Friday, June 18, 2021

Pro Bono

Hello again, Jury of Peers! Today we are talking pro bono hours which is kind of perfect since I’m working on my pro bono hours right now!

LLS requires that all students complete 40 hours of pro bono work. Loyola has so many opportunities to complete pro bono hours from clinics to helping trial teams prepare for competition by being a witness. The way I am getting the majority of my hours is through Young Lawyers Program (YLP) which is a student run mock trial. Law students mentor high school students to help foster their interest in law as well as teach some basic legal skills.

My little YLP group is my mentee (who is a freshman in high school!) and a 1L who is starting his hours early. We are working on doing a direct examination of the primary defendant. Since I have the most law school experience as a 2L, most of my job is to explain principles in the simplest way I can. One thing I really feared when I learned we had a pro bono requirement was that I wasn’t going to be knowledgeable or prepared enough to actually do anything productive. But it really amazed me how much I have learned (and retained) in the last 3.5 semesters!

Pro bono hours give you a chance to exercise your knowledge. To make a cheesy analogy: pro bono is like going to the gym for your law brain, and your classes are your personal trainers. You know, the one who makes sure you stay in proper form. It’s actually really fun to get to use my knowledge outside of a class or an exam setting. And yes, I know that sounds nerdy, but if you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re nerdy too.

If I don’t complete all my hours this year, I would love to do clinic work to complete the rest. I am planning on doing a clinic anyway next year to fulfill my experiential learning requirement, but I also am genuinely looking forward to doing more work!

To finish off this post I’ll say this: it’s hard to explain pro bono until you do it. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to foster someone’s interest in law (YLP) or help them with a legal problem (clinic). Those little moments of realization that you do remember what hearsay is AND can recall some of the exceptions. I know I’ve gotten a lot out of it, and I know you will too!

See you in the next one,

Kelsey

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Pro Bono Work?

To be honest, it’s difficult to stay on top of everything and every requirement in law school. There’s a lot that needs to be done in addition to classes, and there are always more opportunities to look into. The pro bono requirement is one of those.

I have always been excited about fulfilling my pro bono requirements. While, as law students, we might all be looking for paid positions or internships, pro bono work is a huge and integral part of the legal profession and it is arguably one of the best ways that our profession helps with justice and equity. Without pro bono work, there are so many people who would be unable to find adequate legal representation, which goes against every ideal that we learn about in law school.

Our pro bono requirement is much more than that; it is an opportunity to learn and grow as a lawyer as well. Before starting law school, it was one of the things I was always looking forward to. As a first year, I have not fulfilled my pro bono requirement yet. However, I do believe that I would like to complete it through a clinical course or practicum. I am also interested in working for the Immigration Center for Women and Children, which is one of the organizations approved by LLS for our pro bono work.

I look forward to updating you all once I complete my requirement. I truly think it will be one of the most exciting aspects of my law school experience and I believe I will be able to learn a lot.

Until Next Time,

Leilee

Monday, June 14, 2021

Pro Bono Requirement

Welcome back Jury of Peers!

This week, I want to go over Loyola’s pro bono requirement for graduation, and my plan to complete it.

As I start to wrap up my first year of law school at Loyola, my thoughts bounce from summer internships to my upcoming finals, to what classes I plan to take in the upcoming fall and how I will fulfill my pro bono requirement. Unlike many law schools, Loyola has a pro bono requirement, which means that students must complete 40 hours of uncompensated, legally related public service work before graduation. As I am considering a future career in public interest, fulfilling this requirement won’t be a problem for me.

This summer, I plan to do an unpaid externship for a non-profit organization here in Los Angeles. Because this work is uncompensated, it will go towards my pro bono requirement. It is not uncommon for your summer job to be unpaid, which makes fulfilling the pro bono requirement rather simple, so don’t stress! I also have friends who plan to volunteer 5-10 hours a week during 2L, to help complete the requirement. However, Loyola does have requirements for what counts as pro bono work, so check with your advisor to make sure your work counts and that you’re on track for graduation.

The pro bono requirement is an excellent way to get work experience in public interest, and truly immerse yourself in your community’s ongoing legal issues. There are so many practice areas and opportunities for public interest work, especially in a bustling city such as Los Angeles. My advice would be to make a plan sooner rather than later. Because before you know it, you’ll be at the end of your 3L year and on your way to graduation.

I hope that was helpful! And as always, thank you for the read.

Until next time,

Madison




Friday, June 11, 2021

Networking and CDO Opportunities

It might seem difficult to network as an LLM student: the program usually lasts a year, and (if you’re like me) you need a while to feel like you’ve grasped the basics and aren’t on the verge of failing everything. Basically, it might seem like there’s not enough time to really network during your time at Loyola. (And that’s not even taking into consideration how scary networking can be!)

Trawling through my inbox now, I can see that I have received emails about networking events and opportunities on a near-weekly basis. Not all are relevant for my situation or in the area of law I am interested in practicing, of course, but I could theoretically attend one event per week just by scouring through my school email. (A cursory scan leads me to a panel on how to find a job in the entertainment industry, one on work/life balance and networking mentorship, and a workshop on how to network in the time of COVID.) Moreover, all the events have been virtual—I don’t know if that’s the case in non-2021 times—but it’s great that you can network from the comfort of your own home!

