Last night was the culmination of an entire semester, really, an entire year of Legal Writing and Analysis: our oral argument at the downtown courthouse. I remember in the Fall when our prof and TA were giving us an overview of the year they mentioned that in the Spring we’d be completing a 30+ page brief and then presenting it in an oral argument in front of judges at the courthouse, it seemed so remote and nearly impossible. (Thank God my brief writing was not filled with sentences resembling that last one.) We built our knowledge and confidence up along the way, and now, here we are: done. The first year of law school oral argument – the monster project – completed!
I was not nearly as nervous as I was afraid I would be, and was happy with my performance. (That is what it is, when you get right down to it – a performance.) I got nailed with a very direct, confrontational question exactly two sentences into my introduction that I had spent days practicing. Still, I was able to answer the question, and all of the questions that were directed to me, and it was fun, partly because I KNEW the answers (Damn, our prof. was right, by the time we did orals, we really did know our case inside and out.), and partly because I remembered them under pressure. We all did well. I was impressed with and happy for my classmates and wished I could have heard more of them do their argument. Our judges asked tough questions, but they also threw us a lifeline now and then. You could tell they wanted us to succeed, but also wanted to push us a bit. Being totally done and having done as well as I had hoped was a total rush. Good thing, because I’m operating on about 4.5 hours of sleep today. (Thanks, in part, to going out with several of my classmates for drinks after arguments. Took longer than we thought since the place that had been pre-arranged by our legal writing dept. for everyone to meet was way too loud and hot and smokey for us to actually talk to each other, which is what we really wanted to do, so we had to walk to a different place. How could we recount our war stories if we couldn’t hear each other? Then, on the way home, I remembered to pick up milk like I was supposed to, and added some “Thank-you-for-sacrificing-yet-another-night-to-law-school flowers, for my partner.”
My spouse, one of the few people, it seems, who has not heard my argument – mostly due to lack of time spent together- was waiting up for me when I got home, and was happy to share in my excitement in recounting the evening. Hers, filled with getting cranky kids to bed, was not nearly as entertaining as mine, and I know that is the case with much of our lives these days. She has the day-to-day routine with the kids while I am off interacting with the working world and world of new knowledge, classmates, and mysteries of the law. I will follow one of my classmate’s examples here and say thank you to her, and to all of our significant other’s who are putting up with us law students. We know it is not easy. THANK YOU!!
So, one class done, three more to go! Now the craziness of serious studying really begins. We sure don’t get to ride the high of being done with orals for long, do we?
Hang on tight, here we go!!!!!!!!!