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Michael

Homestretch

October 22nd, 2013 by

It’s amazing how slow yet how fast law school has passed. With almost two and a half years done, it is time to start planning for life after law school. Luckily, California Western School of Law has a great Career Services department that can guide you in the right direction.

As many of you know, the job market is challenging and the same holds true for the legal sector. You might feel lost while job hunting on your own as I know I have. Before this last summer, a good friend of mine set me up to interview with an outstanding litigation firm he previously interned for. I had no clue what to expect during the interview and that’s when I reached out to Career Services. I came in for an appointment and one of the advisors walked me through interview techniques and conducted a mock interview at the end. When I had my actual interview, I was completely prepared for every question and even asked some questions of my own. I ended up getting the job which in turn provided me with invaluable legal experience.

Now, I have been applying for JAG positions with the Air Force, Army, and Navy because it has been a life long dream of mine to serve our country. Career Services has helped me during the extensive application process, which would be far more difficult to complete on my own. So, if any of you out there are thinking about coming to CWSL or you’re already here, I implore you to use one of our school’s greatest resources, the Career Services department.

A nice perk for former athletes planning to attend California Western are the intramural sports we offer.  In my 1L year I started playing in the basketball league with some friends from my section and our team is still together going into our second season.  Basketball was and still is a great way for us to release some of the tension and stress that comes with being a law school student.  I am amazed at how many students here were former collegiate and high school athletes, and as a result we have a very talented league that pose some stiff challenges for our team.  Last year, we struggled at first because none of us had played together before, but as the season wore on we gelled.  By our second semester of 1L, we went undefeated in the regular season.  We would have only one game a week, but we all looked forward to it in the days leading up to the game because we played hard and as a team, and that equaled wins.

In addition to basketball, the CWSL Director of Sports is also planning to host a home run derby competition.  This is very intriguing to a former baseball player in high school and college.  However, like I mentioned, there are a lot of good athletes here so I will have to get some practice in before I win the derby.  I know a lot of incoming 1L will probably want to shy away from extracurricular activities because of the burden of school, but do yourself a favor and take one hour a week to play a competitive sport, whatever that may be.  You won’t be thinking about your outlines or reading for the next day, you’ll just be living in the moment.  Thank me later.

 

 

 

Judgment Day

January 29th, 2012 by

Two days ago our first semester grades were released. The anxiety at school during the 48 hours before their release was palpable. Nearly every 1L I saw had a look of dejection in their eyes because none of us had any idea where we stood on the curve. I wasn’t going to be surprised if I failed out or did well. In the end, these grades don’t matter, they’re just numbers, but at 4:05 pm on Friday they meant everything. The course of our lives was going to be determined by those grades and that’s a lot of weight to carry on your shoulders. I made a lot of promises to become a lawyer to people I love, including a promise to my late grandfather on his death bed. I didn’t even want to think of the disappointment I could possibly bring to them and myself.

I left school immediately with Michelle after my last class ended at 3:30 and headed to my parents’ house. As I walked outside I felt a pit in my stomach and suddenly the urge to throw up. I had to stop and gather myself several times before we reached the car. The feeling of knowing something will happen regardless of whether you’re ready is daunting and it was eating me alive. When we reached my parents’ house my dad thought I had seen a ghost. I walked into the bathroom because I felt like throwing up, but instead pulled out my phone, and logged into the student website. I clicked on the “Grades” icon and as soon as the webpage opened I turned off my phone. There was a little voice inside my head telling me to loosen up before the big moment. So I poured a shot of Patron for my dad, Michelle, and me to help calm my nerves, and it worked. I pulled out my phone and experienced relief, frustration, and happiness simultaneously for the first time in my life.

Thankfully, I will be around for another semester and so will all of my close friends. Most importantly, I made good on my promises and it wouldn’t have been possible without my angel, Michelle. When I was down, she picked me back up, when I was high, she brought me back down to earth, and throughout the roller coaster ride that is law school she made sure I came out in one piece.

