11.15.11 By Kailey

The Thing About St. Louis

Hey Friends!

First, I’d like to say welcome to the new bloggers! I’m super pumped to have an infusion of new life (and a break from my absurdity) on this blog. I’m looking forward to reading your posts!

Second, now that I’m almost to the halfway point in law school – I’d like to shed some light on the elephant in the room… AKA the fact that WashU is located in St. Louis. While I have truly enjoyed my experience at WashU so far, I have to admit that growing up in St. Louis, it felt somewhat disconnected from the community. I think this poses some interesting and nuanced challenges for students, faculty, employers, and St. Louisans in general – and instead of choosing sides, (can you tell I’ve read Getting to Yes? ha.) I’d like to mitigate some of the tension by explaining the situation as I see it and providing some tips on way WashU Law students can improve their experience in STL both socially and professionally.

The Complex

I have heard out-of-towners mention the St. Louis “complex” frequently and I think it’s an important starting point for this discussion. Essentially, St. Louis is viewed as feeling inferior to other cities and therefore its people/employers are less-than-open to outsiders. I think this stems from a vicious cycle of people on the coasts saying less-than-courteous things about St. Louis and St. Louis clamming up in response – but regardless of its roots – there is some truth to this “complex” idea, and it has real implications.

When STL employers interview Washington University law students, they frequently ask questions like: “do you plan to stay in St. Louis?” “do you have connections to St. Louis”  “why St. Louis?” Why? Well, because of the “complex” and also because of the actions of many students/recent grads, local law firms have become hesitant about hiring people who don’t like St. Louis and don’t plan to stay. Law Firms, especially big ones, lose money on new hires their first few years while they’re learning the ropes. They hope to recoup that investment when associates remain at the firm and bill hours in years to come. When people who do not wish to remain in St. Louis cut their teeth at the expense of these firms and then take their skills (and that law firm’s investment) out of state – it’s only logical that there is some frustration. This isn’t to say every single person from New York, California, or any other state has no capacity to love St. Louis the way locals do, or that people shouldn’t have autonomy to follow their career path wherever it takes them – it’s just a broad interpretation of some of the perils of being a big school in a city with a small town feel.

Solutions?

Between the varying legal market, an uncertain economy, and the propensity for young professionals’ goals to change – it is difficult to commit to a certain path or a certain city. I don’t believe any St. Louis employer expects that someone who has only lived here 5 months will walk into an interview and truthfully exclaim that they 100% for certain will spend the rest of their professional life here. And those that do (trust me, many think this is a great idea) come off as phony. I think if you are someone who wants a firm job and you are willing to work in St. Louis for the summer, honesty is the best policy. For Example:

Question: “I see you’re from California and went to college in Boston. So, why St. Louis?”

Bad Answer: “Well I’ve lived here for 5 months and I feel like I’ve pretty much seen the whole city. I love toasted ravioli, going out on Delmar, and hey! You can’t argue with the Cardinals!”

Better Answer: “I just moved here in August, but so far I’m really enjoying the city. My ultimate goal is to live in the midwest, so I could see myself working in St. Louis. What is most important to me though, is that I find a job at a firm that is compatible with my professional interests. Your firm’s ABC department handles the type of litigation that I have always wanted to do.”

The first answer patronizes the St. Louis employer. (Mini-rant here: St. Louis is made up of  79 distinct and diverse neighborhoods with differing food, culture, and architecture. I’ve lived here nearly my whole life and haven’t finished exploring. Out-of-towners who think they’ve seen all there is to see are more than likely mistaken.) It also exaggerates the already obvious fact that you aren’t quite acclimated to your surroundings. The better answer admits your differences but turns the tone of the conversation to something more positive and more important. Beginning with an honest but positive comment followed by redirecting the question to something that shows your specific interest in the firm and a stronger commitment to the job will put you in control of the conversation and let you frame the “St. Louis issue” on your own terms.

Another quick tip: be open minded about where you are. I saw this car driving the other day, and not only were my feelings a little hurt, but I was also amazed at how (pardon my blunt-ness) stupid this person is to have such a negative attitude in this economy. Jobs do not magically fall from the sky into your lap – and even if you don’t want to work in Missouri, having this type of attitude in general is not a good look.

Having an Open Mind

I hope you don’t read this post as saying “you’ll never work in St. Louis if you’re not from here!” Because that simply is not true. I also want you to know that if you don’t want to work in St. Louis, WashU has a great national-reach and the sky is the limit if you work hard. The point of this post is to just make people aware of the dynamics of the legal market in St. Louis and hopefully provide some helpful tips so that out of state students can successfully navigate their interviews.

