Monday, November 30, 2020


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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 27, 2020

A Whole New Ballgame

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2020


Hi, all!

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

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

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

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

I haven’t looked back.

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

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

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

Monday, November 23, 2020

Pleasure To Make Your Acquaintance

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 20, 2020


Hello Jury of Peers!!

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

Before Law School

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

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

Law School

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

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

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

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



Outside Law School

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

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

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

See you in the next one,


Wednesday, November 18, 2020


Hello Jury of Peers!

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 16, 2020


Hello Jury of Peers!

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

Now, a little bit about me. 

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

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

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

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

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