My name is Javier Ortiz, or Javi if you prefer. I'm originally from Southern California, where I got my permanent tan, as well as my B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside. After graduating in 2012, I explored the West Coast and fell in love with Seattle and its rain. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I first heard of the Supreme Court when I was about 11. My dreams were further cemented when I joined Amnesty International during my undergraduate years. Being a human rights activist opened my eyes to the world of social justice and the need to help undocumented labor workers and seek immigration reform. That is what led me to Seattle University as the place where I wanted to study law and further my career. I am very excited to start as a 1L here with a community that is so welcoming and helpful in every way. Outside of law school, you can find me around Seattle finding places to work on my fiction short stories, camping, or getting some good use out of my PS3.
Competitions. Three to be precise. February was a whirlwind of objections, client counseling, and analysis of facts. It may have been overwhelming, but I will say that after it was all said and done, I'd never been surer of my skills or desire to be in this profession.
The first weekend of February, I competed in the Regional Client Counseling competition being part of one of two teams that represented SU. It was a ton of work. We spent weeks in preparation and it truly paid-off. We placed third, but the placement isn't what I loved about the competition. It was the feedback (which is why I encourage anyone to do a competition) By far getting to hear practitioners comment on our handling of clients was great. In fact, the comment I will always take to heart will be one attorney who said she would incorporate some of my questionign techniques into her practice. You know how awesome that is? As a second year, that made my day.
Then, after that competition, I shifted gears to a criminal motions competition. The first thing I will say is that SU prepared me so well for this motion. The techniques I had learned in Legal Writing II came into play and it was so much easier than I could ever anticipate. I will say, that after a year and a half of legal writing (and spending countless hours refining memos and briefs) it feels great to know that not only was everything worth it, but that I'm actually getting to use the skills I'm learning in class.
Finally, towards the end of the month, I got to compete in my first ever mock trial! One word: Awesome! For two days I felt such rush and excitement. Sure, I didn't eat at all the entire first day because I was so nervous, but making it to the semi-final round the next day was well worth it. I was able to incorporate everything I'd learned from class and seeing trials and it all felt just right. Here, we also placed third and it felt fantastic. If I ever questioned whether or not I wanted to do trial work, there's no doubt now. It's on!
I will say, getting to compete was exhausting, but overall worth it. February flew by and I had a blast!
It's a new year, but law school remains the same. I have to say, now that I have started the second half of my law school career, I cna see how far I've come since my first days freaking out. Yeah, I still complain, and yeah, there are moments when I feel overwhelmed. But I know that I can do it.
This semester, I am continuing to work in my Homeless Rights Advocacy Practicum as well as my work on the American Indian Law Journal. The new things so far have been Administrative Law, Criminal Procedure: Investigative, and (my favorite) Trial Advocacy. I will say, so far, Admin Law is a little dry but the topics seem to have some potential interesting components. Crim Pro, just like last semester, reminds me why I want to go into Criminal law. Finally, though, Trial Ad has been so much fun! Getting to learn tips for trial work (which is what I want to do) has been very beneficial.
Break may have been short, but I am glad I am back into the swing of law school. I have a Regional Client Counseling Competition in February as well as some other projects coming up. This might be just as stressful as last semester, but I have to say, I'm kind of excited!
Wow, it's been one crazy law-filled year. First, I will say that only having two finals this semester has been great! The stress is a lot lower and everything is so much more manageable. Dare I say it, even a little fun! Ok, maybe not like go to an amusement park fun, but still kind of fun. A little.
Everything is wrapping up nicely as I get ready to go off onto break. A much-needed break, too, after a brutal semester. My favorite thing was definitely getting to decorate the huge Christmas tree down at the court level.
With these weeks winding down, I am glad that I have my friends here to help me out. Studying with them has made the hours go by. I can say that I am excited for the break and this time around I will definitely try my hardest to enjoy it!
It's that time of the year when you can feel that finals are approaching. You'd think that after having done this four times already, the anxiety would be gone. Nope. I will say that the one thing that has changed going into finals as a 2L is that I am way more confident in my abilities. I've also learned that life is more than just an exam and that has helped so much going into December.
