Monday, October 30, 2017

My Summer Before the Start of Law School

In the summer in Los Angeles, electricity runs through the pavement. It pulls surfers to the beach, couples to the gardens of Griffith Observatory, families to the picnic grills and cool grass at Hollenbeck Park. I felt it this summer. On a few bright Sunday mornings, I brought crates of records to a rooftop restaurant to spin for the brunch crowd. I sweated through long, late shifts at the bar where I worked, then watched my friends make music in shifty, cobbled-together spaces. I visited Vicente Pedraza, the man who once ran the influential cumbia sonidera label Discos Barba Azul, at his Santee Alley stall. And Arshia Haq, who, visited Pakistan and came back to L.A. with her own deeply spiritual recordings of Sufi music. (Both allowed me to share their stories in L.A. Weekly.) I brought some of my favorite musicians together in the basement of a restaurant in Chinatown for one transcendent night of music. We stood in the back alley between sets, across from the restaurant cooks taking their breaks, smoking their cigarettes, and talked about our plans.

The news this summer was dire. We watched young people gather under a banner of hate in Charlottesville, then listened with dismay as our president validated them. Closer to home, L.A.’s neighborhoods boiled over with anxiety about displacement and gentrification. Our city’s homelessness crisis seemed worse than ever. It became clear that DACA, the federal program that allows those who entered the U.S. as children to go to school and work without fear of deportation, was the President’s latest target, with 100,000 of our Angeleno neighbors in the crosshairs. The freedom of a Los Angeles summer is intoxicating, but I start school at Loyola with profound excitement — the feeling that I’ll gain an education that will help me do my part to make this city even more just, more equal, more electric.

Friday, October 27, 2017

My Summer Before the Start of Law School

Unlike many of my peers, this summer was tumultuous for me in many ways. I didn’t spend my summer on vacation with my family or even relaxing and leisurely preparing to enter law school. Instead, my summer was spent working and trying to make my way off of the waitlist and into the Loyola Law School Class of 2020 or, alternatively, 2021. The whole experience sounds pretty miserable on the surface, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Although law school waitlist is a notoriously difficult place to be, I learned a lot about myself in the process. Namely, I learned that I’m much stronger than I thought I was.

Throughout the summer, I made it a point to seek opportunities to push myself out of my comfort zone. I may not have known where I would be in the fall, but I knew that I’d need to develop an essential set of skills to excel once I made it there. I was working full time as a tutor for students with learning disabilities, but I knew I wanted more. I had always been hesitant to take on new opportunities by myself, so I knew that I needed to face this fear head on. So, I started volunteering with Neighborhood Legal Services in their employment law clinic. This was an incredibly rewarding and eye-opening experience because it taught me so much about what it meant to help others navigate the complexities of the law. Although it was difficult for me to find the time to volunteer, I knew that my difficulties paled in comparison to many of those that I helped. I continued to pursue this endeavor in all aspects of my life – actively searching for and seizing opportunities that were presented to me instead of waiting for them to come to me.

All in all, what could’ve been a very difficult summer to me, turned into one of the greatest periods of personal and professional growth that I’ve ever experienced.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Onto the Next Adventure

This summer was different. No, it did not include traveling to somewhere foreign and exotic. It did not involve an exciting music festival. It did not involve a grand exciting thing. Rather, this summer marked the end of one adventure and the start of another.

On the morning of July 21, 2017, I woke up thinking, “Today is the day.” It was the last day at the boutique law firm that I had worked at for the last two years since graduating from UCSB. It had been two years of hard work and eye-opening experiences. It had been two years learning to work with clients and collaborate with legal and medical professionals. It had been two years of working for my boss and truly learning from her what it meant to be an ethical, hard-working, and compassionate attorney. It had been two years of learning that a career in the legal field was one that I wanted to pursue and that it was a community that I wanted to be a part of. More than anything (and honestly, as cliché as it sounds), it was two years of really cultivating my interests, dreaming, and growing. It was the end of the adventure of navigating through the ins and outs of professionalism and stepping foot into the legal world.