Additionally, I hope you’ll all keep an open mind about what St. Louis has to offer – event if you have no intentions of ever working here. We can all agree that New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, etc. are bigger, brighter cities… but that doesn’t mean you can’t cozy up to St. Louis! I mean, come on, Toasted Ravioli and the Cardinals! What’s not to like!

I hope you all have a great turkey day! I’ll be writing more frequently over break, etc…. posts to come: All About Journal, Section Wars, Guide to STL Nightlife, and other random 2L musings.

- Kailey

11.10.11 By Kaitlyn

A Southern Girl Giving The Midwest A Whirl

Hey Y’all!

My name is Kaitlyn Pennington-Hill and I’m a 1L from the GREAT state of Texas, Houston to be exact. I went to the University of Houston (Go Coogs!) for undergrad and came straight through to law school. I like working out, watching romantic comedies while eating strawberry ice cream, going out to dance clubs with friends, shopping, catching up on the latest celebrity gossip and reality TV, and hanging out with my family. Now that you know a bit about little ol’ me, let me tell you about my experiences as a 1L thus far.

Well, where should I begin? I feel like so much has happened in such a short amount of time. Let’s take it back to grade school and do this timeline style.

Early August: 14hr drive from Houston to St. Louis. Move in, hang with the roomie, and relax for the next couple of weeks before orientation.

Late August: A week of orientation and meeting fellow 1Ls. Honestly, the current students at WUSTL couldn’t be more welcoming. I’ve only been in law school for four months and I already feel like I’ve made lifelong friends. There is a Facebook group designated for my class where everyone posts information about different events/parties/outings and invites literally everyone to come out. Classes also began in late August, I think. Ha! My professors are AMAZING, seriously. They go above and beyond to make sure everyone understands the information. For example, if someone asks a question and the professor doesn’t have the answer right then, they will do research that day and give you the information the next class! Also, for me at least, getting called on is not so bad. I don’t know if that’s saying much coming from me though because I was a broadcast journalism major in undergrad. *shrugs shoulders*

September: Homesickness kicked in BIG TIME. I am not exaggerating when I say I was on the phone with my parents crying after class everyday. My mom is a flight attendant so I was booking flights and flying standby back home EVERY WEEKEND. My family and I are extremely close and moving to St. Louis is my first real experience away from home. The first couple of weeks of school were brutal for me, but when my birthday (Sept. 20) came around things started to change. I had a birthday party and pretty much had so much fun with my new friends from the law school. This made me realize that I had to appreciate St. Louis for what it had to offer rather than dwell on what I left behind in Houston. I also decided to get involved at the law school to take my mind off things. I joined the Family Law Society, the Women’s Law Caucus, and became a 1L representative for the Black Law Students Association.

October: Intramural Flag Football and Halloween Partaaaaaay…this is pretty much all I remember about October. Thursday nights were the highlight of October for me because that’s when the flag football team I was on, Pro Bono Players, played games. Since our team name was Pro Bono Players, it was only appropriate that our team slogan was “handing out [insert explicit here] whoopins for free.” Creative right? Be that as it may, our season didn’t end as pleasantly as it began. Undefeated all the way to the championship and then….we lost. Not to worry though because the Halloween party was the next day! The day after the Halloween party I had to remind myself I was in law school, not undergrad. That should give you an idea of how EPIC the Wash U Law Halloween party is. AH-MAY-ZING. I also participated in the 1L Client Counseling Competition the day after the party and even made it to finals! (shout out to my amazing partner in the competition…you know who you are!)

November: This month is all about grinding it out. Finals are right around the corner and its starting to get real in the streets of WUSTL. Early mornings, long days, and late nights have become all too familiar. I am sooooo ready for Thanksgiving break, even though I’m sure it won’t be much of a break. So much to do, so little time..aaaghhh!

Well that’s all for now folks. See y’all after finals…wish me luck! :)

- Kaitlyn

(Feel free to comment or ask any questions you may have. I’ll do my best to respond in a timely manner.)

09.26.11 By Kailey

A Tour of the Law School

Howdy!

When I first started at WashU, despite living in St. Louis for nearly all my life, I had no idea where anything was on campus let alone in the law school. I am a person who gets more nervous about finding my classroom the night before school starts than about doing well or making friends. This may sound very silly to some, but for those of you who can relate – I thought I would sort of break it down for you. How does that sound?

Thanks Google Maps.

Let’s start with the obvious: Anheuser Busch Hall – this is the major law school building where nearly all of your classes and activities will take place.

