Tuesday, August 29, 2023

My 2023 Summer Plans

When I first started applying to law schools, getting admitted seemed so far away, much less graduation. However, I am proud to say that this May I am finally graduating from law school! I am a first-generation student and the first in my family to receive a post-graduate degree. I am so grateful for this opportunity and am absolutely amazed at how far I have come. Graduating from law school comes with its own unique challenges. Aside from the regular concerns, like booking graduation photos, its time to start seriously thinking about the bar exam. As I wind down on my 3L year, I have made a lot of preparations to get to this point. I submitted my Moral Character and Fitness Application to the California Bar. Just last month, I registered for a seat to take the July exam. But I have been taking full advantage of the resources Loyola has for graduating students. This fall semester, I took the rigorous Fundamentals of Bar Writing course, where students do written exercises to prepare for the July Bar. In addition, we learn valuable lessons about growth mindset, mindfulness and how to orient ourselves to a successful bar exam season. In addition, I am currently enrolled in the Multistate Bar Exam Strategies course. This is a full-semester course where we recap and prepare on the subjects tested on the Multistate Bar Exam portion. I have really appreciated this course and how it has gotten me focused to take the exam. As excited I am to graduate, I know the next few months are critical as I focus in on final exams, and then prepare to immerse myself in bar prep. However, I am confident with my support system at Loyola and personally that I am prepared to work hard and give it my best in preparation. Cheers and best of luck to the Class of 2023!

Networking and Career Development Services Opportunities

 Loyola Law School has definitely given me the opportunity to immerse myself into the law areas I am interested in. As a future family law attorney, I feel that the Judicial Placement Program was instrumental to securing my post-graduate employment. But even from 1L, I was given the opportunity to explore family law right at LLS. As a 1L, I attended an event where Laura Wasser, LLS alum and celebrity divorce attorney, spoke about the nature of her work. Since then, I have not only attended every single year she has come to speak, but even helped organize the event as part of the Child and Family Law Society here in LLS. Last year, we also had an event where another LLS alum and Certified Family Law Specialist came to speak about pre-nuptial agreements. I worked for that firm the summer after that event so it was a great opportunity to meet one of the partners I would be working with. Further, the Career Development Office has been really helpful. They have reviewed my resumes and given me great feedback in a timely manner. Also, they have many helpful events throughout the year to get you interested and to learn more about different areas of the law. I absolutely credit the connections I have made at Loyola Law School for helping me advance my career and have seen the same for many of my first-generation friends!

Networking and Career Development Services Opportunities

Loyola has over 40 student organizations on campus so there will always be many events on campus for students to attend to learn more about a particular field of law and to network. One of my favorite events that I have attended on campus so far was the Entertainment Law Symposium hosted by Loyola’s Entertainment Law Review (ELR). This event was particularly interesting to me because I am passionate about entertainment law and intellectual property law. As a 2L, I am currently a staff editor on ELR and next fall, I will be a production editor. To join a law review at Loyola, students can participate in a write-on competition after 1L year to apply for a spot on one of Loyola’s three law reviews. 

Loyola’s Entertainment Law Review organizes an annual symposium consisting of panels that cover new developments in entertainment law. The symposium takes place on the law school campus and is open to practicing attorneys to obtain MCLE credit and is free for law students to attend. This year’s theme was: “The New Wave of Entertainment: A Look into the Future of Entertainment, Sports, and Technology.” The panelists included professors, practicing attorneys, and executives from entertainment companies. I had the opportunity to learn how changes in technology have shaped intellectual property and entertainment, for better or for worse. Each panelist has their own opinion, and it was insightful to be able to hear from a wide variety of different perspectives. After each panel, during lunch, and during a reception after the symposium, we had an opportunity to reach out and network with the present panelists. 

The panel topics for this symposium were: (1) Protecting What's Yours: Intellectual Property in the Digital Age; (2) The Studios: Navigating Work, Corporate Interests, and a Modernizing Hollywood; (3) Changing the Game: The Art of Sports Deals; (4) Music in the Metaverse.

Hopefully you’ll be able to make it to the next year’s Entertainment Law Review’s symposium! 

Networking and Career Development Services Opportunities

I feel that sometimes there are two narratives in law school circles when it comes to success in employment: one focused heavily on grades and another on networking. I do believe a happy middle exists between the two, and I have been fortunate enough to have attended and taken advantage of events that promote career development inside and outside of LLS.

I did OCI and Public Interest Career Day, the latter of which is how I ended up with my 1L summer job. I also found my current job at the ALDF through 12Twenty. I have attended a handful of law firm receptions and job fairs on campus. 

The proof is in the pudding of how strong the LLS Alumni network is when it comes to these events, it’s so easy to bond over mutual experiences with alumni who return to campus for such opportunities, and refreshing to glimpse what life might be like after law school.

A piece of advice that was given to me before 1L was to make sure you save every email address during these networking events. Sure enough, I’ve collected more business cards than I can count and have an ongoing bank of drafts of the check-in emails I owe to all the people I’ve been fortunate to have met through all of these events. I also take a keen sense of pride when I am able to connect a friend to someone that I met through all my networking to better help in their career.

I have begun building my own web of people in the legal community I can reach out to for job opportunities, general questions and advice, and know that a decent number of them began on the Esplanade at LLS during lunch hour.

Networking and Career Development Services Opportunities

Before law school, I spoke to several attorneys who told me things like: “don’t go to law school,” “it’s a thankless profession,” and “you won’t enjoy it.” 

Although this is not true, and I found that not to be true in my short time during my 1L, I attended an event in Spring of my 1L that proved to me that this was simply not true for many attorneys. Loyola and the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) hosted the first Public Interest Palooza. It was a Saturday afternoon of panels and workshops with Public Interest attorneys in different organizations and fields. It was an incredible celebration of Public Interest law. 

I remember thinking that it was wonderful to hear attorneys doing things similar to what I wanted to do speaking so passionately and excitedly about their work. When it came time to apply to organization boards, my first thought was how amazing it would be to get to plan Palooza, so I applied for that position on the PILF board and I was lucky enough to get it! 

