Thursday, November 20, 2014

Getting Involved with On-Campus Organizations

One of the great benefits of joining on-campus organizations is the opportunity to network.  During my 1E year, I attended Loyola Student Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (“SALDF”) activities, including a mixer in Downtown Los Angeles, where I met like-minded Loyola Law School Evening Program alumni.  A couple of months after that meeting, I attended another cocktail reception hosted by Animal Legal Defense Fund (“ALDF”) at the Animal Rights 2014 National Conference.  I reconnected with Loyola Law School alumni there, and they asked me if I wanted to be the “law student coordinator” for the inaugural Animal Law Guild Conference at Loyola Law School.  I was more than happy to oblige.  

Not only did the opportunity help me learn more about relevant animal welfare issues, but it also showed me how attorneys incorporate animal law into their careers.  A couple of the attorneys I met work in big firms and do some animal law work on the side, others are sole practitioners who have the ability to pick and choose their caseload.  Still others work in government positions with the Los Angeles County District Attorney in the Animal Cruelty Division or for the City Attorney.  Some lawyers are in-house counsel for non-profit organizations like Compassion Over Killing or Mercy for Animals.  Basically, when it comes to animal law, the possibilities are endless.  Professor Sande Buhai was one of the panel speakers, and she explained the usefulness of taking the animal law course to tie together all aspects of law before prepping for the bar exam.    

Overall, being the “law student coordinator” for the Animal Law Guild Conference was a wonderful learning experience, and it also helped me fulfill pro bono hours.  I’ve made some great connections with attorneys in fields of practice I’m genuinely interested in.  Regardless of what your interests are, on-campus organizations can help you get to where you want to be.  The key is to take advantage of the opportunities and attend events.

I said this to incoming 1Es during orientation and I’ll say it again:  law school is what you make it.  You can choose to get by with the bare minimum, or you can open yourself up to new experiences.  You will be pleasantly surprised to discover that law school is not just about academia; it’s about opening doors.  It’s about meeting people who have the ability to improve your outlook—to help you navigate law school and your career as an attorney.

Extracurriculars in Law School

Extracurricular activities are a great way to meet other students, have some fun, and build a great support system. Here’s a little bit about the three student organizations I am a part of.

Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF)
PILF gives students access to pro bono opportunities, summer funding for public interest work, and the largest on campus events – The PILF Auction. The Auction is a night filled with food, fun and fancy dresses while raising money for student stipends for public interest work in the summer.  This year’s theme was “The Great Gatsby” and the crowd did not disappoint. Sequins and bowties could be seen throughout the campus, but if you were looking for my sequins you would have had to look at the dessert table with twenty-something different types of desserts.

Health Law and Bioethics Association (HLBA)
If you have found your nerdy niche then you will understand why I love HLBA. HLBA hosts panels and mixers that expose us to attorneys who practice in various areas of health law. These events give us practical insight about health law and allow us to build our network and foster our future careers. I’m looking forward to the annual Health Law Alumni Mixer. Last year I met many health law attorneys who put me at ease about the job market and recommended many internship opportunities, one of which ended up being where I interned last summer.

Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
BLSA has proved to be my strongest support system since starting law school. It provides a comfortable space to connect with students from a similar background. I like that the organization provides a healthy mix of opportunities to work and play. There are official and unofficial opportunities, especially for 1Ls, to help with exam prep, time management, and internships as well as mixers and outings to unwind and explore downtown Los Angeles. The largest event of this semester will be BLSA Thanksgiving, which will bring together BLSA students and alumni from several law schools for a traditional thanksgiving dinner. Here are some pictures from the BLSA Welcome Mixer!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Trial School

Loyola requires its law students to fulfill 40 hours of pro bono work prior to graduating. At the end of my 1L year I applied for the Semester in Practice Externship [I highly recommend looking into this if you are interested in civil litigation, as well as the Civil Litigation Skills Practicum]. After applying I received interesting work opportunities, one of those emails included a chance to help plan an ABOTA trial school put on by an LA law firm at Loyola.

ABOTA stands for the American Board of Trial Advocates. It is a national association of trial lawyers and judges. Every year ABOTA partners with a law firm to put on the trial school. Here, members of ABOTA agree to volunteer in a three-day trial school. Various law firms then send associates to come participate. Members of ABOTA basically teach the associates how to be awesome in litigation. Days 1-3 takes the students through each aspect of trial, from opening statements to jury selection through closing arguments. During the school, judges and lawyers with years of experience tell the students about some tips and personal experience in law school, life, and in the courtroom.

Luckily, I eagerly jumped at this experience to get involved. Throughout the summer I helped with some preliminary planning such as contacting law firms and ABOTA members, setting the schedule, and creating the student packets. At the end of summer, I was able to attend the trial school. Besides running around making sure the trial school was running smoothly, I was also able to meet all the participants and listen in on the trial school activities. Besides filling [more than] my 40 hour pro-bono requirement, I had an amazing opportunity to pick the brains of the experienced lawyers and judges. I also had an opportunity to talk to associates who were not so far removed from where I am now.

Volunteering for the trial school was an amazing and unique experience. It was a great opportunity to meet people in the industry and to learn the intricacies of trial in a fun setting. I highly recommend keeping tabs on Loyola emails and finding a pro-bono requirement that is both interesting and different.

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch... Or Is There?

During law school, I have worked at a structural engineering firm, a boutique intellectual property law firm, and a large scale firm specializing in many different areas.  This semester, I am expanding my work experience by working with an in-house legal department at a tech company.  The department has five attorneys, three of whom are Loyola alum.

In-house attorneys deal with a wide range of issues.  During my short time working in-house, I have worked on or observed employment, patent litigation, patent prosecution, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate matters.  Additionally, in-house attorneys deal with a wide range of people.  Some examples are employees in engineering, sales, and finance and executives within the company, as well as clients and attorneys outside the company.

The company cultures at in-house companies can vary widely.  My company embraces a startup culture, so employees sit at connecting desks in a large, open space.  Lunch is catered for all employees every day, and there are refrigerators and vending machines stocked with complimentary food and beverages.  Employees work on laptops, enabling them to move seamlessly from desks, to conference rooms, to big red sofas in open seating areas.

The company was open to my working three days a week, so another ancillary benefit has been attending lunch events at Loyola on my two days off.  Various student groups often organize and provide lunch for events featuring speakers or panels.  This semester, I have attended a discussion with Laura Wasser, an alum specializing in celebrity divorces (such as Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian), a panel on wrongful convictions featuring four innocent defendants who served time in prison, and a panel featuring different attorneys working in intellectual property law.

While working in-house is an option I might explore after graduation, most in-house groups only hire attorneys with work experience at a law firm.  I feel fortunate to be getting a glimpse of what working in-house is like now, before working with a law firm.  And of course, free lunch never hurts.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a sense of balance in law school can be difficult. Law school is a full time job that requires self-discipline and dedication. However, it is important to stay balanced so you don’t burn out. Here are some things I do to try and stay balanced (and keep from going crazy) in law school:

Make studying as painless as possible —My study partner and I vary our methods of studying from flashcards to drawing whiteboard diagrams and comparing. And when stress is high we will occasionally pick up Sprinkles cupcakes (because what isn’t better with cupcakes?).

Have non-law-related conversation—Sounds easy, but I found this a lot harder to do than I would have thought. Everything we learn applies to everyday life and it can be difficult to turn that off. I went to a friend’s for dinner and noticed she had an easement her property and the next thing you know we’re talking about property law.

Commiserate with classmates—Seriously. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but with so much of law school being self taught, it’s easy to feel as if you’re the only one who is confused, or gets overwhelmed. Hearing others admit that they too are experiencing all of these things eases anxiety that may interfere with studying.

