Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Special Appreciation

Now that I have made it through the first half of the forging year of law school, there is a lot of thanks owed from me. Right now, I am going to just make one direct thank you to the most important person through this experience. My wife Diana deserves more than my thank you for all that she does. Diana has shown me true unconditional love. When I have come to frustrating spots in the semester, she has never wavered in her support for me. Throughout all my insecurities and feelings of inadequacy, Diana is the first to tell me I can succeed and that she is proud of me. Diana works hard so that we don't have to have the outside stresses of financial woes. Her job isn't always her favorite, but she sticks with it. She shows a level of maturity that I have not seen in my friends wives here at school. I want Diana to know that she can always vent to me and come to me when she is having struggles, I will be there for you like you have been there for me. Diana has put a lot of trust in me and how much I can provide for our family, first when she married me, and recently when she moved 12 hours from home while I try to gain a legal education. Because of the trust she has put in me, I owe her the world. In front of all who read this, I dedicate my next semester to Diana and promise to put in the time and effort to gain my full potential in law school. I make these promises so she can be comforted in her decision to share her life with me. I want Diana and everyone to know how much I love her. She is my motivation through this all and she is amazing. Diana, I Love YOU!

Friday, December 12, 2008

We Govern Ourselves

Back in my carefree days working a campus job with a really good buddy of mine, we had a conversation. This post is an extension of that conversation, and I hope my friend remembers the conversation.
I was very interested in law enforcement before my decision to attend law school. I am very pro law enforcement, but I also recognize when individual officers act wrongly. My friend was concerned about who police's the police. Sometimes it is hard to swallow the fact that the police can go and arrest people for their wrongs, but sometimes cops get away with a lot of bad things.
In law school we are half way through our first year mid-terms. We were preparing for standard exam procedures such as going to the bathroom, getting a drink, and for those who smoke, taking a final smoke break. It shocked us when the person brought in our exam, went through the instructions, and told us she would be back 5 minutes before the end period of the exam. That shocked us. Who would monitor any cheating? Then someone raised their hand and asked, "what if we need to use the bathroom". The following answer shocked us too. We are given a specified amount of time for each exam and we can leave the classroom to go to the bathroom and/or smoke or stretch, etc. We can use our time any way we so choose as long as we don't violate the honor code we signed at the beginning of the year.
WE ARE LITERALLY LEFT TO GOVERN OURSELVES. We are in a professional school now and they expect us to act accordingly. I have never been given such trust and responsibility under similar circumstances (taking exams). Even the LSAT was closely monitored. I just thought my friend would find it interesting on how we are governed and monitored at law school.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

That Time Of The Year...

It is the end of the semester and time for mid-terms. Some of you might be thinking, "did her say mid-terms, shouldn't he be saying finals?". It is true that for most undergraduate and graduate programs, it is finals time and time to gear up for new classes next semester. For law students, we carry 15 credit hours the first semester and those classes carry over to the second semester. So this semester we have Torts, Contract, Civil Procedure, Property, and Legal Research and Writing. Since we only have one test a semester, we are having mid-terms in December. Finals for us happen in May. Next semester we add another class of Criminal Law to make it a full 18 credit hours. They can push us as hard as they want, but the only thing we can do is quit or power through. I may have said that before, but it is about to hold true. I am looking forward to having close to a month off from school. It will be nice to do some no brainer activities. I may even catch up on a few posts I have been wanting to make on here.

Friday, November 21, 2008



This was shown to be by one of my colleagues. Hope you get a laugh out of it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Study of Law Waits For No Holiday

We recently received the long anticipated and infamous speech by our Assistant Dean. We are directed on how to handle our Thanksgiving break since it will drop us right into our finals. The 2L's and 3L's tell you that the dean says you can't even go back for a second helping at the Thanksgiving meal because you should be studying. Because that is the rumor, the dean starts the conversation by saying, "many saying I tell you not to eat over Thanksgiving break, but that's not true". You would think that the conversation would then lead elsewhere, but it doesn't. The dean then says, "however, Thanksgiving is not really a break from school. You need to continue working as if it wasn't a holiday..." . I had to laugh because it started as a denial to a claim, but finished as a confirmation to all the rumors of this holiday speech. A couple of the faculty members have shared that we need to enjoy some of our time off though, so it is good to know it isn't as life and death as the dean always makes it.

