Friday, July 9, 2021

My Summer Plans

It hasn’t been easy making long-term plans this past year.

Initially, this semester should have been my last. My 2019 self planned on studying in LA for a year (where I would work on that sweet, sweet tan that is so hard to come by in the Netherlands), before graduating and entering the next phase of my life. However, since I chose the Flex LLM (an option due to COVID19), I will finish the LLM in two years rather than one. Therefore, graduation—along with a lot of my plans, the most pressing of which was to finally get a cat and a driver’s license—has been pushed to a later date.

This, in turns, means that I will have a summer vacation before the start of the new academic year. I am committed to spending at least two weeks screen-free to give my eyes a break from all the hours spent staring at a computer screen (I’ve probably had more headaches this year than I have in my entire life. I’m exaggerating, but only slightly (although I do tend to procrastinate whenever I have access to the Internet, so some of it is on me)).

I’ll be spending the break in the Netherlands, but I’m not too sure what I’ll be doing yet. I will most likely try to find a summer internship or a part-time job since there’s (according to my calculations) 3+ months to fill before classes begin again. But in all honesty, right now I’m more focused on final exams and trying to keep the stress eating under control than I am on any future plans.

I might moan a bit (or a lot) about being stressed right now, but I’ve had a great year at Loyola. It’s been so fun getting to know my fellow LLMs, many of whom are already lawyers in their home countries, and having basically the same conversation every time consisting of how we can’t wait to go to LA and meet each other in person. I’ve loved the in-class discussions and learning just how engaging and helpful Loyola’s professors are. Needless to say, I look forward to returning in Fall 2021!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

The Bar Exam

I am finished with my last law school classes and finished with last papers. The only requirement left before graduation is to complete two final exams – Criminal Procedure and Law of Sales. I don’t really get excited or emotional for things like graduations but I will admit, attending my very last law school class was a bit surreal. Everyone always says that the three years of law school fly by in a flash. It’s absolutely true and in some ways, I feel like I just started. It is also strange because I’m hardly done with my classwork. After finals, I transition immediately into bar prep – learning new areas of law and relearning things I’ve forgotten.

I had already started bar prep back in December. I am reading through a few books and sample problems on marital property, going back over old contract and property outlines, and doing some multiple-choice questions. I have already purchased my bar prep course. I decided to go with Kaplan over Themis and Barbri because I felt Kaplan offered the most comprehensive package for developing my essay-writing skills. The plan is to work on bar prep as though it is my 9-6 job. I have already carved out some time to attend a wedding in May but I have made a point not to fill my schedule with new plans.

I’m still rather focused on my finals so I can’t say I’ve given a lot of thought to my specific study schedule. I know that I need to learn at least the basics of marital property and wills and trusts in the next three months before the July Bar Exam. Those two subjects are not tested on the Multistate Bar Exam (aka the MBE, which is the multiple-choice section of the exam) but they could be tested in the essay section. I also need to extensively review criminal law and basic property law which I have not studied since the fall semester of my 1L year. I am more confident about contracts because the Law of Sales class, which I’m taking this semester, is grounded largely in concepts covered in 1L contracts classes. I’m also more confident about civil procedure because I’ve gotten a lot of experience over the last three years working with statutory deadlines, pleading requirements and motions. I am also very confident in my knowledge of business associations because of my experiences in the corporate concentration. Nevertheless, I am treating bar prep as an opportunity to start my law school education from scratch. I’m sure there are things in every subject that I have forgotten. I cannot afford to skip reviewing any part of any subject.

The great thing about bar prep is that there aren’t really any cases to read. The course books give the relevant rules without “hiding the ball.” Although this means I won’t get the richness of the case history, I can go through the basics of each area of law pretty efficiently. Wish me luck and I will see you on the other side!

Friday, July 2, 2021

My 2L Summer

What Am I Doing 2L Summer?

Well Jury of Peers, we’ve come to our last post for the year. I honestly can’t believe this means I only have one year of law school left. It’s really been crazy, to say the least. I’m so glad I got to share my story with you and hope you’ve gotten something out of it too.

As of writing this post I am still in the process of looking for summer jobs. Though things are looking up for fall, the summer job market is still quite affected by the ripple effect the pandemic started. I wish I had better news, for your and my sake, but that is the reality for us law students, or at least many I’ve talked to.

Luckily, Loyola provided some good opportunities to apply to law firms in the LA area. This year, I participated in Spring OCI (on-campus interviews) and the Law Firm Reception put on by the school. OCI in the spring is mostly comprised of small and medium sized firms whereas Law Firm Reception is mostly small and boutique law firms. Though working in Big Law one day would be exciting, at this point in my legal career, I’m more interested in small to medium firms.

However, despite not getting a job / internship offer (yet, fingers crossed), I am taking some classes over summer so that if I get an offer to be part of a clinic next year, I will have taken some of the pressure off of myself to get some of my last classes done. I really want to make the most of my last year, especially if we are on campus (again, fingers crossed) so that takes some planning ahead on my part.

Overall, I’m excited for summer because no matter what I end up doing, it will be a nice change of pace from the non-stop rigor of classes during the school year. I wish I had more to say, but I’m not great at goodbyes. I wish you the best of luck in your legal career and should we ever cross paths, feel free to say hi!

Goodbye for now,

Kelsey

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Interview Season Is Here - 3 Things You Need to Know

  1. Apply to all the opening positions you are interested in.

    Yes, you read right ALL OF THEM. Even if you think that you do not meet all of the employer’s “requirements.” Even if the position says top 10% (and you are not), apply. Those requirements are not set in stone. More often than not, employers are flexible if they meet a strong candidate that does not necessarily check all of “the boxes.”

  2. Your GPA or rank is not the most important thing when applying.

    Most employers will tell you that experience is more valuable than a high GPA. In the end, it is more valuable for an employer that you know how to do a discovery motion than having a 3.80 or being in the top 10%.

  3. Confidence is Key!

    If you do not believe in yourself, why would a stranger believe in you. Replace words like “I think to I know.” Be confident and portray yourself as the strong candidate you are!

  4. Don’t forget:



Monday, June 28, 2021

Summer Plans

Hello Jury of Peers!

I truly cannot believe how quickly this year has gone by. As my 1L year comes to a close, I look forward to the end of finals, a break from school, and the beginning of my summer internship. That’s right—I landed a summer job!

About two weeks ago, I accepted an offer to intern at a boutique law firm and legal start-up in Los Angeles, and I couldn’t be more thrilled (and relieved). The job hunt was extremely tedious and exhausting, and I often felt discouraged every time I saw a rejection letter sitting in my inbox. As a first-generation law student, I didn’t have any lawyers in my family to offer me guidance, or even a summer job. And as much as I love scouring LinkedIn for hours, hitting refresh every 30 minutes for new job postings, I had no luck. I wound up applying for positions posted by Loyola’s Career Services, which is where I finally struck gold.

My position is a part of Loyola Law School’s Technology Internship Program, aka TIP, and I applied directly through Symplicity. Loyola helped me during my quest for a summer job by providing links to job boards, resources for cover letter writing, and tips on interviewing. Further, the Career Services did an excellent job in connecting students with local employers eager to help Loyola students. My employer is actually a Loyola alumni, which is pretty cool.

Although looking for a summer job took time and energy, I am so excited to start practicing law this summer. I also feel very prepared to start working, something I don’t think I could have said at the beginning of this year. It is truly wild to see how much I’ve grown as a law student and person over this past year. Law school will test you in unimaginable ways, but I am forever grateful for this incredible experience.

Thank you so much for following along during my 1L year!

Until next time, Madison

Friday, June 25, 2021

Getting Over the Fear of Speaking in Class

Growing up, I avoided public speaking as much as I could. My class participation marks in high school were always below average, and, once I went to university, the large class size made it very easy to avoid speaking up. This time around, I went into law school promising myself I would overcome my fear.

It might be that the online environment made it easier, as I attend lectures sitting alone in my room and not in a classroom with 70+ people, but I can quite honestly say that I have (at least for the most part) gotten over my former fears.

For me, preparation has been key. During my bachelors, I went into each lecture having skimmed the material, but never felt like I had enough of a grasp of the content to join in on the discussion. Nowadays, I will read through the assigned pages at least twice before each lecture. That way, I go into class well-prepared, and with enough of a handle on the material to feel like I have a contribution.

Another thing that was helpful was attending a course with a small class size. This semester, I am enrolled in a class that is made up of myself and only five others (not counting the professor). At first, I found it quite daunting as the small size meant that the chances of being cold-called were much higher. However, the course has become one that I genuinely look forward to attending each week. A small class makes it easier to hold a discussion, and it also means that the “audience” is smaller, too.

Finally, I’ve discovered that the more I engage/raise my hand, the easier it becomes. I force myself to either ask a question or answer one by the third lesson of a course. Once I’ve gotten that first moment out of the way, it becomes a lot easier to repeat the action.