Much of my spring semester has been dedicated to securing speakers, coordinating with the Loyola Events team, and working with both the PILF board and the brand new Loyola Interdisciplinary Journal of Public Interest Law (LIJPIL) board to create marketing materials and buzz about campus. 

We had over 100 registrants for the afternoon of public interest celebration. It was an amazing afternoon, and I recognized a lot of 1Ls who had the same experience as me—in awe of the practitioners who work so hard every day to make our crazy world a little bit better, practitioners who are exhausted but exhilarated, practitioners who are inspiring and inspired. 

I do want to take the time to shout out my incredible co-Chair, Rachel Fox, who helped secure speakers, keep me sane, and plan Palooza’s incredible success! 

To me, events like this feel critical. Too often these days do I feel like there is not enough discussion about how to make the changes we so badly need to make. How do we address the homelessness problem in Los Angeles? How can we understand trauma to best interview clients? How can we work on policy changes to address the critical issues of reproductive justice, immigration, and queer advocacy in this country? Rather than just reading articles about the fact that these are issues, events like Palooza give students and practitioners the opportunity to understand why these are issues, how to address the issues, and how best to serve our beloved communities. Events like these are vivid reminders of why I wanted to come to law school in the first place. 

I can’t wait to attend next year, and I hope whoever plans it has as good of a time as I did. Not only did I get to attend the event again as a 2L, but I got to meet each speaker, tell them just how much I appreciate their time, their work, and their energy to make our country better. While most people in law school would see this as networking, I primarily saw it as an opportunity to be surrounded by people as passionate about Public Interest Law as I am. I hope all of you have the chance to attend this event in the future! 

Networking and Career Development Services Opportunities

 One of my favorite things about Loyola is that there are plenty of employment, internship, and networking events offered throughout the semester. Most of the events take place during the lunch hour, 12 PM, and are often offered during the evening as well to accommodate evening students. Additionally, each event organizer usually offers a recording and or Zoom link in case anyone is unable to attend in-person. Another great plus, if you do attend in-person during the lunch hour, is that lunch/baked goods are typically provided. While each student organization has its own members, you don’t necessarily need to be a member to be welcomed into the scheduled event…all are welcome! 

I have participated in On Campus Interviews (OCI), Public Interest Career Day, and alumni, student, and other panels. OCI and Public Interest Career Day function similarly in that you upload your resume, cover letter, and writing sample to each participating employer, and you are subsequently considered for interviews with the respective employers. These events are tailored for finding employment/internships, but they provide great interviewing practice as each interview is typically 20 minutes long with a panel of interviewing attorneys. On the other hand, panels and mixers are more casual in nature and allow for cultivation of new relationships, potential employment, and mentorship. 

This past weekend, Loyola, the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF), and the Loyola Interdisciplinary Journal of Public Interest Law (LIJPIL) hosted the 2nd Annual Public Interest Palooza. I attended the panel hosted by the journal on Queering Legal Scholarship and the launch of the journal itself. It was incredibly informative, impactful, and fun. You do not necessarily need to be committed to public interest to attend the annual Palooza and celebrate alongside alumni, faculty, and other students. If you are interested in Big Law, mid-sized firms, or other employment types, several student organizations host a number of focused events throughout the school year for you to attend and explore. Just last week, Loyola hosted over 10 events. In addition to hosting internal events, Loyola is great about sharing external employment and networking opportunities with all students. The opportunities here are abundant!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Building Relationships with Faculty

 The unique thing about law school compared to undergraduate is that you have the ability to communicate more freely with the deans on campus. Due to the smaller class sizes, the deans are more accessible to students. In fact, I have been able to meet several of the deans on our campus and even take classes taught by two different deans. For example, my second year I was enrolled in the Civil Litigation Practicum, which was taught by Professor Grace Parrish. Now, Program Director Parrish oversees the entire externship placement program on our campus. Not only did I learn valuable and practical litigation skills from the yearlong course, but I have also returned as one of the externs that she oversees. This includes law students who are in judicial placements, public interest placements, and private placements. Last semester, I took a class with Dean Kathleen Kim, the Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusion. Our class focused on the 13th Amendment and its relation to human trafficking legislation. In a small, discussion-based setting, we learned about the history of the 13th Amendment, and how it affects all parts of society, from labor laws, reproductive rights, and prisons. Dean Kim led an insightful class and many of the students were excited to learn about the material. It has been an honor to study with two of these esteemed faculty on campus, and I am excited that these opportunities are available at Loyola.

Building Relationships with Faculty

 The faculty members at Loyola Law School are very friendly and open to meeting with students. Most professors will hold weekly office hours over zoom or in person to answer questions about class material or just talk about anything in general, whether law related or not.

It’s hard to choose a single favorite professor at Loyola. Even though each one has their own teaching style, every professor I’ve had so far is very proactive about making sure we learn and understand the material. I really like it when professors crack jokes during class because it makes class more fun. One of my favorite professors is Professor Sande Buhai. Professor Buhai taught two classes that I took: Law & Process Privacy Torts and Ethical Lawyering. Privacy Torts is a 1L elective and Ethical Lawyering is a required course for 2L’s to take that also prepares you to take the MPRE. Professor Buhai’s teaching style is very straightforward but also conversational, as we discuss the cases and rules that we read about for class.

Professor Buhai is also the Director of Public Interest and Pro Bono Programs at Loyola. During office hours, I was able to ask her about which classes she would recommend that I take to prepare for the bar. I was also able to get some advice about possibly pursuing a career in public interest and how to handle student loans. Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone if you are ever curious about what a certain course of field of law is like. The faculty at LLS are a resource that every student should take advantage of!

Building Relationships with Faculty

 I’ll be honest. Picking a law school was one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life. I spent many late nights awake researching schools class demographics, their clinics and externship opportunities, learning about their employment statistics, and so much more. Once I was down that Google rabbit hole, it was hard to find my way out of it. When I was researching, the one thing I missed was reading about how actual students felt about their school. This is one of the reasons I am so proud to be a Jury of Peers Blogger. I have been where prospective students are at, and if sharing my experience can help alleviate some of your stress, I am more than happy to help by telling you of a few things I love about Loyola.