On the afternoon of July 21, 2017, I walked out of my office with a hint of hesitation and reservation. Coming to this office and sitting at my desk had become my routine and my daily expectation. I was so used to picking up the phone to check-in on the clients I had gotten to know over the course of my employment, meeting with my boss to touch base on projects and issues, and chatting with my co-workers and neighbors upon passing. Was I really going to give up what was comfortable, safe, and normal only be thrust into the intimidating and high stakes world that is law school?

After all the goodbyes had been said, I sat in my car for a while staring at the building. I grew up here. I faced challenges like dealing with frustrated clients, receiving and accepting constructive criticisms, learning the procedures of Workers’ Comp, studying for the torturous LSAT, and even anticipating my decision letter from Loyola. I had also faced triumphs during my tenure here like buying my first car, getting my first acceptance letter, and waving goodbye to my LSAT textbooks. As strange as it sounds, the building with all the little offices, businesses, and people inside had become a community that I had relied on for the last two years of my growth and development.

But I realized that it was time to turn the page on this chapter. I had learned everything I needed to prepare me for my next adventure, and I was ready for all that law school would present. So I pulled out of the parking lot on that day with the end of my first legal position in my rear view mirror and the promise of a new adventure at Loyola before me. Onto the next adventure.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Summer of Food

My life belongs to food.

Okay, that is (a bit) dramatic, but I will admit that food is one of my constant priorities (and I am sure a lot of you reading can say the same)! For that reason, my summer before 1L can be classified as the “Summer of Food.” I visited Austin, TX, Grant’s Pass, OR, Cabo San Lucas, Las Vegas, NV, and several cities up and down CA, but I consider it visiting brisket, tacos, farmer’s markets, fresh seafood, and some of the best brunch food in the world!

I really made it a point to spend these meals with my family and friends. I am from the Sacramento area, so while moving to LA meant amazing food and a stellar law school, it also meant leaving some of the most important people in my life (even more important than food) up north. I spent happy hours with my mom after work, ate car show vendor food with my dad, enjoyed some of the best Vegas restaurants for my Aunt’s wedding, and visited my undergrad city of Santa Barbara for meals next to the ocean with friends.

My life now belongs to Loyola (sorry, food), but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way because I am confident that I used my summer as a time to relax and enjoy time with loved ones while eating some of the best food that even LA can’t provide (I truly don’t know if anything can beat brisket in Texas). Now I am relaxed and ready for the demands of 1L, but more importantly (kidding, kind of), all of the food that Los Angeles has to offer!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Here We Go Again

Hi all! To the 1Ls out there: Welcome to Loyola and the beginning of your legal career! To those of us returning, we know the drill by now…outlines, readings, and A LOT of coffee. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Holly and I’m currently a 2L who aspires to work in entertainment law. I spent the summer interning at a talent agency in the music department and am continuing my time there this fall in the tv/film department.

For any of you terrified by 1L horror stories, you are going to make it! You are going to make amazing friends, networking connections, and you are about to have one unforgettable year. If I were in your shoes again, here is the advice I would give my 1L self. First, get to know your professors as much as you possibly can. Do not be afraid to go to office hours and if you’re nervous, grab someone to come with you. Second, meet your classmates. It is super easy to let your studies and worries get the most of you during your first year, but don’t forget to make time to get to know the people in your section. I know people have been constantly hammering the importance of “study groups” in your head. Truthfully, everyone learns differently and you should do what is best for you. I personally am usually an independent studier, however, there were a couple of courses that I (thankfully) had a study group for. Either way, get to know your section mates - you will be glad you did.

