How I Choose My Law School Classes

It’s here! It’s finally happening! I’m in my LAST year of law school. Sometimes (actually most times) I still can’t believe it. I remember my first day of law school as if it were yesterday. I actually look at the selfie I took that day to admire how far I’ve come since that day. Not only have I accomplished different goals I set out to accomplish over the years, but my overall confidence in being a law student has grown as well. It’s actually been amazing for me to witness and experience.

One exciting part of law school (for me) is picking my classes. This was the first year that I was confident I was going to get every class that I wanted and not have to be on a waitlist or pick a different class. I’m happy to report that this was true and I got every class that I wanted. This upcoming semester my class schedule will be as follows:

  • Criminal Procedure – Adjudication
  • Civil Rights
  • Advanced Legal Analysis and Writing: Making Law, Writing, & Interpreting Legislation
  • Family Law

I’m super excited as I know all of these classes will be extremely beneficial to my legal education and I’ve interested in majority of the topics. There are many debates about whether or not to take bar classes in your 3L year and while I’ve taken most of the Bar Classes already, I still had a few I could have taken this semester. I chose against it, although sometimes Family Law is on the bar. I decided to write this blog to tell law students how I choose what law school classes I want to take and the different questions I ask myself that go into those decisions.

Do you want to take all bar classes, no bar classes, or a healthy in between?

This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you want to take mostly bar classes than it will be easier for you to decide which classes you want to take as your options will be limited. At my school we are only required to take certain bar classes (Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Legal Writing I, II, II, Property, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law I & II). The rest of the bar classes are offered as electives so we pretty much have free reign. There are pros and cons to taking non-graduation requirement bar classes. One pro to taking a bar class in law school is that you will be familiar with the topic as opposed to seeing it for the first time when you start bar prep two or three months before the bar exam. On the flip side, bar classes can oftentimes be harder than non-bar classes and if you want to raise your GPA, bar classes might not be your best way to do so. As a 2L I took a healthy mix of bar classes and classes that I was interested in and I did pretty well.

What type of law are you interested in or maybe want to learn more about?

I think it very important to not only take classes that may be on the bar but also to take classes that interest you (if they aren’t also bar classes, which they can be). This was very important to me because I came into law school with tunnel vision about practicing Criminal Law. I wanted to make sure to take other law classes not necessarily related to criminal law but still something I was interested in like Resort Hotel Casino Law and Education Reform. Taking these classes allowed me to see if I would ever be open to practicing a different type of law or if it was strictly Criminal Law for me. If you relate to my tunnel vision, I would recommend trying different types of classes.

Which professors have you enjoyed taken classes with in the past and what’s the word around the law school about the others?

Listen! When it comes to law school classes, the professors can often make or break the class. Law school is hard enough without having to deal with difficult professors or professors who mean well but their teaching style just doesn’t suit your learning style. I always try to take classes with professors who I have before because I know what to expect and have grown accustomed to how they teach. This is very important since most law school grades are based off of one exam that the professor is teaching you for.

These are just some of the questions to ask yourself when taking classes as a 3L. Choosing classes is very important in law school and you don’t want to just choose whatever. Make sure you sit and think about it for a good minute before registration day. I may write a post similar to this before the spring semester to help 1Ls choose their elective class. Let me know if that would be helpful.

How do you decide what classes to take? What’s more important: the professors, the time, the subject, or something else? Let me know in the comments.

Reflecting On My 2L Year

Hey readers! I know it’s been a little while since you’ve heard (read?) from me but I can explain…it was finals season! There are few things in my life that are as stressful as law school finals season. Mix in everything else going on in the world and it’s just a bit much. I actually took a break from both my blog and my podcast (listen here) to focus on my studies. I’m not sure if it actually made a difference but we switched to Pass/Fail back in March so hopefully I passed all my classes. Aside from that, one of my biggest regrets from 1L year was that I didn’t write a reflection post so I decided to do one this year.

What was 2L Like?

This year was by-far my busiest year in law school (so far). My 1L year was more centered around getting used to the law school experience from reading all of those cases and trying to understand legalese to using proper terminology in your cold call responses and whatever else. It’s a whole new way of learning that undergrad (no matter what your major was) can’t prepare you for. My 2L year was very different.

