Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Oxford update & Legal Experience in NYC

Today was actually really interesting and definitely reconfirmed my decision to go into law. I’d been hesitating lately, unsure if I’d actually even enjoy myself, but I’m pleased to say today reconfirmed that!


This is a really crazy story, but I couch-surfed with a 27-year-old lawyer last year in Tallahassee when I was in Florida, and even though it was only for one night we got along really well. A few months a go I asked her for advice about the LSATs, and asked if she knew anybody who may be able to give me some work experience. She told me she had a friend who attended law school with her who had recently opened her own firm with her husband in NYC and gave me her e-mail to get in contact with her. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to receive the e-mail. Preet was lovely and more than happy to help and told me when I was in NY to message her and she’d see what she could do.

It turns out she had a huge case on with a deadline coming up against a large car manufacture, but instead of saying that I couldn’t do it, since she shares her floor with a load of other attorneys she asked them if any of them may have work I could do and they were more than happy to have me aboard.

Annoyingly, however, the office was in Queens and it took an hour and a half to get there, but I was greeted delightfully as Preet instantly took me out and treated me to breakfast. It was the best breakfast ever, two huge waffles with whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries and maple syrup. It was to die for! But I could only eat half of it and sadly the rest went to waste.

In the morning her husband Alex took me through a whole bunch of legal contracts explaining them to me. Firstly I looked at a contract between a man and a bank asking for a couple million to buy a property in NYC – we discussed what would happened if his company declared bankruptcy, or if he defaulted on his loans etc. Alex was really helpful and informative.  After we examined a pre-nuptial agreement as he had a client about to ring to inform him what he wanted included in it. How expensive they are to draw up never really occurred to me, but 100% I’d have one in place. You can also do them any time after your married, and are recommended to look over them 5 years into the marriage to see if anything has changed, especially if you have children.

Afterwards Alex invited me to attend his class with him. In the state of New York lawyers have to do 12 hours of classes a year in order to keep on top of their skills/ develop new ones, so Alex was going to a mock abate hearing in midtown Manhattan so I joined him.

While on the train Oxford e-mailed me - Basically I have been confused for the past week if I had 100% accepted. The History Department e-mailed me last week to say they were waiving my academic requirements, and that I’d been accepted. However, I replied to them saying my research supervisor for the year told me I wouldn’t hear anything back until the 19th July as that’s when the graduate admissions board meet to consider all those who failed to make the grade.  So, for a week the History department just didn’t reply and I didn’t know if they were just pulling my leg or what… But no, today they finally e-mailed me saying the graduate board had met and had decided due to strong support from my supervisor, and my high performance in relevant modules/ my dissertation, combined with my extenuating circumstances, they were more than happy to accept me. 

Honestly I still have two training contract applications that are due for review in the next two weeks, so there’s still a tiny chance I won’t attend Oxford, but otherwise I will be starting at St Anthony’s graduate only college in the second week of October. I find out this week if I have been allocated on-campus accommodation too, I really hope so because Oxford is just the most ridiculously over-priced city and I’m struggling to find many places for under £600 a month! Also if it’s on-campus, I receive a shorter rental period so I don’t have to pay for an entire 12 months when I only need for 9 months – and I can sub-let to other Oxford students during the holidays.

Anyway, we went to New York City Courts and it was an extremely interesting process to hear. I know it sounds silly because at the end of the day, it’s just housing court, but the attorneys did a great job and really made me think about how you phrase things, what is and isn’t admissible in court, and how to present a coherent argument that results in the highest percentage of abatement for your client – oh, and how to calculate that figure.

Once court was out at 5pm I went to the Marriott hotel to see Manzil again. I showered and just facetimed Harley for a bit before we headed out for dinner. We had been recommended a super cheap place called Turtle Bay (no, it’s not the same as the one in Leamington Spa), but when we got there it was an absolutely thumping student type bar. Though girls got in free and guys had to pay $5, it was still heavily male-orientated inside and we felt so out of place so went to a restaurant down the road for pizza and burger sliders before returning back to the bar for a few drinks.


The bartender was an asshole and Manzil had a flyer saying it was $4 for a wine, but he charged us $7 each, then when we gave him nearly $20 he just took all of it and didn’t bother giving us change! Errrm, a $7 tip for an asshole of a bartender? No. That’s ludicrous. But it was so packed in the place I couldn’t be bothered to argue as the music was so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think. Two guys sat down with us for a while but we soon got bored and decided to leave – you definitely needed to be wasted to enjoy the place, but at $1 a beer, it wasn’t exactly hard to get to that level had you wanted. We’ll just save it for the weekend where we can celebrate my Oxford offer and just party it up in the big apple!

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