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, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or in her office at 2240 Piedmont Avenue, right across the street from Memorial Stadium.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 exit, which 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.
- Car: 101-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.
In case you want to RSVP your place in a guided tour at UC Hastings, feel free to email the admissions office at email@example.com. 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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?
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).
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
October 23, 2012 § 2 Comments
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.
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.
LSAT, skating, World Series. Have mercy!
August 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
Reyhan Watson, J.D. candidate at New York University and author of http://watsonism.wordpress.com/, used his Sherlock-esque analyzing skills to break down the cost of going to NYU Law (http://wp.me/p2EyhJ-l). As a person thinking about going to law school and signed up to take the upcoming October LSAT, Watson has inspired me to break down the “costs” of taking the LSATs.
Borrowing from Watson’s analysis, it is wise to break down this simple question: What is cost? It’s merely the amount of money it requires to take preparation classes and the LSAT itself, no? No. The previous detail only describes the monetary cost and end results of your decisions to take a preparation class or to buy books and study on your own.
As I was alluding to earlier, this is the price tag that is attached to which way you decide to prepare for the LSAT and the decision to take the test itself. thefigureskatinglawyer leaves the research up to you in order to decide which class or set of books is really best for you. But whether you work to pay for these costs or mom and dad help out in some way, let’s break down the various prices* of the most well-known LSAT prep classes in the San Francisco Bay Area:
- Kaplan online course: $649
- Kaplan online course (logic games only): $299
- Kaplan online course (logical reasoning only): $99.67
- Kaplan online course (reading comprehension only): $99.67
- Kaplan on-site course: $1,399
- Kaplan LSAT prep books (most recent year): $60-75 depending on the bookstore/dealer
- Princeton Review on-site course (84 hours of instruction): $1,449
- Princeton Review on-site course (35 hours of instruction): $1,249
- Princeton Review books: $20-37.99 ($14.99 for eBook version)
- Testmasters Live Course: $1450
- Testmasters Online Course: $950
- Testmasters Weekend Course: $450
- Blueprint Live LSAT prep: $1,299
- Blueprint Online LSAT prep: $799
- LSAT: $160
* These prices are updated as of August 13th, 2012 and are subject to change at the discretion of these companies.
But to break down the word “cost” associated with preparing and taking the LSAT, it begs the question: what other cost(s) are there?
For a lack of a better phrase, the actual cost of preparing for and taking the LSAT is difficult to calculate beyond adding up the monetary costs. What other investments are you making as a person trying to attain not a good LSAT score, but a great one? The investment of time and focus.
- Getting enough sleep to have the energy to focus during class and homework (you don’t pay for sleep but you do pay for caffeine)
- Having enough energy to work on LSAT homework after working a full-time job
- Taking less time to catch up on your favorite TV shows and going to every event your friends are going to
- The time it takes to commute to and from class and be there on time
- Taking your test prep (class or no class) seriously in class and at home (how you practice the LSAT is how you are going to take it on the real thing)
- Taking the time to finish a good amount of the homework
- Taking the time to figure out why you are not only right but why the wrong answers are wrong (and why people pick them)
- Taking the time to address your weaknesses while still working on the strengths
It is a lazy comparison of monetary and actual cost but it gets you thinking about what it means to take this investment in yourself seriously. Getting a great score on the LSAT is something you would want to do only once so you do not need to pay for more prep and another test. Even if the money being spent is not money you earned, at least respect where it came from and the people who are there emotionally and financially supporting your dreams from day one. I am certainly not advocating that you become a recluse when you are not working a job and working on LSAT stuff instead. But if the pursuit of going to law school means something to you, keep that in your sights and do not take the test lightly. If you score really high, then catch up on all those missed episodes of Harvey, Donna, Can Openers and Thumbtacks and responsibly drink a celebratory beer. But now is the time to ensure that you can do nothing but achieve that score.
You may or may not consider one or a combination of these actual cost factors at the time you decide when to prepare and when to take the test. But with that in mind, I hope this post serves as a head start towards achieving something rewarding and satisfying.