Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ketchup. Catsup. Whatever.

You know paralegal school has kept me busy because I haven’t been blogging.

I know paralegal school has kept me busy because I have a growing stack of Wednesday New York Times crossword puzzles that haven’t been solved.

I am a devout member of the Church of the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle in Ink, and have been for many years. Since my local newspaper sees fit to give us a “free” Wednesday paper along with our Sunday subscription, I’d started attending Wednesday choir practice at the Church as well. After dinner, I did the Wednesday puzzle before taking to my recliner and watching junk TV. Until, oh, about five weeks ago. Now I have a collection of puzzles on my transparent blue puzzle clipboard. Sunday services still go on (just barely), but the extra day of praise for Mr. Shortz has fallen by the wayside.

But I digress. And I blog, because I have a week off for Thanksgiving. Hooray! “How have things been going,” you might be asking. Well, let me catch you up.

Torts has (have?) come and gone. We have learned all there is to know – or at least, all MUPP thinks we need to know – on the topic in a mere four weeks. Twelve class hours. One assignment. One final exam. Done. Torts Guy did improve after the first class. I guess he realized there was no way he could make it through thirteen chapters in four class sessions unless he floored the accelerator, so he did so. Also a big help was a set of PowerPoint files, which apparently came from a sister program in Florida, guessing by the references to Florida statutes. A little odd, considering the program at the Mothership started a good six weeks ahead of us, so they would have already been through Torts, and they’re in the same state as we are, and it would have made more sense to use their PowerPoint files. But it all worked out in the end. Torts Guy managed to fit a course review into the last half hour of our last class, and just might have been reading over our exam as he reminded us of the topics on which to concentrate. Including mentioning a specific section of the state code that was particularly helpful. (And telling us it was named after Tony Dorsett, so that the sports fans among us would remember that it was section 33. Nice.)

How did I do in Torts? Ninety percent on the assignment, and a 96 on the exam. I was disappointed that Torts Guy hadn’t written any comments on my assignment along with the grade. Don’t get me wrong: I was pleased with my 90, but I’d like to know what I missed that would have gotten me the other ten percent. (Okay. I admit it: my inner grade whore wanted that bright, shiny 100. There. Satisfied?)

Meanwhile, back in Essential Skills, my assessment of our instructor (I need a nickname for her) seems to be correct: she’s energetic, informative, and is not going to let us slack off one bit. At the moment, we have, in addition to our reading assignments (updated the morning of class), three written assignments hanging over our heads: a demand letter, a “we sent a demand letter to the folks you’re suing” letter to our imaginary client, and an internal memo on a canned subject. We’ve had two sessions on citing cases and statutes, and now we should be able to put a cite together without using the Bluebook. We’ve watched a live Lexis demo wherein she showed us not only how to enter a search strategy, but also how to evaluate the results, and modify the search query based on them. She took us on a field trip to Large’s Major Private University’s Law School Library for a meet and greet with the Actual Paper versions of the resources we’d be searching in Lexis and Westlaw (or “Wexis” as they called it at WCSSL-SP).  And she’s no slacker, either. She re-vamped the syllabus for the second half of the course to make better sense of the order of topics, and does her own PowerPoints for class, which she e-mails us beforehand. I like her. A lot. (She deserves a nice nickname; not just “Skills Gal.” I must give this some thought.*)

A few last bits to get fully caught up: We haven’t lost any from our gallant band of seven. In fact, we are supposed to gain an eighth member pretty soon. I’m not sure how that will work, being as how she’s missed five weeks of class, but who am I to argue with the fine folks of MUPP? In our immediate future are double doses of Essential Skills until xmas break, followed by double doses of Civil Procedure for our next substantive class. Our last topic will be Contracts. I’m not sure how I feel about that subject. At WCSSL-SP I had the Contracts Professor From Hell, and hated every second of it. I hope I don’t find I have a mental block thanks to him.

I think that covers everything for now. I need to go put some sweet potato fries in the oven, and catch up on all the lecture note transcribing I didn’t do while I was studying for my Torts final. And then there are those letters and that memo to work on.

‘Scuse me while I get back to the salt mines.

*Ooh!  I’ve got it: “Skills Goddess.” Yeah. That’s the ticket.

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