Tuesday, September 4, 2012

UVa Law & Business Transactional Clinic: Using My Law School Skills to Serve Darden Clients

Last spring, I was enrolled in the law school's Law & Business Transactional Clinic, through which 5 other law school students and I were matched with Darden students in the Summer 2012 Darden Business Incubator.  The Darden entrepreneurs (both first and second-year students) were looking to get their start-ups off the ground over the summer, and the law students (mostly 3Ls plus me) were responsible for helping the entrepreneurs identify potential legal issues and for providing basic, initial deliverables, such as entity formation documents, website terms and conditions of use, etc.  It was definitely one of the best courses I've taken at the law school, primarily because I love any practical course in which I feel like I'm actually learning a real skill or helping DO something! 

To learn more about the clinic (and to see some horrible YouTube video footage of me talking about it), check out the law school's news release

So long, summer

Although those of us at UVA didn't get to enjoy a long weekend for Labor Day (typical Darden joke about this: "It's because we're not labor; we're management"), for most of the rest of the country, yesterday marked the unofficial end of summer.  Before we get too far removed, I wanted to share some photos from one of my favorite activities this past summer, which I spent in Boston.

Each year, Revere Beach hosts a sand sculpting festival.  These sculptors aren't just making fancy sand castles, reminiscent of your youth.  Sand sculpting is something entirely different.  Take a look:

Each year, there's also a central "castle"-like sculpture in the center that's paid for by the sponsors of the event.  This year's commemorated the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park (GO RED SOX!!!). 

Want to know who won the competition?  Find out here.

While I was reminiscing, I realized I also had pictures from 2011's competition that I never posted, so here are those:

And the 2011 central "castle" with all the sponsor names:

So long, summer.  It's been fun!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's a small world after all (*cue song from ride at Disney World*)

Hi, delinquent blogger here. Yet again, I totally fell off the face of the blogosphere. Sorry 'bout that. But I'm back now! Quick update, with more details to be filled in later: I'm back in Boston this summer, working for Summer Firm #2 (to distinguish it from the Boston law firm I worked at last summer, Summer Firm #1) and otherwise engaging in Boston-related shenanigans.

Tonight, I was reminded of reason #1,485,423 that I love Darden:
I [semi-randomly*] decided to attend a Darden alumni "TNDC" event, where, among other cool Darden alumni, I met a woman who, during the several months after she graduated from Darden (circa 2003), worked with the same Charlottesville-based biotech start-up that I worked with during my first summer (circa 2010). This might sound like it's a non-event, but since this company has literally had zero full-time employees in its existence, what are the odds that I run into one of the only other people on the planet who has worked with this same company, in BOSTON, and we happen to start talking about our career paths (which are otherwise very different) and realize that we both had a short-term stint with this start-up? The Darden network is amazing in its ability to remind you (1) that it's a small world, and (2) you can go so many places with a Darden degreee, regardless of what you do during either your internship summer or right after graduation.

*credit for letting me know about this event at all goes to Julie

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Appreciating Darden's Staff

One of the things that has always stood out for me at Darden is the strongly supportive attitude of the faculty, staff, and administration here.  I’ve heard it said that in many ways Darden is no different from any other business functioning in the marketplace, and good businesses should have good customer service.  It would be easy to say that there’s just a strong can-do “customer service” attitude here from which I, as a student customer, benefit.  But I think that over-simplifies what’s actually going on at Darden.  I don’t think that Darden’s staff members are simply good at or focused on customer service.  I think – and their actions confirm – that Darden staff members really care about Darden’s students, both with respect to our lives at Darden and the experiences that we brought with us to grounds or that we head off to explore after graduation.  They want us to enjoy our time at Darden, to succeed both here and in life, to relieve the burdens that they can so that we can focus instead on case prep/recruiting/family/etc.  Yes, they’ve been tremendously helpful in keeping our facilities beautiful, resolving my occasional woes with the university’s central financial aid office, registering for classes (particularly when the law school basically just throws up its metaphorical hands with respect to that issue), putting together a brochure for a conference at break-neck speed, helping me navigate the minefields of recruiting, fixing my sandwich order with a smile even when I clearly filled out the form incorrectly, and constantly convincing my computer that it still has the will to live.  And the list of ways in which I’ve benefitted from our amazing staff could go on and on.  However, in my time at Darden, I’ve been truly astounded by the ways in which members of Darden’s staff have gone above and beyond even that which could be called giving their jobs 110%.  The extent to which faculty open up their homes for various social functions with students (and to benefit various charitable causes) is often mentioned when students and alumni talk about their Darden experiences, but equally important to note is the willingness of staff members to stop you in the hall or to grab coffee or lunch (or sometimes even a glass of wine) to commiserate or celebrate or catch up or just to say “hello”.    

