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

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….

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