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Messages - Bobnoxious

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Greetings, dear reader!  I understand you have probably already read with intense and honest interest a thousand or more personal statements during this admissions cycle.  Because of my immense empathy and benevolent desire to make your job as enjoyable and interesting as possible, I will endeavor to keep you amused and at least moderately invested in this personal statement while touting my grandiose dreams and exhorting you with tales of my past.  While I am sure many of the things I share in this statement may appear trite and well-worn, I shall attempt to make the reading as painless as possible by being exceedingly plainspoken and straightforward.

The fires of my dedication to my lifelong goal have done nothing but grow over the years and have never burned as brightly as they do now. As I have aged, my motives have matured as well. What were once the wishes of a brash youngster and then a young, hard-working family man have matured and been tempered into a burning need to help make the world a better place. I want to advocate for changes in public education, the juvenile court system and the public defender’s office. In addition to the advocacy work I want to do, because of my work experiences I also want to help make the courts more accessible to those who see them, rightly or wrongly, as inaccessible due to cost, complexity, or a misunderstanding of the law. My experience tends to support the idea that these beliefs are widely held by most small business owners and low-income consumers, some of the people who need the courts most.
 
The twenty-five plus year transition from being merely an argumentative teenager to the mellower person that I am today began with my first real career in the rent-to-own industry.  The target demographic is generally made up of those who have the least money and education.  This makes it relatively easy to rent a $500 piece of electronics over a long period of time for a net gain of over $1,000 with the knowledge that at some point late in the rental agreement it would be in the company’s best interest to repossess the item due to a late payment and start the rental process all over again.  The end of that career path occurred after telling a crying woman that I needed to come by and pick up her refrigerator since she had defaulted on the agreement.  When I arrived the customer refused to open the door and put a .38 revolver into the hands of a child, who appeared to be no more than seven or eight years old, and told him to “point this at the rental man outside the window.”   It was time for me to move on.
 
From there I went into insurance sales.  What I did not realize at the time is there are at least two types of insurance.  There is the normal, everyday insurance we see and hear about on the television and radio, and there is the cash-fee insurance we do not hear about but which is peddled door-to-door through some of the poorest neighborhoods, and is designed to target those with fixed incomes.  I quit that job after three long, emotionally draining months when a couple in the poorest section of Memphis broke down in tears while I was collecting their premium and literally begged me to do something about the drug dealers and violence across the street.  They told me they knew I could get something done because I was white and the cops listen to white men.
 
After this I went into the family business for a short time doing commercial cleaning and disaster restoration work, but left shortly thereafter to do an eight year stint as an over-the-road truck driver.  As a trucker I was witness to just how abused many of the drivers are by their dispatchers.  Dispatchers have a lot of power.  Drivers who actually try to follow the Department of Transportation safety rules and voice their concerns to dispatchers are often subject to retaliation by way of reduced mileage, extended layover periods, and other tools the dispatchers have at their disposal to show their displeasure toward a driver they view as a “troublemaker.”  I eventually returned to the family business.  It was safe, did not have me feeling like a thief who preyed on the vulnerable, and it was comfortable.  For years I did not have to think about what I had experienced in those earlier jobs, and I did not want to.  But even while working for the family business I saw how landlords take advantage of the ignorance of both their vendors and tenants, and I saw how insurance adjusters bend or break the rules and fail to fully indemnify the insured and merely seek to keep them content with how a property loss is handled.
 
