Monthly Archives: October 2011

Where Did the Summer Go?

ORIGINALLY POSTED 7/28/10–You ever have one of those days where you start all kinds of projects but never complete any? That’s been my summer and though it’s winding down my “to do” list keeps growing. Let’s face it, my goal to finish reading all five of my Law & Lit. novels before school starts isn’t happening. I had good intentions, but it always felt “too early” to start worrying about next semester’s reading. Instead I wanted to focus on all that was going on real-time: I took my kids running, hung out at the pool, spent time with family, had friends over for dinner and just enjoyed life. It was well worth it.

Back at work I’ve had a busy couple of weeks with several assignments pending. Soon I’ll no longer be an intern and I’m sad about that. My co-interns (now officially my friends) and I often talk about how great the experience has been. The City did a great job matching us up. We learned a lot from the work, but also from each other. It helps too that we all have such outgoing personalities and were ready for anything. Most days we took at least twenty minutes in the afternoon to clear our heads and laugh until our faces hurt. Good times.

As an update, I’m still looking for an attorney for my aunt who was hit by a car in Nov. I’ve done some leg work getting her documents together and organizing them for an attorney to review. We’ve got a two year statute of limitations, which unfortunately, is not long enough for me to finish school and do this myself. She’s got over $6000 worth of medical bills that she shouldn’t have to pay, so I’ve got to keep pushing for her.

Good news: My best friend Letty and her family are back from Guam and now stationed in Texas. She’s closing on a house in Schertz tomorrow and we’ll get to see each other all the time. I’ve done without her for a couple of years now, so it’s good to have my sister home.

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Justice In Action (or Watching the “Little Guy” Stick it to “the Man”)

ORIGINALLY POSTED 7/14/10–Clearly law school summers are continuations of the semester rat race with only a change of venue. One of my co-interns and I were discussing how first semester 1Ls have the best life and don’t even know it. Socratic method aside, there’s a crazy amount of hand-holding and accommodation afforded to 1Ls because everyone expects you to be clueless. Around November of 1L you meet Career Services and that’s when you’re officially in the race.

Case in point: Here I am mid-internship, and I am already looking to find another awesome placement for NEXT summer. My resume, writing samples and cover letters are done and I’m registered for several job fairs. This, my friends, is what they don’t tell you: after that first semester plan to add essentially another course to your schedule called “Job Hunting.” It’s totally an independent study course so nobody’s gonna pressure you to get stuff done, but don’t expect much if you don’t do much. I guess when everyone else has a summer internship and you don’t that’s the equivalent of a big fat “F.” And so it goes….

Last week I went to Municipal court and watched trials. As we two interns sat with the prosecutor I noticed that people looked at us differently. We did the obligatory whispering and shared information as the witnesses testified. We had to look like a formidable group; three of us against one pro se defendant. I tried really hard to listen to the cases objectively and, in my head, pick sides based on who made their case. In one trial I watched a Spanish-speaking defendant argue his way out of a public intoxication ticket using a translator. It was a weak case and so when the judge said “not guilty” I had a hard time not smiling. The defendant’s closing got to me: He asked why, in the absence of proof (no video, no sobriety test), his word was worth less than that of an officer.  I hope that this experience demonstrated to him and his family that the justice system, although imperfect, strives to do the right thing.

Summer…Slower, But Not Slow

ORIGINALLY POSTED 6/30/10–Summer is almost half over and I’m just getting started. I know the end is fast approaching because I’m scheduling appointments for the days leading up to school and those first few weeks back. Seriously?! Plans for September?! Normally, my type-A personality would rejoice knowing so far in advance where to be and what to do. BUT…as my calendar fills up the weight of my third year in law school, and still having another year after that, makes me weary. I can’t think of it just yet. Although…

I got online this weekend to search for text book deals. I found about half of what I needed and got them for WAY less than retail. It’s sick to pay upwards of $100 for a book that you will use for about 4 months and then sell back for $15. As a result, early book hunting is essential. Don’t think your classmates aren’t wheelin’ and dealin’ trying to get the best price. They are, we are…you will too.

