The Secret of Life and Other Anecdotes


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Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 4:30 pm

The Secret of Life and Other Anecdotes

Post by UglyBetty » Thu May 24, 2007 5:37 pm

I'm a 0L.

I've finished the cycle and I'm heading to law school in the fall. I was accepted into a placement program for 0Ls in New York City, so I'll be spending 10 weeks as a "pre-law summer associate/clerk" in Manhattan. I was also offered a position at a firm in another city, where I went to undergrad.

I'm currently working at the large defense firm (I only did 2 weeks). Let me tell you a little bit about what it's like to be a 0L clerk.

The first day we had orientation and got to meet some of the people involved with the firm. We brought payment information and went over clocking hours, the building, and what the expectations were of us.

The coordinator emphasized, time and time again, the importance of having fun over working! This is, after all, a recruitment activity.

I've got an attorney mentor along with my coordinator to turn to if I have problems. Additionally, each attorney is willing to listen to your concerns or questions regarding a project.

I was assigned my first project, but after that I was able to go to a book that contains projects/queries for clerks. You simply sign it out, then go meet with the attorney. There are a variety of topics from which to choose and, of course, a never-ending supply of work.

-I've worked with (and learned about) injunctions and requirements for granting permanent ones (the "comparative damage principle" is used);
-I created a company profile for an insurance agency whose business we're trying to get;
-I've compared competitor banks' warranties;
-I've looked up case law and state codes concerning Uniform Trade Secrets Acts and specific jury instructions regarding damages for unjust enrichment and misappropriation of trade secrets;
-I've applied case law in determining how courts have ruled in cases about destruction of evidence

at the same time, my mentor has taken me to a spa for a pedicure;
-I've had more cocktails than I can count
-Gone out for lunch every day save for two (and one I cancelled);
-Left work early to go play tennis with my coordinator and others;
-Gone out to dinner or to dinner parties;

All in all, it's a lot of work (all interesting things that you learn from) but it's also a lot of fun...and tiring.
Last edited by UglyBetty on Fri May 25, 2007 12:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.


Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 4:30 pm

Post by UglyBetty » Thu May 24, 2007 5:49 pm

Funny line from a case I'm reading:

As the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has stated:
"There are few activities in our society more personal or private than the passing of urine. Most people describe it by euphemisms if they talk about it at all. It is a function traditionally performed without public observation; indeed, its performance in public is generally prohibited by law as well as social custom."


Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 4:30 pm

Post by UglyBetty » Fri May 25, 2007 9:39 am

It would appear that jhett and I are similarly chronicling (have I ever spelled that word before? What an unusual combination of words!) our summers as clerks.

The firm I'm at right now is a medium-sized firm. It's in a location where it'd be great to raise kids. The best part about the place is that it gets business from great companies because of the quality of work they put out, despite their location in the south. In fact, we're local counsel for Merill Lynch, just to name one of quite a few big names.

In the 1980s a handful of attorneys at another successful firm decided to leave. Everything was going fine, but they wanted something more. They coaxed the firm's new associates to join them, and they did! Together, this small group of break-aways formed the firm and built it into a powerhouse. There are now two offices in the state. The one I'm at occupies five floors and will expand to a six in the next year.

Their founding principles include two unorthodox ones; one encourages esprit de corps among coworkers and team-play while the other focuses on spending time not only as a lawyer, but a citizen, a public servant, and a family member.

It's a great balance of relaxed atmosphere and prestige. Unfortunately, today is my last day after only two weeks. Tuesday I'll begin at another firm in Manhattan.

Until later (it's time for the summer associate breakfast. Jhett wasn't lying; SA's are spoiled).



Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 4:30 pm

Post by UglyBetty » Sun Jun 03, 2007 9:36 pm

I finished up my time at the first firm where I split my time this summer. In a confusing, exciting whirlwind, I deposited my car at my parent's house and then flew to the city where I will spend the rest of my summer.

No one is misleading when they lament the size of this city. It's frighteningly easy to be swallowed up, brushed aside, overlooked, or forgotten. The good news is that for as many opportunities to be overlooked, there are equally as many to do something productive, be recognized, make a kind gesture, or simply be.

My first week included a Monday move-in, Tuesday first day of orientation, Wednesday full day of computer training, Thursday first "for real for real" day, and Friday day of work until 8:30pm.*

I chose to stay at work on Friday to get things done before this upcoming week. The nature of my program allows me ample opportunity to shadow and attend various lunches, seminars, and meetings. With that said, it's still very important to complete work so that you can be properly reviewed come early July. Why not knock it out ahead of time?

My firm provides a service through seamless web--they've got an account where you can order anything off of one of 300 or so menus in town. They cover it, as long as you're at work past 7.

More to come later. I spent today recovering from a joyous night on the town. Oh, hell, plus it was dauntingly, drab gray outside today. I wasn't prepared to lift a finger.

hasta luego


*Okay, well I had a breakfast seminar 9:30-11:30, lunch 1:00-3:00...that plus meeting people in the office doesn't really equal a full day, hence my late stay.


Posts: 6
Joined: Thu May 24, 2007 4:30 pm

Post by UglyBetty » Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:33 am

I found a mailing list option to mail employees of my firm who are alumni from the law school I will be attending. I sent them a short, informal message asking them to give me some tips about the law school when they had the opportunity.

I wouldn't always recommend this step. Some firms aren't nearly as collegial as mine is. Either way, I sent it to a mix of partners and associates. Some responses:

Academic advice:

Brief every case. Briefing involves outlining the facts, holding and reasoning of the case you're reading. Do it religiously.

Read the cases that are cited in the case you're assigned to read. It will help you understand the case better.

Rewrite your notebook for a class every night.

Get onto Law Review! The write-on competition is at the end of your first year. You will be burned out and it will be an incredible hassle to take two or three weeks of your life to devote to something so seemingly inane, but do it. It can literally change your career.

As you can see, I have lots of thoughts on the subject. Feel free to stop by anytime to chat.

I worked after undergrad, so when I went to law school I approached it like a full time job. Regardless of the time of my classes, I woke up at 8:00, got my coffee, and proceeded to the library. I went to class and continued to study until about 5:00. I had dinner, relaxed, and later looked over my materials for a bit before bed. I had my weekends and nights to do as I pleased. It worked well for me.

Don't approach law school studying like you did senior year! A lot of people did that and it didn't turn out too well...

and my favorite:

Buy a warm coat.

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