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post-bar thoughts

12 Aug

Ok so the bar exam is done.  I won’t get results until November, so there’s no point in stewing over it.  That said, I wanted to share my experience just in case a future examinee stumbles upon this post.

I took the exam at the Century Plaza Hotel location in Century City.  I opted not to stay at the hotel and just drove to and from the test each of the three days, to save money and to get to sleep in my own bed, eat my own food, and remove myself from all of the really intense crazy people. This was THE BEST decision.  It minimized stress (except there was bad traffic coming home each day).  I would 100% recommend not staying in the hotel if you live close enough.

My friends and I all met up in the morning and at the lunch break by the pool each day, and we packed lunches so we didn’t have to stray too far to make sure we were fed.  I was also surprised by how relaxed the proctors were (more or less). I was lucky that I didn’t have any hiccups with my plan (didn’t forget my laptop or the charger on any of the days and my car didn’t break down!)

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During bar studying, I was ALL ABOUT routine.  I woke up at 5 every day, worked out, headed to school by 8, studied until 4 or 5, came home and either took the rest of the night off or sometimes took a break (possibly to work out again) and then did some more studying in the later evening.

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Oprah quotes + caffeine were pretty clutch.

I also made law jokes whenever possible…

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I am so grateful for my family and friends for supporting me while they could literally watch me go crazy…

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…and my gym people for being around to talk to me about something other than the bar.

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Finally, I met some fellow examinees via Twitter (through the hashtag #barpreplife as well as the handle @barpreplife ).  It was so nice to commiserate with people (even though they were strangers) and it was a nice reminder that we were all in it together.

How do you handle stress? 

my top 10 law school experiences.

19 Jun

So right now I am 5 weeks deep into studying for the CA bar exam.  It’s going fine — the days are long but also go by fast, but the constant nagging feeling of wondering whether I am doing enough is a little weird.  As a break from reviewing, I thought I’d put together a list of my Top 10 Favorite Law School experiences.  I am one of those weirdos who actually loved law school.  I had a great experience at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles and want to re-cap why.

In no particular order…

(1) Judicial Externship with the United States District Court for the Central District of California

I had the honor and privilege to extern for the Hon. R. Gary Klausner of the US District Court for a semester of my 2L year.  Hands down, this was the best thing I did academically all of law school.  Not only did I get to observe jury selection and trial, but I wrote an insane number of motions on issues and cases before the court.  It was incredibly challenging and  I learned way more in those four months than I did in any class.

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I also developed a strong bond with my co-externs Taylor, Ben, and Colleen.  Watch out for one of them on the Supreme Court one day (okay, maybe just Ben and Colleen out of the four of us are in the running for that — but they’ll all do big things).

(2) Spending a week in Vienna, Austria as a member of the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Team.

I joined this team as a 2L (second-year law student).  The five of us wrote two briefs (one for Claimant and one for Respondent) and then we practiced 3-4 times per week for our oral arguments.  The competition was located in Vienna (no that is not the sole reason I tried out for this particular team).

counsel for Respondent at the Juridicum

My teammate Rachael and I outside Vienna’s law school. Oh and it was FREEZING.

The competition itself was interesting and fun – we went up against teams from all over the world and had arbitrators that were equally international.

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We didn’t advance very far in the competition, but we had so much fun exploring Vienna’s sights and beer halls.  Oh, and schnitzel and spaetzle. The best.

with my friend and teammate Rachael and Professor McDermott on our last night in Vienna.

Our advisor, Professor McDermott, me, and Rachael.

(3) Bar Reviews.

No, not what I am currently doing. “Bar Review” is law school shorthand for “drinking a lot.”  It’s the law school equivalent of a sorority invite – except people are more excited because going out happens with less regularity than it did in undergrad.  I’ve racked up a few funny bar review stories over the years — but my favorite one was the end of 1L bar review.

law school bests celebrating the end of the year.

my law school posse SO STOKED to be done with 1L.

(4) Research Assistant for my favorite professor

I don’t have a photo for this — that’d just be weird — but during my 3L year I worked as a Research Assistant for my favorite professor at LLS, Professor Kevin Lapp.  I had him for Evidence and LOVED his enthusiasm so I jumped at the chance to help him with some research (about juvenile DNA collections and fingerprinting) this past year.  It was a good experience and I loved picking his brain a little bit.

