Mad-Eye Moody (GoF 13)

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explantation is that I was made for another world” – C.S. Lewis

This week’s chapter Draco gets turned into a ferret. Of course, it is because Draco taunts Ron Weasley and then attempts to strike Harry while Harry’s back is turned to him. Moody strikes turning Draco into a ferret. Draco is taunting Ron about another article in the newspaper about Arthur Weasley (the Weasley father). Rita Skeeter writes the article calling Arthur Arnold. Draco mocks Ron calling his father a “complete nonentity.” The whole interaction takes place in only a few seconds with McGonagall making Moody turn Draco back into a human. Draco Ferret

The thing I found interesting about this whole interaction was the severity of Draco’s taunt. Not only does he call Mr. Weasley and complete nonentity, he then attacks the Weasley home and calls Mrs. Weasley fat. It made me think about a few key players in my life that does the same: 1) my own brain; 2) the stress of law school; 3) the anxiety about the future.

I’ve spoken a lot about my mental health on this blog, so there’s no need to unpack that suitcase again and again… but I will say: I’m working on being nicer to myself. The last two key players I will unpack though go hand in hand.

Law school can be very stressful at times. With a mandatory curve that splits the class up only allowing for a few A students at the end of the three year stretch, with our school’s bar passage rate dropping 10% this year, and with the constant push and pull of the traditional lawyering path following us around, law school and our futures can be laborious. And don’t think we didn’t know that coming in the door. We signed up for this, each and every one of us signed up knowing it was going to be a difficult task. And knowing that we are all in it together makes things feel a whole lot better.

Just this past week, I had a friend in class talk about her realization that as she inches closer to graduation she’s never actually thought of herself as being a lawyer after law school. As she said this I felt comfort because I too have never really pictured myself as a lawyer.

I met with a new mentor this past week too, who encouraged me to keep on my non-traditional law school paths.

It’s harder to get through law school if you’ve never actually imagined yourself being another cog in the legal world. A lot of people come to law school knowing that at the end of the process they are going to be a lawyer in whatever desired field they’ve chosen. I’m always in awe of these people, because for some reason I always choose the harder paths in life to follow.

Hell will always come before you grow. – Imagine Dragons

When you walk with only a few people on the road less travelled you start to feel like a “complete nonentity” in the world. You start to feel like a freak, like you are doing something wrong, like you are going to fail because everyone else seems to be doing things a certain way and you just can’t fit yourself into that box. Here’s the catch though, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life, sometimes you just are destined for bigger things.

road less travelledIt’s hard to see what you are destined for from the perspective of where we are seated. When you are in the midst of the mess, the hard work, the emotions, the world which tells you to conform, when you are in the midst of all of that it’s hard to see the big picture. We are all destined to do something in this world. Some of us are meant for the traditional paths of the world, meant to make an impact where we are. Some are meant to revolutionize the whole world to bring together the masses. Some are meant to make small ripples in the world through untraditional paths.

Whatever you are destined to do, you have to give your whole heart to it. You have to constantly remind yourself that through the stress and the anxieties about the future there is a bigger plan at hand, one you can’t see and sometimes cannot feel, but It’s there.

Two roads diverged in a wood and I– I took the one less travelled by. And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

Don’t forget that.

Until Next time,

Mischief Managed

Advertisements

The Triwizard Tournament (GoF 12)

 

I came into law school already knowing exactly what I want to do with my career. Law school is a strange place, not everyone walks in the door knowing what they want to do. Most people have an idea whether they would like to do litigation or transactional work, public sector vs. private sector work, or a general area of law they are interested in exploring. As time goes on, everyone starts to find a practice area they are passionate about pursuing. 6ad6ad2779245972598201c7fa5980be

In this chapter, a lot happens, but one of my favorite story lines truly starts to emerge. Sure, there’s the typical beginning of the school-year feast, the sorting, and an announcement that two other wizarding schools will be coming to Hogwarts to participate in the Tri-Wizard Tournament. However, most importantly Hermione’s interest in house elf rights starts to really develop. After learning that house elves make all of the food in the school she refuses to eat.

26dce9122e467eaf86882964ef64e050I love this interaction between Hermione and her friends. Hermione’s friends all try to talk her out of being so “dramatic.” When Hermione starts to really stand-up for something she believes is a problem, but to most people is just a normality of wizard life, she pushes back.