First Floor:

  • Clinics – the offices for all the clinics are located just inside the main entrance of the law school. Professors who work in the clinic also keep offices here. It’s a good idea to know this location, but you won’t probably spend much time here until you’re  a 2L or a 3L.
  • Library – a portion of the first floor of A-B Hall is library space. You can’t access it from the first floor entrance but once you’re in the library on any other floor you can make your way down. You might need to go here during your first year Legal Research course to complete a scavenger-hunt-esque assignment, but it’s also a pretty quiet place to study.
  • Facilities / Events – the facilities and events offices are also located near the entrance on the first floor. If you’re part of a student organization you will want to make friends with these staff members because they (a) control who has access to what and (b) make sure all events run smoothly.

Second Floor:

  • Library / Printers / Computer Lab / Computer Services - the 2nd floor portion of the library is probably the most poppin’ of all the floors. This is where the main computer lab and printing stations are located, as well as the Lexis and Westlaw printing stations. This is a popular place to study between classes – so it isn’t as quiet as the other floors. There are a few study rooms where you can meet with friends, as well as tons of desks, tables, and walk-up computers. This is also where Computer Services is located (inside the library) so if you’re having trouble – head on over there.
  • Classrooms: there are two big classrooms on the second floor as well as several smaller rooms where you might have meetings. I prefer 204 for taking finals – just as an aside.
  • Lockers / Mailboxes / Bulletin Boards – student lockers, mailboxes, and bulletin boards are also located on the 2nd floor. Make sure to check your mailbox & bulletin boards frequently for upcoming events, competitions, and group meetings. In addition to the law-daily emails, this is the best way to keep up with what’s going on around the law school.
  • Business Office – the business office is helpful if you’re turning in receipts to get reimbursed for student organization expenses or if you get a stipend for public service work during your 1L summer. They are very helpful but tucked away – when you come up the main stairwell from the front entrance they are located to your left (the lockers are to your right).

Third Floor:

  • Crowder Courtyard – Crowder is where lots of students have lunch, hang out between classes, and where numerous things such as happy hour and networking events take place. It’s really beautiful – with a gigantic glass ceiling and brick walls, but it also provides a central meeting spot that makes it almost impossible to avoid socializing at some point during your day.
  • Student Commons / Vending Machines – the commons are located behind the courtyard and feature tvs, seating, and study rooms if you’re looking for a more low-key place to hang out or snack between classes. Just off the commons are the student refrigerators and vending machines. Oh just a tip – you can use campus cards in the vending machines so you don’t need to worry about cash. It’s pretty excellent.
  • Law School Cafe – this is located between the courtyard and the commons and provides hot lunches, deli sandwiches, fresh sushi that’s delivered every morning, baked goods, salads, fruit, coffee, and other snacks. They’re open most of the day and the food is actually good just beware of the super-addictive chocolate chip scones.
  • Career Services – also located on the 3rd floor near the commons. I’ve written about Career Services before so you know they’re very helpful. Now you know where to find them!
  • Admissions / The Registrar - if you’re coming to visit WashU, the 3rd floor is where it’s at.
  • Classrooms – several classrooms are also located on the 3rd floor. I had contracts and property on the 3rd floor last year. It was delightful.
  • Brian Cave Moot Courtroom – lots of presentations happen in our gigantic courtroom so make a note of where this is located.
  • Campus-level entrance – there are 2 campus-level entrances on the 3rd floor. If you go out the back doors you will actually be on campus – near the quad and Siegle hall. The front entrances bring you into the first floor and are located on the same level as the parking garages. This is kind of strange and confusing at first, but look at the map above and it might help.

Fourth Floor:

  • Library / Reading Room – if you want to get serious studying done – this is where it’s at. The librarians are also located on the 4th floor if you have research questions. But the gem truly is the amazingly gorgeous reading room. First thing in the morning it is beyond beautiful.
  • Professors’ Offices – some professors’ offices are strewn about the 4th floor library.
  • Classrooms – there are also a few classrooms up there.
  • Dean’s Office – Dean Syverud’s office is also located on the 4th floor. He usually holds office hours once a week if you want to stop in and chit chat.

Fifth Floor:

  • More Library – lots of quiet study space located on the 5th floor. lots of books too.
  • More Professors Offices – the majority of the profs offices are located on the 5th floor so if you’re heading to office hours this is likely where you’ll be. I usually get lost up there but if you just walk in a circle long enough you will find your way!

A building across the sidewalk from the 3rd floor (campus-side) law school entrances is Siegle Hall which also holds some important Law School locales. You may have a few classes or group meetings in this building, but it is also home to the Student Activities Room, and the offices of Law Review and the Law Journals.

