Thursday, May 19, 2011

Internship Update

Wow, is my summer internship awesome this summer.

First of all, let me start by saying that last summer's internship was awesome as well, but mostly because the judge I was interning with went out of his way to make sure it was.

This summer, however, is off to a great start.

First of all, I am real intern this summer.  I have a cubicle, a desk, a computer, a phone.  No longer I am sitting on a couch taking notes and generally just paying attention, I now come in and get to my own work assignments.  It is very cool.

What is also cool is how well everyone in the office treats me.  First of all, every attorney, office assistant, paralegal, and legal assistant has already come up and introduced themselves and offered support.  They all seem to appreciate that I am helping out.  Also, they are fairly laid back in office protocols.  Although I am usually the type to show up early, it seems as though I could work 10-6 if I preferred.  Either way, no one seems to be hovering over me and constantly checking up, which is how I often felt at my previous (non-legal) job.

As for the work, so far it has been interesting.  I won't go into details, but so far I have researched the history of a sentencing statute, done research on a particularly narrow Supreme Court exhaustion ruling, and assisted in preparing a file for a re-sentencing hearing.  All of which has tested my legal and professional skills, and which has kept me very busy.

So far, so good with the internship.  I honestly can't wait until next week for more.  I hope at the end of the summer I am still enjoying it this much.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Post 2L Year Retrospective

As we all know, law school is a three year journey harrowing experience.   Having just completed my second year, I thought I would take a little bit of a retrospective introspective on my experience so far.

As a 1L, I was on the one hand eager and excited, but on the other, in way over my head.  Most of the first year is spent hanging on by the skin of your teeth as ever mounting demands of reading pile up.  On top of that, the ever present fear of the cold call, and eventually the dreaded writing assignments, make the 1L year stressful.  Looking back, however, I realize that the 1L year was all about the class experience.  I spent most of my time reading casebooks, taking diligent notes, and preparing for my next class.  In between classes, most of the kibitzing among students revolved around class as well.

As a 2L, again I found myself pressed for time, honestly even more pressed than as a 1L.  The odd difference, however, is that it was rarely with classwork.  As a 2L, I found the demands to be job applications, internships, Moot Court, Journal, volunteer experiences, shadow days, informational interviews, and other activities related to law school, but primarily outside the classroom.  Although I almost always stayed on top of my reading, I wasn't able to do the deep preparation of 1L year.

A good example is in the notes taken from casebook reading.  I took much less 2L year, but was generally always able to fully participate in class discussions.  I suppose this is a great sign, after a year of classes you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from any given professor.  Also, you get much better at reasoning out cases and principles, especially on your feet, and can participate in class without memorizing every case in the casebook.

This definitely leaves way for pursuing the extra activities, such as Moot Court, which more resemble what a lawyer actually does.  By having time for Moot Court, I was able to practice my research and writing while seeing an appellate case through from start to finish, valuable skills for actual legal practice.

Another fun diversion from 1L year to 2L is the courses you take.  1L, the courses are all pre-picked, which means plenty that are outside your personal intellectual curiosity.  However, since the curriculum is the same nationwide, these 1L courses all have plenty of prep books and study aids available.  This year I took mostly bar tested courses, but also was able to take Copyright and IP, both classes I wanted to know more about.

Now to see what 2L summer brings my way...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Don't Call It a Comeback

For anyone who watches, or even merely stumbles across, this blog, I noted several months ago that I was taking a brief hiatus from posting.  At this time, I think I will begin with some light posting of law school related articles.

If you have been patiently waiting, thanks for sticking around.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Taking a Break

Hello, readers.

You might have noticed that this blog has been less and less active over the past few months.  This is not because I no longer enjoy blogging, or because something terrible has happened in my life (thankfully).

Instead, it has been a combination of factors.  One of them is simply that I have been very, very busy.  Finals, Moot Court, and a research project are all hitting at the same time, leaving me with a full schedule.  While I do still have the time to write, I am finding that after a 10+ hour day of hard work, I am less inclined to sit and brainstorm, draft, lightly edit, and post entries.

Secondly, I am not really sure what I want to do with this blog.  I sort of enjoy detailing my law school life, but I am always so hesitant to blog about things that are interesting due to privacy concerns.  I had a great time at my summer internship, but most of it went unpublished.  Same thing with a lot of my school life.  Sure, if you have nothing to hide, why worry? Well, it isn't always that simple.  First of all, while between my Professional Responsibility class and my previous career in a medical field I have a very good understanding of confidentiality rules, I also always want to err on the side of caution.  Secondly, I would never want this blog to hurt someone else.  Maybe a professor says something interesting in class, such as "Personal service by publication strikes me as wrong."  Then, 10 years later, when he or she runs for some office, a news pundit does a Google search, pulls that quote, and now someone who I looked up to is trying to explain why he or she "Teaches against service of process."  Finally, there is simply some stuff, that while entertaining, I prefer to enjoy only with a specific circle.

