Monday, June 22, 2020

What Does Summer Look Like.



Hello again, Jury of Peers! I am in disbelief that this is my last post as a 1L. They tell you that three years goes by fast, but wow. I feel like I just got back from winter break and suddenly spring is winding down.

If I was writing this post a month ago, my plans for summer would be very different. With all the change that’s been happening the past few weeks, summer is a bit tenuous for most of classmates and myself. Many of my classmates have had their internships cancelled and some don’t know if they still have their placement. As for me, I don’t have an internship lined up as of now. I started looking right after my midterm at the beginning of March but unfortunately that’s when things started to get messy.

Candidly, I would love to not work over the summer. 1L really took it out of me and I’d love some time off to recharge since I’ve heard 2L is vastly more exciting (and therefore exhausting). But I also know that the only way to hone the skills I learned in 1L is to keep practicing, so I’m still keeping my eye out for postings that interest me.

Will I end up with anything? Frankly, I don’t know. As of now, I can’t tell you what the world is going to look like mid-May after finals, no one can. But, like everyone right now, I’m taking it day by day and staying hopeful an opportunity will come to fruition for me.

Even if I end up not having a summer internship, I am looking into doing something during Fall semester next year (hopefully we’ll be back to normal by then) and I know that will be a wonderful experience.

Since this is my last post for the year, I’d like to thank everyone who kept up with my 1L adventure. I hope that I could ease some of your fears and get you excited about what’s to come in your future.


Signing off for spring 2020,

Kelsey

Kelsey’s Corner: Summer Checklist
  • Stay healthy (and inside if the quarantine is still happening when this goes up)
  • Tell the people you love that you love them
  • Start a new project or new hobby
  • Learn a few new recipes

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

My Last Post Ever: Finding Certainty in a Time of Uncertainty

As you can probably tell from the title, this is my last post EVER for the Jury of Peers blog. I’m a 3L so I’ll be officially done with law school after my final exams. To be honest, it took me a while to write this because, especially now in the time we’re living in, there are so many thoughts and feelings to express and circumstances to come to terms with. Also, I say this all the time, but it’s truly crazy how fast time has flown! So let’s get started!

Graduation

I’ve been looking forward to graduation ever since I participated in Loyola’s Summer Institute back in July 2017 (and maybe even before then) because not only was it a cool thing to say that you graduated from law school BUT it felt like such an honor to be able to graduate from such a reputable and well-regarded school with your peers, some or most of whom have become your lifelong friends and move forward with the next step in your life. Also, graduation is something that I’m sure every law student looks forward to after enduring three (if you’re a day student) or four (if you’re an evening student) years of case reading and briefing, cold-calling, doing mock negotiations or mediations, studying, researching, writing, etc. Graduation was that final step of crossing the threshold and that momentous event that we have all been looking for.

But in light of everything going on with the pandemic and social distancing, our graduation has unfortunately and fortunately been postponed. It’s unfortunate because as aforementioned, it’s something that we’ve been looking forward to for years. But it’s also extremely fortunate because we still “graduate” and complete law school AND because we still get to have an in-person graduation on the Westchester campus at a later time when it’s safe for us to do so and a virtual celebration in the immediate future. Despite the delay, it’s exciting to know that we will still have the opportunity to meet with our peers again and celebrate our accomplishments together.



The Bar (Cue the Scary Music)

In addition to planning for graduation, I have been planning to take the bar this July. However, because of everything going on, the July bar is still up in the air. California hasn’t made the decision as to whether it will still occur as planned, and such a decision likely won’t be made until May. Regardless of whether it occurs in July or it’s postponed until the fall, I’ll take the time after the school year ends to start preparing for the bar.




The Next Step

As to the next step, what really is the “next” step? In a time of uncertainty, the only certainties are our friends, families, and loved ones. I don’t know exactly what the “next” step is, but when it comes, I will be ready and take it one day at a time.



The End for Now

And now we’ve reached the end. I just want to say thank you to my family, friends, and loved ones who supported, encouraged, and cheered me on through law school. Thank you also to Kelly for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the Jury of Peers and share my journey at Loyola with you all. And thank you to you the reader for making it this far. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been able to study at Loyola, obtain my degree here, and become a party of their community.

Be well, be safe, and hold your loved ones close. This is the end for now until our paths cross again.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Summer 2020

As of right now, I’m not really sure what my summer is going to look like! I definitely will be staying in Los Angeles and have no plans to extern. I might take some summer classes, as there are so many good ones being offered. However, I might just choose to work for the summer and wait out until my fourth year begins because I do not need any additional units to graduate. It all depends on what is feasible as summer nears.

