The danger of making assumptions is an easy mistake that we can make every day. I explore that thought and how my assumptions almost kept me from a book series that I have enjoyed more than any in quite a while.

I listened to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse’s series about Mycroft Holmes on Audible narrated by Damian Lynch. A complete list of Abdul-Jabbar’s books is available on Good Reads.

See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.

It has been fun “meeting” new people through the video per day experiment. I truly enjoy learning about new places; this has been very useful since I married someone in the US Navy. Through the years, we moved multiple times and I feel fortunate to have experienced so much of our country. In the video, you will learn all of the states that I have lived (10). I have also visited 42 of the states and hope to round that out to the entire 50 soon.

Beyond moving around our country, we also lived in Japan twice.  I am so thankful that my kids and I were able to experience a different culture. We made so many wonderful memories and friends during that time. We also were the entertainment for our little neighborhood–which is a story (or several) for another day perhaps.

 

See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.

The video per day experiment has been great because I am getting to know people around the world and in different professions. I received so many encouraging comments on social media from the group in response to my video about grades. It was truly heartwarming! After that video, the grades for the fall semester were released. Watch the video and then scroll down for a bit more information.

Honestly, receiving the Jurisprudence Award was something that never entered my mind. Coming back to my room and discovering the grammar error on Twitter was the perfect way to end the day!

See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.

I am a sucker for a good podcast and today’s video for the video per day experiment gives a glimpse into some of my favorites. I am limiting today’s selection to those that are not related to the law so they have a broader appeal and I will discuss legal podcasts in a future video.

 

 

 

See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.

Today’s video focuses on grades in law school. Give it a view, and then scroll down for further thoughts:

Law students spend a lot of time agonizing over exams and grades. Being in school, this seems somewhat normal. However, law school throws an additional twist into the mix. In law school, each student is ranked in comparison to their classmates. Many large law firms use class rank as one factor in their hiring process. This usually consists of the law firm not considering students who fall below a certain rank in their class. In all, the whole thing becomes an unhealthy obsession for many students.

Many law school courses still follow the traditional testing model wherein the student’s entire grade is determined by one exam at the end of the semester. But, it doesn’t end there. Most schools grade on a curve with professors given guidelines on how many students can fall into a grade category and what the average grade for a certain percentage of students must be. To make things even more fun, the curve for different years or different sized classes can be different. For some schools, the tougher 1L (what first year students are called) curve is meant to weed students out before they get to the point of taking (and failing) the bar exam. This sad state of affairs is because law schools are also graded and one of the factors is bar exam passage rates.

I am going to be honest here–I didn’t end up at the top of my class at the end of our first year. It was discouraging and disappointing because I had worked hard. Unfortunately, my effort was not reflected in my grades. However, I learned from that experience and formed a different strategy wherein I look for classes that have more opportunities to demonstrate my understanding of the material. After a semester spent working for a legal aid organization, I also learned that I retain information better when I have a chance to apply it-whether for a client or in a paper. Understanding these things about myself and my learning style has made a world of difference, and I am happy to say that the strategy seems to be working as I claw my way back up the GPA hill.

Why be so open about this struggle? For one thing, anyone who sees my transcripts or asks my class rank will be able to view it in black and white. I also believe that showing the struggle and how I have learned from it shows resilience and determination. But, I am really writing this for all of the other students who may experience something similar. I hope that my story will encourage them to keep going. After all, at the end of our time in law school, everyone will receive the same degree. Perhaps, those of us who had to work harder should be the candidates in which firms should be most interested.

See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.

Professional associations like the American Bar Association are seeing memberships drop in recent years. I believe that one of the reasons is that students do not see the value. Combine this with the increasing debt load that students carry after school, and students are less likely to see the need for an association-particularly in a day where one can find instructions on almost anything online. I believe one of the ways to combat this problem is to invite the students to get involved while they are in school. Hear my thoughts in today’s video:

Last fall, I and several other students were able to attend an e-discovery conference thanks to the generosity of the Detroit Chapter of ACEDS who made it affordable for students. The membership made us feel so welcome and I believe we all left with a positive view of the benefits of joining the organization. For many of us, it was a highlight of the semester and helped us to understand the bigger picture of what was being taught in the classroom.

Next month,  the Michigan Lean Consortium has invited Michigan State College of Law students to their Lean in Legal workshop. I am looking forward to attending and hope that many of my fellow students will do so as well.

Beyond the knowledge available at these events, the chance to talk with professionals and get their insight and advice is invaluable to students. I believe the groups also benefit because they get a fresh perspective from students who haven’t been jaded or frustrated by roadblocks to progress.

