Balancing Acts

A working single mom attending law school

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Archive for the ‘Law School Life’ Category

Graduation! Three long years . . .

Posted by newlawmom on May 4, 2011

This poor blog has gone abandoned. But alas, I have returned to let you all know that I have survived. I have beyond survived. I am finished with law school and set to graduate with multiple awards and honors to show for it. I’m just finishing up an internship with a legal service organization and will remain there as a volunteer over the summer. I’ve been given a heads up that a position will open there in the near future and I will apply if that happens. In the meantime, I’ve applied for one “long stretch” job and a couple of part-time positions. My bar application has been submitted and I am going to be studying for that exam completely on my own. 

Alot of things have changed since I started school. My kids are now 11, 15, and 21. They have grown up alot since I started and I think that watching me apply myself to this venture has been good for all of them. I have had three more years to heal from the catastrophe that led me to law school and I am most certainly in a better position now. And, of course, I lost my mom and her partner. That is a hard loss and I am not looking forward to my first Mother’s Day without her.  I will also miss her presence at my graduation. She would most certainly be proud.

So lately I’ve been browsing the blawgs that I used to read everyday. It is great to see all the MILP’s doing so well! You are an inspiration to me as I start to contemplate the work that I will hopefully find. It might be a good time to blog again. We shall see. For today, thank you to all the MILP’s who blog faithfully. I am happy to say that I have succeeded in joining your ranks despite all odds and multiple obstacles! I hope you all have a fantastic day.


Posted in 3L, law school, Law School Life | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Disaster Strikes

Posted by newlawmom on October 4, 2010

So if I thought for a single minute that the last year of law school would be smooth sailing, I was wrong. I had actually thought about taking the semester off to deal with my mother’s illness, but I decided against it. We lost her companion of many years on 8/15, and my mom passed two weeks ago today. I suppose this is what non-traditional is all about, right? The problem is I am not functioning well. I have been just barely squeezing by since the beginning of the semester and it is starting to catch up with me. I will pull it off in the end, but for today I just feel like bitching. Whining, complaining and being generally difficult. I am behind on my work. Unprepared for class. Incompetent to represent any client and wondering why I ever thought I wanted to do this in the first place. I don’t care about the law as it relates to real property, land use, family, or criminal either. All I really care about right now is my bed and the fact I don’t see nearly enough of it. My children, whom I love dearly, are driving me insane and need far more than I am able to give them. The truth is I want to get in my car and drive far, far away. Sometimes I want to drive far, far away with my law books so I can catch up on my work, and other times I think I should just take a few days completely to myself. Sadly, I do not have time to drive away because every possible thing seems to demand my attention right now, as I have ignored everything since my mother got sick last April. In the end, I want to whine. OK? I’m done now. I’m going to bed so I can start this all over again tomorrow. And no, I haven’t done my reading for those classes yet either. But I’ll be sure to write again after I get caught up.

Posted in 3L, law school, Law School Life, loss, Parenthood | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

A happy law student

Posted by newlawmom on March 6, 2009

The memo is done – turned in – complete. Not perfect. I worked on it until almost the last possible moment. It has consumed my life for a month already.  It seems impossible that a writing assignment could be one of the most difficult academic endeavors of my life. I love to do research and write papers, and I have never found it difficult. Until law school. The worst thing is I know for a fact my paper had errors when I turned it in. Simple, stupid errors like a misplaced comma and an incomplete citation. Probably more than one of each. The details get me. That doesn’t even include the conclusion, law, analysis format and persuasive focus. Ask me how it is that a simple memo could be so difficult and I must say that I have no idea. But I sure am happy it’s done.  I did as well as I could have possibly done within the time I had to work with. I also know that many students didn’t start their memo until last week, and no matter how good they think they did, I probably did better. I think I worked through five serious rewrites before spending all day today making edits to the last one. And it wasn’t done. Because legal writing and research is never done and will never be perfect. This is something I must learn to accept. I will let you know the outcome on the grade. Last semester a 7.5 out of ten was the high grade in the class. Thank God for the curve, I guess. So….it’s done. Real life resumes tomorrow.

