On Paralegal Certificate Candidacy

April 20, 2014 § 1 Comment

Happy Easter, whether you hunted some eggs, imbibed some tasty draaaaaaaaanks, or potatoed your way through a fair-weather Sunday.

On another note, it’s weird to use the moniker “thefigureskatinglawyer” when I don’t even English well, let alone have the requisite qualifications to be a lawyer. What’s up with that? About a year and a half of self-reflection, I have decided to forgo the law school route for now and get my paralegal certificate at San Francisco State University.

Wuttttttttttttttttttttt

[INTENSE “WUTTTTTT” INTENSIFIES]

Weird Undergraduate-Graduate School Limbo

Woah, as a full-time student at SF State, I could theoretically check in with Katie Specht and the USFSA Collegiate Committee and set up a team here.

Looking for other figure skating, aspiring paralegals and optional objectives aside, SFSU Paralegal Studies Program is the only American Bar Association-certified program in San Francisco and one of the few certified programs in the Bay Area. It’s a program available to undergrad students looking for additional skills, working professionals looking at a possible career change, and individuals who want a cheaper method of previewing the first year of law school.

At about $825 for a three-unit course, the tuition, books, LexisNexis student subscriptions run a prospective student about 9000 to 10000 dollars to finish the 10 classes (5 required, 5 elective). It’s the student’s option to run roughshod through this program in 12 to 18 months, take the 4-year scenic route through things, or something in between. All that to gain the relevant skills of a paralegal, have the option to do internships through the school, and decide if the law school route seems attractive at that point. That seems like a solid way to save $30,000-$40,000 in law school tuition/room & board (a conservative guess on a first year’s cost) to figure out whether law school is the next time and financial investment to make.

The curriculum allows aspiring legal professionals to gain skills that they would learn and hone in their first year of law school. Performing legal research and Shepardizing cases? Drafting legal memoranda? Ethical conduct? Assisting in the prep of cases for trial? Learn about different types of software used in law firms? That’s pretty relevant to aspiring legal professionals, I suppose.

Who Can Take Their Classes

  • Create an SFSU ID (linky link here) if you’ve never enrolled at SFSU before.
  • Read up here to figure out how to get your password.
  • Fill out this form, have a check for $50 written out to SFSU-CEL and submit it along with a college transcript

You’ve done all that? Cool, you get to do early registration and swoop on classes before they fill up on a first-come, first serve basis.

What if you’re not a part of the paralegal program and you kinda want to keep the $50 in your pocket? You can still sign up to take the classes? No way!

Fall and spring semesters have additional sections of the required classes, allowing students to fit their classes around their other class schedule or their work schedule. Maybe your day allows for you to go to class from 2:00 pm to 4:45 pm. If not, maybe you can go to class from 6:00 pm to 9:45 pm. Summer classes don’t have that luxury of having extra sections but they do have interesting electives. Summer classes do have a shorter 10 week (and one Saturday!) schedule to go over 17 weeks of material so … meh. However, yay to getting ahead in the program!

[INTENSE INTRIGUE INTENSIFIES]

[INTENSE INTRIGUE INTENSIFIES]

Internships

At the very least, having a paralegal certificate from an ABA-certified program gives you an advantage over college graduates looking for the same job. After meeting with program director Pat Medina and going through a few interviews with prospective internship supervisors, you can gain valuable experience that would’ve been tough to get otherwise.

Through professional relationships Pat Medina has cultivated at these public and private organizations, the students have a chance to end the no job because of experience/no experience because no job Catch-22 we’ve all grown to love. The organizations get to teach some of these students how to paralegal and maybe convince them that they can get a job there. Yay!

***

My classmates from college are going on to do some big, money-making things. Some are investment bankers. Some are figuring out this whole top-14 law school thing and passing bars, state, patent, etc. Some are going to be the finest dentists and doctors in the San Francisco Bay Area (In looks or skills? We’ll let Yelp, Tumblr, BuzzFeed decide on that one). Some are going to be champion figure skaters who coach other champion figure skaters on the side. Some are going to be wonderful parents. Some will have a really hard time figuring out what to do with a lot of money.

Instead of being in a rush to beat others to [random accomplishment], I’m beginning to understand that my peers and I will reach our career and life destinations at different points of our lives. That said, whether or not it takes me 12 months or 4 years, I’m going to finish this rad program and become a certified, bona fide paralegal. I still have no idea which field of law I’m interested in or whether I’ll even stay in law. I haven’t completely shut the door on going to law school either. I still feel like I’ve taken a step in the right direction.

