Chris, Dan/Dad, Peg/Mom, and I will be headed to Chicago this weekend! I am hoping to find “the dress”, so send me some good vibes…..It occured to me yesterday, not only do I get to find a dress, I also get new shoes! I am not sure which I am more excited about, but I can not wait! I will report some time next week, hopefully with good news!
First, a short history on BarBri. “Bar” refers to “Bay Area Review and “Bri” stands for “Bar Review Institute.” The two were merged in 1974 and marketed thereafter as “BarBri.”
I’m nearing the end of the third full week of my BarBri bar exam review class. The first week was the Multistate Advantage; since then it’s been the “official” class, which covers the substantive law topic-by-topic.
With each new topic comes a new professor / presenter. I’ve had four professors thus far, and have been pleased with each of their presentations. However, Michael J. Kaufman of the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, who covered Agency, Partnership, and Corporations, is my clear favorite. I think my classmates would agree. He came off as eccentric in an effective and energetic way, and conveyed the outlines memorably. (It helps that he’s got an MA and a JD from the University of Michigan.)
The other presenters were:
Richard Conviser, who happens to be the Founder and Chairman of BarBri and a professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He presented Torts over the first two days. While not as memorable as Kaufman, he was clear and efficient in his delivery.
Michael I. Spak of Chicago-Kent School of Law finished his presentations on the sleep-inducing areas of Commercial Paper and Suretyship yesterday. My first read of the long outline for Commercial Paper was frustrating because of the amount of information and multiple levels of detail. However, what BarBri does effectively, and what Spak did clearly was to reduce the information to a memorable shorter outline that targets what I need to know for the bar exam. Spak possesses an interesting combination of grandfatherly expressions and off-color jokes pertaining to various sexual acts, which, commendably, are not easy to slip into a presentation on Commercial Paper.
Faust F. Rossi of the Cornell University Law School presented Evidence today and will continue to do so for another four hours tomorrow. His outline boils down evidence law to logical sequences that seem to be easy to remember. I remember taking evidence in law school and feeling, at times, quite lost. His lectures highlight a distinction between studying for the bar and studying in law school. The emphasis when studying for the bar is on knowing and understanding the law, not knowing specific cases or rules. That’s a good thing! One less level of information to remember.
The class in general:
The review class is huge. I thought the class size would shrink when the “real” review classes started because there would then be morning, afternoon and evening sessions. I was completely wrong. There are far more – hundreds – of fellow lawyers-to-be. It’s weird coming from the lone law school in New Hampshire, which cranks out approximately 150 new lawyers a year, to the third largest city in the US and being amongst more students in this one review location than in my law school class. (I’m probably making an obvious point, but still – there are a lot of them!)
Studying outside of class has been bearable, but not easy by any means. I commend those classmates that work part-time and do the review. I’m sure they sacrifice their studies to a degree. There is definitely enough review and practice problems to keep me busy for the majority of the waking day. Plus, with getting settled in Chicago, I’ve been absolutely exhausted about once every seven days.
The advantage of being in a new place, however, is that when I grow restless in one study location I can take a long walk to another one. It’s fun to people watch and get some fresh air.
Greektown has been good to me thus far. I’ve had more Gyros in the last three weeks than I had in the previous three years. At six dollars for an over-stuffed gyro, fries and a drink, how can I not eat them two or three times a week? I usually go to Mr. Greek’s Gyros on the corner of Halsted and Jackson because they have free drink refills. However, I need to try the place across the street.
Good stuff. More soon!
On Sunday, May 17, 2009, one day after graduating from law school, I drove from Concord, New Hampshire to Chicago, Illinois. Aside from the first two hours through the hills of southern New Hampshire and Vermont, the drive was simple and entirely on Interstate 90, the longest interstate in the United States at 3,084 miles (Seattle, WA to Boston, MA). 805 (84%) of 960 miles of my drive were on I-90.
The drive was uneventful and I arrived 2.5 hours earlier than scheduled, in time to drive around and scope out possible self-storage sheds. I said I would never again use storage, but dumping my car load of stuff seemed like the wisest thing to do. I needed my car to do some fast apartment hunting, wanting to find a place to live asap.
