Dancing for the Audience10.11.14

I finally got an internship secured for the summer. It’s such a big sigh of relief that I had a moment of, “Wow, now I can stop giving a fuck.” And we know it’s not true because I’m still a somewhat newly crowned 2L, so I still have most of TWO years to keep me in check. But. For. Now. It’s nice that I can stop my dancing monkey act. It’s nice that, for the rest of this school year, I will not have to spend countless hours going to different firm’s networking events in hopes that I will say that perfect phrase to the perfect ears to leave a “oh, I’m so witty that you need to have me around” impression.

Last year’s attempt at finding an internship was such a disaster that I ended up tears. As I may have mentioned in a previous post, I had an offer from one of the large firms here to go work for them, but I would have to move to a part-time schedule. That was something I didn’t want to do because I’ve waited so long for the chance to go back to school, that I was jealously guarding my law school experience as “MINE!” So I waited, and applied to an internship at firm #2, and it looked like I was going to get it, but then the firm decided against hiring two interns so I was dropped from the race because the other candidate simply had more experience. At that point, I went back to the first big firm, and they had already hired someone while I was waiting to hear from firm #2. My friend broke the bad news to me, and he tried to cheer me up, telling me things will work out. And I remember telling him, “I know things will work out, because I have been very blessed in my life that even when things don’t seem to go well, it ended up being for the best, but right this moment, I just lost two great opportunities that I was so close to getting. I am upset, and I want to cry over it for a moment.” So I cried. And I collected myself. I focused my energy on applying to many other places. I got an offer at very small firm, but the owner wanted at least a two years commitment to which I had to decline. After all that effort going up in flames, I decided to work on making myself a more attractive candidate come 2L year. I decided to focus on studying for and applying to take the patent bar.

Things did work out for the best. I’m scheduled to take the patent bar exam in late November. I went into OCI with the ability to say, “Yes, I am definitely taking the patent bar exam, because I have been studying for it all summer, and I am scheduled to take it on this date.” My OCI interviewer told me that was good news because their firm wanted to know my commitment to patent work, and signing up for the exam is a big step in that direction. I got a callback from that interview to go in for a 3 hours long interview where I met someone new every half hour, and even though 3 hours sounded like I a long time, the interview went by quickly and I was almost in a “but I’m not done chatting with people” mindset. Three weeks later, I figured I had lost the internship and I haven’t heard back yet because I was 3rd or 4th choice, and they were just waiting for confirmations from their top 2. Then I got a call while I was leaving my study group, and I all I heard out of the conversation was, “We would like to extend an offer for internship to you…blah blah blah…market rate pay…blah blah.” Whatever he said, my response was something like, “Yeah, yeah, don’t care, I’m just very happy for this opportunity to join your firm.” I would have moved to Po’dunkville if it meant getting the job. Then I got the offer letter by email and saw that the internship was for the firm located 7 blocks from my condo and they were paying $2500 a week. My mind exploded. The internship pays more than double what I was making as a game programmer (granted I’ve always said game programmers for development houses are paid peanuts). Knowing how much they pay their interns does put the pressure on that I don’t walk in without knowing a single thing, thus I am grateful for having my summer studying the patent bar and my 2L year taking every IP class that I can to prepare myself. Everything worked out for the best. If only I could find a time machine to go back to tell my applying-to-law-school self that everything will work out, and that it will not be a complete waste of my time and money, during a time when I felt like I was too old to waste anymore time and I was scared of wasting my family’s money.

I’m grateful I get to spend the rest of the year preparing to be a useful intern and not focus on networking to get that internship. I like people. Networking, when I don’t think of it as networking, comes to me naturally. It’s just when I am hard up for an internship, I feel like I’m doing such a “look at me, look at me” dance, that it’s just not my thing. It’s good to going back to dancing like there’s nobody watching.

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Celebrating the Boring Life08.14.14

One thing I got out of procrastinating on studying for my PR final was a completed application to USPTO to sit for the patent bar exam. I have a weird hybrid, aka “multidisciplinary,” degree from UW, so it’s not an automatic entry to sit for the exam, which means I had to provide all sorts of documentation to prove I have the science background to be useful. Documentation for each class was a pain in the ass and a simple application becomes a giant packet of highlighted words.

