- DIVER: Monroe Mann
- NATIVE COUNTRY: USA
- CATEGORY – Professional
- DIVE: Attorney
- LEVEL: 1
- REQUIREMENTS: Has attended law school or is currently enrolled
When and why did you decide to start studying the law?
I started studying the law while I was in Iraq with the US Army. Weird right? Let me explain.
My dad was a lawyer. My mom is a lawyer. My older sister too. I vowed I would never become a lawyer. But in 2003, at the age of 25 or so, I was negotiating a contract with (at the time) an up-and-coming B-list actor who seemed to be on the way to becoming an A-list. He had just about agreed to star in my wakeboarding feature film, “In the Wake”. He read the script. Liked it. His agent in LA passed me along to his attorneys. And that’s when the struggle began.
Two phrases stuck out:
1. “That’s not negotiable!”
2. “You’re not an attorney!”
I ended up caving in, and gave up much of the control of the film to this actor, because he was right for the part and would have brought a lot to the table. But it didn’t matter: the following year, my national guard unit was mobilized, and soon, I was at Fort Drum, training for Iraq. On Jan 3, 2005, I arrived in Kuwait, and a few weeks later, crossed over the berm into a warzone.
While there, I found (no joke) an online law school (now defunct). For the first few months in Iraq, I was working as the S2 for an intelligence unit. I had internet access every day, and some free time during the week, so I thought, “Okay, I’m sure I’ll learn something” and signed up. Shortly thereafter, however, I was transferred out into the field, to Tuz, Iraq, Camp Bernstein, to train the 4th Iraqi Army. I had far less time, it was a lot more dangerous, and internet access was spotty. Result: that law school dream ended as quickly as it started, and I spent the rest of my deployment having a blast with the 4th Iraqi Army.
However, I vowed that if I made it home alive, I would consider taking the LSAT and applying to a regular law school in NY. And that’s what happened.
How long did it take for you to get into law school from the day you decided to pursue it?
When I got home from Iraq, I didn’t immediately think of going back to school. But when I did, I ended up going to business school at Pace University to get my MBA. But halfway through the first year, I learned that my school offered a JD/MBA program. I remembered what had happened with that movie I was trying to produce a couple years prior, and how angry and insignificant those lawyers made me feel, and I was reminded of my first attempts at studying the law while in Iraq.
Next thing I know, I applied to take the LSAT, didn’t study at all, did horribly, and despite my horrible LSAT scores, applied to Pace Law. In my essay, the first sentence was, “Please disregard my LSAT scores.” I then went on to explain about my life, and explain that all my life accomplishments should be proof enough that I would excel at law school. I went on to explain why I’d be an asset to the school. Low and behold, a few weeks later, I was accepted in spring 2007, to the joint JD/MBA program
What do you think is the hardest & easiest part about law school?
The hardest part? YOURSELF.
First, registering for and taking the LSAT and actually applying to law school is difficult for many people. I did study for the LSAT a bit. But it depressed me because I was scoring so low and I didn’t want to spend $1,000 on a study course or tutor. So instead of quitting, I just boldly took it without studying.
Go figure: I didn’t do well. But that didn’t stop me from applying. And (this is the important lesson), I still got into law school. Is that the best strategy? No. You should probably study. It worked for me because of everything else I had done in my life and so maybe the same can work for you, i.e. life experience should never be underestimated.
But most importantly, don’t sabotage yourself and your future by allowing fear to prevent you from taking the LSAT and applying to law school in the first place. YOU MAY GET IN!
Second, law school is laawwwwwnnngggg. Get my joke, haha? The first year is stressful but fun. The 2nd and 3rd years are just repetitive and boring. I don’t really think the 2nd and 3rd years are necessary to become a lawyer from an intellectual standpoint–I think they are only there from a stamina standpoint. To the most persistent go the spoils. Once you are accepted, get ready: it’s gonna be a long three years
What is your advice for someone who is pursuing this dive?
Your grades and law review participation have zero correlation with passing the bar exam. I got mostly Cs and Bs, and some As, and passed the NY bar the first time. And this was back when the NY bar was actually hard. Meanwhile, some others who scored straight As and were on law review… unfortunately didn’t pass. So here’s the lesson: don’t get cocky, and don’t look down on those who score lower than you on end of semester exams. Why? They may end up becoming the lawyer and you may not. On a brighter note, they may be able to help you graduate in the first place!
How did you prove you met the requirements for this level?
I submitted my law school graduation transcript and diploma, and showed my NY law license. You can search on the NY State Attorney Registration website too to find my name. Be careful not to confuse me with my late father of the same name.
Please share a story from law school (At least 5 paragraphs).
My 3 years at law school were really great, but the best was the first year.
Everyone in my 1L (that means 1st year law student) class were friends, and we all spent hours together every week in the library studying.
There was deep camaraderie and it reminded me to an extent of what it was like in Iraq–having that strong unified mission.
Sadly, after that first year, the cliques began to form, and everyone went off in different directions. But I still have a few close friends from law school that have survived the test of time. You will too
Will you be pursuing the next level? If so, what is the next level, and what is your plan? If not, why not?
I did indeed graduate law school (which is the next level) so I am going to pursue that, get certified, and share another WYSEguidance story with you soon!
And having made this post, and provided adequate evidence to the dive committee, Monroe Mann is now hereby certified by Break Diving, Inc. as: PROFESSIONAL – ATTORNEY – LEVEL 1. Congratulations Monroe! Thank you for being an inspiration to others!
The author above wrote this WYSEguidance post as one of the certification requirements to become certified by Break Diving, Inc. for a dive completed. Would you also like to find greater success, happiness, and friendship, and make genuine supportive connections with others around the world pursuing your same dreams? Come join us at www.breakdiving.io and soon your story will be the next one you read about on this site!