I hope this helps make sense of it all and makes you look a little less awkward than me. Happy Monday!

- Kailey

08.29.11 By Kailey

Who wants to blog?

Calling all 1Ls! If you’re interested in blogging about your experience this year, please shoot me an email telling me as much – kailey {at} wustl.edu by Friday September 2nd. I’ll respond to your e-mail pronto and we’ll go from there. It’s a lot of fun, so I encourage you to hit me up!

… more soon…

- Kailey

07.11.11 By Kailey

One-L of a Long Year (Lessons Learned in 1L)

Howdy!

My apologies for the hiatus… the semester crashed to an end and I am finally feeling like things have settled down. I want to cover the important end of 1L topics – finals / grades, writing on to a publication, summer work, and selecting classes – but I don’t want to cram all this info into one post. So, stay tuned over the next few weeks for posts about these topics (and more!)  But for now, let’s catch up. I’ve missed you all. As of right now, I’m completely finished with my first year of law school. I took all my finals, completed the write-on competition, received my grades, and started my first law-related job. It feels pretty amazing to be finished – and I recently learned that I earned a spot on WashU’s Journal of Law & Policy! Hooray!  Anyway, since you know I love to make lists – let’s kick it old school with some serious advice in list-form…

Here are the top 7 lessons I learned (and things I wish I had known) from 1L:

