Monday, December 17, 2018

Debunk A Law School Myth

I was 100 percent convinced I would have zero friends in law school.

This was not because I love being home by 10 pm, or because most of the time I will opt for takeout and 90’s films.

I thought I would be completely on my own because every person I talked to that had attended law school told me that law school WASN’T a place to make friends. Their logic was premised on 1.) everyone in law school secretly hates each other and everyone is just fighting to be at the top of their class and 2.) I was from out of state and didn’t have any undergrad or pre-law school friends in the area.

Of course, I pondered this insightful advice that was being given to me (most of the time without me asking for it). I frequently found myself construing cost-benefit analysis’ in my head. They went something like this: “law school is expensive, but hey I’ll get a good job! But what if I go insane? You know because I have no friends. Also what if I hate my job? Well maybe I’ll still make decent money, but back to the being completely isolated thing, not sure I can do that…”

It went on and on like this, until I just rolled my eyes at the last middle-aged man who told me “to rethink the law school idea”, and said “thank you, but I’m going.”

Maybe Loyola is different than other law schools, or maybe everyone was lying to me, but I most definitely have friends here. During orientation, a professor told me that her three best friends to this day were the people that she sat next to during her 1L year.

No one has lied to me or tried to trip me up on an assignment. My experience thus far has been highly collaborative. For the most part everyone is willing to help everyone, students and teachers alike.

It is true that we are all technically competing to be at the top of our class, but I learned quickly that law school is a marathon and a little social interaction goes a long way. Plenty of people will tell you not to go to law school, sometimes you just need to roll your eyes.

You will have friends in law school,

Especially if you come to Loyola.

Friday, December 14, 2018

LLS Pressure Cooker: Dispelling the Myth

We have all heard the famous “Look to your left and then look to your right” story.Believe it or not, law school is NOT out to destroy you. The amount of collaboration, positivity, and fun that permeates Loyola has consistently surprised me. Professors and students alike encourage an open and supportive environment where students can find joy in their work and have fun while learning the law.

The professors and staff do an incredible job keeping things fun. Prof. Levenson for example welcomes us to each criminal law class with upbeat music from showtunes to classical rock. On more than one occasion, she has invited students to dance in class. She also keeps us grounded in the humanity of the law, both in its flaws and its empathy. Even after subjecting a poor soul to intense scrutiny on a particular issue, she will ask the class to applaud the student’s effort. As we have learned, there are very few absolute answers in a law school lecture. What matters is the attempt to make an argument.

The students at Loyola are just as incredible. We all work together keep our learning experience open and positive. Virtually everyone is willing to help with an outline or lecture notes. I have never been turned away by anyone if I had a question about an issue discussed in lecture. One person in my section lost her laptop at the airport along with all of her notes and all of her course work. When the class found out, every single person volunteered to share their notes. A few even offered her a spare laptop! Everyone works hard and wants to succeed but, at the end of the day, we are all in the same boat so we might as well row along together.

1For those who haven’t, the punchline is that only one in three people are able to cope with the stress and workload of law school to make it to graduation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Debunk A Law School Myth

Being an LLM student is challenging and exciting at the same time because I have never studied in a foreign country before. Since day one of law school, everything is absolutely new and different for me! Especially because I am from a foreign country, I have heard a lot of stories about going to law school in the United States and one story I heard repeatedly is that you do not have friends in law school because everybody is so competitive. I also have heard that everybody goes to class dressed up in business attire. Well, none of these stories are entirely true – at least from what I have seen. Law school is naturally a competitive place, but I feel that Loyola Law School has the friendliest competitive environment of all. In my experience, I have classes with different sections and even with evening students, so I get to meet and study with every kind of law student, and until now all of them were nice and friendly to me, offering help with anything that I need. I think that is so important because having a good environment makes everything easy and we feel that we are not alone in this path that is law school. My biggest fear as an international student was to feel alone and to feel that I did not know what was going on, but I never felt that way at Loyola – and this has to do not only with the students, but also all the staff and professors (everybody is just SO nice!)

And about the dress code, well, no, it is definitely a myth that people go to law school dressed up in business attire. There are some people who dress in business attire and others who do not. It is school, just dress however you feel comfortable! There are people with all kind of styles, which shows how diverse Loyola is. This is definitely one of the things that I love the most about Loyola. It is good and important to see that our campus is a place that the students feel comfortable to be who they truly are.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Debunk a Law School Myth

Competition is inherently embedded into the education system: in elementary school you compete for that gold star sticker, in middle school you compete to get into those AP and Honors classes, in high school you compete to get into college, and in college you compete against the class curve. With that said, being competitive is almost an expected trait in your average law student: if you’ve made it this far, chances are you’ve had to be selfish at least once or twice.

However, one of the myths I heard over and over again in the process of applying to law school was how much more competitive law students were and how this hindered the ability to create genuine relationships with classmates. “At the end of the day, your friends are your competition,” people said. As the stakes get higher, people get increasingly more competitive, right?

While this seems like a logical inference, my experiences in law school thus far have proven that this particular myth is just that—a myth. Even though my time at Loyola has been limited as a transfer student, I have yet to encounter this level of extreme competition. What I have found is that, especially as the new kid, people are welcoming and happy to help a fellow student. Instead of trying to hinder one another, students at Loyola share a sense of camaraderie and the “we’re all in this together” mentality seems more pervasive than ever.

This leads me to my next point: making friends in law school. According to the myth, law students are too busy looking out for themselves to socialize or make friends. However, my time at Loyola has once again proven otherwise. Whether it’s struggling through that one impossible class together or being part of the same student organization, law school presents so many opportunities for students to come together and build lasting relationships. Although each of us will eventually follow different paths, the unique experience of going through law school and the bonds we created with one another will follow us long after graduation.

Friday, December 7, 2018

My Advice: In Law School, Use The Processes That Work Best For You

The biggest law school myth is actually somewhat true. When starting the process of applying to law school, you start hearing about how you’re going to get buried in work. And about how the deluge just keeps going until the day you retire. That’s not totally a myth. The work is tough, and it can certainly get overwhelming.

But that truth goes hand-in-hand with another one: That law school is a different experience for each student. If you are applying to law schools now, you might be imagining, for instance, that you have to change who you are, and how you think, just in order to get by. But the truth is that a big part of the process of learning to be a good law student is finding your comfort zone – the place where you can adapt to the kind of work you have to do without feeling that you need to change the processes you already use.

For instance, I really took to heart all the advice I got from professors during orientation, about the Cornell method of note-taking, and how to create outlines for my courses, and all the essential elements of the case briefs I needed to write for every single case I read. I’m glad I listened carefully, because that advice helped set expectations of the kind of work I’d be doing, and made me understand the “standard” approach to law school.

But some of those processes felt awkward for me. I’m not good at taking notes by hand, for instance. And I can get bored if my note-taking process becomes too routinized. I realized I had to find the best note-taking style that worked best for me, and I had to write briefs that were useful later when I was studying, but that didn’t take me hours to put together. I made outlines that were color coded and full of emojis and written in my own goofy dialect.

This “comfort zone” approach centered on the realization that I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel – I could use the processes I’d honed in four years of undergrad and seven years of professional life to understand what I was learning. These were processes I felt comfortable with; processes that I knew worked for me.

My best advice, then, is to not get too caught up on the “myth” that law school necessarily molds your brain to one type of thinking. All kinds of people become lawyers – quiet people, assertive people, analytical people, creative people. The key is to figure out how to succeed by using the strengths you already have.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Debunk A Law School Myth

One law school myth that I was told before attending was that I wouldn’t be able to succeed without a regular study group. This was a major concern for me my first year because I had a hard time finding students in my classes with similar learning styles and schedules as me. However, I learned pretty fast that I actually preferred to work through material alone for the most part! I learned more effectively this way and then I study with others close to exam time just to confirm material and go over practice problems. Although study groups can be very helpful, and arguably essential, for some people, I learned that I just wasn’t one of those people. And that’s okay!

I was told that I wouldn’t be able to succeed without regular study groups, but this turned out to be completely untrue for me.

Monday, December 3, 2018

If You Want To Go To Law School, You Must Have A Law Background

Most of my friends who wanted to attend law school were majoring in Political Science, Legal Studies and Criminal Justice and many of them managed to land internships with judges or attorneys during and after college. I however chose a different path. In addition to not majoring in either one of those majors, the career opportunities I pursued were for the most part non-law related.