Fit in family—Everyone has a different family dynamic, but I think if you can find time to spend time with family it helps keep your foundation strong. My cousin and I go to the gym or go out to eat at least once a week. If I find myself overwhelmed with school she will tell me “You have to eat and you need to stay healthy” to get me out of the library and I have yet to find a good counter argument.

Set personal deadlines—If you have a goal in mind you will do better at getting things done and will be able to schedule in other things. I schedule out everything from class specific reading assignments to calling my mom and convincing her I’m not overwhelmed.

Prayer/meditation—I always try and take time in the day for a few minutes of silence to calm myself, reflect, and breathe. Yoga on campus is good for this, as is my car.

Monday, October 13, 2014

How This Year is Different

I was under the impression that the first year of law school is the hardest and then it became easier the second year.  I was a little right, but more wrong, at least when it comes to my experience in the Evening Program at Loyola Law School.  I’ll start with the good news which is that nothing compares to how hard it is to start law school, really having no idea what to expect or what a professor wants on an exam.  Last year, I’m not too proud to admit that I bombed my first law school midterm ever in Contracts.  I’m also not too humble to admit that I studied my butt off for the final exam and pulled it all together in a nice way—so know that’s possible to do.  What’s easier about 2nd year is that the unknowns are out of the way.  By 2nd year, you know what’s expected of you, how much time you really need to give your studies, and what a professor is going to want you to write on their exam.

What was I wrong about?  That 2nd year would be easier course-wise.  I’m finding that the workload in the first semester of 2nd year Evening is significantly more intense than that of last semester.  Whereas last year I could take one weekend night off to go out with my friends, this semester is not like that.  I have no social life this time around, and can’t have one.  This isn’t the end of the world, however, as long as I keep telling myself the truth…that, “If I stick with this, it will all be worth it.”  The end truly does justify the means here.

If you’re an Evening Program student, keep in mind that in the first semester of your second year, you’re mostly still working through the standard “core” curriculum of first year law students who are in the Day Program.  Be mentally prepared to stick it out through another half-year before you get to choose a nice set of courses you’re really interested in, notwithstanding any built-in interest you may have for the core I just mentioned.  Oh and be prepared to use words like “Whereas” and “Notwithstanding” like I just did in this blog entry, without even realizing it.  Now that the lion’s share of my brain storage is filled with court opinions, I have no control over this behavior.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How I Spent My Summer

It’s good to be back in school pushing further through law school as a 2nd year Evening student.

Before law school, I spent 9 years in television, and before that 9 years in the Air Force, so I think I’m still adjusting the shock of being a student again.  One of those adjustments is realizing that during school, I’m just not really going to have any kind of a life outside of school and work.  I spend most of my time running a financial services company I started a little over 2 years ago.  It kind of took off just as I got in to law school, so it’s been tough to get it all done from day to day.  I spend about 8 or 9 hours  per day working, and then I go to class in the evening.

This summer I took the class Legal Drafting with Professor Maureen Johnson.  The class was EXCELLENT and I learned a lot about writing legal documents.  This helped me also because I had just started a clerkship just before summer began at Girardi&Keese law firm here in downtown L.A.  Because I’m a commercial pilot, the firm has me managing their plane crash cases.  I don’t just service the files of the case, but get ample opportunity to analyze the evidence available to any crash and give my professional opinion of what might have happened to cause the accident.  That’s has been amazing work, and leads to me pretty much KNOW that I want to be an aviation attorney.

Other than that…yeah, just more work on my financial company.  I tell myself every day that all this busy time will pay off.  I went in to law school at 39 years old to make a change in my life and I knew that the transition wouldn’t be an easy one.  I tell myself every day that “this will all be worth it,” and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t get through each day.  In my last career, I feel like I worked very little for lots of reward that came in the form of money.  Now I feel like I work so much with little monetary reward compared to what I do from day to day.  Ironically though, I’m happier now than ever.  Doing what I want to be doing, following several dreams at once.

How I Spent My Summer: Summer School and Italy

Summer School
This summer, I took Marital Property and Legal Drafting.  As a married person, I found Marital Property to be rather eye-opening.  Turns out there were all sorts of rights and responsibilities I had assumed of which I was completely unaware. After all, when I got down on bended knee in the glow of a wintry sunset overlooking the vast Pacific, I imagined my romantic life with my wife and how we would start a family, not the legal implications of community property.  I highly recommend the course, but I’m not sure if it’s better to take it before or after getting married.  In Legal Drafting the professor created a fake case that dealt with a character startlingly close to the soon-to-be former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, who had also made racially reprensible statements.  Researching and writing for that paper was fascinating, because the subject matter was so emotional, and so steeped in the history of race relations in the U.S.

Vacation in Italy
My wife, Stefania, is Italian, and in Italy, vacations are sacrosanct.  So it was without debate (almost) that we would take our three-year-old son, Kyler, to Italy this summer and visit her family and friends.  It was a noble sacrifice on my part, I know.  We stayed with my in-laws and enjoyed amazing Italian meals, courtesy of my father-in-law, who’s a wonderful cook.  Although my wife doesn’t come from a stereotypical big Italian family (in fact, Italy currently has the lowest birthrate in Europe), there was nevertheless a lot of family, because almost no one moves away.   We took day trips to visit friends on Lago Maggiore and Lago Como in the north.  We spent time by the beach in Tuscany.  We stayed with friends at the beach in San Remo, just relaxing (and chasing Kyler).  After the grueling first year of law school, it was a much needed break.

Traveling on an airplane for 15 hours with our three-year-old son, Kyler, is an exercise in patience and distraction.  Thank God for the little TVs on the seatbacks.  Truthfully, it was much easier than last time, and he was pretty well behaved (just don’t ask the man sitting in front of him).

How I Spent My Summer: Externship

I landed a position as a law clerk for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office (LADA)—at the Torrance Branch—the summer following my 1E year (the ABA recently passed a rule requiring law students to complete 28 credits toward their J.D. degrees before being eligible to participate in field placement externships, but I was fortunately grandfathered in before the rule took effect). There, I shadowed a seasoned Deputy District Attorney (DDA) in a special unit known as the Victim Impact Program, which prosecutes family violence cases, child/elder abuse cases, sex crimes, and hate crimes.

Working for the LADA was not something that crossed my mind prior to law school. But, during my 1E year, I was selected for jury duty on a case involving a sex crime charge. Once the trial concluded, I met the prosecuting DDA, we exchanged information and decided to keep in touch (I had disclosed my status as a law student during voir dire).

 Once summer rolled around, I applied for a clerkship with the DDA who had prosecuted the case I was a juror for. Soon thereafter, she became my externship supervisor—and, more importantly, she became my friend and mentor. She took me with her on day-to-day work tasks, which included: interviews with witnesses, court appearances, trials, pre-trial hearings, meetings with law enforcement and crime scene investigators.

The intensity of it all was exciting—I felt like I was living the real-life CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. More importantly, though, I saw first-hand what an important role the LADA plays. It is the largest local prosecutor’s office in the United States, and it serves not only as a source of comfort for victims and their families, but it is the instrument that keeps dangerous criminals away from the rest of society, while also filtering out unsubstantiated claims.

The job isn’t for everyone—particularly not the faint-hearted—but the rewards DDAs reap with each successful conviction are immeasurable. They gain valuable trial experience, and they walk away with the immense satisfaction of knowing that they have helped make the streets a little safer.

While law school graduation is still a ways off for me, I know that if I am fortunate enough to land a job offer at the LADA after passing the bar, I’ll take it. And that’s what summer externships are all about. You may not necessarily find your “calling” as I feel I did, but you should certainly take advantage of the opportunity to learn, network, and foster friendships. And, don’t fret when you get summoned for jury duty! It’s great experience for law students!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How I Spent My Summer: Internship

I spent this past (summer between my 1L and 2L year) at the Disability Rights Legal Center in downtown Los Angeles, working with the new Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project (LA HLPP). It was an amazing experience! A typical day for summer LA HLPP interns began with handling intake calls. Potential clients would call in and we would talk to them and identify the person’s potential legal issues. We would then research the legal issues on our own, looking up regulations and statutes that could possibly be applicable. We then arranged time to meet with one of our supervising attorneys who would discuss the intake and get our opinion of the legal issues. With the supervision and guidance of our supervising attorneys, we then continued our research and followed up with the client to either give them consultation and advice or refer them to another agency.

