Sunday, August 24, 2008

My last summer without a J.D. is over!

That's right: I have started my third ( = last) year of law school.

I might add that classes started so early this year (August 18th? hello?) that not only did I find it a major inconvenience to have to start school while still watching the Olympics but at least two of my professors have had to cancel a class within the first two weeks because the early start date caught them by surprise too, and they weren't done with their summer plans (variously vacationing in New England and appearing at a book signing. Yeah, my Criminal Procedure teacher also writes mystery novels. I've shelved her at Borders before.)

Hofstra gave the usual blah blah about this calendar bringing us more in line with other law schools, although I happen to know of other law schools that have not in fact started classes and are like, why are you going back to school this early? So there.

Major interruption of my Olympic viewing. Not cool.

But now it's the closing ceremonies, and summer is officially over, and I can safely plunge into the school year. Now that I'm no longer working in a clinic I am happy about school again and excited for my 17 credits. Although that's a lot of credits. My themes this semester are international things, criminal things, and intellectual property things. For some bizarre reason I just adore trademarks. They are so interesting to me. I discovered this last year when I had a chapter on trademarks in my Entertainment Law class, and I like them so much that this semester I registered for the entire Trademarks class. I also have Patent Law. One thing I can tell you already: just like with "impact" (as Julia Sugarbaker would say), do not use "trademark" as a verb.

My oddball class is Ethics. It's required. It's not really philosophical, but more like what is the code of professional responsibility, is such-and-such a conflict of interest, and stuff like that. Maybe I'll throw some of the problems on here for you to discuss. The bummer about that class is that I waited to take it until I could get into Monroe Freedman's class, because he is a brilliant legend, and I was wait-listed for his class the past two semesters. (There are probably
four or so ethics teachers each time around.) But at the last minute he apparently decided he's no longer up for teaching as much, so we have a different teacher. A new woman, barely out of law school herself, who is very young and eager and taught for a year or something at a small law school in North Carolina and who is very - um - enthusiastic about traditional law school success. She has totally bought the package.

Traditional law school success means being on Law Review, being highly ranked in your class (often after memorizing lots of commercial outlines. Law students live and die by their outlines. Well, most of them do. Except for two of us), and getting An Offer from the firm at which you worked your second summer so after you graduate you can make six figures at a big corporate megafirm until you either a)get a job as a law school professor, teaching another generation how to walk your path of misery b)start doing lots of cocaine. LOTS c)throw yourself from the roof of your office building.

There was a time when I thought I wanted those things. (Well, not the last bit.) You know, Law Review and all that. Until I realized how decidedly not fun it is. What can I say, I like fun! When we had the writing competition to get onto Law Review or one of Hofstra's other journals at the end of first year, I took one look at the packet with a hundred pages of material to read, including a fake hypothetical whose facts I was to synthesize with all the relevant law, coming up with a brilliantly written legal memo to earn me a coveted spot cite-checking and editing other legal writing, I thought - ewww. One of my classmates put it best. Re: the writing competition, she said, "This sucks. And the reward is - more of this!" Truer words were never spoken, about that and a lot of law school/lawyerly things.

The interesting thing is, I'm the one who's totally wistful and nostalgic this week as we 3Ls start our final year and realize it's all coming to an end. Blink and you'll miss it, I want to tell the 1Ls. I really like classes, school, and learning. And I really like the learning I've done in law school. Money? It's a worry. It's stressful. But I've been broke forever; not having a megafirm job won't change that. I'm just a little startled to see how many of my cohorts seem to really still think that "success" equals happiness. I thought we all learned that wasn't true in like 1994. Maybe they weren't born yet.

Speaking of not being born yet, here's my emphatic statement about the ages of any and all Chinese gymnasts: Who cares?!

Here's my emphatic statement about B.O.'s text messaging revelation (almost!) of his VP candidate: Can we say "debacle"? Can we also say "more hype from the king of rhetoric and hype"?

Here's my emphatic statement on Beijing: WHY DIDN'T I GO THERE when I had the chance? (While I lived in Korea.) On second thought, let's not dwell. Onward. I adored the Olympics, the spectacle, the shots of the Great Wall and a giant Buddha statue during the fanfare in and out of commercial breaks, the ceremonies, the medals, Shawn Johnson, Lezak, Phelps, diving, volleyball, relays, all of it. I like Olympic games! They are global and fun. That's all I want out of life: global and fun. Once I thought law school could get me on a path that is global and fun; let's see if it happens! Onward, indeed.

"Well, then, save the next little boy!" - In Bruges

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