Law: Teaching Teachers

July 29, 2007

Today I had a HUGE de-ja-vue moment.  Starting Monday I am going to be helping out at a conference designed to teach teachers areas of congress that are interesting and relevant but not often covered in classes. 

  The idea of this conference is to bring in a bunch of experts to talk about what it is really like to be in congress and to discuss some finer points of politics in general.  Over the course of the week participants will deal with topics such as “New Electoral Math”, Customs of the House, and participate in a simulation that puts them in the shoes of a congressional rep.  In addition to teaching interesting areas, the conference will also include sharing best practices and presenting classroom activities and simulations to give teachers alternatives to focusing government education on the dry nuts and bolts that many of us learned.  Learning how the branches work together and memorizing the pay and qualifications for various positions is well and good, but it doesn’t provoke an interest in government.  Hopefully after attending this conference, teachers will be more dynamic and have the tools to not only teach the facts, but really demonstrate what makes government fascinating.  How does this relate to anything?  Today I was asked to sum up the program in a few words.  My answer:  Teaching Teachers.  When these words came out of my mouth, I couldn’t remember where I had heard them before.  Then, earlier this evening, I was cleaning out my room and I came across the HLS recruitment DVD’s and remembered where I heard it!  Martha Minow said that very quote on the Academia DVD when she was talking about why she loves her job so much!  Another mystery solved.  Anyway, I will try to post an update from the conference; it really should be an interesting experience for everybody involved!

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Law: Pre-School Prep

July 22, 2007

It seems to me that law students are, by nature, OCD about some things.  It is very rare that you will find a law student with the same “throw everything to the wind and see what happens” mentality that some certain communications fields/fine arts people others  have.  Because of this, the summer before law school is a particularly difficult time, at least, for me it was.  It is tough to know that I am about to go to school with some of the brightest minds in the world and study law from some of the best professors in legal academia.  And yet, as I get ready to go, I have done exactly nothing to prepare for the academic parts of law school. 

 Sure I have paid my bill, filled out the needed forms and started to pack, but these are the types of preparation that are needed for the life part of law school and have nothing to do with the academic parts of legal education.  I know that some are reading hornbooks, outlines, or other documents to help gain a feel for the material before they ever set foot on campus, but this just didn’t appeal to me.

When I read the materials sent to 1L students, the recommendation was made to do nothing.  Talk about telling a group something that is against their nature.  Untill yesterday, I had decided to follow this advice and contradict my natural inclination at the same time, but last night I caved. 

 After reading the 6th or 7th recommendation that I try LEEWS (for those of you that dont know, LEEWS is a day long presentation that aims to teach law students how to prepare for the Law School and specifically law school exams), I decided to go to their website.  After looking around the website, I saw the line “The self-study CD program is as effective if not more effective than the real life sessions.”  If this wasn’t a line calling to me, I know know what is.  I used a self-study regiment to prepare for the LSAT with good results and felt extremely comfortable preparing this way. 

So after some consideration, I pulled out my credit card, entered the number and ordered LEEWS, which I plan to complete in the evenings over the next couple weeks.  Despite trying to follow the common “do nothing” advice, my nature won out, and I suspect the same will have been true for many of my future classmates this summer.

Law: Tuition

July 20, 2007

Today hurt.  Not that kind of pain that you get when you get your finger caught in a car door or feel your elbow give up when you are throwing a softball, but that other type of hurt.  The type of hurt that can only come from realizing that you could have bought a nice car for the amount you just spending paying for ONE SEMESTER of school.

 Unlike my friend Kurzman, I did not receive a cushy scholarship to attend law school, partially because I didn’t deserve one, and partially because creating more attourneys is not considered to be a benefit to society the way additional doctors are.  For an interesting follow up, read this article  (all credit to ATL for this one) about a lawmaker trying to cut law school funding.  He has an interesting point in my opinion. HOW DARE THEY THINK THAT!  (Please note, the last sentence was completely sarcastic).   

