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ASU Law School

Fun with Stefi | Birthday Memories

Last year for my birthday, I asked my friends to send me stories related to our friendship. I spent my birthday taking a trip down memory lane, reading through all of them. This year, I asked some of my friends if I could share their memories with you.

Ruth & Stefi - January 2012

Ruth & Stefi – January 2012

Today’s memory is from Stefi Green, one of my classmates from ASU Law School. She was a year behind me – a brilliant, young pixie of law student who made me laugh. I love her childlike wonder and enthusiasm.

Here’s what Stefi had to share:

The saga of Ruth and Stefi has many chapters, from the flash mob during finals to the No Regrets Thanksgiving Day Hike, not to mention the infamous couch incident. (The law school learned the hard way that Stefi will throw a fit if the school moves the “Cool Kids’ Couch” and solicit me to help her move it back to its rightful place outsider Room 116.) But among the memories, including inflatable gladiator dueling (she won), gymnastics meets, trampoline rooms, and countless rejected marriage proposals (from her), one stands out as a favorite. I’ll never forget how much fun I had with you when we put on dresses and made snooty people squirm. (Hee hee hee.)

Ruth, one of the things I admired about you from the start was the way you rose above the pomp and nonsense that hung around the law school like a noxious cloud. One particular example engendered shock and awe in this 21-year-old 1L . . . while sowing the seeds for future (and quite gleeful) subversion. I’m referring of course to your disregard for the then-Dean of the law school. I loved the fact that you could see through his puffery and was practically giddy every time you called him out on it.

No Guilt Hike - 2010

No Guilt Hike – 2010

You had many brilliant moments in your ongoing feud with the Dean Who Must Not Be Named. But my all-time favorite was at Justice For All Night (law school fundraiser) your 3L year. First and foremost, every time I got to hear you sing was a treat in and of itself. The fact that you were singing words that I had written was, well, an honor. (Stefi dealt with the stress of law school by re-writing the lyrics to Disney songs to make them about law and law school. She’s really good at it!) I was so proud that you got to showcase your talent as the main entertainment. And we looked DAMN good that night.

The icing on the cake, though, was the fact that we got to stick it to the Dean. It was obvious that the school knew what we were doing – why else did they seat us at a table with Assistant Dean Tom Williams and other faculty members? (Yeah, we had chaperones.) The fact that they couldn’t do anything about it was nothing short of hilarious. And of course, the piece de resistance was when the Dean, visibly squirming, had to say nice things about you . . . and then spend the rest of the evening hearing about how fantastic you were! (Stefi was so proud of herself for that. She had the cheesiest grin on her face all night.)

Another reason I love this memory of us is because it illustrates many reasons our friendship has been so special to me. Your energy, wit, and irreverence (and a million other qualities!) always make you a blast to hang out with. I absolutely LOVED that you would let me be your partner in crime for the harmless stunts we pulled. But most of all, your attitude and approach to law school and life – and your kindness in sharing them with a kid still figuring things out – played a big role in who I am now.

You taught me not to take life too seriously. Even more, you taught me how to rise above the ridiculous airs that people put on and shine on my own terms.

Awh shucks, Stefi!

I love you, you know.

Over the Rainbow | Birthday Memories

Last year for my birthday, I asked my friends to send me stories related to our friendship. I spent my birthday taking a trip down memory lane, reading through all of them. This year, I asked some of my friends if I could share their memories with you.

Looking up in the ASU Law School rotunda - I think that's Calleros' office door on the right

Looking up in the ASU Law School rotunda – I think that’s Calleros’ office door on the right

Today’s memory comes from Professor Charles Calleros at ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. He was my professor for Contracts 1L year. His memory isn’t from the classroom, but from a late night at the law school.

In the fall of my 3L year, I attended an evening movie-and-discussion event that was facilitated by the LGBT law club at the school. I don’t remember what movie we watched, but we were all emotionally drained by the end. It was probably close to 9pm when we finished and emerged from the classroom where we’d been meeting. The rest of the building was quiet. Any students who were staying late to study were at the law library across the way.

