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post-bar thoughts

12 Aug

Ok so the bar exam is done.  I won’t get results until November, so there’s no point in stewing over it.  That said, I wanted to share my experience just in case a future examinee stumbles upon this post.

I took the exam at the Century Plaza Hotel location in Century City.  I opted not to stay at the hotel and just drove to and from the test each of the three days, to save money and to get to sleep in my own bed, eat my own food, and remove myself from all of the really intense crazy people. This was THE BEST decision.  It minimized stress (except there was bad traffic coming home each day).  I would 100% recommend not staying in the hotel if you live close enough.

My friends and I all met up in the morning and at the lunch break by the pool each day, and we packed lunches so we didn’t have to stray too far to make sure we were fed.  I was also surprised by how relaxed the proctors were (more or less). I was lucky that I didn’t have any hiccups with my plan (didn’t forget my laptop or the charger on any of the days and my car didn’t break down!)

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During bar studying, I was ALL ABOUT routine.  I woke up at 5 every day, worked out, headed to school by 8, studied until 4 or 5, came home and either took the rest of the night off or sometimes took a break (possibly to work out again) and then did some more studying in the later evening.

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Oprah quotes + caffeine were pretty clutch.

I also made law jokes whenever possible…

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I am so grateful for my family and friends for supporting me while they could literally watch me go crazy…

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…and my gym people for being around to talk to me about something other than the bar.

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Finally, I met some fellow examinees via Twitter (through the hashtag #barpreplife as well as the handle @barpreplife ).  It was so nice to commiserate with people (even though they were strangers) and it was a nice reminder that we were all in it together.

How do you handle stress? 

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legality of influence. [Fashion Law Symposium]

24 Mar

This past Saturday, March 22nd, I spent a few hours on campus (weird, I know) to attend a symposium put on by the Fashion Law clinic at my law school.  The name of the symposium was “One Channel Does Not Fit All:  The Fashion Law Implications of Omnichannel Marketing.”

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Let’s be real — I will be the first to tell you I am NOT interested in high-fashion (or even low-fashion, if that’s a thing).  My best friend is always on me about buying clothes that actually fit and spending time in stores that aren’t Lululemon.  So I didn’t go to this symposium because I want a career in fashion law.  I peeped the different panel discussions and one of them — about the legality of influence and the laws governing disclosures for bloggers — really interested me.

I had to miss the panels before lunch (because spin class) but I showered quickly, threw on a business-y dress that passes for fashionable in my eyes (even though I’m pretty sure peplum is pretty 2012), and headed over just in time for the lunch program.

Lunch was awesome for two reasons – first, it was catered by Joan’s on Third.  Second, it featured an interesting discussion between Bernard Campbell, co-founder of Fi3, and Crosby Noricks, Founder and Fashion Marketing Strategist at PR Couture.

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One component of the discussion was whether or not there is a place for stores in this era of digital marketing.  Crosby emphasized that she thinks stores will gain importance again, but it will be about the experience as opposed to the products themselves.  Again, I had to think about this as it applies to my life — but there’s definitely something about the Lululemon experience that makes me willing to spend a little more as opposed to trudging through clearance bins at the Nike Outlet.

Crosby also commented on the prominence of social tools — like bulletin boards — on brand websites, and how brands like Free People are reacting to consumer behavior by encouraging the use of things like selfies and hashtags and integrating them into the in-store and online shopping experience.

After lunch was the panel I was super stoked on — “Legality of Influence (Advertising & Disclosures).”

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Moderator:  Oren Bitan, Attorney,  Buchalter Nemer

Speakers:

  • Candice Hyon, Corporate Counsel of Marketing, Privacy, and Property at Forever 21
  • Lauren Indvik, Editor in Chief, Fashionista.com
  • Stacy Procter, Staff Attorney, Federal Trade Commission
  • Rey Kim, General Counsel and Senior VP, Legal and Business Development, HALSTON

I nerded out HARD while listening to this panel because it was pretty much a direct convergence of my professional (ish) life with one of my passions – blogging/social media.

First, I found it interesting that the FTC governs bloggers (I’m living in a cave and never really gave it much thought).

The FTC  is a civil enforcement agency.  It serves to protect consumers and to protect competition, and specifically focuses on policing unfair or deceptive acts.  Unfair or deceptive acts consist of:

  • a representation/omission
  • that is material
  • and is likely to mislead the consumer [a reasonable consumer, not someone who is ingrained in the industry and should know that posts are sponsored, etc.]

Under Section 5 of the FTC Act,  ALL material connections between bloggers and the advertisers/sponsor must be disclosed.  This applies to all types of blogs, and fashion bloggers are not exempt even though it could change the reader’s perception of them. Stacy suggested bloggers err on the side of caution and DISCLOSE material connections.  Makes sense.