The Darden student body does regularly award Outstanding Faculty and Friend of the Student Awards to recognize outstanding faculty and staff members.  But yesterday, for the first time in virtually anyone’s memory, the Darden Student Association organized a Staff Appreciation Day through which students could show their appreciation on a more individual basis.  Students made baked goods and set up a table in CafĂ© 67 where staff members could pick up a treat and receive a personal thank you.  Students were also encouraged to stop and say thank you to staff members.  [Big props to the DSA Exec Board for organizing this event!]

I know I didn’t say thank you enough yesterday (and I certainly didn’t get to see everyone who deserves my thanks), but I am definitely thankful.  So “THANK YOU!” to any Darden staff members who may read this blog.  You’ve been integral to making my Darden experience as wonderful as it’s been so far, and I’m sure you will continue to make my next 18 months wonderful, too.  

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Last Cupcakes

It’s been a while, so here’s a brief summary of what’s going on with this “cupcake” business: one of my Class of 2011 classmates at Darden has a husband who did his 1L year at the law school at the same time she and I were doing our FY at Darden.  Said husband always referred to Darden as “Camp Cupcake” and insisted that the FY at Darden was much easier than the 1L year at the Law School.  So I decided to do a week-by-week comparison of the two programs, awarding a cupcake each week to the school that was easier/fluffier/more sugar-coated.  You can see the posts covering the first semester here, here, here, here, and here.  By the end of the semester, the final cupcake tally was Darden: 5, UVa Law: 13 (meaning that I found the first semester at Darden harder than the first semester at the Law School). 

And now, since I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath for the second semester cupcakes, here they are (I did actually keep a written list last semester, which I just uncovered in a heap of papers/outlines/notes/bills that I apparently just stuck on a shelf in my office…whoops):

The Week 19 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: We were technically on winter break at both schools, and since my family had started driving me absolutely insane, I was back in Cville both years.  In my FY at Darden, I generally chilled out at home, did some interview prep, and spent several hours sitting in the Admissions lobby talking to prospective students who were visiting for interviews.  On the whole, it was pretty fun.  During my 1L winter break, I drove back and forth to DE to interview with several law firms.  Since I hate driving around DC and since interviews themselves are more stressful than prepping for interviews (and since 1Ls are engaged in cutthroat competition for a tiny, tiny number of firm jobs), it was a lot less fun being a law student.

The Week 20 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: While this week was also theoretically still “winter break,” at Darden, interview prep kicked up to warp speed.  I spent hours doing consulting case interview prep.  During my 1L year at the Law School, I managed to convince the administration to let me take a J-Week class (a one-week course that gives you a quarter’s worth of credit) at Darden.  So, I spent a week taking a course on Crisis Leadership, which involved a visit to the Darden Media Lab, complete with a one-on-one on-camera interview, and a mock press conference (again videotaped) and crisis plan development exercise.  I felt a little bit like Eli Gold from The Good Wife, so it was super fun.  Also, all my classmates at the law school were still chillaxing. 

The Week 21 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: At Darden, we started Q3 classes AND were doing hours of on-grounds interviews (and learning team).  At the law school, we were still on winter break.  I did fly up to Boston for a law firm interview (for the summer job I ended up taking), but I also got to see friends M & D and paid a visit to my former co-workers at The Consulting Firm That Shall Not Be Named, so that was much more fun than class.

The Week 22 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale:  The things that kept me fairly busy and stressed out at the law school were all non-law-school activities: the Wine & Cuisine Club Conference/Industry Day (complete will tripping over the carpeting in the PepsiCo Forum and falling flat on my face in front of Dean Bruner), alumni interviews for local applicants to Brown, a trip to Indianapolis in connection with the advising I do for the local chapter of my sorority, and a stress fracture in my foot.  Awesome.  During my first year at Darden, we were also doing interviews, dealing with snow storms, putting together presentations for the Management Communications course, and doing a bunch of other stuff.  At the law school, we were still shopping for classes for the second semester.

