Undergraduate School: University of Texas at Arlington
Undergraduate Major: Aerospace Engineering
Hometown: Horseheads, NY
Status: Full-Time Day
5/15/13 - One more year. It’s hard to believe that I am going to be a 3L. When I first came to law school, people told me that the 3L year was largely uneventful and mostly boring. Well, I don’t believe that statement is true, at least not for me. I will still have a pretty full course load, even though I have taken some summer course and I have taken nearly the max amount of credits each semester. On top of that, I will still have all of my responsibilities for the Law Review. But being busy has never bothered. This feeling tends to make me think that what I am doing is important, even if it is not always true.
Have a safe summer, and check back soon!
5/10/13 - Ahh, the first day of break is always excellent. I always forget how much time I can waste doing hardly anything. Usually, time wasted during the semester is always accompanied with stress because I know I should be doing work. But time wasted during break is always accompanied with the sweet feeling of relief.
So far today, I have spent an hour reading the news, an hour and a half reading a book, and another hour playing some music. And I have enjoyed every minute of it. This evening, I am going to drive down to Houston and spend some time wife. Tomorrow we are going to attend the Art Car Parade. It’s been an excellent day, and this weekend the trend is likely to continue.
But I would like to recap the past couple weeks before I close out this semester’s blog. This last two weeks have been crazy. Usually I am pretty close to being prepared for finals before classes are over. This was not the case during this round. I took on a lot of extra work this semester, which I don’t regret at all, but it really changed my approach to school. I worked hard to make up for it over the past fourteen days. Hopefully it will pay off.
Have fun and be safe this summer. Check back soon, so that I can update everyone about my work with Judge Solis.
4/24/13 - Without a doubt, it’s been a challenging semester, but, thankfully, all of the challenges have led to successes. A few posts ago, I chronicled what the rest of the semester had in store. I wrote that I was on my way to a Moot Court competition, running for a Law Review board position, and submitting my rigorous writing article in hopes that it would be selected for publication. Well, I have informed everyone about the competition and the election in past blog posts, but now I am able to write about the outcome of my article. I am happy to report that my article has been selected for publication in one of Texas Wesleyan Law Review’s upcoming journals.
Being selected for publication has been one of most rewarding feelings I have had in law school yet. That article hung over my head for about nine months, and I put countless hours into working on it and many more hours stressing about it.
Honestly, I nearly gave up my hope of having it published about a month before the deadline. If you remember, one of the main reasons that I wrote the paper was because, in order to graduate, students need to fulfill a rigorous writing requirement. And the completion of this article, as long as it’s of B- quality, fulfills the requirement. However, if the paper is good enough, there is a chance that it could get published.
During the early stages I was determined to have it published, but as the time wore on, the minimum requirement became more attractive. Thankfully, right around that time I read a passage from Ecclesiastes that said “whatever your hands do, do it with all your might.” I became disappointed with myself because that had been my mentality in law school up to that point. So, with my reinvigorated attitude, I refocused myself on writing a great article. Thankfully, it paid off.
Check back soon.
4/17/13 - At this point, all of my focus has shifted to finals. I put down all the extra work I was doing for the Law Review’s survey and I threw away my to-do list because the only thing that’s going to occur between now and May 6th is finals preparation. In a way, this time of the semester is kind of liberating. It’s feels great to stop juggling all of the extracurricular stuff, and just focus on one single task. But, at the same time, because grades are so crucial in law school, this time of the semester is also a little taxing.
But the stress level around this time has seemed to go down a little bit, compared to semesters in the past. It’s hard to believe that this will be my fifth time (including one summer term) that I have taken law school exams. I went back and counted, and I have taken eleven different law school final exams. Crazy! And I am sure that many of classmates have taken many more than I have, since I have used many of my pass/fail credits on externships and other extracurricular activities. Seems like yesterday that I shaking nervous as I walked into the room for my Torts exam.
Wish me luck over the next couple weeks, and check back soon.
4/3/13 - My Survey Editor position on the Law Review Board has kept me busy over the past couple weeks. Unlike some of the other board positions, as soon as the Survey Editor is elected, the work starts. Here’s why. The Law Review publishes an annual Survey on Oil & Gas. This survey attempts to cover every major legal update about oil and gas in the states where the legal update occurs. To do this, we recruit authors to write about these issues for each state. And last year we covered over thirty states. So the Survey Editor has to either re-sign the authors who wrote last year or find new authors to write about these issues. And, of course, the sooner that the recruiting starts, the better the finish product will be. So, what this all means is that, I have been very busy either re-signing authors for last year or trying to get new authors to write for us. This kind of work can be tedious, but I really enjoy it because of the sense of accomplishment that I get when I can find a good author who is willing to write for us.
Beyond the survey work, I have started to outline for my classes. During my 1L year, I would continuously outline for my classes. Now, I have become much more efficient, so, luckily, I can wait a little longer and still get the same results. I really enjoy the outlining process because it gives me a chance to really take an in-depth look at the material again. For me, going to class and reading gives me a very general understanding of the material, but to really learn the finer points I need to outline and complete practice problems.
Check back soon!
3/27/13 - Last weekend, I, along with my teammates, competed in a Moot Court competition at Seton Hall Law, which is in Newark, New Jersey. We had a great time at the completion. The folks at the Seton Hall Advocacy Program put on a great competition and reception. But the best part about the competition is that my teammates and I had some success while we were there. Our brief writer received second best brief, which is probably not surprising to those who know him because he has won best brief two other times at different competitions. And, collectively, we made the “break,” which means that we made the cut from 42 teams competing on Friday, to 16 teams competing on Saturday. Unfortunately, we did not move on from this stage, but I was still satisfied with outcome because that was my first time competing.
However, even though I am satisfied, I want to get back in the moot courtroom and give it another shot! During the week and a half leading up to the competition, my oralist teammate and I made huge improvements. Every time we would practice, we would become more and more comfortable with the arguments. And during the second round of the competition, everything clicked for us. We were able to give great answers for every question that the judges would fire at us. But, of course, there was still room plenty of room for improvement. For example, I know that I could greatly improve my delivery and style. These two factors, making great improvements and knowing that I can still improve, make me want more!
Check back in a couple of weeks!
3/6/13 - In my last post, I explained about all of the excitement that was in front of me during March. Well, I would like to report that the outgoing Law Review board graciously choose me to be the survey editor for the next year and a half. Our Law Review publishes an annual Oil & Gas Survey, in which authors discuss the oil and gas law updates that occurred within their state during the past year.
I am very excited about the opportunity because I think the position will fit me very well. As the survey editor, I am responsible for recruiting the authors for the upcoming survey. I will enjoy this type of work because it allows me to set some lofty goals. I can set high goals for both the type of author and the number of states updates that we will publish.
Indeed, projects like this can be daunting because, like work at law school, the project is never really “done.” But, the reward of publishing a high-quality survey will certainly make up for this daunting feeling.
One more thing about the elections, our Law Review board will be in good hands next year. In fact, out of twelve board members selected, four of them are student bloggers (congratulations to Joakim, Larissa, and Jeremy). I am not sure if I can articulate a direct connection between blogging for Texas Wesleyan and ending up on the law review board, but I do think it shows that our Office of Admissions does a good job choosing bloggers who represent the school well. So, future law students, consider blogging for you your school. It is certainly an honor, and it may also lead to great things.
Check back in a few weeks!
