I’m not the biggest fan of snow days

I’m different.

I’m really wired differently than most other people that I’ve met in this world. I’m not certain that I was always like this, but at some point in my past something happened to me to make me different. Or maybe I always was this way.

I usually am good at seeing opportunity where others see conflict or trouble. I usually am the type of person to seize the opportunity that most will leave laying, or never realize was close to being within their grasp. I recall a time a few years ago while I was working for a Baltimore Lawyer handling criminal defense cases and auto accident cases.
It was mid december, maybe the saturday or sunday before Christmas. I was at my mother’s house with my wife and kids. Maybe it was just one at the time…time flies so I’m not certain. Anyway, we were there to celebrate christmas with my family, because we alternate the holidays each year and where we spend them. One year we will have thanksgiving with my family in Maryland, and Christmas with my wife’s family in New Hampshire. The next year we will swap the locations for the holidays. Therefore, this was “Christmas” for me with my family.

Back to the lawyer I was working for….I was working for a guy who at the time, and perhaps still, didn’t really “get it.” So much so that I offered myself to be the person who would have the office’s phone forwarded to my personal cell phone on evenings and weekends. Again, I’m different. I don’t fault him or anyone else for not getting it. In fact, this story will detail quite nicely how many others just don’t “get it” and how I will ultimately be able to take advantage of this in my career. I find it important to answer the phone. First and foremost, customer service and client attention is the key to continued business, referral business, and not getting bar complaints! Secondly, when the phone rings, before answering it, it’s really tough to tell what kind of person or call is on the other end. If there was any way to establish this type of foresight I’d be in a more lucrative line of work. The phone rings with the same tone when it is a drunk looking for a ride home from the bar or a multi-million dollar accident/injury client looking for competent counsel. Clearly I have drawn comparisons among some great extremes here.

We are putting the food on the table. It is almost time to eat. Ring. Ring. I look at the phone, and for a second I actually think about not answering it. Not my style.

Me: “Good afternoon, law office” (I don’t really get personal phone calls from numbers not stored in my phone)
Caller: “Oh hello (Startled) is this someone actually working in a law office?”
Me: “Well, I’m not physically in the office, but I work there during normal business hours–I’m a real person, though, can I help you?”
Caller: “Oh thank you so much. I’ve called 5 or 6 other lawyers and no one is answering their phone or has a real person on the line”
Me: “Well here we are. What can I help you with?”
Caller: “I was picked up on a violation of probation, and I have a court hearing coming up, can you help?”
Me: “I’m not the lawyer, but this is the type stuff he does. Do you want to come in to meet us first thing monday?”
Caller: “Seriously? Yes, thank you so much”

We continue to set up the appointment. I believe that I then called my boss and got him to call the potential client directly after my call with her. I like to under-promise and over deliver. I like to surprise the clients that I work with in a good way. My boss was actually pretty decent at making the follow up calls, at least initially, when I would have occasion to set something up like this.

This case turned into a paid fee of $2,500.00 if I remember correctly. Within a week of this, the client called frantic late in the evening. She had just been in an automobile accident with her sister and her young son. I have no precise recall of the fees in those cases, but I know it to have been roughly $15,000-$20,000 aggregate between the 3 claims.
But wait, there’s more….same client, while the office is representing her for the auto accident case(s) calls because her boyfriend is picked up on some criminal charges. I don’t recall the specifics, but I know the attorney gave him a discount for being a close connection to a current client. I believe that was another $1,500 or $2,000 fee.

My point here, if I trust my client’s assessment of how many lawyers she attempted to call that morning before getting me on the phone–5 or 6 lawyers passed on no less than $19,000 in fees. As a non-lawyer, I didn’t really see a dime of that money–but that’s not the point. The mentality is the key there, and I did something for my firm that a lot of other lawyers wouldn’t do for themselves. Hell, my boss wasn’t and probably isn’t even doing this for himself.

