for these types of articles and that is your own personal blog. Seriously guys, you need to have a chat amongst yourselves about whether this is the direction you really want to take this journal.

  7. The Legality says:

    Yes, this is the direction in which we wish to take the Legality. And, we have spent many hours shaping what we believe will be something that will generate interest and fill a niche. We certainly appreciate that you read our pieces and offer your constructive criticism under the guise of anonymity. You may recognize – being the regular reader you seem to be – that the Legality is generating more traffic than it has in several years, due to our willingness to expand our scope and loosen our belts a bit. We have received wonderful feedback from the vast majority of our readership (growing daily as it is), but, as we said, we appreciate all feedback. If you continue to check our site on a routine basis, you will find, from time to time, the types of articles you believe the Legality should solely be generating. However, between those posts, you will also find a vast array of commentaries, personal narratives, and perhaps even cartoons. We hope you’ll continue to visit our site regularly, read our pieces with great interest, offer your feedback, and, if you would like certain content featured on the site, perhaps you’ll even contribute some work. Thanks!

    The Legality staff

  8. They're Doing It Right says:

    I don’t think very many people used to read Legality articles unless their friends wrote them. Although they were well-researched and carefully-written, they seemed more like assignments for a boring class than articles meant for general consumption.

    Lindsay and the rest of the staff, keep it up. You’re doing something good.

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