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’s Club: A Good Place to Read a (Case)Book
  • Nimbus Coffee
  • Philz Coffee
  • Groundwork Coffee
  • CafĂ© 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!