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March 13, 2009: Money for Nothing, Books for a Fee

Seth Victor

March 13, 2009

Money for Nothing, Books for a Fee

I’m leaving for Brazil in a few weeks. The trip is going to be quite an experience, one that I realize many people do not get to enjoy. I am excited, but I will reserve talking about it until I actually get there and back. Assuming I get back. Apparently there are parts of Rio de Janeiro where it is somewhat dangerous for a tall, shaggy, pale skinned American to be walking. Oh, and there is that issue with the language, which eludes me, save for a few key (read: useless) expressions. Did I mention I’m excited?

Though I have no reason to distrust the repeated assurances from the dedicated Pace Law School faculty, should I indeed meet my demise in a piranha-filled river, or perish fighting it out in a concrete street Fútbol tournament in the favelas, I feel I should take the time to get one more blog in. Yes, you read correctly. One of my potential last acts as a living soul on this earth is to write for the Pace Law School student blog. I am just that dedicated. I am also at Ed Media right now, and since it is a Friday morning, I have some down time. I could be working on my homework for next week, which is not as unattractive an option as it sounds; Intellectual Property and Education Law are both incredibly engaging (largely due to Prof. Anderson and Prof. Waldman, respectively). Really, if you come here, take those courses, and thank me later. Still, it’s a Friday, and some basic habits developed way back in middle school make homework on a Friday afternoon a near impossibility. I could work on my paper for Prof. Cassuto, in which I am comparing the laws (or lack of laws) that control factory farming in the United States and in Brazil, and what we can do to alleviate the environmental disaster that those industries are causing. Again, it’s interesting, but the Friday rule still applies. No, better to sit here, plugging in the odd word on my laptop, jamming to some Jet (I challenge you to name current musicians with classic rock sensibilities who sound like they are having more fun in the studio). 

A quick word on working while in law school: It’s doable, and for some, it’s essential. For me, it was about getting spending money. I was offered a job, quite by happenstance, in my first week of 1L year. Not knowing if I could handle work and school at once, I took a chance and plunged in. Okay, so I dipped my toe, and only worked 10 hours a week first semester. It went well, and I upped my hours to the maximum 20 a week that full-time students can work. Granted, my situation is different than what many of my peers have. I work at University Ed Media, which is on campus, and also has some of the aforementioned downtime. I also live in the residence hall, and while that does mean that my workweek world is condensed into about three acres, I can get from class to home to work in under a minute. Now, for minimum inconvenience, I have enough money for groceries each month.

Others do not have as fortunate commutes, but they do get to do some pretty awesome things. My friends at the Environmental Clinic are fully submerged in the legal process, from drafting documents to assisting in litigation for real clients. One of my other friends is working with the DA’s office, and gets to make motions and try to set bails before judges. Other students have full-time jobs and are evening students. Still others are full-time students, but they pick up non-legal jobs to pay the bills. The point is, no matter what you need to do to get by in law school, be in learning outside of the classroom or working to simply make ends meet, it has already been done by someone, and is entirely possible.

I mention work because I understand the difficulty of trying to make ends meet when you have dedicated so much of your life to a paper chase. It’s hard enough paying the bills, let alone saving to do anything fun or exciting. Of course, you could just save all the pennies you find, put them in a jar, and hope that it is enough to get you to a Brazilian airport (hint: you will need a big jar). You can then take your mastery of the language and set off for a comparative law experience like no other. I’ll let you know how it all goes. For now, you’ll have to excuse me; my down time is up, and minhas calças estão na biblioteca.

Seth Victor

3L Day (Class of 2009)

Environmental LawInternational Law, and Land Use Law

Lopatcong, New Jersey, USA

Undergraduate degree:
BA cum laude in History, and English Language and Literature from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF), Public Interest Law Scholarship Organization (PILSO), Environmental Law Society (ELS), and RA in DannatHall