Monday, February 14, 2011

That's What You Get


So I took Friday off and traveled down south to where it is warm. It was fantastic. You never know how miserable the cold season is making you until you have a nice sunny day and don't have to wear a jacket. I had a lovely birthday dinner out with my parents and my sister-in-law (who lives in the area while attending school.) Spent time playing video games (my mother played them with me, which was SO bizarre) and relaxing. I even got to play some tennis. Remind me not to ever teach The Mad Scientist any games, because he will learn and then kick my ass from then on out. Still, it was really fun. The munchkin enjoyed seeing her Nana and Poppa after a long absence, and I did a bit of shopping. We drove back up on Sunday and went to the in-laws' for yet another birthday dinner, and I got a very nice gift from them. My birthday always seems to last for a month, it makes me feel really special. Plus I haven't paid for a meal in over a week. :)

On the way home the world came crashing down on me, in the form of The Plague. So I skipped class Friday and had a lovely time, only to reward myself with a horrible mucousy germ infestation. I'm sure I got it from Abby, but oh well, that's what parenthood is for. They really are adorable little incubators, aren't they? So today I showed up for ConLaw and barely stayed conscious through the lecture. I couldn't wait the 4 hours for CrimLaw so I came home and went to bed. I am missing way too much class this semester. It's horrible. AND my rough draft for Methods is due next Tuesday and I think I'm only half done with the research. It's a tricky problem involving employment discrimination, and I'm representing the defendant. I think legally we're on good footing, but I feel so GUILTY. It's not even a real plaintiff, but the idea of saying "Hey, the guy deserved to be fired, his prayer times were interrupting our staff meeting!" makes me ill. I'm trying to come up with a more positive "theme" for the paper, but it's a struggle. Currently I'm going with something like "We tried to accommodate him, but it just wasn't feasible due to the major market downturn we were experiencing." Yuck. I was hoping for a great case with analogous facts to make me feel better, but no such luck thus far. It must be buried in the other half of the research, which I haven't done yet.

I'm sorry if this is rambling, but cough medicine makes me extremely loopy. People at the 1L table were highly amused at me this morning. And I hallucinated that there was a very important movie in my Netflix queue I wanted to watch, but it was in Spanish and I couldn't read the subtitles because my eyes were too blurry. Looooopy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Law School Madness

There are two types of "madness" in law school. The first is the traditionally understood meaning of madness, or craziness. Law school can in fact make you crazy. The second (for my purposes) is the act of being mad. As in angry.

This week I am experiencing both of these things. I need a break. I am short-tempered and frustrated and stressed. And my rough draft for my final legal memo is due next next Tuesday (the 22nd). In response to my madness, I've decided to take the family away for the weekend. My parents have been traveling for the last couple weeks, (Arizona, Mexico, California, Colorado) and I want to meet up with them close to Vegas. We're going to celebrate my birthday and do some relaxing. Maybe, if the weather isn't horrible, I'll even get some tennis in.

The problem with my little plan is that I will miss class tomorrow. We'll need half the day for traveling and I don't want to drive at night in case the weather is bad. I've missed more class this semester than I did last semester, and I feel like this is not a good thing. On the other hand, I also feel like I am self-teaching a lot more this semester so lectures are slightly less beneficial (or crucial) than they were then. A friend is going to take notes for me while I am gone, so I know it will be fine. Yet I am completely freaking out about it. Hence the need for a break.

I would like to encourage all of you to take breaks. Shirk your studies (even if only for an hour) and have some fun. Don't talk about law, don't get on your computer. Get out of the house and get some fresh air. Seek out a palm tree (I fully intend to do so this weekend.) I am so sick of winter so I am hoping this will help.

And I promise to do my best to try and forget school until the appropriate time (Monday morning before class?)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Should I Go to Law School?

Lag Liv has a thread going on her site answering a potential 1L's question about if she should go to law school. I thought I would post my response for you all as well. Feel free to reply with your own opinions. This is the time of year when people are applying (and panicking) so let's see if we can help them out.

Before I post my answer, let me say one thing: you really can make your own experience in law school. Don't do what they tell you to do for jobs, seminars, whatever. My experience is rich because of the following:

1. Starting my own club
2. Belonging to an LGBT club (I'm an ally and this is important to me)
3. Belonging to a club and state organization for criminal defense lawyers (which helped me get an internship BEFORE grades even came out)
4. Pro bono clinics for landlord tenant/employment and other low-income issues, LGBT issues, immigration issues

Law school is not the right path for MOST people. The reasons below explain why I think this is true.

For me, law school was the best decision. In-state tuition, a spouse who works for the school (half tuition!) and therefore has benefits and a salary to cover my not working. We rent, not own, and have one child. For me, being able to pay 10k a year for law school was such a good deal that even if I couldn't get a high-paying job it was worth it.

That being said, how many people are really in that situation?

Really, at least one answer should be yes to the following:

1. Does your spouse make enough to work when you aren't AND pay roughly 1000 a month for your loan payment?

2. Do you have any savings which could offset some of your cost so you can borrow less?

3. Can you wait a year or so to save up a year's worth of tuition or living expenses for after you graduate? (Plus you need lots of $$ to live while taking the bar/before being admitted/to be admitted & pay bar dues.)

4. Do you know anyone who can get you a job when you graduate?

5. Are you open-minded (not completely set on one specific job or type of law)?

6. Are you willing to work for free for one (if not all) summers between semesters?

7. Can you handle working harder than you've ever worked in your life and still get a B?

8. Do you have any idea what lawyers do all day? (Law and Order does not count)

9. Do you REALLY want to be a lawyer? If you just don't know what else to do with your life or you have only a slight interest in law, you should seriously consider other paths. Without passion for the subject, you will be miserable doing the work.

I love law school. People say they hate it, hated 1L etc. I do not get these people. I love love love it. Love the reading, the teachers, my classmates. If you have that kind of positive attitude in spite of pressure and hard work, AND you know for sure you want to be a lawyer I say go for it (provided you answered yes to some of the above.)

Most people do not have both the drive and the resources to enjoy the law school experience. I know so many who can't get a job and don't even want to do law, but have put themselves in such a bad financial position they have no choice. Don't limit yourself by committing to something you don't really even want.

Finally, ask a lawyer to work for them for free for a month or two. They'll be happy to share their experiences and give you an idea of what it is REALLY like.