The last two weeks have been difficult, but I’m starting to find my stride. Lots of reading (we’re already on page 233 in Criminal Law – and not very far off from that in 3 other classes) and lots of busy work in my legal research and writing class. It seems to come in waves, though, so just when I’m losing it, there is a small break to catch up again. Every time I take a day off over the weekend, I regret it. So if I can get a solid 5-6 hours of studying in each day, I’m in a good position for the week.

Some surprises

As with most things, the instructor sets the stage for whether or not you’ll like something, but who knew that I’d like Criminal Law so much? My professor is a well-respected defense attorney who is dynamic, challenging, and organized (a rare law professor quality, I’m finding). He certainly puts us through our paces in class, facilitating tough sessions of Socratic Twister (right brain Blue!), but at the end of the class, I know exactly what I was supposed to learn. My notes read like outlines. Love it.

He also runs his class by the Designated Hitter Rule – he lets you know in the prior class if you are “on deck” next class, and you are expected to know your stuff and be the subject matter expert for that class. He chooses Hitters by going through the class list alpha order, so since I’m close to the top, I was a Hitter last week. The preparation was nerve-wracking, but I figured out that it isn’t about the home runs – the trick is getting the base hit. Small successes often mean as much as the big wins. It helped that I was assigned the Michael Milken and RI nightclub fire cases (two cases I already know a lot about), but I did pretty well and my self-esteem boosted a bit for the rest of the day as a result.

Another surprise is that I quite like my Contracts class. It could be that my business education has predisposed me to analyze contracts and transactions more than the average bear, but I enjoy defending the small business person against a lender who claims that spending $10,000 for a business trip to Asia wasn’t an operating expense (hey, she could have been talking to manufacturers about making her gadget to sell in Wal-Mart! We are in a global economy…). It’s also fun to read about a bunch of drunk hicks who make a deal to sell a family farm for $50,000 on the back of a customer ticket at a bar and argue about whether or not it’s an enforceable contract (it was in that case).

Some things never change

Student groups are a big thing in law school (networking, resume building, blah, blah, blah), but I resolved not to join anything my first semester. I couldn’t resist, though, when the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund club announced their first meeting. New Mexico not being much of an activitist State, I had almost forgotten how crazy animal people can come off. The president of this club is what I would define as “militant.” She’s more concerned about turning everyone into vegetarians and boycotting Babe movies than in legal advocacy. Although I agree with a lot of her views (I consider myself an Ethical Vegetarian, after all), I’m more interested in the low-hanging fruit – like making cock-fighting a felony and enacting stricter penalties for companion animal abuse and neglect. The traditional animal welfare/rights rhetoric turns the average person off, and this girl looks like a whack-job. It is my new mission to either soften her message, or to lay in wait until she graduates at the end of the year and stage a coup.