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7/6/11 - As the weeks progress, my internship has turned into more of a dynamic experience than I ever expected. There have been many highlights throughout my internship with the Child Abuse Division at the Dallas District Attorney’s office, but the one that’s probably my favorite thus far occurred when I had the opportunity to participate in a victim interview. The experience helped bring to life many of the tedious tasks, such as listening to jail calls and sorting through CPS records. Going through all of the cases was very interesting, but for me, it was difficult to view each case as more than stories on pieces of paper. Participating in the interview helped bring many of the cases full circle in my mind and gave me an even greater appreciation for the seriousness of the work done in the Child Abuse Unit. I have read many interviews transcribed on paper and even watched a few on video, but there was nothing that could have compared to being there in person.
I can’t imagine a bigger motivator for working even harder on a case than to actually sit in person with a child who has been a victim of abuse and hear them tell their story. I have to believe that the job gets a little more difficult to deal with when the cases become even more real, but it’s certainly a necessary part of the process.
6/22/11 - I’m close to halfway through my internship with the DA’s office, and this summer has absolutely flown by so far. As crazy as it might sound, the internship has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Each day brings with it something completely new and interesting, and that keeps me more engaged than any job I have ever had before. This internship has removed any doubt from my mind that I want to pursue being a criminal prosecutor.
Recently, a few ADAs asked me to help out with research projects and I have really come to appreciate all of the legal research experience that I got during the first year of law school. Legal research is certainly a learned skill that I am finding to be extremely valuable, as both an intern and as an attorney. Texas Wesleyan has the reputation for doing a great job of teaching their students legal research, and it is now very clear why they place such a high emphasis on it. I would have been completely lost working on all of the research projects if not for all of the research I had to do during my first year in law school. It’s not often that you get to see something you learn in school applied directly in the workplace, and I’ll never look at the classroom the same way after going through this experience.
6/3/11 - I started my internship with the Child Abuse division at the DA’s office the week after finishing final exams, and so far the experience has been everything I could have expected and more. I wasn’t told exactly what I would be doing on a daily basis, so I wasn’t sure if I would be doing more observation or actual hands-on work with cases. Since my first day on the job, I have been pleasantly surprised with how they have let me get involved and help with actual cases, and it makes me excited to go to work every day. I have learned more in the first three weeks than I could have imagined learning over the course of the entire summer.
It has been an extremely unique experience working specifically in the Child Abuse division because of the nature of the cases. Reading cases in Criminal Law last semester that dealt with similar heinous crimes is a long way from actually watching forensic interviews with the victims and defendants. I have a great level of respect for the prosecutors and investigators that work in the Child Abuse division and their ability to work on these types of cases. It clearly takes a special type of person to be able to handle seeing and hearing the graphic details of these cases on a daily basis.
5/11/11 - The end of my first year of law school is actually here, and I feel pretty confident in saying that it’s been one of the most interesting years of my life. It has been every bit as challenging as I thought it would be and I’ve learned far more than I ever thought possible for two semesters of school. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that I’ve learned more in the first year of law school than I did in the entire four years of undergraduate.
Prior to starting school, I heard numerous stories about how difficult the first year of law school would be, but I never anticipated just how much of an up and down rollercoaster ride it would turn out to be at times. I’ve never worked so hard in my entire life, and while there have been times that I doubted whether I’d make it through, I can honestly say that I have given it my best shot and I wouldn’t trade the past year for anything. Well, maybe a law degree.
While this year has been an enormous learning process, one of the most significant things I know I have gained this year has been establishing relationships with future colleagues in the legal profession, which I know will prove to be extremely important in the future. We still have quite a ways to go before making it to the end of law school, but making it through the first year is something I will always look back and be proud of.
4/27/11 - It’s to be expected that everyone is incredibly stressed during this part of the semester, but it’s amazing that you can actually feel the tension while sitting in review sessions and walking through the library. I have truly never experienced anything like this in previous years of school or while working. It feels like there could never be enough time to possibly study everything covered in class during the last few months. I think it’s extremely important to understand all of the major concepts after graduating law school, but it’s going to be impossible to retain everything.
