Friday, February 27, 2015

The Best Part of this Semester

By Brittney, 2L

The best part of this semester has been the opportunity to extern at the California Attorney General’s Office in the Health Quality Enforcement section. Loyola allows you to extern during the school year in place of the class. For every 52 hours per semester, you are able to earn one pass/fail class credit. I already knew I wanted to get practical experience during the school year, so it is really great to be able to receive credits to replace a class, as opposed to trying to stretch myself thin and extern in addition to a full class load.

I first heard about the opportunity at the Government Fair hosted on campus. I was indifferent towards the idea of government work and had never heard of the Health Quality Enforcement section, but I already knew I was interested in health law. As soon as I started talking to the representative who at the fair and reading the overview of the internship, I knew it was a great opportunity that I was very interested in. Thankfully they offered me the internship and it turned out to be the perfect fit.

The Health Quality Enforcement section primarily prosecutes disciplinary proceedings against physicians and other health care licensees on behalf of various medical boards, including the Medical Board of California. This occurs when a medical professional has been found by the board to engaged in unprofessional conduct or other violations of their professional obligations. Needless to say, everyday is interesting and reminds me of a TV show.

It has also been great exposure to litigation. I learn something new every single day. By my second week there I began to draft petitions and declarations. It is a really great feeling to know that whatever I do next, whether it be government or not, I am a little more prepared and confident.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Best Part of this Semester

By Hayden, 2E

Let me give a little context.  As evening students, we’re required to take certain classes at certain times.  As we get further into the four-year program, we’re allowed more flexibility to choose our curriculum.  In planning this semester’s courses, I had two competing principles in mind.  One was to take a lighter load so that I would have plenty of time to study for final exams – there’s a prevalent school of thought that employers only look at your GPA, regardless of what you studied.  The other principle was to study things that really interested me, without strategizing about grades.  I ended up going with the second option, and I’m glad I did.  Although I have friends who planned their courses almost entirely around being able to get good grades (and their plans paid off with lucrative jobs), for me it was important to achieve certain personal goals about what I wanted to learn in law school.  Also, I figured it would be easier to get good grades in the classes that I really wanted to take, because my interest in the material would get me through the necessary drudge-work.  And I believe that no matter how much you love something, whether it’s a class or a job, there will always be some aspects that are drudgery.  That was true for me even when I was making my living as an actor, which was mostly ridiculously fun.

My “fun” course this semester is the International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court.  We’re learning about bodies of international laws and protocols as we get experience prepping a case for arbitration.  Professor Aaron Ghirardelli is guiding us as we comb through a folder of arbitration pleadings and exhibits to search for relevant facts and issues to make a compelling argument for the claimant.  We’re researching international arbitration cases, domestic cases, and scholarly commentary to support our claim in a memorandum.  Soon, we’ll flip to the other side and write a memorandum for the respondent.  At the end of the semester, we’ll argue both sides before JAMS arbitrators at their downtown location.  JAMS is an acronym for “Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services.”  According to the website, “JAMS a distinguished global panel of retired judges and attorneys with uncompromising objectivity who are capable of resolving the most complex disputes where the parties appear to be unyielding.”  According to Professor Ghirardelli, our arbitrators will be brilliant legal minds who have taken a real interest in working with law students.

What a great opportunity to argue before real arbitrators! This is exactly what we’ll do if we work in the field of international commercial arbitration, so it’s good practical experience.  I’m enjoying working with so many international students in the course.  It’s fun writing a persuasive brief, finding the right balance between professional etiquette and vigorous advocacy.  And I’m looking forward to getting on my feet and arguing my case before JAMS.  I even have a romantic vision of drafting memoranda in my Paris office, taking a moment to enjoy my spectacular view of the Tour Eiffel.  Wouldn’t that be nice?

This course is one of the many opportunities available to hone your lawyering skills and develop practical skills.  I recommend it wholeheartedly.

The Best Part of this Semester

By Yungmoon, 3E

During my first year, I recall seeing groups of high school students on campus.  Since our campus is a law school only campus, naturally I was curious as to why they were there.  I found out that they are participants in our Young Lawyers Program, where local high school students come to Loyola's campus to prepare for a full mock trial.  

This January, I finally had the availability to participate in Young Lawyers.  The students come to campus once a week for twelve weeks, and the program will culminate in a trial that they will present before an actual judge.  Every week, they complete homework assignments, like writing opening and closing statements, developing themes, and learning objections.  Parents, friends, and the community attend the final trial to support the students and give them an opportunity to show off all their hard work.  

Besides giving the students a chance to learn more about trial advocacy as high school students, the program also provides a mentoring aspect.  We are broken up into smaller teams, where we work with the same students every week, developing relationships and providing one on one feedback.

I recently heard that there is a 1L student currently at Loyola who was a past program participant.  With the continued efforts of our wonderful faculty, volunteering practitioners, and students, hopefully she is just the start.

The Best Part of this Semester

By Marlee, 2L

My favorite part of the semester is my private placement externship.  I am externing at a civil litigation law firm that specializes in business litigation and personal injuries. I am lucky enough to shadow a few attorneys and have had the opportunity to see some really cool things [cool to a law student, not as cool to a seasoned attorney]. My day usually consists of different attorneys stopping by my desk to ask me to go to court with them, sit in on a deposition, help with trial preparation, or observe a new client interview.

My externship is my favorite part of the semester because I feel like I am getting the opportunity to see a day in the life of a lawyer. I have taken a mediation class, I am currently enrolled in the civil litigation practicum, and I am learning about client interviews and interactions in ethical lawyering. However, having the opportunity to sit in on an actual mediation this semester, watch an attorney prepare his client for a deposition and observe attorneys deal with [sometimes difficult] client interactions, has been a whole different type of learning that is hard to compare to in-class learning.

No law student can deny that law school can be so rewarding, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. While I’ve had moments where I feel motivated about my future profession and excited to become a lawyer, I have also had moments [usually mid-finals] where I question my ability to practice law or wonder if I chose the right path.  I love my externship because it helps confirm that lawyering is doable. Of course lawyering may be overwhelming at times, but I’ve loved observing how rewarding it can be as well.  The externship has allowed me to see that being a lawyer is much like being a student of law school. Not simply in curriculum, but rather the unforeseen obstacles, important deadlines and sometimes quite literally mounds of work. However, what is missed in law school practice is the biggest reward of being an attorney, which is participating in the betterment of other people’s lives.