This past month has really been filled with finalizing my brief in Legal Writing II and advancing my work in the Homeless Rights Advocacy Practicum. These two classes this semester have been so exciting. I will say the challenge in legal writing has been understanding appellate level arguments to write. Most of the work we've done has been trial level issues, so it has been different. I do love that it has provided me with insight on how the court system works. I'm also excited that the end of legal writing is oral arguments. This is probably where I shine. I think the greatest thing to remember is that you're just having a conversation with the court. Being able to relax and know that you are comfortable with your arguments is the best thing to do. Also, having rebuttal. Who doesn't like that?
Finally, the work in the practicum has really started to blossom. I love that Seattle U has given me an opportunity to give back to our community. Not onlt that, it has opened by eyes to the world of advocacy and the many layers that make it so effective. Being an advocate for homeless people has provided me with skills that I have begun to incorporate into my other work. It really has made coming to Seattle U a decision I love more and more every day.
The semester is going by pretty quickly. As my classes pick up steam, it seems that I have definitely retained a lot more than I previously thought. I will say, while the workload seems heavier your 2L year, you (at least myself) have gained so many new skills that it is way more manageable that you would think.
Most of my time is spent working on my article for the American Indian law Journal as well as my draft for the Homeless Rights Advocacy Practicum that I am a part of. These two projects, while taking up a lot of my time, are really pushing me forward. I am writing about things that I have a passion for and it really helps to know that I could someday be making a difference. Being an advocate is something that I have always wanted to do and I am glad that I get an opportunity to do it.
Now that our Motion to Suppress has been heard by the judge in Legal Writing II (the defendant lost, womp womp) we are moving on to the appellate brief. I have to say, this is beyond what I expected, but it a great way! The writing is different and it has just cemented that this is something that I want to do.
I am having a lot of fun and making new bonds with people and it's just the best thing in the world. I CANNOT wait for Halloween though. Until next time!
The 2L year is now in full swing. Right off the bat we have OCI's. On-campus interviews are interesting. Firms and other legal organizations come to the law school and you get to interview with them (that's it in a nutshell). The good thing: You get to master interviewing skills and get a job. The bad thing: You have to dress up. I aspire to like to be in a suit for more than an hour before I enter the profession.
My classes are interesting. This semester, I have Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Legal Writing II, and am a part of a Homeless Rights Advocacy Practicum. Most of them are exciting. I will, I'm glad that I didn't have Con Law during my 1st year. How anyone thinks a 1L can handle the nuisances between the Realists and the Formalists is beyond me. Legal Writing this semester is just exciting in all manners. We're taking on a criminal case (obviously a hypo, but based on a real case) and getting to do oral arguments. This is what I've been waiting for! Each time I practice for the arguments I get more stoked to be a trial attorney. It's just something that I like to do.
Outside of classes, I also am working as a staff member on the American Indian Law Journal. It's an honor to be on the journal and it's really opened me up to an area of law that I had never contemplated. More updates will follow as I begin to write my own article. Hopefully in time for Spring publication.
Beyond school, I'm making time to hang with my friends. That's what I will say is much harder than anything that has happened in law school. Now that everyone is on different schedules, it means a lot when we can sit down and have lunch or spend time on Urban Dictionary looking at what are names mean (seriously, you should try it).
Overall, I'm liking how the 2L year has unfolded and I can't wait to share what else happens!
Freedom! Sun's out, guns out! Summer break is finally here!
The last month has been spent studying for my Evidence final. I will say that this one class I would take over and over again. I have never had a law school class be this fun and engaging (actually, I never thought a law school class could ever be either of those things). Fourth of July I decided to surprise my parents and visit them. It was fun to get out of the city and the law school mentality, even if it was only for a few days.
I will say that after basically spending 12 months doing law school, I'm exhausted, I am ready for the summer and after this final, I am going to heavily partake in the benefits of having an apartment with a roof top view of the Puget Sound and Mt. Rainer.
