Category: law skool


As promised, the post about being a non-drinker in law school. This incredibly apropos, since we had the Thank God Finals Are Over WOOHOO We Are Rising 2Ls Party last night.

I don’t drink.

No, that’s wrong. I can’t drink. If I drink a reasonable sized sip of scotch, I get a migraine that’s pretty much instantaneous, and it’s pretty much going to put me down for the count for at least 45 minutes, in hellish agonizing pain, not really being able to see, and may possibly end up puking on your shoes. The reaction to other things are only slightly less drastic. (Or rather, that has been true since New Years, 2009. Which is the last time I had a drink.)

I was actually really, really worried about how this would affect my law school experience. Really worried. I knew that law students, as a whole, tend to drink a lot. And I also knew (from personal experience) that there are people who get all offended when I don’t accept their drink because they think I’m not drinking AT them, when really, I’m just not drinking.

And, by the way, really sad about it. I never was a hard drinker (I grew up in a non-drinking, AA household, and when I was in high school, I really was that sanctimonious little shit who was like “ALCOHOL RUINS LIVES WTF ARE YOU DOING” but I got better when I realized that life is not really an after school special, and there are people who can enjoy a drink without becoming sloppy about it and spending all money.

My freshman year of college, my boyfriend at the time tried to get me to drink beer, which I wasn’t all that keen on because… the beer he gave me was gross. His response was, “after the first six or so you don’t taste it anymore!” That idea is so anti-everything to me- why eat or drink something if you don’t enjoy the whole experience? Drinking just to get drunk always seemed really stupid. (Also I don’t like losing control that much- I can get plenty silly on my own, thank you.)

Which is why I am glad that my friend A in college introduced me to microbrews that proved that all beer was not PBR or worse, Red White and Blue. My 21st birthday (where I did not drink myself into oblivion because I had a psych midterm the next day) involved an oatmeal stout from the Brewhouse in Duluth, Minnesota. It was heaven. And if I had to have a (very) limited number of drinks in my life, I’m really glad I didn’t waste any of them on shit beer.

Eventually I learned about good wine, and the migraines started just as I was learning about good scotch. It started with scotch, then was scotch and red wine, then scotch and all wines, And by Jan 1st, 2009, it was everything, up to and including Nyquil. It’s not sulfites, it’s not tannins, it’s the booze.

It fucking sucks.

Anyway, for the most part, it was a non-issue. I went out with people, and went to parties, and mostly, it was okay. There were a couple of times when it was less okay. The end of the fall semester party started with one of the guys buying a bunch of drinks for people, and I asked for a coke, and he gave me a “come on! live a little!” look and I cocked an eyebrow back and said “No, coke please!” and that was fine. People got used to me sidling up and taking a huff of their drink and wandering off (mostly- a few people thought it was so weird, which I guess it is, but it’s the only way I can enjoy booze, and it’s almost like tasting, but not really).

Over the spring semester, as I got to know people more (I takes me a while to warm up to people, so i really didn’t start coming out of my shell towards a lot of people until spring semester), I went out more, and there were a couple of memorable moments where I would be at a party, and someone would be passing shots around and I would say “no thank you” and they’d get all offended. Because apparently in my “no, thank you” they heard “I don’t drink, how dare you offer that poison to me AND BY THE WAY, I am judging you for drinking when I, pious bitch that I am, AM NOT.”

Um.

Yeah. My response to that was “One, medical reasons. Two, wish I could. Three, I’m not judging you for drinking; right now, I’m judging you for BEING AN ASSHOLE.”

I saw a facebook post from a girl who said that she just couldn’t understand people who just didn’t drink, because she spent 20 years of her life not drinking, and has spent the next three trying to make up for it. She (very generously) allowed for people in AA, because presumably they’ve put in their time or something, but people who just didn’t drink obviously had problems.

