Law School Graduation Year: 2012
Current Employment Status: Intern with Justice Gardner at the 2nd Court of Appeals
Undergraduate School: University of Tennessee
Undergraduate Major: Child and Family Studies
Hometown: Knoxville, TN
Status: Full-Time Day
2/1/13 - Good luck to everyone taking the February Bar Exam! You are in the final stretch, hang in there! I hope Texas Wesleyan can have the highest pass rate in the state! On a related note, I am a grader for the Preparing for the Bar Class offered at the law school and I love it! It is similar to when I was an Academic Support TA. I love working with the students and am so grateful I can stay connected to the law school.
The Texas Wesleyan Law Review hosts a free CLE at the law school every few months. While I was in law school I dreaded attending those types of events. Backing up a step, CLE is “Continuing Legal Education,” and Texas attorneys are required to obtain a certain number of CLE hours per year. I was not eligible to receive CLE credit until September 2012, so the CLE and other events did not benefit me and I unfortunately did not take advantage of the networking opportunity those events presented. However, as an alum and licensed attorney, I love the free CLEs! I get to meet other attorneys, see other law school grads, and get dinner—what could be better. Wow, I thought it was only law school that made me a nerd, but I guess it has carried on into my “actual” life as well.
1/4/13 - Throughout law school, I heard people say how tough the job market is and that law firms are not hiring like they used to, but the magnitude of just how tough the market actually is did not sink in until I actually began looking for a job. It is true, people are not hiring. It is frustrating because I did well in law school and I have a strong resume, but that does not seem to be enough.
My advice to you and to myself is to let people know that you are looking for a job. I tell people at church, alumni events, family gatherings, and social events that I am looking for an associate position. Doing that has led to lunch meetings with other attorneys and also has helped get me in touch with partners at well-known law firms. I like to think that the more I put myself out there, the more likely I am to make the right contact and find the right job.
12/14/12 - I am enjoying the freedom that graduating from law school brings. I am not studying for finals and I actually get to enjoy my weekends, it is great. I saw one of my former students this weekend and she told me I look so much happier and more relaxed. That is not to say I did not enjoy law school, because I loved it, but I love not studying for finals and the Bar exam even more. I also like when people ask me what I do. I can respond with “I am an attorney,” instead of, “I am in law school.”
A few weeks ago we had the Texas Wesleyan Law School Alumni luncheon. It was great to see people and catch up and also to meet other alums that I did not get to know during school.
The year is flying by; I cannot believe it is almost Christmas! I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
11/30/12 - I would like to wish everyone a happy belated Thanksgiving! I went home for Thanksgiving this year; the first time in three years I was able to do so. It was such a blessing to be able to go home and enjoy spending time with family and not be stressed out about studying for finals.
This is our first holiday season without my grandfather, which brings its own challenges. However, there was a hidden blessing. I was able to help my grandmother prepare Thanksgiving dinner. I learned more about her and the traditions she shared with my grandfather and it was very rewarding. I also cooked my very first turkey; well actually I cooked two turkeys and a ham! It was a learning experience, and I am so thankful I was able to share that with my grandmother.
I am still adjusting to life as an actual lawyer. It just does not seem real, I cannot believe my hard work is actually paying off!
11/2/12 - It is official; I am a licensed attorney in the state of Texas! I’ll let that sink in for a moment...
The Board of Law Examiners expected to make the results available on November 2, which means that people started checking for the list on as early as October 31.
Let me back up, the Board of Law Examiners posts the “Pass List” on a website. When the list is available, you scroll through an alphabetical list and look for your name; if your name is on the list, you passed. No one knows what time the list will be available, so I sat at my computer hitting refresh for most of the morning. I got accustomed to hitting refresh and not seeing the list that when it actually posted I had a moment of sheer panic.
Three years of law school, three months of intense studying, and three days of a brutal examination all came down to this moment. I clicked on the link and almost fainted when I saw my name. I ran out of my office to tell one of the secretaries, but I had no words, just a huge smile. I felt so proud when I called my parents to tell them that I passed. I wish that my grandfather could have shared in that moment, but I know he is smiling and that he is so proud of me.
I want to brag on my law school and fellow classmates because we had a 90% pass rate on the exam! Congratulations y’all, we did it!
10/12/12 - Well, the Texas Bar exam results are almost in. I try to tell myself not to think about it, but that just never seems to work. I remember when I took the exam it felt like November was so far in the future, and now it is almost here. I have found that people want to share their horror stories about taking the bar with me, which only adds to my anxiety. People also want to tell me that they are positive I passed, but then remind me that several great people failed on their first attempt and later went on to accomplish great things...not sure how I am supposed to take those comments. I am anxious for the results so I can hopefully be able to say I am officially an attorney as opposed to, well I am almost an attorney get back to me in November.... I could go on for days about the Bar exam, but I for your sake and mine, I will change topics.
I am enjoying my time with the Second Court of Appeals and am learning a lot. I am trying to make as many connections as I can, and thankfully I am working for a Judge who encourages me in that endeavor. I attended a Juvenile Law CLE a few weeks ago at the law school. It was strange to be back at school, not as a student but as an alumnus. I also attended the Tarrant County Appellate Bar Luncheon which I really enjoyed!
9/21/12 - I am still adjusting to post-law school life, but the transition is going well. I think my favorite thing is that I now have weekends again. During law school my weekends were spent preparing for class, completing law review cite checks, and prepping my lesson plan for Academic Support. Granted I did watch some college football on the weekends, but I did so with some guilt. Now, I get to watch all the football I want and do not have the fear of being unprepared for class looming over my head.
I have settled in to my job with the 2nd Court of Appeals, and everything is going well so far. I am really enjoying the work and think I would enjoy working as a full time appellate lawyer.
This weekend, I was talking with some friends about Halloween, and then it hit me - that is the week Bar exam results are posted. I do not have an official countdown going, but I am very aware that it is coming quickly.
8/24/12 - I have graduated and taken the bar exam, now what? This is the first time I have not been in school in a long time, and it has brought a mix of emotions. At first I was almost sad I would not be a student again, but that feeling quickly passed as I have listened to friends discuss their class reading and assignments, and I realize that I no longer have the stress and pressure of law school. It is a freeing feeling to know that I do not have to read cases for class and study for finals. It is an even better feeling to realize I no longer have to study for the bar exam!
The three months spent studying were brutal, that is the only way I can describe it; however, I oddly miss it. I do not miss the studying and fear that encompasses the bar exam, but I do miss the structure and schedule I had this summer. The first few days after the exam I recovered and recuperated, and then I realized I did not have any real obligations. I cannot remember the last time I was able to wake up and go to the pool all day and have absolutely nothing I had to do, it was relaxing and nerve wracking at the same time.
After the bar exam I took a two week vacation home to Tennessee and visited with family and friends. I am now back in Fort Worth and will begin working for Justice Gardner at the 2nd Court of Appeals here in Fort Worth. I am eager to begin working for her and making new connections. I look forward to sharing my experiences with y’all as I begin my transition from law student to lawyer.
5/9/12 - I cannot believe that I am writing my last blog as a law student. The past three years have flown by, and I have enjoyed getting to share my experiences with y’all. Thank you to those of you who have read my blogs over the past three years, which mainly includes my family and a few close friends, although there have been a few of you who have read and contacted me about my blogs. Blogging about my experiences has helped give me perspective on law school, and it also helped give a purpose to each week; I knew I needed to do something interesting so I could blog about it.
My first year was consumed with studying, reading, and obsessing about making Law Review and keeping my scholarship. My second year was all about completing Law Review assignments, looking for a clerkship, running and participating in several student organizations, and also studying and reading for class. My third year has brought its own struggles. Mainly, looking for a job and looking forward to graduation. My third year has been especially hard because someone very close to me passed away. My grandfather, who was my number one law school fan, passed away in April. Granddaddy was passionate about reading my blogs, so writing this final one is bittersweet. Many friends and faculty members at the law school really helped me get through the emotional shock and pain. Words cannot express how grateful I am to Dean Hurst, Lori, and the entire Admissions staff, as well as Dean Short. If it were not for them, I don’t know if I would have made it through my last round of finals.
Alright, enough of the tears. After graduation, my parents threw me a graduation party at Winslow’s Wine Bar. We rented out the patio and had wonderful food and drinks and celebrated with great friends my accomplishments over the past three years. It was heartwarming to see how many people came to celebrate; students in my Academic Support classes, the Admissions staff, Law Review members, and several other very good friends. It was hard to plan a party an invite other graduates because most of them were hosting their own parties at the same time, so many of my classmates could not attend. My grandmother, who holds a special place in my heart, made the trip to Texas for my graduation. Although it was difficult for her because she was not with my grandfather who so badly wanted to be here, it was such a joy getting to share this experience with her. My favorite great aunt and uncle drove her down here, and I am so grateful to have such a loving family.
Thanks again to everyone and God bless!
4/25/12 - I am about to begin my last round of law school finals (hopefully last set of any type of finals ever) and it is bittersweet. I am ecstatic to finish law school, but not so excited about taking 5 finals and then beginning Bar prep. This semester I think I have the worst finals schedule thus far. I must not have been paying attention to the finals schedule when I made my class schedule. My finals schedule goes like this: Children and the Law on Tuesday, Advanced Torts on Wednesday, both Marital Property and Remedies on Thursday, and finally First Amendment the following Monday. Phew! I am exhausted just thinking about it.
A current 1L asked me if all of my grades must be in the day before graduation. When I told him “no” he said, “Oh, so you get to walk for graduation, but could still fail?” Wow, that is a scary thought. I don’t think I could manage to fail all of my classes though.
Graduation, wow. It always seemed like something in the distant future, but now it is only 17 days away. Three years of law school comes to an end, and it has flown by fast. I will always look back on my law school career with fond memories, thanks in great part to the faculty and staff here and also to my family for always supporting me.
This entry written in loving memory of William W. Newell (1928-2012), my biggest “bog” supporter. I love and miss you!
4/11/12 - Graduation regalia is in! I picked up my cap and gown, although I don’t think it is called a cap—in laymen’s terms, it is a fancy looking hat. A friend of mine said that it is the most expensive hat she has ever purchased. I was thinking about it, and that is true! I was mainly just thinking that I finally have the perfect Legally Blonde Halloween costume. We are also voting for class speaker this week. I am not running, go figure, but a good friend of mine is. She is the one I mentioned above regarding the expensive hat. I know most of the people reading this are not eligible to vote for her, but I think she would do a fabulous job representing our class.
A lot is happening this month. Last night I hosted my last reception as a Student Ambassador and gave my last tour to admitted students. This past Tuesday I taught my last Academic Support session. Next Monday is my last day of class (I can finally sing “Schools Out Forever”!!!). Next week is my last day of work. Wow, it seems the past three years has flown by, and it is all coming to an end; a very exciting end. I just have to hang on long enough to get through finals! Wait, that is false. I have to hang on long enough to study for a pass the Bar….But, I will leave that for another discussion.
3/28/12 - Alright, Spring Break is over and the semester is winding down. In fact, there are only 45 days until graduation (not that I am counting…). Well, I say “winding down,” but that isn’t completely accurate. We have the Law Review Symposium Thursday and Friday this week, Barrister’s Ball this Friday, Crawfish Boil in April, I am doing a 4 mile run with several professors, and after that the semester will really be winding down. Once that happens, I just have 5 finals. Wow, that sounds like a lot actually.
