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. ☺