I guess on days like today, specifically in my non-lawyer, unemployed position, I feel stuck, stifled, and as if it is more difficult for me to take advantage of the opportunity that most others are likely squandering. I have spent some quality time with my kids…sort of. If my 6 year old watching cartoons on the iPad while I clean up puzzles and other blocks my 2 year old dumped everywhere as quality time. I guess I’ve spent some quality time with the 2 year old, and I’m at least “around” for the 6 year old in a way that kids these days are growing to expect as the norm of “parenting.”

I am concerned, however, as to how I have gotten here in the house today. Essentially stuck. Will I be stuck in this manor in my professional career? Next year when I am a lawyer, and quite possibly running my own practice–will I have the freedom to answer the phone? My hope is yes. My hope is that I will have the ability to do the work that others don’t care to take the time to do. It’s this work, this concern, this differentness that I feel will make me successful in ways that others cannot imagine. It is how I will begin to forge long term relationships with clients, where they truly are thinking of no other lawyer when they, their friend or a family member is involved in a situation that would benefit from legal guidance.

I just want to continue being different. Being better.

Jury Trial

It has been an interesting and certainly non-traditional journey for me to get to where I am now. Many who wish to become lawyers do so by going to high school, then to college, and then to law school. Typically, from my understanding, this is done in somewhat quick succession and often without delay. Not me, at least not without delay. I went to high school, then to undergrad in what is a more traditional succession. I left undergrad, degree nearly completed, as part of a work-study that was supposed to last one semester yet ended up being a two year journey beginning in Baltimore and ending in Chicago. I then returned to Maryland, not having completed my undergrad degree, and eventually began working in the law. I had no clue what I was really doing, and learned everything on the job. That was a positive experience, and quickly I went from a paper pusher to someone in an office with some responsibility. Then, realizing that I was being grossly underpaid, changed jobs to a larger firm for more money and less responsibility. At this point in time I began to complete my undergraduate degree. I transferred from the school I started with, and over a few years completed a bachelor’s degree. In this time I switched jobs again to a solo attorney for whom I would use a lot of my marketing background and sales experience to build a small firm into a high volume firm over the course of a few years. Before beginning law school at the University of Baltimore School of Law in August 2011 I got married and became a father of one(not particularly in that order, but this story is about my non-traditional style, right?). In the middle of my second semester I became a father again. I really hate when people use that verbage, but it seems to be what people say when something happens again. I had never ceased being a father, but I had another child.
My law school experience, like most other experiences in my life, have been a little different that what I observed everyone around me to be having. When I first arrived at new student orientation, I quickly realized that I was the only student that I spoke to that really knew what he or she wanted to do after school, moreover the only student who seemed to know why he/she was even attending law school. I had a plan, a plan B, and perhaps even a plan C depending upon how the 4 years of evening law school would develop. As with most plans, this changed somewhat, as the dynamic of my life certainly changed. As a night student I was in Baltimore to late hours 4 nights out of the week. In the first semester I was not getting home to Cecil County until nearly 11pm, waking up around 5:30 or 6am and starting all over again. When my son was born, there was no sleep really for several months. This was incredibly taxing on myself and my family–both physically, mentally and emotionally. In the fall of my second year I enrolled in a mix of courses evening and day classes, allowing me to be home 3 week nights and at school only 2. At this point I also switched my status to full-time day student so that I could take additional credits exceeding the max of 12. By the fall of the third year, I was down to my last 2 semesters. Overloading and taking full summer course loads allowed me to accelerate the 4 year degree plan into 3 years. It look a lot of maneuvering to be able to finish in the spring, and not have to take summer classes in my final year. I wanted to avoid taking courses when others were taking the bar. I didn’t want to be preparing for the bar when the July bar takers were being sworn in and beginning their careers. Much of these maneuvers involved a lot of self sacrifice. When I began law school I had a well paying full time job. Throughout this process I cut back hours, and released a lot of the responsibility that I had at the firm I was working for. Perhaps I was a positive catalyst at my old job, because as I became less involved the course of the firm took a different direction, and money became sparse. I left this job in November, mainly due to financial instability and my employer’s inability to pay me consistently. I feel that I a lot of what has happened to this point is the result of my desire to accelerate my degree program and become a lawyer a year earlier.