Internet and Computer Fun at Law School

I have shared some of my stresses and frustrations as they occur here at school. But let me tell you some of the fun the students have to keep us sane and make the experience fun for all of us. I will do my best to describe these stories because they were fun for us and made us laugh. The fear is that they are moments you had to be there for to fully enjoy. All of these stories generally consist of using the computer and internet, so enjoy!

First, since we have internet access during class, you know most of us do a little surfing while the professor is talking. Don't judge us because you know you would be doing it to if you were sitting in a law class. A friend of mine was having problems with a virus on his computer and on this particular day he couldn't get the internet browser to pull up on his computer. He tapped me on the shoulder and said, "hey, I can't get the internet pull up" and points to his computer, clicks the icon, and looks at me and gives me the look that speaks for itself, "see"? It was all I could do not to bust up laughing in class because as he looks back at his computer screen to see a porn site pulled up on his screen. He was so shocked and surprised, it took him forever to finally get the web browser shut down. It turns out the specific virus he had would change his home page setting every time he opened up the internet. This time it happened to be a nude site right in the middle of Torts.

Next, in my property class, we are in stadium style seating and can see what the people below us are looking at. Two rows in front of me a girl always looks at pictures of puppies, kittens, and other cuddly animals. For the first time the other day, she pulls up a live web cam of a kennel of puppies. A puppy cam if you will. Because of the live action, her computer drew a lot of attention in class. My friend leaned over to me and said, "7...there are 7 puppies in the kennel". As the class period continued along, the number dropped to 4 and then to 2 puppies by the end of the class. We made random jokes about puppy mills (which may seem insensitive) but it helps make property class bearable. And today she was back just looking at photos which is still entertaining for those sitting behind her. Maybe that girl should be a veterinarian instead of a lawyer.

MSN Messenger can be a lifesaver, or, it can be a way of almost getting in trouble in class. It can help because if you are stuck on an answer in class, friends can get the answer to you so you can shoot it back to the professor. When class is boring and it is hard to pay attention, friends can start having smaller conversations on the side. A quick side not here too, the only thing that sometimes gets you through reading one more court case is that the facts (story) behind the case are funny. One day in CivPro, a friend sitting next to me and I started a conversation about some of the funnier facts of a case. A guy was injured at work causing "swan neck deformaties" of the fingers. As part of the individuals claim, he stated that he was no longer desirable to the ladies. We started making jokes about 100 lbs. Cambodian man with swan neck deformaties that loves the ladies! I guess you had to be there, but we almost lost it in class in front of the teacher.

These are just a few of the things that students do on the internet. Who would have thought your future attorney could be so distracted?

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Requested Definition

The name of my blog is a legal term from property. I am using it in sort of a metaphorical manner for the blog.

FEE SIMPLE: an interest in land that, being the broadcast property interest allowed by law, endures until the current holder dies without heirs

FEE SIMPLE ABSOLUTE: an estate of indefinite or potentially infinite duration

Basically it applies to real property (as opposed to personal property) which is given to someone with no strings attached. Believe me, if you are not going into the law, you don't want to study about what type of interest someone has in real property, especially if they have future interests. My professor literally refers to that information as a hazing ritual for first year law students.

I used this term to say, here is my experience from law school, under the cloak of unanimity, to do with as you want. Enjoy it, hate it, share it with others, or never return to the site. It is yours with no strings attached.

