Cynthia Chu, 2L
Hi! I'm Cynthia. I'm currently a 3L student. I spent my first year in law school as a part-time evening student. Prior to law school, I went to the University of Michigan for my undergraduate degree (Go Blue!) and spent five years in the healthcare industry. In my spare time I like to hike and make homemade ice cream.
Well, it's finally my last semester of law school!!
But even after law school, there's still the BAR (cue the scary music). It makes it feel like graduation is just any another day and finishing (and passing) the bar should get its own ceremony where you get unlimited tickets and punch.
Speaking of the bar, the 2013 class will be the first class in Washington to take the UBE, which means more multiple choice and less essays. In one of my classes, we had the WSBA come and speak to us about the bar. In their powerpoint they included a photo of the bar exam site. In the photo were rows and rows of tables with corresponding chairs. It is likely that if that photo was shown to non-legal individuals, the individuals wouldn't think anything of the photo. They probably wouldn't feel the stress of the situation. It is amazing how intimidating a photo of a room with chairs changes for a 3L (and probably all law students) when it's given the context of the bar. Thank goodness for Barbri.
I feel like the first part of most of my journal entries begin with how fast time is flying by. It's true. Law school time seems to slip away twice as fast!
This semester I am doing an externship at the City of Kent Law Department. It has been a great experience so far! I've been able to appear on the record and represent the City!!! Although I've only been there for a short time it has by far been the most lawyer-like activity I have engaged in. It is exciting to get these kinds of experiences because it definitely puts law school into perspective, and it makes the upcoming graduation more of a reality.
In addition to my externship, I am also participating in a regional appellate competition with two other teammates. Because the competition is an appellate one, we are required to write a brief as well as argue on the issues in the brief. We just received our competition problem and have started writing our brief. The brief is due in three short weeks and our oral argument competition will be another six weeks away!
I can't believe it is my last year of law school; it has gone by so fast!
This past summer I was able to participate in the South Africa program that SU offers. I was able to spend five weeks in South Africa. Three weeks in class and two weeks vacationing. If you're looking for a study abroad program, this is definitely one you should consider.
Of the three weeks in class, the first week was a one credit class on South African History, Law, and Policy. It was taught my professors from the University of Witswatersrand and covered a variety of topics (from water and healthcare rights to Constitutional law). We were able to visit the Apartheid Museum, go on safari, and visit the Constitutional Court. One weekend, we were even able to watch an interview of a candidate for their Constitutional Court!!
After the first week of class, I took a class on Cross-Cultural Communication. It involved working at the University's legal clinic and advising clients (as best we could) on employment and labour law issues (yes, I put the "u" in labor because that's South African).
Besides being able to visit South Africa, I worked all summer at a private firm in Downtown Seattle. It was nice to not have to worry about taking classes!
Speaking of taking classes, I again embarked on class shopping during the first week of class. I changed my entire schedule around. I finally ended up taking Criminal Procedure- Investigative, International Business Transactions, and International Arbitration. I am also doing a Rule 9 externship at a city South of Seattle. It'll be exciting to be in court (although I'm definitely nervous about it).
It's been hard being in class when Seattle is experiencing its longest time period without rain, luckily this is my last year so I can enjoy every summer after this (well, I guess after next summer since there's still the bar)!
It's finally Spring Break (woooo)! Where did February go? It was so short (and we even got an extra day out of it this year) and pretty uneventful.
So for spring break this year, I had high hopes. I planned on outlining, catching up, and getting ahead. However, as it is day four of spring break, most of it hasn't gotten done. I really should have known better. But, spring break has given me time to finish planning my trip to South Africa. I plan on doing the school's 3 week study abroad program in South Africa and will be in South Africa 2 weeks early to explore the area. So that was a big item on my to-do list that I got to cross off.
Besides that, classes are going by pretty quickly. Evidence and Corporate & Partnership Taxation have been my two most enjoyable classes. But really all of my classes have been pretty great. I think I've finally figured out that choosing classes is not just about content, but also about the professors. All the class shopping I did at the beginning of the year has proven to be successful. The best part is Thursday afternoon when I have my Corporate & Parternship tax class because the professor brings us treats every Thursday, and nothing really beats that.