It took all of a day to find an apartment, and I found a great one mere blocks from my bar review class. My room has good light, which will be nice during the endless hours of studying I’ll be doing this summer. I’ll be moving in tomorrow.
My next goal is to get back to working out. I’ve been off for a few weeks now, thanks to exams, graduation, and moving. Until I find a reasonably priced gym, I plan on focusing on running and other self-sufficient workouts such as push-ups, sit-ups, etc. I’ve found that YouTube is a good source for inspiration for different activities.
I’ve already got a wishlist for my time in Chicago:
- Single-speed bike
Chicago Tips? Things to do? Want to say hi? Email me via the Contact form in the upper right of this page.
I am halfway through the first day of my final week of law school classes ever. There have been some tweets to this fact by a few of my fellow law school tweeters. The mix is from excitement to sadness. And I fall at both ends and in between. Or, at least I plan to.
The excitement hasn’t quite hit me yet. I still have a good deal of work to do to finish the semester in good fashion. But, come the end of finals, whether that is the end of next week or the week after (it all depends on how much I want to pack my days versus spreading the work out and delaying the ultimate end), I plan to be excited. I can imagine how it will feel. I’ll walk out of school after dropping off my last assignment. I’ll close my eyes for a second to adjust to the late-spring sunlight, and then I’ll smile. I’m not one to scream or jump around. Not about things like this, anyway. (I save that for the golf course and tennis matches and watching Michigan football games.) My smile will turn into a grin and my shoulders will relax. It will be a relief.
Inevitably, I’ll feel a sense of something short of disappointment that stems from my always wondering if I could have made the entire experience better, more efficient, more fun, etc. Something can always be improved. But instead of being disappointed this time, like I was when I left Washington D.C., I hope to accept that I’ve learned many things about “the law” and about myself during the past three years. It’s amazing, when looking back, how fast – how absolutely fast – the time has passed.
Looking back will be easy. There is a definite end to things. My last day of class. Finishing my last final. Receiving my diploma on graduation day.
Looking forward is less concrete. The rest of my life is going to start on May 17th when I get into my Ford Explorer and start driving west to Chicago, Illinois. I’m working diligently to bring the unplanned into focus. I’ve sorted my storage shed into “ship,” “sort,” “sell” and “toss.” I need to find an apartment in Chicago, a task I generally leave to the very last minute. (This past semester, I didn’t find an apartment until the day I arrived in town.) And most of all, I need to find a job while studying to pass the bar.
This is just me rambling. I could go on, but I have my third-to-last class in ten minutes, so I’ll end my commentary here.
Former University of Michigan quarterback Brian Griese is taking over for the Chicago Bears quarterback, Rex Grossman. This means there will be two U of M quarterbacks starting for NFL teams – the other being Tom Brady for the New England Patriots.
Better yet, the Bears are playing the Detroit Lions in Detroit. Griese will be making his pro debut as a starter only 45 minutes from his alma matter.
What are the chances that the Bears and the Patriots will make it to Super Bowl XLII in Arizona? The Bears were in the Super Bowl last year and the Patriots made it to the AFC Conference Championship.
I moved to New Hampshire about nine months ago and became a default Boston Red Sox fan, which means I’m on their side if I go to a game at Fenway and they’re playing anyone except my home team, the Detroit Tigers. I can see myself being a default Chicago Cubs fan if I were to move to Chicago, which makes me wonder if it isn’t the teams but good ball parks that I like. The Red Sox play in Fenway with the Green Monster and the Cubs play in Wrigley Field with the ivy. Each of these parks are historically significant, and have become as much a part of baseball history as their teams.
I am wondering if people are less inclined to be Red Sox Fans now that they’ve won a World Series title. They used to garner a sympathetic fan base because they just couldn’t close the deal, but now that they’re regularly topping the chart aren’t they on the way to being the Yankees? There are enough similarities to make me question this. I’m a bit sick of seeing people everywhere wearing Red Sox hats just because they’re riding the wave. I’d suggest they stick with their local team and get off the Red Sox bandwagon before the fad fades.