Fuck that. People drink, or not, for their own reasons. There are people who drink way too damn much. There are people who are assholes about how they don’t drink, and most people fall in the middle. I really wish that I had a brain with the proper chemistry that didn’t go haywire at the touch of alcohol. God knows this year made me want to drink. I wish I could enjoy good beer (and hearing about Dark Lord Day from Huma was like, DUDE PLEASE). I really wish I hadn’t had my last drink of Honeywies, ever. (And just after the packy near my old apartment was bring in Leinies, too! I SPENT FIVE YEARS IN BOSTON WHINING ABOUT THE LACK OF MY FAVORITE BEER AND BEING CARE PACKAGES. Then they start bringing in Leinies to the area. THEN MY BRAIN EXPLODES. In the words of Roger Sterling, what a fucking joke.)

But, I don’t get to have that. So in the alternative, I’d like to be able to huff in peace, and not get shit about something that is not my choice. I promise I am not drinking at you. Or at anyone. I’m just not drinking.

And I’m pretty sad about it, too.

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Just a quick update that I’m no dead, but I kind of feel like I should be. Three finals in a week is about my limit and this has been the most stressful, most exhausting, most difficult week of my life.

I’m really glad it’s over.

So there’s one more to go, and then I can write about the drama and shit that’s been going down, about what it’s like being a non-drinker but still social, and start really packing for London.

Actually, I think I may nap first.

We had our criminal law final yesterday.

It was brutal.

Well, parts of it were brutal. We had 30 multiple choices questions (MCQs) and FOUR essays. Three tradiaitonal analysis essays, and one on policy. We all figured that the policy essay would be on punishment, or the death penalty, or something like that.

No, she threw us a curve ball (possibly because we spent all semester mocking her favorite baseball team. LOOK IF THEY DIDN’T WANT TO BE MOCKED MAYBE THEY SHOULDN’T BE WEARING THOSE PINSTRIPES. THAT IS ALL I AM SAYING). She gave us an essay on the differences between the common law and MPC approaches to strict liability.

…..

Yeah.

And we all staggered out into the sun and staggered over to Sweetwater (the school’s mascot bar), and I delegated my drinking out to someone who would appreciate it, and today (Saturday) we are all in the library, frantically trying to learn all the Constitutional Law.

(mostly we are sniping at each other on Facebook. How did law school happen without the internets?)

(probably more got done)

So yeah. I’m exhausted and have a screed on study groups that all cancel because of generalized woe, but see the exhausted part.

I am taking time to go see Iron man 2 in about an hour, though. So there’s that.

I’m studying Con Law

Which means it is time for a completely unrelated post!

So I work part time at Borders and have for almost two and a half years now.  It’s actually the longest I’ve stayed at any job, ever.  It’s low key, I only work a handful of hours a week, it gets me out of the library, and I really like the crew that works there.  (I mean, the ones I see.  The ones I don’t, I don’t know them.  So I don’t know if I like them or not.)  As one of the most senior people there, I can bully people into getting closing done The Redheadedgirl Way, which is GET THIS SHIT DONE BECAUSE I WANT TO GO HOME, PEOPLE.

But that isn’t what this post is about.

A few days ago I was staggering home from a 14 hour weekend in the library, and ran into one of my coworkers (who I like very much- we shall call him Ginger Kid) on the T with his girlfriend (who was doing the posturing of possession all over him, because I am total threat, y’all).

Anyway, Ginger Kid introduces me and says “Red here is going to law school!”

GF: “Oh, I thought about going to law school, but I decided I wanted to keep my soul.”

Me:  “….”

GF: “Oh!  I mean just that I would have to work in a firm that isn’t, you know, evil.”

Me: “….” (At this point I can see where the conversation is going to end, so now it’s a goal of making her as uncomfortable as possible.  Because seriously, it is one thing when you are among friends.  WHO SAYS THAT TO SOMEONE YOU JUST MET.) “I’m going to go into criminal defense.”  ::smile::

GF: “…..wouldn’t you rather be a DA or a social worker or something?”