Having Friends Outside of School is a Lifesaver

Today was another one of those days that began to ware on me. I still haven't been able to shake the feelings of inadequacy for being in law school, but I have been trying to fight through them so that I can get my bearings after finals this semester. The new memo assignment is really causing me some headaches. I have spent around 10 hours or so on research and keep thinking I haven't found enough. So now I am having writers block on how to get it going. I am on schedule, but I feel myself really slipping away from it. Now, we are into the time when the school starts talking to us about getting summer jobs because that process will start in January. So instead of letting us get through our first semester, they drop the bomb of employment on us. To help us get things figured out, firms are invited to hold lunch presentations here at the school. Today three government offices came to explain what the law clerks do for them during the summer. This is the only lunch where I really cared about listening to the material. I have only wanted to practice criminal law. Some of the great benefits of working for a government agency during law school is they allow you to work during the school year and are flexible on the hours. Also, you are able to get on the governments insurance and I wouldn't have to move away from Diana for the summer. All great benefits to working for the government while in school. This is a path a lot of my colleagues have said they would never do because they are only in it for the money, but seem to be interested in filling the few slots for law clerks while in school. My fellow students want the big bucks later, but they will pursue that later for the convenience of things now. So now I am stressed that I won't be in one of those few slots because someone with better grades will get the job, but have no intention of working for the government when they get out of school. I will fight and earn my spot, but something just doesn't sit right for me on that. I am certain it comes across that I am a selfish individual, but I am not the type to encroach on someone's passion removing their opportunity to progress. We are living in a cut throat environment.
Just as I am feeling so overwhelmed, just as the day is growing its darkest, just as I am listening to the radio and accidentally mistake a McDonalds advertisement as words of inspiration and motivation, a friend comes to the rescue and puts the situation in perspective. He shared a story of how he had a similar experience while applying for his undergraduate program. His passion was in his field, but others were applying to keep their options open. It is a hard one to take when it is your life pursuit. He then said these words of inspiration, "You can't stress those things that are out of your control. What will happen will happen and will be right for you. Besides, if you stress them out too much, you will get the Shingles". I couldn't help but start laughting. For those who do not know what the shingles are, you just need to look them up. Just know my buddy had them and I have known that story for a long time, but having him just mention it turned my world around today. I won't over stress myself because I don't want to get da shingles!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let's Catch You Up and Bring Some Fun To This Environment

I think it is time to catch everyone up on some occurrences here at school. About a month and a half ago my Contract professor offered to have lunch with small groups of students from his class over a few week period of time. A couple of my friends and I signed up for a Friday lunch and heard rumors it was going to be a little awkward, so some of them thought of questions to keep the conversation going while we ate lunch. I wasn't too worried about it so I didn't think of any questions. That was a mistake because it was an awkward experience and I didn't say a word through the entire lunch because I wasn't asking any questions. I guess I was under the impression that a conversation with a law professor and a 1L student would just flow. Who am I kidding? It is like trying to get 50Cent to sit down with Oprah...there just isn't a lot of common ground for them to talk about. Among one of the awkward silences, the professor asks, "What are some of the complaints about law school right now?" And wouldn't you know it, one of my good friends speaks up, "Walter is a bit upset that you never call on him". Suddenly another friend says, "ya, he was mentioning how you call on everyone around him, but never pick him". This little manuever is what I like to call being thrown under the bus. Everyone thought the professor would laugh it off and that would be it, but the professor had other things in mind. He later asked if we did anything for fun and mentioned we needed to start doing things for fun as a stress releiver. He would then look at me and say, "except you, you need to be studying contracts". As the lunch was ending, he told everyone to have a good weekend, and once again he looked at me and said, "except you, you need to be studying contracts". My friends apologized to me for getting attention drawn to me. Lets just say I didn't mind having a heads up of getting called on, but it was fun to give my friends a hard time and make them think I was pissed at them.
The following Monday, the professor came into the room and looked at me and gave me a smirk and a head nod. I thought it was my time and I had over prepared for the class. He never called on me that day and actually gave me another head nod when I was leaving the classroom. I have been on edge for at least a month and half in that class. I even made up a theory in my mind for that class. If I wore a jacket that had a logo for the school on it, he wasn't going to call on me because of my school spirit. Two days ago I wore a hoodie that had the school logo on it, but he started calling on people right close to me, so I thought it was the jacket keeping me safe, so I wore it to class today. This is where the story takes another twist.
I am walking in the halls this morning and I see my professor. He stops me and asks me how to pronounce my last name. He tried, but it was wrong, and instead of making a joke or telling him a fake name to get a rise out of him, I corrected him. He then said, "I guess this isn't a good sign for you". I told him I knew how contract class was going to go today. I do appreciate a heads up if I am going to get called on, but I really hate talking in class, which is the opposite how law school is. The students do all the talking. So a couple of my friends and I started making wagers for sodas with other students saying, "I bet Walter gets called on in class today". We had a couple takers. At the end of class we came clean with them...I like to have fun, but I am not gonna cheat people.
I was so nervous I decided instead of waiting for him to call on me I would answer one of his open questions. So I took the game to him. I played his game on my terms. It turned out to be ok, but these experiences help make law school a lot of fun (believe it or not, all this studying can be a great experience).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A New Awakening

