Hello! My name is Matthew Chin. I'm originally from Hingham, Massachusetts, a small coastal town just south of Boston, but moved out to Seattle to pursue my dream of working in sports law. I graduated in 2011 from Hobart and William Smith Colleges (NY) with a double major in Political Science and Public Policy, and then spent two years working in investment banking in downtown Boston. Moving to Seattle was the boldest thing that I have ever done in my life. Law school in its own is a major adjustment, but studying in a city where I didn't initially know anyone has been especially eye-opening. While it has certainly taken me out of my comfort zone, I have loved every part of my time in the Pacific Northwest. When I'm not studying, you can find me exploring the streets of Seattle, finding any excuse to try out one of the many ethnic restaurants, or looking for the best pickup basketball game at the SU Fitness Center.
November flew by, and finals are just around the corner. I'm not going to lie, I spent most of November studying, so there wasn't a lot of exciting stuff going on. The Halloween to Thanksgiving stretch means trying to maximize time to start outlining and preparing for finals, while still blocking out enough time to complete the regular readings for class. This leads to a lot more late nights at school and less free time on the weekends. I've found that this is the time when law students become more stressed. The way I look at it is that law school material is already overwhelming enough, so unnecessary stress just makes it worse. I know that I will still be standing tall in late December after finals are over. I try to remember that I did sign up for this, and the required level of dedication is nothing that I did not expect. I'm only in law school once, so I am trying to make the most out of this very unique period of my life.
During November, I also registered for classes for next semester. My dedicated section mates and I are looking forward to our 4th consecutive semester with Professor Siegel, as he is teaching Con Law II in the spring. He is our favorite professor, so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to take another bar tested course with him. I am signed up for Evidence (a required course) with Professor Roberts, who I had for Criminal Law during the fall of my 1L year. I decided to postpone Legal Writing II (a required 2nd year course) until the spring for Sunday football reasons, and based on what I've heard form others, it should be a decent amount of work throughout the semester. Seeing as how I haven't had one gradfed assignment yet this fall, I will have to adjust accordingly. Last, I am taking UCC Secured Transactions, which would have sounded like a foreign language topic to me in August of 2013. I've heard fantastic things about Professor Dick, and taking the class knocks out another bar tested course from my list. For all you future law students - if you're ever undecided about what to take, bar tested courses will always benefit you in the long run.
I was able to make it home to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving. It was great to see friends and family, play a little flag football, and eat a lot of delicious food. However, Thanksgiving break is always a little bittersweet because finals are looming. I'm looking forward to a great deal of Netflix binge-watching and some much needed 10-hours nights of sleep over winter break!
October has flown by. This has actually been the weirdest semester of my academic career because I will have no graded assignments until finals (thanks to my decision to prolong my legal writing II requirement). I've never been under this type of pressure, so my college procrastination skills have been thrown out the door. Forcing yourself to buckle down when the test isn't for another two months is difficult, but necessary. I've also noticed that as a 2L, many of our electives are in the afternoon and at night, so most of us have been starting our days a little later, and ending a little later.
The biggest change in my classwork this month has come in drafting lab for trusts and estates. It's just a one credit pass/fail course, but we have just moved into smaller groups, and are being taught by an attorney who primarily does trusts and estates work. The class has given me a very practical outlook into what day-to-day life is like working in estate planning. Because I am also taking trusts & estates as an elective, the class pairing has really helped me develop my understanding of the subject matter.
Outside of studying, October has been about enjoying the fall weather and watching a lot of football. A few weekends ago, a bunch of us made a trip up to Woodinville to go to a corn maze and explore the Red Hook Brewery. While many natives have been to the brewery in Woodinville, I may be the only law student who has been to the other Red Hook Brewery in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Intramural flag football has re-started and we have improved dramatically since last year. So far we're 1-1, but the game against the 3Ls in a few weeks is the only one that I care about.
November is outlining month, as the final push towards finals tends to come up quickly after Halloween. I will be kicking it up a notch before heading back to home to celebrate Thanksgiving in the state that created it.