My job search continues but there seems to be a glimmer of hope! I have been attending my church for a while and decided to become a member. I have been putting this off because you go to the front of the congregation and for some reason that just makes me nervous, all those people looking at you. However, I have felt that God has wanted me to join for a while, and so I did this past Sunday. We decided to go to the early service (which is rare) and afterward about 50 people came to greet me and welcome me. I felt so welcomed and can’t believe I was nervous. Well, it seems that God may have had a plan that day. I met someone who asked me if I had a job after graduation and then handed me his card and told me to contact him. He is a fairly important person in his line of work, so I was pretty floored and quite appreciative. I contacted him, so fingers crossed that this works out.
3/7/12 - Next week is Spring Break and this is my last Spring Break. Ever. That is a weird feeling.
In high school and college, Spring Break meant a week at the beach with friends or sorority sisters. My first year of law school, Spring Break meant a week off from reading for class and trying to keep my head above water. I spent that time working on my trial brief and running a half marathon. Last year, I spent time getting my outlines up-to-date, studying, and buying a new car. This year I am working Monday – Wednesday, then taking a mini vacation for the rest of the week. My boyfriend and I are going to a wedding in Memphis that weekend. The wedding takes place on St. Patrick’s Day, and apparently everything at the wedding will be green, drinks included.
My brother is in his first year of law school at Memphis so this trip will be a great opportunity to see him. I have gotten to visit him in Memphis, but it was just for one night over Christmas break, so I am excited to actually experience the city and spend time with him. Don’t tell my brother this, but I really miss him. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Memphis is a 7-hour drive from Fort Worth and a 6-hour drive from Knoxville , so my parents are meeting us in Memphis! So not only do I get to attend a fancy wedding, but I get to see my brother, his fiancé, and my mom and dad.
Looking back, I have had 3 great Spring Break experiences while in law school. Heck, I have had 3 great years full of wonderful experiences while in law school.
2/22/12 - A classmate told me that this week marked the halfway point for the semester. While I am incredibly excited about graduation, it is almost bittersweet. I graduate May 12th but then Bar prep starts May 21, so for one week I will be able to experience freedom. Also, for the first time in my life, I will be able to sing song that goes “School’s out forever!” This will be the first time since kindergarten that I have not been in school - that is 21 years of school.
This makes me think two things. First, I am getting old. Second, I may be crazy—who voluntarily chooses to be in school for 21 straight years? Well, I guess doctors choose that and a few other graduate and Ph.D students. Hey there’s an idea, I could go back to school for my Ph.D and then my LLM (kidding Mom and Dad!)
With graduation right around the corner, it is hard to stay focused in class and to contribute, seeing that it was 78 degrees yesterday and is supposed to be 80 degrees today. Sitting in a classroom with that wonderful weather just seems wrong, but I will do it because while I am excited about graduation - I do actually want to graduate. Nothing seems scarier than making it through three years of law school and then not passing a class my last semester. Okay, fine I guess not passing the Bar would be scarier or not finding a job, but at the moment graduation is on my mind.
2/8/12 - A few updates on my law school career—I have submitted my application and paid the fees to sit for the Texas Bar Exam on July 24, 25, and 26.
I feel the need to pause and let that sink in.
I have been in law school for three years, three years! It is almost finished. I have ordered my announcements for graduation, which is this May 12th at 10:00 AM, not that I am counting.
On another graduation note, I have completed by pro bono hours for graduation, but in typical Lyndsay fashion, this did not come without some stress and confusion. We are required to complete 30 hours before we graduate and I received an email telling me I only had 1.1 hours.
My heart stopped and I began to freak out. How is that even possible? 1.1?! When would I find time to complete 29.9 hours? After I recovered from my heart attack, I asked the Registrar to check again, and my correct total is in…272.6! Phew, I think I met the 30-hour requirement.
I want to briefly discuss my personal life and give thanks to God, not only for my amazing grandparents but also for the invention of CyberKnife. Cyberknife is a noninvasive radiosurgery system for people with cancer. I continue to pray that CyberKnife will be successful and that you know how thankful I am to have been blessed with such amazing grandparents whom I love so very much.
1/25/12 - I finally had to face the challenge of being on call with Professor Rambo. Being “on call” means having to work through the case with the Professor using the Socratic method. I have had Professor Rambo for three classes now and have yet to face this, but I could not escape forever!
So the scenario played out like this:
Professor Rambo enters the room, states she does not have her seating chart, and Lyndsay’s heart sinks because she knows the Professor knows her by name and will call on her. Professor opens her First Amendment book and turns to Masses Publishing and says, “Lyndsay, would you like to help me with Masses?”
I give a weary “yes, ma’am” and we begin. I will skip past the humiliating answers I gave because my heart was beating so loud in my chest, and jump to the end where I realize that the Judge who wrote the case is always coming up with crazy “tests” and I was simply doomed from the start. Judge Learned Hand (actual name), the infamous creator of the “BPL” test for negligence in Torts (B is the burden of adequate precaution; P is the probability of loss; and L is the injury), has coined the phrase “direct incitement.” Let’s just say I will never forget that phrase and what it means.
So, I made it out alive, and believe you me I will never go into her classroom without knowing the ins and outs of every case. Regardless of what happened while I was on call (I have blocked that memory from my mind), Professor Rambo is still my favorite professor. We are very lucky to have her here at Texas Wesleyan Law, and EVERY student here needs to take Professor Rambo for at least one class (although I think one just wouldn’t be enough).
1/11/12 - I am starting my last semester of law school and I couldn’t be more excited. I am actually taking fun classes this semester. I am taking Children and the Law with one of my favorite professors, Judge Spurlock. I am also taking Marital Property, Remedies, Advanced Torts, and First Amendment. Professor Rambo, another one of my favorite professors, teaches First Amendment. This is my third class with her; let’s hope I can continue to do well on her exams. I realize that I said “fun” and you are probably thinking, “I don’t know what half of those classes are about, how is that fun?” But, many of these are Bar tested or will be of practical value to me once I am practicing law. When I say “Bar tested” that basically means that the Bar exam tests on that material, and I either learn it now for a grade or learn it during bar prep over the summer.
Other than starting back to class, I am still working at the law firm, and am still enjoying it. It is frustrating - I would rather work than go to class, but what can you do.
This Friday we have a banquet/awards ceremony for SART, which is the Student Ambassador Recruiting Team, and I am really excited about that. Usually, I am helping with or hosting the events and ensuring that the prospective/admitted students are having a good time, and now the roles will be reversed!
12/14/11 - I had my first take home final this semester, which was interesting. I liked that I had 24 hours to work on it, but I think I do better in a time crunch/high pressure situation. Either way, the exam would still have been equally as difficult. Several students in that class took the class pass/fail, which means they are graded as usual, but simply get a “pass” on their transcript. Students typically do this with tougher classes. For some crazy reason, I took every class this semester for a grade; that is going to change next semester. It’s my last semester in law school; I want to have some fun. Now that finals are over it has hit me that I only have one semester left of law school! I have been in school since I was 5, that’s 21 years of nothing but school! I have met several prospective students who are applying to be 1Ls this fall, and it’s a strange feeling to think that I will not be at Texas Wesleyan; I will be an actual attorney.
I have been forgetting to mention the marathon training (ha!), and maybe that has been on purpose. I ran the Turkey Trot 10k on Thanksgiving, but then immediately started finals, so the running was put on the back burner. Over Christmas break I will definitely kick it back into gear. It’s starting to look like I may just do another half.
11/22/11 - Its Thanksgiving week! I love Thanksgiving, mainly because it is a precursor to Christmas. But Thanksgiving has it own joys and special memories in my heart. I am thankful for all my family and friends (if you are reading this, you know who you are). I want to thank Antonio for the very kind words this week on his blog and tell him that I am just as thankful to have a good law school friend in him!
I came down with a weird combination of the flu and strep throat this past week, which kept me out of commission from Thursday until Sunday night. I was literally asleep the entire time (thankfully so, or I would have felt very guilty for not being able to study). Hopefully in the real world, I will have that many sick days.
I had to go to school Monday because I had two classes left and an exam. Yes, that’s right an exam. Taking that exam so quickly after being sick was not fun, but getting one out of the way is very exciting! Now all that stands between me and my last year of law school is 3 finals (pause for excitement)! I have a pretty good finals schedule. I have Texas Pre-Trial next Friday, and then Secured Transactions the following Wednesday. I also have a take home Oil and Gas exam, which I can complete any time during the two week exam period. I have yet to have a take home exam, but if I were ever to choose a class to have one, it would be Oil and Gas!
11/16/11 - Memo time is here again….oh wait, I am no longer a 1L, phew! The 1Ls turned in their second memos today—ha ha, suckers! Only kidding, I remember all too well the woes of writing legal memos for LARW. Poor 1Ls, I almost cringe thinking back on that year...Hold on, am I really better off now than I was 2 years ago? I have been pondering the difference between my life as a 1L and as a 3L.
1L: Class 5 days a week from 10:30 AM - 2:45 PM.
3L: Class 4 days a week (includes one night class), work 3 days a week, and TA, Student Ambassador Recruiting Team (S.A.R.T.), and Law Review pretty much 7 days a week.
1L: Subject to being called on in class at random, standing to recite cases, spending hours on end briefing for every case in every class, looking up every other word in Black’s Law Dictionary.
3L: Rarely subject to being called on at random, no standing to recite cases, the new ability to quickly brief cases, and even at times book brief (with the exception of Oil and Gas, that class still takes me hours on end to read and fully brief), and using Google or LexisNexis for words I don’t know (which is rare, because who am I kidding, I’m a genius 3L now).
3L: Job Hunt
3L: Finals and the BAR EXAM
Okay, after weighing the pros and cons, I guess I am still better off as a 3L.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Especially wishing a Happy Turkey Day to my Nana and Grandaddy, wish I could be there with ya’ll!
11/2/11 - Well, marathon training isn’t going quite as well as I’d planned. I am keeping up with it, but my training schedule had us running for a straight TWO HOURS in the second week. I mean, what?! Needless to say, that training schedule has been tweaked substantially. But, I remember leaving it to y’all to hold me accountable (ha ha).
On to more interesting things…. Bama v. LSU this weekend. LSU is the lesser of the two evils, so they have my vote.
At work I have two cases that are my own and one just got kinda crazy. Last week, I filed my first motion for continuance (asking the judge for more time to prepare for trial) and it was thankfully granted. So this week I am currently drafting discovery on that case. I have worked on discovery before, but never completely on my own and never from the very beginning. I am drafting Requests for Admission and Interrogatories. This process has been a great learning experience for me. It is pretty exciting to have a case that I have worked on from beginning to end, well hopefully to the end (my goal is to get this thing settled without having a trial!).
10/19/11 - This week I was able to watch something that does not often happen in family law—a jury trial! I have only been able to attend court to hear opening statements, but what I did see was incredible! After my boss (one of the partners at the firm where I work) was finished, I wanted to high five him and yell like I was at a football game (don’t worry, I kept my cool and acted professionally). It was so interesting to hear the statements - I actually understood the facts of the case and understood the objections that were made. I can’t believe I actually retained that much information from my Evidence class! I have been working on this case since I started this summer, and it almost feels like a mother watching her child grow up right before your eyes. Okay, maybe not that, but I still felt cool.
On a different note, part of my job as a TA is to attend the Professor Panel for the 1Ls, and it hit me—I am a 3L. I have been through 2 ½ years of law school. How is that possible?! It was interesting to listen to the professors, I think that it helped remind me how to write a good essay and take law school exams.
