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.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Why I Love Loyola

By Brittney, 1L

Somewhere between the studying, the reading, and the stressing I have fallen in love with Loyola Law School. Someone recently asked me why I love Loyola so much and after some time I realized that my answer is simple— because I feel like Loyola loves me. Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that many people reading this believe that it is impossible for an institution to display the human characteristic of love, so let me explain. Everyone and everything at 919 Albany Street is geared towards helping me live up to my full potential in law school. Starting law school can be overwhelming and yet I never feel as if there is something I need that the law school cannot provide.

Monday through Friday, there is little need to leave campus unless you want to and even then there are shuttles that make coming and going as easy as possible.  Sonia’s has great food with healthy options, there are refrigerators and microwaves if you want to bring your own, and there are vending machines if you get a junk food craving. There are yoga and dance classes on campus about 3 times a week if you don’t make it to the gym. There is mass on campus weekly that is open to all denominations. The library caters to whatever way you like to study with there being abasement for those who need to silently enclose themselves; study areas with large windows for those who like to remember the sun is shining; even several couches for an occasional nap or to comfortably study.

In addition to the campus conveniences, there is support available at every turn. Before I started law school, the internet had me terrified of professors.  My 1L goal was to keep my head down and not say anything stupid out loud. Surprisingly, the questions I felt were stupid were welcomed and shared with the class and used as teaching moments. Once the professors for our section figured out our schedule they actually adjusted their office hours. And if you haven’t mastered your professor’s specific dialect of legalese, there is an official Academic Success department, professional writing tutors, peer tutors from the honors society, and organizational student mentors. There is even a clinical psychologist if you need help with your emotional well-being. It’s almost frustrating because most excuses for falling behind are eliminated.

Most difficult to describe to an outsider is the element of community. When you are on campus you feel emotionally and physically safe despite the notorious curve and the downtown noises you hear. People smile at each other and say hello in passing whether they are measly 1L like me or Dean Gold himself. The staff at Sonia’s remembers that I love tater tots and even stayed open late when our exam went passed closing time. Some professors even host happy hours and dress up on Halloween. Even animals are welcome as evidenced by our two campus cats. My favorite is the grey cat I have affectionately named LoLa (I wanted this to be the nickname of the law school but it hasn’t caught on yet.). Lola will sit close to you if you study outside and never interrupts and if you are walking by carrying too many books, she politely steps out of your way.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not still in the infatuation stage and there are things that I do not like. For example, morning section classes start at 8am and, trust me, in downtown LA that is not as easy as it sounds. Also, Sonia’s denies me tater tots on the weekends (ok, so they’re closed and deny everyone) and to get to Casassa, my most recent study place preference, I have to walk through the library and up several flights of stairs. *sigh* Yet, if I am honest with myself, getting up earlier makes it easier to stay on a consistent study routine, I shouldn’t be eating tater tots everyday, and I really could use the exercise since I’m sitting down so much throughout the day.

I am not surprised if some of you still don’t believe that a school is capable of showing love and that’s all right because law school has taught me that reasonable minds may differ. However, I am sure that I can find more persuasive alumnae to agree with me because Loyola’s love seems to continue after graduation.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tonight, I can finally say, it is good to be back!

By Nareen, 1L

Winter break flew by and starting off second semester was not the slow uphill I imagined it would be. We kicked off classes with heavy workloads and even had a memo due by the third week.  It was as if the bright lights, pretty presents, and hearty meals were months and months behind us. Why did Santa run off so quickly? I guess he knew how ugly it would get once January came around. Back to unshaven, baggy-eyed, oily-haired students wondering if it’s all going to be worth it.

Well Santa…it gets better when we least expect it. Just one inspirational moment—with a professor, with a classmate, with an employer—and everything makes sense again. For me, that moment was a few hours ago. I didn’t jump on the opportunity when Career Services first sent out an email saying Loyola alumni would volunteer and conduct Mock Interviews for students. But then I figured I should sign up since I hadn’t had a job interview in a while. Next thing you know, I got paired up with an attorney working as in-house counsel for Forever 21. I was actually very excited. I prepared ahead of time and went into the interview with my sharpest suit, feeling like a million bucks. A few minutes in and all that self-esteem went right out the window. I can’t remember the last time I was challenged in the way this attorney challenged me. Question after question after question and not one smile! I acted confident and kept on smiling even though the Lord knew I was a nervous wreck inside. Until, the pretending stopped. He finally smiled and congratulated me for not crumbling under pressure. I hadn’t felt so alive and motivated since before winter break.