The number one thing I love about Loyola is our commitment to public interest. I knew I wanted to go into public interest law when I was 18, but I wasn’t sure which specific area I wanted to practice in until I came to Loyola. Loyola has so many incredibly public interest clinic and internship opportunities. The Loyola community also works closely with government and public interest organizations in the Los Angeles area, so networking is easier. Also, every student at Loyola is required to do at least 40 hours of pro bono work before we graduate. This dedication to helping within the community and advocating for those who need it was one of the main reasons I chose to come to Loyola, and it’s one of the reasons I still love it here now.

Another thing I love about Loyola is the sense of community. Everyone here from students to professors to faculty members to alumni are willing and ready to help each other succeed. When I was first navigating through life as a law student, I was incredibly scared, but knowing I had so many people in the community rooting for me encouraged me to keep working.

In the end, the nights spent stressing about which law school was right for me were so incredibly worth it. I’ve had the best opportunities at Loyola, and I’ve made the best friends. I truly could not have asked for a better law school experience.

Building Relationships with Faculty

 Being in large classes was a bit of a shock to my system coming from a relatively small undergraduate campus in Boston, where my largest class was 40 people during a seminar sophomore year. Coming to LLS, I was suddenly in classes with at least 70 other students, and the idea of my professors getting to know me seemed a little far-fetched.

Fast forward to 2L, I emailed my professors asking if they could help me raise money for typhoon relief in my home country. Not only did every single one of them say yes, but they allowed me to give a speech at the beginning of class. I was able to raise upwards of $1200 thanks to these efforts. It even became a bit of a game among my peers, guessing which one of my classes had raised the most money (It was Criminal Procedure with Marcy Strauss).

Since then, each one of those professors has remembered me, even when taking repeat classes with them in the following semester. I’ve enjoyed how much fun my professors seem to have while teaching, the unique relationship I can build with each one of them, and hearing about their career and life experiences in the legal profession.

Building Relationships with Faculty

 After your 1L, you spend more time taking electives. Additionally, you can participate in experiential learning clinics (of which Loyola has many!) to not only work closely with professors but also gain real life experience.

Even in your 1L, professors make a genuine effort to make sure of each student’s success. When you’re a 2L and above, the professors have had more opportunities to see you as a student and see what kind of lawyer they are becoming. Because of this, professors can become go-to people when you have questions about the future, summer jobs, or something small that happened in class.

In both the smaller class electives and my clinic, I have formed strong relationships with professors, some of whom have offered advice and mentored me already! My clinic professor especially has taken great care to mentor me and push me to become a better researcher, writer, and lawyer. I truly feel like I have grown as a student and a professional under her tutelage. It makes me excited to someday be a mentor for a future law student (or many)!

The best part is: even if you’re not a professor’s student, but you are interested in their practice area, they will be happy to meet with you and discuss your career plans and how you can best succeed at Loyola. I personally did that in my 1L fall with several professors, and it helped shape my 2L year and my plan for after law school. I now feel extremely comfortable reaching out to this professor when I have questions about jobs and various other opportunities on campus.

The Loyola Law School faculty are all extremely accessible, and they really wish for their students to be successful both in school and beyond

Building Relationships with Faculty

 When selecting an undergraduate institution to attend, we were all likely advised to build relationships and connections with our professors. Of course, this is a bit easier to achieve in smaller schools and schools with smaller class sizes, as opposed to large universities with larger class sizes. One of my favorite things about Loyola is that it is a small campus. Although many classes have about 80 students, building relationships with fellow law students and our professors comes naturally. Outside of the classroom, attending office hours is typically a great way to get to know our professors beyond their role as educators. However, at Loyola, we might run into them at Sonia’s, in the library, at an outdoor seating area, etc. I have found that they are all incredibly friendly and approachable. The faculty member I lean on the most is Dean Craig. He is always willing to provide encouragement, a listening ear, guidance, and moral support. It is apparent that he cares about students and our overall wellbeing. In my experience, finding such an incredibly supportive faculty member is not rare here, but you must be willing to ask for help and embrace vulnerability. In law school, it is not only important to find a mentor or regularly consult with your advisor, but also super important to find a faculty member you can lean on. Law school can be very trying and challenging, often leading students to isolate or feel pressured to appear as though they are internally doing well. The reality is, many students struggle and encounter both personal and academic obstacles, making it crucial to find a faculty member you can confide in and feel confident asking for help. Fortunately, there are plenty of such faculty members here.

Monday, April 10, 2023

I Love Loyola

 Interviewers have asked me what I “love” about law school, and I think it’s almost the same as what I “love” about Loyola. What I love about law school is the opportunity to get to know professors and staff beyond their title. They’re normal people and they have so much personality and wisdom to share. I have found that so many of the professors here really care about their students beyond the classroom. However, what I “love” the most about Loyola, specifically, is that it has brought people into my life who share the same values as me. It is also a small campus, which makes it easier for me to meet other students and build connections. Even beyond the campus, so many attorneys in Los Angeles graduated from Loyola and are always happy to connect with and support current students. Additionally, student organizations such as Women’s Law Association, Public Interest Law Foundation, Reproductive Justice LA, and the Latinx Law Students Association Loyola have given me a sense of community within this legal world that I would not have been able to forge myself. While I imagine law school can be scary, anywhere, Loyola feels collaborative, friendly, welcoming, and home-like. I will say, I had a difficult time feeling “at home” on campus last year. I usually ran home right after my last class for the day, but this didn’t really help me at all. If anything, it made me feel secluded. The more I participated on campus and interacted with students and faculty, the more integrated I felt at school. Fortunately, students and faculty that I leaned on for support and guidance were always more than willing to help. This has made all the difference for me, especially as a 2L now. Of all things there are to love about Loyola, this is what I love the most.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Picking Elective Classes

     Picking electives can be fun, but it can also feel like a sort of logic game. You have to look at the course offerings, select a few classes you’re interested in registering for (most likely required or suggested courses first), create a plan B in the event the courses are at capacity and you can’t register, etc. Of course, you must also consider the number of units of each class and what day(s) and time the class will be held, and if you will be working or participating in a clinic. THEN, you really narrow your elective choices down. I chose to register for Social Change Lawyering, because it is something I’m very passionate about and it aligns with my values. It also fits perfectly in my schedule, because my Evidence class ends at 5:20 PM and Social Change Lawyering begins at 8 PM. I may or may not have become a full-time evening student. Haha. I guess I just got really lucky with an elective I love which is compatible with my time on campus.

