Monday, December 21, 2020

Debunking a Law School Myth

Coming into law school, I had many ideas of what it would be like. (Most of them, I’ll admit, stem from the movie Legally Blonde.) Today, I am here to share two law school myths that have proven not to be true.

First, I assumed that the professors would be strict and unforgiving. (I attribute this entirely to the scene where Elle Woods is kicked out of her class for being unprepared. And while Hollywood movies have proven time and time again not to be an entirely accurate portrayal of reality, I was fully prepared for my professors to be exactly like this. Because better safe than sorry.) Therefore, I believed that you had to go into class knowing everything, and that questions directed at you would feel more like an interrogation.

I have been very relieved to learn that this is not the case. In the courses I have taken, the professors have been encouraging and supportive. While you are prompted to delve deeper than your initial response at times, not being 100 percent certain on your answer is totally fine. Moreover, it’s okay to get things wrong, to not know all of the answers, and seeking guidance is encouraged.

One such experience came two weeks into the semester, when one of my professors sent an email to the entire class. He wrote that he had noticed that many of us were not yet participating during lessons. He wanted to be certain that everyone understood the material, and emphasized that if we weren’t comfortable asking or answering questions during class, we could schedule a private session to ask him any questions.

This second misconception might be more relevant to international students, but, coming from a civil law system myself, I believed that I would have an extremely difficult time at LMU Loyola Law School. I would, essentially, be starting from scratch in an entirely new legal system.

However, as anyone interested in the LLM program might know, all international students are required to take the courses American Legal Research & Writing and Introduction to American Law. These two classes are pretty much crash courses to the American legal system. They have helped me feel prepared, and the professors understand that as international students, many of us are being introduced to an entirely new system. (Granted, I haven’t taken the end of semester exam/submitted the final papers yet, so here’s hoping I don’t end up with terrible grades.)

While I don’t expect my remaining months at Loyola to be a breeze (just because this is, well, law school), I’m very happy that the professors encourage asking for help inside and outside of class, and that LMU Loyola Law School has made the transition for international students as easy as possible. (Perhaps I’ll be able to write in my final blog post that law school being challenging is also a myth, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.)

Friday, December 18, 2020

Law School Myths: DEBUNKED

Hello Jury of Peers!

Welcome back. This week, I’m excited to address a few law school myths to hopefully ease your mind about law school.

Before starting 1L, I remember staying up until the early hours of the day stressing about the many unknowns of law school. Yet, after the first week of classes, my mind quickly eased as I realized law school was not nearly as daunting as I imagined it to be. The law school myths and horror stories I heard through friends, movies, and the internet, differed drastically from my experience. So, without further ado, let’s debunk a few of these myths!

Myth #1: Cold-calling is utterly terrifying and every professor does it.

This is false. Cold-calling may seem scary at first, but after a few times, it gets easier and less stressful. Although I can’t speak for every professor at every law school, from my experience, cold-calling is conducted in a friendly and casual manner. Professors want to help you learn and understand the material. They are not trying to embarrass or chastise you by any means. Do the reading and you’ll be fine.

Myth #2: You must be an extrovert to succeed in law school.

This is DEFINITELY false. As an introvert, please take it from me that you don’t have to be a super outgoing or social person to succeed in law school. My advice is to not compare yourself to others who frequently volunteer in class, or who seem comfortable speaking in front of crowds. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. You were admitted into law school for a reason, and you deserve to be here.

Myth #3: You will have no free time apart from your studies.

This is mostly false. Nobody said law school would be easy, or that you’d have hours of free time each day to do whatever you pleased. Law school is like a job, and you should treat it as such. Nevertheless, time-management is key, so be sure to schedule in additional time for your hobbies. Your mental health will thank you.

From law student to law student, try to not give in to the many myths surrounding law school, or you’ll drive yourself crazy! I hope by debunking a few of these myths, you feel a bit more at ease.

Thanks again for the read, see you in my next post!



Wednesday, December 16, 2020

How I Spent My Summer

After my Spring Contracts midterm I hopped on a plane to spend a week in Hawaii. The sunny beaches and fresh ocean breeze were incredible, and I came back to LA reinvigorated and excited for the rest of the semester.

Within a week, California shut down for Covid-19.

With summer coming, I enrolled in Loyola’s dual J.D./Tax LL.M. program. Students complete half of the LL.M. in a 10 week bonanza of tax courses. We attended online lectures, completed online modules individually, and collaborated remotely on group assignments as the professors experimented with new ways to adapt to the coronavirus reality.

Those classes were the hardest courses I’ve ever taken. It. Was. Rough. But there was something cathartic to the experience as well. Few things bond people like shared adversity, and having this common experience made our small cohort come together and help each other like nothing I’ve seen in law school. The work was challenging but intellectually satisfying, requiring strategic thinking, creative connections, and a willingness to admit you were wrong. Our assignments were so immersive that I barely realized that the weeks were flying by. And then that was that, and the fall semester began.

The summer was pretty good for my personal life. I’m editor-in-chief of Prometheus Dreaming, a literary journal. This year we published our first poetry anthology, based on an international poetry contest we ran. I’m still in shock. I was also fortunate enough to have a few journals accept my poems for upcoming issues, including The American Journal of Poetry, Poetry South, South 85, The Ilanot Review, and others. My poetry collection Love Letters from an Arsonist was also selected as a finalist for a competition.

I also tried to brew my own beer. 0/5 stars. That’s all I have to say about that.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Election 2020 and Completing Your Pro Bono Requirements

As part Loyola’s requirements for graduation, all students have to complete forty (40) hours of pro bono work. Generally, students cannot start accumulating hours until after the first semester of 1L year. Once the first semester exam period is over, 1Ls can submit up to 10 hours of pro bono work. This can include traditional legal work but there are wide variety of activities that students can do to fulfill this requirement. For example, during the spring semester a lot of people volunteer with Young Lawyers to coach high school students on trial advocacy. Many students (myself included) also participate in clinics where they receive on-the-job training and legal instruction while working with underserved people in the community. Today I wanted to talk about my experience as a poll worker in the 2020 election.

Election work is a relatively new way that students can earn pro bono hours. I volunteered as an election observer in 2018. It was a fun experience but, as a 1L in my first semester, I could not claim those hours as part of my graduation requirement. However, based on my conversations with 1Ls this year, it sounds like that restriction may have changed.

This year, I volunteered as a poll worker at the Pasadena Convention Center. The training was about seven hours long (two hours of online training plus five hours of in-person training) and the actual election day shift is about 15 hours long so it’s a great way to complete a significant number of hours while learning about the local election process. The training is long but not very difficult and I appreciated the time spent going over various scenarios like if a person isn’t registered or if their registration information is incorrect.

Election day itself was fantastic. This pandemic has left me a little starved for real human interaction so I was ecstatic to go out and work with everyone and help voters. I was especially happy to work with two other Loyola Law students, Kim Protzel and Simone Bishara (pictured below). Also, I learned from Simone, a first semester 1L, that the administration was allowing her and other 1Ls to claim up to 10 hours of election work toward their pro bono requirement!

We spent pretty much the entire day cleaning the voting machines and showing people how to “cast” their ballot after they had made their selections. One interesting moment was when I had to chase after a woman who had accidentally walked out of the voting center with her ballot before casting it. If you have a chance to be an election worker, do it! It is a long day but it is absolutely worth it.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Summer 2020 – Quarantine Edition


Hello again, Jury of Peers!

I know that I am not special when I say that coronavirus stole my summer. Going into 1L, I had no idea what I thought summering as a law student would look like, but I can say with certainty that I did not expect this. Warning, what I’m about to say next might be highly controversial but here it goes: I did not work my 1L summer.

Severing spring semester right when I was starting to look for jobs created a conundrum for me. I moved back to Las Vegas (my hometown) in March and was not sure if summer jobs were a) happening and b) fully remote. I thought that there may be some solidification by mid-April and I could start applying for jobs I could do remotely from Las Vegas, however, there was no such luck. By the time there were actual remote options, it was June and I never heard back from anywhere I applied.

Even though I ended up not getting a job over 1L summer, I knew there were still lots of ways I could add skills to my proverbial toolbelt over summer. Loyola offered National Lawyers Guild Training for observing protests and training to become a legal observer. I took that class and enticed some friends to take the subsequent trainings that were offered.