What I liked most about interning is that it made everything real for me. During the school year when we are reading hundreds of cases and learning countless rules, it is easy to forget that everything we learn in law school has real world implications. What was once a property lesson about an old case became a client who face living on the streets. What was once issue spotting to help a hypothetical client with a cartoon name like Donald Duck to earn a grade, became issue spotting and researching to help the man who had shared his life story with you and believed that you were his last hope at justice.

Overall, interning gave me renewed sense of purpose in law school. Suddenly, the curve just doesn’t seem as important as studying diligently to acquire the skills to be able efficiently represent my real future clients.

How This Year is Different: My Schedule

Besides just being excited to end 1L and begin my 2L year, I was also excited to pick my own schedule. I love making schedules and planning activities, so I was beyond excited to pick my classes and leave room for some extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, 1L leaves little room for schedule-making [besides scheduling when to read].

This year I am taking a Civil Litigation Skills Practicum, Business Associations, Evidence, and Mediation. Two of my classes, Business Associations and Evidence, are very similar to 1L classes as they are bar courses. My other two classes, Mediation and Civil Litigation Skills Practicum, are based more on practical learning. I love my schedule, I have a nice mix of day and night classes and, best of all, I have no Friday class! The only down side to picking my schedule is not seeing the familiar faces of section two all day, every day.

Outside of class time I am involved in the Loyola blog [obviously], I am co-president of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA) Liaison Committee, and I am working during the year at a law firm. While I can’t really say I am less busy than 1L year, I am definitely less stressed! So far, 2L year is off to a good start.

How This Year is Different: Life of a 3E

1E and 2E year are filled with required courses.  However, 3E year, I have had more flexibility in choosing which courses I would like to take, as well as when I would like to take them.

Two examples of flexible scheduling - I was able to take day sections for two classes, and I was able to defer some Fall units to the Spring semester, since there were so many classes I wanted to take in the Fall.  

My current schedule:
M: 6-8pm Patent Law
T: 9:50-11:50am Evidence, 1:10-2:40 Ethical, 3:00-6:00 Law Review office hours
W: (free)
Th: 9:50-11:50am Evidence, 1:10-2:40 Ethical
F: 12-1 Scott Moot Court Honors Board

While I will begin working M-W-F, I am really enjoying my slower schedule at the start of the year.  The end of my Summer Associate position, combined with Scott Moot Court training and Law Review Orientation, added to On-Campus Interviews, made for an extremely busy August.

I have no doubt that in typical evening student fashion, my schedule will shortly fill right back up again, but until then, I plan on enjoying the start of my flexible 3E year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How I Spent My Summer

In the evening program, the summer between your 2E and 3E years counts as your 1L summer.  For my 1L summer, I was a summer associate at a firm downtown.  It was an amazing experience, both in regard to the work and to the other benefits.
My Office With a View
Substantively, I made real contributions to actual ongoing matters.  For example, I prepared materials for a client meeting which helped the team evaluate whether a supervisor in a factory could be held personally liable for an employee's death at work.  Among other assignments, I also researched whether high level executives can be held exempt from time-consuming depositions brought on by potentially frivolous lawsuits. Throughout the summer, I found that the writing skills I developed during Legal Writing and Research, as well as Appellate Advocacy, were essential.  Additionally, I found that even for matters I knew very little about, I had no problem delving into the case law and feeling comfortable with the lay of the law.  All in all, this experience showed me how the skills I have been developing in school translate into the realm of legal work.

But all work and no fun makes Jack a dull boy -- and there was certainly a lot of fun to be had this summer.  All the west coast summer associates flew to San Francisco for deposition and oral argument training.  As a bonus, we saw expert witness examinations at the NCAA v. O'Bannon trial.  Throughout the entire summer, there were many events where the summer associates could get to know the attorneys better in informal settings.  Besides impromptu lunches and dinners, we also had events like guacamole and margarita making classes, a wine tasting event, Dodgers night, and bowling.
My (Very Rough) First Deposition
A Beautiful Day at the Frank Sinatra Suite at AT&T Park
Overall, this summer was an amazing experience.  I could not imagine a more supportive environment filled with talented and collegial attorneys.  As it draws to an end, I am thankful to have gotten a glimpse of what the light at the end of the law school tunnel looks like.

Monday, August 25, 2014

How I Spent My Summer

Most law students can agree that law school is all-consuming. This summer was the first time in months where my brain could turn off for an hour or two. After concluding my 1L year, I began work at two civil litigation law firms. During my 9-5 I was busy answering phones, preparing memos and complaints, or researching cases. However once the workday was over, it was time to shut my brain off and go home and do whatever I wanted [usually binge-watch reality TV]. At first, I almost felt guilty flipping on the Kardashians because I had been conditioned to think that there was an outline I needed to finish or a case to brief.

Beyond overdosing on trashy reality TV, my summer working at law firms provided many great learning experiences. Law school is undeniably challenging, however, putting law school theories into practice is a challenge in itself. Work provided me with first hand exposure to attorney interactions with [sometimes difficult] clients and the rigid time constraints of litigation.

I was also lucky enough to take a trip to Puerto Vallarta.  Initially, I planned to lay on the beach with a margarita in-hand and a side of guacamole. However, once I arrived I was quick to put down the margarita and set side aside the guacamole to adventure. My adventures included: fishing, snorkeling, and playing with baby jaguars. Although I was repeatedly stung by jellyfish, only caught a blowfish, and, arguably, the jaguar was well beyond a baby, my Puerto Vallarta trip was amazing. I can’t complain about my well-rounded summer filled with practical learning and some relaxation.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Professors to the Rescue

By Brittney, 1L

If you mention that you are struggling to anyone on campus they will suggest going to “office hours.” I used context clues to deduce that this was in reference to seeing my professor, yet I didn’t really know what went on during this time or how to ask for it. Now I know that you often do not need to schedule an appointment to see a professor during office hours (although some prefer it) and there can be other people there, but often times it is just the two of you. Here are some typical situations where going to professors’ office hours throughout the semester has been helpful for me and how to approach them.

You have a question you are too embarrassed to ask during class.
I know that some students are just afraid to ask any questions in a class of 80 students, but by the end of the first semester, I was generally comfortable enough to ask most of my questions. However, there are times when a professor can spend an entire class explaining what a term means and I still don’t know how to define the term in my outline. Or sometimes I have questions that are only tangentially related to the topic but my curiosity will not let go. If it's a quick question the professor will likely answer it after class or in an email. If it’s longer then you should write out the things you do understand, and try to create a very specific question that will get the answer you’re looking for from the professor.

You don’t understand anything at all about the topic.
The number one reason I tried to avoid office hours first semester was because I felt like it would be disrespectful to go into a professor’s office and tell him that I was so confused that I didn’t even know what it was I was confused about. This changed when one of my professors reminded my class that the professors work for us and that we pay too much money to be confused. After hearing this, I started to admit my shame to professors and they were able to help me. However, the best way to avoid getting to this point, is to ask for clarity earlier. Many topics build on top of each other and missing the foundation bricks will make the house almost impossible to build. These may be longer meetings and I suggest talking or emailing the professor about making either one large block of time or several shorter blocks time to discuss your confusion.

