14 November 2014

Immigration in Arizona

This past weekend, I attended the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. I went to the NAPABA conference last year in Kansas City, Missouri. This conference reminds me why I am in law school, why I need to pay it forward, and why diversity is important. With 1500 attorneys and judges in one area, I felt a sense of empowerment, identity, and comfort. This conference celebrated the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act and centered on the issue of immigration.

The keynote address was particularly significant. Somewhat of a celebrity, Jose Antonio Vargas delivered the keynote speech on the last night of the conference. His message was simple but inspirational; we need to fix the immigration laws in America. What stood out to me was his promotion for his film, Documented, and his political action group, Define American. It made me wonder what it means to be American, and how do we as a nation choose who gets to have that legal title. His speech can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvH43B0xYrE

The night before his Jose Antonio Vargas’ speech, Arizona law enforcement lived up to its stereotype. After all the events for the day, there was a late night event at a karaoke bar. Filled with over a hundred attorneys singing great tunes such as “Bye, Bye, Bye!” by N’Sync and Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, there was also tune of sirens. From downstairs of the karaoke bar, you could see flashing blue and red lights. As a nosy law student, I asked what happened. Local law enforcement conducted a “paper stop.” That is when law enforcement has a reasonable suspicion that a civilian is undocumented, and stops them to make sure they have identification or “papers.”

I could not believe that law enforcement would do that when there was a room full of lawyers inside. It reminded me that no matter where you make it, how you look determines how you are treated. It reminded me that as a future lawyer, I can at least speak up for those who cannot speak up in the legal system. I did not intend to attend law school for immigration law but now I regret not taking the immigration law class by an outstanding professor committed to diversity at the law school (Professor Juliet Stumpf). I do intend on providing my service to the public interest and will do my part as an ally to issues that affect basic human and civil rights.

These photos do no justice to the awesomeness of the event but the first is Jose Antonio Vargas delivering his keynote speech. The second is my podmate Hannah, with her table centerpiece that she named Fred. I thought it was a very nice centerpiece and wanted to take it back to Oregon with me. The last is just a picture Mr. Vargas' powerpoint presentation.

23 October 2014

Snapshot of an almost JD: Amy Jesse

Meet Amy Jesse, almost a J.D. (graduating this winter). A crocodile is also eating her.

Amy and I sit across from each other every other morning to distract ourselves from our reading. It is our time to unwind in the morning before we "hustle and bustle" for the rest of the day. I met her my first year and we connected over our love of football (go Niners!). What I like about Amy is that she is not your traditional student. Most of us want to become an attorney and be in a courtroom. Amy, however, wants to work in the legislative arena. At the end of the day, how do you want to advocate? Well, here's a little bit about Amy, after surviving being eaten by a crocodile.

What's your educational background?

I have a bachelor's degree in Journalism and in History from the University of Iowa, and a master's degree in Media Research from the University of Colorado. I first thought I wanted to be a Journalist, then thought I wanted to study media, and then totally changed my focus and decided to go to law school to study Animal Law. 

What about your family background?

My family is from Chicago, and my parents along with lots of extended family still live in Chicago. My dad graduated from the University of Illinois and currently owns a commercial real estate business in Chicago. My mom graduated from Northern Illinois University and is a special education teacher. My brother went to the University of Colorado, Boulder and has never left. He is currently a civil engineer at a large engineering firm in Denver. There were no lawyers in my family until this past August when my cousin married one. 

 Why did you decide to go to law school?

One year into the master's program I was in, a friend of mine told me about the reality of factory farming in this country. I was appalled, and as any good student would do I researched the crap out of the issue. About a week later, I decided I had to dedicate my life to doing something about that system, mainly for the sake of the animals. The thing I found most disturbing was that the way animals in agriculture are treated is totally legal. I knew I had to try to do something about that. Law school was the obvious place to start. I didn't even think it was possible to study Animal Law, but after my first google search, I realized that it was possible at a school in Portland that I had never even hear of! 

What is your favorite part about Lewis & Clark?

My favorite part about L&C is that most students are here to make a difference. I think that's really rare for a law school. It affects the culture of the school in a huge way. Also, I would not be here if it weren't for the animal law program, so I have to put that at the top of the list too. 

What is your least favorite part about Lewis & Clark?

As a top ranked school for both animal and environmental law, I expected more classes and extracurriculars in each of those areas, and I expected the school as a whole to be more supportive of those areas. So, there's been some disappointment there. 

What are your future job and career goals?

I graduate in December, so this is a question I am getting good at answering. I want to do legislative and policy work that is connected to animal welfare, environmental, and food safety issues. I want to help draft and pass laws on both federal and state levels that regulate factory farming from all of the aforementioned angles. 

What do you think prospective students should know about law school?

Make sure law school is what you really want and is something you really need to get where you want to be because it is hard, and expensive. The best advice I could give to law students is to use all your externship credits. You can only learn so much in a classroom. 

What is an interesting part about your background?  Or in other words, how do you contribute to the diversity of Lewis & Clark?

I'm not sure I contribute to the diversity of Lewis and Clark. In most schools it would be rare that I am vegan, but that's pretty normal here. Perhaps my media background and my desire to do legislative work separates me. I also don't plan on staying Oregon after school, and most people here do. 

16 September 2014

The Summer Experience

 This summer, I went back home to San Francisco, California. Is there any other San Francisco? Probably not, but law school has trained me to be as concise and precise as possible. Fortunately, blogging gives me the freedom to add my own style on how I want to write.

I was able to go back to the bay area thanks to the American Bar Association’s litigation department. There was a program called the Judicial Internship Opportunity Program (JIOP), which placed applicants all across America with participating state or federal judges. I am open to sharing my application experience and summer experience to anyone who would like to know more.

