Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Blog Series: Amanda

Today I introduce Amanda to you a.k.a my middle name twin! You know in life when someone says to you"I could never do a job like that!" Well I could seriously never enter the world of Law like Amanda has. So I am SUPER happy that she is sharing her world with you here.

Greetings from California! I'm honored that Rebecca would trust me to write my first-ever guest post on her blog, so I'll do my best to make my Middle Name Twin proud. Here's a little insight into my forewarned that having a career that is all about written and oral advocacy means I'm a very wordy girl!

Profession: Attorney (soon-to-be)

I'm in my final weeks of law school and will graduate with my J.D. (juris doctor) in May. Contrary to popular belief, graduating from law school doesn't make you a lawyer - you have to pass the Bar Exam in order to be admitted to practice. I'll be taking the big, bad California Bar Exam in July; hopefully that will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I will pass with flying colors (knock on wood). 

I've gone back and forth over what to say to you all, so I thought I would give you a "Week in the Life" of what I normally do every week! Since I’m a full-time student but also work, things are a little chaotic around these parts.

5-6am Wake up, hit snooze, etc.
6-8am Get ready for the day
8-10am Finish up any reading for class I haven't completed or run errands
10:30 - Noon Class at the law school
Noon - 5pm Work Work Work
5-6pm Home for dinner and any last minute reading
6:15 - 8:30pm Class at the law school
8:45 - 11pm Home and reading or doing research for several major papers I have due this semester

Morning Routine
9am-5pm Work Work Work
5-6pm Home for dinner and any last minute reading
6:15 - 8:30pm Class at the law school
Evening Routine (more studying…)

Morning Routine
10:30 - Noon Class at the law school
Noon-1pm Lunch at the law school
1-3pm Class at the law school
3-6pm Study in the law library
6:15-9:30pm Class at the law school
Evening Routine (more studying…)

Morning Routine
9am-5pm Work Work Work
6pm Home 
Thursdays are my free weeknight, so I try and keep things very chill - I make dinner and settle in for a quiet night of school work and maybe a movie or TV show on DVD (I don't have cable because otherwise I'd never get anything done...and it's too expensive for a student budget, ha!)

This is my "wild card" day - depending on how the week has turned out, I might have to go into work to catch up on projects or maybe I'll have the entire day to work on research and writing, it just varies. I have a Bible Study with some of my best friends on Friday nights and it's my kick-off to the weekend!

As you can see, I essentially go to work, go to school, and go home. My very own American version of “m├ętro, boulot, dodo.” The only non-law activities I have each week are church and Bible Study. That's not to say I don't go out or see my friends, but anything social has to be worked around that schedule and the older I get and the closer I am to finishing, the more I find myself choosing to stay home and get work done!

Law is such a wide field - there are dozens if not hundreds of things you can do with a legal education. It's impossible to boil down what it means to be a lawyer, because every lawyer's job is different and that's part of what I love about it. Every single person I go to school with is going to have a completely unique career path, from legal academia to criminal law to corporate transactions to personal injury to estate planning to entertainment law to family law...the list just goes on and on. 

Due to the nature of my work and very stringent confidentiality rules, I have to be pretty vague about what exactly I do (which I know doesn't make for particularly enticing reading). Essentially, I work for the government and do regulatory enforcement of state law. I manage my own case load, under the supervision of another attorney (until I'm licensed myself). I work cases from intake (when a violation of law is alleged) through the investigation process where evidence is gathered, and then perhaps administrative prosecution if we determine that the law was violated. The work is never ending, and for the past 18 months (and for years to come, I'm sure) for every case I've closed another is laid on my desk. I love the pace! Even though we have crazy workloads, our team is phenomenal. We're so collaborative and supportive of each other and it makes it a fabulous place to work. 

Working in a field comprised of mainly "case work" has really shown me how much I enjoy interacting with people. I talk to dozens of people, from defendants to opposing counsel to complainants to other state officials at all levels of government every day. As a government employee, my "client" is the public - I try and serve the interests of all the people of our state in making sure not only that our laws are enforced, but that that enforcement is fair and just and impartial. I love working in a "public interest" job and would be hard-pressed to visualize myself doing anything else with my life.

Law school has been a crazy ride, that's for sure. I've always loved school and excelled at it, but law school has stretched my will power, dedication, and intelligence in ways I couldn't even imagine. It has brought out the best in me, pushed me to achieve more and distinguish myself in ways that I didn't think were possible. It's also pushed me to my physical and emotional limits more than once. The intense stress associated with the heavy reading load (I read tens of thousands of pages a semester), the pressure of having your entire grade riding on one exam, and the uncertainty of a faltering legal economy can have a major impact on your health. I have to be vigilant about making sure I take time out for myself, foster friendships with people outside the legal profession (my little bursts of fresh air), and perhaps most important of all (for me): get enough sleep!!

Despite the exhaustion of it all, I'm thrilled to be looking forward to a career that challenges me intellectually and that I can pursue for decades to come!

I know this was long, but I hope it's given you a little insight into my life! I don't blog publicly currently, but if you have any questions you can feel free to email me at teasinglydiverse (at) gmail (dot) com, or you can follow me on twitter @amandalou01!

Thanks Becca!

No thank YOU Amanda! I think I speak on behalf of everyone here that you will pass your Bar exam and ace being an Attorney. You sure enough put the dedication and hours in :).


Amanda said...

Thanks so much for letting me share on your blog, Twin! :)

Critty said...

Amanda...this is fascinating and I loved getting to know more about your job! So glad you could share here on Rebecca's blog (nice to meet you Rebecca!)

Kristen said...

I'm with Becca. I could NEVER do this for a career, it be too hard. But kudos to you Amanda. It sounds like you work your socks off and I know you will reep the rewards.

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