We have things called word sprints, wars and crawls on the Nanowrimo forums. The wars are where you race with buddies for a set amount of time and see who gets the most words and wins. Sprints are when you get assigned a certain amount of words to do and do get there as fast as you can. And the crawls are where we write out stories with challenges within them. Since I’m a lawyer and a geek, I wrote one based on the first semester of law school. It’s long and hard, just like law school, so I’m eager to see if anyone actually finishes it.
So, for your entertainment pleasure, and to do a serious boost to your Nano word count if you’re doing Nano this year, welcome to your first year of law school 😉
I based this on the 1L first semester, the first year of law school is called 1L, where we were all new little babies, wide-eyed and fresh-faced, with no clue what the academic world was about to clobber us with. It’s a long one so feel free to take it in bites and remember, law school is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself 🙂
You just moved to your new city for law school, you’re unpacked, your parents have left for home after getting you settled in, and orientation was yesterday so you’re getting into the meaty stuff today.
You’re taking Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law and Legal Writing. Wow, they sure like their alliteration in law school, giving you all the C classes in one semester. Next semester is Torts, Property, Regulatory Law and Legal Writing 2. Why did they give you the heavier load the 1st semester?
Sprint to 500 words to review your reading over breakfast.
Uh-oh, you underestimated the time it’d take to drive to school in weekday rush hour. Roll the dice to see how late you are to your first class, Civil Procedure.
1, 2: You are a bit late but the professor is having everyone say their names and something about themselves so you get your laptop and books out and are ready to go when it’s time to introduce yourself. Do a 5 minute word war as you introduce yourself.
3, 4: You are ten minutes late and the professor notices. After the intros he jumps right into the reading you were assigned for your first day. Since you were late, you are the first one in the Socratic seat. He starts hitting you with questions about 12b6s and you frantically flip through your reading to remember the answers. Do a 10 minute word war while the class stares at you, happy it isn’t them. You refresh your memory and answer a few of his questions before he nods and moves on to his next victim.
5, 6: You are twenty minutes late and the professor calls you up front, dressing you down in front of the class as an example to everyone else, saying the next time someone’s late, they’re locked out of class for the day. This is not how you wanted to start your law school career. Do a 20 minute word war to keep yourself from crying as you take your seat. You rant on Facebook about how you’re sure the words from The Paper Chase, “You… are a son of a bitch, Kingfield!” are going to come out of your mouth some time this semester.
You get through your Criminal Law class without getting called on or saying anything stupid and you hit the lunch room. You haven’t felt this lost looking at a sea of tables since high school. People are already forming little cliques and it’s only the second day. What are you going to do?
Do a 10 minute word war to find people to sit with.
If you get over 500 words, you sit down with some people from class and you form your own group.
If you get between 300 and 500 words, you sit out in the main hall of the law school and pull out your books, you’ve got some series studying to do anyway. People recognize you from class and sit with you, saying what a great job you did.
If you get under 300 words, sprint another 5 minutes to catch up on your reading because girl, you behind. And if you fall behind in law school, you will never catch up.
It’s Friday and every Friday is a gathering called Blackacre where the school puts out food and beer. This week they even have wine to celebrate the first Blackacre of the year and the Activities’ Fair. You grab a glass and start exploring the fair.
Pick a group to join: The acapella singing club, Headnotes. The soccer club. The Spanish club.
After the fair is over, it’s way too early to go home. You and some new friends get together to parrrrrr-tay. Roll the dice to see how you fair this weekend.
1: You karaoke, dance a little and have one drink. You’re home safe and spend the rest of the weekend studying like a responsible little law student. Do a 5 minute word war to get that last bit of reading done before Monday.
2: Partying is more like drinking and after a few shots you are in no shape to drive. Crash on a friend’s couch and do a 20 minute word war to get your reading done the next day with a hangover.
3: Downtown is too crowded with tourists, you hit the east side and grab coffee at a cool hipster joint with live blue grass, you chat with a cute foreign guy in business school and give him your number. Do a 10 minute word war to keep yourself focused when you’re thinking about the cutie while you’re supposed to be studying the next day.
4: You’re drunk and somehow end up at the coffee shop on the east side, flirt with the cute foreign student, and go home with him. We won’t say what you did, because everyone already knows, do a 30 minute word war as you do the walk of shame from his place to your car at the law school.
