This past week was a wonderful welcome back to law school. After what felt like months apart, I was thrilled to be reunited with my law school pals who traveled back home for break. We got together to have some fun, but also to learn about lawyering… so here’s what we’ve been up to:
1L Intersession – “Succeeding Early”
We were brought together all day Tuesday – Friday for the law school’s 1L Intersession Program. Intersession is the week before classes start in January and the time when the career services office gives 1Ls mass quantities of information about the legal profession. They do this by bringing in speakers from all over the world from different law firms, businesses, governmental agencies, and schools. The theme of the week is “Succeeding Early” and it was helpful in exposing us to different facets and opportunities within the profession we have just committed a semester of our lives to. Tuesday focused on legal specialties, career planning, and a variety of practice areas ranging from criminal law to health law to corporate transactional work to alternative careers. Wednesday was all about relationships and how to interact with others – finding mentors, interview tips, etiquette, resume do’s and don’ts, and social networking. Thursday focused on the day to day activities of lawyers in a variety of specialties. Finally, Friday wrapped up with clerkships, and some words of wisdom from extremely successful lawyers who had non-traditional paths to their current occupations.
While all of this information left me feeling a little overwhelmed, I was very grateful to have been exposed to so many new contacts and potential job opportunities. Many of the speakers were not only brilliant and charismatic, but had outlooks on the legal profession that I could relate to, respect, and admire. The importance of caring, of working hard, and of giving back to your clients and community were messages that resonated with me and that continued to be mentioned by various speakers. This is just another example of a huge effort made by WashU to help us get ahead in the legal job market. Having a full week of programming, receptions, and networking opportunities with such a wide range of interests represented allowed each student to gain something (and also helped get us back into school mode).
A Brief Comment on Grades
Some (not all) of our grades came out this week and that put some people in a tizzy. I’m satisfied with what I have going on, and they were pretty much what I expected. Most of my friends aren’t discussing them with each other, which I think is a good thing. They were made available on WEBSTAC, which is WashU’s online portal where you can pay your tuition bill, register for classes, check your transcript, etc. I don’t think I am mathematically gifted enough to understand the concept of grading on a curve, but that’s how grading is done in law school, so if you want to know more you can read about it here.
To celebrate everyone’s triumphant return to my favorite city, I hosted Stache Bash 2k11… which involved me purchasing 72 peel and stick moustaches, inviting over a bunch of friends, and having a wonderful time. I have found that as time has gone on, anytime a law student has a birthday/party/concert/event, most of us make an effort to invite just about all of our classmates. We’re all in this together, and it’s nice that we can hang out and have fun. Last night for instance, about 20 of us got together and went bowling…it was a blast! Keeping law school talk to a minimum is difficult, but we’re getting better.
This goes back to intersession as well, because many of the attorneys stressed the importance of making friends and staying connected with law school classmates because they will send you business or serve as references later in your career. This certainly isn’t why we’re all donning moustaches or going bowling, but it is good advice to consider and I’m glad that WashU students are so friendly!
And Now, Back to Reality
Starting Tuesday morning I’ll be back at it full time! My classes this semester are: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Legal Research (part deux), and Legal Practice (part deux). Stay tuned for more tales…I’ll be back to posting every Friday from now on.
Thanks for reading!