Saturday, September 22, 2012

One More Week Down

At the end of each week, I feel like the previous weekend was a whole lifetime ago. Ironically, the week itself doesn't feel that long when I'm in the middle of it, something for which I can be thankful!!

This week was shortened by a day, due to a trial observation in Dallas on Friday. And a short week was much needed after 3 memos on Tuesday and 5 on Thursday. Yes, all from our PC II professor. Some days, he's just on a warpath, and there's nothing you can do except recognize that he's being unreasonable and try not to scream the curse words that are collecting in your brain.

Yes, I'm ashamed to say that I was screaming curse words in my head during class on Tuesday. It was not pretty. But, on to more pleasant things...

On Wednesday, I attended an actual trial to watch a witness being examined. In addition to our reading homework, we are required to complete three trial observations over the course of the Fall and Winter quarters: (1) a witness examination; (2) voir dire (jury selection); and (3) closing arguments. I decided that since life isn't too terribly busy right now, I would go ahead and get one out of the way. It was actually really encouraging to see how much I have already learned. While I never want to be in court, seeing real attorneys do it made me realize that I will be capable of litigating when I get out if the need ever arises (and I hope it doesn't).

The highlight of my week was getting to take a trip to Dallas. I forget how therapeutic it is to have a change of scenery every once in a while. On Friday, the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers hosted a full day of trial training. We were able to sign up in advance, and it counts as a "wild card" for our trial observations.

So on Thursday after class, I headed up to Dallas to stay with a friend who lives downtown. She is amazing, and I always come away from visits with her so refreshed! We had dinner at Central Market (hurray for sushi!), and then had pumpkin scones and coffee at her house.

She has a cat, and I am SOOO jealous!! Isn't he adorable?!?!? The best part was Friday morning when he wanted to be fed, so he let us hold him and purred.

After the program on Friday, my parents came downtown and took me out to dinner at the Spaghetti Warehouse. They were wonderful and let me talk their ears off about everything that's been happening at school for the past four weeks.

Well, that's about all...I've spent the whole day in pajamas doing homework. I was utterly exhausted last night, so I needed a lazy day. And what better way to celebrate the first day of fall?!? Now if the weather would just cool down... :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Equals 27% done!!

Or 14 out of 47 days, which equals 33 left.

I prefer the first calculation, because the number sounds so much bigger. :)

This past week I had my first advocacy exercise - Opening Statements. As soon as the schedule came out, I started praying that I would NOT get Powell in my room. Guess who walked in on Wednesday?

Yep - Powell.

My first reaction was a sinking feeling. Did I tell you he gave a memo to a friend of mine on Monday because she didn't know something we haven't learned in class yet? Or that he gave three memos on Tuesday?

The next thing I did was brace myself for a looong session, plus a research project after. Miraculously, no one in the room got a memo. Thank you x a million for all of you who are praying. I have no other explanation for how things went other than the Lord was protecting me.

After two encounters with Powell this week, this is my motto: "All I have need of, His hand will provide. He's always been faithful to me."

The Lord also showed me that PC is all a mental game. Everything Powell does is to make us afraid of him, and to put us under so much pressure that we can't think. I can't tell you the freedom I have gained from this realization. Sure, it doesn't make the thought of getting a memo any less irritating. But, I feel this amazing sense of calm. I can only do the best I can do, and if Powell wants to give me a memo, he's going to, no matter what I do. But I can choose not to be afraid and to remain calm under these circumstances. And really, if he can't scare me, what can he do to me?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hurdle #1 - Check!

Well, my invisibility disappeared today, and I got called on in PC II (yes, this is the professor I dislike).

Here's a glimpse into what was going on in my head while I was standing there listening to questions:

"Remain calm. Breathe deeply. Listen carefully to the question. Don't answer more than absolutely necessary. Take a breathe. Smile if you can - not only will it help you feel better, but it might also show him you're not afraid."

[Answer a question]

"Okay, that seemed to satisfy him. Take a breathe. Don't get flustered, just take each question as it comes. Don't show you're afraid - you've got this!"

Thankfully, I seemed to answer his questions satisfactorily, and he let me sit down after only about 20 minutes.

However, even in getting called on, I could see God's mercy to me. I could not have answered the questions asked to the guy who got called on after me. I knew the right answer, but I couldn't remember where I read the rule.

Additionally, I was really amazed at how clearly I was able to think while I was standing up. Thank you all for your prayers - I definitely felt them! Please keep them coming - tomorrow I have my first advocacy exercise!

In addition to being thankful for how I did in class, here are the other two items on my list for today: (1) going for a run in Cameron Park; and (2) having time to take a break to watch an episode of "The Big Bang Theory" during dinner. :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Weekend

This weekend has been lovely, for multiple reasons.

1. The weather has been GREAT! Fall is coming!!!

2. New running shoes!! I've been struggling with shin splints, so I'm hoping these will be the cure.

What makes it even better is when you go with your sister.

3. Free things and a gift card to Bath and Body Works! That place smells like fall...

Free 2 ounce of this...

And bought this (as well as a few other things) with my gift card. For 98 cents, I got two candles, chapstick, and a wallflower (also in Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin). The condo will be smelling like pumpkin for awhile! :)

4. Last, but not least, my first HILL WORKOUT! AnnaGrace and I went down to Cameron Park to run some of the hills that are part of the Bearathon, to get an early jump on training. Yikes - this workout definitely made me tired! But the new shoes were fantastic, and I didn't have any trouble with my shin. Bearathon PR, here I come!

And on an even more wonderful note, no double sessions this week!! I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know the following things: (1) I only have to sit in PC II for 2 hours a day; and (2) I will be done with class at noon (except for Friday). HALLELUJAH!