Although I am aware of my values and topics I’m passionate about, I also want to explore different areas of the law and learn as much as I can while I’m awarded the flexibility to do so. For this reason, I did not pick a concentration. There are just so many interesting fields of study that it is difficult to commit to one. I feel I can just dive into many of them in my remaining year and a half here. I fully respect students who have committed to a concentration or field of study as it reflects a certain level of dedication and certainty. However, I feel uncertainty and curiosity are equally respectable and admirable. The world is our oyster as law students!

Selecting Elective Courses

 For many law students, the excitement of the 2L and 3L years includes the freedom to take different electives. This is the prime opportunity to explore what areas of the law may interest you. Or, this is a great opportunity to take specialized classes or pursue a concentration. Although a concentration is not mandatory, it’s a great option for students to take a pre-set course schedule that focuses on one area of the law or more generally, litigation or transactional law. When I started my 2L year, I already had an interest in family law, and wanted to pursue a concentration that would give me the skills to succeed. That is how I eventually chose the civil litigation and advocacy concentration, because litigation is an important part of family law. Through this concentration, I spent my 2L and 3L year taking elective courses that would help me in the future. For example, I was required to take a trial advocacy class, which culminated into a final mock trial. I got to learn how to make objections and argue motions in limine from my professor, a seasoned federal public defender. I was also required to take a year long civil litigation practicum course, where we took a simulated civil matter and litigated it from the complaint stage to a pre-trial mediation. These types of classes are extremely important to learning more practical skills as well as the law. When choosing electives, try to look for a manageable balance of course schedule, but also courses you are interested in. This is one of the best ways to maximize your law school experience!

Selecting Elective Courses

     After 1L year at LLS, we have the ability to choose our own classes and to organize our schedules to our preferences. The remaining required bar courses we have to take are Constitutional Law, Ethical Lawyering, Evidence. Along with satisfying the number of units required for graduation, there is also an upper division writing requirement, experiential requirement, and 40 hour pro-bono requirement. LLS offers a lot of courses for students to choose from to satisfy those requirements easily. In a previous post I mentioned that we have to be careful not to schedule classes with finals on the same day. I would also recommend not scheduling classes with finals on back-to-back days so that you have some time to study in between each final without getting burned out.

Having the flexibility and freedom to choose electives and what classes to take in general is awesome. There are bar elective courses (Remedies, Business Associations, Marital Property) that are not required but will help us cover an area of law that might be tested on the bar exam. Besides bar elective courses, there are many other classes pertaining to many of the wide areas of law and practice. By taking a variety of different electives, it allows us to experience a little bit of what those areas of law are like. Sometimes it helps students find their passion or interests. For example, some of the electives I have taken and are currently taking right now include Copyright, Trademark, California Civil Procedure, and Trusts & Wills. I am really interested in intellectual property so taking Copyright and Trademark were good introductory experiences into the world of intellectual property law. Trusts & Wills is an area of law that everyone should learn because it affects all of us, one way or another, in the future. It’s something that your relatives will always ask you about when they find out you are studying law.

There are academic advisors who are also professors that help us plan out and organize our class schedule. If you are ever curious about what types of courses LLS offers, you can always look up any semester’s course offerings on lls.edu. The lls.edu website also lists the descriptions and requirements for all the concentrations should you choose to pursue one. A few concentrations include Entertainment and Media Law. Intellectual Property Law, and Public Interest Law.

Selecting Elective Courses

 When I came to law school, I honestly did not know what type of law I wanted to practice. I came to law school to make a difference in the world and be an advocate for those who needed it, so I knew I would end up somewhere in the public interest law field. I thought about doing impact litigation for a while, practicing immigration law, and so much more, but I could not narrow down one field I wanted to work in. This caused me so much stress when it came to planning out my second and third years of law school, because I knew choosing electives that would give me a good foundation of the field of law I would practice in the future is so important. In the end, as I believe everyone does, I found the field of law where I knew belonged about halfway through the Spring semester.

Once I fell in love with public defense, I was able to pick the electives that would give me both knowledge and experience in the field. This year, my main elective is working with the Juvenile Justice Clinic. This takes up a lot of credits per semester, so my class schedule mainly revolves around this. In this clinic, I work as a certified law student representing juveniles in the delinquency system in Los Angeles County. The experience I have gotten in this clinic is more than I could have ever imagined, and I knew quickly that making this my main priority outside of the required courses was the right decision. Last semester, I was also able to take Criminal Procedure as an elective. This was not only great for my clinic and will be great for the bar, I learned the basics of the constitutional rights that defendants are entitled to, and I know that knowledge will set me up for success in my career.

Overall, I don’t think there is a specific formula or strategy for picking second and third year electives. Everyone is different. While I want to focus my elective classes on the topic of criminal defense, others may want to take classes of many different subjects. If there is one thing I know about Loyola, it’s that the professors are great and are always willing to help students succeed, so no matter what electives a student takes, they’ll be set up for success in the future.

The Importance of Study Groups

 The camaraderie you build with your peers in law school, especially in your 1L section, is different than I have experienced before. The closest comparison I have to it is the “competition team” at my Jiu Jitsu academy; because of the way you are all on a similar timeline and rigorous program to culminate in a final event (being final exams or competitions).