I guess trying to cover such a large amount of material is part of what makes the Bar Exam so difficult. A lot of the material covered during the first year of law school will be on the Bar Exam, so I’m doing everything I can to try and make this information stick so it’s not such a struggle to learn it again in a couple of years. You are expected to have an extensive understanding about so many areas of the law, but I can’t think about that right now. I still have a long way to go before reaching that point, as well as quite a few more exams.
4/20/11 - It’s going to be difficult to take advantage of the long Easter weekend with finals looming just around the corner. After we get back from the long weekend, we only have a few classes left before the semester is over, and most of those are review sessions for final exams. I can’t believe the first year of law school is practically over. The next few weeks won’t be much fun as I have a ton of studying to do, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I really hope that I can use the experience of last semester’s exams to help me prepare for finals, because they were entirely different from exams in undergraduate in nearly every way.
We just finished the oral arguments for our trial briefs and I was surprised at how well everyone did. I know everyone is really glad to be done with it, since public speaking comes with so much nervousness. But I think the experience is really important in helping us get comfortable speaking in front of an audience. It’s been a long time since I had to do something like that, so hopefully the next time will end up being a little less painful.
4/13/11 - A few days ago, I interviewed for a summer internship with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. They offered me the position, and I couldn’t be any happier about having the opportunity to work there this summer. The experience is going to be extremely valuable, and will certainly be one that I wouldn’t be able to get inside of a classroom. It’s difficult to take the words off the page of all of the books we read in law school and apply them to real life situations. That’s something that I’m sure will change dramatically after I’m able to see it in person and participate in the process.
It’s always been my goal to become a prosecutor, so the thought of seeing the entire process from the initial arrest to the close of the trial is really exciting for me. I don’t know exactly what made me want to become a prosecutor, but for as long as I can remember, that has been what I wanted to do with my life. Although this is only a summer internship, it seems like a very important step that I’m taking that will go a long way towards helping me reach my ultimate goal.
4/6/11 - The dodge ball tournament was a lot of fun, and I’m sad to admit that I was actually sore afterwards from playing so many games. It really makes me feel like I’m getting old when my body hurts after playing dodge ball. One of the nice surprises about law school has been the number of out of class events. This weekend is Texas Wesleyan’s annual Barristers’ Ball. The event includes dinner and dancing, and it should be a fun night to mix with other students and faculty, plus get to know each other outside of the classroom.
Our trial brief is due Monday and I will feel extremely relieved to finally turn it in. It represents half of our final grade in Legal Writing and I don’t think I’m the only one who is tired of stressing about it. It’s been a very beneficial experience to go through the process of doing the research and putting together a legal argument, and I know it will be useful in future classes and as a practicing attorney. Texas Wesleyan has gained the reputation as being a school that does a great job of teaching students legal writing, and I’m sure the amount of legal writing required during the first year has a lot to do with that.
3/30/11 - The Wesleyan Innocence Project is hosting a dodge ball tournament this weekend and I’m getting pretty excited about it. Thankfully, it’s not the most difficult game to figure out - the last time I played dodge ball must have been nearly 20 years ago during elementary school. It might not be the type of activity that you would expect law students to take part in during their weekend, but it should be a lot of fun, nonetheless. I know it will be a great break from a long weekend that will otherwise be spent trying to finish my trial brief.
I’m finding it surprisingly difficult to know when to stop researching for parts of my trial brief. I knew that it would be tough and require many hours of work, but I thought there would be more of a natural stopping point. I feel like I could spend months researching more cases and still find things that I have not come across already. There are an unbelievably high number of cases related to this issue, so it makes me nervous to settle on the cases I have so far. I’m guessing that there is no way to completely erase the small amount of doubt I have in the back of my mind.
3/23/11 - Spring Break wasn’t nearly long enough, but this came as no surprise. I did have a chance to play a little golf and get out on the lake a few times, but the howling winds certainly made both of those activities more challenging. Golf is hard enough when the weather is calm, so fighting through 35 m.p.h. winds just makes my accuracy that much more unpredictable.
I also had the opportunity to attend a criminal trial as part of an assignment for my Criminal Law class. I’ve never been to a trial before, so I was fairly anxious to see the real life version of something I have read so much about and seen on countless TV shows and movies. I went to a murder trial in Fort Worth, and overall it turned out to be about what I expected. The part that surprised me the most was seeing the families of both the victim and the defendant. It added an entirely new element to how I listened to testimony from the witnesses.
