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

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!

Graduation

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

me.”

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,

Kelsey

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

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,
Kelsey

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

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 Café 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.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Endless Opportunities

Last year I wrote a blog post on what I love about Loyola. That post was about Loyola’s incredible alumni network. Well, a year has come and gone. Valentine’s Day has passed again, so I thought I would take the opportunity to add to that post about what there is to love about Loyola. This year, I wanted to talk about a few of the endless opportunities Loyola offers for practical and self-guided learning. Specifically, I love the opportunities I’ve had at Loyola to learn how to try cases with the Byrne Trial Advocacy Team and to contribute high-quality scholarly writing with the International Law Review.

First, I know I seem to write a lot about Byrne. I hope you’ll forgive me, but it really has become a tremendous part of my academic life. As a member of Byrne, your ultimate job is to win trial advocacy competitions. To get to that point requires hours and hours of work reading the competition fact patterns (the “record”) over and over again. It requires writing and re-writing scripts for openings, closing, direct examination, cross examinations, Motions for Judgement as a Matter of Law (JMOLs), rebuttals and objection responses. It requires practicing your skills in mock trials every Saturday and Sunday for up to 14 hours a day. It’s an unbelievable amount of work, but there really is nothing else like it. The amazing coaches we get to work with, the amazing alumni who come help judge weekend trials, and most of all my teammates make it all an unforgettable experience that I would recommend to anyone with an interest in litigation.

The other great experience that Loyola has offered has been my work with law review. The write-on process for law review at the end of the 1L year is intense and difficult but it’s completely worth it. Most of my experience so far has been in the editorial process – reading articles by legal scholars and Loyola students, and fixing any errors in syntax, grammar, and citations. I also have the opportunity to write an article for potential publication. I do have a couple ideas to write about for next year but I haven’t made a firm decision on a topic. Nevertheless, I know that the opportunity is at my fingertips. It is the endless opportunities that I love and that make each day an exciting adventure.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

I LOVE Loyola

There is so much to love about Loyola. For one, the campus environment is great and I love that we have such a tight-knit community. It makes all of the difference when you’re trying to develop relationships with your classmates because our classes are not so large that it’s impossible. I also like it because we get to interact with people who are all at different stages in their law school education (first years, second years, evening students, etc.) on a campus entirely dedicated to the law school. I also truly appreciate the faculty at Loyola. They’re incredibly supportive and always accessible for students. Many faculty are also interested in a lot of cutting-edge areas of the law, which gives students the ability to learn about new and exciting things that we may not otherwise get to learn about.

I think all of these things are fairly unique to Loyola, at least in terms of the law schools in Los Angeles. Loyola also has a very respected name in the community and strong alumni network that I really appreciate and have done my best to take advantage of.

Monday, March 23, 2020

I LOVE Loyola

In February we celebrate Valentine’s Day. While most take the day to let their family and friends know how much they love and appreciate them, Valentine’s Day, and February in general, is as good a time as ever to reflect on other things we “love.” Although school isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind, Loyola has provided me with so much that I feel the need to talk about just some of the things that I really appreciate about Loyola.

First and foremost, the academic and experiential opportunities at Loyola are second to none. Coming to Loyola, I wasn’t entirely sure what practice area I wanted to pursue. I had some exposure to different practice areas while working in house after my 1L year but wanted to know more to make an informed decision about my future. From a class on the newest California Consumer Privacy Act to a forward-looking class on Electronic Discovery, Loyola continues to provide students with opportunities to explore new topics, always keeping up with the latest changes in the law.

One of my favorite parts of being at Loyola is the hands-on experience that students are offered. In fact, this was one of the main reasons that I wanted to transfer to Loyola. For example, most students participate in one of Loyola’s many clinics. During my time at Loyola, I was involved in the Conciliation and Mediation Assistance Clinic (CMAC) at Loyola’s Center for Conflict Resolution. This particular clinic teaches student about the mediation process and gives them the chance to do real community mediations and conciliations at the Center for Conflict Resolution. Since mediation is an integral part of the litigation process, I now have more insight into the process and its impact on a case.

There is so much more I love about my school because Loyola really has done so much for me over the past two years. From the world class faculty to classes on the most relevant legal topics, it is no wonder that Loyola attracts the best and brightest.