You don't understand a specific section of the material.
What is likely the most common in law school is to not understand one particular section.
You understand the rest of the class but one or two sections still seem like a foreign language. A professor recommended that if I was struggling I should take that part of my outline to my professors. The concept was so simple and yet seemed to go against all the principles of law school. How could I possibly show my hand to my professor when I was attempting to master his exam? Well apparently, they want us to master the exam! Lol. So I nervously walked into office hours for one of my professor clutching my outline and asked him about a section. He then asks what I was holding. I told him it was my outline and he began to read it and tell me things I had misinterpreted or steps I had missed. It was the most amazing feeling to walk out of his office knowing that I had the professors stamp of approval (with corrections and suggestions) for information that would be on his final exam.

The official website can give you the impressive bios and credentials of professors, but I’d like to end with a shout out a few professors that I feel are particularly helpful when you are feeling help-less in the class.

John T. Nockleby — Professor Nockleby is great with helping you with your academics as a whole. He helps you to realize where you’ve made a wrong turn in his class, and explains how to avoid that mistake both his class and your other classes.

Robert Brain — I particularly appreciate Professor Brain’s candor and directness. I trust that when I write something amazing, he will tell me and when I write something that would get me laughed out of the legal profession, he would tell me. He also has the unsettling ability to remember quotes and statutes off the top of his head that can help you whether you’re looking to move from a C to a B or a B to an A.

Allan Ides — Professor Ides has an uncanny ability to show you how brilliant he is, without making you feel stupid. Lol. But seriously. Sometimes when he speaks I write down every single word and sometimes I just marvel in in how much he knows that I don’t. He is able to explain how to work through a particular topic in an orderly and systematic way, but is still able to explain how it makes sense in the big picture.

All of the professors I have spoken to were not able to explain things in a way that suited my personal learning style, but I can say that every time I reached out for help from a professor here at Loyola, I was welcomed with open arms.

Monday, April 14, 2014

On Fashion Law...

Fashion Law. There’s a very high chance you laughed at that. It’s okay if you did. I understand. Just allow me to throw some facts at you:
(1) Fashion is a $300 billion industry…that’s just in the U.S.
(2) Fashion industry generates $58.2 billion in revenue…that’s just in L.A.
(3) Fashion industry accounts for about 168,400 jobs…that’s just in L.A. and Orange County.

Think about all the different types of law suits you’ve ever heard about—accidental injuries, assaults, bad service, stolen ideas, breached contracts, sales shams, the list goes on and on. Now think about all those lawsuits within the context of a $300 billion industry with millions of employees, millions of customers, millions of retail stores, and millions of factories.

If you didn’t appreciate fashion law or if you never really thought about it before, I hope this was a bit eye opening.

Loyola just held the very first Fashion Law Symposium in L.A. Lawyers, fashion designers, and students came together to discuss the leading issues in the fashion industry.

I attended with my cousin, who is a fashion designer and knows very little about the law. I was pleasantly surprised at how much my cousin enjoyed the panels. The speakers simplified complex legal issues and discussed matters practically. Best example during the technology and consumer privacy panel: malls now have networks that pick up all cell phone signals within the mall and track which stores each cell phone enters and how long that cell phone remains in a certain store! Stalkers much?! Well, it’s mostly legal. 
Bottom line, fashion law is a quickly and vastly growing segment of the legal industry, and it shouldn’t be underestimated. I’ll be the first to say that shoes, shoes, and shoes are my favorite part of fashion. However, the law that governs the production and sale of those shoes is a very close second. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Many Law School Personalities

Law School is filled with a medley of intelligent, ambitious individuals. Students come from a variety of backgrounds, educational focuses, and lifestyles. As I observed my surroundings in my first law school class, we all seemed like a clump of petrified humans. No one wanted to be the first to raise his or her hand, appear overly confident nor under-prepared. For such a diverse group of students, we all looked exactly the same.

However, second semester marked a drastic shift. In fact, the “personalities of law school” emerged. There are many interpretations about the kind of people you will meet in law school, and here is my own rendition.

The famous “Gunner” is a well-known character, almost every law student knows about. According to the very credible Urban Dictionary, the Gunner is “a person who is competitive, overly-ambitious and substantially exceeds minimum requirements.”  While we may have all experienced a Gunner or two in our past educational institutions, nothing is quite like the Gunner in law school. The Gunner is the person who promptly raises his or her hand as soon as a question ends and is often heard discussing the copious amount of notes they took in Torts, all the outlines they finished months in advance, or how prepared he or she already is for finals. I’m pretty sure I have even seen a Gunner or two bring camping supplies to the library during finals. The Gunner may extract a sense of self-consciousness in even the most confident of individuals.
On the opposite end, “The Mumbler” is the very bright kid who has so much to say, however we simply can’t hear The Mumbler’s hidden brilliance.  The Mumbler may be tired, nervous, or maybe he or she just has a quiet voice. However, when we look at the blank section in our notes, we know that The Mumbler was most likely responsible.

One of my favorite law school personalities is “The What-If Guy”. Torts and Criminal Law tend to bring out the What-If Guy in all of us. The What-If Guy is a creative individual who was probably involved in some creative writing in the past. He or she comes up with the most elaborate hypotheticals that are extreme and impracticable, but nevertheless, very entertaining. Everyone in class looks up from their as soon as we hear a sigh from the teacher and a cautious, “yes, What If-Guy, what would you like to add to the discussion?” We all know it’s time to brace ourselves for an epic hypothetical. For instance, the What If- Guys needs to make sure every base is covered by asking what if… “two cars are driving down the road, one driver [“D1”] has contracted with a rental car company, and the other driver [“D2”] stole the car from the neighbor, D1 was planning to murder D2, however D1 was drunk and crashed into a third party truck driver [“D3”], BUT THEN there was a bolt of lightning [“LB”] that hit D1, and then a gorilla [“G”] comes and kills D2, and then the master-mind [“MM”] of the initial murder appears and a tiger [“T”] pops out of the trunk and…wait what was the question?”

“The Debater” is another common personality in law school. Law students are all very outspoken and opinionated individuals and each and every one of us likes a good debate, especially in a favorite class talking about an interesting case. The Debater loves the topic or class and comes prepared to argue. At this point in class, everyone stops taking notes and eagerly watches the heated back-and-forth between the passionate Debater and his or her newest victim. It’s almost like a sporting event, law school edition.

And of course, “The New Law School Couple” emerges. During my first orientation, one of our speakers noted that most of us will break up with a current significant other and will most likely date someone in the school, or perhaps even in the same section [although we were also warned of this option]. Immediately we all looked around, sizing up our options. The speaker was more on point than we realized at the time. After spending endless hours in the library and in class together, it is inevitable a pair will spark a love interest. Unexpectedly, the day comes when a pair is holding hands, walks in late to an 8 am class together, and all the pieces come together; two students become law school official!! [It’s like Facebook official, but more serious].

 Lastly, every law school has the beloved “Class Clown.” Everyone loves the Class Clown. The Class Clown is witty, intelligent, and confident. He or she promotes all the outside events and is friends with everyone in the section. The Class Clown lightens the mood on test day, and reassures the rest of the section that we will get through whatever intense assignment is due the next day. The Class Clown brings us all back down to earth when we feel bogged down with endless reading and outlining. Everyone is thankful for the Class Clown for cracking a joke or two and making even the most serious of teachers let out a little chuckle.

Despite all the stories I’ve heard about the personalities of law school, what I realized on my own is that at one point or another each law student fills one of these personalities. Whether a student fills the role of the Debater in criminal law class because criminal defense is their calling, or The Mumbler in civil procedure because the difference between Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Personal Jurisdiction, and Venue is still a mystery. Or perhaps one embodies the Class Clown in contracts because he or she is “besties” with the contracts Professor. Either way, I have noticed an interesting evolution of first semester personalities into the more confident second semester personalities. Second semester displays the new found confidence in law students as we all start to find our niche in law school and adapt accordingly. It has been a fun journey watching myself as well as the individuals around me. After these eight months together, I’ve grown to know the “law school personalities” very well and really love my section. As much as I will be overly-joyed to complete my first year of law school, I am going to miss my goofy section and spending all day, every day with them!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Romanian Puppy Rescue Mission

As promised, I’m completing the story that began with my March 13, 2014, blog post (“Who are Loyolans?”).

