Monday, May 20, 2019

Loyola's Pro-Bono Requirement

One of the factors that originally drew me to Loyola was their commitment to social justice, and their public interest focus. As part of our graduation requirements all Loyola students must complete at least forty pro-bono hours. While as 1Ls our primary focus is our classes, I’ve still had the opportunity to become involved in some of the pro-bono opportunities on campus. As first-year students we have the opportunity to complete up to ten hours of pro-bono work during our Spring semester. This semester I will complete some of my pro-bono hours by volunteering as a mentor for Loyola’s Young Lawyers Program.

Loyola’s Young Lawyers Program brings students from local high schools to campus to teach them the main aspects of litigation. Students learn how to write opening and closing statements, how to challenge evidence, and how to direct and cross-examine witnesses. At the end of the semester students compete with other groups as either plaintiffs or defendants. In our role of mentors, we assist high school students in preparing for their roles and we encourage them to continue their education. Participating in Young Lawyers this semester has been a great opportunity that I hope to continue next year. Having the opportunity to mentor first generation students is incredibly empowering and helping put together the trial gives me the opportunity to apply what I learn in the classroom in a practical way.

While I hope to continue being a part of Young Lawyers in the upcoming years, I am also excited to pursue other opportunities to help our community. For instance, next Fall I hope to apply for either the Street Law Teaching Practicum or the Civil Rights Law Practicum. I also hope to have the opportunity to work for the Project for the Innocent, which works to exonerate those who have been wrongfully convicted. I feel Loyola has so many opportunities to become involved with the community and to do meaningful pro-bono work that the hard part is deciding how to fit all my interests into my time in law school.

Friday, May 17, 2019

I'm Pro-Pro Bono!

So you’re currently a prospective student for Loyola, and you’ve just learned that Loyola was one of the first law schools in the country to both encourage pro bono student work and actually require it for graduation.  You must be thinking: “Wow, I have to do the school thing, and do 40 hours of pro bono work too? What’s pro bono work? How will I find it?  When will I have time?!”  But fret not reader, you have three years, including the summer to finish those hours.  Plus, there are plenty of opportunities available to Loyola students.  Let’s get started:

·       There are off-campus opportunities at the various non-profit organizations in the area, such as the ACLU or the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), that become known to students through listings in the “Need 2 Know News” mailer or emails from the Career Development Office or Public Interest Department.
·       The various clubs and organizations on campus have pro bono opportunities as well.  For example, when I worked as a research assistant for one of the professors at the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic (LIJC), we ran a project that sent law students of varied experiences and interests to go to the Detained Immigration Court in Downtown Los Angeles to sit in on the hearings and take down the information of those respondents who were unrepresented or eligible for pro bono legal representation.  These students were able to select their hours to volunteer and had the option to do it for pro bono hours too.
·       Additionally, there are opportunities through the different on-campus Social Justice Clinics, which include the Project for the Innocent, Immigrant Justice Clinic and Juvenile Justice Clinic.  Students can apply for these clinics during the spring semester for participation in the following year for either a single semester or full-year. 

Currently, I am in the middle of completing my pro bono requirement through my enrollment and participation in Loyola’s Project for the Innocent.  As mentioned in my previous experiential learning blog post, it’s a one-year requirement that involves evaluating and working on cases of those currently serving life sentences in California state prisons for the purpose of building a case of wrongful conviction.  These are real people with real cases, and the experience to date, because of this real-life component, has been heart-wrenching, moving, awe-inspiring, and humbling.
            As a clinic student we have a couple requirements, which include:

·       Attending a two-hour seminar once a week in which we learn about subjects, such as  the different issues present in wrongful conviction cases, complete assignments pertinent to the class discussion that week, and write memos and essays pertaining to our assigned cases.
·       Holding a minimum of four in-clinic office hours a week during the semester.
·       Completing a minimum total of 150 hours of work on our cases each semester.

It may sound like a lot of work, on top of academics, but to date, it’s been a manageable and unique experience that’s allowed me to learn about the justice system and prevalent legal issues, fulfill my pro bono requirement for graduation, and gain invaluable legal experience.  I have found that participating in pro-bono work has been such a unique experience that’s allowed me to explore a different area of the law and become a more well-rounded student and future lawyer. So I’m definitely pro-pro bono work while in law school!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Pro Bono is Fun!

As part of my graduation requirement here at Loyola, I have to complete 40 pro bono hours before I graduate. That goes for every single student at Loyola: we all have to complete 40 hours of pro bono work. It is part of the school’s commitment to public interest law.

I didn’t start working on my pro bono hours until this year as a 2L and now I have over half of the required hours done. I was able to satisfy many of my pro bono hours by being a bailiff and helping set-up the National Civil Trial Competition, or NCTC. NCTC is a national trial advocacy competition that is hosted by Loyola every year. The Byrne Trial Team plays a large part in hosting the competition, which is why I was so heavily involved this year.

As a bailiff, I kept time for the trial advocacy competition and was the liaison for the competition judges. I was able to watch several impressive trial advocacy teams compete, which was incredibly entertaining, while at the same time satisfying my pro bono requirement. It was nice to have the opportunity to not only satisfy my requirement, but also have fun doing it and be really interested in the subject matter!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Networking and Career Development Opportunities

Law school is a sea of unknowns. Almost everything you encounter is unfamiliar. For me in particular, the place, the people, the city, the structure, the professors, the content, was all new. Loyola definitely realizes how all these foreign experiences can weigh on a first-year law student and they do an excellent job at taking some of that pressure off of us.

Among the plethora of challenges, learning how to network is one of the most pressing difficulties of law school. Loyola hosts a variety of networking panels, guest speakers and other career development events to help kick start our career search and to give us much needed experience at networking with all kinds of attorneys.

I have been lucky enough to attend a variety of these events. I am part of the Entertainment and Sports Law Society as well as a 1L representative for the Woman in Entertainment Law Society and Woman’s Law Association. They, along with other Loyola clubs, have put on a host of wonderful events this year, in which attorneys from different fields travel to Loyola’s campus to talk to us about their experiences in their chosen industry and to give us advice about the steps we should be taking to set ourselves up for success. While I have enjoyed all of the guest speakers thus far, the most memorable was when the general counsel for the Lakers, Dan Grigsby, visited Loyola to share information on how he was able to work his way to such a prominent position.

Loyola puts on brown bag lunch events and panels, which involve a variety of attorneys speaking about their experiences and answering any questions we may have. Further, Loyola organizes numerous networking events. I recently had the pleasure of attending the spring law firm reception, where about 20 firms came to campus and we were allotted time to speak and network with representatives from the firms. This event was extremely helpful, and I followed up with many of the employers that I was able to speak with. These panels and events are extremely advantageous in building our network of connections and in facilitating our growth as future lawyers.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Networking and the Summer Job Hunt

Networking and job hunting can absolutely be one of the most intimidating and challenging aspects of a legal education. Networking is one of those soft skills that cannot really be taught and the hunt for work is unending. I don’t claim to be a master of “working the room” or of sniffing out the premium job postings but I do feel much more confident than I did just six months ago. I owe that in large part to all the events and emails from the Career Development Office.

During the Fall semester, Career Development was actually forbidden from talking to us 1Ls! The idea is that we should focus on our studies and not even worry about employment. As soon as the Spring semester started, though, job hunting season starts in full-force. Since January, most days have been occupied by some sort of information session on various areas of law or legal research. So far, I have been to events for in-house counsel, corporate transactional law, a panel on becoming a judge, a focus group with a real estate firm, I just got home from the spring job fair, and I have an upcoming information session on the Navy JAG Corps. I also continue to organize similar events for the Real Estate Law Society and the Wine & Spirits Law Society. All the while, I’m still sending out resumes and follow up on any job opportunities I hear about. Needless to say, if I’m not studying, there is still plenty to do.