So, for the time being, I am taking a formal break from posting.  I wanted to let anyone who checks here know that I am still alive, and this blog isn't "dead" or "abandoned." If you DO happen to read this, feel free to leave a comment with any questions, or perhaps let me know what you might like to see in the future.

See you soon!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Federal Circuit

Recently I had the chance to go to Washington D.C. to watch oral arguments on a few ongoing patents cases.  This was an awesome experience.  First of all, it is always fun to get to take a little trip.  D.C. proper is a 40 minute train ride, followed by a few quick metro stops, for a total travel cost of about $10.  Therefore, it isn't really that big of a deal to get down there from time to time, but of course it just usually seems to get preempted by something easier and cheaper in Baltimore.

Either way, it was really great to get a chance to see an oral argument in person.  Sure, it is possible to watch quite a few oral arguments on the internet, but something can be said for being there in person.  It is much easier to get swept up in the excitement, and in a very good way.  And of course something can be said for the "atmosphere."

What wasn't so nice was dealing with some of my fellow spectators.  The security was very pleasant, sending us through without much hassle.  Once inside, however, I could not believe how rude some people were.  The "no phones" rule has been bent slightly, and phones are now allowed inside, but must be turned off while court is in session.  Amazingly, several other spectators simply refused to do this.  I have no idea what was so important that they could not miss the call, but could watch an argument.  It seems to me like if something else that important is going on, you can just attend to that and read the transcript later.

Otherwise, watching top notch lawyers go back and forth with sharp judges is a thing of beauty.  It is sort of a cross between chess and a boxing match.  On one hand you want to go in strong, but you also have to always be dodging and looking for counters.  Also, my background knowledge of patents is surely much stronger than the average law students, having taking a patents class and my work with Moot Court, but still a lot of it went straight over my head.

All in all, it was a really good time.  Also, for any fellow law students, or any American who wants to watch our country in action, I would highly recommend going.  Look up the number for the clerk of the court, give them a call, and find out when the next round of arguments are going to be.  Public transit makes most courts easily accessible on a  budget.  Just remember to wear professional dress.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Moot Court

Sorry for the lack of recent updates.  I have been very, very busy and to top it all off my computer is currently in the shop.  This means that not only do I have less time, but when I do have free time it doesn't involve internet access.

The biggest news to report, however, is the start of Moot Court proper.  The problem was released two weeks ago.  The fact pattern is utterly absurd, which is a good thing.  If I am going to have to live and breathe this thing for the next three months it might as well be interesting.

You know, as much as everyone says it, it is true.  You can never be truly ready for something like this.  Despite my best efforts to stay on top of my work and keep everything under control, the first week was utter madness.

First of all, one of the two issues in the problem is one that we have not gotten close to covering in class.  Therefore, neither myself nor Moot Court Teammate (MCT) had any idea of how to approach it.  The first week, very minimal work got done.

Then we met with our coach.  He asked us what we thought of the problem, and we did the best we could to say somewhat intelligent things.  He nodded polietly, then pointed out problems with each of our approaches.  Law students are generally the people who always have an answer ready, and it is very tough to sit in an office and not have ANY of the answers ready.  On the flip side, learning from a master is an unforgettable experience.  Without even trying, he seems to know pretty much everything there is to know about appeallate practice, patents, and legal writing.

Anyways, after that browbeating, it was back to work.  Since then, MCT and I have begun to read up on the problem and the current case law.  It seems to be moving along, but it also continues to seem like there is more than we could ever handle in front of us.  And the due date continues to approach.

So, as always, it is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mid-Semester Doldrums

Law School is a marathon, not a sprint.  I can't even begin to fathom how many times I have said this to fellow students, parents, incoming 1Ls...  Everyone comes out the door super intense, briefing every case assigned, looking up extra cases, reading up on procedural issues that aren't relevant to the course.

Then, at the beginning of October, we tend to see midterms.  Everyone pulls it together to learn enough material to do well on their exams.  Socializing gets put on hold for a little longer in order to save your grades.

But what about now?  In my experience, this is the time when people start to drift off.  Midterms are done.  Finals are still far enough in the distance not to worry.  That magic "Thanksgiving Break" deadline for outlining hasn't hit yet.

On top of that, football is heating up, baseball playoffs are going on, and hockey season begins.  College teams are in full swing.  People take advantage of the last of the warm weather.  The social distractions begin to mount.

And even inside the law school, now tends to be when internships get busy to make up for lost time during midterms, and the next round of applications goes out for jobs and internships next semester.  It is time to pick classes for next semester.  Moot court tryouts are starting soon.

With all these non-academic distractions, what is a student to do?  I guess get up early, go to the library, and keep your nose to the grindstone.  I feel like these times are the ones that separate the good students from the great.  It is easy to sit and study all day when everyone else at school is too.  But perhaps what is more important is how you are able to manage your time when everyone around you is goofing off.  Something can be said, in my opinion, for the steady success as opposed to the flashes of brilliance.

Here's to another few months of cases, highlighters, and coffee, my fellow stalwarts!