Exchanging outlines, study guides, flashcards and more are some of the ways that I have relied on and been relied on amongst my peers. Talking to your classmates and discussing how they approach your classes helps you figure out what works best for you. I never joined a formal study group, but I have been a part of many meet ups, panicked FaceTime calls the night before the exam, and text chains swapping notes and more.

One of my friends and I know exactly where we are in the job search and application process at any given time because we regularly proofread each other’s cover letters, emails and more. I credit much of my survival in law school to her and my mentors from APALSA, PILF and the Environmental Law Society. I know, even if I haven’t spoken to any of them in a while, that if I text them with a question, I’m sure to get a well thought out response within the day.

I’m proud of the network I built and the friends I have made at LLS, and I’d say that those I surround myself with are supportive and we are all genuinely invested in each other’s success..

Selecting Elective Courses

 I came to law school with a pretty good idea of what kind of law I wanted to practice in the future. Although I kept an open mind to make sure that my interests did not change, I stayed steadfast in my passion for international human rights law.

When it came to choosing my 2L classes, I focused on classes that could help me learn more about that field of law. I chose International Law classes, and am participating in the Loyola Genocide Justice Clinic where I put what I’m learning to practice. Beyond just reading about the courses, I reached out to the professors of the International Law classes and got to know them and what we would be learning. And I loved those classes!

Because I was most interested in these classes, I picked a concentration (International Criminal and Human Rights Law). The requirements of this concentration are to take a few classes and participate in experiential learning in the field of international human rights law. I was going to satisfy these requirements with or without this concentration!

Not everyone at Loyola chooses a concentration. And a lot of people are very different from me; they come to law school unsure of what kind of exact law they want to practice after graduation. And that is just fine! Loyola fosters an environment for people to explore all kinds of types of law both in the classroom and experientially. I do not only take classes in international law, and learn a wide breadth of law to best serve me in my future practice.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Exams and Winter Break

  For the most part, I like law school. I have made great friends. I learn so much, and I get to represent actual clients in my clinic and get a head start on my career. However, there is one part that I hate. Exams. I have never been a good test taker. Exams are such a big part of law school, so I had to learn how to deal with them. Now that I’m one and a half years into law school, I can confidentially say I’ve learned how to deal with exam season. It took a lot for me to get to where I could deal with my test anxiety, but there are three main things I’ve done that help me. 

First, I start early. I start outlining early and start doing practice questions early. By doing this, I avoid the stress of cramming and can ask my professor questions about the material well before the exam. Next, I study in a way that works for me. I am a firm believer in that there is no “right” way to do law school. All of us are different, so our studying should be different as well. For example, while some students do a traditional outline for their classes, I make flow charts. This helps me visualize the concepts we learn and how they all interact and affect one another. Lastly, I remind myself that my grades don’t define me. Like most law students, I used to obsess over my grades in undergrad, and I would get upset if I didn’t get an A. In law school, the curve makes it impossible for all of us to get an A, and so much of my grade is out of my control. The only thing I can do on an exam is my best, so while I put 110% into my studying and exam prep, I remind myself that the letter grade does not define me and not getting an A in every class does not mean I will not be a good lawyer. 

I also think what I do after exam season helps me not be stressed about my grades. Most importantly, I never talk about the exam material with classmates after the exam. Once I’ve hit submit, I forget about the exam and move on. I also spend Winter break with my family in Texas every year. When I’m there, I’m focused on spending time with them, making memories, and enjoying my time at home, so I don’t think about how I may have done on the exam. This year, I helped plan my cousins bridal shower, and that helped me take my mind off law school. 

Overall, I keep exam season in my mind during exam season only. Once I’ve his submit on an exam, I can’t go back, so there’s no reason to think about it anymore. This has helped immensely in lowering my stress surrounding law school, and my mental health is better as a result. 

Exams and Winter Break

 Being back on campus brings a lot of emotions to the surface. I am both excited and already tired. Excited because the campus feels like a second home and I get to see my peers. Tired because the grind never stops, as we all know by know. I had about a month off between finals and the first day of Spring semester. This was the best reward after the stress that comes with finals. During break, I got to spend time with my newborn nephew, family, friends, and others. I tried to also focus on my self-care, which I began prioritizing last year. I have friends in medical school and they were discussing how they were preparing early for the new semester. I decided not to do this for my own sake. It is great to be prepared, but it is also great to know yourself and have boundaries. I had three finals at the end of Fall semester: Constitutional Law, Business Association, and Ethical Lawyering. I took what I learned from my test-taking abilities and mistakes from 1L and made a few adjustments. I am happy to report that it paid off. In this way, I think law school has changed me. I am more of a problem-solver in all aspects of my life now. At the beginning of 1L, a professor told me that law school changes you; you come in one person and leave another. It is very true. My focus is always on maintaining my core values and only giving my time to activities that align with those values. Yet, it is inevitable that I will change. Law school is tough and comprised of constant hurdles. It is only natural that such a journey rewards you with change. 

Exams and Winter Break

 The end of Winter Break means I am officially over halfway done with law school! This is a feat in itself, I think. 

But as much as I needed the rest, by the time Winter Break is over, I am antsy to get back into the rhythm of school. After spending Fall Semester in the thick of it, I sometimes find it difficult to sit around and do nothing after working so hard! 

After my Fall Semester, however, I was glad to have a few moments to myself. My finals this past semester were hard – I cannot tell a lie! So I was happy to rest a bit after all of the studying. 

One of my favorite things to do in my down time is read. It quickly falls by the wayside during school because once I’m done reading cases and rules for class, I don’t want to read anything else! Throughout the school year, I collect books I want to read on my breaks and pile them up around my room. 

This Winter Break, I read a grand total of *drum roll, please* 15 books! To some, it might sound like a lot. But I’m a fast reader, and some of the books were quick “beach reads.” This is a great way to relax my brain and focus on something else – someone else’s story for a while. 

Winter Break also offers a great opportunity for me to work on job applications. While some of my friends are long done with their job applications because they are on the Big Law track, most Public Interest firms and organizations do not start hiring until the Spring! Winter Break offers me some time to perfect my cover letter and resume, and get all those job applications done! 

