Tag Archives: spring semester

Spring Semester: Final Week of Classes

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.

Spring Semster: Masters Week

School is as busy as ever, but the end is in sight. I am preparing for a team negotiation in Copyright Licensing. My team is representing a website developer who has been contracted by a small toy company. The essence of the project is to negotiate and come to an agreement on the controlling contract.

My final Judicial Opinion Drafting order is due one week from yesterday. I am writing as the Supreme Court of New Hampshire deciding whether the Superior Court erred in affirming a Department of Labor decision to award wages and liquidated damages to a peeved former employee who was denied her previous-year’s bonus when she left her job as an insurance agent with a small family insurance company for a larger insurance company. I’ll spend the weekend doing this, but at least I’ll be mostly done with one of my five classes.

Nothing much else notable regarding school work. Four of five of my classes have take-home finals. Most of my exam weeks will be spent writing documents from home, which should be less stressful than the typical “cram-dump” exam routine.

Barrister’s Ball is this weekend. I didn’t get tickets, and the only ones available are going for 100 to 200% above face value. It would be fun to go, but partaking in law-prom ranks quite low for me.

Putting all of the work in perspective is my anticipation of The Masters broadcast this weekend. This is by far my favorite golf tournament of the year to watch on TV. I’m hoping Tiger Woods makes a run for the green jacket, but that the contest is close. Who do you think will win?

Spring Semester: March Madness

I have ten minutes to write this. Go, me!

On Court: My bracket is holding up well with all four final four teams intact. The first weekend of the tournament really is one of the best weekends of sports all year. I’d put it up there with the Majors in golf and Tennis.

Off Court: This entire month has been a whirlwind of activity. I’m running in circles trying to keep up with my tasks that seem to be swept further ahead with each passing day. I have two major assignments in the immediate future.

1. A Business Entities Taxation midterm, which is falling very late in the semester. It will cover exclusively partnership law. The good thing is that the final will not be aggregate, so we’ll be able to “forget” partnership tax to the extent that it does not apply to corporations. I have a feeling we’re not going to be allowed to forget enough.

2. A presentation on Justice Benjamin Cardozo for Judicial Opinion Drafting. I will be discussing the persuasiveness of six of his opinions that I’ve carefully selected. While this isn’t exactly public speaking, it still involves speaking in front of people – something of which I’m not a huge fan. In preparation, I’ve Googled “presentation advice” and perused some tips on what makes Steve Jobs an effective presenter. I’ll let you know in a week if the advice translates to my classroom discussion.

My ten minutes is up. Say hi if you want. There’s a woefully underused Contact page in the top right of your screen. Have a good day!

Spring Semester: Week 9

I’m doing these “Spring Semester Reviews” more for me than you. Years from now, when I’ve long since outgrown my blogging britches, I hope to be able to revisit these autobiographical entries for a brief chuckle. “Oh, the glory days of FPLC,” I’ll say to anyone who will listen. “Those were the days.”

Classes: Classes are going well, although for the first time I’m finding myself envious, from time to time, of my classmates who have externships. Maybe it’s the “gotta get a job” cloud that’s suddenly set in fast and low. Or maybe it’s the fact that the word “externship” does not exist in most dictionaries. Either way, I’m looking forward to working when the day comes.

  • Business Entities Taxation: Going well, but slow. We started with partnership taxation and are still in the “middle” of the life of partnerships. Our midterm will fall in early April, unusually late. As with most code classes, the weekly struggle here has been to learn how to best navigate the code and recognize when exceptions apply. Once I get a semi-working knowledge of a topic, it’s far more enjoyable.
  • Environmental Law: I don’t know what to think of this class. The material is very dry, and I didn’t see that coming when I registered. We deal mostly with massive federal statutory schemes – National Environmental Police Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act. What I enjoy most about the class are the historical, geographic, and scientific aspects of the cases.
  • Copyright Licensing: This class is nuanced and very hands on. I like it. We are given a hypo going into each class, must review select clauses from a license, and then negotiate with the opposite party (licensor and licensee). I will leave a more capable contract drafter and a more skilled negotiator.
  • Estate Planning: This class was largely review up until last week. We’re finally getting further into taxation issues and more detained trusts. I like this area of law, so I look forward to the three-hour Estate Planing-a-thons.
  • Judicial Opinion Drafting: Drafting orders is a unique writing experience. I’ve quickly learned to be very careful in how I frame the arguments. I’m liking legal writing more and more with each passing day.