Over the years, I have had to do a lot of explaining to my children, who are now grown, about how the world works and why it works the way it does.  The more I heard the words I had spoken in my youth coming from them, “But that’s wrong.  It’s not fair.  Why don’t people do something about it,” the more I realized I HAD to at least try.  So I decided to go back to school to become a lawyer.  The summer before I began school I decided to begin what some may view as my quixotic adventure into world improvement in earnest.  I volunteered as a court appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children (CASA).  The things I witnessed during those months simply cemented my desires and the conviction that I was taking the right path.  I am on a journey of hope. I hope to learn enough of the right things to help me make changes that will make the world we live in better for everyone, but mostly for my children, their friends, those like them, and their children on down the line.  I have come to the conclusion that to not do something like this is a dereliction of duty, and it is a duty I think we all have.  I came to the table a little late in life, but I am here now, I have anted up, and I intend to win a fair share of the hands.  Now, please deal the cards.  Surely this gamble will be far more interesting than my overhyped personal statement was.

2
A lifelong goal of mine has been to practice law.  I am sure that is the most unusual and inventive opening sentence you have ever seen in a personal statement (and I deduce this observation is just as unusual).  If this attempt at humor failed, please forgive me.  At least it was in better taste than the knock-knock joke told by defense counsel during the George Zimmerman trial.  While I am sure many of the things I will share in this statement will appear trite and well-worn, I will attempt to make it as painless as possible by being plainspoken and straightforward.

The fires of my dedication to my lifelong goal have done nothing but grow over the years and have never burned as brightly as they do now. As I have aged, my motives have matured as well. What were once the wishes of a brash youngster and then a young, hard-working family man have matured and been tempered into a burning need to help make the world a better place. I want to advocate for changes in public education, the juvenile court system and the public defender’s office. In addition to the advocacy work I want to do, because of my work experiences I also want to help make the courts more accessible to those who see them, rightly or wrongly, as inaccessible due to cost, complexity, or a misunderstanding of the law. My experience tends to support the idea that these beliefs are widely held by most small business owners and low-income consumers, some of the people who need the courts most.
 
The transition from being merely argumentative to the mellower person that I am today began with my first real career in the rent-to-own industry.  The target demographic is generally made up of those who have the least money and education.  This makes it relatively easy to rent a $500 piece of electronics over a long period of time for a net gain of over $1,000 with the knowledge that at some point late in the rental agreement it would be in the company’s best interest to repossess the item due to a late payment and start the rental process all over again.  The end of that career path occurred after telling a crying woman that I needed to come by and pick up her refrigerator since she had defaulted on the agreement.  When I arrived the customer refused to open the door and put a .38 revolver into the hands of a child, who appeared to be no more than seven or eight years old, and told him to “point this at the rental man outside the window.”   It was time for me to move on.
 
From there I went into insurance sales.  What I did not realize at the time is there are at least two types of insurance.  There is the normal, everyday insurance we see and hear about on the television and radio, and there is the cash-fee insurance we do not hear about but which is peddled door-to-door through some of the poorest neighborhoods, and is designed to target those with fixed incomes.  I quit that job after three long, emotionally draining months when a couple in the poorest section of Memphis broke down in tears while I was collecting their premium and literally begged me to do something about the drug dealers and violence across the street.  They told me they knew I could get something done because I was white and the cops listen to white men.
 
After this I went into the family business for a short time doing commercial cleaning and disaster restoration work, but left shortly thereafter to do an eight year stint as an over-the-road truck driver.  As a trucker I was witness to just how abused many of the drivers are by their dispatchers.  Dispatchers have a lot of power.  Drivers who actually try to follow the Department of Transportation safety rules and voice their concerns to dispatchers are often subject to retaliation by way of reduced mileage, extended layover periods, and other tools the dispatchers have at their disposal to show their displeasure toward a driver they view as a “troublemaker.”  I eventually returned to the family business.  It was safe, did not have me feeling like a thief who preyed on the vulnerable, and it was comfortable.  For years I did not have to think about what I had experienced in those earlier jobs, and I did not want to.  But even while working for the family business I saw how landlords take advantage of the ignorance of both their vendors and tenants, and I saw how insurance adjusters bend or break the rules and fail to fully indemnify the insured and merely seek to keep them content with how a property loss is handled.
 