The Week 23 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: Plain old class at the law school; class plus learning team plus recruiting at Darden.

The Week 24 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: Yes, Darden was busy, but it was the routine kind of busy to which I had become accustomed at that point.  On the other hand, at the law school, I was prepping for a trial advocacy tournament, attending info sessions for tryouts for journals and to be a Dillard Fellow, and I think this was the week that a bunch of 1Ls were doing on-grounds recruiting for summer positions.

The Week 25 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: I, too, am surprised that during the month of Feb Club (there are theme parties every night of the month at the law school), Darden is earning more cupcakes.  But while interviews were still underway at Darden, the stress was broken up by the SHE Auction and Gala.  At the law school, typical stress was compounded by continuing trial advocacy prep and a full weekend spent on my Dillard Fellow tryout.

The Week 26 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: This week was a close call.  During my first year at Darden, I spent this week in a bunch of interviews, including a trip to DC for a series of second-round interviews with a consulting firm and a branch of the federal government.  However, at the law school, I was still in trial advocacy hell, and I lost the second weekend in a row to a tryout, this time for journals.

The Week 27 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: It was exam week (always my favorite week of the quarter!) at Darden, and even though that meant it was almost Spring Break at the law school, I spent the first part of the week exhausted from two weekends of tryouts and then spent the first weekend of spring break  at the most mismanaged trial advocacy tournament I’ve ever attended (and this was my ninth year of mock trial competition).

The Week 28 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: Spring Break at both schools.  At the law school, this meant total rest and relaxation.  At Darden, this meant a trip to Barcelona.  Barcelona was great (duh.) but it was a week of “class,” therefore making it less cupcake-y than a week spent vegging out. 

The Week 29 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: Darden finished up spring break and then started a quarter of mostly elective classes (3 electives plus LO and Ethics, so no learning team any more).  At the law school, our LRW (legal research and writing) briefs were due, and we held our first of two admitted student weekends (which means a lot of running around, especially when one of your closest friends at the law school is one of the ASW chairs). 

The Week 30 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: My law school friends and I had time to go grab breakfast before class and to go on a Friday shooting trip (no animals, only clays, were harmed during this outing).  At Darden, I was still recruiting and attending a bazillion and a half group meetings for deliverables for various classes.

The Week 31 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: Finals panicking hadn’t started yet at the law school (and I had plenty of time to attend various Darden social functions), but during my FY at Darden, I had several more interviews, which meant travel, and I also took on a club leadership role, which meant transition and strategy meetings out the wazoo. 

The Week 32 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: At Darden, I still had 3-4 interviews and my classmates were trying to pick their classes for the whole next year, but at the law school, I was prepping for my oral argument for LRW, doing my oral argument (on a Saturday morning), and outlining season had started. 

The Week 33 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: Outlining stinks. 

The Week 34 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: Outlining really, really, really stinks, even more than group meetings for LO, marketing intelligence, and data analysis and optimization.

The Week 35 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: The Landels' (my awesome operations professor and his awesome wife) annual Southern Dessert Buffet will make any week great.  Darden Days, including the annual BBQ at King Family Vineyards, was just icing on the cake.  Even though I also got to participate in these activities while I was doing my 1L year, outlining really does take all the joy out of everything.

The Week 36 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: Exams at Darden are so much more pleasant than at the law school.

The Week 37 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: Darden was done, so I got to go to my cousin’s wedding in CT and then fly to Cannes for the Cannes Film Festival (another GBE).  While Cannes drove me nuts in many respects, it was definitely better than a second week of exams at the law school.

Darden, 12; UVa Law, 7

Darden, 17; UVa Law 20
Final Thoughts: Darden is definitely not Camp Cupcake.  While the final scores were actually pretty close, the FY at Darden is generally much more consistently demanding than the 1L year at the law school.  However, the month leading up to exams and the two weeks of exams themselves each semester at the law school are pretty darn miserable (and accounted for most of the cupcakes Darden earned). 