(5)  Trial Advocacy

This past fall, I took a course called Trial Advocacy. This was a fun, practical class where we practiced real substantive lawyering skills, and our final was to conduct a trial.  A few things made this class fun: (1) it was taught by an actual judge who gave amazing, substantive feedback, (2) we had one class in the judge’s actual courtroom in downtown LA, and (3) one of my law school friends/arch-nemesis/biggest rival was in the class, and we went head-to-head in our final trial.

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Who do we think won this little show-down?  (Answer: The judge didn’t reach a verdict, but I got a higher grade in the class. Yes, this is how competitive Taylor and I are.  We’re still waiting on our final transcripts…)

(6) Surviving 1L

1L (or 1-hell) is pretty grueling.  ALL of the biggest classes are front-loaded, so in one year, you take criminal law, property, torts, contracts, civil procedure, legal research and writing, and an elective.  1L grades matter the most, so stress is pretty high all year.  It was arduous, but I sort of didn’t hate the “right of passage” nature of it.  Again, I am a freak and people call me a gunner.  Didn’t really realize it until writing this post. Whatever.

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(7) Finals rituals

My law school posse developed two traditions that I loved to help us get through 6 rounds of finals.

First, during our long days of studying, we took a walk break to the nearest Starbucks (at LA Live) and re-caffeinated or got some sort of treat.  The break to chat, stretch our legs, and check out whatever was going on at LA Live kept us sane during finals, and we always looked forward to when 3 pm would roll around.

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We also often would go out for a drink or a meal after each final as a tiny celebration before studying for the next one resumed.  After one 1L final, we went out to dinner and then went bowling which was fun, but usually we’d go to Yardhouse at LA Live for beers and bad food.

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(8) Pro Bono with Team Prime Time

My law school has a pro bono requirement – we had to do 40 hours total of community service — either in the form of free legal work, or through a variety of enrichment programs bringing law and law school to kids. I worked with a few other students to develop a mock trial that a bunch of middle schoolers from LA worked to present, before a real judge in one of our mock courtroom classrooms.  It was so awesome getting to know these kids and have them deliver opening statements and closing arguments as well as watching them cross-examine witnesses and create exhibits.

Team Emerson, about to head into court.

(9) Law School Summers

I had a lot of fun in my summers between 1L and 2L (when I worked for a Superior Court Judge) and 2L and 3L (#bigfirmlife).  I loved the opportunity to get first-hand experience and to hit up many a farmer’s market and firm happy hour.

(10) LLS Ambassador 

As a self-proclaimed Loyola Cheerleader, it was only natural that I become a Loyola Ambassador.  I gave a couple of tours, wrote for the Admitted Students Blog, and attended several Admitted Students Days events and panels where I spoke to prospective and admitted students. These are THE BEST. People are excited and ask the most ridiculous questions…

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Admitted Students Event at DTLA’s City Club.

this view wasn't too bad either.

an Admitted Students event at the Dodger’s Stadium Club.

  • Law students: FAVORITE thing you did in law school?  Am I crazy for liking it? Wait don’t answer that. 
  • Non-law students: What was your favorite thing you were involved with in college (my sorority and studying abroad.  And I realize how cliché I am for typing that.)

a tiny blip of freedom.

23 May

I finished law school last Wednesday, graduated on Sunday, and started studying for the bar on Monday.  All of that is super weird and surreal.  In some weird way, I am not hating studying for the bar (so far) but it’s a LONG summer.  I feel like staying positive and on a routine will be really important for me.

I wanted to share how I spent my tiny little blip of freedom between my last final and graduation.  I enjoyed the scorching LA temps last week during my 4-day summer!

I snapped this shot as I walked out of my last final, ever.  I love my law school’s campus and am not taking it for granted as I study here this summer…unnamed-3 Did you know LLS was designed by Frank Gehry?

I’ve been enjoying runs with the DTLA Running Group…

10259724_10100432816539089_4098723907841158522_n…as well as gym workouts and following along (as best I can) with the Tone it Up #BIKINISERIES.