Over the years, I have had to do a lot of explaining to my children, who are now grown, about how the world works and why it works the way it does.  The more I heard the words I had spoken in my youth coming from them, “But that’s wrong.  It’s not fair.  Why don’t people do something about it,” the more I realized I HAD to at least try.  So I decided to go back to school to become a lawyer.  The summer before I began school I decided to begin what some may view as my quixotic adventure into world improvement in earnest.  I volunteered as a court appointed special advocate for abused and neglected children (CASA).  The things I witnessed during those months simply cemented my desires and the conviction that I was taking the right path.  I am on a journey of hope. I hope to learn enough of the right things to help me make changes that will make the world we live in better for everyone, but mostly for my children, their friends, those like them, and their children on down the line.  I have come to the conclusion that to not do something like this is a dereliction of duty, and it is a duty I think we all have.  I came to the table a little late in life, but I am here now, I have anted up, and I intend to win a fair share of the hands.  Now, please deal the cards.

3
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Decisions-Decisions...<grumble>
« on: January 21, 2013, 11:52:31 PM »
Thanks for the thoughtful reply.  My gpa will be approximately 3.80 when I graduate and my cold LSAT diagnostic last week was a 153.  I'll have all the PowerScore books in by the end of the week and I signed up for a 4-5 week long PowerScore course that begins in April for the June test.  I'm confident that I can get up to the 162-164 mark just by learning the tricks to the darned logic games and getting more familiar with the types of LR questions.  Time will tell, though of course the goal is substantially higher than what I believe I can surely get with some hard, focused work.  Looks like it's gonna be Memphis even though it isn't even ranked.  However, after doing some web surfing and talking to some acquaintances, the law school at Memphis is thought of very highly in this market.  Again, thanks.

4
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Decisions-Decisions...<grumble>
« on: January 21, 2013, 03:11:32 PM »
That answered that question...I'm going cheap!  Thank you all!

5
Thanks for the replies:  I'm almost 100% sure I'll go to Memphis since I really don't want to leave my support network behind.  Skype just isn't the same as seeing family and friends.  Besides, I have a horrible time trying to sleep without the redheaded goddess next to me.

Re: practice areas

jonlevy, that's exactly what I have first and foremost as a plan right now, depending on how much of a mentor network I can build prior to graduation (social security, disability, and workers comp).  In addition to those areas I'll be using the business contacts I have across the state to do B2B collections work and insurance recovery on catastrophic property losses (water damage/fire damage). 

6
Where should I go next fall? / Decisions-Decisions...<grumble>
« on: January 20, 2013, 12:22:49 AM »
I'm 46 years old. I'm in Memphis.

I can get into Memphis and not add a lot of debt over the 3 years; maybe an extra $35k over my undergrad loans. I can do this with minimal, if any, LSAT prep (but I *WILL* be studying and prepping).  Cold diagnostic (online) was 153 and I went -14 on logic games, -5 & -10 on LR, and -8 on RC.

I can bust my ass for 4-5 months and hypothetically/maybe score a 165-170 (maybe even a little higher), and combined with my projected gpa of 3.8 get some decent scholarship and with living expenses maybe be out an extra $75k over my undergrad loans.

When I graduate I'll be 51 years old. At this age does rank even matter considering how firms will likely ding me for being an old fart?

7
I'm 46 years old. I'm in Memphis.

I can get into Memphis and not add a lot of debt over the 3 years; maybe an extra $35k over my undergrad loans. I can do this with minimal, if any, LSAT prep (but I *WILL* be studying and prepping).  Cold diagnostic (online) was 153 and I went -14 on logic games, -5 & -10 on LR, and -8 on RC. 

I can bust my ass for 4-5 months and hypothetically/maybe score a 165-170 (maybe even a little higher), and combined with my projected gpa of 3.8 get some decent scholarship and with living expenses maybe be out an extra $75k over my undergrad loans.

When I graduate I'll be 51 years old. At this age does rank even matter considering how firms will likely ding me for being an old fart?

