The Office of Career Development at my law school likes putting on road trips to get students networking. I saw free food and signed up. This networking trip involved a two hour drive into the Fox River Valley area to meet with two medium size firms and two in-house counsels for large organizations. I found the entire trip very helpful.
For starters, I like the area. I like cornfields that suddenly turn into industrial parks. I like how happy everyone was. I like the food they fed me.
Most of all, though, the trip confirmed my thoughts about working in a law firm v. in-house counsel and gave me some ideas for what I want to do after graduating. Of course, what I want to do still changes on a daily basis, but this time it was grounded in seeing real lawyers in action.
A very worthwhile trip.
“I think capitalism is a relatively new phenomenon,” says a student to my left.
My head snaps up. I’ve been zoned out but a claim like that cannot go unchallenged. Even the professor looks surprised. He pushes back a little. The student stands his ground.
Original societies were inherently communal and since capitalism represents a relatively new movement, it will soon disappear, he says.
The professor protests. In my mind I start marshaling arguments. I’ve got historical, moral, and common sense arguments waiting to burst free…but I swallow them down. This is not a good time or place to have a discussion about property rights. Theoretically, we’re learning about water law. The statement, as far as I was paying attention, has nothing to do with the case before us. The professor has already moved on.
The student’s statement, while surprising, actually wasn’t very…surprising. What surprise me more is that I don’t hear more of it here in Madison. No doubt my political beliefs put me in the minority here, but I don’t often feel it. Apathy seems to be a more prevalent sentiment.
I clearly hold very different views from my classmate, however, so it will be interesting to see how the rest of the semester plays out…and how easily I swallow my arguments in the future.
As previously noted, I love where I work. I love the chance to put into practice the things I’m learning in law school. Sometimes, however, work starts putting into practice things I haven’t learned yet and it gets confusing. The problem is, usually I don’t know what I don’t know. I will read hundreds of pages at work and feel like something is eluding me, but feel uncertain what. Then I do my reading for class the next day and discover that all the reading I’ve been doing is about the delegation doctrine or riparian rights or some other fairly basic legal theory I haven’t been introduced to yet.
The problem is, I’ve been reading, say, textualist critiques of legislative delegation but have no idea what delegation even means, much less legislative delegation. Then I show up to class and discover there are some very foundational principles – or building blocks – that suddenly puts everything in perspective.
It feels a bit liking attempting calculus when you haven’t finished algebra. (But maybe less extreme.) Or like riding a bicycle before you’ve put wheels on the bike.
I can’t tell you what a rush it is, though, when everything comes together. Maybe I’ve been using the wrong analogies and it is like the story of the blind men and the elephant. I’ve been groping at a tale thinking it was a rope only to gain sight and realize how much more there is to it. Elephants are super exciting!
In some ways, the experience is both a blessing and a curse. I’m in the dark until I have my eureka moment, but when I have that moment I suddenly am vastly more educated than most novices. I worry it makes me annoying in class. But on the flip side, I always have something to say!
I have gone cold turkey on coffee before but I think I accidently went hot coffee. In the course of pulling an all-nighter I drank so much of the stuff the very idea of coffee now turns my stomach.
Will it last? Who knows. Desperation for caffeine may drive me back. But for now the overabundance of it has left me wanting none!
I’m running on about 30 minutes of sleep and won’t get home till after 10 tonight. Then I get to do it all over again tomorrow. Feeling a little loopy but I keep repeating the Dowager Countess’s words and I keep chugging.
“I’m doing so well today!” I think to myself. Then I promptly overfill my mug and dump (thankfully room temperature) coffee into my lap.
If that isn’t analogous of my weekend I don’t know what is.
I am half a week into law school and already treading water. What I thought were allergies yesterday turned out to be a fairly bad head cold turned fever. I took the afternoon and evening off. Unfortunately, that left everything for today and today…well, see above for how well today is going.
Actually, I feel much more cheerful than my stressed out self probably has a reason to be. I have a Law Review cite check packet due tomorrow and I’m not prepared. But it is fun. I like the work I’m doing. However, I hope this weekend doesn’t reflect how the rest of my semester is going to go!
Neighbor: “Can I give you a compliment?”
Neighbor: “You look nice!”
Me: “Thank you! First day of school!”
Neighbor: “Well, you kill it in that little black dress!”
Bring on 2L year!