The adventures (and non-adventures) of a marginally seasoned attorney.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm on Step 7

It's a beautiful week to be a 3L. For those of us about to graduate, it's our sixth time to be taking law school exams, so we're finally at the point where we know what the heck we're doing (for the most part). In honor of this joyous occasion, and because I love sharing little tidbits of wisdom, I'm going to tell you the steps you need to take to study like a 3L. Because if anyone knows how to succeed in law school, it's a soon-to-be-graduating student.  It may only be a C-minus level success. But a it's a success, nonetheless.

Step 1: Stare at your computer screen
You know the movie Office Space? When Peter says that he spends his first hour of work "zoning out"? That's exactly what's going on here. Except you're not trying to convince anyone else that you're actually working.  You've managed to convince yourself that you're working, even though you're not. But that's just as good as actually learning, I think.

Step 2: Make a trip to the gas station to buy junk food and caffeine
What's better than enjoying a delicious snack while studying? Enjoying a delicious snack that costs three times more than what you would've paid had you gone the extra four blocks to the grocery store.  And once you get far enough into finals, the clerks will start remembering all your quirky purchasing habits ("You want the megabucks game, right?" "What, no Diet Coke this afternoon?").

Step 3: YouTube videos of cute babies
Okay, you made it through steps 1 and 2. It's time you give yourself a mental break. You know, clear your mind of all the bad stuff that's filling your mind. And there's no more effective way of clearing your mind than watching videos of cute babies on YouTube.  My personal favorites are this one and this one.

Step 4: Look at your class notes
CONGRATULATIONS! You're actually looking at something that is somewhat related to passing the exam you're going to take in two days! Heck, you might even start editing some of these notes into outline form. You are ROCKIN' the studying now. In fact, you're going to manage to rock it for 19 more minutes.  And then you will not rock it anymore.  Because you're going to get angry...

Step 5: Let everyone online know how much you hate law school
This may be done in the form of a tweet, blog post, facebook status update, or instant message.  Bonus points if you can do it in the form of an inside joke ("I may not know anything about the law, but at least I know how to use gmail now"). NOTE: To those of you who got IMs from me last night in which I told you that you should drop out of law school while you still can because it's NOT WORTH IT AHHH MAKE IT STOP IT'S SO NOT WORTH IT... I really am sorry about that.  I'm not saying it isn't true. But I probably shouldn't have said it.

Step 6: Go back to the gas station
Did you know that it costs ten bucks to get Velveeta, tortilla chips, and a Diet Coke at EZ-Mart? Sheesh.

Step 7: Multitask
Okay, you're finally ready to look at your class material again, though you're probably going to be watching TV or g-chatting at the same time.  But you know, I happen to think that multitasking is one of the most effective ways to prepare you for practicing law.  It's rare that you'll find a day at work when you're not interrupted 23 times while working on an appellate brief.  So you're actually preparing yourself for life, not just a final. *cue sappy music*

Step 8: Make false promises
Heck yes, you've made some progress!  So now, you start convincing yourself that you will keep up the good work. "I'm going to read three more sections before I go to bed," ..."I'm going to finish this outline in an hour,"... "I'm going to go through all these flashcards twice," et cetera, et cetera.  We all know that this is a load of crap, though.  You're going to make good on about 1/4 of the promises you make to yourself (if that) before moving on to Step 9.

Step 9: Say "screw it," and go to bed
In about a 24 hour period, you've managed to put in about two-and-a-half solid hours of work. And that's about two hours more than you spent reading this entire semester. Way to be, 3L. Way. To. Be.

I happen to be on Step 7 right now.  After I post this, I'm going to re-read my Nonprofit Organizations outline before heading to bed.

(Ha.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

More great moments in note taking

Okay, the "great moments in note taking" post was really difficult to compile this semester. I didn't have a lot of notes to work with.  This is definitely because I only took 12 hours this semester and absolutely not because I gave up on taking notes sometime in February.
  • Johnson v. Rockwell Automation – Plaintiff's bar hates this. This is the first definitive case... ___? Has more to do with ___? This is a certified question.  
  • Something about a magazine... and it was an integral part of the election process. I quit paying attention. But they wanted to make sure everyone has access.'
  • Direct and grassroots lobbying,... something. Lobbying nontaxable is a certain amount, 15%,10%, 5%, et cetera. La la la.
  • Technical jazz. Yay.
  • (There has to be fear)(How do yuo show fear?)
  • Public charity – get the ???. If you donate to the charity
  • But still required to engage in activities for exempt purpose. Blah blah
  • If you have substantial commercial activity that's unrelated... you lose exemption. Blah blah again.
Happy finals week, y'all.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Well that was fun.

