Tag Archives: law school

Similar and Different

Come to the other side of the world, literally, and you just might realize that law students come from a similar mold. Granted, Americans might tip the sarcasm scale slightly more than Filipinos, but you’d also be surprised how much we have in common.

We attended a law school “Acquaintance Party” this past weekend, and we were surprised both by our similarities and our differences. Here, law school is 4 years. Rough, I know. So, each year considers themselves a “batch.” Each batch was responsible for some sort of performance as “intermission” for the evening. The 1Ls did a sort of model walk and introduction of each student, the 2L girls did a Bollywood number while the 2L guys danced to Bruno Mars and stripped down to their boxers, no joke. Oh, and did I mention that law school faculty and staff were also at this party? Don’t worry, they thought this was hilarious.

The 3Ls and 4Ls both shot a video that they played, with the 4Ls singing “Let’s Cram” to the tune of Gaga’s “Let’s Dance.” Written and (performed first by students at NYU). It really was funny.

The evening concluded with a host of interesting games that honestly, law students at our school wouldn’t likely play with our professors in the room. Crude and vulgar, but wildly entertaining. Students and professors were equally dying of laughter.

The law students here have been more than welcoming, quick to make jokes about stress, alcohol, studying and briefs. Felicia and I will be giving a lecture this evening on our law school experience, and honestly, I think the students will hate us when they learn that our studies are only for 3 years, and with about half of the requirements of their schooling. They are required to take between 18 and 20 credits each semester, and every class is required. From taxation to commercial litigation, they take every subject in preparation for their bar exam, which nationally has about a 30% passage rate. Not too promising.

We continue to enjoy our time here. We have met many wonderful people curious about our studies and our anti-trafficking experience. We will be attending a conference in the next few days on gender issues here in the Philippines – issues none too foreign to Arizona and the U.S.

The more people we meet the more we realize we have in common. They always ask us, “Is domestic violence a problem in the U.S.?” “What about trafficking?” Yes and yes. These are global issues, and we are all working to better educate the community, to work toward prevention and to prosecute the offenders. It’s nice to know that oceans apart, we are striving for the same things.

Complex Litigation

While toying with the thought of working in private practice after law school I, like many law students, have tried to weigh the pros and cons of big firm practice versus small firm practice.  Hours could be spent debating the differences between small and large firm practice, but one of the pros I usually associated with large firm practice has recently had some new light shed on it for me.

A pro of large firm practice I have often heard repeated is that they have interesting and complex litigation.  So if you want to be a litigator, large firm practice has a lot to offer in the way of interesting and complex work.  On the other hand it has been my experience that small firm practice is not viewed as providing the same experience with complex litigation.  However, my summer employer, which is a small firm, pointed out to me that most large firms tend to be heavy on the defense side of litigation, whereas small firms tend to handle much more plaintiffs’ cases.  It is also those same small firms who often bring litigation against the clients being represented by the large firms.  It makes sense then that the small firm that has brought the action is handling an equally complex case as the large firm that is defending the law suit.

I have to admit that I felt a little silly for never making the connection that a large firm involved in very complex litigation necessarily means that the plaintiff’s firm, which often might be small, is handling an equally complex matter.

My own experience so far this summer has proven this to be true.  The firm defending the case I am working on is a large very well known firm.  I wish I could regale the facts involved, but suffice it to say that the case is rather complex with interesting and unique issues for the plaintiff and defendants alike.  I would urge any law student who wants to do private practice not to write off small firms as an option simply because they think they have less interesting and less complex cases.  Small firms are equally capable of offering a wealth of experience to law students.