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 The 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.