June 23, 2017

Law School Clinic

law school clinic | brazenandbrunette.com

Hey hey hey! I've been itching to write this post for a while now because I have big news— I got into a clinic! In case you didn't know, a clinic is a class where you get to handle real cases on your own. It's great because you're getting real experience (great to mention on resumés or in interviews) but you still have a professor to help you out. 

Because I transferred I missed the deadlines to try to write on a journal so I was really excited to apply for a clinic since I feel like I'm not as involved as I should be.

Related: 6 Steps to Transferring Law Schools

At my school, you can be in a clinic your 2L or 3L year so I did miss the opportunity to do it my 2L year but I'm still really stoked to get in to a clinic. Btw if you're a 0L I highly suggest you look into the clinic opportunities when considering a school. 

Related: Choosing a Law School


Applying

At the beginning of the Spring semester, they announced that applications were open for the clinics in the daily school email (so if you're not reading those, maybe ya should be). My school has six clinics— advanced alternative dispute resolution, civil practice, criminal defense, family law/housing, innocence project, and tax. Since I want to do civil law, I applied to the ADR and civil practice clinics. The application had us rank our priorities and list relevant classes that we've taken/were currently in. I had to describe my past legal experience so I just put my internships from my 1L summer. It also asked to describe any pro bono experience and I can't stress to y'all enough that getting a lot of pro bono hours will always come in handy! 

The last thing we had to do was write a 1-2 page paper about why we want to be the clinic for each clinic we applied for. This was why I ended up not applying to more clinics haha because I procrastinated (don't do this). For my ADR paper, I wrote about what I had learned in the negotiations class I took my 2L fall semester and explained why I thought they should pick me. For my civil practice paper, I again wrote about my relevant classes and then talked about why I want to be a part of the clinic. Yeah they were basically the same ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I ranked the ADR clinic first and the CP clinic second. This was because the ADR clinic was only one semester long and the CP clinic was a year long. While the year-long clinic would obviously give me more experience and I think I'd even get to get my student bar card for participating in it, the shorter clinic was actually perfect for me because I was really hoping to get into another program in the Spring and wanted the chance to be a part of both. And I'm very happy to say that I got in to my first choice!


ADR

So there's litigation, negotiation, arbitration, and mediation. Lots of shuns haha. Litigation is where you go to trial and argue a case in front of a jury or a judge (called a bench trial). Litigation is the most commonly known type of lawyering but it's actually not the most popular. This is because the court system is set up to have parties work it out on their own and only go to trial kinda as a last resort. If you're interested in this, see if your school participates in mock trial competitions and try to get involved.

Negotiation is where the two lawyers (and maybe their clients) meet up and work things out on their own. I took a negotiations class because I was behind on my "legal practice" hours after transferring but it has so far been the most useful class I've taken and I really encourage everyone to look in to it! If you're interested in this, see if your school participates in negotiation competitions and try to get involved.

Arbitration is kinda a step down from litigation. There's two sides who argue in front of a third party, so I think of it like basketball with two teams and a ref. The rules aren't exactly the same as trial but the process is pretty similar, and if it's "binding arbitration" then what the ref decides is just like if a judge decided it (usually arbitrators are retired judges). If you're interested in this, see if your school participates in arbitration competitions and try to get involved.

Mediation is kinda halfway between negotiation and arbitration. There's a third party just like arbitration, but they're not the judge. Instead, they just kinda help the two parties negotiate. For example, mediators usually start by talking to each side separately to help them decide what they actually want to happen and help them keep realistic goals. Mediators also usually will suggest ideas that will help both parties. 

One thing that I'm excited about mediation is that it's real heavy on conflict-resolution and since I'm looking at doing in-house counsel, I see that as being something really useful to be good at and come in with experience. 

Another reason why I'm excited is that after this class, I'll be mediator certified. One of my friends took this class Fall her 2L year and then started doing mediations on the side Spring her 2L year and if I remember right she was getting paid like $25 an hour! And I'm pretty sure it's like $50-100 an hour once you have your JD or something like that (I know it increases, but idk what the requirements are) and so this would be a great side-gig to do if I ever want to cut down on my workload to have kids or when I retire.  

