XCV: C-R-A-C

CONCLUSION•RULE•ANALYSIS•CONCLUSION

First and second year law students are forever reminded of C-R-A-C, but imagine if we applied it outside of the legal writing context…

I definitely CRAC when I meet people. Yes this is kind of like judging a book by it’s cover, but let’s be real! I have to use the clues that you drop here and there to see if you are the type of person that I would align myself with.

Now, don’t get me wrong, 9 times out of 10, I am still a horrible judge of character (or maybe I’m good and most people just suck 🤔), but I do like to use the clues. Here’s an example:

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THERE WAS THIS GUY…

[I tend to befriend guys way more than girls simply because girls are more likely to lie and engage in petty, backstabbing behaviors. Guys only really lie to you when you’re dating them 😂. ]

But anyway, there was this guy, and I had already come to the CONCLUSION that he was not the type of person that I would ever be interested in getting to know. I had seen him interact with a couple of people, I paid attention at the moments where he attempted to interact with me, and I had heard him speak in a professional setting.

I learned all that I needed to know by just observing him — he was the type of person who would literally become whoever it was necessary to become to get ahead. This means that he has no sense of who he actually is, has no sense of identity, and is most likely a dishonest person. I deduced all of this by just observing him! And, the conclusion was formed that I did not want to know him!

BUT, THE RULE TELLS US THAT WE ARE TO [AT LEAST] TREAT OTHERS AS THOUGH THEY ARE ALSO HUMAN…

So, in applying that rule, when a situation brought us closer, I allowed it to happen. I befriended him! I went against what my mind had already formed as an opinion about this person, and then completely disregarded it in the name of humanity.

Now, most of the ANALYSIS portion of this post is me getting to know this person and forming a completely new idea about who he is! I spend time with him, I actually consume food in front of him (some of which he cooked!), we go to movies together, we hang out on weekends, we hang out on weekdays. A real bond is forming, and with that, I completely forgot that my analysis has to, in some way relate to/lead to my conclusion (otherwise how did I get there/what am I writing about?!).

Okay, I know I am not the only law student who has ever forgotten, mid-analysis, to either tie in her conclusion, lead to her conclusion clearly, or in some way make it all make sense in terms of her conclusion. I simply can’t be because I’ve seen the papers where we’re either too conclusory (conclude too soon with no analysis) or where we botch our analysis which is essentially the “lead up” to the conclusion.

In this instance, I got so tied up in the analysis section that I completely forgot the conclusion that I had formed by hours of observation! The conclusion that he was going to lead me to via the “getting to know each other” phase was not going to look like what I had already seen from him and concluded.

If you can recall, I had already formed the conclusion that this was a person that would say anything and become anyone to get close to a person/get what he wants/get ahead. So how did I miss it all throughout my ANALYSIS that he was doing this exact same thing to me. 🤷🏾‍♀️

  [Bright side: he wasn’t real so there was no loss]

Conclusion, I CRAC-ed the heck out of that situation, but not even law school can protect you from one who falls victim to the ways of the human. Some are able to fight off all of the ugliness that comes with trying to navigate a world that isn’t easily accepting, or that is so self-absorbed, or greedy really!  But, many aren’t able to do this, and I’m realizing that this is something that I will encounter more and more no matter how closed off I attempt to be.

I will always be walking around and observing people — concluding basically. But the human in me is what will give that person a chance to change whatever conclusion I reach (chances are it’ll be a bad one before it’ll be a good one). However, it’s up to them to shape our analysis section.

Be a good person and we can reach a new and better conclusion. Be a garbage person, and I’m going to let my conclusion stick.

See guys, we do use the crap that we learned in law school.  🎓

XCIV: What Is A J.D. Anyway?

Most of my family doesn’t know that I am still in school. And those who do know have no clue what type of degree I am working on — and honestly many people don’t know what a J.D. is, they just know what a lawyer is.

Lawyers and doctors are thought of amongst societies elite, but many people don’t even understand the process that comes before the title. So, my hope is that this post will help just a tiny bit.

THE LEVELS:

A lot of people are confused about what level of education a Juris Doctorate is, even though the answer is in the title. Don’t worry, I understand!

Many think that a J.D. and a Master’s are about the same, which is simply NOT true.  Here’s a boring spectrum, if ever there were one:

High School Diploma ➡️AA Degree ➡️BA/BS (Bachelor’s Degree) ➡️MA/MBA (Master’s Degree) ➡️ Doctorate Degrees — PsyD/Juris Doctorate/PhD/MD

Every degree in the last category are amongst the highest degrees that one can receive. So there is no ‘I got a Master’s instead of a Juris Doctorate’ because they are simply not in the same category. If it’s easier, you can think of them as stepping stones.

