Monday, June 1, 2020

Pro Bono

Hello again, Jury of Peers! This week we are tackling Pro-Bono Requirements and let me tell you, helping the community is even more important now than ever. Amidst the COVID-19 craziness, law school still marches on. And part of that march is to complete 40 hours of pro-bono work.

As a 1L I couldn’t start doing any pro-bono hours until spring semester. 1L’s can complete up to 10 of our 40 hours in spring if we choose. There are lots of ways to fulfill this requirement, but since most are listed on the LLS website, I thought I’d share some of the ways that you can get hours that you won’t necessarily find there.

One fun way to get pro-bono hours is through being a juror for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) or helping with research at the Federal Pro Se Clinic. Another way is to be a mentor for the Young Lawyers Mentor Program. Without bogging this post down, these are just some of the ways that LLS students can give back to the community and log hours.

I was really interested in being a mentor, however, I decided to wait until next year to apply because I wanted to focus in on finishing 1L strong. With our drastically changed experience this spring, I’m glad I can give all my attention to my classes and maintain some sort of control over life in this uncertain time.

As a note, Loyola not only gives back to the community but it also gives back to their students. During the last few weeks when everything was shutting down, classes were moving online, and society was drastically changing its everyday operation, LLS was constantly looking out for its student body. The faculty and administration are doing everything they can to help students succeed despite this tumultuous time such as online access to Bluebook, Zoom conferences with our mental health specialist, Dean Waterstone inviting emails from students voicing concerns, and providing a food pantry for those who are struggling.

As an institution, LLS is focused on giving back not only in times of widespread hardship and desperation, but all the time. Because for some, this feeling is a constant. Helping our community is so vital and I, for one, am excited to jump into doing more for others through my pro-bono hours in the fall. That gives me something to be hopeful for.

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay home.

See you in the next one,

Kelsey

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

All ABout the Pro Bonos

Every student at Loyola has to complete 40 hours of pro bono hours in order to graduate. There are a few restrictions on requirements that a job has to meet to qualify as “pro bono.” But it’s generally pretty easy to get those hours done in short order. Last I checked, I have about 37 hours done with one more year to go. With the presidential elections coming up and several on-campus opportunities, I plan to do much more than 40 by the time graduation comes around.

You can’t actually start accruing hours until after you complete your first semester. Even then you can only get credit for 10 hours total during your 1L year. I started volunteered at a landlord and tenant law firm immediately after my first semester finals were done. During the 2 weeks that I worked there over the winter break and amassed 80 hours of experience. I knew I could only claim 10 hours but it just goes to show how incredibly quickly you can meet that 40-hour requirement.

This last year, as I member of the Byrne Trial Advocacy I also got to volunteer as a bailiff at the National Civil Trail Competition. Basically, we act as timers and event coordinator and also hosts for competitors and visiting judges at one of the most prestigious trial advocacy events in the country. The event itself is tons of fun! You get to watch some really great teams go against one another. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see how different advocates strategize and also learn about different teams’ advocacy styles. The best part though is Saturday night when all the Byrne bailiffs go out to mingle with all the competitors, coaches and judges at the awards dinner. It’s a wonderful event and I hope I have the opportunity to volunteer next year.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Pro Bono Requirement

Loyola’s dedication to public service is reflected in the 40-hours of pro bono work that students are required to complete during their law school careers. While the task seemed daunting at first, I quickly realized that there are so many different ways to satisfy the pro bono requirement. Whether it be joining a clinic or volunteering at events, there was something for everyone.

Not only does the pro bono work encourage student participation, but it also gives law students a chance to either apply their legal knowledge and give back to the community in which they will ultimately practice law. All the while, students are also gaining invaluable experience and putting their learning to practical use.

Knowing the importance of mediation in the litigation process, I decided early on that I wanted to work at Loyola’s Center for Conflict Resolution in the Conciliation and Mediation Assistance Clinic (CMAC). After finding out about the various graduation requirements, I was even more excited to find out that participation in the clinic satisfied the experiential learning units as well as all 40 pro bono hours.

Led by Professors Mary Culbert and Sara Campos, the clinic teaches students about the ins and outs of the mediation process and then lets students actually participate in telephonic conciliations and in-person mediations. Working at the clinic, I learned from the staff mediators and saw many mediations in-person. I learned about the different kinds of mediations and techniques that mediators may employ. Leaving the clinic, I gained an even deeper appreciation for mediation as part of the legal process and its importance in resolving cases.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Pro Bono Requirement

So, unlike many students, I actually completed my pro bono requirement the summer after my first year of law school. Evening students don’t typically work in the legal field during their first law school summer, but I had a flexible schedule and wanted to. I spent that summer working at Neighborhood Legal Services in their Clean Slate Initiatives. In essence, I spent most of my time interviewing clients, writing declarations, and preparing expungement petitions.

