vacation bliss

December 31, 2008

Biggest perk of law school = WINTER VACATION. Closely followed by spring break. I would say summer vacation too, but we’re obviously expected to work hard during the summers as law students. Even aside from that, the variety in these three years is a perk for me personally. I’m not one for doing the same thing every day, all year. I am easily bored.

So… I just got back from 11 days in Mexico with my husband and in-laws. It was a great, relaxing trip. The weather was nice – although where he lives in the lower sierra of Puebla state, it’s pretty cool in the evenings, and no heat, so ironically, I was colder some evenings and early mornings there than I am up here in the North hanging around in heated buildings. But anyway, I took lots of opportunities to soak up the vitamin D during the day, cooked and ate lot of great food and generally blocked out all the stress of the last few months.

But even in small-town Mexico, the law school part of my life was not completely dormant. For example, F and I got into a conversation about inheritance and land rights in Mexico. Like, if one son of five children of a landowner lives and works a piece of land for twenty years before the father passes away, while the other four children/siblings live hundreds of miles away in a major city, rarely visiting, does the one son have more of a right to that land than the others, in the absence of a will? F wasn’t sure under Mexican law, other than to say it would be disputed, but I couldn’t help thinking about that question in terms of my¬† section on family affairs and contract law this fall. Then I thought, good grief, I AM really interested in international law! Maybe next year.

More winter break news to come. Happy New Year everyone!



December 17, 2008

I’m completely done and off to Mexico. Torts went well I think. Just 3 hours and 3000 or so words on an environmental tort and a personal injury case. It was exhilarating exiting college town yesterday. I went home, while the snow fell and did a last read over of my Civ Pro brief before sending the final draft. (Sigh). Now I’m at O’Hare – my frequent departure airport – waiting to get on the plane. Hasta luego.

Countdown: 1 exam and a brief re-write to go

December 13, 2008

Feeling good in the snowy Midwest!

Why? You ask…

  1. I leave for Mexico in four days.

  2. I definitely didn’t bomb my Contracts exam today.
  3. Not to say I did great, but I felt good after it was over.
  4. It’s sort of satisfying to study really freaking hard for something, and then do at least a decent job regurgitating it all on paper, and then being done with it. That’s sick, I know. I don’t think we are supposed to really enjoy or appreciate the “legal bulimia” (Professor Civ Pro’s take on law school examination)…
  5. I leave for Mexico in 84 hours.

  6. I just completed the nitpicky and annoying task of re-doing the citations for my brief, meaning just a half a day or so of re-writing left for tomorrow.
  7. Then a little torts review (outline is already done).
  8. Then the torts exam Tuesday and….

  9. … before I know it, I’ll be in 60 degree weather, hiking the hills, enjoying the small-town market, spending some quality time with F… I can’t wait.

contracts contracts contracts

December 12, 2008

Tomorrow morning is my contracts final. With the exception of the LSAT, I can’t say I’ve spent this much time studying for anything in my life. I started the week before Thanksgiving, struggling to put my massive amounts of notes into outline form. I finished my outline last weekend, after not working on it for a while, and have since been reviewing, taking practice exams, and talking through topics with classmates.

Examples of how this has taken over my life: I rode back to hometown last night with an old friend who commutes to college town while working on her Ph.D. I shared examples of contract law for 75% of the car ride. Luckily, she’s an enormously curious, intelligent and patient person, so she was neither bored nor annoyed (Bonus!). This morning, I was typing a post on (aka the online immigration forum I obsessively participate in) and had to use the word “contract” and typed “K” (which is the legal-world shorthand for “contract”) and it took a few seconds to realize why that was unacceptable.

I’m amazingly not very stressed right now, perhaps because I feel I’ve really done as much as I reasonably could to get ready for this final. I’m even a little sad to bode this surprisingly interesting class farewell, but tomorrow around 12:30 will nonetheless be a wonderful relief.

1L fall countdown: 1 down, 2 to go, plus a brief

December 9, 2008

Substantive Criminal Law – I’m done with you!