Being a lawyer isn’t easy. I know that every single day I go to school and yet I still forget what it really means. We’re not in this for the smooth ride, we’re in it for the challenge. So go ahead and run off Santa. You’re the one missing out.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

On Being Prepared

By Marlee, 1L

While preparation is not always fun, most law students have mastered the art of preparation. Whether preparing to study for a test, researching for a memo, reading for class, and, recently, preparing for summer jobs and interviews, we are all experienced in preparing so we can be the best we can be. Each of us have our personal routines, special “study habits”, and preparation tactics. For instance, I need Vitamin-String Quartet songs playing in the background, a venti iced-coffee from Starbucks, and chewy candy [preferably Hi-Chews]. Preparation helps us build confidence and “get in the zone”. However, the scary reality is preparation is not always enough. It’s these moments, when events occur that exceed our preparation, that we are put to the test.

I was sitting in class [thirty minutes early of course] waiting to begin my first law school exam. It was the longest exam out of all my finals and it was my whole grade, if I were to say I was nervous that would be a very large understatement. But I was able to shake my nerves because I knew I was prepared. I felt ready as ever to tackle that first exam. I was overly equipped with anything and everything the proctors would actually allow me to bring into the testing room. After the proctor went through the usual pre-testing formalities we were finally able to begin. I opened up the dreaded software application and my heart just sank. Somehow Softest sent a blank essay in as my test. I began panicking, I was sweating, spinning, and in no way ready for that to happen. All of my preparation DID NOT prepare me for this!!! I was not supposed to have a Softest malfunction in my first law school exam, that was just completely out of the realm of things I could prepare for. While it felt like I was panicking for at least an hour, I collected my thoughts, notified the proctor, got a blue book, and hand wrote my test. 

Two and a half hours later I finished my first law school final, but I wasn’t relieved. I was beyond frustrated. I was thrown a curveball and all the hours I had spent preparing could not have helped me one bit. However, reflecting on that moment I learned a very valuable lesson. Life is far from predictable, especially in the profession we all want to go into. The law, working with people, and dealing with day-to-day issues are not always going to pan out the way we expect them to. Life is completely unpredictable and we are all going to be constantly thrown curveballs. But these curveballs help us grow as individuals, and more importantly than preparing, it is vital that we learn how to adapt to the unexpected. I don’t know if I did as well as I could have done had my computer worked, I could have done the exact same, or maybe I did better, I will never know. However, I do know that I tried my absolute best given the circumstances. As I continue on this “guided tour through...” as Professor Hull would say, I learn more and more beyond the books than I originally expected. I have learned that life is not always going to go as planned and in those moments it is important to continue on and persevere and not be distracted by things going off course. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Some Things Change, Some Things Stay the Same

By Yungmoon, 2E

"Well you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man."  Like Peter from Office Space, I gave my brain some time off during the holidays.  Aside from working, I watched The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, knitted, went to the mall, enjoyed time with friends, and loved every second of not reading.  While Fall semester was rewarding in that I felt that I had accomplished a lot of different things, it was time to recharge my batteries before Spring semester rolled around.

Now that I am two weeks back in the thick of things, I am really appreciative that I had a few weeks to gather myself, because this semester is shaping up to be a busy one.  This is how my schedule looks, excluding my work hours:

M: 12-1:30pm Scott Moot Court competition, 8:10-10:10pm Constitutional Law Survey
T: 6-7:15pm Civil Procedure
W: 8:10-10:10pm Constitutional Law Survey
Th: 3:20-5:20pm Trade Secret Law, 6-7:15pm Civil Procedure

Students who took Appellate Advocacy in the Fall are now eligible to participate in the Scott Moot Court competition, a two unit class that serves as a tryout for the school's Scott Moot Court (appellate level) team.  There are approximately 60 students in the class, and we will be judged on briefs, as well as elimination-style rounds of oral arguments, until a final 16 remain.  Those students will make up the Scott Moot Court Honors Board as Justices and competing members, who represent Loyola in nationwide competitions.  Most recently, one of Loyola's teams won Regionals and advanced onward in the National Moot Court Competition, along with winning "Best Brief" and "Best Oralist" awards along the way.

Needless to say, I want to put forth my best effort in the competition, as being a part of the Honors Board would be a big achievement.  And speaking of that, it's back to writing my brief for the competition.

But before I go - now that I've covered some of the changes going into Spring semester, it's time to mention what has stayed the same.  If you're in Southern California, the answer is, of course, the weather: 72 and sunny.