Saturday, August 28, 2010

Law School: Week 1

Wow, it's amazing how time flies when you're starting law school. While this first week at Drake seemed like it went by really quickly, at the same time it seems like I've already been in school for much longer than 1 week. I keep getting those questions from friends and family as to how it went, and I have to say that it was all fine. The classes are great, I've already started getting to know some really awesome people, and it's pretty easy for me to know which professors I am going to like and which ones are just going to confuse me on a weekly basis.

By far, my favorite professor is for my Torts class. I think the reason for that is that he cuts through the crap in cases and tells us exactly what we need to know. He doesn't sit there and "milk the mice" as he repeats in class. If you haven't heard that phrase before, don't worry. I hadn't either. Basically, it means don't try to make some thing substantial out of something small -- stick to the main issue of the case and then move on to the next one. While in some classes we take 2 or even 3 class periods on one case, we get through 4 or even 5 cases a class in Torts. I like that.

He also talks about strange news stories, which are one of my favorite things. There is one specific example I have in mind. I think I'll try a Dane-Cookish explanation of this. We'll start with what he said, and then work backwards to figure out what exactly was going on to bring this comment about.

"Why don't you wrap your lips around the barrel of this shotgun, Punk."

Let's go back, let's go back.

Recently, we have been discussing the law around intentional torts, that is infractions by one individual against another individual where they intended to do something. Our specific topic of the day was false imprisonment charges.

After a class going through the actual cases in the casebook, Professor Albert pulls out a manila folder of newspaper clippings. As he is going through the stories, all news stories about false imprisonment cases, I begin to see a trend in them -- they all are regarding a store called Manards.

In one particularly incredulous story, a man was detained at a Manards for being accused of stealing a 19 cent nail he brought into the store with him to match the nails be was purchasing with, since he needed them to match for the same project. When he refused to sign an admission of stealing and a waiver of liabilities form, Manards called the cops.

When the cops came, they refused to arrest this gentlemen, and went out the back entrance. On the way to his squad care, a Manards security officer pursues the cop and tells him that the cop needs to open the trunk to make sure that he didn't steal anything while he was in the store. THE TRUNK OF HIS SQUAD CAR!

Damned if the cop didn't do it.

So, after he tells us this story, my professor shook his fist in anger, brandishing the newspaper clipping towards a wall. He said:

"Is this the new pecking order? Manards security officers, then state troopers? I mean, with a shotgun and a German Shepard sitting in the front seat, this security officer has the AUDACITY to inspect the trunk and make sure that this officer isn't stealing anything after refusing to arrest a man for a 19 cent nail he didn't steal? Well, I tell ya, I know what my response would be."

He dropped his arm, setting the clipping back in the folder as he turned, all in silence. Looking back up at us, his face dead-set in seriousness, he spoke in a lowered voice.

"Why don't you wrap your lips around the barrel of this shotgun, punk."

Who knew law school could be so entertaining?

On a more administrative note, now that I have my schedule I have decided that Saturday is going to be by blog post day, so expect a weekly Ginger Snap on Saturday nights!

Night all!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Orientation - Day 1

Oh so much to talk about while combating the exhaustion that follows a full day of lectures and information. I suppose I should start chronologically, because it has certainly been a full schedule.

I woke up this morning with the right side of my upper lip so swollen it covered that corner of my bottom lip completely. Without getting too graphic and grossing people out, I think it was a zit that I popped before it was quite ready. Of course with orientation starting today -- the first day I get to meet the rest of my class and start this new journey, I guess I just got a little antsy. Anyways, what response did this freshly independent 22-year-old law student have?

I did what any self-respecting independent person does - I called my mommy.

Long story short, the swelling is now down, and aside from a little scab that I wish would do away, my face no longer looks like I belong in a freakshow. Thanks to some fancy maneuvering with a hit towel and an ice cube, I don't think any of my classmates think I am a deformed, escaped circus-freak. At least not from my physical appearance, but we'll save that for another day.

Starting at 8:30 this morning, I sat in one lecture after another, mostly about what we can expect in law school. There were 2 lectures (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) that were actual classes, which I just finished a 73 page reading assignment for. "Introduction to Law," as it turns out, is apparently a boot camp to show us what an actual class will be like. It is the first day of orientation and this professor has no problem calling people out by name to explain the facts of the cases we read, some of which were from the 1800's and written in some bizarre English I wish we had a whole semester to learn how to read.

We also had a lecture on how to case brief. I know that everyone says it becomes second nature at some point in your law school career, but I have to say that these scare the crap out of me. I'm sure a post will come in the future where I rant about the evil that is case briefs, though they are apparently a necessary evil. Time will tell.

Tomorrow we have another Introduction to Law lecture, then I get to go on a tour of the Iowa State Court House, which will be really cool. More lectures in the afternoon, then a reception where I can mingle with more of my classmates. The ones I have met so far as really interesting! There are so many backgrounds and facts about people that fascinate me - this is going to be a lot of fun getting to know these people over the next 3 years. Let's hope they are as excited to meet me as I am to meet them!

