Sunday, June 27, 2010


Wow, two full weeks without posting - you'd think I didn't love you guys or something! In fact, I love you so much that I'm using what little battery I have left after leaving my laptop charger at work over the weekend (I know, I'm an idiot) to write this post.
To be frank, though, I'm not sure what I have to add to the things I've already written about work and life in Austin. Things at both offices are going smoothly. After working full-time for a few days at one (because the other hadn't started yet) and then nearly two weeks at the other (because of a death in the family of my boss at the first) I'm just now hitting a rhythm with splitting my time between the two.

It is a little awkward paring down my portfolio at both places to reflect my part-time schedule, since I got my hands in so many interesting things when I was there every day. For instance, a client I've been interviewing for legal aid finally got her eviction notice on Friday, with a court date set for next Wednesday. But I won't be back at the office until next Tuesday, so I may miss most of the preparation for a case I've been pretty involved with until now.

I think my boss actually wants a postponement for other reasons, so it may all work out, and even if I had to bow out of this case it'd be okay since there are so many other interesting ones. But that's an example of the funny consequences of splitting.

Fortunately, the benefits far outweigh the costs. It's almost bizarre how well my work at these places dovetails - like when, after a week talking about how immigrants should create powers of attorney for their relatives in case of deportation at one job, I wound up drafting (albeit for completely different purposes) a power of attorney at the other. Most of all, being involved in poverty law both on the ground and at the policy level is suiting me so well that I worry about having to choose one or the other after graduation.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to take full advantage of Austin in summertime with lots of time by the water and warm nights outside with drinks and friends. Tomorrow evening I may be hammering out a work trade arrangement with my yoga studio to help squeeze more classes into my tiny student budget. And Russell will be here to visit in less than three weeks, thank goodness.

I think that's all the news that's fit to print, but I'll try to be more diligent with the updates from now on. Take care, dear readers, and thanks for listening.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Read my list

As usual when I get a break from law school, I have been tearing through every piece of literature I can get my hands on lately. Having just finished another great book, and realizing I could recommend everything I've read so far this summer to one type of person or another, I thought I should probably try to make all this benefit other people. Then the outrageous mounting page count will seem less crazy, right?
So here are my summer picks, beach books every one:

Jane Eyre, 1847, by Charlotte Brontë
I'll probably be nursing this one all summer, disappointed that it isn't the same page-turner I remember reading as a kid, but still happy to pick it up between other books. The "red room" scene, harsh boarding school, and troubled Rochester family are haunting icons everyone should discover if they haven't yet.

The Little Stranger, 2009, by Sarah Waters
This author is famous for setting racy lesbian romances in the Victorian age, but departs here with a thriller set in postwar England. It's partly a good old-fashioned ghost story, partly unique for its reluctance to come down on the side of either haunting or hysteria, with plenty to say about things more important than either.

The Terror, 2007, by Dan Simmons
Also scary and another departure for an author, in this case a suspense novelist writing historical fiction. Explorers on a doomed Arctic mission meet with something much worse than frostbite. Their losing battle lasts 766 unrelenting pages - not everyone's cup of tea, but great if you want to feel 10 degrees cooler than the people in the pool you're reading beside.

The Devil in the White City, 2003, by Erik Larson
Are history and violence the themes this summer, or what? This non-fiction book, which reads like the most readable of novels, tells how the 1893 World's Fair and America's first serial killer hit Chicago at the same time. Esquire says it best: "So good, you find yourself asking how you could not know this already."

Daughter of Fortune, 1999, by Isabel Allende
I couldn't get through House of the Spirits in high school, but Allende had me hooked with this one. I recommend it to fans of The Shadow of the Wind, which it resembles a lot, except that the setting is Chile and San Francisco and the main character female.

I'll try to do this again for the next half-dozen books I inevitably go through. In the meantime, enjoy!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hardly working

I've been waiting to post about my internships until I logged some time at both, which took a while because the second one started a week later than the first, after I got back from a long weekend in Florida. It was a great trip:

But even more exciting is the way my summer work is panning out. The two places I'm interning couldn't be more different, but I'm eating them both right up.

The first one, for instance, is a policy organization working to open financial institutions to immigrants and the poor. I share two rooms of a lovely downtown suite with one other intern and a fabulous female boss whose positivity, intellect, and rolodex are best described as superhuman. Her overriding concern is to provide me with a good experience (imagine that) so the four or five projects I've got going on any given day are varied, creative, and chosen to match my interests. And lunch dates with all manner of good Austin contacts are already in the works.

At the other place, a direct legal services office, I get a nice mix of legal research and client contact with reassuringly close supervision by a really acclaimed housing lawyer. If his sheer kinetic energy wasn't enough to keep me busy, working in a large bullpen with ten or so other interns would be. It's great to meet law students from all over, hear about their schools and projects with different teams around the office, and always have someone to commiserate about sad client stories or unproductive phone calls.

Were it not for getting up at the same time each day and having to drive at rush hour, this would barely feel like work at all. It's Saturday evening now, about mid-way through the weekend, and I'm actually a little bored. Looking forward to eight more weeks like this, I hope all you readers out there have the good luck to feel the same way.