5: You and a group grab the rest of the beer before they can clean it up after Blackacre and hang out in a classroom, sharing stories and hoping no one finds you and takes away the keg. Do a 15 minute word war as you make friends with the other beer thieves, giggling about what crimes they could get you for. If you get under 700 words, you get caught and the 3Ls in charge of sending the beer back join you guys and help you finish it off. Do another 5 minutes as you get to know them.
6: You go to a house party after downtown and get smashed there. You wake up on the air mattress with another girl, two guys on the couches, and the house owners making pancakes and bacon for their hungover guests. Do a 25 minute word war as you get to know your new drinking buddies over brunch.
After Friday, your new group of friends thinks you’re a pretty fun person. You’ve got your foot in a few different cliques and you even think you’ve got a best friend or two. Not a bad first week.
If you picked Headnotes before, your first rehearsal is on Monday. They separate the girls into sopranos and altos. You’re an alto, and a pretty good one.
Do a 10 minute word war to find out what you’ll be singing this semester.
Over 500 words: You’re a star! You’ve got the lead female vocals for Don’t Stop Believing.
300 – 500 words: You’re not bad, so you are singing backup for your favorite Taylor Swift song.
Under 300 words: You aren’t tone deaf, but you’re pretty damn close, but you love to sing. You singing quietly with the others in the chorus for Kiss the Girl from the Little Mermaid, and the lead alto offers to give you singing lessons. Sprint to the nearest 500th word to get your first lesson.
If you joined the soccer club, the first pickup game is Wednesday: Do a 30 minute word war to run your ass off during the game.
Over 1500 words, your team won thanks to your awesome skills!
700 – 1500, your team won and you even made a goal!
Under 700, your team won, but no thanks to you. Have you ever even played before? No, oh, okay, that’s sad. An older team mate teaches you some basics like he’s taught his 4 year old son. Do a 4 minute sprint to learn some new moves.
If you joined the Spanish club, you guys meet on Thursdays at the Tex-Mex restaurant over happy hour. Do a 15 minute word war as you brush up on your rusty Spanish.
The first official house party is this weekend and you can’t wait. You deserve it after your hard week of studying. You get all gussied up and drive to the party, determined to be able to drive home this weekend. Roll the dice.
1, 2: Oops you did it again, you got drunk and slept at a nearby friend’s place. He’s a gentleman and gave you his bed, sleeping on his couch. Sprint 500 words to apologize for stealing his bed by buying him breakfast.
3, 4: You were a good girl this weekend. You had a glass of wine and discussed Constitutional Law in the corner all night. Sprint 600 words to make an eloquent argument about the decision in the latest Supreme Court case.
5, 6: You chilled in the den with the other people who are already overloaded on partying and watch movies, passing around the popcorn and wine. Sprint 400 words, or do them at a leisurely pace. You are tired after all.
Classes have been going okay, but you got cold called in Con Law for the over 100 page case on the ACA decision nobody actually read all the way through. Why you!
Sprint to the nearest 1000th word to babble about what you did read and remember while you type out a cry for help on G-Chat.
If you get to the 1000th within 15 minutes, one of your friends came through and you gave a brilliant answer, throwing in some of your own analysis once you realized how the case turned out.
If not, the professor takes pity on you and moves on. You’re embarrassed even though he’s way nicer than your Civ Pro professor. Do a 5 minute word war to get a jump on tomorrow’s reading so you can take really detailed notes and say something brilliant.
# # #
It’s been two months and you’re pretty sure you’ve gotten into the swing of law school. You are keeping up with your reading, you haven’t said anything stupid in class for at least a month. You have friends and groups and you even manage to get enough sleep… most nights. Yae you! Sprint to the nearest 100th word to celebrate.
The Halloween Party is this weekend, but before you can even think about that, you’ve got your first paper in Legal Writing due on Thursday at midnight and a presentation in Contracts due Friday. This week has been hard! Roll the dice to see how you did.
1, 4: You had your paper done last week, so you’ve edited this week and turned it in early so you’d have time to work on your presentation on the elements of Contracts. Do a 10 minute word war to do your presentation.
2, 5: Oh come on, you’ve always been a procrastinator, law school isn’t going to change that. You bust your butt W and Th night and get the paper done, then you stay up late working on your presentation on the Statue of Frauds. Do a 15 minute word war to chug coffee and stay awake during your presentation. If you get under 700 words, take a nap before the Halloween party tonight and sprint to the nearest 500th word.
3, 6: You got your presentation on defenses to contract enforcement done last weekend because it’s way easier than this stupid paper. You don’t even know what they’re looking for since it’s the first one. Work on it until the last minute before midnight and do a 20 minute word war to quickly edit it and make sure it at least makes sense before you turn it in.
The work is done and it’s time to party! The law school, med school and business school rent out the top floor of a downtown dance club every Halloween and all the older students tell you it’s the best trashy party of the year. Usually the class implodes, the drama in the cliques explodes, people hook up, couples break up, and last year someone feel out a window, broke his leg and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.
It sounds awesome! What do you go as?
Something sexy, it’s Halloween after all, hellooooo slut rule. 🙂
Something scary, you go all out with the makeup, fake blood and prosthetics. If you don’t make at least one drunk person scream in terror, you haven’t done your job right.
Your favorite Disney character as a group costume with friends. Halloween is a time for childhood dreams to come to life and you make such a pretty princess.
If you picked sexy, you’re a German beer girl. You run into the cute foreign guy again and find out he lost your number. He would’ve found you on Facebook if you’d thought to give him your last name. He buys you a drink and you two dance. Roll the dice to find out how many shots you end up doing with him, multiple it by 5. Do a word war for that many minutes. Now switch to water. We all know how slutty you get when you’ve had a few.
If you picked scary, you’re a zombie. Roll the dice to find out how many drunk guys you make scream. Times that by 100 and sprint to that many words. You run into the cute foreign guy and he loves your costume. You’d take him up on that drink but you can’t really drink through your makeup, so you guys make a date for tomorrow and have fun scaring the drunk people all night. Do a 5 minute word war to apologize when one of them hurts himself by running into the stage trying to get away from you.
If you picked the Disney group costume, you and your friends win the best group costume contest and you get free drinks for the night! You obviously can’t drink that much so you get them and share them with your friends, including your foreign friend, who can really put away the beer. You get caught trying to game the system and the bar cuts you off. Do a 15 minute word war to sweet talk some water out of them.
You are going on your first law school date with the cutie foreign guy. Sprint to the nearest 1000th word to get ready.
What do you do on your date? The classic dinner and a movie. Playing mini golf and hitting a live concert in the park with a picnic. Going to the museum then back to his place to continue your talk about the business ramifications of certain contract law decisions over port.
If you pick the dinner and movie, do a 5 minute word war while you chat about the movie and have a great good night kiss.
If you pick the outdoorsy activities, do a 15 minute word war as you shiver because it’s cooler than you thought it would be when the sun sets and your date gives you his jacket and snuggles you to keep you warm.
If you pick museum and port, you make out on his couch and get yourself home before you do something you’ll have to pretend to regret. Do a 10 minute word war to find your shoes and kiss a little more before you leave.
# # #
Finals time is drawing near and it’s time to start cracking down on the studying. You need to make your outlines of your notes for your classes, but you’ve got another paper in Legal Writing due. Do a 10 minute word war to find out how you did.
Over 750 words, you get an A! You’re a rock star and you know it.
350 – 750 words, you get a B. Very respectable. You should be proud. You want to do a little more studying for finals though since most classes are essays and you need to work on your writing, so you do a 5 minute word war to get a jump on outlining.
Under 350 words. You got a C. Hey, you were focused on other things and frankly you hate legal writing. It’s boring. You’d much rather get a jump on your classes that are worth more than 1 stupid little credit. You do a 5 minute word war to work on your outlining.
If you picked Headnotes at the beginning, it’s time for the winter concert! Roll the dice to find out what Christmas songs you’re doing.
1, 6: Classics only, the Musical Director will have none of that pop stuff. Sprint for 300 words.
2, 5: All the “classic” pop versions of songs like Amy Grant and Madonna. Sprint to the closest 500th word.
3, 4: Only the new stuff. Nobody wants to listen to old, tired crap from yon olden times. Do a 5 minute word war.
If you picked soccer club, you’ve got your last game of the season and you need to win! Future lawyers are competitive and the winners of this game will have bragging rights for 2 months until the next season starts. War for 5 minutes.
If you write at least 300 words, your team won! If not, you lost, but you all had a ton of fun this season.
If you picked the Spanish club, you all chat about your outlines in Spanish and you sprint to the nearest 1000th word to look up some of the legal terms in Spanish on your phone.
It’s the last week of classes before finals start and everyone is starting to feel the stress of organizing all the info from this semester into outlines and keep everything straight, but you still have to keep up with your classes and your Civ Pro professor hasn’t gotten any easier. He does come up with pretty funny sayings people have been quoting all semester like “Put on a veneer of sophistication,” though, and he’s definitely taught you a lot this semester.
Do a 10 minute word war to get into a debate with a classmate about getting a continuance in a lawsuit so you can accommodate a last minute witness that’d make your case if you could convince the judge to give you the continuance.
If you get at least 600 words, the professor thinks you made a great point and compliments you in front of everyone. Wow, that’s a first!
If you get 400 – 600 words, the professor says you both made good points but you need to move on.
If you get under 400 words, the professor takes your classmate’s side and starts pounding you with questions about what you’d do with the jury if you asked for a continuance. And apparently you can’t just send them home until you’re ready for trial again, who knew?
Your first final is Criminal Law. You’ve had a pretty good handle on this class all semester so you’re not too worried, but obviously you still study. Do a 5 minute word war to take the test.
You take the afternoon after the test off to see your boyfriend and you go over your Contracts notes together since he’s in a business contracts class. You find explaining the legal concepts to him really helps you grasp them yourself. You get to study with your boyfriend and it’s actually helping! This is great.
Do a 15 minute word war to go through all your Contracts notes with him and make sure you’ve both got it down.
The Contracts final is over and your next final isn’t until Monday, but you still need to study a ton because Con Law and Civ Pro are by far your hardest classes. Con Law is a lot of theory buried in really long cases and Civ Pro is a ton of technical details and you know the professor isn’t going to go easy on you because the practice tests he handed out have been practically impossible.
You tell your boyfriend you’ll see him next Friday, buy the E and E study guides for Civ Pro and Con Law and stock up on candy since sugar helps you study.
Park your butt at the library and read through the Con Law E and E, using it to supplement your outline, but this thing’s huge. Write 1000 words to get through the entire E and E.
If it takes you less than 15 minutes, you are done with the E and E in a day and you move on to making charts and flashcards. You are ready for this test.
If it takes you less than 25 minutes, it takes you two days to read through the E and E and you’re feeling a little stressed but it’s okay, you still have time. You put in a 12 hour day the next day to get all the charts and such done before the test tomorrow. War for 5 minutes to put in the long day.
If it takes you over 25 minutes, you’re well into your third day of study before you’re done with the E and E and you are running out of time. Do a 15 minute word war to stay up late studying.
Con Law’s done. You think you did well on the multiple choice, and the essays were okay, but all that theory gets confusing. You really don’t know how you did but you can’t worry about that now because the great white whale of your first semester is here.
The Civ Pro final is coming up and you need to just cram. Put your best studying music on your i-Pod and sprint through the first 5 songs of it to get through your E and E and make your charts.
You still have a day to study so you take your outlines and do the practice exams in a study group with your friends. These things are hard though. This is the first test you are glad is graded on a curve because you’re pretty sure everyone’s going to bomb it.
Sprint to the nearest 1000th word to do the practice tests with your friends.
Finals are over and it’s drinkin’ time! You meet up with your friends and you your boyfriend at the corner bar and toast the end of your first law school finals. You survived! Do some shots. Roll the dice. Take your number and multiply by 100. Sprint to that nearest number (like if you get a 5, you sprint to the nearest 500th.)
You go home for Christmas and hang with your family, take a break because you know what’s coming next is going to be difficult.
Grades have started coming out. Do two 5 minute word wars to find out your first two grades.
The first war is for Criminal Law and the second is for Contracts.
Over 300 words is an A.
150 – 300 words puts you in the Bs.
Under 150 is a C.
Now do a 10 minute word war to find out the grade for Con Law.
Over 500 words is an A.
250 – 500 is a B.
Under 250 is a C.
Annnnnnd of course the big one is the last one to come out. Civ Pro doesn’t show up until the Spring semester is about to start and you’re going nuts not knowing. Sprint to the nearest 500th word to burn off some nervous energy.
Do a 20 minute word war to get that last grade.
Over 1000 words is an A. You are amazing! After that first week of class you were sure you’d get a D or something.
500 – 1000 words is a B. That’s still great for such a hard class. You’ll take it!
250 – 500 words is a C. Ouch!
Under 250 is a D. You didn’t even know they gave Ds in law school. After that, you’re going to have to retake Civ Pro. Do another 20 minute word war to retake the class with an easier professor next year and use that one to find out your grade.
You’ve reached the end of the crawl. You survived your first semester of law school. Congrats! Now you just have to do that 5 more times and take the bar exam and you’ll be a lawyer. Huh, why did you do this again? Maybe it’s time for another drink 😉