Despite the plethora of networking opportunities flooding my inbox, I was slightly concerned that these events might be geared more towards domestic students. Luckily, there have been plenty of events aimed at (international) LLM students. In fact, just this week I received an email about a networking opportunity that will not only include speakers who had their initial legal training in different countries, but also a program geared specifically on how to get a job in the US as an international LLM student.

If you are able to get over the fear of networking (and if you have, please let me know how because I genuinely stress myself out so much beforehand), you will likely find that networking at Loyola is easy! However, if you are shy (like me) and find networking daunting (also like me), there are so many opportunities that it would seem wrong not to attend at least a handful.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

A Large Network in a Small Field

Throughout law school there will be numerous people telling you that law school is not isolated and a whole system of lawyers and academics exist to form relationships with to build yourself professionally. Certainly, while the most worthwhile relationships will come from your law school classmates, relationships with District Attorneys, politicians, Public Defenders, etc.. become critical in developing yourself professionally in furtherance of your career. Such organizations which allow for networking arise from clubs such as the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association which grants many opportunities for current students to connect with prior students who are pursuing their careers. Doing so allows the law student to understand how it really is to work in the field or office or firm they seek employment in. Similarly, Bar Associations will often hold informal events to have the members comingle and unwind from their busy lives. Often these associations will offer student enrollment. I am a member of the Western San Bernardino County Bar Association. I have attended many events held by the association and have met very influential people within the San Bernardino Court System and within the District Attorney’s Office, such as the actual District Attorney himself, Jason Anderson, and many of his Deputies. They provided me with a wealth of knowledge about working within the District Attorney’s office and the differences which can be found from county to county.

Yet, there are more opportunities available to students in the furtherance of their careers such as the Southern California Public Interest Career Day which allows for many organizations to table and recruit students to work for the summer or any term to help them gain experience. During these events is where I was able to get recruited by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office as a law clerk which only served to reaffirm my commitment to the public sector.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Networking and CDO Opportunities

Hello again, Jury of Peers! Today we’re talking networking and career development. Personally, one of my most dreaded subjects. Last year, I wrote this post about how hard it was as a shy person to network, which is still true for me, and Zoom hasn’t made it much easier…or so I thought.

I have attended way more lunch events this year than I have in the past and part of that is thanks to Zoom. And because of this year, I will continue to attend more lunch events in the future.

This year in particular I have gotten great networking opportunities by being on Student Government (DSBA) as a Speaker Chair. Because I am part of the group that plans the events, I was basically given the perfect excuse to network: an event. I know for some of you social butterflies out there you might think it’s silly that I need an “excuse” to reach out to attorneys I personally want to know, but introverts will completely understand this.

This year I’ve networked with lawyers in Big Law, political activists, and civil rights leaders through my position at DSBA. And my decision to apply for the DSBA position was actually because I took advantage of Loyola’s alumni mentorship program offered over the summer.

I signed up to have a phone call with an attorney who works in fields I’m interested and was matched with an in-house counsel attorney who was shy like me during his law school years. He told me he made a ton of connections by volunteering to find speakers for clubs he was in. So, through networking, I learned a strategy to network. And now I’m passing that nugget of wisdom on to you.

While networking is a big part of career development, it’s not the only part. Career development also happens by applying for jobs…I know, who would’ve thought? This year I tried my hand at OCI and am currently (as of writing this) applying for summer positions through the Law Firm Reception put on by the CDO. This is a super easy event for shy people like me because you just submit a resume to as many small and mid-size firms as you want.

To finish this post off, I want to talk about my favorite events I’ve been to. First, the women in big law event was amazing. Mostly it was inspiring to hear how the legal profession is getting better for women, even if it’s not as fast as we’d like it to be. And hearing women talk about balancing the pressures of family and career goals is always comforting.

My other favorite event is one that hasn’t even happened yet, as of writing this. DSBA is putting on an improv workshop to help build professional skills. Basically, it’s a big practice area where we are not only allowed to, but encouraged, to fail big. Fail big in an improv workshop, win big in a real-life situation. I’m a HUGE believer that improv can change your life for the better no matter what profession you end up in, so I’m super excited to have someone share this skill with my peers.

{this is me teaching an improv workshop at a comedy festival!} 

At the risk of going on forever, I’ll end this post here. Hopefully you found it helpful and know that if you end up at LLS, feel free to network with me anytime!

See you in the next one,

Kelsey


Friday, June 4, 2021

Opportunities at Loyola

I have to admit that I am interested in a less conventional legal career. I’m passionate about international law (as well as immigration and arbitration) for two reasons. One, I like the idea of working across legal systems in some capacity and I like the idea of working internationally as well (though, you are able to work internationally regardless of what field of law you go into!). International law sounds murky on its face. What is it exactly? That’s a loaded question and I’m not going to go into it right now, but it’s important to note that it’s an area of law that not all law students are immediately exposed to.

Because of all of this, it was a little difficult to figure out who I need to talk to, where I need to network, or how I can start to learn more about my interests at Loyola. Loyola has an incredible International Human Rights clinic, an International and Comparative Law Review and an International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court team so… there are clearly a lot of options. However, I wasn’t sure where to start.

Thankfully, Loyola faculty, professors, the career development center and all the clubs and organizations are helpful in this regard. Through various events and helpful emails, I figured out the professors that I needed to talk to and set up informational interviews with them. That helped me immensely. I learned a lot about fields I am interested in, what opportunities I should be on the lookout for and how to best prepare myself.

To be honest, I really look forward to engaging in networking and career events in person. So, fingers crossed that will happen soon!