The tradeoff is I have an opening statement exercise on Wednesday - and I go last. Thankfully, it only has to be 10 minutes long, and hopefully I will do well enough not to have to repeat my opening line for an hour (literally, the professor threatened us with that...).


Thursday, September 6, 2012

An Interesting Dilemma...

I have a hypothetical for you today! I know you're super excited about getting to answer a legal question, but I promise it's not hard...and I'll try not to get super involved in unnecessary details. Here goes...

During trial, an attorney can invoke "The Rule" (literally, that's what it's called). Basically, it means that all witnesses will be excluded from the trial so they can't hear the testimony of other witnesses. Also, when witnesses are under "The Rule," they are not allowed to talk to other witnesses, the parties, or read news reports, transcripts of other witnesses' testimony, etc. Basically, it's almost like sequestering a jury. One of the punishments for a witness violating the rule is the exclusion of that witnesses' testimony.

Now, imagine that you are an attorney in the case. The other party is examining a witness. You hear the door open, and you turn your head to find out that one of your witnesses has entered the courtroom. Clearly, your first goal is to figure out how to get the witness out of the courtroom without causing a huge disturbance. That's a no-brainer, right?

But here's where it gets interesting...

Suppose that, instead of seeing one of your witnesses walk in, it's one of the opposing party's witnesses. Also imagine that the opposing counsel doesn't notice.

What do you do?

Here are your options: (1) stop the proceedings and alert the court that a witness has entered the courtroom; (2) do nothing; or (3) start taking notes, recording the time that the witness entered the courtroom, whether the witness appears to be paying attention to the testimony, looking around, etc., and what testimony was being given.

Would you like to take bets on what we were told to do by our professor? I'll give you a hint - I can basically guarantee you that it's not the answer you chose. :)

You wanna change your answer to #3? Cause according to our professor, that's the way to go...

I pick #1. If I'm going to win a trial, I want to do it because I legitimately have the better case, not because I'm playing games with trial strategies and trying to get the other party's evidence excluded.

If I'm going to beat you, I'm going to do it while playing fair. :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The First Unofficial Day of Fall

Apparently Labor Day is the last "official" day of summer. So, we decided to make yesterday the first "unofficial" day of Fall by celebrating with caramel apples.

Yesterday in class I found myself suddenly craving a Pumpkin Spice Latte...or pumpkin pudding. Get ready for lots of pumpkin this fall!!

Then today, I got this email from Einstein's...too bad there isn't one in town... :(

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Deja Vu

Remember the memo my class got at the end of week one during our first year of law school?

Guess what I'm writing this weekend?

Another class memo...given by the same professor that gave us that first memo...again, given on the last day of the first week of classes.

Oh the irony...and don't worry, I hope you're laughing for me in this one, because I'm not finding it terribly funny at the moment. Maybe someday I'll look back and laugh...

On the bright side, I've survived my first week of Practice Court!! So far, I'm still getting 8+ hours of sleep per night, I've worked out every day this week, and I've managed to keep a pretty positive outlook, minus yesterday afternoon, when I came home feeling rather grumpy. I've also managed to easily find three things to be thankful for each day! I consider that pretty decent compliance with the terms of my contract. :)

So, here's a recap of the week:

My first impressions of our PC I professor have continued to prove true - I really, really like him. He does occasionally play dirty (such as blasting someone for not remembering something from a footnote in a 20+ page case), but overall, he's very reasonable. Plus, he gives us a pep talk every day. For instance, on Thursday, he talked to us about mindsets, referencing "Mindset," a book by Carol Dweck.

Basically, a fixed mindset person believes that intelligence cannot be changed. Thus, a fixed mindset person avoids risks, because he is afraid of being revealed as a failure. These people often feel as though they are imposters, and that someone will eventually find out that they "don't belong" or that they're on "idiot."

On the other hand, a growth mindset person believes that his performance today does not define his performance tomorrow. These people are not afraid to fail, because they realize that a failure today is part of the process of achieving success tomorrow. What matters is not the outcome, but rather the work that went into the project.

So how does this tie into Practice Court? Our professor encouraged us to consciously seek to cultivate a growth mindset. We are all going to fail at some point or another during this quarter. Instead of beating ourselves up about it, we should pick up and learn from the mistake.

Pretty motivating, huh? I'm telling you, this guy is great! :)

I get the impression that he really cares about our success (in fact, he said so himself), and that, despite pushing us hard, he's not unreasonable. For instance, fatigue is a legitimate reason to skip class. We only get five absences, so it's not a license to not go whenever we want, but he recognizes that we are under a lot of pressure this quarter.

I've discovered that if I get the sense that a professor legitimately cares about his students, I can take some heat. In fact, I even want to put my best effort forth, not just slide by with the bare minimum.

On the other hand, when a professor is consistently condescending and unreasonable, I would rather just give up. If I'm going to get a memo no matter whether I've done the reading or not, why bother? Hence why I am NOT enjoying PC II.

Our third class, Professional Responsibility, meets only on Friday afternoons. The professor for that class is a federal district court judge, and he is HILARIOUS. He described himself as the medic that comes in and heals our wounds from the week. He spent an hour and a half yesterday calling on people just to ask them about themselves: questions like, "Why do you want to be a lawyer?" "Are you glad you're here?" "Where are you from?" and "If you had it to do over again, would you come to Baylor again?" It was really sad how many people answered the last question with a negative (though honestly, not that surprising).

The best part of the class was when he analogized PC to the "Ramming Speed" scene in Ben Hur. And yes, he showed the video as part of class...

And with that, I'm off to work on some reading/outlining! I'm hoping that I'll be able to stay ahead in the reading this quarter, thereby easing the load once advocacy exercises start.