How Law School Was For Me: Chapter 1

You asked how law school was for me. Law school was bad for me. When I came out I felt as though my brain was a hard drive that had been reformatted with errors.

Here’s a taste of the first part of my law school tale.

During my first quarter at UCSB, my Labor History Prof. Antonio Zaragosa encouraged me to consider law school. I dismissed the idea for months. Then I spent 2 years researching the topic before I committed.

I took an LSAT prep course, but I had too many other things going my last quarter at UCSB to give it my full attention. I couldn’t get the games part. My score on reading comprehension and analysis was good enough to get me into Hastings, along with my academic and service record. I got a “try next year” from Boalt Hall, but my 1L grades were so embarrassing I did not apply.

I was honored to be accepted to UC Hastings College of the Law. My life changed forever there.

At Hastings, they do not teach us that we need the blackletter law. I suppose that warning is for the memorizers. I am sure that many of your classmates were memorizers too. I can memorize lines for a play, but apparently cannot memorize the law. Before I applied, I asked specifically if one had to be a good memorizer before I made the decision to study law.

I asked again about memorization during the first week at Orientation. I was again told that it was OK that I was not a memorizer. I challenged the head of the LEOP Program about her comment at the end of the first year. She said, “Oh, I said that for the memorizers.”

So for the next two years, I tried to memorize stuff. But I couldn’t even stay awake in class 1/4 of the time the first year. I had a sleeping disorder. After three months into my first semester, visits to psychiatrists, and sleeping pills, I thought that it might be the noise in the Tenderloin, so I went to Fox Hardware and bought a white sound machine around Nov. 1. For the first time since August, I could sleep for more than four hours. It was great!

On Nov. 30 I fell and broke my leg. I cracked my kneecap and chipped the top of my tibia. I could not put any weight on the leg for two months, and crutches were not an alternative when carrying 100 lbs. of books and computer. Hastings’s handicapped access elevator was broken and not repaired until my 3L year.

So I was in a wheelchair for the finals study period AND finals.

Near the end of my second semester, my apartment caught fire and was uninhabitable for a month.

So far, so good.

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