12.10.10 By Kailey

Your Brain On Law School

GOOD NEWS PEOPLE: I took my first final and SURVIVED!

Here’s how it went down: I woke up at 6:00am. I wanted my brain to be fully functioning by the time I got ready to take my property exam. Sure, this is a little insane, but I get pretty nervous about tests so if I’m up and ready and can clear my head, it’s better for everyone involved. I got up, ran through my outline a couple more times, and double checked the exam software on my computer. Then I rolled out to St. Louis Bread Company (Panera to foreigners*), grabbed some breakfast, and was at the law school by 7:45am. Tests were distributed at 8:40am, but I wanted to become one with my testing space. I was the first one there, clearly ridiculous, but I spread all my stuff out and got comfy. My property exam was open-book, so I brought an outline, my class/reading notes, and my text book. A quick moment of silence for this beautiful outline, please:

So pleasing to the eye.

Now back to the story – An hour flew by and before I knew it, I was knee deep in regulatory takings, communal property, and adverse possession. After typing for literally 3 hours straight, it was finally over. My back was pretty sore and I felt like I wanted to sleep forever, but I also felt an exhilarating sense of accomplishment. A law school Final?! Finished?! HOORAY!

UNTIL THIS MORNING, when I realized I still have 2 more exams to take. Shoot. So, I’m going to spend the next 48 hours preparing relentlessly (and by relentlessly you know I mean after I finish this blog post, and eat half of a leftover sandwich from Snarf’s, and after watching last night’s episode of 30 Rock). But I’ll get it done. My Contracts final is on Monday and Torts will take place on Thursday. Only one week left!

Now that we’ve discussed exams, I want to talk about a very important issue that has arisen, and I think may be ubiquitous throughout law school land: LAW SCHOOL BRAIN DOMINATION.

Here are the signs and symptoms:

  1. All you can talk about is law school
  2. You explicitly state you don’t want to talk about law school, but somehow just moments later you find that you are talking about law school
  3. Your Facebook statuses/tweets are all related to law school
  4. Your entire extended family, high school friends, neighbors, and passersby know the intimate details of your law school experience

and finally, the worst:

5. LAW SCHOOL JOKES.

Law school brain takeover is a serious matter. I thought I was immune. I said to myself, “SELF – let’s keep it real, let’s make law school friends, but keep our other friends close at hand, one is silver, and the other is gold, right?” I thought if I did that, and if I didn’t live in the library, and if I ate a well balanced diet – maybe, just maybe, I could be saved.

FALSE.

Yesterday I caught myself adding “comprehensive plan” and “adequate notice” into a brief conversation with my brother about holiday travel plans. My past 11 facebook statuses have been about finals or outlines or classes. #LawSchool has become my most frequently used hashtag. I have started reading law blogs and news articles about court cases. And most depressing of all, I’ve found myself making (or laughing at) cheesy law school jokes. (I would give you an example, but they’re way too embarrassing. Also, you really should get to enjoy them for the first time yourself when you’re a 1L.)

As soon as finals are over, I’m hoping to clean up my act. I’m sure  everyone I know is tired of hearing about law school. Sometimes it’s just way too cool or interesting to keep to myself. But other times, I just want to passive aggressively complain that someone is being loud in the library. See, I’m doing it again!

Finally, a segment about law student leisure activities this week… I had a fabulous time during my adventure to see Holiday Lights at the St. Louis Zoo. I drank hot chocolate and got to see these adorable penguins:

Personally, I identify with the sleepy, bloated one.

I also had dinner on The Hill at Cunetto’s afterwards. The Hill is a primarily Italian neighborhood in St. Louis which is home to many great restaurants. Cunetto’s is about as classic and old school as it gets. I also hit up The Royale during a study break with some friends, (where we promised not to discuss law school, and then proceeded to discuss law school) and had a really great time. Cunetto’s and The Royale are both in South City, about 15 minutes from campus.

That’s all for now. Wish me luck on my last two exams and have a splendid weekend!

-Kailey

*Did you know St. Louis is home to Panera? Heck yes we invented it! Build-A-Bear, Budweiser, and ice cream cones too.

