Friday, December 20, 2019

Keeping Balance

We’re about three months into the Fall semester and finals are right around the corner. The Byrne Trial Team is finished for the term and my day-to-day schedule freed up considerably for a few days. But the short break has already ended and one job leads directly to the next. Now, those of us who decided to take Ethical Lawyering this semester have our mock interviews to prepare for and a sizeable portion of us who also have the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (the “MPRE”) to study for and take in early November. I was also able to start working about fifteen hours every week at Goodkin APC, the real estate litigation firm I worked at over the summer. Work actually helps to put the enormity of “THE LAW” into perspective and allows me to incorporate my classwork in surprisingly relevant ways.

For example, in my Business Associations (“BA”) class we had just learned about something called the Business Judgment Rule, or BJR. To give you a little preview of BA, the BJR is an automatic presumption that directors in corporations have fulfilled their fiduciary duties for ordinary business decisions and can be overcome (generally speaking) by showing that the director acted with bad faith or gross negligence. Sure enough, my very first day back in the office my assignment was to research the applicability of the BJR in California for homeowners’ associations. BA is actually my favorite class this semester and I’m really happy to have the opportunity to practice with a lot of the concepts I’ve learned in the class!

But work and school aren’t everything. Ever since Byrne ended, I’ve also made a deliberate effort to spend more time with my friends and family. While I was prepping for competition, I had zero time to spend on anything else. I was either in law review, class, practice, writing scripts, or asleep. I didn’t see much of my friends or Clau, my wife. Since then, I’ve made sure to have two Korean barbeque nights with the old study group, the Geriatric Society, and I always spend my evenings with Clau – whether we go out to dinner or just stay in. It is nice to stay busy and but it’s never too busy for a few hours a week to spend with the people you love.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

3L Fall

I’m in my final year of law school, and I can’t believe it! Everyone said that 3L would be a breeze and that I’d probably have the most free time compared to any of the previous years. But actually, I probably have one of the most busiest schedules that I’ve had at Loyola this semester! This year I’m really focusing on completing my transactional entertainment concentration, taking all the requisite classes (plus bar classes), and gaining invaluable legal experience in the industry. So what does a typical day for me look like this year?

  • 6:30 am: Wake up, get ready for my day, pack up for school and work, and make my breakfast to-go (Note: this time will 100% get pushed back because I hit snooze at least three times before I finally get up).
  • 7:30 am: Head to Hollywood for my externship. I live in the San Gabriel Valley, which distance-wise isn’t that far from Hollywood. But when you factor in the traffic, construction, and road closures, it’s very easily an hour and a half to two hour commute to Hollywood. Even though it doesn’t take two hours to get to Hollywood every time, I still try to take into consideration that there are factors out of my control, and that if I get there early, I can do some homework, eat my breakfast, or get settled in for the day. Some would say that this crazy long commute isn’t worth it, but for me, getting practical working experience in the entertainment industry is worth it because I’m working toward my goal of becoming an attorney in the entertainment industry. And besides, everyone has to start somewhere, even the attorneys!

  • 9:30 am – 1:30 pm: Externship. This semester, I’m working as a legal intern for NuMedia Studios, which is located on the Jim Henson Studio Lot. This position primarily requires conducting research and writing corresponding memo and assisting the law clerk and attorney with whatever projects they need to complete. My goals for this externship are to improve my legal research and writing skills and gain more familiarity with the two main research providers so that I can be quicker and more efficient with my time.
  • 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm: Commute to Loyola.

  • 2:30 – 3:20 pm: Lunch and prepare for class. During my 1L, I learned that any free time is a good time to be productive. So during this free time between work and classes, I make sure I’m putting it to good use by reviewing notes from the prior class, catching up on reading, or making sure that I’m ready for Trademark class at 3:20 pm.
  • 3:20 – 4:50 pm: Trademark class. This has to be one of my favorite classes this semester because the professor is so engaging, the law is so fascinating, and it is always so interesting to learn what you can do under the law and what not to do from all the crazy things people have tried to pass off in the past. I think the biggest difference between this semester and previous semesters is that I’m finally able to take classes that are interesting to me as opposed to something that you are required to take by the ABA or have to learn for the Bar exam. This class is a step in the direction of completing my transactional entertainment concentration and helps me get to where I want to be in the future.
  • 4:50 – 5:59 pm: Break. I usually spend this break between classes grabbing a coffee or a snack, finishing up the reading, making phone calls, or taking a nap in my car. Like I said before, any free time is a good time to be productive (or at least catch some zzzzz’s!).
  • 6:00 – 8:00pm: Marital Property. This is my final class of the day and of the week! Marital Property is one of those classes that I need to take to graduate and prepare for the Bar. While I’m not necessarily planning on going into family law after I graduate and pass the bar, I’m taking the course to not only prepare for a subject tested on the bar but also learn about how California handles marriages, divorces, and everything in between. The process of getting married or getting divorced is something so common to every day life that we don’t really think too long or much of it, so it’s cool to learn about the processes and the systems that may directly or indirectly affect us or someone we know one day.
  • 8:01 pm – and beyond: Free for the weekend! After Marital Property is done, I usually do an internal end of the week dance because I survived another work week and school week. I’ll usually do one of three things after class: 1) Go home and have dinner, 2) Go to the gym and have dinner, or 3) Go to Disneyland and have dinner. At the end of every week, I always try to make time for myself to do something non-law related and fun.
On the weekends, I usually try to catch up on work and sleep, make sure I’m prepared for the week ahead, and spend any free time with loved ones.

