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.