Nothing in life is free.

The fall of this final semester, however, awarded me a brilliant and fantastic opportunity that I would not have been able to undertake had I stuck to the night-only 4 year plan. Many schools thought out the country and the States that they’re in have programs that allow third year students with certain qualifications to practice in the non-profit areas in the local communities. Depending upon the practice areas, this may include low-income family law clinics, social security disability, immigration, or even criminal law though the State’s Attorney and Public Defender offices in the State. I was fortunate enough to be selected (it’s a lottery, so luck as much as anything else) to participate in the criminal law clinic, and under part of Maryland’s rule for admission became a lawyer within the confines of the Cecil County Public Defender’s office from August 2013 through January 2014. Due to scheduling issues with school that semester, most specifically the classroom component to this clinical experience, most of the work I was involved in was in the District Court. It was great experience, none the less, and I was able to work with hundreds of clients and hundreds of cases. Some I managed to have dropped completely, or get really good offers to plea for the clients so that they would be able to move past the infraction that I was representing them for and continue their lives with an opportunity for a clean criminal record.
It was only until December that I was able to do any real work in the Circuit Court. Many of the district court cases resolved in what is referred to as a “prayer for jury trial.” In Maryland, for those unfamiliar, there are two trial courts. The District Court is mainly the misdemeanor trial court, with no juries. There are some special felonies that can be tried in the District Court as well, but most of those are Circuit Court Cases. Also, any charges where the maximum penalty exceeds 90 days incarceration give the defendant the automatic right to request that their case be moved from the District Court to the Circuit Court, for a jury trial. Most of the cases taking this course do not actually result in filling the jury box with 12 citizens, but the mechanism is to request such a right. Often times this strategy is employed to get what is a big fish in a small pond into a larger pond, that is to say get a case into a court where they handle much more serious matters. Usually the plea arrangements are more favorable in the Circuit Court. Sometimes the strategy is one in which to buy time. Nearing the holidays defendants who know that they are likely to do jail time will pray a jury trial just to stay out of detention until after the holidays. Homeless defendants often will take pleas around these colder months for the purposes of being indoors when the adverse weather conditions may cause permanent injury or even death. In many cases defendant is charged with some violation involving the status of their driving privileges. For them, the delay offered in the jury trial scheduling will allow them to have their license reinstated or at least have taken substantial steps in the process before their trial date.

Sometimes, though, these cases go to trial.

When I first began this clinical experience, one of the “goals” expressed by the professors overseeing the clinic to the supervisor of the public defender’s office was that I would try 5 contested cases throughout the semester. My supervisor balked at this notion, doubting that in the time frame I was going to be there that the entire office was unlikely to try more than 5 contested cases, throughout the entire office! Finally, though, in January 2014 I had my hands on a case that the facts were disputed and the State wasn’t making an offer that my client wanted to take. It was finally, after all of this, time to fill the box and get down to business. Unlike many lawyers, in my observation, I want a trial. I want to fill the box, I want to do the work. Probably not limited to lawyers, but most in my experience are looking to go the path of least resistance. Get their money for a good plea deal and move on. More time handling a case means less money overall, or less time spent handling another case. Plus, I guess some people are scared to try cases. I’m wired differently, I suppose. I didn’t go to law school to not be a lawyer. I had a good job, a high paying job. I was making more money than most first year associates in my job. I could have gone on doing that, making more and more money each year, not being a lawyer. However, I would have been confined to the office, and not given the opportunity to try cases.

This is what I want to do.