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Last Thursday, my friend Alexis and I celebrated finishing law school (me) and 1L (her) with some pool time at our apartment complex!

10339719_10202493016820630_7271715590359263422_nand on Saturday I walked into the spin room to teach my class and my people had balloons, a grad gift basket, and a card signed by everyone for me! It was one of the sweetest, most unexpected things and almost made me cry.  They also gave me a Quest Bar, furthering the obsession…

unnamed-2After my class on Saturday, I met up with my parents and my aunt and uncle who were in town for my graduation.  We enjoyed a nice lunch at City Tavern.

After lunch,  I headed out to Santa Monica for my friend Chris’ graduation party.  We ended up at the Shangri-La rooftop bar.  I loved spending the afternoon with my classmates as well as my best friend, Whitney, and her roommate Molly. The vodka sodas were great too. #cheatday.

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Before bar studying started I obviously stopped to smell the roses stare at this gorgeous building.

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I also made a paleo-ish recipe: Pizza with Cauliflower Crust.  SO good.  If I were an annoying person I would say it is “TO DIE.” The cauliflower, parsley, cheese, and egg combo create a crust that is very bread-like. Definitely will be making this again.

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Since Monday, I have been studying TORTS ON TORTS ON TORTS and have fallen back into the 1L-like routine of making torts related jokes, so that’s clearly good. I’ve also been working out a lot (surprising no one) and going to bed early like an old person.

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What’s been the highlight of your week?

J.D.

20 May

Hi everyone!  On Sunday, I graduated from law school.  It was an amazing and memorable day so I wanted to share it with you guys!  I know this is a detour from my normal fitness posts — but bear with me.

Our ceremony was held at LMU’s main campus in Westchester.  The law school is in DTLA, so it was fun (albeit a bit odd) to graduate from a place we never actually attended. It was a gorgeous day but a little on the hot side.

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We all met a little before 10 am to get “robed” before the ceremony.  I quickly found my “posse.” Below are Armita, Aviva, Ross, Blake, Me, and Taylor.  This group of people were my “people” throughout law school — we hung out together, studied together, sat next to each other in classes, took practice exams and numerous Starbucks breaks together, and  of course celebrated being done with finals together.  Blake is a JD/MBA and has one more year which is why he didn’t graduate with us (so sad, but secretly I am looking forward to all of us getting together in a year when he graduates!)

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I made sure to grab a photo with my co-extern fam.  Last spring, I spent 4 months as judicial extern in federal court for the Honorable Judge R. Gary Klausner (USDC).  It was an amazing learning experience — and quite the bonding experience — for the four of us: Taylor, me, Ben, and Colleen.

10366318_10103110771765253_1729034612964955238_nAfter taking a huge class photo, we lined up to begin the processional. Section 3 held it down.

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Armita, Aviva, Me, Randy, and Jordan.

10252089_10103112178730683_3024128634732116476_nThe ceremony was short and sweet — about 90 minutes.  The student speeches were succinct and thoughtful, and the commencement address was given by a 1985 Loyola alum who is now the US ambassador to Korea.  He cracked a couple of jokes which I appreciated. After the ceremony, I found my family and friends and took more photos.

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my fam.

My aunt Melinda and my uncle Casey came down from the Bay Area for the weekend.  My uncle is a lawyer in SF and has been a huge source of support throughout the last few years.  He went to Hastings (where I almmmmost went). 10268473_10103112180043053_4643401039386369098_nJenn and Whitney came to the ceremony as well.  As you may know, Jenn and I lived together through my entire law school experience (minus the last 6 weeks).  She was a HUGE help to me guidance-wise, and was one of the very first people to call me out for being a “gunner.”  Whitney was also always in my corner, asking questions about the process, and encouraging me.  Spending time with her was also always a nice outlet from my law school world.

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Spotted Blake again! I joke that I always need a member of his family around me and it’s funnily true.  During one day of finals studying I was sitting next to Blake studying, g-chatting with his brother, and texting with his wife! (I promise, I am not as creepy as this sounds).

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Me, Taylor, and Ross.

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my brother and me.

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Me and Whitney.

