3L Reflections

Raj Shukla
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law

Coming to UCI was an experiment for many of us, as the third incoming class of a new school.  UCI delivered on the promises of a high availability of staff, lower stress environment, and an overall solid educational experience with highly qualified profs.  However, as an unranked school, it was tough for many of us to overcome the hurdles of an over-saturated legal market and struggling economy.

But, as much as we all bitched and moaned about school, it’s never as bad as full-time work – unless you were on Law Review.  We will look forward to seeing the school evolve professionally, and devolve socially (think Animal House), as the youngsters rise up.  Keep the social / intramural and club stuff going.  Those are the activities that create the best memories and strongest bonds.

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Jonathan Markovitz
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law

What I’ll remember most about UCI is the spirit of support and community.  When I was considering applying to UCI, I sat in on the Dean’s Constitutional Law class.  The student next to me immediately slid her case book over so that I could follow along as the Dean discussed passages.  It was the kind of welcoming gesture that stays with you.

There were three defining moments for me as a 1L.  First, after a family loss, I had to come to class late one day.  When I got there, I wound up sitting next to people who weren’t part of my regular group of friends.  But, at a moment where I really needed to be with people I cared about, I realized that I liked, and felt comfortable next to, everyone around me.  I was just so clear that this was where I wanted to be.  Later, when one of the big writing assignments was due for Lawyering Skills, and so many of us were upset/lost/freaking out, I remember one of my classmates standing frozen near MPAA, just seeming overwhelmed.  I didn’t know what to do, but a 3L who didn’t know him walked up to him and provided words of support that really seemed to make a difference.  Finally, when we had to do our oral arguments for Lawyering Skills, I remember that my “opponent” and I were both concerned about how it would go.  We both did fine, or at least we both thought we did, and when we left the room, we were both so happy for the other one that we gave each other high fives as we were leaving the room.

I’ve had lots of wonderful experiences at UCI, and have made friendships that I hope will last a lifetime.  But what I find most remarkable is that I never once had a sense that any part of the school was defined by competitiveness, and that, instead, I could always take it for granted that everyone wanted everyone else to thrive.  I know that not everyone has experienced the school in the same ways I have, and there is always room for improvement.  But I also think that the kinds of warmth that can be found here are truly special.

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Erica Choi
J.D. Candidate 2014, UCI Law

I have had some pretty incredible opportunities during law school—arguing in the Ninth Circuit, interning in Hawaii, being on law review, representing indigent criminal defendants, and serving on more committees and boards than I can remember. At UCI, I’m sure that all (and more!) sounds familiar. Looking back, I feel tremendously lucky, especially because I am a very lazy person when I remember to be. Pursuing all the things has been rewarding but also exhausting, and fortunately I have had the support necessary to do everything I wanted to do.

My support has come from friends at this school, in this community. No one outside really understands this experience. I would not have survived law school without people in my corner. When I cried in the courtyard because I was sleep deprived, there you were. When I needed sweets and to not talk about anything, there you were with cupcakes and unlimited Netflix. When my best friend passed away and I missed a week of class, there you were with notes and open arms and a reminder that my world had not fallen apart completely.

Looking back, I want to highlight how important it is to be good to each other. I am excited to move on to the next chapter, but I will be forever grateful to my friends for the last three years. I will remember the ups and downs, the ugly and the beautiful, and most of all, the extraordinarily intelligent, talented, and kind people who did it all with me. In the immortal words of Agha Kayvon: I luv you baybeeeees!

 

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