it’s all happening so fast!

July 30, 2008

Just when I was feeling that my tenure at my job would never end, that the summer was crawling by, that I would never get to law school, it all snuck up on me. Last week I was busy planning a bridal shower for my dear friend Jen. I got my class schedule thursday night, which inspired a few not-so-productive hours of trying to find information about my professors on the internet. The weekend, with the shower and a family barbecue on a perfect Sunday, flew by.

Sunday night I decided I should do myself a favor and take a week off between finishing up at work and starting law school orientation. So August 15th will be my last day at the ‘Mart, and I’ll have a full week to get stuff done around the house, pack whatever I’ll need in Madison, and get somewhat settled in Mad-town. Suddenly, the the 15th seems alarmingly near. I have lots of things to do to transition out of my job, but chances are I will save most of them until next week and those last five days. My customers are in very good hands around here, so there’s no reason to worry. Not that I would worry… okay maybe I would. For a few weeks. It’s in my nature. The same way I wondered how my Qdoba was doing in sales for a few months after I quit.

The saddest part will be not spending eight hours a day sitting between my work buddies Jenni and Joel. I will especially miss participating in our ridiculous chats about work, life and vaccines. And also, most importantly, laughing silently but hysterically when we find the perfect random image to express ourselves from the internet:

Yes, that is an inside joke. No, I will not explain to you.

In other news, I’ve gotten a few bits of good news regarding my schedule. The first is that I received an e-mail from my 1L mentor (who knew such a thing existed?!), and she had the same Civil Procedure professor I will have. The report: “very unothodox” and “very fantastic.” Excellent. I’m also starting to adjust to the idea of afternoon and evening classes. My plan is to join a class at the SERF pretty early in the mornings, and once I get up and work out, I will be up for the day. I’m hoping this will help me fight the nature to start sleeping late again.


not quite what I was envisioning

July 26, 2008

So I received my class schedule last night. I’ve always had the idea that my first year of law school would involve more or less a work day of classes, followed by several hours in the library, five days per week. Well… not exactly. My classes begin at 1:20 Monday through Thursday, ending at 6:30 with an hour break, except  Wednesdays, when class goes until 9:00 p.m. Oh my…

I’m still not sure how I feel about this. There are up and downsides. The best being three nights in Milwaukee rather than just two, because I can return to Madison on Monday mornings rather than Sunday nights. The worst is the fear that I will sleep in rather than get myself to the library in the mornings.

borderline existence

July 22, 2008

This LA Times story was posted on the immigration forum this morning, and as I read it I realized it’s actually the story of one of the members of It’s a well-written story with a great, accompanying audio slide show.

For Heather, 29, every day is a struggle. The native of rural Kentucky didn’t know how drastically her life would change after she fell in love and married Evaristo Suarez, an illegal immigrant.

The couple assumed that Evaristo, 30, would be eligible for a green card once they got married and that they would raise their family near her hometown. But because he had crossed into the United States illegally more than once, he was denied a visa and must wait 10 years before reapplying to return legally.

Please leave some non-offensive comments when you are done reading as well.

my first case (that I understood, not handled)

July 14, 2008

For the last several months I have been acclimating myself, bit by bit, to the language of the law. I started by skimming a few library-lent ‘nutshell’ books on broad legal topics like contracts and torts that I will tackle as a 1L. Then, I hooked up with two other pre-law bloggers and began working through exercises and discussing the concept of legal writing in plain English via an excellent and practical book on the subject. I bought a pocket Black’s law dictionary and looked up words and phrases I came across. I sat through session after session of the American Immigration Lawyers Association conference, at times wondering where on earth I was, at other times totally following the legal discussion of immigration law. At times, I even appeared to know more that an attorney or two.

During the conference, I heard a discussion of a certain recent case, which, without getting too technical, altered a common way of determining what constitutes an admission to the U.S. for purposes of adjusting one’s status. For an example, like countless Mexicans and other Central Americans, Fermin entered the U.S. back in 1998 “without inspection.” He had no visa, he was never stopped at a border patrol checkpoint, he was never inspected. Generally, people who enter this way, cannot adjust their status from within the U.S. even if they marry a U.S. citizen and are eligible for an immediate visa. This is why he had to have his visa interview in Mexico, despite being married to me. And upon leaving the U.S., his unlawful presence triggered a 10-year bar which required  the I-601 waiver.

If Fermin had entered the U.S. ten years ago on a tourist visa, even if he had overstayed it by 9.5 years, he could have adjusted his status within the U.S., never needing a waiver. There are, however, legal questions when it comes to determining if a person has entered legally, “with inspection,” and was “admitted.” What if Fermin had entered the U.S. at the border with someone else’s green card?  Is that with or without inspection? That is the question, as I understand it, in my non-lawyer, not-even-law-student view, in Orozco v. Mukasey, which I have been meaning to read since the AILA conference and finally did tonight.

Thus it becomes the first legal case I have ever read with any hint of understanding. And frankly, I understood all of it. The decision is clear and well-stated, yet unfortunate for many people who once were eligible for adjust their status despite a fraudulent entry and now may not have that opportunity. I know someone in this situation, and I don’t envy her awkward limbo right now… but this is not supposed to be another sad post, it’s more of a triumph – I read a case, and I got it. It wasn’t even a challenge. I have to do all the hard work so that one day I can be a great lawyer.

On to contracts, civil procedure, torts and criminal law!

oh yeah

July 12, 2008

And I decided to forgo the whole anonymous blog idea, at least for now. I couldn’t come up with the perfect name nor the perfect new layout on some other blog service. And it was going to be a lot of work to maintain two blogs. I’ll just keep being Laura (or laurafern for those who insist) going to the University of Wisconsin Law School.


July 10, 2008

I cannot believe it’s July. The summertime is flying. I had an agreement of sorts with my department manager to give my notice at work after I came back from Vancouver, and I did so Monday. It wasn’t any surprise to the company president as various people already knew I had been accepted to UW and probably assumed I would go there over Marquette. Still, it’s a relief to have people know what is going on. No more awkward evasions of certain people and questions.

In seven weeks I’ll be in the midst of law school orientation. I’m giddy right now, but aware that in 10 weeks I’ll probably be up to my ears in books and cases and new terminology. Yesterday I received an e-mail from the admissions office asking for my shirt size to order my t-shirt for the orientation community day. I had to write a short bio to introduce myself to my classmates. I’ve got loans taken care of, but I need to deal with student health insurance, changing my car insurance and doing something with the money in my 401K.

Being at the AILA conference, however, really gave me a vision for the future. Meeting and spending time with attorneys Laurel Scott and Heather Poole, I felt even more confident that, although it will be daunting, I can run my own practice one day. If I have to start it out of my living room, so be it. But I know I can do it.