In addition to the full load of events, Career Development also sends out TONS of emails about off-campus networking events and job postings. Unfortunately, most of their emails are sent out around same time every day so it can definitely become overwhelming. Around 10:30 AM on any given day, you can count on receiving anywhere between ten to twenty emails from Career Development all at once. It doesn’t sound like a lot, especially if you’ve spent some time in an office job, but when you’re bouncing from a two-hour class in the morning right over to a noon panel, to a pair of afternoon classes, all while receiving other emails from student groups, classes, research event announcements from Lexis and Westlaw, it can certainly add up. My advice is to give each email a quick glance, look for any words or phrases that interest you, flag the ones that you want to come back to later that evening, and move on. Most events and emails honestly won’t be that interesting but you have to check anyway. No one but you will discover those hidden gems that everyone else overlooked! That is precisely how I found my clerkship with the Tenant’s Law Firm over the winter break. You just never know what sorts of interesting opportunities are out there or what connections you might make.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Networking and Career Opportunities

One question that I’m almost always asked on job interviews is: “So why did you decide to transfer to Loyola?” After interviewing a handful of times, I realized that this would be a question that would follow me throughout my time in law school and beyond. While I could easily rattle off a number of reasons why I decided to transfer to Loyola, I took a little more time to think of a strong, honest, and accurate answer to this favorite interview question.

The answer I have so carefully crafted so far highlights Loyola’s huge network and unwavering emphasis on experiential learning. Whether you happen to meet an alumnus at your local coffee shop or get the opportunity to interview for a job with a Loyola alum, it seems as though Loyola graduates dominate California’s legal scene. Further, as I had mentioned in my last post, the student organizations, clinics, and other experiential learning opportunities at Loyola give students the ability to get real world experience that becomes invaluable upon graduation.

With this massive network in place, the Career Development Office and other organizations on campus have been able to connect students to some of the most prominent attorneys in a variety of different fields. The goal is for students to develop meaningful connections within the field and ultimately become the next group of thriving attorneys.

For me, one of my biggest concerns has always been finding a job—whether it be a part-time externship or a full-time summer job. Consequently, I can easily say that the Career Development Office has become an amazing resource and my counselor, in turn, has become my go-to person for anything job related.

Aside from the traditional OCI process and the school’s constantly-updated Symplicity page, the most helpful experience so far has been the Law Firm Reception put on by the Career Development Office. At the Law Firm Reception, I was able to pass out my resume to many potential employers and speak to them regarding any open positions they may have in their offices for the upcoming year. Many of the attorneys there came from highly esteemed law firms and were Loyola alums—yet another testament to Loyola’s wide-reaching network.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Networking and Career Development Opportunities

I feel like every week there is at least one event on campus catered to teaching students about a certain area of the law. Brown bag lunches are always great because students are able to hear straight from practicing attorneys what it is like to be in their line of work. Loyola alumni consistently come to campus to speak with students, which is incredibly helpful for getting a fresh perspective. For me, public interest law week has been the best experience because it brings organizations to campus so that students can meet with them and explore the opportunities that are available. I haven’t taken advantage of the other opportunities on campus just because I haven’t had the time, but I’m really looking forward to doing so in the coming two years. It is a little more challenging to find ways to stay involved and network as an evening student, so I am planning to quit my current job and dive into legal work in the near future. I’m sure that when the time comes, I will put Loyola’s programming to good use!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Networking and Career Development Opportunities

Since the start of the year one of the biggest buzzwords has been “networking”. Everyone around is doing it, and everyone thinks we ought to do it. While the concept of networking seems daunting – perhaps because it has the word “working” in it- it is not as scary as it sounds. In fact, sometimes putting on a nice suit and nibbling on hors d'oeuvres can be a nice change of pace for a 1L like me. In general, the main requirement to network is the ability to carry on a conversation for a brief period of time. Probably the most difficult part for me is the small talk portion of it, but over time I’ve learned ways to strike up a conversation. Even for those people whose personality is not as outgoing, Loyola provides safe opportunities to learn how to do it. In any given week Loyola holds multiple networking opportunities such as panels with judges, networking dinners and brown bag lunches to help facilitate our immersion into the world of networking.

For instance, this semester the Mexican American Bar Association held a mixer on campus where students had the opportunity to mingle with judges and attorneys. Opportunities like this are really valuable because they provide a comfortable space to network and make great connections with people in the Los Angeles legal community. I appreciated being amongst my classmates while I developed my networking skills because being around familiar faces allowed me to relax and enjoy the experience. I also greatly appreciated the opportunity to network with people with a similar background to mine. Networking with Mexican American lawyers not only allowed me to learn more about the different areas in the law, but I was also motivated to see the support network who is invested in success of students like me.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The Benefits of Networking and Career Development Events

One of the things I love most about Loyola is their commitment to helping students network, learn more about various areas of legal practice, and connect them to established lawyers in those fields. I have found so many of the events at Loyola extremely helpful to helping me narrow down which area of law I’m interested in practicing, and helping me to make meaningful connections with lawyers who have experience with that particular area of law.

For me, one of the most helpful things that I have done was signing up for an Alumni Mentor. Prior to law school, I didn’t know a single lawyer. One of the first questions I asked my mentor was what I can do now, as a law student, to prepare myself to be a great lawyer, aside from the obvious things like studying and attending class. My mentor stressed the importance of gaining legal experience while in school, and after several conversations offered me a job at his law firm for this Spring.

As a 1L, much of the what we’re learning can often feel isolated from the “real world.” While it’s easy to relate the subject material of classes like torts or criminal law to common life experiences, it’s much more difficult to relate classes like civil procedure to things that we actually experience in everyday life. This has been one of the most useful advantages of working that I have experienced. Not only have I learned very practical skills like sorting and filing pleadings and other documents, I am also gaining real world experience doing legal research and connecting civil procedure rules to actual on-going cases. The rules of civil procedure have become less of a foreign idea and more of a familiar concept.

I've also attended several of the guest speaker lectures during the lunch hour and I've found that it's a great way to be exposed to new and interesting areas of the law and to get perspectives that I might not otherwise be exposed to. Overall, I would strongly recommend taking advantage of as many of the programs as possible. While law school can be difficult, and the job market can be daunting, Loyola is a school that definitely does not take a "sink or swim" approach to things. They help out every step of the way.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Loyola (and the World) Is Your Networking Oyster

Welcome back to the Jury of Peers, reader! So let’s address the elephant in the room… you’ve probably heard it a million times: “Succeeding as a lawyer means Network. Network. Network.” To be honest, when I first came to Loyola and heard this, my heart sank a little. Not only would I have to read cases, write memos, try to survive cold-calling, apply for jobs, and eventually take the bar, but I would have to talk to people. And not just any kind of people: Strangers. Not just any kind of strangers: Strangers with law degrees, professional careers as attorneys, and perhaps even experiences in the field or area of law I would be interested in. Yikes. It was a lot to take in and definitely an intimidating thought as a 1L still trying to figure out law school.

In retrospect, the strong emphasis on networking during 1L actually is more beneficial in the long run. I think Loyola made it really easy to find and attend networking opportunities during 1L and grow to be more comfortable with them. So here, are a few examples of all the various networking experiences that are available to 1Ls during their first year:

· Spring Semester: All 1Ls participate in mock oral arguments as part of the final graded component of the course. This isn’t just an opportunity to network with other 1Ls in the different sections and the various legal research and writing professors! It’s an opportunity to network with the Loyola alumni who have volunteered to serve as the mock judges and who currently hold positions in different areas of the law. In my perspective, the legal writing department made it a fun and memorable experience to mark the beginning of the end of my 1L!

· Spring Semester: The Career Development Office hosts the Spring Law Firm Reception. This is an event that allows students to meet with representatives from different law firms and participate in “speed-interviewing.” It’s a great way to get your name out there and meet with firms all while having the convenience of being at Loyola. I participated in this event as a 1L, and it was definitely a learning experience! It taught me how to think on my feet, and I learned the importance of the 60-second elevator pitch when meeting new people and potential employers who inevitably ask: “Why law school,” “Why be a lawyer,” and “Tell me about yourself.”

· All-Year: Different law firms in the Los Angeles area host networking nights and invite Loyola students to come to their offices and meet with their attorneys. I participated in one of these networking nights in the final weeks of my 1L. I got to go to a “big-law” corporate firm housed in one of those big shiny skyrises in Downtown Los Angeles. I was in awe not only of the amazing views of my favorite city but also of how vast the firm’s network and presence were in the legal community. I may not be pursuing “big-law” after law school, but it was definitely a unique teachable moment!

