Friday, February 28, 2014

Legally Exhausted!

Long time no talk y'all! I say this as if I am usually pretty regular about posting on here. I swear I have been making an effort! I have four almost completed entries sitting in my drafts that just need a little formatting here or word choice editing there. I pinky promise I will make those changes ASAP and get them published in the coming days.

Anyways, I really wanted to write about today while everything is still fresh in my head. If you are a regular reader of my blog you may know that I am currently studying for the LSAT. Well, since we last "spoke", I have become even more obsessed with the law and have committed to immerse myself into the culture by networking and meeting people working in different areas of law. I am finishing up undergrad and have been lucky enough to take two law courses this semester because I had not yet used up my electives. Both of my professors are insanely energetic, inspiring, and supportive even though I didn't discover my passion for law until my last year of undergrad. I expected some judgment based on my "late" realization and current area of study, but everyone has been so supportive through my transition. I have to admit I'm actually a little saddened that I will only get to be with these professors for a few more months.

So...on to the point of this post. My professors having been working in law for a number of years and have a slew of connections in the legal field. When I told them I was interested in getting to know legal professionals working in different sectors, they were very helpful in sharing contacts and encouraging me to reach out to people in the area.

I was able to set up a time for today with The Honorable Magistrate Judge at the U.S. Department of Justice. For some reason, I was extremely nervous about it. Last night, I had a chain of nightmares with different scenarios. I dreamed of everything from not finding parking, my outfit being drenched in dirty rain water, getting trapped in the elevator, and getting lost downtown. After each nightmare, I would wake up relieved to find that reality wasn't nearly as horrific as what I had just seen. At about 4:00 am, I gave up on sleep and tried to do everything I could to prevent any of my nightmares from coming true.

After a nervous morning, I am happy to report that I reached the Federal Magistrate's office at exactly 9:00 am (on time) safe and sound. Funny story: When I finally got to the correct door, I assumed it was an office and the door was closed, so I did what any reasonable person would do. I knocked on the door. Precise, pronounced, knocking. After hearing no reply, I turned the doorknob and walked in only to find that I had just walked into the Magistrate's courtroom! There was a proceeding in progress and it was dead silent. Every head in the room turned around to glance at me (only for a moment and then continued on with the hearing). These people were dressed in a palette of browns, grays, and bored facial expressions. And here I was, wearing rhinestone ballerina flats, a watermelon colored hijab, and an overzealous toothy smile. I have to say, I think it was a total 'Legally Blonde' moment!

I got to sit in on five cases. Each of them were very different from one another and so interesting. I did take thorough notes and could write about them on here because it is all public information, but I don't want to bore those of you who aren't interested. After the hearings, the Assistant United States Attorney who was representing the U.S. government in the cases came over to me and told me about what he does on a day-to-day basis. He was very informative and told me all about his journey to his current position. He also gave me insight into the District Attorney's office and how they differ in the types of cases they represent.

I also met a 2L (second year) student from the law school I am hoping to attend. He was also sitting in on the same cases. It was comforting to know I wasn't the only newbie in the arena and from this point forward, I felt like there was someone else there to answer questions that I couldn't. Let me tell you, the DOJ environment is not for the timid or the weak at heart. There is a constant expectation to keep proving that you know what you're talking about and everyone asks A LOT of questions. I was trying to answer questions intelligently AND "translate" legal terms that I have only had little exposure to AT THE SAME TIME.

Over the course of the work day, I did get a chance to sit down with the judge, a parole officer, warrant officers, and a lawyer working primarily on intellectual property cases. They all told me about their positions and some of them gave me tours of their departments. The building itself definitely makes it onto my list of some of the most beautiful architecture I have ever seen. I would have taken some pictures, but I was afraid the security guards might say something. Besides, I was asked to come back, so I figured by next time the guards will be more familiar with me and I will have a chance to get my photography fix eventually :)

Aight, I wish I could fill you in on every detail, but it's getting late and my fingers be weepin'! Let me know if this type of content interests you and I would be more than happy to post about my future legal adventures as well!

Hope you have a splendid weekend!

xoxo Aneela