I spent this summer clerking for the Honorable Newton J. Lam of San Francisco Superior Court. It sounds very majestic and final with the word “superior” in the title. However, there is also the California Courts of Appeal, and the real final decision maker, the California Supreme Court. Nonetheless, I biked to the Civic Center courthouse when I could and drove to the Juvenile Justice Center because I was too much of a wimp to bike up the hill towards Twin Peaks. I did not have any trial court experience before this and finally got to peer behind the curtains.

On my first day, I felt eager, nervous, and excited. I observed jury selection of a personal injury case. I then read a tentative opinion of a complex litigation matter. As the days went on, I did a variety of research on case law on the issues that arose during trial. I put my little appellate experience to use and made some recommendations on the opinion. Our department was then given a juvenile homicide after the personal injury trial. We still worked on a variety of civil matters as parties sent in their motions, but focused primarily on the many legal issues around the juvenile homicide. It felt great.

There was more than just the work during this internship. JIOP had its former interns who were now attorneys mentor us. It was a “what you make of it” type of program. I tried to make of it what I could in the short ten weeks but my heart was yearning to be back in Oregon. I enjoyed the 56-degree weather and fog on most days. I loved being back with family and friends. I ate so much food that I could not get in Oregon. However, I also missed my family of attorneys and judges in Oregon. While I feel fortunate I was able to do a “last hoorah” in my hometown, I am ready to embark on my personal journey in Portland, Oregon and grow into a successful attorney. 

*I apologize for no pictures. 

31 May 2014

What does it feel like to graduate?

Although my last post was my official last post. . . I must report that graduating from law school feels great.

You work hard, struggle, and live in law school land for 3 years.  Then, suddenly, you taste the sweetness of freedom.

It is worth it.  Good luck to all of you future JDs!

With some of the best people I know.

14 April 2014

Halah's Thank You Post

Dear Readers,

I always dreamed of giving a thank you speech.  That probably isn't realistic at this point, but I am happy to have one last post to share my thanks.

Thank you to Lewis & Clark College (my undergraduate school), Steve Hunt (my first college debate coach), and Bjorn Stillion Southard (my last college debate coach)  for encouraging me to accomplish my goals.  Thank you for helping me decide to go to law school.

Thank you to my Lakeridge High School debate team for teaching me responsibility as an 18/19 year old coach.  All of you mean so incredibly much to me.  I hope to see all of you achieve your goals in life.

Thank you to Dan Rohlf, Karen Smith Geon, Craig Johnston, and everyone at Earthrise for showing me how wonderful law school can be.  Spending my last year of college with you was the last push I needed to choose Lewis & Clark as my law school.

Thank you to my past supervisor at the Oregon State Bar, George Wolff, for encouraging me through my first year of law school. Your guidance and support was very helpful, especially as I struggled to figure out the "system."

Thank you to Toni Berres Paul, my favorite professor in school.  You made law school worth it in so many ways.  I appreciated all of your guidance and honesty over the last three years.  I am so lucky to have had you for Legal Analysis & Writing and Advanced Legal Writing.  I am even more thrilled to be able to spend my last semester with you as your TA.  You have been wonderful.

Thank you to Erin Ryan, the best Negotiations professor I know.  You taught me how to be more assertive and have higher goals.  You taught me how to be more confident.  These lessons have made me a stronger person.  I cannot thank you enough.

Thank you to Sandy Patrick, Daniel Barnett, my Purple Pod students last year, and the Legal Analysis & Writing Department.  Serving as your TA was a fun and rewarding experience.  All of you taught me how much I love working with people.  Perhaps, one day, I will be back. ;)

Thank you to the OSB Diversity & Inclusion program, Judge Darleen Ortega, J.B. Kim, and the Lewis & Clark Academic Enhancement Program.  Your constant support has helped me and many others make it to the end.  I hope to one day see more diversity in the Oregon legal community.  I have every intention to give back.

Thank you to Meredith Price, a recent graduate, who inspired me, pushed me to work hard, and encouraged me to never give up.

Thank you to the best job ever.  I am so thankful for the opportunity and I am so excited to continue on as a trial attorney this fall.

Thank you to Orange Pod for being the best podmates during 1L year.  I had a blast with all of you. A special thanks to my 1L study and car ride buddies, Kate Shumway and Erin Williams.  Also, a special shout out to my 1L lunch-time buddies, James Henry and Alex Coberly -- thank you for making me feel like I am funny.

Thank you to my law school desi friends.  It was so wonderful to have a small community this year. Also, thank you to my best law school friend and support, Sandy Dhesa.  You made 3L year so much better.

Thank you to all of the other amazing professors, classmates, and friends in school with me too.  So many of you have encouraged, supported, helped, and befriended me.  I appreciate it more than you know.  I am excited to work with many of you in the future and see all of you succeed.

Thank you for the best moments during the start of 3L year.  It felt like a dream too good to be true.

Thank you to the incredible students who let me blog about them in my "Snapshots of a J.D."  You all have inspiring stories and I am thankful you were willing to share.  

Thank you to my fellow bloggers and Admissions for keeping this blog alive.  I loved being able to represent the school.  I hope to see more posts from other amazing students in the future.

Thank you to Dean Klonoff and Associate Dean Spence.  Every year, you both successfully made Lewis & Clark even better. 

Thank you to my family and non law school friends.  I couldn't have done it without you.

Last, thank you to all of the readers.  I hope that one of these posts made an impact on someone at some point.  That would mean the world.

All the best,

09 April 2014

Environmental Law Advocate of the Year

The 2nd Annual Environmental Law Advocate of the Year competition happened today.

Congratulations to Laura Kerr!

Daniel Rottenberg and Ben Saver are amazing advocates as well. Ultimately, Professor Craig Johnston and Lewis & Clark's Environmental Law Program rock!