I also completed my Write-On Competition for Law Review (don’t worry about this yet) and was invited to join Loyola’s International and Comparative Law Review! Needless to say, I’m excited about that experience. Legal Writing was the subject I felt shakiest with after 1L, so I’m happy to get the opportunity to just see more legal writing throughout this process.

And, just to add on some life skills, I started learning French and brushing up on my Spanish. I also spent a lot of time getting to be creative and educating myself on the important social issues, like Black Lives Matter, that arose and continue to impact my decisions moving forward.

I know this was a shorter post than you’ll usually get from me, but my summer was uneventful in an effort to stay safe and stay sane. But don’t worry, I’ll be back to my usual verbosity in my following posts!

See you in the next one,


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

How I Spent My Summer

There are two sides to every story. The truth and an interpretation. This past summer I got to see the dynamics of how a criminal investigation and trial preparation are performed. Interning for the Hardcore Gang Unit for the LADA’s Office, I received my first real case. A homicide arising from a botched narcotics sale. I diligently reviewed the physical evidence, reports, and witness testimony. It became clear that an ambiguity existed. What was the truth? The evidence pointed to one conclusion, but the witness testimony pointed to another. In between? A million possibilities for reasonable doubt. I pondered questions: Motive? Self-defense? Gang influenced? The questions piled on. The DA was in pursuit of the truth but the truth seemed ever elusive. 

Concurrently while interning with the DA, I was serving on an ambulance in San Bernardino as an EMT. In deliberating the case and the facts, I recalled emergencies I had responded to involving assaultive crimes. While not the job of EMS to investigate the crime scene as de facto members of CSI, we have to find out how an injury happened to guide treatment. This analysis usually involves filling in the blanks of an incident.

A call stuck out to me; a mother, attacked by her son. From our investigation, we failed to find any weapons but we inferred that she was attacked with a knife. How did we know? Her face was sliced in two and she had numerous puncture wounds on her neck. In our mind the scene was clear, the son had attacked his mother over material possessions, yet how would that play out in court? The defense would surely bring alternative narratives. There were a million unknowns but experiencing the scene while it was active brought a unique perspective which cannot be explained.

Monday, December 7, 2020

How I Spent My Summer

Summer 2020 was drastically different from what I had pictured. As an international LLM student, I had imagined myself arriving in LA a month before classes began and becoming acquainted with the city. 

I had handed in my letter of resignation at work in June, as I planned on leaving for LA in July. The day after I handed in my notice, I received word that the Fall semester would be fully online. After a quick pep talk, I asked if I could stay for an extra month – just until classes at Loyola began. Luckily, my employer said yes.

So, instead of enjoying the LA weather, visiting the beach, and eating all the Cheesecake Factory that I physically could, I spent my summer working from home. (I’ve only been to the Cheesecake Factory once, back in 2014 when I visited the US.  Next time, I plan on somehow trying everything on the menu.) 

Working from the comfort of my own living room was a new experience. By far the most pleasant part, however, was the lack of commute. Gone was the hour-long train ride each way. The extra hour of sleep each morning was delightful.

Many video calls were had with friends, where we played Skribbl so often that many of us memorized the words and could, simply by counting the number of letters, wager an accurate guess.

Was my summer what I had initially pictured? No, but I have embraced it. So much is going on in the world at the moment, lots of it scary, and I can only be grateful for everything that I do have. I do hope to one day step foot on campus, but, if this summer has taught me anything, it is to remain flexible and thankful.

Friday, December 4, 2020

How I Spent My Summer

A strange title for a blog written in 2020, isn’t it?

Here’s the elephant in the room: 2020 has not been ideal (for the sake of peace, The Virus shall remain unnamed). We now live in what feels like a constant state of uncertainty, where getting to plan even a few weeks ahead feels like a privilege. Actually, we live in a world where any sort of security (income, housing, food, health, life , etc.) is an immense privilege . If 2020’s biggest impact on your life was derailed or delayed plans, like mine was, I would say there’s a little something to be grateful for. So reflecting on my summer and realizing that it was probably one of the best I’ve ever spent is not just surprising, but a privilege that I do not take for granted.

In the midst of a broken relationship, new family tensions and my official commitment to
a legal career, I felt lost on a personal level. Something about the end-of-the-world vibes of
2020, however, made my other fears, anxieties and concerns pale in comparison. On the
occasions when I got to be in the physical presence of people, I became attuned to how warm
and alive their energies felt, and how I hadn’t realized it before it became a rare commodity. I
became more comfortable with showing love and how I really felt because how fleeting everything is in life started to feel awfully tangible to me. To be honest, I came out on the other side of summer with a certain peace and perspective that I can’t say I had before.

As an avid overthinker and overplanner, it was shocking to learn that (despite the masks)
it was a little easier to breathe while living in the moment like that. That might sound like a lot of cliche jargon and the majority of us might be struggling too much with the very real life or death circumstances that we face every day to feel anything like appreciation. But I would just say that reflecting on how we spent our summer, as opposed to how we were supposed to or how we could have, might not hurt. A lot of things were upsetting this summer, so why not spend a little time on what wasn’t?

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

How I Spent My Summer

The summer before my first year of law school, I tried my best to relax, enjoy my final months of freedom, and mentally prepare for the next three years. Every online law school forum, or incoming law student blog, always stressed the importance of relaxation during the summer before 1L. And it makes sense- you want to enter law school with a cool and calm mind, ready to absorb any material the professors may throw at you. But for me, relaxation didn’t mean lounging in the sun or binge watching Netflix. To fully relax, I first needed to plan accordingly for the upcoming year. That meant I needed to arrange my housing, develop a budget for the year, purchase or rent my textbooks, and stay in touch with Loyola for news and updates. Law school is already an extremely overwhelming transition, so I found peace by efficiently preparing in the weeks and months leading up to the first day of classes. Although mapping out my first year of law school was helpful, I tried to not let it consume me. There’s a reason why the blogs and online forums stressed the importance of relaxation- because after I was finished preparing for school, I NEEDED a break. In the final weeks before moving to Los Angeles, I spent time doing the things I love most. I road-tripped down Highway 1, hiked through the Sierra Nevada mountains, baked cookies with my mom, and stayed up until dawn reading my favorite novel. Now, with about a month of law school under my belt, and with little time to do the things I enjoy, I’m very grateful for those relaxing moments I experienced this summer.

Monday, November 30, 2020


Hi everyone! I’m Xuejun, an LLM student at Loyola, and I’m very happy to be a blogger on the Jury of Peers this year! Since you know absolutely nothing about me, here’s a short recap on some events that have led me to where I am now.

I was born in China but moved to the Netherlands when I was a year old. I grew up in a city thirty minutes away from Amsterdam, and was raised in an international environment. Because of this, I chose to study International and European Law at the University of Groningen after graduating from high school (although I will admit that the prospect of never having to take another maths class also played a part in this decision).

After wrapping up five great years in Groningen (where I did end up taking a finance class, but luckily the maths was relatively simple), I began to work at a project development company.

In September 2019, I was able to attend the annual AIJA Congress (which was truly an excellent experience brought about by a great association). While there, I met lawyers from all around the world, all of whom were extremely passionate about their work in their various legal fields. It was also during the Congress that I met professors from Loyola and decided that Loyola was the place I needed to be.

Outside of law school, I like to read, watch the same four shows on Netflix over and over again, and play Animal Crossing (I’ve logged 250 hours on the game so far, and honestly need to stop, especially because my island legitimately looks a pile of trash even after all the time I’ve sunk into it).

I am now almost three months into my LLM without ever stepping foot on campus (or even on American soil). Despite this school year being online, there have been no small number of events and activities to virtually attend. My journey at Loyola has just begun, and being able to blog on the Jury of Peers is definitely a highlight. I hope you’ll join me as I make my way through law school during this “unprecedented” year!

Friday, November 27, 2020

A Whole New Ballgame

For those who don’t know me, my name is Alex Verdegem and this will be my third year writing for the Loyola Jury of Peers blog. As I’m writing, we are about two and half months into the new school year with classes done completely online. Obviously, things have changed A LOT both in and out of the classroom.