Me:  ::sunny smile::  “Nope, I’m gonna defend criminals!”

GF:  “…..but not the bad ones, right?  I mean, like, the nice ones?”

Me:  ::head tilt of “do you hear what is coming out of your mouth, honey?”::

GF:  “I mean, I guess some people are wrongfully accused, they should have an attorney….”

Me:  ::sunnier smile:: “Everyone gets an attorney.  It’s a rule.”

GF:  “I guess….”

Me:  ::Even more sunnier smile::  “Besides, someone has to keep the cops honest!”

GF: ::blanches a little bit, because in her world, the cops are always honest, or something.  I don’t know, I’m maybe projecting a little::

(During this entire discussion, Ginger Kid is (wisely) keeping his mouth shut.)

At that point we got to my stop and said that it was lovely to meet her, blah blah blah, and go catch my bus.

But really, the meme of “All lawyers work in Big Law and have no soul” is kind of old.  I mean, if all you know about the legal world is from reading The Firm then I can see where you get that idea.  But even the rest of Grisham’s books paint a more varied picture than THAT.

(Disclaimer:  Love Grisham, don’t love his early attempts at writing conversations.  He puts “Okay?” at the end of every other sentence and it’s annoying.  But he got better in later books.  Also he’s a better writer than Dan Brown.)

(That was a low blow.  He’s a MUCH better writer than Dan Brown.)

(oh, I highly recommend The Good Wife as a good lawyer TV show.  Lots of procedure, which made Civ Pro more fun, and Juliana Margulies being AWESOME.)

1L ends not with a bang…

…but a “Goddammit there are now finals to get through.”

So we’ve just ended the final class of the first year of law school.  So what are we doing to celebrate?

Drinking with the rest of the section?  Gawd no.

Nope, me and my study group are trying to slog through the Dormant Commerce Clause.

(I have this hope and belief that the Supreme Court will, in the week and four days before our Con Law final, hand down a decision that says “Not only is the dormant commerce clause bullshit (because CJ Marshall MADE IT UP) so it never EXISTED.  We will never speak of it again.  IT NEVER HAPPENED.  No poor, abused little 1Ls will ever have to best tested on it again.  Because no one gives that much of a shit about milk.”  That is what I hope will happen before the exam.)

(A redheadedgirl can dream.)

Anyway, this study session is not going well. Right now we’re having the battle of the iTunes.

But hey!  We got through classes. That’s a big step.

Now I could either a) study for finals or b) follow my mother’s example during her finals and clean the apartment.

We’ll see.

Nontraditional

That’s what they call us; nontrads.  We’re the people that went out and did something (or in some cases, nothing) between undergrad and law school.  In my case, it was:

Taking 5 and a half years to get through college (I started off as a theater major, then I figured out I was really bad at it, switched major to Criminology, switched schools, THEN finally got my shit together enough to graduate from college).

Moving from Minnesota to Boston “because I was bored.”  (Seriously.  I had this bug up my butt to go to Boston and there weren’t many reasons not to (other than it being 2003 and a depressed economy and OH BOY DID I HAVE NO IDEA and also jobs in Boston weren’t that plentiful either, but what ever I WANTED TO GO TO BOSTON).  So I did)

Not being able to find a job other than temping, which i did for a year (and was able to tread water enough to keep from aving to go home in disgrace, and my mother hated those phone calls because I was sad, lonely AND broke).

Deciding that if I was bored and couldn’t find a job, then grad school was the best bet (Suffolk University, there I went!)