Disclosures don’t have to take any specific form — they just need to be clear and conspicuous to the reader.

Here’s some other facts from the discussion I found fascinating:

  • Pinterest is the highest grossing social network.  The average user is on it for 1 hr and 15 minutes and spends $175.  Take that, Instagram.
  • One audience member explained that many brands mentioned in rap songs are paid placements. (Example: “Pass the Courvoisier” was paid, but “Tom Ford” was not).  He also emphasized the fact that rappers are held to a different standard because there is no disclosure requirement.  I thought that was really interesting — I had no idea these were paid, but it makes sense.
  • While there may be some confusion between who is a “blogger” and who is a “journalist,”  journalists are governed by a Code of Ethics that requires that they do not accept gifts.
  • One panelist mentioned GOMI in the context that readers  are aware of when bloggers aren’t disclosing things they should be. LOVED the GOMI shout-out and I am pretty sure I was the only person in the audience who had heard of it.

I stuck around for the last panel —  “Legally Good: How to be Socially Responsible and Why it’s the ‘Right Thing to Do’ for Fashion Brands” — but I started to zone out a little and didn’t find this one quite as interesting.

After the presentation, I chatted with some of my friends who are in the Fashion Law clinic and got to meet Professor Riordan and some other people who attended the symposium.

I’m glad I checked it out!  If you made it all the way to the bottom of this nerd-fest, do me a solid and answer one of the following:

  • Favorite apparel brand (fitness or normal “fashion”)?  Why? 
  • Do any of your favorite brands do anything marketing related that you find particularly innovative? 
  • Favorite marketing slogan (currently)? 
  • What is your personal policy for your blog re: disclosures? 

law talk tuesday: how to succeed as a summer associate.

4 Mar

Last week I spoke on a panel put on by a campus organization I’m part of – the St. Thomas More Honor Society – and it was all about how to succeed as a Summer Associate.  I spoke along with four other 3Ls about our experiences working as summer associates at “big law” firms the summer between 2L and 3L.  I thought I’d share some take-away points from the panel.

  • Work flow –  The workflow during a summer associate position can vary – some of the other summers in my class were constantly bogged down, whereas I was scrounging around for work the last week or so.  The important thing is being able to effectively manage your time, while at the same time not turning down any assignment that may come your way from an attorney. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for work from your work flow coordinator or an assigning attorney you’ve worked with in the past!
  • Assignment Tips
    • After receiving an assignment from an attorney, it’s generally a good idea to respond with an e-mail recapping what the assignment is and what question you’re being asked to research, as well as the format of the assignment and when it is due.  That way, before the assignment even gets going you and the assigning attorney are on the same page).
    • When submitting an assignment, it’s a good idea to end your e-mail with the attachment by saying “Please let me know if you’d like me to do anything else related to this.”  This provides a natural conclusion to your e-mail and demonstrates interest.
    • Social events – One of the best things about being a Summer Associate is that there are tons of social events, and free lunches. (No, really.  Whoever said “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” clearly wasn’t a summer associate).  With that inevitably comes alcohol.  My advice would be to match the tone of the event.  If everyone is having one glass of wine or beer, don’t be the person drinking his or her third rum and coke.  On the other hand, if all of the partners and associates are downing shots, you don’t want to come off as the wet blanket who doesn’t know how to have fun, either.  My advice is to use your judgment and to know yourself, and remember that even a fun night out is still an extended interview.
    • Final tips
      • One of the other panelists, Rose, suggested a book called “The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law” by Mark Herrman to read before beginning a summer associate position.
      • Don’t engage in gossip with attorneys about other attorneys (probably just a good general life rule).
      • Take constructive criticism well.
      • Don’t mistake “invitations” to meetings or social events as optional – they’re not.

Any other law students out there? What tips would you add?

law talk tuesday: semester overview.

28 Jan

It’s a new semester, so that means I should have law-related things to talk about at least once a week, so I’m reviving the Law Talk Tuesday portion of this blog.  (I meant to do it two weeks ago, but…#3LProblems).  I thought I’d kick off this segment with an overview of what I’m up to this semester.  I’m half-way through week 3 and I can already say this semester is way better than the worst semester of law school last semester.