Over the past summer, I returned to Goodkin APC, a firm in Century City that specializes in real estate litigation. The building was closed to tenants due to restrictions but we could still get in if necessary. I along with some of the attorneys and staff would occasionally go in to work but most of our work had to be done remotely. In some ways it was nice to stay off the roads and avoid the hour-long commute to the Westside. In a lot of other ways, it was strange not to see everyone for weeks at a time and not go through the normal routine of a day in the office, but we made it work. Believe it or not, I haven’t noticed a huge downturn in legal work, though the nature of the work has certainly changed.

Every day I would still get regular assignments from the attorneys. We obviously weren’t doing trial prep but there were still plenty of ongoing proceedings with discovery to demurrers to complete. There’s also no end of demand letters to tenants and landlord to draft related to the pandemic and rent negotiations. One change I noticed from last year was the increased importance of local ordinances and county rules. In law school the instruction is primarily on federal and state statutes, regulatory rules and, of course, court decisions. It was a new experience spending so much time following the meeting schedule for local city councils and the resulting changes in city ordinances.

The school year has brought a lot of changes and adjustments as well. This semester, I’m taking corporate law classes, a landlord/tenant clinic and I’m the Senior Production Editor for the International & Comparative Law Review. Loyola moved to a new platform for better remote learning (Brightspace, if you’re interested) and the workload has increased from last year, but the biggest changes have come to socialization.

I still fully believe the law is an inherently social profession, so the pandemic has forced some interesting adjustments. I’m President of the Wine & Spirits Law Society this year and I’ve made it my goal to not only create a sustainable, well-funded student organization, but also create a space where people can still have fun, interesting, and informative events even through Zoom. So far, we’ve had a great substantive event on social equity and black entrepreneurship in brewing and we have a guided sake tasting scheduled for next week. Life has absolutely changed but all of us, including the school, are doing what we can keep the year fun and as normal as possible.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


Hi, all!

My name is David van den Berg, and I’m an old-school Floridian. I grew up near Orlando, but I spent a lot of time growing up in the swamp. Biggest gator I’ve ever seen was over 14 feet. Smallest? Maybe 6 inches, and it sat on my shoulder. Not making this up.

I went to Rollins College for undergrad, majoring in both Anthropology and Religious Studies, with a minor in Archaeology. After graduating, I backpacked around Europe for a few months before coming to Los Angeles to work as an actor.

There was a lot that I loved about working as an actor. I did shoots for Nissan and Salesforce. I shot a casino commercial (shoutout to the Santa Ana Star) where my ‘work’ was just lounging by a pool. Unreal. I even had a commercial air in the NBA finals.

But as much as I loved acting, there was so much more to it that left me feeling unfulfilled. So I looked around, evaluated my choices, and decided on Loyola.

I haven’t looked back.

There’s a lot that I’m excited to share with you about my experiences here, but I’ll get to that later.

I still love to travel, especially to places to enjoy the natural beauty. A few of my recent(ish) trips include: Maui, the Dry Tortugas, the Keys, Captiva Island, Las Vegas, and Carmel. I’ve been itching to go to Iceland, but Covid squashed that idea.

I’ve also maintained my creative outlet. I am Editor-in-Chief of Prometheus Dreaming, a literary journal. I write as well. This past semester, my poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in the American Journal of Poetry, Waxing and Waning, The Ilanot Review, South85 Journal, and Poetry South. Check them out!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Pleasure To Make Your Acquaintance

“I have an irrepressible desire to live till I can be assured that the world is a little better for my having lived in it.” – Abraham Lincoln

Upon my first hearing of this remarkable quote I immediately questioned my existence. What was I doing to better the world? How could I? These questions and the million more that spun in my mind, led me to adopt Lincoln’s incredible quote as a mantra for me to live by. Yet, how could I live up to the ideals of Lincoln? There are millions of people just in the Los Angeles area, how am I to make a difference? I started to ponder this question heavily, and it had me reflect on my past.

I was fortunate to complete my bachelor’s in economics at Cal Poly Pomona. This is where I gained an appreciation for the law. I had the opportunity to be a part of Cal Poly’s Model United Nations team, where I was tasked with representing Poland in New York. It was here that I saw a troublesome trend, I saw the issues plaguing the world outside of the academic environment, and I became determined to try my best to help the people of the world who are oppressed. I wanted to fight for human rights. But how?

I love hiking, being out in nature allows me to clear my head and destress. On my trips to the local mountains in LA, I thought about the future in depth. Both law and medicine allow me to help the people of the world. Which to pick? I chose both.

I received my EMT license in an effort to help people more directly, when they are having an emergency. Where seconds really matter. I chose work in San Bernardino, one of the most dangerous cities in the United States, not because it is where the most adrenaline pumping calls were, but rather because it is a city which needs resources and good providers. Concurrently, during my first year of law school I was drawn into criminal law. The dynamics were similar to working in the field. This thought was confirmed when I interned with the LA District Attorney’s Office. I saw the innerworkings of criminal litigation and noticed that the DA is able to save lives through prevention in the investigative elements the attorneys conduct. This experience drew me closer to my goal.

Friday, November 20, 2020


Hello Jury of Peers!!

I am so excited to be back for my second year as a blogger! I have loved my experience at Loyola Law School and am ready to share my journey as a 2L. Before we get into the nitty gritty of law school life, I’d like to introduce myself to you so that you get a better idea of who I am, both as a law student and a blogger!

Before Law School

I am from Las Vegas, Nevada. You’d be surprised how many times I’m asked this but no, I don’t live in a hotel. Currently I am currently back at home with my parents and younger sister. I went to UC Irvine for undergrad (Zot! Zot!) and was a double major in Business and Drama.

I also ran an improv team, a group still close to my heart, and was a producer of an on-campus comedy festival. I love to plan and host events, and create spaces for people have to have a good time in!

Law School

Like I said, I’m a 2L student in the Day Division; I’m interested in Entertainment Law and Civil Litigation; and I’m really involved “on” campus! I am part of student government (Day Student Bar Association), a mentor of Women’s Law Association, a student ambassador, and a staffer on International and Comparative Law Review.

Before you think “whoa that seems like a lot of stuff, should I be that involved?!” – just know this: it’s not as much as it seems and I promise I will address juggling this all in a future post!

I’m a first-generation law student and it definitely took my entire 1L year to get into the groove of law school but now I feel much more in tune with the expectations and the strategies for success.

Overall, I really like law school. It’s the most academically challenged I have ever been but that’s honestly what I enjoy about it. Huddling together with my friends in a freezing cold study room trying to go through Professor Ides’ practice problems was actually … fun.



Outside Law School

Outside of law school, I love to be creative. I am a singer, songwriter, comedic improvisor, and podcast host in my spare time, of which there is admittedly very little. Finding time for the things that make me happy is truly the only way to stay sane in law school. I find that strengthening your creative muscles can help you in law school as well.

I’m also a huge foodie. I love to make and eat different foods even though my tongue is extremely averse to spicy food. I love to bake for my friends, but for right now, it’s just my family and I eating a lot of baked goods.

I can’t wait to keep sharing my 2L year with you and share all the great stories still to come!

See you in the next one,


Wednesday, November 18, 2020


Hello Jury of Peers!

My name is Leilee and I’m a 1L. I’m in section D2 which means my classes start at 8 AM, which also means, in a raging pandemic and the world of Zoom, I’m out of bed around 7:58. But I swear before law school and the pandemic, I would wake up a lot of days around 5 to have proper time to spend on my phone in bed, have a full breakfast, study and still make it to campus late (yes, you read that right). I went to the University of San Diego for my undergraduate, where I studied English literature with an emphasis in creative writing (I’ve been writing my whole life and I can safely say it is my favorite thing to do). After that, I took a year off to go back to Tehran, Iran, where I was born and raised.

I’d have to say out of all the things that someone can do prior to deciding on law school, going back home to a country you haven’t ever lived in as an independent adult (in the midst of extreme political and cultural unrest) is probably on my personal list of top 5 stressful things to do. But it’s also definitely on my top 3 best things I’ve ever done list and it’s not number 2 or 3.

