erinalbert.com

books    •    bio    •    blog    •    store

                 

 




Archive for March, 2012

What Pharmacy Can Learn From Borders & Best Buy

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

So, as you know, I don’t really talk about my first profession of pharmacy here much at this blog.  However, I just read an article in Forbes about how Best Buy is “Grasping at Straws,” which made me think about the Borders crash and burn and then back to the transformation that is going on in pharmacy too.  Honestly? This post is more about entrepreneurial thinking than anything, so I’m going to let it rip.

A LOT of big box retail is kind of struggling right now.  Retail pharmacy is included in that as well.  Back to Best Buy – they’re losing sales, and the article I cite above goes into a lot of reasons why.  But I think it all comes right down to one thing: service.

For example, if you walk into an Apple store, they’re jam packed.  Why? Certainly, you can buy an iPad or MacBook off the internet (in fact, I did with my own last mac purchase…it came right to my house.)  So then, why is the store jammed?  Well, SERVICE for one!  Service is the BIGGEST reason why I’m a mac fan now – because I can roll into a store, hand them my computer if something is wonky and they FIX IT.  Apple focuses on great products, yes, but also?  They focus on service.

Now, over to Borders.  They crashed and burned for several reasons.  The publishing industry is changing overnight.  I can’t have a conversation with a fellow writer without lamenting the rapid changes in publishing.  However, why did Borders fail?  Well, once again, it really wasn’t on product.  They had as many book-books as everyone else and even an eReader (the Kobo).  But again–it wasn’t the product they failed at.  I argue it was the service!

Amazon’s profits aren’t through the roof either, and honestly?  I think they could rock better service too.  I’ve got some ideas for Jeff that I’ll be sharing with him shortly.  BUT–they’ve got a kindle that brings a LOT of book titles right to the iPad kindle app and/or your Fire in 60 seconds or less.  They’ve got fast service.

And although I’m not a huge fan of the e-readers yet myself, I can tell you that waiting 60 second for a download of the second Hunger Games book was a heck of a lot faster and easier than trying to hunt down a paper copy at the airport bookstore (they were out), and/or waiting for the book to show up at my house later on in the week.  When I want something, I kind of want it NOW.

Last, but certainly not least, I posed the question to my own students in pharmacy law class on Monday when I lectured–is pharmacy a product, or a service-based industry?  There was a spectrum of answers.  I argue that the traditional pharmacies that focus on product (a la $4 prescriptions, namely) and fight about price are going to lose in the end.  In order for the best pharmacies to survive, it HAS to be about SERVICE moving forward, NOT PRICE.

This isn’t going to be a super popular post.  However, drugs are getting more expensive and more complicated.  Thus, there is going to be a huge demand for educators to go with these expensive drugs, and if the pharmacist is too busy counting by 5′s to get the service piece under control with patients, they’re going to lose.

Classes.  Education.  Wellness.  Service. <—that’s what my first profession is going to win on, and maybe, even your own profession too.  Think about it.  Next time you see a big industry org sinking–ask yourself, do they focus on product, or service?  Better be not just the former, or they’re headed the way of the dodo.

Part II: Worst Things About Law School – My Final Law School Outline

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

And now, I reach my least favorite part about articulating the past 4 years of my life.  Said another way?

I’m about to share the worst things about law school.

Before I throw down, let me just say that recently, law schools have had some ‘xplaning to do.  A judge just recently dismissed one case accusing one school inflating their job and salary data (Note: the attached case does not involve my law school).  There are other suits in the pike too.  Will they go anywhere?  I don’t know.  But I think we should view this as a signal for all of us to stop and contemplate what is wrong or what could be better about law schools.  So my efforts below are an honest appraisal of what my own experience was in law school over the past 4 years, and my opinions alone.

While I’m quite sure my colleagues could come up of their own list of horrors, these are mine.  And although I love to fix problems and find solutions, I’ll save my suggestions on how to solve the problems of law school for another upcoming blog post.  This is part 2 of 6 on my law school journey.  (And the best things I’ve already posted about here.)

Here are my least favorite things about law school.

1.  Evidence, Trusts & Estates, and Civ Pro – I am bad at memorizing rules.  These three classes demonstrated my ineptitude, in droves.  Besides, I thought if rules could be changed and interpreted differently by lawyers and law makers, yes?  Let’s not dwell on these topics…moving on….