I think I may have officially lost my mind. I am currently training for the Cowtown Marathon…26.2 miles. I think if I blog about it, it will help hold me accountable, so it is up to y’all to help keep me going!
10/5/11 - This week I met with the Judge I clerked for after 1L year. I am going to present a CLE with her next week. Oh, a CLE is Continuing Legal Education; lawyers are required to get a certain amount of hours of CLE per year.
While we were discussing her paper and my role in the presentation, we had a conversation about how some people never change. I recently had an experience where a person who I thought was a good friend lied to my face - with no qualms about it, I might add. I know I have said in the past that law school is like middle school, just with people who are over the age of 21 (which just makes it worse), but I want to reiterate that statement. Actually, I think several people in the legal profession are like that. The Judge and I discussed that maybe people will grow out of it, but she realized that she knows people who still act like that, so I guess people don’t always change.
Or, maybe I have changed. Prior to law school, I would have been distraught at the thought of a good friend lying to me about something so serious, but now I just tell myself that’s just how some people are, and make a mental note to remember not to trust them professionally. I am actually proud of the person I am becoming. I stand up for myself and my beliefs in a way I never did before law school.
Anyway, I digress. I am still amazed at how lucky I was to meet the Judge that first week of law school, because she has helped open a lot of doors for me. Just another reminder that you never know who you will meet or where they will take you!
9/21/11 - This week, I conducted my first negotiation conference at work. Our client and the opposing side met at the Attorney General’s office to try and reach an agreement regarding child support payments. We got almost everything we asked for and now it is going to be set for trial. I was pretty nervous, but the law partner who went with me told me I did a great job and that he was really impressed. Our firm took this case pro bono, which pretty much explains why I was in charge of it, but I can still brag right? The negotiation conference also took place on my birthday.
I got an iPad 2 for my birthday, so now I am pretty much all “apple’d” out. We are celebrating my birthday, Elle Woods-style, and having a “Pink Out Birthday Bash.” Everyone has to wear pink, and I will, of course, wear all pink. Even though I have been told I am getting too old to celebrate birthdays, I am still doing it. Fort Worth has a limo service that has a pink limo, but sadly, it was already rented out.
I am also working on drafting discovery responses at work. It is interesting, we are also talking about discovery procedure in my Texas Pre-Trial Procedure class and in my Family Law drafting class—who says you don’t learn real world skills in law school?
9/7/11 - I just got a new computer and I absolutely love it! I have always had a Dell and just made the switch to a Mac. I have heard people say that it takes a while to adjust, but since it has Microsoft Office, I haven’t really had any trouble. It is almost like using a big iPhone that is also a computer. I love it.
This was the first computer I bought on my own, so that may contribute to my love of it. I am really starting to feel like an actual adult, ha ha. I keep realizing how much I have changed and grown since starting law school. I like the feeling of financial independence, and do not want to turn to my parents for help anymore. If they are reading this, I am sure they are rejoicing at that statement…but don’t get carried away with cutting me off just yet…
We just got our scores for the MPRE, the ethics portion of the bar exam I took this summer. I passed! Phew! That is a relief. That is another reason I got a new computer—to take the bar. I loved my mini Dell, but I need a bigger screen for this huge looming exam I have to take in July.
I actually had my first bar exam nightmare last week. Not a good sign considering it is only September. So hang in there with me guys, I have a sneaky feeling I will become more and more bar exam obsessed.
8/24/11 - I have been researching and working on a case at work for over a month and recently sought the advice of my Oil and Gas professor. We had a good one-on-one discussion, and then a few days later, the exact question I presented to him arose in our class discussion. This shows how nerdy I am, but it made me excited - I feel like I have been living in this little bubble where I have focused on this one topic, and then to see it in class and in the real world is pretty interesting.
I am taking Texas Pre-Trial Procedure this semester, and many of the issues we have been discussing I have actually seen at the law firm! Today, we discussed the mailbox rule. Over the summer, I spent a few days researching and discussing that very rule with an associate. In case any of you are wondering, the mailbox rule in simple terms means that a document is considered filed or served the day it was placed in the mail. There are other requirements, but that is the basic principle. We also discussed who can serve process and the methods of service, which brought back bad memories from first year Civil Procedure…
I met the new students for whom I will be a TA, and I think we are going to have an enjoyable semester. They seemed engaged and excited, and all of them showed up for our session, so that was very exciting. Let’s hope that continues throughout the year.
8/17/11 - As I started my first week back to school, I realized just how quickly the past two years have gone by—it is hard to believe I am beginning my final year of law school. A few years ago, the thought of law school was just a dream. Now, I have made that dream come true.
I have grown as a person because of my law school experience, and have a great sense of accomplishment because I did this on my own. I made the decision to take the LSAT, I got a position at a law firm through my connections, I applied to law schools, and I selected the school and moved 14 hours away on my own. Granted, I was terrified at first (and still am from time to time), but I look at all I have achieved and it feels great.
Enough bragging on myself, on to more important things like college football and how the season starts in a few weeks…Wait, I guess school should be more important. I have had four days of classes and I am already slightly freaked. I am taking Oil & Gas Law and Secured Transactions—yikes! I am also taking Family Law Drafting and Texas Pre-Trial Procedure. Those classes will be demanding, but thankfully they focus on things I have been doing all summer through my clerkship at the law firm.
8/10/11 - I took the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) last Friday, which is the Ethics/Professional Responsibility portion of the Bar Exam, and it was pretty tough. There were several questions concerning the Code of Judicial Conduct, which I was not expecting. While in Texas you have to make an 85 to pass, back in Tennessee and all the SEC schools, you only have to make a 75…Hmmm, why did I choose Texas again? Kidding.
I cannot believe that summer is wrapping up and I am about to begin my last year of law school. It feels like yesterday that I was moving to Texas and just beginning. People at work keep asking me if I am excited to start back to school, and my answer is NO. I like the working world, I am not ready to go back to studying and stressing about being called on in class…
My brother just got accepted to law school and he will be starting in the next few weeks. He is going to school back in Tennessee, and I hope he shares his experiences with me. He is not as much of a worrier and stress ball as I am, so I am sure he will survive his first year wonderfully!
7/27/11 - Everyday seems to present a new opportunity at my job. I have been working on drafting an Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims to file in an Independent Administration probate case. Today the associate I have been working with approved it and I filed it with the court. I have drafted several documents and parts of documents that have been filed with the court, but I have never completely drafted something on my own and then had the satisfaction of filing it myself—it was a great sense of accomplishment! Today I also began drafting a plaintiff’s original petition. I have drafted petitions in divorce proceedings and personal injury cases, but today’s was different. I have been researching causes of action that we can bring and now I am drafting the actual document. I am sure I will look back on this in several years and laugh at myself for being so excited, but for now I will relish it.
I am also starting to worry about the MPRE, which is the Ethics portion of the bar exam. I take it in a week and a half, fingers crossed that I have ethics! At least I am not taking the actual bar exam—thoughts and prayers go out to those who are right in the middle of that beast of an exam!
7/6/11 - I went home for the Fourth of July holiday, but before I could leave, my dog did the impossible. I went to load the car with luggage and when I came back the door was locked. No big deal, I must have locked it. I unlock it and the door still will not open. Now I am concerned. I try to unlock the door again, but still no luck. I hear the dog whining and jumping up on the door when it dawns on me: he locked the deadbolt! What kind of a dog does that? This is typical and would only happen to me on my way out of town. Fortunately, maintenance got into the apartment and now the doggie is happily living with my parents in Tennessee. I thought I spoiled that dog. Now he has more toys than imaginable, his own personal pool, and my dad is building him his own personal dog house. Let’s just say the dog and I are both much happier now.
I have had several new experiences at my job these past few weeks. I attended mediation for the first time last week and yesterday I sat in on a deposition. Every day brings a new adventure, and I love every minute of it. I am enjoying my summer and am in no rush to start school again. The thought of having only one year left is exciting, the thought of taking the bar is downright terrifying.
6/22/11 - This week’s blog will be short because I am at home sick today, and coincidentally, my dog is sick too.
My summer is going great! I love my job, every day is different. The firm I am with this summer only hired one summer associate, and so every attorney gets to know me and see what I can do. This setting is ideal for me. The firm is in the Fort Worth Club, so I am right in the middle of downtown, and it only takes me about 5 minutes to get to work every day.
This firm does a variety of civil litigation, which helps to keep it interesting. I now think solely doing family law would quickly get boring. We handle some probate matters, which is exciting because I took Estate Administration this spring. I am definitely getting to put those skills to use. However, until this week, I had only dealt with the paperwork aspect of probate, and not the emotional side. I am working on filing an Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims with the court and needed to ask the client a few questions. It was so sad hearing the client tell me about her only son that died and how much she just wants this process to end quickly. As hard as that was emotionally, it was nice to get off the phone with her and realize that we are helping her through this process and hopefully, doing it as quickly and painlessly as possible for her.
6/3/11 - Still waiting for grades to come in - this is the worst part about finals, the waiting! I have two grades in so far, just need 3 more.
I started my new job right after finals; no rest for the weary. I am working for a firm in downtown Fort Worth, so it’s nice that it takes me all of five minutes to get there in the morning. I am really enjoying it so far. My legal writing class has served me well in this new job. My first week I cranked out about 3 memos for an associate at the firm; such a vast difference from having over a month to write one memo. I have also done some filing with the court and had to get a Judge’s signature on a motion—it is very interesting to now see the “lawyer” side, as opposed to the judicial side like I did last summer. I am currently up to my neck in discovery, which can get boring, but is something that is also very important.
This summer I am also working as a research assistant for one of my favorite professors (who is also a Dean) at school. I am very excited about the opportunity to work with him!
5/11/11 - A few weeks ago, I wrote a motion in response to something the plaintiff filed in a case for the law firm. The associate attorney made only a few changes, and the partner (my boss) called me in to tell me what a great job I did on the motion. Needless to say, I was excited. A week later, the attorneys asked me to join them in court to watch the hearing on my motion, which made me very proud. However, we get to court and the first thing the attorneys settle are the two issues I addressed in my motion. While I did not get to hear my boss argue what I wrote, it was still an interesting hearing, and gave me a great sense of accomplishment. I had my last day at the firm right before finals began, and will start clerking at another firm for the summer.
I have two more finals and I am officially a 3L. I cannot believe I just wrote those words, it seems like last month I was taking first semester law school exams. My first final was Evidence with Professor Rambo, who is by far one of my favorites, but her exam was 56 pages long, yes you read that correctly, 56 pages! What could a professor test you on for 56 pages in 4 hours you might ask? Well, that is a good question, because I barely remember myself. I walked out of that exam thinking it was the fastest 4 hours of my life and I have absolutely no memory of any of it! The next exam was Criminal Procedure, which seemed too straightforward, so naturally I must have missed something, because no exam can be straight to the point, right?! Now, I have Professional Responsibility and Trusts & Fiduciary Responsibilities left. Thankfully, my Estate Administration class does not have a final, just a final assignment which was completed a week and a half ago!
Have a great summer everyone!
4/27/11 - My mom came to visit last week, and it was so great to see her and to take a break from school. We are starting finals, so her visit was my last hurrah before the intense studying begins. She has visited before, but this time I was able to show her some of my accomplishments at school. She saw my Law Review picture and the firm where I will clerk this summer. I felt a huge sense of pride when she saw the building downtown where I will be working because she seemed impressed and commented on what an amazing opportunity that will be. She did not get to experience me in the full stress of finals, but I think she got a pretty good idea judging from the amount of books and binders all over my desk and apartment just how much studying I have been doing and will continue to do.