Law school has some parallels. A lot of times people get comfortable with the traditional approaches to the law. We attend doctrinal classes, learn the law the way it is and has always been, we focus on the way we’ve always done things, and we stop questioning how to make things more efficient and more approachable. There’s a time and a place for tradition, but it’s pioneers like Hermione who shake things up. Hermione is challenging the status quo to make a group of individuals lives better.

My goal upon leaving law school is to also shake things up. I’ve never been someone to follow the traditional paths of the world. My path may never have a lot of people on it, but it works to connect people. Being original is hard in an institute that wants to make another lawyer to take their place in the cog of the legal world. But you have to be a Hermione when you have a good cause that you are passionate about.

b041ab59e175ec924dc73a7c70fce2c0

So if you are not doing what you are passionate about, or if you are like me and sometimes start to feel the encroaching despair of not being like everyone else… DO. NOT. GIVE. IN. TO. WHAT. YOUR. FRIENDS. SAY. YOU. SHOULD. DO.

 

Stand up for what you believe in. Be weird. Be different. Be unique. Be passionate. Be Hermione.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

Aboard the Hogwarts Express (GoF 11)

220px-Taylor_Swift_-_Reputation“Ohhh look what you made me do.” Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation, comes out in a little over a month, and man I CANNOT WAIT! It’s going to be great. Taylor Swift’s concept for this new album is taking her “ruined” reputation back into her own hands. There’s nothing better than seeing someone stand up for themselves in life, even though we still don’t have control over who lives, who dies and who tells our story. But it made me start to think a little deeper about reputations and law school.

This chapter of HP fit in perfectly with that thought! Reputations are being built or solidified everywhere! The chapter begins with an urgent house call made to Mr. Weasley about Mad-Eye Moody. Mad-Eye Moody has a reputation for flying off the handle and being a bit paranoid. Weasley is sent to go and help with Moody’s latest home incident witnessed by Muggles. The rest of the gang heads to Kings Cross Station to board the Hogwarts Express. Percy doesn’t tag along for his normal “I should really be at work” excuse. Fred and George tease Percy solidifying Percy’s reputation as a kiss-up. Once on the train, Hermione, Ginny, Ron, and Harry run into Draco Malfoy who is spouting off loudly about his brilliant father and how Draco knows this year’s biggest secret taking place at school. Hermione tells Ron to not let Draco get under Ron’s skin as Draco continues to brag (solidifying his reputation as being a haughty bragger).

Reputation: the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something.

Alastor_moodyFaculty and staff always preach reputation at the law school. Your professional identity, the small Denver community, being nice to your peers… the lectures go on and on. While they mean well, and of course they do, I think there is something to be said about reputations. To me, reputations are simple perceptions about people usually made through the lens of your own insecurities added to half-truths about the actual person. Take Draco Malfoy for example. He has a reputation for being a brat, a snotty, rich brat. Most people dislike Draco terribly. His reputation does nothing but hurt him, over and over and over again, until you get to the end of the series. Draco puts up a front, he elaborates on his stories, he lives a half-truth filled life, attempting to make things seem better or make himself seem more important so he doesn’t have to face the real him inside.

Ron hates Draco based off Ron’s perception of Draco and the Malfoy family. The Weasley family is poor, the Malfoy family is rich. The Weasley family is kind to muggles, the Malfoy family HATES all non-pure blood wizards and witches and of course muggles. Ron’s perception of the Malfoy’s was most likely built from a young age and as he started school he has carried that with him and began hating Draco due to that perception. Ron refuses to look any deeper than the reputation Ron has built in his mind of Draco. We all do it. We find someone whose actions push the nerve of an insecurity inside of us and subsequently build a wicked reputation of that person in our minds as a coping mechanism.

Law school makes us do that even more. As we are put in a high stakes, high stress, and high competition environment we start to build these beliefs and opinions about other people. “Oh that girl is a gunner,” ” oh that guy just parties, there is no way he is smart,” “oh that person is always in the library, they must be super smart.” I’ve heard these all, and I’ve partaken in building some of these reputations. We are only human, it’s what we do to avoid our real issues. images-3

But we don’t have to. We can instead work on the reputations we build for ourselves about ourselves. If we took the time to stop looking outward at the people around us, instead taking the time to look inside our own hearts and minds we could change the world. I’ve always struggled with not letting other people get to  me (much like Ron) and really wished I could just brush it all off, but at the end of the day, there is no brushing it off, because it triggers something deep inside me I need to really work on.