· All-Year: The Career Development Office holds “Brown Bag Lunches.” This is an opportunity for 1Ls (and students from other years) to have lunch with some of their peers and a Loyola alumni from a particular area of the law. I personally haven’t had the chance to participate in one of these yet, but it’s on my list of things to do before I graduate!

Until next time friends!!!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Networking Is The Best Working

Something that is great about law school is that you take a lot of different classes, especially as a 1L. You take the basics: Criminal Law, Torts Law, Property Law, Contract Law, and more. You get a little taste of almost every basic area of the law, and that allows you to get an idea of what really interests you going forward. For me, Criminal Law and Torts Law really stood out. Property and Contracts, not so much. So, I knew the two areas I wanted to explore further.

It is the same way for networking around campus: there is a club representing almost every area of law. They bring practicing attorneys onto campus and have them give lectures, so you start to get an even better idea of what people in that field do. You also get the chance to meet and network with those people, which is even more invaluable. So many people I know have gotten interviews or even mentors in this way or just because of a lecture they attended on campus.

Friday, May 3, 2019

My First Year Elective Course

At the end of first semester, I decided to take innovation law as my elective. I have always been interested in the right of publicity and how athletes, celebrities and people in general, protect not only their creations, but also their own image. While the right of publicity is an upper level course at Loyola, I figured innovation law would be an excellent chance for me to get an introduction into the field.

So far we have covered trade secrets, copyright laws and infringement. We are now exploring the field of patent law, patent software, and antitrust. Frankly, it is pretty complex material. I never understood why it was necessary for patent attorneys to have a hard science background until now. After reading unedited cases that go into great detail about the invention and the stipulations behind it, I often find myself utterly confused. My professors have reassured us that patent descriptions are indeed difficult to understand. They then proceed to translate the patent language into everyday lawyer language for us….a true blessing.

So far, learning about the interrelationship between trade secrets, copyright and patents has been my favorite part. Inventors, companies, and other individuals all face a taxing decision when contemplating what type of intellectual property they want to pursue for their invention, creation, work, etc. While it can sometimes be obvious what type of intellectual property protection an inventor should be pursuing, in other instances it can be less cut and dry. That is when it gets messy, complex, and a little more fun for us!

While intellectual property continues to be of great interest to me, I am very excited to dive into our artificial intelligence unit. Before hearing the course description for innovation law, I had never considered artificial intelligence to be of relevance in the legal world. I am very intrigued by what these new technological advances may mean for future lawyers.

As law school goes on, I hope to take the basics I will have learned in innovation law and use them as a back drop for higher level IP classes. While my heart is still set on working in sports and implementing initiatives for the mental health of athletes, I am pleasantly surprised by how much interest I have found in this subject!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Going International!

All 1Ls at Loyola have to take a set curriculum over the course of the year. In addition to legal research and writing, the core classes include criminal law, contracts, torts, property, and civil procedure (commonly called, “civ pro”). Our first semester schedule is therefore extremely predictable because everyone must take four of the five core classes. Second semester, though, is a bit different – it is our first opportunity to explore a chosen area of law via our first elective course.

Elective courses are available to anyone whose GPA after the first semester is above a certain threshold. Student below the threshold must take Privacy Torts, an immensely helpful class that emphasizes test-taking and study strategies. Students above the threshold are allowed to choose from a selection of classes that can vary from year to year. This year’s choices included Income Taxation, Jail to Bail, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Immigration, Innovation Law (a very popular course this year), and International Law. In mid-October, there was a 1L event in which the professors gave a short pitch for their courses and answered student questions. I chose to take on International Law.

As an undergrad, my concentration was international relations so International Law seems fairly obvious. However, there were in fact many factors that went into my decision to take the course. Initially, I thought I might want to take Tax or Innovation – Loyola has one of the best tax law programs in the country and Innovation, which focuses on emerging technologies, quite simply sounded fascinating. In addition, most of my friends wanted to take Innovation, so I was certainly tempted to join them just so we could all study together. Ultimately, what convinced me take International were the professor’s pitch in October and my desire to learn about international business. On a more intuitive level though, the Law of Nations just sounds like such an epic area of study!

So far, the class is great! It’s unlike any other law class I’ve had at Loyola. We have discussed the roots of international law in customs and international conventions going all the way back to the Treaty of Westphalia. Most recently, we finished an intro to maritime law and now we are moving on to State jurisdictions and succession. The most interesting aspect of the class, though, is how the professor, Prof. Glazier, weaves in discussions of topical issues like Brexit, island building in the South China Sea, Russian annexation of Crimea, and military interventions in the Middle East. If you enjoy digging into global events or just like talking about pirates then this is the class for you!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

My Clinical Experience at Loyola

Hello again!

I have to say that I am starting to freak out because graduation is coming! The time is flying and I can’t believe I am about to graduate. But we will talk about that soon.

Today I want to talk about the experience that I am having here at Loyola Law School. We have so many options, such as externships, on-campus jobs, clinics, etc. It’s important to find out where and which area fits the best so you can enjoy your time with these opportunities!

Last semester, I started to work on campus as a Research Assistant at The Coelho Center. We focus on disability law and I am learning so much, especially because that is an area of law that I have never experienced before.

Also, I am a volunteer at the Project for the Innocent, and I have to say: I love that place and I think that the work that the Project does is so important for society today! The Project does pro bono work for inmates that were wrongfully convicted, so basically they are in prison but they are innocent. Since the Project started, they won some cases and that means that some people are free today because of the work of the Project! So, as you may notice from my enthusiasm of talking about that, I am enjoying the experience so much – especially because that is the area of law that I want to work with.

As you can see, Loyola Law School is so much more than only classes (by the way, they are amazing!), but you will have so many opportunities here and learn more than you can imagine!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Learning By Doing

Going through law school I’ve become a firm believer in the “learning by doing” approach. While in-class learning lies at the heart of any legal education, having the opportunities to apply this learning is what gives Loyola students such big advantages upon graduation. With that said, I have made it a point to get as much practical experience as possible during law school.

As I mentioned before, last summer I worked at Forever 21’s corporate office as a law clerk. Having just finished my 1L year, I was excited to see what I had learned in action. On the first day of my externship I remember being in awe of the sheer magnitude of what was going on. The corporate office seemed like its own little world, equipped with its own Starbucks, photo studios, and entire floors of clothing. But situated at the heart of it all seemed to be the legal department. It was there that I would be able to learn the ins and outs of working in house. From marketing and privacy to employment law, I was exposed to exactly what it takes to run a multi-billion-dollar corporation and made lasting connections in the legal community.

Further, Loyola’s dedication to serving the community is reflected in the variety of clinical opportunities available to students. From tax law to employment rights to mediation, there seems to be a clinic for everyone. In fact, it was this huge pool of programs that drew me to Loyola in the first place.

This semester I joined the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution’s Conciliation and Mediation Assistance Clinic (C-MAC). Under the guidance of Professor Culbert, I was trained in techniques of facilitative mediation to help people resolve conflicts without going to court in the presence of a trained neutral mediator. After only a few weeks of working at the LCCR, I can easily say that being a part of C-MAC has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my law school career so far. While my job as a student mediator/conciliator is not to provide legal advice to those we serve, I am sure that the skills I’ve gained (and will continue to gather) at the LCCR will further supplement my skillset as an attorney.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Planning to Make Time for An Experiential Learning Opportunity Soon

I have not yet done an externship or clinic, but I’m exploring the idea for my third year. My second year didn’t really provide the room I needed to pursue it on top of class and work obligations. It is really important to me that I take advantage of the experiential learning opportunities at Loyola, though, so that I enter the legal market being as prepared as I can possibly be. Experiential learning provides the unique opportunity for students to hit the ground running. One of the most valuable attributes of such learning is that students are able to develop invaluable client interview skills that are applicable to every area of law and beyond.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Semester of Opportunity

Law school has been a roller coaster so far. It has been exciting, tiring, challenging, and, most of all, humbling. Sometimes, there are moments when I ask myself it it’s worth it. These mostly occur when I’m up at 7am driving to school, during a cold-call when I’m not quite sure of the answer, or when I’m working on what feels like a never-ending paper. And, occasionally, there are moments that make everything worthwhile.

