Thursday, February 25, 2016

This Life, in LA

Most of my days start at 9 o’clock. I brew half a pot of coffee, and start my workout: three hours of reading and thinking. By 1 o’clock, I’m at school.

Rent eats most of my money, but it’s a great investment. Living alone doubled my efficiency. Plus, I reject wi-fi, TV, and traffic, so I waste little time. I even avoid cooking to skip washing dishes. While driving, I listen to educational podcasts (viz. Hardcore History, Common Sense, and The Investor’s Podcast). While walking on the treadmill, I read. I try to improve myself emotionally and intellectually, everyday.

Law school eats most of my time, but it’s a great investment. At orientation, Dean Hayden said that law school bestows power, and thus responsibility. I completely agree. Learning the rules of society will help me fulfill my ultimate responsibility: repaying my blessings with interest. I’ve decided to become phenomenally rich, to spend my money improving society.

My average day ends at midnight. I go to my balcony and start writing: philosophy and poetry, which I’ll publish some day. But for now, I’m still on my first draft.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Law Student

         There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t feel extremely busy. Typically, I am up no later than eight o’clock every morning (except for weekends in which I sleep in until noon). My classes end at about five o’clock in the afternoon. After class I may grab a bite to eat, but not too long after I will typically head to the library to study until about ten o’clock (depending on how much work I have to get done). After this, I will head home, eat dinner, shower, and usually squeeze in about one more hour worth of work before bed. Besides my usual routine of exercising at least a couple times per week, I am not able to keep up with many hobbies during school. Although, I don’t consider working out a “hobby.” To me, it’s more of a necessity, so I absolutely have to fit that in my weekly schedule. While in law school, I balance my life by creating healthy habits and routines. The gym is one of the few things that I refuse to give up for law school. Also, I make an extra effort and time to cook healthy meals, clean up, and stay organized because these things help me to keep a clear head. Making an effort to do these small things helps me to stay “balanced.”

Friday, February 19, 2016

Daily Schedule

Here is a slice of life during the law school strife. I wake up at 6 a.m. (there are day sections and afternoon sections, I got day….obviously). I shower (hooray hygiene) and then do my hair. Under no circumstances, will I not do my hair. I begrudgingly stomp downstairs and retrieve my coffee (located inside my beautiful Boston Celtics travel mug). I live in Redondo Beach, so my commute takes an hour in the morning. That sounds bad, but I get out early and often take only twenty minutes to get home. Most of my classes start around 8 a.m., so I’m usually in class by the time I get to school. Classes are great. My professors are hilarious, so class seems to fly by. The following is an actual interaction in class today:

Professor: What town is this again?

Me:…..uh…..Los Angeles?

Professors looks at me stupefied.

Me: OHHHHHHHHHHHH, you mean in the case. My bad.

After class, I either immediately go home to avoid traffic or have lunch with my friends. If there is a long gap before my next class, we might go to the library and work on homework together. I know it sounds bad, a constant cycle of classes and reading, but it’s honestly not that bad when everyone is in the same boat. When I get home, I either do the next day’s reading or just rest or relax if it was a long day. Yes, relaxing is still a possibility in law school. As I am writing this, the Warriors are destroying the Spurs. Seriously, the Spurs have so many turnovers right now that I think at one point the ball flew out of the screen and into my hands. My favorite hobbies are reading and playing video games, but honestly it is quite difficult to keep up with that when you are so busy reading cases and have no time to invest in a novel or story oriented video game. But hey, this is the start of my professional life so some sacrifices has to be made. I’m still watching sports and playing “dumber” video games though so keeping up with hobbies is still possible. Honestly, I’m the type that goes nuts when I have too many options to choose from during the break (I get bored without work), so school is quite welcome when it is not too burdensome.

School is not everything though, despite how important grades are. Family and friends provide a nice balance. I will have a family dinner this Saturday, and Lunar New Year’s (commonly known as Chinese New Years) is coming up soon. I am definitely looking forward to indulging myself in a plethora of rice and meat. In the meantime, time to go to bed, with the alarm set to 6 a.m.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Day In My Shoes

This semester, my daily routine has been pretty consistent, since I come to school Monday through Thursday. I usually try to get the majority of my reading for the week done on the weekends, so each day, I wake up and review a little as I eat breakfast to remind myself of the materials for class that day. I’m taking four classes this semester—Ethical Lawyering, Constitutional Law, Trusts & Wills, and Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes—plus law review. I have two classes every day, except for Wednesday, which then gives me ample time to attend to law review duties and to my own personal errands.

Having three-day weekends every single week is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I get an extra day off each week which means an extra day to catch up on school work or, more likely, to catch up on sleep. Because of my undergraduate career, and now the second year of law school, I’ve become accustomed to having three-day weekends. This is where the curse fits in, as the real world, especially the legal world, does not have three-day weekends every week. But I guess I might as well enjoy the extra time while I can.

This schedule also allows me time to see my family and friends on the weekend and still have time to do some homework. The balance between school and my personal life is not too difficult for me to maintain but it comes from years of learning time-management skills. The best way I get work done is when I know I have something fun to do later on, so usually I’ll spend a few hours reading and then go out to dinner with my family or meet some friends. Setting little rewards for yourself will help you get your work done and allow you to enjoy your weekends at the same time!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Law Student

My typical law school day begins at around 8 am. As I lie in bed, my bedroom door will swing open and my rambunctious daughter will storm in yelling “Dan!” (she means “Dad!”, but her 2-year old pronunciation is understandably shaky.) I will then lounge for as long as I can while my dog, toddler all swirl on and around the bed while my wife fixes her hair and make-up for work.