Speaking of finals, I cannot believe they are here. We are in dead week, where we are not supposed to have classes, but due to the ice storm back in February, some of my classes have continued as make up classes. I have my last class Thursday for Estate Administration and my first final Monday, the thought of that just makes me shudder. I have my Evidence final as well as Criminal Procedure, Trusts and Fiduciary Responsibilities, and Professional Responsibility finals. I was scheduled to take two exams at the same time on the same day, so thankfully I got one of them moved to the next day.
4/13/11 - The 1Ls just turned in their trial briefs, and I have had many conversations with other 2Ls thinking back on this time last year. It is hard to believe that I am now almost done with my 2L year! Last year, I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel of law school, and now I am just a year away! This time last year, my biggest worry was finals and worrying if I would grade on to Law Review. Now, I am starting to think about having to study for the bar exam and looking for a job (an actual job, not a clerkship—scary thought). I remember my first job with a law firm. I was a runner for a firm in Knoxville, and I remember being incredibly nervous. My parents told me to remember that you are just interviewing for a runner position, not an associate. I wonder what they will tell me in the next few years to help calm me down; hey, at least you’re not interviewing for managing partner?!
I am starting to think about being out of school, but there are still many things I want to accomplish while I’m here. There are several classes I still want to take and organizations I want to get involved with. It is unfortunate that the classes I want to take are not bar topics, they are more elective type classes, so it is not entirely practical to take Animal Law, Religion and the Law, Death Penalty Seminar, and First Amendment.
3/30/11 - Last Friday, the school hosted the Mr. Wesleyan contest. It’s like a talent show for the guys at school. One professor hosts the event, and others judge the contest. The contestants model a suit, give a speech, and then there is a talent portion. I went this year and was pleasantly surprised by how entertaining it was. It was a nice break from the monotony of studying and reading on a Friday night. I think events like Mr. Wesleyan help to create a great law school culture. I think the best part was seeing my Evidence and Constitutional Law professor hosting the event in a prom dress!
As a law student, I am also a member of the American Bar Association (“ABA”). The ABA has a publication that I normally keep on my coffee table for a few weeks, in hopes that I will read it, and then throw it out. However, the most recent publication caught my eye. I started reading it and could not stop. I read an article about the Wal-Mart class action suit, for which the Supreme Court was set to hear oral arguments this week. Last night, I saw on the news a discussion about the Wal-Mart lawsuit. Upon hearing this, I perked up and got super excited. My boyfriend almost died laughing because he is constantly telling me I am such a law school nerd. Later that evening, we watched the legal television show, The Good Wife. Once again, I perked up and started objecting and yelling at the television about the rules of Evidence. I guess I should embrace my legal nerd status.
3/23/11 - Wow, Spring Break is over and finals are approaching, yikes! It was nice to spend Spring Break not stressing over my Trial Brief like I did 1L year, but I still had plenty of work and studying to do.
My job with the Arlington firm is going well! I work with another law clerk, and we both do work for two associates and the main partner. The firm is a general litigation firm, so I get to see a bit of everything. We handle anything from wills and estates to personal injury—it is never boring to say the least. I am sending out notice letters to clients and attorneys, preparing and answering discovery, and setting hearings and court dates on a regular basis. I also had the opportunity to draft Temporary Orders from the Associate’s Judge’s report on a family law case, and I got to do research for an associate about updating a living trust. I am also engaging with clients and speaking with other attorneys, which is helping me slowly get over my fear of being put on the spot. It is such a great job, and I am learning a lot.
All the worrying and stress over finding a job has turned into having too many job offers! I guess that is a good problem to have though. I accepted a summer clerkship with a Fort Worth firm for this summer. The firm is downtown and my 1L legal writing professor used to be a partner there! I feel so completely blessed and lucky!
3/2/11 - The past few weeks have been super stressful! A requirement for Law Review membership is to write an article and submit it. That seems like an understatement. You have to have your topic approved, ensure you are not pre-empted, have a minimum of 460 qualifying written lines, and have all your citations correct. It was an exhausting process that I began back in August.
The Law Review board reads the submissions and decides who to publish. The board does not know who wrote each paper, so the process is entirely objective. These articles were due Monday by two forms of electronic submission and one hard copy, with each qualifying line numbered by hand. Needless to say, I am glad I have that turned in! I do not know if the topic I selected is “glamorous” enough for publication, but I know I worked pretty hard on it. This whole process brought me back to 1L year with memo and trial brief writing. People ask me how I feel about my final draft and my response is the same as it always has been - I still feel like I could have done more. I am one of those people who would edit myself into the ground if given the opportunity.
I also started a new job last week! I am working for a firm in Arlington and love it! After interviewing with several places, I ended up getting two great offers! I went from no job to having the option to select which one I wanted! It was a great decision to be forced to make.
2/16/11 - Happy belated Valentine’s Day everyone! This is the first year I had a wonderful time on Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend gave me a half day at an Aveda Spa and a photo session with Bella Bee for the puppy and me. If you know me, this is the perfect gift! Not only do I love Aveda, but I am fairly obsessed with my dog, so a portrait of him is wonderful!!
This is the first full week of class we have had in two weeks. Last Wednesday we had a snow day, and today it is in the 70s! This crazy weather almost reminds me of being back in Tennessee.
I have started thinking about classes I want to take next year, and there are too many for the amount of time I have left in school. Wow, I cannot believe that I am halfway through law school. In continuing my interest of probate law, I want to take Elder Law and Guardianship. This will be a helpful area of law to be familiar with because of the Baby Boomers. In thinking about taking the bar, I realize I should take Oil and Gas, Secured Transactions, and Payment Systems. Thinking about these classes does not sound as fun as Marital Property, Elder Law, and Children and the Law. But, I have to bite the bullet, because I am not going to learn those bar subjects on my own!
2/2/11 - I remember spring semester of 1L year when we had several snow days in a row, right around memo time. Ha, it has happened again this year! The 1Ls have memos due and we have been out of school for days now. I am excited, but it does put a damper on all the Super Bowl festivities. We took “Molly” the Trolley downtown for lunch yesterday and the Chef told us he had over $14,000 in food in the kitchen that was preordered for the Super Bowl. I cannot even imagine how the restaurant owners and other business owners must feel. I hope that the Dallas Super Bowl isn’t remembered for the ice storm that swept the city! Oh and did I mention the rolling black outs? This is a new concept to me, but there are scheduled black outs for different parts of the city, so at random the power goes off and I lose heat…it is not fun.
I wish that I could be using all this time at home to actually work on school stuff, but all of my books are locked in the school in my locker! So, I decided a more useful way to spend my time would be to hook up Netflix to my TV through the Wii! I am enjoying all this down time, but I hope to get back into the school building sometime soon…I need to study (spoken like a true law student). Also, lesson learned, do not leave all school materials at school the night before a predicted ice storm!
1/19/11 - Last week we hosted a panel for incoming students, and I was blown away by how many people were there! I become more and more impressed by interested students each time I host a panel or give a tour. It also makes me feel a sense of pride because that many people are interested in coming to Texas Wesleyan Law; and why wouldn’t they, our school is awesome! It was neat to talk with students who are teachers (like I was) or who are considering graduate school or law school (like I did). I obviously chose to go to graduate school first and then law school, but I think it depends on what you want to do with your law degree. I am just impressed that people actually wanted to know my opinion!
So, I am still waiting for one grade! It is my Con Law grade which is a four hour credit, so a big part of me is pretty anxious to get that grade back. I of course really want an A, but will be satisfied with an A- (ha, kidding, kind of…)
I am still on the job hunt for this semester. I just finished my last round of interviews with the big family law firm. My last interview was in the Southlake office, and it was by far the most fun interview. The partner told me it was more of a relaxed setting, which immediately made me more comfortable. Fingers are crossed because I REALLY WANT this clerkship!!
- Welcome back everyone! School is back in full swing. I have all of my grades back except Con Law, and I am glad to see my hard work has paid off again! However, the constant checking for the grade is not fun. It just brings unneeded anxiety.
I am looking forward to my classes this semester. I am taking Evidence, Trusts, Criminal Procedure, Professional Responsibility, and an Estate Planning Practicum, as well as being a T.A. and working on Law Review. After taking Wills and Estates with Dean Short (the BEST professor at Texas Wesleyan Law) I have developed a strong interest in Estate Planning and Probate Law. After meeting with Dean Short, I dropped one class to add the Estate Planning Practicum. I have been researching probate law firms, and many of them also do family law! I think I have found my niche.
I am still in the interview process for a summer clerkship. I have had three of my five interviews with a large Dallas family law firm. It seems that no matter how many interviews I have, I still get just as nervous. Hopefully, I am improving though. I hope to find out soon about the position, because it seems like this firm would fit my work ethic and personality. In one of the offices, three of the attorneys are Texas Wesleyan Law grads, so that is encouraging. I will keep you posted about the process!
12/15/10 - Finals are over! It is hard to believe I am halfway through law school. I had a few computer problems during two exams this time, but looking back on the situation, it is not the end of the world, even though it felt like that when I was taking the exams.
This semester, my finals were not as spread out as they were 1L year, and I thought I would really stress over that. However, I found myself ready to just get finals over with and take them all back to back; man, if I am like this now, what will it be like second semester 3L year? After my last final, I think I slept for two straight days. I forget how nice it is to just lay around watching bad television and eating junk food. I think that life would get old though, so I will just enjoy it for a few more days.
It was in the upper seventies here in Fort Worth today and back in Knoxville (my hometown) the schools have been closed due to snow! I am not a huge fan of cold weather, but it makes it hard to stay in the Christmas spirit when you are sweating just being outside! I am sure I will regret ever making this observation come January when it is freezing here, but until then I will keep complaining about the lack of Christmas weather.
I hope everyone has a wonderful and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! God bless!
11/23/10 - This week there was a fire in my apartment complex. Someone down the hall from me left something on the burner at 2 AM and it filled the entire hall, including inside my apartment, with smoke. In my crazed finals mindset, I first packed my backpack to ensure my Con Law notes, binder, and outline made it to safety. No worries, I also got the pets out safely, but the next day it hit me that I may be obsessed with finals. I told myself I would not go down this path again, but the nightmares and sleepless nights have already begun…
This is the first year I will not see my family for Thanksgiving. Last year my family came to Fort Worth, but this year I will have to wait until Christmas to see them. It has made me realize how very lucky I am that my family has so many wonderful traditions. I will miss my parents and brother, but I think I will miss going to my grandmother’s house the most. I am very close with my grandparents, and feel so blessed to have them in my life. I am looking forward to Christmas when I can see them again and eat some of my grandfather’s famous salt rising bread, known to everyone in our family as “stink bread.” Every year my mom and I go shopping on Black Friday, but I guess this year that time can be devoted to more studying because sleep is just not happening for me these days. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
11/10/10 - As the semester is winding down, it has hit me that I am almost halfway done with my 2L year, meaning I am almost to the halfway mark of being through law school. I have mentioned before that I am an Academic Support TA, and this week we held our last session. It was an odd feeling to stand in front of my group of 1Ls and give them some final tips and hints for exams. It is hard to believe that I am no longer a scared 1L looking to my TA for support and advice; I am the TA that is giving the advice. This time last year I could not have imagined being in this position. I was terrified of finals (still am) and thought it impossible to get through them, let alone make Law Review. Now, one year later, I realize that all my hard work and dedication paid off. I hope that I conveyed some positive messages to the 1Ls; I want to remind them that if I can get through it, so can they.
