Wednesday, November 29, 2017


The main thing I worried about before law school is something I think most people worry about: What if I don’t like it? What if the classes are too hard, or boring? What if I don’t make any friends? What if I find out that, after all the work it took to get here, law school isn’t for me?

I’m pleased to report that I do, in fact, like it. Law school has been as engaging as I hoped it would be. And it's already providing a window into a future I’m thoroughly stoked about.

In my last post, I mentioned my Torts midterm; Torts specifically is a class I found way more fascinating than I thought I would. It’s a class about solving real life situations — the kind of situations that you’ll certainly face at some point in your life, if you haven’t already. It involves taking abstract concepts — like, when does a relationship with another person establish a legal duty of care for the other person? — and actually bringing those concepts down to earth, finding the situation where the abstract rule can solve a real world problem. It’s so satisfying, like when you find the key fits into a lock. (It helps that my professor, Adam Zimmerman, is brilliant at helping students understand how textbook concepts play out in the real world.)

My other classes are fascinating in other ways. In Criminal Law, the injustices built into the the American system come into sharp relief; in Property, we talk about how philosophies of ownership shape the law and our everyday lives. Even in Civil Procedure, for me is the most challenging class, we’re shown the blueprint instruction manual for how regular folks go about getting justice in our Kafka-esque legal system.

If all of that sounds interesting to you, I guarantee you’ll have fun in law school.

But, of course, I didn’t just go to law school to bury myself in books. Like everyone else, I was excited to be a part of a little community of students who were chasing the same goal as me. And so, even in week 10 of law school, making new friends is a thrill, and helps put my own journey into perspective.

For instance, a couple weeks ago I helped out at the annual PILF auction, a fundraiser on campus that helps raise money for scholarships for students who want to work in the (traditionally lower-earning) field of public interest. It was awesome to see some of my classmates, who I know are studying corporate or tax law, come to support the cause. And, of course, it was a great excuse, post-Midterms, to drink some free booze and even see our professors in a non-school context, which is actually not as weird as you might think but, in fact, might give you the sense that professors are (shocker!) real people like you.

The thing I’m the most excited about, though, is that even at this early juncture I’ve found easy ways to get involved in the L.A. community. Loyola in particular is great for putting volunteer opportunities in front of students; you’d have to be willfully ignoring them to not find something.

A couple weekends ago, I drove down from my apartment in Echo Park to a community center in Watts to assist a nonprofit with client intake. The nonprofit helps folks convicted of misdemeanors and even felonies get those crimes taken off their records, which can help them get jobs and make a new life. I met with a particular client who was in dire need of employment, she said, and felt that a few blotches on her record were holding her back. We sat together at a wooden table in the midst of 15 other tables and worked through the details of some of the forms. I truly felt like I was doing a service, for her and for my community — that this small act was disproportionately powerful to someone who needed it so badly. That’s the power of the law, I thought — if you can access it, you can do everyday things that, for people who have been effectively shut out of the system, can have a profound impact. It reminded me of why I wanted to go to law school in the first place. And it confirmed that I’m in exactly the right place.