Sunday, December 30, 2007

"I Think I Can, I Think I Can"

I too am at the mid-point in my law school career. As with most things in life, sometimes it feels like the time has flown and other times I can't even remember life before law school. One thing is certain, the longer I am a law student the more I am aware that, echoing Kelly here, "Law school is both about learning how to think AND ACT like a lawyer." I want to focus on the acting part and go in a slightly different direction . . .

First year I denied all of life around me and did nothing but hit, hit, hit the books. I was non-stop, focused, in the zone, and it was all-consuming. That was exactly the right tack to take. First year grades are so critical, you only get one shot, and you are laying the foundation for years to come. However, as second year rolled around I decided that I had to find a way to occasionally work life (family & friends) around being a law student. My law degree will not grow old and gray with me, in 60 years it will not sit next to me on the porch and talk as the sun sets on the years of my life. I have a sneaking suspicion that if we do not learn now as law students how to have a healthy balance, once we become lawyers and our Blackberries are blowing up every other second we will not be well-positioned to find the balance then. These are critical learning years in more ways than one.

Now, over Christmas break, I am faced with three substantial legal projects: a comment, an appellate brief, and a source check. This is an opportunity to build legal muscles. It's preparation for managing a multiple-case load, each with different but converging deadlines. This could be daunting, and to some degree it is, but even more so it's challenging and exhilarating. This is where the rubber meets the road and we find out that we really have been developing legal skills. We really do know how to digest and analyze complex legal problems. We really do know how to construct and draft briefs. Like the little engine that could ("I think I can, I think I can") we realize that we really are becoming lawyers.

We are learning how to think and act like lawyers.

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