Before going back home, I felt like I had to choose between my interests and goals. While in Tehran, I worked in a variety of fields (as someone who is simultaneously interested in law, literature, writing, and education, this was especially nice) and by the time I’d submitted all of my law school applications, I felt certain about law school and about the fact that I wanted to go into international law, a field that I’m hoping will allow me to work and live internationally.

I’m sure law school will still change a lot of my future goals and plans. I’m a firm believer in living in a constant state of growth, even though I’m also terrified of doubts and change. But at the end of the day, I’m happy to experience it all and I look forward to sharing it, as well.

Monday, November 16, 2020


Hello Jury of Peers!

First and foremost, welcome to my page on Jury of Peers. I’m so excited to write about the ins and outs of law school here at Loyola Law, and give you the inside scoop of what it’s really like to be a law student. I can’t wait to share this experience with you!

Now, a little bit about me. 

My name is Madison Balasek and I’m from Chico, CA. I graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and English. I’m forever grateful for my time at UCSB, for it molded me into the person I am today, and more importantly, sparked my interest in law. Go Gauchos!

After college, I took a year off to mentally prepare for law school, which was much needed. During my gap year, I moved back home to Chico to be close to family, worked part-time at a local online company, and went on several road trips throughout the west coast. I absolutely love traveling, and I hope to one day visit New York City and Sydney, Australia. I also spent time reading as many books as possible, another hobby of mine. Fun fact- I collect classic literature and love browsing used-book stores for vintage copies of my favorite novels.

In addition to traveling and reading, I’m also very passionate about the environment. Growing up in California, I’ve witnessed first-hand the devastation this beautiful state endures each year, as wildfires continue to tear through forests, national parks, and even whole cities. I fear for the future of California, as well as our precious planet. That’s why I’m more than thrilled to be pursuing Environmental Law, for one day I hope to channel my love for this planet to help make our society function in a cleaner and more sustainable way.

Although my law school journey is just beginning, I feel very hopeful for these next three years here at Loyola. I look forward to learning and growing, and hopefully inspiring others to do the same.

Thanks for the read, I’ll see you in the next post!


Monday, June 22, 2020

What Does Summer Look Like.

Hello again, Jury of Peers! I am in disbelief that this is my last post as a 1L. They tell you that three years goes by fast, but wow. I feel like I just got back from winter break and suddenly spring is winding down.

If I was writing this post a month ago, my plans for summer would be very different. With all the change that’s been happening the past few weeks, summer is a bit tenuous for most of classmates and myself. Many of my classmates have had their internships cancelled and some don’t know if they still have their placement. As for me, I don’t have an internship lined up as of now. I started looking right after my midterm at the beginning of March but unfortunately that’s when things started to get messy.

Candidly, I would love to not work over the summer. 1L really took it out of me and I’d love some time off to recharge since I’ve heard 2L is vastly more exciting (and therefore exhausting). But I also know that the only way to hone the skills I learned in 1L is to keep practicing, so I’m still keeping my eye out for postings that interest me.

Will I end up with anything? Frankly, I don’t know. As of now, I can’t tell you what the world is going to look like mid-May after finals, no one can. But, like everyone right now, I’m taking it day by day and staying hopeful an opportunity will come to fruition for me.

Even if I end up not having a summer internship, I am looking into doing something during Fall semester next year (hopefully we’ll be back to normal by then) and I know that will be a wonderful experience.

Since this is my last post for the year, I’d like to thank everyone who kept up with my 1L adventure. I hope that I could ease some of your fears and get you excited about what’s to come in your future.

Signing off for spring 2020,


Kelsey’s Corner: Summer Checklist
  • Stay healthy (and inside if the quarantine is still happening when this goes up)
  • Tell the people you love that you love them
  • Start a new project or new hobby
  • Learn a few new recipes

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

My Last Post Ever: Finding Certainty in a Time of Uncertainty

As you can probably tell from the title, this is my last post EVER for the Jury of Peers blog. I’m a 3L so I’ll be officially done with law school after my final exams. To be honest, it took me a while to write this because, especially now in the time we’re living in, there are so many thoughts and feelings to express and circumstances to come to terms with. Also, I say this all the time, but it’s truly crazy how fast time has flown! So let’s get started!


I’ve been looking forward to graduation ever since I participated in Loyola’s Summer Institute back in July 2017 (and maybe even before then) because not only was it a cool thing to say that you graduated from law school BUT it felt like such an honor to be able to graduate from such a reputable and well-regarded school with your peers, some or most of whom have become your lifelong friends and move forward with the next step in your life. Also, graduation is something that I’m sure every law student looks forward to after enduring three (if you’re a day student) or four (if you’re an evening student) years of case reading and briefing, cold-calling, doing mock negotiations or mediations, studying, researching, writing, etc. Graduation was that final step of crossing the threshold and that momentous event that we have all been looking for.

But in light of everything going on with the pandemic and social distancing, our graduation has unfortunately and fortunately been postponed. It’s unfortunate because as aforementioned, it’s something that we’ve been looking forward to for years. But it’s also extremely fortunate because we still “graduate” and complete law school AND because we still get to have an in-person graduation on the Westchester campus at a later time when it’s safe for us to do so and a virtual celebration in the immediate future. Despite the delay, it’s exciting to know that we will still have the opportunity to meet with our peers again and celebrate our accomplishments together.

The Bar (Cue the Scary Music)

In addition to planning for graduation, I have been planning to take the bar this July. However, because of everything going on, the July bar is still up in the air. California hasn’t made the decision as to whether it will still occur as planned, and such a decision likely won’t be made until May. Regardless of whether it occurs in July or it’s postponed until the fall, I’ll take the time after the school year ends to start preparing for the bar.

The Next Step

As to the next step, what really is the “next” step? In a time of uncertainty, the only certainties are our friends, families, and loved ones. I don’t know exactly what the “next” step is, but when it comes, I will be ready and take it one day at a time.

The End for Now

And now we’ve reached the end. I just want to say thank you to my family, friends, and loved ones who supported, encouraged, and cheered me on through law school. Thank you also to Kelly for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the Jury of Peers and share my journey at Loyola with you all. And thank you to you the reader for making it this far. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been able to study at Loyola, obtain my degree here, and become a party of their community.

Be well, be safe, and hold your loved ones close. This is the end for now until our paths cross again.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Summer 2020

As of right now, I’m not really sure what my summer is going to look like! I definitely will be staying in Los Angeles and have no plans to extern. I might take some summer classes, as there are so many good ones being offered. However, I might just choose to work for the summer and wait out until my fourth year begins because I do not need any additional units to graduate. It all depends on what is feasible as summer nears.

With everything that’s happening with COVID19 right now, it’s difficult to make any sort of long term plans (or even like a few months into the future), so I’m playing it by ear. Loyola has helped a lot throughout this difficult time and has been fairly accommodating for students as courses are transitioned online. I’m hoping that in the coming weeks, we will begin to get some sense of normalcy back during this tumultuous time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Summer 2020 And Practicing Law Remotely

The past semester has been a whirlwind of activity due to recent global events. Starting in March, classes went online and were conducted via Zoom, all on-campus events were naturally cancelled and finals had to shift to online take-home exams. It’s been a real challenge for everyone – student and professors alike. We’re all trying to figure out the new landscape of the world right now but we’re also adapting, slowly but surely.

One thing that hasn’t changed though is the ever-present hunt for a summer job. Plenty of students have understandably been concerned about the job market but it seems like most people are set. From my own perspective, the courts may be closed for most civil cases but it really doesn’t seem like the amount of legal work has gone down. In fact, with all the financial uncertainty and confusion, I know for a fact that some firms are busier than ever. I was lucky enough to be offered a return position at the firm I worked at last summer, Goodkin APC. The attorneys there specialize in real estate litigation, which is exactly the niche area that I want to be in. At this point, I really don’t know what the summer has in store, but considering the entire legal field is operating under the same unusual conditions, it’s going to be useful, if not usual, experience navigating these waters.

That said, during times like these, it was still great to have the support of Career Development to help me explore all the options out there. In addition to the almost daily emails with general job leads, I also received several personal emails that my own Career Development Counselor, Ms. Katrina Denny, thought fit my background and experience. For example, with my recent experience on Byrne, she suggested several civil litigation firms that would go well will my mock trial experience. She’s been a tremendous support, helping me craft my resume to help make me stand out. She’s also always full of suggestions on job leads whenever I ask. Just remember, your Career Development Counselor is one your best friends!

