I guess I talk a lot about my civil procedure class. I suppose that’s because it’s full of variety and severely lacking in boring old convention. Although much to my surprise, boring old convention actually works in some law school classes. My brilliant, amusing, long-past retirement-age contracts professor totally pulls off traditional Socratic method, casebook teaching, and it’s really great.
So this week in civil procedure, I had a graded, informal “Senior Partner meeting” with my professor about my first memo. The premise of this assignment was to pretend we are new associate attorneys and our professor is our senior partner. We have been summoned to his office and talk about the research we’ve done to respond to the opposing counsel’s motion to dismiss our case.
This is the kind of stuff that terrifies me. It sounds like going in and having a conversation with a professor, but he wanted us to prepare a 15-30 second introduction and then a 1.5-2-minute summary of our findings and the legal arguments. This is no simple task. 15 seconds is very short to introduce, and 1.5-2 minutes is very short to summarize everything that went into this memo. I really had to prepare to avoid rambling myself out of time. After the first few minutes, the professor asked questions, which was far less awkward.
Despite my severe aversion to any sort of oral presentation, having already chatted with this professor and knowing he’s a laid-back, very cool guy, I tried not to freak out all week. And I didn’t freak out, but I didn’t perform as well as I wanted either. When it was over, I was just happy that I hadn’t frozen, sounded like a total idiot, or said “basically” 50 times. Professor said I sounded professional and competent, but neglected to really state my conclusions (a blatant error on my part) and that I hadn’t clearly articulated one of the legal issues.
So, I’m glad that’s over, but I’m sad I hadn’t been shockingly, surprisingly brilliant for ten minutes. Oh well. Back to outlining and brief-writing.