2/20/13 - The next four weeks should be very exciting. Next Monday, I will submit my rigorous writing article that I have been working on for the better part of seven months. Before graduation at Texas Wesleyan Law, all students have to draft scholarly article, called a “rigorous writing article.” However, as part of being a staff member of the Law Review, we are required to draft this article during our 2L year.
Turning in this article is exciting for two reasons. First, I will not have to worry about this requirement ever again. As I said, this paper has been hanging over me for the past seven months. Scholarly writing is much different, and, at least for me, much more challenging than legal writing. Second, there is a chance that the board members of the Law Review will select my article for publication in one of the upcoming editions. The chance is very small, but it would be a wonderful reward to see my article published by my own school’s Law Review.
Another exciting upcoming event is Law Review Board member election. The interviews are this Friday and Saturday, and I think we find out shortly thereafter about the results. So I hope that by the next time I write this blog, I will be able to give everyone an update.
Lastly, I am participating in a Moot Court competition on March 21. I am especially excited about this opportunity. My teammates and coach are great, and the moot court problem is very interesting to me. And to top it off, the competition is in New Jersey, so I will get to go on a two-day excursion just to compete.
So at best, I could have a published paper, a board position on the Law Review, and a first place finish in the Moot Court competition. At worst, I could have an unpublished paper, no position, and a last place finish. Either way, I will thoroughly enjoy the next four weeks.
Wish me luck, and check back in a couple of weeks!
2/6/13 - If you have been keeping up with my blog, you might remember that I have had the humbling opportunity to be a staff member here at the Texas Wesleyan Law Review. Generally, the Law Review publishes scholarly articles that are written by professors, lawyers, judges, or law students. One of the journal’s main goals is to make sure that we put out the best publication possible. We do this by, first, trying to publish informative and thoughtful articles, and, second, by making sure that all of the citations and grammar in the articles are correct. As I said before, I am a currently staff member, but the applications for a position on next year’s board are due this during this month.
Law Review board members have a lot more responsibilities than the staff members. First, the board members manage the staffers to make sure that all of the leg work on the articles, like citation checks and grammar checks, are completed on time. Board members also control all of the activities during the year. They determine how many publications will be put out, how many and what kind of symposiums the Law Review will host, and whether any new ideas will be implemented during the year. All of these actives that the Law Review engages in will bring on a whole host of work, including all of the planning and promoting that each activity requires. So the Board is a very busy group of people.
There are also a lot of benefits to being a board member. Board members have a direct and immediate impact on the success of the Law Review, which in turn affects the school’s reputation. So board members have the exciting opportunity to not only improve the journal but also improve the school. Another benefit of being a board member is the opportunity to work with other board members, who are generally all very smart, hardworking, and caring people. And, on top of all of that, it looks great to potential employers because it shows a high level of commitment to a worthwhile cause.
So wish me luck during the application process, and I will make sure to keep you updated.
Check back in a couple weeks!
1/23/13 - There’s nothing like a fresh start to a new semester. One of my favorite things about going to school is that I have a chance to reset and try and fix some of the mistakes I made in the prior semester. Over each break I spend a considerable amount of time reflecting so that I can think about what things I should change and what things I should keep the same.
For example, during my first year, I would try to complete all of my reading well before the day of classes that it was due on. There are some benefits to this method. I would ensure that I always had my reading done on time and that I always had time to brief every case. But there are also some negatives. When I had ample time to read, I would sometimes read too slowly because there was no pressure. And if I read too far in advance I would sometimes forget some of the finer details about the case.
Last semester, I decided to make a drastic change. My goal was to complete all of my reading during the day that it was due. For example, I had Con Law and Business Associations on Mondays and Wednesdays. So on these days I would wake up at 5:30 a.m. and read until Con Law at 8:30 a.m. Then, as soon as Con Law was over I would rush to the library and read for Business Associations, which started at 1:00 p.m. There are some definite advantages to this method. I always had pressure on myself so I read very fast. And, now that I have my grades back, I can say that this method did not negatively affect my grades. But there were some drawbacks too. Because of this intense readings schedule, I had no flexibility during the day. So, if something came up, such as someone at the Law Review wanted me to do something or there was a speaker that I wanted to go see, I always had to say no.
So this semester, like most great approaches, I am taking the middle ground. I have decided to only complete my reading for one class on the day that it is due. This gives me some more flexibility, but it also keeps the all important pressure on.
Check back soon!
1/9/13 - I am looking forward to this semester. Of course, I will have a lot of things on my plate, but I am very interested in all of them. As far as classes go, I am taking two Intellectual Property courses, Copyrights, and Patent Litigation. Patent Litigation is a two hour class that only meets four times and is held on Saturdays. Obviously, this is much different from the standard law school class that meets twice a week during the semester, but I think it will be an interesting experience, and, on top of that, I am very interested in the subject matter.
This will be my first semester where I compete on a Moot Court team. I am really excited about the opportunity. I think that the practical experience gained in Moot Court, or any other advocacy program, is really unparalleled. Further, I know that a lot of employers enjoy seeing this kind of experience because it shows that I do have some experience but also that I am dedicated to becoming a litigator. On top of that, I am also going to work with Judge Cureton of the Northern District this Spring. I am really looking forward to getting to know the judge and his staff.
So, as you can see, it’s going to be another busy semester, but I welcome the challenge. As a side note, I haven’t received any grades back yet, so nothing to report on that front.
Happy New Year! Check back next week.
12/18/12 - At the end of every semester I have a very long to-do list, which is always comprised of tasks that have accumulated over the past three or four months. Indeed, the list is usually daunting, but it is also a nice change of pace, and it keeps my mind off of the previous semester. The list is mostly made up of errands and neglected house work. So far I have, among other things, raked the lawn, fixed a flat tire, received a much needed hair cut, and done some Christmas shopping.
Speaking of Christmas, my wife and I are going to visit our parents for a couple weeks. Unfortunately, our parents live about an hour and a half apart from each other, so a lot of the break is spent in the car between homes. But I am always thankful to be around family during this time of the year, especially in light of the tragic shootings in Connecticut.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Check back next year.
12/12/12 - I’m halfway done! I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea because I just finished my last final yesterday, but I am sure it will set in soon.
Speaking of finals, it was another interesting round of exams. The thought had crossed my mind that I had “figured law school out”. That thought left my inflated head shortly after I started my Business Associations final yesterday.
Most exams in law school have an essay portion. The question is usually about a page long, and it consists of facts that raise issues. For example, if it was a Criminal Law exam, there would probably be some facts about someone getting shot, or someone planning to shoot another person. And the professor puts these facts in the essay so that the students can use them to analyze the possible issues. I would say something like “the court will most likely find the shooter guilty of murder because he intended to shoot the victim.” Of course, it is a little more complicated than my example, but that is the general idea.
Well yesterday, the professor’s essay exam question was four sentences long. And he asked to describe the negative aspects of a particular law. This type of question may seem more straightforward compared to the type of question I described earlier, but it totally shocked me. I had never seen a question like this before on exam, and I had certainly not prepared for this type of question. So, it took a few minutes me to regroup and change my mind set, but I think I answered the question sufficiently.
I learned a valuable lesson yesterday. Don’t get too comfortable, because law school professors are unpredictable.
Happy holidays everyone! Check back soon.
11/28/12 - Finals have really snuck up on me this semester. As I wrote earlier, this semester was all about writing. And if a lot of writing is going on, then there is a lot less outlining and studying going on. Luckily, I turned in my last graded writing assignment of my law school career yesterday, so it is time to reverse the trend and start doing some studying.
