Commencement

On May 25 the NUSL class of 2012 graduated after three years of hard work and dedication to the law.   I was among NUSL’s 2012 graduates and I must say that it was a beautiful ceremony.  After the class of 2012 proceeded to their seats, our professors walked down the aisle and onto the stage: this was a bitter/sweet moment for me.   I was a bit saddened by the fact that I no longer have the opportunity to take a class with such brilliant professor’s.   However, I quickly remembered that although my law school career came to an end, that did not mean the end of my relationships with my professor’s.  NUSL professor’s made it clear that I, along with the rest of the class of 2012, can still reach out to them with any questions, concerns, career advice, life advice, or even just to talk.  I realized that graduating from law school and ending my law career DOES NOT mean that all of the meaningful relationships with my professor’s had to come  to an end. In fact,  one of the aspects that I love about NUSL is the fact that my professor’s have always been there for me during my tenure as a student, and will always be for me in the future.

Another aspect that stood out to me at commencement was Jacqueline Berrien’s speech.  Ms. Berrien was the key-note speaker for commencement.  She is the Chair of the EEOC and has spent her entire career fighting to give a voice to those underrepresented in the community.   Ms. Berrien’s speech was very motivational to me.  She spoke upon the progression of her career, and further gave advice to the class of 2012.  The day before graduation I had the opportunity to meet with Ms. Berrien in a “one-on-one” chat.  It was great meeting with her in a small setting and being able to ask her questions about career choices.

The best part of graduation was walking across the stage and attaining my diploma.   I will never forget the moment that I looked into the crowd and say the smiling faces of my Mother and Grandmother as I walked across the stage. That memory will forever stay embedded in my mind.

In all, commencement was a memorable event that I will never forget.  If you did not have the chance to attend the NUSL commencement ceremonies, you can watch it here:

Summer Advice for Incoming Law Students

This blog post is dedicated to all admitted NUSL students.  Below is a list of my 5 suggestions on how to spend your summer before law school:

1. Enjoy your summer! - Take that trip you’ve always wanted to take/ visit family and friends/ take long walks/ swim/ dance/ watch movies/ and just have fun!

2. Read as many non-related law books as you can.  – Catch up on all of the Hunger Game/ Twilight/ Harry Potter/etc series.

3. Sleep! – The first year of law school can be very demanding, so relish in your restful nights. :)

4. Create a Budget. - It is always important to have a budget in life.

5. Begin an exercise routine. – Not only begin it in the summer, but continue it throughout your first year of law school. Physical health will definitely help you with your mental health!

Questions.

Hello Everyone,

I cannot believe I only have six weeks left until graduation!  There is so much to do before then: find a job, figure out the bar, find someone to sublet my apartment, take exams, etc etc etc.  Suffice it to say, these next six weeks are going to be extremely busy for me.

As my three years of law school wind up I cannot help but think about the many questions I still have regarding my law school career, and my life as a future lawyer:

  • Am I ready for the bar?
  • Where do I want to live?
  • I am interested in a couple of areas of law – what do I really want to practice?
  • Will I ever find a job that suits me?
  • Am I ready to go into the “real world?”
  • Should I take more than one bar?
  • Where do I want to settle?

These questions run through my mind daily, however, I know that there is a plan for me.  As I graduate from law school in a few weeks I realize that I am in a transitioning stage in my life: I am transitioning from being a student to becoming a lawyer.  With this transition I further realize that Northeastern has definitely helped me hone in on the areas of law that interest me.  I have had four amazing co-ops in different areas of law-  from public interest, to human rights, to corporate, to juvenile law, to criminal law (prosecution).  Through the variety of opportunities I have had my law interests have narrowed, however, sometimes I think that my interests aren’t narrow enough.  Is this normal? What is “narrow enough?”  In six weeks am I really suppose to know the exact career route I want to take?  Am I suppose to stick with this exact career route for the rest of my life?

The Career Services office at Northeastern has been an immense help in assisting me to figure out what I want to do in life, and the avenue that I should take in order to accomplish my many goals.  They have helped me to begin to figure out the aforementioned questions that I have.  The staff members in the Career Services office are always willing to meet with students, they promptly respond to e-mails, and they genuinely care about the future of NUSL students. They have personally helped me to parse out my goals and future steps, and I definitely grateful for that.

