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March, 2010:

New Adventures – Ladies Paintball

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer.  I am a law student.  In accordance with ABA policy, this blog should not be viewed as legal advice.  It is simply my experiences and opinions.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to entice me to do new things so I’ll have something interesting to write about.

So this past week the girls and I went to Ladies Night at the paintball field.  Westworld Paintball Adventures has a great deal for women.  Every Friday night ladies play for free, except for the cost of our ammunition.

My group consisted of four law students, one church friend, and two friends of friends.  When we arrived, the first thing we did was sign our waivers of liability.  Like eager law students, Barbi and I immediately scanned the verbiage for a clause preventing us from altering any of the terms of the contract.  Not seeing one, we immediately started crossing out anything that would release the company from liability for injuries caused by its own negligence.  The other law students in our group, acting like efficient/lazy law students, asked us to read the contract for them and make sure it was ok.  The clerk said it was rare for someone to actually read the waiver before signing it.

After signing our waivers and buying our ammo, we were issued protective vests, goggles, paintball guns, and team armbands.  We loaded our guns and headed onto the field.  We played five games with another group of teenage girls and a bunch of regulars.  In my first game, I was hit in my goggles.  It didn’t hurt.  I didn’t realize I was hit until I felt that my hair was wet with paint.  I was disappointed that my friends had the real experience of being hit with a paintball.  I wanted the experience too!

And boy did I get it.

In the next game I took two hits at point blank range.  One shot hit me on my uncovered neck and the other hit my side just below my arm.  At first I thought my neck was bleeding, but it was just the oily paint running down my skin.  It stung for hours.  One of the clerks said that the bruise on my side will take some time to heal.  I like to think of it as a battle wound.

During the next few days I had a singing audition, a gala, a prank, and a tweet up.   It was fun telling everyone that the bruise on my neck wasn’t a hickey.

Photo courtesy of  Merlz Tamondong.

Remembering Joel

I miss my friend.

I got a sad call this Saturday morning.  I got a call from a classmate saying my friend, Joel, was dead.

It’s been a surreal couple of days.

Joel and I had every class together during our first semester of law school.  We sat next to each other or near eachother in almost every class.  He was the friend I would high five at the beginning of Professor Noreuil’s legal writing class.  We agreed Professor Berch was insane, but only Joel thought that was a good thing.

During finals week last fall, we both had the idea of wearing black under our eyes like football players because we were going to attack our exams.  After one test, we high fived and said, “Good game.”  I’m sure it looked strange to everyone around us, but to us, it made perfect sense.

Joel was from Alabama.  He always made sure I knew how his football team performed every week and where they were ranked.  This year he invited me and a few others to watch Alabama face Texas in the BCS National Championship Game.  He was so mad when he caught me making the Longhorn symbol with my fingers.  It was almost sacrilegious to have someone rooting against his team in his home.

Joel always got a twinkle in his eye when he talked about his beloved wife, Stephanie.  I remember the day I met her.  He was so proud to introduce me to the love of his life.  Joel also had two beautiful children.  His daughter was born during our first semester finals.  By then we had become good friends, so I crocheted a baby blanket for her.  Joel must have told me at least 15 times that she can’t sleep without it.  With Joel, if he considered you a friend, you were as good as family.

It’s still settling in that my friend is gone.  I didn’t see him much this semester because we didn’t have any classes together and we were busy with internships and projects.  He wanted to go into family law and my heart is in intellectual property.  Every few hours, the grief hits me like a wave and I remember, “My friend is dead.”  I hope the school does some type of memorial or tribute to him.  I hope his wife and family have the support they need, for as long as they need it.  I know when the rest of us are back to our normal routines, they will still be feeling the stabbing pain of losing him.

I’ve been thinking about the song “Seasons of Love” from “Rent:”

525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in the life?

Joel – I hope  you accomplished everything you came here to do.

I miss my friend.

Photo from ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law

Geek Quest

I want to find my people in the legal world, and by “my people” I mean my fellow geeks.  As it’s been told to me, getting a job after law school isn’t about what you know, but who you know.  This isn’t new information.  One of my mentors said at the beginning of my professional career that 85% of getting a job is networking.

I am a geek
Image by Julia Roy via Flickr

The second year of law school is the time to make contact with the firm you want to work for after graduation.  Ideally, you work for the firm during your 2L summer and get an offer at the end of the summer for a job after graduation.  I want to work for a firm that does intellectual property (IP) work.  My goal is to meet lawyers who are geeks like me.  I want to meet other geeky IP lawyers who can’t change the fact that they’re geeks and make it work for them as lawyers.  I want to work for a firm where geeks are accepted and applauded.  I sent an email to an IP lawyer in Phoenix asking for his recommendations about who I should meet.

My IP lawyer friend said he doesn’t know any geeky IP lawyers and that all the geeks he knows are scientists and engineers.  His only advice was most firms give their lawyers “great latitude to do whatever you want outside the office, as long as you do excellent work.”  I was a little sad to hear that an IP lawyer, of all people, didn’t know any geek lawyers.  I refuse to believe that there aren’t any geeks out there…it will just take some effort to find them.

On a happy note, I was so relieved to meet a lawyer who truly had passion for practicing law, and it wasn’t about getting rich.  He spent over an hour with my fellow interns and me talking about how important it is to not sacrifice your soul, personality, or hobbies for the sake of your career.

So my quest continues to find my fellow geeks.  I want to meet lawyers who understand the joy of celebrating science holidays, who understand the importance of making the pilgrimage to the future birthplace of Captain Kirk, and who understand why I want to have a koosh ball on my desk instead of a paperweight.

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Lessons in Conflict

I learned a powerful lesson this week: You don’t know what your convictions are until you have to stand up for them.

This week I had to hold my line.  It was a lonely and, at times, frightening experience, but I knew I was doing what I had to do.

It made me feel sick to my stomach.  I lost my appetite and I lost sleep.  I sweat so much that I had to wear t-shirts every day to avoid staining my professional clothes.

I had to say, “I have to leave” five minutes into a meeting and walk out because it didn’t matter what they had to say.  It had nothing to do with what I needed to do.

My heart was pounding.  My face was flushed.  I was so shaken that I could barely think clearly.

But I held my line.

I learned another lesson this week about conflict: Fighting is like tug-of-war.

When people fight, it often feels like they are pulling in opposite directions, trying to force their opponent onto their side.  This week I did not have to prove that I was doing what I needed to do.  I just needed to do it.  I dropped my side of the rope and walked away.

The benefit of thinking of conflict like a tug-of-war, when you drop the metaphorical rope, you get to picture the other side falling on their ass.  It gives you something to smile about as you walk away.

Through this adventure I’ve been lucky that while I was holding my line, I had amazing friends to be my sounding board, to support me, and to hug me.  I probably could have done it without them, but they made it so much easier.

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