Wooo HOOOO! Fall semester is over! Between Legal Writing II and Constitutional Law, that was the most hectic semester to date.
Speaking of hectic, the first week of Spring semester was also a bit frantic. Between purchasing, special ordering, and returning books, I also did a little bit of class shopping. It didn't occur to me last semester to go to different classes to see what the syllabus looked like, speak to other students about their classes, and observe how different professors interacted with students in class, but apparently it's something some students do. If the Registrar can see the historical changes of my schedule I made online, they would probably refer me out for special care.
In addition to all that, there was the Snow-pocalypse that gripped Seattle the second week of school. Talk about great timing! I only had 1 class that entire week and was able to catch up on class reading (since I had so many new classes) and waste time on Pinterest (yes, Pinterest). Sad to say, after all the snow melted, the administration decided to add 2 days of class to the end of the semester, oh well, I guess I did pay for those classes.
Now to count the days until Spring Break...
The "work you to death" is turning into "work you to sick." Everyone on campus is catching the bug that's going around. What's worst is people that caught the first round have now gotten the second round. I was lucky enough to catch it in between the two waves. So hopefully I'll just get it once.
The timing of the illness is impeccable. In between brief writing, journal work, and keeping up with classes, being under the weather is not the place I want to be. Not to mention, there are only 6 more weeks of the semester (yes, I counted them). That means exams are in 7 weeks! 7 WEEKS! That is just going to fly by!
In addition to being sick, I recently went to my optometrist. My vision has gotten remarkably worse this last year. I feel like it's important to mention (if you're reading this and thinking of coming to law school) because my optometrist was vehement that it was because of law school that my vision was deteriorating. So, something else everyone can consider!
The "work you death" mantra of 2L year is holding true. This is why this is going to be a short (and harried) journal entry.
I think what's made it harder to work is this last stretch of summer Seattle's been having. Who wants to be inside reading and writing all day when it's so nice and sunny out?
I've also been working on my Legal Writing II brief. This year's topic is a civil product liability case involving tainted orange juice. In addition to writing a brief, oral arguments based on the brief are required. The arguments are videotaped and you have to do a self-critique! I feel like the prospect of being recorded is making me more nervous about the entire situation.
Also, in addition to class writing, I am on the Seattle Journal for Environmental Law. Journal members have to write a 30-40 page article on something that has never been written on. Originality is one thing, but the Journal also requires the topic be somewhat relevant, too. More quality time with Westlaw!
Hello 2L year!
After finishing the summer session of Torts 3 weeks ago while working full time, I've got to say, summer wasn't any different from the regular year. I guess I will have to take vacation in 2013!
This year, I decided to become a full time student so it's going to be a much busier year than last year. They also say the second year is a lot more work than the first year. I'm only a week in, but I feel like whoever "they" are, they're right.
After having zero choice in classes last year, choosing classes was very exciting. But the strategy behind it was overwhelming. What professors should you take? What kind of schedule do you want? Do you go with foundational courses or specialized courses for what you plan on doing? After a while, I realized the option to have a choice was not all it seemed. I decided on Legal Writing II, Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, and Individual Income Tax. I have a practice oral argument to do for Legal Writing II tomorrow so we'll see how that goes!
Congratulations graduating 3Ls!
Today is the last day of classes... FOR THE YEAR*!
*Although technically as a part time student I still have Torts this summer.
With the stress of oncoming finals, I find it strange that the professors have told us that it really is a celebratory period. Last night, our section's favorite professor gave us a rousing good-bye speech and notes of wisdom at the end of class. She said that it would be the last time that we would all be sitting here together (in spite of Torts). She then recited the oft quoted phrase, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone." She told us it was something special that we all had being together for so long in such an environment and we would not to see each other in class next year, since we'd all be taking different classes. I wonder if she will be right. Would we all look back on this year and wish to be in C-1 again all together again?
Well, enough with the reflection, on to finals!
Spring break has come and gone. I had a lot of high hopes for spring break. I wanted to finish all of my outlines, re-read some cases, work on the Legal Writing memo assignment, and prepare for my first Moot Court competition. Sadly, most of that wasn't done. It was also nice to recharge a bit and not have the hustle and bustle of law school to have to worry about. However, I did go on a ski trip with some fellow classmates, and it was great to see them outside of the classroom!
