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March 3, 2010: Beware the Idleness of March

Seth Victor '09

March 3, 2010

Beware the Idleness of March

Often when a blogger has an extended period of inactivity, his next post is largely about how sorry he is that he has not posted more often. I will spare you the redundancy of such a post, but I will briefly say (1) I apologize for not posting in months, and (2) time moves so incredibly quickly in the real world, more so than I ever thought possible.

Of course my professors and parents have warned me for years that time is relative, and certainly no one needs to consult Einstein to confirm that phenomenon. I know that time has not really passed any more rapidly than it ever has. The difference this year is that there are no markers on the road. I longed for my winter break more than ever, and yet I had to note the winter months with Super Bowl Sunday and snow days. Now, somehow, it is March, and I’ve neglected to throw out any pearls of wisdom. Let me try to rectify that with some quick thoughts on how it is going on this side of the law degree.

Foremost and most importantly, I passed both the New Jersey and the Pennsylvania bar exams. This is extremely important for all of you 1Ls and future students to know. I made it a point to steadfastly avoid core bar courses just for the sake of taking bar courses in preparation for those damnable tests. I could not fathom the point of sacrificing the opportunity to take exciting classes about which I cared only to submit myself to year-long stress. I did what I wanted to do, made time to have fun and actually explore the parks around Westchester and the sites in Manhattan. Look at that. It all worked out. That isn’t to say that taking advanced civil procedure isn’t a good way to spend your time. Just make sure you are there for the right reasons.

Alas, having bar membership and half of a clerkship under your belt does not guarantee you a job. A job, for those who do not know, is a thing that give your slightly less means than you need to eat, sleep, and pay off your still way to high monthly loan repayments. On that note, may we have a moment of silence for my grace period, now long since passed? This time last year I had hardly a worry, having locked up a job in October. Now with six months to go, I still have time, but I have been trained by summer job fair experience to get anxious when things aren’t secured by April. “I work for a criminal judge and I am somewhat enthused about your firm! Hire me!” I say this, but I’m not nearly to a compromise point yet. I look at the offerings, and recoil at the several “commercial arbitration” openings. Where is that “get paid to learn about interesting things” job I’ve always wanted? Oh right. Professors.

As to the actual work side of my life, I’ve found the groove. I’ve grown a little colder towards the tragic cases I see. I’m not fully happy with that development, but it’s an occupational hazard that I hope to re-shed one day soon. I still enjoy the work, and I have not hit the wall that everyone warns is coming. As I’ve said before, this is still like a fourth year of law school, and knowing that I am changing to something else in September is at least good for my spirits. That said, I like the in-between position of a clerk, and would not be sad if this were a two-year contract. There are more moments of levity than there are times of distress and being overwhelmed. For example, today I wrote a bench brief for my judge on why a man who ran over a police officer because he believed the officer was a Free Mason out to inject him with HIV might not be competent to stand trial.

All in all, when it comes down to it, I’d still rather be in school, but the real world is better than I thought it would be. I’ll let you know when and if that naivety comes crashing down around me.

Seth Victor

Class of 2009, JD cum laude, Certificate in Environmental Law, Certificate in International 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