In all, although I have a lot of unanswered questions about the long-term future, I do think that I am prepared to graduate and become an effective lawyer because NUSL has given me real-world experiences through my many co-ops and my clinical class (which I will talk about in a later blog).  I am excited about what the future holds and I am ready to start the journey!

Asia

Barrister’s Ball

This past weekend was NUSL’s annual Barrister’s Ball.  Barrister’s Ball can be described as a semi-formal law school prom.  The student Bar Association organizes and hosts  this event every year.
This years Barrister’s Ball was located at the Omni Hotel in Boston: it was absolutely gorgeous. In addition, the DJ was amazing, there was a candy bar, tasty appetizers, and I had an overall great time!

My friends and I at the 2012 Barrister’s Ball. (The blue and gold was not planned. :)

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Winter Coop

Hello Everyone!

I must update you on what has been going on these last few months.  For my winter coop I interned at a corporate law firm in Honolulu, Hawaii.  I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  I really loved being in Hawaii during the winter, because as most of you know, Boston winters are INTENSE! I particularly enjoyed going to the beach and exploring the island on the weekends.  The water and scenery were absolutely amazing, and the people were extremely kind: it must have been the “Aloha Spirit.”

At the firm I was able to work with experienced lawyers in researching legal issues. I also had the opportunity to work on projects involving real property, business law, personal injury, respondeat superior, and commercial litigation.  Overall, my assignments were interesting.  I learned a lot on this coop and I would do it again in a heart beat.

It is bitter-sweet that working at the firm was the last of my four coops.  Currently,  I am concentrating and focusing on finishing up my law semester in law school, and hopefully finding a job in either Georgia or New York. Wish me luck!

Work-Life Balance.

I cannot believe that I have exams in less than 2 weeks! Time flies when you are having fun. . . except that studying for exams is not that fun. . . neither is studying for class . . . or studying period. :/  I try to balance my work and my life by creating weekly to-do lists.  At the beginning of this past week I created a to-do list of 34 items that I wanted to get accomplished in regards to school and personal life.  As of now, I have marked-out/accomplished 21 items on said list.  Which is great.  I hope by Sunday I can finish the other 13 items on the list.  *Fingers Crossed*

In other unrelated news – my birthday was a couple of weeks ago!!! I cannot believe that I am 26 years old! [Side Note:  The saying goes, 'a woman should never tell her age,' but I do not mind. :)]  I celebrated my birthday jointly with a good friend of mine from law school: we had two birthday celebrations.  The first event was a birthday party at my house and then at a lounge in Boston.  It was a lot of fun. Great friends… Great music… Good times.  The second part of our week long celebration consisted of an intimate dinner with some of our close friends.  Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my birthday and I cannot wait until my birthday next year!

As for co-op -  I have decided to do my winter co-op in Hawaii at a general practice firm because I want to gain experience working at a firm (and skipping a Boston winter sounds amazing).  I am extremely excited about my winter co-op.  ALOHA!

Lastly, today was a hard day for me because it marks the anniversary of my best friend’s murder.  She was an amazing person and I miss her a lot on a daily basis.  Needless to say, it was very hard to concentrate in class today. I constantly pray for her family and other close friends because I know how hard it is to cope with everyday life knowing that she is gone. – In law school, personal things happen in everyone’s life, the hard part is trying to balance personal experiences with the time constraints of school.  I do not think I have mastered that balance, but I do think that it is important for me to try and master a balance in order to fulfill my goals of graduating from law school and further becoming a lawyer. I can do it. :)

Busy. Busy. Busy.

I must say that this is the busiest quarter of my law school career!!! There has been so much going on these past few weeks.  On a weekly basis I juggle: job searching, co-op interviewing, class readings, outlining, and extra curricular activities.  Although I am very busy, I can say that I thoroughly enjoy every second of it.

I spend most of my days immersed in reading and case briefing for class. I am currently taking a corporations class which I find interesting because the corporate world is very foreign to me.  Right now I am working on my corporations outline because I have a midterm this Thursday.  My outline thus far is 18 pages and I am about three-fourths through the material.  I have been working on this outline since last week Thursday and I hope to finish it by tomorrow night.