Classes

I’m taking four classes this semester — two bar courses, and two fun electives.  Here’s the breakdown:

  • Business Associations (also known as “Biz Ass”).  I was not looking forward to taking this class, mostly due to the fact that business/corporate things like “securities” and “mergers” make no sense to me, at least on first glance. So far, the class is interesting and not as crazy convoluted as I had worried.  We’re finishing up a segment on agency law now and I don’t hate it.  Also, the way our professor repeatedly asks “so far, so good?” and uses muppet characters as hypos is super endearing.
  • Remedies  Ah, the classic 3L, pre-bar course.  Although a lot of Remedies is a review of torts and contracts, I am enjoying this class.  Sure, you might ask how a whole semester can be devoted to a concept of “what does the Plaintiff get if they win?” but it is a nice and welcome review.  I am also obsessed with my professor.  He interrupts lectures to ask us trivia questions, movie quotes, and to show us photos from his days as a high school girls’ basketball coach.  Just yesterday in class he stopped his lecture to tell my friend Ben that the fist-bump he offered another classmate when she got a question right was insufficient.  Love when professors make it fun.
  • Sports Law  This is another fun one so far.  We meet once a week and have covered spectator injuries (i.e. foul balls) and participant injuries.  In some ways, this is a torts review course, but we will also cover concepts like anti-trust and employment.  I also like that this course keeps me up to date in the sports world.
  • Reality TV and New Media Production and Distribution  I know, I know…could I be more LA?  I could not leave law school without taking this class from the name alone.  I don’t plan to go into entertainment, nor do I plan to be a transactional attorney, so this one is just for fun.  Oh, and we may or may not get a field trip to see a live taping of The Voice at the end of the semester.

Worth it just to see this guy… #amiright?

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Extracurriculars

I’m finally taking a chill pill and toning down my law school extra-curriculars.  I figure I better use my free time to focus on my true passions, i.e. spin-instructor-ing, running, and Back on My Feet. But with that said,  I’m still involved in a couple of things:

  • Research Assistant.  I’m still an RA for my favorite professor.  He’s writing a couple of law review articles dealing with DNA collection of juvenile offenders, and I’m helping him with some discrete research assignments.  It’s cool to learn a little bit more about the topic and to gain that experience.
  • Entertainment & Sports Law Review Editor. I’m not the biggest fan of the law review/journal experience.  Sure, it’s a necessary evil (because jobs), but the experience itself hasn’t been particularly enlightening or rewarding.  That said, I’m minimally involved as a Research Editor for my journal.

Anyway, that about sums up what I have going on this semester — if anything changes I’m sure it’ll come up on a future #LTT.

Law students — fav law school class? Why? 

law talk tuesday: semester wind-down.

17 Dec

“1L they scare you to death.  2L they work you to death. And 3L they bore you to death.” 

This was my first semester of 3L and it was SUCH a huge change from 1L and 2L.  The above adage has been completely true for me.  

1L was crazy. I studied every day and didn’t really do anything else besides study and prepare for class.

During 2L, I had the routine of how to prepare for class down, but I was so busy with extracurriculars. I was on the board for two clubs (Phi Alpha Delta and the Women’s Law Association), was on the Entertainment Law Journal, competed on the Vis Moot Court team, and externed full-time one semester. Gross.

My responsibilities have waned considerably during 3L which has allowed me to pursue hobbies outside of school. Unfortunately, my classes were pretty boring.

I loved my Trial Ad class. It was an awesome experience with a passionate and fun professor. (Loyola/USC students — take a class with Judge Dan Buckley).

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My other classes weren’t so hot.  You might have read my hate live-tweets during them.

In one class, the professor didn’t break down any of the material so it was digestible.  I am not interested in copying down verbose sections of the probate code verbatim from a slide. SO frustrating.

My other class was…not challenging? I liked the subject matter but struggled at how little class participation/novel thought there was. My friends made fun of me for that because we had very little reading and the final was not too hard to prepare for, but sitting in the class was a challenge for me.

Other than class, I also fulfilled my pro bono requirement with the Team Prime Time Mock Trial. This was a ton of fun and the kids always made me laugh, smile, or remind me that my mascara was not evenly applied (Thanks, Serenity!)

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To round out my semester, I was a Research Assistant for my favorite professor. I did a range of research assignments related to juvenile DNA collection.  It was a great way to do a little bit of work outside of my really boring less-than-exhilirating class line-up.

Anyway, that about rounds up my first semester of 3L. I am hoping next semester’s classes are a little more…stimulating?  Either way, I can’t believe I have one. semester. left. Eeek! I’ll pick up these LTT posts when classes resume…

Who was your favorite professor/teacher and why? 

law talk tuesday: maintaining finals sanity (somewhat).

10 Dec

Sorry for the lack of posts this week — even us 3Ls have to study for finals.  (I had Crim Pro last friday and Trusts & Wills is tomorrow…scary).  Everyone has their own study strategy – and I won’t bore you with mine right now – but what I will share is how to stay sane during the period between Thanksgiving and when that last final is over.

Keep Your Routine As Much As Possible

I remember getting this piece of advice from a 2L mentor when I was a 1L – during finals, try to keep to your normal routine as much as possible.  If you read a novel every night before you fall asleep, keep doing that and don’t feel like you need to replace it with your Civil Procedure flashcards.  Exercise is my big thing, so I make sure I still break a sweat 5-6x a week during finals. Having a small amount of “you” time will go a long way during finals.

