Wednesday, September 28, 2005


This is a wonderful time in my life. I'm sure I've mentioned how much I love to learn. There is always something new to learn, and the process is great.

I can see how being older is very helpful because for one thing, I don't have a problem with being wrong. I can remember being either a senior in college or a very recent graduate. I had volunteered to do a newsletter for a church and was devastated when the pastor had a bunch of changes and dared to correct my typos! I have come a long way from that bright-eyed, know-it-all. Growth is good.

My point is that when you are in law school, so many things you thought you knew are challenged on levels you would never think about. I actually like this process. I like having my understanding of fundamental principles challenged and in rare cases, affirmed. In most cases, I'm learning about fundamental principles that I never even considered.

I've shared about my personal family struggles to some extent because I want to make the point that when you embark on something challenging like law school, things may happen that could cause you to totally lose focus. It may be true that some things can be so devastating that you may have to withdraw from school. However, it is possible to continue even in the midst of a crisis. I spoke to a couple of deans and one of my professors (because I missed one of his classes) about my situation, and the support I received was genuine and understanding.

So, although this is one of the most challenging times in my life on a personal and academic level, it is also a most wonderful time. What doesn't destroy you can only make you stronger.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Contracts is Coming Along

I'm finally having those "aha, oh, I get it" moments in Contracts. That's probably a good thing because we're still at the beginning stages of this thing. Now if I can just build on this elementary understanding and make it all continue to fit together, I'll be okay, I think.

I had been using the closed study rooms because of the hard family stuff I'm going through. Right now I can't guarantee that I won't burst into tears at any moment. This morning I set up in the common study area, and sure enough, the tears started flowing. Fortunately, there weren't many students in the library between 8 and 9 a.m. this morning. Generally, I'm okay. This law stuff is really helping me get through this time because I have to spend a lot of time and energy thinking about contracts, torts, property, legal research, writing and analysis. Who would have thought law school could also be good, active therapy?

That's not to say I'm suppressing stuff or ignoring issues. I'm fully dealing with everything to the full extent the law will allow! However, I think it's important for me to continue with this law school endeavor for my family and for myself. I'm sure the crap that happened was supposed to test my stability and resolve. I may look like a mess when I'm crying over a casebook, but I won't stop reading through the tears.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Stormy Distractions

What happened to my flow? I'm quite distracted by this current storm. I have more than a few friends and family in Houston. Some are already evacuating, and those who are staying don't live in flood zones.

Fortunately, my study scheme has me a little ahead in my reading. I've found it helpful to have time to ruminate over cases and other material. I don't pick up on all the nuances the first time I read some cases. In Torts and Contracts, the cases seem to be generally understandable. However, the problems and discussions after the cases cause me to go back and question my understanding.

In class, when the professor calls on a student and the student knows the answers, not only is this not exciting, I don't learn as much. When the professor has to ask a spiral of questions to get the student to the point, I'm able to gain a better understanding even if I know the answer outright. This spiral of questions causes me to look at the concept from different perspectives.

On another note, anyone interested in seeing or using the PrepPlan can acces it by clicking here. It's just a Word document you can modify for your own purposes. If you have trouble with the link and you want the document, just let me know and I'll email it to you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

An Ode to Torts

I am really enjoying Torts. The professor is cool, the book is understandable, and although everything is not simple, the concepts are certainly easier to grasp than the abstract ideas of property law where everything is steeped in some mysterious European history.

We got some feedback on our Memo 1 writing assignment. I was not surprised by the comments on my first submission. The suggestions were very helpful, and thankfully, the professor liked some things about my thesis paragraph and rule statement. I don't assume that because I'm a writer, I will do well on writing assignments. My strategy is to follow the directions as closely as possible and avoid my usual wordiness and entertaining style (heehee).

I feel like I'm in a zone, on a certain rhythm. I love to read, to study, to write, to change diapers (yeah, right! Thank God for grannys and aunts and cousins), to oversee first grade homework, to go to the school book fair late but not too late to buy the books on my daughters wishlist. Children are a joy. Law school is a challenge. And, it's all very wonderful.

Friday, September 09, 2005


I am so exhausted right now, but there is so much work to do. After spending some time with my children, I was able to complete another citation exercise online. I think I'll be able to accomplish a little more before I call it a night.

