Summer clerking and other life updates

June 15, 2015, 3:53 p.m.Odds and Ends

It's been a wild year. The first year of law school is behind me (still waiting on spring grades, though), and life has been treating me pretty darn well.

Life Achievement

We'll start with the best highlight: At the end of May, Krista and I finally tied the knot. After roughly 1.5 years of wedding planning, everything came together beautifully and I now get to sport a little tungsten bling on my ring finger. If that isn't the best way to start a summer, I don't know what is.

Legal Progression

On the professional front, and arguably more of the focus of this website, I once again took a job working for my mom's firm, Sutton | Booker | P.C. The smallish firm in Littleton does defense work, primarily insurance litigation defense. If you got drowsy reading "insurance litigation defense," take me by my word when I say that it's a lot more interesting and fun than you expect. The cases come in all shapes and sizes and deal with a lot of different legal issues.

My first few assignments have put the skills I've gained over the past year to work, and it's great to see how DU's experiential teaching model translates to actual work in a firm. Other than a different legal problem, my first memo of the summer wasn't too different in practice from my first memo in the law school's lawyering process class. Next up, I'll finish putting the final touches on a motion for summary judgment that will likely be my writing sample for when I apply for on-campus interviews in the fall.

Throughout this past year, and continuing this summer, I've greatly enjoyed spending more time on my writing. In my pre-law school job as a data journalist, I wrote a lot of code and took on fairly complex analysis projects, but I didn't do a ton of writing. Once again spending my days making sense of information and putting it together in prose has been quite rewarding.

Looking Forward

As I continue working this summer, I plan to highlight here some of the work I've been doing and also provide some commentary on and links to writings on various national and Colorado legal issues.

We've already seen one big opinion from the Colorado Supreme Court come down this summer in Coats v. Dish Network. The Court considered whether an employer's firing of an employee for using medical marijuana outside the workplace violated Colorado's lawful activities statute. In short, because marijuana is still a schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act, Dish Network could legally fire the employee for testing positive for THC even though medical marijuana is legal in Colorado.

The next big case that everyone is anxiously waiting for an opinion on is the Supreme Court's take on gay marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges.  I'll try to get a write-up posted as soon as the opinion comes down.

- Patrick


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