Hello, my name is Brittany Molnar. I was born and raised in Arizona and attended Arizona State University majoring in political science with an emphasis in international studies and a minor in sociology. After graduation I went on to work in a small boutique estate planning/administration, probate and civil litigation law firm. While working at my law firm I went on to earn a certificate in paralegal studies. After spending 23 years in Arizona, I knew I wanted to experience something different and am so happy to have moved to Seattle for law school. When I am not in school I enjoy sporting events, mainly football (Go Sun Devils!), traveling, and reading.
So here we are again with another semester among us. Let me recap starting back in December. I found last semesters final schedule for me to be especially brutal. I finished my clinic the first week of December so that was nice to have that out of the way. It was a fully satisfying clinic and I really enjoyed working with my clients and learning more about the Indian probate process. After that I studied immensely for Constitutional Law and Tax Law finals. I figured out that 13 hours a day for either of those classes is as long as I could study without loosing my mind.
After finals I decided to stay in Seattle for the holiday break which was really nice. I missed going home but I enjoyed the downtime and spending time in the city.
So far spring semester has been going well. I am one of two students to do the first trial run of receiving credit for the Federal Tax Clinic at University of Washington School of Law. It has been interesting going back and forth between SU and UW, but the legal experience has been great and I am learning a ton. I never thought it was possible for tax controversy work to be so exciting.
Outside law school news, my cousin got married recently so my boyfriend and I made the trip to Arizona for her wedding. It was great to be home and enjoy the nice 80 degree weather. I swear I turned a shade darker from so much sun exposure. The boyfriend and I enjoyed the sun so much that we decided to go back for spring break and go to spring training, so I am really looking forward to March. I also moved apartments over break and moved in with one of best friends from law school and so far it has been a great time!
November is here and let the freak outs commence. Even though I got a jump start on my outlining, I still find myself falling behind. There is just too much to keep up with during this time of month. Finals are about a month out and it's time to really start punching out my outlines. I have decided to fly home for Thanksgiving this year, as opposed to last year where I did not, because I am one of the unfortunate souls who have a final on one of the last days (thanks, Tax Law). It will be nice to go home and see family but I will be spending a lot of my time working on school. This is also the time where all my friends, who took Legal Writing 2, are turning in their appellate brief, and if I have learned anything it's that I am not looking forward to writing it next semester. I am however happy with my class schedule, especially Advanced Elder Law and Corporate and Partnership Tax. Well, I must get back to outlining and may the odds be ever in my favor.
October is here, which means pumpkin patches, PAD casino night and Halloween. October might just be my favorite month. This month is really busy, not just with school but with traveling. My friend Joel and I traveled to Arizona to attend my friend's wedding. It was great spending time with friends in undergrad and getting to witness such a lovely devotion of love to one another. It was great to introduce my law school best friend to everyone back at home. The following weekend Phi Alpha Delta, the law fraternity, hosted their annual Casino Night. This year's theme was speak easy, so everyone dressed up and played poker for prizes like bar prep courses, and had a lot of fun. This event keeps getting better each year and it was great that I got to be a part of the planning process. I also got to travel to Washington D.C. for the first time, on a recruitment trip. It was great to see the nation's capital and to see so much history.
With all that fun doesn't mean school took a back seat. I am currently in the thick of things with my clinic clients and have begun drafting their estate planning documents. I have started to outline for my constitutional law class and my tax class. It's funny how stress levels start to change during this time of year and studying switches from preparing for class and beginning to outline. Finals are fast approaching so I better get to studying.
Happy Fall! I happen to really love Fall. Growing up in Arizona, Fall is a season that the state tends to forget and jumps right into Winter. Therefore, I look forward to spending another beautiful Fall season in Seattle. I know it has been awhile since I have updated my law school journal so I will recap summer and the beginning of this semester.
Evidence turned out to be a pretty interesting class. Learning the difference between character evidence and all of the hearsay exceptions was a tad difficult but ultimately I enjoyed the class immensely. Our visiting professor had a really great understanding of the subject and made the class enjoyable to attend (which says a lot since evidence can be pretty dull).
Once Evidence was over, I went to a law school friend's wedding out at Suncadia with a bunch of classmates which was a great time. It was nice to explore the state a little and get out of Seattle. After that I flew to Palm Springs for a bachelorette celebration for my college roommate. I have never been to Palm Springs and even growing up in Arizona couldn't prepare me for the 100 degree weather.
