Devin Hogan

September

it is week five of law school and I am sincerely enjoying the experience. Although it is a drastic change from my life in North Carolina and the course work has its challenges, I am more confident than ever in my choice to attend Seattle U School of Law. I made the decision to jump start my law school career without my husband, who remains in North Carolina on military duties until next fall. With this change, I was nervous about getting situated without him; meeting people, because I am more introverted; and living across the country from everything familiar. But since my first day of orientation, those feelings slowly dissipated. I already feel like I belong. My fellow classmates and I share unique but similar emotions and face comparable challenges which creates a sense of community. To my surprise, I have already joined in on study sessions with other students and I have even personally connected with most of my professors. All of this is because of the welcoming community here at SU. It has allowed me to put aside the stresses of personally adjusting to this new and exciting lifestyle and to instead channel my energy toward my studies. In all, the best thing for me so far, is despite all the radical change in my life, I do not feel alone or overwhelmed, and I strongly believe it is because of the support of the SU law school community.


October

The first two months of school flew by, and I cannot believe we are approaching week ten. So far, I have taken two fifteen question multiple choice quizzes and one ungraded midterm exam. The quizzes were for Property and the midterm was for Criminal law. The first quiz went well, which was reassuring. However, the second quiz included a heightened challenge, but I think I did alright. Fortunately, we will take three quizzes in total this semester and the lowest score will be dropped. As for my midterm, it was a relief to receive feedback that I "should be in good shape for the final." The biggest adjustment from undergrad is the fact that you can almost go through your entire semester with little to no feedback, which is terrifying. Aside from Property and Crim, my Torts and Contracts classes do not have any graded or ungraded assessments, except, of course, for the final. Because this is the first semester, it is truly hard to evaluate how I am doing, but I am hoping by next semester I will have a better grasp on this new approach to school.

Aside from my course assessments, or lack thereof, I also attended my first moot court trial competition. I absolutely loved the experience. As an L1 you can participate as a bailiff, and that is what I did. I watched a pair of students compete and it was awe-inspiring to observe the mock trial. The competitors put a great deal of work into their case and it is remarkable to watch it all unfold. Additionally, it was interesting to listen to the judge's comments and advice they gave to the competitors. The experience has definitely heightened my interest to eventually join the mock trial team. In the spring, there is a mock trial competition that first year students are allowed to participate in, and I am definitely interested in doing that event. However, until then, I hope to attend as many mock trial competitions as possible because it was extremely beneficial for me to absorb the entire process.

Overall, I am still so new to the law student life, but I am trying to embrace it and enjoy each new opportunity!


November

The end of the semester is in sight and rapidly approaching. Instead of looking forward into the month of finals, I am going to reflect on the semester so far. To follow up from my last journal about my hopes to join the Moot Court Board, I am thrilled to share that I have officially joined the board! I am beyond excited to be a part of the organization and hope to become more involved as a member as time goes on. This awesome news has reminded me that although law school involves moments of pressure and long days, there is light somewhere as long as we stay motivated!

I think keeping my mind set on the goal to join Moot Court Board has helped me feel like I am doing okay although everything else seems to be piling up on top of me. Looking back, I have learned a lot. So far, I have enjoyed learning how to write like a legal writer. As I complete each new legal memo, I notice the improvements and the progress I have made. And the fear of cold calls has also simmered down as it is not as scary as some make it out to be. I have been called on in every class, at least once and in some multiple times, and each time it is nerve-racking, but also not as big of a deal as it may seem at the time. In all, I have enjoyed my first semester and as I write, I am preparing for finals.


February

This month the Moot Court Board hosted the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) competition here at Seattle U. The competition included west coast schools, as far east as Boulder and Denver University. Each year the law schools rotate hosting the competition, and it was a great opportunity to experience the competition here at SU. The competition was a mock trial competition so it included two witnesses from each team and a panel of three judges. Part of the moot court board task in organizing this event was finding 150 volunteers from the community to play the role of a witness for the competition. Fortunately, we were able to fill most of the spots, and the board members filled in for the remaining witnesses, including myself.

The competition started Friday afternoon and by Sunday morning only eight teams remained for the semifinal round. By the afternoon only four teams were left to compete in the final round, including an SU team. I was extremely excited for them, especially since one of the competitors was a fellow Moot Court Board member. It was fun to watch such poised and charismatic competitors in the final round and hear the feedback from the judges. Because I was a witness in two prior rounds it was interesting to see the different arguments and ways the competitors questioned the witnesses. The experience furthered my motivation to compete next month in the 1L competition, and I enjoyed observing behind the scenes as well as participating in such a large event my first year.

In addition to attending the moot court board competitions, this month has been filled with cover letters and interviews! I will say a good chunk of the beginning of the second semester of law school is filled with submitting applications. I am waiting to hear back from a few places, and have an interview next week. Overall, I think the best thing to keep in mind during this time is that something will work out as long as you continue to submit applications and stay positive! My goal by next month is to have received and accepted a job offer. Until then, wish me luck!


March

As I reflect on the month of March, it was full many challenges; but it also contained a few exciting law school events. For example, I officially joined the Alternate Dispute Resolution board and attended the In-House ADR competition as a board member. The format was similar to the 1L ADR competition. However, as a committee member, I was able to observe the competitors and learn from their skills. The competition informed me of three important skills to keep in mind as an ADR competitor. First, set the scene of the negotiation. Second, communicate every potential issue. Third, keep your composure.

A team can set the scene of the negotiation by establishing the parties’ goals and creating a visual on the white board. To illustrate the second point about communication, here's an example — if a team fails to discuss a term because it appears implied, it can cause an additional dispute in future discussions. Thus, it is important to check off every potential issue regardless if the issue may seem implied.

Lastly, keep your composure. For example, when a team reacts too quickly to an offer, that instinct may lead to potential loss for its team because the team failed to take an extra moment to digest the offer, and thus, potentially lose the opportunity to negotiate a better deal.

Overall, I enjoyed participating as a board member for the competition because I was able to actively participate, meet new classmates, and learn from the competitors. I am honored to be on the board and look forward to the upcoming roles as an ADR board member.