Happy Fall! Fall happens to be my favorite season. From football to pumpkin beers to foliage (it's the New England in me), I love the brisk weather and everything it has to offer. It also means that the semester is up to full speed, and I've fallen back into my schedule of six days of law school focus, and one day of football. My Sundays would be much more peaceful and resting if the Patriots weren't playing so poorly.
It seems like just yesterday that I moved here as a young impressionable pre 1L, and now I've moved up the totem pole to 2L year. The biggest difference about the second year is the expectation level. As a 1L, I was able to seek shelter within my section study group, and Professors understood that you were only a 1L. Even though choosing my own schedule has been rewarding, professors expect non-1Ls to be on top of their game. The added pressure of OCIs, new networking opportunities, and furthering the development of law school clubs and organizations makes 2L even more time consuming. That being said, there is something refreshing about no longer being a rookie.
In terms of classes, I like the content much more this year. Outside of Constitutional law, most of my electives center the class discussion around modern law, which is a nice break from the historic and principle-based 1L classes. As I mentioned last month, I'm taking Constitutional Law, Family Law, Trusts & Estates, and Individual Income Tax. While I did think there would be some similarities in the principles taught within the four classes, there is even more than I originally anticipated! Being able to see how different areas of law weave together has been a constant theme of my 2nd year so far.
In non-academic news, my friends from home visited for a weekend, and it was great to show them around the city. We were able to catch a sold out game at Safeco amidst a Mariners playoff run. I think they enjoyed hanging out in all of the various neighborhoods that Seattle has to offer. Seattle definitely offers better coffee, and different types of food (especially seafood) that we can't get in Massachusetts. October is my favorite month, so hopefully I will get to enjoy it. I'm planning on going to a corn maze with some law school friends, and flag football intramurals starts in two weeks!
I know it's been a while, but I promise I didn't forget about my admissions journal. Summer is coming to an end and 2L is right here.
The majority of my summer was spent at Russell Investments, located in the heart of Seattle's Financial District. The majority of my responsibilities involved analyzing federal investment regulations, and assessing how they influence international corporate holdings for Russell's clients. Working within an In House Counsel provided me with invaluable experience that isn't commonplace within most legal internships. With typical law firms, clients come through the door with legal problems, and attorneys must address the problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. With in-house work, our job is to make sure that our clients never have any legal problems. With regulatory bodies like the SEC and the European Commission becoming increasingly stricter on banks and investment firms, it was our responsibility to foresee potential compliance issues for Russell clients. Effective research skills paired with interpretation of the preciseness of regulatory language were concepts we learned early on in 1L Legal Writing and Research, and those skills proved to be integral in my value to Russell. So while SU's Legal Writing program may seem intimidating and overly stressful, its ability to train 1Ls for practical legal analysis is unmatched nationwide.
Enough of my internship; let's get on with some more fun updates. Have you ever had a friend overhype a movie to you, and then your expectations were too high to appreciate the movie once you watched it? It is impossible to overhype summertime in Seattle. It is absolutely perfect here during the summer, and having no classes allowed me to enjoy my free time as much as possible. Between hiking, hanging around (and inside) of Lake Washington and Lake Union, setting a personal record of 24 baseball games attended, and soaking up as many happy hours as possible, I haven't enjoyed a summer like this in quite some time. I hate to see it come to an end, but I suppose the beautiful weather would distract me during the school year.
The best thing about 2L is being able to choose your own class schedule. Outside of required Constitutional Law, I am taking Trusts & Estates, Family Law, and Individual Income Tax. One misconception about law school is that you should have a "concentration" or an "area of focus". While there are some advantages to knowing which pre-requisites are needed for certain classes, clinics, and internships, there is no such thing as a so-called "law school major". The JD is arguably the most versatile graduate degree, which allows us to explore as many areas of the law as we would like.