It’s tough to try a case. Not so much the trial aspect of trying the case, but getting a case actually to go to trial. I’ve often thought, in criminal law, that any case that is worth trying is bad enough that the state should be dropping the case. Throughout the semester, at least in the district court, I prepared to try a lot of cases. I was ready to go. Then, when showing up to court the day of trial, something went wrong on the State’s side. They looked at their file, their witness didn’t show up, or they made a good enough deal that the client wanted to take it and move on. Every case I thought I was going to get to try, went away.
I’m not a glutton for pain or punishment. I advised each client of the benefits and downfalls of any plea deal offered. I want what is in the best interest of the client, and will continue to do so once I become a lawyer. The client rules the day. Fortunately for me I had a guy who didn’t want any offer, even a really good offer up to the point where we were about to select jurors.

I got my trial.

It went almost exactly as I thought it would. I had prepared for some time for this case, knew there was a likelihood that a jury would find my guy guilty. However, there were a lot of inaccuracies and discrepancies in the accusing victim’s statement and story that I felt the case was worth trying. I was incredibly happy with how the trial went. I felt that I highlighted all of the inaccuracies/discrepancies that I wanted to bring the jury’s attention to. I personally did not feel that there was enough evidence to convict my client.

The jury disagreed with me.

Such is life. My guy was found guilty. I didn’t know how I’d feel if I got a guilty verdict. I didn’t know if it would be discouraging to me, make me shy away from trials, or whatever. None of this has happened. Unfortunately my time as a student attorney is over. My carriage turned into a pumpkin last friday afternoon, and I am back to civilian life…for now. One semester of law school to go. Graduation in May, bar exam in July, and assuming all goes as planned, admission to practice in December 2014. Then I will have far less restrictions in my effort to try more cases.

No doubt, one day, I will become a little more jaded, a little less enamored with the idea of going to trial. I think the goal for me needs to avoid this and delay these feelings at all cost. I need to be conscious of the fact that the practice of law is referred to as the “practice” of law for a reason. Looking back on the trial, there may have been some minor things that I would have done a little differently. Facts or occurrences that I may have emphasized a little more or a little less. None of which I feel would have turned the case, but I would be foolish to think that I couldn’t have done better, made the jury deliberate longer. My client was happy with the trial, not necessarily the outcome, but he knows that we put it all on the table. I had prepped with the client about the case several times. He knew what I planned to do, agreed with it, and felt that it was done the way we planned. He even thanked me again the next day for the effort when he had to show back up at the courthouse for a pre-sentencing investigation.

It is possible that in sentencing this guy is offered probation before judgment at the culmination of any incarceration given by the court. I feel good about this. If the guy didn’t do it, then he has a chance to earn a clean record after he does his time.

I’m hungry to practice. Hungry to be in the mix. I have another trial advocacy course in the spring, and lobbied with the school to allow me to extend my Rule 16 placement.

My time will come.

Horrible advice….

So I was recently pulled over, accused of speeding by the officer. Being the person I am, of course I requested a trial. Recently I began doing some research on how to possibly fight this ticket, 82 mph in a 65mph zone. I started by looking for some cross examination questions. One of the first sites that I found that wasn’t a paid advertisement for a local lawyer wanting me to pay them to fight the ticket, was an article on nolo.com. If you are unfamiliar with nolo.com and their series of books, the concept is that through these articles and books you can essentially represent yourself. If this one article is a reflection of the body of work, they cannot be more wrong. Here is a link to the traffic cop cross examination questions from nolo.

First of all, I’m not even a lawyer yet. Secondly, I haven’t tried 100s or 1000s of cases throughout my career. However, I do understand the fundamental principals behind cross examination. You’re not really supposed to ask questions. I mean, you ask “questions” because you expect a response, but you don’t ask anything that warrants anything but a response. Almost every question in this cross examination asks for an answer, not a response.
Essentially, the point of cross examination is to ask yes/no “questions” that you already know the answer to, and if you don’t get the answer you expect that it should become clear and apparent to the judge or jury that the person who is on the stand is lying.

Here are some of my favorites:
“Were you paying attention to the other traffic in order to drive safely?”

This seems like you know what answer you’re sure to get–but there are ways to answer this question, or break it down into a series of questions, that will ensure that you get the right answer(s). Plus, this could be objected to as either a compound question or one that lacks proper foundation, as the foundation for the question is argued within the question.

