Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Law School Story

I began to law school nearly 30 years ago. I did it, I thought, so that I could independently raise my daughter. But once I got there I found I had to work hard at studying.

That is a skill I never perfected.

I  had ALWAYS crammed for exams and rarely if ever spent time studying. My grades were good and I saw no need.

Law school taught me a whole new concept of myself. As the true IDIOT.

I learned to read while I was doing anything else. At my daughter's concerts, I sat in the back with a book and read. At family gatherings, I sat in a bedroom and read. At parties, I read.

I was sans cell phone or iPad or computer. Remember, this was 30 years ago!

But I still never learned the art of studying. I rarely took notes and those that I did take made no sense later on.

So my grades were the usual for law school students. The ever present "C".

But I got one A.  And this is the story that I must tell.

In my third year, I was one elective short. There was nothing that I really liked in the curriculum so I asked my study partner, Josh, what he had taken. He had taken Administrative Law in a night class. If I took the class, he would let me us his notebook.

Now Josh was one of those law students who had perfected studying. He took good notes. He outlined his notes. He read the books and outlined them. He then created an outline of both those sources. He was anal.

But in Administrative Law, he had found out that the professor followed a pattern. He would cover the same amount of pages and ask for classroom briefs (where you had to tell the class about a case) on the same cases in EVERY section he taught. He would ask for volunteers to sign up for a case or two on a given night so the students always knew if they had to participate or whether they could skip the class. If it was your turn he asked the SAME questions that he asked in the last class.

Josh had taken down every brief, every question and every answer. And he had it in a notebook.

I took the class. I volunteered for a night of briefing. I even went to all the classes.

And that is where the worm turned.

Somebody wasn't there one night to give their briefs. The professor was quite shaken by this turn of events and eventually asked for someone in the class to give the briefs.

I had not (nor had anyone else in the class) read the cases. Why should we, they weren't assigned to us to brief. BUT (and I giggle as I think about it) I HAD JOSH'S NOTEBOOK!

So, for the first time in law school, I raised my hand.

The professor called upon me and I read the briefs that Josh had written. I answered each of the professor's questions (written out by Josh) with the answers that Josh provided.

I briefed the next case. Same thing.

My seatmate was dying a thousand deaths. She couldn't laugh out loud (decorum, you know) so she hid her face in her arms on the desktop. We sat so far back that the professor could barely see either of us so her shaking shoulders were not a dead give away.

After I was through, I turned to speak to her and I heard the professor ask, "Miss, what is your name?' I told him and then he said,

"That was the best briefing I have heard all quarter. I am raising your grade a full point for excellent work!"

I must have turned thirteen shades of purple. My seatmate left the room.

Yup, I got an A.

The next quarter, Josh was able to sell his notebook for a fair sum. He had lots of takers.

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