  1. You have to put in the time. I am one of those people who is very good at figuring out the quickest way to accomplish a task. I am also one of those people (hard for me to admit) who is good at figuring out the exact minimum amount of work necessary to achieve a goal. During undergrad, I wrote a lot of “A” Papers from 5:00am-8:55am for a 9:00am deadline. I graduated magna cum laude. I think people like me have the hardest time in law school. I was accustomed to reading something a couple of times, “getting” the essential concept, and performing well. But when you’re graded on a curve, this isn’t enough. Workhorses, gunners – people who eat, drink, and sleep law school – even if you think they aren’t as quick-witted or “with it” as you, will out-perform you every time. Professors lecture for a reason, and the information they give is information they think is important. The people who spend hours in the library making sure they know exactly what, why, and how the prof explained the issues and concepts will perform much better on an exam than someone who instantly “gets” the basic principles of the law. Of course, this is only my reading of law school and not pure fact – but it is never bad advice to put in the hours reading and reviewing your texts and notes to make sure you and the prof are on the same page.
  2. Believe the Hype (and don’t). My love of The New York Times has suffered at the hands of law school. Partially because I have less time to read for pleasure – but mostly because they can’t stop writing about how going to law school is a terrible idea. My initial take on this was “just because a whole generation of people messed up the economy, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get to pursue the career I have always wanted to pursue.” But now, even I will admit, I sometimes see their reasoning. My advice to you is to believe the hype – the parts that are true – that the legal market isn’t what it used to be, that jobs are harder to find, that grades matter, and that debt is a big deal. These facts can’t be ignored and should factor into your efforts, choices, and relationships in law school. But I don’t want you to listen to people when they say you can’t pursue your passions. People are finding amazing jobs, people are successful – and if you work really hard – you honest to goodness can be too. If you think you want to be a lawyer, but still don’t know what field you’re interested in – that’s OK! Just make sure you don’t sell yourself short by not taking your first year seriously. 1L lays the foundation for everything else, so get those good grades and open doors for yourself!
  3. Have a reason for being here. The eight years I spent in high school and undergrad were directed toward one specific goal: getting into a good law school. I knew I was good at arguing, I knew I liked politics, I knew I wanted a fancy degree, I knew I liked working hard, I knew I was smart. What I didn’t know was what I wanted to do with that law degree. Waltzing into law school just happy to have been invited left me a little startled in my first few weeks. People were talking about types of jobs and fields I had never heard of, and I felt a lot of pressure to commit to one track or another. As I said in #2, law school debt is a huge commitment – and if you don’t come in to law school for a particular reason (or that reason is, I couldn’t find a job/I didn’ t know what else to do) – you should probably find a reason quickly and/or get really good grades so you have options. Luckily I got involved in some amazing organizations and was able to seek out opportunities that have helped me find a path. But, law school requires a lot of time, money, effort, and commitment – so make sure you have something to look toward that will continue to inspire you during the dark and stressful times. Don’t feel like you absolutely need to have the next 10 years of your life planned perfectly, but do realize that you’re entering into a serious commitment that will impact your life.
  4. Get involved. Some people might disagree with me, but I think becoming involved in organizations at law school as well as in the community is an essential part of becoming a lawyer. I think every 1L should carefully pick a couple of groups to participate in. This allows you to gain experience, get to know other students, develop relationships with lawyers and professors, and start to build a network that will help you find a job. Many people sort of blow off this aspect of law school and I think that’s a mistake. Also – take advantage of competitions at the law school. They’re free, only take a few hours, and offer great experience. Finally, make sure you complete the write-on competition. As you’ll come to find out, employers “prefer,” “recommend,” and sometimes “require” that you are a member of a publication. I’ll write you an inspirational post soon so you can refer back to it when the time comes (May 2012), but just keep that in mind for now. OH! And go to Bar Review on Thursday nights. Just trust me on this one.
  5. GRADES GRADES GRADES. #4 being said, nothing is more important than your 1L grades. Your first semester grades get you your 1L summer job, and then you apply for your 2L summer job at the end of 1L summer – so all you have to rely on are your first year’s grades. The job you get 2L summer is usually the job you keep after graduation, and if not – it’s the job that reflects your experience, talent, and expertise to potential employers. SO – everything is based on 1L performance! You can’t “ease into” law school. It isn’t like undergrad where you have 7 semesters to make up for that freshman fall (and maybe spring) spent partying. Each semester counts and needs to be taken seriously. You should be a well rounded person – you need to be happy and balanced, but you also need to realize that you’re being graded on a curve and you have to get to work.
  6. Read EVERYTHING. This goes with #5. Law School reading assignments typically consist of 3 things: Cases, Footnotes, and Introductory Material/End Notes. Cases are the easiest to read. Everyone (or mostly everyone) reads the cases, some people write briefs, others highlight, but you read the case, get the basic rule it explains, and go on your merry way. Professors know this, so some of them will direct class discussions or write exam questions based on footnotes. Yes, I am aware this sounds insane, but footnotes are where more spirited judges get to make their opinions known and stray from the more diplomatic tone of the majority opinion. It is also a place where they may refer back to a dissenting opinion and explain a contrast or send you to a secondary source that clarifies a concept. One of my biggest mistakes of 1L was that I found footnotes and introductions/end notes to be absolutely infuriating and thus largely refused to read them. Do not repeat my mistakes. The notes after each case as well as introductory material before is also incredibly helpful in understanding concepts, and about 75% of the time, class discussion questions will be based on the questions you find after each case right there in your very own case book. Sometimes law school isn’t as mysterious as it seems if you just do ALL the work. You’re welcome.
  7. Don’t give up. I know these lessons seem intimidating and I’m being more forceful than usual because I want them to resonate with you. These are things you might already know, but they are lessons I had to learn the hard way, and now that you’ve been warned, you should be totally set for life. (haha). Anyway, after all of this, you should remember that you’ve already accomplished a lot! Just getting in to WashU is a HUGE accomplishment and all the work you have done to make it to your first day of class here is something to truly be proud of. If you weren’t smart, capable, or dedicated enough to do this, you wouldn’t be here. And if you ever feel like giving up, you should remember that. Law school is enthralling, challenging, and it’s also a lot of fun, so keep that in mind as you read my harsh advice! =)

These are just some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’ll be posting throughout the summer as well as next year… so I hope you’ll keep following me through this insane law school journey. Best of luck and see you soon!

- Kailey

04.18.11 By Kailey

Getting Outside the Law School

Good Morning! Sorry for the gap in posts, catching up after spring break was a nightmare, then I MOVED (which no one should ever do, find a place you like and stay there… moving is the worst, sorry.. anyway..), planned a huge Trivia Night Fundraiser, AND had my final brief due! Phew! Now it’s outlining time and I’m trying to get my act together. I wanted to tell you about a couple of fun law-school-related ways to get outside the law school building: because fresh air and human interaction can be nice.

Law School Intramurals!

Despite being a terrible softball player, I chose to join an intramural softball team because a lot of 1Ls in my section were pumped about it. After much brainstorming, consideration, and debate… we finally chose the name “Eminent Domination” and ordered some sweet, sweet jerseys (pictured below). Our games take place on Thursday nights, and boy oh boy was I pumped to take the field for our first game several weeks ago. AND boy oh boy was it SOMETHING! Not only was it FREEZING cold outside (sorry people, Missouri’s weather can be very temperamental), but we also (thanks to WashU’s incredible ability to find interesting students) had the good fortune of playing a team with A FORMER METS PLAYER. Yes, I was fielding FOR A FORMER METS PLAYER. Sounds fair to me. Thankfully (I think), there is something called a “Mercy Rule” which takes effect when you are losing by more than 20 runs. So just shy of 2 innings in, the game was over. Even though this seems like a pretty terrible experience, we had a ton of fun playing and it was nice to get out of the law school and do something completely silly with my classmates. We have won our last two games and even made it into the playoffs! (I’ll let you know how we do!) And last week, our Legal Practice Professor came to cheer us on. I would highly recommend you participate in an IM sport. Totally ridiculous.