[INTENSE RIGHT DIRECTION INTENSIFIES]

[INTENSE RIGHT DIRECTION INTENSIFIES]

Would it be more appropriate to call myself “thefigureskatinglegalprofessional” as opposed to “thefigureskatinglawyer?” Maybe, but that seems like a cumbersome mouthful. Also, TWSS.

thefigureskatinglawyerlegalprofessionallawyer

Depositions 246.3

March 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

Let’s talk law school/internship type of opportunity. First, a word on the Legal Studies major provided under the College of Letters & Sciences. You can be any major and veer into the law school route equipped with an LSAT score and a serviceable GPA (as long as it doesn’t land you in academic probation). You can also be any major and be interested in taking a Legal Studies course at University of California Berkeley.

Legal Studies? That sounds AMAAAAAAAAZING!

Legal Studies? That sounds AMAAAAAAAAZING!

Legal Studies, a blend of political science with legal theory, is being revamped by a committee of professors headed by department chair Professor Musheno. A wider swath of classes are now allowed to satisfy the four lower-division requirements: philosophy, European history, statistics, and economics/sociology. Though the rules of the major do not allow you to declare as a Legal Studies major until you’re a sophomore, the light requirements (along with 32 upper division units) allow students to finish their undergraduate degrees early or declare legal studies as their second major. Any questions about the major requirements and the major itself should be directed to the clutch adviser, Lauri LaPointe at lauri@berkeley.edu or in her office at 2240 Piedmont Avenue, right across the street from Memorial Stadium.

Former MCB adviser turned Legal Studies adviser? Awww yeah!

Former MCB adviser turned Legal Studies adviser? Awww yeah!

Whether or not you’re a Legal Studies major, you can still take a Legal Studies course as long as there is space for you. Although the major gives a disclaimer that says it’s not a major to prepare you for law school, you can get a glimpse of law school taking a course with reputable Berkeley/Boalt Hall professors. Whether you take instruction from Professors (but not limited to) Sarah Song (Theories of Justice), Joan H. Hollinger (Family or Abortion Law), Jonathan Simon (Crime and Punishment), Michael Musheno (Children and the Law), Robert Berring (Law in Chinese Society), or Richard Perry (Foundation of Legal Studies), you benefit by learning from professors who teach at the premier academic institutions of their field.

***

That was a roundabout way of getting to this law school/internship opportunity. The announcement came from Professor Henry Hecht over at Boalt Hall/Berkeley School of Law, stating that he needs five to six students to play the role of practice deponents for the elective 246.3 Depositions course. A portion of the class is devoted to having  Professor Hecht’s students take a hands-on approach and depose and defend the mock deponents.

3L students make up the majority, if not the whole class and many are ready to head towards the corporate track right after they graduate. As one of six mock deponents, you get three students who practice defending you and three opposing students and practice to frazzle the sh*t out of you. Depending on which of the two cases are chosen for the course, Professor Hecht will have both his students and the mock deponents prepare by reading up on their roles, plaintiff or defendant and be familiar with the documents provided by the professor.

You're either excited or skeptical, and that's okay.

You’re either excited or skeptical, and that’s okay.

What’s In It For You?

It’s not a big time commitment, requiring you to spend an hour and a half to play your role on certain Wednesdays in which Professor Hecht does less lecturing and lets the students practice. While the professor provides his own praise and critiques for how things go, he also brings in guest attorneys, often former students of his depositions course or premier litigators in their field looking to fulfill the Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirement to provide their tips and critiques of these mock depositions.

You lose out on an hour and a half of afternoon socializing or catching up on the latest episode of Homeland, but you get a feel for an electives course at Boalt Hall, a building you wouldn’t normally step inside as an undergraduate student of UC Berkeley. You get to network with not only the 3L students you are assigned with, but the guest attorneys invited to these practice depositions and the professor himself. Chances are, if your only experience watching a deposition comes from Suits or The Social Network, the course is a refreshing take on what depositions are and are NOT.

I won’t spoil the details of Scoops v. Business-Aide, although I will say taking up either the role of Leslie Roberts or Terry Blake is a lot of fun. It requires some work doing the prep for your role, including being familiar with documents that will come up for sure in the opposing “counsel’s” line of argument but you get to inject your personality into this thing.

Or you could dodge the opportunity like the plague.

Or you could dodge the opportunity like the plague.

How Do I Apply?