This semester is going by so fast, we’re already half-way through! Stay tuned friends, there’s more to come! Until next time!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Fall Semester Update

Spooky Season is here and by that, I mean that finals are around the corner; can you believe it? —because I certainly cannot. This semester has been super different for me, I went from having only classes to juggling two externships with three classes.

I am currently interning for the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution (LCCR) and for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. At the LCCR, I intake clients and conciliate conflicts (conciliation is mediation by phone). On the other hand, at LAFLA I research about different topics, such as country conditions. For those who are not familiar with immigration law, one of the elements of asylum is a “well-founded fear of prosecution” and by researching about the client’s country conditions we can offer some proof of that well-founded fear of future prosecution.

Putting aside the technical stuff, this semester has been challenging but in different ways. See, I am from Ventura, meaning that I commute from Mondays to Thursdays. As we all know, LA traffic is ABSOLUTELY the worst and since I come from Ventura… well you can imagine. So, unfortunately, I spend about 3-5 hours commuting per day. Thus, some days by the time I get home I am so exhausted that I barely have time to skim some pages. However, as I said before, Law School is not impossible. Some days are harder than others (oh, Tuesdays); but hey, that is part of the ride—right?

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Beauty and the Burnout: Fall Semester Update

Hello again, Jury of Peers! It’s feels crazy to say, but 2019 is winding down already! With the end of the year coming up, I now have over three months of law school under my belt and I have so much to share.

Law school has been better than I expected in many ways, but there were some aspects that I did not anticipate being so hard. The work load is actually less than I expected it would be (but that’s probably because I anticipated biblical levels of work). The days are long and the exhaustion can be real, but it’s all part of the process.

The part of law school that I didn’t expect to struggle with so much is the social aspect. This isn’t to say that I don’t have friends or that people here aren’t friendly because that isn’t true. The social atmosphere of law school is just a lot different than in any other space I’ve been. There is this air of needing to be ready at any moment to prove yourself (cold-call style). In some ways law school feels like a never-ending job fair where you always have to be the turned-up version of yourself rather than just who you are. And believe me, I understand that law is a profession of connections, but having no respite after months of it can be very draining on an introvert like me.

But something I’ve learned through all this is what I truly value. I value my alone time to recharge. I much prefer small meet-ups rather than networking symposiums. I’ve learned to listen to myself for when it’s time to go home.

To end on a high note, here is something I really like about having gone to law school so far: it’s an extremely powerful knowledge base to have. Actually being able to answer questions my non-law-school friends have is an amazing feeling. In a weird way, I can tell it makes them feel safe that their peer can explain legal principles in a way they understand. Being able to help people in even just that tiny way makes it so much more worth it.

See you in the next one,


Kelsey’s Club: Good Related Articles

  • “10 Signs You’re Burning Out - - And What To Do About It” by Lisa M. Gerry []
  • “Networking for Introverts” by Dorie Clark []

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Fall Semester Update

It’s hard to believe that I’m almost halfway through my last year of law school. As exciting as this is, a quick moving semester also means fast approaching finals. Whether you’re a 1L or a 3L, finals season is stressful. In addition to studying, most students are involved in extracurricular activities and many even hold down jobs throughout the school year.

For example, my typical day consists of more than just attending classes. This semester I was able to schedule myself on campus only three times per week while still taking all the classes I wanted to take. This allowed me to continue working at the same firm I worked for over the summer while still being involved on campus during my down time. During my breaks from class, you can usually find me in the ILR office, the Mediation clinic (CMAC), or at a club meeting. Loyola is unique in that it schedules classes so that students can get involved on campus and work while still getting a world class education.

Even though finding a balance between life and school can be difficult for law students, it is key to making sure you’re in the best state of mind to perform both academically and mentally. Whether this means working out, taking naps, or getting together with friends, my motto has been to take an hour or so every day to do something outside of school or work.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Fall Semester Update

I cannot believe we have now been in school for three months. 2L has definitely had a faster pace than last year. 2L gives us more flexibility in our schedule, and for me this means no Friday classes. Even though I am not required to be on campus as much as I was during my 1L, I try to be on campus for no less than eight hours Monday through Friday. I like to keep my schedule and my workload as consistent as possible because this year I am taking part in one of Loyola’s clinics and a practicum. With my clinic, the work fluctuates based on the needs of the clients, so it is important to be efficient with time management with my other non-clinical classes. Because I need to keep availability for any urgent issues that may arise, I would say I probably procrastinate less when it comes to my readings for class and long-term projects. Generally, my typical day consists of arriving around eight am to school, then I have class in the afternoon, and I stay to finish up work for the next day. It is not uncommon for me to take a few more to-dos’ for after dinner that are not as time sensitive. Fridays are a little different because I don’t have class so I will either finish up work for the week or meet with clients.