Interest-Specific Conferences and Competitions!

If you decide you’re interested in a specific issue or type of law, make sure to join the group associated with it on campus (or create a group if there isn’t one). There are a bunch of interesting conferences and competitions for all different types of law, and many times you can get funding from a grant or organization to cover your travel and participation expenses. This past weekend I went to Chicago (thanks ALDF for the grant), to participate in the First Annual National Animal Law Moot Court Competition, sponsored by UChicago Law’s SALDF Chapter. This was a ton of fun and a great way to practice my oral advocacy skills before Moot Court tryouts in the fall. It didn’t take up too much time and thanks to the grant we received, didn’t cost me any money. I met some great people interested in Animal Welfare Law and had fun. These are great opportunities to network and enhance skills outside the confines of the law school building, so make sure to keep your ear out!

These are just a couple of ways to enhance your law school experience outside the classroom. I hope you’ll take advantage of all the great student organizations WashU has to offer. As always, if you have questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!

- Kailey

03.22.11 By Kailey

Where Should You Live?

Greetings Friends!

Oh Yes! It's the "Full House" House.

I am refreshed after a delightful spring break trip to Napa and San Francisco (see photo which seamlessly ties this paragraph together) and am now ready to write you a lengthy blog post about where to live when you come to WashU (of course you’re going to come to WashU after we showed everyone who is boss on the US News & World Report Rankings). It is sometimes difficult to navigate a new city, and since our school has such a diverse student body, I know STL will be new to many of you!

Housing is important! I fully believe it can make or break your law school experience. You should find a place that fits your needs because when you’re miserably stressed out from law school (this sometimes happens), you need a place to wind down. WashU operates Quadrangle Housing which is an easy choice because their buildings are safe, well-maintained, and are close to campus. If you come to Housing Day, you can knock the housing adventure out in a few hours and be done with it. While I think this is a great option, it just wasn’t for me. So, if you don’t want to live in an all-student building or prefer a different area of town, here are my opinions on the popular neighborhoods where law students reside:

University City

U-City is where I live and where the Law School is technically located. It’s a municipality of St. Louis County and has lots of shopping, dining, and nightlife within walking distance. It’s a really safe neighborhood and is very moderately priced. Parking is easy to find in U-City and it has a more suburban feel, but you’re also within walking distance of Metro and WashU. You’ll find students, families, and young professionals in this neighborhood.

To Sum It Up: Inexpensive, lots of law students live here, great if you have a car, great if you don’t have a car, safe, older apartment buildings/ 2 family houses

Clayton

Clayton borders one side of campus and is slightly nicer than University City. The apartments are more expensive and many feature modern updates. Parking can be a little more difficult but there are still shops, restaurants, and bars within walking distance. Metro and the Law School can also be reached by bike. This is a significantly quieter area though, and fewer law students live here.

To Sum It Up: On the expensive side, some law students live here, fine if you have a car, not great if you don’t have a car, modern updates

Central West End

The Central West End is about a 7-10 minute drive from campus and is also an easy Metro ride. This area of town, if you remember from my previous post, features a ton of shopping, nightlife, and is near the medical school. It is also technically located in the City of St. Louis and has a more diverse feel. Lots of law students live here but you’re also mixed in with young professionals, nursing, and medical students. Apartments here vary widely from older to beautifully modern, from studios to lofts to traditional spaces. CWE is typically more expensive, and parking is a real issue. Many buildings will offer a secured lot for an additional fee, so when you’re researching make sure to factor that into your budget. However, if you don’t plan to have a car, this is the most accessible neighborhood by foot or bike.

To Sum It Up: On the expensive side (for St. Louis), not great for cars, excellent for walking/biking, lots of law students live here, ALL the law students hang out here

Brentwood / Maplewood

Brentwood and Maplewood offer a more suburban feel than UCity or Clayton so if you want to be near Target or Nordstrom at all times, this is where you want to be. There are a few metro stops, but this is a place you’d probably want to have a car. The Apartments are moderately priced and some are similar to U-City with an old school feel, but many have a complex-type layout (great if you want a pool!). This is about a 10-15 minute drive to campus and some law students choose this area.

