Thursday, April 20, 2017

Summer 2017

This summer I will be working as a summer associate at the law firm of Littler Mendelson in Century City, CA. They’re an international firm with almost 1300 attorneys that specializes in Labor and Employment Law. They’re currently ranked #1 in that field according to Vault.com. I am extremely excited to begin this chapter of my law school life, which seems to blur the line between a “job” and “education.” Surely there will be much to be learned during the course of the summer, but I have been assured that I will be given plenty of “work” to do as well. Whatever is the balance between work and education, I will do my best to make the most of the experience.

Even though I would like to work as a research assistant this summer, there just won’t be enough time. I have been interested in doing such work, but I’m afraid that it will have to wait until next school year.

Loyola was instrumental in helping me secure a summer associate position with a big law firm. I participated in OCI during the summer which set me up to interview and ultimately get the job offer with Littler. I interviewed with about 20 different firms at OCI (on-campus interviews), and had a few call backs. None of those call backs ended with a job offer, but they did assure me that I was “close enough” to keep pursuing Big Law jobs. Graham Sherr, Loyola’s Assistant Dean for Employer Engagement contacted me shortly after OCI to ask if I wanted to interview with an additional firm, Littler Mendelson. I wasn’t sure that it would work out because I didn’t have any background in employment law, but I put my best foot forward anyway. If it weren’t for Graham thinking of me and having confidence in my ability to get the offer, I would have never interviewed and who knows what my situation would be right now. But luckily for me, Graham did an extremely good job of matching me to an employer who ended up valuing my skills and background enough to offer me the job.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Summer '17

Actually, a few hours before writing this post, I had just confirmed my summer plans. This summer I will be working as a volunteer law clerk for the Riverside County Public Defender’s Office. I’m really excited to see hands on what attorneys do in the field, and for the ability to put everything that I’ve learned and crammed into my head this past year to use, besides reciting it out on a piece of paper, haha. I’ve mentioned many times in previous posts that after graduating I would love to go into governmental work/public interest, and I can’t wait to be able to experience what my future could potentially hold.

Loyola played a huge part in helping me get my summer job, in that the career development center helps to facilitate many interest/involvement fairs that let you meet future employers, network, as well as schedule interviews, which is how I had gotten this job in the first place. It was so helpful having the career development center, as well as the public interest office be a foundation and support system in finding employment, in that I’m pretty sure I would still be struggling to find a job right now if it wasn’t for them.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Working Pro Bono

As all of my past blogs have pointed out, Loyola is unique. Today, I want to discuss Loyola’s commitment to supporting careers in public interest law. To motivate students to dive straight into the public interest field, Loyola requires all students to complete 40 hours of pro bono work. In all honesty, Loyola’s pro bono requirement was one of the many reasons why I felt like Loyola would be a good fit for me. Even though I plan to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, I am extremely excited to complete my pro bono work over the next couple of years. It will give me an opportunity to get experience in a field that I am passionate about, but may never have another chance to fully pursue given my chosen career trajectory.

At this point, I have not given much thought to what avenue I want to take to complete my hours, but I do have a couple of ideas. I believe that working in immigration law or child advocacy can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Hopefully, by this time next year, I will have completed some (or all) of my pro bono hours and will be able to share an in-depth look into the world of public interest law. In the meantime, I look forward to figuring out exactly how I want to use my pro bono hours to explore the public interest field.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

My "Pro Bono Requirement" Experience

I have completed my pro bono requirement through my work with the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic (JIFS). Within the clinic, my work was focused on servicing the needs of my real-life clients in their various stages of litigation. For one of my clients, my time has been working on issues relating to her innocence petition and preparing to file a very large brief with the court hopefully by the end of the semester. For another client, I spent most of the previous semester working to get him resentenced from “life without parole” to a parole-eligible sentence. In January of this year, we were successful at doing just that. With my final client, my work has focused on getting his case re-heard by the California Court of Appeal. Through a brief filed with the California Supreme Court, we were successful at getting his case remanded back to the appellate level for further review. Hopefully we will be in court arguing on his behalf before the end of the summer.

