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Monday, May 02, 2005
Welcome Instapundit Readers! Feel free to look around.
With many posts like this and this around, I feel like I should also make a final day of school post.
After undergrad, I had no plans to go back to school. At that time, I didn't have a blog, or I may have made a similar post. It would have talked about how hard I'd worked the last four years, how much I learned, and how I was glad it was over because I wanted to start working. How things have changed. I won't talk about how hard I worked the last three years, how much I learned, or how I'm glad its over. Basically, the opposite is true of all three.
First, I think I worked less hard the last three years since high school. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being people on the Real World and 10 being Bobby Joe from this Survivor, I would put high school at a 6, undergrad at a 10, Samsung at a 9, 1L at a 6.5, 2L at a 4, and 3L at a 1.1 (no one could ever be as lazy as Real Worlders). Seriously, for an engineer the law school workload is a joke. I would be surprised if it wasn't a joke for many non-engineers as well.
Second, I haven't learned that much. Sure, I know my rights when a Real World sound girl asks me to not take a picture on a public street and then when she smacks me with a boom mike (I have a witness that this happened), how to read a contract and understand things like indemnity, and a little about IP. But I really didn't learn how to be a lawyer or about many areas of the law. Part of that is UT's permissive electives.
As a 2L, I took ConLaw II, intro to IP, real estate finance, sports law, copyright, real estate development, patent, patent prosecution, and legal lifecyle of a technology startup. As a 3L, I took antitrust, construction law, real estate transactions, eastern European law in transition, trademark, software licensing, and analytical methods. The only "real" classes in there are ConLaw II and antitrust, both taught by Graglia (my favorite teacher at any level). I basically took real estate 4 times. The 5 IP classes basically repeated each other. The other 3 are basically fake. Over half (8) were taught by adjuncts rather than real professors. I have very little to show for these last two years compared to most of my classmates, and I think most college students in general. I was simply biding my time and paying for my diploma.
The thing is that I didn't need to take federal income tax, Texas civil procedure, business associations, secured credit, bankruptcy, wills and trusts, criminal procedure, or any of the myriad of hard classes that my classmates took. Sure, many are on the bar, but I doubt any "bar" classes I took will really help that much. We learn how to bullshit about stuff that has nothing to do with the problem (which I don't like, explaining my less than spectacular grades), not black letter law.
A little more on testing. In trademark today (my last class ever!), the professor, who is an adjunct, said that he wants concise answers and will mark us down for shit that doesn't apply. In real life, no one wants to read about the ad inferos doctrine when discussing sound nuisance. That has always been my philosophy, but that is the opposite of the type of thinking to get good grades in law school. This is my advice for anyone in or going into law school: babble about bullshit to get good grades -- just copy your outline, even if it doesn't apply. (I base this on all the model answers I've seen and my own experience.)
A wee bit more on today's trademark class. We had it in a suite at the Texas Club, which is inside Texas Stadium. There was queso, cookies, and Dr Pepper for our enjoyment. He lectured as we looked over the football field. These have to be the perfect seats for a football game.
Third, and based on the first topic (lack of hard work), it probably isn't surprising that I'm not glad it's over. School is a fantasy land of no responsibility or consequences. Sure, there is some reading to do and there are classes to go to, but that can all be skipped with no one even noticing. The only consequences are grades, and those are somewhat arbitrary. The new curve is such that almost everyone's GPA is above 3.0, making it look attractive enough to firms. Even doing all the required reading, attending every class, and doing some extra work is also easy.
The difference I found between school and the real world the fist time around is that school gives you the problem and the resources to figure out the solution. In real life, often the hardest part is finding the problem. Once found, there may be no resources to solve it, or it may take a long time to find them. They may be incorrect, either because they are simply wrong in and of themselves or because they are not applicable to the problem. This is the type of thing school never teaches, and the main reason that school is a fantasy land. (That paragraph may be incoherent.)
I have had more free time in the last two years than, I believe, any time in the rest of my life. With no Friday classes, I've had at least three-day weekends. This semester, I had five-day weekends. The winter breaks are six weeks long. Work this summer was light, which made it almost all like a vacation. Sadly, I haven't used this time too wisely. You can see from my blog that I wasted much of it drinking, watching stuff at Ringers, playing fake and real poker, trying my hand at home improvement, blogging and reading blogs, or just sleeping and watching tv. I think that you don't realize how precious time is until it is limited.
Nevertheless, I don't really look forward to having real responsibilities with real consequences, even if it does mean making real money. I'll definitely miss Austin, which has been my home for six years and all the friends I've made here. At the same time, I look forward to starting the OC chapter of my life, seeing friends from last summer, and making new friends. And we all have to grow up some time.
I guess the real question is whether I've changed. That's hard to say and might be best answered by those who have known me before and during school. I think I'm less uptight than I was before, but that might just be the result of having nothing to stress about. I'm in a little better shape, although I still don't eat too well. I'm less, umm, thrifty (still greedy?), which might just be the result of having a lot more money.
But I think I'm still the same person as before law school. I don't think I've become more boring (impossible), braggardly, or condescending, the hallmarks of many of my classmates and a general perception of lawyers.
Some changes are tangible: I'll be a lawyer in OC rather than an engineer in Austin. I'll be ~$50k in debt. I'm three years older. I've been a homeowner.
Would I do it again? Without a doubt.
Posted by Gel 11:49 PM Post a Comment
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