To Sum It Up: Pretty inexpensive, suburban feel, some law students live here, great if you have a car, not so great if you’re sans-auto

Midtown

Midtown is the neighborhood surrounding St. Louis University so there are great typical “college bars” as well as restaurants and coffee shops within walking distance. This is closer to the city so the apartments are less expensive and many old buildings have been converted into huge, cool lofts. Parking is not as much of an issue here, most buildings have secured lots. This would be about a 15 minute drive to campus, and some law students live here but many law students hang out here.

To Sum It Up: Inexpensive, urban, a little far from campus, some law students live here, unique apartment options

South City

South City is really cool and is the location of many of my favorite restaurants. They have beautiful parks and architecture, and when I’m a grown up, I’d love to have a house facing Tower Grove Park. If you want to get away from other law students (it’s ok, we all do), this area is a funky, safe, unique part of St. Louis with very inexpensive apartments. It’s about a 20-25 minute drive to campus on surface streets and though some adventurous law students visit the cafes, coffee shops, bars, and stores – it’s mostly young, interesting locals (yes, they exist!). Parking is no problem and if you have pets, you would likely be able to find a place with a yard. (Multiple neighborhoods here: Tower Grove South, Shaw, Tower Grove)

To Sum It Up: few law students, a little far from campus, inexpensive, quirky, urban

Downtown

Finally, downtown! Through recent revitalization, many lofts and awesome apartment buildings have been renovated downtown. These are relatively inexpensive and within walking distance of all the attractions downtown has to offer (Cardinals Games, City Garden, Bars, Restaurants, Shopping). Downtown is a 15-20 minute drive from campus, but you should be mindful of traffic and parking when looking here. Not many law students live downtown, but those that do have really neat places.

To Sum It Up: few law students, new buildings, moderately priced, far from campus, parking isn’t stellar, close to downtown fun

I hope this helps you with the inside scoop! I know the “neighborhood layout” of St. Louis can be a little confusing, so if you have any questions about where you think you want to live, I’m happy to answer them! Post a comment!

- Kailey

03.17.11 By Justin

No Rest for the Weary…

This week is Spring Break for us WUSTLers, and it has provided some much needed relief for my classmates and I. But this week has highlighted one of the major differences between law school and college: breaks aren’t really breaks once you get to law school. Even though we get to escape classes and the daily readings for a week, most people use break as a chance to outline for classes, get ahead in readings, or get caught up (which I imagine is the case for most people).

I suppose I am not too pitiable, as I did spend 4 days in Orange Beach at the start of my break. But now that the fun half of break is over, it is time to get back to work. Our Legal Research Methodologies final is the Friday after break, and most of us will be scrambling next week to memorize the inner-workings  of LexisNexis and WestLaw and recall how to look up a bill’s legislative history online. Our last Legal Practice assignment (the open brief) is due in a few weeks, and it requires a great deal of time doing research, analysis, and writing. And once our Legal Practice brief is turned in, we will be just four short weeks away from the start of finals! (*Gulp*)

It really is hard to believe how fast this year has gone. It seems like just last week that I was stressing over my choice of law school and trying on my cap and gown for graduation. And it seems like just yesterday that we were having our 1L class picture taken during Orientation last August (and I was sweating bullets in my suit in the hot St. Louis sun). This past year has been a blast, but now that we are coming out of the final turn and entering the home stretch, I am very ready to cross the 1L finish line!

In other news, I was offered a summer job this week at a government agency here in St. Louis. The internship will give me a lot of exposure to litigation and research, and I am very excited to begin my first legal job. I’m also glad to have something lined up in St. Louis, and I’m really looking forward to enjoying the city this summer. Go Cardinals!

I hope everyone’s spring is going well and the weather is as nice wherever you are as it is here in St. Louis! Time to get to outlining… I can hear my Civ Pro E&E calling my name.

03.05.11 By Kailey

Clinics, Oral Advocacy, and Mardi Gras

Hey everybody! Sorry for the delayed post… I took the week off from writing because I was so busy!

This week there was an amazing informational meeting about the Clinical offerings at WashU. I was aware of the general idea of clinics but didn’t have a great deal of knowledge about what they entail and what WashU has to offer. I was extremely impressed by the professors’ passion for their clinics and the enthusiasm of the students who had participated and shared their experiences. Clinics allow students to gain more practical lawyering experience in a wide variety of fields ranging from Transactional Intellectual Property work to Civil Justice to Judicial Clerkships. I would encourage you to check out this webpage which lists each of the clinics and has more information about them. Typically students participate in clinics their 2L or 3L year earning anywhere from 3 credits to a full semester’s worth. They are a great way to get hands-on experience with the guidance of a professor who is passionate about that legal field, while still getting school credit and making connections which could help you get a job in the future.