You’ll receive this notice if you’re in a Legal Studies course and Professor Hecht is teaching the elective that semester. You then write a cover letter on why you deserve this opportunity (I want to go to law school, I heard Suits isn’t a good representation of depositions, I want to get a feel for a law school class, etc.) and send it along with your resume to Professor Hecht’s assistant. I don’t think Wanda Castillo is his assistant anymore, so you may want to consult the notice that your Legal Studies professor puts out or Professor Hecht’s law school faculty profile. If you are registered for Lauri’s Legal Studies listserve, chances are you’ll get a weekly digest referencing this. The students that make up the mock deponents are mostly UC Berkeley students, but it is possible for a non-Berkeley student to impress Professor Hecht with their initiative and drive to seek out such an opportunity.

Professor Hecht will rank students based on whether or not they can come to all the Wednesday sessions that they are needed. Other than that, it’s a well-organized portion of the class that the professor has been tinkering with and perfecting for a long time. Because of that, everyone gets to benefit, especially you.

Oh my.

Overdosing on excitement.

thefigureskatinglawyer

Visiting University of California, Hastings Law

March 9, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s ideal if you go to a graduate school that also has an undergraduate campus. That way, you can join a collegiate figure skating team that can recruit skaters from a wider portion of the student body. Otherwise, you’re left looking for figure skating teammates at your graduate school if you want to field a strong team. How does a competition between UC Hastings’ figure skating lawyers, University of Pacific’s figure skating dentists, and UC San Francisco’s figure skating doctors sound? Do they even have mascots?

Yeah... no.

Yeah… no.

You want to check out UC Hastings. Maybe it’s the ideal school. Maybe it’s the fallback school in case Yale, Harvard, NYU, and Columbia say no. Maybe you have no idea why you want to go to law school and you just want to visit a law school in your area. Maybe you need to know for sure that this isn’t Berkeley’s law school. The reasoning works for me.

Hey Yale, Columbia, NYU, I applied. Did I get in?

Hey Yale, Columbia, NYU, I applied. Did I get in?

How Do I Get There?

Mary Kay Kane and David E. Snodgrass Halls, the two buildings that make up the UC Hastings campus are located in the Tenderloin, one of the more gritty, dangerous neighborhoods of San Francisco. Chances are, you may have heard someone reference the illicit activities that go on in the Tenderloin, kinda like the occasional UC Berkeley students clueless about Oakland, California. Just be aware of your surroundings (listen to your MP3 player later) and if you ride public transportation, catch the necessary transfer trains. Here’s some directions to follow along:

  • BART: Coming from the East Bay, catch a Millbrae/SFO train or if you get on a Fremont train, transfer at MacArthur Station. Get off at Civic Center Station. Coming from Millbrae, any train will take you directly through San Francisco. But still, get off at Civic Center Station. In any event, exit Civic Center Station  from the UN Plaza exitwhich puts you closer to your destination. Walk through the plaza to Larkin Street and make your way up to 198 McAllister.
  • MUNI: F-Wharves above ground light rail and J, K, L, M, N, S, and T underground light rail vehicles will take you from various neighborhoods to downtown San Francisco. Get off at Civic Center Station and go to the UN Plaza exit.
  • Car101-North or I-80 South towards Civic Center/9th Street freeway exit. Take Larkin Street up to McAllister. Street parking is limited but there’s a parking structure on the corner of Larkin and Golden Gate Streets.
Make sure you don't leave valuables in the car.

Make sure you don’t leave valuables in the car.

In case you want to RSVP your place in a guided tour at UC Hastings, feel free to email the admissions office at admiss@uchastings.edu. Otherwise, you enter in 198 McAllister Street, sign your name on the visitor’s log at the front desk, receive a visitor’s pass from the security guard, go up a floor to 275A and check in at the admissions office. The 2nd floor of Kane Hall is a maze but you can either stick it out and look for the room or… you know, ask someone in the hallways or cafeterias.

They generally ask you to show up ten minutes before the start of the tour, noon on Tuesdays and Fridays and 3:40 pm on Wednesdays during the academic year. If you get to the admissions office pretty early, grab some Philz Coffee on Van Ness between Turk and Eddy. If you’re hungry, grab some chicken pho at Turtle Tower further up on Larkin or order some beignets and other sweet/savory treats at Brenda’s Soul Food off of Polk and Eddy. Try not to be late though.

Class visits are offered. Admissions would appreciate it if you give them at least a week’s notice from when you plan on visiting a specific class from this list. Priority is given to those recently admitted to the JD program but there’s likely enough room for visitors and/or their parents. Spring semester tours and class visits are offered until April 12th, 2013.

Ugh, schedule, y u no cooperate!?

Ugh, schedule, y u no cooperate!?

