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Kick Ass Closing Argument

I decided to try out for our schools trial association. It is an oganization that competes around the nation in litigation. In order to be accepted, I had to watch a trial and prepare a closing argument. I then had to present it to a panel of real-life judges and lawyers.

It was awesome.

It was a criminal trial and I was the side of defense. My theory was self-defense. I was kind of nervous to get up there in front of these professional legal folks, but since I have a background of being dramatic, it was a lot of fun. I used all the “evidence” that was there and pointed to diagrams and all that Law and Order crap. And didn’t even use my notes.  Another girl went first to present the state’s side.

After the arguments we went outside and waited for the panel to “deliberate.” They then called us back in and critiqued our arguments:

First judge: told me the argument was the best he had seen in three years since he had been participating

Second judge: asked me what my retainer was because he wanted to hire me as a defense attorney in case he ever got into trouble

Third panel member (lawyer): said I completely won him over

WOO HOO! Now THAT felt good =)  I will hear back on Wednesday if I made it or not.

Pointers if anyone else out there is doing the same:

1. dont memorize your argument word for word, instead read it over and over again, and memorize only key phrases. Also, split it up into easy-to-remember sections. That will help trigger your memory.

2. Use all the props and diagrams the school makes available. Pick them up and make sure the panel can see what you are doing.

3. walk around in front of the podium – don’t be stationary.

4. Pause in your speaking to get points accross, use eye contact, move with a purpose, and use voice fluctuation to emphasize key points.

5. Tell a story with your argument – don’t spurt out a bunch of legal jargon. Make it personal for the “jury”

6. Be engaging and passionate, and…

7. HAVE FUN!

Seriously?

Do people have to pop and chew their gum SO loudly as to actually disturb the peace in the library? Are you kidding me? I have never heard anyone chew as obnoxiously as this guy is right now.

 

I have heard complaints about flip-flops in the library; but I would much rather heard a short-term “flapping” than this constant, cow-like, unbelievable, disgusting  chewing.

 

Ugh.

 

Excuse my rant. But I am TIRED. I have been at school for 12 hours now, and this is just unnecessary. Especially since I am working through Contracts. And especially since loud chewing is my #1 peeve. Again…UGH!

Do you have this type in your class? There is this girl with whom I am trying to be friendly; it seems she would be a good study partner so I am trying to be nice and get to know her better. But whenever I ask her, say, to have lunch (I’m talking on-campus here, people), she’s like “I can’t, I have to study.” And when I ask her about her plans for the weekend, “I have so much to do.” And when I see if she is going to a student organization meeting, “I didn’t set aside time for it. Sorry.”

WTF? Am I missing something here? (and p.s., I know she isn’t making excuses just because she doesn’t want to hang out with me! She is actually very nice to me, and texts me all the time with like “have a good weekend” or “hope you have a nice day.” Weird.

A Look Back on my First Month

It has been five weeks since I began law school in August (including orientation). And I feel great. Do I need more sleep? Sure. Have I made major adjustments and sacrifices in my life? Yes. But I am happy. And here is why:

First, the people. I love the people in my section. Everyone is kind, not to mention funny and helpful. There are  few “gunners,” but they aren’t so bad. Each day a person in our group comes up with a “word of the day.” In class, whenever anyone is speaking, he or she should try to include the chosen word in their conversation with the prof. One day last week I managed to use the word “dragon” in my contracts class. It was awesome. The people have made it delightful to attend class. I look forward to seeing them. It’s fun making new friends!

Second, the school is great! There are so many resources in place to help students. And I really like my profs (well…contracts prof is last on my list, so I can really only classify him as “ok”). I am going to try out for our trial lawyers organization in October. The group does litigation competitions. It is kind of like moot court, except at the trial level, not appellate.

Third, I feel really smart. I love learning this shit. I love the vocabulary, the readings, the thinking. I love the challenge of it, and the amount of determination I have to apply in order to make it day to day. But it’s great, and much more fulfilling than my previous employment.

Some of you may be reading this right now and think that I am either 1. lying, 2. on drugs, or 3. a goodie-goodie. I’m not any of that; I’m not even a particularly positive person. I read a lot of other posts from people who are miserable with their choice to come to law school, or from people who hate the company of law school, or their profs. I have just been lucky (blessed) enough to like all of that, and it has put me in a very good position.

Of course I don’t guarantee this will last. Maybe I will just want to kill myself after finals. But for now, I am happy with my first month of “the law” and I look forward to what is to come!

Caveat: I do feel the stress and pressure of law school, but I try not to let it weigh on me. Instead I use it as motivation to stay energized. I just keep in mind that so many have gone through this and have done pretty well for themselves. I can be one of those people, right?? =)

#11 & #12

11. Microsoft OneNote 2007*

12. Free flow chart software at https://bubbl.us/beta/ 

* I highly recommend this program to new law students, or to any law student for that matter. It rocks. I would be lost (literally!) without it.

1. Wearing only socks in the library.

2. Examples & Explanations (Aspen)

3. My Torts prof who gives us the rules and then uses the rest of class to delve into hypos

4. It often gets me out of doing laundry

5. ponytails everyday

6. ATLA

7. telling people I’m in law school

8. answering correctly when called upon

9. rainy days in the library

10. And finally, the awesome sense of challenge and purpose I have by coming here each day. (Ya, I’m only in my second. But really – I love it so far. Maybe I won’t be so happy near exam time – who knows. At this point, though, I am happy I made the decision.)

Today was the last day of orientation!

We had our first “real” class today. Mine was Torts. I loved it. I have been briefing the Torts cases as assigned for the first week and was getting a bit panicky because I felt like I wasn’t getting it. But today’s lecture really helped me to “glue” the pieces together. I mean, we aren’t talking hot glue here, maybe Elmers…the cheap stuff…but it’s better than nothing! And even better – I am enjoying the challenge, which I think will be important for keeping up momento.

Tomorrow there are no classes, but I am hitting the library early. I have to go to stinky’s (my son) meet and greet with his 1st grade teacher at 8:30 – then it’s the library until 4:00*. At 5:00 we have a special event with the dean scheduled. I am looking forward to it as I have met some great people in my section and I think it would be fun to spend some “out of class” time with them.

Issue of the week: I bought an XXL Adidas backpack at BJs (warehouse store) this week for classes:

pinky

Cute, right? The problem is it is much larger than it looks here in this photo. Don’t get me wrong – it is ULTRA comfy – padded back and padded, springloaded straps; but I actually have difficulty getting around people in tight situations because it sticks out so far on my back! I am still deciding if I will use it or retire it for a rolling bag. (don’t you find that just so interesting?!)

**the reason I am already spending so much time at the library is to get started on first week assignments. I have only worked on Torts this week and I have A LOT due on Monday and following days next week. I have more than 50 pages of reading alone for criminal law, which is Wednesday.**

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