IT’S ALMOST SUMMER (school wise, not weather wise). The mentality around Sullivan Hall is just to get through finals so we can all go off to our summer jobs and get our weekends back. Right…I was supposed to update you all on my summer plans. I accepted a summer position at Russell Investments in Seattle. For Russell is a subsidiary of Northwestern Mutual, and they mostly deal with corporate and personal investment strategies. Russell was my top choice, and I’m grateful to be working alongside some fantastic attorneys. Basically my job will be to make sure our clients are complying with the constantly changing investment regulatories that are set by the Federal Government. However, the most important part is that Russell’s office is incredibly close to Safeco Field, and tickets are so cheap! I’ve already gone to two games this season, but I plan on going to many more.
I can’t believe 1L is almost over. Having gone through it once, most 1Ls feel much more comfortable about heading into the finals period. That being said, there is still plenty of work to be done, and the next couple weeks will be busy. My study group (What up Section C?) has lined up our game plan, and if we can attack the books in the same way that we did last semester, I think that we will be more than ready. It’s crazy to think that with business school coming in the fall, this is the last semester that I will ever take a full load of law school courses. This year has passed by so quickly, and I can’t believe how much has happened to me since moving to Seattle. I’m certainly going to miss 1L, but 2L will present new and exciting challenges.
My mom and two of my aunts visited a few weeks ago. It was the first time that I’ve had family visit, and I wanted to make sure we hit all of the tourist spots. That weekend was full of fancy dinners, wine touring, hiking, and walking around Seattle. I think they really enjoyed the warmer weather here, and loved everything that the city has to offer. Missing my first Boston Marathon in almost twenty years reminded me that I do miss home a lot, but my newfound West Coast independence is not getting old.
Greetings and Happy Spring!
The post-spring break stretch toward the end of the semester is here, and I have that “finals is sooner than you think” feeling. Having gone through finals once before, I know my studying habits like the back of my hand, and that makes the process a little less stressful. The key to this part of the semester is to ideally spend more time outlining/doing hypos, and less time reading cases. By now, I know the material, and it’s about connecting the concepts. By now, professors are moving at a rapid pace, and no one wants to fall behind!
In non-class news, I finally lined up my summer plans…well, sort of. I am grateful to have a few externship options, and I am in the decision period now. I’ll be sure to update you guys once I choose a final destination, but the most important part is that I will be here in Seattle for the summer! Classmates have been hyping up July and August, and I am really excited to experience my first full summer here. Because I won’t have grades to worry about (phew), I’m planning on playing a lot of basketball, hiking up in the mountains, and hitting up as many happy hours as possible. I know that it’s a few months and four big finals away, but I can still be giddy in anticipation, right?
Spring break was a mix of studying and play for yours truly, as it should be. Professors stress the importance of doing work over break, but also tell students to take the opportunity to unwind and relax. I spent the first few days living in room 306 of the library (You’ll quickly learn that it’s the best study room) and writing my collaborative memo. While it was the toughest memo yet, I can proudly say that I’m now a mini-expert on how implicit racial bias influences jury selection. Hopefully my grade will reflect my newfound expertise! I spent the second half of break in Lake Tahoe with my closest friends dating back to 1st grade. Spring skiing paired with a stunning 10,000-foot view was a fantastic formula to temporarily put school in the back of my mind. Watching March Madness didn’t help though. Come on Duke, why did you have to ruin my chances of becoming a billionaire law school student? It was great to spend time with my buddies from home, and they’re planning a Seattle excursion in August. I’m pretty excited to introduce them to my new home and show them everything that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
If first semester is any indication, February and March are the calm before the storm. I’m back into full force, and now that I’ve gotten my feet wet with property law, I can feel the transition toward finals studying. Having gone through the gauntlet once, I know that this period of the semester is about staying on top of the material, and understanding every aspect of it before the Professor moves to a new topic. This is also the time of the year where 1Ls are trying to line up their summer plans. For me, the plan is to extern part-time and to take a slew of classes at night. Over the past week or two, I’ve applied to a bunch of externships in the Seattle area- hopefully I will have some new developments by my next journal entry.
In legal writing news, the collaborative memo that we are currently working on is my favorite so far. It requires us to work with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on a real legal issue that the Washington courts are present facing. Our topic is implicit racial bias in jury selection, and whether the current procedure to eliminate such partiality is working or not. A little context- litigating attorneys are allowed to dismiss jurors without a reason, but previous case law has concluded that it is unconstitutional for jurors to be discriminated against based on race. Having an undergraduate public policy/political science background, I am drawn to this memo because it allows me to be creative, pragmatic, and practical in forming an alternative to the current procedure. After spending my whole weekend writing the first draft, I am looking forward to editing and adding the final touches.
