Wednesday, June 16, 2010

today, in law preview

Property. I think I likes it. I also think that the rule against perpetuities is going to kill me.

I thought I'd be bored to tears in Property. I thought it would be full of esoteric terms and I'd have to learn about deeds and other dry stuff. I was prepared to work a little harder for Mr. Property, as I need a good grade for 2L IP.

But, maybe I'll just work harder because I like it. Prof Property didn't let the side down with his class today. I don't know how Law Preview Dude found these professors, but bless him for doing so. These are some heavy hitters in the academic world. I thought it might be a little fly-by-night, but nuh-uh.

It's not just that they come prepared or that they are entertaining to people who are understandably nervous about learning a new language. They really work hard to present a bigger picture of law school and what a student can get out of it.

It's more than just the case or the doctrine applied. All of the profs so far have hammered home the necessity of the argument and how to form the argument. Every one has thrown hypotheticals out to see if we can change the argument or form a new one. It has been most instructive.

Prof Property gave a larger overview of the scene. He went into some detail as to what a professor expects out of a student, using the Socratic method mostly, and what the student should take away. He even took us back into Torts and Contracts and it was like a mini mid-week review. Very nicely done.

I've been hearing and reading that these pre-law school readiness attempts are not such a good idea. I'm not so such they should be dismissed out of hand so summarily. I don't think my NYLS Torts prof is going to waste any of the precious 13 weeks he/she has to get through the casebook holding my hand and telling me what she expects of me. I don't think she is going to hold up one law course against another and show me how to utilize doctrines in tandem or when a cause of action might have more than one recourse and this is how it could go in Contracts or Torts.

But, I digress.

This class was also different because the Prof threw out many questions and hypos and got the class to really act and think like lawyers. I have to say, in comparison to the previous 2 days, it was like the overall intelligence went up 50 points today. People really stepped up and asked useful questions and made decent arguments. It was a terrific learning experience.

Some personal shit and an inevitable observation.

I was so tired today. I had a cup of coffee at home, an iced mocha with a shot of espresso when I got to class and another cup of coffee at lunch time and I still barely kept my eyes open. I felt beat up from yesterday and it was especially hard to wake up this morning. I am not even sure how I managed to stay focused today. It was a real effort. And worth it. I'm proud of myself.

I've read in a couple of places how law school completely takes over once you start. It's a total immersion in the law and the difference in a person is almost immediate. Noticing yourself change into someone else is a tricky thing. You want to enter school to learn and grow, but to change the way you think and speak, even at the most basic levels, is a lot to get used to.

I noticed that on Monday people's conversations were mostly about learning about one another. They were chatty and full of personal-type questions and mostly still very shy. By this morning, we were looking at everything in terms of the law. And questions and statements were bolder. This is 2 days into Law Preview. What is going to happen one week into law school?

I confess, I'm looking forward to it.

am i a gunner?

I've never heard that term before yesterday. I found out today that it's particular to the law school student who is an ass in class, hides material in the library, cuts out pages and blacks out lines in books, etc. Apparently, a very derogatory term.

So, by virtue of me being in a Law Preview class, does that make me a gunner? I was told I was not. I have good reason for taking this class. So do a lot of people. Today's Prof (Property) asked for some of the reasons people were taking Law Preview. Most people just wanted to not be knocked out by what's a whole new language and way of looking at the world. Some have been out of school for a long time and some wanted to lose the bad habits they made as undergrads.

I've been looking at the people who are in this class (and in others I have taken) and it's really true that you can find certain types anywhere, even if they don't qualify as gunners.

There's the eager beaver. I've gathered that these are the peeps who got into several law schools, think they are doing the one they pick a huge favor and make claims that they did no work and graduated magna and summa cum laude. Now, those mean nothing to me and I will stare as blankly at you as you will stare at me when I say I graduated with Upper Second Class Honors. So what? We're on equal footing from day one at law school, no matter what happened at undergrad.

So the eager beaver has to talk in class. He or she usually asks unformed questions, just for the sake of asking something, anything. And his or her voice gets just a little louder, to mask the nervousness and add some bravado. He or she must hover around the group of students who stop after class to ask the professor a question, regardless of whether he or she has a question of his or her own.

Then there the "unprepared" vs the actual unprepared person. The first makes it known that he is behind in the reading, didn't finish the assignment, watched reruns of "Seinfeld" instead of outlining, etc etc. All the time he is swotting like a motherfucker. The second actually doesn't do anything because ... well, I don't know why. The first slouches in class and rattles off eloquent answers when asked. The second sits up straight and tries to bullshit his way or answers his own questions instead of the professor's.

Then there's me. I sit, trying to follow, getting irritated with the people who start every sentence with "okay" or "so" and use "like" every third word. I cultivate my sense of superiority by not doing those things. I raise my hand when I have something to say and don't when I don't.

And, as I saw and heard for myself, there will be someone who pronounces Arkansas as Are-Kansas.