Tag Archives: law school

Mock Trial Weekend

Hey – it’s Jillian but I changed my WordPress name to Author. Mysterious, huh? Hahaha

When I applied to law school, one of my goals in life was to first be a prosecutor and then eventually become a judge in the criminal law area. Life didn’t work out that way, first, because once I actually was in law school, I found that I didn’t want to prosecute but would rather be a criminal defense lawyer. I know that sounds odd but when I read some of these cases and found out about quite a lot of injustices, I decided that I could do more good helping individuals than being part of the prosecution- although the victim advocacy part of that appealed to me as well. Initially, I still wanted that judgeship.

As my career progressed, I was told by a number of people that I should definitely apply for a judgeship and I seriously thought about it a few times but I also found that I really didn’t want to let go of being a player in the courtroom. Judges do an awful lot of sitting and listening. They aren’t litigators and have to watch lawyers maybe getting it wrong and doing more harm than good for their clients. As time went on, I became more and more sure that being a state court criminal law judge wasn’t really for me. My practice eventually moved away from criminal defense and into other areas.

This past weekend, I was asked to be a judge for a regional (Ala, Fla, Ga, & Miss) mock trial competition at the local university. It was a great experience and I loved seeing the students present their case and argue the facts before me as the trier of fact. It was hard not to say anything when they didn’t quite get things right and boy, when they put the defendant on the stand, that really almost made me crazy (right against self-incrimination, anyone?) but I maintained my demeanor and didn’t go into orbit. LOL – I did get a chance at the end to critique them orally as well as making written comments as we went along that they will get to read later. I like to think I helped them some in gaining confidence in what they are doing.

What did I learn from this experience? One was that we have a sharp group of young people ready to head to law school and make a difference in the world but the most important thing I learned about myself is that I made the right decision in not going for that state court criminal judgeship as I really am, at heart, a litigator. I love the courtroom and I love to try cases. Being the trier of fact is way more restrictive than I liked and it was super hard not to open my mouth. LOL

What did you do this weekend?

Moon Over Homewood

I’m in Birmingham, Alabama for a deposition today on a big case. I attended law school in this city back in the 1980s and so am very familiar with it. I lived here for three years in an area called Homewood. I lived in some post WWII townhouses that sat at the bottom of Red Mountain. On the top of Red Mountain is a statue that’s the largest cast iron one in the USA. It’s a massive thing that was built in 1903 for the 1904 World’s Fair by Guiseppe Moretti, it was to be used to show off the industrial nature of the city of Birmingham. The city was long a center of iron and steel working and the statue is a tribute to that.

The statue is of Vulcan, the Roman God of fire and the forge. The statue was placed on the mountain in 1936. Where I lived in law school was right near him. The funny thing about him is that his bottom is naked. I could see his derriere from my back yard. We always told people to come find us behind the Vulcan’s behind. Yes, we were easily amused.

They have an elevator where you can go up and get a nice view of the city and there’s also a visitor’s center. There are also some television towers up there keeping him company since it’s the highest place in the city. If you’re ever in the city, go by and check it out, it’s a nice little outing.

There’s also a little song about “Moon over Homewood” since the Vulcan seems to be mooning the area with his cast iron cheeks up there on the mountain. Sadly, I couldn’t find the words for you. 250px-Vulcan_statue_Birmingham_AL_2008_snow_retouched