Exam period is scary, but it is also thrilling in an odd way. Your “success” hinges on one exam that is an accumulation of the entire semester. It is overwhelming and terrifying, but provides such a sense of accomplishment when it is over. It is hard to explain what studying for a law school exam is like to people who have not experienced it. My point is, friends and family please bear with me. Get ready for those phone calls where I am freaking out over some minute area of the law you have never heard of and just remind me I can do this. Thanks for all you do!
10/27/10 - I am ecstatic! We have tickets to the first Rangers home game to the World Series on Saturday! I also have a very important interview this Thursday with a family law firm. Needless to say, I have a big week ahead of me!
School is going really well right now. (Knock on wood!!) I love my classes; especially Constitutional Law (Con Law) — which I thought I would struggle with. However, I have not been “on call” yet, so when my time comes, I may change my mind on how much I think I understand Con Law. Family Law is really clicking for me, and I have my summer internship to thank for that! I have my first rough draft of my Law Review article turned in, and it is very rough. It is such a relief to have that turned in, but I have a lot of work left on it before the final due date in February. I registered for classes today, and I am looking forward to next semester. My TA sessions seem to be going well; at least I haven’t heard any complaints from the students! Man, it feels like I am bragging, but I am so happy with where my life has taken me!
Home life is great too! My puppy is now 4 months old and we call him our little “gentlefen.” He is our gentleman and his name is Fen. The cat has now accepted the dog, and they act like actual brother and sister, it is adorable.
10/13/10 - I will refrain from any football discussions this week, as I am still mourning the loss to LSU, not to mention Georgia…anyway, still love my VOLS.
On a happier note, today I had two interviews! As you can imagine I overanalyzed them and made myself considerably more nervous than necessary! The first was through On-Campus Interviewing (OCI) and the other was a firm I contacted on my own. The OCI interview was very structured and more formal, and the second was more relaxed, although I thought it was tougher (because I really want to work for this firm!). I have another interview later this month that I am very excited about, and will keep you posted on…
The 1Ls had a memo due and a Torts midterm this week….man I am glad I am not a 1L. Life is much easier without having LARW (that is the legal writing class), but I am writing my Law Review article, which is much more time consuming. At least I got to choose the topic!
Last week I attended the Law Review and Wesleyan Innocence Project (WIP) symposium on exonerees, which was incredibly interesting and informative. There were many talented speakers with impressive backgrounds who spoke on a variety of topics. I have never had an interest in that area of the law, but am now interested in reading more about it for my personal benefit (not to start practicing criminal law). After the symposium, I told a friend who is on WIP that someone should make a movie about these incredible stories, and lo and behold, there is one coming out this month! (Guess I am a little behind the times…)
9/29/10 - My visit home was great! I forget how much I really love Tennessee, especially Neyland Stadium (where the Vols play). My new little puppy isn’t so little anymore, but at least he has not chewed any more pens.
This semester is going by so fast and I have so many obligations that I am completely overwhelmed. I never thought I would say this, but I wish I were a 1L again… maybe. At least with 1L year, I only had school to worry about; now I have Law Review, Academic Support, Peer Tutoring, and several other committees that I am on the board of, in addition to school!
However, I love my classes this semester. I am in Family Law, which is interesting and helpful. I am also taking Wills and Estates, and I am developing an interest in probate law. Actually, I think I have such a great professor for that class that I would be interested in any subject he teaches. My Wills professor is the same professor I had for Property, and he is also an Associate Dean at the law school. I am finding that taking classes with professors you enjoy can really help. My Constitutional Law professor is entertaining and intimidating! She uses an intense version of the Socratic Method, so that always keeps me on my toes. I am also taking Business Associations, which I find a bit confusing, but the professor makes it fun (he is a huge football fan).
I am still on the job hunt, so stay tuned…
9/15/10 - This is a very exciting week! I am going home for my birthday and for the Tennessee vs. Florida game. I could not attend any games last year, so it is so nice to finally be in a place where I can take a few days off and go home. I do not think I could have taken a weekend off during my 1L year and actually enjoyed myself. Thankfully, I do not have any Friday classes and my Thursday class is a morning class.
Apart from that excitement, I have a new puppy! My boyfriend gave him to me for an early birthday present and I absolutely love him. I was worried the puppy would become a burden, but it is so nice to have him to come home to - he is always so happy to see me! However, that being said, I went home at lunch today and he had busted the door of his kennel open, found a blue pen, and chewed it. Now I have a blue puppy and a blue carpet…
I have also been on the job hunt. I am going through OCI (on campus interviews) and I am also searching on my own. I enjoyed working for the Judge last summer and now I cannot wait to hopefully gain some experience in a firm. I am still passionate about family law, and as a result of my Wills and Estates class, I have developed an interest in probate as well. I hope all goes well!
8/25/10 - I am two weeks into my 2L year, and I am already overwhelmed. I am excited about this year, but I may have over-committed myself. I do work best when I am under pressure, so I hope this will work in my favor. I am on the board of execs of an organization at school, plus I am involved in many other organizations that I worked very hard to become a part of. This year I am also serving as an Academic Support TA, and I love it so far. I remember how much I admired my TA last year, and hope I can connect with some of my students in the same way. Not that I want to be admired, I just want to help people adjust to the demands of law school.
Many of my classmates have lost the 1L fear of being called on in class, and I wonder what is wrong with me because I still have that anxiety. I am more comfortable now than I was last year, but I am nowhere near ready to start volunteering and being called on in class! Hopefully this fear will not last forever…
Another big change for me this year is that I moved to downtown Fort Worth! I LOVE being so close to school. It still has not sunk in yet that I do not face a thirty to forty-five minute drive home, just a three to four minute drive.
8/4/10 - This week we have been moving from Euless to downtown Fort Worth, and it has not been fun! My parents are in town and are helping me move in this heat. All I can say is, it is hot!! I asked my dad what to blog about this week and he said, “Tell people about the importance of choosing the right apartment the first time!” I love my apartment, but I hate the 30-45 minute drive. So, in following my dad’s advice, choose wisely.
I think that being a commuter was helpful for me my first year of law school because the drive gave me time to mentally prepare myself before class, and then gave me time to wind down after class. It also helped because I was not tempted to leave the library to go home for dinner or to go out with friends because I knew I had a thirty minute drive home. We are also moving with an animal for the first time. My cat Knoxy, named for my hometown Knoxville, is not pleased with me right now for moving her to a strange new place.
On a different note, I finished my internship and was sad to leave. I loved being in the courtroom and being around attorneys all day. This summer made me realize how much I love Fort Worth and how much I really want to be a family law attorney. Judge Berger threw me a going away party, complete with ice cream, cake, and a group lunch at Reata! This has been a wonderful experience and I was glad to share it with ya’ll!
7/21/10 - The summer is going by so fast. Thinking back on where I was this time last year, it amazes me to see how much I have changed and grown as a person. This time last year I was terrified to move to a new city and start law school. Now, I can’t imagine life any other way.
I have met so many wonderful people at the courthouse that have only positive things to say about the family law community in Tarrant County. I feel incredibly blessed to have this internship, because it has introduced me to attorneys that I would love to work for or with, and it has shown me behaviors and characteristics in some attorneys that I never want to adopt.
I am really enjoying my internship, but there is a small part of me that sort of misses school. I know that as soon as school starts and I am stressed out I will regret saying that, but for now, it holds true. It is nice not to have this fear of the unknown – since I somehow survived my first year of law school, I know I can survive my 2L year. It seems crazy but it is almost time to start looking for my summer clerkship for next summer. I have enjoyed being in Judge Berger’s court and being immersed in family law, but I don’t want to limit my chances and possibilities. I am really thinking about what type of law interests me and also how I can make myself marketable to a variety of firms.
7/7/10 - This weekend I went back to Tennessee to visit family. I spent time with my grandparents, my aunt, my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend! It was wonderful to see them. I had not met my brother’s girlfriend, but she’s in the same sorority as my aunt and me, and we really hit it off! To celebrate the Fourth of July, we had a seafood boil (my favorite) - it was so much fun! You realize how special your family really is when you are away from them for so long. It was so hard to say goodbye to them, but very encouraging knowing they support me and are proud of the accomplishments I have made this year.
All of our grades are posted and we have received class rankings. My family could tell a drastic difference in my attitude this second semester. I am less anxious and stressed about it, and it feels great. I did the same as I did first semester, and I did it without making myself sick with worry! I hope I can carry this attitude with me for the remaining two years.
My internship is still going great. I realize that I actually enjoy going to work in the morning. I like what I am observing and learning, which is further confirmation I have chosen the right career for me. I didn’t know I would start to feel this way, but Fort Worth is really starting to grow on me…
6/23/10 - This summer is flying by! I am having a wonderful time at the court. I am amazed at how much you can learn from simply observing. I also have to look up several terms or phrases that I hear that I am unfamiliar with on a daily basis. The more I am in the family law courtroom the more excited I am to take Family Law in the fall. I am also looking forward to taking Marital Property and Wills & Estates. My experiences this summer will help me in the classroom because I will have a real world grasp on how certain issues play out in the courtroom. An attorney shared this phrase with me, “In criminal court the worst people are on their best behavior, but in family court the best people are on their worst behavior.” I am definitely seeing how emotions can take their toll on people in court.
This week the Judge and I attended the Tarrant County Family Law Bar Association meeting. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet people involved in family law and also to see attorneys outside the courtroom. I am really enjoying meeting people that I hope to work with after law school. Sometimes I cannot believe how blessed I am that I am able to have an internship that I love, and that I am able to network and become familiar with the people involved in family law! It is amazing that there are so many wonderful and competent people that share my compassion for children and families. As an added bonus, I was able to hear Chief Justice Terrie Livingston from the 2nd District Court of Appeals speak to the group. Working in the District Court every day, I forget there is another world out there - it was interesting to hear her address the group about appellate procedures.
So far this summer has re-affirmed me in my decision to attend law school, and even more so in my choice to attend Texas Wesleyan. I have met several practicing attorneys that give Texas Wesleyan a wonderful name and have established a respectable reputation. I hear nothing but praise when people hear I am a current Texas Wesleyan student!
6/9/10 - Wow! The summer is already going by so fast. I have to admit that I am not as stressed about getting grades back as I was after fall semester. We have two of five grades back, and I am actually okay with that…for now.
My parents came for a visit last week which was incredible. I forget how much I really miss seeing my family. It was nice to show them around Fort Worth - when they came at Thanksgiving I was in finals stress mode, so this visit was much more relaxed! We spent a lot of time downtown exploring the city. We, of course, went shopping and ate at my favorite restaurants!
I have started my internship with Judge Berger and I am having a blast! She was on vacation the week I started and I was able to work a visiting Judge. This Judge knew everyone and everything! I was very impressed with him and definitely entertained. I mentioned reading a book The Same Kind of Different as Me, which was written by two people who live in Fort Worth, and the Judge knew the authors!
The court staff has really seemed to take me under their wing and make me feel at home. My first day I was able to sit in on a mediation between two attorneys, I saw several divorce and adoption prove-ups, and sat in on a trial in the Associate Judge’s courtroom. Judge Berger is now back and I am really looking forward to learning from her!
5/19/10 - This year has flown by! I cannot believe this is the last blog. It has been fun sharing my experiences with you, and I really appreciate all the emails from y’all. My first year of law school has been everything I expected and more. It was even more challenging than expected, and just as rewarding. Now that finals are over, I almost don’t know what to do with myself and all this free time! It’s weird, but I kind of miss school, but I am very excited to work with Judge Berger this summer! I met with her this week and am starting this coming Monday. I am nervous and excited at the same time.
