Trials of an Event Law-aison

The trials of a second-year law student at the University of Alberta.

A New (Academic) Year

Sophia Peng - Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcome back to my blog!  I can't believe I'm already into the third month of 2L.  Time is just really flying by.  This term I'm taking jurisprudence, civil procedure, evidence, intellectual property, and administrative law, all of which are required courses except for IP.

There are many different ways of approaching jurisprudence, and the class I chose examines justice through Shakespearean and classical Greek plays.  Jurisprudence is a lot of work because we read one play every week with three hours of discussion, and have to submit a term paper (max. 25 pages).  On the other hand, if there are movies it's a fun and good way to absorb Shakespeare.  Thankfully, my classmates are very insightful and prof has really great things to say.  Sometimes I feel it veers off away from the "law" stuff too much, but I guess it's inevitable when you're studying Shakespeare.  The last time I studied Shakespeare was in grade 12 when we read The Taming of the Shrew.   Some of the other "options" for jurisprudence here at the U of A are Law and Economics, Law and Literature, the Holocaust and the Law, and Law and Religion.

Administrative law is more interesting than it sounds, but it can also get somewhat theoretical and ambiguous (a familiar theme throughout law school).  I didn't know what to expect, but I think it's one of the more interesting courses I've taken in law school because it really gives you insight into the decision making processes of boards and tribunals, whose decisions can affect our everyday lives.  It's closely related to constitutional law, which I also enjoyed last year.

Evidence is a pretty heavy course with a lot of material that's covered in the space of a single term.  There are many rules and exceptions, but that's understandable considering the importance of evidence towards demonstrating the facts, without which we would have no cases!  This course builds on some of the "behind the scenes" stuff that we studied in first year criminal law.  

IP law is very interesting.  We started off with copyrights/trademarks and then moved onto patents a couple weeks ago.  We just had a brief intro to the life sciences last class (transcription/translation, mutagenesis) as background for understanding some of the life sciences patents cases, which felt almost like science undergrad (which I do kind of miss).

My first year criminal law, second year evidence, and second year intellectual property courses are all taught by practicing lawyers who are at the top of their fields, and I think they are really some of the best instructors I've had in law school so far.  They are incredibly engaging and approachable, and they bring a very practical approach to the law.  For me, the best part of classes are the instructors' funny stories.

I would say that civil procedure is the "most-complained of" class so far, but you can't litigate without knowing the rules of court!  From what I can see, this is definitely the most technical of all the courses in law school.

OCIs (on-campus interviews) also happened earlier this term and caused a lot of excitement and anxiety around the school for students looking for summering opportunities with the large firms in Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver.  I know quite a few people who got jobs for next summer for the various cities, which is great!  In any case, it's good practice for articling week next year.


Jon




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