I got a call from the USPTO today, they wanted to clarify some info, which means I should have a testing date soon. The nice lady on the phone said she would rather ask me for some of the little things instead of sending me a “missing info” notice. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that, because all that mailing back and forth would really drag out when I can sign up for a testing date. One thing she did ask is about any issues I had with law enforcement or tickets over $100. I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud to tell someone that I lived a perfectly boring life. In my application I mentioned I may have a speeding ticket from over ten years ago when I was driving between college in California and home in Washington. However, I do not have any documentation of that because it was so long ago, plus I got my driving record from the DMV (which is completely clean, but they only go back 10 years or so), and beyond a speeding ticket, I haven’t even had a stern talking to from the cops. Unless, you count the time my friends and I were hanging out at the park after dark because that’s what you do in high school, even then, we were only talking and hanging out, we didn’t do drugs nor drink. Seriously, if ever there is a time to BRAG about your incredibly boring life, it is when the board calls you about your character statement. So proud.

There is a similar character statement for regular ol’ lawyer board, so I get so work on my humble brag skill again. Yay, boring life!

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Old People ADHD08.04.14

On-Campus interview week is the first week of school. Which means cover letters are due. Which means I am staring at my screen blankly for hours. I have managed to play many games on my iPad and ordered a new perfume while sitting in front of my computer, willing the cover letters to write themselves.

Procrastination is harsh. It was extremely rough throughout 1L. Sometimes I think I got by just from sitting in front of the computer for so long that I started working just because my ass started aching from the number of hours spent sitting there, and I wanted that pain to end. That is a LOT of sitting. And a lot of cat videos. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen ALL the internet cat videos by now.

I remember being able to study for hours on end when I was younger. But I’m pretty sure I remembered wrong, and the reality was I spent hours on end drinking and talking about boys. Still, I thought maybe I have adult ADHD. So I got medicated for it.

Yes, I got a prescription for Adderall, and it was a pain in the ass to keep the prescription, but it helped in small ways. There were two very fatal flaws to the medication. Depending on dosage, it killed my REM cycles, I woke up feeling like I closed my eyes and didn’t sleep all night. And while I worked with laser focus, I couldn’t do legal writing worth shit. I had a prescription before and I remembered it working very well when I was younger, but now that I think about it, I was programming at the time. I think the drug helped me do monotonous chore type things extremely well. I was a lean mean outlining machine on drugs, but legal writing was impossible. My brain became so one-tracked that accessing creative argument space was impossible. I was simply too linear. In the end, I found it extremely useful for “chore” school works days, but avoided it for exams and legal writing days.

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Midsummer Update07.14.14

I am alive.

And still in law school.

And surviving.

“Surviving” being the word. I made it through 1L, only feeling slightly more jaded, but my body has fallen apart completely. I was warned to keep up a good exercising routine and all that jazz, but of course making time to exercise was pretty much the first to go when there seemed to never be enough time for studying. Problem with doing that as an older law student is your body isn’t what it used to be, every sports injury you’ve ever had that was somewhat held in check by being in decent shape will come back to backhand you, then leave you feeling like a creaky 150 years old geriatric. That is me now. Every knee and shoulder joint hurts. My doctor says I’m fine, and not suffering from psoriatic arthritis (or ANY arthritis) like I gave myself in my head after visit WebMD, that website is dangerous. I just have a bad case of lazybuttitis and should get back to exercising. Which I have been since my summer schedule is so much more conducive to remembering I have family and friends also.

Sorry to ditch this beloved blog for so long. It’s not that my love for writing has wane. It’s that law school makes the idea of writing for fun seem…unpalatable. Much like reading for fun was a thing of the past for a while there too. However, I’m reading for pleasure again and I’m happy to be writing now too.

I did well enough on my first year, not great, but well enough to be randomly surprised by a performance-based scholarship that I didn’t even have to apply for.

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1 Out of 3 Finals Down…and 3 More to Go12.12.13

I studied my ass off for my contracts final. It was my toughest one, and I know it would likely be my worst grade. I left my contracts final on Tuesday feeling glad it was over, I figured I would be getting a B or B- so I need my other two finals to be amazing. I realized from leaving Contracts, that it didn’t matter if I had another week to study for it, the test covered all sorts of topic that we did not cover in class. It was just awful.

Tomorrow is our Civil Procedure final. We had a study session today. After we left, our section’s Facebook group blew up. Apparently one of the  two essay questions from our Contracts final was readily available online with ANSWERS even, so students have been using it as practice hypo, which meant people knew the answer to what would have been 30% of our final grade. The students were honest enough to come forward and notified the dean that they found it online…apparently on the first page when you google “contract hypos”.

Obviously, my classmates are all in a tizzy. We spent 3.5 hours taking an exam that would very likely be nulled. The dean doesn’t have an answer as to what they would do about it, and said we won’t even discuss it until we finish our other finals because they want us to focus. So the options are all up in the air, keep the exam, throw it and retake, or whatever else. Of course, Facebook discussion went on for hours between the students before people focused.

