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

Friday, February 14, 2020

My Winter Break

Happy New Year friends and welcome back to the Jury of Peers! School is now officially back in session, but let’s just take this time to revel a little longer in the memory of winter break. Correction: my last winter break EVER!

One thing I noticed about this fall was how different the structure of final exams in upper level classes compared to 1L courses. This fall, my finals consisted of take-home essay exams and bar exam-style multiple choice questions. The take-homes encouraged and allowed me to be more thoughtful and thorough with my responses instead of being frantic or feeling intimated about regurgitating everything I had learned in the semester in a somewhat comprehensible fashion. In contrast, the bar exam-style finals allowed me to work under timed scenarios on the rule application, reading comprehension, and problem-solving skills that are essential to succeeding on the bar. Another noticeable difference from the exam seasons of previous semesters was how spaced out my exams were. Sure I finished finals later then some other students, but I think I was better able to prepare this semester because I was able to focus my attention on which exam was coming up next rather than having everything back-to-back.

Since I am officially one semester away from graduation, I wanted to spend my winter break enjoying my time, focusing on myself, relaxing, and figuring out everything I want to experience and do during my last semester of law school. The last 2.5 years have been action-packed and have gone by in a blur so I wanted to make sure that I was ready to take on the last semester of law school and my educational career. On top of it, this past fall semester was mentally taxing and exhausting due to starting to think about and prepare for the bar next July, working while going to school full-time, commuting (OH THE COMMUTE), making sure I was taking enough classes to finish my transactional entertainment concentration and graduate, planning my last semester of courses, studying and taking finals, etc. etc. etc. Thus, I wanted to spend winter break in the most low-key way possible – with minimal effort, thinking about school, and worrying about everything and anything most of which are inevitably out of my control. My winter break therefore consisted of spending time with loved ones, catching up with friends, sleeping in, watching movies, finding and trying new foods, enjoying the holidays, and basically catching up with everything and everyone that may have taken a backseat during the semester and especially during finals week.

With my first week of the spring semester done, I’m ready to see what’s in store. Until next time friends!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

My Winter Break

And just like that I’m one semester away from graduating law school! I remember being a first-year law student and seeing the graduation date of “May 2020” and thinking how far away it sounded. It’s hard to believe that in just 5 months I will have completed my legal education and be set to take the July 2020 Bar Exam.

Last semester was probably my favorite semester of law school thus far. My classes were practical and interesting, allowing me to explore non-traditional areas of law, and I was working at a job I really enjoyed. To make things even better, I was fortunate enough to only have two traditional “final exams.” In my Legal Drafting class, our final was to draft a Complaint and in my Disability Rights course I wrote a final paper. As someone who enjoys legal writing and is often overcome by test anxiety, I was excited to have my final assessments structured differently.

After finishing exams and turning in my final assignments, it was time to enjoy winter break. In the few weeks we had off, I traveled, relaxed, and prepared for the upcoming semester. While I didn’t go far, my trips to San Jose and Las Vegas were fun and allowed me to reconnect with friends who I don’t get to see regularly because of our busy schedules.

With two and a half years of legal education under my belt, I think it’s safe to say that I am a different person than when I started law school. As a result of these past few years, I have become a more critical thinker and a more logical person. Contrary to what people may think, however, I also gained a sense of empathy and homed in on my interpersonal skills. Through the various jobs I had during law school, I was able to see the human-interest aspect of the legal field, always keeping in mind that at the end of the day it is someone’s livelihood, well-being, health, or finances on the line.

Monday, February 10, 2020

My Winter Break

My experience with exams this past fall semester was very different than my experience as a 1L. As a 1L you take exams for all of your classes, some of them are midterms and some of them are finals. Nonetheless they all seem equally daunting and terrifying. As a 2L however, I had the opportunity to take classes I was interested in in addition to my required bar courses, and that made the experience more enjoyable. As a 2L, I also had a combination of essay exams, projects and traditional closed-book exams. This definitely alleviated some of the exhaustion I felt as a 1L. Having the ability to switch between memorizing large quantities of information, and essay-writing of narrow prompts definitely provided a different (and welcome) pace to the end of the year exams. What I missed from 1L was the comradery of testing with your section. For me it was nice talking to people who were just as stressed out as me until the very end. Having people to study with and commiserate was such an important part of 1L that I missed it as a 2L. This semester some of my friends were done with exams while I was still in finals mode, so when I went on social media, I saw with a little envy how relaxed they were!

Now at the half-point of law school, it is refreshing to realize that everything has turned out fine. As a 1L, I was definitely panicked about every single thing in law school. Much of the anxiety I felt I believe came from the fact that I was navigating strange waters. As the first in my family to go to law school, everything has been new and unfamiliar. While I am still anxious for what is yet to come, I have definitely learned to let certain things go. I also find it comforting that the last year and half has just flown by. I am looking forward to the next 18 months, as I continue to approach my goal of becoming an attorney.