I know a person with a degree in every category (or degree in progress) so I just think of each of them as a stepping stone to the next where one is required before the other (except Master’s). I see each as more and more of an accomplishment along the way, but I am sure to educate myself on what each degree means so that I address each person with said degree accordingly.

You worked for the degree, but I’m not in the business of giving you more than what you worked for or of giving you less than what you worked for. So, the levels are important.

THE CONFUSION:

The only reason that I forget that I am getting a degree in the doctoral level of education is that I am not done once I finish school. I still have to sit for the bar exam (although this is an option, and not everyone who attends law school takes the bar exam).

I oftentimes forget to pat myself on the back for the work that I’ve done, the progress that I’ve made, and the places that I’ve been with the hard work that I’ve put into getting these degrees.

But, I want it to be clear that, once you get a degree such as a J.D., you have options!

  1. You can be done and simply denote that you have a J.D. by leaving those initials at the end of your name (which is cool).  _____________, J.D.

  2. You can take the part of the degree that acknowledges you as a Doctor of Jurisprudence and call yourself Dr. ____________.

  3. You can sit for the bar exam, pass, and place “Esquire/Esq.” in your surname — making you ____________, Esq.

  4. Do nothing and keep your degree a secret. I commend your humility.

  5. But, as long as you pass the bar exam (in addition to your moral character application and the MPRE), you can practice law in your state. Otherwise, you can work wherever you see fit — many with J.D.s go to the Capitol.

So, I think that I’ve said all that needs to be said about a Juris Doctorate degree.

The big takeaways here are that (1) THIS IS A BIG DEAL; (2) Acknowledge people’s degrees correctly — they worked hard for it!; (3) if you’re unsure about what someone’s degree is or what to call them, then JUST ASK THEM. If they aren’t jerks, then chances are, they’ll explain it to you (I’ve had someone try to place Master’s and J.D.’s in the same category and then get upset when I asked her what a Master’s was in comparison to a J.D.).

Moving forward! Congrats to the Class of 2019. Congrats to all receiving Juris Doctorate degrees. Hopefully this post helps to explain what the heck that actually means.

🎓🎓🎓

XCIII: Keeping An Open Mind - My Problem With Legal Online Dispute Resolution

Online dispute resolution is exactly what it sounds like: it is communication online or over the phone wherein judges and lawyers facilitate the resolution of disputes between parties.

My biggest problem with this is that we already live in a world where laziness and a failure to do one’s job is the status quo. Taking the “personal” out of the mediation or arbitration experience, in my opinion, would simply do a disservice to clients everywhere.

BUT, I CANNOT PRETEND LIKE THERE AREN’T MANY BENEFITS:

The biggest benefit is that, for those who cannot make it to the courthouse for arbitration, or to the mediator’s office for a mediation, they can literally just find a space with Wifi and get the dispute resolution that they seek.

Another benefit to Online Dispute Resolution is that it frees up the courts a bit. Although there are separate moving pieces for everything, judges, lawyers, and mediators are busy!

Being able to settle cases or resolve matters while on the go could free up time for attorneys and mediators, so there’s potentially more benefits there. I just have a hard time looking past the negatives of ODR.

One last positive is for the people who are out of the country and need to “attend” a proceeding. Instead of making them travel across the world, they can simply travel to a quiet spot with wifi and connect with their mediator, attorney or judge.

So, I can’t say that ODR is all bad, but I definitely look at it with extreme reserve. I just believe that we cannot take the “personal” out of the legal experience and still do a good job at being advocates for our clients.

LAW IS A CUSTOMER SERVICE FIELD WHETHER PEOPLE KNOW IT OR NOT.

Lawyers rely on their clients (in many cases) to keep their businesses going. This means that they are in the business of people, i.e. customer service. If your client isn’t happy about the fact that she can’t reach you at all, then she’s going to spread the word and before you know it, you’re known as the attorney who was too busy for her client.

In law, reputation is everything, so it would behoove any attorney to realize this and act accordingly.

Keeping the clients first means that you are communicating effectively and when needed. It means that you are there to answer their questions, no matter how small. When you sign a client up, you are signing up for the contact even if it seems like overkill.

Yes, the majority of this contact will be done over the phone, but I know from experience that the clients look forward to those moments where they get to actually sit down with the attorney and talk face to face. For some reason, these are the only times that they feel that their needs are being met and that they are heard in a realm that many of them have no clue about.