Looking back over this year, I have learned a lot. Not just about the law, but about myself. This time last year I was terrified to visit Wesleyan and attend an Admitted Students Reception. Now, I have lived 14 hours away from home for almost a year and made it through an entire year of law school! I have accomplished things I would not have thought were possible, and I have also grown into a more independent person.
I have three pieces of advice I would like to share for those of you entering law school. First, stay true to who you are. There are a lot of pressures in law school and there will be people who will challenge you; just remember your values. Do not become someone who gives attorneys a bad name. Second, remember why you came to law school. It will be stressful and hard and at times you will hate it, but just remember why you chose this. Keep those positive images in your mind especially during memo time and finals! Third, find an outlet for stress! You are going to need a way to unwind and release all the anxiety. I like to put the Kaplan CDs on my iPhone so it feels like I am studying while working out!
Best of luck to all of you, and remember law school can be fun! It is time consuming and demanding, but also a great learning experience.
5/12/10 - This semester flew by ten times faster than the fall, yet finals seem to be dragging out! I think I have fallen into a state of delirium. I woke up today (Wednesday) convinced it was Sunday. I spent the morning working from home because I thought the library would not open until 10 AM, and then tried to plan breakfast because I thought the bookstore would be closed today. It dawned on me around 7:30 AM that it was in fact Wednesday, not Sunday. I started my drive to school, thinking again it was Sunday, feeling bad about missing church to study, only to realize again that it is Wednesday!
Finals have taken a toll on me. I do not know how I am going to re-adjust to the real world. A world where I am not in sweats and no make-up every day—a world with sunshine and a life outside the library…I am so close, just one more day! I have become so accustomed to my spot in the library, that it will be strange to wake up Friday morning and not head straight here.
It seems that people are more on edge for this round of finals. I do not know if everyone is just burnt out and ready for a break or what, but you can definitely feel the tension. I know I am more on edge as well, and am very ready for a break. Three straight weeks of pure studying and nothing else can really take a toll on you! All that stands between me and being a 2L is a Civ Pro final…I am so close, yet so far.
4/28/10 - Wow! I cannot believe it’s that time of year again…sadly I am not talking about spring or baseball season or anything fun, but its FINALS time. Finals really seemed to sneak up on me this semester. We have covered more material in our classes this semester than in the fall and I really don’t know if I am going to be able to remember it all. I am in stress mode, but I am handling it much better than I did last semester. I am still working out and I think that has really helped keep the stress down. Also, I have surrounded myself with people who are more laid back and calm than I am, so it’s hard to work myself into a frenzy of stress.
This time last fall I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. That is not the case now; I am practically running towards the finish line. One thing that is different about this semester’s exams is that in Civ Pro we are able to have two 8 ½ x 11 sheets of paper with us during the exam. I still don’t even think that will be enough. I feel sorry for anyone who would have to take Civ Pro without some sort of reminder sheet.
I am not burnt out yet, but almost. My last exam is May 13, and I think by that time I will be ready for a break from school!! Good luck to everyone out there preparing for finals!
4/21/10 - This week we have to give an oral argument of our trial brief. My writing professor has arranged for half the class to represent the defendant (the side we all represented in our trial briefs) and half the class to represent the plaintiff. I am assigned to represent the defendant. I will present my case to the “Judge” (my writing professor) first for five minutes, then the Plaintiff’s side argues for five minutes, then I have a two minute rebuttal. After this, our professor critiques us each individually. Oh, did I mention, this is being done in front of the entire class?
Our class has an odd number of students, and I, of course, was the one left without a partner. My professor suggested I just argue against him (are you kidding me?!) but, thankfully another classmate volunteered to argue twice and go against me. I owe this student a million thanks! I cannot express how nervous I am about this! I would rather write another trial brief than present my case in front of the entire class, but sadly this is not an option.
Half the class presented their arguments on Tuesday, and I was very impressed by everyone in the class. This only added to my anxiety and fear about presenting! They say it gets easier every time, and I hope this is the case because I have chosen a career where oral advocacy is a major part of the job!
4/14/10 - Well, as soon as I submitted my blog last week I was talked into going to the Barristers’ Ball! So I ended up going – and, yes I felt guilty about not studying and working on the trial brief. Oh well, I guess. It was nice to see everyone dressed up! Someone approached me and told me how glad she was I made it because she always sees me in the library, and it was nice to see me outside of it for once!
The trial brief is done and turned in!! Now, we have to prepare for oral arguments. Our writing professor is having us argue one issue from the brief against an opponent. I am assigned to our hypothetical client and will have six minutes to tell the Judge (our writing professor) why my client is entitled to summary judgment (basically kind of like dismissing the case before it goes to trial) based on the issue I was assigned. Then opposing counsel (another classmate) will have six minutes to explain the hypothetical plaintiff’s side of the case and why my client is not entitled to summary judgment. Opposing counsel is basically poking holes in my argument to show why it should fail. Then, I will have two minutes for a quick rebuttal.
Wow, being anxious and nervous about this does not even begin to describe my feelings! Oh, and to add to this, we will be presenting oral argument in one of the court rooms at the school and the entire class will be watching!
4/7/10 - Wow, this semester has flown by! I cannot believe that it is April and finals are right around the corner! I am starting to stress, go figure. I think I have learned from my mistakes last semester and am trying to get a grip on stress, particularly the way I let it affect my body. It is hard to remember, but I survived last semester, and I can survive this one too!
Our trial briefs are due next Tuesday, and I cannot wait to have it turned in! Thankfully, some of our professors are rewarding us with “immunity” days for our contributions to local charities. “Immunity” means that no one is called on – instead, people volunteer to discuss cases, or the professor lectures. This is greatly welcomed and appreciated!!
Barristers’ Ball, more commonly known as law school prom, is this weekend. However, I have made the conscious decision not to attend and finish work on my trial brief and study. I cannot say I am proud or happy about this decision, but I remind myself that the guilt I will feel after attending and not studying is simply not worth it. Plus, I can always reward myself after finals are done and grades are in!
This week I attended the 1L Law Review Informational Meeting…Wow. I knew that Law Review would place demands on me, but it seems pretty intense. However, I am not going to give up my goal of working towards that, fingers crossed for good grades!
3/31/10 - Wow, what an interesting week! Tennessee made it to the elite eight…moment of silence for y’all to sing ROCKY TOP…since we sadly lost and there are no other S-E-C teams; I guess my allegiance will now go to West Virginia, they did beat Kentucky after all! Now that the basketball talk is out of the way, on to more important things like the weather! While all of my Knoxville friends and family have rain, we have sunny skies and temps in the 80s, I knew there had to be a reason I left the Volunteer state!
Ok, now on to more law school focused topics. This week Ken Starr came to speak to our school and he was such a great speaker. I did not realize how much he has accomplished in his life, but he really is an admirable person. If that wasn’t enough excitement for one week the Court of Appeals came to hear oral arguments for two separate cases in our lecture hall. This was an amazing opportunity! Instead of having our regularly scheduled Property class, we all attended this. It was great to see practicing attorneys give oral arguments in front of three judges, because in a few weeks I will have to give an oral argument to my professor, who used to work for the Court of Appeals.
This week is a short week, giving us more time for the trial brief…I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Easter!
3/24/10 - Spring Break is officially over, and now the semester is close to being done, which is definitely scary! I feel like we are in the home stretch, and it is going to be brutal. Spring Break was productive for me, and it feels great to really have spent my time well. I am noticing two distinct groups of people; those who have slacked off and those who have stepped up their game. I spent my entire break working on my trial brief. This week in my Legal Writing class the professor asked for a show of hands of people who had begun writing their brief. Guess who was the only one to raise their hand… this girl. On one hand, it was exciting to feel on track, but on the other hand, it was kind of embarrassing to showcase my nerdiness in such a way.
Also over Spring Break I ran my half marathon! It was a trail run, and the temperature dropped 40 degrees overnight and it poured down rain the entire night before and the morning of the run. I have never felt more “hard-core” in my life! It snowed, I was covered in mud, ran through thorns and have the blood and scratches to prove it, and even got lost so I ended up running about 14 miles total! I cannot describe the feeling I had when it was done, complete elation! Someone asked me, what’s next? My response, a full-marathon! I have never felt such a sense of accomplishment; I ran a half marathon and started working on my trial brief, I am feeling pretty good right now!
3/10/10 - People always told me law school changes you, but I never realized how much until recently. This conversation has happened several times with multiple friends and family members…
Friend: “Are you doing anything fun for Spring Break?”
Me: “Yea, I’m really excited.”
Friend: “Well, what are you doing?”
Me: “I am getting all of my outlines up to date and really going to start studying hard for finals and get to work on the trial brief!”
Friend: No response (with dumbfounded look)
Me: (trying to sound somewhat cool) “Well, I am also going to run 13.1 miles and then carb load on chips and salsa and maybe even pizza afterwards.”
Friend: Still no response…..
Me to myself: “What has happened to you?! Where is the Lyndsay that went to the Bahamas or on a cruise or Charleston for Spring Break? I want fun Lyndsay back….”
So, moral of the story, try to find a balance. For me, school is important, but I am also trying to realize that I need to maintain my sanity by taking some time to relax and enjoy the break. I can’t guarantee I will do anything too crazy or spontaneous, but one friend has commanded me to stay away from the library for at least one day…it’s all about baby steps I guess. To all of you still in undergrad, or even in grad school, enjoy your Spring Breaks while you can and be safe!
3/3/10 - The American Bar Association (ABA) observed our school this week. They sat in on classes and also hosted a panel discussion on Monday night. I had not planned on going, simply because I did not know what it was for, but the librarian made a desperate plea in the library for students to attend. I figured if they are announcing things in the quiet room of the library, it must be important. I attended with two other students from my section and I am really glad I went.
The panel was designed for students to give feedback to the ABA about Texas Wesleyan. Faculty and staff were not in attendance which provided students with a chance to be honest and open with their comments and discussion. I know I am proud of this law school, but I did not realize the strong positive feelings other students have. It was wonderful to sit back and listen to others highlight their experiences and share the great opportunities this school provides. There were night students, 2Ls and 3Ls, and also other 1Ls. It was enlightening, and we got free pizza. Most people are probably sick of pizza by now because an organization always seems to give us pizza on any given day, but I rarely eat it, and really enjoyed it (not something I want to make a habit of).
Tonight all the bloggers are getting together and having dinner. I am excited not only for another free meal, but also to hear about other student’s experiences!
2/24/10 - I just want to send a quick “thanks” to those of you who read my blog and email me about it. It really makes my day to know that others enjoy reading what I have to say! This week we met with the Dean of Student Affairs about registering for classes next semester…scary. This is bringing me back to undergrad, but I think here we will have some guidance and a knowledgeable resource. In undergrad it was basically, “Fend for yourself, and good luck!” Here I think it will be different in a positive way. It is overwhelming that we are already having to think about the Bar and taking classes to help pass the Bar. I have barely recovered from finals, let alone started to stress about the biggest test of my career!
This week I had a conversation with a person in my section that I did not know very well last semester. Sharing stories, strategies, tips, and just about our lives has really given me some great perspective on life. One thing that is great about law school is that there are people like you, and also those who have a different view of the world. It is exciting to be able to learn from these people, and grow as a person. I am looking forward to future conversations and future friendships with many people in my section.
I look forward to seeing those of you who are attending the Admitted Students Brunch this weekend. Congrats on your admission!