For years, I have wanted the opportunity to serve on a jury for a criminal trial. Although I’m likely never to be selected for jury duty after going to law school, I still would love the opportunity to see a trial from the perspective of a juror. I kept looking for changing expressions on the faces of the jurors during the questioning of the prosecution and the defense, but didn’t notice much reaction from any of them. This definitely turned out to be one of my favorite assignments for law school so far.
3/9/11 - Practice exams have already started, which makes me feel like final exams are just around the corner. I’m sure the crazy snow week from last month has a lot to do with the fact that it doesn’t feel like we are getting close to the end of the semester yet. Having to double up some classes to make up for the ones we missed has resulted in some very long days of class to catch up, but it seems like we are finally getting into the bulk of the material.
Spring Break is just a few days away, and it really couldn’t come soon enough. While I won’t be able to take the entire week off, it will be nice to have at least a few days to get away from the school routine and get my mind on something else. I’ve never been so anxious to spend a few days at the lake and on the golf course. While my golf game has suffered some serious neglect after starting law school, I’m sure it will come back to me after a couple of rounds filled with frustration. Hopefully, the change of scenery will be just what I need in order to buckle down for the homestretch before the end of the semester.
3/2/11 - Having just finished our first group assignment, I feel a lot better about it after turning it in than I expected to while we were working on it. It might be that college was too many years ago for me to remember correctly, but it seems like working within a group on a project is more difficult in law school. Everyone was usually in agreement in college, and one strong personality in the group usually determined which direction the group was going and made most of the final decisions. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that the stakes were not as high as they are in law school, or maybe people just didn’t care as much about the work they were turning in. The competitive nature of law school undoubtedly plays a large part in the group tension, so it’s usually difficult to come to an agreement on most issues.
While it seemed at times like these things were working against us, I’m sure they were the primary reasons that led to us ending up with a great final product. After working for a few years before law school, I know that you are expected to work in groups fairly often, but I think every law student that I know is hopeful that we won’t be expected to do so on a regular basis over the next couple of years.
2/23/11 - How is it possible that it’s already time to register for next year’s classes? I don’t feel ready to pick my classes yet, and I hope there is some flexibility to make some changes at the end of this semester. The first year of law school classes are predetermined by the school, so this is the first opportunity we have to select courses that we want to take. First year students are predictably the last students allowed to register, and I assume that will result in a significant limiting of choices. That’s probably a good thing, since the majority of first year students have yet to select the exact area of law in which they would like to practice after graduation.
I’m sure that selecting classes will become much easier for me during the second year, after having the opportunity to intern and gain some experience outside of the classroom. I plan to take as many classes as possible that are covered on the bar exam, but I’ll still be left with a lot of decisions outside of that. Class difficulty and exam schedule will certainly be factors to consider, but I’m sure it will be almost impossible to avoid some conflicts.
2/16/11 - A few days have passed since I turned in my memo and I’m still recovering from the stress and lack of sleep. That was our last memo of the year, which is a relief, but we have plenty more writing assignments, and I’m sure they won’t get any easier. I’m finally able to shift my focus to my other classes and spend more time trying to secure a summer internship. It feels like summer is a long ways away, but by all accounts, now is the time when most law internship positions are filled.
I’ve been told there are very few paid internships available for students after their first year of law school, so I’m fairly certain that I’ll be working for free this summer. The fact that I want to work in criminal prosecution doesn’t leave me very hopeful that I’ll be able to find a paid internship, but any experience I can get learning from a prosecutor both in and out of the courtroom would be extremely beneficial. I have learned so much from class and studying, so it will be a nice change of pace to see some of what I have learned in practice.
2/9/11 - It is difficult to imagine a bigger disaster for the week of hosting the Super Bowl in DFW. I am still in disbelief at the amount of cold weather, ice, and snow that we have had. Who could have known that we would break records for cold and ice during one of the most anticipated weeks in DFW in my lifetime? The ice seemed to slow a lot of things down, but downtown Fort Worth was still gridlocked with Steelers and Packers fans for the better part of the week.