With everything that’s happening with COVID19 right now, it’s difficult to make any sort of long term plans (or even like a few months into the future), so I’m playing it by ear. Loyola has helped a lot throughout this difficult time and has been fairly accommodating for students as courses are transitioned online. I’m hoping that in the coming weeks, we will begin to get some sense of normalcy back during this tumultuous time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Summer 2020 And Practicing Law Remotely

The past semester has been a whirlwind of activity due to recent global events. Starting in March, classes went online and were conducted via Zoom, all on-campus events were naturally cancelled and finals had to shift to online take-home exams. It’s been a real challenge for everyone – student and professors alike. We’re all trying to figure out the new landscape of the world right now but we’re also adapting, slowly but surely.

One thing that hasn’t changed though is the ever-present hunt for a summer job. Plenty of students have understandably been concerned about the job market but it seems like most people are set. From my own perspective, the courts may be closed for most civil cases but it really doesn’t seem like the amount of legal work has gone down. In fact, with all the financial uncertainty and confusion, I know for a fact that some firms are busier than ever. I was lucky enough to be offered a return position at the firm I worked at last summer, Goodkin APC. The attorneys there specialize in real estate litigation, which is exactly the niche area that I want to be in. At this point, I really don’t know what the summer has in store, but considering the entire legal field is operating under the same unusual conditions, it’s going to be useful, if not usual, experience navigating these waters.

That said, during times like these, it was still great to have the support of Career Development to help me explore all the options out there. In addition to the almost daily emails with general job leads, I also received several personal emails that my own Career Development Counselor, Ms. Katrina Denny, thought fit my background and experience. For example, with my recent experience on Byrne, she suggested several civil litigation firms that would go well will my mock trial experience. She’s been a tremendous support, helping me craft my resume to help make me stand out. She’s also always full of suggestions on job leads whenever I ask. Just remember, your Career Development Counselor is one your best friends!

Monday, June 8, 2020

My Summer Plans

While I am excited to graduate this year, the sentiment is bittersweet. Graduating from law school feels like the culmination of a big chapter of my life. For years, when people asked me what I did for work, I would respond with something along the lines of “I’m a ____ year student at ______ school.” This would usually be followed by some kind of praise or congratulations and well wishes. Come May, I will no longer be able to call myself a student, take advantages of those coveted student discounts, or be a full-time learner.

Even though I will have completed all my classes as of May 17, I cannot call myself a lawyer quite yet; enter the California Bar Exam. After extensively researching different bar preparation courses, I decided to sign up for Themis back in November. I had used the company for my MPRE preparation and felt that their teaching style aligned with how I learned best. After paying for the course, I didn’t really think about it until a few weeks back when I received my Bar preparation materials. Only then did it suddenly become real: in less than 6 months I would be taking one of the most important exams of my life.

Although I am nervous, I find comfort in knowing what a great foundation I have created during my time at Loyola. From the core 1L courses such as Contracts and Criminal Law to the Fundamentals of Bar Writing class I took with Professor Bakhshian last semester, Loyola provides students with all the tools necessary to succeed on the Bar Exam. The school’s dedication to turning law students into great attorneys is reflected in its impressive Bar passage rate. While the exam is daunting and preparation is bound to be intense, I am ready and eager to take this next step in my legal career.

Friday, June 5, 2020

For Floyd

Pressed into the ground, George Floyd inhaled gravel as he gasped, “I can’t breathe.” The

knee dug deeper into his neck, silencing him. His eyes rolled back as he whimpered “mama.”

Two other officers pin down his back and legs. Suddenly, Floyd’s body becomes limp and

unresponsive. The officer continues to press his knee into his neck for 2 minutes and 53 seconds.

George Floyd died that day.

He died for an alleged $20 of counterfeit money used at a deli. This only reinforces the

notion that death is cheap even if life is (or should be) priceless.

Now, symphonies of sirens and shattered glass blend together to create one annihilating

roar. Floyd’s death is not an isolated event. Since Jan. 1, 2015, 1,252 black people have been shot

and killed by police, according to The Washington Post's database tracking police shootings; that

doesn't even include those who died in police custody or were killed using other methods.

After each incident, there are protests and upheaval until it passes. Black voices fall on

deaf ears. The news becomes old. Justice is not brought. And then another similar incident occurs

again. And the vicious cycle repeats itself.