This works much better:
Officer, you previously testified that there was [light/moderate/heavy] traffic at the time you began pacing my vehicle?
(here you are asking the officer to repeat from his/her previous testimony- he/she will either give you a YES or obviously lie)

You’ve been a licensed driver for most of your adult life?

You’re accustomed to driving in this type of traffic?

Safety is among the most important aspects of your job, right?

In fact, your job is to guarantee safety on the roadways, and other places of the sort?

So, when driving in this much traffic, it’s important to pay attention to many of the cars that are near you?

While you were pacing my car, you were also keeping your eye on 3-4 other cars?
[Boom-this is the question that you don’t care what answer you get] Here you have set a trap, and there isn’t a right or a wrong answer. The officer is either forced to admit that he wasn’t being safe, or he wasn’t focusing entirely on pacing your vehicle.

Do not fall into the trap of asking the next question. On courtroom TV dramas the attorneys often ask the next question “so you weren’t being safe” or “so you couldn’t have been paying complete attention to my car” which would illicit a breakdown of the witness on the stand.
THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE.

If you make the mistake of asking the “ultimate question” then you’re going to get an answer, not a response. The officer will explain the flaw in your logic, and explain in some way that his training and years of this type of work have taught him to track multiple cars at once with accuracy, or perhaps even a better answer that will really throw you for a loop.

Moral of the story 1) hire a lawyer and 2) if you are ever cross examining someone, don’t ask the ultimate question.

and in just the blink of an eye….

The last time that I blogged was a week into the semester. I had begun my clinical course, and was thrown into the fire when an attorney called in sick. Time has flown by, and we are just a few weeks until the end of the semester. This semester has blown by. It literally seems like only yesterday that I handled my first case on the record, and now I’ve handled over a hundred.

No trials yet, which is somewhat disappointing, but somewhat expected given the court that i’m working in and the lack of “volume” of cases. A lot of counties in Maryland have courts with 30 or 40 cases on the morning or afternoon docket for each of 4 or 5 or sometimes more courtrooms. Baltimore City has 3 separate district court houses for criminal matters, and a completely separate 4th court for civil matters in the district court. In Cecil County the morning docket is about 20-30 cases total (for the state) in each of 2 courtrooms. This is a mix of criminal and serious traffic matters. In the afternoon, many times there is only one courtroom handling serious traffic and criminal, the other is either closed or handling speeding tickets and other payable traffic matters.

I have had a great experience, working with clients and preparing cases for the potential of trial. In doing so, I have learned that almost any case that is worth putting on trial for the defense, isn’t particularly good for the State. What I have learned without doubt, is that preparation on the defense side often pushes these cases into “worth dropping charges” as far as the State is concerned.

I have realized that the most important asset that a good attorney often has is preparation. Not that it took any time or effort to come to this conclusion, but seeing this in action is huge. Unlike the State’s Attorney, you actually have access to your client. You can meet with them, get at least their side of the story, and pick it apart from there. Often times the ASA only has a police report, limited access to the officer who filed the report (but didn’t witness the offense) and if there is any level of innocence on the part of your client, you have the advantage and ability to find it.

The semester has so far proven to be a great learning experience as far as client advocacy is concerned, and really gaining a comfort level in the courtroom.

I am not looking forward to it ending. While it’ll be another chapter closed, and another step closer to graduation and admission to the bar, it’ll be the bench mark to what should be one full calendar year of me not being in the courtroom on the record. This will be the sad part of the story.

Trial by fire

As you know, if you’re reading regularly or at all, or if you know me–I am involved in the UB clinic program which allows me to handle cases under the supervision of the public defender’s office.