It occurs to me that I didn’t say anything about grades posting last time and so I should probably wrap up last semester before moving too much further on. So, I was pleased with my performance. I definitely learned that it pays to stay on task consistently. I had to grit my teeth all semester long to keep focused when I was going stir crazy, but now I’m so happy that I did. I decided not to not take 1st Amendment as pass/fail and wondered later if I’d regret that choice. Ultimately, I worked really hard in that class and so getting the grade was all the more rewarding. Also, after the challenge of ConLaw, I had something to prove to myself.

Life at home with “just” work is a nice change. The boys and I went swimming on Saturday and I got my first summer sunburn. It was so relaxing floating in the cool water with just my nose and toes sticking out. July 4th is this weekend and Megan’s coming to visit!  Not so fast, summer.  Linger just a little longer….

The Wonderful World of Government Internships

ORIGINALLY POSTED 6/16/10 – In our last episode I thought my blogging was done, but not so! I’ve been asked to share, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation: Law School Style.”

Thus far my internship with the City of Austin has been great! Working in municipal government is not unlike my last job at the UT System. Both entities are involved in so many different projects that there are countless legal areas to explore. The wonderful thing about this internship is that I don’t have to settle in one spot; in fact, they encourage us to investigate as many areas as possible. I feel like I’ve been given a Golden Ticket and Willy Wonka just opened the door to the factory!

Week one I attended my first City Council meeting and that was eye-opening. Austin sure has a segment of vocal people with all manner of concerns that they want heard. Often, issues that come up in meetings turn into questions for the law department.

Week two I went to court and heard a motion on a demolition permit. I also watched a Med-Mal case and a Negligence claim. I saw several attorneys with different court room argument styles, some of which I liked more than others.

We met at Austin Police Headquarters last week to attend the Chief’s Monday briefing. We toured the old jail and the various investigatory divisions from financial crimes to homicide. I also took my picture with the Chief which was awesome! In between all this I’ve written several memos and put my trusty Blue Book and legal research skills into practice on attorney-client issues, waiver, statutory construction, and legislative intent.

This week we’ve toured Austin’s Water Treatment and Waste Water plants. I’m impressed with the process and how clean our water is here. Generally I’m amazed that lawyers are needed for such varied legal services; who knew? Add to that all the employment issues that surface in any large entity and it’s no wonder this place is jumping. Speaking of, I’ve got to get jumping myself—we’re off to tour the Federal and District Courthouses!

Farewell, Spring!

ORIGINALLY POSTED 5/19/10–For the last few weeks there was tension in the air punctuated by swells of panic as test after test came and went. Then…the day after, in the same hallways and in the library, there was peace. I realized at that moment that I really love this place and I’m glad to be on this journey.

I’d like to thank the Academy for the privilege of this honor, but it had nothing to do with me being here. Instead, plenty of others did, so here goes: My thanks and gratitude go to Dean Hurst, Emily and Lori in Admissions. I’ve so enjoyed being a Texas Wesleyan blogger and student ambassador. Thanks first for giving me the opportunity to prove that I belong here and second, for letting me share my experiences with anyone who would listen.

My admiration and respect go to Dean Short who is not only a fabulous Property professor, but a wonderful person. I spent lots of time in his office this year and always found him to be insightful, professional, honest and pretty darn funny. Thanks for keeping an open door and inspiring me to work harder in my classes.

To my friends: thanks for sharing your thoughts, arguments and opinions—you made me think and redefine my own perspective which helped me grow. In particular to Jonathan, my Westlaw partner and one of my best friends: Thanks for constantly being someone I could count on and for making me laugh when I wanted to cry. You are one cool guy!  Also, to Megan for demonstrating how to live a life of conviction; it’s rare to find someone who always strives to do the right thing even when it’s difficult. There should be more people like you.

For now, I begin my internship on Monday and am looking forward to all that the opportunity has to offer. I’ve got a stack of books to read, an entire season of House M.D. to catch up on, baseball games to attend and evening sunsets to see from my deck.  Yeah, I love law school but this summer break is very much welcome. It will be nice to plug back into the real world…for now.   Have a blessed and safe summer!

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