In my opinion, law school is a lot like basketball: Both have a certain rhythm or flow about them that one needs to discover and integrate into the way they go about doing things before they can realize their potential. In basketball, this is the rhythm you see when a player has that extra "hop" in his or her step, when he or she shoots the ball in a smooth and controlled manner, and when he or she can anticipate the moves of other players on the court. In law school, it's the rhythm you notice when a student seems completely engaged and in tune with the material of a class. I can't say I'm always in this rhythm but there have been times in law school when I reach that moment of clarity, something suddenly clicks, and the material finally makes sense. As a student, it's great when you find that rhythm. Attending lecture becomes enjoyable and a lot of the stress that normally comes along with being in law school is lost. Unfortunately, just as in basketball, law school rhythm can be easily lost. Missing a lecture, burning out, personal obligations, distractions from school, can all cause a student to loose that all so important rhythm.

This brings me to my next point: Law school and basketball also require a lot of energy. As a quasi-die-hard fan, the disappointment I feel when the Los Angeles Lakers lose a game is hard to convey in words. But I understand that there are times when the players just don't have enough energy to win. There are 82 games in the NBA regular season and it's unreasonable to expect any team to have the energy to win every game and still have enough left over to be successful during the playoffs. Thus, teams usually try to win enough games to make it into the playoffs and get a favorable seeding while trying to conserve as much energy as possible for a long post-season run. The type of energy and motivation a student needs to have in order to perform well during "finals-season" is similar to that a basketball player needs to perform well in the playoffs. The semester, or as I like to call it the "regular season" can be a long and grueling time for a lot of students; especially during semesters with heavy course-loads and hectic schedules which include more obligations and time commitments than just lectures. It can be difficult to go through three and a half months of class only to have to crank-up the intensity level for finals or "law school post-season."

In a semester that's included my last Turf Club, last first-day of class, last law school prom and many other "lasts," I hope I've developed enough rhythm and have enough energy left over to do well on my last set of finals.

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Whirlwind
By Adrian Rodriguez

It's only been a few short weeks since my last update yet so much happened that I might need two updates to fill everyone in. First off, I turned 26 last month and to celebrate I took a trip up north to the Bay Area. It was my first time in San Francisco and I absolutely enjoyed it; the food, sights, and people were amazing. Secondly, I made a stop at Loyola's grad fair, where I was measured for my cap and gown and caught up with friends over hot-dogs and drinks. Being fitted for my cap and gown reminded me, as if it wasn't already constantly on my mind, that graduation is just around the corner. The idea of graduating, while not really frightening, does bring along with it the reality I will soon be facing; a reality which includes job hunting, loan repayment, and putting the skills I've acquired in school to good use. Thankfully, when I do get worked up from thinking about my approaching reality I gain comfort when I realize that I've been prepared well to deal with these challenges.

I've also registered for my Bar Exam prep course, which happens to start the Monday after commencement. So while I'm looking forward to graduating from law school, it seems as though I'll be right back in the classroom reviewing bar material within a week of taking my last law school exam; it's kind of a disappointing to not get too much of a break after exams, but it's also part of the process of becoming a lawyer. I should mention here, that several of my friends sat for the February Bar Exam. Here's hoping that all their hard work and studying pays off with them receiving their bar numbers in a few months.

Alongside having to juggle both Bankruptcy and Income Taxation, the pace at my externship with the California Department of Real Estate has picked up these last few weeks. The attorneys are starting to trust the externs more, which in turn has led to increased workloads for myself and the other two externs at the Department. This past Monday I was assigned two cases for which I had to prepare several different documents. I had never worked on that particular type of case before and no other law clerks who had were in that day to help me figure the assignment out. I spent some time trying to figure out the right way to go about finishing the work on my own but after racking my brain I decided to ask one of the Department's attorney's for detailed directions for completing the task. Thankfully, she was more than happy to help and was even more thankful that I was helping lighten the Department's work load. I got all my work done before quitting time!

Lastly, I've been trying hard to make time to watch the Los Angeles Lakers, who've been on a winning spree these last few weeks. Going to school so close to the Staples Center can be really cool sometimes. I can't wait for the playoffs to start...Go Lakers!

