Friday, July 9, 2021

My Summer Plans

It hasn’t been easy making long-term plans this past year.

Initially, this semester should have been my last. My 2019 self planned on studying in LA for a year (where I would work on that sweet, sweet tan that is so hard to come by in the Netherlands), before graduating and entering the next phase of my life. However, since I chose the Flex LLM (an option due to COVID19), I will finish the LLM in two years rather than one. Therefore, graduation—along with a lot of my plans, the most pressing of which was to finally get a cat and a driver’s license—has been pushed to a later date.

This, in turns, means that I will have a summer vacation before the start of the new academic year. I am committed to spending at least two weeks screen-free to give my eyes a break from all the hours spent staring at a computer screen (I’ve probably had more headaches this year than I have in my entire life. I’m exaggerating, but only slightly (although I do tend to procrastinate whenever I have access to the Internet, so some of it is on me)).

I’ll be spending the break in the Netherlands, but I’m not too sure what I’ll be doing yet. I will most likely try to find a summer internship or a part-time job since there’s (according to my calculations) 3+ months to fill before classes begin again. But in all honesty, right now I’m more focused on final exams and trying to keep the stress eating under control than I am on any future plans.

I might moan a bit (or a lot) about being stressed right now, but I’ve had a great year at Loyola. It’s been so fun getting to know my fellow LLMs, many of whom are already lawyers in their home countries, and having basically the same conversation every time consisting of how we can’t wait to go to LA and meet each other in person. I’ve loved the in-class discussions and learning just how engaging and helpful Loyola’s professors are. Needless to say, I look forward to returning in Fall 2021!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Bar Exam

I am finished with my last law school classes and finished with last papers. The only requirement left before graduation is to complete two final exams – Criminal Procedure and Law of Sales. I don’t really get excited or emotional for things like graduations but I will admit, attending my very last law school class was a bit surreal. Everyone always says that the three years of law school fly by in a flash. It’s absolutely true and in some ways, I feel like I just started. It is also strange because I’m hardly done with my classwork. After finals, I transition immediately into bar prep – learning new areas of law and relearning things I’ve forgotten.

I had already started bar prep back in December. I am reading through a few books and sample problems on marital property, going back over old contract and property outlines, and doing some multiple-choice questions. I have already purchased my bar prep course. I decided to go with Kaplan over Themis and Barbri because I felt Kaplan offered the most comprehensive package for developing my essay-writing skills. The plan is to work on bar prep as though it is my 9-6 job. I have already carved out some time to attend a wedding in May but I have made a point not to fill my schedule with new plans.

I’m still rather focused on my finals so I can’t say I’ve given a lot of thought to my specific study schedule. I know that I need to learn at least the basics of marital property and wills and trusts in the next three months before the July Bar Exam. Those two subjects are not tested on the Multistate Bar Exam (aka the MBE, which is the multiple-choice section of the exam) but they could be tested in the essay section. I also need to extensively review criminal law and basic property law which I have not studied since the fall semester of my 1L year. I am more confident about contracts because the Law of Sales class, which I’m taking this semester, is grounded largely in concepts covered in 1L contracts classes. I’m also more confident about civil procedure because I’ve gotten a lot of experience over the last three years working with statutory deadlines, pleading requirements and motions. I am also very confident in my knowledge of business associations because of my experiences in the corporate concentration. Nevertheless, I am treating bar prep as an opportunity to start my law school education from scratch. I’m sure there are things in every subject that I have forgotten. I cannot afford to skip reviewing any part of any subject.

The great thing about bar prep is that there aren’t really any cases to read. The course books give the relevant rules without “hiding the ball.” Although this means I won’t get the richness of the case history, I can go through the basics of each area of law pretty efficiently. Wish me luck and I will see you on the other side!

Friday, July 2, 2021

My 2L Summer

What Am I Doing 2L Summer?