2.  The grind – for the past 4 years, pretty much every weeknight evening, I’ve had to say “no” to an insurmountable pile of cool events due to the fact that I had to go to law school every night.  The American Bar Association has super strict rules on attendance at law school for some reason.  Why?  I honestly don’t know.  Last time I checked, we are adults, and we can manage ourselves.  I’d prefer to be treated as such.

And, if law schools want to survive (and continue to charge insane tuition), they’d best find coursework that gives us a REASON to be there live and in the flesh (like team work, solving problems and finding solutions in groups) rather than just showing up and listening to a didactic lecture.  That thing called the internet can do that just fine now….and I don’t have to spend $4 a gallon of gasoline to get online either.  (OK, I paid $3.93 a gallon this morning to fill up – call me a liar for .07 per gallon.)  Besides: some of my favorite projects in law school were team-developed and team-driven.

3.  The redundancy – How many times am I going to have to read Roe v. Wade?  In this, my 4th year, I’m feeling very de ja case up in here.  There are classes that are repeating content for me, and I’m struggling to stay engaged when I’m living Groundhog Day in the classroom.  While one could argue that’s “cumulative knowledge” I say, teach me once, and do it right.  I don’t need to see this case 9 times.  Give me things I can work on to APPLY what I learned in the cases I read and re-read.  Next…

4.  The Socratic Method – It’s an antiquated, draconian way of learning the law.  I suppose it may have its place in 1L land so you can scare off a few students, but other than that?  Using the Socratic Method in the classroom for 4 years is just…”reductive” (as Madonna would say).  It may help some who want to litigate better articulate their thoughts, but for the rest of us who won’t litigate?  It just doesn’t match anything of the real job of being a lawyer – like, solving problems for a client, or working in a team, or presenting your own information or findings, rather than waiting for a prof to beat you over the head with questions until you spit out what they want you to say.

The best professors discuss and debate – they don’t use Socratic method.  New methods of learning, please.  Hands on learning instead, anyone?

5. The LSAT – Put this in with the bucket of other standardized tests that measure nothing important, nor have anything to do whatsoever with real academic performance.  Honestly?  I think it’s just another way for the scheme to make money off of students.  Some of our best academic achievers in our evening division had lousy LSAT scores.  And while I’m no longer top 10% of the class, my LSAT scores were awful, and I’m doing just fine academically, thank you very much.  (Except, of course, in Civ Pro, Evidence and T&E.  I digress…)

6.  The order of classes - Constitutional Law should be taught 1L year to the evening students instead of Civ Pro.  Con Law is in pretty much everything – while Civ Pro and Evidence belong only in courts.  Not all lawyers end up in court.  Many of them don’t end up in court.  Just saying.  Yet, we never really studied the art of settlements, either.  Also, a lot of classes in areas of ‘concentration’ (mine being healthcare) were redundant, but required.  Let’s teach different coursework if we’re really going to make the students take different classes, mmmmk?  (Curricular map as part of re-accreditation, perhaps?)

The other thing I’ll say about order because it kind of fits here is the challenges our school has with the day division students v. the evening division students.  I’ll remind everyone again: I went to law school to advocate for my FIRST profession (pharmacy), and I chose a law school that was FOUNDED as a PART TIME EVENING PROGRAM for WORKING PROFESSIONALS.

Am I saying that all law school should be part time?  I won’t answer that.  But I can tell you, more MBA programs are now evening courses…why not law too?  Besides, there’s NO WAY that every lawyer can know every corner of the law anymore–it is impossible.  Thus, better have some idea of what area(s) you’re going to concentrate in BEFORE you head off to law school in the first place…

7.  The exams – You’ll probably be surprised here on this one, but I actually enjoy a good law school essay final exam.  Throw me a cool fact pattern with some issues to spot, IRAC and analyze, and I’m your woman.  This is also what lawyers do for their clients.  Booyah.

What I don’t like, however, are law professors who write awful, unclear, and long-winded multiple choice exams for finals.  While writing a good multiple choice test question is an art and skill of its own, it has no place in law.  Clients don’t serve up problems as multiple choice exam questions.  They have a problem, then you as the lawyer have to solve it.  Furthermore?  A good lawyer can argue their way into and out of pretty much every option and answer, if she does her job right.

