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Friday, September 17, 2010

Week 3

I'm taking this ridiculously hard advanced sales contracts class. I think I bitched about it last week or so. As 30% of our class grade, we have to behave as "class experts" for 3 different classes. That means prepare the assigned readings and problems really well so that you can walk the rest of the class through it as the professor questions you. I'm not a class talker, so just talking in class is a bit of a stretch for me, but being responsible for talking a lot, and being graded for the effort, adds a little bit of stress to my already tormented psyche.

This Tuesday I did my first class expertship. It actually went ok. I stumbled pretty hard through my first question, because I had applied the wrong statute in my analysis.  My professor said that if we were under my chosen statute, my analysis would have been correct, then she explained why I chose the wrong statute, and why I should have chosen the right statute. Then she asked me to redo my analysis on the fly under the proper statute. I did ok with it. I was worried that I was looking like an idiot, and I was trying desperately to control my shaking hands that scrolled over the trackpad on my computer as I corrected my analysis. Luckily the tremor did not transfer to my voice, and after I picked myself back up from my fall, I felt calmer and the shaking went away. My professor has a way of not making you feel like a dumbass when you are completely off the mark. Not all professors who engage in the socratic method can do that. I did well with the rest of my problems, and breathed a big sigh of relief when it was finally all over. I'm doing it again next Tuesday, and the Tuesday after that, and then I am off the hook.

It is on-campus interview season. That's where all the hot shot firms around town come to campus and select a few students to interview for clerk positions next summer. They all set thresholds such as, we will only interview people in the top 10%, 20%, and, for a few firms, 25% of their class. Most of them also prefer candidates on law review or moot court. I am just under the top 25% of my class, so naturally I am not a worthy candidate for these on-campus interviews. I am not particularly keen on working at a large firm anyway, and I never really expected this to be the way I will get a job, but I can't help but feel a little envious of some of my classmates who have been selected for multiple interviews, while I was rejected for all but one, who put me on their alternate list. I guess that means if someone else decides not to interview, maybe I can. That's better than nothing, I suppose. But then I talked to my fellow classmate who worked at the same summer internship as I did and couldn't help but feel envious at her better luck. She had 5 interviews. I can't begrudge her that, as she deserves them. But there's really not much difference between her and me. We were both pretty equally capable at our summer jobs. We have similar experience levels career-wise. The only difference is she has better grades and is on law review. I know firms have to weed people out somehow, and I'm trying not to be bothered by it. If I were a hiring attorney for a firm, I'd have to use some selection criteria too, and I'm sure I would also gravitate first to the people who do well academically. But the envy remains.

I have been given my first memo assignment for my IP class. It is on trade secrets, and also somewhat on non-compete agreements. I've spent most of today looking like I haven't gotten anything done, but in reality I am working out the trade secrets problem in my head. Once I heard that Charles Schultz, of Peanuts fame, used to doodle at his workbench whenever people came by so that they would think he was working. In reality, he said, most of his work involved him staring off into space, imagining, working things out in his head. When he started to draw, most of the work had already been done. That's how I do legal analysis. I spend a lot of time thinking. Once I work things out in my head, the writing usually goes pretty fast. That's why I prefer writing memos to writing a final exam -- I get more time to give the problem due thought. Besides, creating a memo is much closer than a law school exam to the type of work I will actually have to do in legal practice.




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2 comments:

Zac said...

If I want to write something well, I have to think about it all for hours and get it to flow in my head. Then write it out, recomposing some as I go. Then ignore it for a day or two. Then rewrite it entirely.
It's involved and I don't do it enough.

Zac said...

If I want to write something well, I have to think about it all for hours and get it to flow in my head. Then write it out, recomposing some as I go. Then ignore it for a day or two. Then rewrite it entirely.
It's involved and I don't do it enough.

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