The final went by pretty smoothly. It was fun going out afterwards with everyone and sitting back and just breathing. Like really breathing, where for one second everything is carefree and it is. We have all worked so hard, and it's good to see it pay off. I got a law journal offer and my research this summer is going into the next stage so there is so much to look forward to there!
Looking at everything, I will say I made the right choice. Spending the summer in Seattle working, going to school, and doing research have opened so many doors for me. I've bonded with people that I didn't think I would have and at this point in my life, I can see myself making it through the next two years (although seeing the kids study for the bar kind of makes me want to prolong graduating, can I do that?).
I am so stoked for this summer break! Video games! Movies! So, so much. And, to be honest, I am ready for On Campus Interviews. 1L year was a blast and now I'm ready to go full steam ahead!
Summer is finally here! Oh, this past year was brutal (to some extent), but it's finally over. I will say that at the end of my last final the only thought I had was "that was it?". Although this first year was rough, and there were moments when I was just like, "well, time to go back to Cali," or "Nope, just can't," it was all worth it. Sitting with my friends as we basked in the glow of finishing our first year, I hardly remembered most of those feelings. Enjoying our lunch, the only thing I could think about was how I had made it through the wringer and found an awesome group of people to go through this journey with. The things that I remembered the most were full of laughs and learning new and exciting things that got me stoked to enter into practice! So, if someone asked me to do the first year all over again, I would definitely say yes!
However, first year is the last thing on my mind, it's summer and it couldn't be better. Most of my friends are off this summer doing internships in DC or partaking in the Alaska program. I stuck around here because of my research assistant job as well as taking Evidence over the summer. Yeah, I know, I complain about school, but it's all I know.
The first few days post-1L year consisted of catching up with life and enjoying the sunshine. Having pool parties and just lounging on my rooftop deck just made life worth it all. I also got my tan back, thank goodness!
I will say that after a few days out, I was getting learning withdrawals. Even though I was kind of burnt out from the last final, a part of me really wanted to get back into learning. So, I opened my Evidence book and I will say, that I am excited for the first few weeks. This is a topic that I've wanted to learn for a long time and it's actually made learning in law school...fun! I know, I can't believe it either.
The one remnant of 1L year was the write-on competition and although it was a pain to get through, finishing it and thinking about being part of one of the school journals is completely worth it.
My research is going great and summer school so far has been pretty manageable. I do miss the carefree summer that I got for a few weeks, but being back on my grind is pushing me forward. I can't wait for July. I have some awesome things planned and there's the end of summer school to look forward to. Although, CPD just emailed us about OCI, so, maybe it won't be that great. Well, until next time.
The sun is peaking out through the clouds and it is getting so difficult to want to stay in doors. Gearing up for the last few weeks of my first year is actually pumping me up. I am ready to be done with this year and it’s gone by so quickly.
Most of this month has been doing outlines and wrapping up loose strings in SBA (as we transition into a new administration) and working as Co-President of WABLS (the Wine and Beverage Law Society). It feels fantastic that I get to do some more hands on work with the extracurricular opportunities here at SU. Post DR competition win has actually opened up so many doors and the skills and critiques that I took away from that experience have helped me so much.
The sun is so tempting and being able to do BBQs has been so much fun. I can’t wait for the summer when I can do it all the time. Can’t wait for this year to be over!
It’s March and finally, Spring break is rapidly approaching! I have to say that I have looked forward to this week to relax.
Spring break was fun, I got to catch up with people back home and even those people here that I have neglected because of the increase in my memo work and just workload overall. Got to end the week with an awesome BBQ and I had no shame pigging out (gotta start building that warm coat for the upcoming winter).
The coolest thing about this month is that I’m finally working on my project with the King County Coalition Against Domestic Violence. I’m working as a legal research assistant and it’s amazing to be able to work on a project that can have a major impact on people’s lives. Of course, this adds to my workload, but I have to say, I have the best friends who are so supportive and understanding (especially when I snap at the tiniest thing that they did).