Then, usually around 8:30, my wife will leave for work and I’m “on duty.” Depending on when my first class begins, I am in Dad Mode until I have to leave. In Dad Mode, I’m not really allowed to read or study or do any law school related duties. I can try, but my Dad Services will be requested immediately. We play, eat, read books, watch Sesame Street. At some point during the morning I will quickly shower and maybe we’ll go for a walk if there’s time.

Not more than an hour before my first class starts, my mother-in-law will show up to take over the parenting job. I wish her “good luck” and head out to school. At school, I head immediately to class and settle in for the day. I will always work during lunch and class-breaks, because of the extra responsibilities that await me at home. After classes, I will either head home to relieve my mother-in-law, or stay behind a bit to do some reading. If there’s an excessive amount of work to do, I will stay into the evening, sometimes 7 or 8 pm. I usually make it back before “bed time” for the little one.

After she goes to sleep, I’m again free to study and read for the next day. My wife and I will attempt to hang out for as long as we can until we turn in for the night around midnight. With a heavy workload for the next day, sometimes we can’t find much free time, but usually we can hang out for at least a little while during school nights.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, music is a big part of my life. In order to scratch the musical itch, I carve out some time most Saturday nights to play at my long-standing gig at The Grove in West Hollywood with my band. Most other music-related work has gone by the wayside in favor of school. My work-life-music ratio is usually pretty balanced, thanks to the help and support of my family, especially my mother-in-law who has been a godsend. I am able to be an active Dad, a law school student and a musician and husband as well. My key has been a supportive family and working diligently while on campus.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Slow But Steady

This semester my classes are in the afternoon. My typical day begins with cooking breakfast and making a fresh coffee. I eat as I listen to podcasts. I like beginning my days at a slow pace. There is a calmness in mornings I appreciate. Maybe it is the silence of my thoughts, or maybe it’s because I haven’t faced my work just yet.

Once breakfast is finished, I open my books. I use this time to go over notes, finish up any reading I have left, or begin the next days reading. I take my time with the material and usually leave my apartment thirty minutes before class. After classes finish, I either head to my apartment or the library to continue my studies.

I keep up hobbies and interests outside of the law. Specifically, I have been working on product development with one of my mentors. I like creating, building, and designing. I have been working on a new beauty product since August 2015. Right now we have just completed the technical drawing. The next phases scare me, but the entire process is exciting. I have learned valuable business lessons. In addition to entrepreneurship ventures, I enjoy participating in volunteer programs. This Valentines Day I will be waking up to make “love bags” and sandwiches. We will then pass them out to the homeless community in downtown Los Angeles.

If you are interested in participating, the event will take place February 13. For information, contact me at

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Winter Break

First semester was fascinating.

Thanks to reverse selection, the people at Loyola Law School are some of the most genuine, genius human beings. The teachers are quirky and interested in social justice. The events are educational and usually provide free beer. I can’t speak for every law school (because of my small sample size) but my experience in law school has been amazing.

The reading was fascinating.

I like books with a new author for every chapter, because they diversify facts and opinions. They provide holistic frameworks for thinking about a subject. They increase my odds of reading good ideas, and insure against my risk of reading bad writers, since the articles must be brief.

That’s why I like reading case law. The judges write from all over the 20th century, and all across the United States.[1] The statutes are their tools. The lawyers are their guides. And the caselaw is their map. Every case contemplates different issues, rules, facts and conclusions, often going where no case has gone before.[2]

The teaching was fascinating.

Law professors doesn’t just teach the laws. They teach the history, psychology and philosophy of law. They teach the cause of laws, and their effects. They teach us to critique current laws, and imagine new ones. We read both good and bad law. And after a while, the types of law begin to over-lap.

The legal system is fascinating.

Entering law school, I didn’t want to be a lawyer. But now I have faith in the system. Judges are constantly enforcing justice and liberty. They stand comfortably on the foundation that precedent has established. Remember that the law reflects the morality and character of its authors, and I’m proud of American jurisprudence.

There are caveats, however. At best, our judges carefully apply the law; but at worst, the Supreme Court acts as a legislature of nine. At best, our legal and moral arguments are the same ones; but at worst, lawyers must argue that apples are oranges. At best, law is organized justice; but at worst, law is corrupt.[3]

Of course, as first year law students, we are still sheltered from real-world legal realities. But it’s nice in here.

[1] Most cases are from the 1900’s, but I’ve read cases from 1350 to 2015.
[2] The cases are usually high quality, once again because of reverse selection.
[3] Bastiat, Frédéric.The Law. (1850).

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Winter Break

At the end of the semester when exams are over, most people are ecstatic because they’re finally done, but scared and fearful because few people actually know how they did on their exams. I was extremely proud of myself for making it to the end of the marathon, but I was also disappointed because I thought I could have done more. But, this is not unusual thinking since I always tend to think I could have done more. Law school is full of perfectionists and I’m no exception. No matter how gruesome, exam period was much needed because it taught me what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. First semester as a whole was a major learning experience.

After exams were over, of course we had to start our winter break off by having some fun that night. I didn’t do much pertaining to the law over break for the simple reason of it being called a “break.” For me, this meant that I was going to do things that I couldn’t normally do while in school. So, I went hiking and kept myself very active. I also spent some quality time with my niece and nephew, who are age 2 ½ and 9. My family and I took professional holiday photos and my oldest brother got married.

Since it had been raining extremely hard the week before school started, as we were studying, my close friend and I were able to catch a rainbow appear in the sky! We were thrilled! We took this as a good omen that our second semester was going to be even more positive and full of even more surprises.