There’s an age old saying that says “1L they scare you to death, 2L they scare you to death, and 3L they bore you to death.” (feel like the last part isn’t true but okay) 2L year they definitely work you to death. People told me that 2L things would get easier and although the class part definitely did, everything else did not! Your 2L year in when you actually branch out, get involved in more clubs, and serve as a junior staffer on journal/law review if you choose to do write-on the summer before. It all can get pretty crazy.

First Semester

My plate was not as full as it could have been this past year. I didn’t work, aside from teaching MixxedFit at a gym from October-December) so I luckily didn’t have that to balance. The two main commitments I had in my 2L year was serving as the Vice President of Programming for my chapter of Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and as a junior staffer on Gaming Law Journal. However, I was taking 5 classes and all of them required a final the first semester (only one take home). Adjusting to adding journal and planning and attending multiple events for BLSA made my first semester of 2L just as much as getting used as my 1L year. Even though I was extremely busy with balancing school, journal, BLSA and my non-school hobbies/job, I still managed to get the best grades of my law school career that semester and finally got my overall GPA to one I could be happy with. I even CALI’d my Criminal Procedure class and it was super affirming for me as Criminal Defense is the type of law I’m leaning towards. In the middle of finals season my dad had something wrong with his stomach and could have died and my mom had a fall and was hospitalized so I honestly wasn’t expecting to do that well.

Second Semester

The second semester finally felt like I was getting the hang of things, and then Miss Corona struck and lowkey ruined my whole flow of school. The week prior to spring break I was staying at school until midnight or so working on journal assignments just because I really enjoyed being able to leave everything at school and let home be my resting place. That all changed once we switched to Zoom School of Law after spring break. Having to take online classes has never been my strong suit. I literally avoided them in undergrad because the few times I took them I just didn’t learn as well and struggled. Zoom School of Law was no different. This past semester was soooo challenging for me and there is honestly still one class where Idk what the hell was going on in there. It was also really hard because at the beginning my family wasn’t understanding that yes, I actually work on law school stuff all day, especially if we have a journal round due that same week. It was just really stressful. Many arguments took place but we eventually came to an understanding. I’m really just glad it’s over and praying that Fall 2020 meets in person (so long as it’s safe to do so).

 

BLSA

I enjoyed my time as BLSA’s VP of Programming immensely! My president and right-hand woman, Jazmine, was such a great leader this past year and is an even better friend. I also enjoyed how well our board got along and all of the wonderful events we brought to Boyd’s campus. Regardless of my political beliefs or who I wanted to be president, the fact that we were able to bring Pete Buttigieg to our campus in the spring was pretty amazing. Even prior to the spring we switched up so much of our programming and had great events all around. I also went to our Western Regional Convention for the first time and it was EVERYTHING and more. I met so many beautiful and brilliant fellow black law students. I ran into two friends from undergrad and it was so great seeing them! We also got to go to a Clippers game and even though I’M a LAKER FAN til forever, I root for Kahwi because he went to SDSU. The trip also allowed me to grow closer to my friends from my own school. I even got to record a wonderful episode for my podcast with Jazmine and Aariel. All 3 of us decided to be on the regional e-board for next year and I’m super excited for whats to come from that! I’m so happy I became more involved with BLSA after my 1L year and so proud of our board for everything we did!

Gaming Law Journal

I will say that even though journal is A LOT of work, I’m really glad I chose to write-on. I debated back in forth the summer before 2L and decided just to do it and I don’t regret it. My citation skills have grown sooo much and I feel like I’m starting to know the bluebook like the back of my hand. The best part of being on journal was grabbing food and a beer or wine from Cheba Hut and the fun late-night editing sessions my friends and I had in the journal room. Those are some of my favorite memories of 2L. So many non-academic and hilarious conversations happened in that room and even though I sometimes dreaded going there, I miss it now! I clearly loved my experience on journal a lot because I decided to try and get the position of Managing Editor for my 3L year and I GOT IT. I’m still a little nervous even though I’m technically the current Managing Editor. I have some big shoes to fill because our last one was AMAZING. I’m excited to help the journal continue growing in the right direction.

 

So that’s my 2L year summed up. It was unlike any academic year I’ve ever experienced before and I’m sure I left some stuff out.

 

Leave a comment below if you want to know more about my 2L experience or law school in general!

 

Have a great day!