Monday, June 8, 2020

My Summer Plans

While I am excited to graduate this year, the sentiment is bittersweet. Graduating from law school feels like the culmination of a big chapter of my life. For years, when people asked me what I did for work, I would respond with something along the lines of “I’m a ____ year student at ______ school.” This would usually be followed by some kind of praise or congratulations and well wishes. Come May, I will no longer be able to call myself a student, take advantages of those coveted student discounts, or be a full-time learner.

Even though I will have completed all my classes as of May 17, I cannot call myself a lawyer quite yet; enter the California Bar Exam. After extensively researching different bar preparation courses, I decided to sign up for Themis back in November. I had used the company for my MPRE preparation and felt that their teaching style aligned with how I learned best. After paying for the course, I didn’t really think about it until a few weeks back when I received my Bar preparation materials. Only then did it suddenly become real: in less than 6 months I would be taking one of the most important exams of my life.

Although I am nervous, I find comfort in knowing what a great foundation I have created during my time at Loyola. From the core 1L courses such as Contracts and Criminal Law to the Fundamentals of Bar Writing class I took with Professor Bakhshian last semester, Loyola provides students with all the tools necessary to succeed on the Bar Exam. The school’s dedication to turning law students into great attorneys is reflected in its impressive Bar passage rate. While the exam is daunting and preparation is bound to be intense, I am ready and eager to take this next step in my legal career.

Friday, June 5, 2020

For Floyd

Pressed into the ground, George Floyd inhaled gravel as he gasped, “I can’t breathe.” The

knee dug deeper into his neck, silencing him. His eyes rolled back as he whimpered “mama.”

Two other officers pin down his back and legs. Suddenly, Floyd’s body becomes limp and

unresponsive. The officer continues to press his knee into his neck for 2 minutes and 53 seconds.

George Floyd died that day.

He died for an alleged $20 of counterfeit money used at a deli. This only reinforces the

notion that death is cheap even if life is (or should be) priceless.

Now, symphonies of sirens and shattered glass blend together to create one annihilating

roar. Floyd’s death is not an isolated event. Since Jan. 1, 2015, 1,252 black people have been shot

and killed by police, according to The Washington Post's database tracking police shootings; that

doesn't even include those who died in police custody or were killed using other methods.

After each incident, there are protests and upheaval until it passes. Black voices fall on

deaf ears. The news becomes old. Justice is not brought. And then another similar incident occurs

again. And the vicious cycle repeats itself.

Here I am: ashamed, disgusted, and hurt. While I have not experienced oppression or

been subjected to torture, the matter hits close to home. My grandfather was a peaceful protester

in Iran. He went to jail twice for standing up for humanity— for believing in basic human rights,

for embracing equality. In prison, he was lashed, beaten, and placed in solitary confinement.

Freedom is not free.

The language that is used surrounding these brutal deaths depicts systematic racism. We

call cops who murder “bad apples.”Here’s the thing: the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Things need to change. It is shockingly difficult to teach humanity how to be human. No

child should be shot, leaving a puddle of blood in their shadows. They were built for larger

legacies. When Trayvon Martin was killed, Obama stated, “Trayvon Martin could have been


We have fostered and facilitated a world that has repeatedly sanctioned barbarism. As a

law student, I am disappointed in the shortcomings of our justice system. All four men who were

involved in the murder of Floyd should be charged. Officer Chauvin should be charged with

FIRST degree murder (not third). If pressing your knee into someone’s neck while listening to

his cries and watching the life leave his eyes for 9 minutes is not premeditation, then I don’t

know what is. There was intent, preparation, and planning. In the legal world, premeditation has

no time constraints, it can be formed in an instant. I would say that nine minutes of slowly killing

someone with bare hands meets the requisite level of premeditation. The other three cops who

had the authority and ability to intervene are accomplices. Their silence made them complicit.

These people must be charged and more importantly, convicted accordingly.

And yes, not all cops are bad. Most are heroic. But officers who use excessive force are

not “bad apples,” they are murderers. Black men are not thugs, they are human. Protesters are not

savage vigilantes, they are mothers and fathers who might lose their kids. I believe in the power

of words, the ability for language to shape our culture and perception. This narrative needs to

change. The language that we choose to employ can render a completely different internalization

of our society. We must change this rhetoric to reflect respect, equality, and strength.

Labeling a murderer as a bad apple in a bunch justifies acts of racism. It makes it seem

normal. Oh, it’s just another bad apple that killed someone. Bad apples are slightly sour,

distasteful. They’re fruit. Most importantly, we tolerate bad apples. Belittling lives as collateral

damage is unacceptable. Black lives matter. Every life—black, white, and everything in between

— matters.

Our president makes this rhetoric worse. When President Trump says something

demeaning against protesters, he gives a sense of exclusivity to the nation. Trump’s words

privilege one and impoverish another. He throws gasoline at the flames of division engulfing our

country. Instead of changing the rhetoric, Trump transforms this crisis into a spectacle by waving

a bible (yet another divisive device) for a photo op.

The truth is, we all bleed red. We all jog through our neighborhoods. We all cry out for

our mom when in pain. We must dismantle the racial constructions that divide our nation.

A knee will never be pressed into MY neck. A jog will never land me a gunshot wound. A

late night candy run will never draw suspicion. I will never be shot by an officer much less afraid

of one.

Furthermore, unlike my grandfather, I will never be subjected to an 8-by-8 cell for

asserting my beliefs. I will never have a conversation with my children about how to approach

officers and how to tread lightly around people who lead paths of ignorance. I write this because

I CAN BREATHE. I support you. I stand with you, by you, behind you. I don’t wish to

understand your plight, I wish that there was nothing for me to misunderstand.

With Love,

Arianna Allen

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Bonus of Pro Bono

I completed Loyola’s pro bono requirement working as a clinical student for Loyola’s Project for the Innocent during my 2L. It was such a unique hands-on experience that allowed me to work on actual cases of individuals who were asserting that they had been wrongfully convicted.

Each student was assigned two cases – one belonging to an existing client and the other belonging to a prospective client requesting our clinic’s services. With regards to the former, our assignment was to pick up where the previous student left off and establishing a working relationship with our client via letters and prison visits. With regards to the latter, our task was to sort through all the information the client sent over, pour over all the court transcripts, and communicate with the client to identify if there was a case that could be built and/or if the clinic could accept the case. The clinic’s resources are limited, and so the clinic supervisors relied on us students to make sure the cases were viable (meaning there was a strong possibility that there was a flaw in the case and as a result a wrongful conviction). Nonetheless, it was an eye-opening experience learning about the different issues that are prevalent in the criminal justice system.

Finally, pro bono work, although required by Loyola for graduation, has the added benefit of teaching us the importance of using our platform, skills, and knowledge to help others in any way we can. It reminds us that even as lawyers, there are opportunities and ways for us to give back to the community.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Pro Bono

Hello again, Jury of Peers! This week we are tackling Pro-Bono Requirements and let me tell you, helping the community is even more important now than ever. Amidst the COVID-19 craziness, law school still marches on. And part of that march is to complete 40 hours of pro-bono work.

As a 1L I couldn’t start doing any pro-bono hours until spring semester. 1L’s can complete up to 10 of our 40 hours in spring if we choose. There are lots of ways to fulfill this requirement, but since most are listed on the LLS website, I thought I’d share some of the ways that you can get hours that you won’t necessarily find there.

One fun way to get pro-bono hours is through being a juror for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) or helping with research at the Federal Pro Se Clinic. Another way is to be a mentor for the Young Lawyers Mentor Program. Without bogging this post down, these are just some of the ways that LLS students can give back to the community and log hours.

I was really interested in being a mentor, however, I decided to wait until next year to apply because I wanted to focus in on finishing 1L strong. With our drastically changed experience this spring, I’m glad I can give all my attention to my classes and maintain some sort of control over life in this uncertain time.

As a note, Loyola not only gives back to the community but it also gives back to their students. During the last few weeks when everything was shutting down, classes were moving online, and society was drastically changing its everyday operation, LLS was constantly looking out for its student body. The faculty and administration are doing everything they can to help students succeed despite this tumultuous time such as online access to Bluebook, Zoom conferences with our mental health specialist, Dean Waterstone inviting emails from students voicing concerns, and providing a food pantry for those who are struggling.

