Pre-Law Senior Noah Galton
When my mentor, Nicole Laster, and I jointly agreed to participate in an Intellectual Entrepreneurship (IE), we looked at the internship as a chance to see if I was ready for the demands of graduate school. Furthermore, because I plan on going to law school, my particular experience was geared exclusively toward this goal. Upon tailoring my contract for the IE, Nicole and I decided that my internship would be composed of three parts: the application process, the graduate experience, and the graduate project. After having completed all three phases of my internship, I firmly believe that each component helped me to reaffirm my desire to attend law school, and, additionally, this experience afforded me the confidence I needed to know that I am ready to meet the challenges of law school.
The Application Process
Throughout the application process component of my IE, I filled out the applications for and evaluated my three top choices for law school. After having researched Columbia University, Duke University, and the University of Texas, my initial feelings have only been reinforced. These three schools still stand far above any other school under consideration. While Columbia and Duke would allow me the opportunity to experience a change in setting for the first time in my life, it would be an extremely hard decision to decide between any of these schools. While each school offers a good program in real estate law (my main interest), each school also offers their own unique attributes which enhance their appeal. As a mini-project within the application process, I was able to construct a personal statement. In my opinion, this was the most challenging part of the entire IE. Aside from my having a strong distaste for writing about myself, I found it especially difficult to think of a suitable topic for such a task. In the end, I believe I came up with a pretty good product, although I know the statement is liable to change as I my life experiences continue to broaden and expand.
The Graduate Experience
Nicole and I had originally attended for the graduate experience to be composed of my sitting in on several different classes offered throughout the law school. However, when I saw that one of the Advanced Civil Litigation classes within the University of Texas School of Law was in need of undergraduate participants, I quickly pounced on the opportunity. Essentially, throughout the duration of the semester, I have been the "defendant" in a sexual discrimination/defamation case in which two law students have been posing as my "attorneys." Together, my attorneys and I took part in a deposition, arbitration, and a trial. Throughout this process, I have been privileged to see the type of work typically given to a law student. While the work involved in a project of this magnitude is certainly challenging, it is definitely feasible and interesting.
The Graduate Project
For the final part of my IE, I attempted to compose a Memorandum of Law. This project is typical of an assignment which a first-year law student would be asked to complete. Before composing my first Memorandum of Law, I had no prior experience in legal writing. However, after having previewed several different real-life examples, I felt like I, at least, had a firm grasp on the objective at hand. While I was rather pleased with my final product, I knew it was still quite amateur. Upon receiving feedback from two individuals who have already attended law school, I took away several great pieces of advice which will surely be of great use when trying to compose a real-life Memorandum of Law: -Be more concrete and less wordy-just the facts. With a strong background in creative writing, I am often very superfluous with my words. With legal writing, I have learned the importance of getting to the point and cutting out any unnecessary commentary. -Don't be so assertive in conclusions; the Supreme Court exists for a reason! While writing my Memorandum of Law, I mistakenly thought it was my job to give definite answers. However, because at times the law is so unclear, it may seem rather presumptuous for a law student to give a steadfast interpretation with no room for further discussion. Instead of saying that something will "definitely happen," it would be better for me to say that there is a strong chance for a given result. -Your job is not to persuade. Along the same lines, it is important to realize that, in a Memorandum of Law, a student is solely supposed to lay out the facts. It is not the student's job to persuade the reader one way or another. -Be more organized. While it is often permissible to jump around in creative writing, a Memorandum of Law should be very linear-almost like an outline.
Although many of these pieces of advice are a little counter-intuitive for me, they will be extremely valuable in the long-run. Additionally, I am very grateful that I have the chance to work on these things now instead of after I am already in law school. In order to improve these skills, I will try to experiment with my writing style as much as possible with the remainder of my time as an undergraduate student.
All in all, my Intellectual Entrepreneurship was an enlightening experience. After having completed the IE, I now feel confident that I have what it takes to go to law school. Most importantly, I feel extremely privileged to have even had the opportunity to devote so much time to seeing if law school was really right for me.