on saturday, krista and i, the two-time pitt law client counseling competition champs, placed second in the ABA region 3 competition in baltimore.
to be totally honest (and i'm aware of how petty this may sound), second place feels like crap.
you see, last year when we won the school competition, we had gone into it with such low expectations that it didn't matter how we did at regionals. especially since we weren't the favored pitt team last year (but for the record, we did much better last year than the favored team). this year, however, we knew we were good at this and we knew we were capable of winning, so we wanted to win. in a very real way, we had an expectation that we'd go to dallas for the national competition.
for saturday's competition, the structure was different than last year's regionals. last year, there was a preliminary round consisting of three interviews, then the top two point-earners went on to a final round. last year, the two teams that advanced to the final round tied for first place. krista and i were one point behind them.
this year, however, there was the three-interview preliminary round, but the top six point-earners advanced to a semifinal round. the top three of those teams competed in the final round.
in the prelims, our first interview was pretty good, the second kicked ass, but the third was a total disappointment. it's not that we didn't do well, it's that the judges were really focused on contract law and on fees. the theme for the competition was family law -- not contract law. nonetheless, there was a contract aspect to the problem. but what really left us feeling unsatisfied was how focused the judges were on how we should have told the client how much our services were going to cost her. wha?!?! never in our experience in this competition have judges been so focused on that aspect. these judges wanted us to map out the cost of every possible option, something that honestly would have worked against the whole "counseling" aspect of the competition and that we've never been expected to do. so we honestly weren't sure how things were going to pan out for the semifinals.
but we made it -- we were one of the top six, and our fantastic coach told us that our semifinal round interview was "the best client counseling interview [he] had EVER seen." pretty awesome, considering he's been doing this for a long time. one of the judges even said that one of my recommendations to the client was "delightful". too bad these people were all from baltimore -- i'd have handed out my resume.
anyway, this brings us to the finals... ouch. the fact pattern was incredibly complex, and involved a lot of issues that, in our opinion, needed to be addressed. but as a result, krista and i ran out of time at the end, before we had a chance to do the wrap-up component.
it was the misspelled word on the resume, the failure to stick the landing -- the easy thing that allowed the judges to hand the crown to someone else. and it fucking hurt like hell.
especially since we've NEVER run out of time! that's a rookie mistake -- never in the two years that we've done this competition has timing been an issue! NEVER. which is why it was all the more awful when that was what kept us from winning.
and i say "kept us from winning" with some evidence -- two of the three judges in the final round very strongly indicated that had we not run out of time, we would have been the winners. and that makes losing all the more painful.
i shouldn't complain. really i shouldn't. we performed incredibly well -- i'm so proud of us. krista was fantastic. i was fantastic. we were an amazing team and that feels great. but today, as i was sitting in my family law class, learning about valuation for the purpose of equitable distribution, i literally had to hold back tears because my mind kept thinking about that moment when the judge cut us off because we had run out of time. i really wanted to win. second place isn't so great.
we got back home at about 2:30 in the morning, after an exceptionally long day and a drive through curvy roads and blinding snow. the weekend was emotionally exhausting on a lot of levels, and krista and i had to steel ourselves against not only the pressures of the competition, but a particularly odd and unexpected aspect of the trip, something that is really too juvenile to go into on this blog. what is worth mentioning, though, is that donny and andrew, the other pitt team who traveled to baltimore for the competition, were amazing with their support and their knowledge and their company. and kevin, "our" coach, was seriously incredible.
oh! and one of our judges, who represents indigent defendants, told me after the preliminary round that he thought i'd make a really good criminal defense attorney, and given that he had about an hour of exposure with me, i was pretty psyched about that. also, one of the judges in the final round referred to krista and me as being "future public defenders"!!! hooray! i guess that means i'm on the right track!
all in all, krista was the best client counseling partner ever and we consistently got compliments on our teamwork and our ability to balance each other and work together. we made an amazing team. we make an amazing team! there's a lot to be said for that.