After I was admitted into law school, I was concerned that I would not be as prepared as my classmates with a legal background. Fortunately, it has been a whole two months since classes started, and up until now I have not felt that my lack of legal expertise has hindered my ability to understand and follow what professors are teaching. I have, however, come to appreciate the perspective my non-legal pursuits have provided me. For example, between college and law school I volunteered at a rape crisis center, where I had the opportunity to learn how to best listen to, and advocate for, survivors of sexual violence. I feel that background allows me to bring a different perspective to the class when we are discussing the approaches and shortcomings of the criminal justice system. I also feel that if I chose to pursue a career in criminal justice, this perspective would be an asset.

So, if you, like me, are terrified to start law school with no legal background, breath- it’s fine. You will be fine. I wish someone would have told me that a long time ago- it would have saved me a lot of panic.

As a disclaimer: While I did not have a law-related major or law-related career prior to coming to law school, I made sure to conduct extensive research about the legal field. I also made sure to talk to as many lawyers as possible about the legal profession to decide whether it was a good fit for me. I strongly recommend anyone who lacks a legal background to do the same before committing to the exciting adventure that is your 1L year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

2L Is Easier Than 1L.

2L is easier than 1L.

That is something I heard constantly my first year. Is it true? Time for the classic law school answer: it depends.

It truly depends on what classes you take, when your classes are scheduled, what extra-curricular activities that you are involved in, and if you are working simultaneously. For me specifically, 2L has been both easier and much harder.

My classes are easier, but I think that is because I have way more confidence in this whole “law school thing” than I did last year when I literally knew nothing. The material hasn’t gotten easier, but when you walk into the classroom and don’t automatically think “OMG I know nothing, why am I here, what does any of this mean,” you feel a little better about yourself and your academic prowess.

However, it has also gotten harder because I have way more on my plate than I did as a 1L. As a 1L, you cannot work, so you don’t have to worry about getting to a job when you feel like you should be studying. You also are not allowed to get involved with many of the teams or clinics on campus until you finish your 1L year. Most of these opportunities are extremely time consuming and require significant outside work and time, so as a 2L, I am now juggling my classes and my time devoted to the Byrne Trial Advocacy Team. While it is all totally worth it, it does make things harder than “2L is easier than 1L” makes it seem.

The moral of the story is: don’t let “2L is easier than 1L” allow you to slack off or think that you aren’t going to have to put effort in. When you eventually reach your 2L year, you will still have to do all of that, it is just that you will have already trained your brain to think the way that it needs to think. And that makes things much easier.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Introduction: Yasmin Gabriela Souza Gomes

Hello! I am happy to say that I am the first LLM student to be a Jury of Peers blogger! Well, let me introduce myself first. My name is Yasmin Gomes and I am (only) 22 years old. I am originally from Manaus, the capital of Amazonas (yes, I lived in the woods!), in Brazil – that is where I got my bachelor's degree in Law. I graduated in Brazil in February 2018, and in July I came to Los Angeles to start my LLM at Loyola Law School.

My relationship with law school back in Brazil started early – I was only 16 years old when I got into law school. Just so you don’t get lost, I will quickly explain. In Brazil, we go from high school straight to law school – we do not have undergrad. Now that things make more sense, let me walk you a little bit through the last 5 years of my life.

First, I have to mention that I went to law school because I have always been passionate about criminal law, even before I knew for sure what that was – I just had a feeling. In my second year of university, I joined the Study and Research Group for the Inter American Human Rights System of the Federal University of Amazonas and started to work with and study human rights. That was when I noticed that criminal law and human rights have to go hand-in-hand: simply because criminal laws cannot be applied without observing the human rights of each person. And then I can say that, well, I found my place in the world.

When I was close to finishing law school, I discovered the LLM program and decided that I needed to do it. One thing led to another and… here I am, at Loyola Law School, living in Los Angeles and I could not have made a better decision and choice.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Introduction: Jenny Vliet

Introducing yourself is not always an easy task, but there is one attribute about me that awkwardly segues into why I am here at Loyola, pursuing a law degree; I am a tall woman.

That probably sounds like a strange way to introduce myself, considering height is just a genetic attribute, like having brown eyes, or red hair. You can’t change your height, but when I was in the 7th grade, you can bet your last dollar that I prayed every night to shrink by 4-5 inches.

I am about 6’1, and when I was growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, my height was the first thing everyone noticed. I would walk into a room and get “wow you’re tall”. I HATED it. There were even a couple times where my teenage angst would get the best of me and I would actually TEAR UP, when someone commented on my height. Yes, I would cry because someone said I was tall. Not proud of it.

I hated it until two COMPLETELY different things happened to me. The first is that I became athletically inclined. I learned how to use my tall, lanky body and became pretty good at sports. The second is that I fell in love with fashion. I was enthralled by the idea of finding new trends that complimented those long legs that tall woman struggle with on the daily.

Sports ended up influencing my career goals, while fashion remained a hobby. I went to undergrad at Saint Louis University in Missouri. Where my height and love of sports did me some favors. I played for the division I woman’s basketball team. I always knew I wanted to go to law school, but I never knew how much I wanted to work in sports law until I was immersed in college athletics.

There are pressing problems in the sports world that came to my attention during my time at SLU. My future lawyer dream is to be a part of the amending, reforming and changing of how the sports world works. Whether that means being an assistant, working in-house, being general counsel or attaining my dream and opening my own agency; my aspiration is to work in sports law.

So, THANK YOU TO MY HEIGHT and all the struggles we have had. I might not be here without you 😃

Monday, November 19, 2018

Introduction: Chris Kissel

There’s one question I got asked all the time, once I decided to go to law school. Which is: “Why did you decide to go to law school?”

My answer has remained essentially the same since the first time someone asked me that. I tell them I was working as a freelance writer, covering arts and culture for local and national outlets, and found myself constantly describing problems I felt powerless to fix.

For instance, in 2016 or so, I wrote a story about a building in downtown L.A. that, for nearly 100 years, had hosted multitudes of storied independent businesses. At the time of my story, it hosted a family-owned kebab restaurant, which had served lunch to workers from around the block for decades. There was also a dancehall, which for nearly 70 years (!) had functioned as a gathering place for recent immigrants from Mexico. My story was about those businesses, but it was also about the building’s new owner – a company that was threatening to tear down the building and replace it with a parking lot.

I was happy to tell the tenants’ stories, but frustrated I couldn’t do more. It was stories like this that made me want to be a lawyer – to equip myself with the tools I needed so I could be useful to people who need the help. I knew it was vague, but I was inspired.

That “conversion moment,” so to speak, happened nearly three years ago. In the first two years since then, my reasons for going to law school didn’t change much. But what about now? I’ve studied criminal law, contract law, civil procedure, and more – well beyond the scope of laws that, for instance, protect tenants from getting evicted. I’ve worked for California’s state civil rights agency, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and seen firsthand what civil rights litigation actually looks like. And, as if I didn’t get enough of a taste of that arduous process, I’m currently working for a federal judge, spending my days reading and briefing stacks of motion papers.

I’ve been exposed to all kinds of legal work, and I’ve faced questions and situations I wasn’t expecting. Now I think less about why I went to law school, and more about what I want to do when I’m done. Do I want to work directly with clients on discrete needs, like getting benefits or eviction defense? Or do I want to engage in litigation, which can take months or years of work per case, but that can hopefully result, however incrementally, in broader change?

This is, I suppose, the 2L dilemma. Your class schedule loosens as your firsthand experience grows; academic work starts to take a backseat to thinking about getting a job (at least until the bar exam). That’s where I find myself now – thinking less in terms of big picture ideas like “helping people,” and more in terms of questions like: What do I want my day-to-day life to look like when I finally do become a lawyer? This year, I hope you’ll come back to this journal, and check in on me as I being to think less about the why, and more about the how.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Alex Verdegem: The 1L Story Begins

The path toward law school is unique for everyone; I realized that within 10 minutes of my first day at Loyola. Prospective law students might think that they need to know a ton of attorneys, that they need to have years of experience in legal work, or that they need a degree in legal studies. I know it sounds cheesy but, that first day, the single common element that I discovered in every single person I met was passion. Whether that passion was personal, professional, academic or something in between, every student at Loyola had their own story of inspiration. I wish I had one crystalizing moment that made all the difference but, honestly, my own path to Loyola was not so straightforward.

I graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Politics and Certificates in German and Theater but, to be honest, I didn’t have a clue what I really wanted to do with my life. I considered moving on to law school directly after graduation but I really didn’t know if it was a lifestyle to which I wanted to commit. I didn’t really know any attorneys and my only relevant experience was one summer internship in a bankruptcy law office. I decided I needed to find out what it was like to work in the legal field.

I began work at Panda Restaurant Group in the Legal Department. First, what an amazing company to work for! My first project was updating the company’s property management information with certain relevant lease provisions like term lengths, options to revenue, rent amounts and increase schedules. I was surprised how much I loved reading through the leases, comparing the variations in language and how those variations impacted real-world business decisions like improvement and renewal requests. I was able to take on bigger projects and greater responsibilities but discussing real estate leases and amendments with the property managers and landlords was always my favorite part of the job.


There are so many other sources of inspiration in my life, both personal and professional, but I cannot talk about my decision to go to law school without mentioning my wife, Claudia. We married in February 2017 and she has been an enormous inspiration in my life. She speaks four languages, has two degrees, is an amazing nurse and a wonderful person. When you have a job, you’re earning a living and life is going well, it is easy to discard a dream. Things are fine, why mess it up by going to law school? Claudia never let me believe that. Before we got married, I told her that I wanted to go to law school and her reaction was nothing but positive. The only passion you need for law school is your own, but the unwavering support of family sure doesn’t hurt.

These experiences are just a part of who I am and what brought me to Loyola, but each member of the class of 2021 has a story of their own. Now we’re all sharing a story as we charge headlong into our legal careers. We’re two months into classes now and we’ve already been through so much, from learning to brief cases, to Prof. Levenson’s fantastical criminal-law-based musical numbers, to midterms, and more. I’m looking forward to sharing our experiences with you so that you have an at least a glimpse of what law school and specifically what Loyola’s class of 2021 is like.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Introduction: Breanna Khorrami

Hope everyone had a great summer! For those that don’t yet know who I am, my name is Breanna Khorrami. I’m a second-year evening student… which has certainly proven to be a very different experience than my first year!

For one, I’m involved in a few groups on campus this year. In your second year, you’re able to serve on the board for different organizations and I chose to dive right in with the Public Interest Law Foundation, ACLU, and Women’s Law Association. It’s a lot of work, but definitely an awesome way to get involved and meet people on campus that I might not otherwise see in my evening classes.

My second year of school is also, oddly enough, a lot more demanding than my first year. I was always told that the first year of law school was the most difficult, but I don’t think that’s quite the case with me. I’m continuing to work about 30 hours each week as a tutor for high school and college students, many of which have learning disabilities. It’s great, flexible work, but on top of my group affiliations and class work, it’s proving to be a real difficult test of my ability to manage my time efficiently. It’s taken me some time to adjust, but I’m slowly, but surely getting into a rhythm. Maybe I’ll have it down by… spring semester… but the law student’s schedule is an ever-changing beast that I don’t know I’ll ever fully tame.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Introduction: Nicole Dela Rosa

Welcome to the Jury of Peers everyone! My name is Nicole, and I can’t believe I’m a 2L at Loyola Law School! I’m a returning blogger here, and last year, I wrote all about my 1L adventures. So a little back story on me: I went to the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated in 2015 with degrees in English and Global Studies. Go Gauchos! After undergrad, I worked as a legal assistant at a boutique law firm in the Inland Empire that specialized in workers’ compensation, personal injury, and trusts and estates. This was a great opportunity for me to learn about the legal field and really test my interest in a legal career. Fortunately, I really enjoyed what I was doing, and now I’m here at Loyola working toward my dream of becoming an attorney!

While it would be a lie to say that 1L year wasn’t a challenge from time to time, there definitely were its highlights and perks like meeting new people and making new friends, getting back into the school grind, going to school in the big city, and ultimately the exhilaration of growing and learning new things (Note: going to law school will change the way you watch shows like Law and Order… you’ve been warned!).

This semester I have a pretty full plate. Currently, I’m working as a research assistant for the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic (LIJC) and a clinical student for the Loyola Project for the Innocent (LPI). On top of that, I make sure to stay involved in other extra-curricular activities. I’m a student ambassador for the Office of Admissions, historian for the Loyola Immigration Law Society (IMLS), and members for the Entertainment and Sports Law Society (ESLS) and Women in Entertainment Law Society (WELS) respectively. While at times it can be a challenge trying to balance everything, it’s one I welcome because I’m really trying to figure out what area of the law I really want to go into after law school, and I feel like the only way to truly know is to try it out. Currently, I’m looking into transactional entertainment law because I really enjoyed my contracts course last semester and entertainment law has always been something I’ve been very interested in. But who really knows! It’s a new year with a new things to learn, new goals to strive for, and new adventures to experience! Stay tuned friends, I can’t wait to see and share what this year holds in store!

Until next time!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Introduction: Bronte Mehdian

As a new blogger, I thought I’d take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Bronte; and yes, I was named after the English authors. I’m a transfer student from Southwestern Law School and externed this summer for Forever 21’s legal department. As a transfer student, things have been slightly different for me as I adapt to my new environment. Being transplanted to a new school after my 1L year was definitely a change, but now that we’re about half way through the semester I can confidently say that I have learned all the building abbreviations and have figured out the menu at Sonia’s.

From the first day of classes, I never doubted my decision to come to Loyola. I knew this is where I wanted to be and found a way to make it happen. From the huge selection of classes to the expansive alumni network, Loyola stood out for the ultimate law school experience. Not only was the Loyola name highly respected within the legal community, but I also quickly found that our school’s reputation extended much further than I had imagined.

One experience in particular further reaffirmed this point for me. A few weeks ago I had stopped at a gas station in the Long Beach area. I walked inside the minimart, grabbed my Diet Coke, and stood in line to pay. As I started to collect my things after giving her my money, the woman ringing me up stopped and asked if I “went to that school.” Not realizing I had my Loyola sweater on, I was confused. She then pointed at my sweater and her question made sense.

I answered her question and told her that I was in my second year at Loyola. Her eyes lit up and she proceeded to tell me about her experience with one of our clinics last year. She couldn’t remember the name of the program, but could not stop raving about our campus, students, and faculty. She told me how helpful our school had been in solving a particular legal issue she was facing and how nicely she was treated. A line had built up behind me by now and before I could get out the door she shouted, “keep doing great things, you’re the people making real change.” I thought about what she said as I drove off and realized that I picked the best place to pursue my legal education.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Introduction: Diana Hernandez

As you may have been able to guess from the hyperlink you clicked to get to my blog, my name is Diana Hernandez. I am the youngest of three and I was born in Leon, Guanajuato Mexico. While my siblings, my mom and I waited for the approval of our permanent residence to join my dad here in the United States, we moved back and forth from Leon to Tijuana. We made the move to San Diego when I was fourteen.

My family and I have always thought of ourselves as nomads. While moving around all the time has not always been easy, I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of so many different communities and to have so many different experiences. These experiences have allowed me to see how laws can deeply affect our communities and have motivated me to become an attorney to provide a voice and representation for those who need it the most.

With this in mind, I attended UC Santa Barbara, where I earned majors in Psychology, Sociology, and Latin American & Iberian Studies. Prior to starting law school, I worked for three years as an Undergraduate Advisor for both UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego.

Outside of law school, my other interests include devoting time to my family and friends as well as following famous internet dogs, cats, and the occasional hedgehog. I am also an avid follower of California food bloggers, and I intend to visit as many Insta-worthy food places in Los Angeles as my student budget allows.

I am excited for what this year at Loyola Law School will bring and will make sure to keep you in the loop of the adventures to come!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Introduction: Jordan Avey

Hi everyone! I am Jordan, a 2L here at Loyola. Normally I hate doing any type of introduction about myself because I have no idea what to say, but this is my second year as a Jury of Peers blogger, so I have gotten a little bit better about talking about myself.