A few things are working in my favor for finals. First, I only have two finals, while most of my friends have at least three and sometimes four. Second, my finals schedule is very spread out. Between my first and second reasons, I should have enough time to become prepared. Last, I like studying for finals. That’s right; this is my favorite time of the semester, by far. During the rest of the semester, we run around from task to task without a moment to spare. But during finals, every single bit of energy can be devoted to one goal: doing well on the final that you are studying for. The feeling is refreshing.
So wish me luck, and check back in two weeks!
11/20/12 - I am a pupilage member of The Honorable Barbara M. G. Lynn American Inn of Court, which is located in Dallas, TX. An inn of court is a group of lawyers whose location or practice area connects them. The Lynn Inn is an inn of court comprised of all intellectual property lawyers in the D/FW area.
The goal of any inn of court is to foster excellence in professionalism and legal skills. And the inn reaches this goal by having monthly meetings where the members get together to discuss relevant topics and listen to guest speakers. Inns are broken down into sub-groups called “pupilage groups”. These groups are comprised of a mixture of seasoned lawyers, younger lawyers, and law students.
In the Lynn Inn, each pupilage group is in charge of presenting at one meeting each year. And last night, my pupilage group was responsible for presenting.
Over the past month and a half, I have enjoyed watching my group work together and come up with creative ideas. I learned a lot about how to be an effective leader, just by watching the outstanding leaders of my group coordinate this presentation. Also, I learned a lot about being a good team player - it took contributions, even though everyone was very busy, from each group member to make the presentation run smoothly.
The inn of court is not just about learning. Lawyers also like to have fun. Our group’s opening act consisted of two other lawyers and me rapping lyrics about copyright, set to an instrumental version of “Ice, Ice, Baby” by Vanilla Ice. So, it probably goes without saying, but I had a great time working with my group and learning a lot along the way. Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!
Check back in two weeks!
11/7/12 - I took all of last weekend off. That’s right, law school, I escaped you for an entire weekend, and I didn’t think about you once!
My wife and I agreed we needed to go on a miniature vacation before the insanity of November started. So we decided to drive down to San Antonio to see dia de los muertos—or “day of the dead” for those of you who don’t want to take the time to copy and paste the phrase into Google.
I was largely unfamiliar with this interesting celebration before I moved to Texas. People pay homage to the deceased by building temporary altars for them and placing the deceased’s favorite food at their graves. Probably the most memorable aspect of the celebration is the large amount of people dressed as skeletons. As I said, it is really an interesting experience, and the time I spent in San Antonio served its purpose - I was able to quit thinking about school for a bit.
I have some good news to report. After a lot of unneeded stress and worry about my plans for next summer, they are beginning to fall into place. Yesterday, I interviewed for an internship position in Judge Solis’s court, and I am glad to say that, shortly after the interview, his clerks graciously offered me a summer internship position, which I gladly accepted.
Judge Solis is a federal judge in the Northern District of Texas. And I am looking forward to working not only with the judge but with his staff also. One of his current clerks is a Texas Wesleyan Law graduate who had a great reputation around the school for being very smart and very hardworking. So it probably goes without saying, but I am very excited for the opportunity to work in the judge’s chambers.
Check back in a couple weeks!
10/24/12 - Between my internship at the Court of Appeals, my Appellate Drafting class, and my Law Review article, I have spent a sizable amount time writing this semester. This week has been no exception. On Monday, I turned in a rough draft for my Law Review article, which is coming along nicely by the way. And on Tuesday, I turned a judicial opinion for Appellate Drafting.
I breathed a huge sigh of relief after I turned in my judicial opinion. I was not sure a week ago if I was going to be able to get it all done. But, luckily, I was able to find some motivation deep down inside.
Current 1Ls may be happy to know that I think that legal writing becomes more second nature after the first year. I remember feeling totally wiped out after turning in every single memo last year. Now I feel like I am able to balance my other school work with the work that I have had to do in my drafting class. Anyways, it’s nice to see some improvement.
I have not been surprised by the writing I have had do this semester. In fact, I expected it, and I planned for my schedule this way on purpose. If I have never said this before, I will say it now - I believe that legal writing is the most important skill that we learn in law school. So I want to make sure that I become a productive and creative legal writer. Certainly, the amount of writing I have done has moved me closer to my goal. Check back in two weeks!
10/10/12 - The subject matter taught during a law school class never matches my preconceived notions. For example, before I started Constitutional Law I thought that we would learn about things like was the first amendment and Brown v. Board. Well, I have been wrong so far. We have focused much of this semester learning about concepts like judicial review, standing, and the Interstate Commerce Clause.
This idea is also applicable to the Corporations class that I am currently taking. Before class began, I pictured myself learning about how to properly negotiate a merger and acquisition between Microsoft and Apple. Instead, we have spent the past two weeks learning about the duties that majority shareholders owe to minority shareholders in a closely held corporation.
Indeed, all of these concepts are, thankfully, very interesting to me. And I only make this point for two reasons. First, I find it interesting how far off my perceptions about the law were before I started. Second, I currently can’t think of anything else more interesting to write about. So, future 1Ls, be aware. Law school is very interesting, but you’re probably not going to learn about all things you have always wondered about. Check back in two weeks!
9/26/12 - I participated in another recruiting event at the school two nights ago, and I am always reminded at those events how thankful I am that I have completed the law school application process. Because the truth is that applying to law school is brutal. For me, two years spanned between my first day studying for the LSAT to my first day of law school at Texas Wesleyan. And, as many of you who are going through this experience right now know, that time is full of challenges and anxiety.
The good news is that if you get in to law school, the challenges you went through are probably worth the reward of obtaining a legal education. Unfortunately, the anxiety will remain because the “application process” will not cease throughout your time at law school.
I have continuously been applying to be accepted into different positions for the past three years of my life. And while the application process can have its benefits, like getting to meet some new and interesting people along the way, it is mostly exhausting. I am amazed with how much time I have spent researching, applying, researching again, interviewing, interviewing again, critiquing myself, and then making adjustments.
But, like I said before, the feeling of success makes it worth the time and energy spent. So, prospective students, continue to press on, and check back in two weeks!
9/12/12 - The 2L year continues. My Business Associations professor alerted the class today to the fact that we are already one quarter of the way through the semester. The announcement came as both a surprise and a wake-up call to me.
As I mentioned last blog, this year is much different from the last. And I am still having a tough time adjusting to it. That’s not to say that I haven’t been reading for class, and, yes, I am still briefing every case. But I think part of the issue is that I have allowed a lot of outside stresses to creep into my life.
One of my goals last year was to eliminate any task outside of law school that wasn’t necessary. But this year I felt more in control, so I thought I could get away with a little more. For instance, my wife and I decided to move to a new location. We decided that moving during the school year would be most practical because our summer was pretty full. Well, in hindsight, our idea was awful. Moving is time consuming, probably one of the most time consuming a tasks a law student can undertake. Future 1Ls, heed my advice. Do not move during law school.
During this part of the semester, things typically start to get a little crazy around the school. Important deadlines seem to occur during every third of the semester. This semester isn’t going to break the tradition - between deadlines for Law Review and deadlines for my Appellate Drafting class, I will be a very busy legal scholar over the next three weeks. Wish me luck, and check back soon!
8/29/12 - Hello again! Well, the new semester started last week, and I have already realized a huge difference between this year and the last. But change is not always bad, even if it brings a little bit of discomfort.
First of all, I’ve focused much more time this semester on other activities besides studying. Recently I began my internship at the 2nd Court of Appeals. For the rest of the semester I will spend around 13 hours each week completing some very worthwhile and meaningful work with a Justice and his staff attorney at the court.
