A Brief Update

The second semester is quickly drawing to a close. I cannot believe how fast it went! My graded brief has been turned in, finals are just around the corner, and I have already registered for Summer and Fall classes!

The graded appellate brief is the big project in Lawyering Skills and Strategies during the Spring semester. Since LSS focuses on persuasive writing in the second semester, this is a natural choice for a graded assignment. It involves drafting a brief for an appellate court, and students are divided into those arguing for the appellant and those for the appellee. Because it is also the last major assignment you will submit it the class, you can bet that it will require all of the skills you have picked up in both the Fall and Spring semesters. One cool part of writing the brief is that all 1Ls participate in one mandatory round of oral arguments based off of their brief. For those of you who may be interested in advocacy, the mandatory rounds are a great introduction to the field. For those whose interests lie in areas other than advocacy, the experience still gives you great insight into the process of constructing a good oral argument, and because the mandatory rounds take place a good two weeks before the brief is due, participating in the competition helps you to stay on schedule when drafting the brief. Turning the brief in was an incredible relief, both because it is a major assignment for the semester and because of the amount of time it takes to write. As an added bonus, the LSS Department provided a fajita feast to the part time students directly after the deadline.

Returning to the oral arguments– students have the opportunity to continue on to further competitive rounds culminating in the John Black Finals, which be held tonight in Krost Hall beginning at 6:30 pm. Current and admitted students can mingle and enjoy pizza prior to the event starting at 5:30 pm.

My last LSS class occurred on Monday night. My experience with the class has been great, and I’m certainly sad to leave. While I won’t miss the stress of writing the graded assignments, my professor has really gone out of her way to make sure each of us learns legal research and finds a voice in legal writing. The practical writing assignments and the comprehensive feedback on them has been greatly beneficial. All in all, I feel this class has prepared me very well for the rest of my law school career and beyond.

Speaking of the rest of my law school career, I this week we registered for Summer and Fall classes. While part-time 1L students are limited to the two required classes in the summer (Criminal Law for the first half, and Statutory Interpretation and Regulation for the second half), we do get to choose all but one of our fall classes. (Constitutional Law is the last mandatory 1L class). I am so excited for my two fall electives, Administrative Law and Accounting and Finance for Lawyers. While the subject matter of both of these classes seems interesting and extremely practical, I am really excited because I actually got to choose my classes for the fall.

While the semester is nearly finished, exams haven’t happened yet so I’ve definitely got some studying to do.  I’ll be posting about those in my final post for the semester, so look for it soon.

Statistically, it’s possible…

While Major League Baseball season opened for the Houston Astros on April 1st, the Astros Faithful are crossing their fingers that this season is no joke. Minute Maid Park provides a great game environment in addition to a family friendly environment, and with 74 home games remaining and ticket prices ranging from $5.00 in Outfield Deck II to $95.00 in Club I, there is plenty of opportunity for a break from the law student/summer associate routine. Considering the Astros are still only one and a half games (as of this writing) out of first place in the American League West, it is still statistically possible for them to bring home the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Not only will you have the option to see the returning World Series Champions (Boston Red Sox, 7/11-7/13) but you’ll have ten separate opportunities to challenge yourself on $1 Dog Day (that’s hot dogs) as well as to entertain yourself each Friday home game with the Friday Night Fireworks. Minute Maid Park also offers a wide assortment of local Houston fare, such as Prince’s Hamburgers, St. Arnold’s Beer, and Blue Bell Ice Cream, to name a few.

All in all, a night (or afternoon) at the ball park can offer a unique break from the day-to-day routine inherent in a legal education. Extra points go to the person able to attend one of the three opportunities you could potentially see the Astros and the Houston Dynamo on the same day!

Astros

2nd Semester Reflections: GPITT and John Black Mandatory Rounds

Another semester is well underway here at the Law Center, and I really can’t believe that it’s more than halfway finished! This semester, the Part Time section is taking Torts, Contracts, and Lawyering Skills and Strategies II. There has been a bit of overlap between classes, and with Civil Procedure under my belt, I feel like I understand assigned reading much better in my two doctrinal classes. In LSS, I’ve already turned in a demand letter and a motion for summary judgment, and I am currently working on my graded brief. This semester, the LSS class covers persuasive and appellate writing, so the information I’ve learned so far about the appellate process and standards of appellate review has helped to further tie my studies together.

There have been two really exciting events this semester: the Government and Public Interest Table Talk (GPITT) hosted by the Career Development Office, and John Black Mandatory Rounds as part of my Lawyering Skills and Strategies class. As GPITT’s name suggests, government and public interest organizations come to campus to discuss their organizations’ work in detail and to take applications for summer internships. It was exciting to take another step further towards my legal career. Over 50 government and public interest organizations with various missions came to meet with students. I enjoyed speaking with the different organizations about the great work they do and the opportunities for law students to get involved with the organizations. Since public interest has been my goal from the outset, I had already researched a few organizations that I really want to work for and made sure to drop off applications and speak with the attorneys who attended. In the weeks since GPITT, I have interviewed with some of the organizations, and I was recently offered a summer internship! It was awesome news! I really feel like all the studying and schoolwork is starting to pay off. Even though I’ll be interning full time and taking classes in the evenings this summer, I can say I’ve never been so excited!