On March 11, 2014, I greeted four dogs—all born on the streets of Romania—at LAX, along with Marilyn Vittone and Masumi Hara of Doggies911 Rescue (D911) and Nancy Janes of Romania Animal Rescue, Inc. (RAR).
The story, from my perspective, began after I rescued two homeless Romanian puppies (see last post). Once I moved back to Los Angeles and bought my own condo, I wanted to continue helping homeless dogs. That’s when I met Marilyn, the co-founder and vice president of D911. Over the next year, I fostered several dogs for her group, but I stopped after I adopted my second dog, Teddy, since my building had a 2-dog limit. Still, Marilyn and I had become friends, so we continued to keep in touch. Every now and then, when I stumbled upon a dog in need of a new home, Marilyn offered to help out.

Because I also wanted to stay updated on the plight of street dogs in Romania, I followed Nancy Janes and a couple of Romanian dog rescuers on Facebook. I learned that on September 25, 2013, the Romanian government legalized the mass culling of street dogs, something that was deemed unconstitutional back in January 2012.

The cull was legalized following a nationwide maelstrom, which resulted from reports alleging that a four-year-old boy was killed by street dogs (there’s still controversy regarding the truth behind these allegations). The media immediately painted street dogs as vicious killers. In reality, though, these dogs are far from “wild killers”—most would actually make smart, loving pets if given the chance.

Regardless, the street dogs’ image in Romania was irreparably damaged following the terrible tragedy, and around the country, the hunt for dogs ensued. Romanian animal lovers scrambled to save as many homeless dogs as they could; disturbing photos taken by rescuers popped up regularly on my Facebook feed.

On February 13, 2014, Mihaela Raducanu, a rescuer/vet student in Romania who works closely with RAR, shared some images of dogs in desperate need. One of the dogs, Sasha, was rescued as a pup and lived with a kind-hearted foster, Otilia, in the city of Tecuci, Romania. Sasha was born on the streets; before her rescue, she had survived as a stray with her littermate, who unfortunately did not make it.

Otilia later took on the care of 3 additional homeless female pups, all littermates. She had discovered them because of their cries—they had been discarded in a plastic bag by the road. One of the pups had broken free, but the other two were close to suffocation. They were so young, their eyes had barely begun to open. Otilia had found them in the nick of time. At Otilia’s home, the orphaned Sasha took the 3 littermates under her wing; even though she was only about 3 months older than the smaller puppies, Sasha assumed a very motherly role with them.
Because Otilia had several other homeless dogs and cats in her care, she frequently needed help. When resources were really low, Otilia made the heart-wrenching decision to relinquish some of the dogs in her care to the local public animal shelter. She went back to the shelter to visit her dogs, only to find them starving and aggressively combating each other for food. Heartbroken, Otilia took the dogs back and began the slow process of rehabilitating them.

Because Otilia desperately needed help, Mihaela stepped in to raise money for food and posted the animals’ photos online for adoption. That’s how I learned about Sasha and the 3 littermates—their photos were online for weeks with no fruitful responses from potential adopters. At first, I thought we might only be able to take on 2 small dogs for transport to L.A., but when Marilyn heard the story and realized that nobody had offered to adopt these 4 pups, she insisted on rescuing all 3 littermates and their gentle guardian, Sasha. The four had been fortunate enough to live continuously under Otilia’s care, since the time they were plucked from the streets, so they had become well-socialized not only with dogs but with cats as well. RAR had spayed and vaccinated them, so they were great candidates for travel.

Once the decision to take the dogs was finalized, we had to raise the funds needed to cover the dogs’ transport and vetting. We spent a few weeks networking and trying to garner online donations for the project. By the end of February, it seemed our fundraiser had hit a standstill, but on March 1, fate shifted. A generous donation rolled in from a prominent dog rescuer in Los Angeles.

We immediately went to work booking flights through a pet travel agency and figuring out transport from the town of Tecuci to the international airport in Bucharest. The rescuers in Romania contacted Otilia with the news—she was thrilled to hear that Sasha and the 3 sisters would live out their lives Angeleno-style!

Otilia’s farewell was bittersweet, and the dogs got a little carsick on the way to Bucharest, but once in the capital city, they received the first baths of their lives from happy volunteers. Dr. Corbu, a vet in Romania who works closely with Nancy Janes, prepped the pups for departure.

The overseas trip was long, but fortunately the pups had a potty break layover at the airport Pet Hotel in Amsterdam. On my end, the night before their arrival, I rushed home after my evening class to make welcome banners. Marilyn gave me the honor of naming the 3 sisters, so I decided to go with Disney princess names—Cinderella, Belle, and Jasmine. They were all living the fairy tale princess dream, so I found the names fitting.

At LAX, we—a party of Doggies911 Rescue volunteers, Nancy Janes and her husband, Rory (both of whom flew down from San Francisco just for the occasion)—enthusiastically greeted the four pups, complete with banners and dog treats. After a day-long process of clearing customs, we rushed them to the vet, so that they could get the necessary health clearances.
Since their arrival almost a month ago, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the four girls on a handful of occasions and they are the liveliest, happiest, most adorable bunch of dogs. You would never guess they had such rough beginnings. It comes as no surprise that they’ve already received multiple adoption proposals.

Belle, the smallest, and Sasha have already gone to their new forever homes. The others have applications on file as well, but Marilyn is doing her due diligence and taking time to review each application carefully to ensure that these girls go to suitable, loving homes. We’ve all fallen in love with these goofy pups—it’ll be sad to see them go, but we’ll be comforted in knowing that they’ll be safe and spoiled. 
When all’s said and done, much of the response to our rescue story has been positive, yet some wonder why we would expend the money and energy to bring Romanian dogs to Los Angeles when there are plenty of dogs dying in shelters around L.A. Others raise an eyebrow and wonder why we care so much about street dogs in Romania when humans are suffering around the world.

I’d make the following points in response:

Public shelters over here have protocol to follow—the animals must be fed, their kennels must be cleaned routinely, they must be provided with shelter from the elements, the adoptable animals must be available for the public to view, and in the end, the unadopted animals are put down quickly and as humanely as possible. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t want to downplay the plight of dogs in shelters around Los Angeles and the country in general—it’s a serious issue in need of improvement and I wish with all my heart that everyone would consider adoption first. But with that said, public shelters in Romania provide little, if any, of the aforementioned resources and services—dogs starve, live in squalor, and the list goes on.

This is why we brought the 4 pups to Los Angeles. We saw the need; we realized what the consequences might be if we didn’t step in. And, we wanted to help not only the dogs, but also their foster, a commendable animal-lover, Otilia. Sasha, Belle, Jasmine, and Cinderella are now ambassadors of Romanian street dogs here in L.A., and I hope their stories will be told by their families for years to come.

The bottom line is: dogs don’t belong on the streets, but the long-term solution lies not within a massive, inhumane cull—as the population will eventually regenerate through continued pet abandonment and rampant breeding—but within education and spay/neuter programs. RAR, led by Nancy Janes, is spearheading this movement in hopes of combating the root of the Romanian street dog problem, with good Samaritans like Mihaela and Dr. Corbu championing the cause on the homefront. Marilyn and the rest of the D911 team continue to work tirelessly placing homeless dogs, including those with dire medical needs, with loving families all over Los Angeles. I’ve never been so proud to be part of a compassionate team—without the combined efforts of many, this unique rescue would not have been possible.