As an institution, LLS is focused on giving back not only in times of widespread hardship and desperation, but all the time. Because for some, this feeling is a constant. Helping our community is so vital and I, for one, am excited to jump into doing more for others through my pro-bono hours in the fall. That gives me something to be hopeful for.

Stay healthy. Stay safe. Stay home.

See you in the next one,


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

All ABout the Pro Bonos

Every student at Loyola has to complete 40 hours of pro bono hours in order to graduate. There are a few restrictions on requirements that a job has to meet to qualify as “pro bono.” But it’s generally pretty easy to get those hours done in short order. Last I checked, I have about 37 hours done with one more year to go. With the presidential elections coming up and several on-campus opportunities, I plan to do much more than 40 by the time graduation comes around.

You can’t actually start accruing hours until after you complete your first semester. Even then you can only get credit for 10 hours total during your 1L year. I started volunteered at a landlord and tenant law firm immediately after my first semester finals were done. During the 2 weeks that I worked there over the winter break and amassed 80 hours of experience. I knew I could only claim 10 hours but it just goes to show how incredibly quickly you can meet that 40-hour requirement.

This last year, as I member of the Byrne Trial Advocacy I also got to volunteer as a bailiff at the National Civil Trail Competition. Basically, we act as timers and event coordinator and also hosts for competitors and visiting judges at one of the most prestigious trial advocacy events in the country. The event itself is tons of fun! You get to watch some really great teams go against one another. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see how different advocates strategize and also learn about different teams’ advocacy styles. The best part though is Saturday night when all the Byrne bailiffs go out to mingle with all the competitors, coaches and judges at the awards dinner. It’s a wonderful event and I hope I have the opportunity to volunteer next year.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Pro Bono Requirement

Loyola’s dedication to public service is reflected in the 40-hours of pro bono work that students are required to complete during their law school careers. While the task seemed daunting at first, I quickly realized that there are so many different ways to satisfy the pro bono requirement. Whether it be joining a clinic or volunteering at events, there was something for everyone.

Not only does the pro bono work encourage student participation, but it also gives law students a chance to either apply their legal knowledge and give back to the community in which they will ultimately practice law. All the while, students are also gaining invaluable experience and putting their learning to practical use.

Knowing the importance of mediation in the litigation process, I decided early on that I wanted to work at Loyola’s Center for Conflict Resolution in the Conciliation and Mediation Assistance Clinic (CMAC). After finding out about the various graduation requirements, I was even more excited to find out that participation in the clinic satisfied the experiential learning units as well as all 40 pro bono hours.

Led by Professors Mary Culbert and Sara Campos, the clinic teaches students about the ins and outs of the mediation process and then lets students actually participate in telephonic conciliations and in-person mediations. Working at the clinic, I learned from the staff mediators and saw many mediations in-person. I learned about the different kinds of mediations and techniques that mediators may employ. Leaving the clinic, I gained an even deeper appreciation for mediation as part of the legal process and its importance in resolving cases.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Pro Bono Requirement

So, unlike many students, I actually completed my pro bono requirement the summer after my first year of law school. Evening students don’t typically work in the legal field during their first law school summer, but I had a flexible schedule and wanted to. I spent that summer working at Neighborhood Legal Services in their Clean Slate Initiatives. In essence, I spent most of my time interviewing clients, writing declarations, and preparing expungement petitions.

Although I worked well over forty hours, I chose to volunteer my time and also get my pro bono hours out of the way instead of getting paid for that summer. Instead, I maintained my job as a tutor and also took Constitutional Law over the summer, which gave me access to student loans to supplement my living expenses if necessary.

This was really my first experience in law school where I had the opportunity to interact with clients and learn more about the criminal justice system. Although I enjoyed it and learned a lot in the process, it also taught me that I didn’t want to work in that area for my career. However, I would not trade my experience for anything.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Be Our Guest

Almost 2 school years have come and gone and during that time, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people. From mixers, to job fairs, to afternoon and evening guest speakers, there are always interesting things to do on campus. I’ve even been fortunate enough to have organized a few of those events myself with the Loyola Wine & Spirits Law Society. The opportunities to explore new areas of the law, particularly corporate and wine and spirits, have been invaluable to me.

It’s absolutely impossible to go to every event on campus. There are usually 2-3 different events going on every day. Student organization events, Career Development, departmental events, bar prep, and legal research events all vie for your attention and attendance. Easily the most important events are the Career Development job fairs and mixers. I landed my 1L and 2L summer jobs through their job fairs. The team is incredibly helpful and many of the employers they find are Loyola alums who are eager to hire current students. There are plenty of job fair opportunities throughout the year including On-Campus Interviews (OCIs in the fall and spring), the Spring Jobs Fair, and public interest jobs fair. I’d absolutely recommend making the time to check them all out if you can. My personal favorite event is the Spring Jobs Fair because it actually has the “feel” of an informal mixer, with dozens of employers set up to take short 3 to 4-minute interviews.

The next most important events (to me at least) are the Student Organization events. We have dozens of law societies on campus including OUTlaw (dedicate to legal developments in the LGBTQ+ community), the Real Estate Law Society, and the Wine & Spirits Law Society (which I am currently the President). From personal experience, I can tell you the students and faculty work tirelessly to invite amazing guest speakers from across the legal arena to talk with students about recent developments in their field of expertise and about how to become more involved in a particular area of law. It is a great way to make connections and stay informed on real world events in the law.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

NEWSFLASH – Building Relationships With Faculty Is Easier Than You Thought

I remember being a 1L and thinking that law professors were intimidating. Well, I could not have been more in the wrong. Professors at Loyola are available and always ready to help. Therefore, building a relationship with a professor is not hard. Professors have office hours, and most of them are even willing to talk by phone or skype. My best advice on starting a relationship with a faculty member is to start participating in class (as terrifying as that may sound). First, professors like volunteers, and second you get to show them you care about the subject, and consequently are respectful of them and their time.

Professors at Loyola have been so kind to me, one of my favorite professors helped me with my resume and even with networking. So, if you don’t’ have a relationship with at least a member of a faculty, you better start working on it!

Monday, May 4, 2020

Networking Opportunities

Hello again, Jury of Peers! I cannot believe we only have a few weeks left of 1L! I truly did not think it would fly by so fast. Today’s post is about career development since summer internships are on the brain.

If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know that networking is a challenge for me. I’m fairly shy so going up to people can be a bit daunting for me. However, I’ve attended some lunchtime events put on by the Career Development Office. I attended the Interview Workshop and plan to go to the Networking Workshop as well (because I need all the tips I can get).

As a 1L, I think it can be hard to network when you’re unsure of what type of law you want to go into. That’s currently my dilemma. I’m at a place where I haven’t figured out where to start. And I know attorneys’ time is precious, so I don’t want to waste their time with questions I think they will think are dumb.

One thing I’ve learned through my own experience, however, is that people love to give advice. Even if it’s a simple thing, I love to share my experience with others (a la this blog right here). Law students and lawyers alike love to give “pro tips” to those coming up after them.

Something I’m really interested in doing is Brown Bag Lunches because they are smaller events focused in one area of law put on by the CDO. I much prefer smaller gatherings than large fairs so something like this really fits what I am looking for in a networking event.

Truly, as a 1L I haven’t taken every advantage that the CDO has provided, but I think after this summer as my interests become more cemented, I will take more advantage. Because, believe me, there is never a week the CDO isn’t hosting or offering something for students to do.

Networking is key to career development, and it can be tough but there are so many ways to network nowadays that there is bound to be a way that you can find something that works for you and your style.

See you in the next one,


Kelsey’s Club: Tips for Networking

· Wear something that makes you feel confident.
· Bring resumes and business cards, just in case.
· Fake your confidence until it becomes real.
· Ask people about themselves, their career, their advice (don’t pressure yourself to do all the talking).
· When in doubt, just be nice. It can get you a long way.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

I'm Shy, Networking is Scary, But It's Okay

     As you can guess from the title, I’m shy, networking is scary, but it’s okay. You might be thinking: “Oh wow I’m shy too, but I thought networking was the key to surviving in law school. How will I ever survive?” To be honest, networking is actually really important in meeting and getting to know people who are in the field of your interest or are doing something in their industry that you think is cool. But it is something you can learn to ease into or get used to.
     As someone who worked in the Career Development Office over the summer and has seen what they do firsthand, the staff does a really good job at making sure students are aware of potential job opportunities and works really hard in setting up networking opportunities to get students in the right mindset, help ease them into the notion of networking, and prepare them for getting that next big job or internship.