Having to more or less talk my way in grad school, since the lack of shit-together-ness in college really took a toll on my GPA.  (Suffolk lets you take two classes without being an admitted student.  I applied while taking the second one in the spring of 2005, and got the “We’re not admitting you” letter a week before my final paper was due.  Somehow I managed to turn in a decent paper, a got an A in the class, and then, six weeks later, Suffolk said “Oh hey!  We’ve reconsidered your application, and now we are admitting you!”  In that six weeks I had gone through my stages of mourning, gotten a job not remotely in my field but it paid actual money and also had health insurance, come up with a back up plan and reluctantly was considering trying to sort out Northeastern’s byzantine admissions system.  So it was like “YAY!  Couldn’t you have told me sooner?”)  (I was told later that the sociology department NEVER reconsiders applications like that.  I really don’t know what made them this time, because I found out about it when I called them to talk about applying for reconsideration for that spring semester.  Anyway, I didn’t humiliate for that decision, I guess.)

Got a Masters in Criminal Justice while working full time, including writing a thesis.  (On the exclusionary rule and if it actually frees a bunch of evil nasty criminals due to excluded evidence.  Short answer:  No.)

Got a job working at the Committee for Public Counsel Services in Boston, working in the unit that defends people appearing before the Sex Offender Registry Board and/or  have commitment proceedings against them to be committed as Sexually Dangerous Persons.  (Oh the stories I can’t tell you.)

Met an incredible group of committed, passionate people that made me think, hey I could do that. (This is the sappy part of the list).

Discovered that, for most of my adult life, my desire to be an attorney was far outweighed by my lack of desire to go to law school, and by the fall of 2008, that was starting to change.  (Also I was getting bored again.)

And when I took the LSAT in February of 2009, I really did want to be a lawyer more than I didn’t want to go to law school.  So I went.

So I’m now 31, overeducated (my mother is so proud, y’all), and drowning in more debt that I ever imagined was possible (and I go to the cheap school in Boston) (given that Boston has one of the highest costs of living in the country, that’s…. not saying a lot), and I gotta say, I was really worried about being one of the grownups.  I hate being the grownup.  It sucks!

There are a handful of us in my section who are over 30.  There’s more who went from college to work and then on to law school.  In the end, though, it really didn’t matter a lot.  (I mean, the biggest difference is occasionaly one of us grownups will say something that will make the others howl with laughter, and the kiddies would be like “Wait.  Who’s Steve Urkel?”  Also I think we tend towards drinking less, but I skew that one, because I’m allergic to booze *sob* and can’t drink at all.  The trials and tribulations of being a non-drinker in law school is a WHOLE OTHER POST.) My point is, 712 words later, that just because you’re old doesn’t mean you won’t have anything in common with your classmates.  Because dude, all that shit doesn’t matter when you’re in the same pressure cooker room day after day, all up in each other’s faces and lives because you don’t have time for anything else.

(Of course, that said, I’m SO GLAD I didn’t take my adopted big brother’s advice that “You can go anywhere for three years!” and stayed in Boston where I already had a non-law school support network and friends who would drag me out of the library and talk nerdy in museums and shit.  I don’t know what this would be like without that balance.)

Been a while.

Um.  I’ve been busy?

In the year since I posted last, I’ve been accepted to law school, quit my job, started law school, got swine flu (really), got through the first semester, got accepted to a study abroad program to London this summer, got my red belt in tae kwon do, and am staring down spring finals IN THE FACE.

Right now I’m trying to get through my property outline for landlord/tenant stuff.  It’s going…. slowly.  (See, we learned about this shit in November.  And we knew when we were learning it that it would not be on the fall exam.  Which is dangerous.  I tried to take REALLY good notes in class, and for the most part I think I did, it was just SO LONG AGO.)  So naturally I thought I’d revive this blog and see what’s up.

I will be using this space as a “Hey!  look what international incidents I did NOT cause in London!  (Also here are some pretty pictures)” type of thing while I’m there.

Um.

Right.  So, as far as tae kwon do goes, I hope to be testing for black belt in the fall.  We’ll see.  My sparring is still absolute shit, and I still hate it like a hate-y thing.  But I am getting better!  (Also tae kwon do + law school?  BEST IDEA EVER.)

So the upshot is, that’s my life.  It’s more good than bad. But finals don’t start for another 2 weeks.