And small world- the place I'll be doing my mediation through is actually where I'm working right now! Before I was hired, I had to talk to my boss and my professor to make sure that they were both okay with it. To prevent conflicts of interest, I'll just be working on city issues for my job and then I'll only be dealing with county issues for my class. My boss is also making sure that he doesn't assign me to anything that would give me a head start from my classmates and has reassured my professor that he won't play favorites with me just because he knows me. 

June 17, 2017

2L Summer

2L summer | brazenandbrunette.com

Ok so now back to law related stuff! This post is coming a little late because I've actually been very busy this summer but I wanted to do a post about my summer schedule. As you may recall, last summer I didn't take summer classes and instead balanced two jobs (you can read about that here). This summer, I'm taking summer 1 and summer 2 classes plus working part time (but getting paid😁). 

Summer Classes

I really truly regret not taking summer classes last year. If I could give any rising 2L advice, I'd say take at least 6 hours during the summer! Taking 15 hours this past semester was really draining and I wish that I could've dropped a class without falling behind on my degree plan. Not only that, but you never know what programs you'll get into as a 3L— for my spring semester I'll be in a program where I can only take 12 hours so if I wasn't in summer classes now I'd be taking 18 hours in the fall just so I can graduate on time!

Anyways, so I'm totally new to law school summer classes and still fairly new to student loans so here's a lesson I learned the hard way. I knew I'd need to take out another loan to pay for my summer classes and for my rent. So I applied for a new FASFA so I could get more money since the government loan's interest is wayyy better than the private loan. But then I never got any money so I emailed my financial aid advisor and he was like oh yeah FASFA goes August-August so you won't get that money until the fall semester starts and I had an oh shit moment. Then I quickly applied for another sallie mae loan and that went through all fine and dandy but for some dumb reason (idk if it's my school or the loan company) that money doesn't get dispersed for 11 business days so hopefully that will go through this upcoming week. 

What that means is that I still haven't paid my summer 1 tuition and I'm not sure how I haven't even been dropped from that class so I'll have to go figure that out. I had just enough leftover money to pay my rent but then after that I had $28 combined from my savings and checking account for a week until payday. I'm so glad that this summer I found a paid job or else I wouldn't have money for groceries or gas!

As for the class itself, I'm taking one in-person class during summer 1 and I'm really liking the schedule because we meet for one hour every day and that's it! For summer 2, I'm taking two online classes which I'm nervous about because law classes seem like the kind of classes that I need to be in-person to be learning anything. I thought the reading would be hard because I assumed it would be double what it is during the regular semester but it's actually not bad at all. 

The class I'm in doesn't even have a book so my professor just sends us about 2 cases a day to read. The good part of this is that I'm saving a couple hundred bucks not paying for a book. The bad part of this is that we have to read the whole cases and sometimes one case will take me an hour to read because it's so long. And it sucks because these cases aren't even on Quimbee. One thing that I've learned is that if you read the case summary and outcome and the headnotes you can basically build your IRAC from that. Yes, I've had to go back to IRACs and I thought 3Ls aren't supposed to be doing IRACs anymore yet here I am ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Clerking

How I ended up at my job is that it literally fell in my lap when my friend decided to take a more relevant internship during summer 1 and her boss asked her to replace herself while she's gone she asked me! 

I'm so grateful that she did because this job is so meant for me it's crazy. I'm helping my boss do research and reviewing case law and statutes for the same topic that I did last summer so I'm already coming in with a lot of relevant experience. If you don't know what I'm talking about you can read my Summer Internships post from my 1L year here. Another bonus, my boss has me working on a side project that is basically having me incorporate what I do for my pro bono hours and help his office do something like it, so once again I just so happened to have relevant experience. You can also read about what I do for pro bono here

Speaking of pro bono, I'm still doing two hours a week. In Texas, the bar has this thing called the pro bono college which really is just a certificate. You have to do 50 hours a year and I'm trying really hard to make sure that I have enough to qualify for that because I feel like that will look good on my resumé.

I know this doesn't sound like a lot, but it's kept my days pretty busy. Here's my schedule for summer 1:


8-9:15
wake up, finish readings from night before, get ready

9:30-10:30
Ag law

11-12
on Mondays and Wednesdays I do pro bono

12-1
lunch, get ready for work, pack gym bag

1-5
work
but on Fridays I go 12-4 so I can get off earlier :)

5:30-7
spin class and sauna afterwards

7-9
shower, dinner, relax

9-11
read as much as I can for the next day's class

11
bedtime

Follow

like Brazen and Brunette