ALL I’M SAYING IS THAT…

We need to keep the part about lawyering where the lawyer actually cares, tries to communicate with his/her clients, and is about more than just a check.

I’ve seen it in my years of being a law clerk that there are attorneys whose only concern is the check, but I have faith because I literally worked at a firm where every single lawyer cared about their clients (good and bad) and cared about getting the best break for their clients beyond the check.

Little

Little is a brilliant movie about a journey back to youth and the lessons that come with it!

It was beautifully executed by Regina Hall who plays the adult version of Jordan Sanders. This version of Jordan was over the top & always angry. She always got her way no matter who she had to yell at, step on, or step over!

Marsai Martin played the ‘Little’ Jordan Sanders who was a smart and kind of dorky kid destined to show everyone her greatness. When that went horribly wrong during a Windsor Middle School talent show, however, she vowed to always be a step ahead by being the bully and not the bullied.

Insert Issa Rae who killed the role of April, ‘Big’ Jordan’s assistant and, later, her first friend! I am completely convinced that a lot of the lines given by April’s character were completely Issa’s because of how hilarious they were and because of her Issa-esque delivery. She was definitely a highlight to this film.

THE PLOT

This is the story of an adult Jordan Sanders — the self-made mogul and business owner who is afraid of commitment in the form of friendships and relationships. Her no nonsense attitude, however, becomes her demise when she encounters a young practicing magician who simply wishes that she were ‘Little‘.

The next thing she knows, Jordan Sanders wakes up in the body of her awkward and quirky younger self. The journey then begins! Jordan literally just wants to make it through the day and become ‘Big’ again.

Tragedy strikes when she runs into her nosey neighbor who immediately calls child protective services which results in Jordan having to go back to where it all begin, Windsor Middle School.

That’s White People Stuff Because Black People Don’t Have The Time.
— April
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SHOCKERS

The unexpected gems of this movie would have to be:

  1. Tracee Ellis Ross as the voice of Homegirl, because, QUEEN!

  2. Every line that Issa Rae had. Really…

  3. The cute sing-a-long to Mary J. Blige’s ‘I’m Goin’ Down’, twas’ very unexpected.

  4. The beautiful voice of JD McCrary. Now, I’d never heard of him prior to this movie but OMG he is voicing young Simba in the live action Lion King movie! So, he’s definitely someone that you should put and keep on your radar.

  5. The very cute bond between Issa Rae and Marsai Martin that showed itself throughout the film. I love the little-sister, big-sister vibe that they have.

What In The Black Jesus...
— April

BUT, CAN WE GET INTO THE WARDROBE?

My favorite outfit of the movie has to be the one worn by Issa Rae in the first picture of this gallery — she has on a blouse with tan, orange and red accents and a neck tie & capri trousers with a red and white side seam. She paired this with Chuck Taylors which, shockingly, worked!


I honestly think that this whole movie was a treat. It was funny for both young and older audiences, it was refreshing and up to date. And, it was different!

Definitely a good time at the theaters!

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BUT,…

I cannot end this post without giving roses to the youngest executive producer ever, Marsai Martin. What an accomplishment! And, what Black Excellence you are!

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I mean, at this point, you might as well go get your tickets because it’s certainly worth seeing. I haven’t mentioned all of the surprises, so go and see what they are for yourself or you’ll be mad that you missed it!

XCII: This Or That? - [Un]Popular Opinion

Alright! Let’s talk about it:

IN-N-OUT OR SHAKE SHACK?

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I’m from the west coast but Shake Shack > In-N-Out any day!  

Can we talk about flavor, savor, and the full package? Shake Shack has got it all! I usually go for ShackBurger, Bacon Cheese Fries and a shake, but the whole menu is literally delicious!

Although In-N-Out is good, there are many who simply HATE the fries, or they don’t like that, many times, the drinks seem a bit flat. But in all of my experience with Shake Shack, I haven’t had one bad batch of fries nor have I had one flat drink. All experiences have been good!

So, it’s Shake Shack all day for me! Yummmmmm…


NETFLIX OR HULU?

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Even though Hulu has gems like Living Single, I definitely watch Netflix way more!

I can’t say that it’s because Netflix has anything special, but I do enjoy a lot of the shows that I wouldn’t have otherwise found (like Master of None).

So, it’s Netflix > Hulu all day.


MACBOOK OR DELL?