It has been tough to sustain any momentum and stay in my school routine with all of the days of classes we have been missing for bad weather. We haven’t had a full week of classes in almost three weeks, and the amount of in-class time that has to be made up later in the semester seems to be growing pretty large. I am hopeful that my professors will be able to fit in the extra classes before they end up cutting into our dead week of studying for finals, but I guess there is not much I can do, other than just try to get as much done as I can during this down time.
2/2/11 - This week was definitely one of the most eventful weeks of law school thus far. We had the highly anticipated bowling event with our professors last Friday that a few of us won at the Fellowship Auction a few months ago. It was no surprise that having the opportunity to connect with some of our professors outside of the classroom was truly one of the highlights of my time at Texas Wesleyan Law so far. Law school is inevitably a very stressful environment, so happy hour and bowling with some of our professors is one of the most polar opposite situations I can imagine, compared to being in the classroom. I’m a competitive person in just about everything I do, as you would expect most all law students to be, but everyone seemed to just relax and have a good time socializing and getting to know one another. All things considered, I couldn’t be happier about our Fellowship Auction purchase.
This week started just as any other week, but took a crazy turn on Monday night when an ice storm hit Fort Worth. Class was cancelled Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, but it was hard to enjoy the time out of class knowing that all of it would have to be made up later in the semester. If nothing else, it’s been nice to be able to stay indoors for a few days and work on my memo.
1/26/11 - It’s been difficult not to feel overwhelmed while working on this memo. I never imagined how hard it would be to know when to stop researching and start writing my analysis and the body of the memo. There is such an enormous amount of information available both in the law library as well through online resources. I have no doubt that I could spend an entire month doing nothing but research, and still not be able to read all of the information related to the topic. I’m very grateful we didn’t have to do the research ourselves last semester while we were learning how to write a memo.
Also, downtown Fort Worth is hosting Super Bowl events every day over the next week and a half, so it’s going to be a fun place to be. As a Cowboys fan, it’s really disappointing that the Steelers are going to be staying in Fort Worth as the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. I’ll be interested to see how many Steelers fans show up and how well they get along with the locals. Avoiding the Steelers fans will certainly be one of the good results of studying rather than going to all of the events downtown.
1/19/11 - Last week flew by faster than most and it was great to have a long weekend to celebrate my birthday. I’m not the type of person that usually makes a big deal out of my birthday, but my girlfriend was adamant about making an entire weekend out of this one, and she made it one of the best yet. All I really asked for was a family dinner, and to be able to spend some time with my dog. That might seem like an odd request, but my dog has not lived with me since I started law school so I don’t see her very often. I was able to do both, so everything beyond that was a huge bonus. I don’t feel old enough to be 27 yet, but I’m now officially in my late 20s, which makes me feel like my 20s went by far too quickly.
With it being only the second week of the semester, my LARW professor wasted no time in assigning our next memo. It’s no surprise that each one is more difficult than the last, but each memo is starting to feel more like the actual legal work we will be doing as practicing attorneys. I’m sure that legal research and the specific style of legal writing will come more naturally in the future, but in the mean time it’s a huge adjustment from anything I had to do in college.
1/12/11 - I was clearly burned out after last semester’s final exams, but I had no idea how long it would take for me to relax during the break and shift my thoughts to things other than school. Vacations are rarely long enough and this one was no different. It was difficult to fully enjoy my vacation while waiting for final grades to be posted. Completely aware that most grades would not be posted until the spring semester began, I still couldn’t help but check every couple of days just to see if some were posted early.
As the spring semester classes started, I had never been more confident that I made the right decision to go to law school. I made it through the first semester, which is commonly known as the most difficult during law school, and I’m going to hold out hope that I won’t face a more difficult challenge until the bar exam. I have no doubt that the material will get much more difficult during the next couple of years, but I can see why the adjustment to the first semester of law school weeds out so many people early in the process. I have been looking around to see how many people did not come back to school and there are a few empty seats, but not nearly as many as I thought there might be.