 So back to the point.  Today I paid my first semesters tuition (and almost choked when I sent the funds transfer), but I guess that means I am one step closer to becoming a real law student. 

Somehow, paying my bill calmed my nerves.  I now feel like this whole process if for real and that in a month I really will be a law student, not just a college graduate talking about being a law student.

In closing, to the person up north trying to cut state funding, more power to you.  Why should the government be subsidizing education for people who intend to earn a large return on their time.  If the government in cheese-land really wants to do something to benefit the legal profession, they should start a state sponsored loan repayment plan for people working in the public interest funded by cutting the subsidy to UW-Madison.

Of course, there is no way the subsidy will actually be cut, but I agree with this guy that it should (although his reasons are rather dubious).

Med: Moving Day

July 19, 2007

Well, I’ve reached an important day in my trek to medical school–moving day!

This feels quite different than it did when I went away to college, mainly because I’m staying in the Chicago area. Going to college, I knew that I would be back to my parent’s house on every break in classes; however, now that I’m back in Chicago (where I intend on making my future home), my new apartment feels much more like “home” than North Carolina ever did. After tomorrow, I will officially consider myself moved out of my parent’s place for good. Plus, my old bedroom is being converted to an office for dad…so I’m out whether I like it or not. 🙂

I’m pretty excited about the new place–it’s a sweet apartment. Two bedrooms, two bath, SPACIOUS, and lots of natural light. Plus, we have on-site laundry, workout facilities, & pool. Now, being in Chicago, all of these characteristics also mean it is EXPENSIVE. It costs $1630/month (split between my roommate and myself). Luckily, I have a few things working in my favor.

a) UIC increases financial aid to account for rent that costs more than they allocate in the budget (to SOME extent…they will go up to $950).

b) It’s all on LOANS anyway…so I don’t worry about it til later. I suppose it’s a bit immature to say “whatever” (especially when i had to increase my loan amount for this apartmen), but…umm…whatever.

c) A huge chunk of my potential medical school debt was wiped out by a scholarship. I’ll talk about that more soon on a new post.

KurzMan…out.

PS. Check out the YouTube video below. It’s kinda dorky, but kinda funny. It’s about medical school, and can provide insight into my future life.

Going to law school is stressful business.  Not only is the study of law daunting in its own right, but a cottage industry based on scaring future 1L’s has sprung up to help make the process even more intimidating.

 If a 1L feels confident after talking to past law students and visiting schools, a quick trip to B&N can fix that right away.  Walk into the “Law” section and you can find such optomistic treasures as “One L” and “Ivy Briefs.” 

If these aren’t enough, there is still the classic movie/TV series “Paperchase” and countless legal blogs like this one. 

Even with all this negative reinforcement in place, I can still safely say, I feel I am ready for law school.  I have talked to current students, and one thing has become clear:  If you work, you will be ok. 

 With this in mind, I am posting BLOG RESOLUTION 1:

This blog will not turn into another “law school is so hard, woe is me” blog, there are just too many of those already in existance.

Law: Goals

July 16, 2007

Whenever I say I am going to law school, some variation of the following conversation occurs:

Random Relative/Friend:  So what are you doing now that you have graduated?

Me:  I’m actually starting law school in the Fall.

RR/F:   Oh, where at?

 Me:  Harvard

RR/F:  (Next statement varies) What type of law do you want to practice?

Me:  I haven’t really decided, but I am considering (whatever I am considering at the moment).

RR/F:  Oh, well it will be good to know a lawyer/have a lawyer in the family.

Me:  Smile

I would say about 80% of the conversations I have had with relatives since I graduated have included this exchange.   With that in mind, I want to give you all the best answer I can now, and I will update you as this answer changes.

My dream job would be to try or prepare to try appellate cases in front of various courts, but this is one of the longest longshots available (something akin to saying “i want to be an agent for professional football/baseball/basketball players.”) 

With that in mind, there are three general areas that interest me in the moment:

1.  Litigation:  Yes, I realize that there are tons of people that want to go into litigation and that there is somewhat of a wedge that develops after about 5 years, but litigation is what originally made me interested in the law.  I do not know if I will end up following this path, but I do know that it interests me. 

