Monthly Archives: September 2011

How quickly the weeks go

It’s hard for me to believe it’s been a full week since I posted here last, or that it’s been more than a month since I started law school. I usually really hate when people start something with, “It feels like just yesterday…” but I’m learning that that’s usually true!

This past week was full of new challenges and some amazing opportunities. My first graded law school assignment was due today (an analysis of California’s law of third party premises liability), I lost my bid to be elected my section’s senator, I heard Mike Mullen and David Brooks, and Toni Morrison speak and saw a quite funny comedy show on Saturday night. Today is also the National Book Festival on the Mall- I’m planning on getting David McCullough and Garrison Keillor sign some books.

Classes are continuing to go well. Certainly no problems so far. I’m really enjoying all of them- even the one that didn’t really appeal to me at first is becoming better. I still can’t quite nail down my exact interest though, so that thinking and experiential process will continue.

Next weekend, I’m participating in a negotiations competition with (mostly) other 1Ls, so wish me luck with that. On Wednesday, I’m going to hear General Brent Snowcroft speak, and on Friday I’m seeing my first ever professional hockey game- the Washington Capitals. I also found two of the most wonderful used book stores- Books for America and Second Story. I spent a little bit of money there last week….. there were some real gems though.

I’m going to run over to Eastern Market for lunch before heading to the Book Festival, so I’m off. Be back next week.

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Update

So, I thought I would use this post to explain some of the things I’m trying to get involved with, some of what I’m up to, and how each class is going.

1. I’ve joined the International Law Society. This area of the law will likely be my concentration because of the credit requirements for my joint degree with the Elliott School.

2. I’ve joined the National Security Law Association. It’s just an interest of mine, and I doubt there are many better places to be involved with this area of law than Washington, DC.

3. I’m the 1L representative for the Cyberlaw Student Association. Cyberlaw is an emerging area of the law that transcends easy boundaries- it is concerned with intellectual property, privacy, freedom of expression, establishing jurisdiction over persons, and the shifting nature of sovereignty in the age of the internet.

4. I’m playing on the GW Softball team, which is a lot of fun. We played earlier today, and I learned quickly that I am not an outfielder!

5. I’m doing a really neat program called Street Law, for which I get to teach Constitutional Law (mainly the freedoms and protections guaranteed) to 7th graders at a local DC school. I haven’t yet done a lesson, but I am planning to on Friday, and I’m really looking forward to it. I love Constitutional law and love explaining it to other people.

6. Finally, I’m trying to get involved with the Student Bar Association (the equivalent of student government). I’m running for my section’s Senate seat and also applied for a position on the Executive side of things. Hopefully something will work out here.

 

Classes:

1. In Torts, we’re learning intentional torts first- actions like trespass, conversion, assault, battery, failure to disclose risks- and the defense available- insanity, consent, self-defense, defense of property. Turley is really great in class- funny, engaging, and intelligent.

2. In Criminal Law, we’ve been focusing on the fundamentals of a crime (the act, the guilty mind, etc) and different standards of recklessness, negligence, intentionally, knowingly, willfully, maliciously, and the differences between general intent crimes, specific intent crimes, and strict liability crimes.

3. In Civil Procedure, we’ve focused on establishing jurisdiction over people and property and how the doctrine of personal jurisdiction has expanded over time (including long arm statutes).

4. In Contracts, we’re doing the bases of contractual obligation, the ideas of promises, offers, acceptances, bilateral or unilateral contracts, the different theories of remedy for breach of contract. The notions of estates and wills and executors have come up often, and many of my classmates have seemed confused, but I am very familiar with those areas of the law already thanks to my summer working in Hopkinsville.

 

Apart from all that, life in DC is great. I’ve been exploring some of the parts of the city that I have missed before- like the Catholic University in NE DC- and revisiting some of the museums I haven’t seen for a while. The weather has mostly been beautiful except for some rain about a week ago and cooler temperatures lately. I have a busy week coming up- a series of professional development seminars, hearing Mike Mullen and David Brooks speak on Tuesday, hearing Toni Morrison speak on Wednesday, and checking out the National Book Festival next weekend (or maybe go to the last Nationals home game of the season). Thanks for reading.