Highlights & Stray Observations

  • Two students and their respective parent(s) accompanied me during the tour. Shree, currently a junior in college and her parents from the East Bay. Megan, six years removed from graduating from VCU and her dad are from Virginia.
  • Your tour guide may or may not be at UC Hastings due to the LEOP program, a progressive admissions program detailed here. Admissions will still dedicate 20% of the incoming class to LEOP students, despite Chancellor and Dean Frank Wu’s mandate to accept less students. Thanks for the tour, Brandon Collins.
  • LEOP students spend a little more time than the non-LEOP peers in their graduating class go through instruction and Saturday study sessions.
  • Visitor’s pass is necessary to entering 200 McAllister/Snodgrass Hall. Don’t be that person whose too cool for a visitor’s pass.
  • UC Hastings recently partnered with UC San Francisco to create a joint JD/MSL program, which intersects law, science, and health policy.
  • Their moot court teams do pretty damn well at competitions. They consistently make out rounds, if not win tournaments outright. If you had debate experience in your high school or undergraduate career, nerd the flock out about Hastings’ rich culture of making moot court dreams come true.

lizlemonhi5

  • Three LexisNexis printer/copiers by the library in Kane Hall are the only ones that print for free. The rest print out documents at 10 cents/page.
  • There a big library with all your studying and production assignment needs. Whether you want to study in a noise-free room or a louder room, the library’s got you covered. When you’re on the tour though, students will notice a disturbance in the force. They smirk and laugh inside about how you’re going to experience law school insanity soon, then go back to studying.
  • Unlike George Washington Law, the library is open to the public during business hours. GW Law doesn’t let you in if you don’t have GW Law ID.
  • Unlike George Washington Law, lockers provided by are centrally located in the basement of Snodgrass Hall. It’s a little dingy but located not too far from the lockers is a small police station manned by SFPD.
  • The bookstore is moving from its original location to somewhere to be determined. Books are being bought online, leaving moot court materials the only thing needed to be sold at the bookstore (maybe).
  • The business center takes care of your printing needs, whether you need a lot of documents or business cards. Don’t forget to ask your tour guide for a business card.
  • SFPD can and will walk you a short distance to either your apartment, car, or public transportation in the gritty, frothing Tenderloin of San Francisco.
By the wrath of Kenny Loggins, stop mentioning anyone's frothing loins!

By the wrath of Kenny Loggins, stop mentioning anyone’s frothing loins!

  • Most of the classrooms look the same, except for the seminar rooms with roundtables.
  • The tour takes you a little further down McAllister in order to visit housing offered to Hastings students. McAllister Tower, known to many as “The Tower.” The gym at The Tower is open to all students, whether or not you live at The Tower.
  • The 23rd floor holds all of the staff offices for every Hastings journal. They also give away free copies of the previous published issue.
  • 24th floor of The Tower is known as the Skylight Room, where you get an amazing 360 degree view of SOMA, Embarcadero, China Basin, AT&T Park, and most of the northeast corner of San Francisco.
AMAAAAAAAAZING!

AMAAAAAAAAZING!

thefigureskatinglawyer

DC Law Schools

February 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

Georgetown Law and George Washington Law were the two schools I focused on visiting during my trip to the D.C./Maryland/Virginia (DMV) area. I could’ve gone west and taken the DC Metro Orange line towards Vienna until I hit the Virginia Square/George Mason University/Law stop. I could’ve gone east taken the Metro Red line towards Glenmont until I hit Union, where I would transfer to the Maryland Area Regional Commuter train up to West Baltimore to visit the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. However, I chose to spend the weekdays of my trip in the area checking out the two DC law schools.

I would probably have an easier time getting out of a first-round armbar applied by UFC women’s champion Ronda Rousey before I get into Georgetown Law. Oh, what the hell, why not visit the campus anyway?

I'd tap out. My arm hurts thinking about it.

I’d tap out. My arm hurts thinking about it.

Georgetown Law

It was a short visit, shorter than Alfred Hitchcock’s Academy award acceptance speech. Georgetown Law doesn’t do official visits and tours Monday through Friday, opting to choose specific day(s) each month for tours. Unfortunately, they’re doing info sessions only and not any tours in February or March. Their next two dates for campus tours are 4/12 and 4/26, 12:15pm EST. You may find the RSVP links and the information here. As for sitting in and auditing a course while class is in session, that privilege is available only to those recently admitted to Georgetown Law. But the buildings sure are beautiful.

Georgetown Law is not located on the Georgetown University undergraduate campus. You’ll save some embarrassment by not ending up on the wrong campus. In case you do show up on the undergraduate campus, I suggest heading over to Baked & Wired Bakery for a delectable cupcake (or twelve).