Monday, March 16, 2020

What You Need to Know About Loyola Faculty

Being in my third year of law school, I’ve had my fair share of experiences and encounters with the faculty. Here’s a list of the top seven things I’ve learned that you need to know about Loyola’s Faculty:

1) They have an open door policy, which means that they are accessible in more than one way or another to meet with you to go over your past exams, answer questions about lecture, or even just talk about their career path and how they got to where they are. This might seem very trivial, but in fact, it’s SO IMPORTANT. Professors know they can be intimidating, so they want you to feel comfortable to come to them to ask for help when you need it.

2) They want to get to know you! I remember during my 1L year, my criminal law professor held lunch breaks with groups of his students. We would eat lunch together outside Robinson Courtroom and share stories about ourselves and listen to how he got to where he is today.

3) Some of them are Loyola alumni too so they know a lot about the hidden gems on campus and can even relate to that one exam from that one particular professor. They’ve been through it!

4) Some of them are full-time professors while others are still practicing attorneys on the side. The latter have their day job and night job, which makes for some interesting conversations and eye-opening perspectives of what it is to be an attorney today.

5) They have cool hobbies outside of lawyering or being your professor just like you and me! In addition to being a practicing attorney beyond Loyola, some professors have fun hobbies like performing in a band, watching movies, or attending Coachella. While professors can be intimidating or appear intense, it’s always so cool to learn about what else they are passionate about and/or interested in.

6) Some of them, if not all of them, are experts in their field!!! They are people who have written your textbooks, drafted that treatise that you resort to when you’re doing legal research, worked with prominent judges, written amicus curiae in support of issues that are highly debated, served as correspondents on news outlets, etc. They are very well experienced in what they do and are passionate about it too!

7) From professors to the counselors to the people who staff the library and every other facility on campus, they care about students and fostering a creative, professional, and encouraging environment. Most importantly, they are genuinely interested in making sure that you thrive at Loyola and are able to pursue your interests and achieve your dreams. Whether it’s by reviewing your resume, giving you academic or professional feedback, or being a networking connection to someone in the industry, they go above and beyond to make sure you have the tools you need to get to where you want to go and be who you want to be.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Feel the Byrne

One of the great things about Loyola is the accessibility of the faculty. Every professor has office hours each week for their students to drop by to ask questions and get some extra practice with concepts discussed in class. As a 1L, I was free to take advantage of office hours pretty regularly. A group of students actually had several Q&A sessions with our Contracts professor, Prof. Hull, over margaritas at El Cholo!

This year has been a bit different. The Byrne Trial Advocacy team takes a lot of time away from my schedule – either because of practices, reading our case fact pattern, or writing scripts. That being said, the Byrne coaches are some of most amazingly open and accessible people at Loyola. Most of the Byrne coaches aren’t official members of the faculty. They’re practicing attorneys who freely volunteer hours and hours of their time and expertise to help the students.

This semester, my coaches are Roxanna Manuel, Gagan Batthe, and Nadine Kendry. All of them are Loyola alums and also former Byrne team members. For general questions on evidence, case themes and theories, the team has a text message group that always seems to be buzzing. For more specific questions about writing, we can email any coach, day or night, and the coaches will usually respond by the next day. And of course, they are almost always available to talk in person about how to refine your case. In short, if you need to ask anything about trying a case or about crafting an argument, Byrne coaches are one of the best resources Loyola has to offer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Building Relationships With Faculty

Loyola’s faculty members are some of the most available professors that I’ve ever had. Each class that I’ve taken, the professor has made themselves available to students for anything from questions about the course material to advice for their careers.

In my first and second years of law school, I was able to build relationships with almost all of my professors. I think that I didn’t do as much of this in the first semester of my third year only because I didn’t take professors up on the time that they offered. However, even during the time that I didn’t take advantage of my professor’s offers, I still appreciated that they were so accessible and genuinely cared about how students felt approaching them about course material and anything else they might want advice on.

Monday, March 9, 2020

4 Reasons Why You Need Study Groups



  1. You don't always understand things right (even though you may think you do)
    • It is so easy to misinterpret a rule of law, but that will not happen if three people are working together.
  2. Venting about law school with people that know what you are going through is key to success.
    • We all need to vent about the Rule Against Perpetuities, am I right? Why 21 years? Just why?
  3. Our Notes are 70 percent of the time not complete. Meaning all information is welcome!

  4. Not every class is your "forte," and that is fine. It just means you should take all the help that you can.
    • We are not perfect. Some don't get torts, and others do not understand property. But if your friend understands property and not torts, you can help each other and vice-versa
  5. Who doesn’t need friends?
    • Your study buddies will become your friends, and law school friends are for life.