8
I have no idea what the market rate is, or what it will bear in Podunk, USA.  He's in a county with a population of about 20k and in a city with less than 1k population; far northeast Iowa; Calmar.

I've done some number crunching for here in Memphis, and I'm not too far off from where your numbers are...about 10% difference, but I also threw in some projections for appointed work as a guardian ad litem.  I'm a volunteer court appointed special advocate, so I'm getting to know all the people at CASA, CPS, DCS, and the juvenile courts, which can't hurt any.  Combine that with my contacts in the disaster restoration industry (more than a few storm-chasers), and the vast number of unrepresented unsecured creditors providing service to the multi-family housing market, and I should be good to go...once I learn the actual processes, that is. 

Thanks for the reply.

9
Thanks for the replies.  You are both very encouraging.  I happened across a blog about an hour ago being done by someone who I really empathize with (regardless of the age difference) and has hung out their shingle.  My eyes actually got a little wet while reading it. 

http://hangshingles.wordpress.com/

I'm pretty sure I'll be up and running much faster than this person with the contacts I already have, but *WOW* -

I already consider myself lucky that I've got a LOT of friends and family who are behind me 100%, and I'm going to need that support network for the long haul.

10
I could use some guidance in two areas, please.

First, a little about me. I'm a 45 year old undergraduate who has worked in a family carpet cleaning business for the past 20+ years, with no insurance, living week to week on about $32k year (yeah, I've always been a working class stiff). I always wanted to practice law whether it was arguing a civil case, a criminal case, or even help small business owners collect on their accounts receivables, so I took the plunge back into college about 3 years ago. I am currently on track to graduate next year with a high grade point average (3.7+) with a double major in Political Science & Philosophy, and am averaging about 160 on practice LSATS. By the time I'm done with the undergraduate and law degrees, even at a local state school (large metro), I'll be about $100k in debt. However, I fully intend to hang a shingle and start doing collections work for small mom & pop companies across the state who service the multi-family housing (apartment) market for property investment and management firms, as unsecured creditors. I know our small company generates an easy $15k annually for our current attorney and we're small potatoes in a market saturated with small potatoes who need the collections assistance.

Second, I'm confident I'll get admitted to law school but want to maximize my ability to be able to do a few things immediately upon graduation/passing the Bar exam.
1 - Be competent to serve as prosecutor or public defender if the debt load proves too much and I need to serve 10 years in public interest to get out from under it.
2 - Be competent to hang a shingle for small business assistance (organization, contracts, collections)
3 - Be competent to hang a shingle for criminal defense (DUI, for example)
4 - Be competent to hang a shingle for civil litigation (insurance bad faith, for example)

Which brings me to where I need the help.

A - I need a reality check to know if what I'm looking to do is really worth it from a financial standpoint considering the current legal market and economy.

B - Looking at the course offering, I've tentatively selected the courses and semesters that *I THINK* will best serve my end goal of solo practice, and would like advice, comments, and criticisms of what I've selected. I list them below.

Thank you very much for any assistance and guidance.

Bob Huddleston

Year 1 Fall
Civil Procedure I
Property I
Torts I
Legal Methods I
Criminal Law

Year 1 Spring
Civil Procedure II
Property II
Torts II
Legal Methods II
Contracts
Constitutional Law

Year 2 Fall
Business Organizations I
Criminal Procedure I
Civil Procedure III
Trial Advocacy
Evidence

Year 2 Spring
Debtor – Creditor
Criminal Procedure II
Sales
Secured Transactions
Remedies
Professional Responsibility

Year 3 Fall
Criminal Justice Extern.
Civil Rights
Discovery
Legal Argument & Appellate Practice
Litigation Drafting
Administrative Law

Year 3 Spring
Conflicts
Insurance Law
Contract Drafting
General Sessions Litigation Clinic
State Civil Procedure Seminar.
Federal Courts

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