parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Sunday, November 26, 2006
    the last first day
    tomorrow i start my final co-op.

    i am not excited about it, as i think i've made abundantly clear.

    i wonder how i feel, in general, about this co-op system?

    a few weeks ago, i attended a meeting for older students with the admissions committee. they wanted to know what older students are looking for, and what they can provide to make my school a more welcoming place for older students.

    one thing that came up was that the co-op system may not work so well for older students. unless said older students spent the intervening years hiding under a rock, and not gaining work experience. i suppose staying home with children is not the same as "hiding under a rock" - but i find it hard to believe that even a stay-at-home mom doesn't have more of an understanding of the workings of a professional atmosphere more than someone who went from highschool to college to law school. especially since most mothers these-a-days have a professional life before embarking on the journey of child-rearing.

    there is of course still some redeeming value - the goal of the co-op system is not to give students an exposure to the professional world so that they are little less naive upon securing a permanent job. it's to train law students experientially. this does not always happen, though. it is of course true that every student i've spoken with says that their writing and research skills improve every time they go on co-op. but that could also happen if the school started a law review, or had more writing opportunities during school.

    it also helps student hone what they want to do. i came to school thinking i wanted to do family law, somehow concentrated on custody issues, and the "best interests of the child" questions that arise in those determinations. i therefore did my first co-op with a family law judge, and found quickly that it was going to take a lot to get to the point, in the family law field, where i could craft my practice with such precision, and that i had to first go through the rite of passage of property divisions, uncontested divorces and discovery - with the same hours as a big-firm lawyer with approximately 1/3 the pay check.

    no thanks.

    my personality also does not work so well with the idea of a 3 month stint at anything. it takes me time to adjust, to fit in, to understand the lay of a land. by the time i get to that point on co-op, everyone around me is pulling back, b/c they know it's just about time for me to leave.

    now that i have a job lined up for after-school, this final co-op feels purely superfluous. i do not feel at all excited about learning a new computer system, a new filing system, a new support staff, a new office culture - for NOTHING.

    if i were a different person - a non-mom, for example. a non-child-care-paying individual, i could have used this co-op to do something "fun." for me, "fun" would have meant something public-interest oriented. perhaps back into that child welfare field that still interests and excites me (and which i hope to still enter, once college is paid for and a house bought). but i do have financial responsibilities, and i could not choose to take an unpaid position with these factors being considered.

    so off i go, tomorrow. the last time that i will start a co-op. i will put on a suit for my "first day" and cross my fingers that it won't be necessary for every day thereafter. i am sure that the assignments i get will be interesting, b/c i'm easily interested by legal questions. but i won't want to stay until 8 p.m. to finish up, and i won't be clamouring to get in the door as soon as it's unlocked by the building staff, like i may be doing next year at this time for Future Firm.

    i wish, truly, that i could be taking another quarter of classes instead. but 4 co-ops are required in order to graduate, so instead, off i go.



    Labels: , ,

    posted by Zuska @ 2:26 PM  
    • At Sunday, November 26, 2006 3:13:00 PM, Blogger Butterflyfish said…

      good luck tomorrow -- hopefully no suits, an easy-going culture, and some stimulating work.

    • At Sunday, November 26, 2006 11:12:00 PM, Blogger Harmless Error said…

      Ahhh so you are a student of my not-so-in-the-distant-past alma mater. I am one of those people who went directly from high school to college to law school, and I still completely agree with you about the co-op system.

      Treat this last one as pure fluff - fun if it's fun, nothing to stress over if it's boring. Good luck.

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