Yesterday was the day that we received our first writing assignment back from our instructors. Lets just say, I thought I did a lot better than I did compared to the small 14 person group I belong to. Last night left me thinking a lot, with a renewed sense of dedication, trying to recommit myself as much as I was at the beginning of the semester. I woke up this morning with that fresh feeling for starting anew, and am ready to tackle another day! But the day is still young and I still have class with Keese, and depending on his mood, depends on how bad the students called on are torn apart. Last week he was in a good mood, here's to hoping it caries over. More about Keese a bit later!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Mind Plays Tricks

Part of being in law school means you study an obscene amount of hours. When people ask me what I am up to (those friends who are not in the same town as me), I am getting tired of telling them I am studying again in the library. I basically don't have a life anymore besides the few things I get to do with my wife and the occasional distractions law students allow themselves with each other (driving range, going out to eat, watching t.v., etc.).

The weekends are of no exception to the law school studying experience. Case in point I have been up since 0530, which was when Diana got up for work, and read Torts until 0900 when the library on campus opens. And now I am at the library studying Torts and overwhelming myself with the thoughts of everything I need to accomplish. It is Saturday for crying out loud! Who does this to themselves? Part of my frustration too, is because I try not to do homework on Sundays. I wasn't very good at this in my undergrad, so I am trying it here. I have two general reasons for doing this; one reason is religious, and the other is for my own sanity.

I am sitting here trying to justify any small actions of studying that I can push off until tomorrow. It is getting harder for me to keep my goal of one full day off a week because time is of such importance to me now. I can't just study hours before an exam. Thank you for listening to my rantings, but I will try to keep the blog no so serious. I just may need to vent periodically.

Friday, October 31, 2008

High School v. Law School

It is hard to pick a place to start when discussing the law school experience. Since I am starting this blog when I have about four weeks of class remaining in my first semester, there is a lot to share and catch you up on. So bare with me while I make that attempt.

After our orientation, two days prior to when classes actually started, you can't help but make a comparison between high school and law school. The parallels between the two may not be obvious, but once pointed out they become clear. Think back (far back for some, not so far back for others) to your time in high school. The teachers told you constantly to put your name in the text books so IF/WHEN you lose them, they can be returned to you. In law school, the assistant dean specifically told us to do the same, for the very same reason. The law school I am attending is equipped with lockers so we don't have to carry all our books around school or even home. The last time I had a locker was in high school. I have yet to hang pictures on the inside of my locker door, but at least this time I have pictures of my wife in my locker instead of the randomness I once had. The final comparison seems to me to be the most unexpected. In high school we all got excited for senior prom. We got clammy hands when asking the girl to be our date and then planning the entire evening. Wouldn't you know it, law school has its own prom. It is called Barrister's Ball and holds the same unique atmosphere. We dress up, get dates (some of us are now married to our dates), go out to eat, and dance the night away.

For those who thought law school was all about studying and being serious, you were sorely mistaken. Law school actually helps us be reminiscent of our days in high school when the biggest concern was the zit on our face. Thank you law school!