James Pixton on Applying to Law School

James Pixton attended Brigham Young University from 1990 to 1993.
Go Cougars!

Back in 1992, I was finishing up a bachelor’s degree in political science on Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. At the time, I was taking classes part-time, living in married student housing with Jennifer and working full-time at WordPerfect Corporation. Remember WordPerfect?

Law school admission required taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). I signed up and took it the first time–I don’t remember where. I do remember, however, crushing the first three sections and then completely collapsing on the fourth section. It was a reading comprehension section, the second of the exam. That meant that one of the reading sections contained evaluation questions that didn’t count for my exam and were just being reviewed for possible inclusion in a future exam. The problem was that I had no way of knowing which of the two counted for me and which didn’t. I immediately went home that day, called the special number they’d given me and canceled my test score. Back to the drawing board.

When I took the exam the second time a couple months later, I struggled again with the reading comprehension section, but this time I was bumping up against applications deadlines so I just had to take whatever score I got. On the day my score came in the mail (back before the internet), I tore open the envelope, glanced out the score and nearly passed out: 96th percentile! That meant I was still in the running for all but the Harvards, Yales and Georgetowns. I had no problem with that.

I ending up applying to a bunch of schools: Emory University, University of Washington, University of Georgia, William and Mary, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Arizona, Duke, George Washington and Boston College. Ten schools.

My application to Duke crossed in the mail with their rejection letter. A “no” from the University of Washington followed closely. Then I got acceptance letters from Arizona, then Georgia, then Emory, then Illinois, then William and Mary. How about that! I was going to law school somewhere!

James Pixton attended Boston College Law School from 1993 to 1996.
Go Eagles!

I was wait-listed at Iowa, Boston College and GW. Eventually, I got acceptance letters from those three schools as well. Jen and I made plans to move first to Arizona then to Georgia and then to Illinois. When I finally got the call from Boston College Law School saying they had a place for me, that was the one we were waiting for.

In late August 1993, Jen and I packed up a U-Haul, strapped Jen’s Honda Prelude to a tow dolly and headed out of the cul de sac where Jen’s parents lived. As I drove around the corner I glanced in the side view mirror to see the Prelude rolling up over the curb and onto the sidewalk. The last thing I heard was Jen’s dad hollering, “Wide turns! Wide turns!” Sounded like a good idea.

[If you live in California and are considering bankruptcy, check out my bankruptcy law website at www.pixlaw.com.]

Attorney James Pixton Takes a Bankruptcy Trip from Oakland to Fresno on Amtrak

I had a morning hearing in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case I’m working on in Fresno today. Rather than drive for four hours to attend a short hearing and then drive another four hours back, I did one of my favorite things and hopped on Amtrak. Even though I had to leave at 5:30 in the morning, I slept for a couple hours before taking care of phone calls, emails and case work (Amtrak has wi-fi). I love not having to drive and in this case it was kind of a necessity: I probably would have fallen asleep on the drive down this morning.

Here are some pictures of the ride. Nothing big, but they do cause some nostalgia for me. Fresno is home of the federal courthouse where I had my first job as a bankruptcy lawyer.br />
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One of these days I want to take Jen on a cross country trip by Amtrak. With the wi-fi, we would both stay connected to work and family and would actually be able to enjoy the trip. Funny, I break out in nervous sweat at the thought of not having access to email. Maybe it’s not so funny.

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Isn’t there something other-worldly about train stations. Incredible things happen in them. Sometimes kids get magically transported to Narnia. Other kids go to Platform 9 3/4 and hop the Hogwarts Express. I just got on a train going to Fresno. No magic at all.

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Just like the train sets I used to play with as a kid.

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Plug the iPad into power strip, agree to some wi-fi access legal disclaimer that no one has ever actually read, and it’s just like being in the office–except for the fast-moving landscape.

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I don’t like to admit this, but the iPad has significantly improved my quality of life.

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Fresno is surrounded by vineyards. When we lived there in 1996-97, we went at least once to the LDS Church’s vineyards to harvest grapes. I hasten to add that, being Mormon grapes, these ones were destined to become raisins, not wine.

We each had a harvesting knife to cut the bunches off the vine and then we’d lay them out on a long roll of drying paper that ran down the rows between the vines. I’ve experienced some harvesting in the vineyard–and come to think of it, it was the Lord’s vineyard.

About the harvesting knife, I took it home and stuck it in the bottom of my toolbox for several years. To this day, my toolbox reeks of manure which come to think of it is what the vineyard smelled like. That sure explained the healthy size of the grapes.

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The train doesn’t go through the nice parts of town. This is one of Fresno’s finest graffiti art galleries. Sadly it gets more visitors per day than my websites!

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All the conveniences of the Alameda Theatre and Cineplex except the hot, buttered popcorn.

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There seems to be a connection between train tracks and junkyards, backyards filled with broken-down cars.

By the way, the hearing in Fresno went way better than I expected, making this trip very pleasant. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we don’t hit a cow on the way back to Oakland-Jack London, my origin and terminus of my journey into the Valley–fondly referred to as “the Other California.”