Some general, basic things about me: I am 23 (almost 24) years old, from Elk Grove, CA (a suburb of Sacramento), went to undergrad at UC Santa Barbara (best college ever), addicted to caffeine (particularly coffee and Diet Coke), and a diehard University of Oklahoma Sooners fan.

I’ve known I wanted to attend law school since my freshman year of college when I first sat down in my Chemistry class. From that day on, I knew I would avoid science classes at all costs and stick to what I am good at: talking.

I came into law school thinking that I would be a personal injury lawyer or a medical malpractice attorney, but now I fully intend on becoming a prosecutor. My 1L Criminal Law class turned everything upside down and now I cannot imagine working in any other field.

When I am not on Loyola’s campus, which is rarely because of my involvement in extra-curricular activities (trust me, we will talk about them a lot this year, just you wait), I can be found sleeping, eating, or shopping. You know, the necessities. I can also be found writing this blog, so be on the lookout. More to come from my crazy life.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Summertime's Calling Me

To be honest, I am actually really excited about this upcoming summer. My last final is on May 15th and only a couple of days later, I will be in Ireland for a study abroad program through Fordham Law School. While the program consists of a few weeks, it will be centered around International Intellectual Property — an area which is of particular interest to me. At the end of the course, I will be jetting back to Los Angeles. Work wise, I will be continuing my remote work for an entertainment law firm and will also be a full-time intern at one of the most well-known Hollywood guilds. If you know me at all, you will know that I could not possibly plan a more perfect combination of my last summer plans than a happy marriage between studying abroad and interning in entertainment law.

When I was trying to decide what to do this summer, I knew I needed to make the most of it. After all, this is very likely to be the last summer break that I will ever have — a rather disheartening fact. Based on the plans that I have set in place, I feel like that mission was accomplished.

Monday, May 7, 2018

How I'm Planning to Spend My First Law School Summer

I’m writing this blog post on April 4, 2018 – exactly 50 years to the day after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated as he stood at a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. Fifty years after his death, the social ill he fought most in his lifetime – the persistent scourge of racial segregation – is still very much alive in our country.

This summer, I’m externing at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which enforces California’s anti-discrimination laws in employment and housing. In particular, discrimination in housing continues on as a barrier to full racial integration of our communities. This injustice has quantifiable effects on our cities, including Los Angeles. Many of the worst problems cities face – pollution, poverty, violence – are more prevalent in communities that are more segregated.

I’m not under any kind of delusion that my three months of intern work at the DFEH will have much, if any, measurable effect on the current work being done there. And, of course, making even a small dent in the vast problem of segregation is a life’s work. But I couldn’t be more excited to be dedicating my summer, and maybe more down the road, to chipping away at the issue.

Even more, I’m excited to learn about the work that goes into enforcing anti-discrimination laws, and to meet attorneys who fight for fairer, more integrated communities on a daily basis. I doubt Dr. King would be satisfied or even particularly encouraged by the progress we’ve made in fighting segregation since he was killed. But I want to honor his memory, and the ideals he fought for, by pushing that fight along any way I can.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Summer Plans

I had initially planned to do a lot of things this first summer of law school. A lot of people talk about this summer as being very definitive and I was certainly feeling the pressure. However, I’ve decided instead of lighten up a little bit and enjoy my summer.

As an evening student, I am required to take some summer courses in order to complete my classes on either the four-year or three-and-a-half-year plan. I don’t have to take every summer, but I like the idea of focusing on one class for a few months, so I plan to take Constitutional Law. Additionally, I’m going to continue working part-time as a tutor and possibly work on my pro bono hours! I’ve been volunteering with Neighborhood Legal Services since before I started law school and am in the application process now for an externship. I’m hopeful that I’ll get it and be able to, not only put a dent in those pro bono hours, but also gain valuable experience. Externships provide a unique opportunity to figure out if you like different areas of law and also experience what life is like for attorneys working in those fields. This summer, however, I’m just looking to figure out what it is that I enjoy doing and hopefully help some people in the process.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Summer Plans

It’s hard to believe that it’s nearing the end of the semester already! What’s even harder for me to believe is that I’m nearing the end of my first year of law school! This time last year I was finalizing my decision to come to Loyola and getting ready to leave my job, and now I’m here! It just goes to show that time flies so fast…

With the end of the semester coming up, it’s time to start thinking of and figuring out what to do for the summer. The advice I’ve received from the faculty of Loyola’s Summer Institute program is to try and find a position that will not only let me gain more experience in the field but also learn something about an area of the law that I may or may not have thought of or considered before. It’s honestly mind-blowing to be in this position again because the last time I was on the hunt for a job I was trying to figure out if law school was for me, and now here I am trying to find experiences that will help me figure out what career path I should take! While I haven’t solidified my plans and secured a position yet, I plan to work or volunteer this summer to broaden my understanding of the legal world, gain invaluable experience, enhance my skill set, and network with other lawyers and professionals.

On a lighter note, this summer I also plan to catch up with all my family, friends, and sleep! It’s not a lie to say that law school has been a lot of work, early mornings/late nights, and countless pages of reading and writing; so I think after a year of pushing myself to do my best and get out of my comfort zone I deserve a little break from the memos, homework assignments, and case briefs before I have to jump back into school mode.

I am hopeful that summer will provide me with the opportunities to learn outside the classroom and gain some practical experience while also have time to get some rest, relax, and recharge before the school year starts up again. (Fingers crossed!)

Well friends, it’s been delightful sharing my thoughts with you this past year. Thank you for reading and following along on my journey through 1L year.

Until next time! Have a lovely summer!

Monday, April 30, 2018

School’s (Almost) Out for Summer!

I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone by! It truly seems like I started writing this blog a couple weeks ago, not months and months ago.

I am almost sad that the year is basically over, but I am ready to start picking my own classes and start learning on the job! First year law students are not allowed to work during the year, so the summer after 1L is the first opportunity we get to start applying our newfound knowledge towards a real law job.

This summer I will be working full-time as a law clerk for the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. I will be primarily working with the Misdemeanor Unit, but I will also have the opportunity to assist other units as needed. I will be doing legal research, case intake, and assisting in arraignment hearings. I will be in court at least one day each week and have the opportunity to observe different argument styles and motions. I am looking forward to exploring my interest in prosecution and putting my criminal law and civil procedure courses to good use!

I would not have gotten this position without the help of Loyola. My criminal law professor inspired me to apply and sparked my interest in the position, and having Loyola Law School on my resume made me stand out. My interviewers raved about the other Loyola students that they had hired and about what great trial lawyers come out of Loyola. The reputation of LLS is not bound by the lines of Los Angeles County, and I know that it helped put me over-the-top in my interview.

I will also be remotely doing part-time research for Professor Jessica Levinson as a research assistant this summer. The research will be for her weekly radio and television appearances and I am really excited to have the opportunity to explore and research different areas of the law! Without Loyola, I never would have had the opportunity to learn from Professor Levinson or had this chance to continue developing my research skills. I am so grateful for the first year that I have had in law school and this Loyola community. I cannot wait to be back next year and do it all again!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Welcome To My Life

For those of you reading my blog posts for the first time, I am a second year student at Loyola —- aka I’m a “2L.” This year could not possibly be any more different from last year (1L.) Last year, I never had to worry about the work-life balance or endure Friday classes. However, during the fall semester of my 2L year, I was really struggling if I’m being honest. I was working 20 hours a week and going to class full time. The thing I found most challenging was on Mondays and Wednesdays when days seemed to never end. I had a 1 hour and 45 minute commute in the morning to work, worked from 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM, 30 minute commute from work to school, and then class from 8:10 PM - 10:10 PM. I have never felt so drained as I did last semester.

With that being said, I made a conscious decision to not overextend myself this semester. For the most part, I have been spending this semester focused on my classes, extracurricular commitments, seeking out summer employment, and doing occasional remote work for a firm. I also have carved out time for myself — finally making time to go to the gym and spending more time on my hobbies. In other words, I am really trying to make 2018 the year where I can honestly apply the cliche, “New Year, New Me.” All in all, this semester has been my favorite since I started law school. Most of my courses are centered around the area of law I want to practice which makes doing the readings a lot less brutal. Although I am often stressed and complaining (a little too often), I am honestly really sad that I only have one more year left at Loyola. I’m definitely going to soak up as much as I can and enjoy every minute during my final year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My Law School Life

My typical law school day looks quite a bit different than it did a year ago. For starters, I am only on campus two days per week, and the rest of the week I’m working at a law office. It reminds of my senior year in high school, when I got out of school at lunch. But instead of hanging out with my friends all afternoon or playing drums, my “free hours” now consist of legal work and raising kids.