They say that if you enjoy what you do, then you’ll never work a day in your life. While I’m not naive enough to think that having a passion for the area of law that I will ultimately practice will be enough to make everything exciting and fun, I do believe that passion can make the hard work, long hours, and mundanity that I will doubtlessly experience worthwhile. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’re probably aware that I have many passions. But how do I tie my passions in with the law?

That is exactly the question I approached one of my professors with. As a 1L, thinking about electives and summer jobs can be overwhelming. The law is so diverse, and there are so many areas that I haven’t been exposed to yet. In previous conversations with my professor, I had told him of my strong interest in women’s issues and how they intersect with the law. My professor gave me an incredible opportunity to join in on a conference call with another incredible student, and two fantastic ladies from the LACBA. The lawyers were interested in putting on an event at Loyola for the women law students and, after two conference calls, the idea of a mentoring event became a tangible plan complete with a name, a logo, and a date.

The end result of the event was incredible. It was one of those moments that I mentioned where all of the hard work feels worthwhile. Twelve fantastic women lawyers came and spoke to about sixty students, mostly 1L women. I’m sure that many of those discussions blossomed into mentor relationships that will help these women students navigate the often-challenging employment climate, myself included. That was satisfying.

This semester has been the semester of opportunity. From helping to organize the Women’s Law Collaborate event alongside such inspiring ladies to being able to choose my first elective, Alternative Dispute Resolution, to starting my first legal job this past January, the opportunities have seemed endless. I am grateful to have worked with such inspirational ladies, and I excited for what the future of what it means to be a lady in the legal profession. I hope to work with them and women (and men too!) of similar drive and ability for years to come!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

My First Year Elective Course

This semester I am taking Adjudicative Criminal Procedure. The class is taught by two professors; a former prosecutor and a public defender. I chose this class because I have an interest in learning about the criminal justice system, and both of the professors have years of experience in this area. The perspectives of both prosecution and defense are important and relevant as we learn to navigate through a system that is lacking in so many ways. The class focuses on the realities of the justice system and the way in which procedure affects the rights of defendants who go through it. I find this class to be one of the most realistic classes I’ve taken in law school because it integrates concepts such as Due Process and defendants’ rights with the reality of a system that is underfunded and overcrowded. The class also incorporates guest speakers such as practicing attorneys and judges, who bring a real-life perspective into the classroom.

The part I find the most exciting however, is the hands-on learning in the classroom. In this class, we have negotiated mock plea-deals, analyzed pre-trial motions, gone through a plea bargain process and argued for our imaginary clients. The value of this class is as much the learning of the process as the learning on how to be part of the process effectively. It refines skills such as thinking on your feet, and it gives a realistic image of what happens once you get to practice. While the class is challenging, it is a welcome change of pace from the general law school curriculum I had during my first semester.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

H-2A Visa Helps Farmers but also Widens Door for Labor Abuses

By Camilla Benoni, Ben Bira, Gustavo Boldrini, Meggie Davenport & Sam Schlegel

The co-authors are students in Loyola's Human Trafficking Seminar. This piece originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Trump administration recently announced major changes to the H-2A visa application process, making it easier than ever for U.S. farmers to bring foreign workers into the country. The H-2A program allows farm employers to request certification from the U.S. Department of Labor to have foreign workers admitted “temporarily to the United States to perform agricultural labor…of a temporary or seasonal nature.” The department certified almost 243,000 jobs to be filled with H-2A workers in 2018, with California accounting for roughly 20,000 (8 percent) of all H-2A jobs.

Streamlining the H-2A process has been a priority for both political parties, and the announcement early this month was heralded as a victory for farmers. But the new application process raises human trafficking-related concerns: The H-2A program is expanding rapidly, and enforcement of employers’ obligations is not increasing accordingly. The simplified immigration process is troublesome, as H-2A visas are present in a majority of labor trafficking cases.

The origins of the H-2A visa lie in the infamous bracero program. During World War II, farmers faced severe labor shortages, and the federal government responded by creating the program, authorizing the entry of Mexican nationals to fill the demand for cheap farm labor.

Lured north by recruiters with promises of high wages, housing and return transportation to Mexico, the life of a farmworker was far different from what most braceros had been promised. Abuse, poor working conditions and lack of access to health care were common, prompting braceros to strike on numerous occasions — with little success.

The bracero program ended in 1964, but its progeny lives on in the H-2A visa, making conditions ripe for debt-peonage and forced labor.

Read the full op-ed>>

What An Experience Experiential Learning Is!

Welcome back to the Jury of Peers readers! Today, we’re going to talk about experiential learning at Loyola, and my experience in an experiential learning program.

But first, let’s get started with what is sure to be a deep burning question for all of you: what is experiential learning? Well, experiential learning is exactly what it sounds like and what you think it would be! It is the opportunity to have hands-on training in a particular field or area of the law. Loyola really emphasizes and promotes the importance of being able to learn about your interests while at the same time gaining real-life, practical experiences, which is why it’s actually a part of the curriculum required to graduate. They want to make sure that when you leave Loyola and become a lawyer, you’re fully prepared and knowledgeable of the real world and can handle real-life situations. That’s why here, you’ll find several of these opportunities via clinics, practicums, concentrations, field placements, etc.

Another question I’m sure that’s lingering in your mind (and perhaps one that I get a lot on campus tours) is: How do I find out about experiential learning? Fret not, because I’ve got you covered on that too! In the spring semester, Loyola holds what’s known as the Experiential Learning Fair. During this event, all the various clinics, practicums, concentrations, etc. host booths out on the Esplanade to answer questions about the application process, expectations and requirements from the particular experience, etc. Usually program directors and students currently in or alumni of the program will be there to talk about their experiences, the cool things they’ve done, etc.

I’m sure you’re also wondering: “What experiential learning program is she involved in?” Which is an excellent question! I am currently a yearlong clinical student at Loyola’s Project for the Innocent (LPI). LPI evaluates cases of individuals currently serving life sentences in California state prisons, determines whether such individuals were wrongfully convicted due to a host of issues (i.e. false witness identifications, false witness testimonies, evidence tampering), and builds a case to try to establish that wrongful conviction (via extensive research, analysis of murder books and evidence, reading of trial transcripts, etc.). Yes, these are real cases with real people involved! In addition to working on our cases and having office hours, I attend a two-hour seminar once a week in which we learn about and discuss the different issues in the justice system, new developments in our cases, etc.

I obtained my spot in the clinic by applying during the spring semester of 1L (following the experiential learning fair), interviewing with clinic staff, accepting the offer, and attending the orientation session in the summer before the start of the fall semester.

My take on the experiential program? Whether it’s in a clinic or concentration or practicum, experiential learning is an extremely beneficial opportunity. It’s a unique experience that gives students the opportunity to gain invaluable experiences, pursue interests, and even try something out that he or she never even thought about or considered before. Experiential learning doesn’t just make students more competitive candidates for future work or externship opportunities. In my opinion and speaking from my experiences working with LPI, these learning opportunities make students more well-rounded, more humbled, and honestly more aware of the world and what it’s like to have real clients or real life issues that need their help and efforts to be resolved.

Until next time friends!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

All The Opportunities!

One of the best things about Loyola is how many opportunities you’re given without even realizing it. Whether it is a clinic, an externship, or a student organization, there is not only something for everyone, they are open to everyone (I mean you have to apply and interview for a lot of them, but that is just like real life, right? You still have the opportunity.)

I have been lucky enough to really dive into several of the experiential learning opportunities here. My work on the Byrne Trial Team is experiential. I am also in the Hobbs/Poehls District Attorney Practicum, which is another experiential program. Because I want to be a trial attorney, I am involved in programs that are geared towards trial skills. If trial isn’t your thing, there are tons of other programs out there that will be geared towards whatever you want to try.

I think that anyone who goes here would be crazy not to take advantage of all of the experiential opportunities. Something I hear from almost every practicing lawyer I meet here in LA is that Loyola produces the best skill-based, practice-ready attorneys in the area straight out of law school. It is because the majority of us take advantage of actually learning how to be a lawyer while we are in school through these programs, rather than learning just the theoretical stuff. My opinion is: you can know absolutely everything about the law, but if you don’t know how to practically apply that knowledge, what is the point?

