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.