Well, I’ve dropped off the blogging map lately. Lotsa big important news waiting on things tends to make for weak blogging patterns. Well, for me at any rate.
So, I’ve caught y’all up on the car saga – I’m currently driving a rental and waiting for my car to be fixed. I spent about 4 hours on the phone with various companies - that kind of thing eats into your week. However, at least I am mobile.
In skewl news, I’m looking down at that ski-slope of the semester and getting a bit freaked out. First of all, there are the extra-school commitments: job interviews, MPRE, stuff of life, etc. Secondly, the clinic certainly looks like just as much work (if not more). Thirdly, the classes I’m taking look challenging – perhaps too challenging. In particular, Advanced Environmental Law looks like it has a ton of reading I’ll absolutely have to keep up on. Say 150 pages a week? Class Action looks like about 65 a week. Role of the Federal Prosecutor looks similar. I’ve no idea what Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Laws holds for me, as I missed the first class to go to an interview. But people are dropping the class like flies. While I’d love to be in a 6 person class, I *can’t* carry too much of the conversational weight at this point. Argh.
Lest this seem like whining, I’d recall to my readers that it’s possible to spend *vast* amounts of time on few only a few law pages, especially when the classes have strong policy elements where you’re not only discussing “the law” but the various rationales and structures which animate the holdings on the various cases. I think the only thing I have going for me this semester is some good overlap between subjects, and I’ve had some general exposure to all of these topics. We’ll see.
On the job front, I just got back from a second round interview at a New England state PD. I have absolutely no idea how it went. The initial interviewer (whom I thought I did well with) didn’t seem to care much for me as I was denied a call back. However, in an unusual turn of events, I was able to talk with someone via phone and had my interview character rehabilitated by that conversation. Hence the callback, which resulted in my flying up, on *very* little sleep, and interviewing with the committee at 9am. I felt flat, the committee felt flat, the whole thing felt flat. That’s the problem with my sleeping patterns. I can both go without sleep, and often have trouble sleeping in new environments or when I’m traveling; this effectively biases me against sleeping very deeply and fully when on the road. However, while I’m functional on my minimal sleep schedule, I’m never at 100%, certainly not scintillating by any means. Oh well, better some shot than none I’d say.
The interview itself was panel style, alternating questions, with a set trail piece I had to prepare off a fact pattern and perform an hour later. The set piece was a bit odd since it blended a couple of things that would ordinarily be mutually exclusive. Actually it was more like blending two very different types of appearances you’d make before a judge. (Sorry to be vague on the details, but the process is still ongoing.) It felt kind of weird to break the standard trial rules I’d learned, but it was also a clever and fun exercise. I’m not sure *why* the committee put together the set piece the way they did, but I approve. In poetry classes I like to add and remove elements so that students can get a better insight into what the remaining or original pieces do. This felt something like that.
The questions and questioning style were humane, professional, and not too pushy. I’ve been grilled on harder fact patterns by even more laid back interviewers, and I think that prepared me well. But again, there’s an uncertainty that runs through this whole process. For example, let’s say I’m posed a standard “hard” question, such as “Can you stand up in court and say that a person who is accused of a horrible crime is not guilty, even after that person told you they actually committed said horrible crime?” Instead of responding briskly, should I have dithered a bit on the “hard” question, which would indicate that I’ve thought deeply about the issues and, while not able to ignore some of the inherent tensions, have solidly come down on an answer that indicates a sustainable commitment to providing indigent defense? Or was responding briskly the right thing to do, indicating confidence and prior thought? Or does it just make me look like a shallow and pompous idiot? Who knows. Then there are selection proxies – “He’s rich, so he’ll stick around because he does not need money.” “He’s rich, so he’ll get bored and leave to pursue other interests.” “He’s poor, so he’ll stick around because he’s used to not living large.” “He’s poor, so he’ll jump ship at first whiff of a great paying job.”
In some ways these interviews are like the whole body language interpretation debate. Some people think looking down is a sign of weakness, looking up is a sign of strength and challenge, while crossing your arms is defensive, and keeping your arms at your sides is a sign of confidence. So what make of someone who crosses their arms over their chest and looks you in the eye – especially when that person thinks they’re taking a belligerent stance toward you? Or someone who keeps their hands at their sides but looks away when addressing you?
In short I’m suggesting that each interviewer probably has an idea of “what certain things mean” and will select for it, while another interviewer will reach the opposite conclusion.
So, for all of you who have asked, I really have no idea how it went.
As far as the events surrounding my interview, I was able to spend some time (although not much) with Seth and Ginger. It’s always disappointing to realize that you could talk for days but only have a few hours.