After three years of law school, three months of studying for the bar exam, two and a half months of waiting for the bar results, and then two more months of waiting, I am finally a lawyer. Delaware Attorney #4576 to be exact. The ceremony was very nice and more interactive than I had expected. Larry got to stand in front of the Supreme Court Justices and say that it was his pleasure to move my admission to the bar of this great State of Delaware. And the Justices accepted my admission and welcomed me to the Bar. To which I responded with a "Thank you, your honor" that was a long time in the making. I'm nervous of course, but really looking forward to getting some experience under my belt.
Also, I know that I've really slacked off on the blog entries about my clerkship, but the truth is that after I got started writing I found that I didn't have too many interesting things to say on the subject. So, here are a few insights I picked up along the way:
- If you are going to appeal a case to the Delaware Supreme Court, make sure that you have a really good argument.
- If you wear a suit anywhere near the New Castle County Courthouse, be prepared to be stopped and asked, "Are you a lawyer?"
- It is really hard to find a civil trial in Court of Common Pleas. Here's a hint for anyone still working on their checklist: The Supreme Court has one on tape.
- If you are just going to a Sheriff sale just to watch, don't bring your checkbook. Or your ATM card.
- There's not much to learn by simply watching a jury selection happen. Most of the lawyer's whisper amongst themselves and the judge turns on a white noise machine when talking to potential jurors. Also, it seems like most people really don't want to serve on a jury. I didn't really understand this mentality for short trials. I wouldn't want to sit in the jury box for a week, let alone six months, but I would love to be called for jury duty for a few days.
- When going to a hearing in Chancery Court, leave your cell phone, laptop, pager, etc. in the car. It's easier than having to surrender your electronics to the bailiff.
- Federal District Court is really quiet and the courtrooms are huge.
- An uncontested divorce hearing only takes about five minutes. I think that this suprises a lot of pro se litigants. Quick story: One of the cases that I sat in on was a woman who had been seperated from her husband for seventeen years without getting a divorce. After the initial questions, the judge asked, "Do you know your husband's address?" The woman responded, "Nope." The judge asked, "Do you know your husband's social security number?" The woman again responded, "Nope." The judge then asked, "When was the last time that you spoke to your husband?" To which the woman responded, "About sixteen years ago." The judge then granted the divorce. The woman, visibly elated, looked at me as she exited the courtroom and excitedly whispered, "YES!!" I wonder if she had known that the hearing would be so easy, if she had just gotten it over with in 1987.