And the week just keeps getting better

My week started of with the torts mid-term.

Monday morning mid-term, a 1-2 punch De Sade would have been proud of. Then, of course, my computer decides the campus network isn’t worth connecting to and my exam doesn’t get sent. Fortunately our IT guys are great – saved.

Then I learn from a professor that my style of writing sucks. Not in so many words, the prof. phrased it better, but essentially I don’t write like a lawyer. Not even a baby one.

Today, the coup de grâce arrives.

I’m being audited.

This week officially sucks and it is only Wednesday.

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E-mail flub

There is nothing like burning half of your network with a single mistake. At least I can hope only half of my network is burned.

Gmail has this great grouping tool. Unfortunately, on cell phones like mine – okay, people with fat fingers – it is easy to select the wrong group and send a forward to everyone you have ever exchanged email with instead of the 10 people with whom you intended to share it.

So now, instead of a continuation of a conversation a group of friends had, everybody who knows me or had occasion to exchange an email once five years ago thinks I’m an extremist whack job.

They are mostly right. I’m not an extremist, but the whack job probably applies for a couple of weeks.

Maybe I can join a support group.

Hi, my name is Mr. X and I am a recovering email idiot.

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I know this one

My contracts professor stands at the front of the classroom in a tailored suit and looks across the room slowly.

“The next way an offer can be terminated is something with which all of you are very familiar: Rejection.”

As the laughter died you could practically hear that one guy screaming to himself, “What? I don’t get rejected often.”


You do.

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Old friends and lost comrades

While working my way through learning LexisNexis, I found a people-finder section. And in it, I found old running buddy’s phone number.

When I was in the Army, in Germany, one of my best friends — no, he was my best friend — and I were so close we could finish each others sentences and knew when a scene in a bar was about to go bad. He was my brother in every sense that mattered.

He was the guy who always had my back. We met on detail and became fast friends. During Desert Storm, we were in different companies, but still located the same general area. I ran into him once at a phone bank they set up for us. We also met and cried at a field funeral for a lost comrade-in-arms.

As the Army frequently does, we left Germany and were sent to different bases. Before I got out of the Army, I had heard he re-enlisted and made his E5. Several years later, I heard he was out of the Army and living in South Carolina. That surprised me. He was always a tried and true Texan.

The years haven’t treated many of the guys with whom I served well. One crawled into a bottle and remains there still. One went back to Iraq and bought it. Several are disabled. Matt apparently had a tough go of it. He was back at his parents’ house in Texas working 3rd shift at Lowes. We talked for 15 minutes and it was a pained, awkward conversation. The ease and carelessness of youth were gone.

Some of the guys from 4-66 Armor in Aschaffenburg have discussed getting together for a reunion to drink a couple of beers and swap lies about the old days. When I mentioned it to Matt, he quietly said money was an issue. And then it hit me. Matt is just getting back from the Gulf. His trip was longer than some and he hasn’t quite made the journey back from that day under the Saudi sun when we said goodbye to another friend.

In that 15 minutes, I was reminded of one reason I came to law school. There are thousands of veterans like Matt, a little lost and trying to find their way back to a home that no longer exists.

Many of those warriors are on paths that lead them into legal issues, criminal, civil or family law. Our society is intolerant of people coloring outside the lines. They need assistance from people that understand why you can’t sleep with your back exposed to a door or window or why your blood pumps a little faster walking across the quad between buildings.

Our veterans are in need of lawyers to help guide them through the morass that is VA paperwork and adaptation issues.

Am I my brother’s keeper? Not yet. But I will be in three years.

We need to help them find their way home.

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Voluntary classes … are all law students geeks

Yes. We are.

Next question.

In the past week I have been to two voluntary seminars and an extra class (with homework) and joined a book club. Even with all the pressures and time stealers my classmates and I have seemed to find ways to add extra work.

The seminars were presented by professors or successful alumni. They were great asides — about the law without being about torts, civ pro or contracts. The extra class will be good for me and the other 20-something students in it, but we have added more demands on our time.

That precious time.

Frankly, I wonder if the time demands need to be so restrictive or if the school and the ABA are just preparing us to bill in 6 minute increments. Enough of the off topic questioning. I have a a paper due tomorrow, 5 cases to brief and I’m behind in lawyering –I mean, I feel behind in lawyering. Okay, I admit it. I have about 8 pages left to read from the last assignment with another chapter coming up.

Posting is not going to be as frequent as I had hoped. Frankly, I don’t have time to craft witty, expressive, insightful columns. After class, reading, briefing and studying, I am reduced to reading the Target shopper while laughing hysterically about the Wonder Twins moment.

It is that moment I realize I am lost. After only three weeks of law school, I can never go back to the me that showed up here. My world view has already been affected.

God help me, I’m looking forward to finishing my torts assignment. Self defense is fun. My hysterical laughter creeps back up when the image pops up of the professor standing in the front of the class with his arms at his side saying, in that time-weathered New York accent, “I’m cooked.”

Me too. I’m considering attending another additional seminar. I’m cooked. Roast geek ala law student. Medium rare and climbing.


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Social media: bane of the law student and lawyer?

So, a fellow student asks me if I think social media will help him land a job. This is a confusing question – we are both 1Ls and therefore by definition: dangerously ignorant. And social media is not an easy topic for any industry – much less law, which has little things like professional responsibility and Bar rules and I think it is actually forbidden to use anything smaller than a four-syllable word before Noon on Tuesdays. Oh yeah, and we 1Ls are not allowed to contact anyone regarding jobs until after Nov. 1.

That said, social media is fickle. If you log on to try and take something from social media, the evil little … never mind … it will most likely not respond. After all, nobody likes that guy who walks up to you on a city street, introduces himself and asks if any of your friends are hiring. Networking just doesn’t work that way.

I participate in social media because I am a writer. Someone, who was if not wiser, then surely older than me, said: I write because I cannot not write.

Might that turn into something? It might — I have been writing professionally for more than a decade. Sure there were years when I had other jobs to pay for Ramen noodles. I even remember sleeping in my truck a time or two. And there were times when I had to reject assignments and jobs because I was too busy.

If you want to learn to participate in social media, grab a book or better yet: grab your keyboard and jump in.

The water is great.

Now the dark side.

  • Never post angry. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Or either an embarrassing entry that you can’t delete or a libel suit from an unemployed 43-year-old gamer living in his Mom’s basement and posing as a … but I digress.
  • Grammar counts. No, only a few jerks will call you out on it. But everybody notices it. If you don’t know the difference between “there, their and they’re,” don’t post.
  • Pretend you are talking to a group of people that includes your pastor, your grandmother and at least one law enforcement officer with a bad attitude and reason to hate you. If what you are about to post would offend or cause one of them to take action – don’t do it. If you do, you will either win an award, go to jail or become a 43-year-old gamer living in his Mom’s basement and posing as a … but I digress.
  • You are not google or Billy Mays. Don’t try to pitch ads or sell me crap.
Run along now, digital ink is free. 
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Whups … too late now

I spent the day feeling like I forgot something.

In between classes, I asked classmates: “Was there something due in the next class?”

Then I get a text from my wife – the tags on my car are expired.

Too late to do now — I have class for the rest of the day. Whups.

Hopefully I make it home with without a ticket.

I can see the conversation: No officer my vehicle isn’t properly registered. I’m a law student, a 1L, and that makes me technically insane about anything not discussed in class.

Fortunately, I am not subjected to that discussion. The car with bad tags isn’t my car, at least not the one I’m driving.

Wait, did I eat lunch. Crap.

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