Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Importance of Study Groups

Right off the bat, I know that my time in law school would not have been the same if it were not for the friendships that I have made during my short time here. My friends have pushed me into becoming a better student, and helping me gain the confidence that I did not know I had. Throughout the rigors that law school gloriously offers, my peers have been an amazing support system—people that I can turn to and rely on, and most importantly, understand every step of the constant struggle.

I have always been an independent person, so study groups were never really appealing to me. I find that studying by myself limits distractions, and I tend to be more productive because I work at my own pace, and not at the pace of others, who may be ahead or behind with the subject.

However, that being said, I find that there are merits to studying in a group. For one thing, there is solace in knowing that one is not alone going through the ups and downs of constant stress and anxiety. And it is also helpful to study in groups because it can lead to the sharing of concepts/ideas, which can only help you learn better. By teaching or learning from your peers, it helps to reinforce your own understanding, while also reinforcing the understanding of others.

The student body and atmosphere here at Loyola have been more supportive than I thought it would be. The students that I have encountered have been genuine individuals, and eager to help or be helped when offered or asked. I think it surrounds the underlying idea that every student is here for the same reason, and that everyone you encounter is either going through or have been through the same struggles that you are. The relationships that I have made during my time here not only help to maintain my sanity, but also help me grow overall as a student.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Summer 2016

I’ve heard through the grapevine that the summer before you start law school is the last summer that you actually get to enjoy (so I should make the most of it, haha). To be blunt, I did not take that advice lightly, as I spent the majority of my break traveling around the world, wholeheartedly earning the nickname “jetsetter” from my friends. I had the opportunity to spend three weeks in central and northern Europe, starting my journey in Copenhagen, and making my way through Berlin, Warsaw, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, and Stockholm.

One of the most memorable moments of that trip was exploring the countless amount of cities and finding out what each place had to offer. I wasn’t just a future 1L student, I was, in my own sense, a foreigner wanting to experience the culture (and by that, I especially mean eat ALL the food…how many people get to say that they’ve had bratwurst in Germany and meatballs in Sweden??).

Traveling the world this past summer has shown me that the world is a much bigger place than my own backyard, and that there were so many places, people, and experiences I had yet to discover. After spending a good portion of my summer outside of the country, I can comfortably settle again in my home city of Los Angeles where, let’s face it, I won’t be leaving anytime soon as long as I’m in law school. 😊





Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My 2016 Summer

I spent this summer doing more law-related things than I did as a 1L. Being a 1L is largely about reading, studying, attending class, taking notes; all in search of a sort of vague academic goal. Some people want to excel and be ranked high in the class, some want to do as well as they possibly can, and some others just want to get through it in one piece. But while there is certainly a lot of “law” involved in being a 1L, it’s also an exercise in being challenged and pushed to your academic potential. 

So when I began working as an extern for Judge Suzanne Segal this summer, it felt like it was actually time to start working with the law. The theories, rules, and other “testable” materials quickly faded into the background of my legal consciousness. They were replaced with a real-world version of law – where clerks and judges and lawyers try to convince each other of things, spend long hours reading and researching, and spend even longer hours writing. Luckily for me, my judge had faith in her externs’ ability to do substantive work, so we were given projects on the first day and plenty of uninterrupted time to work on them.

Even though I was working for free (even having to pay for downtown parking every day), I never felt like the goal of my externship was to dispense free labor. I learned so much about writing and research that I still feel indebted to Judge Segal and her clerks for the time they spent editing and advising my projects. Not only that, working with clerks and judges gave me valuable insight into how courtrooms operate and what’s expected of those who walk through that door to argue a point.

Once my externship ended, I was relieved to not have to wear a suit every day, and took a week-long trip to Iceland. It was amazing. Upon returning, I went directly into the OCI process which lasted right until classes started up again. OCI was taxing and burdensome, but it is also a rite of passage for those who have high career ambitions. If you’ve ever wanted to know “where you stand” after the 1L year, OCI is certain to answer that question for you (for better and worse). Overall, the summer was eventful and full of law. I wouldn’t lie, though – it was tough and was certainly no “break.”