Third, get involved with organizations on campus. I’m personally on the board of the Immigration Law Society, Business Law Society, and the Entertainment and Sports Law Society - each of these organizations (and many more) have amazing networking opportunities and events on/off campus that you all should come out to! Fourth, look into getting a mentor. Law school can be very intimidating. There’s a lot going on with deadlines, outlines, exams, worrying about externships, etc. Mentors can help ease a little bit of that stress because they’ve been in the exact same spot you are now. Finally, breathe. Taking care of your physical and mental health is the most important thing during school. Find time to destress. Personally, I recommend netflix/hulu.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Introduction - Steve Riley

Hi Jury of Peers readers! My name is Steve and I am a 3L at Loyola Law School. This is my third year contributing to this blog, which I am told makes me the first blogger to go 3 for 3!

My pre-law background is in music. I went to college for music, I worked for a few years at a boutique record label right out of college, then I spent about 7 years playing drums professionally – working typically as a recording musician and in musical theater productions. I made the transition to law school after my daughter was born and I began to lose passion for the musician lifestyle. That being said, music and the arts are still extremely important to me. I go to concerts and movies regularly, play guitar every day, and still occasionally work freelance music jobs.

My law school experience for the past two years and a few months has been largely a great one. I enjoy the intellectual rigor of being a law student and think it brings out the best in me. I enjoy reading cases, drafting arguments and taking each new step (and there are many) as it comes. I will be graduating in May 2018 and will be expecting my second daughter in late March 2018. I’m sure this will make finals and bar preparation all the more challenging, but I’m sure it will also inspire me to close out my law school career on a high note. Enjoy the blogs! We’ve got a very interesting batch of bloggers this year.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Introduction - Chris Kissel

Not too long after I turned 22, I decided to go to law school.

That was seven years ago.

Back then, I had just graduated from Seattle University with a degree in English, and all I knew was I wanted to write. I had worked as the news editor at the school paper, interned at the local alt-weekly, wrote papers about American economic history, and blogged about politics. I thought I was off to a good start.

But I had also fallen in love with Seattle, and I felt certain I wanted to be a part of the city in a meaningful way. I knew a couple of lawyers, and I figured law school was the way to do that. If nothing else, it would give me plenty to write about.

In the intervening seven years, I learned that things rarely turn out the way you plan.

Seven years ago, I was working at a book store in Seattle and plotting my future. One night after work, I got a text from a friend who told me he could get me a job in New York City. One week later, I was on an airplane. Who could pass up a writing gig in the cultural capital of the world?

Things went from there. I made an adventure out of my 20s. I ended up working in radio in New York for a few years. As part of the job, I spent much of my time in cities like Shreveport, Yakima, and Utica teaching radio DJs how to blog. Later, I learned how to DJ myself, and gigged around the city; I worked as a bike messenger; I worked in bars; I played in a band. I got back to writing, which will always be important to me — it's the way I find my bearings in the world — and when I moved to L.A. a couple years ago, I got to know the city by freelance writing about the local music scene.

L.A. reminds me of everything I loved about Seattle. It's a big, complicated, strange city, a city of shiny dreams and stubborn struggles; of Hollywood studios and working class neighborhoods; of Kendrick Lamar and Raymond Chandler; of cumbia blasting from backyard parties and experimental music emanating from warehouse art spaces.

As I became absorbed in this city I was reminded of my original desire to be a useful part of something bigger than myself. I don’t regret a single weird minute of my ‘20s. But I couldn’t be more ready for what’s next.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Introduction - Breanna Khorrami

Hi! My name is Breanna. I graduated with a B.A. in Gender Studies from UCLA in 2015 and am currently a first year in the evening program at Loyola! After I graduated from college, I worked as a tutor for students with learning disabilities full time for about two years. In that time, I also started and operated my own tutoring business, worked as an editor for a political news blog, worked part-time at a local private high school, volunteered with a few different organizations, and even started my own food blog. Because I’m an evening student and am only taking classes part-time, I’ve been able to continue tutoring and operating my food blog and also get more involved in on-campus groups at Loyola. In the short time that I’ve been a student here, I’ve found my involvement in on-campus groups to be one of the most interesting and rewarding aspects of my student experience and I’m excited to see what the rest of the school year holds!