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J.D. Clows (and hopefully soon both will be Esquires!)

After graduation we all went over to a restaurant along the marina in Marina del Rey. I did a pretty good job of sticking to my paleo routine…until I decided to cheat for dessert. Not mad about it.  10270720_10103110949778513_6016269532752424199_n We took a few more photos along the water…

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Jenn, me, and her fiancé, Daniel.

It was a great and memorable day – thanks to everyone for all of the warm wishes.  Bar study began the following day (less than 24 hours later, no less).  I will be posting pretty irregularly in the next two months, but I’ll still be around with updates (and a few “I am losing my mind” posts).

What’s your favorite graduation memory? 

legality of influence. [Fashion Law Symposium]

24 Mar

This past Saturday, March 22nd, I spent a few hours on campus (weird, I know) to attend a symposium put on by the Fashion Law clinic at my law school.  The name of the symposium was “One Channel Does Not Fit All:  The Fashion Law Implications of Omnichannel Marketing.”

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Let’s be real — I will be the first to tell you I am NOT interested in high-fashion (or even low-fashion, if that’s a thing).  My best friend is always on me about buying clothes that actually fit and spending time in stores that aren’t Lululemon.  So I didn’t go to this symposium because I want a career in fashion law.  I peeped the different panel discussions and one of them — about the legality of influence and the laws governing disclosures for bloggers — really interested me.

I had to miss the panels before lunch (because spin class) but I showered quickly, threw on a business-y dress that passes for fashionable in my eyes (even though I’m pretty sure peplum is pretty 2012), and headed over just in time for the lunch program.

Lunch was awesome for two reasons – first, it was catered by Joan’s on Third.  Second, it featured an interesting discussion between Bernard Campbell, co-founder of Fi3, and Crosby Noricks, Founder and Fashion Marketing Strategist at PR Couture.

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One component of the discussion was whether or not there is a place for stores in this era of digital marketing.  Crosby emphasized that she thinks stores will gain importance again, but it will be about the experience as opposed to the products themselves.  Again, I had to think about this as it applies to my life — but there’s definitely something about the Lululemon experience that makes me willing to spend a little more as opposed to trudging through clearance bins at the Nike Outlet.

Crosby also commented on the prominence of social tools — like bulletin boards — on brand websites, and how brands like Free People are reacting to consumer behavior by encouraging the use of things like selfies and hashtags and integrating them into the in-store and online shopping experience.

After lunch was the panel I was super stoked on — “Legality of Influence (Advertising & Disclosures).”

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Moderator:  Oren Bitan, Attorney,  Buchalter Nemer

Speakers:

  • Candice Hyon, Corporate Counsel of Marketing, Privacy, and Property at Forever 21
  • Lauren Indvik, Editor in Chief, Fashionista.com
  • Stacy Procter, Staff Attorney, Federal Trade Commission
  • Rey Kim, General Counsel and Senior VP, Legal and Business Development, HALSTON

I nerded out HARD while listening to this panel because it was pretty much a direct convergence of my professional (ish) life with one of my passions – blogging/social media.

First, I found it interesting that the FTC governs bloggers (I’m living in a cave and never really gave it much thought).

The FTC  is a civil enforcement agency.  It serves to protect consumers and to protect competition, and specifically focuses on policing unfair or deceptive acts.  Unfair or deceptive acts consist of:

  • a representation/omission
  • that is material
  • and is likely to mislead the consumer [a reasonable consumer, not someone who is ingrained in the industry and should know that posts are sponsored, etc.]

Under Section 5 of the FTC Act,  ALL material connections between bloggers and the advertisers/sponsor must be disclosed.  This applies to all types of blogs, and fashion bloggers are not exempt even though it could change the reader’s perception of them. Stacy suggested bloggers err on the side of caution and DISCLOSE material connections.  Makes sense.

Disclosures don’t have to take any specific form — they just need to be clear and conspicuous to the reader.

