Balancing Acts

A working single mom attending law school

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Posts Tagged ‘1L memo’

The final 2 weeks of 1L!

Posted by newlawmom on April 22, 2009

Two weeks from today, I will be officially done with my first year of law school! How cool is that? I keep a real journal and for the past two days I have refrained from any self-criticism. It is nothing short of a miracle that I have come this far. I am grateful for the opportunity, satisfied that I will retain my scholarship, and proud of myself for pulling this off. Classes are over and I am free to move on, although there are review sessions scheduled for the rest of this week.

Tonight – the memo, which I believe should get me a much better grade than the first draft. It is edited and there are no errors in punctuation, citations, etc. And I do mean zero. There are no point headings hanging at the bottom of the page, and all the formatting is perfect. I am pleased with it, although I am confident the final grade for the semester will reflect my earlier errors. I am at peace with everything for today. The paper will be turned in tomorrow and it really will be a relief. I hope all my readers have  a lovely day.


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Posted by newlawmom on April 20, 2009

Yes, it’s a verb. I am now on page 19 of the revised memo, with one more to go. Within the hour, I will have it written. But that will not be the end of it . . . oh no! Look at those elipses <– ! They are perfect. The ALWD Citation Manual says so. 540 pages of legal writing rules including appendices 1-8. Who knew? I pray the adjustment to Bluebook isn’t that difficult because that is what is needed for law review, or so I understand. My draft was littered with ALWD rules when it came back from the prof. Who knew there was a special rule that says when the same page of the same case is being discussed in the same paragraph it is not necessary to use Id. Who knew? Not me. Do I care? Yes. Do I want to care? No. I want to cry. I am not a detail person. I don’t care if the underlining carries through the comma or ends before it. Except I do care and I need to get it right. If only I was a detail oriented person this would all be fine. But I’m not. So I need to print out this 20 page paper when I’m done with it and spend a solid day checking every cite and every punctuation mark and every idea for validity.  I need to mark it all up. And then I need to very carefully get back on my computer and fix all the errors. Oh yes, I know they are there. But my client is free, because my ideas are good and my argument is solid. Prof. says . . . if the judge sees errors, he will not be persuaded by my fine arguments. He will assume I am a careless clod. Actually, he wrote “You have some good ideas. Be more careful of formatting, citations, + wordings  – all can work against you even though none directly relate to your argument.” So, I am memo-ing. And because this is my blog, I can make up that word and punctuate it any way I like. So there. Seriously, I want the high grade on this memo, and that is going to take some serious doing. Wish me luck.

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1L updates, 2L plans

Posted by newlawmom on March 20, 2009

The more I say the higher risk of losing my anonymity and I know that but at the same time the purpose of the blog is to share the whole story for anyone who might be interested in it, and that requires sharing as I go along. So…this week I took a midterm exam for a grade, took a sample short exam in another class, participated in a week long series of speakers regarding human rights and access to fresh and potable water, practiced my oral argument in front of my peers, and continued to look for work. I got my dreaded memo back, although there is no grade yet, and fully recognize that I could have done a better job if I had more time to put into it. I have found a new job opportunity – one that I would really like to have. Still don’t have a job though, not even one interview, and that hurts. I am an honor student on a full scholarship, I have an outstanding work history, references galore, and no opportunities to work in a new field. It rots and I am starting to feel quite depressed about it.  On a more positive note, I have my tentative schedule of fall classes and I am quite pleased. I was accepted into a criminal appeals clinic for my 2L year where I will have the opportunity to pursue an appeal for an indigent client. Other classes on the agenda include Tax, Evidence, Criminal Procedure (Investigative), and Trusts and Estates. I hope that the professors are good but I am not able to take classes based on professor. Scheduling is much more important. This schedule leaves me with no class on Friday, although I might need to devote that entire day to the clinic. I’m not sure how that works exactly. Tomorrow I will be working an open house event. Sunday I will study all day. And tonight I will study until I fall asleep in my books. So that was my week as it relates to school.