All in all, I use my Winter Break the way I always have – a time to reset, reconnect with friends and family who I don’t always get to see during the semester, and relax. 

Now, I have to hang up my fun-to-read books, and turn back to my law books!   

Exams and Winter Break

 My last exam ended on December 20th at 9:10pm and exactly 24 hours later I was on a plane from LAX to MNL. I brought all of my camera gear, my current read (“Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law” by Mary Roach) and my laptop to keep doing the occasional work for my Practicum when it came.

Flying home once a year is more than many Filipinos get and I’m grateful for every visit. When I go home, people jokingly call me “attorney” because it’s commonplace to refer to someone as their ‘title’, I never really understood why. But it makes me happy to see how proud my Lolo and Lola (tr: Grandpa and Grandma) are to make those jokes about me – as I am the first of their grandkids to pursue a legal education.

My Lola especially has encouraged me to pursue the law since she heard me convince my brother what his favorite color was at the age of 8. She would save newspaper clippings of Filipino law school rankings and give them to me as a teenager. Since I graduated from college during the pandemic, I’m especially excited for my family to see me graduate from law school in 2024.

The strangest thing every break has always been the sudden change from an intense exam season to the sudden relief of your last exam being over. I would frequently text my friends, despite being halfway around the world, thinking I missed something – I usually didn’t and just needed to switch off ‘exam mode’.

I’ve learned the importance of relaxing. This winter, I spent my time on my photography, enjoying time with my family, and learning about animals, given my upcoming externship with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. And of course, eating all the Filipino food I could. 

Exams and Winter Break

 HAPPY NEW YEAR 2023! It’s crazy to me that I’ve already finished half of my time at law school. Exams are always rough, but I was motivated during that time period because Christmas was around the corner. During our 2L year at LLS, we are able to choose our own classes to take and can organize our schedules to our preference. However, we have to be conscious and be sure not to take classes that have finals scheduled on the same day. Fortunately, I was able to schedule my classes last semester so that I had a few days in between each final to study for.     

Winter break was awesome! It was nice to relax and take a break from law school and the holiday season is always my favorite time of year. A couple highlights from my winter break are that I tried skiing for the first time at Big Bear and went to Las Vegas afterwards. On the way to Las Vegas (just outside the city) is Seven Magic Mountains: an art installation in the middle of the desert consisting of 7 stacks of colorfully painted boulders. 

Near the end of winter break, I attended the RISE Symposium at USC. I was invited to participate on a student panel to give insight on the law student DEI experience. It is so heartwarming, inspiring, and awesome to see that law schools and students are conscious and are striving to create change in creating opportunities for law students of all backgrounds. 

I still can’t believe that in about another year and a half, I’ll be done with law school, studying for the bar, and starting my post-law school career. Law school has made me more mature, open minded, and into a more analytical/critical thinker. I’ve never been so busy in my life before but it always surprises me how much I can handle. It is always important to learn how to manage your stress but to also find ways to strive in a stressful environment. 

Time has been flying by, but I’m looking forward to powering through the finish line. Let’s make this year one to remember! 

Exams and Winter Break

 Happy New Year! The beginning of the year is always a wonderful time to reflect on previous events. Although Winter Break is welcomed by law students as a much needed break from the fast pace of law school, it is also a time where we receive our grades from the fall semester. This fall, I had one of the most challenging semesters yet. As a 3L student, this year was all about fitting in those classes I needed to finish my concentration and any necessary bar courses. Naturally, this resulted in one of my most demanding school schedules yet, with several exams and projects to juggle. Although this was a big challenge for me, I can ultimately say that I am proud of myself for following through and managing my time as best as I could. As I look back at my performance from Fall semester, I feel capable and ready to finish my 3rd year of law school strong, knowing that graduation is just around the corner. This is a reminder that law school really changes who you are as a person. There are so many challenges to take on – in academics, networking, logistics, and personal life – that goes into law school. It’s also an opportunity to rise to these challenges and learn to prioritize not only what matters to you, what keeps you going, and what needs to be done. I am so excited that in just a few short months, I will be graduating! I hope in the new year I am able to bring that joy and excitement into my life and into my studies. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Debunking a Law School Myth

In the Jiu Jitsu community, there is something called the “blue belt curse.” It is a phenomenon where practitioners quit after they have been promoted to their blue belt, and my promotion was a few months before the start of 1L.

I was terrified I would let go of my hobbies and fall victim to the “curse” because one of the law school myths that I found most often repeated was “you lose your social life during law school.”

On the contrary, that first semester that I spent taking this myth too seriously was probably my least successful one.

I never found that I lost my “social life” during 1L. While you learn the art of time management and prioritizing tasks in a different way than you are (often) used to, the camaraderie I found with my classmates on top of maintaining my hobbies was the best combination for my studies and mental health. You build relationships with other students, with mentors and others in the legal profession that stick with you. Personally, finding the Philippine American Bar Association did wonders for both my career and my homesickness.

Those first few months I would feel guilty spending an hour on the mats instead of doing work, but I soon learned that those hours are well spent on yourself, and the notion of “wasting time” was more hurting than helping me. The semester I spent training at least twice a week was my most successful one yet, both inside and outside of school.

You figure out what works for you, and the scary thought of “losing your social life” is not a guarantee, but more something in your control. Law school is a challenge that requires balance, and 1.5 years later I haven’t succumbed to the “blue belt curse” quite yet.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Fall Semester Update

The end of the semester is the perfect opportunity to not only reflect upon your performance on the immediate semester, but also the ones of years past. As a first-year student, when you are in the thick of things, and learning with a whole new set of style and demands, it can be hard to reflect. But looking back on my first-year experience, I am overall proud of the obstacles I overcame, but I do believe I could have done things differently. So, I would like to take this opportunity to pass on some advice to the incoming students and the 1L class. One of the greatest pieces of advice I would take as a 1L student is not to be afraid of practice too early. Many students are used to mastering the material first, but there’s a lot of benefit to early practice. Don’t be afraid to start working on practice problems and essays even before you are comfortable! Continued practice can solidify what you already know, and identify the weak spots early. It’s not about getting it perfect, but seeing the improvement over time. But the single best piece of advice I would give is to adopt a growth mindset. To put in concisely, the growth mindset takes our thinking from “I can’t do it” to “I can’t do it… yet”. Seeing struggles as an opportunity for improvement is pivotal to enduring the marathon of law school. It acknowledges that these struggles can be hard, but that they are not impossible. I encourage all students to look into the growth mindset in general, as it really can apply to any aspect of life. I wish all students going into finals the best of luck and happy holidays!