2/17/10 – Wow! A memo deadline extension and two days off from school - it should snow in Texas more often! I felt like a little kid again, or at least like I was teaching again while watching the news and keeping my fingers crossed for snow days! This week has been pretty crazy.
Wednesday was the Candidate Forum, and since I am a member of one of the hosting organizations, I had to help out. I enjoyed it, but every minute I spend away from the memo makes me think about how I need to be revising. An extended deadline was not good for me because I have a tendency to edit myself into the ground. This week was also Equal Justice Week so there were many opportunities to hear grant panels and lectures.
I am really looking forward to this weekend! I have it all mapped out, Friday night is Crim Law, Saturday is Civ Pro and Contracts, and Sunday is Property…that’s right, its outlining time! I have neglected studying and keeping my outlines current because of this memo, but now I have lots of time to catch up! (Do I sound as dorky as I feel?) I love Friday nights and Saturday mornings in the library because no one is there! The people who are there are truly there to study so there are few distractions.
My training is still going strong, having a hard time getting past the 8-mile mark, but I can do it! Also, four family members are celebrating important birthdays this week…Happy Birthday to you all, love you and wish I was there to celebrate!
2/10/10 - This has been a great week! The excitement of the rankings has worn off a bit, so that is good news! The memo is due next week and the writing is coming along nicely so far. My writing professor is not providing as much advice this time, which is frustrating. It is all part of helping us learn and develop the necessary “lawerying” skills. Aside from that frustration, everything else in memo-land is fine.
I met with two different professors for some “life” advice this week and received some much needed insight from two people I respect and admire. It is hard to flush out the good advice you get from friends and family from the advice that they want you to take. So, I turned to some neutral parties. I needed some guidance about my summer work opportunities, and think I have found the path I am going to take.
The most exciting part about this week is that I got new running shoes! I went to a place where they watched me run, determined what was causing my knee pain, and found a pair of shoes that will correct the problem. I am just thrilled with the customer service, and had almost forgotten how great new running shoes feel! I had to change the date of my half marathon and it is now March 20, so training has been kicked up a bit. Another great thing about training is that I can eat as many carbs as I want - bread is my favorite food group, so I am quite happy!
2/3/10 – Around 2:45 PM on Tuesday all you could hear through the halls was, “The rankings are out, the rankings are out!” People have become obsessed, not only with their ranking, but with the rankings of other people. It’s insane. I usually try to stay pretty positive on the blog, but sometimes even I have to rant!
Why do people care so much about everyone else? It’s not the typical “Who is #1?” inquiry, but people target specific people to know their rank…why are you wasting so much energy on this? Students are starting to act weird, even weird by law school standards. I have noticed a shift in friendships and just a general malice in the air.
BUT, I am not going to dwell on that. Maybe it is all the endorphins I have pumping through my system from all the running, but I genuinely do not care. It has taken me a while to get to this point, but people will like me or not, no sense in worrying over it. Now, this is not to scare those applying to law school, it is just a “heads up.” My advice is to remove yourself from the drama. It doesn’t always work, but try your best to avoid it and the people who like to create it. I am trying to keep my outlook positive and remember that I am in law school for me, not others, and that I enjoy law school and want to be here!
1/27/10 - Something I have neglected to do is CELEBRATE that my first semester of law school is over and I have all my grades back! At the recommendation of Dean Hurst and my Academic Support TA, I went out and did something just for me as a reward. So, I am typing this blog with freshly manicured nails!
Other than that, nothing too exciting has occurred this past week. I am still plugging away on my research for the memo, and I think I am getting the hang of how to use Lexis and Westlaw. I thought the memos last semester were hard, but I would love to have the professors give me the cases to use instead of going out and having to find them myself. Although, it is fun to explore and see what kind of information I can find.
I just discovered an online tool called CALI that gives you tailored lessons for each of your classes. My Criminal Law professor has a link to the ones she recommends on our class website, and I think they are pretty helpful. You go on the website, pick the lesson, and then it asks you questions throughout and grades you. Your professors do not see your grades, but it is another helpful way to check your understanding of the material. I am going to explore the website more, and do some of the lessons for my other classes as well. Also, I’m still running and training for my half marathon!
1/20/10 - First, I want to send my apologizes to those of you who have tried to contact me with law school questions through email. I have been experiencing technical difficulties but everything is now fixed, so I will be able to send you a rapid reply. So keep them coming…
I am finally getting back into my school routine. It has been a hard adjustment, but I am looking forward to what this new semester will bring. I have noticed people changing where they sit and who they sit with. I am interested to see how the dynamic of our section will change over the semester. I have become better friends with people who were just acquaintances last semester, and have become friends with people I did not know at all. As far as studying, I still prefer to do it alone.
This semester I am going to add an additional bit of self torture and train for a half marathon. There is one in April near my apartment (I am a commuter) and I am excited to push myself for that. I even think the finish line is in the Cowboys stadium so that should be fun. I have decided to do this because last semester I did not handle stress in a positive way. I did work out and run, but I let it affect me. I am hoping this will help me to put things in perspective and take my mind off of stress. We will see how it goes…
1/13/10 - Getting back into the routine of school has been a hard adjustment. While I am ready to have some structure back in my life, I am not ready for all the reading and studying! Over the break I did absolutely nothing, and it was wonderful! I think it took me an entire week to catch up on sleep. It was nice to see friends and remember what life was like pre-law school.
Once I caught up on sleeping, the stressing about grades began. I did not expect any grades until after Christmas, but I received several text messages from other classmates alerting me that our Contracts grade had been posted early. Imagine trying to access your grade from your iPhone and the stress that can bring. I do not know what is more stressful, waiting for grades or having every law school friend and attorney I know ask me how my first year grades are and not having them back yet. As of today I am still waiting for one more grade to be posted…
People keep asking what I did over the break, and honestly the most exciting thing I did was go to Atlanta for Tennessee’s bowl game and New Year’s Eve, and go to a Tennessee basketball game. It was nice not to be traveling or have a busy schedule. I did fly back to Fort Worth with my kitten though, and that was a new experience! She did great and thankfully kept the meowing to a minimum!
12/16/09 - Whew… Finals are OVER! It has been hard to get into relaxation mode, but a trip to the spa and a relaxing weekend away definitely helped do the trick. I have spent the past week eating, sleeping, and listening to Christmas music, and it feels nice to just chill out. Looking back over the semester I realize how important it was to stay on top of the course material and studying throughout the semester because it paid off during finals. I cannot even imagine what it would have been like to start studying two weeks before the test, and try to memorize all of the information that quickly.
I also learned that stress management will go a long way during finals. I can’t say it enough, to others, and as a reminder to myself, find a healthy outlet for stress! If you don’t it will take a toll on your physical and mental health, trust me I know. Looking ahead to spring semester finals I am going to fit running into my study schedule during finals because without it I almost went crazy. I gave up that hour to devote to studying, but I needed that time to vent the stress. Those are the two tips I have; keep a handle on stress and stay on top of the material throughout the semester.
Now I am playing the waiting game for grades to be posted and rankings to come out. What was I saying about having a handle on stress? I feel that anxious feeling creeping back up…
12/9/09 - I cannot believe it, I just have one final left! It’s a strange feeling to only have to study for one more test! Finals have been stressful, and have not gone quite as smoothly as I had planned, but I got through it, did the best I could under the circumstances, and that is all I can do. I am trying not to worry about how I have done on past exams, because they’re done and out of my control now. Also, I try not to talk to other classmates about the exams, because that will just stress me out to hear that someone else approached it in a different manner than I did, and really what good does that do?
I’ve heard that in order to make room for all the material to fit in your brain, you have to let other stuff out…I have lost my short term memory, a friend of mine has lost her vocabulary recall, and another friend has lost her spelling ability. It really seems insane the amount of information I have held in my brain and then somehow been able to regurgitate back out. Fingers crossed I picked the right information to spit back out. In addition to short term memory loss, I am also suffering the side effects of no social life, no concept of what is happening in the “real world,” and not seeing daylight hours outside of the library. My body thinks I have been doing an experiment on how much stress you can handle.
11/25/09 - Wow, it’s Thanksgiving! This used to be one of my favorite holidays, now it is only a source of stress. It’s hard when the rest of the world isn’t in exam mode, and decides to take half days on Wednesday and close completely on Thursday! Don’t people know that we are in crunch study time and need every minute of every day free to study!
I’m halfway kidding, but this year Thanksgiving will not be as enjoyable for me as it has in the past. One bit of excitement during this stressful time is that my parents and brother are coming in town and we are going to the Cowboys game. However, I will be the nerd girl with ear plugs and outlines while everyone else is watching the game.
I didn’t think this was possible but I am spending even more time in the library here lately, and the days seem to be all running together. A friend back home asked me how my weekend was, and I said, “Weekend? What is this weekend you speak of?” Everyday seems to be operating like a Monday morning for me - stressful and a bit dreary. BUT, I love what I am getting to do! Not the extreme studying, but the fact I am in law school and get to do this.
As I look back over the past year I really have a lot to be thankful for. I am doing something I love, in an amazing city, and I am surrounded by wonderful encouraging people. Thanks to all of you who have helped me get where I am! Happy Thanksgiving!!
11/18/09 - Dear friends and family, thank you for your support and attempts to understand the stress I am under. Please hang on because the next month is about to get really crazy!
That being said…I have tried to think of an analogy that could describe to you what this past week has been like, but I cannot. I will have to steal the words of one my classmates, “This is a social experiment gone wrong.” Everyone in law school has to be slightly weird - anyone willing to subject themselves to this has to be slightly off their rocker. So you take all of these people, put them in a building with each other for an entire semester, pit them against each other in competition, sleep deprive them, and stress them out, and the result is slight chaos. I try to keep a positive attitude about everything, but it is starting to get to me. No one wants to let anyone else know they are stressing or are on the verge of “cracking” but I know I can’t be the only one feeling like this.
Looking back to this time last year as I was going through the application process, I spoke with several friends in their first year of law school, and it was a unanimous vote: “Don’t Do It!” I don’t agree with that thinking, but definitely can appreciate their struggles…I can’t see the light yet, but I am approaching the tunnel, and I am pretty scared about it. Wish me luck, and keep all the 1Ls in your thoughts, or at least be patient with us!
11/11/09 - Thanks to all of you who came to the Law Day luncheon and stayed for a tour. It was nice to meet all of you and I hoped you enjoyed seeing Texas Wesleyan! Thanks to all of you who have emailed me, I really enjoy hearing from y’all!
The theme this week is stress! I am stressing out! I am really starting to feel the pressure and it is taking a toll! I have heard from several people and am realizing it myself, that no one understands what you are going through except other law students. You can tell your family and friends how stressed you are, but they will not understand. It is impossible to convey what you are going through to someone unless they have been in your shoes.
I have just recovered from my first major freak out which just so happened to take place in my Academic Support TA’s office. Thankfully she is understanding and encouraged me to get it all out, then addressed my concerns one by one. Not only did she calm me down, but she introduced me to a valuable resource, the head of Academic Support. He also addressed my concerns and helped me wrap my head around exams and what I need to do to succeed.
Now that I have recovered from that, I have a memo to edit, a Civ Pro checklist to revise, Contracts multiple choice questions to review, and some outlining to do for Torts. Once again, the theme this week is stress!!
11/4/09 - Law school students try to have fun, too. For instance, this past Friday (the day before Halloween) our section decided to dress up as our Civil Procedure professor. Every day he wears a sport coat and jeans, so our 80 person section all wore jeans and sport coats! Thankfully, he has a good sense of humor, and posed for pictures with us. It’s kind of sad that this is what we find humor in these days, but what can you do?