More to come soon - my calendar is already starting to fill up as more of my syllabi trickle into my hands, so I'll probably set one night aside a week for Ginger Snap posts. That day will be determined in the next few weeks.

Until next time!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Preparing for the Dive

Well, I am moved in, have officially purchased all of my books, and am currently working on the reading we have due for orientation. I have to think that this is going to be a recurring feeling over the next three years, but I got to Drake University feeling rather prepared. The Admissions office e-mailed us a few weeks ago explaining that there was a reading assignment for Orientation, which is on Thursday, with a link to one case. No problem - I read the case while I was on vacation with plans to review it before orientation begins on Thursday. I felt ahead of the game.

Unfortunately, I went to the bookstore to pick up my last few books, only to discover that there is a 73 page packet that we have to read before Thursday. In the words of Karen, the woman that runs the bookstore, "if you don't do the reading, this professor will murder you." Scary.

Anyways, I am glad that I got here as early as I did, because this is a pretty dense packet we have to get through. Trying to read it in one night would be a lot worse than it already is. The first article is about why people distrust lawyers, and whether it is actually important to improve the image of the lawyer amongst laypeople. Very interesting stuff. Let's hope the cases towards the end are as interesting as this original article!

More about the apartment will come in another post. My new roommate just arrived earlier this afternoon, and she and her boyfriend are still in the process of unpacking. Once we have a chance to look at the apartment as a whole and get the things we are missing, I'll post some pictures of what my life at law school is going to be nice for the next 10 months.

Until then, if you have any advice for a new law student, I am more than willing to listen! I'll take whatever I can get!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Moving Day Approacheth

Wednesday was my last day at Affinity Law Group for the summer, ending another great summer of experiences that are going to help me as I embark on the path of law school. This summer was awesome in that I got to do a lot more "lawyerly" things, including drafting more complex documents and working on some marketing things for the firm that have been a great experience. I think that these experiences are going to really come in handy as I embark on the next stage of my career. After all, I am moving to law school day after tomorrow, and that will no doubt be the start of many new changes and adventures in my life.

As I mentioned earlier, Sunday is moving day, and there is so much I have to get done before then! It always amazing me how much stuff I have when I go to pack it. Yesterday I managed to get my DVDs and DVD racks packed, most of my office supplies, and my shoes. That means I have kitchen stuff, clothing and furniture to pack up and then I am good to go.

Time is a bit of an issue, because today is my 22nd birthday, which means that I have birthday festivities to attend to. I like to think that this is a good pay off for all the hard work I have put in, and it is nice to have a couple days of fun despite the stress that packing has had.

Something else that is nice is that I got my schedule for the fall last night. It is going to be a lot of work, but I am excited to get started. I think I am ready for the challenge, and while I am only enrolled in 14 credit hours, I am sure that is going to be a lot for me to handle this first semester. One piece of advice that I got from the law firm is that you have to remember that it is a lot of work, but you have to make time to have some fun, otherwise it won't be nearly as enjoyable. I am sure the advice all the lawyers at Affinity gave me will come in handy as I face the challenges ahead.

Anyways, my next post will probably be after the move, and I will make sure to let everyone know how it goes! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Explanation of my Absence

My apologies for the recent lack of ginger snaps. Vacation was great, but then I had to get right back into work, which has been going great but really busy, and now there are tons of preparations to make for moving in just under a week and a half.

One of the biggest things that has happened is that I purchased most of my law school textbooks. Buying what I could used, and compensating for the cheapest price between Amazon or, I have already spent over $770.00, and I still have 3 books to purchase once I get to the school. On Amazon, one of those books alone was $178.00, and I would have gone ahead and gotten it if it wasn't out of stock. Conceivably, this expense could cost me upwards of $1,000. Commence seizure.

Work has been going really well. I've been able to do some really cool things lately, including drafting my first contract. I also got to sit in on my parent's estate planning consultation this morning, which was really cool to see. It was great to listen in on the questions that were asked, and to see how the meeting was handled when dealing with such sensitive material. All in all, this summer has been a really great learning experience for me, and I am sure that it will do nothing but help me when law school actually starts.

It is getting really close to that time to make the big move, and I am both nervous and excited about it. More excited than nervous. I've been in contact with my future roomie, and she seems really sweet. Apparently, she likes to color coordinate things according to our conversation about what we will be bringing to the apartment, and from that I think we will get along just fine.

Anyways, I know it isn't exactly the greatest excuse, but there has been so much going on that I haven't had much time to sit down and write these kinds of posts up. Rest assured there will be more information on the move and starting law school in the near future. I'll be moving to Des Moines on August 15th, so expect more interesting tid bits from my life as that date nears.