I was born in Russia and moved to Bismarck, North Dakota at the age of six. After spending a large part of my childhood there, I moved to the Seattle suburbs and attended high school in Redmond. I pursued my undergraduate degree in Economics and International Relations at Boston University. During my time in Boston, I took advantage of every opportunity to travel along the east coast as well as abroad. I spent a semester of my junior year living in Madrid, Spain working at a non-profit and exploring the region. These experiences helped develop my interest in international law, which I hope to incorporate into my legal career. I moved back to Seattle after graduation and came straight into law school. During my free time, I enjoy running, reading, and finding new restaurants to try around the city.
Finishing my last round of law school exams was one of the most exciting things that has happened to me. Ever.
This semester, I am doing a full-time externship at the district court with Judge Zilly. I am at the courthouse about 40 hours a week, and then on six or seven Mondays, I have to attend a one-hour externship seminar at school. This pretty much means that I am done with work by 5 pm everyday and weekends are finally mine! It is incredible.
As for the externship itself, it has been quite an experience so far. My average day consists of reading briefs, drafting memos, and doing a bit of research. We (the other extern and I) usually try to get to some kind of hearing or trial at least once every day or two. Getting to be in court so much is very exciting and incredibly educational. Seeing the way everything works in practice (versus in casebooks) is definitely eye opening.
It seems like the semester is already flying by – graduation is just over three months away!!
So, I've spent the last tow months counting down to the end of the semester. The time has finally come! It's much less romantic and exciting than I had imagined... turns out I still have to outline and take exams and stuff. This devastating reality has only recently set in. The silver lining, of course, is that this will be my last round of exams. Let me tell you, that is a some serious silver lining.
There was one BRIEF moment this past month during which I was a little sad about the fact that I will not be taking classes next semester. Professor Siegel, who I had for Constitutional Law, recently co-authored a book on the Supreme Court, so the law school hosted a panel discussion with him and three other former Supreme Court clerks (Professor Siegel clerked for Justice Stevens). It was really interesting hearing about their different experiences with the Court and the various Justices. Professor Siegel is teaching a Supreme Court seminar (using this new book) next semester that I would have loved to take, so I was a little sad to skip registration.
Then, I got back to outlining, and all of my sadness instantly dissipated and I remembered how awesome it is going to be to not have to take finals next semester.
Because September was an overwhelmingly fantastic month, October does not even come close. In September, I accepted post-grad job offer from the firm where I worked this summer, and, as I mentioned earlier, I accepted a judicial externship. Now, those two things are all I think about; I just feel so ready to be done with classes! So, I have a feeling this is going to be a semester of rather whiny journal entries.
I am only taking 12 credits this semester, because I am also taking my three Law Review credits, but it still feels just as busy as ever. I have been working on some research with a professor, too, so that is adding to the busyness of the semester. We are researching various religious discrimination issues that have arisen with the passing of the Affordable Care, which includes a contraceptive mandate. This has actually been incredibly interesting, and I am really looking forward to working on this project throughout the year.
3L year!!! The countdown to the end has officially begun. I mean, let's be real, it began 1L year. But now it's actually coming up! The summer came and went very quickly. I spent my summer as a summer associate at a mid-size firm downtown. I had an incredible experience and got to know, and work with, some amazing attorneys. I worked with several of the different practice groups to try to get a better understanding of what kind of law I want to practice. I particularly enjoyed the employment law projects, but I was also surprised to learn that I enjoy bankruptcy work as well. After such an awesome summer, it's particularly hard to be back at school. I just found out that this is going to be my last semester of classes though, and I am very excited. Next semester, I will be doing a full-time externship at the federal district court. I will be earning 15 credits for working full-time with a federal judge. So, my last semester of law school is set to be stress-free and wonderful!
Here's the thing that really kills me about spring semester: the sun. Don't get me wrong, this is Seattle, so sunny days are still pretty rare, seeing as it's not mid-August. However, even a little bit of sun is enough to keep me fully distracted from any and all studying for hours at a time.
The good news is that my Law Review article is finally turned in, so I can cross that off my mile-long "to do" list.Also, I had my final oral argument for my Pretrial Advocacy class last week, so I am all done with that class, too! We spent the semester taking a case through all of the pretrial procedures. As the final, we wrote a motion to suppress evidence and then argued the motion in court. The oral argument was actually pretty fun because we argued in front of a judge at the King County Superior Court. The judge was really nice and gave helpful feedback; I was really surprised at how casual the hearing was.
Three finals to go and I will be all done my 2L year. Summer cannot come soon enough!
Spring came and went rather quickly with painfully low levels of productivity. Looks like my spring break to do list is now just a normal to do list.
April is our last full month of classes (woo!!), and it will likely be a busy one. The final draft of my Law Review article is due the second week; so, finishing that will probably take up most of my time until then. Also, I am taking the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Exam (the MPRE) on April 6th. The MPRE is the ethics part of the bar exam; with the new bar exam, you can take the MPRE ahead of time (usually right after taking PR) to get it out of the way. It's only a 2-hour exam, so hopefully it won't be too bad. As of next week though, I am going to have a little more "free time" to work on my article and study because March marks my last month at drugstore.com. I am actually pretty sad to be leaving, but I need the time and I definitely feel good about taking a break before starting at a firm this summer.
After a little bit of a hiatus, I am back to blogging. It actually seems pretty appropriate that my last entry was in August -- everything from then on (through finals) was a huge blur.