Last night I went to the Health Law Society's speed networking event. It was so interesting to meet attorneys that work in a variety of capacities in the Healthcare industry. I met is General Counsel for an Institutional Review Board (yes, I had no idea what this was and she explained it to me and it was extremely interesting), another specializes in medical malpractice, another negotiates for providers in practice acquisitions, and some were In House Counsel for large hospitals. I was really nervous about the event. I never really understood what it meant to network; and more importantly, how to network effectively. Luckily all of the attorneys were extremely down to earth and open to questions of any sort. I left with a fistful of business cards, great insight, and invaluable advice!
Recently one of my professors remarked that February is the time of year where students (and sometimes faculty) feel like they have been running uphill for the last six months and are exhausted. She theorized that it was because the finals from first semester were a distant memory, and we weren't at that point when students would begin to panic about Spring finals.
It's true, the classroom has become much quieter and the chances of being called on in class to participate have risen exponentially due to the silence. I'm not going to deny it has been a very short and tiring month and the motivation has been really low. But, last night I was a bailiff for the Mock Trial competition. I got to hear 2L and 3L students give oral arguments, question witnesses, do cross examinations, and closing arguments in front of seasoned litigation professionals. The students sounded so prepared, professional, and lawyerly. Sometimes in the thick of all the reading, writing, and class time, it's hard to discern a tangible result from all the work. But watching the mock trial was pretty exciting and it has reminded me why I am in law school.
With that, it's time to hit the books!
It's already the end of January.
I felt that sentence needed its own line. January has been a big deadline month. A lot of local area firms have January deadlines for Diversity Fellowships for 1Ls and I have been scrambling to meet those deadlines. Each firm has required some sort of personal statement, writing sample, transcripts, and of course, your resume. The resume has been quite difficult. I attended a resume seminar that the Center for Professional Development (CPD) put on, and it was pretty helpful. For some it seemed it was difficult to find experiences to put on the resume (new graduates that came directly from undergraduate school), but for me it has been very different. I came to law school with work experience, but trying to tailor my experience in a legal fashion is what has taken the most resume revamping. It has also been time consuming and I wish I had followed CPD's advice on starting over break!!
In October, my Civil Procedure professor came in to class and in a joking way, brought up the fact that it would be getting darker earlier in the day, and this might damper our spirits. "Beware the ides of November, not March." She brought up a good point. With the advent of the Northwestern Winter upon me, I had never considered how it would affect my mood in class. Typically when I arrive on campus it is still bright, when I leave it is very dark. I can only imagine what December holds when it is going to be dark going in to Sullivan, and dark coming out!
On the up side, at least with the weather being so wet, there is not a lot of incentive to be outside; so, recent weather has lent itself to more study time! At first, I was able to keep a lot of my free time during the weekends; I did a lot of reading during the late afternoon before class and after class. But lately, now that there is new material to cover, and a steady stream of material I have to review, the free time has definitely gone down.
Time has really flown by, it is already nearly the middle of November and there are only about 4 more weeks of class!
Wow, the first month of law school is over already! Between student organization meetings, school events, workshops, and class, time has just flown by. I definitely thought that learning how to go back to school after 5 years would not be easy (especially since I still take notes on paper), but I feel like it has been a much smoother transition thanks to the summer Criminal Law class.
My Property professor came in one day during the first week of class and drew a tornado with several circles in the tornado. At first I thought it was a visual way of describing how we felt while we were reading (the reading material was the tornado and all of the circles were the students in the class). He used this picture to depict legal learning in his eyes- as a more circular path in contrast to a linear path. His argument is that law requires a student to completely immerse themselves in the material, and that while you learn a case today, tomorrow the case will reveals things you missed the first time on either the same concept or a new one. His most tangible point was that we were probably going to have to read and reread constantly and that there was no easy path from reading to understanding. The picture has definitely provided perspective on how to approach law school; it also has helped me feel a little assured that sometimes I'm going to feel like I'm stuck in a giant tornado!