About 20 years ago, my dad walked me to my classroom for the first day of kindergarten.  I was wearing a dress.  I don't remember which dress I was wearing, but it was probably a sun dress. I was carrying a blue Sesame Street lunchbox.  I was a little scared, but my feelings of fear were overwhelmed by the accomplishment I felt for making it past preschool and the excitement of starting "real school."


When I walked into the classroom, I met a boy named Allen. He was an energetic child who wore gray velcro shoes.  He would say a few words to me, place his hands on the floor and do a donkey kick, and then go back to talking.  He did this until the teacher caught him and told him to sit down.  I don't remember much else about my first day of school, other than that a kid named Blake decided to punch me in the face twice. He got into a little bit of trouble for that. 


---

I just finished my last class ever.  Environmental Law, specifically. And just like my first day of school, I'm scared, I feel accomplished, and I'm excited.  Thankfully, I did not get punched in the face.

When I started kindergarten, I had a pretty good idea that I'd be in school for a long time.  Now that I've finished my last class ever, I have no idea where I'm going. I think that's how things are supposed to be, though.  I'm a single, 25-year-old, soon-to-be career woman (oh lord, that sounded like a singles ad), and I'm not going to be cocooned in the comfort of a class schedule anymore. The choices in front of me are overwhelming, and I am incredibly blessed.

God has given me so much to be thankful for.  My only hope is that I can humbly use those gifts to better humankind and to show unconditional love and service to all people whose paths I cross.


And so ends a very long, happy chapter in my life.  My formal education is about to come to a close, but I'm ready for the new adventures (and non-adventures) to begin.


(Oh, and y'all get ready. Next week marks the start of my finals-related blog posts. Heck yes.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bringing Home the Bacon - A Lunchtime Conversation

Date: April 3, 2010
Location: Chili's
Conversation topic: I want bacon

Transcript:

Me: I'll have the green chili chicken soup and a side of bacon
Waiter: A side of bacon?
Me: Yes, a side of bacon.
Waiter: (peering over at the menu) I don't think the soup comes with a side.
Me: I know. But I want to order a side of bacon.
Waiter: So you want like bacon bits in the soup? Would that be alright?
Me: No, I want bacon slices.
Waiter: On the side?
Me: Yes, on the side.
Waiter: So do you want two or three slices?
Me: A couple of slices.
Waiter: ... so is that two slices?
Me: Yes, two slices of bacon.
Waiter: On the side?
Me: On the side.

Glad we got that all cleared up before the meal came out. The bacon was delicious, by the way.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Getting a Law License, Part 1

Well, I've officially submitted my bar application - the first step to getting licensed to practice law.  That's right, there is a distinct possibility that I might be representing legal clients in a court near you sometime soon, so you might want to make preparations in case the world caves in on itself.

Now, for those of you who aren't familiar with the bar application, it's a 15-ish page document with questions such as "Have you ever abused drugs?" "No, really, have you ever abused drugs?" "C'mon, you can tell us if you've abused drugs."  The bar examiners want to make sure that we're fit to practice law, so they've got a series of questions like that to make sure we're not going to steal our clients' money or take the drugs that they've allegedly been selling (It was a misunderstanding, your honor. He thought they were vitamin supplements.)

And those questions are all well and good, but they're part of what is titled the "character questionnaire," and I don't think they get to the heart of a person's character.  I mean, if I were on the board of bar examiners, and I really wanted to know a person's character, I'd be asking questions like "Have you ever cheated on your boy/girlfriend, you sorry excuse for a human being?" or "When's the last time you called your mother?  I bet she misses you."

I suppose if those sorts of questions were asked, there'd be about 10 lawyers admitted to the practice of law every year.  Which would work out in my favor, because I don't cheat and I call my momma quite often.  But I'm sure all those clients who accidentally sold those vitamin supplements would have quite a difficult time finding the representation they need, and that's not a good thing. 

Anyway, if the bar examiners decide that I'm morally fit to practice law, all that's sitting between me and a law license is a diploma. And an obnoxious two-day exam.  And all the studying that is required to pass the obnoxious two-day exam. But after that, I'm free to lawyer to my little heart's content.  And hopefully, at the end of this whole law school / bar exam ordeal, my little heart will still be intact.