My typical law school day begins the night before my class days, when I do my homework for the next day. That is usually just reading the assigned texts but could include writing or watching something as well. In the morning, I am usually awakened by my four-year-old daughter who now just comes into our bedroom and demands breakfast around 7am. I feed everyone, see my wife off to work (with our daughter in tow) and then head to class.

Since I’ve condensed my classes to just two days per week, those class days are long. I use the breaks in between classes to do coursework and catch up on other things. When classes are done, I drive home and sometimes catch a quick nap before my wife and daughter return. When they get home, my daughter wants to invariably play games or rough-house with me. We play for a bit and then I make dinner. After she goes to sleep, I will usually hang out with my wife and then play guitar and listen to music before I go to sleep. My off-campus days are much the same except that I go to work instead of school. Either way, my days are pretty full but not oppressively so. Even with a hectic schedule, I still manage to find some extra time to go to the movies, see friends, and keep up (somewhat) with my musical skills.

Monday, April 23, 2018

My Law School Life

There really isn’t time to do much else in law school besides study. That’s not the worst thing in the world if you’re like me and you don’t mind spending lots of time reading. It also helps if you think legal concepts are interesting – which I think they genuinely are. Learning law is like acquiring a little toolkit to help people solve their problems. It’s actually kind of a rush when you figure out that something you learned in school can be applied very concretely in the real world.

A typical day for me consists of at least 5 or 6 hours of studying, in addition to time I spend in class. Weekends aren’t really that different — usually I try to max out at about 8 hours each weekend day.

Life is rarely the same week to week, either. A few weeks ago, we turned in our final graded memorandum, then we had a midterm exam. Just last week, we all completed oral arguments — a fun but admittedly stressful experience, and one that, at the very least, disrupted the flow of what would have been an otherwise “normal” week. (The best part about oral arguments, by the way, are the guest judges — mine was an appellate lawyer who asked extremely hard questions and swore a lot.)

But I still try to go for a run every day, and I try to at least to read something — a bit of a book, a couple of newspaper articles — that aren’t assigned for school. And when my brain can’t handle looking at another word, I’ll watch an old episode of something mindless like Seinfeld.

If there’s a single thing I learned about time management my first semester, it’s the importance of a full night’s sleep. Showing up to class on four or five hours of sleep is basically like not showing up at all — you won’t be able to listen and you’ll be too unfocused to take good notes. It’s harder to read and retain information when you’re sleepy, too. If there’s one thing I never miss — even if I’m drowning in assignments — it’s making sure I get my seven hours.

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Day In the Life of a Law Student

I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep up with hobbies outside of school while in law school. In fact, keeping up with my hobbies has helped me push through my most difficult moments in law school.

That being said, each day I make it a point to take at least an hour for myself. For me, exercising and going for a walk outside with my dogs are two things that need to get done. I am always surrounded by people at work and school, so I really value time alone to clear my head and I really enjoy exercising, so I make it a point to do some form of exercise each day. I also find that I spend a lot of time inside preparing for classes or when I’m tutoring, so I prioritize a daily walk outside (of course, if the weather permits, which it usually does since I’m in LA) because it helps me to ground myself when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Also, it makes my dogs happy… and who doesn’t love happy pups?

My days never look the same because I work as a tutor by appointment. This is something I’m working on because routine is really important for law school and for my own sanity because my schedule can get hectic. I try to go to the gym every morning, come home, check e-mails, make breakfast, walk my dogs, and either do my homework or head to a student. Evening students have class every night Monday-Thursday, so I sometimes just head to campus and work from there if I can.

Throughout the day, I also go on Instagram and research different things that I want to cook for my food blog. Some days I carve out a few hours just to create things because it’s a nice way to step back from everything I’m required to do and just do something for myself. Taking the time to do these things for myself has made a world of difference for my ability to handle the day-to-day pressures from work, school, professional commitments, and family commitments more than anything else.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Day in the Life of a 1L Student: Spring Semester Edition

Hello friends! Happy Spring! For us 1L students, spring semester offers a whole slew of different opportunities, experiences, duties and challenges. So let’s get started!

A typical day starts with an early morning drive to campus. Yes, driving from San Gabriel Valley means there’s a lot of traffic and a lot of one-on-one time with my car. Although it is a lengthy commute, it is a good time for me to collect my thoughts, catch up on current events, and just relax and listen to music before I have to sit for my lectures. So that’s definitely a positive!

 When I get to school, I head over to Sonia’s to fill up on coffee, water, and snacks before class starts, and then I kick into full gear brushing up on last night’s reading, taking notes, and preparing myself in case I get cold-called. This semester my schedule consists of three yearlong courses (Property, Civil Procedure, and Legal Writing) and two semester-long courses (Contracts and elective). After the first semester, students have a pretty good understanding of the school day flow; so although at times it can seem overwhelming, we pretty much know by now that everything is both doable and manageable. I think the only major difference between this semester and last is that there is a greater emphasis on applying for jobs and attending network events to establish meaningful connections.

Also, as I make my way through the day, I make sure to stop every once in a while and admire how pretty and colorful Loyola is in the springtime.

After class, I try to head home as soon as possible so as to avoid the afternoon rush hour. When I get home, I make sure to take a bit of a break from law school. Most of the time this consists of playing with my dog and taking her for a walk. Other times, I determine how to relax based on how the day has gone. If the day has been especially rough or tiresome, I indulge in a nap. If I have too much energy or anxiety, I head over to the gym and take care of my physical wellness. If I just need to separate myself from my work and have fun for the night, I head over to Disneyland. Despite all the readings and responsibilities that law schools entails, I think it’s very important to take breaks, care for oneself, and remember that there’s life and people outside of the law school bubble. And when I feel better and refreshed from taking the break, I hit the books and get started on homework for the following day.

Until next time friends!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Update On My Daily Activity

Managing the huge commitment that comes with beginning law school has become much easier as time has gone on. With only 1.5 months left in my tenure as a 1L, I feel like I have finally gotten a good and healthy rhythm down.

The first thing that I realized based on finishing the first semester is that making time for myself during the week is just as (if not more) important than studying. Law school is challenging and consuming, but it should not strangle you.

Therefore, I slightly changed my fall semester routine when the spring semester started to make sure that I do not burn out. I still wake up extremely early to make it from Westwood to DTLA before 8 AM (with time to get coffee, of course). I will definitely be moving closer to Loyola for the second year! I still go to all of my classes unless I am sick, and I still spend the majority of my day studying. However, I am much more fluid in my schedule.

Sometimes I study at Loyola, sometimes I study at home depending on my mood. I no longer fear getting stuck in traffic if I do not leave campus at a certain time because it just gives me more time in the car to blast Journey and Def Leppard. If I do not feel like studying right away when I get home, I don’t. I take a break, do something fun, and then study a little later.

Basically, I have realized that if I am not in the right mood while studying, I do not retain the information in the same way. Flexibility has changed my life during the second semester, and I have way more time to enjoy doing activities outside of studying. All in all, a win-win. And I will definitely be applying this same approach next year!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Law School: One Big Networking Opportunity

I feel like in every career, there is always an expectation that networking plays a role in landing a job. If I had a nickel for every time anyone in my life had told me, “It’s all about who you know”, I would not have any reason to be concerned about paying off my law school loans. I have heard that phrase over and over again for my entire life from people over a wide array of careers. What I have come to realize since beginning school at Loyola is that networking is VITAL to law school. It is not just something people say when they are complaining about not getting a specific job they want. (You know what I am talking about. You ask Johnny So-And-So if he got that job he interviewed for and he responds, “Nope. They only give out jobs to their friends and family. No one else has a chance.”)