Getting to Done: Week nine is coming to a close. Spring Break (week seven) felt like every other week of this semester, except I attended fewer classes. My grand plans – I always have grand plans via lists, emails, and other web applications – were not fulfilled. I failed to apply to hundreds of jobs, read weeks ahead, and start a new business as a side project. The result of this was that I sought and found a more structured way to accomplish tasks. I found a very simple solution: at the beginning of the week, make a list of three things to accomplish each day. This has gone pretty well with one blaring exception – applying to jobs daily. Here’s a sample-list for one day:

Monday P G
1) Read Environmental Law
2) Work on JOD Order
3) Apply to 3 jobs

P = newspaper and G = gym. The three tasks vary daily. I’ve found this is a good way to keep things in check. The downside is that the system is meant for someone who works and has eight solid hours to accomplish their tasks. I’ve excused my failures in accomplishing all three daily tasks each day, yet hope to be more successful in the future.

Donating Blood: I donated blood today at school. The beds were set up in the Jury Box (cafeteria), which seems like an odd place to be performing medical procedures. The woman assured me that lunch was loud and hectic and people were not deterred from eating.

Sleep: I got two hours of sleep on Monday night and it has messed up my entire week. I’ve had to nap, I’ve overslept, and I’ve been living in a fog. This never happened in college, or I didn’t care. I could play poker all night, go to an 8:30am class, sleep during the afternoon and start over without the next four days being a disaster. Now, and this aligns with my “Getting to Done” above, I’m finding consistent sleep invaluable.

Spring Semester: Week 2

Considering this is my last semester of law school, it seems only right to document some of it. I’m starting a week late, but that is kind of the theme thus far into the semester. Just this morning did I receive my last of five grades from last semester. Administrative Procedure was the holdout. When you think about it, the drop/add day has already passed. Technically, had I not passed Admin Pro I would have to stay an extra semester because it’s a required course. I’m sure exceptions could or would be made, but the point is that receiving grades this late is unacceptable.

Concerning my own snafus, I’m just now settling into my course schedule. I had to drop the mini-course, International and Comparative Copyright Law because it conflicted with Estate Planning for a grand total of 1.5 hours later on in the semester. I was told by the registrar that that was unacceptable. I switched to Federal Trademark and Copyright Registration, but later had to drop than when I discovered that Copyright Licensing does not fulfill the upper-level writing requirement I need. So, my final course load is as follows:

Environmental Law (EL)
Judicial Opinion Drafting (JOD)
Business Entities Taxation (BET)
Estate Planning (EP)
Copyright Licensing (CL)

Last semester I had it good. The grading of most of the classes in which I was enrolled was heavily weighted towards the final exam or project. I liked that because it simplified the semester. I wasn’t bothered with writing projects, oral presentations, and midterms. I could learn for four months and then regurgitate it on the page. And, no, I don’t think I crammed and then just forgot it all. It was a solid semester.

This semester is a different story. Despite my weeks concluding at 10am on Thursday and having 3.75 day weekends for the entire semester, my courses are absurd. Judicial Opinion Drafting involves writing three opinions and a 45 minute oral presentation where I am to lead class discussion regarding a justice or judge of my choice. Stop right there. That is enough to ruin my semester. Legal writing AND oral presentations. I seriously considered whether I really wanted to finish this whole “law school thing” when I saw that in the syllabus. Then there’s Copyright Licensing which is “simple,” yet it involves negotiating (read: talking).

I guess it’s finally time to face my fears. To open my mouth. To crack open my BlueBook (legal citation reference) if I can find it in storage. This is going to be a hectic semester, and I haven’t even complained about life decisions, bar applications, and searching for a job yet.

To do this weekend:

EL: Read about Eminent Domain and The Takings Clause
JOD: Read “How I write” law review articles and draft standard of reviews for a NH trial court.
BET: Review partnership taxation.

Fun stuff. K. Time to work. Bye.