Hello, my name is Christopher (Chris) Larsen. I am a lifelong Washington State resident, spending most of my time in the Seattle area, with a few years in Ellensburg at Central Washington University. At CWU I received a B.A. in both Psychology and Law & Justice (specializing in pre-law). I decided during my senior year that I wanted to go to law school, but after a disappointing LSAT attempt, I opted to get a few years of work experience. After my wife and I moved back to the Seattle area, I began working at ABC Legal Services. During the span of three years I worked in various departments and gained experience in many areas of process service. This was my first professional experience in the legal industry and it increased my desire to attend law school and take on more responsibility. Outside of law school, I am a huge Seattle sports fan and I attend Seahawks' and Sounders' games when I find time. I also enjoy hiking and backpacking with my wife up in the Cascades and out on the Olympic Peninsula.
It's hard to believe the grind of my 2L year has already started, and supposedly this will be my most demanding year of law school. I am taking Legal Writing II (LWII), Constitutional Law (Con Law), Professional Responsibility (PR), Copyright Law, IP Licensing Lab, and I am a Staff Editor for the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law. I tried to mix in some less demanding classes (Copyright and PR) while taking LWII and Con Law, but I am learning there really isn't such a thing as a less demanding law class, only more interesting. Likewise, for anyone considering a position with one of the journals, be prepared for an extensive amount of additional work (editing articles to be published and working on your own article).
I have been pleasantly surprised with Con Law, as it was a class I feared, but it has definitely been my favorite class during the first couple weeks. I highly recommend Professor Skover as he has made the less "sexy" (his word) topics, such as Federalism and the Commerce Clause, interesting. LWII is living up to the high demand that is to be expected from the #1 Legal Writing Program in the country. Our first assignment was handed out on day 1, practice oral arguments took place during the second week of the semester, and research logs are due at the beginning of week 3. LWI was my favorite course during 1L year, so I am hoping for more of the same during LWII.
Outside the classroom, it's been a struggle keeping to the books with it so nice outside. I enjoy the Seattle summers as much as anyone, but I could really go for a few weeks of clouds and rain to keep me from feeling so bad about being stuck inside. It also doesn't help that football season is finally here. Prior to law school I had attended every home Seahawks' game during the past 5 seasons, but last year I only made it to one game. I know football will be around long after law school, but it has been a tough sacrifice to make.
Winter break is finally here and I am half way through law school. Perhaps what is my biggest accomplishment is the completion of what will likely be my most demanding semester of law school. Finals were tough, but not nearly as difficult as anticipated or what I experienced last year. I think it is part of the growth from a 1L to a 2L and having the freedom to select some of my courses.
Serving as a Staff Editor on the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law has been very demanding. Editing has come naturally to me, but writing my article has been a struggle. It is difficult to find a new and interesting legal topic that is not preempted by another article. Further, completing a quality thirty-page draft a couple weeks before finals was very challenging. It may not seem like it, but I am enjoying the experience and look forward to a lighter spring class schedule that allows me to spend more time completing my article.
With that, I am looking forward to spending the next few weeks relaxing and resting in preparation of next semester. I do not have much planned, but my primary goal is to significantly increase my connections and hopefully find employment for next summer and possibly beyond.
It's hard to believe, but I am over the law school hump! I had a very relaxing break and was able to get away with my wife to Southern California. We spent most of our trip enjoying sunshine in Palm Springs and managed to spend a couple days at Disneyland-a perfect end to what was ultimately a difficult semester. Winter break is probably the one time of year where I know I will be free of all school related responsibilities, so it was nice to leave law school behind for a couple weeks and simply enjoy the freedom.
While I was initially wishing break could have been longer, it's nice to be back in class, and it is especially nice having a lighter schedule than last semester. I have thoroughly enjoyed legal writing, but this semester will provide a much needed break. It's also perfectly timed because it should give me a few months to finalize my article for the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law. Word to the wise, only join a journal if you can be truly committed and have amazing time management skills. It's far more work than anticipated, but in the end I know I will be better for it. Besides the pride I have in writing my own article, the editing component allows you to put your work into someone else's article. A couple weeks ago I was given notice that the article I helped edit last semester had been published; it was very rewarding to see pieces of my work portrayed in published form.
As mentioned, the lack of legal writing has given me a very nice schedule. Although unrelated to the omission of legal writing, I have managed to avoid evening classes for the semester! I am taking Evidence, Financial Institutions Law, Administrative Law, and Trusts and Estates. It's a lighter class schedule because I have also opted to take 2 credits as part of SJEL. Through the first couple weeks, I could not be happier. The professors are all great, and I am very much enjoying the content-even Admin Law which is supposedly a dry subject. Perhaps I am finding my niche because up until now I have been very unsure of my future plans. I am beginning to consider beyond traditional legal careers, but at the suggestion of the center for professional development (CPD), I am exploring areas of the law that I may not had recently considered. I am not keen on the adversarial process (i.e., litigation), so exploring areas that are centered on compliance or regulatory is a priority. It's currently crunch time for finding summer work, so we will have to see where I land. Stay tuned!
There is not a lot to report from an academic standpoint. Classes are progressing nicely, and I am continuing to enjoy a semester free from Legal Writing. This has afforded me much more time to read through study guides and better prepare for each of my classes. Hopefully that will result in a better performance come finals!
Outside of the classroom, I have some very exciting news! I was just selected to be the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law (SJEL). Academic writing and editing has always been something I enjoy (dating back to high school) so to be selected as EIC is a huge accomplishment and I am very excited about the opportunity. In a couple weeks I should begin training for my new position, and that will allow me to put my mark on the upcoming issue of the journal. I encourage anyone who has questions about the journal to reach out to me as I am always willing and excited to talk about my experience with the journal. I will be sure to continue updating with my progression from staff editor to EIC and perhaps discuss some of my plans for the future. Generally, my goal is to oversee the continued growth of what is a relatively new journal at Seattle University.
Spring break is officially over and the push to final exams begins. I'm always amazed at how quickly time goes by during law school. I vividly remember how I felt during my 1L summer criminal law class, and that was nearly two years ago! It seems like I am still getting a grasp on everything, but the stress and excitement of life after law school is slowly hitting me. Conversations with friends is always about networking and searching for jobs, and far less about the classes we want to take. I guess it's the reality of the 3L year being largely about gaining experience and finding employment. As I mentioned in my previous entry, I also have the added responsibility of being the editor-in-chief (EIC) of the Seattle Journal of Environmental Law. While I could not be more excited about the opportunity, it is forcing me to make some sacrifices. For example, I made the difficult decision today to forego applying for the Amazon.com internship. Rather than the more typical summer position, this required a commitment of part-time availability during the entire upcoming academic year. It would have been a great experience, but probably impossible while trying to juggle a full class schedule and EIC responsibilities. However, I did receive some great news last week! I have an interview with Weyerhaeuser, which from the outset would appear to be a perfect fit with my position on the Environmental Journal. As is probably apparent, my focus is much more on gaining experience than my classes, but I must attest that I am still spending hours reading for each class. Fortunately, at the conclusion of this semester I will have completed every required class, so it should set me up for a more enjoyable 3L year, even with the added responsibilities. Here's to making it through the final full month of the semester and another grueling round of final exams!