Instead, it is a reality of getting a legal job. You HAVE to build your network. Honestly, I feel like many legal internships are pretty difficult to get, however, having a contact who either works for your dream company/firm or who knows someone there could be the difference between an email from a prospective employer beginning, “Congratulations” or one saying, “Unfortunately.” Trust me, I get it. Networking is scary. It feels uncomfortable, awkward, and unusual. I will be the first person to tell you how difficult it is to learn how to network. However, it is a skill that you are going to need to acquire. I have secured all of my jobs since beginning at Loyola through one avenue — networking. I cannot even begin to preach the importance it is to step outside your comfort zone, to talk to that professor, go to that networking event, reach out to your career development counselor, etc. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but as soon as you begin reaping the rewards of having mentors and contacts, you will be thankful that you did.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Networking and Career Development Services Opportunities

Loyola offers a ton of opportunities for students to learn about the practice of specific areas of law. Every school week is jam packed with panels, lunches, guest speakers and networking events geared toward keeping students mindful of their impending careers and the various opportunities out there.

I have attended the government and public interest fairs on campus, participated in OCI, and have attended various career-focused panel lunches. All of these events have been valuable for me, even if just to confirm that I was not interested in a particular area of practice. In fact, through a personal connection I was able to invite a guest speaker to come to campus and speak about his experiences as general counsel for a popular apparel brand. The talk was thoroughly engaging and cemented my interest in one day becoming in-house general counsel for a large organization.

The Career Development office takes great care to put on events focusing on all the different career options available to law school grads. Of course, OCI is the gold standard for getting into “Big Law,” but there are numerous events set up for students to explore public interest work, small firms, government work and more. Even if you’re interested in working as a solo practitioner, there are panels featuring successful solo attorneys. The bottom line is, no matter what career you intend to pursue, Loyola and the Career Development office has the experience and connections to help get you started.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Continuing My Legal Education Off Campus

The one thing I have looked forward to most since starting law school is finally getting off campus. Not that I don’t like digging into legal concepts – as I’ve said before, it’s actually a pretty fun exercise to learn about the concepts that drive the law, especially if you’re into subjects like philosophy or history.

But I came to Loyola specifically to be a public interest attorney, and I’m chomping at the bit to get started. Two years ago, I was working as a full-time freelance writer, supplementing my income with my side hustles. In the morning, I’d drive past the courthouse downtown and see people dressed up in suits; I envied how many of them had a career using their intellect to make positive changes in the city. In the evening – in between working at a family portrait studio in Silver Lake and cranking out articles about the L.A. music scene – I’d run laps around the park by my house and plot and scheme about how I, too, could contribute to the city in the same way. I registered for the LSAT, bought a practice book, and never looked back. Now, every class, every seminar, every final exam gets me closer to what I imagined on those evening runs.

This summer, I’ll be externing at the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and in the fall I’ll be externing in the chambers of a Federal District Court judge. I’m nervous and excited – I don’t know what the experiences will be like, and I’m sure there will be steep learning curves and plenty of entry-level awkwardness. At the same time, though, I know that even the work I contribute in my short tenures at those offices will contribute something to the work they do. And I’ll be a step closer to working every day to serve the city I call home.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Networking and Career Development Services Opportunities

Loyola gives students plenty of opportunities to network and explore areas of law that students are interested in practicing. I know that there are slightly more opportunities geared at 1Ls (first year day students) than 1Es (first year evening students), but I still feel like I’ve had ample opportunities to get my feet wet.

I’m very interested in public interest law, so I attended the public interest fair on campus and ultimately held a short internship with the Los Angeles LGBT Center as a result. I think it was a great experience to see what line of work I want to go into. 1Es generally do not need to visit the Career Development Office, but I have made an appointment with my counselor and it went really well! My counselor was able to answer all of the questions I had about internships, volunteer positions, and what the trajectory looks like for an evening student in terms of gaining experience in my area of interest.

From what I understand, there will be more opportunities available in my second year, so I’m definitely looking forward to that!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Networking and Career Development Services Opportunities

Criminal law. Immigration law. International law. Health law. Animal law. Entertainment law. Tax law. The list goes on and on. There are so many different areas and specialties in the law and seemingly only three years to figure out what to do, which track to take, and how to do it. What is one to do?!

Fortunately, being a student at Loyola provides countless opportunities to learn more about the different areas of the law that one may be interested in practicing, may have never even considered practicing, or may have never even heard of!

For example, Loyola holds what’s known as the Dean’s Den series, in which Dean Waterstone has conversations with different faculty members about their background, work, and specialty. It’s a great way to learn more about that area of the law you may be learning about in class or even the specialty you’re considering. Even better, it’s a great way to learn more about your professors, which could be the gateway to networking with them, having more in-depth conversations about the area of law that you both have interest in or passion for, and learning about potential research or work opportunities with them that someone like you could do!

Another opportunity is through the various panels, workshops, socials, and meetings held by on-campus clubs. For example, I am part of the Entertainment and Sports Law Society (ESLS), and I particularly enjoy when they hold panels with alumni and friends of Loyola that serve in all different positions and capacities within the entertainment industry. Last semester, ESLS held a panel with members from the different legal departments of the Walt Disney Company, and they discussed multiple topics such as what they do on a daily basis, how they got to where they were, and how to succeed in the profession. I for one originally came to Loyola with significant interest in immigration law, but since attending the various ESLS panels and presentations, my interest in entertainment law, specifically the transactional side, has been piqued.

Thus, it’s okay to know exactly what you want when you start law school, be torn, or have absolutely no idea! Loyola provides several events, such as the ones aforementioned and others including On-Campus Interviews (OCI), Brown Bag Lunches, and Spring Law Reception, to help students learn more about the different areas of the law and the various work and volunteer opportunities that are accepting applications. Moreover, there are academic and practical opportunities such the clinics, practicum, and concentrations that allow students to get a more in-depth look into an area of the law and really explore their interests.

So go into law school with an open heart and an open mind! You never know what you might find yourself interested in and doing!

Until next time friends!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Networking for a Non-Networker

I consider myself a social being. I was involved in tons of extra-curricular activities as an undergrad as a member of a multiple social clubs. However, I have found that professional networking is much harder for me than I thought it would be. I do not have as much confidence approaching a stranger as a law student as I did as an undergraduate club leader.

Ultimately, I think that it comes down to age and comfort. I do not have as much confidence as a first year law student competing with third years as I did when I was a senior undergrad competing with younger peers. At the start of the year, each time I would go into a networking event, I was plagued with the fear of “not being good enough.”

Today, I am still not as comfortable as I hope to soon be, but I have gained more confidence. Not only have I been in school longer and learned much more about the law, I have also had the opportunity to interact with far more law professionals than I imagined. As a member of the Consumer Law Society on campus, I have sat in on several lunchtime lectures by guest alumni and learned about their paths and experiences. I have had the opportunity to meet alumni at different fairs on campus and been invited to panels on different areas on the law. Basically, I have had the opportunity to get over my feelings of timidness: I have had real time opportunities to realize that my fears are unfounded.

Every single Loyola alum that I have met has been welcoming and helpful. I have never been made to feel like I was a burden or inexperienced. I still have some fear, but it is a feeling that I know I will soon get over. The Career Development Office requires 1L students to attend at least two networking events by the end of the year in order to facilitate this comfort, and it has truly helped me.

Being a social person and being an effective networker are not necessarily the same thing, and I am glad that I have had organizations and departments on campus to help me through the transition. I know that my interactions with Loyola alums helped me secure my job for this summer, but will also help me make connections for the future.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Summer Is Coming -- Isn't That Supposed to Be A Good Thing?

If you are anything at all like me, you have probably experienced the stress fest that I like to refer to as making summer plans. There are so many thoughts that run through my head — Should I study abroad or take summer classes? Should I apply to be a research assistant or try to get an externship? If I want an externship, where should I apply and should I aim for unpaid or paid? There are so many things to consider and it can be very overwhelming. I would try and tell you the “key” to not letting yourself get too stressed out about it, but I have not actually figured out how to do that quite yet. The only advice that I can offer you right now is that even if the thing you initially wanted to do this summer does not work out, that does NOT mean that you don’t have options. You could always do your pro-bono hours, apply to smaller firms, or look at some of the many other opportunities available.