Here’s some other facts from the discussion I found fascinating:

  • Pinterest is the highest grossing social network.  The average user is on it for 1 hr and 15 minutes and spends $175.  Take that, Instagram.
  • One audience member explained that many brands mentioned in rap songs are paid placements. (Example: “Pass the Courvoisier” was paid, but “Tom Ford” was not).  He also emphasized the fact that rappers are held to a different standard because there is no disclosure requirement.  I thought that was really interesting — I had no idea these were paid, but it makes sense.
  • While there may be some confusion between who is a “blogger” and who is a “journalist,”  journalists are governed by a Code of Ethics that requires that they do not accept gifts.
  • One panelist mentioned GOMI in the context that readers  are aware of when bloggers aren’t disclosing things they should be. LOVED the GOMI shout-out and I am pretty sure I was the only person in the audience who had heard of it.

I stuck around for the last panel —  “Legally Good: How to be Socially Responsible and Why it’s the ‘Right Thing to Do’ for Fashion Brands” — but I started to zone out a little and didn’t find this one quite as interesting.

After the presentation, I chatted with some of my friends who are in the Fashion Law clinic and got to meet Professor Riordan and some other people who attended the symposium.

I’m glad I checked it out!  If you made it all the way to the bottom of this nerd-fest, do me a solid and answer one of the following:

  • Favorite apparel brand (fitness or normal “fashion”)?  Why? 
  • Do any of your favorite brands do anything marketing related that you find particularly innovative? 
  • Favorite marketing slogan (currently)? 
  • What is your personal policy for your blog re: disclosures? 

law talk tuesday: miss representation.

26 Nov

On Sunday November 3rd, I attended an event on campus put on by a student organization, WLA or the Women’s Law Association.   The event consisted of a screening of a documentary called “Miss Representation” as well as a panel discussion and Q&A with some notable Loyola alumni.  I had a few thoughts about the event and thought I’d share them here.

The Film

You can watch the trailer here:

The film was written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom and delves into how the portrayal of women in the media leads to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power.

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I didn’t agree with every point the movie made and thought that some aspects were overly generalized (it’s easy to blame the “media” but there’s a lot of things that can explain how women view themselves) but I did jot down a few points that stuck out to me:

  • Women with high self-objectification have lower self-efficacy.
  • 67 countries have had female presidents or prime ministers. (The United States is not one of those).
  • 65% of teenage girls and women have an eating disorder.
  • The rates of depression have doubled in women between 2000 and 2010.

One aspect of the film that did hit home for me, though, is that women tend to be highly critical of each other, and I think that can be seen throughout aspects of the legal profession.  Regardless of your profession, though, I think the idea of the importance of “women helping other women” is important and something we can all keep in mind.

The Panel

After the film, we had a short panel discussion with some Loyola alumni (who all have stellar resumes). Professor Elizabeth Pollman led the panel discussion, and we heard from:

  • Tracey Freed, Senior Counsel at Sony Pictures & LLS Adjunct Professor
  • Cassie Palmer, Kendall Brill & Klieger, LLP
  • Cindy Panuco, Hadsell, Stormer, Richardson & Renick, LLP
  • Laura Blau Michel, The Rubicon Project

It was particularly interesting to me to hear these women share their experience and perceptions on gender in the workplace, although it was slightly disheartening to me to hear that they all thought the themes from the film were alive and well in the legal field today.

Tracey Freed shared that other women or female colleagues have insinuated that she has only gotten to where she is because she is good-looking, and more than one panelist said that upon walking into a courtroom they’ve been asked if they are the court reporter.  Cassie Palmer told a story about when she was clerking for a judge, the media always included the fact that the judge was a woman in headlines about her decision declaring “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” unconstitutional.  Cassie also mentioned that the prominent legal periodical The Daily Journal’s profiles of female judges focus more on their personalities, hobbies, or family lives than their accomplishments as judges.

While these facts were disheartening, I know that advancements are being made.  The firm I worked for last summer had a women’s initiative – a program designed to focus on needs specific to women working at large law firm.  Firms are also becoming increasingly receptive and liberal with their maternity and paternity leave policies, as well as allowing reduced work-loads and flexible schedules. (One woman at the firm I worked for came in at 6 so she could leave by 3, while her husband worked a more traditional schedule, allowing for maximized parent/child time).

