Ten plus ten

In my new role as a new 1L, I do manage to do other things than study law. They are law-related, but fun for me.
I recently became published in the Texas Bank Lawyer. To be a member, which I am not yet, one must attend ten meetings and publish ten blurbs for the publication. One of my friends on a message board told me it was quite something to have written on to a journal after the second week of school. It didn’t dawn on me that it was one of my school’s publications until I read the issue when my blurb was published. Duh. I just finished another one. I will have to revise it for sure, but if it is published, it will make me 6 and 2 for meetings and blurbs. I enjoy the technical writing. Thursday after my class ended at 5, I didn’t feel like going home yet, nor studying, so I worked on the blurb. Am I an expert in banking law, absolutely not. Do I have several checking accounts? Certainly, even a joint one with my sister using my money so she can care for Scoot and Hannah in Arizona.
The younger students are amazed by how much fun I think law school is. I thought for sure I would fail (one doesn’t have a clue until the one final exam at the end of the semester; and even then you don’t get grades until well into spring semester after tuition has been paid.)
After taking a practice midterm Thursday night on impulse-get ‘er done- I felt after looking at answers the professor gave to review, that I would certainly pass. Some of the examples were dreadful. I like to write, and 35% of the grade on the 8 hour take home final is on a polished paper. If I got full credit on writing style, this would leave room for being a dummy on content.
The midterm told me I could do it, and while I didn’t think I could apply the rules to the hypothetical, I did, and had fun doing it. Fun on a test, now that’s nutty. I do have that t-shirt that says, “What if there were no hypothetical questions”?
I talked about Sr. Lopez a while back. He’s the gentleman who cleans the library on weekends. I saw him yesterday. We always chat in Spanish. He makes my day. Here’s a guy, going about his business making the building clean, being proud of his work, and taking time to chat with students while respecting that we are working hard. He doesn’t bother those with their noses in books. If our eyes meet, we say hello and chat in a whisper. He puts up with my Spanglish.
I did join the Hispanic Law Students’ Association. I have not a drop of Latin blood in me. However, I tremendously respect the work the organization does, especially the boot camp put on before orientation. I will help next fall.
So Sr. Lopez is one of my heroes. My absolute hero at the law school is not a lawyer, either. Dr. Natalie Tarenko, whom I have written about before, if not here, then on the message board where I get my good advice, is the writing specialist for the law school. She is truly passionate about her work. Some of the students balk at re-learning high school grammar and punctuation, but it is crucial for legal writing, which is a whole different writing animal, pun intended. I am comma-impaired, but I have learned in law school when in doubt, stick in a comma,,,,, Dr. Tarenko is busy doing workshops for the students as she did for us summer entry students. I tell everyone I can to attend every one.
Dr. Tarenko actually reads this blog. She surprised me when I was dropping off my latest blurb for the Texas Bank Lawyer publication of the school, when she talked about my entry titled, Is Everything in Texas Fried? She only has positive things to say. Blog writing is not perfectly crafted, but she takes her busy time to read it. So, Dr. Tarenko, you made my day Friday, just as Mr. Lopez makes my day on Saturdays.
I can’t forget the other one in my life who makes a difference-Kitty Matthew. I wrote earlier how we had a deal about the office. He does not bother me while I am at the desk, and I provide a kitty cup outside the door. Usually I find him dead center in the office.
After I finished the practice midterm at midnight Friday, this time in the dining room, I saw Matt curled up on my briefcase. I never knew he was there. Good job, buddy.
Thanks to all who do little things that in reality make my days brighter.

Kingsfield is a phony

As it happens, ‘The Paper Chase’ has been running on TV lately. How coincidental that I just finished my first week of law school. At orientation, my Torts professor showed the scene where Hart gets “Socratized” by Kingsfield on Hawkins v. McGee, the ‘hairy hand case.’ Hart was grilled the entire class hour, then he went to the john and puked. All profs laugh at books, TV shows and movies about lawyers, because they just aren’t real. I do love John Grisham’s books. As an aside, I attended a writers’ conference one spring and a speaker said Grisham was, in his opinion, the worst writer of fiction. I disagree. Danielle Steele is. She has the longest run-on sentences with sections connected by the word, and. Yet, I buy her books on Kindle when I want mindless reading. I think those days of reading for pleasure are temporarily on hold.