Final days of the month were epic, I entered into the 1L Dispute Resolution Competition and my partner and I won! We had a client counseling portion and then went against another team for negotiations. As someone who wants to be a litigator, it was great to be able to have exposure to ADR skills and settings. Maybe I might want to change my track path after this.
Also, as if law school weren’t like high school enough, we had Barrister’s Ball, a.k.a. Law Prom. It was fun to get dressed up and just dance the night away. A perfect end to a stressful month. I’m excited that April is coming up and soon summer will be upon us. This year is really winding down quickly and I can’t believe how much I have done. Until next time, I guess.
It’s February and I’m starting to slowly adjust to the funky weather. Most days it’s cloudy and rainy, but every so often we get a tease of sun. I miss the sun. I guess I underestimated people telling me that I was going to miss the sunny weather of California. But, besides the weather, school is finally setting in.
I thought juggling five classes was going to be a nightmare, but after a few weeks it’s a lot more manageable than I thought. Property, the one class that I was dreading the most just because of the subject matter, seems to be the most enjoyable. Professor Bender is an interesting character and his passion for Property makes the class not only bearable, but enjoyable. Getting to work in “law firms” to answer questions and tackling cases makes for an interesting combination.
February also seems to be the month of interviews. I think this is one thing I’m glad that I’ve prepared for. Having my resume and cover letters done before the start of Spring Semester was a smart decision. However, you can feel it in the air. There’s a sort of tension and excitement about finding a job/internship/externship for the summer. Pro-tip, CPD holds mock interviews. Take advantage of it.
It hasn’t been a bad month, especially since my friends and I seem to find any which way to hang out and be goofballs (see fun isn’t forbidden in law school!). Some of my friends started a Golf club on campus and I have to say from what’s been going on, it looks super promising and I can’t wait to take some time off from studying and go play!
So, hopefully March ends up being a better month…after all….PROM!!! (Should make for an interesting tale)
New Year! New Semester!
After a much needed break, I’m back to kick some law school butt. The semester is starting out well. It is a change though. Since I did the summer start option, I now have five classes, instead of the four that I was privileged with the previous semester. It’s not as hard a transition as I thought it was going to be, however, I do find myself having to change my time schedule to fit in some of the work I have to do.
New semester means new classes and fun projects!
I do miss Civ Pro, but now we’re getting into Property. It’s an interesting course so far and the participant method—professor treating us like law firms—is making for an interesting mix of conversation. Legal Writing has finally gotten interesting. Although the memos we did last semester touched on legal concepts that I thought could be pursued, this semester, we’ve been introduced to our Client Project. An actual client that needs our help makes it feel like my legal education is getting put to good use. Sure the concept and legal issue we have is daunting, but getting to do interviews and intensive legislative research screams like a good time. Plus, we might get to draft some legislation!
Beside actual school stuff, the rest of life is doing great! I’m making new friends now that some of the other sections are opening up to more and more inter-section activity. Seattle is less rainy, still cloud and gloomy, but finally at the end of the month, we’re getting some sun (oh, I may have seen Sun in CA, but sun here as you walk down to Pike Place can’t be beat).
So, I survived my first semester, and honestly, I am pumped to see what the next few months brings!
The last month of fall semester. Wow, time seriously flew by. Both in a good way and bad way. The good: hey, law school didn’t feel like it took forever to get through. The bad: Hey there finals, nice to meet you. My name’s Javi, how are you?
Studying for finals has begun to turn into a workout, but surprisingly, I kind of like it. I am so glad that our professors have prepared us for their exams by giving us tips and in-class help. It really makes prepping for these finals a heck of a lot easier. Also, the help that ARC (Academic Resource Center) has provided doesn’t make the upcoming task so daunting.
The last few weeks are kind of a bummer, sure we have finals, but as the semester comes to a close, I’m really going to miss all the new friends I’ve made here. Sure, we have phones and computers , but it’s not the same as seeing each other day in and day out. Granted, some time apart will probably do us well, you know, before we get sick of each other.