     Some of the resources and events they have include:
  • The Small Firm Reception, which takes place in the Burns Student Lounge at school: I participated in this during my 1L, and it was interesting because it was basically “speed-dating” but for jobs and employers. It’s a great opportunity to not only meet potential employers and briefly discuss your qualifications for their position but also meet some of your peers who you don’t have classes with but have similar interests.
  • Networking Workshops, which also takes place at school: The CDO staff gives you tips and tricks for going to your next networking event. During one of the workshops, I learned the importance of having an “elevator pitch” (it is basically a sixty second introduction to yourself, your interests, your experiences, and what makes you interesting) prepared and ready to go. They also advise you to have an answer for the infamous question that all law students (probably from the beginning of time) are inevitably asked in some variation: “So why law school?”
  • Brown Bag Lunches: CDO invites attorneys, usually alumni, to come to campus and spend the hour lunch break sharing lunch and talking to students who are interested in the field. Some areas of the law that have been covered during prior brown bag lunches include: family law, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and immigration. 
  • Career Advisors: Every student gets assigned a career advisor who works with them throughout their law school career. The career advisor looks at your resume and provides feedback, discusses possible approaches to get the job you want, and also conducts mock interviews. The latter is especially helpful in practicing what to say during interviews and even networking events. 
So it’s okay to be shy and not know what to do about networking because you’ve got a team of peers and professionals who are here to help you get on your way.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Networking Opportunities

My favorite event that I’ve attended on campus thus far is the Consumer Law Symposium. I attended it in 2019 and thought it was really helpful! Students were given the opportunity to hear from practicing attorneys and also witness a mock voir dire. I hadn’t really come across any opportunities like that on campus before that, so I was very grateful.

It was also an invaluable experience because I got to meet and speak with top attorneys in the field. Any event that puts students in contact with top practicing attorneys is really important for a student for multiple reasons. For me, however, the most important reason I wanted to learn from other attorneys was to solidify what area of the law that I’d like to practice in. I definitely accomplished this that day and it kickstarted my path toward the career that I want.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

5 Things I Love About LLS

I first applied to Loyola because the thought of diversity in law school attracted me. Now that I am a third-year evening student, I can say that I love a lot of things about Loyola.

  1. I love the people I have met along the way.

    I can honestly say that I have found not only colleagues, but best friends and for that I will always be grateful.

  2. I love the opportunities Loyola has given me (networking opportunities, resources, and most importantly our counselors).

    From OCI to informational packets, Loyola has prepared me for interviews and networking events. My counselor, Graham Sher, is always an email away willing to answer my questions or update my resume for the 100th time.

  3. I love how much I have learned and how my professors always wanted to make sure that I understood.

    I love how I know about different subjects and how my professors always gave the extra mile to make sure I understood.

  4. I love the city view (park on the 5th floor for a breathtaking experience).

  5. I love the person I have become because of my experience at Loyola, and most importantly, how I’ll be able to contribute to society because of it.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Plans for My Fourth Year in the JD Evening Program

There are tons of benefits to experiential learning that I would still like to take advantage of in my fourth year! Experiential learning allows students to get hands-on experience to develop essential skills for their future careers. Even if a student is in a clinic that is not in the field that they would like to ultimately work in as an attorney, so many of the skills are transferable – like learning how to speak with clients, preparing paperwork, working with deadlines, etc., but it’s all dependent on the clinic that the student is involved in.

I have actually selected a concentration, the Civil Litigation Concentration. I look forward to taking the Civil Litigation year-long preparation course in my fourth year. Coupled with my time working in law firms, I think that the concentration will give me many of the skills that I need to succeed in my future career.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

1L Elective: Why Privacy Torts Is the Best Class I’ve Taken So Far

Hello again, Jury of Peers! Spring is in full swing here at LLS and things are a little more hectic than in fall. As a 1L, choosing your elective is the only real taste of freedom you get in regards to your schedule. This year we had a choice of six different electives that we could request to be put into. There is also a seventh elective for students that the law school wants to help get better at exams: privacy torts. Most students wouldn’t declare they were in privacy torts because that would mean admitting to the world that they didn’t get A+’s their first semester at law school. But I think the best way to help others is to be brave myself.

Here is why privacy torts has been my favorite class so far. One, because I genuinely wanted to take privacy torts and think the subject is interesting. I’m interested in entertainment law and privacy torts look at a lot of celebrity privacy cases. Two, because as a first-generation law student, this class gives me access to information I couldn’t get from other sources. After we started breaking down exam structure, I realized that I didn’t misunderstand the material last semester, I just didn’t go deep enough in my analysis of those issues. Three, we “get real” about law school. We talk about how law school affects you mentally and emotionally. We do a lot of practice analysis so we get about 400% more feedback in this class than any other class I’ve taken so far. Four, my professor (shout-out Professor Wells!) is really great. She encourages a lot of discussion and encourages us to approach these cases from all angles. She has really reminded me about why the law is so powerful, because it affects people’s everyday lives.

I genuinely think that struggle is part of succeeding. Law school is hard for everyone. Yes, everyone. Struggling doesn’t make you lesser than your classmates who got an A; it means that you’re still learning and are doing something outside of your comfort-zone. Do I wish that I got all A’s last semester? Of course. Am I grateful for the opportunity to learn more about where I can improve so that in the long-run I understand the whole system of law school better? You bet. Hopefully this can be your reminder that struggling is not an obstacle to success but rather it is the catalyst for amazing things to come!

See you in the next one,

Monday, April 13, 2020

Experiencing Law School

You may have heard me or someone else in my situation say “Law school goes by way too fast.” For a Loyola day student, it’s done in three years. For an evening student, it’s four years and you’re out those doors. Unless you already absolutely know what you’re going to do in life after law school (i.e. the kind of career you want, what area of the law you want to practice, solo practitioner or mid-size firm), it feels like there are so many different areas of the law, so many different things to try, and so many choices to make in so little time. Luckily, at Loyola, there are opportunities for you to have experiences and learn about different areas of the law while at the same time fulfilling graduation requirements (i.e. pro bono or experiential learning). Loyola offers several clinics and practicum that give you the opportunity to work with real-life clients and cases in an on-campus setting and also promotes application and participation in externships and field placements at various courts, companies, firms, start-ups, etc.

Now that I’m a 3L, here are some of the things I’ve been lucky enough to experience while at Loyola:

Loyola’s Project for the Innocence

I was fortunate enough to be selected and work as a clinical student for Loyola’s Project for the Innocence during my 2L. The clinic focuses on wrongful convictions and works toward building cases for those actually serving time in California’s prisons. Participation in the clinic is two-fold. There is a class-room component, in which we learn about concepts, procedures, and issues in the criminal justice system, and there is a clinic-component, in which we are each given two clients – one who is prospective and one is already an existing client. With regards to the existing client, we basically pick up where the last clinical student left off; we write letters, make visits to the prison, sort through evidence, go through court transcripts, meet with witnesses, etc. With regards to the prospective client, our job is basically to go through and evaluate all the information we have in the file and help our assigned supervisor determine if we are going to move forward with taking on the client and working on their case. By no means is it a piece of cake, but it’s definitely worth it being able to help someone and be their voice. During my time at the clinic, we actually secured the release of a client, and he actually came back to class and gave a talk about his experience, what he’s learned, and what he plans to do moving forward.

In addition to being able to give back and help make a difference for someone, the clinic also helped me fulfill my pro bono and experiential learning requirements that I need to graduate from Loyola.

Entertainment and New Media Concentration, Transactional Tract

Loyola offers different concentrations, including but not limited to immigration, tax, civil litigation, and criminal justice, that help you develop your interests in a particular area of the law and give you the fundamentals needed to be successful post-law school. I declared my concentration in transactional entertainment law at the end of my 2L after taking a couple entertainment related courses, experiencing other areas of the law, and finally coming to the conclusion that a career in entertainment law is what I want to pursue.