My plans involve studying abroad for part of the summer and then interning for the remainder of the summer. What is currently terrifying me is the fact that this summer is the last one before my 3L year of law school. It is all coming to an end and this means that next summer, I will not be stressing about summer planning…No sir…Instead, I will be stressing over passing the bar exam and figuring out post-graduation career prospects. Even with that being said, I love it. I love knowing that by this time next year, I will be gearing up to take the most important exam of my life….the exam that will finally allow me to be a licensed attorney. Until then, I plan to make the most out of this summer and you should keep the door open for any opportunities that come your way.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Applying for My 1st Year Summer Judicial Externship

During the summer after my 1L year, I did a judicial externship at the District Court in Downtown L.A. Loyola helped me in finalizing my resume, preparing for interviews and deciding where to apply. But when the time came to apply, the process was very old-fashioned and involved mailing out a couple dozen packets to judges’ chambers. That process was fairly time-consuming, so I would recommend that a prospective extern allocate adequate time to get it all done before applications are due.

Once my packets were out, the process was simple. I got a phone call from a judge’s clerk to come in for an interview; a few days later I showed up, interviewed and got the position. The experience there was an invaluable legal education, and I often think about the things I learned there in my day-to-day legal life. The only downside is that the environment can be very dry and routine. But the work is rigorous and extremely interesting, and I think any serious law student should consider a judicial externship at some point during law school.

Regarding concentrations, I have not chosen one. My legal education has skewed toward criminal law, but I didn’t want to follow a specific track with prescribed classes. However, I think they’re perfectly suited for students who have specific career paths in mind and students should put serious thought into their concentration options.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Learning Outside of the Classroom By Attending Extracurricular Events, Panels and the Dean's Book Club Discussion

On campus, career development and personal development go hand in hand

I started attending extracurricular events pretty much the first day I landed at Loyola. I was anxious to be part of a community of lawyers and future-lawyers. When, about three weeks after school started, I got an all-campus invite to an evening panel featuring Loyola professors, I marked my calendar.

I’m constantly in awe of the intelligence and experience of my professors. But what really resonated at that panel, which centered on a discussion about institutional discrimination in the American criminal justice system, was how important their work is to the community. In particular, I listened as my criminal law professor Priscilla Ocen and Loyola professor Kathleen Kim discussed the overlapping injustices faced by those subject to our penal system, whether they’re stuck indefinitely in a municipal jail or doing forced labor at an immigration detention center. It reminded me, only a few weeks after I started law school, that intellectual inquiry in the field of law can make a significant impact on real people’s lives.

Several months later, I attended another panel that begged reflection about a lawyer’s role in the community. The panel hosted four Los Angeles Superior Court judges, each of whom talked about the work they each did to reach the bench. It was such an inspiring conversation, not least because it showed what a successful career dedicated to public interest can look like. One judge in particular, Roberto Longoria, is a Loyola graduate and had spent 14 years as a public defender. It was interesting to hear how he had continued the public service career he had begun as a passionate advocate by holding a position based on impartiality. Public service comes in many colors, I think, and part of entering the legal field is figuring out where you personally can make the greatest impact.

Finally, one of the events I have enjoyed the most at Loyola was the Dean’s Book Club – a book discussion hosted in February by Dean Waterstone about Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. There was little practical networking, or even much talk about law school per se – instead, it was a vigorous conversation about America’s deepest-rooted sins, and how we can address them via artistic expression, public policy, and, yes, legal work. It was a nice reminder that inside and outside the legal profession, one of the most important considerations is to stay thoughtful and critical about how and why the world operates the way it does.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Involvement in Student Government as a First Year Evening Student Bar Association Representative

Being involved in the Evening Student Bar Association (ESBA) has been one of the most interesting aspects of my law school experience thus far. Before starting law school, I didn’t even know what the Student Bar Association was – let alone the fact that Loyola has one for day students and another for evening students. I got involved with the ESBA after the current president came to speak to my class for us to decide who would be the 1E class representatives. I volunteered to give a speech about why I would be a good candidate, knowing that many of my peers would not have the time to take on another commitment, however minimal. After a few of us gave speeches, the class cast their votes and I managed to get the position, along with another one of my classmates.

There isn’t too much of a commitment to be a part of the ESBA, but it has provided me with the opportunity to get to know other students and also help my class in ways that I couldn’t before. My primary responsibility as a class rep is to advocate for my class to faculty and administration. I like that my classmates feel comfortable coming to me with their problems and I feel strongly about helping them solve them! Additionally, I feel like this role is especially important with evening students because we have unique needs that aren’t necessarily always at the forefront of the minds of our professors or those in administrative offices. In my position, I can bring our issues to their attention and see that they are resolved.

Class reps are also responsible for doing fun things for our class. This year, the other rep and I have organized a few events to bring our class together – like a study session and pizza between classes. It’s nice to facilitate that kind of camaraderie among our class because many of us might otherwise just come and go at school since we’re so busy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Selecting Your First Year Elective Course

It goes without saying that starting law school can be overwhelming. It seems like you just finished worrying about the LSAT, filling out applications, anticipating letters of responses, and making that decision to accept, but once again, there are a million things to think of and consider like “Where do I live,” “How will I survive with all the work,” “Should I keep my job,” “Will I ever see my family, friends, or the sun ever again.” But one thing you don’t have to worry about is selecting classes for your first semester. At Loyola, 1Ls have a set schedule. This means you get your assigned class schedule at some point during the summer and show up on the first day of school feeling prepared with your reading done and excited that your legal education is commencing!

As a Loyola 1L, your first semester schedule will consist of five classes that are geared to help you adjust to law school and give you the skills and tools to succeed in future classes. Such classes may include Contracts, Property, Torts, Criminal Law, Civil Procedure, and Legal Writing/Research. Some of these classes end up being yearlong courses, while some of them are just for the semester.

Second semester is where things get fun and interesting. Around October, following midterms, 1L students are given the opportunity to rank elective classes based on their interest. This means that in addition to your yearlong courses and semester-long class, you have the opportunity to explore your interests as well as consider areas of law you may have not really considered before. This year, the 1L elective courses included immigration law, international law, income taxation law, administrative law, innovation law, and privacy torts. Once you rank your courses in October, that’s all you have to really worry about or do. The Registrar will once again create your second semester schedule, assign you to an elective, and notify you before school starts in January.

So take a breather friends! In your 1L year, there aren’t any worries, competitions, or deadlines with regards to getting your schedule, which I’m sure you were more than used to in undergrad!

Until next time friends!

Monday, March 19, 2018

My Future Externship

I recently accepted a position for this upcoming summer and it has encouraged me to start thinking about the future. Currently, I know what courses I have to take to receive my J.D., but now I have started exploring what classes I want to take and what experiences I want to have before I graduate. One experience that I was unaware of until recently—and that I now know I desperately want to have—is the Hobbs/Poehls District Attorney Practicum.

The Hobbs/Poehls Practicum is a year-long experience that starts with one semester of Trial Advocacy, and then a second semester working in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office as a certified law clerk. You have the opportunity to conduct actual felony preliminary hearings, misdemeanor jury trials and juvenile adjudications YOURSELF, as a law student. Real trial experience on a real case: I had literally never heard of something so appealing.

The trial advocacy course before the externship prepares you for the experience so that you can actually win your motion. You earn units during both semesters and you come out with an experience that is hard to find anywhere else. Although this practicum is extremely competitive, I have set a goal to be a participant (though I need to take Evidence first). I was already interested in Trial Advocacy, but combined with an externship at the DA’s office: it is almost too good to be true.

Friday, March 16, 2018

I Love LLS

Many of the people reading this blog are probably either incoming students or prospective students wondering one question: Why Loyola? I cannot speak for the entire student body, but I will do my best to explain (in the simplest way possible) some of the many reasons that I am thankful I wound up at LLS in the great city of Los Angeles.
  • Library - As surprising as it may sound, I am actually really thankful for the LLS Library. It brings people together, especially during 1L year because it becomes like a second home…a haven, if you will.
  • Office Hours - It really is a blessing that Loyola’s professors are so open to engaging with their students. In my experience, all of the professors that I have encountered have made a real effort to make themselves available to their students through open office hours and/or email. 
  • You - Assuming you join us over here at LLS, you will become one of the reasons that I love LLS — the students. Truthfully, the people here are probably the number one reason why I love Loyola as much as I do. 
  • On Campus Events - Much like the city of LA, Loyola is “hustling and bustling.” There is ALWAYS something going on somewhere on campus. There is a ton of clubs and organizations on campus that host events regularly (and often provide free food.) I feel confident saying that there is bound to be something that sparks your interest.
  • Law - You read that right….the law. I came to law school for one reason — to become the best lawyer that I can possibly be. I feel like Loyola’s Bar Passage Rate speaks for itself about the quality education that you will receive as a student here. If you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best. 
  • Atmosphere - Finally, even among the craziness and anxiety that is inevitably attached to law school, there is something almost comforting about the atmosphere here at LLS. You become very attached and proud to be able to tell people that you go to Loyola Law School.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

I Love Loyola

For me, there is a lot to love about Loyola. It’s a place where your individual hopes and passions can shine through. There’s no one way to be a successful student here. Some students focus heavily on academics and their pursuits are honored by the guiding hands of the faculty and programming offered by the school. Other students focus on the human connections they make while in school. Those students are treated to social events, networking opportunities, and too many clubs and societies to mention.