In all honesty, I’m still not the most frequent participator, but now, when I feel like I have something to add, I no longer find myself breaking out into a cold sweat at the thought of raising my hand. (I’d like to say that that’s an exaggeration, but no, public speaking of any form really did terrify me.)

To those who have always been comfortable with public speaking and participating in class, I’d like to say that I am very envious of you. But to anyone who dislikes (or even fears) public speaking, law school might be the perfect chance to overcome it. And, anyway, odds are that you’ll be cold-called at some point.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Forty Hours

As I mentioned last year, every law student is required to complete forty hours of pro bono work to graduate. In my 1L year, I got an early start working over the winter break for a tenant advocacy firm, the Tenant’s Law Firm. Because I was a 1L, I was limited to claiming a maximum of ten hours, even though I actually worked closer to forty within the two-week break.

Last year, I completed the bulk of my hours, acting as a bailiff in Loyola’s National Civil Trial Competition. I acted as a timer and event coordinator over an entire weekend and was even credited for the time spent at the pro-competition party! The event added another 28 hours to my pro bono total.

This year I finished up my forty hours by working in a landlord/tenant law clinic. Loyola offers a wide variety of clinics from landlord/tenant to criminal justice to international refugee assistance. I am interested in real estate law and had not had much experience in residential real estate or landlord/tenant law since my volunteer work as a 1L. The good news about clinics is that it is a regular class for credit with instruction on the relevant area of law. The first half of the landlord/tenant clinic focused on the basics of landlord/tenant law and on the newly enacted regulations and prohibitions to address the pandemic. The bad news about clinics (for me anyway) is that each clinic requires each student to work 2 to 4 hours per week in addition to regular classes. The time commitment meant that I was not able to rejoin the Byrne Trial Team again this year.

During the pandemic, the city of Los Angeles, the state, the county and the CDC all enacted emergency regulations which prohibited evictions for failure to pay rent, though contrary to popular belief evictions for cause were still allowed. Tenants were, however, still required to pay all rents owed according to a pre-established timeline once the pandemic had ended. I (rather optimistically) guessed that the pandemic would have subsided enough by the fall semester of 2020 that housing would be a hot issue. My belief was that tenants and landlords would be busy negotiating repayment options and that there would be a glut of wrongfully evicted tenants as landlords reacted to eased evictions restrictions. Unfortunately, the pandemic had not subsided by the fall so I mostly spent the time cataloging the new pandemic laws into a new questionnaire for the clinic to use during client intakes. I did get to do one intake myself but it was far from the busy workload that I had expected. Nevertheless, I did learn a lot about landlord/tenant law and was able to complete my pro bono hours.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Pro Bono Work, An Ethical Obligation

Loyola Law School is unique in that it requires students to complete pro bono hours. This is meant as a means by which the law school and its students give back to the community which it serves. Yet, there is a bigger reason. The American Bar Association holds in its Model Rules that lawyers shall aspire to render at least 50 pro bono hours per year in a manner which the lawyer does not expect to receive payment for the services rendered. While California rules do not echo this requirement and pro bono hours are not mandatory, it is generally accepted that lawyers will either provide pro bono hours or provide funding to an organization that represents underprivileged groups.

Returning to Loyola Law School, I have opted to complete the requirement by volunteering my time in the Young Lawyer Program. This program reaches out to high school students in the surrounding Los Angeles area to immerse them in a mock trial. The students are split into teams and within those teams, high school students are paired with law students that act as mentors to guide them in their legal endeavors. The trial is then run by the high school students, as they present opening and closing statements, as well as conduct direct and cross examinations of the witnesses in the case. The end result is to expose the students to the legal process so they themselves may seek a legal education. That is one way by which I give back to the community.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Pro Bono

Hello again, Jury of Peers! Today we are talking pro bono hours which is kind of perfect since I’m working on my pro bono hours right now!

LLS requires that all students complete 40 hours of pro bono work. Loyola has so many opportunities to complete pro bono hours from clinics to helping trial teams prepare for competition by being a witness. The way I am getting the majority of my hours is through Young Lawyers Program (YLP) which is a student run mock trial. Law students mentor high school students to help foster their interest in law as well as teach some basic legal skills.

My little YLP group is my mentee (who is a freshman in high school!) and a 1L who is starting his hours early. We are working on doing a direct examination of the primary defendant. Since I have the most law school experience as a 2L, most of my job is to explain principles in the simplest way I can. One thing I really feared when I learned we had a pro bono requirement was that I wasn’t going to be knowledgeable or prepared enough to actually do anything productive. But it really amazed me how much I have learned (and retained) in the last 3.5 semesters!

Pro bono hours give you a chance to exercise your knowledge. To make a cheesy analogy: pro bono is like going to the gym for your law brain, and your classes are your personal trainers. You know, the one who makes sure you stay in proper form. It’s actually really fun to get to use my knowledge outside of a class or an exam setting. And yes, I know that sounds nerdy, but if you’re reading this blog, chances are you’re nerdy too.

If I don’t complete all my hours this year, I would love to do clinic work to complete the rest. I am planning on doing a clinic anyway next year to fulfill my experiential learning requirement, but I also am genuinely looking forward to doing more work!

To finish off this post I’ll say this: it’s hard to explain pro bono until you do it. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to foster someone’s interest in law (YLP) or help them with a legal problem (clinic). Those little moments of realization that you do remember what hearsay is AND can recall some of the exceptions. I know I’ve gotten a lot out of it, and I know you will too!

See you in the next one,

Kelsey

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Pro Bono Work?

To be honest, it’s difficult to stay on top of everything and every requirement in law school. There’s a lot that needs to be done in addition to classes, and there are always more opportunities to look into. The pro bono requirement is one of those.

I have always been excited about fulfilling my pro bono requirements. While, as law students, we might all be looking for paid positions or internships, pro bono work is a huge and integral part of the legal profession and it is arguably one of the best ways that our profession helps with justice and equity. Without pro bono work, there are so many people who would be unable to find adequate legal representation, which goes against every ideal that we learn about in law school.

Our pro bono requirement is much more than that; it is an opportunity to learn and grow as a lawyer as well. Before starting law school, it was one of the things I was always looking forward to. As a first year, I have not fulfilled my pro bono requirement yet. However, I do believe that I would like to complete it through a clinical course or practicum. I am also interested in working for the Immigration Center for Women and Children, which is one of the organizations approved by LLS for our pro bono work.

I look forward to updating you all once I complete my requirement. I truly think it will be one of the most exciting aspects of my law school experience and I believe I will be able to learn a lot.

Until Next Time,

Leilee

Monday, June 14, 2021

Pro Bono Requirement

Welcome back Jury of Peers!

This week, I want to go over Loyola’s pro bono requirement for graduation, and my plan to complete it.

As I start to wrap up my first year of law school at Loyola, my thoughts bounce from summer internships to my upcoming finals, to what classes I plan to take in the upcoming fall and how I will fulfill my pro bono requirement. Unlike many law schools, Loyola has a pro bono requirement, which means that students must complete 40 hours of uncompensated, legally related public service work before graduation. As I am considering a future career in public interest, fulfilling this requirement won’t be a problem for me.

This summer, I plan to do an unpaid externship for a non-profit organization here in Los Angeles. Because this work is uncompensated, it will go towards my pro bono requirement. It is not uncommon for your summer job to be unpaid, which makes fulfilling the pro bono requirement rather simple, so don’t stress! I also have friends who plan to volunteer 5-10 hours a week during 2L, to help complete the requirement. However, Loyola does have requirements for what counts as pro bono work, so check with your advisor to make sure your work counts and that you’re on track for graduation.

The pro bono requirement is an excellent way to get work experience in public interest, and truly immerse yourself in your community’s ongoing legal issues. There are so many practice areas and opportunities for public interest work, especially in a bustling city such as Los Angeles. My advice would be to make a plan sooner rather than later. Because before you know it, you’ll be at the end of your 3L year and on your way to graduation.

I hope that was helpful! And as always, thank you for the read.

Until next time,

Madison




Friday, June 11, 2021

Networking and CDO Opportunities

It might seem difficult to network as an LLM student: the program usually lasts a year, and (if you’re like me) you need a while to feel like you’ve grasped the basics and aren’t on the verge of failing everything. Basically, it might seem like there’s not enough time to really network during your time at Loyola. (And that’s not even taking into consideration how scary networking can be!)

Trawling through my inbox now, I can see that I have received emails about networking events and opportunities on a near-weekly basis. Not all are relevant for my situation or in the area of law I am interested in practicing, of course, but I could theoretically attend one event per week just by scouring through my school email. (A cursory scan leads me to a panel on how to find a job in the entertainment industry, one on work/life balance and networking mentorship, and a workshop on how to network in the time of COVID.) Moreover, all the events have been virtual—I don’t know if that’s the case in non-2021 times—but it’s great that you can network from the comfort of your own home!

