Joe Wright

March

March was a typical mid semester month. Classes, networking, and study groups. Spring semester is a little different because we have more assignments due during the semester. This month we had two simulations in Introduction to practice, and a memo for legal writing. In ITP, we simulated a client counselling and a commercial lease negotiation. Both required a good amount of preparation, but were very exciting to execute. The simulations provide us an opportunity to utilize the skills we’ve learned over the semester against our peers in a fun environment. Each simulation follows the same fact pattern of a commercial leasing process. Next up we have a simulated mediation to decide whether the Landlord or Tenant is required to pay for improvements to make the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It should be fun!

March is also the month where many people choose to run for positions with student organizations. I chose to run for positions in the Labor and Employment Law Association and Alternative Dispute Resolution Board. Running for a position requires a letter of intent describing why you are interested in the position and a resume. In many ways, it’s like applying for a job except, instead of an interview, there is a election. It’s a little stressful, but hopefully will be rewarding in the end!

December/January

December and January were busy months! As the first semester came to a close, my classmates and I had our first experience with law school final examinations. Finals were challenging, and a little stressful. For two of my classes, the final examination counted for 100% of my grade. For the other two, it counted for 80-85% of my grade. Understanding this importance, my study group and I made a study plan for the month leading into exams and stuck to it! We prioritized taking examinations from past years under the same conditions we would take the final itself. The practice really helped us to get into a rhythm and all of us were happy with our performance on examination day.

After finals, we took our well-deserved winter break. Although it was nice to step away from daily class work, there was still more work to do. Winter break is when many of us began applying for summer internships. Seattle University does a great job connecting us with potential employers, but it’s still a lot of work to draft applications and cover letters for each position, and to keep track of the deadlines for applications, which are sometimes due before the start of the new semester. I applied to seven labor union friendly organizations through the Peggy Browning Fund, which was recommended to me by 2L and 3L students who had already done the program. I was pleased to get an interview with Service Employees International Union in Washington DC, and a subsequent summer internship offer. Getting a job early in the semester is a real relief and takes something off my plate to allow me to focus on classes.

We’re now started our second semester. Having a break was wonderful, but its refreshing to see all the friends that I’ve made during my first semester again. We have two new classes: Intro to practice and property. While it was a little tough getting back into a rhythm after break, I’m feeling pretty well adjusted now. The new subject matter is very interesting and I’m excited for another semester!!

September/October

Wow! September and October have been a whirlwind of adjustment to life as a full time law student! I’ve spent most of my time focusing on how best to study and prepare for my classes and what organizations I should get involved with.

On the academic front, I’ve gotten accustomed to doing A LOT of reading in preparation for class. Most of my reading consists of numerous cases that are designed to show us how courts are applying the different things we are learning in practice, and get us accustomed to how the court sometimes makes new rules that are binding on future decisions. Once we get into class the professor will usually “cold call” somebody to discuss the case. Because different professors have different things that they focus on, I’ve developed a different “brief” for each class. The brief is just a summary of information about a case that I expect the professor to ask me about. Having this handy makes it much easier to discuss the case in class, even if it does require more time than simply reading the case.

All of my classes have already had midterm examinations as well. I will admit that I was a little worried coming into Law School and hearing that nearly all of our grade will be based on one test at the end of the term. I was concerned that I would not know how well I was doing and would therefore have difficulty studying. I’m glad that our professors are giving us the opportunity to test our test taking skills before the final examination. It really helps to focus my study group!

I’ve also chosen to get involved in multiple student organizations since arriving here. I chose the Alternative Dispute Resolution Board and the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity. ADR Board application was a tough process, we had to submit an application with a resume, from the applications, the Board selected about half of us to proceed forward with an interview, and then selected about half of the people who interviewed to join the board. I’ve already participated in multiple events since joining the board. The events give me a great chance to interact with practicing attorneys and to seek advice and mentorship from older students. Being involved in these student organizations gives me a smaller community within the larger community of Seattle University Law that really helps me feel at home. It’s an investment of time (which is always limited!), but definitely worth it!