I am in there 2 days a week, and for most students in the position the first few weeks are supposed to be shadowing, etc. Since I had done all of the shadowing that a 3rd year law student could mentally handle in my internship this summer, and more or less having the confidence to handle cases, and having the confidence of the head of the office to handle cases, the decision was made that I would start getting cases today. With that in mind, last friday I met with a public defender who had a docket of cases schedule for the district court this morning. In Maryland there are two trail courts. The district court is the lower court, and limited to bench trials, if a case is to be tried at all. Charges carrying a max penalty exceeding 90 days in jail give the defendant the right to pray a jury trial. Jury trials are in the Circuit Court, and are set in roughly 2 months down from the prayer.

The plan was that I would review the docket last friday with this attorney, and to “ease me in” we would cherry pick a few cases that shouldn’t be too tough for me to handle. Mostly cases in which the state is dropping charges, or putting the charges on what is called the ‘stet docket’. Sounds good to me, I can handle this, no big deal.

So this morning, court begins at 8:30, and I’m in the office waiting for the attorney with the docket, who will have to supervise me during all of this, to show up. Tick, tock, tick tock. Eventually the phone rings, and it appears as if this attorney has called in sick. Seriously? No big deal to me, and in fact I think this might have even been set up. “I got this, its show time.”

I took it upon myself from this point to handle the entire docket. For confidentiality reasons I can’t really go into any details, none of which were too exciting anyway, but everything went well. Talked to the State’s attorney, the clients, even put pressure on the ASA to drop charges that they wanted to stet, and stet cases they wanted to offer a PBJ. A job well done, at least for a rookie.

By 11am I had handled my first case ever, and 8 more. Exciting. In fact, so exciting that my next move was to figure out who had an afternoon docket and hijack that!

These district court cases are relatively minor. In fact the bulk of the afternoon docket I grabbed were driving on suspended or other “serious traffic” charges. All in all, out of 18 total clients (3 of which failed to appear) everyone seemed happy with the results–especially those who got better results than the state originally wanted to offer.

This clinic is supposed to provide experience, and a real feel of practice. Its also supposed to help someone decide if this is in fact what they want to do. Check, Check and Check.

Bring it on!

 

UNSTOPPABLE REBEL FORCE

It’s on.

Tomorrow I will start taking on some cases. While I will start with some soft-balls, stets and noelle prosqui, it’s time to start getting the feet wet. The goal is to become an all-out litigation machine by the end of this semester. I am already enrolled in trial boot-camp, so to speak. Trial advocacy class kicks into high gear next week when we have direct and cross examinations to prepare and to be critiqued upon. This will continue all semester, polishing the basic skills of setting a theme, getting the story to the jury, and challenging witnesses and their testimony.

Brilliant.

The clinic, while I will be taking on baby cases in the beginning, will have similar training in the classroom component. I am also learning the “rules” aspect of both criminal and civil cases in Maryland in my other 2 classes.

Let’s win.

Yeah, the trial team I was on last year now has 2 full teams from our school, and the gloves come off around September 9th when the competition problem is released.

It’s time to crush it and become a complete machine by November 16th competition date, and beyond.

It is time to bring back the tag I put on the Ravens Superbowl run last season: Unstoppable Rebel Force.

 

Officially sworn in today!

It’s official, I’m a lawyer* under Maryland’s Rule 16. The asterisk is there due to the fact that I’m now an attorney in limited capacity. This semester I will be working under the supervision of the Office of the Public Defender in Cecil County, Maryland.

This means that 2 days a week I’ll be in the Public Defender’s office, with cases, clients and actually be in court.

Very exciting, but I’m not a full on lawyer.

First, this only exists within the specific supervision at the OPD. It ends when final exams end. I also cannot give you legal advice on any other matters or situations that you may be dealing with. Also, nothing on this website has changed, or will. Nothing on this site should or can be seen as legal advice, on any topic, no matter how close to a situation you may be dealing with is.

 

Good times, and limited info will be updated as possible.

 

My Car Experience(s)

Car buying seems to be something that most people dread. Personally, I negotiate for a living, and also essentially work in customer service. I enjoy the experience, and I appreciate when sales people are good at customer service, and I also notice when they are not.