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Summer Sixteen

I spent my summer at the District Attorney’s office prepping preliminary hearings. I appeared on record for the first time and questioned witnesses. I also had the privilege of arguing an opposition to a motion in front of a judge. When I wasn’t in the courtroom, I was back inside my unit researching and writing motions. My experience tied together criminal procedure, evidence, and criminal law. In addition to building on previous knowledge from courses I’ve taken at Loyola, I strengthened other skills such as witness interviewing and courtroom confidence.

I spent most weekends reconnecting with friends and family. I celebrated my 25th birthday in August at a theme park. Even though I worked full time, I made sure I had time to recharge and disconnect.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Introduction

Before you read any further, YES, there IS more to a law student than just school. (Even though law school takes up the majority of your time and energy.)

…BUT, with the remainder of whatever else that is left of me that I have yet to give up to my studies, I surprisingly do have interests and a life outside of that sphere, most of which are the complete opposite of academia.

I came straight to Loyola Law from undergrad, where I was involved in my sorority, and held various executive board positions. Most of my free time in undergrad was dedicated to either school, spending time with my sisters/friends, playing volleyball for the club team on campus, or spending time singing in a Christian rock band with friends from back home. I also spent a lot of time with my family and two adorable dogs, as well as exercising my claim as an avid Star Wars fanatic. 

Whenever I manage to break free from the tight grasp that is my 1L year, I try to spend as much time with these various activities as possible. I do as much as I can to retain the side of me that isn’t just a “future lawyer”, because I know that there’s more to life than just “the law” (even though it doesn’t really seem that way right now from my perspective). Don’t get me wrong—I love Loyola, and I love being a law student—but it’s nice having another world outside of the demands that school imposes. For now, it’s reading, case briefing, outlining first, everything else, later.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

3L


“You’re going to blink and before you know it, you’ll be a 3L,” words of wisdom told to me as I prepared to enter my 1L year. As I select classes for Spring 2017, I can’t believe graduation is around the corner. 1L me wasn’t so sure I’d make it this far. Law school was more challenging than I had initially anticipated. In the beginning, everything seems foreign. You are learning how to brief a case, how to analyze the law, figuring out what facts matter, how to IRAC, you sift through so much information.

What I didn’t realize back then is that the entire process of struggling with material is where the learning happens. My first reading assignment for civil procedure was on issue and claim preclusion. I must have read and reread each paragraph a few times. I did not understand what I was reading. I remember for the first time in my life, crying over that textbook. As a 3L, I remember that moment and laugh. Everything has changed. 

My name is Stephanie, I am in my last year of law school. I spend most of my time working and attending classes. In my free time, I play with my puppy Milo and experiment with Special FX Makeup.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Introduction

Hello all! My name is Steve Riley, and I am a second-year law student at Loyola and a returning blogger to Jury of Peers.

A brief word about my background: I am a second-career student, meaning that I worked for roughly ten years between undergrad and law school. I got my bachelor’s degree in music from Berklee College of Music with no inclination to attend law school thereafter. I initially worked at a record company then transitioned to being a full-time drummer doing recording work, musical theater, and various freelance projects as a drummer and sometimes musical arranger.

I decided to try out law school after I started feeling like my music career wouldn’t “age well.” I wanted to do something academic for a change, and also find something that offered a more stable financial future. Also, two years ago, my wife and I had a daughter which changed my career outlook somewhat. But overall, I always imagined myself transitioning out of music at some point in my career. I still play drumming gigs on the side and play guitar every day for fun.

A good deal has changed since my first year at Loyola. I feel completely comfortable in the environment here, and have set my sights on more specific goals. It seems to me that the first year is about survival and, ultimately, grades. The major struggle of a 1L is knowing where you stand and if the choice to go to law school was a good, bad, or somewhere in between.

With the first year behind me, it seems that the second year is about trying out different career paths and seeing how they feel. That’s a much more satisfying place to be in as a student. You worry less about grades and pay more attention the career you’re trying to build. And as someone who is interested in litigation as a career, I dove head-first into the world of practice clinics that Loyola offers.

I applied to be involved with both the Project for The Innocent and the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic. I ended joining the latter (JIFS) and it’s been a great experience. The JIFS clinic, and all the others as well, give you real experience in working with clients, often who are disadvantaged or unable to pay high attorney fees for complex legal issues. The clinics are a great way to gain experience and learn more about the practice, not merely the theories, of law. I would recommend joining a clinic to any 1L or prospective student as they are exciting and challenging in ways that classroom experiences can’t match.