First Day of Law School

On September 2, 2009, in Law School, by Jeremy C Wilson

After eight months of impatiently waiting and two weeks of chaos during orientation, it finally happened. Just Monday I began my first day as a JD-MBA student at Northwestern Law. I can already tell it’s not only going to be an incredible journey but also a long one. For one, I’ve got about 1,000 days until the bar exam, should I decide to take it. I’ve got another 200 or so days until my last day as a 1L. That will be a huge day of celebration. I’ve got about 100 days until my first midterm. I’ve got 2 days until my first “official” bar review. And finally, I’ve got at least another 10-12 hours or so until I can leave the library and go home from school today. I look forward to all of it.

It all started this past Monday, when I began my first class at 8:45 am. Before class, everyone was on Facebook and Twitter posting about heading to their first day of law school. I did the same, and got a really great response from all my facebook friends. My first course was Contracts As a JD-MBA student I love contracts, because the topic sits at the intersection between both business and law. The class will be quite practical in the long run, and even now it makes a lot of sense for me, since I drafted contracts regularly at my old company. The MBA side of me came out right away in the first class, when we were discussing the idea that contracts are “promises”. While most people in the class were talking about friendships and “Moral Obligation” (a term often used in contracts), I couldn’t help but bring up the notion of incentives and how those affect contracts. Personally, I believe that most of what we do in life is driven most by incentives, incentives for money, incentives to be liked, incentives to manage relationships, etc.

After Contracts, we had Torts. More important than why the name of the class is Torts, which I don’t actually know the answer to, is the fact that our professor is a rockstar. Professor Speta is a great speaker, is as sharp as they come, and is definitely a good entertainer. He employs the Socratic method and case method for the entire class and always seems to have an agenda for everything he does, including the specific person he calls on. In fact, he reminds me a lot of the professors I encountered visiting HBS, another school I considered attending.

My last class of the day was Civil Procedure. The class was a lot better than I expected, and a lot less dry as well. In fact, I think it may end up being one of my favorite classes. Although even if it weren’t, I couldn’t say so. Our professor just so happens to be the wife of the school Dean. So we’ve got to be extra nice all semester long.

But more than all the classes, what we did on Monday was get to know our section team members. Northwestern believes that the first step to a great career is having a strong team foundation. Developing relationships with members in your section is an important process. And although that will take time, the fastest way to start this process is through shared experience. This is probably part of why school gives us so much work so quickly.

Coming from a business background as a JD-MBA and former consultant, this topic is not new. Having worked on a couple of human capital engagements in the past, I’m quite familiar with the perceived benefits of shared experiences and with team-building activities. It’s been two days so far, but so far my section seems really great, friendly, and of course, very diverse – a staple of Northwestern Law. I look forward to working with them over the next 9 months.

What’s also great is that the JD-MBAs are pretty evenly spread among all the sections. My section has five or six and the other sections have anywhere from five to eight. While we try and succeed at integrating in the sections during the day, the JD-MBA crowd is very close. We started a Google Group list back in March, so we’ve been in touch daily ever since then. Also, we’ve already had a couple of huge gatherings before school began, including two that I organized and hosted during orientation. It’s definitely going to be a great couple of years together.

But for now, I’ve got to stay grounded in the here-and-now, because I still have massive amounts of reading to do for today, tomorrow, and Friday. It feels like I’m drinking from a fire hose, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. Everybody does.

Anyhow, thanks for reading my first official post as a student. Please keep reading and feel free to comment as I continue to share perspectives on my JD-MBA experience.

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