I feel very bad that people are so upset. However, I just found the situation hilarious and horrible. Nothing for nothing, it makes for great law school horror story. It’s never fun to be the person that it happened to, but damn, the storytelling potential when I have to interview for internships, and there’s no grade where Contracts should be. This situation is so ridiculous, if it happened in a movie, I would have thought that it’s too fake and made up by unimaginative writers that wants drama for the sake of drama.

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Thanksgiving Break12.03.13

I never thought I’d wake up early on Thanksgiving day, make a nice hot mug of coffee. Sit down. Hit the books for hours. And enjoy it.

This week is the last week of class. Then I have two finals next week and a last one the week after. All the 1Ls are in a state of panic. I think I’m finally hitting my strides, which is really pathetic because if I had a been hitting my stride all semester, I would be a much better class participant. However, I will take it, better late than never.

I have most of my outlines done for every class, still need some finishing touch of course, but I’m happy with the progress on them. My memo that is due this Thursday, is mostly done.

I want to tell you that age has taught me how to be cool as a cucumber, and truth to be told, I think I am. But, occasionally, I catch myself saying things, and if I stop to think about it, I realize, I’ve turned into a god damned psycho bitch. I’m combative. I will argue the shit out of whatever even if I could possibly be wrong. Even when the boyfriend asks for a hug, I tell him I have limited amounts of hugs to give per day. I’m as fun a barrel of monkeys. If the monkeys had mange and were infected with “Rage” virus.

I was out on Sunday for my girlfriend’s birthday, and I told her I was just so happy to be out with non-law  school friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love my law school friends, we party together, and I enjoy their company immensely. However, I’m developing a Pavlovian response to their presence, where I get that icky “I’ve just spent 14 hours working on my god damned memo/outline” feeling when I see them.

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Negotiation Competition11.09.13

One of my classmates from summer semester wanted to compete in a negotiation competition and she asked if I would be her teammate. At first I thought, no, because I feel like I have ZERO extra time, which is part of why I have not being writing. The other part being that classes got so hard I couldn’t face reflecting on life.

This is not to say I am not enjoying my first year, because I am, immensely. It’s just that I’m a little behind on outlining. Every moment spent here, where I’m clearly documenting my slacking off, is less time spent thinking about I should really get on that outlining business or playing more Bejeweled while feeling bad about the lack thereof.

Anyhow, the competition is only one day, from 5pm to 9pm. So, in the end, I thought why the hell not. And I really miss this gal whom I sat next to most of my summer class.

We both thought this would be a great way to get our feet wet and really, 4 hours was not a lot to spare. This was correct only in part. The time sink was actually a lot more. There was the preparation of thinking about what each side would like. And preparing what to say. We met three times before the competition at around 2 hours each, and there were informational videos we were required to watch.

The competition is two rounds of negotiations. The first was a signing on a contractor contract. The second one was a contract renegotiation. Both of our matches were against 3Ls. I won’t lie, I was a little scared when I heard that and I’m pretty sure it affected the outcome of the first match. Especially when the guy in the first match got in our face.

The first team told us they had just taken a negotiation class and they wanted to do the competition to see how well the techniques they were taught works. I did not want to compete ever again after the first match with them. It went really poorly. We had very clear lines of where we were not allowed to cross. Obviously they did too, except they went rogue and drew their line out further because their strategy was play SUPER hardball. Their line was so far, there was actually no middle ground and we ended up agreeing to not a god damned thing and ran out of time in a pissing match. Both teams were reprimanded by the judges for having not accomplished anything for their clients, who by the way wanted to build a good relationship. The other team was told there might be an ethics violation because they misrepresented their client by drawing the line way further out than what they were told to do.

The second match, the other group started talking and conceding to points right away, which put us at ease after that last pissing match, and we actually talked and worked every single point out. It was fun. Both teams accomplished what they set out to do, and we had time left. In a 30 minutes competition, we were close to done when they called 5 minutes. I kept feeling like we missed something because it went so smoothly. Both teams were praised by judges for working so well with each other and making the negotiation look easy. It looked so easy that the one male judge thought it was wise to comment on how this negotiation was probably easy because we were all female negotiators and ladies play nice with each other. Soon as we left the room, the four of us rolled our eyes so hard, and asked, “Did that just happen?” Just because we were all prepared and made it look easy, some old white dude shaded us for being “female”.

The first team we went up against didn’t place with their super aggressive style. Mind you, they are super nice people so we spoke to them in between matches and their second match didn’t go so well either, they didn’t finish up the renegotiation. I think whatever they learned in their negotiation class made them play to hard. The second team we went up against placed 4th. We ended up placing 5th out of 10 teams, which we happy with. We’re pretty sure the first team screwed us up, and screwed themselves even more, but honestly, we were happy.