There are also concentrations at Loyola, which allows you to take classes in certain areas of the law and then you get a distinction on your transcript that you completed a certain concentration. I haven’t officially signed up for one, but I plan on applying to be a part of the Criminal Justice Concentration. Another great opportunity here at Loyola is to take classes that will truly help you practice in your field of choice!

Monday, April 22, 2019

I Love That Loyola Is A Law School for Los Angeles

Everyone has their expectations of what law school will be like when they get there. If you don’t have family members or close friends who’ve gone through it, those expectations are probably shaped by movies and TV. Some images are very familiar: mountains upon mountains of homework; humiliating cold-calls; classmates ripping pages out of library books so no one else can study from them. It’s all enough to make you wonder why anyone goes to law school in the first place.

Loyola definitely is not like that. (And, for all I know, neither is any other law school – I mean who, in the 21st Century, even looks at library books anymore?) Loyola is a down-to-earth place; a place for students who are ready to dig into their work as lawyers. An attorney I know who practices in L.A. – a person who did not go to Loyola – once described Loyola as “the city’s law school.”

I love that idea. I feel great when I see that idea borne out in real life. I see it manifested in many of the students, who are hard-working, unpretentious, and always willing to collaborate. A good many, it seems to me, are eager to work through law school so they can go on to join the bloodstream of this city – perhaps in public service, or on behalf of clients with special needs. In my own experience interning in both government and public interest law offices while at Loyola, I’ve met so many inspiring grads – from judges to civil rights lawyers to executive directors of nonprofits. They all seem particularly well-prepared for the avenue of service they have pursued.

I’m inspired by the idea that Loyola is where so many people who want to serve this city come to get their education. After all, it has a nearly 100-year history of educating lawyers, much of that history at its current campus adjacent to downtown, where there are so many in need of representation.

If you want to go to law school, but worry the environment will look too much like what you’ve seen in the movies, I can reassure you – that’s not Loyola. While it’s by no means easy (it is, after all, law school) it’s a supportive environment, and one that particularly speaks to the ideal of service. To call Loyola “the city’s law school” is, I think, to pay it a tremendous compliment.

Friday, April 19, 2019

What I Love Most About Loyola

I got lucky with Loyola. Studying for the LSAT during off season basketball training was tedious and felt impossible at times. When it finally came time to apply for schools I was in the midst of the busiest time of the year for a collegiate basketball player. I was traveling to the East coast for games twice a week and practicing every day, along with classes. There was no physical way for me to visit any of the schools I applied to. I took virtual tours and looked up information on the internet, but essentially I decided to go to Loyola on a whim. Fast forward to my second semester of law school, and I could not be happier with my choice.

Loyola was always on my radar, as I had always dreamed of moving to the west coast to pursue a law degree. When it came time to decide, something felt instinctively right about Loyola. When I was finally able to visit the campus in June, before starting classes in August, I was nervous. Once I stepped foot on campus I knew I had made the right decision. My initial excitement heightened as I started law school this past August. While Loyola’s facilities, and accommodations are top tier, it is the people at Loyola that sets it apart from other law schools. I can not say enough about the faculty and students at Loyola.

As mentioned in a previous post, there is a preconceived idea that law school creates cynicism and turns you into a more pessimistic version of yourself. Not at Loyola. While, law school does teach you to question notions and divulge in different theories, the professors and students alike maintain positive spirits about the law and all it has to offer. Law School is tedious, and it can be very tiresome, but Loyola makes it a little easier. With a strong faculty support system and a student body filled with determined, but genuine individuals, I want to emphasize just how lucky I got with Loyola. From a shot in the dark application to becoming my second home, Loyola has exceeded all my expectations.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Alumni Amor

Valentine’s Day has passed, so it’s only appropriate to talk about what I love about Loyola! The only problem is there are honestly so many things, some of which I have already discussed in prior posts. The professors, the classes, the academic support, and my classmates all make Loyola feel like a second home. However, one area that I haven’t talked much about is Loyola’s extensive alumni network.

Although applications for summer externships and associate positions started to go out at the end of the Fall semester, the search for summer employment really ramps up beginning in the Spring semester. Accordingly, Spring semester has so far been filled with events to learn more about employment in different areas of law. Many of these events feature or are organized by Loyola alumni. So far, I have attended a handful of events including a talk with Larry Midler, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for CBRE (a top real estate services and investment firm), and a focus group with a hiring manager at Allen Matkins (a top tier California real estate firm). Not only are these events informative but they are great opportunities to experience just how extensive the Loyola alumni network really is. If you plan to practice in California, especially Southern California, Loyola alumni are literally everywhere.

Other opportunities to get to know alums are less formal but can be a lot of fun! One example is the PILF auction, a can’t-miss event in the fall to raise money for students who earn pro bono summer positions in public interest. Many of the items and experiences up for auction are provided by the alumni. This year, Claudia and I won a dinner for 6 at the Magic Castle. The evening, which we planned to celebrate my mom’s birthday, was organized and hosted by Loyola alum, Ray Karch. Mr. Karch guided us on a special tour of the entire Castle, arranged dinner in a private dining room, and even performed a private close-up show for us! He could not have been a better host and my entire family had a fantastic evening. You never know what sorts of connections you will make at Loyola.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

What I Love About Loyola


I always talk about how much I love being at Loyola because, you know, I am a romantic. So with today’s topic I feel that I am at home. I think I can say that for the past months Loyola has been my Valentine because I spend way more time at the campus than at home (and even when I am at home, I am thinking or doing things related to Loyola, so yes, basically it’s a relationship!)

I don’t even know where to start when I talk about the things that I appreciate most about my time here. I have to admit that I love the fact that Loyola Law School is a small campus because you get close to a lot of people, and not only the students, even the staff becomes your friend too! Everyone is so nice, even if they don’t know you and that is what makes Loyola Law School a big family. That is beautiful and so important!

Also, the professors are always concerned with the students and asking if we are following the class, if we are having problems understanding the subject, and I appreciate that a lot. Especially because I am an international student so usually I am afraid I am going to be behind in the class – but the professors are so supportive that this never happens!

To be honest: if you are looking for a place that is going to be more than just a law school, but instead one that is going to be your family, you should definitely come to Loyola Law School.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

So What's To Love About Loyola?

There are a lot of ways to answer that, but the simplest way to put it is, "A lot!" It might seem like "love" is too strong a word, right?

WRONG. I absolutely love Loyola and all of my classes. And, to be perfectly honest, I do love Loyola. Despite, or perhaps because of, the stress, the exams, the complex subject matter, and the long hours that I have to put in if I want to learn as much as I possibly can and perform to my full potential, I absolutely love Loyola.

(Just kidding about the “despite,” Loyola, you know I love you.) It’s because of the exams and because of the long hours that I love Loyola. I love the fact that the stress, when it does happen, is the kind of stress that comes from growing as a person and a professional. I love the fact that the exams come after a semester of support and feedback that points out where I am strong and where I need to work. I love the fact that the complex subject matter is made understandable by professors who obviously care about it. I love the fact that those long hours are hours well spent. I love that fact that I know that Loyola will prepare me to be the best lawyer that I can be.

I love Loyola because I am being challenged like never before and, every step of the way, I am being given the support, both from students and from faculty, that I need to succeed.

Monday, April 15, 2019

What I Love About Loyola

What I love about Loyola Law School is that we’re a community that’s passionate about the things we care about and as a result we’re always moving, learning, doing something to make a change, and looking to make a difference.

Students and teachers are teaching and learning alike. The law is always changing and developing, and every day there’s something in the media or in current events that affects or is affected by the law. Our faculty takes that information, learns from it, and in turn teaches it to us, the student body, and to the greater community in lectures, panel events, and presentations. They make sure that we, the students and the community, understand what’s going on in the world, how we relate to it, what our impact could be, and are thus equipped with the tools and knowledge to tackle the issues

Our faculty is also aware of their social impact and their ability to make a difference in the community. For example, our faculty has held panels to inform the student and general community about hot topic issues in the current sociopolitical sphere like immigration and policing, hosted workshops to help people complete their citizenship applications, and mobilized the student body to help others with voter registration for elections and get people to the polls. Our faculty is passionate about what they do, and that’s part of what makes going to school at Loyola so refreshing, interesting, and enjoyable.

