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.