Additionally, I was graciously invited join the Law Review for the next two years. Being a staff member of a law review is a true honor. But with most things in life, being part of something special requires a significant time commitment. Like my experience at the court, the time spent volunteering for the Law Review will be very valuable in the future.
But somewhere below all of my new priorities lay my old ones. As many of you know, or will come to find out, there is no way to escape reading while in law school. A law student never stops reading, and, as much as I would like it to, the material does not seem to get any easier. So I will also have to spend a significant amount of this semester conjuring my same 1L motivation.
I hope my description of the semester does not lead you to believe that I am unhappy with my situation. Far from it. I feel as blessed as I did on day one of my first year. Law school is a truly amazing and enlightening experience. And, although it may be tiring, I try to remind myself of this regularly.
Check back soon.
7/18/12 - A couple weeks ago I wrapped up my internship with Judge Chupp. Now I am on to the second half of the summer break.
While it was possible, I decided not to work a second legal internship during this half of the summer. Instead, I will continue my work with Prof. Snyder editing his casebook. And I will focus a lot of my energy on finding a summer associate position for next summer. A summer associate position is a paid position that law students typically have during the summer between their 2L and 3L years. A summer associate works with a law firm for around six weeks, and most law students hope that their summer associate position will blossom into a job at that law firm after graduation.
I will repeat what I said last semester, the task of applying to legal positions is daunting. At this early stage in the application process, many law firms are potential employers. But I will do my best to be thorough and make sure that I complete each firm’s application process.
Currently, I am in New York visiting my family. I am sometimes envious of my friends at law school that get to see their family more often than I do, so I really try to enjoy the short amount of time that I have with them while I am here. But besides seeing family I also spend a couple of well-needed days flying at the airport where I learned to fly when I was younger. And I also get a chance to catch up with old friends from high school. So I end up being very busy, but my wife and I enjoy every minute of it.
Well it is time to continue enjoying my break. Again, if any incoming 1Ls would like me to answer questions for them, send me an e-mail. If not, I look forward to meeting you all in August. Check back next week!
6/13/12 – It is official: I have all my grades back from my 1L year. And I am pleased to say that I fared pretty well. In fact, my second semester grades were slightly better than my first semester grades.
If you have been keeping up with my blog, you will remember that, a couple of weeks back, I wrote a blog immediately after I finished my last exam of the semester. I have been too nervous to even go back and read what I wrote. It’s amazing the toll that two weeks worth of studying and exam taking can take on a person’s ability to think clearly. So please excuse any madness that I wrote.
But my point in mentioning all this is that I felt awful after that I exam. I felt absolutely terrible. My confidence was completely shot, and I spent the next two weeks thinking about what I could have done to better prepare for that test. And, in the end, it was all a huge waste of energy because I ended up doing really well.
So what I took away from this, and what I want incoming 1Ls to take away from this, is two-fold:
First, do not try to guess how you did on a law school exam after you have taken it. It’s a silly endeavor. I have never, not once, been able to correctly guess how I did on exam. There are just too many factors that affect what your final grade will be.
And second, any time spent reflecting on exams is wasted time. Trust me. You will make your family, your friends, and yourself much happier if you can just put it behind you.
Putting aside grades, I have had a great summer so far. I may have undertaken more tasks than I was actually up for, but, nonetheless, I have had fun trying to complete them.
The judicial internship at the district court has been great. I have gained practical experience that will surely help me in the future and will really complement the experience I gain this fall at the court of appeals.
The class I am taking, Texas Pretrial Procedure, has been great - everything I have learned in that class I can readily use while I am at the district court.
I am also editing a casebook that Prof. Snyder is working on. This has also been a fun experience because I have never edited another person’s writing. And, given that a year ago I had a hard time forming a sentence, its fun to use some of my newly learned writing skills.
Lastly, if any incoming 1Ls are reading this, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I am serious, anything at all. I will be happy to answer them. Also, when you start at Texas Wesleyan Law, please introduce yourself to me. I would love to meet and talk to you.
Check back soon!
5/25/12 - So the wait for grades continues. This is a very strange part of the semester - my fate has already been determined, but I have no idea what that fate is. Did I do great? Did I do awful? I will just have to wait and see.
But, over the past couple of weeks, instead of dwelling on grades, I have been working at the 141st State District Court with Judge Chupp. It has been a great experience. I suggest to all incoming 1Ls that they begin their search for a summer internship at the courthouse. The skill that you will get at the courthouse with a judge is unparalleled, and it is probably the only time in your career that you will be able to get that type of experience.
While working with a judge you will be able to get a judge’s opinion of how judicial process works. After only two weeks, I feel like I have gained experience that will help me be a better lawyer.
But, I will save a lot of the details for the next blog. So check back next week!
5/9/12 - Well, this is my last blog of my 1L year. I decided to write the blog immediately after my last exam was over. So as I am writing this I walked out of my exam about one minute ago.
I never have good feelings immediately following exams, especially when the exam counts for 100% of my grade, and I left feeling very uncertain about couple of the problems. But I suppose that is life in law school.
Luckily, at the end of the exam I had about twenty minutes to check over some of my work, and there was one problem in particular that I wanted to look at. I was able to narrow the problem to two possible outcomes. But unluckily, and to the detriment of my grade, I selected the wrong one. I know I chose the wrong one because the question was right out of my notes, and I was able to go back and check what the answer was.
I guess it is a good lesson for me. I need to be more self-aware about the material I am struggling with, and not just gloss over it, thinking that I have it down.
Although I am sure I will dwell on that problem for the next month or two, I am going to try and relax for the next few days. I am heading down to New Braunfels with my wife to see my uncle and his family. It has been a long time since I have seen them, and we are going to go float the river and have some fun!
Check back soon!
4/25/12 - I attended the last class of my 1L year yesterday. It’s definitely a milestone in my life, but, strangely enough, I was so distracted by the upcoming finals that I hadn’t recognized this accomplishment until my wife reminded me when I got home. Finals have a way of absorbing all of my thoughts.
But, before I got too wrapped up in finals, I did have a chance to have some fun. Last Saturday I attended the annual Texas Wesleyan Crawfish Boil, and I had a great time. In fact, every person I talked to that attended said they also had fun. The weather was perfect, the music was upbeat, and the food and drink were never-ending. All these factors combined to create the perfect storm of fun. So I will suggest that all incoming 1Ls attend in the future, and make sure to bring your significant other with you. For me, it was the perfect venue for my wife to meet all the people I have been talking about for the past year.
But I digress, so let me get back to talking about finals. Honestly, there is not much of a discernible difference between this round of finals and my first round. I thought I would be more confident; I’m not. I thought I would have a better grasp on the material; I don’t.
I think there are two main reasons for this phenomenon. First, I had a lot more on my plate this semester because of all the extracurricular stuff I was doing, like applying for summer internships and trying out for Moot Court. And secondly, the classes were just downright harder this semester. Legal Writing was harder and each substantive course seemed more elusive to conceptualize. But, luckily, I am not the only one in this boat, so it should all even out in the end.
Check back next week!
4/18/12 - Well it’s been a pretty busy week. Yesterday, I took a citation exam in Legal Writing, which means that my Legal Writing course in my 1L year is officially over! But there was not time to celebrate, because today I am taking an exam in Civil Procedure that accounts for 15 percent of my final grade. This Civ Pro exam is different from exams I have taken in the past, because it involves nothing but memorization. In fact, it’s 19 pages of fill-in-the-blank rote memorization. I have been working on memorizing the information since Spring Break, so I am very excited to put this behind me and move on.