Our student body is also a force to be reckoned with. Like the faculty, we are passionate about the education we are receiving, the change we are seeking to make, projects we are taking on, and the dreams we are pursuing. To say we are simply “involved” would be an understatement. Loyola has a great experiential learning program consisting of many clinics and practicums that allows students to explore their interests in different areas of the law while simultaneously contributing positive energy and effort into the community. On an extracurricular level, we also have many clubs that have a social outreach focus (i.e. mentoring kids in the local community or hosting fundraisers to raise awareness for their respective causes) and an emphasis on getting students out in the field and getting experience. Through externships, internships, and employment, our student body also has a presence in every area of the law and in the public and private sectors. On an academic level, we are passionate not only about doing well individually but also making sure our peers our doing well because when our whole community succeeds and thrives as a whole, we succeed and thrive individually.

What I love about Loyola is that we take that passion to better ourselves and our community. We are always learning from the past and looking to the future to make a change.

Friday, April 12, 2019

What I Love Most About Loyola

Dear LLS, will you be my valentine? You’ve taught me so much this past year, you’re always there for me, and provide me with the best lunches every week. While I spent February 14 in my Marital Property class this year, the truth is that Loyola has given me so much this past year that this was really the least I could do in return.

Two semesters in, there are so many aspects of life as a Loyola student that I already love and appreciate. From my incredibly intelligent fellow students to the wide range of extracurricular opportunities, Loyola has provided me with all the resources I need to blossom into a successful attorney. One of the things about Loyola that I’ve really come to appreciate is the strong alumni network. Whether you’re interviewing for that coveted Summer Associate position at a downtown firm or doing your weekly grocery store run, it seems as though alumni are everywhere! Not surprisingly, after talking to many of these alumni it’s clear that the same sense of camaraderie that runs deep within the current Loyola community also extends to the Loyola alumni network.

Another part of the Loyola experience that I’ve come to appreciate is the number of experiential programs available to students. No matter what path you’re on, Loyola seems to have something for everyone. With various law reviews, moot court programs, and clinics, there are so many ways to get involved on campus and serve the community. This semester I enrolled in the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution’s Conciliation and Mediation Assistance Clinic (CMAC). Not only am I able to learn and apply mediation techniques to serve the Los Angeles community, but I also am receiving units in the process. What makes Loyola unique is the school’s focus on integrating experiential programs such as CMAC into its core curriculum.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

What I Love About Loyola

There is so much to love about Loyola! I think the top two things I love are the exceptional faculty and my inspiring peers. Every professor that I have had at Loyola sees their students as their top priority. They go above and beyond expectation to meet with students and ensure that they understand the material. Beyond that, they are all invested in the success of their students. Professors frequently try to get to know students so that they can give them much-needed advice about potential career paths.

In addition, the student body at Loyola is completely unlike what I expected the students at a law school to be. Before I started at Loyola, I thought that all law students were pretentious and overly competitive. At Loyola, my experience has been the complete opposite. All of the Loyola students I have met are compassionate, friendly, and interested in seeing others succeed, rather than pulling them down in the interest of their own success. This makes Loyola a great place to be because it takes a lot of the entirely unnecessary stress out of law school. I know I can always count on my classmates to be there for me when I need them and I do my best to do the same for them.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

What I Love Most About Loyola

What I love the most about Loyola is the different opportunities to discover where my passions lie. Even though I have known I want to be attorney for a while, I came to Loyola with a very open mind about what kind of law I want to practice. As the first one in my family to go to law school, I didn’t have much experience regarding the specializations of the law. Even though I am still unsure about what I want to practice, the guidance I’ve received from the career services, professors, alumni and mentors has been invaluable in this process. In my time at Loyola, I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about what each kind of law entails. The school brings in amazing guests who speak about their experiences and tell us why they love the work they do. Professors also do an incredible job at being resources and making sure they connect you with people who may be resources. I remember the first time I went to office hours, one of my professors asked me what I wanted to practice, and when I mentioned I was interested in educational law; he immediately gave me the name of someone from Loyola who worked for the LAUSD. In my experience, Loyola’s alumni network is incredibly supportive, and willing to share their experience. Alumni are willing to talk to you about how to access opportunities and they are willing mentors for students who reach out. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to have great student mentors who have shared their experiences in the classroom and job hunting.

In general, I have found the Loyola community to be incredibly supportive, and that support has been key in getting me through this first year.

Monday, April 8, 2019

I Love Loyola

Last Wednesday night, I was leaving the Loyola campus at 1:00 AM. It was raining. I was tired, hungry, and I had just finished a practice trial for the Byrne Trial Advocacy Team. But, honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way (well, actually, if I am truly being honest, I would have had some food).

I love being on the Byrne Team. I really love it. It is challenging, takes all of my extra time, makes me crazy sometimes, but it is so unbelievably rewarding. I can’t imagine a better training program for advocates. I also have crazy good public speaking skills now (not to brag or anything).

On top of all of the practical skills I’ve learned, I’ve met some of my best friends because of the team. When you spend so much time together (this 1:00 AM end time is not unusual), you get extremely close. You also need someone to lament to when things pass the point of challenging and reach DEFCON 1.

Last year, I liked Loyola. I probably loved it, but now it is a head-over-heels love. And honestly, I owe that to Byrne. Happy Valentine’s Month Loyola!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Loyola Professors Are Great Teachers, And Invaluable Mentors

The faculty at Loyola are one of the school’s greatest assets, without a doubt. Not only are many of them top-tier scholars in their respective fields, they’re also fantastic mentors. When I started at Loyola last year, I hoped I could lean on the faculty for insight and advice – after all, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but I really had no idea what that looked like in a practical sense. I was inspired as soon I set foot in my first class (Torts, with Prof. Adam Zimmerman). Prof. Zimmerman made the subject fascinating and real, particularly when he staged debates, or helped us think about how legal issues manifest in everyday life. Outside of class, Prof. Zimmerman shared career advice. He also talked to me about his scholarship, and he didn’t talk down. For a 1L, that’s a nice bit of encouragement.

And that was only the first professor I had. As I progressed through my first days – and then, through to my second year – I met professors who do work in fields I’m passionate about. Some of them have proved to be amazing allies – in my work with the Public Interest Law Foundation, for instance. Others have taken the time to write letters of recommendation, or even just given me recommendations about where I might go as a lawyer to pursue my passion for social justice. As a soon-to-be lawyer staring out at the open ocean of professional possibilities, their words have given me much valuable direction.

Perhaps more than anything, however, I simply feel indebted to many of my professors for how well they have taught me about the law. That includes, of course, the legal doctrine – the standard for summary judgment, or the exceptions to the warrant requirement. But it extends far beyond that. For example, Prof. Zimmerman, on our last day of Torts, talked about how one of the greatest things you can provide for a client, as an attorney, is a chance to be heard; to have their day in court. That’s an empowering idea for me, particularly as I ponder a career serving the underserved. I appreciate my professors immensely for giving me the tools to help others have their chance to be heard.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Building Relationships With Faculty

I am one of those people who has always been shy when it comes to building relationships with my professors. Before I came to law school, the mere thought of “having” to meet with a professor outside of class made me nervous. It’s not that they were mean or anything like that, just that “I need to see you after class” were words that I never wanted to hear. They were always an indication that something was wrong, not a sign that I had an opportunity to build a new professional relationship.

Some of my reluctance came from a cycle that I think is very common – someone doesn’t understand a concept, so she or he becomes too nervous to ask about it as time goes on because, beyond a certain point, having to ask about it indicates that you are “behind” and “behind” is a place that you never want to be. Of course, that was all in my head, and the secret to getting out of that cycle was in my head as well – I had to remind myself that law school is called that for a reason and that reason is because the professors are there to help you learn.

During my time at Loyola, that is exactly what they have done. My experience with my professors has been nothing short of fantastic. They are always there when I have difficulty understanding a difficult point. They are never intimidating, and they never look down on me, but it is always obvious that they know what they are talking about, having an extensive background in their specialty, and are willing to share everything that they know with me.