I’ve had both, so I can honestly say that I like the flexibility of the Dell. You can buy apps without paying extreme prices in the App Store and you just have more freedom on Dells while Apple tries to get money from its consumers in any area possible.

I do prefer Macbooks over Dells, but I will say that the storage on MacBooks suck!

As for Dells, my old Dell literally went off one day and just never came back on. That hasn’t happened with my MacBook, so…

MacBook > Dell!


SHORT HAIR OR LONG HAIR?

I mean, really, this is a question of person and patience.

Since my hair has always been short and kinky, I guess I prefer shorter hair, but I’m also not opposed to long hair. I even keep my hair in a protective style that is long, so I honestly cannot choose between the two.

But, living in Cali, I wouldn’t be shocked if people preferred shorter hair during these hot summers, and longer hair during the lukewarm winters.

Short Hair > Long Hair.


NATURAL HAIR OR RELAXED HAIR?

I’ve had both natural and relaxed hair and I must say that they are BOTH a ton of work. My mom started relaxing my hair when I was younger just because it made her life a bit easier.

I have thick, course, 4C natural hair with tight kinks and coils, so I completely get her needing a break from trying to comb through that mess.

As I got older, I decided to grow it out and cut off all of the relaxed hair. I have since had nothing but natural hair that is neither tamed nor trained. I keep it in protective styles just because it makes my life easier and I love it.

Natural > Relaxed Hair for me!


INDOORS OR OUTDOORS?

I love my alone time indoors, but, being outdoors when the weather is perfect is simply perfect.

One thing that I can truly appreciate about living in California is that the amount of simply beautiful days that you get far outnumber the amount of doom-and-gloom days.

So it’s definitely…

Outdoors > Indoors for me.


GYM OR HOME WORKOUT?

There was a time when home workouts were my sole source of a workout, and then summer came.

It just got to be way too hot for me to workout in my apartment, so I switched over to the gym. Now, it’s not to say that you can’t stay home, get a full body workout, and not hotbox yourself to death in your home with sweat and body heat, but this is just to say that I couldn’t anymore.

Although going to a gym comes with driving and potentially having to interact with people, I think I’m at a point where I can get a better workout by being in a gym.

Gym > Home Workout!


NIKE OR UNDER ARMOUR?

Now, I do feel as though Nike has a bigger selection than Under Armour, but I enjoy looking at men who can pull off a nice Under Armour workout outfit too. 👀

I mean, I guess I should make this post useful and pick which brand I, as a fit woman, prefer huh? Okay, how about…

Nike > Under Armour 🤷🏾‍♀️And this is just because I have way more experience with Nike than I do with Under Armour. This is subject to change. Everyone is coming for Nike these days…


NIKE OR GYMSHARK?

I’ve always been a Nike girl. I like their shoes, their clothes, their coats, etc. But I did try out GymShark and thoroughly enjoy the fit of some of their styles.

If I had to discuss any negatives about the two then:

Nike - Price and I mean, really, that’s it.

Gymshark - Not all styles are great quality (i.e. the new energy line is thin and just not worth it) and it’s hit or miss depending on what you buy.

Nike is more of a surefire shot while Gymshark is taking a gamble. I’d say that if you actually workout during your workouts and aren’t just at the gym taking selfies and doing squats, then maybe lean more towards Nike. But, if you’re there for the looks, then Gymshark all the way.

For this post, it’s going to have to be Nike > Gymshark.


COFFEE OR TEA?

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Since I’m already addicted, I’m going to side with coffee in this debate.

There are times where tea is totally my first choice (like when I’m sick), but the thing that I go for when I wake up is always coffee.

I’m currently obsessed with Peet’s Coffee’s Major Dickason’s Blend which is a yummy dark roast that has just the right amount of flavor and boldness for my little papillae to enjoy.


THE OFFICE OR PARKS AND REC?

I’ve honestly never seen Parks and Rec, so The Office all day!


CYCLING OR RUNNING?

I used to make it a point to drive an hour and a half to attend Soulcycle.

I just had to attend the class taught by Devin, one of the coolest people that I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet, and such an inspiration during every workout.

BUT,

Since, I have to choose my preference, I’m going to go with running! The times that I can’t make it to Soulcycle, but try to cycle on my own, completely suck. Without the Soulcycle atmosphere, I just don’t push myself the same, it’s not as much fun and my cycling workouts never pass the thirty minute mark.

But, when I run, I set the pace and I find it easier to focus on pushing myself. For some reason, I feel like I’m more in control of the workout when I run rather than when I cycle.

Running > Cycling