A big part of why my friend wanted to compete was because she was told these competitions are the only way we will get critiqued as lawyers. That was truly the best part of the competition. As poorly as that first match went, we got the most useful critiques out of that one. Things that I do that I’m not even aware of doing, I get defensive and I stop trying to progress the conversation. I have poor posture when I don’t feel good about the situation. I need to project my voice. When the first negotiation was going so poorly, one of us should have stopped and asked everyone if this was truly how our clients wanted to be represented.

All in all, it was a great experience. We learned a lot and definitely want to compete together again next year.

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And Then I Joined a Frat10.14.13

I guess if I’m going to return to school as one of the oldies, I might as well as go one further and do something I didn’t do in undergrad, which is to join a fraternity. Yes,  a fraternity with secret handshakes and all. It’s a law fraternity, so there was no hazing or anything crazy, but I half expected it when we were marched into a candle-lit room.

After the initiation ceremony we all got sloshed at the pub across the street. How sloshed? Well, I had to leave a conversation because one of my drunk older married classmate was uncomfortably hitting on a young classmate, making references to her wanting to be a cougar. He was flattered because she’s really attractive, but it was still an uncomfortable situation. Then another classmate missed her flight to visit home the following morning. Everyone was looking a little rough around the edges.

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Week 710.08.13

It’s the start of week 7 and so far, school has been overwhelming. Actually, it’s my tendency to over-commit that is overwhelming me. I wanted to maybe join two clubs and a clinic. Then I find myself with six clubs and two clinics and doing bailiff for moot court.

All first years are warned against over-committing, and I thought it would be so easy to resist. Then all the clubs and workshops roll out and with different clinic options, and I find myself unable to resist checking EVERYTHING out. Every new option seems more shiny and interesting.

I feel a little bit like a freshman in undergrad all over again, like I want to major in everything AND save the world before bedtime.

I went the King County Court House yesterday to shadow some attorneys volunteering for Housing Justice Project. It was so much fun to see how an attorney can waltz into a free clinic without knowing what is going on and is able to make a difference with just a few hours time. It was also interesting to see how my heels, even in a very contained space, when walking back and forth between HJP office and the court room is not the best of footwear.

Today is my first day as legal clinic assistant. I will be doing mostly client in-take. I had a moment of panic attack over the weekend when the client list and their issues were sent out. I know I’m only a student volunteer and it’s unlikely the attorney would allow me to really fuck shit up, but it made me pause for a moment in realizing these are real people with real problem. And I could possibly fuck shit up for them. The clinic I’m volunteering for focuses on helping low-income entrepreneurs. The problems they face are very much like issued my family faced. It makes me that much more worried that I could mess things up for them because I remember how much it hurts when things did not go well for us.

Something the school has ingrained in us is that being a lawyer is a lot about networking, which is partially why I’ve leaned toward over-committing. However, every event I’ve been to felt so positive, I had so much fun meeting new people (which is neat because I hate the word “networking”, in my mind it always sounded like “meeting people with intent of using them”). I met another fellow game programmer turned law student. He is currently working at one of the biggest law firm in Seattle writing patents under a patent attorney. I met this guy and his boss at one of the many panels I went to when trying to see what area of law I want to practice in. He said they could offer me either a full time position now if I want to be a part time student, or I could intern for them come summer time. I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to patent law, but I sure as hell will not say no to a summer internship at one of the biggest firm. Apparently a programmer turned lawyer is something of a rarity. Who knew. We were a dime a dozen in the game industry. Most of us were willing to work for peanuts and did, in fact, work for peanuts. Suddenly, in the law industry, we’re the hot commodity. Go geeks! I could be celebrating my summer internship a little too early, because it’s only been a month into school, but it’s exciting to know that I have hopes of being gainfully employed.

So, over-committing is exhausting, but it has been so much fun and I’m meeting some really cool people doing things I didn’t even realize was possible with their law degree. I think I”m doing pretty well in class…wait, no not in class, because I am such a god damned train wreck when called on, but I test well. I get to wrap my good grades around me like a heated blanket while I stammer my way through every cold call.

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Random Law School Moment #409.26.13

I just got home from a law school event. And the boyfriend is not home. And I just realized, we’ve been living separate lives. It’s not a complaint. It’s just what happens, and quite honestly, I’m just very very glad he has (our) friends to hang out with when I’m at one of my many law school functions. Because there are a lot of them. And too many more to come.

He is such a law school widow. It’s kind of awful when you only wish that they have a support group so they don’t resent you so much.

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