I have to say, so far, my first semester as a law student wasn’t too bad. Sure, there were those tough days where I asked myself why I even bothered going to law school, but I’m glad I’ve stuck it out. It’s really something I’ve wanted to do and I’m glad I have a full community behind me to support me. Now, as I get ready to do my last final exam the thing that keeps me going is that I get to return to warm and sunny California. Seriously, love you Seattle, but I’m starting to lose my permanent tan. Can’t wait to see what second semester brings.
Brr, it's cold in here and it ain't no clovers. Winter (well, technically it's still fall, but my Cali butt knows no difference) is settling in. Classes are finally starting to wind down and people are beginning to find their little nooks to begin preparing for...wait for it...finals! Yeah, they're right around the corner now and things are getting serious.
Most of my professors are preparing us well. In class hypos and practice mid-terms are helping to ease the studying for the exams and are reinforcing (or at least affirming that I learned it at some point) the concepts that we've covered these past 14 weeks. My favorite class is still Civ Pro because it just seems to click and it helps that Prof. Coleman is the nicest and most helpful professor I've ever met.
SBA and the Admission office work are a nice and much needed distraction from school (yes, it totally makes sense that I forget about law school while providing applicants with information about law school). The people that I've met and the connections that I am starting to build are really exciting. I have met some people that have done the 1L summer program with the Prosecuting office I want to work with and have been giving me some pointers on the application process and really what the job is like. SU is really showing itself to be the best choice that I could make.
So, as December begins to creep up and finals approach, I'm glad that I have made the most amazing friends (we call ourselves the couch crew) that make this whole law school experience worth it. So, that's it for now, can't wait to fill you guys in after finals!
Seattle is cold! Well, the weather is anyway. Everyone in my section is warming up and the professors seem to be getting into their groove with the material they're teaching. I have to say, so far, they're not as scary as law school movies make professors out to be. I feel weird when I say it, but I kind of like law school, despite the fact that all my days seem to be blending into each other (seriously, it always feels like Monday).The readings are interesting. Personal jurisdiction in Civil Procedure was a beast. I'm glad we moved on from that and are now digging our way through the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; I like rules. I have to say, briefing and reading cases is getting a little harder, but it's still manageable. I spend most of my nights cuddling my Contracts book, but that's normal, right?
The social and community flow at SU is going swell. I won the Section Rep election and it's great working with SBA. I've met a ton of upperclassmen and it's great having people to talk to who have come out of the 1L year and stayed sane. I've even made a ton of friends in my section and some from the others as well, as October begins to wind down though, the preparation for finals grows ever so near.
September is finally coming to an end and so is my first month of fall semester. It was nice having a break after the summer Criminal law class. Coming back to familiar faces, rejuvenated and pumped to start our 1L classes was a great feeling. I have to say, it's been an interesting experience so far. My professors are amazing. I lucked out on that. Professor Coleman for Civil Procedure has to be my favorite professor. She makes the topic so clear and manageable that class time seems to work as a de-stresser. My other classes are starting to make sense as well, except maybe Contracts (but hey, I'm interested in Criminal Law, it's cool). It seems like only yesterday I was enjoying the hot and sunny weather of California. I miss it, but I have to say, Seattle has won my heart. Even the cold temperature that's starting to creep in feels like a warm embrace.
Now that the semester is actually picking up speed, the events and organizations are starting to look amazing. The Student Bar Association (SBA) Section Representative elections are at the end of the month, and I'm pretty stoked to be a part of it. Deciding to run has helped me interact and befriend almost everyone in my section. I have to say, compared to the other sections, mine's the best! We even had our first pub crawl experience and it was so liberating to have a night where we stopped being law students and we were just a group of people hanging out and enjoying our lives.
This reminds me, I need to start remembering to balance my social-life/hobbies and law school. I haven't had time to sit down and write stories, which sucks. I've found some great little hidden gems around the city to sit and write and I haven't gotten to enjoy them. Definitely going to have to carve time in October to flesh something out.
Overall, this first month has been great. With all the volunteer experiences coming up from the Access to Justice Institute and organization events, I can't wait to really immerse myself into the SU community. Life's manageable, there are some tough days, but I have to say, with October just around the corner, I'm ready to continue my 1L life.