September 24th, 2012 – 2:57 pm
I wrote in my last blog that I was still working on figuring out how I would juggle the demands of this semester. Luckily, I’ve started to feel like I’ve “settled in” and will be able to be successful. However, this is not without a LOT of help from family and friends.
I made the mistake of registering for the highest trial practice class TULaw has to offer, called “Advanced Trial Practice.” I say it was a mistake because, unlike the experiences I’ve had, the students in this class have already had a year of trial skills work and have been on a travelling team perfecting their skills of advocacy. Through the Board of Advocates, I had competed last Spring for a position in an elite Trial Skills class. At the time, and leading up to my registration, I had not realized that this class that was the prerequisite to “Advanced.” Because “Trial Skills” conflicted with some of my other obligations this semester, I decided to drop it and register for “Advanced.” I had mistakenly thought that I was opting for the next level below what I was previously enrolled in. I was informed of my mistake on the first evening of class.
Although I had the option of continuing on in the class or enrolling in a different “Trial Skills” offered another weeknight, with approval from the Professor, I made the choice to stay enrolled in the class and learn my basic trial skills essentially “by fire.” I considered the fact that it is entirely possible, and probable, that I will have to make legal arguments to a court sometime within the next year. I’ve already had the opportunity to utilize my Legal Intern’s License (a license you can get while you’re in law school that lets you practice law in a limited fashion under the license and supervision of an experienced, supervising attorney), so I thought that opting for the most challenging class would push me to become a better oral advocate and lead me to become more comfortable in the courtroom.
So, I had mentioned the help of my friends….I have been completely amazed at how supportive and helpful the students in the “Advanced Trial Practice” class have been this semester. Although they have their own obligations and commitments to worry about, they understand that I have not had as much practice in applying the rules of evidence, conducting direct and cross examinations, or admitting exhibits. In fact, I haven’t had ANY practice. Some people are of the type that can watch something be done and then do it flawlessly themselves. I envy these people. I usually have to perform and practice it many times before I get it right. Luckily, my friends in Advanced TP have been understanding and have actually met with me outside of class, answered questions I had regarding the application of the Federal Rules of Evidence, and have allowed me to practice with them posing as a witness. I know that my skills are not as sharp as those of my classmates. However, I am so glad to have decided to stay in the class and learn as much as I can from the Professor and my kind and generous classmates!
I want to make clear that the students at TULaw have never ceased to amaze me throughout my time here. Law school is hard. Every student has a lot on their plate, regardless of whether they have a significant other, spouse or kids. However, I’ve witnessed, and have been a part of, many situations where students have helped each other in figuring out how to be successful. Just a quick lunch discussing the highlights of the cases assigned for class is another example to add to what I’ve outlined above. A common misconception is that law school is full of back-stabbing competitive jerks. While that may be true at some schools, I’m proud to say that the students at TULaw are much different.
And of course I mentioned my family….without the support of my parents these last three years, I’m not sure I would have made it this far. I’ve worked out rides to wrestling and swim practice for the boys and communicate with the coaches by phone and email. I’m looking forward to being able to take them to practices myself in a couple of months but, for now, I’m so appreciative to have family members I can count on.
My advice to those considering starting law school: make sure those around you understand the time comittment and rigors that you will face while in school. If everyone is prepared, it is much easier for you to ask when you need a little help.
Until next time…