by Mike Bombace
Editor’s Note: We know a great many of you have questions about what a typical day in the life of our law students looks like. Consequently, we asked our first-year bloggers, as they begin their second semester of law school, to describe a typical day in their lives. Mike Bombace takes on the topic below.
7:00 am Wake up, shower, eat breakfast, and head out the door by 8:00. Most mornings I try to head straight to school. On occasion I will stop by either Lexington Coffee or the Hillel House. Lexington Coffee is a local independent coffee house. It is half a block from my apartment, and they get their coffee from a local roaster. It reminds me of a particular coffee house in Denver I frequented during undergrad and when I was working. Other mornings I will stop by the café at the Hillel House which is across the street from me and grab a bagel and coffee.
Lexington Coffee, the Hillel House, and my apartment (the Dutch Inn) are all a ten minute walk from school. Living close to school allows me to be a little more flexible with my time. I can walk to school, and I often go home for lunch. I am never too far from anything. For those of you thinking about living arrangements, living close to school is convenient for obvious reasons. Regardless of where you choose to live, you should make the most of your living arrangements. Law school is stressful. Having a space where you can rest, relax and recharge is important.
8:00 am I get to school early so I can either review for class or finish up the day’s reading. There are a lot of different places to study in the law school. Some of my friends even study occasionally at the undergraduate library, which is a short walk from the law building. I particularly enjoy our main reading room with its large windows and flood of natural light. If it is too crowded I will study at my carrel, where I usually find time for one of my favorite rituals, french press coffee, while reading or catching up on emails.
10:30 am Property. I have a background in real estate so I find much of this class familiar and enjoyable.
Some of you might be wondering how professors at W&L Law approach calling on students. Well, outside of the Socratic method, there is no one, single approach and professors manage this part of class in different ways. Some call on only one student. Others skip around. In my Property class, for example, we go by rows (instead of the entire class being “on call”), so you have a decent idea of what case you will need to brief.
12:00 pm Class ends and I stop by my carrel to drop off my bag before heading to the Brief Stop, our cafe at the law school. The Brief Stop is surprisingly good, and it is also all of a twenty second walk from my carrel. The staff is very friendly, and they make a point of ordering items we want. First semester, I used to eat at my carrel, which was something of a relic from my work days when I would eat at my desk and work through lunch. However, I am social person and enjoy lunch with friends, so, this semester, I have made time for these trips to the Brief Stop. After lunch I head back to my carrel and review for class.
1:30 pm Meeting with one of the professionals in our Office of Career Planning (OCP). We discuss a resume and cover letter I am going to send to the general counsel of a real estate group back home in Denver.
I have found OCP an invaluable resource. They have helped me assess my strengths, sharpen my resume, determine how best to market myself, and even identify and refine my goals for the summer. This may seem like basic stuff, but OCP’s accessibility has been tremendous, and I have found them immensely helpful in my job search.
2:00 pm Head back to my carrel. I am very grateful for this dedicated space. There are many schools that have lockers but few have a desk and locker, like we do here at W&L, intended expressly for the use of one student.
2:30 pm Professional Responsibility. PR has turned out to be a very enjoyable class. Unlike Property, the entire class can be called upon, but the material (we primarily focus on the dilemmas lawyers face when determining how best to proceed in a legal matter) tends to generate more of an open conversation, so the professor rarely has to call students.
4:00 pm After PR, I return to my carrel for a bit to email friends as well as contacts about potential job opportunities. Networking is an important part of any job search, and I’ve found it helpful to reach out to as many appropriate people as possible. For example, if you think you might be interested in international work, talk with professors who teach in that area about their work as well as your interests. I have a close friend here who did that, and she will be working for the UN in Austria this summer.
Another friend made several contacts with judges in her home state before break and will be working for two judges this summer. Surprisingly, much of this started with a low-key conversation with a professor or a short call to a judge’s chamber.
8:00 pm After finishing my application to the real estate group in Denver, I make my way to the gym. The gym is between school and home for me. I did not consider my location to be important initially when I moved to law school but after the first semester, I am thankful I live so close to both the gym and school. I bring up location again because it matters so much (at least to me). Location matters because it will affect your ease of access to amenities, school, and how connected or isolated you feel. I am in the middle of Lexington above an organic food co-op, an ice cream parlor, and am a half block from two coffee shops and two bars. My commute to school is a ten minute walk and I am close to several friends. Not all schools allow for this type of experience, but it is definitely possible in Lexington.
Regardless of where you go, you need to commit time and energy to your living arrangement search. Originally I felt it wouldn’t matter where I lived as I would be at school all the time. Even if you honestly believe you will, you won’t. No one does. Believe it or not, you will have free time, and where (and how) you spend it matter.