Switching subjects a bit – For co-op this winter I applied to quite a few firms.  My first three co-ops were human rights (http://asia-in-india.blogspot.com/ ) and government based. Thus,  since I have not experienced corporate firm life yet, I thought it would be a good idea to try it out before I graduated.  I mainly applied to firms in New York City, but I also applied to one in Hawaii.  I will keep you posted on my decision of which co-op I choose.

Today, BLSA teamed up with the Women’s Law Caucus and attended the Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk.   BLSA walks every year in honor of our faculty advisor, Professor Susan Maze-Rothstein, who is a breast cancer survivor.  I really enjoyed walking with my fellow classmates for this great cause.

Although law school can be very challenging and time consuming, it is worthwhile to have a work/life balance.  I exercised this work/life balance and traveled to New York to visit my boyfriend last weekend.   I enjoyed hanging out in Manhattan in the fresh fall air. The weekend was even more exciting because while in New York I had the opportunity to meet up with my best friend for dinner!

Finally, I cannot believe that I am half way through this quarter!!!! I look forward to Thanksgiving Break and further my winter co-op!

3L Year Begins!

Last week was the first week back at school! Although it is kind of tough transitioning from co-op to class, I am excited to start my 3L year. It was great seeing all of friends and classmates last week and hearing of their amazing experiences on their different co-ops. Some interned with federal judges, while others worked for firms, the government, or as in-house counsel. One friend in particular embarked on an amazing opportunity this fall quarter. She traveled to Kampala, Uganda this past Wednesday to work for a Human Right’s Organization that focuses specifically on women’s rights. My friend’s current experience shows one of the many great things about Northeastern. If a student wants to work internationally for a particular cause they can do so through NUSL. For example, I interned in Delhi, India with The Human Rights Law Network through the PHRGE fellowship (http://asia-in-india.blogspot.com/), and my friend recently traveled to Uganda to work for what she believes in. The co-op program at NUSL is extraordinary.

This quarter I am taking four classes: Advanced Legal Research, Negotiations, Corporations, and Family Law. I have three classes on Tuesday and Thursday, and one class on Monday and Wednesday. Taking three classes in one day is a bit challenging, but it is worth it because I do not have Friday classes.

One of my many goals for this school year is to have a work-life balance. Along with my four classes I am in the process of applying for jobs post-graduation, and further applying to positions for my winter co-op: I have a lot to do for school and my career. In order for me to accomplish my goal of having a work-life balance I plan to to have fun this quarter! Boston is an amazing place with a lot of rich history. I unfortunately did not have a chance to explore Boston as much as I wanted my two prior years in law school, however I plan to do it now. :) In addition, this past weekend was labor day weekend and I spent it in Rhode Island for a wedding. The wedding was absolutely beautiful and I was grateful to have a break from school.

This upcoming week is going to be a very busy one. Not only do I have class, but I also have to run the first Black Law Student Association (BLSA) meeting. This year I am chair (president) of BLSA. BLSA is one of the most active organizations on NUSL’s campus. Not only does BLSA organize events for the NUSL population and the community at large, but we also serve as a support system for our members in order for them to succeed in law school and further accomplish their career goals. I am extremely excited about this year for BLSA!

For now I am headed to sleep because I have an early 10:15am class in the morning. Some of you may be thinking that 10:15am is not early at all, however I am not a morning person. Until next time, good night.

Reminiscing: Summer 2011

It rained today!!! I don’t know why the rain compelled me to write this blog post, but for some reason it did. One great thing about the rain is that my car gets a free car wash! I know what you’re thinking, but hey, I have to cut costs where I can. :)

As I look out of the window at the rain falling from the sky, I reminisce about my morning and further my summer as a whole. This morning I took the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). The MPRE is a test that all law students must pass in order to practice law in most jurisdictions. Although it is only a two hour test, the multiple choice questions are a bit tricky; thus, I studied and prepared for it by taking both a professional responsibility course at school and a Kaplan course on my own. I was a little nervous going into the test, but I adequately prepared for it and by God’s willing, I will do fine.

With less than a week left of my internship at the US Attorney’s Office, I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer. My co-op this summer was very thought-provoking and interesting. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most brilliant attorneys who have an array of knowledge that I can only hope to have one day. I loved this internship because the lawyers trusted me, along with the other interns, to draft responses to defendants’ motions and to appellate briefs: which definitely improved my writing. Subsequently, they read over my drafts, made corrections, debriefed my writing with me, and filed the document in court. I must say that it was a great feeling knowing that my hard work was used for the betterment of society. In addition, I had the opportunity to go on field trips with the other interns. Specifically, we visited the police station, TSA division at the airport, post office, and prison. There was one other field trip to the medical examiner’s office in which I did not attend because I knew that I could not stomach seeing an autopsy from start to finish.