Little time was spent on introductions once classes started this week. My professors dove right in and we hit the ground running. My two new classes this semester are Civil Procedure and Criminal Law, and I’ve been looking forward to taking both. After reading only the first few chapters for Civil Procedure, I can already tell how much learning the material last semester would have helped out in my other classes. It looks as though there is going to be a ton work to do in Legal Writing but at least I know what to expect after all of the writing we had to do last semester. All in all, it feels good to be back in the swing of things.
12/15/10 - The fateful first semester has finally come to an end, and I’m exhausted. As expected, it was an emotional rollercoaster, but I don’t think that I could be more positive that I made the right decision to come to Texas Wesleyan Law. The small school environment plus Fort Worth’s large city atmosphere is the perfect combination for me. Baylor was the type of school where you didn’t stray far from campus due to a lack of attractive options, so it has been great to take advantage of Texas Wesleyan’s location.
Some of my friends and family have asked me lately to tell them what has surprised me the most about law school so far. After thinking about it for a while, I have struggled to come up with an answer. Not because there are a shortage of things that have surprised me, but because there have been so many. It was not possible for me to get an accurate perspective of what law school was really going to be like from any of the attorneys I got advice from or books that I read in the months before I started. Both of those resources were very helpful, and I would recommend doing a lot of research to anyone thinking of going to law school, but it was truly something I had to experience on my own to learn how difficult, competitive, and rewarding it can be.
One of the biggest differences I have noticed when comparing law school to any previous years of education is how intelligent almost every student seems to be. There is certainly a varying range just as anyone would expect there to be, but the gap seems to be so much smaller than it was in college and high school. This is the first time I’ve been sitting in a classroom knowing that each student really wants to be there and is motivated to do well. While that environment is a beneficial learning environment, it also ramps up everyone’s competitive nature. That leads to stress for me, so I’m glad to give my brain and nerves a month off.
12/8/10 - I can see the finish line that I will finally cross tomorrow. Only one exam left before the semester is over, and I can finally start thinking about family time, a ski trip, and Christmas parties. The last week and a half of exams has been an absolute blur. I can’t wait to fall asleep without rule statement flashcards and future interest property conveyances running through my head. So far, my exams have been difficult, which was no surprise, but for the most part they have been pretty fair. I’ve never been the fastest test taker, so it has been quite a challenge to finish in the allotted time. I always feel like I could use another hour when there is a long essay on an exam, so I’ve really had to be strict about budgeting my time on each section.
When the semester first started, I thought a month long winter break from school sounded like a really long time. As I near the end of exams, I can see why such a long break from school is in order. It’s going to be a great chance to relax a little bit and recharge my batteries before the next semester begins.
11/23/10 - After taking my citations exam last week, I am officially finished with my Legal Writing class until second semester classes begin in January. That’s one class down, and only four more to go. My next exam is in Contracts, and it’s the Monday after Thanksgiving. The remaining exams in Property, Torts, and Legislation & Regulation are spread out over the two weeks that follow, with a three-day break between each one. I would like to be able to say that I have less anxiety about one or two of them, but I am pretty much equally stressed about all of them.
Thankfully, my family lives nearby so I don’t have to use a lot of time traveling in order to spend Thanksgiving with them. While it won’t be a very long break, it will be nice to get away from studying for a little while. I really don’t know what I’m going to do with all of the free time I will have during the month long break before second semester classes begin. It will surely be a welcome change of pace after getting through the rest of exams.
11/17/10 - The last week of classes for this semester is just about over. We have covered all of the material that we are expected to know for our final exams. Now, all I have to do is relearn everything in the next couple of weeks before exams, so I doubt it’s going to be a very relaxing Thanksgiving break.
What a relief it was to turn in my final memo this week… It’s worth 50% of our overall grade in Legal Writing and I’m just glad to have it behind me. I felt a little better about this memo than I felt after turning in the first one. We have worked on so many things lately in class that were really helpful, I wish we had the opportunity to cover that information before turning in the first one. I had a much better grasp this time of how much work it takes to write such a large and in-depth paper. I also think it helped that the topic was related to criminal law this time, which I find much more interesting than some other areas of law. It’s so much easier to write about something you are interested in, especially when you have to provide actual meaningful thought and analysis for a paper. I can only hope that my professor picks up on that while she is grading.