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I'm now a few weeks into my last semester of law school and am ready to end my experience at Loyola on a strong note. Last semester's finals took a lot out of me. I felt like I was running on empty toward the tail end of the exam period. Fortunately, I was able to rest and recharge my batteries over the break. I caught up on sleep, read books I had wanting to check out for months, and most importantly, I got to spend some quality time with my family and friends. But putting last semester and winter break behind me, I have a lot to look forward to this semester; like my upcoming trip to visit my best friend in San Francisco over my birthday weekend, watching March Madness and the NBA playoffs with my basketball-crazy brothers, and my last ever Barrister's Ball (AKA law school prom).

The first several weeks of the semester flew by pretty, fast but at least I'm enjoying my classes more than I thought I would. This is strange because Income Tax and Bankruptcy are part of my course load this semester and I don't usually hear fellow students using the words "tax," "bankruptcy," and "enjoy" in the same sentence. Despite my own initial hesitation, I'm finding these two courses stimulating, and I'm seeing how much value they can have for all practicing attorneys, not just those who want to do transactional work.

I also recently started a new externship with the California Department of Real Estate. The department handles the issuance and regulation of real estate licenses in California, and thanks to the abundance of work in the office, I've gotten to put my legal writing skills to good use. Additionally, the department's location at the foot of Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles makes for some pretty interesting lunchtime excursions. There are so many great places to eat in the area, and I want to try my best to eat somewhere new every chance I get. Pretty much, my experience with the department has been awesome so far.

Lastly, the realization that I will soon graduate has begun to crystallize. It's scary to think that my life as a student will soon come to an end and that my life as a working professional will soon begin. Thankfully, the fact that many of my friends who graduated and passed the bar last year have secured employment has given me hope that the legal job market is improving and will continue to improve. Hopefully, conditions will be even better when I'm on the hunt for new work in a few months. On the other hand, I'm also very excited for what the future holds. I'm sensing the finish line of my journey here at Loyola and I want the experience to end on a positive note.


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My name is Adrian Rodriguez, and I am in my final year of Loyola's Evening Program. I graduated from the University of California, Riverside in the winter of 2007. I double majored in Political Science and History with an emphasis in Law and Society. Although you don't declare a major in law school, many students do focus on learning particular areas of the law. My focus has been public interest law. My dream is to work for a public interest organization that serves people by helping them with housing rights issues.

In many ways, my time at Loyola has turned out in much the same way as I had envisioned it would. It has been difficult yet rewarding, things have been overwhelming at times, it has required a lot of reading and studying, and has been full of really smart and motivated people. At the same time, I never expected to have as much fun in law school as I've had so far. By fun I don't only mean the typical idea of fun, but also the type of fun one can have when he or she discovers that they really enjoy learning about a certain subject or area of study. Although I entered law school with the intent of practicing criminal law, I realized by the end of my first semester that property law had stolen my heart and mind.

I spent the summer after my first year working at Inland Counties Legal Services, a non-profit organization that serves underprivileged residents of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. At Inland Counties, I assisted attorneys in the Housing Department and learned a lot about eviction and foreclosure law. During my third year, I externed at Inner City Law Center, a non-profit in Los Angeles that specializes in habitability lawsuits and benefits law. My time with these organizations helped me to see the human side of the ideas I learned in the classroom. I am set to extern at the California Department of Real Estate this semester. Hopefully I will learn a lot there, too.

Outside of law school, I like to spend time hanging out with my family and friends. Whenever I go to a new restaurant, I order a burger--not only because it's a safe call, but because I'm working on my own personal burger rankings. So far, my favorite is the Taps Burger from Taps in Brea.

I've played guitar since I was in the first grade. I own many different types of guitars and amplifiers and hoard musical gear in general. I've participated in Wit of Mandamus, the school's annual talent show, every year since I started at Loyola. I try to stay in shape by playing basketball in the mornings and going for late-night runs with my Siberian Husky, Lily.

So, this is me. I hope you stay tuned.

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