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 clich├ęs 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