Well Jury of Peers, we’ve come to our last post for the year. I honestly can’t believe this means I only have one year of law school left. It’s really been crazy, to say the least. I’m so glad I got to share my story with you and hope you’ve gotten something out of it too.

As of writing this post I am still in the process of looking for summer jobs. Though things are looking up for fall, the summer job market is still quite affected by the ripple effect the pandemic started. I wish I had better news, for your and my sake, but that is the reality for us law students, or at least many I’ve talked to.

Luckily, Loyola provided some good opportunities to apply to law firms in the LA area. This year, I participated in Spring OCI (on-campus interviews) and the Law Firm Reception put on by the school. OCI in the spring is mostly comprised of small and medium sized firms whereas Law Firm Reception is mostly small and boutique law firms. Though working in Big Law one day would be exciting, at this point in my legal career, I’m more interested in small to medium firms.

However, despite not getting a job / internship offer (yet, fingers crossed), I am taking some classes over summer so that if I get an offer to be part of a clinic next year, I will have taken some of the pressure off of myself to get some of my last classes done. I really want to make the most of my last year, especially if we are on campus (again, fingers crossed) so that takes some planning ahead on my part.

Overall, I’m excited for summer because no matter what I end up doing, it will be a nice change of pace from the non-stop rigor of classes during the school year. I wish I had more to say, but I’m not great at goodbyes. I wish you the best of luck in your legal career and should we ever cross paths, feel free to say hi!

Goodbye for now,


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Interview Season Is Here - 3 Things You Need to Know

  1. Apply to all the opening positions you are interested in.

    Yes, you read right ALL OF THEM. Even if you think that you do not meet all of the employer’s “requirements.” Even if the position says top 10% (and you are not), apply. Those requirements are not set in stone. More often than not, employers are flexible if they meet a strong candidate that does not necessarily check all of “the boxes.”

  2. Your GPA or rank is not the most important thing when applying.

    Most employers will tell you that experience is more valuable than a high GPA. In the end, it is more valuable for an employer that you know how to do a discovery motion than having a 3.80 or being in the top 10%.

  3. Confidence is Key!

    If you do not believe in yourself, why would a stranger believe in you. Replace words like “I think to I know.” Be confident and portray yourself as the strong candidate you are!

  4. Don’t forget:

Monday, June 28, 2021

Summer Plans

Hello Jury of Peers!

I truly cannot believe how quickly this year has gone by. As my 1L year comes to a close, I look forward to the end of finals, a break from school, and the beginning of my summer internship. That’s right—I landed a summer job!

About two weeks ago, I accepted an offer to intern at a boutique law firm and legal start-up in Los Angeles, and I couldn’t be more thrilled (and relieved). The job hunt was extremely tedious and exhausting, and I often felt discouraged every time I saw a rejection letter sitting in my inbox. As a first-generation law student, I didn’t have any lawyers in my family to offer me guidance, or even a summer job. And as much as I love scouring LinkedIn for hours, hitting refresh every 30 minutes for new job postings, I had no luck. I wound up applying for positions posted by Loyola’s Career Services, which is where I finally struck gold.

My position is a part of Loyola Law School’s Technology Internship Program, aka TIP, and I applied directly through Symplicity. Loyola helped me during my quest for a summer job by providing links to job boards, resources for cover letter writing, and tips on interviewing. Further, the Career Services did an excellent job in connecting students with local employers eager to help Loyola students. My employer is actually a Loyola alumni, which is pretty cool.

Although looking for a summer job took time and energy, I am so excited to start practicing law this summer. I also feel very prepared to start working, something I don’t think I could have said at the beginning of this year. It is truly wild to see how much I’ve grown as a law student and person over this past year. Law school will test you in unimaginable ways, but I am forever grateful for this incredible experience.

Thank you so much for following along during my 1L year!

