Saturday, October 13, 2012

My new hero Bob Goff

My friend sent me a link to as she was at a conference where he was speaking.  This man's determination to become an attorney, reminded me of myself.  But his heart to do more with his law degree (and admittedly how he considers Disneyland to be his echoes the call in my own heart.

He started a nonprofit called Restore International.  In the past year, this nonprofit has built two homes for girls who were sex trafficked, one in Uganda and one in India. 

He also has written a book called Love Does.  Looking forward to reading this book and reporting back.

I love reading about lawyers that feel a greater calling in their lives and who take the responsibility and mantle of a law degree seriously.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I have one of those coveted interviews for a recent law grad, bar passer.  The job is interesting, but not the practice of law, even though bar admittance is required.  The job is for an association that as part of it's services provides consulting on legal issues for it's members.  Not only is there consulting and investigating for the members, but also teaching of seminars to educate members and writing articles for publication.  The area is employment law which is a fascinating area and with the economy the way it is, a growing area.  Pretty excited to have the interview.

Oregon: So you are sworn in, what happens next?

No one tells you about the process that happens AFTER swearing in.  I naively thought, great, I am sworn in and it's good to go.  Law school doesn't prepare you for the fact that this is NOT TRUE.  Here is a run down of the bar happenings in Oregon:

1. Swearing in ceremony where you take the oath, and sign it, to be filed with the Surpreme Court.
2.  A few days AFTER the event, the Oregon Bar will contact you with your bar number.
3.  You must wait at least 24 hours before registering your personal profile with the bar.
4.  Register your profile with the bar.
5.  Sign up for the New Lawyer Mentoring program (in Oregon this must be done w/n 28 days of swearing in).
6.  Contact the PLF if you plan on opening your practice.  The PLF is the exclusive insurer for malpractice insurance in Oregon.
7.  Look for your 2012 prorated bar membership dues.  They are due sometime the beginning of December (I had no idea that you had to pay this fee!).

That's just to get you legit with the BAR........ not the mirad of things you must do to get your business registered...... lots, and lots, and lots of paperwork.

Please research before you call....

One thing that is apparent to me after talking to students considering attending law school...  people do not do their research.  So, most law schools have a webpage, most have information they can send out to you when you request the information.  Research your schools requirements.  Let's be frank.. you won't get into Law School that has a median LSAT score of 160, if your score was a 144.  Not going to happen no matter how good your GPA is.  Retake that test.  If you retake the test and do not improve by 5 points or more, and you don't bump up into the 150's, I think you should consider how you studied for the test.  You need a new program.  This test is not about how smart you --- the test is designed to test your standardized testing reasoning and your response to stress.  Nothing more.

Second, visit the school.  Or a law school.  Law school is not undergraduate school.  Each school has specific curriculum you have to complete your first year (and some require 2nd year classes as well).  Find out what each schools requirements are for curriculum.  Find out everything you can about the school and make a list of questions.  It's okay to ask admissions these questions.  That's their job and they love to interact with potential students.  Heck, ask the school if they have any current students that you can speak with...... there you will get brutal honesty.

Let's talk Charactor and Fitness.... If you have a record, you might want to consider what it was for.  A few speeding tickets over a 10 year period is common.  A kidnapping or felony assault -- not so.  I am betting most law schools are not going to grant admission with that kind of record.  Why?  Because the bar won't admit you with that kind of record.  Why would you go through 3 years of HELL only to be told by the bar that you can't be recommended for admission?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Reminder for you 1L's

Today I met a single parent struggling through that first semester of law school.  Watching the agony of wanting to get good grades and wanting to be a good parent to a small child brought up a lot of feelings in me, reminding me of my first year.  I spent some time talking with this student because I could see that the proverbial wall of information overload had been hit. 

So some reminders:

1.  Study smart, not hard.  There really is no reason to read the minuta of a case.  Look at what the case pertains to.  So if it is first degree murder on appeal.... there you are.  Look at the elements of first degree murder.  Now go find what it is in the that case that is being argued that violates/does not establish an element to the case.

For example:  First degree murder is the premeditated killing of another human being with malice aforethought.

You can break that down to:
1.  A human died
2.  Premeditated
3.  Malice aforethought.

If something is on appeal, it deals with one of those prongs.  You can now look at the facts of the case and the holding to find what that is.  And zero in on the courts reasoning.

Some students miss that crucial point. They forget to find the elements that is being appealed and they get lost in the arguments being made.

2.  Find some distraction for your kids.  Enrolling him/her in dance or soccer... anything that buys you a few hours of time.  Something fun for the child to do, while you get an hour to yourself to study.

3.  Find a teenager with a babysitting bag... seriously.  My daughter is 14 and she has a bag of goodies.  She also teaches the little girls whom she might babysit dance and cheer moves.  She gives them one on one attention outside of a babysitting atmosphere -- the upside is your kid gets somethign fun to do -- and you get study time.

