Friday, December 30, 2005


In the middle of this vacation, I find myself completely alone, but by no means lonely. The break has been long enough for me to feel that the intense pressure of law school is a surreal, unreal, and strange existence.

As difficult as it was, I enjoyed the exams because they were extremely challenging. From what I've heard, the bar exam is crazy-hard, so I'm glad the law school is preparing me for such a hard test. It would be a disservice for my professors to make things easy for me and leave me ill-prepared for the bar. That's not the only reason I'm glad law school is so rigorous. I also know that in real law practice, a lawyer is faced with some really difficult situations. In a law office, the fact pattern morphs into someone's real life. You can't just be amused by a professors creativity and try to determine the best answer when someone is sitting in front of you with jacked up life situations expecting you to provide the solutions.

My plan for the Spring semester is to come up with a way to synthesize the information way before finals. If I can come up with a way to get an understanding earlier, the pressure of finals won't be so taxing. (Yeah, right.) Anyway, I guess I should wait to see what my grades look like before I determine how to tackle my classes. I may already have a pretty good strategy. We shall see.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

First Semester Completed

It's finally over. The contracts final was manageable, but there were still multiple choice questions that absolutely stumped me. Some of the concepts are just hard to grasp to the point that you can answer questions based on various complicated fact patterns. I'll get there with practice. Understanding a concept is just the first step. The most important part is being able to apply the concept to situations.

Now that I understand how to effectively use the words "maybe," "probably," and "likely," I look forward to the challenges of the writing class next semester. I'm sure the professors will post the first class assignments before classes start, but right now, I'm looking forward to enjoying the break.

I plan to go to a Tarrant County Black Bar Association Christmas party next week. I didn't have time for those types of events during the first semester, but I hope to attend a few in the Spring because it's good to network.

For the summer, I'd like to work at a law firm in Arlington. I was successful in getting a job at a law firm before school started, and I'll employ the same method and see what happens this time.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Civil Procedure Final et al

I just finished my civil procedure final, and I'm in the library preparing to prepare for property. I probably should go somewhere, relax and watch a movie or something, but I don't have money or time to waste.

The civil procedure final was challenging as I expected. I was able to finish with time left over, and I was really surprised. I probably missed some issues, and that's okay because I'm only human. When I got up to take a bathroom break, my prayer was that I would at least complete the exam.

I have a strategy for editing my property outline that I think will help me over the next two and half days of study time I have left. I hope it works.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Open Book Exam

There is some comfort in having an open book exam because you can assure that you'll get the rule right. However, I expect some crazy hard challenges in the analysis part of the Civil Procedure test tomorrow at 1 p.m. The worrisome thing is that class was cancelled today because of a winter storm in the area. I would have felt better if I had gotten my library time in today. I'll go to school as early as possible tomorrow so I can get my fix among the books. I've always loved books, libraries, book stores. Just to walk or sit in the midst of books brings me comfort. I wonder if I could take my test in the library?

My strategy for the Torts exam worked okay. The best part of that test was that I wasn't pressed for time. On the other hand, I may have had so much time left over because I missed something. We'll see how that goes when I get my grades next month.

As for preparing for an open book test or any test for that matter. Friends are usually willing to share their outlines with you, and that's great. However, it can't replace working through your own outline. As they told us at the beginning of the year, if you make your own outline, it helps you understand the information better. Everyone has a different method of learning. You just can't substitute someone else's process for your own, but you can use other people's outline to make sure you didn't miss something or just to see how they understand a difficult idea.

No matter how you prepare for an open book exam, you can expect it to be tremendously challenging.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Count Down to Torts Final

Well, I'm in the libarary looking over my outline and listening to some great music through my headphones, of course. I sat with my friends and acquantainces for a while. They were all true to form. They are all pretty smart, and they're all handling the stress of this first test differently, according to their various personalities. After the test, the most laid back of us (which may be me) will say, see I told you we didn't have to worry about multiple sufficient implied secondary assumption of the risk. While the most studious of the bunch will say, see I told you we needed to know ALL those factors.

I feel like this first test is the measure for the rest of our experiences as law school students. On the other hand, it's just one test. But it's the FIRST test.

I had a great talk with my writing professor as soon as I got into the building. That was probably the best thing I could have done at this time. Like all my professors, he's an amazing brainiac, but he was able to relate to me in my mere mortal One L state and offered wonderful advice and encouragement. He did emphasize that this and all law school tests are supposed to be hard. He went on to explain how to handle the difficulties, but I'm not going to share all the helpful stuff he said. But I will say this. Whenever you're about to go through something, it usually helps to talk to someone who has already been there.

Torts Final

The Torts final is at 6:30 tonight. This is my first law school final. I usually don't have anxiety before a bit event, but right when the thing is about to start, I'll get some butterflies in my stomach and wonder what the heck I'm doing subjecting myself to such stress in this wonderful life. This is what I signed up for so I'm okay with it.

Here's my plan for writing my essay. For the intentional torts of battery, assualt and intentional infliction of emotional distress, I'll disucuss the claim/issue, the rule, and then apply the fact pattern to the rule. Depending on the fact pattern, I'll state some deficiencies in the argument and then state a conclustion. I'll then have a section where I discuss defenses to the claim: consent, self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property.

For negligence claims, I'll discuss Duty, Breach, Cause, and Damages. I'll point out weaknesses int he argument like intervening/supersceding causes, whether the act was really a proximate cause, whether there was really a duty. After that I'll discuss the defenses to negligence: comparative negligence of the plaintiff, assumption of the risk, failure to mitigate damages or protect against risks, and possible immunities depending on the fact pattern.

I'm almost sure the essay will have some combination of intentional torts and negligence claims. It may also involve strict liability, recklessness, and a whole bunch of other stuff that we'll have no time to address. I think I'll dedicate a section to unaddressed issues and briefly state them all in the last paragraph of the essay portion. It may be worth a point or two.