Thursday, June 22, 2006

Objection Overruled.

Update: I got an A in Schadenfreude!

My first unqualified A at PDSEU! And in a 4-credit class, to boot!

I guess this means that I will really know what they're saying when I watch over-dramatized courtroom scenes in Law & Order. Or my personal favorite, Boston Legal.

Quarter-Life Crisis

Perhaps it comes as a surprise that I am seriously considering not practicing law, and instead pursuing my masters degree after I get my J.D. To those who know me, however, you know that it's been a long time coming.

I have been talking to my friends and hearing about their awesome summers at big firms, and I must admit that I am a bit jealous. They get assignments to do, but they also get taken to lunch everyday and they get to use the firm's box seats at Turner Field. They get to interact with so many different people on a daily basis.

I know that I could have landed one of those jobs if I'd either 1) stayed at my First Law School and interviewed there, or 2) made my transfer decision earlier so that I would have been able to participate in Early Interview Week at PDSEU. Instead, my indecisiveness bit me in the ass and I missed out on all the cherry jobs.

Instead, I am working for a solo practitioner where I have real deadlines and work on real cases. While that may sound well and good, it actually puts me under immense pressure that I don't feel like I am prepared for. I'm not a lawyer. I'm a law student.

After being lulled into a sense of contentment at my current job, I decided not to go to the firm that had offered me a job for the second half of the summer. Mostly because I don't have to be at the office at 7:30 a.m. here and can occasionally bring T.Min. to work with me. I mailed them a letter declining their offer, which was probably not good, considering I'd previously accepted. Then, things took a turn here and suddenly felt trapped, thinking that I'd sent that letter just a few days too early. Timing - it always sucks.

If anything, this summer has been educational in showing me the reality of practicing law. Perhaps that's better than working at a big firm in some respects, beceause I get to see the shitty parts of it in addition to the good parts of it so that I can make an informed decision about my career choice. I have more or less decided that while I definitely have the ability to be a lawyer, and a good one at that, I don't necessarily want to.

For so long I had thought that the law was my calling. And I don't hate the law, or even law school for that matter. I love both. It's the practice of law and the reality that goes along with it that have so far left a sour taste in my mouth.

In light of all of that, I have been seriously pursuing the idea of going to graduate school after I finish law school. I want to get my masters in a program where I can get strong methodology training so that I can go into research consulting. I loved doing research when I was in college, and I even wrote a thesis that was not required. I enjoyed constructing surveys and measuring and calculating and analyzing. There is something inherently academic in it that is lacking in the practice of law.

I've gotten in touch with my college advisor, who is now teaching at a big state university in Tornado Alley. She has a wealth of information about graduate admissions and procedures and even volunteered to chat on the phone, given the complexity and number of questions I posed to her. Most importantly, she didn't think that I'm being silly or flighty. I appreciate the fact that she takes me seriously and doesn't think I'm absurd for wasting three years of time and tuition on law school.

So that's where I am at this point. I will graduate from law school. I will take the bar and pass the bar and be sworn in at the Capitol. But I will also take the GRE and apply to graduate school and see where I get accepted and go from there. And ultimately, this all may lead to an entirely new adventure for me, one that I welcome.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Lesson #57

No matter how much confidence you may have in your abilities, do not attempt to complete school work from Spring semester after you have already started your summer clerkship.

This is doubly true when you have a 30-page paper due the same week as a reply brief in federal court. Choosing between an F and malpractice is simply not a feasible option. Staying up until the wee hours of the morning when you have to work in a couple of hours, however, is an option. The only option, it appears.