Build in fun breaks

During finals, my friends and I spend way more time in the library than normal – but one thing we started doing during 1L (and have kept doing ever since) is we take an afternoon Starbucks break every day.  The 10 minute walk over to LA Live’s Starbucks is the perfect break, we get our legs moving, and come back refreshed, caffeinated, and ready to knock out another practice test.  It sounds silly, but having something to look forward to every day is huge – and it reminds you that there’s a world outside of the LLS library.

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This go-around I’m all about the Gingerbread lattes and the peppermint cake pops.

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A study break with Heather last year to check out the tree at LA Live.

Allow yourself a small celebration after every exam.

 Catch your breath after every exam.  During 1L, you will have four exams your first semester – and it is easy to think you need to finish one and immediately head back into the library to continue studying for the next one.  I have found that taking a few hours off to grab a meal (or a beer depending on the time of day) goes a long way in keeping me sane and charged to power through the next one.  Luckily, Yardhouse is also at LA Live and that has become the go-to place for my friends and me post-exam.

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Cheersing to a successful evidence final with my friends Connor and Blake at the end of 2L.

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And my buddy Blake and I after Ethical Lawyering last fall.  #Predictable

(Not pictured: my friend Aviva who took both of these pictures…)

How do you stay sane when you’re studying or stressed?

law talk tuesday: trial advocacy

3 Dec

Before I jet off to law school to study again (this is such a great time of year!) I wanted to share a little bit about one of my favorite classes I’ve taken — and definitely my favorite class this semester — Trial Advocacy.

This class was taught by an adjunct professor who is a judge over at the California Superior Court.  We met once a week for 3 hours (our class was small — there were only 6 of us!) and we covered a different segment of the trial every week.

For our first assignment, we had to give a speech on any topic.  I spoke about running (surprise, surprise), but it was great to get feedback about our public speaking and what we needed to improve on. (My nervous habit is that sometimes I will cross and un-cross my legs — so it was great to have that pointed out).

Here are some of the topics we covered:

  • Voir Dire (Jury Selection) –> aka my favorite part of a trial
  • Opening Statements
  • Direct Examination
  • Admitting exhibits into evidence
  • How to deal with expert witnesses
  • Cross examination
  • Closing Argument

Judge Buckley was very thorough with his instruction and also very supportive — his critiques were always couched in compliments and supportive statements. After he would lecture on a given topic, the very next week our assignment would be to do whatever he had just taught us.  We had weeks of practice on all of the topics I just mentioned, leading up to our “final trial” at the end of the semester.

I loved when we did a mock voir dire.  I have watched a few trials, and jury selection is always super fascinating to me.  I love trying to guess what the jurors’ back stories are or what their cockamamie excuse for trying to get off the jury will be. (Side-note: Don’t complain to me about having jury duty — it is the ONLY requirement imposed on US citizens that is not imposed on non-citizens.  Civic duty, pinnacle of democracy…you get where I’m going).

Another particularly cool thing we did was conduct class at a real courtroom where Judge Buckley works, at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in DTLA.  We had to reschedule our normal class, so we met on a Friday afternoon in his chambers, and each presented an Opening Statement and a Closing Argument.  It was a particularly cool and memorable class. 

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LA Superior Court: Stanley Mosk Courthouse.

For our final exam, we prepared a final trial from beginning to end.  I faced off against my friend and law school rival, Taylor.

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I represented the Defendant manufacturer (Acme) of an mechanical cigarette lighter.  Taylor represented the Plaintiff, whose mother was killed when she used the lighter and it burst into flames. No winner was declared, but I think everyone in the room knew the deceased’s injuries were caused by blatant product misuse, and ignoring the labels and warnings on the product itself and on the instructions included in the box.

We even had friends come in and play witnesses which was fun. Taylor tried to get his girlfriend to cry on the stand — she couldn’t quite fake it, but she was a champ in letting us practice with her multiple times.

After the final, the Judge gave us some really great substantive feedback. I overused the word “tragic” and could have built up my expert a little more in my opening — those were two of the biggest take-aways.

It was a great class and experience and a nice change of pace from the doctrinal classes that fill up the rest of the semester.

Finally, to end the semester, last night Judge Buckley took our class out for dinner and drinks.  We spent about two hours last night at The Yardhouse joking, telling stories, and re-capping the semester.  Taylor and I were on the same mock arbitration team last year and also externed together, so we had fun telling everyone about some of the ridiculous lawyering we’ve witnesses over the years.

Have you ever gotten drinks with a professor? (In a non-creepy way, of course)

During my 1L year, one of our professors organized a night out at a Mexican restaurant with all of our 1L professors. It was so fun to see them in a different context!

Law people: Favorite class in law school? 

I liked Trial Ad a lot, but overall so far mine is probably Evidence (or Con Law…it’s tough).