What is frustrating to me is that state bar associations often limit student membership to students going to school in that state. For many students who go to school in a state other than where they will practice, this is a difficult situation. We will be expected to know state rules on the bar exam, but the organization that is most able to provide that information blocks the way. Yet, once admitted to practice, that same organization will want us to join. Why not open membership for all students who believe they will practice in the state?

In the future, I hope to see more groups reaching out to students. I also hope more students will take advantage of these opportunities, but that is a subject or another day.

See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.

In the videos today, I talk about my three favorite tools that have helped me in law school. I don’t sell them, no one gave them to me, I’m not getting paid to promote them–I just use and like them a lot. I provide links below just for your convenience.

Post-it (Super Sticky) Label Roll-be careful here as there are rolls of “label & cover up tape” that don’t list the “Super Sticky” adhesive and may not stick as well. I prefer the white, but there are rolls of colored label tape available.

Transparent Mending Tissue – simply cut a piece of the tissue about double the length of the tear, (with clean hands) peel away the backing paper of half of the tissue and place over the tear, gently fold over the edge of the page and cover the back side of the tear.

Platinum Preppy Highlighters & Refills

Jet Pens is the cheapest place that I have found these highlighters and refills, and their service is excellent. (They are available on Amazon, but be careful as the seller is in Japan so delivery is long).

The color scheme I use for marking cases:

PInk-Position/History of the case

Yellow-Issue that the court is asked to decide

Green-Holding (what the court decided)

Blue-facts

Orange-terms

 

See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.

When I started the video per day experiment, I was worried about being able to talk for a minute. Turns out that has not been a problem. What is a problem is thinking that I can tackle a topic in one minute. So, today, I am starting a law school life series that will continue during the rest of the month. Today’s topic scratches the surface of the Socratic method and classes so, of course, I had to add a bit more below.

The Socratic Method used in law schools today often consists of a professor assigning several cases to be read before class. During class, the professor will call on students to explain various aspects of the case. To be prepared, it is a good idea to know the case history, the facts, and the issue that the court is deciding. (I’ll cover a trick I use to help me prepare in a future video). Even in our third year, many of my classmates still dread the call. Personally, I don’t mind being called to answer–I say that because I go to class prepared; at the very least, I have done the reading. I have found that giving an answer with confidence (even if it is completely wrong) satisfies most professors. In one instance, I confused the poor professor so much by my confidently given, completely wrong answer that they changed the topic and had to come back to the subject the next class.

What courses law students should take is a hotly debated topic. The impending doom represented by the bar exam encourages most students to take “bar” classes (or classes in topics that will be covered on the bar exam). I fall into the camp that believes that students should take the classes that will be most beneficial to them in their practice, that will give them an understanding of many areas of law, and that are interesting. I also recommend taking classes that have practical application and will future proof their education. (For example, I think that any lawyer intending to practice business or work in estate planning should be taking courses that address blockchain).

In the end, there is not one path through law school and each student must decide what their path will be.

See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.

In one of the earlier videos, I mentioned that I had already scheduled a bead class for this semester. Well, yesterday was the day and video 8 for the video per day experiment is below:

The bead class was fun and frustrating and fun. Fun because I love melting glass and seeing what happens, frustrating because I am out of practice, and fun because I decided to let go of my frustration and enjoy the time that I had. Since the morning video was so short, I decided to add additional videos later in the day.

Shooting the video below was not like me at all! I had no idea what to expect when I unwrapped the beads. One reason for that is that I had never used the cooling beads previously. Without annealing (heating in a kiln followed by a slow reduction in temperature), beads have a nasty habit of cracking. Knowing this and knowing that my beads had only that insulating blanket to protect them from the extreme cold meant they probably cooled much too fast. Beyond that, I knew that the beads were not going to impress anyone…

I talk a bit about the beads that I made and show some good examples of glass beads made by Corina Tettinger.

Many places offer introductory lamp work classes like the one that I went to today at Delphi Glass. These classes allow one to try out bead making without investing in equipment. I have taken several full-length classes at the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center and William Holland School of Lapidary. Restrictions by our HOA and insurance company prevent me from having the equipment in our home so I have been unable to practice for several years. Taking this class was a fun way to dip my toes back in for a little bit and take advantage of the resources available here in Lansing.

See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.

Since it is the weekend, I thought discussing one of the things I do to relax would be appropriate. I love crafting and chain maille is just one of the crafts that I love to do. Modern chain maille takes the ancient weaves and uses them for new things such as jewelry. In the video, I show a few examples of things that I have made.

 

See more on the Video Per Day Experiment in my introductory post.