12.04.10 By Kailey

The End of the Semester As We Know It

I CANNOT BELIEVE IT’S ALMOST OVER!

Classes wrapped up this week, delightfully in fact. Each of my professors gave kind closing remarks and they have all been very attentive to our e-mail questions and requests for meetings about the exams. So impressed.

I can’t believe I finished an entire semester of law school classes. It really wasn’t so bad. A lot of reading. A lot of being confused. A lot of interacting with new people. But I’m getting ahead of myself here… because I haven’t taken FINALS yet!

Currently I’m working on outlines. Outlining is essentially taking all the information you learned over the course of the course (ha!) and organizing it so it makes sense to you. All of my professors are allowing outlines during the exams, so the goal is to create a tool that will allow you to quickly and effectively answer exam questions and make sure you don’t forget key components or issues. For those of us who love organization, this can be a pleasing endeavor,  but it is incredibly time consuming. I’m also amazed at the variety of different approaches people are taking. Some are using commercially prepared outlines, some aren’t concerned about outlines at all, and others (read: me) have spent many, many hours on this. Evidence:

I’m hoping to finish all my study materials completely this weekend so I can work with a couple of different study groups on practice problems next week.

Law school exams involve getting a hypothetical set of facts and then analyzing them with the principles you’ve learned. This demands “issue spotting,” essentially, quickly picking up on which precedents/laws/provisions are relevant to the facts and analyzing them accordingly. Working in study groups is especially effective for honing this technique because everyone looks at the problem differently and it’s helpful to hear different perspectives. As nerdy as this sounds, this can be kind of a fun bonding experience. The other day a classmate accidentally admitted that she “loved discussing practice questions.” Several of us informed her that there wasn’t any shame in that, that we too secretly love test prep. I also informed her that I’d blog about it. (Hi!)

But even though some joy can be found amongst all this studying, I will admit it’s definitely stressful. SO, what do we do to unwind? Well….

The social highlights of this week included adventures to St. Louis’ “Little Mexico” to dine at El Bronco, one of my fav restaurants (about 15 min from campus). Two of my law school pals accompanied me and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the cheap but delicious fare. It’s nice to get out and explore beyond campus, and St. Louis has some amazing little treats to offer. Tonight, for instance, I will be donning mittens and attending the Holiday Light Display at the St. Louis Zoo (2 minutes from campus). WashU also tries to encourage us to take a break once in a while… the Student Bar Association sponsored a midnight pancake breakfast for students at the Law School on Wednesday night. What’s better than breakfast for dinner at school? Probably nothing.

I’m making a real effort to balance my time between studying at home, studying in the library, wasting time on facebook, napping, and keeping up with other basic human needs. We have all heard horror stories about 1L year, but so far this semester, I’ve found that keeping  a balanced schedule, taking breaks when I need them, and making sure to look back at the big picture… “I’m at a top 20 law school! I’ve always dreamed of this! Everyone around me is so smart and interesting!” has really kept me balanced. Speaking of balance, it’s time I get back to work.

Stay tuned for more adventures. Have a great weekend!

-Kailey

11.26.10 By Kailey

On “Making It Happen”

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

I want to make sure I answer questions you leave in the comments, so I’ll address that today with the first which came from PJ:

“My question that I would like to see addressed from you, and all other fellow bloggers is how worried are you about job prospects after graduation?”

OK, PJ — here we go. I love making lists, so just bear with me:

I will not pretend there haven’t been several articles written about a “terrible” legal job market. BUT, I will tell you about the things that make me feel very optimistic about my job prospects, and the reasons I chose to come to law school despite the hype.

Career Services – WashU is taking this seriously, and they make it easy for students to gain exposure to employers and employment resources. The career services office is constantly offering workshops on networking, resumes, professionalism, and bringing in speakers and attorneys to give advice on finding jobs. I had a wonderful experience meeting with a career services counselor who was incredibly supportive and has sent me several folllow up emails with leads for summer jobs.  These opportunities are available to all law students and are valuable resources to take advantage of. For more information about this office, please visit their website.