However, my interests aren’t limited to what’s on campus… which is a little hard to believe since I feel like I almost never leave! When I’m not studying, in class, or working, I also like to cook, run, hike, read, and (to my wallet’s dismay) shop… a little too much. Making time to do all of these things while working and going to school has been a little difficult so far, but getting a routine down has made a world of difference.

In any event, law school has been a great experience so far and I’m feeling really optimistic about the rest of the year!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Introduction - Nicole Dela Rosa

Hello there! If you’ve made your way onto this blog, you must be one step closer to making one of the biggest decisions for your education, career, and life. So welcome!

So who am I? Well, my name is Nicole, and I am a 1L day student here at Loyola. I am currently a blogger for the Jury of Peers and my section’s representative for the Immigration Law Society in addition to participating in other organizations.

Before coming here, I worked as a legal assistant for two years at a law firm in the Inland Empire that specialized in Workers’ Compensation, Personal Injury, and Trusts and Estates. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard work, and there was definitely a learning curve as it was my first legal position. But I truly miss working for my boss, who was such an amazing mentor (Shout out to her, if she’s reading this). I also miss the clients that I spent so much time working with and getting to know. Before that, I went to the University of California, Santa Barbara, where I double-majored in English and Global Studies. Go Gauchos! I graduated in 2015, a year early, which helped me figure out what I wanted to do for the next chapter of my life. Thus, all of this has led me to where I am now!

So it’s been about 7 weeks into my first semester here, and so far, it’s been good. I know, shocking right? I think everyone, myself included, has this image of law school as a black hole that sucks you in and takes over your life, and you have no time for anything else but school, reading (A LOT), and stressing out about getting cold-called. While most of that is true, I’ve learned in the last couple of weeks that normal life is still possible (or at least, as normal of a life as possible for a law student) if you try to balance, surround yourself with positive people, and do things that make you happy. For me, that includes yelping restaurants and trying new food, cheering on the Los Angeles Dodgers, overusing my Disneyland annual pass, and spending time with my dog and the people who matter most to me.

So sit back, relax, and join me here as I make my way through my crazy whirlwind of an adventure that is 1L year!

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Little Bit about Me - Jordan Avey

The phrase “So tell me a little bit about yourself” has always given me minor heart palpitations. What kind of personality do I have? Are those actually my interests? What have I even accomplished? I live with myself 24 hours a day, yet get thrown into a panic as if I don't even know my last name (did you read that as Carrie Underwood?). So, although I’ll have second-guessed this introduction of myself 32 times by the time I am finished writing, I will try my best to “tell you a little bit about myself” without giving up.

I graduated in December of 2016 from my undergraduate university with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in English and History (anything scientific gives me more heart palpitations than introductions, so just know you are my inspiration if you are surviving or have survived a B.S.) and was heavily involved in my sorority. While an undergraduate, I completed a legislative internship in a Congressional office in D.C., which, although an amazing experience, showed me that a career path in politics was not completely for me. After I graduated, I worked for the public school district in my hometown of Elk Grove, CA for the 8 months before law school started.

Although I have a background in both education and politics, as a law student I have found that I am most interested in Consumer Law. This may change (I am only a 1L), but I do believe that I will ultimately end up in the field of litigation even though my Criminal Law class is incredibly compelling. Something I have already realized about law school is that even if you are focused on one area of law, all of the areas are so engaging and expansive that it is hard not to be interested in all of the fields.

On the non-legal side of my life (which still exists, though barely), I enjoy spending my time reading, watching television, clothes shopping, and trying new foods. All of those interests seem so unoriginal, I wish I could tell you that I am a certified sky-diver, but I’ll give an accurate representation of myself. I cannot survive without 2-4 cups of coffee a day, I hate caramel, I will not choose between being a cat-person or a dog-person, and I highly recommend naps.

Most importantly, I am so excited that I will have the opportunity to share little pieces of my life here! I think that it is incredibly important to know what you are getting yourself into when you commit to law school, so I will try my best to accurately illuminate the details of law school life over the next year.