Also, on Friday and Sunday I will be competing in a 1L Moot Court competition. And then I will turn around on Monday and try out for one of the Moot Court traveling teams. So, needless to say, my head has been spinning.
I told one of friends this morning that I feel a cloudy shield weighing on the front of my brain, which is keeping information from easily passing into my head. I had to explain this to her as she tried to explain a simple concept to me three times before I could even comprehend what she was saying. But I guess I should expect this type of feeling after going through a semester like this.
I know this sounds strange, but I can’t wait to start studying for finals. When “dead week” starts, everything in the law school world shuts down except for studying. There is no more briefing cases, attending class, or any other extracurricular actives. So, at that point, I might get a chance to clear my head.
Check back next week!
4/11/12 - I want to apologize if it seems that my emotions are all over the place. My wife brought it to my attention that a month ago I reported that I was “riding a wave of confidence”, and then last week I wrote that I felt “hopelessly ignorant.” The truth is, I am somewhere in between those two feelings most of the time during the day. But, when I sit down to write the blog, I tend to get a little worked up. There is something about writing down my thoughts that seems to amplify what I am feeling at that moment. So, again, I apologize if I have seemed a little uneven.
Well, on Monday I was scheduled to deliver an oral argument about the trial brief that I just completed, but, sadly, it was cancelled because my professor was not feeling very well. I was a little disappointed because I really wanted to get it over with. Right now, a lot of things are starting to pile up just because it is the end of the semester, and to have another a thing get pushed back and piled on top of the rest my tasks is a little bit frustrating.
This Friday, 1Ls get to register for the fall semester, and I am a little nervous about it. I had some bad experiences in undergrad while trying to register, so whenever this time of the semester comes around I can’t help but get a little anxious about it. But, it’s more than likely that it will be a painless event.
Check back next week!
4/4/12 - Well, I just turned in my last writing assignment of my 1L year. Obviously, the feeling I have is one of relief, but I also have a sense of accomplishment. I am, without a doubt, a much better writer than I was seven months ago. Thank you, Prof. Kelly.
But I would like to take a little time to talk about my study group and study groups in general. For incoming 1Ls, the first “study group” tip that I can offer is to make sure you find people that share similar goals and interests as you.
I was blessed to find four other guys to study with that shared my goals and interests. First, we all have every class together, so we don’t have to worry about different professors having different ideas about the material. Secondly, we all try very hard to keep up with the material, so this hard work translates into constructive discussions during the time we spend together. Lastly, and most importantly, we all share a similar spiritual interest.
So what I get out of the study group is more than better grades without it, I also get spiritual advice and support from people that I can look up to. This support has paid dividends over the past six months, and has helped me grow in more ways than just “learning to think like a lawyer.”
Check back next week!
3/28/12 - Finals are looming, and I feel helplessly ignorant about most of the material that has been covered in my classes since the semester began.
Every time I meet with my study group to study and work on some practice questions I feel lost. Every question we attempt to answer shows me that I don’t know as much as I thought I did.
But I have to remember that I had similar feelings about the material last semester around this same time. And, actually, I did go back and read a couple of my blogs from last semester. It was reassuring to see that I was not as cool and collected as I like to think that I was.
On a separate note, I have decided to take a summer course. I will be working for a district court judge this summer. The courthouse is located close to the law school, so it will be too convenient of a situation to pass up. Also, I am not sure if I can handle another semester filled with 15 or 16 credit hours. And if I take a class this summer, then I will not feel compelled to take that many credit hours in the future.
I have had a couple e-mails recently from prospective students telling me that they are anticipating hearing back from Admissions soon about their acceptance status. I want to say “good luck” to those waiting on their decisions, and “congrats” to anyone that has gotten accepted so far. I hope to meet you all next year.
Check back next week.
3/21/12 - My Spring Break trip with my wife to Colorado was amazing. I now understand why Texans love Colorado so much. It is a true sportsman’s paradise, and its natural beauty is unparalleled.
Before I left I was pretty nervous about not being able get any work done during the break because of the vacation. But I set a few goals that I knew were ascertainable, like working each day on the trial brief assignment for a couple of hours, and getting one of my outlines caught up. I am proud to say that I met all of those goals.
In fact, I got a chance to spend the better part of a day working at Library at the University of Denver Strum School of Law. My sister is working on a Master’s of Tax at UD, and that program operates out of the law school. So, later in the trip when my wife and I were burnt out on sightseeing and hiking, I tagged along with my sister to the library. It was a fun experience to study at different law school, and to see my sister’s daily routine.
I am riding a wave of confidence going into finals. I received my third memo grade back during the break, and I am pleased to say that this grade was better than my second memo grade. That was my only goal after receiving my first memo grade - to steadily improve my writing skills - and I have been able to do that. With each writing assignment I have turned in, I have done a little bit better.
Check back next week!
3/7/12 - It has been another exciting week. I reported last week that I had an interview with Judge McCoy coming up. Well, on Monday, I received a message offering me an internship for the fall semester! I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity.
Because the internship will be during the fall, it will have some effect upon how I structure my schedule. One of the nice things about 1L year is that your schedule is set for you, so you don’t have to worry about picking the correct courses or meeting any requirements. But the downfall is that you are very limited in what activities you can do during the day.
With the internship in the mix next semester, I will probably take one less class next semester, so I can devote enough time to my work for Judge McCoy. Hopefully, I will be able to get class credit for the work I am doing, so the credit hours I am taking during the semester will even out.
On the school front, we received our last writing assignment in Legal Writing. This assignment is called a trial brief. It is different from our writing assignments in the past because the brief is persuasive instead of objective - its purpose is to persuade the reader, in our case, a judge.
I have already begun to do the research for the brief because my wife and I are going to Colorado next week to visit my sister in Denver. I am a little nervous to be away from the school for that long. I know that I should probably stay here and work during the break. But, hopefully, I will be able to get some work done while I am there.
Check back next week!
2/29/12 - It’s been a fun week. I had an on-campus interview a couple of days ago with American Airlines, and tomorrow I will have another interview with Judge Bob McCoy of the Second Court of Appeals of Texas.
The interview with American was my first law-related interview, so I was pretty nervous before it started. But the interviewers were great, and their friendly way of asking question put me at ease early on in the interview.
Actually, we spent the better part of the 20-minute interview talking about my experiences as a pilot. That was fine by me, because I love to tell flying stories to anyone that will listen.
But they did ask a couple of law school themed questions that I was expecting, like, “Why did you come to law school” and, “Do you like law school?” If you are a potential law student, you should get used to answering those two questions, and you should have a great, but honest, answer prepared. You will get those two questions a lot from people.
Our fourth (and final) writing assignment will start next week. Come this time next week, I will have that overwhelming, but now familiar, feeling that only a memo can give a law student. But the little break since our last memo has been nice, and I even had a chance to get caught up on reading and outlining.
Next week I will give an update on how the interview with Judge McCoy and his staff went, so check back then!
2/22/12 - I had a great time at the wedding over the weekend, and, thankfully, it didn’t set me very far back. As I mentioned before, this is sort of the down time in the semester, so the wedding couldn’t have occurred at a better time for me.
Earlier in the semester I wrote that I was starting the summer internship application process. I am happy to write that the application process is finally over, and now I am just waiting to hear back from the places I applied to.
