First Classes, Round 2

So this is the post I promised you all a week ago. Things got away from me, sorry!

Like in undergrad, for the most part, our classes are semester-long courses instead of year-long. The only year-long class we had is our legal writing course – Lawyering. So, we’re still working on that. This unit was on Negotiations, so we had to work with a partner to negotiate a deal with another team of lawyers. My class was representing NYU Medical Center, and we were trying to get a deal worked out with a pharmaceutical company. My negotiation was Monday evening, and I think it went pretty well. I was really kind of dreading the experience, but overall I really enjoyed it. I could see myself doing transactional work, assuming that the whole “writing up the actual contract” goes reasonably well. We’re going to have a critique next week, and then we have a debriefing session. There are (as always) some procedural issues with the way the process went, so I’m a little annoyed by that, but overall the whole exercise went pretty smoothly. Our next (and final) unit for the year is “Oral Arguments” where we’ll actually do a moot court, and draft and present our own oral arguments. I’m pretty excited for that.

Like last year, we have three “substantive” classes in addition to Lawyering. This year we have Criminal Law (Crim), The Legislative and Regulatory State (LRS or Leg Reg) and an elective. My elective is International Law (IL). Remember what I said about a two-syllable maximum for course titles? Yeah, that’s still a thing. (I realize LRS is three syllables, but we primarily use that when we’re typing, and Leg Reg when we’re speaking.)

Crim this semester focuses on the “substantive” aspect of Crim law, rather than the “procedural” aspect. This means we’re not going to get into any of the stuff BullCopDaddyElk does (for the most part). No Miranda warnings, nothing about the 4th or 5th amendments. So far, we’re discussing culpability and mens rea – the mental state element of criminal law. The subject matter is interesting, and I’m thoroughly enjoying that. Unfortunately the professor is kind of odd. His teaching style isn’t really my favorite, and it’s a bit on the abrasive side. Hopefully he’ll grow on me, but I doubt it. I’m actually fairly upset about this, in part because at the beginning of the year, we were told that we’d be in another professor’s class. I’d heard her speak and sat in on one of her classes during admitted student’s week last April, and really loved how she taught. I’m planning on taking courses with her over the next two years, though, so that’ll be good.

LRS is basically a course on the legislative branch and statutory interpretation. So far, it’s Scalia v. the world, basically. The subject matter for this class is not really my favorite thing. The teacher is pretty fantastic though. She’s really sweet, and seems to take a real interest in her students, which is something I appreciate. She explains things pretty well, I think, and makes the extremely dull subject matter at least a little entertaining. I was cold called in her class last week, and didn’t understand the question she was asking at all, so she moved on to another student, and then came back to me after that. I was able to answer her follow up questions, and then was able to step in with a response when another of my peers wasn’t sure what was being asked.

IL has been interesting too. It’s specifically focused as “International Law for AMERICAN Law Students”. There’s a lot of history that I didn’t know about, but that has been fun to learn about. We started out talking about treaty interpretation (which essentially meant that between LRS, Crim, and IL, every single one of my classes was a civil law/statutory interpretation course – huge change from last semester, when every class was a common law one). We’ve since moved into focusing more on “Customary International Law” which is more like the common law that we did before, with a little twist, in that there aren’t any courts to make precedent. I really like my IL professor. He’s enthusiastic, and has an excellent sense of humor. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, and he looks at IL with a critical eye, while still being optimistic.

This is a ridiculously long post, and instead of making it even longer, I’ll make a separate post about work, networking, the job search process, and extra curricular activities. And maybe a follow up weather post, assuming I haven’t frozen to death yet. (And I’ll actually get these posted this time! Promise!)

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