So the next time someone rubs you the wrong way and you start to build up an opinion about them, take a moments and analyze why that bothers you. Then decide whether or not there could be another explanation about why that person is acting the way they are.  For Draco, it could be an act to try to win the approval of a father who never chooses to show Draco love. For Percy, it could be an act to try and feel important when he lives in a super large family who just doesn’t seem to appreciate him the way he would like. For Moody, it could be a real mental issues (paranoia and PTSD) triggered by his years of work putting wizarding criminals in Azkaban.

No matter what the story, the underlining premise of all of this is to just be kind to people. Don’t talk crap about them, don’t be curt when they ask for your help, just be nice. You never know what battle someone else is fighting or has already won/lost. So be kind.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.

 

Mayhem at the Ministry (GoF 10)

images-2I have an Bachelor’s of Arts in English. I wonderful degree that everyone said would be very useful in law school. It is actually useful for knowing basic sentence structure, knowing basic words, and knowing basic punctuation. When a professor returned my first writing assignment in a class, I. WAS. DEVASTATED. It was torn apart. There were so many marks on it I could barely see through them. I was embarrassed to have a degree in English. See 1Ls go through this and some do not, but it’s a good lesson if you do go through this. You see, I could have all the punctuation right, the ideas correct, and the format down, but without the proper word choice, my papers would never be good enough. And that’s what this week’s theme is: choosing the right words.

After the mess in the last chapter., Mr. Weasley and the children arrive back at the Burrow. Mr. Wealsey is soon off to the Ministry to do damage control. Rita Skeeter, the wizarding world’s infamous tall-tale telling gossip reporter, wrote an article about something Mr. Wealsey said coming out of the forest the night of the Death Eater incident. People are enraged at his comment of “nobody has been hurt” when in fact there were rumors several bodies were removed from the forest. Having spoke too soon, the Ministry is now overrun with howlers from angry, scared wizards.Skeeter2

Words can make or break a career, a friendship, a relationship…anything! In law school, we work very hard to pick and choose our words carefully. Every document we write, every email we craft, every meeting we hold is practiced, edited, read over carefully, edited again and then sent or held. There is very little room for error.

It’s not easy to write amazing briefs or contracts. However, it is easy to feel behind in your education when it comes to word choice and economy. Even with an english degree I still constantly feel demoralized when receiving edited or graded papers back. The dilemma each time becomes either becoming irate and wanting to give up or attacking my next assignment with amazing zeal to be better. Even when my inclination is to give up, I make myself propel forward. After my last round of edits and a conversation about word economy with my professor, I decided to invest in some vocabulary workbooks. better-writing-word-choice

The key is to never give up. That’s the easy route in law school. Don’t sabotage your hopes and dreams by letting yourself become despondent over word choice. Instead pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes. Mr. Weasley misspoke. He used the wrong words. He could have just stayed home after this blunder, but instead he went into work, put in the hours and worked to rectify his mistakes. And you can too! Just find that passion, find that drive, and push yourself forward! You’ll be happy that you did.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

The Dark Mark (GoF 9)

loyaltyThis semester I am taking Legal Professions, an ethics course required by the school. It’s an interesting class, full of the dos and the don’ts of the legal profession. Being in a clinic too, I get real clients to apply these rules to while still in school. Loyalty to the client is one of the most important things we’ve learned thus far. This can come in so many forms: confidentiality, competency, diligence, and ensuring there are no conflicts with other clients.  Loyalty is a huge part of the legal profession. You want to be loyal to your clients so they feel comfortable giving you information so you can advocate for them in the best ways.

This chapter of HP is all about loyalty, from being loyal to breaking loyalty.  After the World Cup game there is quite a commotion in the area. Mr. Weasley goes to investigate, sending the children out and into the forest for shelter upon his return. A group of amoral wizards, the Death Eaters, were terrorizing a muggle family and causing chaos in the campgrounds. The Golden Trio get separated from the other Weasleys and end up alone in the forest. Roaming around int he dark, Harry loses his wand. While hiding out in the forest they witness the Dark Mark being conjured by a wizard nearby. Before they can see the wizard’s face, they are suddenly attacked by wizards from the Ministry of Magic. They attempt to explain who conjured the dark mark and are absolved when a Ministry Wizard finds Barty Crouch’s house-elf holding Harry’s wand, under a bush near where the mark was conjured. This amiable elf is maligned by the Ministry members. They find Winky (the elf) guilty and Barty Crouch decides the best punishment would be to set the elf free since she could not follow directions or remain loyal to him. She pleads with him, stating she’s been loyal to him this whole time, but nothing works, Barty makes his choice.

main-qimg-5d03a32812606297eb4113bea39f0cbaIt’s funny what the breaking of loyalty can do. In the legal world it can create so many problems for a lawyer. From losing the client’s trust, to being disciplined for Professional Rules of Conduct violations, to even being disbarred. Everything we do as lawyers is looked at from a loyalty standpoint. We are forever responsible of making sure our actions are not adverse to our past clients and present clients needs. We must keep confidentiality at all times (unless under the enumerated exceptions found in the rules) and must work diligently on all client matters.

