Topic: 3L

Almost Thanksgiving!

Wow, this semester has been a blur. I was talking to some 1Ls about what it’s like now that I’m a 3L and I no longer get terribly excited about exams, etc. I know what I need to do, and it’s only fear of the unknown that made me apprehensive my first semester. I still like to read and study, but I like it best when I’m learning so that I can create arguments with the knowledge, and analyze the state of the law. In many ways, my mind has changed from merely knowing about what’s happened in past cases, but now I think about what the law might look like, or observing trends to see how it’s changing. I’m now writing my capstone and I’m happy about my topic because I somehow managed to look within myself to determine what drives me and the literature had yet to address it. So I get much more animated when I’m researching and writing my paper than I do about my classes. But it’s time to take a break and do the examination dance. Right after I eat a good meal with some great legal friends. =)

20 November 2012

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Elections: Just a brief glance that there is a world beyond law school

Election season here was not fraught with much angst until the actual tally was going up on Election Day. I myself had evening classes whilst others were biting their nails watching results come in, so I was in the midst of thinking about society on the same deep levels I hope our lawmakers will in the days ahead.

In the end, it appears that the friends I had on the ballot here in Oregon prevailed, but what made it unusual is that I actually knew most of the contenders who had legal backgrounds. I wish I could have been there to give hugs, not because of their political persuasions, but because I care about them and I’m glad they have been accepted in their plight to serve the public. Whatever their dispositions, pubic service is an honor, and someday I hope to do something in service, even if it’s not necessarily an elected post. I continue to be inspired by the legal community surrounding me, and it’s exciting that I can see bright futures in my colleagues around me, and one day I know I’ll be cheering them on in their own elections.

7 November 2012

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Life as a Summer Associate

So this summer was quite an adventure for me. Being a Summer Associate at a private firm was quite a shift from working at the Court, and I was so excited to have the guidance of my mentors who helped me with career advice and steered me toward taking on the challenge of working with a full-service firm that does both criminal and civil cases. While I worked long hours, it was an excellent taste for what lay ahead: hard but fulfilling work, where you put in much time and effort, but at the end of the day you really feel you’ve managed to help people. My firm was also full of great mentors who demonstrated how to walk the walk of taking the high road, how to keep in mind a broader perspective of the practice of law while digging into the facts to assess cases for all their aspects and possible claims so that we could steer them in the right direction even if we weren’t going to take on the work ourselves. Any cynicism I had about the profession in my prior career was revised because I felt the firm always did the right thing, and it was often rewarded; the practice has only grown, even in difficult economic outlook of the last few years. In short, they practiced law in the way I hope to practice law.
So, I’m in the happy position of transitioning from Summer Associate to being a Law Clerk for the indefinite future. Finding a place where I fit and could thrive was a challenge, of course, but when you’re lucky enough to do so, you really get so much out of it that deepens your understanding of the law and how things play out. The amount of client contact I got in addition to exploring different phases of litigation is fascinating. I might have thought of myself more as the transactional type before I came to the firm, but again I found myself expanding my view of myself. There is no substitute for trying things out. You get to know yourself better. And so my journey in law school has been so much about self-discovery and finding how and where I fit, and how I can do my best. And I’m happy to find a place to continue that path.

8 September 2012

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Wow, the semester ended on a great note after I studied for my evidence final and I’m sure it went fine. I stayed over a bit at the Court to help my judge and to tie up some loose ends and then I’ll close out by attending a conference this week on Constitutional issues. Then, I’ll take a short break to see family before I start my firm job in downtown Portland.

I have made note of the way I feel and have held up as the law school experience has shaped and transformed my ability to process information efficiently and effectively, and I’m building what I call professional intuition. This only comes with experience, and many times I have a sense of the right answer and what to do, but I can’t quite say how I know where to look or what to do to confirm it.  Fortunately it makes my tasks easier and I’m usually correct and it saves me time from the way I was always inventing the wheel with each new task or question.  The Court experience gave me so much to build on.

I can’t believe another year is finished. But I caught up with some recent alums and I’m proud that they’ve had the courage to go out and find work, economy be damned. A couple of them even hung out their own shingle and are succeeding. I have to figure out my next steps this summer, but I’m very happy that there are so many options ahead.

7 May 2012

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