That was exactly what happened during my torts class that I took last semester. I was new to law school and I was unsure how to approach all of the work in this class. After midterms, I arranged to speak to the professor about my performance in the class and find out where I did well and where I could improve. Going in, I felt worried and intimidated but, after a clear, honest, and open assessment of my performance on the exam that lasted thirty minutes, I left with a very clear sense of where I did well and where I could have done better. Because I reached out of my comfort zone, my grade on the final exam improved significantly. Needless to say, my relationships with my professors have improved as time has gone by. Meeting with my professors is now something that I look forward to, and I look forward to strengthening those relationships as time goes by.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Building Strong Relationships with Faculty

I remember googling my professors’ names before my first semester of law school. I was floored by how exceptional they all were. Almost all of them had published articles, books, and taught all over the country. These people are ROCKSTARS. They are what we, as Loyola students, are striving to become. I was lucky enough to have been able to build a relationship with some of the faculty members during first semester.

I took advantage of the opportunity to converse in a less formal setting with a number of professors at the PILF auction night. Which is an impressive event sponsored by Loyola’s Public interest group. Students and teachers are invited to attend to drink, eat, converse, and bid on items, with all the proceeds going to public interest funding. This was a great time to start to form bonds with my professors.

My favorite course during first semester was contracts. I was naturally drawn to the material because contracts are all around us; we see them every day, in numerous forms. I aspire to work in sports/entertainment law. Contracts was without a doubt the most pertinent course to entertainment/sports law that I was enrolled in first semester. Through my engagement in the course I also was able to form a strong relationship with my contracts professor.

She went above and beyond for her students. We were able to stay almost everyday after class and ask her questions about the readings and the cases. During midterms and final exam time, she organized numerous review sessions and practice exam de-briefs. She is now helping me with my legal internship search, and I am confident that we will maintain a relationship throughout my time at Loyola and into my legal career!

As of second semester, all of my professors have been highly accessible and eager to assist us in any way they can. I have been spending a lot of time in my career counselor’s office lately, as I search for a legal summer position. I can not say enough about my counselor this far. She is fantastic. Not only is she highly accessible for editing my resume, cover letter, etc., but she also works to bring my stress levels DOWN, which is not an easy task. There is a lot that I appreciate about the faculty at Loyola, but first and foremost I admire their tireless effort to help us succeed in law school and one day as attorneys.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Professors

Almost every day when I get home from classes and work, I talk with my wife, Claudia, about my day. It isn’t long into talk of stigma statutes or duty of care before her eyes start to glaze over. I really enjoy the material but I really can’t blame her. There is no getting around the simple fact that sometimes the law can be dead boring! It’s times like these that it is important to have professors that bring cases to life and capture your attention. Every single one of my professors are masters of this skill, particularly my property professor, Florrie Roberts.

Professor Roberts is the type of professor who will keep you on your toes. If you answer a question incorrectly, she will bluntly let you (and the entire class) know exactly how wrong you are. Early in the fall semester, Prof. Roberts asked a question about ownership rights for mislaid property. One of my friends raised her hand and attempted to ask the question in three or four well-thought out parts. After she finished giving her answer, Prof. Roberts looks up the class with a huge grin and says “That was a nice try but absolutely everything you said was wrong.” My friend goes beet red! Then Professor Robert’s grin turns into a much softer smile. She looks at my friend and says in a sincerely upbeat and encouraging way, “But that’s okay; luckily I’m here to tell you the answer.” Somehow, she always has a sharp sense of humor that keeps you coming back for more.

Her humor extends to analyzing cases too. Van Valkenburgh v. Lutz, is a famous case on adverse possession that I definitely recommend reading. At first glance, it seems as though the court rules against Lutz because he did not satisfy all of the elements to adversely possess the property. We finish discussing the facts and the courts reasoning when Professor Roberts gets that grin again and asks, “Anyone notice something strange about the court’s reasoning here?” We all look at our books and notes to discover this supposed oddity. At this point in our experience, we all assume that court decisions (especially opinions from the states’ highest courts) ARE the law – completely logical and void of error. Naturally, we miss it. Professor Roberts’ grin gets a little wider as she says, “Anyone notice that the court is essentially ruling that the only way to adversely possess land is if you already own the land to begin with?” Sure enough, within the court’s reasoning they do seem to give two contradictory rules for holding land adversely and under a claim of right.

Okay, it’s not comedy gold but, for me, it was like hearing the answer to a clever riddle that I didn’t even know I was trying to solve. I couldn’t help but laugh about it! Of all my professors, Prof. Roberts’ style always manages to make each case an interesting puzzle with humor, hidden subtext, and sometime nonsensical twists.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Building Relationships with Faculty

Hi everyone!

Today I want to talk about how I connected first when I started my journey in Loyola Law School: the faculty members. I can say that I made friends with them even before I made friends with my LLM classmates!

There are a lot of faculty members who work with the LLM programs and they always come to us - LLM students – to remind us that we are not alone. This is so important for us because we all came from very far, we usually don’t have English as our first language, and we are without our whole family and friends.… So it is very easy for us to feel scared and lonely, but with Loyola’s faculty members, it is hard to feel lonely because they are always there for us.

Our LLM coordinator is always planning events inside and outside the campus so all the LLM students and professors can meet and spend time together, and I think this makes our connection grow even more!

If you are coming to Loyola Law School, you don’t ever need to worry about that. ☺

Friday, March 29, 2019

A School of Open Doors

When I was in undergrad at UCSB, I would always be apprehensive or nervous about going to office hours and meeting with my professor or teaching assistant (TA). Meeting with professors or TAs after hours usually meant one of two things: 1) you weren’t doing well in class and needed to ask for extra credit opportunities, and 2) you were forced to go as part of your class requirements. Looking back now, I regret getting sucked into that mentality, not taking advantage of those opportunities to interact with my professors and TAs, and not developing connections and relationships with them. But in all honesty, in undergrad, office hours and meeting with professors weren’t really encouraged unless it was a requirement for the class.

Flash forward to the present, and one of the best things about Loyola is its open-door policy. This means that every professor makes him or herself accessible to meet and talk with students in person, email, or other method. You’re not required to meet with your professor to pass your class and you’re not made to feel silly, stupid, or like you’re failing your class when you attend office hours. At Loyola, there’s no shame in going to office hours. Rather, it’s strongly encouraged to go to office hours to: 1) address any questions regarding lecture, an assignment, or the final, 2) ask for help regarding your internship, externship, and employment search, 3) figure and plan out what courses you’re going to take in the next semester or year, or 4) just talk about life and get advice regarding how to achieve your goals.

At Loyola, our faculty is passionate about their field and the work they do AND about ensuring that we have the tools and knowledge to develop our passions, pursue our interests, and achieve our goals.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Building Relationships with Faculty

Despite only being at Loyola for one semester, I can already tell that our school attracts only the highest caliber of professors and faculty. From the career counselors to the doctrinal professors, the faculty at Loyola are world class. As a transfer student, the faculty at the registrar’s office and the career development office have been particularly helpful for me.

I vividly remember getting selected for my first OCI interview and being both happy and scared at the same time. Naturally I was happy that I got the interview, but I couldn’t help being nervous about what was to come. The next day I met with my career counselor and she gave me the 411 on the OCI process. She guided me through some of the questions I might be asked and gave me helpful tips for my interview. I left her office feeling relieved and more confident in myself.

So far I have had many experiences like the one above. One of the things that surprised me the most was how accessible the Loyola faculty has been. Although each faculty member comes from an impressive academic and professional background, it always seems as though they are only an email away. One example of this dedication to student learning comes from this past fall semester. Leaving my Remedies final in December, I felt confident and on top of the world—that is, until I got to my car. As I packed up my car, it dawned on me that the exam I had just taken was scheduled for three hours instead of two. I still had faith in myself and thought that maybe I had squeezed in all the important stuff.

Fast-forward to when grades were finally posted. I was happy with my Remedies grade but knew something was off. I got my exam back and immediately emailed my professor. Professor Hayden promptly responded to my email and I set up a meeting with him to review my exam. As I reviewed my exam in preparation for my meeting with the professor, I couldn’t help but wonder what big issue I had missed in the fact pattern. At my meeting with Professor Hayden, we went over the exam by issue as I tried to figure out what I needed to work on. Ultimately I found out that I actually hadn’t missed anything major, but rather that I simply needed more time to get through a full analysis. Professor Hayden and I agreed that my little timing mishap played a big part in my performance on the exam. Although grades had long been posted and there was nothing to be done at that point, I appreciated Professor Hayden taking the time to meet with me and review the exam.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Building Relationships With Faculty

The faculty that I have encountered at Loyola have exceeded my expectations in literally every way possible. Each and every professor that I have had has been, not only a leader in their respective areas of the law, but constantly available to students. Several of my professors have regularly encouraged students to drop by their office to talk about career ambitions and life in general. Students don’t always take advantage of this, but I think that it’s a valuable way to learn about your professor, but also yourself!