Returning to the staff at my law school, everyone, and I mean everyone knows my name. Maybe my reputation preceded me due to the drama of the last two years. The ask me how I’m doing, a few have read this blog, and many know my personal story and are extremely kind. The professors are brilliant, and we 1Ls are not. Yet. One of my professors and I had a kind of strange relationship by email over the summer, where I would ask questions, and get electronically spanked. Today in his class, he discussed a case with one person for the entire hour. This happens, which is why, on the first day, I volunteered to be a judge in a hypothetical case(I just got a t-shirt that says, “What if there were no hypotheticals”? He did not belittle the man, nor did he shout or scream at him. He merely guided him to finding the correct responses very gently, in a positive manner that did not intimidate the student. As an another aside, he happens to sit directly behind me. After class, I and several others told him he did a good job of hanging in there. I also thanked him for not hurling on me. To think that it was day four of, yeah, law school, this young man did a hell of a job.

After class, I asked the prof. how long it would take to understand the subtle nuances of a case, as he had explained to the class during his encounter with my classmate. Allegedly, we should start getting a clue around October, and failing that, hopefully by final exams. You see, in law school, the course grades are based on one final exam, period. With few exceptions. The prof, the one from the summer smack down (which was fun, I like to interact with my teachers,) explained my question slowly and gently. It’s my favorite class, and having an exciting teacher that is superior is terrific.

During vet school, I was always critical of whether a professor could teach or not. You see, it’s one thing to know your subject matter. It is another to be able to convey that knowledge properly to a class. All of my professors can teach. One was a little dry during the week, with some flashes of humor. Today, he still had his dry, matter of fact way to teach, but boy was he hilarious! I’m not afraid to laugh out loud, as I did at one Fort Collins High School graduation where a speaker called teachers “warped and wretched freaks of nature.” My friend and I, dressed in regalia and sitting behind the kids, audibly cracked up. No one else in Moby Gym said a word.

The professor who subbed for my absent prof, who returns next week, was super also. I’ve known the course prof since I was admitted right before Earl died, so I had to defer for a year. He still remembers he owes me a steak dinner from May of 2009.  I liked that the temporary professor disciplined some people to speaking loudly, and not speak when he was speaking so as not to interrupt his thought process. He was so animated, I sat riveted to my seat.

My Legal Practice professor, a visiting professor, had us fill out an information sheet about ourselves. I put my blog on the sheet in case she was interested. She emailed me about my life information, and that she had read this blog. That was so kind, especially since I thought we had class on Wednesday, and it turned out to be Tuesday, so I had my first skipped class on the second day. I raced up to her office, and we had a nice chat. All the professors and deans have open door policies.

I have no idea how well I’ll do, especially on exams. I was dead last in the summer program and was thankful to pass. I think I have some medical issues that need further investigation, one suggested by my professor that I never considered, even as a career teacher dealing with kids who had the same issue. Wow. It would explain a lot.

So, many thanks to everyone at Texas Tech University School of Law for a wonderful week. And, as a recently graduated lawyer told me as I helped him with his practice bar tests, because he is blind, there is no homework in law school. Right. Special thanks to the law library IT staff for helping me overcome computerphobia and help me become a technogeek before the other students arrived. It put this technoidiot ahead of the game. Thanks for not running when you saw me coming. Lastly, before orientation, I was studying a program to help me prepare in the empty library, and  Mr. Lopez, who cleans the basement where they put the 1Ls with the bats, thank you for introducing yourself to me in Spanish, and for conversing with me in a language I try to perfect.

So, kind readers, law school is tough, but it’s not due to people with inflated egos trying to put you down and render you a babbling moron. People at TechLaw actually want us to succeed and fulfill our goals and dreams. If I fail, it won’t be for lack of trying and lack of open-door help.