In non-academic news, I just bought series tickets for when the Red Sox will be in Seattle. I could get used to how inexpensive baseball tickets are here- I spent less on three games than I would have on one game at Fenway! A lot of the guys from my section are planning on going to a lot of Mariners games, so I’m excited to tag along once it gets warm out. Our admissions schedule is ramping up. As we have sent out the first round of acceptances, there has been an increase in prospective student visits. With open houses coming up, it is an exciting time of the year as we build our incoming class.
Greetings amigos. After a break filled with a lot of sleeping, skiing, visiting family/friends, nervously checking for my grades, and eating lots of holiday food, I was more than ready to get back to Seattle. Ditching the snow for the rain is a very fair trade off right now. The transition from spending a month on a Netflix bender to reading cases again was tough at first, but I’m finally back into the swing of things. It’s been great to catch up with other classmates, and find out that they spent most of break sleeping as well.
It’s a new semester, and I am no longer a rookie. Fall semester was definitely hard, but I know that Professors expectations increase even more for this semester. Half of the battle for fall semester is learning how to study for law school. Now that I have that down, I hope that I can step up my game even more during spring semester. Like every other 1L, I say goodbye to criminal law and civil procedure, and hello to property. I’m going to miss Professor Roberts’ British accent, but not having 8:30 AM class is something I’m looking forward to. Having a quick sample size so far, property seems very interesting- it’s crazy to think how the law of property has must have had to develop over history. By the end of the semester, I hope to know how the frontiersmen on the computer game Oregon Trail claimed land to be their own.
In non-academic news, a bunch of us went down to Portland right before second semester and saw a Trail Blazers game. It was my first time in Portland, and it finally confirmed that the show Portlandia does a wildly accurate portrayal of life down there. Also, I’m looking forward to an early February meeting with the externship office so I can solidify my plans for the summer. The hope is to get a part time externship while I start business school classes. Additionally, I think I’m the only one in the law school who isn’t drinking the Seahawks kool-aid right now. As a Pats fan, I’m still in football depression, but I’d like to see the Hawks win so I can see all of my friends happy. Happy sports culture = happy law school.
Hello all! I'm 3000 miles away from the SU campus right now, gearing up for the holidays. December was a crazy month for me. The three-ish weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break seemed like a blur. Law school was more than a full time job preparing for finals, and it's crazy to think how hard my study group and I worked. As my civil procedure professor Julie Shapiro says, "Taking finals during your 1L fall is a right of passage into the legal world", and she couldn't be more correct. Through one semester at SU, I couldn't be happier with my decision to move to Seattle. I've made incredible friends, and developed connections that I never could have imagined beforehand. While I will be soaking up being home for the holidays, I will surely miss my 2nd home in the Pacific Northwest while I'm here.
In other news, I just got accepted in the SU MBA program! It's been my plan all along to work toward a duel degree, and I couldn't be more thrilled that it's coming to fruition. My plan for winter break is to mostly take it easy. The 1Ls deserve a few weeks off to unwind and think about something other than exams. I think I want to begin drafting some cover letters for externships, as I want to make sure to solidify my summer with an externship and some business school classes. Other than that, I plan to make it down to New York City to visit friends from college, and obviously I'll be in Boston a lot to visit other friends/family.
Looking forward to spring semester, I have 1L part deux of Torts, Contracts, and Legal Writing. I also add Professional Responsibility and Property to complete my schedule, so I envision being just as busy as I was this fall. Can't wait to come back on the 8th! Headed down to Portland with some other Section C buddies to see the Trail Blazers host my Boston Celtics. Check in with you guys soon.
The atmosphere in law school changes significantly between Halloween and Thanksgiving. The stress level starts to rise, there are more late nights in the library, much of your social life is put on the back burner, and all of a sudden, this place doesn't feel new anymore. While I may be solidifying every stereotype that someone may have about law school, I can conclusively say that everyone in my SU circle is happy, and couldn't imagine being anywhere else right now.