Until next time, Madison

Friday, June 25, 2021

Getting Over the Fear of Speaking in Class

Growing up, I avoided public speaking as much as I could. My class participation marks in high school were always below average, and, once I went to university, the large class size made it very easy to avoid speaking up. This time around, I went into law school promising myself I would overcome my fear.

It might be that the online environment made it easier, as I attend lectures sitting alone in my room and not in a classroom with 70+ people, but I can quite honestly say that I have (at least for the most part) gotten over my former fears.

For me, preparation has been key. During my bachelors, I went into each lecture having skimmed the material, but never felt like I had enough of a grasp of the content to join in on the discussion. Nowadays, I will read through the assigned pages at least twice before each lecture. That way, I go into class well-prepared, and with enough of a handle on the material to feel like I have a contribution.

Another thing that was helpful was attending a course with a small class size. This semester, I am enrolled in a class that is made up of myself and only five others (not counting the professor). At first, I found it quite daunting as the small size meant that the chances of being cold-called were much higher. However, the course has become one that I genuinely look forward to attending each week. A small class makes it easier to hold a discussion, and it also means that the “audience” is smaller, too.

Finally, I’ve discovered that the more I engage/raise my hand, the easier it becomes. I force myself to either ask a question or answer one by the third lesson of a course. Once I’ve gotten that first moment out of the way, it becomes a lot easier to repeat the action.

In all honesty, I’m still not the most frequent participator, but now, when I feel like I have something to add, I no longer find myself breaking out into a cold sweat at the thought of raising my hand. (I’d like to say that that’s an exaggeration, but no, public speaking of any form really did terrify me.)

To those who have always been comfortable with public speaking and participating in class, I’d like to say that I am very envious of you. But to anyone who dislikes (or even fears) public speaking, law school might be the perfect chance to overcome it. And, anyway, odds are that you’ll be cold-called at some point.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Forty Hours

As I mentioned last year, every law student is required to complete forty hours of pro bono work to graduate. In my 1L year, I got an early start working over the winter break for a tenant advocacy firm, the Tenant’s Law Firm. Because I was a 1L, I was limited to claiming a maximum of ten hours, even though I actually worked closer to forty within the two-week break.

Last year, I completed the bulk of my hours, acting as a bailiff in Loyola’s National Civil Trial Competition. I acted as a timer and event coordinator over an entire weekend and was even credited for the time spent at the pro-competition party! The event added another 28 hours to my pro bono total.

This year I finished up my forty hours by working in a landlord/tenant law clinic. Loyola offers a wide variety of clinics from landlord/tenant to criminal justice to international refugee assistance. I am interested in real estate law and had not had much experience in residential real estate or landlord/tenant law since my volunteer work as a 1L. The good news about clinics is that it is a regular class for credit with instruction on the relevant area of law. The first half of the landlord/tenant clinic focused on the basics of landlord/tenant law and on the newly enacted regulations and prohibitions to address the pandemic. The bad news about clinics (for me anyway) is that each clinic requires each student to work 2 to 4 hours per week in addition to regular classes. The time commitment meant that I was not able to rejoin the Byrne Trial Team again this year.

During the pandemic, the city of Los Angeles, the state, the county and the CDC all enacted emergency regulations which prohibited evictions for failure to pay rent, though contrary to popular belief evictions for cause were still allowed. Tenants were, however, still required to pay all rents owed according to a pre-established timeline once the pandemic had ended. I (rather optimistically) guessed that the pandemic would have subsided enough by the fall semester of 2020 that housing would be a hot issue. My belief was that tenants and landlords would be busy negotiating repayment options and that there would be a glut of wrongfully evicted tenants as landlords reacted to eased evictions restrictions. Unfortunately, the pandemic had not subsided by the fall so I mostly spent the time cataloging the new pandemic laws into a new questionnaire for the clinic to use during client intakes. I did get to do one intake myself but it was far from the busy workload that I had expected. Nevertheless, I did learn a lot about landlord/tenant law and was able to complete my pro bono hours.