This is really my first time sending out mass amounts of applications to potential employers. I have worked at many places before in the aviation community, but I got most of those jobs through personal connections. So coming to law school was a little bit scary because I have very few connections to legal community and none in the D/FW area.
But it has also been refreshing to try and start building new relationships and connections with people in the legal community, and some of these connections have already been helpful.
There are many ways to get connected to the legal community. The Tarrant County Young Lawyers Association offers mixers where law students can interact with young lawyers working in the area. But my advice to future 1Ls is to focus on building relationships with the people around the law school, like professors and Academic Support teaching assistants. These are the people that will be able to write great recommendations for you and give you advice on where and how to apply for jobs in the area.
Check back next week!
2/15/12 - Not much to report, but that is a good thing for sure. The memo is done and the reading seems to be a little bit lighter than it was a couple of weeks ago. But, like any good law student, I have been trying to use some of the extra time to get caught up on some of the material I missed over the past few weeks.
Outlining is a great tool, and not just for organizing information. I was starting to feel a bit behind in my classes. But now that I have spent the past few days outlining, I am feeling much better. At least for me, outlining classes give me peace of mind. When I can see everything that I have learned in a class since the semester started in one concise document, I get the feeling that I am back in control of the information.
But any gains I have made in the past few days will likely be erased this weekend. I will be driving to Pensacola, Florida for a wedding on Saturday. This is the first time since law school began that I will be spending a whole weekend away from area, so I am a little nervous about what the fallout might be. But, I will gladly accept any of the consequences for a chance to see two of my best friends get married to each other. Congrats to Hannah and Mike! Can’t wait to see you both.
Check back next week!
2/8/12 - Well, I just turned in my third objective memo, and, again, it feels good to have that weight off of my shoulders.
I have actually been worried about this particular memo since Orientation. Back on that day in August, we were introduced to our Legal Writing professors and met as a class for a couple hours. My professor explained a little bit about what the writing assignments would entail for the upcoming two semesters, and that we would be given all the information we needed to write the first two memos. But on the third memo, we would need to do all of the research.
After we were told this, I had a recurring vision of myself searching through some dusty book in the farthest corner of the Law Library. Thankfully, doing legal research is nothing like that… in reality the books aren’t dusty. No, I am just kidding. Most of the hard work is done using a electronic resources for legal research.
It was fulfilling to turn in a legal memo today about subject I knew nothing about four weeks ago. Surprisingly, I am a little excited to give it another shot. I wasted a lot of time at the beginning of the research phase because I was nervous that I was missing important information. But with some of the confidence I gained over the past few weeks, I will be much more efficient in the future.
Check back next week!
2/1/12 - Honestly, I have been feeling a little indifferent when it comes to law school since the semester started. But I had a little motivation boost on Tuesday when I got a chance to speak with a group of high school students from the Dallas school district. They reminded me, in a subtle way, that I had forgotten how blessed I am to be in law school.
The first semester is filled with so much excitement - everything is new. This makes it easy to forget that law school is more than one semester long. This semester, when I showed up on the first day of classes, it hit me that law school is actually six semester long. Of course, I knew this all along, but I had not really understood what it meant.
It means six semesters of giving up a lot of things that I used to love to do. As I have written before, I used to be a pilot. Flying is one of my favorite things to do, and I wouldn’t let more than a couple days pass between flights. But it has been seven months since the last time I got a chance, or took the time, to go flying.
It is taking me awhile to shake the feeling of indifference, but those students have helped me start the process. And, as I said before, it starts with being thankful for the opportunity that I have been given.
Check back next week for a new, super-motivated blog!
1/25/11 - Not only is this semester’s pace picking up more quickly than last semester’s, but the classes are quite a bit different than I am used to. Combined, it makes for an interesting start to the semester.
For example, in our Contracts class, the professor prefers a problem-based method of teaching. The professor will assign cases for us to read and concurrently assign problems for us to answer. These problems are designed to help us apply the rule of law to the facts of the problem. Sound good so far, but there is a kicker. We are placed into three-person groups and asked to come to the front of the classroom with our group to represent one of the hypothetical clients in the problems.
This method of learning is new to all of us, and I am not sure how much I like it. There is no doubt that it is a great tool for teaching us how to think on our feet and get accustomed to speaking in front of a large group. But I think it might be lacking, compared to the Socratic method, when trying to learn the actual substance of what contract law is. There is not as much time spent talking about what the rule is and how it should be applied.
I wanted to briefly say good luck to all the law school applicants that might be reading this blog. I got a chance to talk with a couple of prospective students last week, and I would like to repeat what I said to them - the law school application process can be very stressful and very long, but I promise it is worth it.
Check back next week!
1/18/12 - It is only week two, and the time crunch is already beginning. It snuck up on me quicker this semester then it did last.
I remember writing last semester that many people can survive the first month of law school. I said this because professors were relatively light on the reading, thoroughly explained all the cases, and there weren’t any legal writing assignments.
But now that we are somewhat experienced law students, the pace is much like it was at the end of last semester. In fact, we have already received our first memo assignment for this semester, and I have already had to devote a good deal of time to the research that it requires.
This semester promises to offer a few new challenges for me. First, I will have to devote a lot of time to applying for job openings at local law firms and courthouses for the summer. Second, I plan to devote more time to some of the organizations I am involved in. And lastly, because I now know what I am capable of achieving in law school, I would like to maintain, and possibly improve, upon what I did last semester.
But I welcome all of these new challenges. I am sure that, for the most part, they will add a lot of excitement to what has already been an exciting law school experience.
Check back next week!
1/11/12 - Well, I didn’t get the white Christmas I had hoped for, but I did receive something over the break that was a little more important: my first semester final grades. I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome.
This is my first time truly excelling in academia, and it feels great. To work hard for an entire semester and stick to a rigorous study schedule, with the hopes of achieving great grades, and then actually achieve those grades gave me one of the most rewarding feelings I have ever had.
When I applied to law school, I included an addendum in my final application to the Office of Admissions. I wrote that I believed I had turned a corner in my academic career. After I had made the decision that I wanted to go to law school, my grades began to steadily rise at UTA. But I believed that in law school I would really thrive, so I am very thankful to the Dean Hurst and the rest of the Office of Admissions for trusting in what I wrote.
But that is probably all of the celebrating I should allow myself to do. We are already almost done with the first week of classes, and it is time to refocus myself in hopes that I can do it again. Check back next week!
12/14/11 - I am about one week removed from taking the last final of my first semester of law school, and it is still hard to give insight or perspective to what I just went through. Sometimes I fixate on specific moments, and I miss the bigger picture because of it. I think that is what I am going through right now, and it makes it tough to sit back and “see the forest.” But, I will give a shot.
Preparing for a law school exam is stressful. Law school consumed most of my thoughts for at least a month before my last exam. If I wasn’t studying for exams, I was thinking about what I studied during that day, or what I would be studying the next day.
All this stress piled up in the last five minutes before my first exam started. Admittedly, those five minutes were filled with more than few moments of doubt. But luckily, just as professors and Academic Support had told me, as soon as the test began, this stress was changed into the focus I needed to take a four-hour exam.
Overall, I feel like I did everything I could have done to get prepared for exams. I know I have mentioned this before, but that was the only goal I set for myself before I started. I took more than a few exams in my undergrad where I felt test taker’s remorse before I even finished the exam. Law school is too important to me to ever feel like I did not give it my best.
When grades come back, this sense of accomplishment I have right now may be a small consolation prize if I feel like I should have done better, but for right now it feels pretty good.
