Sunday, August 28, 2011

Properly Oriented

Friday was the last day of orientation. Law school orientation is interesting. I did not know what to expect at all. I don't think I ever went to an orientation in undergrad.

Orientation appears to have two sides: practical and inspirational. There's a lot of routine stuff, like getting your photo taken for your student ID and learning how to log into the library computer system. There's also a lot of "rah-rah" build up about how great the school is and how great the incoming class is. We had a couple of distinguished alumni speak to us, one of which truly was inspiring (an African-American female judge on the U.S. District Court of Connecticut).

There were also a few opportunities for socialization, mostly around meals, but also doing community service one morning. I met quite a few interesting people, some of which I'll be spending a lot of time with in the next school year. I hope I made a good impression--you never know when you'll be working with (or against) these people when we all get jobs.

Classes were supposed to begin tomorrow, Monday, but Hurricane Irene caused all classes to be cancelled. Irene mostly fizzled around here, though. There were a few downed trees, but our power and internet never went out. So I have one more day to prep.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Eating an Elephant

So, it turns out that I read law school textbooks at the rate of 3-5 pages per hour. This is at a highly critical level of reading, looking up words that I am unfamiliar with, rereading sentences and paragraphs until I fully comprehend the meaning.

I can only hope that as time goes on I will be able to comprehend more quickly. I'm still trying to figure out how to track my progress through assignments and familiarity with topics, as well as track my specific assignments so that I am ready for class each day. I thought I would try using Microsoft OneNote, as it seems like it would be a great program for documenting notes and tasks. Here's what my first week's schedule looks like:

Somehow documenting what I need to do allows me to focus and makes clear my goals. I'm a big fan of the checkbox, as you can probably tell. Checking off each little box is like finishing each bite of the elephant I need to eat.

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Real Study Day

I went to the law library today (early, even) to try my hand at studying. I have a few of my first assignments, and in order to get into a routine, I thought I would try going to the library to study. There are a couple of things I learned.

The library can be a loud place. In the main area there are people chatting, phones ringing, people answering, elevator doors dinging. After about an hour I moved to a more quiet, cozy spot. Silence works best for studying from books.

Smartphones are ever the distraction. Texting, messaging, emails, all add up to some serious distraction. I may even need to (gasp) leave my phone at home so as to cut out the temptation to check it.

Learning law is fun. Did you know that in a civil case, the trial judge can overrule the verdict of the jury? Seriously, after the cases are presented, the jury decides for one party, the judge can overturn it and rule in favor of the other party (although the losing party must file a motion). It's called a ruling in favor of a motion for judgment notwithstanding verdict (I guess it's kind of a safety net for biased, misled, or prejudiced juries). I had no idea how much power individual judges have in deciding the outcome of trials nor how many opportunities the judge has to make a mistake and allow for an appellate court to overrule him.

Friday, August 12, 2011

My New Best Friends

My calculations were a bit off yesterday with the price of my books. I went to the bookstore today and actually purchased my first semester's worth of books. Total cost=$968.53. I added a law dictionary and some study guides as well.

Here's the new gang of friends I'll be hanging out with for the next 4 months, and some perhaps longer:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting Close

After a very long drive and the toughest move of my life, Kim and I made it to our Hartford, Connecticut home. The last time I moved it was from a one bedroom apartment to a four bedroom house, and Disney paid for professionals. This time we moved ourselves, and other than driving the trailer, we did it all. Of course we had a lot of indispensable help from friends and family. We're still adjusting to our new place--I may have to dedicate a whole post to that.

Orientation starts in less than 2 weeks. I'm not nervous, but it sure is getting close. I got my first assignment today, which is to read 40 pages in Criminal Law prior to the first class. That doesn't seem too bad. I'll let you know how dry or complex it is. 40 pages of Harry Potter goes by pretty quickly. This may take me hours...

Total cost for books for the first semester=$772.95. That's if I buy all new books, and if I pick up the two optional books, which are both about $40 each. I also need to pick up a new laptop, for which a reasonably well-equipped one ranges from $750 to $1200. A new Macbook Pro is the trendy choice, and it starts around $1200. Now that I'm not working, big expenses tend to be harder to swallow. Oh well, it's an investment in the future, right?