In 2009 I decided that it was time to purchase a new vehicle. Typically I buy cars cash, and don’t carry any sort of payments. At this time, I was driving an old car that didn’t get particularly good gas mileage, but a family member had “looked the car up” and determined that it was not eligible for the “cash for clunkers” program that the federal government was offering at the time. Therefore, I was just out to buy a more fuel efficient car to help with my 50+ mile each way commute to work.

Through the process I had gone to 6 or 7 different dealerships, across a variety of brands, honda, toyota, volkswagen, nissan, and the first question, relevant at the time, was always “is your car a clunker” to which I would respond “no, my is 1MPG too good to qualify.”

It was at about my 7th or 8th dealership, and second or third Honda dealership (I had test driven cars at most other dealerships) that Dave Eno at Martin Honda responded to my answer “well, go get your registration, lets see if you’re right.” ┬áSo he gets the registration, asks me a few other qualifying question, and sure enough…my car IS a clunker. Dave Eno just sold himself a car. At this precise moment my car buying decision, at least pertaining to brand and dealership, had been made. The cash for clunkers program was a $4,500 rebate incentive deal where the federal government was basically buying cars with poor gas mileage if you bought one that was at least 15 or 20 mpg more efficient.

Moral of the story, do your job–do the whole job, and get rewarded.

To further the good customer service, I have recently purchased another car. Recalling this experience, plus the fact that I get an e-mail or other correspondence each year on my birthday from Dave Eno, I didn’t shop. I decided what car I wanted, I returned to Martin Honda, and bought a car from Dave. Simple.

If you win a customer’s business, and really win it, you’ve likely earned a customer for life.

In a future post I will discuss how horrible my experience was with the Martin Honda service department back in 2009, and how they’ve apparently made a complete 180 since, as they recently won back my business.

Looks like a good year coming up

Today I learned something new and great. As you may know, I will be enrolled in the UB Law Clinic program, where under Maryland Rules for admission 16(which apparently is going to change) I will be practicing law through the school, and under the supervision of the public defender’s office. This is different from my internship, as I will actually be taking on a docket of cases 2-3 days/week and pleading cases, trying cases, counseling clients, whatever needs to be done.

I had hoped that I would be able to get lucky enough to take the clinic program again the the spring, chew up 6 more credits and continue practicing 2-3 days/week, but an even better option may be on the horizon. Apparently, as the rule number is changing, so are some of the provisions. It may be possible for me to enroll in an “internship” in the spring, get credit, and actually practice under rule 16(or whatever the number will be moving forward).

This excites me greatly.

Just over 2 weeks (and another year) left!

So last night my wife, who might be counting down to the end of law school more intensely than I, did the math and advised me that as of this wednesday there are only 2 weeks left in this summer schedule, then a final exam of course.

Although this is exciting, for the time being, I still have 2 fairly full semesters left in my law school career.

Positives: This fall I’m only taking “classes that matter.”

Negatives: It’s still another year of working part-time and parenting part-time.

My classes for the fall include:

Criminal Practice Clinic, which basically means going and being a public defender 2 days/week- Under rule 16 in Maryland I will actually be an attorney within the confines of this program.

Maryland Criminal Practice- If this isn’t an extension of the previous, I don’t know what is.

Trial Advocacy- I already spoke to the professor. There is a book of fact patterns, we break out and do direct and cross examinations, then we critique and move onto the next.

Maryland Civil Procedure- This may not be exciting, but its the backbone of what I do day to day in my real job. Somewhat important.

Advanced Legal Research- I will independently, with an advisor, write a 20-25 page law review type comment. I’ve already begun work on this

I will also take part in the ABA Labor & Employment trial team again.

Should be an incredibly busy schedule, but it sets me up to only need 11 credits in the spring. Since I can get credit for the ABA labor & employment trial team, I may bump the ALR to the spring, and really only need to take 9 classroom credits, but if I do this I will have 2 writing classes to take in the spring. These 2 writing classes are all I have left in my “required courses”

Should be a busy, but rewarding fall…and a somewhat more laid back spring, then….bar prep!