Posted in 1L, law school, Law School Life, Parenthood | Leave a Comment »

The Saga Continues

Posted by newlawmom on January 27, 2009

The unbelievable assault on poor people continues in my section. I really am at a loss for words, though I found a few today and gained some supporters along the way.  Perhaps I am overly sensitive? I will need to give this idea more thought.  For tonight there is no time to worry about it. I have a legal memo due this week as well as reading to do for Property and Con Law. I also have two boys here who require attention, with tonights drama focusing on a high ammonia level in the fishtank with associated dead fish. After hauling buckets of water and refreshing the tank with fresh water and appropriate chemical treatments, I think we have saved the remaining fish. PETCO issued my store credit and gave sonny boy and I good advice. Learning how to keep an aquarium is less complicated than law school, but sonny boy feels more upset over the dead fish than I feel over the poor people.  I would like to shield him from this problem, but for tonight all I can do is hope the remaining fish live through the day tomorrow. If so, we are good. If not? Well, who knows. I will deal with that if it happens. The really sad thing is I have no desire to do my law school reading and would much rather curl up in a blanket, watch tv and work on my cross-stitch. That is not to be, but it sure is tempting.  I hope my readers have a lovely day. Stay warm.

Posted in 1L, law school, Law School Life, Parenthood | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »


Posted by newlawmom on January 26, 2009

Either I am one or con law is putting me to sleep against my wishes. I am literally finding it impossible to stay awake in that class. I can’t help it. I need to find some interest in the material. I feel myself drifting out with a monotone voice in the background. Which is fine until that monotone voice calls my name, which has thus far happened twice. Pry eyes open – direct said eyes at prof and pray I am not repeating anything that has already been said. So far I’ve made out ok I think. Years ago, a client of mine who only spoke Arabic pointed out to me that my third shift staff was “narcoleptic”. This was not ok, considering we were paying the man a fair wage to stay awake and monitor this client. My supervisor and I pulled an unannounced visit and found the client feasting in the kitchen with a large grin on his face. The staff person was asleep in the bathroom with a chair propped up against the door. I’m thinking he thought any client who happened to wake up would do so to use the bathroom. The kitchen hadn’t occured to him I guess. Narcoleptic, narcoleptic became the sum of my relationship with the client, who spoke very limited English. Just hearing the word makes me smile. But I wouldn’t want the word associated with my performance in law school. That just wouldn’t be funny.

So….I am now officially a member of the negotiation and mediation competition team at my school. I had a really good time over the weekend and hope to compete in the future. If nothing else, it adds a bit to the resume. This week I have a major paper due for legal reasearch and writing as well as significant reading for the rest of my classes. I hope all my readers have a lovely day and a productive week. It’s hard to believe January is almost over already.

Posted in 1L, law school, Law School Life | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wednesday 1/21/09

Posted by newlawmom on January 21, 2009

Week 3 of the second semester of the first year of law school. How sweet. The problem is I am very far from being transformed into an attorney. I can’t even picture myself working as an attorney. When I look around my classroom I can’t picture most of them working as lawyers either. Contemplating summer work is difficult. I think my inability to believe the idea is interfering with my ability to get resumes in the mail. Tonight on the ride home I was sort of contemplating the places I might like to work. And law firms are not the answer. I think I would like to work in the legal department of a hospital, or more particularly, a mental health hospital. I wonder if they even have legal departments. If they don’t, they should. But I haven’t even inquired. So that is the task I am assigning to myself for this week: create my own list of ideal legal experiences and try to make one of them happen for this summer. While the idea of “trying out different things” that I talked about a few weeks ago makes some sense, it is not me. I have always devoted myself to the disabled and this is no time to stop.  A revelation for today. We shall see how long it lasts or where this road actually leads to. Guardian ad litem training is off for the time being due to events outside my control. I realize how much I was looking forward to that and need to find something to replace it with. The purpose of attending law school is to use my skills to help others – that is my purpose. I will not lose it along the way. Neither will I lose my desire to finish at the top of my class. On that note, I have met with two prof’s re: my exams and have a third appointment set up. Not to whine – just to understand and use this experience to improve next time.

On the homefront: sonny boy’s new fish had babies and ate them. This is not cool. We went out tonight and bought a “baby-saver” for the fish tank. I am learning more about fish than I ever needed to know. We also picked up five neons to go with the three mollies in the tank. PETCO promises if I can save the babies they will take them and adopt them out. This is encouraging.  I realize lately that the term adoption is not really meant to be interpreted as broadly as we apply it. If human babies are “adopted” and this is a lovely and beautiful thing that is meaningful and the equivalent of belonging to a family as if born there, we really need to think of a different term for cats and dogs and fish. Ditto for the words “foster home”. We need to afford a bit more dignity to our children than we do to our animals. And make no mistake – I am an animal lover. Children are not animals, and what works for the animals may not be adequate for the human beings we distribute to new homes without blinking. This is a problem.  Something needs to be done about it.  On the other hand, we shouldn’t be so quick to give up animals either. They are not objects. Just a thought.  If only the law was a solution – so far, it doesn’t look that easy. For the fish? Well, a trip to PETCO and a new tank beats being eaten by a big fish or flushed down the drain. So I guess adoption for fish is a positive outcome. I’ll try to remember that. I hope my readers have a lovely day. I can promise you that if a state worker showed up at your door and told you they had a new, safe, happy home for you  it wouldn’t be a happy day.

Posted in 1L, child welfare, foster care, law school, Law School Life, Parenthood, Purpose, trauma | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Back to school

Posted by newlawmom on January 4, 2009

I can’t believe its time already. I wish I could say I was as enthusiastic for this semester as I was for the first. I’m not. I think it has something to do with waiting for grades. The longer time drags out, the less confident I become. I have no idea how I did. So how am I supposed to go back happy and ready to perform? What if my best performance earned me C’s? I don’t think so. But there is no way of knowing for certain. I am unhappy. I wonder how my classmates are feeling under the exact same circumstances? If everyone feels like me, then not too many people will be full of smiles tomorrow.

So…on the list: Property, Contracts, Civ Pro, and Constitutional Law. Plus Legal Research and Writing. If I thought property would be straight forward, I was obviously missing something. I have my book. It doesn’t look all that simple. I don’t have the Constitutional Law books because they were not in stock. I will try to buy those tomorrow. On my list for tonight: reading for Property, packing my bag and a lunch for the morning, and a relatively early bedtime. The first week of the semester knocked me for a loop last time.

My revelation of the day? The first semester of law school amounts to a cruel initiation. I have definately been initiated, and only those people who have been there will ever understand exactly what that means. I would be at a loss for words in any attempt to explain it. I continue to remind myself that last semester, up to and through the reading week, I loved law school. Honestly loved it. So I’m not too sure what my problem is, other than the grades.  I hope I feel better about things soon. Tomorrow law school returns to the top of my priority list. For tonight, my kids await.  I hope my readers have a lovely day.

Posted in 1L, law school, Law School Life | 1 Comment »

Knowledge insufficient

Posted by newlawmom on December 5, 2008

A new revelation? No. Just a reminder to myself. I know the material. That has been sufficient for almost every educational test I’ve ever taken. But that is not the case now. I predict that a majority of law students in my class know the material. The question is one of strategy. How am I going to apply this knowledge to a novel exam question four times over the next two weeks and consistently perform better than my peers? I believe the answer is to stop learning the law now and focus on outlining and writing. Not on preparing outlines. Those are done. I’m talking about finding novel questions and outlining answer format. I have purposefully saved sample exam questions from those classes where they were made available. For torts, I am on my own.  Writing an excellent essay response is the key. It is the only thing that matters. Four times, two weeks, starting in three days. I am done learning law until January. Practice makes perfect, or so they say. We will see if that is true.