My friend Stefi looked sad and exhausted, so I asked if she wanted me to sing for her, and she nodded. The middle of the law school building is a rotunda – a round two-story room with a glass dome ceiling that opens out to all the classrooms on the first floor. The second floor of the rotunda has a circular balcony overlooking the room below and is surrounded by faculty offices. The acoustics of this space are absolutely amazing and gorgeous.

Thinking that no one else was in the building, I positioned myself in the center of the rotunda, took a deep breath and started to sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I had no idea that Professor Calleros was working late that night, until I saw him standing at the balcony railing as I started the second verse. As he remember it:

A few years ago, I was working after hours at ASU College of Law, in my office on the second floor, near the balcony that overlooks the rotunda. I stopped working when I heard a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” coming from the first floor rotunda, sort of like Eva Cassidy come back to life. I left my office and walked the few steps to the balcony to take it in. It sounded like yearning, a dream, a heartfelt plea for justice. It was Ruth, and it was beautiful.  

As I finished the song, he silently nodded in thoughtful gratitude and retreated to his office. No words needed to be spoken.

Day 78/90 – Corrupting ASU 1Ls

Day 78 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to meet some of the new law students at ASU at their orientation reception.

I can't wait until the new law school building is finished (Photo courtesy of ASU Law School)

I can’t wait until the new law school building is finished (Photo courtesy of ASU Law School)

ASU Law School has a reception during 1L orientation where they invite their alums to meet the new students. It’s in the evening so the 1Ls are exhausted from a long day of information overload and culture shock. It’s fun to share tips for surviving law school and give them a glimpse of what life after law school is like.

My goal for attending these types of event is to show law students that there’s more than one way to be a lawyer. I purposely attended in jeans and a tank top to show them that not all lawyers wear a suit every day. Along with talking about my legal career as an Of Counsel attorney, blogger, speaker, and author, I tried to share some lessons that got my though law school:

  • If you’re smart enough to get into law school, you’re smart enough to get through it.
  • Sometimes you’ll lose your mind a bit due to stress and fatigue, but it’s temporary. You will bounce back and be happy again.
  • The difference between the top and the bottom of the class is small. Unless your dream job requires you to be at the top of your class, you don’t have to check your grades. I didn’t.
  • Become friends with the IT guys. They will save your ass when your computer breaks.
  • The staff and faculty at ASU Law are as supportive as they claim to be. If you need or want something, ask.
  • Treat law school like a trade school. Learn your craft and network your face off you so will be well connected to the community by the time you graduate. If you have an opportunity that requires skipping a class, definitely skip class.

I told a group of 1Ls the story about the day I realized Dean Sylvester was super cool when he encouraged me to send a demand letter to the then-ASU Law Dean when he was late to class.

I also met a 1L who I exchanged emails with a few years ago. She’d asked me if law school was worth it and I told her to ask herself whether a law degree was necessary to achieve her goals. If so, go to law school. And now she’s at ASU. That was really cool.

I gave my business card to just about every law student I met and I told them to call or email if they need anything. We’ll now many of them take me up on it.

For anyone who discovers this post after meeting me tonight, here a bonus for you: Seven Layers of Academic Hell.

In case you missed it: Day 77 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I treated myself to a Suzie Housewife Day!

Day 4/90 – Lunch with Andy

Day 4 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? Lunch with Andy!

Andy doesn't pose for selfies so I had to settle for one with the Snell & Wilmer sign

Andy doesn’t pose for selfies so I had to settle for one with the Snell & Wilmer sign

Andy Halaby is an intellectual property attorney at Snell and Wilmer – the biggest law firm in Phoenix. (Their lobby is bigger than my entire condo.) Everyone there wears a suit to work, so of course, I always wear jeans when I visit. He was also my trademark professor at ASU Law.

Andy’s an awesome guy. He’s been practicing law a lot longer than I have and he’s only worked at a big firm. It’s interesting to compare our perspectives on the practice of law and hearing his input on what’s changed over the years. We have a mutual non-disclosure agreement so I can’t tell you any specifics from our conversation. I sincerely value that we get to speak candidly about being lawyers and life in general.

I also invited myself to lunch with Andy to hear about his experience taking the dreaded California Bar Exam since he took and passed it fairly recently. I’m thinking about expanding my empire and subjecting myself to that layer of hell next year.

In case you missed it: Day 3 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Phoenix Public Library!