Friday, February 23, 2007

First Lesson I Learned in Law School

Today at lunch, the boys and I had margaritas and shared law school stories. This was mine.

It was in Civil Procedure during my second week of law school. Class had just started and I lifted the tab to open my Diet Coke. It sounded like a cannon shot in the otherwise quiet classroom. The professor glared at me but continued his lecture.

Then came time for recitation. In recitation, a student is called on to state the facts, the procedural history, the issue before the court, and the reasoning behind the court's holding on one of the cases assigned for class. This is sometimes known as "leading the helpless lamb to slaughter". At some point, the professor will begin pummeling the student with questions in an effort to bring out the more important aspects of the case.

This particular professor randomly called on students to stand and recite. It was the second week of law school. No one was comfortable reciting and we all tried to blend into the scenery when he was deciding on whom to call upon to recite.

For the first case, he called on the person sitting to my right.
For the second case, he called on the person sitting to my left.
For the third case, he called on the person sitting in front of me.
For the fourth and final case, he called on the person sitting behind me.

Then he called my name. I stood up on shaking legs, not knowing what to expect because there were no cases left. All he said was “Ms. Addict, I’d like to see you after class.”

After class, the professor just told me that he would appreciate it if I opened my soda before he began his lecture. The four people who were called on to recite because of my "Diet Coke incident" never let me forget about it. I was teased about it whenever I was spotted with a beverage in my hand, in class or out.

I didn’t realize it at the time but I got off very lucky. The professor could have thrown me out of his class. Or made me stand and recite during the entire class. Or he could have called on me to recite and then embarrassed and humiliated me to the point of wanting the ground to open up and swallow me. All of the above would happen to me at various times during my law school career. But I never again took a canned drink into the classroom.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Everyone Lies

I just read a post about patients who lie [it’s TrenchDoc, I’m just too lazy to link it]. Everyone lies. I lie. Witnesses, clients, bloggers, men, boyfriends, imaginary boyfriends, pretend boyfriends, ex-boyfriends (take it easy MA, they get the picture). They all lie. Why should patients be any different, even if it may kill them?

In law school, a professor once told us that everyone will lie to us, especially our clients (and not just the criminals). He said we would have to learn to ask the same question over and over, in different ways, so that we could learn what the truth actually was. Because no matter how bad the truth is, it is still better to hear it from your client alone in your office, rather than in a deposition, etc.

My question is: Is this something a doctor is taught in medical school, so they are prepared for patients who lie? Or is this something you learn on your own, through experience? And if it is taught in medical school, do med students immediately embrace the fact that all patients will lie to them? Or does it take awhile for them to accept this? Do you always go in assuming the patient will lie? Even the slightly nervous girl lawyer or the sweet Grandma sitting in your examining room?

Of course, I guess I shouldn't mind the reluctant truth-challenged client. I'll sit there all day listening to you dance around the truth, because my billing meter will be running every minute. And please, feel free to take that cell phone call during the middle of our meeting. I can always use the billable hours.

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Post From Work

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Junior Partner (“JP”) re: a research assignment. JP wants me to spend three hours gathering information on a certain medical condition. Now, the Firm doesn’t take any personal injury cases, so this could only mean one thing: JP’s teenage son has to write a research paper for English! (Umm, if anyone knows of any good articles on asthma, let me know. Especially if they contain cool pictures.)

For as long as I have been at the Firm, JP and I have been helping JP Jr. with his homework. Everything except math. JP had to hire a math tutor because we both suck at math.

When I first read JP’s e-mail, I had this brief moment of panic. Why does he want me to research a medical condition? Does he secretly monitor my Internet activity? Does he know about the medblog addiction? Can he read the e-mails I send/receive on my Yahoo mail account? [Please – no comments on whether the e-mail thing is possible. I don’t want to know the answer. I would rather live in ignorant bliss.]

In a (now deleted) post last week, I questioned whether I should continue to keep the medblog thing a secret. Really, I questioned whether I should continue to blog at all. I thought the strain of hiding my secret life as Medblog Addict was getting to me. Obviously, I chose to continue. At least for now. And I will continue to keep my identity as Medblog Addict a secret. I think I have to because I seem to remember writing a post wherein I revealed that (1) Boyfriend is an old fart trial attorney; and (2) I hated every pompous, tiny prick, rat bastard attorney that I worked with.

Right now, I have a research project to do. I have to finish it by 3:00 or else Dad won’t let me go to the big dance on Saturday night.