4.  Let go.  You are not going to be the 4.0 student you were before you had a child.  And contrary to what you believe, you will not be superparent either..... meaning the dishes and house are going to go to pots.  You might earn a 3.2 instead.  You are not going to be able to stay up until 4:30 on study sessions.... can't do it.  It's not realistic.  And you know what? It's okay.  It's okay to let some of these things go. Your priority is to your kid(s), then school.... but to yourself to.  Which leads me to #5.

5.  Take some me time.  Seriously.  You need to be YOU outside of super student and child.  Find a way to unwind.  Let's face it, if you are in law school, you are likely wound tighter than a mama bear who is protecting her cub.  Take a walk (regularly).  Pick up that guitar that has gathered dust.  Have a regular tv program that does not require you to think.  Actually, the best thing is something physical to get those stresses out.... but the point is this:  get out of the house and for goodness sake, get out of your OWN HEAD.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Job Market is Abysmal

If you are reading this because you want to go to law school, be AWARE, the job market is abysmal.  There is very little out there for recent graduates.  Know this.  Be aware.  And know that one has to think creatively.  The law is traditional.  Very slow to turn.  And that means with the economy as well.  Conservatism in hiring and turning things around.

I am finding that most of my classmates hung their own shingle.  Very few secured firm jobs or government jobs either.  Firms downsized and so those lawyers with less experience were let go and those attorney's filled the market that is usually open for newer attorney's.  Networking only goes so far.

Swearing in Ceremony

I rocked the Elle Woods look the day I was sworn in.  I sat smack in the middle of a sea of black and gray. I have to say that it would have been hilarious if someone would have took a picture from the stage, looking out, with me the only one in a bright color... it would have been like a Where's Waldo! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Waiting Game Again...

From 3/11/11

Here we are again!  The waiting game.  Questioning myself, wondering if I did the right thing, answered the right question, gave the examiners what they were looking for.  The waiting is killing me.  I can't sleep, my TMJ is out of this world -- I'm in pain, and if I don't find a way to deal with this stress, I am probably going to go nuts.  This is not a good place to be.

In addition to all of that. I am still in limbo.  How do I know what kind of job to look for?  And the job market still is terrible.  So, what do I do?  Where do I go?  How do I know what is coming?  I am a planner. I do very little on whims or just because......

((That's where I left off in 2011.  And reading this again today brought tears to my eyes and made my stomach hurt.  I can't believe that was me 1 1/2 ago.)

My first job in the legal field....

I found this in my drafts... apparently I never published it!!! Kind of fun to read something I wrote in 2008.  Thought you all my find my thoughts back then interesting too:

I am one of the lucky few first year students who landed a paying job for the summer. Actually, my job will run for two years. I am working in the government sector for the office responsible for representing the state agency that is responsible for placing abused/neglected children into protective custody. My office receives the case when the agency decides that it would be in the best interest of the child(ren) to terminate the parental rights in order to free the children for adoption.

This job is emotionally exhausting. We deal with the "dregs" of society--parents who neglect, beat, sexually abuse, expose the children to drugs or sex offenders, and so on. These children come to the agency broken and emotionally fragile, having seen images and experienced pain that the average person cannot even begin to comprehend.

As a law clerk here are my average duties:

Organize evidence.
Compile a trial notebook that the attorney will use.
Generate witness list/data source.
Draft petitions, motions, orders, subpeonas, and judgments.
Interview witnesses.
Prepare exhibits.

I actually really enjoy what I do. We take a case and organize it and do the work prep for the attorney.

Mom and Job Collide

This is the hard part... working and single motherhood.  My daughter is so use to me dropping everything in order to attend to her needs.  I can't do that anymore.  We have had a few issues in the past couple of weeks where I had to say to her, "I am sorry, I can't just drop work and pick you up."  The adjustment period from having my sole attention to having to share it because mom has other responsibilities is a hard one for her to adjust too.  On another note, it is nice because she is ASKING for mommy daughter time.  And that is precious to me.  I only have her 4 more years before she spreads her wings and flies outside of my home.  So scary!!!!!


For the last year I have kept busy by serving as Vice Chair, with a recent promotion to Chairperson of the Board for the nonprofit POLE Gems.  POLE stands for Purposed, Original, Loved, Empowered.  This is an organization doing some amazingly awesome things in the city of Salem. Our purpose is to reach sex industry workers -- those that society overlooks and even forgets about -- in order to show these men and women that they are LOVED and VALUED by someone. 

This has been an amazing journey of ups and downs this past year as we have started up and worked to stay afloat.  I have learned a ton about starting a nonprofit, of running one, and generally how to deal with diverse personalities.

Why post this on this legal blog?  Because my legal education has helped me be qualified to fill this position.  I think this is an area that we laywers can easily "give" back and it doesn't cost a dime, just a bit of time.

Oh, and because these programs are important.  In my state, Portland is the #1 hub of sex trafficking in the United States. It's time to raise awareness.