Now, there’s a camp out there that says MC questions are good because they prep you for the bar; however, the bar isn’t like practicing law.  It just can’t be.  And how do I know this since I’ve never been a lawyer?  Well, I HAVE been a client.  And I know my legal problems don’t come in the form of multiple choice exam questions.  They come in the form of a fact pattern, and I need my lawyer to spot the issues.

Rant over regarding this one…

8.  The reading – I love to read.  That is, I loved to read, until I got to law school.  Then I had to start reading cases.  Then I had to read over 200 pages for one class for one day.  There is a sometimes ridiculous amount of reading for classes.  Realistically?  We have lives and jobs.  For the past 4 years, I’ve tried my d*mnedest to read everything for the coming week on Saturdays, because I’m too busy during the rest of the week to get my reading done.  I’m looking forward to getting my weekends back.

9.  The textbooks – Speaking of the ridiculous, most law school textbooks are insanely expensive.  Some are pretty, with their gold-leafed pleather binding and hard covers, and some are softbound 900-page diatribes.  Regardless, I’ve rarely encountered a law school textbook under $50.  Most were well over $100.  Will I ever use them again?  Doubtful.  They’re just full of cases – not practical matters, like how to solve client problems.  Even as a writer, I can’t wait to see eBooks kill law school book pricing and put these law school textbook profit makers back on Earth with the rest of us really busting our butts to make a dollar. #BordersRevisited

10.  My life – or lack thereof.  This is kind of a repeat of #2 above. While I love to learn, seriously–the grind of–work, school, home, sleep, repeat is tired.  I’m tired.  I’ve not seen a lot of my friends in a long time.  (Yes, some since before law school started, I’m really embarrassed to say.)  I don’t really date anymore because the rest of my life already exhausts me (all other lame excuses aside).

And yes, while I chose this path of part time law school at night on top of my day job, I respectfully request my life back, please.  I would like to come home once in awhile and not have to do anything to prep for law school the next day.  I’d like to leave on a jet plane and see a friend or two on a weekend without a pile of homework to finish before I depart.  I want to go to…social events again. Dare I say even date again?  Maybe. (Although, that one is a stretch.)  I want to read books FOR FUN.  I cannot WAIT to do anything just FOR FUN!

11.  Bonus 11th item, which could be the biggest disaster of all: the creativity killer – I was at a lunch with a group of go-getting women entrepreneurs yesterday, when I was asked what law school does with creativity.  I picked up my knife and jabbed it into the center of my nachos, as I replied, “This!”  The other lawyer in the group concurred.  Seriously–while I was warned about this one before I went to law school, it definitely is something to watch out for – LAW SCHOOL CAN KILL YOUR CREATIVITY.

It makes you paranoid.  It gives you the 50,000 reasons why you SHOULD NOT try something new.  It has made me think differently, and not necessarily better.  However, while I was warned about this hole, I have managed to almost dig myself out of it.  I feel as though I’m getting my creative mojo back, slowly but surely – but not without a LOT of careful watch over it.  This, my friends, especially for the creative souls out there could very well be not only the worst thing about law school, but the most dangerous thing about law school as well.

That’s 11 items.  I certainly could go on, but I won’t.  There were many other petty, snarky administrative headaches and battles that I went through during my law school career as well, but it is better to let sleeping dogs lie sometimes.  The items above however are the biggest buckets of worst things for law school, at least in my experience.  I loved the shot at going, and I’ve stuck with it.  But I’m glad the end is near, for the 10 reasons above, and so many more.  If you’re heading there?  You were warned….

An Interesting Question, Without A Lot of Great Answers

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Thought you were going to get my law school not-so-great-list, eh?  No worries…it’s in the cue.  For now, I thought I’d discuss something equally dicey that I was asked about just today – from a pharmacy school prof at another school, which is this (and I don’t think it has a lot of great answers….)

Here. We. Go.

So, in a group of 45 female and 25 male students, a pharmacy school prof was asked, “What do you do if you marry a man and you’re the breadwinner as the wife?”  This is actually pretty common in pharmacy, considering the starting salary for a pharmacist in community practice is now pretty well above 6 figures.

It’s a great question, without many good answers.

First, as I always tell ALL my students–male or female–they should consider a prenup.  Granted, I’m not a lawyer, but protecting one’s assets (and their potential for income being one of those assets) is always good practice, whatever professional background one has or is earning.  Have there been cases where a couple got a divorce, the wife made more money and the husband actually got alimony out of the deal from the wife?  Yes.  Hence, it’s a good idea to protect your income potential, regardless of your gender.