1L’s also completed the Oral Advocacy requirement this week which entails an 8 minute Oral Argument against another student representing the opposing party. Our case involved First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Speech for students in public high schools – the same topic as our closed brief that was due this week! I had to advocate for the defendants (the high school) against a classmate of mine who argued for the Plaintiffs (the students). We were judged by 2L’s and 3L’s who are members of the Moot Court team. It was kind of stressful but the judges had great feedback so I thought it was a worthwhile experience.

In other thrilling news…I got a job for the summer! Hooray! It’s exactly what I wanted and will allow me to do a lot of research, writing, and be able to stay in St. Louis (which is fabulous). I will also be eligible for the Public Interest Stipend which WashU provides to 1L’s who work for non-profit legal organizations. Many of my other friends have already nailed down jobs across the country, while others are continuing to apply or are completing their “call back” interviews. Between personal connections, the career services office, the world wide web, persistence, and hard work — most people seem to be finding their way to employment.

In non-law-school related news, I’m super pumped to report that it is Girl Scout Cookie season and I am demolishing Samoas (“caramel delites”), like it’s my job. It’s also Mardi Gras in St. Louis! We host the 2nd largest Mardi Gras celebration in the US every year in Soulard and it gets wild. A bunch of law students went down to the parade today and had a blast. It’s an all day event, so they’ll have to hit the books tomorrow, but I know they’ll say it was worth it.

That’s about all for now. Next week I have a midterm, a paper, and a practice problem due because it is the last week before spring break. Then I’m off to San Francisco and Napa for a week. I need a break! Hope you all have a great weekend…go get yourself some Girl Scout cookies! =)

-Kailey

02.20.11 By Kailey

On Summer Jobs

Hiya!

Hope this post finds you relaxing after a fun-filled weekend.

A Quick Note: As you’ve probably noticed, Justin has gotten into the full swing of blogging, so now there are two (and maybe others soon) points of view on “Life As We Know It.” You can tell who is writing each post by the little name above the title ^^ (see?). We both want to help you learn more about WashU, so please feel free to comment on our posts with any questions you have and one of us will answer right away!

This week I wanted to talk about something stressful, important, but also really cool: Jobs. Last Monday marked the start of OCI’s (On Campus Interviews) for 1L’s. The process begins on WashU’s online job site where students can apply for jobs posted by various employers from all over the country. Several of these employers have agreed to come to campus and interview, so those people who applied and were chosen had their interviews at the law school this week. The Career Services Office does a nice job of coordinating employment opportunities, and each student has an advisor they can meet with for more information. Despite this support, the competitive nature of the job market and the fact that this process is so new to everyone has caused some stress.

WashU provides numerous job opportunities online, as well as ways to meet and network with attorneys. However, it is a good idea to begin to build your own network and seek out opportunities that interest you. During the summer as a 1L, there are a variety of paths you can take. The consensus seems to be that gaining strong research skills and improving your writing abilities are the most important things to accomplish during the summer. While law school teaches you a great deal, it doesn’t always focus on the practical, day-to-day aspects of lawyering, and a summer internship or job can be a great way to gain this experience. Non-profit organizations, law firms, government agencies, judges, a company’s legal department, or really any other legal job you can think of are possible employers and most of these are represented within the OCI pool.

Many of my classmates have said that the job search process feels like a whole extra class. Between resumes, cover letters, writing samples, researching, interviewing, and waiting… it can be overwhelming. Developing a plan and managing your time can help alleviate the stress, but this is definitely a process that is impacting us all. The jury is still out on where I will spend my summer, but I will keep you posted of course!

Aside from the job stress, I had a few delightful experiences this week. My section-mate Julie hosted a mixer at her house for the A’s and B’s since we haven’t gotten to know each other very well. It was an absolute blast. I also had an amazing dinner at Farmhaus, a small restaurant in South City whose chef is nominated for a James Beard Award. They use primarily local ingredients and the menu changes daily. Beyond delicious!

I’m currently working on a big writing assignment for my Legal Practice class. I have a meeting with my professor to look over it tomorrow morning. The topic is public high school students’ 1st amendment rights as they pertain to school dress codes and political speech. We are working with landmark cases and some hilarious depositions that my professor penned, so it has actually been an enjoyable assignment that I need to get back to working on…

So, off to write I go. Hope you have a fantastic week!

- Kailey