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It all comes down to this

I think that in the years to come, yesterday will be the day that I remember law school actually starting.

Everyone's been working like crazy this weekend, or at least so it seems. You walk through the law school and there's a fever of outlining, revising, practice exams and other business. I felt as if my own efforts were nowhere near enough. That's changed.

Some people learn through the slow accretion of knowledge gained daily, fact after fact filing on top of one another. Some of us, however, learn through endless hours of drudgery combined with momentary and sudden flashes of brilliant clarity. (Or, in my case, months of somnolence followed by a minute of near-adequacy. The principle is the same.)

Something like that happened yesterday, as I was reading an Emmanuel's outline on the torts work I'd done last week. Suddenly, a lot of things fit together: not just negligence and battery, res ipsa and the intentional infliction of emotional distress, but everything I'd been doing. This IRAC thing: how does it fit with the application of a case to tort law? How does combining those two items with a knowledge of our exam structure lead to an effective and efficient form of outline? Why does that particular fish need this particular bicycle? Boom, there it was.

After that moment of procedural satori, I sat back and took stock of where I was. I'm about four weeks behind, really, but that's not so frightening, because if I'd been working enormous hours the last four weeks, I'd still be four weeks behind. I'd be ripping everything up right now and starting afresh--or worse, trying to get MS Word to rearrange my notes. Not only that, but I'd be far more tired than I am now. OK, I've not made my first move on outlining torts or contracts, but now I know what they should look like.

Following standard practice following my moments of zen, I grabbed some light work-related reading (Chirelstein's chapbook on contracts), walked briskly over to Nacho Mama's, and drank two margaritas whilst refreshing myself on promissory estoppel[1].

I can imagine my fellow students wondering exactly what the hell I'm talking about: many of them probably figured this out last month. But hey, everyone learns differently, and we all have our own path--if I sound like an idiot writing with such excitement over something so small, well, at least I'm a happy fool. I woke up this morning not only looking forward to getting to the law school, but with thoughts of a contract outline forming in my head. It wouldn't be too much to say I was enjoying the prospect of leaving the shower and making my way here.

So it begins.

[1] Yes, Martin, I get it now, well enough to write your sitcom. It should hit the screens fall 2005.


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Let me tell you as a third year - you are ahead of most of your classmates. the fact you get how you are supposed to think about first year classes is more than half the battle. that fury of you are seeing: much of it is wasted until you learn how to study. congrats on your moment of clarity and good luck!
You may get it but I don't. These jokes have to be accessible to your core demographic you know... Besides, stop worrying. Your relentless intelect will have bullied this whole lawyer thing into the ground in no time. M

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