Second, regarding the psychological aspects of the male not making the bacon (or as much bacon as his wife) – respectfully?  I think guys should not only get over it, but celebrate the fact that they love respect and married a woman who is fierce enough to make her own self-sustaining income!  Why would you want to be with a loser – male or female – who can’t support him or herself anyway?  Besides, if she’s fierce and she picked you, guess what?  That makes you fierce to some degree too! Score!

Then, I posted a quick shout out about this issue on Twitter, and got back the other tricky issue I didn’t even initially consider–children.  If a couple wants to have children, but the mother is making more money, that presents another problem, in that mom may not be able to stay home as long with her kids.  Can dad play Mr. Mom instead?  That’s of course up to the couple to decide, but some guys can hang with that, while others cannot.

I’m quite sure there’s still a camp of old-schoolers out there who think they are failing as men if they’re not bringing home more money as their wives, and I’m also pretty sure there’s another camp of women out there who won’t date a guy unless he makes more than she does…but maybe these types just aren’t for you if you don’t subscribe to those antiquated notions.  In fact, there are about 7 billion people on the planet, so really, if your sig other has hangups around the money issue, maybe it’s time to rethink the sig other…

There are a lot of articles out there on this topic – found a good one at Slate, another good one at New York Magazine, and of course the classic from the controversial article that appears in Forbes awhile ago about “Don’t Marry a Career Woman” – that one’s definitely not worth a link to this post.  A quick google search will land you with a ton of reading.

All I can leave you with is my own experience.  I was married once.  When I got married, I made more money than my husband.  After I got married, I made less money than him, and continued to do so, until I got divorced, when my income went back up again.  We parted company where no one tried to get any alimony from the other; however, I will say that I’ve thought about it long and hard as to why my income went down while his went up when we were married.

And while my situation is different than the problem above, it and the problem above arrive at an even more interesting question: should educated, self-sustaining women (or men, for that matter) get married at all anymore?

I’ll leave that up to you to decide….not touching that one with a ten foot poll.

What do you think of all this?  As I said, not really a lot of easy answers.  Just a lot more questions…

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Sorry – this post is totally for selfish reasons.  I made the students in RX526 -  Pharmacy, Policy and the Law read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks this year, and now I must create some discussion guides around this book.  (It’s great, by the way – if you’re in the pharmaceutical, biotech or medical device industries and/or clinical research, you really should read it.)

Anyway, I’m culminating all my questions in this blog post, for culling later.

1.  First off, describe the follow 4 guidelines and where they came from:

-Nuremberg Code
-WMA’s Declaration of Helsinki
-The Belmont Report
-The Common Rule

2.  Good questions from Booklust.

3.  Great questions from the author, Rebecca Skloot.

4.  Wisconsin had some interesting questions here.

5.  Questions from Olean Public Library.

6.  Great video about the book here.

7.  Good discussion questions at Lit Lovers.

8.  A good summary of most of the online tools at U of Maryland here.

9.  Last but not least, a video from a friend at the T on public health and Henrietta Lacks.

10. Even more cool stuff – story at CBS Sunday Morning.

How Colleges & Universities Can Win the War on ROI

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

College price tags just keep going up.

It’s getting really hard to see the return on investment (ROI), despite the fact that we all know in the past, a college education guaranteed more income over one’s life than a mere high school diploma.

However, there’s a breaking point for everything…and when college tuition raises to one year equaling the price of a car, or even a house, one begins to wonder if we’re getting near that breaking point.

There’s also the problem of physical location.  That is, with the power of the internet, video cameras and web streaming, do students REALLY need to go to class anymore?

As a student myself, I’m not so sure.  IF, that is, all a student is going to do is listen to a didactic lecture.  One-way communication is so over in terms of learning, we need a new word for over.

Here’s one way I think colleges and universities can really deliver on the super expensive tuition.  Ready?

To make it valuable, and to make it powerful to just show up, I think colleges and universities should require interdisciplinary team projects for learning assessment and development.

What do I mean?  Well, let’s take “water.”  We all need water to survive, and water is going to be the next oil in terms of precious resources we’re losing at a rapid pace in the world.  So, why not take a group of students from DIFFERENT professional backgrounds to “solve a water problem.”