11/10/10 - The last time I took a final exam was over four years ago, and I felt like I had a pretty good system down for taking exams by the time I graduated. College final exams accounted for a fairly large portion of the final grade in each course at Baylor. Law school final exams make up the majority, if not your entire final grade. It’s hard to believe that just the few hours of the exam will determine something so unbelievably important. It’s taken me a few months to relearn my study habits from years ago, and I’m doing everything I can to remember the best approach to take going into exams. I keep hearing from professors that there is no one right answer on exams. I try to take that as comforting advice, but I also find it very intimidating when trying to make the decision for a direction on an essay question.
It’s not surprising to look around my classes the last couple of weeks and see students looking a bit more ragged than earlier in the semester. The unshaven beards and sweatshirts are a good indication of the long study hours everyone is putting in each day. I’m confident that I’m not the only one who is very much looking forward to being on the other side of the first semester.
- Last week ended with the Law Fellowship Auction and it turned out to be by far the most entertaining auction I have ever attended. The auction is held each year to help fund students’ living expenses while they work in the public interest sector during each summer. Professors participated in game shows during the event, which made for lots of laughs. Many businesses donate great items for the auction like vacation packages, golf outings, and gift certificates to jewelry stores. Some of our professors donated things like dinner in their homes and use of their vacation home by a group of students. There were quite a few great things to bid on, but it seemed that anything involving the professors got the most attention.
A group of my classmates and I got together and agreed to collectively bid on a night of bowling with all of our professors and we ended up as the winning group of bidders. We decided on this particular item after hearing from some upperclassmen how much fun it was cutting it up with the professors outside of the classroom. I was skeptical at first, but after seeing some of my professors take part in the game shows that evening I could see why it is so popular among the students. I’m really looking forward to it and only wish some of the professors will be willing to wager some extra credit beating them on the bowling lanes.
- I never thought I would see the day when the Rangers finally won the American League and made it to the World Series. I certainly didn’t expect it to happen in a year when their payroll was in the bottom five in baseball. Not to mention the fact that the Rangers were in bankruptcy court just a few short months ago. No matter whether they win the World Series or not, this has been an incredible year, and will hopefully be just the start of many years in contention for this team.
It’s strange how much the tables have turned between the Cowboys and Rangers during the last few months. This will always be a football town, but it sure has not felt like it recently, considering how poorly the Cowboys have started the season. Who would have thought that the Cowboys season would essentially be over before the Rangers season has finished???
As far as law school news goes, we were assigned our second memo in Legal Writing - it came as no surprise that it’s going to require considerably more work than the first memo. With an assignment this large, it’s been really helpful to make personal deadlines for each section in an effort to avoid having the due date sneak up me. We were already required to turn in our drafts for a couple of the sections, and while I think my work is improving, I still have a long way to go.
10/20/10 - Strange as it may sound, you could actually feel the stress growing around the law school this week. Getting the results of some of our midterms has sent some students into a panic, while it seems like others are relaxed and operating as if it’s just business as usual. I am not sure where I fall between the two extremes, but I hope to move more in the direction of being relaxed as finals get closer.
Speaking of finals, we had a professor panel this week and each of them gave information about the final exam that they will give at the end of the semester. They gave recommendations on the best ways to prepare, and really did a good job of letting us know what to expect. They certainly aren’t going to make it easy for us, but it was a nice surprise to feel like the professors actually want students to do well in their classes.
Is it really already the time to start talking about finals?!! I think that was the part of this week that stressed me out the most. We have so much work to do between now and December - I know it’s going to sneak up on us and be here in no time at all.
10/13/10 - RANGERS WIN… RANGERS WIN… RANGERS WIN!!! After 49 long years, the Rangers have finally won a playoff series for the first time in franchise history. While it would have been nice to see the Rangers clinch the series against the Rays in front of their fans at home in Arlington, it was sweet nonetheless. I have a feeling Nolan Ryan wasn’t the only grown man crying tears of joy after Elvis Andrus caught the final out of the game.
The general feeling among Rangers fans seems to be that the team is playing with house money from here on out. I think the team is good enough to beat the Yankees in the ALCS and move on to the World Series and I’ll be disappointed if they don’t.