Thanks for your feedback. It's encouraging to know that someone is being helped by these entries. When it comes to this blawg, I have a serious mission to encourage any woman who is thinking about law school to pursue it. Of course, as a black woman, I have a particular message of encouragement and recruitment for my "sista's." On the other hand, in the last three weeks, I have experienced a wonderful time of bonding with my sisters of all colors. I've also become friends with some of my classmates who are white men, and their stories are varied and colorful.

I must admit that I am disappointed with the very low number of black and hispanic men (and women for that matter) at the law school. I'm sure the recruitment office is working to increase these numbers, but looking at the photos of previous classes, it seems that the numbers for "minority" students have dwindled over the years. Most people say that this happens when a school raises their standards, but I'm a firm believer that there are always good "minorities" to recruit. Generally, the key is to employ effective recruitment and outreach efforts and to fund scholarships. (I worked in various recruitment offices at UT Austin. I've seen money talk!)

Wow, this has energized me! I think I can get a little more reading and briefing done.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Gotta Be Real

Besides my father still being in the hospital, I'm dealing with another pressing family crisis. And yet, I am in the library. According to one of the lawyers I spoke to before entering this endeavor, life's inevitable troubles will seem to be working against you as a law student. That is why it is so important to have family support, even if you are single and straight out of undergraduate work. Anything can happen, and if you are hit with some major life challenge while you are in law school, it can be enourmously difficult to juggle everything and continue reading, briefing, outlining and learning.

So, I'm in the library. With all that is going on, here I sit focused on the current task which is to prepare for tomorrow's Civil Procedure and Property classes.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day

For the past week, I've been able to get in a lot of library time. My father had open heart surgery in Dallas and my mom is there with him. He is recovering well, but we don't know when he'll be back home. My sister came to stay in the house with me and my children. She has three daughters. A set of twins, 15 and a 17-year-old. They're great girls. My sister and my neices love my children, so I have to stand in line to get some time in with them. To add to that, my sister-in-law came to get the kids on Saturday, and they've actually been with her all weekend. So, that's why I've been able to get a lot of library time in!

Family support is probably the most important aspect of surviving law school when you have children. When I was married, I was very committed to being available to my children. I was an at-home mom much of the time, and I loved the experience. But even as an at-home mom, I was always active with my pursuits. I wrote a novel, had a cookie business and maintained my graphic design and consulting business all the while. I still was able to spend a lot of time with my daughter because I controlled my own schedule, and she could be with me in all those activities.

Now, the difference is that I am actually away from them most of the day during the week. I pick one day a week to have off, and that is when I spend uninterrupted time with them. Even though no one in my family can take my place, their presence and support has been priceless.

Today, I'm studying at home because the library is not open. Right now I'm working on my Torts reading and briefing assignments.

I'm really encouraged by the emails I get from people who read this and my diary on the official Texas Wesleay Law ( web site. As much as I'm encouraging to you, you are encouraging to me! Thanks.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Pressing Forward

I wept at the devastation in New Orleans, even as I continued to study and prepare for classes last week. I know everyone will be doing what they can to help the victims of the natural disaster as well as the unnatural disaster of the slow response that followed.

My PrePlan is serving me very well. Being able to see all my assignments in one place helps me keep a handle on things. If I feel a panic going on and I can look at the plan and see that I am accomplishing things, pretty much on schedule.

Although there is always a lot of reading, the cases are interesting. I'm learning to read the cases for the correct reasons. Each class has a particular doctrine you're supposed to learn, so a case may have many issues, but if I'm in Civil Procedure, the professor is only interested in my grasping the procedural question at hand. The same is true in my other classes. The funny thing about it is that your mind will still synthesize what you're learning in other classes, and I suppose this is the whole point. They break down all the doctrinal law issues so you can get a grasp on the points of law. Once you get into practice, you have to be able to bring out all the various issues in a case, whether they be tort, criminal, procedural, property rights, etc. Of course, as a lawyer you would specialize in a particular area, but it's important to be able to advise a client on general issues of law, especially if they will need to go to a different type of lawyer for other issues.

I'll update this blawg more often, but you can find an "official" diary at Just click on the link at the bottom right for the diary of a first year law student.