Monday, January 23, 2023

Fall Semester Update

This semester has been gliding along smoothly for me. Now that I’m in my 2L year at law school, I have a little bit more free time since I've gotten the hang of things. In my free time I like to play video games, watch anime, movies, or any sports. I’m currently watching the World Cup right now and the group stage games have been exciting with some of the upsets by the underdog teams. I really enjoy going to the movie theaters to watch any newly released movies. Recently I’ve seen Black Panther and Black Adam, and I’m really looking forward to the release of Avatar 2 after finals.

This semester I am taking 16 units. The classes I am taking are Copyright, California Civil Procedure, Ethical Lawyering, Evidence, and Trademark. Compared to 1L year, I have no classes on Friday this semester. Wednesdays are my busiest days where I have 4 classes with the first one starting at 9:50am and the last one ending at 10:00pm. But Tuesdays and Thursdays I only have one class, so I have a little bit of a break throughout the week, especially with no classes on Friday. I would have to say that my favorite classes this semester are Copyright and Trademark law because I am really interested in Intellectual Property. The past month I’ve been busy with wrapping up my Ethical Lawyering class. Ethical Lawyering has been really fun and interesting because we study and discuss the situations around the ethical rules that lawyers are obligated to follow. A practical component of the course is a mock client interview where actors will come in and pretend to be clients with a legal problem. In pairs, we provided a counseling and interview session and then wrote a letter to the client and a memorandum to the law firm partners.

After 1L year, LLS requires students to take Evidence, Ethical, and Constitutional Law. Besides fulfilling the upper division writing and experiential requirement, we are free to take any classes we choose to fill up any units we need. LLS offers a variety of courses at all times of the day for students to be able to build a flexible schedule. We can choose to take bar courses (courses that teach subjects tested on the bar) or any elective classes. For example, California Civil Procedure is a bar course, while Copyright and Trademark law are electives. Taking a variety of classes and electives is important because it provides you with an enriching educational experience. It exposes you to different areas of law to help guide you to what area of law you wish to practice in one day.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Fall Semester Update

In three weeks, I’ll be halfway done with law school. Even typing that out doesn’t make it feel real. As cliché as it sounds, time really has flown by. Now that this semester is almost done, I thought I’d share a bit of what a day in my life looks like.

Usually, my mornings are used to work on client work for the Juvenile Justice Clinic. This is when I’ll schedule court hearings, meetings with my clients, or work on motions, looking through discovery, or anything I need to do for my cases. Having this time blocked off for the entire semester is super important because you never know when you’re going to have an emergency visit or court hearing.

Around noon, I always try to take a break for myself to eat lunch, recharge, and break up my workday. This portion of the day is so important for me to be able to separate my clinic work from my classwork.

In the afternoon, I am either in class or working on doing readings for the next class day. If I need to, I’ll also review the material for my evening classes so I’ll be prepared if I get cold called. I also take a few minutes in the afternoon to call my family. They live in Texas, so with the time change and how busy I am it’s hard to find a time to talk to them. We’ve found that late afternoon when they’re getting off work and I’m getting ready to head to class is best. Talking to them is so important to me, so I try to set aside any time I can to FaceTime them.

Then, I have class every evening. I won’t lie, evening classes can be kind of draining, especially after working all day. But this is the best time to schedule classes because the courthouses are closed, so I am usually able to just focus on class instead of client work.

After class, I try to not to any class or clinic work. During this time, I’ll read a book, play a video game, or do self-care. No matter what I’m doing, I try to keep my mind off work. In law

school, setting aside time to relax and do something that is not work related is so important for my physical and mental health.

Overall, my days are long and filled with a lot of work. And I’ll be honest, that was super scary to me at first. But I’ve wanted to be a lawyer since I was in high school, and now I am so close to accomplishing that goal, so the work is completely, 100% worth it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Fall Semester Update

They say 1L of law school is the hardest. It’s something we’ve all heard over and over again – from the internet, from attorneys, from other law students.

Halfway through 2L, I can say this is likely true. 1L is the hardest year of law school academically. This year, my classes are still challenging – don’t get me wrong. It is law school after all. But, after 1L, you have the foundational skills to handle law school classes well. You’ve bettered your reading strategies, you know when a good time to start outlining is, and you know how to balance your responsibilities.

In 2L, though, most students have additional responsibilities outside of class. To be honest, I likely spend more time on things that aren’t class – like my experiential learning clinic, law review, and the IACHR Project I am on.

Something that is great about 2L is that I don’t have class every day like I did in 1L. That’s a great change to my schedule because I have two days a week that I can dedicate to getting my reading done, working on my outlines, and turning to my clinic and law review work I have.