The following week fall semester began and it was right back into the swing of things as if I hadn't really left (ok, I didn't actually leave). This semester has been going well. I have really enjoyed being in the Indian Trusts and Estates clinic, where I have already met with my clients about their estate planning matters. It has been great to get the practical experience and to really hone in on my skills. I can't wait to start drafting the documents. I have also found that I really enjoy tax law, and am going to apply for a few externships in that area. Constitutional law probably has to be my least favorite class, and I now understand why the ABA requires everyone to take it.
In outside law school news, I went on my first recruitment trip for admissions. I went to Northern Arizona University and I really enjoyed getting to talk to prospective students. I am also going on another recruiting trip at the end of October in Washington, DC. I am particularly looking forward to that one since I haven't been to DC before. I already have a running list of places I want to visit and I think the consensus is that in order to fit it all in I won't be able to sleep. I also have Phi Alpha Delta Casino night coming up, which is an annual fundraising event that the law fraternity throws on campus and is a lot of fun. I am also going to the ASU v. UW game which I am looking forward to since I don't get to attend that many games since moving to Seattle.
June and July
So it is officially summer! At least it is summer for two weeks before I begin my summer evidence class. The upside to taking summer Evidence is that I get it out of the way; the downside is that I have to take a class over summer while all my friends are enjoying their time out and about. However, I do have a few things planned for summer that I am excited about, with my brother coming to visit and taking a nice family vacation in Hawaii. See it's not all work and no play, you can play as well!
I'm glad to be done with my first year and to have that under my belt. As far as the first year goes, some of it was definitely challenging, however, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. The worst part was having my Professional Responsibility final on Friday when everyone else was done on Tuesday after Contracts. I just wanted to be done so badly and to celebrate with everyone else but couldn't due to having to study for one more final.
One thing that I am really looking forward to in the fall is that I got into the Indian Trusts and Estates Clinc! As a 2L, this almost never happens. This particular clinic is only offered in the fall with six available seats, so the chances of getting in were pretty low, so I am extremely excited for this opportunity. I am especially excited since the trusts and estates clinic was a particular draw of why I chose to attend Seattle U.
Anyways, I should probably be learning the difference between extrinsic and non-extrinsic evidence and when you can bring it on a collateral issue (I swear evidence isn't as bad as it sounds).
So finals are among us yet again, and the tension of memorizing everything has started set in on the law school. I am one of those unfortunate 1L’s who gets to take an extra final since Professional Responsibility is a required course. Only upside is that I am one required course down and it frees up my schedule for next year. Speaking of schedule for next year, I am in the process of deciding what I want to take. I have to take Constitutional Law and Individual Income Tax for the Fall Semester, which leaves little room for anything fun like Trusts and Estates or Estate Planning.
In non-school news, I am really looking forward to summer break and exploring more of Seattle. My family will be visiting for a week in May, and I’m really looking forward to spending some quality time with them. Some of the stops we are considering are Chateau St. Michelle, Boeing Tour, and Snoqualmie Falls. I have heard the falls are beautiful, and May seems like a nice time of year to go visit.
I am pretty sure that every law school student will agree with me that March is synonymous with SPRING BREAK! It was a wonderful week off, where I actually took the week off and spent time exploring Seattle. I also enjoyed spending time with my fluff ball of a puppy. I am the epitome of a dog mom and spoil her rotten. Although I enjoyed my week off, I did have to work on my draft of my final legal writing memo. This memo was challenging because there was no real answer to the question presented, and there is a current case being heard in front of the US Supreme Court regarding the same issue.
March also brought along Barrister’s Ball, a.k.a. law school prom. It was a lot fun to kick back and let loose with your classmates. It was a great way to end the month! I am excited that there is only one month left of school, and yet scared since that means finals are upon us. I can’t believe the year is almost done. It went by so fast; however, I am so ready for summer and sunshine.
Eight weeks down and only nine more weeks to go (and one of them is spring break) until my first year of law school is complete. One of my professor’s favorite saying is “law school isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon,” and that could not ring more true as we start to shift to preparing for finals. This semester overall has been different, as I have to take five classes as opposed to the four I took last semester. Although I really enjoy my extra class, I am planning on taking another night class during the summer so I can only take four classes in the fall. Having one less class during the semester makes everything a lot more manageable and gives me more time to be involved in more pro bono efforts, as well as student organizations on campus.
Speaking of pro bono, I volunteer every Monday with United Way of King County to help prepare taxes for low income households. It has been a really enjoyable experience and I have learned a lot. I hope to pursue more opportunities in the tax community and I look forward to taking my first tax course next fall.
In non-related law school news, I have decided to get a puppy! I have grown up with golden retrievers and miss my family dog in Arizona and decided it was time to get one of my own. I get her March 8th and couldn’t be more excited. I have decided over summer to enroll her in agility courses and think it will be fun to do something completely different from law school.
