Tuesday, January 31, 2006


i've started several posts this last week, but haven't finished any of them. my thoughts are scattered in so many directions right now.

last weekend i went on a road trip to go to a retreat for law students. it was so encouraging to know there are other Christians out there doing legal work, who truly live spiritual lives & see law as a way to contribute to society. there is a lot of hostility to spirituality and toward a belief in absolute truth or values in the legal world. i don't think i was aware of how much of that is present. i don't think i realized how much it was changing my mindset about life. it was good to be reminded of where i've come from. it was good to see that it is possible to integrate faith & law. i think it is a constant struggle though.

i love mountains. i had a chance to drive through the mountains on my road trip. on the way home i had to stop for gas in the middle of nowhere, and drove off the highway down a mountain a couple of miles to get to a gas station. i wish that i'd had time to really enjoy the scenery as i drove. mountains have a special kind of beauty that's not found in other places.

i found out in class tonight that i have to have all my research for my paper done by next week. yikes! i've been working hard, but i'm nowhere near done. so i'll be in the library all day tomorrow & on Saturday, and probably some of Sunday too. i was feeling very unmotivated this week though, so tonight was a reality check. so yeah - that's what i'll be doing this weekend.

a very good friend is home right now from the mission field. last night we had a couple of hours to just hang out & talk. it was so fun for me. i can't remember the last time i've just taken a night off & talked about regular stuff. i tend to get lost in my scholarly world & lose sight of what everyone else thinks & does.

sorry to bore you with the little details of my life. i would much rather be writing about something interesting... but i've just not had the kind of atmosphere needed to foster that kind of thought. soon, i hope.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

a little blue

well, if you're wondering where i've been lately, i can tell you that i've entered the wonderful world of The Bluebook - A Uniform System of Citation. yes, that's right. hours and hours of practice exercises on how to cite cases, books, articles... all in proper bluebook form. i have entered the exciting world of legal scholarship, where every single assertion must be supported by the weight of someone else's statements or research, and often the footnotes to a paper are longer than the substance of a paper.

the time i've spent researching the actual topic of the paper has been a little more fun. today i worked several hours organizing the material i've already found. once i had it organized i could more clearly see the arguments that i'll want to make, and the holes in the research that i still have to fill (they're pretty numerous). after so much research my head is swimming and i can't quite focus anymore.

and that, my friends, is all i've been doing - the exciting world of this law school student. i'm beginning to wish again for the days when there is some boundary between work and the rest of your life - when what you do doesn't take every hour of every day and there is time for relationships and thinking & applying knowledge to real life, and when i actually have something to talk about that would intersect with a normal person's life.

i'd like to think that when i graduate, it will be better. but i think that will all depend on the job that i choose. i'll try to choose wisely.

Monday, January 16, 2006

to prosecute or not to prosecute...

i've been trying to imagine what it would be like to spend a summer in a prosecutor's office. i got another job offer in the mail this weekend (the govt doesn't call, they write...). i actually have to set up one more interview, but i don't think i could do anything to ruin it at this point.

speaking of interviews... i really thought i bombed this one. i went in to the interview, and the guy proceeded to ask me about what i would do as a prosecutor in 3 different factual situations. i thought i did awful. because i kept wanting more information. and i wanted to be able to see the people he was talking about - to see if they were believable. i learned that day how much my discretion as a prosecutor/lawyer will be dependent on my ability to gauge people's actions & reactions - their body language, tone of voice, and a million other things. so i could barely answer the questions. in the end i felt i had to explain my inability to answer. i was up-front with the guy. i guess it all worked out.

so anyway - i've been imagining what it would be like to walk into a courtroom for my first case... the fear, the excitement. in one way i feel like i absolutely don't know enough to walk into a courtroom - i mean, just the procedural stuff is enough to give me a headache. but it would be intensely practical, very stretching, and would totally give me the chance to learn the types of things you can't learn in a classroom.

in my daydreams i can't figure out what personality i would have in the courtroom. i am a performer - i can be very dramatic. i also am inherently believable - people look at me & think trustworthy... but i'm also soft-spoken. people underestimate my strength & the strength of my beliefs. i'd have to work on that, i think. as an advocate you have to believe that what you're arguing is true - and if you don't believe it, you at least have to convince everyone else that you do.

the real question i have is whether i would be confident or hesitant. i'd be hesitant at first, to be sure. but would i ever get past that, past my inhibitions? i don't know. if i did, i think i could learn to be good at being a prosecutor.

i can't deny that i love to read & study & be by myself for hours. it's very tempting to try to find a job where i could do that all the time. it would be so much easier to stay in my comfort zone and find a job like that. there's not much of a risk of failure there. but long term i do need some interaction. i only like to study inasmuch as it has an effect on real life. and i do love to be stretched & forced to grow. being comfortable tends to make me apathetic.

so... to prosecute or not to prosecute... that's the question.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

the groove

i'm getting into the swing of things a little bit now. back to studying almost constantly.

i thought tax would be the worst class. indeed, there's much about tax that i don't know and that i'll have to work hard to understand. but i really enjoy a challenge, so i'm looking forward to learning more about the tax system. i think once i get the language down the concepts will follow.

i think the worst class will actually turn out to be my remedies class - it's just not as interesting, not as forthright as a code class (like tax), and not as organized in presentation.

i think i've found a topic for my paper though, with the help of a really great professor. one thing my school has that many others don't are professors who sincerely love to teach and are interested in contributing to students' lives. i think i'm going to really enjoy the research process, and i'm sure i'll enjoy the writing. i'll keep you posted on how it goes, and whether i end up getting it published. that's kind of a long shot, but it would be really great.

on the job front, i heard back from a government agency - that i made their "alternate list," which means i have to make it through a background check and wait to hear if i make it into their internship program. that was pretty exciting, though it means i've got to wait a while longer to decide what i'm going to this summer. i'm also waiting to hear back from a government agency here in town, where i may get an interview and a position for this summer. but i'm no stranger to the waiting game, so i'm content to wait & see what opportunities come to me.

so those are the updates. i'll be working on some more interesting thoughts to write about next.

Friday, January 06, 2006

writer's block

you'd think in a world where there are so many legal controversies, i would be able to easily find something to write a potential law review article about. but... i'm having a very hard time. i've discovered that i'm really interested in the law because of how it relates to and impacts many other subject areas - i'm kind of an interdisciplinary person. the focus of a normal law review article is to critique a certain area of law. so i'm having a hard time just sticking to the law without bringing other things to bear on the subject.

i also have no confidence that i'll be able to come up with some new angle or new legal argument that no one has ever thought of before. i just don't know enough about the law. after really studying an area, i'm certain i'll have an opinion, and something to say on the subject. but i cannot assure myself that i will necessarily have something new to contribute to the conversation.

now i've got to get back to my tedious review of slip opinions and interesting legal issues; until something starts to come together. hopefully you'll have a better weekend than i will... :)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

happy new year

and so it begins. it's back to my studies starting tomorrow. i'm hoping to be a little more balanced this year. the first year of law school is the most intense, after that it seems to get easier. last semester, however, i barely caught my breath from the moment the semester began because of interviews for summer positions and added extra-curricular activities. i am hoping that this term will be different, and am already planning and striving for balance.

balance is always a struggle for me. i don't know if it is so for all of humanity, or just for those of my personality. i have never been able to give less than 100% to anything, so if i over-commit, i don't have a chance.

so anyway, i hope that you all have a very happy new year. with my mind more engaged with schoolwork, i assume that i will be blogging more regularly again.