Wash it all down with milk after.

Wash it all down with milk after.

A short word

On one side, there’s the private sector of law, solo practices in the shadow of national firms like Morrison Foerster, Perkins Coie, and WilmerHale. On another, there’s the public side, from clinics like Bread in the City to government positions located on Capitol Hill. You could be working with your local assemblyperson from back home or you could be clerking for a justice from a District Court, Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces or the highest court in the country, the Supreme Court of the United States (basketball court located on the 4th floor). The location of these law schools afford current JD students and recent JD graduates ample opportunities to gain experience in their fields of interest.

George Washington Law

If you know a friend currently attending GW Law, maybe they may have the time to show you around the six buildings that make up the school. If not or you want to RSVP for the guided tour and in-class visit, then that’s a fine choice as well. Located in the southeast corner of the George Washington undergraduate campus, you meet at the admissions office located at 20th and G Streets, in the lower level of the building. There is a Starbucks a few blocks away, but do yourself a favor and get a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich from GW Deli. You’re never going to work off all that bacon you just ate.

Tours are provided in the morning, Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 11 AM. In-class visits are open to visitors from 11 AM to 12 PM. If you can’t make the morning times, the school offers tours on Monday evenings, from 5 PM to 6 PM, followed by an in-class visit from 6 PM to 7 PM. The classes you’ll sit in on depends on the day and time you tour the campus. This semester’s offerings include Dean Morrison’s Constitutional Law, Professor Turley’s Torts, and Professor Kerr’s Criminal Procedure. Chances are, you’ll get to sit in the Raymond Niro Amphitheater, which seats ~100-110 students for larger classes. Class offerings and professors vary by semester so RSVP and keep an eye on this page when scheduling your visit (link here) to George Washington Law.

Why do you want to go to law school?

Why? Why do you want to go?

Why? Why do you want to go?

I flew into DC not knowing why I want to go to law school and I flew out of DC still not knowing why. It’s an innocent question asked with good intentions by friends and family, it’s mentally overwhelming if you haven’t really thought about it, let alone where or when you may pursue your JD degree, but it matters. For some people, they knew immediately why they want to go to law school and if you can identify with that, congratulations and godspeed. But if you’re not immediately sure why, it may be wise to find out quickly if you decide to make the time and financial investment and go right into law school. There will be challenging times brought forth by classes and assignments that will remind you of times when people ask why you want to go to law school. You will question yourself as to why you put yourself through such rigors of a legal education.

Why do you want to go? Huh? Huh? Huh?

Why do you want to go? Huh? Huh? Huh?

For JD students who have a solid reason as to why they go to law school, it may help them overcome the reading, the production assignments, and the overall onslaught of information being crammed into your brain.

You should know, man.

You should know, man.

But if you don’t have the grade point average, the >90th percentile LSAT score, let alone a significant reason to go to law school that overcomes scrutiny, it’s best to figure out with some soul-searching whether law school is right for you. From some initial looks, it’s not really helpful how Diane Neal, Gabriel Macht, Patrick J. Adams or Meghan Markle describe it at USA Network. Make some friends. Network. Meet some people stressing out the rolling admissions right now. Those doing the admitting and those being admitted. Maybe take some time off between getting your BA/BS/both and going for further education. Do whatever it takes to make things happen, or realize that you need to be in a different industry to make things happen.

thefigureskatinglawyer

Foggy Bottom, Washington, D.C.

February 15, 2013 § 2 Comments

Apologies for a lack of posts recently. Congratulations to those who took the February LSAT and those who recently got acceptance letters to law schools. Sorry, Rachel Zane.

***

I recently made a trip to Washington D.C. to visit two law schools, visit a law school friend, and enjoy my first time in the nation’s capital. I flew into Reagan National Airport and took the stayed in the Foggy Bottom/George Washington University area, uncertain about whether I wanted to go to law school. I left Washington, D.C. with the same amount of uncertainty about law school, an increase in weight, and an increase in happiness.

Boom.

Boom.

There are bus lines that well get you from the larger Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Dulles, Virginia but no direct metro service. It would be better if you secured a non-stop flight or a cheap alternative to Reagan National (DCA), where you can take a half an hour Metro ride or a cab through Arlington, VA to Foggy Bottom Metro Station (23rd and I Streets Northwest). You’ll ride the Blue line towards Largo Town Center, not the Blue line towards Franconia/Springfield or the Yellow line to either Huntington or Fort Totten directions. You can save yourself some money ($1 each way on rail, $0.20 on bus) and time by purchasing a Smartrip card online or at any Metrorail station. Get to know the different lines (Red, Blue, Orange, Green, Yellow) and directions the Metro trains service so it’s a little easier to navigate around the city. It’s cold outside so layer up.