It's kind of crazy. On the one hand, this semester has flown by. It seems like just yesterday that I moved to Seattle, not knowing anyone, and felt intimidated by everything having to do with law school. On the other hand, the amount of material I need to review for finals makes this semester seem tremendously long. This month has been dedicated to outlining, hypoing (one of many made up words in law school), and reviewing for final exams. I've learned a lot about myself academically this month. I never thought I have to grasp so much information in such a short period of time, and while it can be a very daunting and overwhelming feeling, the sense of accomplishment has never felt so genuine.
In non-law school news, I GET TO GO BACK TO BOSTON NEXT WEEK!!!! While test prep will be the #1 theme of my Thanksgiving break, I cannot wait to see my extended family, play football with my high school friends, and ride the T throughout the city. The T (slang for Boston's subway system) and I had a love/hate relationship for 24 years, but I never thought I would miss it that much. Another goal I have for Thanksgiving is to convince relatives to come visit me over the summer. After I return from Thanksgiving, I'm going to be in studying beast mode, so next time I check in with you all, I'll let you know how finals went.
October is actually my favorite month. I love brisk weather, football, playoff baseball, and fall foliage. For some reason, every autumn, I always like trying new spicy ethnic foods, paired with an awesome IPA. Seattle has no shortage of that- I've gone out to a bunch of new restaurants, and I'm getting into the local breweries around here too.
Academically, the workload has stayed the same, but I am far more efficient at briefing cases. Now that I know the style of each of my professors, it is a lot easier to pick out specific issues and holdings in the cases. All that efficiency has led to less time reading cases, but more time prepping for finals. I can't believe finals are just over a month away! The law school paradox is having too much work, and never enough time. I'm discovering how much time management plays a major factor in 1L. Since my last entry, I took my first law school test and submitted my first memo. As nerve racking as they both were, it's reassuring to get the first graded assignments off your chest and realize that you survived them.
Outside of school, our section intramural flag football season is starting to heat up. It's just another way for us to get to know each other outside of class, and it has been awesome. To cope with my off and on homesickness, I found a bar in Belltown called "Spitfire" that houses Boston fans for every sports game. I've been getting friends from school to tag along for World Series games and on Sundays for football. Spitfire is a little taste of home, and it's great to meet other New Englanders who relocated to Seattle. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving break, and heading back home to see family and friends for the first time since Summer, but I'm excited to sell them on Seattle in attempts to get more visitors out to the PNW.
Hey Hey Hey Hey (Robin Thicke patent approving). This is my 5th week living in Seattle, so does that mean I'm kind of a Seattlelite now? The east coast is where my heart is, but slowly I'm encompassing the Seattle lifestyle. I bought a cheap bike (best decision ever) to cut my daily commute down to about 5 minutes from my apartment. Coming from the curvy streets of Boston, I wasn't used to such a biker friendly city, but it's allowed me to explore some Seattle neighborhoods that are a little more removed from the law school.
Academically, I'm like every other 1L- taking a full schedule of Criminal law, Torts, Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Legal Writing. Having all of my classes with the same people has been incredibly beneficial (Section C Represent!). It's been helpful to be able to bounce ideas off of classmates, and analyze cases and statutes within our study groups. Just when I felt like I was finally getting used to the law school grind, things ramped up big time. Civ Pro midterm is Friday, and my legal writing memo is due this weekend?!?!?!? These things came up so quickly, and I still feel like a neophyte, but I'm confident that I'll survive.
In non-academic news, I got involved with a few things on campus. Believe it or not, I became an admissions fellow (I even have my own nifty diary on the website, you should check it out). I also joined the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, which I have been planning on getting really involved with even before my law school journey began. Lastly, some of the guys in our section have formed a Friday morning basketball league, and it's been awesome to get to know everyone outside of the classroom. Overall, the last month has been a whirlwind of new people, places, and experiences, but I love being so busy, and I cannot wait to see how the rest of the semester progresses.