Spring break is next week, and I’m caught up on my homework until then. Perhaps most importantly, my brief was due yesterday, so that’s no longer something I have to worry about! (More on that later…) There’s a saying among legal types (law school students, professors, practitioners … everyone who has taken or plans to take the bar): 1L year they scare you to death, 2L year they work you to death, and 3L year they bore you to death. (Lawyers and law school students are a bit like cats, we have more than one life. Last year wasn’t particularly “scary” to me. Nervewracking and anxiety-inducing, sure. Uncertain? Absolutely. But I wouldn’t say I was scared precisely. This year, though, I am most certainly being worked hard, and “to death” while perhaps an exaggeration, isn’t hyperbole.
Although my parents may not believe it, and you may not realize it when talking to me, I am taking classes this semester. I’m still in the employment law litigation clinic that I was in last semester. I’m also still a TA for the lawyering class (the first-year writing course). The new classes this year are Criminal Procedure (aka “Crim Pro”) and Professional Responsibility (aka “PR”). As you can see, the two-syllables-or-less rule is still in effect. I won’t go into too much detail about what TAing and the Clinic involve, because I’ve already discussed them a few times. As for my new, classes, you may remember from a year ago, that I’ve already taken Criminal Law. That course focused on what lawyers call “substantive” criminal law – what counts as a crime, what does society intend to achieve with criminal law and criminal punishment. The course this semester can be thought of more as “what can cops do in an investigation? what rights do citizens have in dealing with law enforcement?” We’re currently working on pre-trial (actually, pre-charging) procedure, although we will get to trial events too. Professional Responsibility is a combination of Ethics, a bar-prep class, and a course on what the law of lawyering is. We’ve discussed fee structures, conflicts of interest, what defines the attorney-client relationship, confidentiality, the duty to inform… Basically everything that governs the duties a lawyer owes to her clients and to the court.
Outside of classes, I’ve been pretty busy as well. For one thing, I consider approximately half of my clinic work (maybe up to three quarters of it) to not be “classwork.” Everything we’re doing with our client, in my mind, isn’t really classwork. I’m very much enjoying learning about civil litigation, even if I have absolutely no desire to work in civil litigation or employment law. I’ve also been working with ATAC – the Anti-Trafficking Advocacy Coalition – both on internships (we’re working with Covenant House again!) and on the upcoming board transition. I’ve also been fairly active with mentoring this semester as well – both for the 1Ls I’m TAing and for other 1Ls. I also finalized my summer work this semester. I’ll be working for the Clark County District Attorney’s Office – the state-level prosecutors in Las Vegas. I’m still working out details – I don’t currently have housing dealt with, but I’m working on it.
Additionally, I’ve been kept very busy with Moot Court. I’ve been doing lots of things for Moot Court. First, NYU hosted the Immigration Law Competition a few weeks ago. In addition to being required to attend the final arguments, I also graded briefs written by the teams and worked as a clerk for the oral arguments. (As a clarification, briefs are basically written arguments that lawyers submit to court. In oral argument competitions, the teams are required to also submit a brief. Grading involved briefly learning the law, then reading approximately 70 pages worth of arguments, and grading them for form and substance. Clerking involves time keeping and tabulating scores at oral arguments. Clerks are also the intermediaries between the organizers of the competitions and the teams/judges.) I’ve also been mooting my fellow Moot Courters. Half of Moot Court’s 2Ls are on Competitions Divisions, meaning that at some point this semester they have traveled to a law school and competed in an oral argument competition. Part of the preparation for competition is doing practice oral arguments with other Moot Court members as “judges” asking questions and providing feedback. In addition, I’m on Competitions Division so I’ll be heading to Buffalo at the end of the month to participate in my own competition. My teammate and I finished up our brief this weekend and mailed it on Monday. We’ve done about half of our moots; two more this week, and three the week following spring break. Our issue is super interesting, but really frustrating to research.