Although I worked well over forty hours, I chose to volunteer my time and also get my pro bono hours out of the way instead of getting paid for that summer. Instead, I maintained my job as a tutor and also took Constitutional Law over the summer, which gave me access to student loans to supplement my living expenses if necessary.

This was really my first experience in law school where I had the opportunity to interact with clients and learn more about the criminal justice system. Although I enjoyed it and learned a lot in the process, it also taught me that I didn’t want to work in that area for my career. However, I would not trade my experience for anything.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Be Our Guest

Almost 2 school years have come and gone and during that time, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people. From mixers, to job fairs, to afternoon and evening guest speakers, there are always interesting things to do on campus. I’ve even been fortunate enough to have organized a few of those events myself with the Loyola Wine & Spirits Law Society. The opportunities to explore new areas of the law, particularly corporate and wine and spirits, have been invaluable to me.

It’s absolutely impossible to go to every event on campus. There are usually 2-3 different events going on every day. Student organization events, Career Development, departmental events, bar prep, and legal research events all vie for your attention and attendance. Easily the most important events are the Career Development job fairs and mixers. I landed my 1L and 2L summer jobs through their job fairs. The team is incredibly helpful and many of the employers they find are Loyola alums who are eager to hire current students. There are plenty of job fair opportunities throughout the year including On-Campus Interviews (OCIs in the fall and spring), the Spring Jobs Fair, and public interest jobs fair. I’d absolutely recommend making the time to check them all out if you can. My personal favorite event is the Spring Jobs Fair because it actually has the “feel” of an informal mixer, with dozens of employers set up to take short 3 to 4-minute interviews.

The next most important events (to me at least) are the Student Organization events. We have dozens of law societies on campus including OUTlaw (dedicate to legal developments in the LGBTQ+ community), the Real Estate Law Society, and the Wine & Spirits Law Society (which I am currently the President). From personal experience, I can tell you the students and faculty work tirelessly to invite amazing guest speakers from across the legal arena to talk with students about recent developments in their field of expertise and about how to become more involved in a particular area of law. It is a great way to make connections and stay informed on real world events in the law.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

NEWSFLASH – Building Relationships With Faculty Is Easier Than You Thought




I remember being a 1L and thinking that law professors were intimidating. Well, I could not have been more in the wrong. Professors at Loyola are available and always ready to help. Therefore, building a relationship with a professor is not hard. Professors have office hours, and most of them are even willing to talk by phone or skype. My best advice on starting a relationship with a faculty member is to start participating in class (as terrifying as that may sound). First, professors like volunteers, and second you get to show them you care about the subject, and consequently are respectful of them and their time.

Professors at Loyola have been so kind to me, one of my favorite professors helped me with my resume and even with networking. So, if you don’t’ have a relationship with at least a member of a faculty, you better start working on it!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Networking Opportunities

Hello again, Jury of Peers! I cannot believe we only have a few weeks left of 1L! I truly did not think it would fly by so fast. Today’s post is about career development since summer internships are on the brain.

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know that networking is a challenge for me. I’m fairly shy so going up to people can be a bit daunting for me. However, I’ve attended some lunchtime events put on by the Career Development Office. I attended the Interview Workshop and plan to go to the Networking Workshop as well (because I need all the tips I can get).

As a 1L, I think it can be hard to network when you’re unsure of what type of law you want to go into. That’s currently my dilemma. I’m at a place where I haven’t figured out where to start. And I know attorneys’ time is precious, so I don’t want to waste their time with questions I think they will think are dumb.

One thing I’ve learned through my own experience, however, is that people love to give advice. Even if it’s a simple thing, I love to share my experience with others (a la this blog right here). Law students and lawyers alike love to give “pro tips” to those coming up after them.

Something I’m really interested in doing is Brown Bag Lunches because they are smaller events focused in one area of law put on by the CDO. I much prefer smaller gatherings than large fairs so something like this really fits what I am looking for in a networking event.

Truly, as a 1L I haven’t taken every advantage that the CDO has provided, but I think after this summer as my interests become more cemented, I will take more advantage. Because, believe me, there is never a week the CDO isn’t hosting or offering something for students to do.

Networking is key to career development, and it can be tough but there are so many ways to network nowadays that there is bound to be a way that you can find something that works for you and your style.

See you in the next one,

Kelsey

Kelsey’s Club: Tips for Networking

· Wear something that makes you feel confident.
· Bring resumes and business cards, just in case.
· Fake your confidence until it becomes real.
· Ask people about themselves, their career, their advice (don’t pressure yourself to do all the talking).
· When in doubt, just be nice. It can get you a long way.