Another thing that I love about Loyola is the holistic nature of the campus which is singularly focused on helping students succeed. Not only is the faculty there to guide and challenge students’ legal minds, but the staff is also an incredible resource for students. As a Loyolan, you have ready access to a wide variety of legal professionals in the form of librarians, career counselors, advisors who can help you on nearly a moment’s notice. Beyond that, the support staff and administrators serve the students in numerous ways that you didn’t know you needed. Overall, Loyola is comprised of a lot of different parts that all seem powered by the same engine. There is a great sense of community and common purpose at Loyola, but any number of ways to achieve your law school goals.

Monday, March 12, 2018

What I Love About Loyola

Some of my favorite aspects of Loyola are the same things that brought me here in the first place. Others are things I discovered that I honestly wouldn’t have expected.

If I had to pinpoint one thing that drew me to Loyola, it was really the school’s impressive clinics. Among the offerings, there’s an immigration clinic that actually handles a long list of cases and is directly involved with other organizations in the city – not something that I saw happening at the immigration clinics at other law schools. And, of course, there’s the Loyola Project for the Innocent, which has literally made headlines around the world.

What I assumed, and what has been confirmed by my experience here, is that the strength of these clinics indicated that Loyola – again, unlike some other local law schools – is deeply involved in the city of Los Angeles. It’s true, and it’s probably the thing I love the most about this school. As I’ve attended law fairs, made connections in the city, and gotten involved in volunteering with local organizations, I’ve seen how enmeshed this school and its graduates actually are with the city.

That, of course, extends to the school’s physical location on the fringes of the Pico-Union neighborhood, just a few blocks from downtown. I was already in love with living in this city long before I started going to school here. Studying so close to the heartbeat of the city has allowed me to stay involved in music, see lots of music shows, and continue to – at least intermittently – do some freelance writing about the culture scene. I don’t think I could have done that anywhere else.

The one thing I wasn’t expecting, however, is what a great student community there is at Loyola. On every campus tour at any given law school you’ll hear that the kids at this particular school aren’t like the others – they don’t tear pages out of library books or try to steal your laptop when you aren’t looking, or whatever. I’ve only ever attended one law school, but I can say definitively that the student body here strikes a crazy balance between being dedicated to academics while also being extremely supportive of each other. I can’t imagine the community being better anywhere. And if there’s anything I particularly love about Loyola, it’s that dynamic – creating a community inside campus, while staying deeply in tune with the community outside.

Friday, March 9, 2018

I Love Loyola

There are a lot of things I appreciate about Loyola. However, I think that the thing that I appreciate most is the small, close-knit community that actually isn’t so small at all. Loyola’s network extends pretty far, especially in the Los Angeles area, and I think that’s incredibly valuable when looking into the differences that Loyola can make for one’s career. There are tons of opportunities just waiting for you to seize them. So long as you make the most of what’s presented to you, it’s easy to find ways to get your feet wet in many different areas of law and figure out exactly what’s right for you. If you already know what area you want to practice in, I think it’s even easier to dive head first into experiences that will help you be a more competitive candidate when you start beginning your job search later on.

Beyond that, I’m also grateful for the community that I’m surrounded with in my classes. My classmates are all fantastic, intelligent, and inspirational, and I’d say that my professors are as well. All of them collectively shape my experience at Loyola and, at least I believe, provide me with the perspective necessary to tackle many different situations once I’m out in the world whether it be through an externship or as a practicing attorney. I think that the community at Loyola is unique in that there are so many people from different walks of life. I find that this is particularly true of evening students, many of whom have established careers and have been out of undergrad or a graduate program for several years. This contributes to the value of my education because I’m building connections with people in many different areas that I can look to long after graduation.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Loyola: An LA Love Story

Los Angeles, it’s the city of angels, the city of stars, and the city of dreams. It’s where I grew up, lived, had adventures, and now go to school. In fact, one of the things I love most about Loyola is its location in the heart of Downtown LA. I know, I know, at this point, you’ve probably been bombarded with advice about how location, location, location matters when it comes to law school… But hear me out!

Being the closest law school distance wise to the Los Angeles city center has its perks. But perhaps there is no greater perk than that of endless inspiration. Going to school at Loyola means being in the middle of a city that inspires you to thrive, aspire, and dream. From the shining skyscrapers to the alleys adorned with colorful murals to the courts of justice and the houses of administration, there is much to inspire and be inspired by. There are countless opportunities to work in and around the city, sit in on court proceedings, and learn from lawyers and other legal professionals. There is just something so wonderful about being a part of a school community and network that works with and for the city just on the other side of the 110.

And lastly, let’s not forget the views! Whether you’re sitting in Robinson Courtroom or standing atop the parking structure, the city is always in your sight! In fact, one of my favorite things is sitting at a table on the fourth floor of the Burns building whether it’s to do homework or just think. In the midst of a busy schedule with memos, classes, and outlines, it’s nice to have a place that I can count on for a moment of peace.

Since going to Loyola, my appreciation and love for Los Angeles have grown, and in turn, Loyola has become one of my favorite places in the city.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Always Inspired

If you have read any of my other blog posts, I have made it pretty clear that I really like Loyola. The people, the classes, the professors, the campus, the city: I’m a fan.

However, what truly made me fall in love with this campus was the inspiration that it has given me from day one. I have always wanted to go to law school, but you never know if a decision is right until you make it. When the time finally came to apply and accept admission, I still did not know for sure that this was the right path for me (I was 99% sure, but 1% of law school tuition is still a lot of risk). But now, seven months later, I know that there literally is no other career path for me.

I have never felt so comfortable learning material or enjoyed learning as much as I do here and I am inspired every single day that I am on campus. Professor Laurie Levenson was my Criminal Law professor last semester. She made me, the WORST morning-person in possibly the entire world, excited to start school at 8 AM. She inspired me to apply to several internships in District Attorney Offices throughout California for this upcoming summer. Me, the girl that came into law school telling anyone that would listen that I would NEVER go into criminal law—defense or prosecution—and that it was civil law for me, all the way. Her class inspired me to open my eyes to a new area of law, and for that I am so grateful.

Law school is difficult: it is so demanding and time consuming. Without the daily dose of inspiration that I receive on campus, I am not sure that it would always seem worth it. That is why I love Loyola. When I need to be reminded of why I go through so many highlighters, cups of coffee, and sleepless nights, I just go to my next class and remember that everyone else is in the same boat, and that our professors all went through it as well.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Loyola Faculty - Your New Best Friends

Remember back in undergrad when you MAY have been close with one or two of your professors? Remember when for the rest of your professors, you only saw them during class? Well, to quote the great Bob Dylan, “The Times, They are A-Changin’.” In law school, your professors have been in your shoes. They know the art of networking, the importance of fostering relationships, and tapping into any resource at your disposal. You might think that you have no interest in building relationships with professors who work in an area of practice that you aren’t particularly interested in. There’s two problems with that line of thinking.

First of all, many law students start school picturing themselves working in one area and then graduate with a job on a completely different track. With that being said, you never want to “write off” a particular area. Secondly, every law professor went to law school. What am I getting at there? It’s simple…every professor went to law school with other law students and every professor has taught other law students besides you. It would be a very safe bet to say that your professor would probably have connections in different areas of the law than just the one that they teach. To cut to the chase - get to know your professors. Ask them for advice, tell them about what you hope for your future, and do not be afraid to ask them if they know anyone that you can network with.