Despite the plethora of networking opportunities flooding my inbox, I was slightly concerned that these events might be geared more towards domestic students. Luckily, there have been plenty of events aimed at (international) LLM students. In fact, just this week I received an email about a networking opportunity that will not only include speakers who had their initial legal training in different countries, but also a program geared specifically on how to get a job in the US as an international LLM student.

If you are able to get over the fear of networking (and if you have, please let me know how because I genuinely stress myself out so much beforehand), you will likely find that networking at Loyola is easy! However, if you are shy (like me) and find networking daunting (also like me), there are so many opportunities that it would seem wrong not to attend at least a handful.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

A Large Network in a Small Field

Throughout law school there will be numerous people telling you that law school is not isolated and a whole system of lawyers and academics exist to form relationships with to build yourself professionally. Certainly, while the most worthwhile relationships will come from your law school classmates, relationships with District Attorneys, politicians, Public Defenders, etc.. become critical in developing yourself professionally in furtherance of your career. Such organizations which allow for networking arise from clubs such as the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association which grants many opportunities for current students to connect with prior students who are pursuing their careers. Doing so allows the law student to understand how it really is to work in the field or office or firm they seek employment in. Similarly, Bar Associations will often hold informal events to have the members comingle and unwind from their busy lives. Often these associations will offer student enrollment. I am a member of the Western San Bernardino County Bar Association. I have attended many events held by the association and have met very influential people within the San Bernardino Court System and within the District Attorney’s Office, such as the actual District Attorney himself, Jason Anderson, and many of his Deputies. They provided me with a wealth of knowledge about working within the District Attorney’s office and the differences which can be found from county to county.

Yet, there are more opportunities available to students in the furtherance of their careers such as the Southern California Public Interest Career Day which allows for many organizations to table and recruit students to work for the summer or any term to help them gain experience. During these events is where I was able to get recruited by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office as a law clerk which only served to reaffirm my commitment to the public sector.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Networking and CDO Opportunities

Hello again, Jury of Peers! Today we’re talking networking and career development. Personally, one of my most dreaded subjects. Last year, I wrote this post about how hard it was as a shy person to network, which is still true for me, and Zoom hasn’t made it much easier…or so I thought.

I have attended way more lunch events this year than I have in the past and part of that is thanks to Zoom. And because of this year, I will continue to attend more lunch events in the future.

This year in particular I have gotten great networking opportunities by being on Student Government (DSBA) as a Speaker Chair. Because I am part of the group that plans the events, I was basically given the perfect excuse to network: an event. I know for some of you social butterflies out there you might think it’s silly that I need an “excuse” to reach out to attorneys I personally want to know, but introverts will completely understand this.

This year I’ve networked with lawyers in Big Law, political activists, and civil rights leaders through my position at DSBA. And my decision to apply for the DSBA position was actually because I took advantage of Loyola’s alumni mentorship program offered over the summer.

I signed up to have a phone call with an attorney who works in fields I’m interested and was matched with an in-house counsel attorney who was shy like me during his law school years. He told me he made a ton of connections by volunteering to find speakers for clubs he was in. So, through networking, I learned a strategy to network. And now I’m passing that nugget of wisdom on to you.

While networking is a big part of career development, it’s not the only part. Career development also happens by applying for jobs…I know, who would’ve thought? This year I tried my hand at OCI and am currently (as of writing this) applying for summer positions through the Law Firm Reception put on by the CDO. This is a super easy event for shy people like me because you just submit a resume to as many small and mid-size firms as you want.

To finish this post off, I want to talk about my favorite events I’ve been to. First, the women in big law event was amazing. Mostly it was inspiring to hear how the legal profession is getting better for women, even if it’s not as fast as we’d like it to be. And hearing women talk about balancing the pressures of family and career goals is always comforting.

My other favorite event is one that hasn’t even happened yet, as of writing this. DSBA is putting on an improv workshop to help build professional skills. Basically, it’s a big practice area where we are not only allowed to, but encouraged, to fail big. Fail big in an improv workshop, win big in a real-life situation. I’m a HUGE believer that improv can change your life for the better no matter what profession you end up in, so I’m super excited to have someone share this skill with my peers.

{this is me teaching an improv workshop at a comedy festival!} 

At the risk of going on forever, I’ll end this post here. Hopefully you found it helpful and know that if you end up at LLS, feel free to network with me anytime!

See you in the next one,

Kelsey


Friday, June 4, 2021

Opportunities at Loyola

I have to admit that I am interested in a less conventional legal career. I’m passionate about international law (as well as immigration and arbitration) for two reasons. One, I like the idea of working across legal systems in some capacity and I like the idea of working internationally as well (though, you are able to work internationally regardless of what field of law you go into!). International law sounds murky on its face. What is it exactly? That’s a loaded question and I’m not going to go into it right now, but it’s important to note that it’s an area of law that not all law students are immediately exposed to.

Because of all of this, it was a little difficult to figure out who I need to talk to, where I need to network, or how I can start to learn more about my interests at Loyola. Loyola has an incredible International Human Rights clinic, an International and Comparative Law Review and an International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court team so… there are clearly a lot of options. However, I wasn’t sure where to start.

Thankfully, Loyola faculty, professors, the career development center and all the clubs and organizations are helpful in this regard. Through various events and helpful emails, I figured out the professors that I needed to talk to and set up informational interviews with them. That helped me immensely. I learned a lot about fields I am interested in, what opportunities I should be on the lookout for and how to best prepare myself.

To be honest, I really look forward to engaging in networking and career events in person. So, fingers crossed that will happen soon!


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Networking at LMU Loyola Law School

Welcome back Jury of Peers!

This week I want to chat about three of my favorite ways in which Loyola has helped me network and make connections to further my law career. Let’s go!

First, one of my favorite ways to learn about a specific practice area or career opportunities is through panels and guest speakers. Each week, Loyola arranges an array of guest speakers and attorney panels who give you valuable and interesting information about their firm and practice area, and even tips on how to land your dream job. Moreover, most guest speakers are more than willing to speak with you in further detail about their practice- which is a great way to network and build personal connections in the industry.

Second, utilizing OCI through Symplicity is a great way to get on a specific firm’s radar and even have a chance to interview with that firm or company. Symplicity is basically an online tool for students to use to find job postings and career resources like resume and cover letter building. It’s also where you participate in OCI. OCI can connect you with future employers and firms, while also helping you research jobs and practice areas you may have not previously considered.

Third, another great way to look for career opportunities is by participating in Loyola’s Public Interest Week. This option for networking is extremely important for students seeking a career in public interest. For example, Loyola provides students with information from local organizations within several different practice areas. Further, as most of the positions are unpaid, it’s also a great opportunity to fulfill Loyola’s pro-bono requirement for graduation.

Networking can be a bit tricky and even awkward at first, but taking advantage of Loyola’s career opportunities and resources will truly make the process easier and stress-free.

That’s all for this week! Thank you for the read.

Until next time,

Madison

Monday, May 31, 2021

LLM Specializations: Fulfilling Requirements, Choosing Electives, & a Word of Advice

As an LLM student, I had the option of specialising in a particular field during my studies at Loyola. There is, of course, the Bar Track LLM, but other than that there were also six very different specializations for me to choose from. Personally, I knew as soon as I saw the options that I wanted to specialize International Business Law.

Each specialization has different requirements (all of which can be found on Loyola’s website),; International Business Law in particular required that I take Business Associations, a 4 unit course, and 12 units of electives. These 12 units were to be selected from a list of 22 possible choices.

Being able to select courses was a new experience for me. In the Netherlands (where I had first studied), other than a semester abroad, I was never able to choose what classes to take: a set curriculum already existed, from which there was no deviation. Faced with the ability to choose from so many classes for the first time, I spent a good day agonising the choices (although to be fair, I always have a hard time making decisions). Ultimately, I ended selecting taking Business Associations and International Trade as my courses to fulfill the specialization requirement.

The great thing about the specializations is that despite choosing to specialize in International Business Law, there remain 8 credits for me to choose “extracurricular” subjects outside of my chosen field of study. (Which is why I am also taking Professional Responsibilities this semester.) In short, while there are plenty of options to choose from within the International Business Law electives, it’s great to have “spare” units that can be used elsewhere if I would so wish.

One last thing I wanted to mention is that when selecting courses, I was advised to keep in mind that a course offered in the Fall semester might not be offered again in Spring. Since the LLM program’s duration is traditionally one academic year, if you see a course that you would like to take in the Fall semester, it might be best to sign up for it and not count on it being offered the next semester (or at least ask the university whether the course will be offered in Spring as well).