Friday, March 6, 2020

Study Groups: The Life-rafts of Law School

* This sometimes what your reading load feels like: overwhelming. And I may look happy in this picture but it’s what we call “smiling through the pain” *

I’ll admit it. When reading the posts from last years’ bloggers talking about how important study groups are in law school, I huffed and thought “I don’t need anybody. I’m a lone wolf. Always have been; always will be.” Oh wow, was I wrong.

I have never been a group studier. I get distracted with other people and want to talk to them about things other than the work at hand; or I feel too awkward to say anything. But in law school, a study group is a lifeline you’ll be glad to have. Law school is all about “teasing things out” which means that you need to get a group of people together and talk about all the things that happened in class. My study group goes over hypos from class or ones we thought of on our own. We help fill in the gaps for each other when the professor was talking to fast to get it all down. Learning the law, much like making the law, is a group effort.

I feel really lucky because my section has pretty nice and approachable people in it, which makes our class-time and subsequent study-time a pretty relaxed and productive environment. We’re all trying to get through it and helping each other out is really making the process more bearable.

With a crazy workload and dense material that can sometimes be overwhelming, it’s so nice to have a group of people who can help support you both intellectually and emotionally. Unfortunately, unless you’ve been to law school, it’s really hard to understand what it’s like to live the experience. Being in a steady group throughout the year that truly understands your struggles and successes is so important to maintaining at least a little sanity through this process. I’ll end this post with a shout out to both my study group and my section: you guys rock!

I’ll see you in the next one,

Kelsey


Kelsey’s Club: A Good Place to Read a (Case)Book
  • Nimbus Coffee
  • Philz Coffee
  • Groundwork Coffee
  • Café Mak
  • Brick and Scones

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Decisions, Decisions

In my last blog post I talked about how hard it was to decide to postpone my Evidence final after my grandma passed away. Thankfully I don’t have to face decisions like that every day but there are plenty of other important but thankfully less serious decisions that I’ve had to make – for example, deciding what classes to take. There are so many options it can be overwhelming. You have to research professors, talk to people who have already taken the course, and figure out your schedule. You may, like me, also want to register for one of Loyola’s many Concentration programs, adding one more layer of complexity to the decision-making process.

Before I started school, I worked for an attorney named Barry Freeman at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell. I knew I wanted to learn about real estate law but he advised to take corporate law classes too because “they would be usefully in wherever you end up practicing.” So far, he’s been 100% right, so I recently committed to pursue one of Loyola’s ten JD Concentrations – Corporate Law.

First, you don’t need to worry about Concentrations right away. You can’t even sign up for one until your 2L year. You also don’t NEED to do a Concentration. Aside from in-depth course work and showing off to potential employers, completing a Concentration just means you get an extra note on your transcript after graduation. I was recently talking to an alum who astutely told me “I didn’t do a Concentration. My Concentration was to pass the bar exam.”

If you do decide to pursue a Concentration, the registration process is very easy (at least for Corporate): just go onto the Loyola website in your 2L year (here is a link to Loyola’s Concentrations), follow the link to whichever Concentration you want, and complete a Registration form…that’s it! Every Concentration has a list of course requirements that you need to take. The Concentration advisors can help you navigate how to structure your coursework and progress.

This semester, my courses for the Corporate Concentration are Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Business Strategy for Lawyers, and Cannabis Law. I was originally in Bankruptcy but I decided to drop it. After going to one class and asking others for advice, I decided that I should first take a course called the Law of Sales or Secured Transactions in Real Property. Unfortunately, neither of those courses fit into my schedule this semester with all my other courses.

I’m also taking one required bar course, Constitutional Law, and I once again have the Byrne Trial Advocacy Team and International Law Review. Byrne is still a huge commitment with 16-24 hours of practice per week (not including reading and writing time), so I not only had to think about fitting classes into my schedule, but I also had to think about when I was going to get in all of my class/practice preparation work done. I can go on and on about picking courses but to wrap things up, my three pieces of advice are: 1) make a hypothetical week into a calendar before you choose your classes and plan your study time, 2) take classes with friends who you can study with (they can help you stick to your study plan), and 3) try not to load everything into 1 or 2 days (trust me, 1-2 classes in a day is way easier than 3-4).

Monday, March 2, 2020

Concentrating on Concentrations

Because it is my last year of law school, there were a lot of things on my mind during the summer before 3L when I was planning my courses. I was constantly thinking:

  • “What classes am I going to take during this last year?”
  • “Do I have enough units to graduate?”
  •  “Did I take enough bar courses?”
  • “Do I have enough time and am I going to finish my entertainment concentration by May?”
  • “Am I taking classes that are interesting to me?”
  • “What am I doing with my life?”
  • “Where did the time go?”