Professors — I am amazed by my professors. They are brilliant, are providing me with an incredible education, and they have all made an effort to get to know me. For 1L’s this is very important, as we will need references for summer jobs. For upper level students, knowing professors can lead to research or job opportunities as well. Having a faculty that wants to work with students has been the most important factor in choosing schools for me, and I am so glad that WashU understands the importance of this. They each hold office hours, are happy to talk to students after class, are very attentive to e-mail, and legal practice professors hold one-on-one student conferences to discuss writing assignments 3 times per semester. I feel comfortable approaching them and am consistently impressed by the diversity of their legal interests. Knowing these exceptional people contributes to my confidence about finding a great legal job. For more information about our faculty, click here.

Fellow Students — My classmates are such a unique bunch. Almost no two people are alike. They are from ALL OVER the country (and the world for that matter), went to a variety of different schools, had different majors, some have had other careers, some have families, some have traveled the world, some have graduate degrees. I am amazed and inspired by each of them in a different way. I’ve already made some great friends, and getting to know this group of promising individuals better over the next three years will definitely be an asset when it comes to making connections and finding a job. I have worked in St. Louis politics for several years, and have already introduced classmates to people in the city with similar interests to theirs. Connecting with these brilliant future lawyers is helping me form a network I can use as a foundation throughout my career. And to brag about them a little more, here is a profile of my class.

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up – I have always wanted to be a lawyer, and as tragic as a poor economy is, I didn’t want to allow it to take away something so important to me. As with most of my classmates, when I really want something important, I try my hardest to make it happen. Receiving an education in a field that really interests and drives me is so inherently valuable; combining the caliber of the people I’m surrounded by, the incredible professors teaching me, and the connections and resources of WashU makes me feel like the odds are in my favor.

This is just one gal’s perspective. Law school is a big decision, so it’s important to know that it’s what you really want before you jump in. I spent a lot of time reading school’s websites, blogs, visiting, and working with my undergraduate Pre-Law Club to learn more about the process. The WashU Admissions Office has great resources and a delightful staff who are always happy to help. You can visit their website or their blog for more information.

And just a few notes:

I want to give a shout-out to the Public Service Advisory Board who organized this year’s canned food drive. Thanks to enthusiastic Professors, 1L sections brought in over 3000 cans! This is a perfect illustration of our competitiveness put to a good use. My section (B) and the other section we take classes with (E) should be announced as the winners, and Professor Goldwasser was kind enough to chip in and sponsor half of this pizza party so we can all celebrate together.

In other news: 1Ls turned in our memos and now it’s just OUTLINING for exams during the first and second weeks of December. I can’t believe the first semester is almost over. It flew by.

Please keep sending questions or suggestions and have a fabulous weekend!

Over and out,

Kailey

11.17.10 By Kailey

Law School Essentials

Good morning friends! It’s been a busy week for 1Ls… our Memos are due on Monday, we had a legal research final (not to mention my birthday) last Friday, and the need to outline is feeling more and more urgent by the day. Despite the stress, I decided to reflect on some of the essentials items in my day-to-day existence as a law student. So, here we go:

– Highlighters - Listen, highlighters are a big deal. Some people are highlighter crazy. Not crazy…Highlighter SERIOUS. They have one color for the facts, one for the holding, one for rationale, etc… every case is a beautifully configured rainbow. This is too much for me, I just highlight the info I find most relevant and then take notes. I used to carry around a highlighter in my backpack during undergrad, now my highlighter stash has multiplied by a factor of 10. A few weeks ago, a classmate described to me her overwhelming joy when she opened a fresh pack of highlighters and gazed upon their beautiful glow. As you can see, it’s the simple pleasures of law school that get you through the stressful times.