Along with co-op, I also must reflect on the relationships that I’ve built throughout the summer. Moving to Nashville was a new experience for me. Prior to this summer I’ve had a limited amount of experience in Nashville: I attended college about an hour and a half away from Nashville but would only travel there a couple of weekends a semester with friends. Needless to say, living here was a bit different than a casual weekend trip. I moved to Nashville only knowing a couple of people in the city; therefore, I was inclined to make new friends. I was happy to learn that the interns with whom I would be working were all very nice. Throughout the summer we organized intern activities which included going to the swimming pool, having BBQ’s, going bowling, and much more. I am thankful for the relationships that I’ve built with my fellow interns and hope that they continue throughout the school year.

In addition, I also had a lot of fun this summer. Among other things, I took a trip to Houston and Rhode Island for weddings, traveled to New York for my boyfriend’s birthday, hung out with close college friends in Nashville, and went zip-lining! Yes! Zip-lining through trees over 60 feet above the ground. It was a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

I must say that although I enjoyed my summer here in Nashville, I still look forward to traveling back to Georgia next week in order to spend time with family and friends. I really miss my family and can’t wait to see them.

Lastly, in case you are wondering how my job search is going, I’ve applied to nine jobs so far! I feel very accomplished after submitting those applications. Hopefully, I’ll get an interview, but if not, I won’t give up the search!

Overall, this has been an extraordinary summer experience.

Questions and Thoughts of a Rising 3L

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about life after law school. Specifically, what do I want to do after I take the bar next summer? Now, for some rising 3Ls this may be an exciting time, especially if that 3L has a job lined up already. However, this is very stressful for me because the job application process starts NOW!

I have yet to fully narrow down exactly what I would like to do after graduation, which makes the application process a bit difficult because I should start applying now. I know that that I am interested in criminal law and human rights, and in addition, I know that I would like to do some kind of judicial clerkship. But then again, I wouldn’t mind working at a DA’s office; or small/medium size firm; or attaining a fellowship for a year; or working for a non-profit; this list goes on.

I cannot help but wonder whether other rising 3Ls are going through the same dilemma of what to do after graduation. Where to move? What to practice? When to apply? How to apply? Now, I must admit that I am not completely lost in my application process because NUSL has an amazing career services department. I am grateful for the NUSL career services office because they have been extremely helpful as I tackle the journey of applying for jobs. It is great to know that they are just a phone call away.

So, now for the question you may have been thinking: “Asia, what HAVE YOU decided about life after law school? Have you decided anything?” Well, the good news is that I have decided to focus my job applications in Georgia (which is where I am originally from)!!! That’s exciting! Right? I have my region narrowed down. :) However, I definitely am not stuck on moving to Georgia. For example, if there is an opportunity elsewhere, then I am willing and able to take it.

Which brings me to my next point (thought): in order to practice law, one must take the bar. That is clear. But, what happens if say, I take the Georgia bar, then find out I have an opportunity to work in California. What happens then? I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. I am definitely taking the Georgia bar, but does that mean I should only apply to jobs in Georgia? Or, should I also expand my horizons elsewhere?

My life right now is full of questions. I know what I have to do: research and apply for jobs. However, finding the right job for me is a bit of a struggle. I’ve been speaking with the attorneys at my office (as a reminder I am currently doing an internship with the US Attorney’s Office in Nashville), and they’ve told me that my first job out of law school will not be my last. That’s reassuring because as of now, I do not know what I would like to do with the rest of my life. Obviously I want to practice law, however, the specific sector and job are both still up in the air. I have my preferences, but then again I also have an open mind.

So another thought of mine is potentially going back to school to attain an LLM or masters. Since I would consider myself a “life-long learner,” maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go back to school and attain another degree. Hmmm, maybe I should go back to school after I graduate law school? Actually, scratch that. I am going to focus on applying for jobs. :)

I will definitely keep you posted on my further thoughts regarding my job search. Wish me luck!