Friday, May 28, 2021

In Vino Veritas

I recently had the privilege of attending the spring Student Organization Fair, helping to represent the Loyola Wine & Spirits Law Society (WSLS). The fair is a chance for new and prospective students to come meet current students, see the different student groups that Loyola has to offer, and, most importantly to ask questions. It was great to talk about what Wine & Spirits does and what we have to offer so I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about the organization.

In Vino Veritas is an old saying that mean, “In wine there is truth.” WSLS takes that phrase literally as a way to shed light on various aspects of the law in a fun, sociable and interesting way.



WSLS was founded in 2015 by Lucas Noble and Maddie Page, so it is still a relatively young group. The overall mission of WSLS is to provide a forum for Loyola students and practicing attorneys to explore the legal realities that producers, distributors and retailers in the alcoholic beverage industry face today. Within that overarching mission, the group changes slightly from year to year, reflecting the goals and interests of the officers in charge. For example, I and my Vice President, Rebekah Hoelscher, are interested in corporate law so our events and activities this year have largely focused on the business issues that producers and regulators face. In the past, we have hosted events focus on a wide range of topics from environmental law to criminal justice.

WSLS has been an amazing opportunity to meet and work with some amazing people, including Matthew Botting, General Counsel for the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and Teo Hunter and Beny Ashburn, founders of Crowns & Hops Brewing Co., one of the few black-owned breweries in Los Angeles. I’ve learned all about California’s regulatory system and how that system has changed due to the pandemic. During our event with Teo and Beny, we confronted some hard truths about how race and privilege, still create inequity in the brewing industry. We also talked about some possible approaches to combat those issues.

WSLS has been an amazing experience for me. I’m confident that our leaders next year and years into the future will continue to bring fun, interesting and insightful events to Loyola and provide opportunities for students to come together over a common interest in the alcoholic beverage industry at speaker events, happy hours and tastings.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Externships and Their Value

An externship is a valuable tool to gain practical experience in a field that interests you. For me, I tend to gravitate towards criminal law due to my commitment to public service and protecting victims of crimes. As such, I sought a position within a District Attorney’s office. I attended the Southern California Public Interest Career Day or “PICD” and bid to interview with numerous District Attorney’s Offices in the area. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s (LADA) Office picked me for an interview. The interview process was very laid back, the DA’s wanted the best candidates but they seemed more interested in getting to know people to see if they were a good fit for the office. The LADA to my surprise is very victim centric which only solidified my choice to extern with the LADA. I was accepted into the position as a law clerk and was placed in the Hardcore Gang Unit. My first assignment was to read all the police reports and review the evidence for a murder. I felt in my element as having prior 911 response experience, I could read the poorly written police reports and immediately be taken to the scene. Understanding the policies and procedures of police conduct is integral as a DA and I was ahead of the game.

This experience reaffirmed my choice to enter into criminal law that upon entering Loyola, I opted to enroll in the criminal justice concentration. Within the concentration, students are required to extern with a DA office or participate in moot court competitions, additionally you are able to take courses which are aimed at improving knowledge of the criminal justice system.

Monday, May 24, 2021

My Time Commitments for Student Organizations and Law Review

Hello again, Jury of Peers! Remember how in my first post I told you I’d explain all about my other involvements? Well, this is that post!

So, as a reminder, here are all the things I am involved in: Day Student Bar Association, Women’s Law Association, International Law Review, Student Ambassadors, and a blogger (of course!). I know. I know it looks like a TON of stuff to handle outside of class but let me break down the commitments for you. Hopefully after I’m done, you’ll realize that it is possible to be involved in law school!

DSBA: we meet once every other week for one hour. These meetings are basically a chance for everyone to get together and discuss ideas for events, and talk about topics that we think are important that affect the entire student body. As a speaker chair, we plan two events a semester that covers topics that the student body is interested in. In fall we planned an activism and allyship panel, and this semester we’re planning an improv workshop to provide a practice space for networking and interview skills!

Law Review: as a staffer, we have one two-hour assignment to complete every week. It truthfully isn’t as bad as some people will tell you, you just have to be willing to sit there and cite check for a few hours. We also do one production day a quarter (usually a Saturday) where we do a final check of all the articles going into the published volume. It’s basically like your weekly assignment but everyone does it together.

Student Ambassadors: we have a five-hour commitment to be filled throughout the semester. I got to give one tour last semester and it was seriously so fun. I love being an ambassador and sharing my story with prospective students. Applying for law school can be stressful, as you know, so my goal as an ambassador is to help you realize you’ll get to the other side.

Blogging: we write posts about once every two weeks. This is another activity I really enjoy. Legal writing is really professional and researched based, whereas on the blog I feel like I’m talking to friends. It’s a really nice change of pace and gives me a concrete place to reflect on my law school journey.

Women’s Law Association: I am a mentor so it’s very flexible scheduling-wise and can vary based on your mentee. I have two great mentees and we talk about three times a quarter. I always like to check in after their midterms and before finals. And if I see an event I think they could really benefit from, I’ll let them know!

So, what’s in store for next year? Something I really want to do next year is work in a clinic. I was too scared to apply last year but now I feel a lot more confident in my legal thinking and really feel like being a part of a clinic would be a wonderful experience. Personally, I’m interested in the Project for the Innocent, the Pro Se Mediation, and Fashion Law Clinic!

See you in the next one,

Kelsey

Friday, May 21, 2021

Externships or Clinics?

If you’re anything like me, you probably looked at clinics and externship programs at law schools when you were submitting applications. Clinics sound so exciting and all schools have a variety of them in different fields. To be honest, law school clinics sounded like everything I hoped to learn about and achieve as a lawyer.

On the other hand, the process is confusing. I don’t mean that the process is confusing here at LLS, just that as a first-year law student there is so much to do and so much to learn about. In addition to your classes, you are learning about 1L summer opportunities, working on your resume, interview skills, getting involved in clubs and organizations, etc. And sometimes clinics, externships or law review might get lost in that.

Here’s my advice: look up the things you are interested in and set up a meeting with those in charge. If your favorite clinic is led by a professor, email them and ask if you can meet with them to discuss the clinic, how to get it, etc. This not only sets you apart, but it also gives you a lot of information that you might otherwise struggle to come by.

Bottom line though: don’t stress. Things will fall into place if you’re looking for them, and as long as you’re not afraid to ask questions, everything will be okay. Law school can be overwhelming at times, but there’s no need to make it worse for yourself. Just do some Googling on your free time and ask around. That will slowly get you way ahead.

Til next time,

Leilee

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

1L Elective

Welcome back Jury of Peers!

This week, I have the pleasure of talking about my first-year elective. Let’s go!

After a trying first semester of law school, spring semester held both promise and intrigue as we now added an elective course to our schedule. The beauty about first-year electives is that you typically get to choose, from a wide-range of classes, a practice area that sparks your interest. And if you have no clue what to choose, have no fear because in the weeks following your selection, the elective professors host a panel discussing the elective in more detail. I highly recommend attending these panels, as they give you great insight into what the elective course looks like, and it give the professors a chance to introduce themselves.

My first-year elective is privacy torts, and although it wasn’t my first choice, I am really enjoying the semester so far. In my opinion, what makes or breaks any class in law school is the professor. Luckily, every professor I’ve had thus far has truly been phenomenal. The professor of a class is definitely something to consider when selecting your first-year elective because after all, you’ll be spending a whole semester with this person. Lucky for you, Loyola is full of amazing and brilliant professors, so I don’t think you can go wrong.

As for me, I am very happy to be enrolled in privacy torts. Not only is this class taught by a wonderful professor, but the content is incredibly fascinating, especially living in Los Angeles where the media and paparazzi are so prevalent. Even if you don’t get the elective course you desired, you still have the opportunity to learn and explore a new practice area. And you never know, you may end up loving it! In all honesty, I never had any desire to study privacy laws but now, half a semester in, it’s my favorite class. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be discouraged if things don’t go as planned. You may find something that interests you where you least expect it.

That’s all for this week! Thank you for the read.

Until next time,

Madison

Monday, May 17, 2021

What I Love About Loyola

From my experience, being a student at Loyola means being supported by professors, staff, and your fellow students. Since I have already spent many a blog post describing how helpful and easy to approach Loyola’s professors are, I will be focusing on the staff and the other students in this one.

My first experience with Loyola’s staff arose during orientation week, when I encountered some login issues. I reached out to the Law Library, and they immediately tried to resolve the problem (and I really do mean immediately, as I received a response five minutes after I sent my first email). In the end, it turned out that I was on a completely different site, hence why my login was not working. While I honestly don’t know how I managed to go to the entirely wrong website, the point stands that the Law Library helped me resolve the problem that was entirely of my own making.

Another time that Loyola’s staff helped me was when it came to paying tuition. The system was different than what I was used to, so I called the university and they walked me through the process. Again, the problem was a non-problem as I was trying to pay via a method that was only available for US students, and if I had just read properly then I wouldn’t have had a difficult time at all. However, I appreciate the fact that the staff was willing to walk me through the steps, even when I called that third time in the span of ten minutes to confirm that I was doing things correctly.

