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.