Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Law School Is a Black Hole In Which Time Has No Meaning

It has begun. Already, all my spare time is being sucked away by something involving law school (except today, when my spare time was sucked away by going to the dentist, getting four cavities filled, and then hiding in my house until I had feeling back in my mouth and could talk, drink, and keep from drooling).

As I had no spare time today to post and can't see that I will tomorrow, either, I decided, in honor of the school year staring up next Monday, that I will post an old e-mail I wrote. This is the first mass e-mail I sent to my friends after I started law school. It's not interesting, but it's something to read if you're bored. So without further ado . . .

Law School Is a Black Hole In Which Time Has No Meaning

Greetings from The Pit, the nickname that the law students here at [law school] have for the ground floor of the law library, a popular meeting place for the law students. Popular because there can't be too many meeting places around here considering that the law school consists of 4 buildings, one of which is for administration and one of which holds offices for professors and student organizations. One other building is the law library and one is for classrooms. Tiiiiiny space.

Anyway, [rr] calls this "the pit of despair," and it does, admittedly, smell a little bit like urine, and I haven't figured out why yet. It may have something to do with "the Old Lady Who Comes Here to Read" and who is, so far as anyone can figure, homeless, a conclusion supported only by the fact that a) she's here every day and b) she carries her underwear around with her in a plastic bag. She seems perfectly clean to me, though, so I don't think that she's the source of the smell. Besides, she doesn't spend much time in "the pit."

I just finished my first assignment for my Legal Writing and Research class, one which I have been assured will "suck". That's in quotes because it's a direct quotation from *every* 2L and 3L. Literally and figuratively, in that it sucks away all of your spare time and that it just sucks in general. It's not supposedly very difficult, just tedious and time consuming. I just spent 4 hours looking up articles for no purpose other than writing down article names and page numbers to prove that I had, in fact, looked them up. Apparently [my law school] has one of the toughest LRW courses in the state. I tell myself that I'm lucky to be doing this, because it will give me an edge on getting that paying job my first summer, the job that I won't actually get, but that, had they actually been hiring 1Ls and paying them, I would have gotten.

The "scary" class is Civil Procedure, and it's taught by a guy who's supposedly a well-known litigator [one of those where you just say his name and other attorneys know who he is]. In my other classes, when a professor asks you to go over a case you have read, you just need to give a little summary and answer the first question he asks, and then he moves on to another student for the next question. It's really not too intimidating. In this class you have to stand up, and then he asks you a series of questions, the answers to which you will not have, no matter how carefully you've read. I say this because I'm convinced that he will keep asking you questions until you hit one you can't answer. The upside is that everyone knows what you're going through, and everyone is so glad that they aren’t the one that's being asked that you don't feel humiliated at all. And also, I think that so long as you've actually tried to understand the case he won't yell at you . . . much. And plus, if we can handle this, we'll be much better prepared for presenting something to a judge.

The downside is that there is SO MUCH READING for that class, and you have to be so prepared for it that I have had to give up watching my Spanish novella because I just have no spare time whatsoever for, well, anything.

Anyway, this has been, without a doubt, the LONGEST WEEK OF MY LIFE. It feels like I've been here a very long time. Despite that, I still have not gotten used to the subspecies making up a percentage of the student population around here. Think James Spader in "Pretty in Pink."

(to be fair, most are nice, but let's just say that our sense of humor is different. The expression "tough crowd" comes to mind. And "frat daddy." [and other words I'm to polite to send into the web])

Ok, well, I’m going to scoot. I don't know when I'll have a chance to write again, so I wanted to say that yes, I'm alive, yes, school is interesting, and no, I cannot survive on the amount of sleep I've been getting. I hope that everyone is doing well!


Amstaff Mom said...

So this is the "same song, second verse, could be better, but a little bit worse"? Please know that I'm such a loyal reader of your site that I get excited about reading even an old email. Especially when it contains "the pit..of despaihhhh" references.

Sydney said...

First time read for me.... Yuck... I know that I don't want to be lawyer! Hats off to you and good luck!

Deals On Wheels said...

The only thing that got me through my last year in graduate school was constantly thinking (in the back of my head) and sometimes chanting out loud:

"I think I can. I think I can. I. Think. I. Can. One more year. One more year. One. More. Year. Almost done. Just. One. More. Year..."

jes said...


that's really the only thing i can think of when i read your letter.

on the bright side, i read somewhere that 3Ls don't even bother going to class 60% of the time, and that there is only 15 hours a week of studying compared to 30 hours for a 1L.

so, aren't you glad you're now a 3L?

JLR said...

I would be glad, except I'm taking too many hours and have law review to contend with. But spring semester promises to be much easier. So I just have to hang on until then. Maybe I'll give deals's chanting a try.

am: glad you got the reference!

syd: thanks!

Ben said...


I don't envy you... I am just glad I am done with Graduate School... Now I just need to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

MsThang said...

Deals.. ironically that is the same thing I chant daily as I reach my year and half mark of getting out of the Navy!