And with respect to why we help animals while humans continue to suffer, all I can say is: the suffering of humans around the world torments the conscience of animal rescuers as well. But we follow our passions and our areas of expertise. I believe that animals are our legacies; they are helpless in our wake. It’s our responsibility to address their suffering as humanely as possible. In the end, those who stand for good causes should commend each other’s efforts rather than judge each other’s missions. Every act of kindness—on every level, teaches compassion, and at risk of sounding totally sappy—makes the world a better place.

Friday, April 4, 2014

When law school and hobbies collide. [Fashion Law Symposium]

On Saturday, March 22nd, I spent a few hours on campus to attend a symposium put on by the Fashion Law clinic at Loyola.  The name of the symposium was “One Channel Does Not Fit All:  The Fashion Law Implications of Omnichannel Marketing.”

Let’s be real — I will be the first to tell you I am NOT interested in high-fashion (or even low-fashion, if that’s a thing).  My best friend is always on me about buying clothes that actually fit and spending time in stores that aren’t Lululemon.  So I didn’t go to this symposium because I want a career in fashion law.

I glanced at the different panel discussions and one of them — about the legality of influence and the laws governing disclosures for bloggers — really interested me.

I had to miss the panels before lunch (I teach a spin class Saturday mornings) but I showered quickly, threw on a business-y dress that passes for fashionable in my eyes (even though I’m pretty sure the peplum craze is  is pretty 2012), and headed over just in time for the lunch program.

Lunch was awesome for two reasons – first, it was catered by Joan’s on Third.  Second, it featured an interesting discussion between Bernard Campbell, co-founder of Fi3, and Crosby Noricks, Founder and Fashion Marketing Strategist at PR Couture.

One component of the discussion was whether or not there is a place for stores in this era of digital marketing.  Crosby emphasized that she thinks stores will gain importance again, but it will be about the experience as opposed to the products themselves.  Again, I had to think about this as it applies to my life — but there’s definitely something about the Lululemon experience that makes me willing to spend a little more as opposed to trudging through clearance bins at the Nike Outlet.

Crosby also commented on the prominence of social tools — like bulletin boards — on brand websites, and how brands like Free People are reacting to consumer behavior by encouraging the use of things like selfies and hashtags and integrating them into the in-store and online shopping experience.

After lunch was the panel I was most excited about  — the “Legality of Influence (Advertising & Disclosures).”

Moderator:  Oren Bitan, Attorney,  Buchalter Nemer
o Candice Hyon, Corporate Counsel of Marketing, Privacy, and Property at Forever 21
o Lauren Indvik, Editor in Chief,
o Stacy Procter, Staff Attorney, Federal Trade Commission
o Rey Kim, General Counsel and Senior VP, Legal and Business Development, HALSTON

I really enjoyed this panel because it was pretty much a direct convergence of my professional (ish) life with one of my passions – blogging/social media.

First, I found it interesting that the FTC governs bloggers. 

The FTC  is a civil enforcement agency.  It serves to protect consumers and to protect competition, and specifically focuses on policing unfair or deceptive acts.  Unfair or deceptive acts consist of:
o a representation/omission
o that is material
o and is likely to mislead the consumer [a reasonable consumer, not someone who is ingrained in the industry and should know that posts are sponsored, etc.]

Under Section 5 of the FTC Act, ALL material connections between bloggers and the advertisers/sponsor must be disclosed.  This applies to all types of blogs, and fashion bloggers are not exempt even though it could change the reader’s perception of them. Stacy suggested bloggers err on the side of caution and DISCLOSE material connections. Disclosures don’t have to take any specific form — they just need to be clear and conspicuous to the reader.

After the presentation, I chatted with some of my friends who are in the Fashion Law clinic and got to meet Professor Riordan and some other people who attended the symposium. 

I’m glad I checked it out – and I wish I could have made it for the entire symposium!  The Fashion Law Symposium was a great way for me to remember that earning a law degree will not pigeon-hole me to any one particular career path for my entire life.

Learn more about LLS’s Fashion Law Project here

Monday, March 17, 2014

Why Law?

By Marlee, 1D

“Why law”? Being fresh out of college, that frequently asked question was difficult to  answer at first. Working for a law firm sparked an interest and I entered law school to explore that interest. Although I was often warned about the path ahead, I was and am determined to become a lawyer. However, the answer to “why law” was still a work in progress, until last November.

Last semester, my criminal law class was introduced to the story of Mr. Register. Mr. Register was wrongly convicted for murder and spent 34 years in prison before Project for the Innocent and Professor Levenson helped a free man clear his name. Project for the Innocent is a Loyola law school program that helps exonerate the wrongfully convicted, like Mr. Register. Loyola Students have the opportunity to work on projects where they investigate cases and help prove the innocence of the wrongfully convicted.
My class had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Register and hearing his story. When Mr. Register first entered my classroom I was worried about his reaction to us and his experience. But Mr. Register was filled with nothing but positivity. He was tearing [as was the rest of the class] while he told us how he was beyond thankful to Loyola and our class for the donations we gave him. I watched Mr. Register reunite with his family and tell us how he still has faith in the criminal justice system and the lawyers and law students, like those involved in his case, who work so hard to help people. At this moment I was able to answer the nagging question that kept popping up in the back of my mind.

I chose law because I want to help people. Whether I choose criminal law or a different area, lawyers have the unique ability to represent the law and help people every day. Whether representing individuals who are wrongly convicted, someone personally injured in a car accident, or maybe someone discriminated against, people come to lawyers for help. Lawyer have so much power and responsibility because they are representing the rights of individuals and representing the laws that make up the foundation of our country. Being a law student is a hard task, but its because lawyers have a great responsibility and it should not be taken lightly. Programs at Loyola like Project for the Innocent help Loyola law students get involved in real cases and help them figure out their answer to “why law”.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Who are Loyolans?

By Diane, 1E

Investors, entrepreneurs, actors, bankers, models, paralegals, yoga instructors, musicians, philanthropists, volunteers, and lobbyists.

The Loyola Law School student body is comprised of all of these individuals and many, many more.  I’m always amazed to find out what my classmates do when not learning about the law.  They’re going to “pilot season” auditions, organizing care packages for the homeless, re-vamping worn-down properties, negotiating deals, and the list goes on.

I do my best to keep up with this ambitious crowd.  My own extracurricular passion is dog rescue.

It all began during an evening walk through a community park in Iasi, Romania, the city where I lived, in 2010.  I was already well aware of a stray dog problem in the country, but I felt I could do little, if anything, to help.  I was raising an infant son, my husband was wrapping up his studies in dental medicine, and we lived in a cozy one-bedroom unit within a communist-era residential building.

But on that life-changing evening, I happened upon two tiny puppies, sitting alone at the park next to a bench.  We sat down on the bench and waited to see if their mother would come back.  We waited for so long that the puppies eventually curled up on our feet and fell asleep.  How they tugged at my heartstrings!  I couldn’t leave them alone to freeze through the night, so I informed my husband that we were taking the puppies home.  My husband knew better than to disagree with a woman on a mission, so he obliged.  I placed the puppies in the open bottom storage compartment of my son’s stroller and brought them home.  With no pet supplies whatsoever, I had to simply set some newspapers in a cardboard box for the night, and that’s where the puppies slept.  Their sleeping quarters eventually upgraded to the bathtub, which I covered with a rug.  When resources are limited, you have to improvise!
At the vet the next day, the puppies received some flea/tick-controlling drops, vaccinations, and de-worming pills.  Fortunately for everyone, the de-worming phase was short-lived.  The housebreaking stage was slightly more complicated, since I refused to allow the puppies back out on the street, not knowing what kind of diseases they could become infected with since they no longer received any maternal antibodies and since they had not completed the full course of vaccinations either.  So, it was complicated.  If I ever left home with the puppies, I had to carry them around in a bag.  It was quite the spectacle—especially for the locals.  Never had they ever seen an Asian American woman tote two little street mutts around with the pups’ heads poking out of a handbag, while also pushing a baby around in a stroller.
My son actually learned how to crawl and walk while dodging these puppies.  They were the cutest sight to behold, the little trio.  They essentially became part of the family.  Thus, I fantasized about taking the puppies back to Los Angeles with me, but realized it wouldn’t be possible, since I would have to move back in with my parents until I found a place of my own.  Releasing the puppies back onto the streets was, of course, not an option.  Finding them a home in the neighborhood wasn’t an option either, since I was pretty certain they would wind up on the streets eventually—mutts of stray origins just aren’t generally accepted as household pets over there.
So, I performed an online search and found out about Nancy Janes, the founder of Romania Animal Rescue, Inc.  I discovered that Nancy, a native Californian, established the non-profit group after visiting Romania for a backpacking trip.  Upon arrival, she gave up the backpacking tour in favor of feeding the stray dogs.  The problem impacted her so much that she came home and went to work setting up an organization to help.  Since the group’s inception, Nancy has had numerous Romanian vets trained and has funded spay/neuter operations for countless Romanian dogs.

