Balancing Acts

A working single mom attending law school

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Posts Tagged ‘legal memo’

Winding down

Posted by newlawmom on November 3, 2009

The semester is coming to a close, and I am realizing just how much time my clinic has taken. We have been working diligently on a major memo over the course of the semester, and I just submitted my “almost final” draft which stands right now at 22 pages. It needs to be revised again, I think once, but maybe twice more. The important thing is it’s almost over. I would like to say that when its done its going to be my finest piece of writing ever. But the truth is that legal writing is not my strong suit. I am better at writing non-legal materials, although I haven’t had any opportunity to do that in some long time now. So – the memo should be my best piece of legal writing ever. So, on this Tuesday evening, I have time left over. And that is encouraging. I will take the evening off and devote tomorrow to getting ahead a little bit. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to say that. I hope all my readers are having a great week. Good luck to all law students through the hell of a month that November is.


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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.

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

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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Calm and methodical

Posted by newlawmom on February 20, 2009

That is my goal for the weekend. Anxiety is ready to take me over. The memo, the job search, too many snow days for the children, and too much reading yet to do. And the exams seem to be looming over my head already. So, I just want to stay calm and work on this memo. If I accomplish that, I will be happy.  I will be taking a break tomorrow night to go out for dinner, and on Sunday I will do some house cleaning. That is literally although there are other types of house cleaning that I should consider doing in the not too distant future. I hope all my readers have a great weekend and accomplish whatever it is you need to do. See you Monday.

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Posted by newlawmom on February 19, 2009

I went from 6AM until 6PM today, took a three hour break to clean house, cook dinner, supervise homework, and in general make up for spending zero time with the children this week. Now its back to work. I wish my commute was shorter. It is such a waste of time to spend two or more hours in the car each day. Somehow my faith in LEEWS has not lasted. I probably should listen to the tapes again before we get into exam season.  Legal memo? I guess I feel a little better about it after meeting with the prof today. I always seem to feel pretty good about it during and immediately following class. I’m just not sure where all that confidence and knowledge goes when I sit down later to work on the thing. For tonight, I will not be working on the memo. I need to read and prepare for property. We’re wrapping up future interests and unborn widows. Go figure. I love property. Con law not so much. Nevertheless, I need to do some con law reading tonight as well. I have a plan for the weekend: Saturday is devoted to reading for the week. Sunday is devoted to the memo, and Sunday evening is devoted to job applications/research. (I’m just going to apply for more jobs every week until I hear something from somebody.) So…that was my day. I need to go finish it. I hope everyone who reads this has a lovely day and gets a peaceful night’s sleep.

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Legal memo continued

Posted by newlawmom on February 18, 2009

So the grade is average. Exactly, precisely average. And that is unacceptable.  Last semester started out even worse than average and I pulled it off so I will remain hopeful. The legal memo will be at the top of my to-do list through this week and next. So…it is what it is. For tonight, I am reviewing my research, collecting notes, and scheduling a meeting with the prof to review my outline/initial thoughts. I need to have an excellent concept of what I’m doing before the weekend. I love to write, but legal writing is by far the most difficult writing I have ever done. Other news:

Sonny boy announces that he wants to be an army man and go to war or be a miner. NOT what this mother would choose for her awesome 9 year old. I don’t know where he gets these ideas. But of course I say “Wow – those are some big plans you have. Awesome.”  And I mean it. Who am I to tell this kid what he should or should not aim to do when he grows up? But seriously – let’s hope this wears out soon. I wish I had more time with my children. But I don’t. And this week is turning out to be particularly bad on that front. Right now I’m blogging on the couch while they watch cartoons and take turns in the shower. What I need to do is go work on my memo. I hope all my readers have a lovely day. If anyone has any great legal memo advice, please send it my way.

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

Legal Memo round 2

Posted by newlawmom on February 17, 2009

The heat is on. I get one grade tomorrow. That was like a sample I guess. The real deal is due next week. I have done my research and started outlining but I need to step it up now. Persuasive writing in support of a motion to dismiss. I need to see the grade because that dictates how much I need to keep or change my approach on this paper. I love writing. I did fine last time but it sure is a lot of work.  My main weakness is proofreading. It’s in the details and that is not my strong suit. So…I want an A and it will consume the next 10 days of my life.  Other news:

The boys are on a semi-vacation. They spent the last two days with my sister. They are home tonight and heading out with Grandpa for the day tomorrow. Thursday is back to school. What is the point, I ask. These kids have not had a solid week of school since before Christmas.  Next Friday, college freshman comes home for a week. It will be nice to have her around, but it does make my evening study habits more difficult to maintain. So that’s it. One legal memo and three children. Nothing else matters until March. I hope my readers have a lovely day.

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Oh, the memo

Posted by newlawmom on November 4, 2008

What to make of the memo. I have spent more hours working on one ten page paper than I have ever devoted to a ten page paper in my lifetime. I have another hour or two ahead of me, double checking and correcting citations, capitalizations, and minor edits if needed. I think I am satisfied with it, although it is really almost impossible to know. Worst case scenario? I missed a major case that makes my analysis wrong. I sure hope not. Second worst case? Well, you never know. I do believe I am developing a love-hate relationship with my legal skills class. Perhaps with my entire law-school career. No. Not yet. Just the legal skills class. I can not wait to turn this paper in tomorrow. I can wait to see the grade. As a matter of fact, I would prefer to never see the grade. I don’t want to know.

I do want to know the outcome of this election. I am thrilled that all of my friends and family got out to vote today. Even my client with a major brain injury went out to vote today. If he can do it, nobody is excused. I am very eager to move on with school tomorrow, with the memo out of the way. Tomorrow’s focus is contracts – I am taking an old exam in the morning, going to class early in the afternoon, and meeting with my study group after class to work on our outline and compare notes on the exam answers. We’re thinking that using the outline for an old exam should show us where the outline is lacking. Tomorrow night will be devoted to reading Civil Procedure and Criminal Law for this weeks assignment. So…I hope my readers have a lovely day. I hope our country has a lovely day. And I hope the sun shines in my little world for the rest of the week.

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Monday, 11/3/08

Posted by newlawmom on November 3, 2008

Today was awesome. Now I just have to finish editing that memo of mine. Childcare arrangements are in place, and although it is true that I was engaged in a 1L freakout, well, I’m still there. It all seems real to me. There are three weeks left. It won’t kill me. I need to get back to work right now, but I want to encourage everyone dropping by here to vote tomorrow. I will find time to vote before I go to school. Everyone in my family will be voting tomorrow, including my lovely college freshman who I miss very much. I am arranging a bus ticket for her to come home for Thanksgiving. The boys are great. My mom not so great.

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