On strategy, it occurs to me that I am in a competitive environment.  I have never cheated in my life, and I don’t plan on starting now. However, smart people will take advantage of this open book concept. And it is in my interest to determine how to best use that to my advantage. I can bring anything I want, so long as I wrote it.  That should mean that I can prepare an outline for my answer almost totally in advance and use the parts of it that are necessary to answer the question, inserting facts and applying only those sections that are required. There are only so many questions that can be asked. The volume of information we have covered is not that large, believe it or not. From the broader perspective, the quantity is manageable. Under different circumstances, I would go in with nothing other than my knowledge and the outline I prepared.  It seems more fair. More reasonable. But in reality, if I have prepared this outline on my own, it is fair game for the exam and I would be a fool to pass it up.

Other exam strategies? Peace. Relaxation. Breathing. A hearty breakfast.  Spare pens. (yes, I am hand-writing my exams) That’s it. Prayer.  And confidence that I am as capable of succeeding here as anybody else. I have applied myself, attended class, done the reading, prepared the outlines, and devoted the past few months of my life to mastering this material. There is nothing else I can do. That’s why relaxation is key. It will be the hardest thing for me to do. I hope my readers have a lovely day. I hope someone who is freaking out about their exams finds something helpful here. Have a great day. I will write again on Monday, following my first exam: Civil Procedure.

Posted in 1L, law school, Law School Life | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Study week Thursday

Posted by newlawmom on December 4, 2008

So today I focused on criminal law. All day, and into the evening. I am calling it quits. I am tired and need to have the energy to do one more day of this tomorrow. All in all, I am very happy with my strategy of devoting an entire day to one class. I learned alot today, found out I was misunderstanding a few things, got that straightened out via email with the prof, and then took a sample exam and reviewed it. Criminal Law is my one closed book exam, so I transferred most of my outline onto index cards for study and memorization purposes.  I feel much more comfortable with the material tonight than I did this morning, so that is helpful. While I am not forcing myself to do more today, if I feel up to it later, I will read a bit  in the horn book. I think a hot bubble bath sounds nice. Or perhaps just some cookies, tea, and a movie. Maybe I will just go to bed and watch television there until I fall asleep. My honey works nights, so I am on my own until 1 or so. I think that is part of the reason why I like to study late into the night rather than early in the morning. Next semester, I need to be in class by 9 every day. I think that might kill me. I love law school, but mornings have never been my thing. Well, I have had a productive day. I hope all my readers have had a productive day as well. I will be back tomorrow night to give you that final update on reading week. Torts.

Posted in 1L, law school, Law School Life, night owl | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Eager to get busy

Posted by newlawmom on December 3, 2008

Well, I was having a productive day right until 3. Going to school and driving home was ok, but at home, my house is too loud. I decided earlier that I wouldn’t even attempt to study until it got quiet, and that time is still at least a half-hour away. I did grocery shopping, laundry, cooked dinner, and played on my facebook account amonst other non-law related activiites. Right now I just want to study. I am working on finishing my Civ Pro outline, after attending a review session for that class today. It was helpful. Worth the ride. But now I just want to finish it up. Tomorrow I’ll be home all day, which should work out fine. I will working on Criminal Law all day tomorrow. Friday is Torts.  The reading week is half over already. That’s too bad, because I am really enjoying it. Independent preparation for examinations is my strong suit. It is right up my alley. I love it. I am not thinking about exams, just the prep. I will be prepared. Everything else will take care of itself. So….I am bored. Waiting to get back to work. But there is nothing else to say here. I hope my readers have a lovely day. I hope everyone finds their 1L exam period to be tolerable.

Posted in Law School Life | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »