So, I’ve been busy, as if you didn’t know. All the travel and other work-related stuff has had me going pretty hard as of late. In fact, I now have a slight cold–arguably because I haven’t been taking care of myself quite as well as I ought to have. Of course, the repeated handshaking with a woman from the admissions office of California Western School of Law who self-admittedly had a cold herself probably didn’t help. But it’s rude to immediately go leaping for the hand sanitizer after a handshake and, well, I didn’t want them to think I was any more weird than I actually am. Even though I had a letter with the offer, I figured it was probably wise not to give them good reason to rescind it.
The offer? For those of you who don’t know, CWSL has offered me a scholarship to attend their school–a Trustees’ Scholarship which is a full ride, including a book stipend. Rounded, that’s about a $100K and, well, who wants to do something to screw up a $100K “gift?”
I guess that was sort of burying the lede, but this isn’t journalism so get over it.
From Thursday evening through Friday night, I was being wooed by the school in an attempt to get me, and the other scholars, to accept their offer. I have to say they did a hell of a job with the schmoozing.
We started with a cocktail event Thursday evening at a trendy bar in the Gaslamp district. Drinks with current Trustees’ Scholars, Admissions people, and the other offerees–introductions were made and basic information about the school and details about Friday’s events were given.
Friday began with a continental breakfast in the Faculty Lounge with some of the faculty. I had a long and interesting (in a good way) discussion with one of the professors–D. Smythe. From there we got a tour of the campus–which is a few buildings on the north end of downtown San Diego–led by one of the current students. Then we sat in on a class–Civil Procedure II, taught by Professor Barton.
I loved the class. The main topic of this day’s class was issue preclusion, and I was literally on the edge of my seat, leaning forward, to see more of the slides and hear better the lecture (I was seated on the side of the room, near the front, so my angle was poor). I’m pretty sure that makes me either mentally questionable or a perfect law school candidate, or arguably both.
After the class, we were taken to lunch at a nice restaurant downtown, where we got the chance to meet a couple of other students and the Dean, Steven Smith. By the time that was over, we had a couple of hours free during which I came home to report to Christopher, and call Dad. Then it was time to get ready for the final event: dinner at one of the trustee’s (and alumnus) home: Roy Bell. Mr. Bell is a named partner in a national firm and was recently named one of the most influential San Diegans.
Mr. Bell and his wife recently completed the three-year renovation…rebuilding, really…of their home. Located on the La Jolla cove, overlooking the ocean, the home was a (ahem) modest 12,000 square foot shingle “shack” with a guest house in front that is about the size of our house. In fact, if you go to googlemaps, their home’s location is still a blank lot.
There, during the cocktail hour, I spoke with several other faculty members, especially Professor Lynch who was charming, straight-forward, and very helpful. In that house, with the lovely art and amazing view, it was very easy to start to buy into the “if I go to law school, I could have this” mentality, but being an older potential student, I kept my head about me…mostly.
Later, at dinner under a large tent in front of the home, I was lucky enough to be seated at the same table as Mr. Bell as well as a former Federal Magistrate. It was terribly interesting to listen to the discussion, and participate, and then dinner was served–salad followed by halibut and filet mignon and then a chocolate mousse dessert that was fabulous. It was all fabulous. By the end of the evening, with location, the wine and good food, and the good company, well, I was sold.
Okay, I do want to make it clear that my decision is not based on the food or wine or opulence of an alum’s home. What has really sold me is that this school emphasizes collaboration and healthy competition. Instead of the unhealthy competition that so many law schools not only tolerate but encourage, it was wonderful to hear that at CWSL, it’s all about building relationships and encouraging excellence without the negative must-beat-others-to-succeed-yourself attitude. The school also offers so many other opportunities–they are very active in the California Innocence Project (using DNA, etc., to exonerate and free incarcerated innocent people), they have the Center for Creative Problem Solving to study and encourage alternative forms of dispute resolution, multiple study abroad programs and internship and externship opportunities; and they even offer additional free tutoring for required classes and other help so that they give their students the best chance of succeeding possible. I like that attitude.
So, though I haven’t signed on the proverbial dotted line yet, it looks like I’m going back to the books.
But I’m excited.