I called Nancy up and told her about my two puppies, and she immediately went to work putting me in touch with local rescue groups.  I was connected with Treue Pfoetchen (TP), a German rescue group that routinely pulled dogs out of Romania for adoption in Germany.  TP agreed to take my puppies before I departed for Los Angeles.  They put me in touch with one of their regular foster homes in Bucharest, the capitol city, where the puppies would stay until a van would pick them up for the road trip to Germany.

So, I packed my bags and my husband drove me from Iasi to Bucharest, a trip that lasted about 6 hours.  The puppies sat on my lap for the duration of the drive, since I didn’t have a crate to put them in.  The poor things were totally unaccustomed to vehicles, so they got carsick and vomited on my lap numerous times.  I think I have since burned the skirt I was wearing that day.

Once in Bucharest, we dropped the puppies off at their foster home.  I boarded a flight back to Los Angeles, while my husband drove back to Iasi to finish his exams.  Back in L.A., I revisited the TP website and found photos of my puppies safe and sound in Germany.  Elated, I knew that wasn’t the last time I would rescue dogs.

In fact, on March 11, 2014, I had the pleasure of welcoming four Romanian street dogs to Los Angeles.  It was an incredible rescue that came together as a result of amazing teamwork, as well as some generous donations of course.  But with that teaser, I will conclude this post—stay tuned for more on the “Romanian Puppy Rescue Mission”!

Who are Loyolans?  Add international dog rescuer to that list.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Summer Associate Tips

By Gillian, 3D

Yesterday I spoke on a panel put on by a campus organization I’m part of – the St. Thomas More Honor Society – and it was all about how to succeed as a Summer Associate.  I spoke along with four other 3Ls about our experiences working as summer associates at “big law” firms the summer between 2L and 3L.  I thought I’d share some take-away points from the panel.

  • Work flow - The workflow during a summer associate position can vary – some of the other folks in my class were constantly bogged down, whereas I was scrounging around for work the last week or so.  The important thing is being able to effectively manage your time, while at the same time not turning down any assignment that may come your way from an attorney. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for work from your work flow coordinator or an assigning attorney you’ve worked with in the past!
  • Assignment Tips
    • After receiving an assignment from an attorney, it’s generally a good idea to respond with an e-mail recapping what the assignment is and what question you’re being asked to research, as well as the format of the assignment and when it is due.  That way, before the assignment even gets going you and the assigning attorney are on the same page). 
    • When submitting an assignment, it’s a good idea to end your e-mail with the attachment by saying “Please let me know if you’d like me to do anything else related to this.”  This provides a natural conclusion to your e-mail and demonstrates interest. 
  • Social events - One of the best things about being a Summer Associate is that there are tons of social events, and free lunches. (No, really.  Whoever said “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” clearly wasn’t a summer associate).  With that inevitably comes alcohol.  My advice would be to match the tone of the event.  If everyone is having one glass of wine or beer, don’t be the person drinking his or her third rum and coke.  On the other hand, if all of the partners and associates are downing shots, you don’t want to come off as the wet blanket who doesn’t know how to have fun, either.  My advice is to use your judgment and to know yourself, and remember that even a fun night out is still an extended interview. 
  • Final tips -
    • One of the other panelists, Rose, suggested a book called “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law” by Mark Herrman to read before beginning a summer associate position.
    • Don’t engage in gossip with attorneys about other attorneys (probably just a good general life rule).
    • Take constructive criticism well.
    • Don’t mistake “invitations” to meetings or social events as optional – they’re not.   

Monday, March 3, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect

By Yungmoon, 2E

As a 2E student, it is important to maintain a balance between school and work.  However, even more important, is finding the time to network.  On-Campus Interviews ("OCI") occur in August following your 2E year, and having connections at participating firms ahead of the event is a huge advantage.  

There are many ways to network as a law student.  First, look to your friends and family who may be legal professionals, and ask their advice.  This can range from how they ended up in their positions, to what courses in law school they enjoyed.

Second, make use of resources available on-campus.  For example, Loyola's Office of Career Services ("OCS") hosts and publicizes many networking opportunities, such as panels and mixers hosted by local firms and bar associations.  I have attended events such as a panel at a downtown law firm about different career paths in law, brunch hosted by a local bar association, and I am signed up to participate in a mock interview with an attorney from another local bar association.  Students can also meet with their individual counselors at OCS to review resumes and cover letters, as well as gain tips on appropriate interview etiquette.  

Additionally, the Alumni Office has a database of alumni searchable by such factors as year of graduation, concentration, current firm, location, and past activities.  This is another great way to reach out to professionals who may be able to help you in the future.  With 16,000 alumni in 50 states, and over half the alumni practicing in Southern California, it is likely that you will be able to find an attorney who matches your interests.

Student groups on campus also organize on-campus speakers and mixers.  After these events, the participants often remain for a few extra minutes to meet students, answer questions, and perhaps even hand out business cards.

Successful networking is an art that must be perfected over time with practice.  As a first year at Loyola, you participate in Orientation Part II which gives you tips on how to make a good first impression, reach out to someone for the first time, and reach out to contacts when searching for employment without feeling like a door-to-door salesman.  While these are difficult tasks, I recommend participating in as many events as you can, because for networking, just like with any other skill, practice makes perfect

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Alternative

By Christoffer, The Dotted Line Reporter

As law students, there are a few phrases that you get used to hearing: “The legal market is terrible right now”; “You can only break into the entertainment industry if you have family connections”; “You have to be in the top ten percent of your class to get a decent job.” Stop me if you’ve heard this all before. Anyone contemplating a legal career shouldn’t take all this doom and gloom literally. However, you should understand the reality of the situation.

Ah, the good ol’ days, where most students would take a highly paid summer position at a firm their second year, only to receive an even higher paid position at the firm after graduating. You would be hard pressed to find a modern law student that does not fantasize about being born 15 years earlier in order to ride this gravy train. Although this train takes fewer tickets, our situation is really all about perspective. Either complain, or pave your own path to success. We won’t receive the handouts of the previous generation, but we will be all the stronger for it. This legal market is a sink or swim scenario and I will not be drowning with the complainers. 

The Dotted Line Reporter was born out of this mentality. I have been a film fanatic ever since I was a kid. In fact, I chose to come to Loyola because of their amazing entertainment law program. The rest of the Dotted Line team shares my same passion for the entertainment industry, whether it is for music (Edo Azran), television (Danielle Duarte), sports (Johnny Storms), or art (Kate Brown). The DL Reporter is a manifestation of our shared love for the entertainment industry and the fields of law that affect it.  Our mission is simple: to create a space where law students, lawyers, and creative professionals can come together to discuss the business and legal developments of the entertainment industry. 