And while our clients could totally just present us with clothes (metaphorically speaking of course) and set us free, as Barty says he will be doing with Winky the house elf, there are times when the Court won’t allow for that to happen. If you can’t get out of your representation and your client feels like you haven’t been loyal to you or you now feel like your trust has been broken by the client, this can lead to some extra stressful days in your work.images

Being loyal is the foundation of any good relationship, whether that is friendships, parent-child, employer-employee, teacher-student, significant others, or lawyer-client. Once that loyalty has been broken and trust no longer exists, things can get pretty ugly. It may seem like a no brainer to most people, but learning about the extent of the damage in the legal profession makes this feel a little scarier every day. And I thought just the Bar exam would be the scary part!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

 

The Quidditch World Cup (GoF 8)

This post we are doing something a little different: we have a guest writer! I asked my friend Jessica Cordero, a 2L at the University of Denver, to write a little something about finding passion in law school and how sometimes that passion can bring out a competitive side she didn’t know she really had until then.1618565_10156514455540573_2412351853380138579_n

Take it away Jessica:

“When I got into law school, I was just excited to be a student. It was not until Derby Days that I realized there were 309,48,528 ways of being a law student. I signed up for more information about a few, mostly to get swag, but was only really interested in one.

There was something exciting about doing a whole run through of a trial that only occurred the 1st year of law school. One shot opportunity. Hazily, I filled out the information sheet filled with a montage of sepia-tinted memories of being in speech and debate in grade school. It would be similar, right?

Wrong. There were expectations and a sudden urge to be competitive. Even though I was unbelievably out of my comfort zone integrating into law school life, I didn’t mind putting in the work to learn what would eventually lead me to be a part of a nationally competitive trial team at the graduate level.

I never thought I was capable of having a “passion.” I tried a few sports and hobbies throughout the years, but I am somewhat of a dabbler. But I have realized being drawn to a specific activity is exactly how passions are born. They call to you. Being surrounded by people you admire tends to make you a better person. You don’t mind practicing for hours to be a real competitor in the loop, you don’t care about lost Saturdays, and you don’t worry about game day: you anticipate it.” (THANK YOU JESS!!)

QuidditchWorldCupGame Day is here for two of the wizarding world’s best quidditch teams as they face off in the Quidditch World Cup! Harry watches in awe as these two teams go head to head in a competition. Harry watches Krum, the epitome of a seeker, perform a perfect fake out, injuring the Irish seeker, his antagonist in the game. The gang also has an encounter with Barty Crouch’s eccentric house elf, Winky, in the stands (someone who becomes important in the next chapter). The match ends with Krum catching the snitch, but overall losing the game. The crowd turns on Krum with great animosity. Harry and the gang gets a chance to meet all of the players at the endow the game and then heads back to their tent.

Jessica’s story is a great depiction of how law school works. Most people come into law school uncertain about their future paths but by 2L year a majority of students become adamant about being a trial lawyer or a transactional lawyer. Trial Team students are hard-working, they put in long hours for their passion! Much like Quidditch players. Harry watches these professional players pull off tricks and plays he’s only heard about or seen attempted in practice. Harry’s passion calls to him in that moment, much like Jessica’s did when she joined STLA during our first year of classes.Quidditch-World-Cup-harry-potter-vs-twilight-17930427-500-201

You may not come to law school with a passion in mind, and don’t fret about this! Passions sneak up on you. Passions derive from inspirational moments. Passions are created when you try something new, something outside your comfort zone. Passions are found in the strangest of places. So keep your eyes out as you go through law school! You may stumble onto your passion without realizing it!

Thank you again to Jessica for taking the time to write for this week’s blog!