2.  “Corporate” work.  I don’t know if I will like transactional work, but I do know that there is a lot of corporate work and that all big firms tend to have large corporate departments.  I intend to take a variety of classes that fall under “corporate” law and see if anything interests me.  This is a second path I am considering.

3.  ERISA/Tax:  These are areas I am not sure if I will like, but want to explore because of the career opportunities.  ERISA seems to be an interesting area of law that will be extremely important during my lifetime.  For this reason alone I think it is worth looking into further in the form of taking a few classes.  Similarly, I plan to take at least one, and perhaps several tax classes in order to see if I have any interest in this fairly steady field.   

4:  Tangents I may go off on.   I will likely end up working in one of the three previous areas of law, but there are two other general fields that I would not be shocked to end up practicing in, Telecom and Health Care.  Telecom runs in my family, my mother and father both worked for the phone company for their entire careers and I generally find the regulation around the industry interesting.  Take regulation, mix in some antitrust, throw in some M&A work and you get an interesting area that I would not be suprised to become involved in.  Similarly, Health Care law seems like a developing field, and I plan to take at least one course in the area to see if I find it interesting. 

What I do know is where I want to practice.  I would like to spend my summers in Chicago if at all possible.  As the largest legal city in the Midwest, Chicago seems like the best market in the area I would like to return to.  Although I would not be opposed to spending some portion of my life in D.C., in my ideal world, my career starts and ends in Chicago (with many many many years in between). 

I hope I have answered the question ” what do you want to do” for those of you that are curious.  As I refine my interests, I will further develop this list.

Law: About Me

July 15, 2007

Hello everybody, for my first post on Malpractice I am going to do a quick introduction and explain how I got involved in this blog. 

I am a middle class guy from a decent Chicago Suburb.  After high school I went to an unspectacular (though good) Private school in the Midwest where I was involved in a variety of things and did well in school.  When law school application time came around, I sent out applications to most of the top schools and got  accepted to the vast majority.  I selected Harvard and will start in the Fall of 2007.

 I hope to use this blog as a place to reflect on law school, myself, careers, legal news, and anything else of interest that is at least somewhat related to law school and politics.  When I have had one blog before, an on and off blog that focused on my application process and my random rants. 

 A few days ago I was getting ready to start blogging again, because I enjoyed blogging when I had the chance.  BigKurz and I were talking and decided that it would be an interesting spin on blogging if we combined our very different professional school experiences into one blog. 

 Currently I am finalizing the details of my move to Boston, talk about stressful. 

I hope everybody enjoys reading and feel free to leave comments and thoughts. 

Med: An Introduction

July 15, 2007

It’s summertime. Orientation for medical school begins in one month. Should I be preparing? Should I be worrying? Nah…I think I’ll start blogging instead.

I’ve never really put serious effort into a blog, so this essentially represents my first attempt at telling the world my story. The idea (and name) for Malpractice came from my friend–the law student you will come to know as “Clegal.” We thought it could be quite interesting to tell our stories together as we journey through the world of professional school. Our lives, however, are going to be quite different (Read: Mine’s going to be much more intense…but don’t tell him I said that), and that became the reason for the Med vs. Law format we will be using.

I could go on here at length about my life, but you’ll probably get to know me well enough as this blog continues. Instead, I’ll just give ya the essentials:

-Starting in August, I will be an M1 at the UIC College of Medicine

-I graduated from Duke University (B.S. in Biology) in May 2007

-I’ll be moving into Chicago on July 20th

-My primary interests lie in pediatric…something. I love kids. I want to treat kids. I’m just not sure which type of medicine I’ll like (or rather…be any good at).

Once I’m all moved into my apartment, I will start blogging on a more consistent basis. Until then, the only thing I really have going on in my life is watching the Cubs and waiting for Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows. Yup, my life is quite involved right now…

KurzMan…signing off.