So while 1L is the hardest, I would say 2L is the busiest. But I thrive on being busy. It pushes me to get my work done so that I can spend time on the weekends doing things that make me feel like a person and not a law student. I go hiking, I spend time with friends, I crochet. It’s a great way to balance out my life so that I can give my brain a little break which is critical to law school survival.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Fall Semester Update

About three months have passed since the fall semester of 2L begun and I still feel like a 1L. LOL This year is different in a lot of ways but the biggest difference is everyone independently has a lot going on. For myself, I’m typically on campus Monday and Wednesday, with three classes each day: Con Law, Ethical Lawyering, and Business Associations. On Thursday, I have a clinic meeting from 9 AM to 12 PM. The clinic itself requires about 10 hours of work, aside from the 3 hour Thursday meeting. This particular schedule keeps me very busy throughout the week, including weekends. However, after 1L year I learned that neglecting self-care and time away from work is not the way to be a successful law student. Neglecting yourself will lead to burn out which will then take away from your law school experience. So, during a typical day of this semester, I leave to school at 12 PM, Monday and Wednesday and stay on campus until 10:10 PM. I have a three-hour gap somewhere in between, so I try to use that time to read, study, and have lunch. The remainder of the week, I run personal errands, prepare for my classes, work on my clinic’s clients’ cases, and REST. Thankfully, my current schedule has allowed me to continue painting, which is my hobby. A painting can take me anywhere from 2-6 hours or more, so I have to block out specific periods of time to create a balance between my schoolwork and my hobbies. Planning ahead has definitely helped keep this balance but I am human and not every week goes as planned… and that’s okay! Finding balance looks different for everyone, but if you’re like me and you need specific guidelines to do anything…definitely create a list of priorities for the semester and model your to-do lists after these priorities. In creating a list of priorities, do not forget that you and your wellbeing are also priorities. It’s all trial and error, really, but the most important thing is to keep going!

Monday, January 9, 2023

How I Spent My Summer

Summer is one of the best times of the year for law students to really dive into what their legal career might entail. It has always been one of my favorite parts of the law school experience because it’s an experience to get hands-on learning in general lawyering skills and certain fields of study. This summer, I had the amazing experience as a summer law clerk for Feinberg, Mindel Brandt and Klein LLP, one of the largest family law firms in California. Working there was a great continuation of my family law experience from past summers. As a summer law clerk, my favorite experience was working with the managing partner of the firm on a spousal support case where opposing party was hiding his business assets. It was an honor to sit alongside him during the proceedings as well as helping draft all the trial documents. It really solidified my interest in family law after graduation! We also had the opportunity as summer law clerks to attend networking events hosted by the Los Angeles County Bar Association and meet other professionals in the field. It’s experiences like this that help me come back to law school refreshed and ready to work hard. It was a great summer personally as well. I took the opportunity for some rest and relaxation and took a rejuvenating resort vacation in Mexico! I would definitely say that was also essential for me to return to campus refreshed. My final advice to incoming law students is to really take the summer periods with full force and an open mind because it is pivotal to forming your career and your interests. 

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Spending My Summer as a Judicial Extern

Last summer, I had an amazing experience working as a judicial extern for The Honorable Richard L. Fruin Jr.. at the Los Angeles Superior Court. Judge Fruin’s courtroom is an independent calendar (“IC”) court that handles civil cases. IC courts will handle a case from start to finish - from the time a lawsuit is filed, through discovery and pre-trial motions, and throughout the trial and post-trial motions. 

The Los Angeles Superior Court Extern program lasted 8 weeks from the beginning of June to the end of July. During orientation I was able to meet fellow externs from different law schools outside of Los Angeles such as New York, Boston, and D.C. I externed for Judge Fruin along with 2 fellow students from Loyola Law School: Inbal and Stavroula. 

Every morning, I observed law and motion and case management conferences. Due to the pandemic, attorneys have the option to appear in court physically or via video-conference calling. After the case management conferences in the morning, the externs and I had a meeting with Judge Fruin to review the case management conferences, discuss future items that were on the court calendar, and receive extern assignments. Assignments included doing research about the different areas of California civil law and analyzing an attorney’s motion with the attached exhibits. The research assignments would help the judge be more informed about a case to help them decide a ruling. After our morning meeting, I would observe a trial if there was one scheduled. If not, I would work on the research assignments and get lunch with the other externs at the court. Sometimes during lunch, Judge Fruin would take us on trips to the museums in downtown or to visit the federal courthouse in L.A. Before the day ended, we would have another meeting with Judge Fruin to wrap up. 

Externing was a very educational experience. I got to see what “good” and “bad” lawyering was by observing how lawyers acted in the courtroom and by reading the briefs and motions they would file. I was able to learn what a judge’s expectations were for the attorneys in a case and got insight into the process that goes into deciding a fair and thorough ruling. Judge Fruin was very kind and open to answering all my questions. He shared his stories and past life experiences as an attorney and a judge.

I recommend everyone in law school to try to apply for a judicial externship. Here’s a little bit about the application process: most judges start accepting applications for summer externs starting in December. Most judges accept applications through a program or directly sent via email or mail to their chambers. An application consists of a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and transcript. Even though externs for the court are unpaid, the experience you will gain from being in court and learning from a judge is invaluable. Hopefully most of you will try to obtain an externship and gain some insight about the experience from reading my blog. Externing at the court was one of the busiest, yet fun summers I have ever had!

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

How I Spent My Summer

I’ll be honest, November to March last year was probably the most stressful time of 1L. Before coming to law school, I had never had a job in the legal field, so having to write a professional resume, perfect cover letter, and nail an interview was incredibly hard for me. Luckily, I was able to get help from the Career Development Office, and that helped a lot. I applied to about 10 places and in the end, got my dream internship. 

Over the summer, I worked as a Law Clerk at the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. I was assigned to the Immigration, Post-Conviction, and arraignment units. I worked with many attorneys, and I wrote a motion, did crime mapping, mitigation research, interviewed clients before their arraignments, and watched pre-trial hearings and part of a trial. Through all of this, I learned so much about working as an attorney after law school. Doing all of this allowed me to apply what I learned during 1L to actual work for clients, and in my opinion that’s the best part of summer internships. 

Before all of that, I had two weeks to squeeze as much fun out of the summer as possible. To do this, I went home to Texas. I spent the first few days with my friends, and we did an escape room (we beat it, thanks to me), did karaoke, and went to our favorite restaurant Olive Garden (it’s a long story). 

I then spent as much time as I could with my family. We went to the lake, had a mini staycation in Dallas where we went to The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, and went with my cousin to pick out my bridesmaid dress for her wedding next year. Of course, I loved my time working at the public defender office, but this time spent with my family was my favorite. With them living in Texas and me in Los Angeles, I mainly see them through a computer screen. Taking that time to recharge and remind myself that they’re always back home rooting for me was invaluable.