Now that it is break time, my first order of business is to give my wife the break she needs after picking up my slack all semester. My week since finals has been filled with lots of running around Fort Worth, lots of cooking, and lots of cleaning.
On Saturday, we will drive to New York to see our family for a couple of weeks. Here’s hoping for a white Christmas! Happy Holidays!
Check back next year.
12/7/11 - It has been an interesting couple of weeks since the last blog. I am done with two of my final exams, and I will take the last one tomorrow morning. I have really enjoyed this semester, but—surprisingly enough—I am excited to take a break. In the next blog, I will write a little more about my Christmas plans, but right now, I want to talk about law school exams.
I want to assure all the prospective students reading my blog that by the time finals come around, you will be ready to do well on the exam. Texas Wesleyan Law has a great Academic Support program. The program’s goal is to make sure that law students are prepared for their classes and final exams. From week one of law school, they have 1Ls thinking about how to do well on finals, and how to get prepared to do well on finals. Honestly, without Academic Support, I would not have felt as prepared. As a result, I would not have had nearly as much confidence in myself.
Although this is my last day of studying, it’s hard to put the last two weeks of studying and taking exams in any sort of perspective. Whatever focus I have left is mostly being directed to the Legislation and Regulation exam I am taking tomorrow morning. Maybe next week, along with updating about Christmas plans, I will have some more concrete thoughts to share about the past couple of weeks.
Check back next week.
11/22/11 - I spoke with another 1L yesterday who has been having a hard time balancing school and life. This conversation reminded me how lucky I am to be in a situation where I have a wife that has been incredibly supportive. I’d like to use a few words of this blog to thank my wife for all she has done for me in the past few months. She has been incredibly supportive and understanding about all of the time I have put into this semester of school. Thank you Sarah! I love you.
My goal over the next few weeks, besides doing awesome on my exams, is to try and avoid the extremes inherent in studying for exams. I have persistently and consistently studied all semester. Hopefully, come exam time, I will not have to work extremely long hours that end up producing little in the way of actual understanding.
Our Academic Support group made a schedule for us to follow that has us studying from 8 AM. to 6 PM., and I am going to do my best to stick to those times. The temptation will be strong to stay at the law school later, but I think that getting good rest and separation from the material will be beneficial in the long run. Wish me luck!
11/16/11 - I just walked out of my last class meeting for Criminal Law. I thought it would feel a little more satisfying to say that I had made it through all of the lectures and reading assignments for a law school class. But with the specter of final exams looming –sorry to be dramatic, but that is a great way to describe the feeling around here—it’s hard to have any other feeling except nervousness.
Yesterday was a good day on the legal writing front for a few reasons. I turned in my last memo for the semester, and I finished the last lecture for that class as well. But the best thing was that I received my prize for becoming the Grammar Bee Champion of my Legal Writing section! I know you are all are wondering how I became a champion of anything grammar-related after reading all of my blogs, but with a little help from the Redbook (an essential book about grammar) and a little luck, I was able to triumph.
It really meant a lot to me to win the competition - I would really like to be an effective legal writer someday, and using good grammar is probably one of the first steps to accomplishing that goal. Also, I did not have any knowledge about using good grammar before the semester started, so it took a lot of effort to learn even the most basic rules. It was very rewarding to win the prestigious title of “Grammar Bee Champion.” Thanks Prof. Kelly!
11/9/11 - It’s time to get going. The pre-finals suspense has been building for a couple weeks, but I think it’s finally here. It is definitely nerve wracking, but I am also a little excited for it.
I think the most daunting aspect of law school is the fact that, for the most part, law students will have one exam per class to show the professor all he or she has learned over a semester’s worth of reading, briefing, outlining, and lecture.
However, I am excited for the exams because I have done all of a semester’s worth of reading, briefing, outlining, and lecture. After another four weeks of studying I will be prepared to show off what I have learned. As an aside, a semester’s worth of briefing cases is equal to about 400 briefs! On my laptop there are 460 files in my folder called “law,” and the lion’s share of the files are case briefs.
I want to give another grade update. I received my Criminal Law midterm exam grade on Monday, and I ended up doing really well. It was a great confidence boost after getting knocked down last week. It gave me confidence not just in my ability to succeed in law school, but it also showed me that all of my study habits have been paying off. I have been sticking my motto, “don’t cut corners,” and it seems to be working.
11/2/11 - I mentioned that I would give an update about grades after my professors had given them back. Well, I have received my grade for the memo, and on Monday I will receive my grade for my Criminal Law midterm.
I am going to do my best to describe the feeling that I had after getting my first grade back in law school, and saw that it was not even close to what I wanted it to be, or even thought it was going to be.
It is a deflating feeling for a number of reasons. First, it was the first grade I received. Second, I put a lot of work into writing it. Finally, I wonder how I am ever going to write something that will get me a better grade after I just turned in something that I thought was my best effort.
It is the latter of the feelings that has really been bringing down my confidence. The first two feelings were fleeting. It’s easy to forget those two, since they will not affect the rest of my grades this semester. But how do I deal with the fact that I have turn in a second memo—worth twice as much—in two weeks? Not quite sure at this point.
10/26/11 - The normal law school workload is coming back. I am not sure if the lighter workload was by design or just a welcome coincidence, but it was nice either way.
Prof. Kelly, my Legal Writing professor, assigned our 2nd memo at the end of last week. For this assignment, we have been asked to objectively determine if, based on a set of facts, a patent will be valid.
I am probably a little more excited than most of my classmates about the prospect of writing a memo dealing with patents. Many people who have studied engineering go on to become patent attorneys. Being a recent engineering grad, I am interested in learning about the patent law profession. Prof. Kelly, who is also an engineering grad, has practiced patent law for many years in Fort Worth. Between his insight and all of the analysis I will be doing for the memo in the next few weeks, I am sure that I will get the insight I want.
Check back next week! Hopefully I will have some grades from my midterm and memo to talk about.
10/19/11 – Yesterday, another blogger asked me if I had written my blog yet. She was hoping to gain some inspiration from my topic. I told her that I hadn’t - I like to wait until closer to the deadline. There is something about waiting until the last second that inspires me to get it done.
But the truth is, I don’t have much inspiration: there is not much to write about and it feels great. There are no midterms, no practice exams, no memos, and no outlines to write.
With the extra time on my hands, I have been able to do some things that I really enjoy. On Friday, my wife and I went to a great concert in Dallas. On Saturday, we slept in, went for a long walk on the Trinity Trails, and then watched the Rangers clinch the series. Last night, I left school early and didn’t read a single case. Life is pretty great right now.
I will enjoy while I can. I know that finals and another memo are right around the corner.
I want to give a quick shout out to my friend Megan. We both foolishly volunteered to stand in front of our Criminal Law class and give mock closing arguments for a controversial case that was about forcible rape. Not only did I have to worry about speaking in front of 80 other 1Ls, but I also had to follow someone who did an amazing job!
Check back next week…
10/12/11 - The bane of every first-semester 1L student is the first graded writing assignment. It’s an assignment so intrusive that it is no longer addressed by its actual name, “memorandum 1.” It has now taken on the alias of “the memo.”
“The memo” reminds me of something that my classmates in high school called “the mile.” For those that didn’t attend Horseheads High School, let me fill you in. At the beginning and end of each semester, those taking phys. ed. would run a timed mile. Gym teachers would compare times to check if, on the off chance, gym class had whipped us into shape. This run was so scary to some that it became known only as…“the mile.”