On the parenthood front: I found time to take my boys out for dinner and to the bookstore. We also did a bit of clothes shopping. I cooked dinner four nights out of five, kept their room clean, monitored their homework, got them outside to play, and watched a small amount of television with them. I spoke with my daughter on the phone a few times, including one midnight call when she called me in tears over a classic teenage girl social crisis. And this is all in addition to to the simple daily task of making sure everyone gets to school in the morning, takes a shower at night, and gets to bed on time. (And I also spoke on the phone to my sister and my mother, as every dutiful woman should.)

Those things I didn’t do: Clean the house, do yardwork, read the book I bought, get my own laundry done, spend time with my honey, spend any time with friends, play any games, or read a newspaper. Sad but true. Maybe next week. I hope my readers have time to get everything done that you need to do. Get outside, enjoy the day, spend time with your kids, and don’t forget yourself. I’ll be back Monday.

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The memo and oral arguments

Posted by newlawmom on March 17, 2009

Will that memo not go away? No. That memo is going to live in eternity and confound me until I find out just how I did on the thing. Lest I forget, the memo does need to form the basis of my oral argument (which is two weeks away…). So Legal Writing and Research Prof. took today’s class to tell us how many problems he is finding in the memos. And I was…relieved. If the problems are as bad as he indicates, I should be in good shape. Not sheparidizing, ignoring caution flag treatment Westlaw style, spelling errors, formatting errors, you name it errors. Misrepresentations in the facts. That seemed like a biggie. So…my few punctuation errors and imperfect cites shouldn’t be too much of a problem. In some ways I hope he was exaggerating. In other ways I hope its true. Isn’t that rotten?

Oral arguments don’t sound as bad as I thought they might. I think I’ll do fine. I will practicing this week and next. I really do know the case so how bad can it be? I’ll let you know when it gets here. Otherwise? I’m good to go. Fully prepared for tomorrow. Still without a job. But I should have time to make some follow up calls on Thursday. See you tomorrow. Have a great day.

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Busiest week to date

Posted by newlawmom on March 4, 2009

By far, this is the busiest week of law school I have ever had. There is really not much time to write, and I apologize. I went to a panel presentation today on balance, and I can assure you I haven’t found it. However, neither have the panelists, so I feel better about it. The legal memo is due and it is creating intensity in the building in addition to tension in my own life. I got called on in Con Law today and I was….Prepared! I was ready to dance. It was awesome. Friday night I am giving myself some wine to celebrate my accomplishments. Thats all folks. I need to get back to work.

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The best part of law school

Posted by newlawmom on February 25, 2009

It isn’t the classes! For me, I enjoy the opportunity to practice what lawyering is. For today, that involved acting as an attorney in a mediation practice. This is the fourth one I have done and I have enjoyed it more than anything else in law school to date. I am officially a member of the competition team and I am looking immensely forward to representing my school in future events. Today’s experience leaves me feeling happy despite spending ten hours at school today. That does not include the lengthy commute.

The legal memo is also practicing what lawyering is. I do enjoy the idea of it. But the pressure of grades and the need for academic perfection in the writing is taking most of the pleasure out of it. Nevertheless, I managed to enjoy working on my statement of facts today as I had the opportunity to manipulate the facts to work in my client’s favor. That is about pure language and creative thought. The facts don’t change. It is all a matter of presentation. And I think I pulled it off. I have framed the material in such a way that my client looks innocent and I have done that without a single mis-statement of fact. How cool is that?

The bad news? I went to the bookstore and found the Con Law supplement that people are recommending. I wanted to cry. That was not what I had in mind. So…I flipped through several options and left the bookstore with nothing. I will need to give this more thought before I spend any cash. Other than that, I had a happy law school day. Plus I came home to happy, well-behaved children who greeted me with hugs and smiles. Not bad for 9 and 12 year old boys, huh? I hope my readers have a great day. To the 1L class of 2009 reading here, for today, I still love law school.

Posted in 1L, law school, Parenthood | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »