Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Concentrations and Electives

Hello again, Jury of Peers!

Today we are talking about concentrations and electives. There are many, many areas of law so it would make sense that there are an abundance of classes to choose from in law school to allow students to pique their interests before going out into the big-bad-working-world.

Loyola offers quite a few concentrations, which are kind of like optional majors. There are some advantages to doing a concentration, like getting a separate GPA for those required classes; and there are some disadvantages, like having more classes that you have to take. I debated doing the Entertainment concentration but ultimately decided it wasn’t for me. This was mostly because the more classes I took, the less I knew what I wanted my career to look like post-law school.

Many of the electives I took were Bar courses or Bar adjacent courses because, frankly, I’m a bad test-taker. Having a lot of classes that expose me to the material before Bar study begins eases my anxious mind. For example, I took Business Associations, Marital Property, Criminal Procedure, Remedies, California Civil Procedure, and Trusts & Wills. But just because I had a lot of Bar classes didn’t mean I couldn’t take anything I was truly interested in. I took a wonderful Motion Picture Contract Drafting class where we pretended we were actually drafting contracts for major motion pictures. I took Trial Advocacy where I got to put on a mock trial as a lawyer and a witness. And I took Negotiations which I had wanted to take since 1L.

When it came to actually picking classes I took recommendations from friends and enrolled in classes they thought were particularly fulfilling or informative. I also spent hours agonizing over the entire course offerings webpage parsing through options that seemed interesting for me personally.

Basically, my approach to picking classes is a lot like my philosophy for life: balance. I like to balance doing things that will help me down the line (Bar Classes) and following my interests. But whatever the philosophy is, there is a third entity involved in the process: you, the classes, and the schedule.

Sometimes the classes you take all come down to what fits in your schedule. As I got to my last semester of registration, I realized that I had taken most of the Bar classes that I wanted to as well as most of the elective classes … and the one’s I wanted to take were all at the same time. How the registrar does this to me every semester I’ll never know. But even without a dream schedule, I always find something interesting to walk away with from classes I’ve taken.

If I were to give any advice it would be this: take the class you’re scared of. You can always drop it but you might realize it’s more approachable than you thought. And balance it with lower work-load classes or experiential units to achieve that balance we’re always searching for.

See you in the next one,