 

Finals are over and no matter what the results are I can look myself in the mirror and say I put in my best effort. There are definitely things I need to improve on for next semester if I want to do better, but I’m trying not to worry about that now. I just want to enjoy my break before round two starts.

It’s been nice catching up with family and friends while at the same time not having any real responsibilities. Right after my last final finished I went to a bar with some of my classmates and by 7pm I was sound asleep in my bed. My body and mind really wanted to catch up on some sleep so I didn’t wake up until 10 am the next day. I think I was having finals withdrawals because that same day I started reading a book critiquing our legal system and some of its lawyers. It is brutally honest, something you don’t see too much of nowadays, and I loved it. The title is “Lawyers Lie” by the late Eric D. Hart, an attorney from San Diego.

However, since that day, I’ve reverted back to my undergrad days of playing basketball, working out, video games, napping, and overall being lazier. It feels good. The day after Christmas, Michelle and I are leaving for Las Vegas with my old roommate and his girlfriend. Maybe I can win some of that law school tuition back.

As part of my New Year’s resolution I want to live a more balanced lifestyle. Law school dominated my mind for the past four months and it just wasn’t healthy. I will make time for my friends, family, and myself even if it means not thoroughly reading every assignment. Because I didn’t manage my time well, I also did not blog as much as I should have. I want to people to know what my law school experience has been like every step of the way and I promise I will do a better job. On that note, I have to watch my Chargers battle for a playoff spot now.

 

Merry Christmas!

1L

November 16th, 2011 by

This is crazy. I think I’ve heard every story, heeded every warning, and jotted down every tip regarding law school, but still NOTHING could prepare me for my first trimester of law school. I even had the unique benefit of learning and seeing all this through my amazing fiancé, a 3L at Cal Western, and her law school friends. Yet, I still feel overwhelmed, stressed, and like there is never enough time. The only thing keeping me sane right now is my fiancé, Michelle, and a close group of friends in my section I know I can trust. And maybe a little bit of fantasy football.

For anyone planning on entering law school, I think it’s essential you immediately surround yourself with people who are ready to work hard, but can also have the proverbial “beer and chat” with you. In order to do this you need to make a good faith effort to meet these strangers in your class. If you do, you’ll quickly find out who is on the same level with you and who isn’t. The ones who are will be your life preservers. Staying true to your self is paramount and good friends bring that out in you. When you’re on the grind every day trying to figure out Civil Procedure, Contracts, Property, Criminal Law, and Legal Skills, you are not your self. There’s not a lot of time to be. So, you might as well spend those precious moments of free time at school with people who let you be you.

I got lucky landing in section 2. There are a lot of smart, quality students in my class who are willing to help others out with no ifs, ands, or buts. Of course, you’ll have some students who always seem to have their hands raised for every question, but that comes with the territory. Most people call them “gunners.” They are few and far between. I’ve heard from just about every upper classman that being a “gunner” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to do well. What matters is how much work and effort you’re putting into each class and preparing for the exams at the end.

The best part of section 2 is having two legal legends, Dean Dessent and Professor Stiglitz, share their wisdom with you. As a striving lawyer, you cannot help but idolize these great men. Both are not only outstanding teachers of the law, but also proved their skills are among the best in practice. Don’t believe me? Look ‘em up. My Property, Criminal Law, and Legal Skills professors are no slouches either. Professors Arshagouni, Yeager, and Wallace, respectively, each have passionate teaching styles that blend seamlessly with the subject matter. I honestly believe that just listening to these brilliant legal minds spit their knowledge for three months has by itself made me smarter.

We officially have 23 days, 9 hours, and 7 minutes until our first final. I was really worried this blog post would get in the way of some valuable study time, but I’m glad I did it. It’s pretty rare I get to take a step back from what I’m doing and realize there is more to life than figuring the Rules Against Perpetuities (something no law student wants to learn about).

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