This week in law school wasn’t quite as exciting as seeing the Rangers win, but we did have to turn in our Memo 1 Final, which accounts for a substantial portion of our overall grade in LARW. It was far from the easiest assignment I have done in school so far, and I’m pretty sure it’s the first time in my life that I have struggled to keep the length of a paper under the required 10-page limit. I find legal writing very difficult, so it felt great to turn it in and be done with it. Hopefully I’ll find the next memo to be a little less painful for me.
10/6/10 - The Rangers are in the playoffs and up 1-0 on the Rays!!! It doesn’t get much better than that!! I worked for the Rangers for three years and the team never sniffed the playoffs while I was there. Now that I’ve moved on, the team looks better than ever, and actually has a chance to go deep into the playoffs. I won’t pretend to think that my absence has anything to do with their recent success.
I’m told that we are officially halfway through the semester, which seems crazy to me. I feel like class started just a couple of weeks ago. Life seems to move at such a fast pace no matter what I’m doing, but I’ve never had eight weeks fly by as fast as they have since I started law school. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, or maybe it’s just that the times spent studying in the library and my apartment are starting to run together. I don’t think I’ve ever valued my weekends, time playing golf, and doing anything remotely fun more than I do now.
So far, law school is about what I expected it to be but knowing what to expect is much different from actually going through the experience. It’s going to by a trying three years, but I hope getting through the first semester is going to be the hardest part.
9/29/10 - I literally just finished my Torts midterm and I couldn’t be any happier to be on the other side of it. The hour-long exam absolutely flew by in what seemed to be just a few minutes. It was such a relief when the exam finally started - I took five minutes to write down everything I was trying to remember so that I could actually focus on the questions and essays. I went into the exam with countless rules, factors, elements, and exceptions rattling around in my head. I wouldn’t call myself the fastest test taker, so the proctor’s warning that there were only five minutes remaining gave me cause to panic since I still had quite a bit of work to do. I needed every single minute of the hour to complete the exam and it was a struggle to finish everything within the allotted time.
Walking out of my first law school exam I felt a combination of relief and exhaustion. This morning I tried the “exercise and good breakfast” approach for the morning of an exam to make sure I was fully awake. Hopefully a round of golf this weekend and a little time outside will help me recharge my batteries.
9/22/10 - The Baylor vs. TCU game was absolutely awful on Saturday. I didn’t necessarily expect my Baylor Bears to win, but I was certainly hoping for them to give TCU a decent challenge. The game I watched didn’t look like much of a challenge for TCU. It was great to see so many of my college friends at the game, but the blowout put a damper on an otherwise fun Saturday afternoon.
Later that night the Texas Wesleyan SBA hosted a Casino Night at Billy Bob’s. I didn’t win any of the prizes, but I had a great time playing blackjack and hanging out with friends. It was a perfect way to relieve some stress before getting back to the books on Sunday in anticipation of the Torts midterm that’s rapidly approaching.
A few TAs and upperclassmen have tried to warn us that most everyone will struggle on the midterm. They have assured us that the grades will later be curved so the majority of the class will end up with passing grades, but that didn’t seem to calm the nerves of many of the students. It will be my first law school midterm so I expect to be a little nervous, but I think all of the hours spent reading, briefing, and outlining will pay off.
9/15/10 - I can’t believe the Cowboys lost to the Redskins!!! It’s hard to believe the Cowboys are going to be the first team to play a home Super Bowl after seeing a performance like that. After a long day of working on my memo, I was rewarded with that terrible game during my break. What a great way to start off their season and my week…
I couldn’t have been more relieved to get the first memo behind me. It was pretty nerve-wracking and stressful to press “print” and finally decide that my memo was as good as it was going to get. There’s a lot of pressure to do well on the memos, since they are weighted so heavily in our final grade in Legal Analysis, Research & Writing (LARW). Also, they are used as writing samples when applying for internships, so I’m glad we are spending so much time on them. Now it’s in the hands of my professor to scrutinize, and I can only hope that she is merciful.
Although it doesn’t always seem to be the case, the material in each class is making a lot more since, now that we have some of the basic information out of the way. Each professor has made it pretty clear what they expect of us. They throw a great deal of information our way, but the fact that they are organized and direct helps in trying to take in as much as possible.