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Anniversaries

Today marks two anniversaries for me: one year since I arrived in Egypt, and the one felt by everyone: the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It’s incredible to think that it has been a year since Egypt; so many things have changed, both for me and for Egyptians, and in world politics in general. In many ways, it seems like much more than a year has passed, but in other ways, the time has flown by. I’m still not entirely sure what to make of my time in Egypt, even a year later.

The Sept. 11 anniversary does leave me with some thoughts, though. I’m not purporting these to be good, or bad; they are merely observations. First- the past ten years have normalized a state of war in a way unlike any in the past, I think. A large amount of people have not had to sacrifice much, nor have they been asked to, in our efforts to combat terrorism. No tax increases to pay for our actions, no rationing, etc. And the war seems incredibly sanitary- we don’t usually see the horrific side of war in the media (i.e. pictures of coffins, the image of Bin Laden). Second- the Middle East has come to occupy a disproportionally large focus in people’s minds and government’s attention. Terribly important things are happening in other areas of the world- Kashmir, the India-Pakistan conflict, China, just to name a very few- with comparatively little attention, at least in the public eye. Third- the utter repudiation of extremist tactics by a new generation of Arab/Muslim youth seeking to assert their influence in their own governments is the best response to the hatred we witnessed on 9/11. I’m forever impressed at the courage we have seen in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Iran, etc, in the face of incredible oppression. Finally- the lesson I’m left with is that we in the U.S. must continue to live in an open and free society. Any efforts to close doors or create barriers between our own citizens, or create a constant atmosphere of possible threat, means that the terrorists have achieved their objectives. To not let them win, we must stay committed to a free and democratic society, albeit with the risks contained in doing that. The opposite would be so much worse. Jon Stewart said it best on his first broadcast after 9/11/01 (a summary): Our response to 9/11 must be to unite, not divide. Any fool can blow something up; it takes great men and women and a great nation to rebuild and rededicate ourselves to our principles and ideals. He then said the view from his apartment overlooking lower Manhattan was the World Trade Center when he left on the morning of 9/11; when he returned home that night, the towers were gone, but the view now was of the Statue of Liberty. You can’t beat that.

On 9/11/01, I was in seventh grade, in Ms. Rye’s geography class, when we were told to turn on the TV. We spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what it meant. In ways unknown to me then, 9/11 changed my life. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for that day. My interest in the Middle East would likely not have happened had it not been for the long national dialogue after that day.

Anyway, this was another great week at GW and in DC. I’m starting to get involved with student orgs here- the Cyberlaw society, the Intl Law society, Street Law, etc. I discovered that I, along with another student, are the first two to ever do this exact dual program between Law and Middle East Studies- which is kind of terrifying but also really exciting. I heard Joan Donoghue, one of the 15 judges on the International Court of Justice and a former GW professor, speak. I saw the Nationals win an 11-inning game. I went to the new MLK memorial and played softball with GW students. I get to hear the president of the World Bank speak on Wednesday, and Sultan al-Qassemi and Philip Howard on Thursday. In the future, I have tickets to hear Mike Mullen, David Brooks, Toni Morrison, David Sedaris, Stephen Breyer, and John Paul Stevens speak, and I have a ticket to see my first professional hockey game ever.

An unbelievable amount of things happen here every day, and we have the remarkable opportunity to be a part of so much of it. I’m trying to take full advantage of everything that I can. It can be quite hectic, but that’s what I love about it.

After raining for about 4 days straight here, it’s beautiful now, so I’m going to stop writing. Enjoy your weeks, everyone.

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Week 2

Short post today. The second full week of law school is finished, and I’m enjoying the long Labor Day weekend, which I spent with the wonderful Michael and Kristen Peterson in Richmond, Va. For me, classes have calmed down a little bit from the first week (or maybe I just worked a little too much or too far ahead that first week!), and I am getting a better idea about the personalities and preferences of each of my professors, and I am also getting to know my classmates better. Things are going very well, and I’ll post more fully next week when I’m back on a normal schedule.

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