Sunday, July 26, 2009

An Update: Law School, Work, and Thoughts

Hello Friends,

Just thought I'd put a sort of summative note up for those who are interested :)


I'm finishing up my job at Boston College's Office of the Vice President for University Mission and Ministry, a year in the same position! It's been a lot of fun, at time a lot of work, and occasionally a lot of stress. I redesigned their entire site within a basic framework, invented a newsletter design (in the process teaching myself CSS and relearning HTML), learned to write according to strict principles, and learned a lot about working for Jesuits. I'm looking forward to being done, but at the same time, I'll miss it.
A few weeks ago I started working for Kaplan in earnest, teaching the LSAT to an awesome group of 7 students at MIT.
It has been great working with people again, rather than spending 8-10 hours in front of a computer. :) I've been relearning a lot of what I knew about teaching in Civil Air Patrol and really prepping well for Law School as well.

I'm not planning on working (really, I might have an "on-call" sort of position with the Lonergan Center, but we'll see) during Law School b/c the first year is notoriously hard, time-consuming, and crucial for a lawyer's entire career. It'll be nice to focus only on school for the first time since freshman year in undergrad!

Law School:

I'm going to Boston College Law in the Fall, as many of you know. For more information: ; ; I'm really excited for it! It's an awesome school, Annie and I are already enculturated into the city, and we won't have to move. :)

I just finished Law Preview, a course that my good friend Dave recommended to me and I learned many things that will have a huge impact on the next several years:

  1. The first year is very time consuming, so much so that, honestly, for the next nine months I anticipate spending a good half of my total time on homework. The reason for this is two-fold: first, the grades made in the first year of law school direct the entire remainder on one's law career; second, it's 15 graduate credits a semester.
  2. Law school is expensive, not a whole lot of aid because the schools know that the average salary right out of law school is $160,000/yr which pays off student loans pretty swiftly. (I'm still seeking out and applying for all the scholarships I can find, of course) I was aware of this but also am looking to go into the public/not-for-profit sector which pays a quarter to a third of that figure. Often law schools will assist their students in paying off their loans if they choose a public service type job so until taking this course, I was planning on that route. However, (see next number)
  3. I learned something about working at large firms where the median salary is $160,000 a year: their training is the best in the industry. So, if I ultimately want to work in human rights, does it behoove me to have the best training in the industry or not? It's a deep question, which doesn't need to be answered now, but at the moment I'm leaning toward a 2-4 year jaunt in "big law". Doing so would help to set us up after a good 9 years of school, moving back to the West Coast, setting up our farm community, and provide awesome training for the remainder of my legal career.
  4. What about the PhD in Philosophy one might ask? Integrating that in has become a little more difficult, but I still plan on doing it, when has just been made a little more vague. Most likely after the jaunt in Big Law if that happens. I plan on staying in touch with the philosophical world as well though. With an MA I can "legitimately" write in journals and present at conferences, especially on the combined law/philosophy topics.
  5. I'm of the belief, having had a good introduction/preview of law school, that their emphasis on writing will really help in my writing in all areas. This is good.
  6. The possibility of transferring after my first year is still a strong one, however, I learned that it is not worth doing so unless one is making a jump of some 20-30 ranking points. This being the case, I intend on applying to Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley next summer. Whether I get in or not isn't too much of a concern for me at this point. BC is a great school and produces a good number of law professors in its own right.
All thought out? Certainly not, but there is a lot to consider... the first year is the crucial part and determines a good bit of the further pertinent questions.

*Note too though, even though law school is a lot of work, tucking one's head and blocking out all else is a bad idea, so don't fear, I still plan on seeing you all, having the occasional beer, hitting up the BSO, and movies as well. :) (as if any of you doubted that Taylor the Social would ever wholly become a library ghost)


So far we've visited both sides of the family and had wonderful visits both times! Keeps us certain that the West Coast is to be our home. Sure, our ideal would be the Seattle area (with a cabin on the beautiful Lake Chelan to write disserations ;) but God knows best. I'll be done with UMM the first or second week of August and Kaplan by August 24th. It'll be nice to have a few days off before the plunge.

1 comment:

anne said...

Good for you! I'm excited to help you on the way, and be there with you as we make all these exciting decisions! :*