9/8/10 - How is it that the shortened four-day week of classes felt even longer than a full week? Maybe it was the ICW assignments, starting our first memo, or just the mood that comes with a week full of rainy days.
I received feedback for my first writing assignment, and I was surprised to find more positive comments than I expected from my professor. I think it’s safe to say that I’m not the best writer in the world, so I was pleased not to find, “Come see me after class” or “We need to talk” at the top of my paper.
I have learned the official point of diminishing returns when it comes to reading while feeling tired and actually making any sense of the information. Trying to find enough hours for sleep is really a large part of the battle so far, and I only expect it to get tougher. It’s been an adjustment for the people used to hearing from me on a regular basis since I have so little free time. When I do have time to catch up, I just let them know that I am indeed still alive and I’ll see them in three years. I keep hearing from second and third year students that it’s important to keep a normal balance in your life. Hopefully going to the Rangers v. Yankees game on Friday will give me a chance to relax for a few hours and recharge my batteries.
9/1/10 - Last Saturday night seemed to be the perfect time to take a study break and check in on my beloved Rangers and Cowboys, both of whom I have neglected since I started law school. Both teams rewarded my interest with terrible losing efforts, but it was nice to take my mind off of intentional torts, statutory interpretation, and similarly exciting topics for a few hours.
The first three weeks of class seem like a blur, and it’s a scary thought that I’m going to have to recall everything I’ve read, heard, and supposedly learned to this point. Talk of midterms and writing assignments has already started, so I have a feeling those will dominate the next month of my life. Having been out of school for four years, I was somewhat curious as to how long it would take me to get back in the mode of being a student. I’m a subscriber to the theory that it takes three weeks to form a habit. Three weeks of law school have passed, yet I won’t be so bold as to claim I have the hang of it, but I’m getting there.
I’ve run into some second and third year students who I know, and each has offered helpful advice on classes and ways to make it through the first year. I’m still standing so far, but I get the impression midterms will be the real test of how strong my footing is.
8/25/10 - It’s just my luck that when the Rangers are finally good I don’t have time to pay attention. This time of year I’m usually pretty up to speed on where the Rangers are in the AL West division race, and who is winning each position battle at Cowboys training camp. That’s not the case this year.
I’m only in class for at most four hours in a given day, but the amount of prep time spent out of class reading, reviewing, briefing cases, etc. is what consumes nearly all of my time. Thankfully, I don’t have to add a long commute to that list since I live less than a mile from the law school. I really don’t see how my classmates who have long commutes find enough hours in the day.
Having lived in Waco, TX while I completed my undergrad at Baylor University, I was pretty excited about living in Fort Worth, which has a bit more to offer in terms of off-campus entertainment. Don’t get me wrong; I had a great experience at Baylor, but I don’t think Waco shows up on many lists of the best places to live. With two weeks of law school on the books, I get the feeling that that I won’t be enjoying much of Fort Worth this year outside of the school itself.
Things I learned this week that I doubt will be on the bar exam:
- There are at least 28 colors of highlighters.
- Some genius invented retractable highlighters.
8/20/10 - WHAT IF I GET CALLED ON DURING THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS? That was the buzz heard throughout orientation, and once en route to my first class, I wasn’t as relaxed as I thought I'd be.
Sure, I had read the assigned pages, but I wondered if my professors would really expect me to remember every detail if they called on me to stand and face my judgment. My understanding of the material seemed to shrink as I took my seat in a classroom filled with relative strangers and a few familiar faces from orientation. My stomach turned a bit as I considered the likely chance that my brain would lock up, leaving me standing in front of my peers, silently praying for mercy.
My first class flew by and, thankfully, I wasn’t even close to being called on. I’d blurted out answers to a couple of questions but didn’t think my professors would count that as my unofficial 1L initiation. Caught up in the craze of the opening day of school, it wasn’t until later trading first-day survival stories with new friends that I realized I actually enjoyed Torts as well as Legislation and Regulation. I wasn’t expecting that.
Maybe this won’t be so hard after all. Or maybe I just passed the first test of many that will challenge my will and determination on a daily basis. I hope for a bit of the former, but have a strong feeling it’s going to be more of the latter.