Camaraderie – “Wake Up Kailey! This is not a game! It’s time to get up!”  This is a text message I received from another classmate at 7am. In my contracts class, instead of being cold-called, my professor creates a “panel” for every class. So, instead of the whole class sitting and wondering if they’ll be called on, a panel of 6 students knows for sure they have to keep the conversation moving. This is an important part of our grade, so everyone takes preparations very seriously. Unfortunately, my sleeping subconscious self had created a game in my mind, and in order to win I had to successfully turn off my alarm clock. And then obviously, I would fall right back to sleep. After telling this to my friends in Contracts one morning, I was delighted to find that on the day I was up for panel, two of them texted to remind me to get up. Certainly, Law School has its competitive edge, we’re all used to being the smartest. BUT, we all also know that the best way to succeed is to support each other and play fair. This will be one of my favorite memories from law school, I think, and it’s a good indication of the simple acts of kindness you find around our school.

- The Importance of Eating and Sleeping – Yesterday I got up at 5am. I like to get up early, this isn’t any big deal. However, I had trouble falling asleep so I ended up with about 3 hours of solid slumber. Then I made the genius decision that I would wait until after property class to eat lunch. Breakfast at 5am. Lunch at 3pm. 3 hours of sleep. Do these sound like prime intellectual conditions? Absolutely not. So, of course, I got cold called in class. I did the reading, but with minimum nutrients and rest, I had a bad case of the “umms” and awkward pauses. Luckily I was able to gather my thoughts in some coherent way, but it reminded me that Law School is my job and I need to feed my brain in order to get that job done right. Focusing on being healthy, and also thinking of how you might answer simple questions might be good advice. Just saying. Haha.

- Shamelessness in the Library – As I said before, memos are due this week, so everyone has been camped out in the library researching, writing, and bluebooking like crazy. On Sunday afternoon I made my way down to my favorite study spot and found a classmate with a table covered in cases, notes, charts, cookies, juice, crumbs, highlighters, pens, cords, and numerous other items. I had forgotten about that pre-finals time when everyone loses their marbles a little bit, puts on sweatpants, and barricades themselves in their favorite study cubby. There was something quite delightful about this sight, and though you may think I’m romanticizing this law school experience, I can assure you this element of academic nostalgia provided much needed comfort for my six hour stint in the lawbrary.

Those are my thoughts for now. Today I’m finishing up this memo draft and meeting with my professor to discuss. He has individual 30 minute office conferences for every student for every writing assignment. These are super helpful because he will point out flaws and also give ideas that didn’t occur to you because you’re so tired of reading the same words over and over again. I’m also tabling in Crowder Courtyard (a common area in the middle of the law school where lots of students eat their lunch) to get signatures for a petition to start an Animal Law organization. We need 20 signatures and 10 members to start, and we got almost all of those yesterday. I’m really excited about getting this started and I look forward to sharing my progress with you.

With that, I’m off. Have a fantastic day!

-Kailey

11.09.10 By Kailey

A Brief Introduction

Case: Kailey Burger v. Law School*

Jurisdiction: St. Louis, Missouri

Procedure: High School at Francis Howell Central (St. Charles, MO), followed by Undergraduate studies at Truman State University (Kirksville, MO), and currently attending Washington University School of Law (St. Louis, MO).

Facts: Kailey has loved school since she was a small child. She is now a 1L at Washington University Law and is faced with the everyday challenges presented by attending a Top 20 Law School.

Issues: First, what is it like to be a student at WashU Law?  Second, will she succeed?

Hahaha.. Maybe the cheesiest possible way to introduce myself.. but I couldn’t resist. Hi! My name is Kailey, and for now I’m flying solo as WUSTL’s Law School Blogger. I’m a 1L and I’m thrilled to be sharing my day-to-day law school experiences with you.

A little about me: as you can see above, I’m from Missouri. I love St. Louis, grilled cheese sandwiches, politics, napping, reading, and traveling. Animal welfare and urban public education are very important issues for me, and I hope to use my law degree to advocate for these causes. At Washington University, I am a member of the Public Service Advisory Board and am working on starting up an Animal Law organization. I am loving law school so far and hope you’ll tune in to see what’s going on in my world.

I’ll be posting at least once a week, so please come back and visit soon!

- Kailey

*in case you aren’t familiar: this is a play on a “case brief” which is what you’ll write to make sure you understand all the relevant info from cases you read for class. all my professors gave instructions on how to do this, so don’t fret.

11.08.10 By Admissions

Welcome

Welcome to the new Washington University School of Law student blog!