Since I have been procrastinating less, I have more time to myself, which has been really positive. At the beginning of 2L, I adopted a little kitten from a shelter, Mr. Obi-Wan Catnobi, so he has been my main hobby outside of school. Having a pet in law school can be very challenging because they are an additional responsibility, but I believe the positive outweighs any negative. I find spending time with my cat helps me de-stress. He loves to cuddle up next to me when I am doing homework and loves to climb on my laptop to remind me it is time to avert my eyes off the screen and pay attention to him. Here is a picture for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, December 6, 2019

Fall Semester Update

It’s been three months since the semester began and I feel like my first day of class was just last week. My days go by so fast because I’m either at work or at school every day of the week and often weekends, too. It’s honestly amazing how time flies.

In my third year, I almost feel like I’m keeping up with my hobbies or my work more than I’m keeping up with my schoolwork. I’m hoping I’ll get a handle on this in the next few weeks. It’s a tough balancing act, to be honest. I don’t think enough law students maintain their interests outside of law school, but it can be so difficult to find the time and learn how to be better about time management.

For me, the best way to find balance is to stick to a strict schedule during the week so that I can relax more on the weekends. I never get to sleep in during the week, so I like to make it a point to not be so hard on myself about it on the weekends. Or, for instance, I’ll do my schoolwork on my lunches and after work during the week so that I can do things I enjoy more on the weekends. Time management is honestly key.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A Piece of Advice for Entering Law Students

For me, the most difficult part of 1L was figuring out time management. I am a first-generation law school student and the sheer amount of information and events happening around me during 1L was overwhelming for me. Coming to Loyola, I knew it was important to develop networks and to do well academically. Additionally, I was not sure what type of law I wanted to practice, so I spent a lot of time going to different events and getting to know different areas of the law. So, once 1L started, there was a lot of events, receptions and networking to attend. Looking back on it, I wish I would have been smarter with my time. There were many events that I was not particularly interested in that I nonetheless attended and many of them that were the repetitions of others. If I could give myself some advice, it would be to prioritize my time, and allow myself down-time.

Similarly, I would also tell myself to relax, especially when it comes to the job search. In December, some of my classmates started getting summer offers, before I even had a chance to apply. During the entire month, I let myself stress over the fact that I did not have any offers, despite knowing there was nothing I could do about it. At the end everything worked out fine, however, I probably would have been more effective if I had not been so stressed.

Monday, December 2, 2019

If Only I Knew - A Few Helpful Hints for Your 1L Year

You can’t really know what law school is like until you’re actually in it. I have classmates who grew up knowing they were bound for law school, whose parents went to Loyola, who didn’t know how to outline or write a case brief. It’s okay. The learning curve is steep but most people get the hang of it within the first couple of months. There are however a few things that you can prepare for – things I wish I knew before I started and things that I am still working on. They essentially break down into two categories – study habits and life habits.

The three study habits that I wish I knew before I started were when to outline, when to start using supplement books, and where the good study locations are. First and foremost, an outline is basically your own summary of all the material in the course that you will need to know for the final. My outline was never more than 38 pages long and should probably have been shorter than that. You can find student-made outlines from past year on the St. Thomas More website but you’ll want to write your own.

Most professors will give you advise on when to outline but, generally, you should start your outline after completing the first major section of the course, usually three or four weeks into the semester – for example for Prof. Selmi’s (fantastic) torts class you should start outlining after you complete intentional torts.

Once you start outlining you should also spend an hour every Saturday and Sunday practicing that section from Example and Explanations books (E&Es) and other supplement books. Not all supplements are created equal. Some supplements cover material that is NOT covered in your class so ask your professor if they have any preferences or recommendations. You can burrow a lot of these supplements from the library, scan the entire book with the book scanner in the computer lab, and then upload the scans directly to your personal Google Docs account. Be a good person and share your scans with friends.

Finally, the good study spots are the small study rooms in the library (I like the basement). You usually need to reserve these in advance so beware if someone ever tries to kick you out of a study room. On sunny days, there are a couple great patios on the fourth floor on Burns building where all the faculty offices are located. The views of DTLA are not bad as you can see.

Two life habits that will help you are to manage your time around sleep and make sure to give yourself time for things that make you happy. I’m still struggling with the second of these habits. Try your best to get enough sleep every night so that you are pleasant to be around. At least in 1L year this shouldn’t be too terrible but make sure that you’re not pushing all your reading or studying for Sunday night.

You also need to get outside the library and do something productive that makes you happy. I like to swim, other’s like to go to the gym or walk around Santa Monica. My study group also did game nights and Korean barbeque nights. Keep your spirits up and you’ll do great!