Vague?  Yes.  Fuzzy?  Definitely.  Confusing?  Maybe.  But you might just be surprised at how interdisciplinary teams of students can really rock some fresh ideas with vague, fuzzy and confusing.  I’ve personally witnessed it BOTH as a professor AND as a student.

That’s just one way I think colleges and universities can document and prove the ROI.  There are others…but I’ll just start with this kind suggestion.  Get to it!

Why Does America Hate Women?

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

I probably got your attention with the headline here, and it may feel a tad overdramatic.  But Dear America: as a woman born, raised, and educated here, I’m not feeling the love.

I was talking last evening to a couple of law school girlfriends, when one of them posed the question, “Why does America all of a sudden hate women?”  I thought it was a really good question.  And I personally feel the hatred–in the news, in the media, and in our government and policy makers, in particular.

Not sure how to answer her question, I tried to reason that it was a way for one political party to polarize from the other, but instead has splintered the parties.  For example, I’ve ranted about this before–but I’m a woman without a political party right now.  I’m fiscally conservative (I detest debt of any kind), and I’m socially liberal.  I also don’t like my rights taken away from me that I thought were settled for at least most of my life and time on this planet.  Now?  I’m not so sure I’ll keep these rights, due to the current climate of hatred towards women in this country.

When (most) other countries have women at the helm in business or their governments, or even just better lives in general for women, I’m beginning to wonder if I really live in the greatest nation on Earth anymore.  I’m disappointed and embarrassed by my country right now.  I want my country back, where people can work hard to get what they deserve–a meritocracy.  One where my government isn’t involved in every move I make.  And one that actually I can identify with (because now?  I currently cannot.)

I’ll go on and keep asking myself the leading question of this post.  And I’ll fight to keep my rights as we move forward.  And maybe, I’ll do something even crazier, like dare to represent other women, in order to fight for peace, love, and womanly awesomeness in our government, our corporate boardrooms, and our country.

The Perfect Entertainment Quadfecta

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

I don’t even know if quadfecta is a word or not, but I’ll go ahead and use it.

But things that come in 4s seem to be pretty cool.

Here’s a 4 grouping I was thinking about a LOT today on the way back to work after the NAWBO Indy luncheon on “Everyone having a book in you” – (writers’ panel) – which is this.

I think the perfect form of entertainment moving forward would be a book–with video–and music–and gaming. A Muvookgame?  A Vookmugame?  A bookvideomusicgame?  A videbookmugame?

Jeez.

Case in point?  Rolling Stone raved that Bjork has the best whatchamacallit like above (maybe minus the book part) with her app launch last year.  It combined music, art, gaming and I’m assuming a little print all in one application.

And while I absolutely adore books, really, I’ll go ahead and ask: what was the last book that you sat down and really read a REAL book cover to cover?  Furthermore, did you recently read one cover to cover in one sitting?  The younger the person you ask about the last book they read, typically, responds by asking, “Do magazines count?”

(No, they don’t.)

But now, with iPads and kindles galore, over half our audience for the writers’ panel today said they read now on an iPad or kindle.  I think we have a monster opportunity here.  We can combine video, audio, writing and gaming into one really cool thing to entertain and enlighten.  To inspire and innovate.  To make madly and passionately–and re-engage the masses in what could quite well be the perfect entertainment quadfecta.

That, and we can by doing this get back to one of my favorites–the Choose Your Own Adventure type books.  (Admittedly, this is precisely why I can’t bring myself to read the final Hunger Games book–because the ending I’ve heard isn’t ideal and I’d prefer to choose my own ending, thank you very much…)

Just an idea.  Hope the teckies get on this one!

Part I: Best Things About Law School – My Final Law School Outline

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

OK, ya’ll asked for it, and so here I roll…I thought I’d start out with the best things I experienced during my near 4-year tenure of law school first.  Why?  Because believe it or not, there were some very positive things about my law school experience.  What were they?  Here we rock, in random order:

1.  I’ve officially learned to think like a lawyer.  In the past I’ve been accused of thinking very black and white–right and wrong, best answer and everything else is a lousy second-best.  Well, my friends, law school has officially retrained my brain to think differently now.  I’m not necessarily sure I always find just one best answer anymore.  Sometimes, there are multiple best answers.  Sometimes, it is important to merely appreciate ALL points of view, and I think I can say that I now, for the most part, think this way.  (Oh, yeah, that, and throwing “It depends…” on the front of every answer to a question…notably drilled into my head now.  Thanks.)