“The memo” loomed over me much like “the mile” did when I was high school. But in law school, “the memo” does a much better job at achieving its goal than the “the mile” ever did.
The memo is designed to sharpen your writing and reasoning skills by providing you with a set of facts that could support two possible conclusions. Our job is to analyze the facts and apply case law to come to an objective answer about how we think a judge might rule.
Although the memo throws a wrench in your schedule, its significance makes up for it. I have learned more about effective writing in the past month then all of undergrad combined. (Take that with a grain of salt. I studied engineering.) But the best part about the memo is…I just turned it in!
Check back next week!
10/5/11 - I think it is important to note that I am halfway through my first semester of law school. There are a total of 6 semesters in law school for full time students, so right now I am 1/12 of the way done. While 1/12 is small as far are percentages are concerned (8.3%), the idea of being 1/12 of the way done with something as lengthy as law school is pretty cool. Not because I can’t wait to get done, but because time here has been flying by.
I feel like professors are also aware that we are halfway done with our first semester. Gone are some of the luxuries of the first week of law school. Answers are no longer force fed during class. Professors fully expect us to be able to understand and spot issues and rules when we read cases. This expectation is far from unrealistic. We have been immersed in law school for a couple of months now, and I can tell that everybody, including myself, has come a long way.
I mentioned in my last post that I was about to take a midterm in Criminal Law. Regardless of the grade I receive, it was a HUGE help to see a law school exam (thank you, Prof. Pham). Beyond having a chance to find out what a law school exam looks like, it was great to have a chance to go through the motions of preparing for an exam before finals start.
Check back next week!
9/28/11 - Things are starting to get hectic again. On Monday, we will have a Criminal Law midterm that will make up 20% of our grade for the class. I am looking forward to the opportunity to take the test because it will be the only tangible indicator of how I have been doing in law school so far.
My wife and I talked about what my goal was for my first year of law school before we started (I say “we” purposely). At first, I kicked around some ideas about where I wanted to be in class ranking, or how I wanted my GPA to be at the end of the year. But, in the end, I set a more realistic goal for myself. We agreed that the best goal for me was to feel like I had never cut any corners while preparing for class or exams.
I feel like I have met by goal so far. It would be a lie to say that I don’t hope to get an excellent grade on the midterm. Law school is competitive and I am a competitive person. Nothing would make me feel better than seeing my hard work pay off. But regardless of the grade, I have been meeting my initial goal.
It will probably be a few weeks before we get our grades back, but I will be sure to update you when I do. See you next week.
9/21/11 - I feel like many of my posts so far have been negative. This time, I want to provide a more positive outlook on things that sometimes seem negative.
I have been very impressed with all of my professors. Each one of them has displayed an incredible understanding of the topics they teach. The position of law professor is a very prestigious job to earn, and now that I am in law school, I understand why. Law professors are very smart people who are equally as talented at teaching. If you get a chance, read a couple of the faculty descriptions; I bet you will be impressed by their accomplishments.
I have also enjoyed the assigned reading material outside of class. Yes, it does get overwhelming sometimes, but it is slightly offset when you are reading about interesting topics. Appellate level judges write most of the text in our casebooks, so the writing is usually well done and very informative. It’s been fascinating to learn about the legal underpinnings of our society from the women and men that shape our legal system.
I also wanted to update everyone on a few things. I have started to outline for Criminal Law, and it seems to going pretty well. On Thursday, I will be meeting with my study group to compare outlines. This should give me a better idea of where I stand in that class. Check back next week!
9/14/11 - I think all of my fellow 1Ls in B section will agree that this week will be the toughest we have had yet. It will be harder than other weeks in the past month for a few compounding reasons:
1. We have the first part of our legal writing assignment due.
2. For some reason, we have nearly 3 times as much reading in Legislation and Regulation compared to last week.
3. We have a make-up class in Criminal Law this Friday.
I was reading a 3L’s blog about when he was in my position the other day. He wrote that he thought that anybody could finish three weeks of law school, but the weeks following was when it got tough. I think he was right.
So far, if I was unsure if I would be able to finish assignments, I could just pull up my schedule and move some things around to make sure that it all got completed. Because of the extra work this week, it has been an interesting challenge trying to figure out when it will all get done.
On a more upbeat note, I attended Student Ambassador Recruiting Team (S.A.R.T.) training on Saturday, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. All of the Student Ambassadors have a great sense of humor. So if you are a prospective student reading this blog who will be attending an Office of Admissions event in the future, you will be in for a treat.
9/7/11 - I would like to take a little time to introduce myself to readers. My first two blogs mainly consisted of my thoughts on law school, but it seems like a good time to share a little bit about myself.
I love to fly, and I believe that my interest in aviation is the most defining feature of who I am. It has influenced nearly every aspect of my life. Everything from old friends I have, the undergrad degree I earned, to the fact that I am in law school now are all a direct result of flying. In fact, my wife and I met at an airport when I was 15. Although flying has been a huge part of my life, sadly it will have to take a backseat to law school for a few years.
But beyond flying, I am trying to learn how to play the banjo right now. My dad bought me it for as a graduation present a few months ago, and I have been playing regularly since then. It has been a great stress relief and an interesting challenge for me.
The next week will be tough on all 1Ls. Besides the regular workload, the first part of our memo is due, and we are being told by Academic Support that it is time to start outlining our courses. I have been making good progress on the memo thus far. Check back next week for updates!
8/31/11 - Earlier in the semester I mentioned to my fellow bloggers that I was excited for the law school experience to start to feel like it was a normal part of my life. The point that I was trying to make was that it is a strange feeling to go to a brand new place that is filled with unknown faces.
Now into the third week of classes, I can say that this feeling is starting to go away. The law library is beginning to have a familiar feeling as a place in which I have spent many hours, and the list of people I say “hi” to while passing in the halls is slowly growing. It’s been great for my confidence to begin feeling comfortable in my surroundings.
I mentioned last week that I was trying to eliminate a lot of wasted time caused by adjusting to a new schedule. I am proud to say that I have gotten better at being more efficient in that respect. But, this extra time has been filled with the realization that I need to spend more time preparing for each class. With law school, it seems that the “devil is in the details.” If there was a section of a case that I did not understand, you can bet that the first question the professor asks will be from that same section.
My goals for the following week are: (1) figure out how to outline and (2) get a good start on the first memo in our legal writing class. Seems simple enough.
8/24/11 - The morning security guard summed up the feeling I had walking into school at the beginning of the second week of classes.
Guard: How was your first week of law of school?
Me: Pretty good!
Guard: You’re still smiling? You must really like law school… or be crazy!
Me: It’s probably a little bit of both.
In actuality, the reason I was smiling was because I am honored to be studying law at Texas Wesleyan.
My first week of classes here at Texas Wesleyan Law was an amazing experience. One of the reasons I was so drawn to law school was the inevitable diversity of the student body. On the first Monday of class, our Torts professor took the time to have everybody introduce themselves to her and the rest of the students.
One student told us he was from Sweden (he is actually one of the other bloggers), while another student said that he spent the past two years living in Tokyo. Another graduated with a degree in the performing arts, while the person next to him has a degree in biology. All of these different perspectives have brought life to the material that has been discussed in class, making the first week of law school a truly memorable one.
But, below all of the things that make law school special are the things that make law school what it truly is….tough. It probably goes without saying that the first week of class was challenging. Beyond learning and preparing for class, there was a lot of time wasted getting into the swing of a new routine.
My goals for the second week are to free up time that has been wasted “getting used to things,” and work on taking better notes in class. Check back next week for updates!