While all of my professors encourage students to drop by office hours, that time usually conflicts with my work and class schedule. However, all of my professors have always done their best to find other mutually convenient times to meet with me. I appreciate this flexibility because, without it, I wouldn’t be able to develop these relationships with them that I value so much. This speaks to how accessible the faculty is as a whole because it has been my experience across the board.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Building Relationships with Faculty

One of my favorite parts of law school has been the professors. In addition to being knowledgeable and engaging in lectures, I have found many of them are sincerely interested in connecting with their students beyond the classroom. For example, one of our professors extended invitations to weekly brown-bag lunches to our class. For me that kind of openness was very important because approaching a professor can be intimidating and having that invitation to come and talk about our interests beyond the classroom, helped me get over my initial fear. Coming from a large undergraduate institution with faculty that had many students asking questions, I was used to quick and to the point interactions. As an undergraduate, I understood most of my professors appreciated me asking my question and moving on. Once I came to Loyola, I was happy to find that as a whole the faculty make a point to be available to students.

In general, I have managed to build relationships with a couple faculty members. During my first semester I made a point to go to office hours when I was confused about a topic. Oftentimes, I was so confused I did not even have specific questions and would just join other people who were also there for office hours. Once I started going to office hours, I felt more confident to strike up conversations with faculty in other places, such as the cafeteria, or while studying in campus. For some of my classes this became a positive feedback loop because in addition to getting my questions answered, I felt more invested in the material, and I developed a better connection with the faculty member. While I appreciate many things about our faculty, what I most appreciate is that they treat us with collegial respect, and they have a genuine interest in our success, and for me that fosters a great learning environment.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Networking Inside Loyola

Networking is essential when you are an attorney. It is how you get new clients, how you get a reputation (hopefully a good one), how you get referrals from your peers. It is arguably even more essential before you even become an attorney. As a law student, networking is how you get a job. You meet someone, who knows someone, who knows someone who is looking to hire. But networking doesn’t start the first time you meet a practicing attorney, it starts the first day you step on campus. Networking with your peers, who are all going to be practicing attorneys one day, and your professors, who have all already had successful careers, is vital.

I’ve been lucky enough to not only build relationships with other students on campus, but also faculty members. The most rewarding connection that I have been able to make is with Susan Poehls, the Director of Trial Advocacy here at Loyola. She is one of my Byrne Trial Team coaches, and also my professor in the Hobbs practicum. I am comfortable in a courtroom because of her, I know how to think of arguments on my feet because of her, I know how to actually use the Rules of Evidence in real-life, rather than just hypothetically, because of her. Her reputation for producing some of the best trial attorneys proceeds her, not just in Los Angeles, but all over California. When I interviewed for a job in Sacramento, and the hiring board discovered my connection to Professor Poehls, they were ecstatic. And they hired me.

Making connections with your professors is easy: they have office hours, they are always available on email, many of them even give you their cell phone numbers. But the easiest way to build a relationship with a professor is to work with them. If you become someone’s research assistant, work in their clinic, join their team, you will start to know them on a personal and professional level. And those relationships will not only help you in law school, they will help shape your future.

Friday, March 22, 2019

I Don't Need Study Groups. (Except When I Do.)

When it comes to the everyday academic grind, I’m a loner. I don’t share notes with other students, and I hardly ever meet with classmates outside of class to go over course material. I don’t even read at the library. I like to read alone, at home, where it’s quiet, and no one can bother me.

That all changes when finals come around. I do some exam studying alone, particularly when making outlines. But I also rely – nay, depend – on my classmates for support. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t really learn anything until I explain it to someone else. (I believe that most people are this way – some are just a little too shy or self-conscious to try it.)

The hardest part, then, is finding a group you can work with. If your group is made up of students you think are ahead of you, you might get discouraged – and that is NOT how you want to feel going into finals. On the other hand, if no one in your group is prepared for the exam, you’d be better off reviewing alone. The key is to find a group of friends who don’t intimidate you, but who don’t fail to challenge you, either. After the first two or three exams, I got my group pared down to a loose collective of buddies.

I’ve taken seven final exams now, and they have all gone just about the same way. By the last two or three days before the test, I’ve made my outline. I’ve asked my professors for help with the topics that have daunted me the most. I’ve made my flashcards, and I’ve found and re-read (or, yeah, read for the first time) the cases that have vexed me the most.

The last few days, then, are basically a protracted conversation with my group. We quiz each other, diagram concepts like supplemental jurisdiction or exceptions to the hearsay rule, and verbally explain concepts from different angles. For 14 weeks out of the year, I don’t need a study group. But for that final week, it’s crucial.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Importance of Study Groups

Before attending law school, I always associated the course load to consist of reading, reading and more reading. Now that I am two weeks into my second semester of law school, I realize that my assumption was not too far off. While reading is generally something we complete in solitude, understanding the material in the readings is a completely different story.

There have been numerous times where I have read a paragraph in a case or an explanation in a supplement five or more times in a row, only to end up more confused than I was before I read it at all. That is when you can lean on your peers. Sometimes it can be difficult to wrap your mind around the issue of a case or the analysis of a decision. Most of the material you learn in law school is completely foreign. You are not alone. Chances are, if you find it confusing, so do 40 other people. Working with a group to find the logic in a convoluted case, has been my saving grace during times of overwhelming perplexity.

I formed a group of friends early on in my first semester, likewise those friends became my study group. This group has grown on occasion and the more minds the merrier! While I find group work very advantageous, I will admit that I do about 70 percent of my studying on my own. The process of working through my studies and then checking in with my group on tricky material, has done me well thus far.

At Loyola, I have yet to find a single soul that isn’t willing to help, talk out a theory or completely re-explain a topic when someone couldn’t make it to class. I cannot speak more highly of the student body and the character of the students that choose to go to Loyola. It truly is a unique set of individuals. Final exams can be taxing, but working and struggling through it with your peers, makes it a little bit more manageable. Being able to grab coffee or take a walk around campus with a friend has made all the difference in my law school experience. J

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Geriatric Society

The law is social profession – there is no way around that fact. From the moment you step onto campus at Loyola, you start building your network of friends, professors, mentors, and colleagues. Your network is certainly crucial for client referrals and potential job opportunities but it’s also an important way to help deepen your knowledge of the law and to keep your spirits up. Luckily, the 1L experience is pretty much tailor-made to help you establish your network from day one.

Before the start of the school year, the 1L class is broken up into four sections of about 65 students each. The people in your section inevitably become your first and most important network for your 1L year. On the first day of orientation, it’s only natural to look for people from your section. I happened to strike up conversations with people from my section who, like me, were in their mid to late 20s and had worked before starting law school. Within about an hour of check-in, I had met almost everyone who would become the core members of our study group. Of course, we joked a lot about how “old” we were compared to the students fresh from undergrad and, just like that, “The Geriatric Society” was born!

Generally, our study group added more structure to my daily life. During the semester, we would plan schedule to work on our memos together, go over case briefs, and fill in our outlines. In order to contribute positively to group discussions, I had to create artificial deadlines and steady work schedules to stay on track with my reading, research, writing, outlining, and reviewing. This was especially true before midterms and finals, but the consistent study sessions definitely stabilized and spread the workload. Similarly, it was also helpful to have a group of friends who could remind me about important or interesting events like mandatory 1L meetings and visiting speakers.

Beyond studying, we also just enjoy each other’s company a lot! Some of our extra-curriculars have included happy hours, dinners, game nights, Rams football parties, Universal Studios, and bowling with plans for more game nights and karaoke night.

We even made a group bid at the PILF auction to win a dinner with Prof. Levenson and her husband, Dougie!

Needless to say, we take law school very seriously but we always make sure to loosen up and enjoy the ride.