Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress - Super Priority Administrative Expense

Around this time of the semester, it’s important that you keep your priorities straight.  As a 2L, I can only speak to my present experience and my experience last year.  3Ls, I will attempt to anticipate your priorities. 
                In order to measure this model appropriately, I am going to use the inverted pyramid that Dean Gerber has supplied us with in his Business Reorganizations class. (Please see to see all images).  The inverted pyramid is the priority scheme for Chapter 11 claims.  There are 9 levels.  If you are at the bottom (equity/shareholders) you stand the greatest risk of receiving zero, so any task at the bottom may in fact, not be given any time at all.
                We will start with 1Ls as I know them best.  Now, as a BLSPI mentor, I was recently instructed to e-mail my mentee and tell them to “stay strong” during this week, as it’s a particularly brutal one.  Moot Court Trial Division tryouts were this week – and if you participated, it was likely that you could not do any other homework until your tryout was finished.  The anxiety of it all was crushing.  And then, when you entered that room, the judges told you to, “Have fun.” 
                Moot Court is probably a senior secured claim/lien for anyone dying to get the chance to act like a lawyer before they officially become one.  Almost everyone I know on Moot Court (trial, at least) has told me that it has been the most rewarding experience in law school for them, period. 
                For individuals such as myself, who were 2Ls trying to do the impossible –that is, make Moot Court and a Journal through an open note —who had the draft of the paper intended for the open note due Friday - it presented a quandary.  Clearly, for me, moot court/open note occupy high rungs on the inverted pyramid.  However, I doubt I will be advancing to the next round (I ended up the one getting crucified on cross, not the defendant—and update: I did not advance), and so one more claim will be allowed to fit. 
                For the sake of simplicity, I will offer my suggestions for prioritizations now.  You may fill in your own pyramid if you like, but I include my own personal one in the illustration, and the “generic one” for all 2Ls in the text below.
1Ls (Who Want to Work for Skadden, et. al.):
 1) Studying/Outlining/Exam Practice – GRADES (note: Moot Court may be occupying #1 if you are called into the 2nd round) – YOU MUST BE IN THE TOP 10% TO BE CONSIDERED FOR OCI;
2) Class Participation;
3) Getting a Summer Internship;
4) Making Friends and Influencing People (partying, dating, etc.);
 5) Journal Competition;
6) Getting to Know Professors;
7) Getting Involved in the City Bar;
8) Thinking about Transfer Opportunities;
9) Staying Sexy.
  (A short revision for those 1Ls that have no interest in the big paycheck – because, you know, about 1-3% of the classmates in our year will actually be getting those jobs – becoming as involved in Pro Bono Projects as possible is probably the best thing you can do if you are a public interest person, and that should be in your top 3 (probably #3, as it’s possible for the internship to follow naturally from the Pro Bono work).

1) Grades/Moot Court/Journal (if you didn’t make OCI, and you’re not working as a summer associate, grades should still be top priority – if you are on Moot Court or Journal, I believe these take top priority—If you are on both, Moot Court takes priority in terms of TIME over Journal, which varies by deadlines);
2) Getting Internships or Clinics for the Fall and Spring;
3) Getting a Summer Internship/Job;
4) Making Friends and Influencing People;
5) Defining Your Area of Focus;
6) Pet Projects (Writing Contests, Clubs, Shot-by-Shot Remakes)
7) Building Relationships with Professors;
8) Staying Sexy;
9) Making Yourself Stand Out

1) Securing a Job after Graduation;
2) Moot Court/Journal;
3) Getting Internships or Clinics in the Fall and Spring;
4) Making Friends and Influencing People;
5) Grades;
6) Staying Sexy;
7) Chilling Out (if you are so lucky to be able to!);
8) Publishing Articles;
9) Defining Your Reputation/Leaving Your Mark.
     Of course, dictating priorities is always controversial, but I do believe there is one generic, straightforward, guiding principle that controls: law school can be extremely boring at times, and you need to find the part about it that you love, and put yourself in that happy (or, more accurately, “fun”) place as often as possible.  For me, it is being 29 and getting to hang out with 23 year olds and getting to act immature.  Those lost years I spent working in the wilderness of the low-wage sector with few friends or similarly-situated co-workers have been recompensed by making new friends in the same situation, with a slightly wider age range.  No matter what priority scheme applies to the “reorganization” of your professional persona, appropriate management of priorities is a simple, yet useful method of reducing stress.
             Christopher J. Knorps is a 2L with very strange priorities.  One of them is to hold an Open Mic on Thursday, April 5th, in Geraldo’s, from 7-10 PM.  He hopes you will consider performing, or at least attending.  The event is free but there will be voluntary $5 donations taken for Sanctuary for Families, and free food and beverages.  There will also be performances of Vagina Monologues.  Please e-mail if interested in performing or reading or singing or dancing or playing.   

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