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed

 

Bagman and Crouch (GoF 7)

One of the biggest events of the year at the law school is Law Stars. Its a night where lawyers, alumni, and students mix and mingle, award four people prestigious awards and eat a delicious dinner. Last year I got to attend for free, usually these tickets cost about $250 a person. Being part of Student Ambassadors means you attend without paying. Instead, as an Ambassador you either check people in or usher people to their seats. It’s one of those events where networking is abundant…unless you have a panic attack before dinner.

Screenshot_-_10_3_2013_,_7_36_24_PM.pngIn this chapter, the gang has all arrived at the Quidditch World Cup Finals campgrounds. Harry is in awe of the mix of people he runs into as Ron, Hermione and Harry walk around. They see people from school and their families while also seeing key individuals who work at the Ministry of Magic. Getting water takes forever as they stop to make small talk with people throughout the area. On their way to the actual game, they run into two key people Ludo Bagman (who is the director of this event and commentator for the game) and Barty Crouch, Percy’s boss at the Ministry. Percy reacts to seeing his boss in the most Percy way. Percy “idolizes him.” As for everyone meeting Bagman who is wearing a jersey a few sixes too small, the Twins jump in on a bet with Bagman regarding the game.

This scene reminded me of networking. Percy is so starstruck with a desire to make a good impression that to the others who know him he looks like a nut. The Twins, on the other hand, have bigger plans in mind and make bets with Bagman to further those plans, not intimidated by Bagman’s position at all.

IMG_0224
My Networking face 

Everyone has a different reaction to networking. In law school networking is one of the best ways to get a job whether you are in the top 10% of the class or not. During my 1L year we were given ample opportunities to network. It all began during orientation. Scheduled into our packed week was a networking night. Even though I work in the service industry, the thought of making small talk with strangers is something that makes me nervous.

Growing up in a lower income family during high school and growing up as a military brat until middle school, I was taught to not speak until spoken to and even when spoken to I’m afraid to say the wrong thing. We didn’t learn the art of small talk at my high school. Social skills of lower income schools cannot compete with those skills acquired from better educational institutes. My family never held great dinner parties with business partners. Fancy words, great conversation topics, and the art of being politically correct were not part of my childhood. My mom tried to teach us manners and how to be polite. Somewhere along the line, maybe as a survival tactic, I became sarcastic and very blunt.

Even after years in the service industry, I was called the cynical barista aka the soulless barista. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I just don’t want to make small talk. Small talk feels forced and fake 99% of the time. It’s a means to an end. It’s used to fill a void, to kill dead air. Nobody really cares what you think about the weather and if your barista asks you that at the drive thru window, it’s because your drink isn’t ready, there’s probably someone new on bar, and the barista need to distract you so you don’t get mad. the other part of small talk that kills me is having to ask so many questions while listening in what is probably a very loud room for the answers. It’s so hard to hear what someone is saying when there are 100+ people making small talk in a medium sized room. I sometimes just have a hard time hearing people standing next to me in a quieter room. Trying to hear someone and then following up with questions when you only hear half of what they were saying is draining.

IMG_0002Networking at large events for me is painful. It can cause panic attacks. I can come off impolite and insincere. Now, sit down over coffee, one-on-one with me, invest actual time and I’m there, fully engaged, only slightly nervous. Now don’t get me wrong, at most large events I can make myself network, I just hate the way it feels.

For a lot of people networking at any level comes naturally to them. Some people have been groomed to talk to people their whole lives. Some people just ooze charisma. Those are the people I am jealous of at events. They have interesting stories to tell, they care so much more about PC topics (and less about Harry Potter, Taylor Swift, Pop Music, and Foodie topics — all which I care about immensely).

Last year at Law Stars I had a panic attack. There were so many people in such a small place, I felt as if I wasn’t going to make a good impression, and I put a lot of pressure on myself. Since that night, I have worked hard to overcome my networking fears. I no longer feel starstruck by the important people that come through the law school. Instead I respect them and see them more as aspirations. It takes some of the pressure off. No longer am I trying to impress them, instead I want to learn from them. Networking isn’t always just about making connections that will help you rise in the ranks, it’s also about making mentor/mentee relationships. It’s about learning from people who have been in your position for years. It’s about realizing that one day soon, these people around you will be your peers.

If there’s one big difference I’ve seen in myself from 1L year to 2L year it’s that I have grown more confident in my position. I’ve come a long way from graduating 3rd in my high school class, a class at one of the worst high schools in one of the worst school districts in the nation. I have a long way to go, but that’s part of the learning process here at law school. And boy is there still a lot I hope to learn by the end of my journey here.

Until Next Time,

Mischief Managed.