2.  Law Review – But of course, I got on Indiana Health Law Review–I doubt anyone would suspect I’d do anything but health law, since that’s one of the major reasons why I went to law school in the first place.  But–by having best note out of law review Vol. IX was a great surprise, and frankly, solidified that: 1. I really can advocate for my first profession of pharmacy and 2. I can write.  Bonus.

3.  Helped start a law society – A great group of law school chums and I created the first (that we know of) Fashion, Art and Design (FAD) Law Society in the entire country at our law school.  It was fun to wade through the bureaucratic quagmire and red tape with my fellow law school friends to create something that never existed before.  We got the chance to write a constitution and bylaws through it.  We even helped in part start a new class offered at the law school on art & museum law.  We’ve handed the reigns over to the next crop of graduating law students in the law society, and frankly?  Even though we didn’t do everything we could have done with the group – we STARTED it, and sometimes?  That’s the most important thing one can do.

4.  The Program on Law and State Government Fellowship – I kind of took a risk when I applied for this program that happens at IU Indy Law outside of the classroom by telling our faculty preceptor I really only wanted to study one topic–entrepreneurship–but it paid off.  I’m so glad it did, and I’m so glad I was named one of the two fellows during this program in 2010.  It was work, but it was self-study, and we actually studied social entrepreneurship through this fellowship year.  I also made a friend with my “fellow-fellow.”  LOVED THIS, mainly because it was self-directed study.

5.  China study abroad – although it was expensive, and it was totally hard to leave my life for 4 weeks, it was SO AWESOME to study another country’s laws and immerse in another culture for awhile.  We take a LOT for granted in this fine country of the United States of America, and more than any other lesson, I learned this the most during my 4-weeks studying abroad in Beijing.

6.  Favorite classes – Internet Law, Mergers & Acquisitions, IP Drug Innovation, Art & Museum Law (although, wish I would have had more publishing in that course), were probably my favorites.  I was best at Sales (UCC) and Health Care Finance.  I understood those the best, that is…

7.  Healthcare Fraud Symposium – New to the law school, one of my professors did a GREAT job packing the house for the first healthcare fraud & abuse symposium, where I got the chance to meet one of the women at the helm of the Department of Justice.  It was a GREAT meeting, because they talked a lot about the future of health care in this country – which frankly is a HOT MESS.  Best part was that I learned there are a lot of smart people working on this hot mess, and I’m glad.

8.  The “healthy” vending machine – while this is a work in progress, we managed to get another vending machine installed at the law school to provide healthy snacks.  It hasn’t always turned out that way, but at least once in awhile we get an occasional Cliff Bar instead of a candy bar or bag of chips to choose from…I do hope they keep that vending machine filled with healthier choices moving forward.

9.  Reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Prior to law school and my current job, I worked in clinical research a few lives ago.  But I never really understood why we had stuff like IRBs, and heavy laws in clinical research.  It wasn’t really until I read The Immortal Life that I understood WHY we have all these laws and policy around clinical research.  I read the book last spring in my Human Subjects Research law class, and this spring made my own students read the book in Pharmacy, Policy and the Law at Butler.  I’ve gotten the impression that the BU students loved the book as well.  I’m glad I had to read it last spring, and I re-read it on my way home from Paris again.  LOVED. IT, and ironic that my favorite book at law school wasn’t a law school textbook.

10.  Working in a team on a condom app – While Law & Public Health didn’t make my favorite class list above, it probably should have.  The best part about that course?  We had to work in teams of students for our final projects on a solution to a public health care problem.  Our team created an app for finding free condoms in the Indy area.  We had such a great group of students on it with varied backgrounds, that I WISH I HAD MORE OPPORTUNITIES to work with my law school colleagues on team projects during my tenure, rather than feeling the crush of an adversarial-final-exam-curve-blowing-environment.  At the end of the day, we all must work together, and if young lawyers can figure out how to do this, maybe our legal system wouldn’t be in the state it is currently in…but more on that in the upcoming part on what I’d change about law school.

That’s a pretty long list.  And while I enjoyed a few classes, I would have to say that a lot of the best things about law school occurred for me outside of the classroom.  The friends I’ve made, the cool team projects I had the chance to work on, and even the things that really had nothing to do with the curriculum per se were some of my favorite hits during the last 4 years.