Aside from our practical joking, this week has been stressful! We got our memo one grades back, which thankfully was a huge relief! Now, I am writing memo two, and I am hoping I can do just as well on this one. Also, we have a Contracts practice exam this week and we are discussing a practice essay in Civil Procedure. On top of this, I am studying and outlining as usual, and doing reading for class! This week in property we have been having a “King or Queen of possessory estates and future interests Mountain” competition in class. It has been fun, especially since I have not been called on to compete…yet.
A unique and more fun opportunity is occurring this week. Judge Berger is hosting a mock trial in her court room for Texas Wesleyan Law students to observe. I am excited about this because she is a family law judge, and I am definitely interested in that area of law. I will let you know next week how it went!
10/28/09 - Academic Support offers practice exams for each of our classes. They offer one per class and we have now taken two, Property and Torts. These tests were written by our professors and are “graded” by our academic support TAs. Having the opportunity to take a practice exam in actual exam conditions is very helpful. My study partner and I take them very seriously (remember I never claimed not to be a dork) and we have been made fun of by several people, but we think it is going to pay off! This week we got feedback on our Torts exam and will be able to take them into the professor to receive even more feedback.
I have taken a practice exam on my own, but had not experienced the “time-crunch” anxious feeling that occurs when you are timed. Taking these tests really gives you a sense of what it will be like on exam day, and that way you are not going into the exam completely blind. Some advice, take the practice exams! People may tell you it is a waste of time, but what do you have to lose? Nothing. What do have to gain? Well, I am hoping a lot!
In the following weeks we will have a practice exam for Contracts and Civil Procedure. These practice tests and opportunities for feedback is just another reason why I am happy I chose Texas Wesleyan Law.
10/21/09 - I’ve heard from some family members that all I do is study, talk about how I need to study, and only “blog” about studying! So this week I am going to try something new. I don’t think I can make a good case for myself that I have a life outside of studying, but I shall try.
When I chose Texas Wesleyan I was hesitant to move to an unfamiliar city and be surrounded by a bunch of strangers. However, it has been so much fun getting to know a new town, and especially new people! Fort Worth has so much to offer, and when I get a chance to experience it I really realize I made the right choice. There are so many amazing restaurants in the downtown and surrounding area - the food is reason enough to love living here!
The people I have met this year have been amazing as well. I was worried that I would not make friends, but that fear was unwarranted. Law school throws you into making new friends immediately. Granted, these friends are usually in your study group, but they will be there to go and explore all the wonderful restaurants with you as well.
My professors have far exceeded my expectations for my first year. They are all very approachable and encourage us to come to their office hours. One professor even handed out an evaluation and is using our feedback to help make the class fit our needs. I continue to realize that our professors want us to succeed, and I could not be happier with my choice of Texas Wesleyan Law.
10/14/09 - Congrats to all the 1Ls for finishing the memo! I don’t know which is more stressful, writing the memo or waiting to get your grade. Now that it is behind me, I feel I can bestow some helpful tips to you – well, they were helpful to me at least.
First, get started EARLY! It is never too soon. I finished mine the Friday before it was due, leaving me with the weekend to edit, revise, proof, and edit some more. Do not be that person who waits until the day before it is due; trust me there are people who do this.
Second, meet with your professor. He or she knows what they are expecting from your memo, so why not go directly to them for help? Pinpoint your weaknesses from previous submissions and take the professors comments seriously. They made comments on your paper for a reason.
Finally, and this is the hardest for me to follow, forget it once you have submitted it. It is no longer in your control. It is inevitable that you will want to change something once you have turned it in, but you can’t, so why put yourself through that? I think I am mainly preaching to myself on this last point. It is clear to me now - I am a perfectionist. Either that or I want to torture myself and edit a piece of work that has already been submitted. Regardless, it is out of your control once you turn it in.
This is not meant to scare you or make you dread memo writing, but simply to give you some tips, or tips that helped me anyway.
10/7/09 – I will save the stress of “THE MEMO” talk until next week, once it is behind me. I think enough about the memo during the day that it is nice to have this short break from it. I want to talk about the non-school related events that have taken place on campus this week.
This week is Criminal Law Week, and each day there has been a panel discussion during lunch. On Monday, I attended the criminal prosecutor and defense panel. Why would a person with interests in family law even consider going to something like that? Well, I am broadening my horizons and have actually found the conversations very interesting, and a little intriguing.
On Tuesday, there was a panel for solo practitioners, which I did not attend because I had my academic support class at that time. On Wednesday, Judge Nancy Berger came and gave a speech on her experiences in law school (she is an alum), and also spoke about her upcoming election.
Also on Wednesday, Phi Delta Theta sponsored a teddy bear drive for a local charity. If you brought in a teddy bear, you got immunity from being called on in class, which was helpful because all of my time is being devoted to, you guessed it, writing the memo! The third panel that took place for Criminal Law Week was the exoneree panel. I was not able to attend that because I went to hear Judge Berger. My point is that the school offers wonderful opportunities to educate yourself about other areas of law that may not have originally caught your interest. Stay tuned for more talk of writing a law school memo…
10/1/09 – Exams! I am starting to get anxious about them already. The other section had a midterm in Torts today, but my section does not have any midterms. Thus, more pressure on me to perform on the exam. The professors all talk about exams, the students are discussing exams, and the TAs are preparing us for exams (hmm…wonder why I am getting anxious about them). The hypos (fact patterns where we pull out the issues and relate them to rules of law) that we work in class are getting more intricate and our answers are supposed to get more detailed. Many of the professors are posting practice essays online, and this is a very helpful resource.
My goal for this week is to actually start studying for exams, you are probably thinking, “Why, you have two months?” I hear that and think, “Two months! That’s it?!” I have all of my outlines up to date, which was not an easy task (but a huge relief). Now I set out to start memorizing those handy rules of law and other important facts that I have put into those outlines. Like I said last week, you think you have a pretty steady routine going and something comes along and changes that. Now I have to incorporate time into each day for strictly studying, and I haven’t even mentioned “the memo.” The dreaded memo, that is yet another task to attend to in my already overbooked busy day!
9/23/09 - This week’s entry is a complete contradiction to last week’s, I realize that. Last week I wrote about how important it is to find a consistent routine. Leave it to life to throw you a curveball.
This past weekend was my birthday, and I got ahead in my reading so I could take Friday night and all day Saturday off from studying. I had a great birthday, except that I had to get glasses. I guess turning 24 is officially on the path to getting old…
Then Sunday rolls around and I was all set to head to the library, except when I woke up I was so sick! This lasted until Monday, which really put a kink in my plan. Not only was I out of commission Sunday, but Monday was not that productive. You know what I realized after being away from reading cases and outlining? I missed it. Weird, I know - I can’t even believe I am saying this. This thing that consumes me day in and day out and seems to be the source of all of my headaches, I actually missed?! However, it was nice to know that my preparation and being ahead allowed for me to take those days off without much guilt. So, the moral of this little story is that life doesn’t stop just because you are in law school. You will get sick, you will have emergencies that arise, you will have days that you simply cannot study, but being on top of your game will give you some “wiggle” room when that happens.
9/16/09 - I think I finally have developed a consistent daily schedule. I realize as I write this that I no longer have a social life or any life outside of school for that matter. I think that finding a routine that works for you is very important for success in the first year. Every morning I wake up at 6 AM (it really isn’t that early!) and go running/work out. I find that on days I don’t do this I am more stressed and on edge, so I really suggest finding that outlet.
My goal is to be at school by 9 AM at the absolute latest (I have about a 25-30 minute commute). I like to have that time in the morning to review my case briefs and notes before classes start at 10:30 AM. I also like to utilize the hour and a half break we have for lunch to review my notes from my first class and get prepped for the following class.
After class I head to my new home away from home, the library. I think they are going to start charging me rent because of the amount of time I spend there. In the afternoons I briefly review what we discussed in class that day. Then I make sure I am completely ready for the next two days of class. Like I mentioned before, I like to be overly prepared. My fear of being called on in class has not left me! This leaves my weekends open to do fun things like outlining and even more reviewing!
9/9/09 - As promised this week’s blog will be devoted to outlining. Hmm…where do I begin? I tried to take advantage of the nice long weekend and get myself organized to start this task, only to realize that I had no clue what I was doing. I found that I was trying to include everything from my notes, and so that resulted in having two copies of the same notes just arranged differently. I made the executive decision to postpone outlining until after my Academic Support class on Tuesday. My TA devoted this week’s class strictly to outlining. She gave me a feel for where I should begin and what I should be including.
We took a learning style test in the first week of school. My TA really emphasized the importance of incorporating our learning style into how we study and create our outlines. This was a huge relief! Now that I know I am a multimodal learner (with a strong emphasis on visual learning), I realize that I need more detail in order to fully recall information. My outline will be longer and more in depth than people with other learning styles. My TA also stressed that for the first month or so our outlines should be the “meat and bones,” not just a skeleton of the information we have learned. I find the one hour per week we have devoted to these Academic Support sessions to be incredibly helpful, especially for people like me who feel lost when it comes to the ins and outs of law school life.
9/2/09 – It seems that I have neglected to introduce myself to all of you…my name is Lyndsay and I am from Knoxville, Tennessee (Go Vols!). I graduated from The University of Tennessee in 2008 with my B.S. in Child and Family Studies and went on to get my Master’s degree from Tennessee in Child and Family Studies with a concentration in Early Childhood Education in 2009. I interned and taught in a first grade classroom in the inner city of Knoxville. This helped me realize my true calling was in the legal profession, and not as a teacher! I want to work with children and families and get into the messy world of practicing family law.
This week I would like to talk about note taking in class. It seems everyone has their own way of taking notes and thinks their method is superior. I have been experimenting with different ways of taking notes and have found that typing them really is the most efficient method for me. I started out handwriting my notes, because quite frankly, that’s how I have always done it, but this proved to be very tedious. First, I realized that my skill of nice “teacher writing” has left me and I now write in chicken scratch! Second, I ended up spending more time trying to decipher what I wrote and less time actually transcribing the material onto the computer, that it was a waste of time. I now type my notes before class and then type what the professor says in red during class. This makes it easier to go back and review the material after class and make my notes more cohesive. I hope I have found a method that I can stick with and which will continue to work for me.
I am looking forward to having a nice three day weekend, not only is it the start of college football (yay!), but I am going to start outlining (scary) stay tuned for how that goes…
8/26/09 – I can’t believe it! One week down and life was anything but uneventful. In our first Torts class I was the first student called on, and managed to not stumble all over my words. I think being extremely nervous for class will help me to be overly prepared, so I’m pretty glad about that.
I also experienced what the Texas heat will do to a car battery. Friday morning, I went to start my car, and lo and behold the battery had died! Fortunately I have made some good friends this first week and was able to get a ride to school. I also ran into a professor who works with 2 and 3 Ls, and she remembered me from an Admitted Student Reception. She told me she had been asking the Office of Admissions about me and expressed how glad she was I chose Texas Wesleyan. This professor remembered not only my name, but she asked about my family and how I was settling into the area. I have felt nothing but welcome at this school, and can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store for me.
Friday night I attended the scholarship dinner at the City Club of Forth Worth, and the alumni of this law school continue to impress me! I met a judge in family law who gave me her card and extended an invitation to lunch to discuss what being her intern might entail. I have practically been glowing from this experience all weekend. I just hope this next week goes as well as my first.