Of course, I can’t write a post on what I love about Loyola without touching on the student community. Any fears that I had of law school being a competitive and cut-throat environment have completely dissipated at this point. My fellow LLM students are truly supportive of one another: we have a group chat where people are always sending reminders for important deadlines and events, and a question never goes unanswered. (And I do want to emphasise just how helpful people are. There have been times when someone would ask about, for example, class registration, and not only would five people immediately jump in to answer the question, but screenshots of each of the steps would be promptly sent.)

Law school is challenging enough without any extra hurdles, and Loyola makes sure that there is none. The supportive environment is what I love about being a student at Loyola.

Friday, May 14, 2021

We Always Make It Work

Over the past two and a half year, I’ve written about some of my experiences and classes at Loyola. For this post, I asked to my legal drafting professor, Prof. Karin Bohmholdt, if she would consent to an interview so you could get to know one member of Loyola’s amazing faculty. She was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions, which are transcribed below. Due to social distancing requirements, this interview was conducted via email exchange.

Prof. Bohmholdt graduated from Loyola Law School in 2004 with magna cum laude honors after serving as the Articles Editor for the Loyola Law Review. She is now an adjunct professor and is also a practicing partner at Greenberg Traurig where is the co-chair of the firm’s Los Angeles Litigation Practice.

Q: How long have you been a litigator?
A: 17 years


Q: Why did you decide to become a litigator?
A: It was a natural fit for me out of law school, and I had no desire to be a transactional lawyer.


Q: How long have you taught at Loyola?
A: Off and on as an adjunct for about 12 years.


Q: Why did you decide to start teaching while still practicing?
A: I always wanted to teach, and my relationships with existing faculty at LLS led me to an opportunity to start teaching as an adjunct. I jumped at the opportunity.


Q: Has your work as a practicing litigator ever conflicted with teaching? If yes, what did you do to resolve the conflict?
A: Growing up with many activities, when I would get upset, my mom would always say, “Don’t worry. You know we always make it work.” So that is what I do as best I can in life. I plan ahead as best I can, and pivot and swivel when I have to! Once, I was in a long jury trial during a semester I was teaching; I left my trial war room on teaching nights, went and taught, and went back to work after.


Q: What has been your most memorable experience as a professor?
A: Every semester, there will be one or two students who reach out to talk about how valuable the class turned out to be in practice, and it makes it so worthwhile. Once, my firm wound up hiring one of my former students. He later told me that his wife, also a lawyer, had had an experience where another party had casually cited a case that really hurt their case. He told his wife, “Oh I learned from Professor Bohmholdt years ago to read all the cases!” I loved that.


Q: What has been your most memorable experience in practice?
A: Too many to choose from. The most memorable times are the big trials with teams or those early moments where motions or cases won on theories I had identified and developed.


Q: Between teaching and your practice, do you have any free time? If so, what is one thing that you like to do?
A: Like I said above, growing up with many activities, when I would get upset, my mom would always say, “Don’t worry. You know we always make it work.” I don’t have a ton of free time, but the time I have is spent with my family and friends. I love cooking and watching my kid’s various sporting and music events.


Q: Why should law students take legal drafting?
A: Most law students go into practice maybe never even having heard of a “motion,” or understanding what a “complaint” or “engagement agreement” look like. It is such an advantage to take these types of clinical classes because you at least get exposure to how to even begin these things.


Q: What advice do you have for anyone considering law school?
A: Be open. I went to law school on a true whim and when I got there, I fell in love with it. I had no preconceived notions about what I would do with my degree and it worked out for the best. I also think that students who have a little time off of school between undergrad and law school often find that they love law school more than many who go straight through. There is something new and exciting about going “back to school,” even if it is only a couple of years.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

What I Love About Loyola: The Teaching Style

At my prior law school, I was privileged to receive an incredible amount of help with the material presented. However, LMU Loyola Law School presented a greater opportunity for me to expand my knowledge of law. The professors at Loyola are very skilled and knowledgeable about their craft; thus, it is not surprising that a good portion of the professors have literally written the textbook on certain subjects which are used across the United States. Accordingly, the instruction given is top notch as the professor will introduce material in a manner not found at any other law school.

Yet, mastery of a subject does not make a person an excellent professor alone. The method by which material is taught is an important element to properly teaching a subject. Hence, in addition to the sheer mastery obtained by the professors, professors understand that not everyone learns by lectures. My professors have uploaded video lectures in advance of a class session to prepare us for a difficult session or topic, taught using PowerPoint slides with interactive elements, and utilize ‘learn by doing’ where the students present legal arguments found in cases. While the extra material adds to the work we must complete, its inclusion ultimately makes the students all the more prepared for the bar examination. Simple and diverse teaching strategies makes Loyola stand out from the rest.

Monday, May 10, 2021

What I Love About Loyola



Hello again, Jury of Peers!

It’s Valentine’s Month as I’m writing this which means this post might be filled will cheesy clichés about love, but bear with me okay? Today we’re talking about what we love about Loyola and there is certainly no shortage of topics to talk about!

I’ll start with the thing I love most: the people. At Loyola, you can cultivate great friendships, study groups (and maybe even love affairs) with the people who make up our community. Pretty much everyone from the Deans to the 1L’s are friendly. At this point, I’ve probably mentioned this in several posts, but that just shows you I really love that about LLS. Being around intimidating people was the thing I was most scared of going into law school, and the fact that Loyola is not like that at all is a huge reason I was able to transition to law school and Los Angeles so well.

Next, I’ll talk about something I have a love-hate relationship with: Zoom. Hopefully none of you will need to take class on Zoom next year, but I do want to highlight some of the good things I’ve experienced with Zoom law school. This is definitely a “hot take” but I actually like breakout rooms when people participate. In regular class, you always work with your friends because you sit next to them, but in breakout rooms I’ve gotten to meet some new people which is exciting. I also like that I don’t have to squint to see slides from the back of Merrifield Hall.


One thing I think LLS does differently from other law schools is that they want you to see the law in a practical way. Professors want you to be able to think about the law and use the law, not just theorize about the law (although that can be fun too). And LLS provides so many chances to put that into practice through the clinics, practicums, trial teams, and pro bono opportunities. I love that we actually get to rehearse what it will be like when we can actually practice law.

Just like love in real life, the highs and lows in your relationship with law school are intense. One day, you kill a 20-minute cold call and walk out of class feeling like you could be Amal Clooney someday. The next day, you get a memo grade back and wonder if you should have gone to law school at all. The dichotomy of law school can be stark, but that’s what keeps things interesting. 1L was grueling but exciting. 2L is brutal but rewarding. 3L will be … well, check back next year for that update!

Whatever you’re looking to get out of law school, Loyola probably has something perfect for you!

See you in the next one,
 
Kelsey

Friday, May 7, 2021

What I Love About Loyola!

For starters, I love being a student at a law school that has such a high number of alumni working across the globe in the field. Not only is this reassuring, but I’m sure it will be useful in my career as well. So far, I haven’t come across a single firm that doesn’t have an LLS alum.

But on a more personal level, I love that Loyola’s dedication to social justice shows not just in our clinics, externships, and other opportunities offered, but through the student body as well. Loyola students are empathetic and much less competitive than movies and law school orientations make everyone to be and I mean that in the best way possible. They are understanding of other people’s situations and background and offer support. They are a diverse group with various interests and I learn from them every day.

I also appreciate all of the associations at Loyola who have tried to keep students engaged and active throughout the pandemic. It’s a difficult job, and we might not all feel motivated enough to participate as much as we otherwise would, but the student bodies continue to work hard, associations send out emails with fascinating events, and always make sure that we are getting as much of a “real” law school experience as possible.

Honestly, I hope I can update this list once we’re actually on campus because I’m sure there will be more to love.

Til next time,

Leilee

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

What I Love About Loyola

Hello Jury of Peers!

For the month of February and in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I cannot think of a better way to express my love for Loyola than to do so in this blogpost. I could talk for hours about why this school is the perfect fit for me, but I’ll try to keep it short for my reader’s sake.

There are many things I love about Loyola Law School. However, one thing I admire most about this school is the community. Although law school is competitive in nature, at Loyola, it’s different. Here, there is an overwhelming amount of support and kindness. From alumni to the student body, there is a sense of comradery and encouragement unmatched to any institution I’ve ever enrolled in. Everyone you meet genuinely wants you to succeed, and will do everything in their power to assist you in achieving your goals.

Something that I overlooked when applying to Loyola, was its rather impressive alumni association. The southern California legal market is saturated with Loyola grads, which is a huge benefit for students when it comes to landing their summer associate positions and first jobs. I’m immensely grateful for our wonderful network of alumni, and the guidance they provide to current and prospective students.

Another thing I love about Loyola is its commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus. Each week, the administration provides students with excellent resources including keynote speakers, informational seminars, and interactive workshops on racial justice and equality. Loyola goes above and beyond in fostering a safe and inclusive environment for its students and faculty. Additionally, I’ve noticed that more and more professors are continuing the conversation on racial injustice and how it affects the law, something of great importance in the legal field.

Like I said, I could talk about my love for Loyola forever. But that’s all for this week! Thank you again for the read, and I’ll see you in my next post!

Until next time,

Madison

Friday, March 12, 2021

Building Relationships With Faculty

Have you ever heard anyone tell you they hated a subject and when you asked them why, they say it was because they did not like the teacher? That was me after a bad middle school math teacher. Being able to teach is a completely different skill set than understanding the subject, in my opinion. And arguably, the stakes for finding a good teacher are never higher in your academic career than in law school.

We’ve all seen the scary law professors who kick students out of class for not reading the pre-assigned material (Legally Blonde), who demand feats of knowledge (Paper Chase), and others that make us question whether law school professors are here to help us or to be so tough on us that nothing in our professional careers seem too bad. Luckily at Loyola, none of those stereotypes are really true. I truly believe that my law school experience has been positively impacted in a major way by the professors. They are pillars of our community and sometimes it feels surreal we’re learning from such impressive people.

Many professors contribute to the “Loyola Community,” which is always referencing the caring, professional, and helpful nature of our campus culture. Don’t start thinking our professors make law school easier than other professors would, because they definitely still challenge you in class and increase your tolerance for reading late into the night, but they do approach their students with the understanding that we’re all trying our best.


My law school professors are much more accessible than my undergraduate professors. They have office hours, will meet with you outside of office hours, give you their phone numbers, and tell you to reach out to them even after the semester is over. They truly want you to have access to their help. They want to be accessible because they understand we are grappling with difficult and sometimes counterintuitive material – they had to grapple with it as students too.

Many people in my 1L section even loved our professors so much, they’ll take an upper division class specifically because of the professor teaching it. I am also 100% guilty of this. Maybe that seems hard to understand now, but once you get to Loyola you will completely understand. This may sound biased, but I’m pretty sure we have some of the best professors out there.

See you in the next one,

Kelsey


Monday, March 8, 2021

The Importance of Study Groups

My first year of law school was thankfully in person as the pandemic was a possibility few of us even considered. Accordingly, being in person the dynamic between students and staff was drastically different than the new normal we know now. Immediately upon stepping through the doors of the law school, I was connected with individuals that I was able to have intellectual debate with. The student body comprised of individuals from all walks of life such that the intellectual diversity was refreshing and an environment which I had little experience in. I quickly formed a group with individuals from my cohort, with this group I was able to talk about both legal issues and personal issues. Quickly, we all became each other’s best friends and supported one another through thick and thin. I formed a study group with two of the people in my group of 5 because they had the exact same classes as myself while the other two had a different torts class.

This study group was integral to my success during my first year as we would push each other to study and clarify points to ensure we had a good grasp of the subject. However, I did not limit myself to that exclusive group. Rather, in my quest to understand the material better, I held study sessions for any person who wanted to attend. The capacity to teach others shows proficiency. Law school and law as a field of study requires collaborative skills, most of the proceedings in the field are team based, whether it be attorney to attorney or attorney to paralegal. While it may not be the best idea to lean on a classmate to get through law school, having a support system both academically and socially will make the experience evermore pleasant.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Building Relationships with Faculty

What I found pleasantly surprising about Loyola was how easy it is to communicate with your professors. My professors have often ended lectures encouraging students to reach out if they have any concerns. In fact, during my first semester at Loyola, the professors regularly stuck around for 15 minutes after class to answer everyone’s questions. Never were we made to feel like our questions were an inconvenience.

Moreover, my professors have all been incredibly quick at responding to emails (and I would imagine communication via email is probably at an all-time high this year). For example, I emailed my Spring 2021 professors two days before the winter break was scheduled to begin to ask for a list of textbooks required for their courses. Admittedly, I left the sending of the email a bit late, and I was worried that I might have to wait until after winter break to receive a reply. It turns out that my worries were unwarranted, as I received a reply from all three professors on the same day I sent my email.

When it comes to non-email communications, my professors have been accommodating as well. As an LLM student attending the program from outside the United States, I am in a time zone nine hours ahead of Los Angeles, and I assumed that I might have to stay up late to schedule a meeting during office hours. Luckily, professors have made it clear that, should their office hours be at an inconvenient time, we need only reach out so that a mutually convenient one can be found.

Not only are Loyola’s professors readily available to answer questions and address concerns, but they actively encourage students to ask these questions and raise their concerns. In this way, Loyola has cultivated an environment where reaching out is easy, and approaching faculty is not at all daunting.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Building Relationships With Faculty

Welcome back Jury of Peers!

This week, I’ll dive into my favorite tips and tricks on getting to know your professors and building relationships with the Loyola faculty.

For starters, it is very important to begin cultivating close relationships with your professors and advisors, as these individuals have an immense amount of experience and wisdom when it comes to the world of law. Not only can they offer you knowledge and expertise about the law school experience or entering the legal field, they also want to see you grow and succeed. In that capacity, they’re truly your biggest supporters and cheerleaders.

When looking to build a relationship with your professor, my advice is to take advantage of office hours and private meetings. Office hours are great for general questions about the material, or simply introducing yourself. In my experience, professors notice when you come to their office hours, something that may benefit you in the long run. However, I tend to get to know faculty better when I’m speaking with them one-on-one. Private meetings are great to get to know the professor on a personal level, and it’s a space where you can talk more about their professional career rather than the class material. I’ve even reached out to a few professors who teach classes in areas of law I’m interested in, but haven’t had the opportunity to take. The more information you can gain about certain areas of law the better.

Apart from professors, seeking out relationships with other Loyola faculty is equally beneficial. Your advisors, for example, want nothing more than to help you succeed. The more your advisors get to know you, the better capable they are at providing you with opportunities that suit your interests and professional goals. Also, it’s almost too easy to build relationships with your advisors, as Loyola has various drop-in hours where you can speak with faculty and get your questions answered quickly. So far, I’ve also found that the faculty at Loyola are not only accessible, but very responsive to your needs/ questions. Law school is already stressful, so it’s nice to not have to worry about communicating with faculty!

That’s all for this week, thank you for the read!

Until next time,

Madison

Friday, February 26, 2021

Relief or More Madness?

At the end of an academic semester, there is a collective sigh exhausted by the majority of the students and staff. They are grateful that they could make it through another semester in one piece. I am the same. After turning in my last assignment, an essay, 3 months in the making, completed its journey with the click of the “send” button. Yet, when I was pondering attending law school, many of the posts circulating the internet told a grim story about law school exams. The prevailing sentiment seemed to be that of dread, law school exams were to be the most difficult obstacle to being a practicing attorney. Yet, how was it really? I tend to find most exams easy. This is due to the fact that I control my stress extremely well and virtually do not have any ninety percent of the time. Thus, I am always able to think with a clear mind. However, this time around the semester was completely remote, including the test. These circumstances added to the pressure of performing well, especially since I learn best with in person instruction. Hence, this semester was different, I did not feel masterful in the subjects I had signed up for and did not feel as though I put forth my best work in taking the exams. Of course, I tried my best and the staff put forth their best effort to teach the students. In the end, my grades were good and put me in a good spot. Yet, the lasting impact is known and 2020 will surely live on in our memories. For better or worse.

Following finals, the winter break seemed like a time to unwind and relax. A time to take our mind off the law or any other endeavor which we undertake. Yet, the difficulties presented by the pandemic still needed to be considered.

Being a healthcare employee, along with my family members and friends, and having constant contact with those infected with Covid-19, all those concerns seemed trivial for those around me. Our festivities were put on pause to stay on the safe side. Not surprisingly, I was among the first to receive the vaccine and thus could breathe a sigh of relief. Although we are not out of danger, we are one step closer to normalcy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Electives, Concentrations, Classes, Oh My!

Welcome back Jury of Peers! This week we’re talking the lifeblood of law school: classes. During your 1L year, you don’t get to pick any classes yourself – sorry 1L’s – but it’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a curse because you have no control over your schedule but it’s also a blessing because picking classes is SO stressful for me, in a good way!


 I have such a hard time picking classes simply because there are so many courses that look interesting. Basically, outside of Constitutional Law, Ethical Lawyering, and Evidence, you have no more required classes. Even your writing requirement can be filled in lots of different ways. So, you have lots of choices which means you’ve got to be the one who makes all the difficult decisions.

This year I decided I wanted to take courses in the Entertainment law, Corporate law, Criminal law, and International Law. I gravitated toward the first two because those are my primary interests for fields post-graduation. The latter two are classes I wanted to take as Bar Prep and because I was interested in the topic, respectively. I truly liked / am liking all the classes I have.

The nice thing about elective courses is they all build on the concepts you learned in your 1L courses. And they all bleed together. Which is why the courses you take 1L are the courses the school picks for you, because you would miss a lot deferring any of those classes until later in your law school education.

In addition to picking electives, you can choose to do a concentration (think of it like a major) but you don’t have to. One of the advantages if you choose to concentrate in an area is that you can get a separate GPA of all your concentration required courses which can be helpful when applying to jobs in the future.

I went into law school wanting to concentrate in Entertainment Law but after I found so many classes I was interested in that I would have to give up to make time for concentration specific classes, I decided against it. I figured I can give myself a “makeshift” concentration that has more entertainment classes than other things, but I have the freedom to take any class I want.

My advice, come into law school with whatever notion you have of the kind of law you think you might want to practice, but let yourself be open to exploring other things if inspiration strikes you. Law school is kind of a “choose your own adventure” so you can always change directions if you want to – that’s certainly what I did. Older students and faculty are always great to consult with about these dilemmas because we’ve all gone through it!

See you in the next one,

Kelsey

Monday, February 22, 2021

Choosing Electives

In your second year at Loyola, you have to take Constitutional Law, Evidence, and Ethical Lawyering. Those classes total 11 credits, which leaves you with about 18 credits of your choice (about 9 a semester).

So how to choose what to take?

Part of what drew me to Loyola was the dual degree J.D. / Tax L.L.M. program, that allowed me to finish law school in the normal 3 years with an added L.L.M. in taxation. The program requires 12 credits of class in the summer after your first year, and an additional 12 credits of tax courses in your 2L and 3L years. To keep on track, I decided to take 4 units of tax classes every semester. That led me to choose Tax Policy Colloquium and Advanced Federal Tax Research in the Fall, and both Tax Law Practice and Tax Practice and Procedure in the Spring. My fall classes were excellent. Tax Policy gave me the opportunity to meet with and critique the work of leading tax theorists, and Tax Research honed my memo writing skills in a national tax memo competition. I cannot recommend those classes enough.

That left me with about 10 credits of available classes for the whole year. I knew I was interested in business courses, all of which require Business Associations (4 credits), so I signed up for that right away. Coming from the creative world, I was also interested in what Entertainment Law (3 credits) had to offer. Last, I signed up for Financing the Business Startup (3 credits) just because it seemed fun. It’s only the second week of class…but so far I love it.

I have two pieces of advice. First, take classes with your GPA in mind. This will matter so much more than you could guess. I promise you. Be defensive with your grades. Second, take classes for fun. I promised myself that I would take at least one class every semester just because it seemed cool, to help balance out the stress of law school. Law school is a long three years. Make sure to have little rewards for yourself.

Friday, February 19, 2021

The Importance of Study Groups

Law school is challenging, but it’s nice to know that we’re all going through the same thing. I think this year more than ever, lots of us find ourselves in the same boat: taking classes from a remote location (often even from different time zones), while heavily relying on Zoom. However, no matter how different the world is from what we are used to, one must study.

Generally, I like to go to the library and study with some friends (although the studying only really begins after a bit of moaning about how stressed we are). Since that wasn’t an option this academic year (because, you know, 2020), I tried to study with others via Zoom. My friend and I laid out our textbooks, prepared a cup of tea, and promised to only discuss academics. Unfortunately, having electronics nearby was extremely distracting for me. I’ve since gone back to my tried and tested method of studying, which is to leave my phone and laptop in another room (otherwise I will spend 45 minutes doing online quizzes). In short, all my electronics have been banished during study time, which has meant no study group.

The great thing, though, is that - study group or no study group - Loyola’s community is a supportive one. A lot of times, school can be a competitive place - with everyone in contest with the other for the best grades. I will admit that I thought law school would be extremely cutthroat (especially once I discovered that everything is graded on a curve!). Luckily, from my experience so far, that has not been the case.

My fellow LLMs and I are all in a group chat. Questions do not go unanswered (which is especially appreciated when you’re trying to figure out how to access your grades), and often there will even be those reminding others of upcoming deadlines. One of the great things about the LLM is that people are all in different phases of study: some began their academic year in Spring, while others chose to start in the Fall semester. This has meant that, when me and my fellow Fall start classmates were new and still trying to figure things out, there were those that already knew what they were doing and how the Loyola’s system worked, and they were gracious enough to offer their advice.

Finally, I think that forming a study group at Loyola - if you felt so inclined - would be very easy. As LLMs, most of us are international students studying a new legal system in a new country, and it is no surprise that seems to be a natural sense of community.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

An Entry for My Peers

A classic scene in a movie about law school is the group huddled over books, scattered pages and multiple computers. Someone looks up a rule, another one calls out an exception. Someone else asks about its application. The library or outside courtyard (though, this scene is typically late at night so it’s most likely the former) is packed with groups like this one. What is obviously missing from this scene is a deadly virus. In a pandemic, I’ve experienced no such nights.

Instead, I’ve met people via Zoom, which I find extremely uncomfortable, but I was surprised and relieved to find that there are people who make Zoom meetings so much better. There are people who take the extra step of setting up a study group and virtual library to ensure the rest of us (too awkward or uncomfortable to ask) can have a virtual space to experience law school to the fullest. Those same people share their outlines, answer your questions and walk you through the complex application of a rule fifteen times, if need be.

It’s safe to say that without them I would never have made it through finals with my sanity intact and I never would have done half as well as I ended up doing. Without them, law school would have felt like just watching different people talk on a screen.

While this study group and my lovely peers have helped my grades, they have also helped me through the really hard days; the days where I was just unable to be productive, the days when online school became a little too draining, times when I felt like I was just too exhausted and too overwhelmed to keep going. They are supportive and honest, telling me that they have felt the same way, instead of trying to make it seem like we should all have everything together at all times. I appreciate them deeply, and I would say LLS should be proud to have students that are not just great peers under normal circumstances, but also during awkward, difficult and unprecedented times as well.

Shoutout to the awesome people of D2.

Until next time,

Leilee

Monday, February 15, 2021

Law Student Support Systems

Hello Jury of Peers!

In the wild whirlwind that is law school, it’s nice to build a strong support system with your fellow classmates. Although it may feel awkward at first to cultivate these relationships and lean on your peers, at the end of the day, you’re all going through the same thing—and you’re not going through it alone. More importantly, not only are you establishing close friendships, you’re also beginning to grow your professional network in the legal field.

Prior to the first day of classes, I remember thinking that everyone was going to be super competitive, focusing solely on their own studies. After my first week at Loyola, I couldn’t have been more mistaken. Not only is our student body incredibly kind and friendly, they are unbelievably supportive and motivating. My section utilizes GroupMe, which allows us to communicate with each other on a large scale, asking questions ranging from, “Hey what is our property reading for Wednesday?” or even, “Who’s watching the Bachelor tonight?” Apart from messaging apps like GroupMe, even something simple as asking the person sitting next to you for their contact information can truly save the day come exam season when you’re looking for a study buddy.

Speaking of study buddies, forming study groups during exam season can be extremely helpful. It gives you a chance to discuss the law in a low-pressured, casual environment, and is an excellent way to help fill gaps in your notes. Although I have friends who swear by their study groups for exam prep, it is important to stay true to yourself and know the ways in which you study best. Personally, I prefer to study alone. I still lean on my peers for occasional questions and reading assignments, but when it comes to studying, I find myself most productive when I’m in a quiet environment by myself.

With that said, leaning on your law school peers goes beyond the classroom. Having a strong support system of like-minded, empowering individuals can make your law school experience much more pleasant. Like I said before, you’re all going through the same thing. You’re sharing an extremely unique experience, and leaning on each other for emotional or academic support can open the doors to not only professional relationships, but true friendships.

Thank you for the read!

Until next time,

Madison

Friday, February 12, 2021

Business As Usual

Since April, the world has come to a standstill. Students are unfortunately facing the consequences of distance learning, not only the students within grade school but those pursuing their undergraduate and graduate degrees. However, law school, a challenge in its own right, continues as normal, the forum is irrelevant to the study of law. The substance of the schooling remained the same. The courses up for me to challenge included Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Ethical Lawyering, Intro to International Law, and National Security and Data Privacy. Unlike the first-year courses, there is the option to have a course with a final academic paper, rather than a traditional final. The course itself gives a general overview of the field and then leaves student to research a topic of their choosing. National Security and Data Privacy was one such course.

The goal of these upper division writing requirement courses is to produce a peer reviewed paper with a minimum of 7,500 words. My paper was set to be on the impact of artificial intelligence in regard to counter terrorism operations. While I had vast experience in terrorism studies thanks to my involvement in international programs such as the National Model United Nations, and my enrollment in similar courses during undergrad. I felt confident with this paper topic. Then the research started.