Here I am: ashamed, disgusted, and hurt. While I have not experienced oppression or

been subjected to torture, the matter hits close to home. My grandfather was a peaceful protester

in Iran. He went to jail twice for standing up for humanity— for believing in basic human rights,

for embracing equality. In prison, he was lashed, beaten, and placed in solitary confinement.

Freedom is not free.

The language that is used surrounding these brutal deaths depicts systematic racism. We

call cops who murder “bad apples.”Here’s the thing: the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Things need to change. It is shockingly difficult to teach humanity how to be human. No

child should be shot, leaving a puddle of blood in their shadows. They were built for larger

legacies. When Trayvon Martin was killed, Obama stated, “Trayvon Martin could have been

me.”

We have fostered and facilitated a world that has repeatedly sanctioned barbarism. As a

law student, I am disappointed in the shortcomings of our justice system. All four men who were

involved in the murder of Floyd should be charged. Officer Chauvin should be charged with

FIRST degree murder (not third). If pressing your knee into someone’s neck while listening to

his cries and watching the life leave his eyes for 9 minutes is not premeditation, then I don’t

know what is. There was intent, preparation, and planning. In the legal world, premeditation has

no time constraints, it can be formed in an instant. I would say that nine minutes of slowly killing

someone with bare hands meets the requisite level of premeditation. The other three cops who

had the authority and ability to intervene are accomplices. Their silence made them complicit.

These people must be charged and more importantly, convicted accordingly.

And yes, not all cops are bad. Most are heroic. But officers who use excessive force are

not “bad apples,” they are murderers. Black men are not thugs, they are human. Protesters are not

savage vigilantes, they are mothers and fathers who might lose their kids. I believe in the power

of words, the ability for language to shape our culture and perception. This narrative needs to

change. The language that we choose to employ can render a completely different internalization

of our society. We must change this rhetoric to reflect respect, equality, and strength.

Labeling a murderer as a bad apple in a bunch justifies acts of racism. It makes it seem

normal. Oh, it’s just another bad apple that killed someone. Bad apples are slightly sour,

distasteful. They’re fruit. Most importantly, we tolerate bad apples. Belittling lives as collateral

damage is unacceptable. Black lives matter. Every life—black, white, and everything in between

— matters.

Our president makes this rhetoric worse. When President Trump says something

demeaning against protesters, he gives a sense of exclusivity to the nation. Trump’s words

privilege one and impoverish another. He throws gasoline at the flames of division engulfing our

country. Instead of changing the rhetoric, Trump transforms this crisis into a spectacle by waving

a bible (yet another divisive device) for a photo op.

The truth is, we all bleed red. We all jog through our neighborhoods. We all cry out for

our mom when in pain. We must dismantle the racial constructions that divide our nation.

A knee will never be pressed into MY neck. A jog will never land me a gunshot wound. A

late night candy run will never draw suspicion. I will never be shot by an officer much less afraid

of one.

Furthermore, unlike my grandfather, I will never be subjected to an 8-by-8 cell for

asserting my beliefs. I will never have a conversation with my children about how to approach

officers and how to tread lightly around people who lead paths of ignorance. I write this because

I CAN BREATHE. I support you. I stand with you, by you, behind you. I don’t wish to

understand your plight, I wish that there was nothing for me to misunderstand.

With Love,

Arianna Allen

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Bonus of Pro Bono

I completed Loyola’s pro bono requirement working as a clinical student for Loyola’s Project for the Innocent during my 2L. It was such a unique hands-on experience that allowed me to work on actual cases of individuals who were asserting that they had been wrongfully convicted.

Each student was assigned two cases – one belonging to an existing client and the other belonging to a prospective client requesting our clinic’s services. With regards to the former, our assignment was to pick up where the previous student left off and establishing a working relationship with our client via letters and prison visits. With regards to the latter, our task was to sort through all the information the client sent over, pour over all the court transcripts, and communicate with the client to identify if there was a case that could be built and/or if the clinic could accept the case. The clinic’s resources are limited, and so the clinic supervisors relied on us students to make sure the cases were viable (meaning there was a strong possibility that there was a flaw in the case and as a result a wrongful conviction). Nonetheless, it was an eye-opening experience learning about the different issues that are prevalent in the criminal justice system.

Finally, pro bono work, although required by Loyola for graduation, has the added benefit of teaching us the importance of using our platform, skills, and knowledge to help others in any way we can. It reminds us that even as lawyers, there are opportunities and ways for us to give back to the community.