The transition back into law school life is rough after spending almost a month not doing anything law school related. I enjoyed spending two weeks in Arizona; I forgot how nice it is to see the sun consistently and not to mention 70-degree weather. However, it was nice to get back to Seattle and get back into the swing of all things law school related.
This semester I am taking two new classes, property and professional responsibility. Both seem to be really interesting so far but I think my professional responsibility teacher takes the cake for worrying us law school students about the bar admission process. So far class has been filled with bar admission horror stories. Although he does this with good intentions so we know what we have to look out for on the bar admission application.
In other news, the Seahawks are going to the super bowl! I have received a lot of crap from my Arizona Cardinals friends for jumping on the Seahawks bandwagon, but it’s hard to not get swept up in all the excitement. Although I maintain that I am a Cards fan first and foremost, they did not make the playoffs and how could I not root for the Seahawks? Go Seahawks!
I survived finals and am officially done with my first semester of law school! It feels great to get my first semester under my belt. I am looking forward to winter break and having a month off from school. I am going back to sunshine and 70 degree weather for two-weeks. I have to admit I have missed Arizona's mild (or lack thereof) winters a little bit. I am also looking forward to catching up on sleep, actually a lot of sleep. I pulled a lot of long and late night study days during finals so sleeping in and watching TV seems like the perfect way to spend winter break. I also have to start applying for externships over break and really start to narrow down the sites I want to apply for. Time to work on my cover letter and resume writing skills, but before that I think celebrating is in order.
So this Sunday, December 1st, will mark six months since I moved to Seattle. I can't believe how quickly time has gone by and how much I am enjoying living in Seattle. It has rained as much as everyone told me it was going to, and we have been lucky that the past week has brought a lot of sunshine. However, it makes studying so much harder since I just want to be outside soaking up the sun while it is here. Speaking of studying, it has now started to seep into my self-consciousness and I have started to dream about negligence or some joinder rule from Civil Procedure. It seems lately that everything I do relates back to law school in some form or another. Oh well, I guess that's what law school is all about.
I elected to stay in Seattle for thanksgiving break knowing that I would need the study time to work on my legal writing memo and finish my outlines. I'm also looking forward to catching up on some much needed sleep with the four days that we have off. However, I am looking forward to spending Thanksgiving Day with friends and eating a whole bunch of turkey and mashed potatoes.
You can also tell the minute you step on campus that finals are just around the corner. Everyone is starting to become tense and there doesn't seem to be enough coffee around to keep those late night studying sessions productive. I am so glad that I only have three finals to worry about this semester rather than four; summer criminal law is just the gift that keeps on giving. I am also starting to figure out my plans for summer and I am bouncing between the idea of studying abroad at Oxford or staying in Seattle and taking evidence and a judicial externship with the court of appeals tax division. I would really enjoy doing both, so I may have to make a pro con list to see which one wins out.
So I am officially in the midst of the semester, and I can kind of start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The semester so far has been challenging, but I have learned a lot and everything seems to be coming together. The civil procedure midterm went well, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to take a test and see how the questions will be formed before heading into the final. I also completed my second legal writing memo, which turned out to be a pretty interesting topic. We wrote about hypothetical clients wishing to turn their family home into a bed and breakfast. It was interesting to see how certain codes and regulations could be interpreted differently by others in my class and how to address those issues in your memo.
I also did my first volunteer opportunity with the Foreclosure Mediation Outreach Project. Overall, it was a great turnout and I got to speak directly to clients and match them to a corresponding attorney or housing justice counselor, depending on what stage they were in within the foreclosure process. It was very inspiring to be able to help people who do not understand the foreclosure laws and to be able to help them in any way possible. I was also able to sit in on attorney/client meetings and see how one works through the clients issues.
It seems like only yesterday I was starting my first day of fall semester. Law school has been easier than I anticipated it to be, and it helps that I took criminal law over the summer. Taking criminal law over the summer may just be one of the best decisions I have ever made. Having that one less class my first semester has been a blessing in disguise and has really cut down on my stress level. Civil Procedure has easily become one of my favorite classes to attend. Professor Shapiro really knows how to engage her students and make learning fun!
Fall is upon us and I am really enjoying the greying skies as well as the leaves starting to change color. Adjusting to Seattle from Phoenix hasn't been that difficult; I have really come to love being able to walk everywhere and immersing myself in the city's culture. I have also joined a few organizations on campus to become more involved. One that I am really excited about is the Foreclosure Mediation and Outreach Project (FMOP). FMOP is a law that was recently enacted in 2011 about helping homeowners who are in the beginning stages or at the end stage of the foreclosure process. I am really excited to attend my first clinic and also start working towards the Pro bono pledge.