Next up?  The worst things about law school…look for that one in the near future in Part II….

The End is Near: My Law School Summary Outline

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

With 15 official classroom days left of my law school career, it’s time to throw down some summaries of the biggest, best and worst things about law school–EVER!  (That is, before I forget and/or mentally block them for the rest of my life.)  I will break these most epic parts of law school and blogs into six separate posts coming down in the next few weeks.  They will be in the following outlined order (we love our outlines in law school):

Part I: The Best Things About Law School
Part II: The Worst Things About Law School  (Together, Parts I & II are very Dickensonian, I know…)
Part III: My Most Epic Failures in Law School
Part IV:  What Surprised Me Most About Law School
Part V: What I’d Change About Law School
Part VI:  What I’d Do Differently, If I Had To Do Law School Over Again

Some of my lawyer-y friends said parts II & V will be the longest posts.  But I’m not quite sure about that.  I could take plenty of white space up in Part III alone–just ask a few of my professors.  (Although, yes, I confess, part V is going to be lengthy.)  I do, however, encourage you to read these coming posts if you’re considering school yourself.  Not so much as an end of the world set of rules when it comes to law school, but rather a serious and thoughtful assessment about my impressions of what law school is and was while it is still fresh in my mind, in an effort to help you be well-informed with another data point before you decide to head back.

Disclaimers:  I attended only two law schools, technically.  And this is a good time to remind y’all why I went to law school again: 1. I wanted to advocate for my first and already established career, pharmacy.  2.  I wanted to also advocate for my second careers–entrepreneurship and writing.  3.  I want to help shape lawmakers’ minds about creating LESS, not more law, especially when it comes to issues in bullet 1 & 2 above. There are other reasons, but I’ll leave those big 3 up for you to contemplate and wear as the lens by which to read my forthcoming assessments.

Most important of all my disclaimers: I already had a first career going in.  This fact can DRAMATICALLY alter one’s rationale for going in to law school in the first place.  Please keep this in mind as my future posts come, because it’s all about context when contemplating any advanced education.

(And BTW, the excuse of, “I can’t think of anything better to do, and the economy sucks, so I think I’ll go to law school” really is NOT a valid or smart reason to go right now–or maybe ever.)  Also needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway: my situation and reasons for going to law school won’t match yours.  But that’s OK – it all depends on you and what YOU want out of law school that truly makes the difference in deciding whether or not you should go.

Consider this official notice.  More to come.  Good, bad, utopian and otherwise….

Spring Crack & Purge

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Every time my closet gets a little too overrun with pilled, torn clothing – I know it is time to head somewhere on vacation.

One of my friends is a world traveler.  I went to her school of packing.  And when I go overseas, I tend to go on a “Purge trip.”  That is, I take a backpack of my rattiest clothes, wear them, then pitch them along the way, ridding me of my beyond-expiration date overloaded closet at home and creating more space in my backpack to take cool things home for my family and friends.

Such was the case this past week, when I took a “Spring Crack” (a 4 day power trip) to Paris and Brussels.  It’s not really a full spring break kind of trip – going to the EU for a whopping 4 days, so bear with me while I call it a Spring Crack trip instead of a full-on break.

I took my good ol’ backpack, along with some ratty T-shirts and turtlenecks, and headed out.  I found it extremely liberating to let go of my old ratty clothes along the way, only to lighten the load on my back–literally–and figuratively, in the sense that taking a break from one’s life that is often full of stress, pressure, etc., is a good thing.  At least it was for me.

I had the shot at reading some books that were fun to read (God forbid) and that I wanted to read, rather than law school texts (no offense, I can only read Roe v. Wade so many times…)  I also had the chance of playing the observer, and watching two entirely different cultures go about their daily lives and business, but in entirely different ways than we do in the states.  (Seriously–the French do take 4 hour lunches with wine, and anyone who has ever been in Brussels marvels at the international house of languages going on around them.)  (And trains.  Why don’t we have a decent train system in this country?  I digress.)

That, and I learned that the kids over in Paris are taking RayBan Wayfarers and turning them into eyeglasses.  As I placed on twitter this morning, not sure I could rock that retro.

You get my point, I do hope?  That a Spring Crack & Purge trip, while exhausting, can be equally refreshing.  I hope you try one soon.  I did, and I loved it.