So how did I handle the daunting task of planning out not just one semester but an entire year? Luckily, Loyola has fantastic professors and resources that help you figure this kind of thing out and make sure that you’re on the right track to get everything done before graduation.

The first step was looking at the Loyola “Degree Works” page, which basically operates as a checklist for graduation. It lists things you must complete to graduate, such as the residency requirement, upper division writing, mandatory bar courses that everyone has to take, pro bono hours, experiential learning, minimum GPA, etc. and marks them off as you go or lists them as pending if you are currently registered but haven’t completed at the time of the check. It also lists the requirements for concentrations and tells you what your separate concentration GPA is. 




The second step was creating at least one ideal schedule for the year and at least one back-up. Some courses that I needed for graduation and my concentration were offered either in one semester or both but at different times. Other courses satisfied both the concentration and graduation requirements. The challenge was trying to create a schedule that would allow me to meet the requirements for both and have time to work during the week. I compared the registrar’s present semester’s course offerings list with those from other past semesters to determine which semester I would take which course. Then, I found a schedule-maker online and color-coded the classes that I needed to graduate and satisfy the concentration.

Ideal Schedule:



Back-up Schedule:



The third step was reaching out to Professors Craig and Wells and having them take a look at my ideal and back-up schedules. This was really important for me to do because it’s so easy to get caught up in picking out classes that one minute I’m good with units and the next I’m way over the maximum cap. Such professors or counselors because they can provide their honest opinions regarding whether your ideal schedule is realistic and perfect or if it’s going to be overly-taxing and time-consuming. Another reason to reach out to them is because they’ve dealt with similar issues that inevitably come up with other students in the past and know how to arrive at reasonable solutions.

The final step was actually signing up for the classes at exactly 7:00 am when registration opened and trying to get into as many of the classes I wanted to get into. Sometimes a class is limited to only a handful of students and it fills up before you can register, but that’s why you have back-up schedules and why the registrar creates a running waitlist.

As you can see, the 3L academic schedule that I ended up with consists of taking at least two bar courses every semester and completing the requirements for the transactional entertainment concentration.

Final Fall 2019:



Final Spring 2020:



So take a deep breath, you’ve got nothing to worry about. You’ve got time and access to fantastic people who will help you get everything figured out.

Until next time friends!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Selecting Second And Third Year Elective Courses

The electives that I’ve taken in my second and third year have been some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in law school yet. I chose my electives based on my interests and Loyola had a great selection of courses for me to explore. To make the most educated decision, though, I cross-referenced resources from the school regarding bar courses and also had to decide whether I wanted to pursue a concentration.

Ultimately, I decided to keep the door open and take courses that satisfy the Civil Litigation Concentration requirements if I decide to pursue the concentration, as well as courses that will prepare me for the bar and my future career in Personal Injury. I was also lucky enough to consult with some professors that I’ve developed relationships with to see what they recommend. All of these resources made it pretty easy to choose my electives and, going into my third year, I’ve even been able to pursue a directed research paper for 2 units.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Selecting Second And Third Year Elective Classes

As intended, 1L courses provide the framework on which law students can build over the rest of their law school careers. While I wasn’t always necessarily the most excited to learn about contract formation or basic civil procedure rules, after going through my next two years of law school, both in the classroom and in the real world, I quickly came to realize how important that foundational knowledge really was.

During my second and third years, however, I was glad to have more latitude in picking my classes. After all, not everyone wants to do the same kind of law and requiring everyone to take the same classes no longer made sense. Coming back from my first-year summer externship, I was pretty sure I wanted to ultimately get into employment law. While I picked most of my classes with that in mind, I also knew that there were some classes that would be helpful for the bar, such as Remedies, Trusts and Wills, and Marital Property.

This semester, I have really been able to home in on my future practice area and am taking Employment Law, Electronic Discovery, and Mediation Advocacy for the Litigator. Working as a law clerk doing employment defense work, I realize the importance of discovery and mediation in the litigation process. Moreover, even though I have learned most of what I know about employment law on the job, I chose to take the Employment Law class to get a better grasp on the black letter law so that I could really understand the intricacies of what I was doing at work. With such a robust schedule of classes, Loyola has something for everyone no matter what practice area you hope to pursue.


Monday, February 24, 2020

My Winter Break

Coming back from winter break was really hard this semester! I struggled a bit to get myself to study hard for exams, but luckily finished out the semester strong and was fairly happy with how everything turned out. I took Evidence in the fall and that final was no joke!