Getting through exam one is a mixed bag of relief and foreboding. I successfully got up early, walked the mile to school in a snowstorm and typed for about four hours straight. I enjoyed my pre-exam donut and lamented that the law school cafe had failed to open, and thus failed to provide the free coffee I was depending on. Thank god for a friend who shared her espresso-laced brew with me a few moments before the exam. Delicious!

The exam was okay. I took a little too much time during the first three sections and was rushing at the end with the final, and most complicated, question. I have learned a lesson with that. All in all though, I felt fine about it the exam.

Now I’m off to a short interview for a summer clinical and then back to the books. Thus the foreboding. Contracts – here I come. My outline is 95% done, so I’m going to take practice exams and work on editing my Civ Pro brief for the next three days.

In one week, I’ll be done with the semester and on my way to packing and leaving for Mexico. Yaa-freaking-hoo!


December 5, 2008

Yesterday I had one of those moments, when the past and the present mesh, when a remote and unimportant memory suddenly surfaces, and it feels strange, and it makes you self-aware…

Ten years ago I was a sophomore at the university where I now attend law school. Back then, I took daily trips up and down the hill the original campus was built on 150 years ago. It’s a wonderful and historic place. Abe Lincoln’s likeness looks over students shuffling between classes, going from botany class to the Education building to a political science teacher’s office hours in the oldest building on campus.

There was a brief time as an undergrad that I considered law school. I didn’t follow through. I didn’t have a purpose to consider law, other than having a vague notion I may be good at it. I threw myself into the student newspaper and other social activities and got my journalism degree, only to never use it again. No regrets though, just the truth.

The only modern building on the hill, the law school’s glass facade connects two nondescript older buildings, showcasing a mock courtroom. Walking by many years ago, in the evening, I wondered at the play lawyers arguing in front of pretend judges, surrounded by cherry paneling, illuminated by unflattering fluorescent lighting. I never envied them, that is for sure.

Yesterday afternoon, suited up and heading to my oral argument, I realized we’d actually be arguing in front of Professor Civ Pro in this mock courtroom. An old friend who’s also on campus mentioned to me a few months that she sometimes walks by and imagines I’d be in there, playing lawyer. I laughed at the time. Nah, I said, we just read cases and hang in lecture halls.

Frankly I never wanted to have to go in that court room. I’m not interested in court work. I may eventually do it in immigration court, but I don’t relish opportunities to speak in front of others. In fact, it terrifies me. I’m not interested in the theatrics of persuasion. I can’t extemporize to save my life.

But anyway, last night I went into the courtroom with my even more nervous argument partner, thinking, shit, here I am. Not like it’s some great accomplishment to go in there. I mean, I was forced to do it. But I just thought about the craziness of being almost 30 and in law school, changing careers, moving toward doing something I think will highlight my strengths and actually be rewarding, and being back in college town, in this building, this specific room, that I used to just stare at in awe.

And then I had to get up and talk to the judge. And it wasn’t horrible. Not awesome, for sure. But okay. And then in seven and a half minutes, it was over, and I went home to meet my law school buddy to make tamales and drink beer. All in all, not a bad day.

two weeks

December 3, 2008

I’ll be finished with all this in two weeks. Two weeks. Two weeks. Two weeks. It’s incomprehensibly short.

Tomorrow is my last day of class. I sort of want to cry because I’ll miss Professor Contracts, who is simply the greatest teacher I have ever had – brilliant, witty and actually able to teach! Law school professors who can teach! That is great. I got lucky this semester. Rumor has it that Professor Contracts, who is actually retired and recently beat cancer, will be back again next year. It seems to me that he loves teaching enough to keep coming back to a new set of 1Ls. Amazing.

I’ll also miss Professor Civ Pro, who cares so much that law students actually become good lawyers, not just good students or test-takers. I’ll miss my torts professor too, although she has a wonderful blog, so I coubt I’ll really lose track of her. And I’ll maybe even miss, just a tiny bit, the scatterbrained nuttiness of Professor Crim.

As far as these two weeks, I’m not feeling super confident right now. My neck has hurt for days and my Contract outline seems like a never-ending task. I’m definitely in high-learning mode, but I just want it to be over. I have to do an oral argument Thursday and take lots of practice tests for criminal law before my closed-book exam next Tuesday. Then contracts, then polishing up my brief for Civ Pro, then torts…. Here we go…