When it rains, it pours.

Yes, I am still alive. It has been two weeks since my last post; something that I am not proud of. But it comes with a fairly good excuse: I have been busy busy busy with completely ruining the title of this blog. Since we last talked, I have had: 1) a three panel interview; 2) a telephonic two panel interview; 3) a 6 panel interview; 4) a visit to a potential office to see if I liked it and 5) another two panel interview. In between these interviews, I have been getting some work from the firm I help out in from time to time. So yes, busy but in a good way. And don’t worry, I did get to read a little of my ABA Journal.

I’m not going to lie, I was pretty scared regarding the six panel interview. I guess I am naive, but I was not expecting there to be SIX interviewers. Three yes, totally understandable, but double that? Holy Moly. I walked out of that interview thinking that I did my best. But now looking back on it, 20/20 hindsight always gets me. I wish I could do it over; I feel like I stumbled a lot, it was not as smooth as an interview as I would have liked it to have been. I mean, hopefully the interviewers expect there to be some nervousness, and some un-smoothness (no, that is not a word, I just made that up), but I hope I didn’t go above and beyond the expected jitters. I think the one thing that I keep thinking about and wishing I had done differently is asking them to repeat the question. Yes, I did do that, but let me explain. These questions are LONG, and there are multiple parts to them. So I asked them to repeat the second part of the question, after I had already answered the first part. For some reason, I keep thinking this is what separated me from being good from great. Prior to the interview, my wonderful wife’s advice was: exude confidence, be yourself and don’t say anything stupid. I think I definitely took the first part of her advice and ran with it….maybe ran a little too far. I always am telling others that there is a very fine line between confidence, and cockiness. I always put myself in the former of those two, but I hope I did not cross the line while I was trying to make up for my complete nervousness and lack of smoothness.

Looking on the bright side of this as I always try to do, it was really good experience. I have never had such a high profile interview and now know what to expect next time one presents itself. The telephonic interview went surprisingly well. I did not think it went that well, but they sent me an email and said I made the second round cut. The three panel interview went well, and I have to say I am very excited about that one. After that interview, I was invited to go visit the main office where I will be working, and after that visit, I was invited for another interview. I really liked everything about this one. I should know whether or not they feel the same way by the end of next week. You will still read this if I have to change the title to: “The Employed Juris Doctor” right?

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As for the ABA Journal, I read something that I found interesting, and if you do to then I guess we can both call each other nerds. It really was not anything legal per se, it was more about legal writing. The title of the article was: “Whose Story Is This Sentence? Directing Readers’ Perceptions Of Narrative.” By George D. Gopen.  It went into showing how word order, word placement and sentence structure all send a different message to the reader.  An example that the author uses are these three sentences:

1) The defendant deprived the plaintiff of his contractual rights by refusing to forward the shipment.

2) The plaintiff was deprived of his contractual rights by the defendant’s refusal to forward to the shipment.

3) The refusal to forward the shipment by the defendant deprived the plaintiff of his contractual rights.

I personally like #3 the best, but I found out that all three are equally well written, it just depends on who is telling the story and to whom they are telling it to.  So in essence, the best sentence is the never wrong and most popular answer in law school: “it depends.”  It turns out that readers will read the previous sentences according to whoever or whatever shows up as the grammatical subject of that clause.  So in #1, it is the story of the defendant; #2 story of the plaintiff and #3 the story of the refusal to forward the shipment.  However, when there is more than one clause readers will tend to read as a whole.  Example: “Even though the plaintiff delivered the goods on time, the defendant chose to refuse them.”  The readers who read this excerpt said that this was the story of the defendant, because read as a whole, it told his story. Another interesting thing that the author discussed was LONG vs. SHORT sentences.  Grammar teachers will tell you shorter is better, but this is not always the case as is shown by these two sentences:

1) Even though the plaintiff delivered the goods on time, within two hours of the expiration date as explicitly delineated by Section 27(A)(2)(d) of the contract, and accompanied them with the appropriate papers, duly signed and counter-signed by the appropriate offices, who had called ahead to indicate they were soon to be on their way to the designated delivery spot (see Section 27(B)(2)(a) of the contract), the defendant chose to refuse them.

2) The defendant chose to refuse the goods, despite the plaintiff’s extraordinary efforts to comply with the delivery requirements: The plaintiff delivered the goods on time, within two hours of the expiration date as explicitly delineated by Section 27(A)(2)(d) of the contract; the plaintiff accompanied them with the appropriate papers, duly signed and countersigned by the appropriate officials, as required by Section 27(B)(i)(a) of the contract; and, in addition and without being required to do so, those officials had called ahead to indicate they were soon to be on their way to the designated delivery spot.

Okay, so you are thinking that both of these sentences are way too long and are cursing at me right now for wasting two minutes of your life for reading them.  However, one of those sentences was a lot more easy to read correct?  If you had to pick one, which one would it be?  First of all, let me tell you that sentence #1 is 71 words long and sentence #2 is 95 words long.  BUT, wasn’t sentence #2 a lot easier of a read?  It was, I agree.  This is because right at the beginning you as the reader are told WHOSE story is being told.  Bam!  “The defendant….”  In sentence #1, this is the very last bit of information that the reader finds out, which then causes them to go backwards and put the person in the context of what they just read.  But if you know who is telling the story right up front, the sentence just flows better, even if it is 24 words longer than the prior sentence.  Additionally, the whole sentence in #2 is broken up by colons and after each colon it tells the reader “whose story/what’s happening.”  So in essence, the sub story that is told in between the colons is “the plaintiff delivered; the plaintiff accompanied them; and officials called ahead.”

Nerd.  I know.  But the pen is a lawyer’s sword, its what we do.  Interesting fact: Only about 5% of lawyers ever get to litigate.  This means that 95% of lawyers do all their arguing by written words, the pen to the paper.  I am lucky enough to be in the 5% as I have litigated 14 trials so far without even having a job!  (It was an internship during law school; best thing I ever did as a law student.)   I hope you enjoyed this blog; sorry again for the delay!

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One thought on “When it rains, it pours.

  1. Pingback: “Slow and Steady Wins the Race.” — Jenna Brouk | The unemployed Juris Doctor

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