Overall, these experiences have been immensely valuable. Working on cases like these have drastically improved my legal writing skills and have prepared me to litigate on my own and with partners going forward. I learned how important it is to prepare your materials early, to get feedback, and the importance of working on multiple drafts until your work is as perfect as it can be. I also learned the value in collaboration in the legal world. People will always bring different skills and strengths to the table, and knowing how to leverage those strengths is key to personal success. Collaboration has also taught me how to put forward my best work and to be open to constructive feedback. There’s no use in spending your law school years defending your flaws and inexperience. It’s perfectly reasonable that you need these years to hone your craft, and your student partners and professors understand that. It’s good to put yourself out there and do “real work” early on because by the time you’re at a law firm earning a salary, you probably want to have those first few kinks worked out.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Pro Bono Requirement

One of the things that first attracted me to Loyola was the fact that they were the first ABA accredited law school in California, and one of the only schools that I had visited that had a mandatory pro bono requirement. Having been an intern at a legal services office, this appealed to me, since I took part and witnessed first-hand the low-income clients the office had taken in, and how important it was for them to be able to go to legal services for their legal needs.

However, being a first-year law student, I am unable to complete my pro bono year until the completion of my 1L year. Although throughout the course of the year, I have given a lot of thought as to how I would like to complete this requirement. I had recently accepted a summer externship, and had met with my career counselor seeking various options for me to not only work as a law clerk during the break, but also put in some volunteer time to make a dent in the hours that I have to complete.

Since I had mentioned in a previous post that I was interested in going into public interest or government after the completion of my degree, I am potentially looking into clinics that involve work in civil or criminal litigation, as well as well entertainment, since that is a possible route I was thinking of going down as well.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

You Stay Classy, Loyola

Full disclosure: I watched one of my favorite movies, Anchorman, recently for the first time in a while so the following blog may contain several references to it. When you start law school, people are going to hammer the importance of networking into you. If you’re anything like me, you might find yourself wondering why it’s such a huge deal. Like Ron Burgundy, “I wanna say something. I’m gonna put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don’t, send it right back.” Knowing how to network is one of the most pivotal skills to help you land a job. Don’t get me wrong, it can be intimidating to put yourself out there. I met with my career counselor early last semester to discuss my own concerns about effective networking. She gave me some pointers and helped me be more confident about the process of making connections. Using her tips, I was able to make some new contacts and I have been very fortunate to secure a position with a company which I have admired for years.

I also took advantage of Loyola’s mock interview program last month to learn about areas for improvement. Mock interviews can be incredibly helpful to prepare yourself and build your confidence for the real thing. As Brian Fantana would say, “They’ve done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time.” In all seriousness, my interviewer, H.P., was candid and helpful in showing me some things to work on prior to my real interviews. Additionally, while I’m typing this, Loyola is hosting the Spring Law Firm Reception where students can mingle with prospective employers and participate in mini interviews for summer positions. “Don’t act like you’re not impressed”—Ron Burgundy. One of the best things about Loyola is how the school’s career development team goes above and beyond to help provide opportunities for students to meet with employers. Even before finding summer employment, I felt confident knowing that career development services were available if I needed their help.

Life in law school can be craynar (a combination of crazy and gnarly). Shout-out to my classmates C.B. and C.B. for introducing me to this word. So, if you find yourself like Ron Burgundy in a “glass case of emotion,” turn to your career counselors. They will ease any fears you may have, give you some tips on how to improve your candidacy, and can share any details about workshops or seminars that may help with your career path.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Networking and Career Development Opportunities

Loyola definitely offers its students a vast array of opportunities to network and learn more about legal practice areas. Each week, there are several different panels, events, lectures and workshops covering a broad selection of topics. Whether you’re interested in entertainment law, summer internships, civil rights or nearly any other law topic, there is sure to be an upcoming event tailored to your interests.

I have personally attended numerous lunchtime panels and events. I have become fond of faculty workshops where visiting academics come to present their research and answer questions/critiques about the papers that they’re writing. It’s fun and interesting to watch our professors ask very tough questions and wage intellectual battle with each other over the presented topics. Panel discussions are also great because you can get a broad overview of a different topic. I recently attended a panel about “law and technology” which was fascinating for a variety of unexpected reasons. I don’t always make a point to technically “network” at these type of functions, but I do tend to ask questions and introduce myself to people who I find particularly interesting. The great thing about networking in law school is that practicing attorneys all went through this process and are they feel a sort of kinship with current law students.

The Career Development Center also offers a lot of valuable events and opportunities for students. They’re always there to help with building your resume, interview preparation, general advice and a seemingly endless array of services. They also put on employer-engagement events and those often lead directly to interviews and jobs for Loyola students. I have always felt free to take advantage of the CDC and they’re happy and willing to help out in any way they can.