Like drinking milk, figuring out the Metro system is initially tough.

Like drinking milk, figuring out the Metro system is initially tough.

If you stay in Foggy Bottom like I did, you’ll be a short distance away from landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. You’ll either be in or around the George Washington University undergraduate campus, which is more like NYU/NYU Law than Berkeley/Boalt Hall. Foot and car traffic cuts through the campus, whereas the car traffic is limited to the roads surrounding UC Berkeley. The six buildings that make up George Washington Law are located on the southeast corner of campus, on the blocks of 20th and 21st Streets between G and H Streets.

You’ll be a short walk or Metro ride away from a lot of great American brunch/dinner offerings nearby. There are a few popular options in Foggy Bottom but you could always decide to explore spots in different areas of Washington D.C. I’ll detail my experiences of guided tours at GWU Law, the Smithsonian Museums and National Gallery of Art (outdoor rink!), the lack of a guided tour at Georgetown Law, and the food soon.

thefigureskatinglawyer

Kina Grannis in San Francisco

February 2, 2013 § 4 Comments

Belated congratulations to senior Laney Diggs (St. Moritz FSC), junior Jay Yostanto (SC of New York), juvenile Dinh Tran (SC of San Francisco) and junior pairs skater James Morgan (SC of Boston) on their appearances at the 2013 Prudential US Figure Skating Championships. Good luck to you skaters as you train for your future competitions.

I haven’t updated the blog in two weeks since Nationals/European Championships and there is a lot of information to write about, ranging from the American skating progress at the world stage, its rivals out in Europe and Asia, and American skating at the collegiate level. There are more basic topics to go over, like the anatomy of a figure skate, the jumps other than a triple axel, perseverance through frustration in the sport, and what to do at an ice rink, all before the 2014 Winter Olympics rolls through Sochi, Russia.

Beyond the realm of figure skating, there are law school topics to discuss, from other overlooked aspects of the LSAT to drowning in acceptance letters, from finding out how to arrange visits to doing research about the law school (so… you’re saying some law schools aren’t even in the same city as the undergraduate campuses?). More in a bit on law schools.

***

In the meantime, Kina Grannis will perform at Verizon’s Lunar New Year Celebration in San Francisco’s Union Square on Saturday, 2/2. According to her twitter account, she will perform around 4:30 pm. The event begins at noon, ends at 6:00 pm, and admission is free for everyone of all ages.

I’ve enjoyed Kina Grannis singing live during the SF stops of her World In Front of Me and In Your Arms tours, promoting her fourth album, Stairwells. Winning the Doritos: Crash the Super Bowl contest and earning a record deal with Interscope Records, she has since left Interscope, became an independent artist, and appeared and performed her singles “Valentine” and “In Your Arms” on Good Day LA and the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

You may know her through her TV appearances or through Wong Fu Productions, where “Cambridge” and Paul Dateh’s remix of “Stars Falling Down” respectively features prominently on “Strangers, Again” and “When It Counts.” You may know her through her music videos for “Valentine” and “In Your Arms,” the latter a stop-motion video that was produced using 288,000 jellybeans and took two years to make. You may know her way back when nobody else knew who Kina Grannis was, not even her family.

If you don’t know Kina Grannis though and you’re near downtown San Francisco, give her indie/pop music a try. She’s definitely worth a listen.

Slap me if I'm wrong.

Slap me if I’m wrong.

***

I’ll be making a trip out to the Washington D.C. area to visit a good friend and visit George Washington Law, Georgetown Law, and University of Maryland Law (maybe) next weekend. I’m looking forward to hanging out in D.C. with my friend and checking out law schools by Foggy Bottom.

GIGGLING ABOUT FOGGY BOTTOM? WHAT ARE YOU, FIVE?

GIGGLING ABOUT FOGGY BOTTOM? *********! WHAT ARE YOU, FIVE?

thefigureskatinglawyer

UC Hastings: Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP)

December 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

University of California, Hastings College of Law, located in the gritty, veteran heart of San Francisco.

Nope, it is not University of California, Berkeley’s law school (that’s what Boalt Hall or University of California, Berkeley School of Law is for). Kinda like how University of California, San Francisco is not the medical school of UC Berkeley either. If you have faced significant adversity in your journey towards realizing your passion for law school and the law, then LEOP (as well as their program website) may help you address such issues that may not be fully recognized by numeric indicators such as grade point averages and LSAT scores.