The entertainment concentration has two tracts, transactional and litigation, and both require students to take entertainment law, trademark law, copyright law, all three of which are considered the core entertainment courses. Both tracts also require the entertainment practicum, which I’ll discuss next. I chose transactional entertainment so other required courses I have to take include introduction to negotiations, business planning, business associations, and legal research for the transactional attorney, all four of which are important skills for an attorney in that field.

Furthermore, the concentration requires students to take a minimum of two electives in any entertainment and new media related course. I’m taking the “Art and the Law” seminar and the Advanced Torts this semester to meet the elective requirements. I chose to take the former because I don’t know too much about art law and thought it would be interesting to take a break from the traditional law school bar course. Additionally, it helps me satisfy my upper division writing requirement for graduation. I chose to take the former because it is a recommended bar course (always helpful because of our end goal of taking the bar) and because I really enjoy learning about privacy torts (i.e. misappropriation of identity and intrusion upon seclusion).

Entertainment Practicum

The Entertainment Practicum is actually a required course for the Entertainment Concentration, but it is not a traditional law school class. The course is structured in a way where students learn important entertainment law concepts (i.e. negotiating a writing deal or being an ethical professional) by reviewing documents and hear about what it’s like to be an entertainment attorney today from speakers. Speakers are usually alumni or friends of Loyola are working in almost every area of entertainment law, including but not limited to the film and television studios, talent agencies, record labels, and law firms. It is an insightful experience that allows students to ask questions about potential careers they are interested in or pursuing and get candid answers from those who presently have those positions.

Field Placement/Externship

Field placements and externships are opportunities to work in law firm, start-up, or court settings. Typically, students don’t get monetary compensation for these positions; rather, they get experiential credit for graduation and units. Field placements and externships also have a classroom component in which students submit timesheets and task journals from work, write reflections, and give presentations.

I chose to do an externship because it was required both by my concentration and my employer. I have been an extern at NuMedia Studios since the start of my 3L. They are located in Hollywood, CA on the Jim Henson Company Lot (think Muppets) and deal with a variety of different entertainment transactional and litigation issues. I always thought I would go into transactional law (think writing contracts and agreements) but my time at NuMedia has given me glimpse into the litigation side (think writing briefs and motions and actually going to court for them). I think having this kind of experience is especially important because it gives you an insight into a career that you’re potentially going to pursue after law school.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

My Clinical Experience at Loyola

As a transfer student, one of the biggest things that attracted me to Loyola was the number of experiential learning opportunities. From clinics to externships and more, Loyola offers something for everyone. Clinics and externships give students the chance to get hands on experience in various kinds of law.

While I was originally looking into a few different clinics, I decided on the Conciliation and Mediation Clinic (CMAC) at Loyola’s Center for Conflict Resolution (LCCR). In CMAC, students are trained to do actual community conciliations and mediations. Students work alongside knowledgeable staff and professors help people resolve their disputes outside of court. Although the LCCR mostly works with underserved groups, students still get experience with all kinds of cases from divorce to landlord-tenant disputes to debt collection. Depending on the client’s income, the Center’s mediation services are often free of charge.

People are often surprised to hear that most legal disputes don’t make it to trial. Many cases settle outside of court and one of the most prevalent alternative dispute resolution methods is mediation. With this in mind, I knew that my experience in CMAC would undoubtedly come in handy in my practice as an attorney. Even as a law clerk sitting in on mediations, I now have more of an understanding of the process and am able to get more from observing mediations.

As a 3L, I can confidently say that doing a clinic was one of the best choices I made during law school. It gave me the best firsthand experience that cannot be taught in the classroom. With so many clinics and externships to choose from, students are sure to find an opportunity that will directly enhance their legal education.

Monday, April 6, 2020

What I Love About Loyola

Hello again, Jury of Peers! As I write this post, Valentine’s Day is 4 days away, and I’ll be honest I think this holiday is little, well, overrated. But that being said, I have a lot of things I love about Loyola and law school in general.

  1. We’re all in this together, which means it doesn’t matter where you came from.

    Law school is hard for everyone, no matter what undergraduate institution you came from, how many lawyers you have in your family, how well you did on the LSAT, or how many years you’ve been out of school. We all go through this process together and everyone has something they can learn from others. As a 1L, I’ve come to learn that treating law school as your section against the world is a much better way to approach law school than your section against itself.

  2. Loyola is a no frills, get you a job, here’s-the-truth-of-it education.

    While that might seem harsh to some, one thing I truly love about Loyola is that your time is spent learning what you will need to succeed out there in the job market. Professors spend a lot less time musing about the theory of how things should work and let you in on the reality of how things do work in the field. Loyola gets you ready to take the Bar as well as be an asset to any place you work for after graduation.

  3. The alumni really care about the future of the school.

    This is the smallest thing imaginable but, during finals alumni will donate snacks and coffee for the students to get free-of-charge. You go into the library and there they are, shining like a beacon in the dark time known as finals. It’s truly a tiny gesture, but it definitely says something about a school when alumni are so active in giving back and taking care of the next generation.

  4. Law school instills a sense of pride in accomplishment.

    Listen, law school is a mountain to climb, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate yourself when you reach a milestone marker. Even if I’m not in the top 5% of the class, I can still be proud that I did a whole semester. I can still be proud I finished a reading that was really complicated and took forever. I can still be proud that I’ve yet to be late for a class. Law school has taught me to appreciate the big moments and the small ones. It goes by fast, so it’s nice to stop and celebrate every once in a while.
That’s all for this post, I’ll see you in the next one!


Kelsey’s Club: Little Treat Yo’Selfs*
  • Play two episodes of Netflix in a row, no guilt
  • Get that trenta at Starbucks
  • Buy that pair of shoes you’ve been wanting
  • Plan a day trip for over spring break

*please watch “Parks and Rec” if you haven’t seen it

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Love in Law School

What is love in law school? Love is…
  • … the faces of the friends you see on campus and immediately strike up a conversation with.
  • … the person who sits next to you in California Civil Procedure, who offers to share her notes with you because you missed the last section.
  • … that friend that accompanies you to networking events because those kinds of things can be scary and intimidating on your own.
  • … the professor who stays after office hours to make sure any student who still has questions gets the answers they need for that graded writing assignment.
  • … the professor who goes above and beyond for you to patch a connection with someone in the area of law you’re interested in.
  • … the passion faculty and staff for the work they do.
  • … the smiling faces of the people who work in Sonia’s CafĂ© when you need to check out your lunch, dinner, snack, or 7th cup of coffee.
  • … the excitement the helpful librarian has when you call, email, or go to when you have that pressing research question for that memo you waited one week too late to start working on.
  • … the career counselor who sits with you and continues to email you comments and notes on your resume so you’re in tip top shape for job applications.
  • … the career development staff member who hypes you up and encourages you to still apply for that job you really want but don’t think you’re 100% qualified for.
  • … the security guard who waves you off as you drive home from campus.
  • … the smile that one person you always see around campus but don’t know their name gives you in passing.
  • … the student who goes on the school Facebook page to get the lost keys or Hydroflask bottle they found in Merrifield Hall or Donovan back to its rightful owner.
  • … the passion and tenacity the staff of all the clinics have in fighting for justice for their clients.
  • … the patience the Financial Aid and Admissions Office staff has to answer all the questions and their genuine interest in each new face that comes up to the window with a question about coming to Loyola.
  • … the loved one back at home or wherever who is rooting for you as you go on your law school journey.
  • … the lifelong friend you have seen in a while who understands that you are in law school pursuing your dreams but still supports you 100%.
  • … the free coffee DSBA supplies us with during finals week to make sure we’re well-caffeinated and functioning.
  • … the care packages full of self-care products and snacks that the registrar’s office gives us during reading period.
  • … the beautiful sunset over DTLA you stood in awe watching on top of the school parking lot.
  • … your perseverance and determination to thrive in law school.
  • … your hopes, dreams, and passions for life and your career.
  • … you as you take the skills and experience you gained while in law school out into the world to help people and make a difference in the community.
  • … everywhere in our Loyola community.