The DL Reporter’s team shares my proactive enthusiasm. We came together in hopes of not only creating an interesting alternative to the traditional law review, but to create a space where all likeminded individuals can have their opinions heard. The ingenuity that drove the creation of this website was born out of the bleak job market. We took the pessimistic outlook of many of our colleagues as inspiration to prove that we could find success outside of the traditional path. I challenge you to do the same. Let the doubts of others ignite a passion within yourself. Use your creative interests to invent, rather than distract. The Dotted Line Reporter is my alternative to the traditional path, what will yours be? 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Highlights From My First Semester

By Diane, 1E

Now that I’ve survived my first semester of law school, I’ll take the opportunity to gloss over the highlights of my experience thus far.

Hilarious professors:  Hilarious law professors?  As someone who has fed into all the law school stereotypes out there, I would have thought that that was an oxymoron.  Let’s be honest, law professors aren’t usually known for their ability to make students laugh.  So, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that law professors might actually be, well, hilarious!  Case in point: Torts.  Students squealed with delight as our Torts professor shimmied into the room dressed in costume, assuming the roles of characters from the cases we were studying.  He also busted out with light sabers and Iron Man masks, all in a rather effective attempt to teach us the rules of assault, battery, and a number of other torts.  Well played, Professor, well played.

Good company:  As I had mentioned in a previous entry, making new friends and networking are key to creating an enjoyable law school experience.  My law school friends were the ones who helped me usher in my third decade of life.  And over the winter break, a couple of them drove all the way out to my hometown of Rancho Palos Verdes.  If you’re familiar with the South Bay, you’ll know that my neighborhood is quite the trek from Downtown Los Angeles.  And yet, my law school buddies schlepped all the way out to visit me the day after Christmas.  If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.  

Extracurriculars:  While the first year of law school isn’t typically the most ideal year to dive head-on into extracurricular activities, it does provide you with plenty of opportunities to see what’s out there.  As an animal lover, I decided to check out the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF) at LLS.  The SALDF organization on campus was hosting a “Cutest Pet” contest, so I of course had to enter my two freakishly adorable dogs, Toby and Teddy.  Shelter mutts represent!  I was surprised to find that the contest became an all-out on-campus war.  I mean, all the contestants were adorable and deserving of a winning title, but this contest became much more than a “cutest pet” contest.  It became a “battle of the sections.”  Let’s just say, sabotage was involved.  But, alas, because my evening section was not on campus often enough to participate (or perhaps we were lacking team spirit—we’ve since improved in that department), my pups did not take home a trophy.  Still, SALDF walked away with $539.43 in donations.  The proceeds went to Haven! CA Inc., a non-profit for animals founded by an LLS alum.  Hey, as long as the animals get to benefit, everyone’s a winner!  

Admissions Q&A Panel:  During finals week, a couple of Jury of Peers bloggers assembled to answer questions from prospective applicants.  I was happy to volunteer—(a) because I remember how helpful the Q&A panel was for me before I decided to apply, and (b) because I do actually have school pride.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my law school experience thus far, and I felt compelled to share those unexpected findings with prospective students.

Exams!  Why am I highlighting exams?  Because exams provide learning experiences that set law students and lawyers apart from the rest.  Normal people do not volunteer to sit through 4-hour+ exams, reading, writing, and typing continuously after having spent countless hours memorizing legal rules.  But law students do it, and they do it together.  Exams build character.  Exams make you realize how weak you are and how much you need to improve.  And you will improve.  You’re not taking out student loans for nothing.

Learning the method to the madness:  Lawyers and professors will tell you, one of the most important courses in law school is the Legal Research & Writing course.  Unfortunately, getting acquainted with legal writing often involves a certain degree of pain for most students.  But you know the saying—no pain, no gain.  Really, when the process begins to click in your mind, as remote as your understanding of it may be, it is such a feeling of accomplishment.  I know I’m just a 1st year whippersnapper—I’m probably jumping the gun here—but over the course of a few months, my feelings about Legal Research and Writing have changed from utter despair to curious optimism.  I feel like there’s an elite club of people out there (lawyers), all capable of succinctly and effectively conveying their opinions, as they pertain to the law.  And I guess it makes me a bit of a weirdo for saying this, but I want admission to that club.  I actually want to learn the method to the madness.  Am I anywhere near “getting it” yet?  No.  But I’m actually excited for that day to come.  

The course material:  I have a feeling my list is getting less and less exciting, so I will end it here.  But it’s true; the course material has been interesting.  I’m not going to lie, some of it put me to sleep, but a good portion of the material I learned my first semester was actually really intriguing.  I don’t even need to watch T.V. anymore—all the drama is right there in my casebooks.

So, there you have it:  the highlights from my first semester of law school.  I apologize if you were expecting something more—the first year is a taxing one, and it does involve a lot of non-exciting drudgery.  Despite that, it was an enjoyable couple of months.  In fact, I was actually a little excited to return after the winter break.  Oh, LLS, what have you done?!    

The Final Semester Begins…

By Gillian, 3L

It’s a new semester, so that means I should have law-related things to talk about again!  I thought I’d kick this off with an overview of what I’m up to this semester.

I’m taking four classes this semester — two bar courses, and two fun electives.  So far it’s the perfect “last semester” mix.  Here’s the breakdown:

Business Associations (also commonly referred to as “Biz Ass”).  I was a little intimidated by this class, mostly due to the fact that business/corporate things like “securities” and “mergers” scare me. So far, the class is interesting and not as crazy convoluted as I had worried.  We’re finishing up a segment on agency law now and I have found it to be surprisingly interesting and sometimes fun.  Also, the way our professor uses muppet characters as hypos is super endearing  (I may or may not have been a big fan of “Muppet Babies” as a kid).

Remedies.  Ah, the classic 3L, pre-bar course.  Although a lot of Remedies is a review of torts and contracts, I am enjoying this class.  Sure, you might ask how a whole semester can be devoted to a concept of “what does the Plaintiff get if they win?” but it is a nice and welcome review.  I am also obsessed with my professor.  He interrupts lectures to ask us trivia questions, movie quotes, and to show us photos from his days as a high school girls’ basketball coach.  Just yesterday in class he stopped his lecture to tell my friend Ben that the fist-bump he offered another classmate when she got a question right was insufficient. I love when professors make it fun, and Professor Tunick cracks me up at least once a class.

Sports Law.  This is another fun one so far.  We meet once a week and have covered spectator injuries (i.e. foul balls) and participant injuries.  In some ways, this is a torts review course, but we will also cover concepts like anti-trust and employment.  I also like that this course keeps me up to date in the sports world. (While I’m a fitness freak and an endurance sports junkie, my knowledge of the goings-on in the world of professional sports could use some fleshing out).

Reality TV and New Media Production and Distribution.   I could not leave law school without taking this class from the name alone.  I don’t plan to go into entertainment, nor do I plan to be a transactional attorney, so this one is just for fun and due to general interest.  As a pop culture (and non-scripted programming fiend), I HAD to take advantage of the fact my law school offers this course.  

I’m finally taking a chill pill and toning down my law school extra-curriculars.  I figure I better use my free time to focus on my true passions, i.e. spin-instructor-ing, running, and Back on My Feet. But with that said, I’m still involved in a couple of things:

Research Assistant.  I’m an RA for professor Lapp.  He’s writing a couple of law review articles dealing with DNA collection of juvenile offenders, and I’m helping him with some discrete research assignments.  It’s cool to learn a little bit more about the topic and to gain that experience.

Entertainment & Sports Law Review Editor. I’m a Research Editor for this journal – my responsibilities are pretty light, but will pick up in the next month or so.  As I type this, I’m sitting on one of the comfy couches in the ELR office.  Hint: a huge perk of making it onto a law review is the nearly endless supply of snacks and coffee from our Keurig.

Anyway, that about sums up what I have going on this semester!  So far I am loving my classes and enjoying my last semester as a 3L at LLS.