Surprisingly enough, counter terror tactics are not released to the general public, thus I was unable to find reliable sources on the latest technologies. However, I took a step back. I am in law school not a doctoral program for computer engineering. I asked myself a simple question. “Is it legal?” This simple question spurred my interest. In my research, the answer to that question was a resounding “maybe”. However, the lack of answer was not a negative. Rather it shows the novel nature of the question such that no courts have considered its implementation. Since there are no right or wrong answers as typically required by traditional final exams, I needed to support my findings. The legal framework of data collection set by the fourth amendment to the US Constitution and any case law stemming from it. This type of research was new for me and the challenge it presented made the end result worth the pain.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Happy 2021 everyone! Or 2020 Round 2, whichever you prefer!

I was so relieved when I finished my exams. They were particularly stressful because they were our first letter grades since Covid started. This meant that they would have a strong impact on our GPA, which is usually what pushes law firms to invite you to interview.

I’ve learned two things in prepping for exams. First, always start earlier than you think you should. Second, organization is everything. It doesn’t matter how smart you are. Law school exams cover wide swaths of material, and you need to recognize all of the individual subissues that may arise in any question. The actual explanation of a subissue is usually not complex; the difficulty comes from recognizing when a question requires the analysis. Having organized notes helps you predict what kind of issues you might encounter in particular questions, and play a huge role in academic success.

That’s how law school changed me the most. I come from a creative background. Working as an actor for five years, I wasn’t used to an orderly presentation of knowledge. I either knew something or I didn’t, and that was the end of the discussion. That kind of attitude was how I lived in general. No notes, no reminders, little structure. In my first semester, that mindset held me back. I wasn’t able to truly succeed academically until I discovered the magic of flowcharts in analyzing property law questions. Just rewriting my notes in this format helped me understand the legal analysis so much better, because I had to truly understand the material before I could organize it correctly.

Becoming more organized was helpful for my life outside of school as well. Even though the pandemic still rages, there are still things I want to accomplish. It’s easy to lose track of time and let days slip by without moving towards your goals, especially if you’re in a negative emotional space.

Keeping track of your goals and noting your victories, even small ones, does so much to help keep you moving forward. So far this year I spoke at a (virtual) poetry reading, started learning a new language (Armenian), and both interviewed for and accepted a summer associate position at Kirkland & Ellis, Am Law’s #1 ranked firm. So yeah, I GOT A JOB!

I’ll leave you there, but don’t worry. I’ll write about that experience soon enough.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Last “First” Day of School!

My last winter break has come and gone. I spent the time drafting a set of Bylaws for the Wine & Spirits Law Society with one of our 1L Officers, Orlando Loza, I edited law review articles, learned some Portuguese on Duolingo, made progress on my post-graduation job hunt, and dipped my toe into Bar Prep. I also took some time to just be with my wife, Claudia. We know my next real break won’t be until after I take the Bar Exam.

Now, I’ve started my last semester at Loyola and it’s a bittersweet time. I know it’s a cliché but five semesters have really flown by! Even in a year like 2020 that, let’s face it, was pretty terrible for everyone, I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had so far and I’m really looking forward to getting the most out of the limited time I have left before graduation.

I’m taking five classes this semester as well as Law Review. I’m finishing my final requirements for the Corporate Concentration, I have one Bar Class (Criminal Procedure), and I’m taking one class for “fun” (Law of Sales). It’s sad and a bit funny that I won’t be able to take anymore classes at Loyola when there are still so many I wish I could take! At the same time, I know this semester is going to be a handful. There’s plenty of uncertainty about classes, the Bar, and our future job prospects but I still think there is plenty of healthy optimism.

In actuality, my biggest worry right now is when I’ll be able to get a haircut. I missed my chance to get one in December before we went back into lockdown and now my hair is out of control! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it’ll be safe to get one soon.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Welcome to Spring Semester 2021!

Greetings from the Spring 2021 semester! I have returned to law school feeling refreshed and well-rested (though I suppose I’ll have to see how long that lasts).

My winter break consisted of a lot of staying indoors, re-watching TV shows (I finished an entire season of Psych in one day), sleeping in until noon, and trying to establish a proper exercise routine. All in all, it wasn’t very exciting or even eventful. When my friends and I spoke on the phone and they asked for an update on my life, I genuinely had none to give other than to tell them how many more episodes of a show I had watched. While I hope to be able to travel (or at least physically meet up with friends) next year, I have no complaints, as I was able to spend a lot of time with my family.

I also spent a lot of my winter break refreshing my student email to see if final grades had been posted. Despite being informed by my fellow LLM students who had had midterms or were in their second semester of law school that grades likely wouldn’t be up until early January, I continued to refresh my email at least twice a day. However, upon being notified that grades were up, I realized that I had no idea how to locate them, and had to ask my fellow LLM classmates for help. After some frantic texting and some even more frantic fussing about on the laptop, I finally found my Fall 2020 grades.

As for the exam period itself, I was very nervous about my exam being online. I spent a long time checking that my WiFi connection was strong, making sure my laptop was entirely charged and that my charger was nearby, and checked and double checked the online exam system. I probably should have also checked the latch on the front door, however, as I ended up accidentally locking my parents out of the house.

So to anyone who is taking online exams this year, I guess my piece of advice (if you can even call it advice) would be to not lock your family or housemates outside while you take your exam.

I’ll admit that I was very much looking forward to returning to school by the beginning of January. Like last semester, all of my classes take place in the evening. This probably doesn’t bode well for my sleep schedule, especially as they wrap up at 1:50 am twice a week, but I suppose some things never change.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

2021-Back from "Break"!

Hello Jury of Peers!

To be honest, this wouldn’t be an honest blog post if I didn’t note the fact that winter break felt very little like a real break. Obviously, breaks in law school are much shorter (I used to be on a semester system where we used to get SIX weeks off between semesters. SIX!) even though finals feel much longer and a lot more draining (the hard work pays off though, I promise you!). But also, it was difficult to take a break with everything going on in the world. There wasn’t much to do to relax or unplug and the thought of job searches and the start of semester never left my mind.

Long story short (if you know, you know, TS fans), I did not do this break right. The weekend before classes started, I still felt tired. But there was one silver lining; and that was the realization that I need to spend more time disconnecting throughout the semester. I love law and legal thinking, but over break I realized that I had started to think that way when it came to every aspect of my life. I couldn’t have a conversation without approaching it like some argument or like I was meant to derive some idea or rule from it. That’s definitely exhausting for my brain and it was something I hadn’t even noticed. The break gave me a chance to become mindful of that and reminded me that sometimes it’s fun (and necessary) to just do unproductive, creative and mindless things. To just not think.

So if you’re reading this and you haven’t had your first winter break yet, I have a couple of things to say. One, fingers crossed you won’t be in a global pandemic. Second, I hope you can rest your mind, even if you can’t fully rest and re-energize yourself the way you wanted to. It goes a long way.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Fall Exams and a Much-Needed Winter Break

Welcome back Jury of Peers!

After an intense two weeks of finals, to a relaxing winter break, Spring semester is finally back in session. Here’s a recap of my last month:

Exams. Oh, boy. Throughout law school, there always seems to be a dark cloud looming over you, following you everywhere you go. That dark cloud is exams. From the moment you start law school, you instantly start thinking, worrying, and preparing for your final exams. I know that sounds overwhelming, but it’s the reality. In a few of my 1L classes, the final exam accounted for 100% of my final grade, so beginning to study earlier rather than later was crucial. Although it may seem daunting at first, if you start preparing for finals early, that dark cloud will slowly lift, and you’ll be able to see some sun.

My exams went well. They were challenging yet fair. Finals week was undoubtedly one of the most stressful two weeks of my life, yet I survived, making winter break a peaceful and well-deserved few weeks.

After my last final, my mind instantly entered vacation-mode, and I couldn’t wait to finally go home and not think about civil procedure or what constitutes a contract. However, I knew I wasn’t completely off the hook in terms of law-related work. After fall finals comes the lovely period of applying to summer associate positions, and I spent many days of winter break perfecting my resume and mastering the art of the cover letter. Although I wasn’t studying the law, I was still consumed with applying to summer clerkships and legal internships, which kept me very, very busy.

When I wasn’t working on my summer job applications, I was honestly doing nothing. It’s called relaxing, okay? I caught up on my favorite Netflix shows, read a few books that had been collecting dust on the shelf, ventured to my favorite hometown hiking spots, and spent quality time with my family. By January, I was back in Los Angeles, prepping for spring semester. This included ordering new textbooks, deep-cleaning my apartment, and mentally preparing for grades to be released. Then, in a blink of an eye, it was the first Monday back at law school.

As always, thanks for the read. I look forward to documenting the second half of my 1L year with you all!

Until next time,

Madison