It was hard to come back from winter break, but it did help knowing that I am now officially past the halfway point. The second half has got to be easier than the first!
The semester has gotten off to a pretty busy start, especially with the start of the Tausend Competition. The Tausend Competition is an Appellate Oral Argument Competition open to students who just finished Legal Writing II. The first round of the competition is two parts: first you present the same argument you did for LWII; then, you have to present the other side's case. The school brings in judges and attorneys from the community to sit as competition judges, and they basically grill you with questions as you try to trudge through your 15-minute argument. The lead-up is pretty nerve-racking, but as soon as you get up there and get going, it is pretty fun. I've only done the first half though; I have a feeling next week will be more of a challenge, considering I have spent the last 6 months preparing the case as the defense and will now have to switch my allegiances and argue as the state. We will just have to see how it goes!
Coming back from summer has been an interesting (read: overwhelming) experience.
This semester I am taking Legal Writing II, Constitutional Law, Professional Responsibility, and Employment Discrimination. Classes have been busy, but still manageable. We already have our first practice oral arguments for Legal Writing II though. Also, I was pleasantly surprised to find Con Law actually very interesting. I am also a member of the Seattle University Law Review, which is a bit of a time commitment on its own. Throughout the year you are not only researching and writing your own article on a legal topic (one that has not been written about before), but you are also proofreading and editing the other articles that are being published.
I spent my summer interning with the in house counsel at drugstore.com, Inc. in Bellevue and absolutely loved it. The internship was very hands on and gave me the opportunity to work with and learn from some really awesome attorneys. In fact, I loved it so much that I decided to stay on part-time for the year. I know it's going to be yet another time commitment, but I am actually really excited about the opportunity to get to leave campus for a bit and be a part of the "outside world," at least for 15 hours a week.
It is really difficult to write a coherent entry right now since all I can think is: finals finals finals finals. I'll do what I can though.
April has gone by really quickly, without any particularly exciting events. I did, however, survive a pretty traumatic experience last weekend. I spent the weekend in LA for my cousin's wedding and on my way back, my computer crashed. I have had nightmares about things like this happening but never experienced it firsthand. What made it worse was that finals, at that point, were only 2 ½ weeks away and all of my notes, outlines, and memo work were saved on that computer. Needless to say, I had a little bit of a breakdown. I will admit now that it was probably a little irrational, seeing as I was able to recover almost everything, namely my outlines. I lost my memo stuff but I was able to rewrite most of it pretty quickly. Crisis averted.
At this point, I am just really looking forward to summer, which will provide a much needed break from school. I will be interning full-time but the idea of having free evenings and weekends is almost too much for me to think about right now.
Coming back from Spring Break has been a bit of an adjustment. I spent my break back on the east coast, visiting friends in Boston and New York. It was a blast but unfortunately (not really) I was traveling that entire week so I can honestly say I did not do any school work (I kept pretending like I was going to though, so I just brought my Property book everywhere).
Unfortunately, things have gotten really busy, despite the fact that I am unwilling to come to terms with the fact that finals are a mere five weeks away. The final draft of our third memo is due this weekend, and we start memo 4 immediately after. Plus my study group and I have started outlining so that takes up a few hours each week as well. It's ok though, because I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. Summer is so close.
This weekend most of us are putting aside our outlines, memos, etc. to go to the Barrister's Ball (aka Law School Prom). The SBA is hosting the dance downtown at a conference center overlooking the water. It will definitely be a fun way to get dressed up and get away from the books for a night.
My second semester of law school is flying by. It's hard to believe that finals season is just around the corner! Honestly, it doesn't feel like we have had quite enough time to recover from our first semester exams.
I must say though that second semester has gone much smoother than first. The panic and anxiety that constantly filled the air last semester has long since dissipated and everyone seems more stable overall. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of reading, briefing, writing, etc., it is just much less daunting this time around. I have two new classes this semester, Property and Intro to Law and Technology, both of which I am really enjoying. Intro to Law & Tech is an elective class that gives first years a preview of Intellectual Property law, without going into too many specifics/technicalities. This is the first time SU has given 1Ls the option of taking an elective class; some of the choices were International Law, American Legal History, Business Law.
For the past couple weeks, I've spent most of my time prepping for the 1L Mock Trial competition. The competition gave 1Ls a chance to get some trial advocacy experience while acknowledging the fact that we have not yet taken Evidence... and the fact that we have almost no legal experience, at all. We were told to choose partners and then given the case information and instructed to pick the side that we wanted to represent. It was an administrative law case in which a teacher was suing the school board for unjust termination. My partner and I represented the teacher. We did not have to do any additional research because the case was set up so that we could only use the laws and rules of evidence that were provided for us. Instead, we spent hours constructing our arguments and prepping out witnesses; it was definitely a time commitment! The experience was great though. Getting to stand up in front of a court for the first time is pretty exciting (...even if the court is actually composed of 3L judges). I would definitely recommend participating in the competition to next year's class!
Aside from preparing for Mock Trial and adjusting to a couple new classes, I have been spending my time looking for summer employment. It's a tough market, especially for a 1L, so the search continues! I have had a couple interviews so far and am hoping to line up a few more, so there is still hope! The Center for Professional Development (better known around here as CPD) has been super helpful in the process; I would definitely be lost without them.
In the meantime, I'm looking forward to Spring Break (in less than a week!) so I can get a little break before fully diving into finals prep!