The second big event I’ve participated in this semester was the John Black Moot Court Competition mandatory rounds. As part of the LSS class, all 1L students participate in one round of oral arguments based on the appellate brief we’re currently drafting. The competition was an amazing opportunity to try out my public speaking skills outside of class, and the feedback I received from the judges will be helpful if I later decide to try out for the moot court or mock trial team. The other added benefit of having to participate in oral arguments is that you are forced to outline your brief early, which hopefully will take some of the work out of writing it.

An official article about GPITT with photos can be found here.

The Great Houston Sports Triangle

Sports

Providing an unprecedented 1.2 square miles combined with a 6.5-mile tail of athletic terror, many a discerning sports fan has disappeared into the midst of the “Great Houston Sports Triangle.”

Granted, the above-referenced fan will eventually reappear (unlike an encounter with the Sports Triangle’s much more horrific cousin, the Bermuda Triangle), but they may or may not have had an enjoyable experience!

Houston boasts four of the five professional sport teams (hockey has just not found a home in humid Houston).  In 2013, two of the four teams, the Houston Rockets (NBA) and the Houston Dynamo (MLS), found themselves in playoff contention.  Meanwhile, the Houston Astros (MLB) logged a record of 51-111 and the Houston Texans (NFL) finished the year at 2-14. Despite season records, good or bad, this means that the city of Houston sees sporting action year-round at the professional level.

In addition to the local teams, Houston is treated to many international events.  The Fayez Sarofim & Co. US Men’s Clay Court Championship is the oldest tennis tournament in the country to still be played on its original site while the Chevron Houston Marathon is the largest single day sporting event in the city.  The BP MS 150 hosts 13,000 cyclists for two days, covering an impressive 180 miles.  Attracting thousands of golf enthusiasts, the Shell Houston Open is a regular golf tournament on the PGA tour.  Finally the city’s “signature” event can be found in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the world’s largest live entertainment and livestock exhibition.

While the world’s best teams are not necessarily fielded locally, as indicated by the last local championship coming from the Houston Dynamo in 2007, it can easily be said that the city of Houston sees more than its share of world-class athletes covering a multitude of disciplines.

Admitted Student Events

Spring is in the air, and the sunnier days and warmer weather mean one thing in the law school admissions world ~ the Admissions Committee is diligently reviewing applications for the entering fall class, and admitted students are carefully weighing their options.  But don’t panic ~ if you haven’t received a response from us yet, it’s an ongoing process, and you’ll be hearing from us soon!

For those applicants who have already been admitted, there are quite a few events that you’ll want to go ahead and mark on your calendars.  Our office will be sending out more detailed invitations via email to our admitted students, so keep your eyes peeled as we’re still hard at work finalizing the details for these events!

March-April: Admitted student dinners with faculty members.  Our phenomenal Law Center faculty will host small dinners for admitted students at some fantastic area restaurants.  Watch your emails for more information on these.

April 4th: Admitted Students Preview Day.  This is a all-day opportunity for admitted students to come to the Law Center and hear from professors, current students, and alumni, as well as get information from our various programs.  You will also have the chance to sit in on a mock class and take a tour of our facilities.

April 15th: Part-time Admitted Students Preview Evening.  Visit the Law Center to attend an evening class, take a tour, and enjoy dinner with current students and professors.

April 18th: John Black Moot Court Competition, Final Round (6:00-8:50 pm at the Law Center).  Hear about our Trial Advocacy teams from current students and have a light dinner prior to watching the competition.

A brief description of the competition:

Mandatory Rounds 
Each spring, every 1L participates in the mandatory rounds by preparing and delivering one argument, with a partner, on the same topic as the Lawyering Skills and Strategies (LSS) brief that the student will be writing concurrently. This exercise is part of the LSS curriculum and will comprise part of each student’s LSS grade. While the Advocates assist in the planning and execution of the mandatory rounds, these rounds are primarily under the authority of the LSS department.

Competitive Rounds
After the mandatory rounds are over, the Advocates host a full-blown competition for all interested 1Ls. The competition is optional, and the winning teams usually receive cash prizes. Teams competing in the competitive rounds will use the same “problem” (fact pattern, research, etc.) that they used in the mandatory rounds.

July 17th: Admitted Students Preview Day.  This event will be later in the afternoon, and includes a reception with faculty, alumni, and current students.

We hope that you will be able to attend at least some of our events geared toward admitted students!  As always, if you have any questions, please email our office at lawadmissions@uh.edu.