Created in 1969, LEOP  makes a top-tier legal education accessible to those who come from significantly adverse backgrounds. According to the site, the types of adversity may range from but are not limited to economic or educational, expectations of achievement to geographic/cultural and linguistic spanning multiple generations, disability or exposure to bias.

Making up a fifth of each entering class, LEOP students are taking the same courses as the rest of their peers but also include an academic support program that spans the entire duration of their stay at Hastings. The academic support program includes:

  • Small, weekly study groups
  • Saturday practice exams
  • Academic workshops
  • Programs for 2nd and 3rd year LEOP students
  • Supplemental bar review course

The nine questions of the supplemental application are provided here. In addition to the supplemental application, it’s encouraged that LEOP applicants write a second personal statement that identifies and describes challenges and their impacts on academics, and also how the applicants overcome such challenges.

Have any questions about LEOP? Don’t hesitate to e-mail leop@uchastings.edu in order to get more details than what you see from the two sites. From one prospective applicant to another, best of luck on all stages of law school applications.

thefigureskatinglawyer

Make Mistake(s), Make Mistake of Dwelling On Mistake(s)

November 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

The LSAT has up to 102 questions spanning five sections: two Logical Reasoning, one Reading Comprehension, one Logic Games, one experimental section of the LSAC’s choice. After a 3 hour test, they have you write a prompt-based essay in 35 minutes, not scored by the LSAC but filed and read by admissions committees of each school you apply to.

The most basic figure skating competition level is preliminary. The judges will look for five jumps (two combos max), two spins (cannot be the same spins) and some basic footwork, all in a reasonable time of 1 minute and 30 seconds (minimum 1:20, max 1:40).

All throughout practice, you’ve been getting things done. You’d zoom halfway through the two logical reasoning section in your practice with ease before running into problems. Consistently getting 3.5 games out 4 in the logic games section. Reading comprehension is whatever. You have the cardio and you’re used to your home rink to know where to place your five jumps, your two spins and footwork.

So what happens when you get mixed up between the two answer choices that mix necessary and sufficient conditions, you misread a logic game rule or on competition day, you fall on your first jump?

Bad things can happen on the real thing? But I prepared so much!

The test taker and/or skater with little to no mental preparation going into their big moments of truth will get frazzled early and often. They dwell on that one question or jump or a travelling spin (no, a spin isn’t supposed to travel). They spend precious time during the section or free skate (35 minutes each section, 1 minute and 30 seconds in the performance) thinking about that mistake, leaving them prone to make more mistakes later on.

So take Dr. Feeny’s advice and breathe.

Feeny, FEENY, FEE FEE FEE FEENY, FEENY!

Shonda Rhimes kills Mr. Feeny. Oh s**t, you haven’t start Season 9 yet?

Dr. Feeny’s penultimate words to Dr. Yang were “If you’re not breathing, you’re not thinking.” That could be true when a test taker or a skater is dwelling on past mistakes earlier in their performance. Not only are they not breathing, they’re thinking about past mistakes, which isn’t allowing them to focus on what’s next.

As part of mental prep going into the test or performance, breathe and think about the next task. Gotta find out what the most accurate and complete list of all the possibilities in the logic game are? Even after messing up the first game? Think about the question you’re answering next. Gotta do a one foot spin without traveling? After your planned combo jump became a single jump you barely saved? Focus on that next skating element.

The mental aspects of each performance weigh as much as the physical performance itself. When you focus one hundred percent on the next task ahead of you, you enable yourself to achieve the best score you possibly can.

***

Congratulations to Buster Posey on winning the 2012 NL MVP award. Buster Posey, American Hero.

***

Had Melky Cabrera signed to play with San Francisco again, San Francisco would’ve received even more negative PR surrounding its employment of those who allegedly used or got caught using performance enhancing drugs. To those outside of San Francisco, they see the team as a safe harbor for liars, drug users, zoo animals, Hunter of zoo animals, beard-wielding gentlemen … a generally awkward group of miscasts that know how to win baseball games. How dare the team not use Melky in the playoffs when he hasn’t played the last third of the season.

Oh my.

Which is alright with the world because Melky didn’t sign here. The Melkmen’s jobs have been outsourced to Toronto, where Melky Cabrera has signed a 2-year, 16 million dollar contract to play for the Blue Jays. The signing has been called a potential coup and a spark to make the Blue Jays a fun team to watch.

Nevertheless, best of luck in Toronto, Melky. I hope you can show the league and fans that you don’t need to cheat to be a great baseball player.