Yes, I know, I have been completely, 100% delinquent as a blogger for the last six (Seven? Maybe eight?  Who’s counting?) months.  However, now that it’s just about exam time at the law school (and at Darden, but that’s not nearly as unpleasant an experience, as noted here), I’m looking for ways to procrastinate.  And blogging is an excellent way to procrastinate.  And, you know, to do that which I should have been doing for the last six several months.  So stay tuned, because I’ve got a few other things tee’d up for posting…

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The 18 Most Awesome Hats at the Foxfield Races*

Yesterday was the running of the Foxfield Spring Races, and Darden turned out in style to enjoy the day.

There was seersucker.  There were bow ties.  There were popped collars.  There was the entire Lilly Pulitzer spring collection.  There were horses (allegedly).  And there were chapeaus aplenty.  Here are some of my favorites:

*Title inspired by "The 18 Most Awesome Hats at the Royal Wedding."  Yes, I did get up at 4 AM to view the wedding.  Yes, I also had people over to view it with me.  Yes, I am generally trying to insert some level of fun into the otherwise unpleasant process of studying for law school exams. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A dozen cupcakes!

For those of you who have been wondering, here are the rest of the Cupcakes for semester 1:

The Week 7 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: My schedule at the law school this year looks pretty crazy, but most of what made me crazy this year was still Darden-related (WACC Oktoberfest, for instance). The Law School did Fall Foxfields, which was a lot of fun, and then it was basically just class, reading, and softball.

The Week 8 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: 2 words: Fall Break.  'Nuff said.

The Week 9 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: It was exam week at Darden, and even though I still believe that was the best week of the quarter, it did involve five days straight of 5-hour exams.  We had a midterm at the Law School in our small section class, but it was an hour long and ungraded.  Not too bad.  Definitely easier than 25 hours of spreadsheets. 

The Week 10 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: This week was really close, and I had a hard time deciding.  However, the fact that we started new classes at Darden (including Finance and Global Economies and Markets (GEM), both of which caused me much consternation at first), makes me think that Darden was harder. 

The Week 11 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: This is another week where my schedule this year looks crazy, but that's because I was trying to do some Darden briefings in addition to my regularly schedule law school commitments.  Nothing big happened at Darden last year, but I still think I was struggling more at this point last year than I was this year. 

The Week 12 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: I know; you are all shocked.  Darden got a cupcake! Wahoo! This week at the law school, I was prepping for a mock trial tournament and working on rewriting my major memo.  At Darden, we didn't have many "academic" classes because we had Management Communications (MC), Career Management (CarMa), and a field trip.  Yes, a field trip. Clearly, this was a week for rest and recuperation at Darden. 

The Week 13 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: I spent a weekend in DC with my mock trial team competing in the Georgetown White Collar Crime Tournament and then turned in my major memo, plus I was behind in starting to outline for exams because of mock trial.  Yes, I was doing interview prep at Darden, but we also spent two days doing StratSim, which wasn't nearly as rigorous.

The Week 14 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: By this point, most people at the law school were panicking about exams and spending hours outlining.  I was doing stuff over at Darden instead (yes, that was maybe not the best choice).  But, last year, I was doing a ton of recruiting stuff and writing customized cover letters for hours upon hours, in addition to spending more hours in class.  AND, I was at Darden until 4 AM doing the Deloitte Case Challenge Friday night.  Oy.  It was Black November at its finest.

The Week 15 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: This was the beginning of the major outlining and exam prep panicking period at the law school.  The Thanksgiving break, if anything, made this worse.

The Week 16 Cupcake goes to: UVa Law
Rationale: We only had three days of class, and then a couple days off to study for law school exams.  I did write over 50 cover letters, but they were mostly form letters.  At Darden, we had five full days of class, and I wrote around 25 very customized cover letters (customizing "I really enjoyed meeting Mr. X at Event Y this Fall.  Our discussion about Z made me realize A, B, and C about Organization D" is a lot harder to write than "As my resume indicates, I have several years of experience working as a paralegal.  I believe this experience will enable me to serve Firm X's clients.").

The Week 17 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: Exams at Darden are so much more fun than exams at the law school.

The Week 18 Cupcake goes to: Darden
Rationale: Darden was on Winter Break.  The law school was suffering through another week of hellish exams.

Darden: 5
UVa Law: 13

Even though the end of the semester at the Law School was more rigorous than the end of the semester at Darden, Darden started off a lot more difficult, and the schedule was generally more demanding. 

Stay tuned for the Semester 2 Cupcake awards....