Friday, August 19, 2011

This Week In Review

Well, the first week of law school is in the books. In more ways than one. I apologize in advance for being generally brain dead, incoherent, and otherwise pre-occupied. It’s to be expected I suppose. I am keeping up with my blog reading. Writing and commenting are suffering for what I presume are obvious reasons. So, under the Spider Robison “Callahan’s” theory that shared pain is lessened and shared joy is increased, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some observations and thoughts from the past week or so.

The total enrollment for my incoming class (we are informally referred to as “1L” meaning first year law students) including day and evening students is about 225 people. There are 70 of us in the part time evening program. As the dean pointed out in all seriousness during orientation, 90% of us won’t be in the top 10%. Really? I didn’t know that. Thank you, Mr. Obvious. All mocking aside, my goal actually is to make the top 10% which I think is a reasonable and attainable goal given my experience and background.

Another observation from the first day of class, was the responses from the “ice breaker intros” during my “lock step” Torts class (lock step just means that everyone does the same classes in their first year). We have a group of folks with a fairly diverse set of backgrounds including 4 or 5 claims adjusters, 4 or 5 police officers, some law firm employees, a couple of engineers, a genuine research scientist, a stay at home mom or two, some fresh out of undergrad folks with a mix of “other”. There was one snark meister who claimed to be a “stay at home son.”

What surprised me most from the icebreakers was not the diversity of the backgrounds, but the high number of folks who admitted to having no idea what they planned to do with their law degree. At least a dozen people in the class of 70 have gone through the hassle to apply for law school and committed themselves to a four year total cost in excess of $80,000 with no plan of what they want to do once they are turned loose on the world. I’m sure some of those people are still discovering what area of law will be a good fit for them, but it was painfully obvious that a couple of them chose law school as a means of continuing to avoid the “real world”. Then there was the one guy who said he wants to be a lawyer so he can fight his speeding tickets. I really can’t argue with that. At least he has a plan.

Hitting the books takes on a whole new meaning in law school. Hitting the wallet is more like it. The 7 or 8 books required for my three classes cost $620. None of these would be considered light reading.

Reading is a major component of my life for the next 3 months or so. Analyzing what we read and writing about it is the other component. It has been suggested that we will need to read everything at least twice to successfully “get it.” There is a strong hint that three times might be better.

I really enjoyed the first case we read for the Criminal Law class. It was an appellate decision of a British criminal case from the 1800s. Three British seamen found themselves in the unfortunate situation of having to abandon ship into a life boat 1000 miles from the nearest land with limited provisions. Many days transpired with no land or ship in site. Provisions were consumed, and starvation ensued. One of the poor, unfortunate souls happened to be a young lad of 17 or 18 who was in worse shape than the other two. The two older, stronger survivors suggested that the boy should sacrifice himself so that the others could live. The boy, as you might imagine, was not a fan of this plan. Eventually, the boy went to sleep at which time one of the older men made sure that he did not wake up. Finger sandwiches and Bloody Maries were on the menu for the next few days until the remaining two were picked up by a passing ship four days after the Jeffrey Dahmer Memorial Banquet began. They were, of course, arrested and tried for murder. The appeal was about whether or not their actions were in accordance with naval tradition which held that cannibalism was acceptable in extreme, dire circumstances if the process of selecting the meals on wheels was fair, impartial and consented to by all.

Remind me not to go sailing with any Brits.

Sleep is a thing of the past. I don’t think I’ve been to sleep before 1:00 AM since school started. Might not happen tonight. We shall see.

I would like to know which janitorial genius thought it’d be a great idea to close off the main restrooms on the second floor for cleaning at the exact time that a 1L lock step class of 70 people not including other upper level classes were letting out for the evening.

I’ve already had two assignments due…both of which I successfully turned in on time. I’ve completed two other assignments not due until next week early. So, hopefully I can keep up with that at least.

Two of my classes will have 100% of the grade based on a single, final exam at the end of the semester. No pressure.

It’s late. I’m way too tired, and the bags under my eyes are getting heavier. So, that’s all for now. Good night. I’ll try to write when I find work. Posting will be erratic at best until I find a rhythm that works.


  1. I tell a people I graduated in the top 95% of my class in high school. Sadly, most are impressed.


  2. Earl, sadly, what with "No Child Left Behind" and other fairy dust, it's getting to the point that just graduating isn't even an accomplishment anymore.

  3. Congratulations on surviving so far! Keep it up. :) I agree that keeping up with your work is crucial. There's nothing worse than falling farther and farther behind. (I speak from experience, as a horrible procrastinator...)

  4. Christina, thanks. If I can just [SQUIRREL!!] keep my tendencies towards (oooohhh, shiny) ADD in check, I might (cookies?? do I smell cookies?) have a chance.

  5. The top 10% EH!!!! a lofty but attainable goal I am sure:o)
    Just keep in mind the wise words of Richard Mitchell, from the (Underground grammarian)

    "There is only one Education, and it has only one goal: the freedom of the mind. Anything that needs an adjective, be it civics education, or socialist education, or Christian education, or whatever-you-like education, is not education, and it has some different goal. The very existence of modified "educations" is testimony to the fact that their proponents cannot bring about what they want in a mind that is free. An "education" that cannot do its work in a free mind, and so must "teach" by homily and precept in the service of these feelings and attitudes and beliefs rather than those, is pure and unmistakable tyranny".

    98% won't understand this, and will probably just become Ambulance chasers!!!!!!!!

    Keep your head and wits about you and you will do well pilgrim... :o)

    There is a need for GOOD lawyers out there...:o)

  6. Mr. Daddy, point well taken and not lost on me at all. I have met more than a few bright and shiny examples of "top of the class" that couldn't find their posteriors with both hands and a set of instructions. My goal is mainly a reaction to my high school and undergrad performances which were lackluster at best. I know full well where in my class I graduated in law school won't matter after the first job, but I don't want to show up for my first interview post law school and have to make excuses about my grades.

  7. Keep slogging. I actually miss the good ole days of all-nighters and final exams. Or something the opposite of what I just said.

  8. Congrats on successfully completing your first week! Soon your body will adjust to the lack of sleep. Or you'll go insane from sleep deprivation, but whatever. :)

    You keep on learnin', we'll be here waiting.

  9. 45er, will do my best although it felt like flogging instead of slogging a couple of times.

    GunDiva, my money's on insanity.


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