***

Sectionals Update: In Hyannis Port, Barnstable, MA, Jay Yostanto finished first overall in the junior men’s event, earning him a spot to 2013 Junior Nationals, while Matej Silecky withdrew from the competition after the short program. In Provo, UT, Laney Diggs finished 5th overall of 13 skaters in the senior ladies event at Pacific Coast Sectionals. Pacific Coast Sectionals’ IJS protocols can be found here. Eastern Sectionals’ IJS protocols can be found here.

thefigureskatinglawyer

Switch-Hit: G7, First Time Skating In a Month

October 23, 2012 § 2 Comments

RWD

I stopped by Mijita before heading to NLCS Game 7 at AT&T Park. I stopped by Mijita, drenched from the ninth inning rain after NLCS Game 7. Thanks to my friend Patrick for allowing me to see not only Game 7, but many other games over the course of the 2012 season. It was a great night, one punctuated by celebration with 43,000 other attendees. The higher powers choose Marco Scutaro, the little man who speaks softly but carries a big stick as NLCS MVP.

Unfortunately, Ryan Theriot’s buddy Lil’ Wayne did not lead the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Oh well.

Marco Scutaro, whispering sweet nothings in Erin Andrew’s mic.

PLAY/FFWD

Today is the first day I have skated in over a month. I’m not a big shot who had his momentum derailed by injury or a lack of passion. I had to set skating aside as I worked towards getting a decent LSAT score.

The agenda for this practice with my coach? Just remember everything I learned earlier in this year to pass my USFSA pre-preliminary moves and free skate tests. These two tests are like first and second grade of elementary school after you’ve learned how to count to ten, learned how to skate forwards and backwards. Adding and subtracting single-digit numbers. Stringing words together to form a sentence. Adding and subtracting speed stroking around the ice and pumping out at least four crossovers at each end of the ice. Stringing together inside and outside, forward and backward edges, spirals with each leg and waltz eight patterns.

What about the free skate? Waltz jump, salchow, toe loop, half flip, half lutz, one-foot spin.

I didn’t lose much of my jumps or my edges. My one-foot spin came around for a few moments. My legs are sore. Gotta foam roll it out and work on some plyometrics to strengthen my legs and ankles. These techniques however have to be mistake-free, bobble-free in order for these test judges to pass me and let me move up to third grade of figure skating. Second attempt at the LSAT is on December 1st. Pre-pre tests are in the middle of December at Dublin Iceland.

Am I figure skating correctly?

LSAT, skating, World Series. Have mercy!

thefigureskatinglawyer

Quick Hits

October 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

2013 Central Pacific Regionals

http://www.usfigureskating.org/leaderboard/results/2013/68384/results.html

In the tab “senior ladies,” your Cal Golden Bear Laney Diggs completed her short program and is getting ready heading into tomorrow’s free skate. Best of luck to her at 4265 feet above sea level in Murray, UT.

Breathing up there sucks. Double axels travel farther though.

December LSATs

When you’re uncertain about two logical reasoning sections and the reading comprehension section, but you know for sure you messed up on two games in the logic games section, I think there’s valid concern over how high your score will be. You only have up to six days after the test to declare your intentions to LSAC to cancel the score. In the event you cancel your score though, you never find out how high or low you score. So I have come to terms that the score from the October LSAT I recently took. It won’t be enough to overcome a low GPA. At this point, the October LSAT will serve as a learning experience. I have over one month left to study for the December 1st LSAT.

I have taken a month off of skating in order to study for the LSATs. I’m getting back on the ice soon. It’s going to be weird.

San Francisco Giants

Barry Zito, staff ace.

For the second straight postseason series, the Giants must win the last three games of the series to advance.

Barry Zito took care of business in Game 5 though, keeping the Cardinals’ offense off-balance for 7 2/3 innings and providing some offense of his own, laying down a push bunt with David Freese playing way back off the 3rd base bag and beating out the throw. However, the bunt RBI single doesn’t happen if Gregor Blanco is correctly called out on a pick-off throw. The bunt RBI single doesn’t happen if Lance Lynn throws a Hunter Pence comebacker to 2B Daniel Descalso, not second base itself. Finally, the bunt single doesn’t happen if Brandon Crawford doesn’t come through in the clutch with an RBI single of his own.

How about all those defensive plays?

Missing a catch earlier in the game that would allow a Cardinal to get a leadoff double, Hunter Pence does not let another fly ball get past him this time.

Dat catch.

Dat concentration.

Those eyes.

A closer look at those eyes.

A lot of things clicked in Game 5 in order to bring back the series to San Francisco. Let’s kick ass in NLCS Game 6. Starter Ryan Vogelsong will take the mound.

thefigureskatinglawyer

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