One student in the audience asked the panelists whether they also noticed the gender disparity in law school.  While Laura Michel said she did not, Tracey Freed said she noticed that her male classmates came off as more confident and were assertive in class, while she was less likely to speak up and less sure of herself.  I have noticed this somewhat during law school.  Often, women will couch their statements, sound hesitant, or back down – and that is something that can translate into negative results in job interviews and beyond.  Sometimes learning to be assertive (and NOT speaking in any sort of valley girl/vocal fry/uptalk voice) is a challenge, but a necessary one.

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random photo of me before my Trial Advocacy final (against my good friend Taylor).

I am lucky in that I have never really felt like a minority due to my gender, but I did notice while working for a big firm this summer that I was viewed differently, at least by a couple of my fellow summer associates.  One, a male, once asked me if I was worried about how I might eventually balance being a lawyer with being a woman (i.e. wanting to have a family and raise children).  While I was aghast at this individual’s lack of tact, I explained that it’s possible to do more than one thing well, and priorities shift over time.  But more than anything, this was a lesson to me that things may not be as equal in the legal field as they always seem.

I appreciated this event because it made me think about pretty important things I might not otherwise think about.

What do you think? Have you ever felt “different” because of your gender?

Are there gender differences in your profession that you notice?

law talk tuesday: law school lingo.

12 Nov

This blog is mostly a healthy living/running blog, but I can’t entirely ignore the professional/academic side of my life (which takes up almost as much of my time and energy as fitness does…but seriously).

Anyway, since this blog is partially about balance, I thought I would try and devote a weekly post to all things law/law school/etc.  Variety is the spice of life, right?

Before I started law school, I heard all of these different terms get thrown around and I had no idea what they meant. So I thought I would devote this post to de-mystifying some of the terms you may hear before you begin your 1L year  — if you’re  thinking about going to law school, have applied and are waiting to hear back from schools, or are just generally curious.  So let’s get to it:

  • Case Briefs or “Briefing a Case”:  Some professors may require that you “brief” every case you read before coming into class.  This means writing out a short synopsis of the case, broken down into segments such as facts, procedural posture (which court we are in and how it got there), the issue, the court’s analysis, the holding, and any concurring/dissenting opinions.  Case briefs are helpful in figuring out what is important to know for class, and there are many case briefs floating around online that can be helpful to look at if your head is still spinning after you first read a case.  That being said, briefing is always best if you do it yourself. I like to “book brief” – meaning I don’t prepare a separate document, instead I highlight directly in my textbook, using a different color for the facts, procedural posture, issue, analysis, and holding. I have found this helpful when I get cold-called — I know what to look for in my textbook.
my book, briefed.

my book, briefed.

  • Outlines: You will hear a lot about outlines and when to outline. Outlines are essentially a comprehensive study guide of everything from an entire course, written in a bullet-point style to aid in memorization prior to exams. Outlines are available online, but as I mentioned earlier, since ultimately you are responsible for the information, it is just better if you make your own.
torts outline. good memories.

torts outline. good memories.

  • Commercial Supplements: These are books available for purchase from companies like Emanuel Law Outlines, Gilbert Law Summaries, and Examples and Explanations.  These are broad explanations tailored to each class, and can be helpful in reinforcing concepts or explaining something differently from how your professor conveyed it. These are helpful to make sure you understand things, but again, your professor will be writing your exam so it is most crucial that you understand what is covered in class.
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The necessities of life: water, iced coffee, and an Evidence E&E.

  • Bar Review: This is another one that can cause some 0L confusion.  Bar review has nothing to do with studying for the bar – instead it is the term for law school events at various bars or clubs throughout Los Angeles. Get it?… “Bar” review… I have no idea who coined that term, but I bet they were pretty proud of themselves.
law school bests celebrating the end of the year.

law school BFFs at the End of 1L Bar Review.

Law school can be its own little world sometimes with its own unique language. Now you can feel a little bit more informed when people start saying things like “my contracts outline is SO long I have no idea how I’m ever going to memorize it.”

Like this post? It was adapted from one I wrote for the Loyola Law school  “Jury of Peers” student blogs. Go check them out!

P.S. My law school helped a wrongly convicted man go free last week — read about that awesome story here.

Have any law school myths you need de-bunked?