Over this winter break, I continued to work and did end up taking a few days off to visit family out of state with my husband. The one thing that I’ve learned about myself in law school is that I really just need a few days to myself after exams finish to recover and I didn’t take those this time around. When I don’t get those few days to be by myself and do things I enjoy without any commitments, I end up taking time away later on from pressing commitments because I get burned out. Needless to say, it DEFINITELY caught up with me this time around. Going forward, that’s definitely something that I want to work on.

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Most Difficult Finals of My Life

Three semesters down and three to go. It’s actually difficult to wrap my head around but in another year and half, classes will be over, I’ll have graduated and I’ll be finishing up my preparations for bar exam. I’ve been now been through three rounds of finals and there is no doubt that this semester was the toughest yet…and not just because of the course material. The day before my Evidence final, I got a call from my dad that I had been dreading – my grandma passed away earlier that day. I’m still processing it I don’t yet have the words to articulate how I’m feeling but I wanted to make this blog post about my experience handling the death of a close family member in the midst of finals.

My grandma, Marguerite Bivens, passed away on December 5th. I’m eternally grateful that I was able to make time to go visit her just two weeks before it happened. She was in a recovery center after several weeks in the hospital. We had hope that she could recover and we even talked about her coming to live with my parents after she got out to the recovery center. But it wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t with her when she passed but I understand that she passed peacefully in her sleep surrounded by family.


I used the winter break to actually take a break. I got spend time with Clau, I rested, got back in the water and swam, and reconnected with people I hadn’t seen much of since starting school. I got to spend quality time with friends and family I hadn’t seen in months and even years. Now that the break is over, I’m back for the Spring semester ready to take on more challenges and move forward to finish out the year.

To end things on a positive note, this semester wasn’t all bad news. This past October, Clau and I added member of our small family. We adopted another puppy! His name is Riley and, though he’s a little on the shy side, he’s cute as a button. Hopefully he’ll come out of his shell as he gets used to his new fur-ever home.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Final Exams: Learning How to Deal with Post-Exam Stress


Happy New Year Everyone, I hope final exams treated you well and if not, I hope you realize that it is not the end of the world. Exams are tough, we’ve all felt that nervousness after finishing an exam. Did I do well? Could I have done better? As a third-year law student, I want to tell you that you did everything you could. Also, it is always important to keep in mind that we are graded on a curve. Therefore, you will probably do better than expected and even if you do not, a bad grade is not the end of the world.

One of the best qualities a lawyer can have is to remain cool and collected when times are stressful. As lawyers, we will have to deal with much more stressful things than final exams. Consequently, it is important to learn how to deal with emotions, specifically when pursuing a career in the legal field. As hard as it sounds, it is something that we MUST learn.

I consider myself a very calm person, however, even the most relaxed person can get stressed. When that happens, exercising and hanging out with friends and/or family is very important. Having fun, relaxing, binge watching that show that you’ve been dying to start, and forgetting about how you did or could have done in an exam is NECESSARY. To put it in the legal “lingo,” no reasonable person would worry about the things they cannot change, so why torture yourself? Relax, be proud of your efforts, and acknowledge there is always room for improvement.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Fall Finals Are S(no)w Joke

Hello again, Jury of Peers! Today we’re talking finals, and as the title suggests: they are no joke.

So, you get a reading week; you get four days between finals; and yet, there is no way to prepare for what comes at you. We all studied and studied ad infinitum and still many of us didn’t get the grades we wanted or the grades we are used to. Only the coveted few get the highly reached for A+ grade. Law school finals are a different kind of beast because unlike undergraduate exams, law school finals bite back. I had no idea that wrangling a full-page fact pattern for three hours would completely exhaust me the way it did. After finals ended my study group and I went to get dinner and unpack what had just happened to us over lots of soup dumplings. (Big shout-out to Matthew and Hira!)


Truth be told, during winter break, I really unplugged. I went back home to Las Vegas and I let myself take a break. And I did not let myself feel guilty about vegging out on the couch. I got to see my family and spend time with my best friends from high school. I realize that I won’t have many true breaks left before I enter the working world, so I’m trying to take them in stride.

But what’s next? Spring semester is here and I came back a little less jazzed than I did in fall. But that could just be because I know how tired I’ll be by the end of April. I’m excited to take you on this journey for my second semester of 1L, and as usual, if you see me on campus come over and say hi!

I’ll see you in the next one,

Kelsey

Kelsey’s Club: Post-Finals Food That Heals Your Soul
-Din Tai Fung