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.