Creating Pawsitive Connections

Why I Love Pet Sitting for the KU Law Community

Corrinne Yoder-Mulkey, 2L

The ABA published an article in 2020 about the benefits of pet ownership for lawyers. Physical, mental and emotional well-being are among the listed benefits of having a furry friend. Lawyers are particularly stressed out and often suffer from vicarious trauma due to the intense nature of their work. Pets provide companionship, love and unconditional support.

I have my own cat, Corduroy, who brings me a lot of joy. For me, having a pet gives me comfort and security even when law school gets intense. I know that I can always come home to her after class, and she is always happy to see me.

It is no shock that students and staff at KU Law love and care for their own animals. When I started law school, I noticed lots of folks looking for pet sitters over vacations and long weekends. My family lives nearby and I typically stay in Lawrence over breaks. Because of my lack of travel, I started to pick up lots of pet-sitting gigs. Not only was I getting financial compensation, but I got the chance to spend time with lots of friendly and cute pets. 

I have pet sit for professors over Christmas, friends over spring break and librarians over long weekends. I have watched a variety of animals including cats, dogs, rats and guinea pigs. I have met so many new law friends from referrals for pet sitting. It is great to connect with other pet parents in the law school. It always brightens my day to see new pictures of my friends’ pets. It makes me happy to know that my friends are going home to their own animals, and I am always thrilled to take care of them while they are away. 

More than 60% of Americans own a pet. This tells us that we really love our animals and that they improve the quality of our lives. This attitude of respect for nature and interest in caregiving brings the law community closer. I would highly recommend pet sitting for fellow students if you are ever given the chance, you may make new best friends (both human and animal).

– Corrinne Yoder-Mulkey is a 2L KU Law Student Ambassador from Eudora, Kansas

Hands-On Learning Q&A: Joshua Lollar, Judicial Field Placement

Joshua Lollar, 2L

Prior to law school, Joshua Lollar, 2L, spent time in a seminary in New York before heading back home to Lawrence to serve as a priest in an Eastern Orthodox parish. However, his memories of visiting Green Hall when his mother was a KU Law student led him to enroll in KU Law himself after 10 years of priesthood. Now, in his second year of law school, Lollar is looking toward a new future in law, beginning with an internship through KU Law’s Judicial Field Placement program.

The Judicial Field Placement program connects law students with federal and state judges. Under the guidance of a judge, law clerk or staff attorney, interns perform research, draft documents and observe courtroom proceedings to expand their knowledge of how our court systems operate.

Lollar, currently interning with the District of Kansas, shared his experience in a Q&A session.

Can you describe where you’ve been working and what kind of work you’ve been doing while in the program?

I am working for the Honorable Teresa James, a federal magistrate judge for the District of Kansas. For the most part, I do research as assigned by Judge James’s law clerks. Most of this research involves evaluating various motions filed by parties to civil suits. I also occasionally observe scheduling conferences and pretrial hearings.

Are there any specific skills that you have developed or improved through this program?

I have grown as a researcher and a writer in Judge James’s chambers. I usually get immediate feedback on my legal analysis from the law clerks and this has been a wonderful part of the internship. I also want to say that the lawyering program at KU Law prepared me very well to jump right in and start doing meaningful work for the court.

How do you think this experience will impact the rest of your time in law school?

Developing my skills of legal analysis and writing during this internship will help me to absorb what is going on in classes. Observing and participating in the work of the court also gives me a good sense of context for much of what we learn in the classroom.

What has been your favorite part of working in your field placement?

I have most enjoyed working on real cases within the collegial and collaborative environment of Judge James’s chambers. It is an honor to contribute to the work of the federal court and to learn from the Judge and her staff.

What would you say to law students considering enrolling in the judicial field placement program?

It should be a priority for anyone interested in any aspect of civil litigation or criminal practice, at the federal or state level. Working on cases as they make their way through the system, observing proceedings in court and interacting with a judge and law clerks gives a unique education in both legal doctrine and in practical skills.

-By Emma Herrman

Working it Out

Can and Should I Work through Law School?

Libby Rohr, 3L

There are a lot of reasons why you might ask the question. Law school is obviously expensive, even at a place like KU, where affordability is a genuine priority. Some people like to use non-law school work to stay grounded or to follow an external passion. Law-related work can be a great opportunity or a way to get closer to our eventual goals for a legal career. For whatever reason an individual is asking, this question comes up a lot. As someone who’s worked through all three years of law school, here’s my thoughts on whether you should work and how to do so in a healthy way.

First Year:

Try to avoid it at all costs. It is strongly discouraged for really valid reasons. Your first year, you’ll be immersing yourself in a new environment, in a new way of thinking, and a new language and way of communicating. This will take a lot of energy and focus and is not the time to be cutting corners. Expect your school work to be hard in new ways and take more time than you expect them to, to do properly, especially in the beginning. You need to give yourself enough time to really be immersed, and you’ll want to ensure you have enough time to get to know new friends, take advantage of opportunities to get involved with the school and rest and relax as you get acclimated. These take time and should be prioritized especially in the first year. If you absolutely have to work – and I was definitely in that position – I recommend keeping it as minimal and flexible as possible.

Second year and third year:

Now that you’re settled in, you’ve got more of a sense of what you’re capable of. There are also more opportunities to work within the law specifically, as a research assistant, through a firm, through pro bono work. Many of these opportunities are paid and getting some extra money while learning can be a great opportunity. However, your grades and school involvement are no less important during these years, so you need to consider these demands.

General tips:

  1. Prioritize your education. There are a million reasons for this including the importance of strong relationships with your professors, your grades, your education and your overall knowledge of the law. You’re a student, so make sure you’re starting with a strong base there.
  2. Work ahead and plan ahead. You’ll also want to anticipate your school schedule, and only work on days where you know you’ll have more than enough time to get everything done as thoroughly as you want. Planning ahead as well can mean all the difference in anticipating issues and knowing how you need to work ahead to make it all work. I tend to be planned two to three weeks in advance, especially for big projects. It alleviates so much stress.
  3. Communication. Make sure everyone, job and school wise, has ample notice of any conflicts or if issues arise. The more clear you can be and the earlier can make all the difference.
  4. Go for flexibility! Jobs like tutoring allow for you to set your own schedule and even sometimes work from home. Serving jobs and their ilk don’t require you to read which can provide much needed breaks for your eyes and keep you on your feet.
  5. Clinics. If you’re looking at working during these years for experience alone, consider working for clinic or experiential credit to minimize the effect on your classwork and to give you credit.

Know your limits and take care of yourself. Ultimately, it’s a cliché, but you truly cannot pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself so you can be your best self for all the things you do.

– Libby Rohr is a 3L KU Law Student Ambassador from Leawood, Kansas

Hands-On Learning Q&A: Tyler Schembri, Criminal Prosecution Field Placement

Tyler Schembri, 3L

From nearly the beginning of his higher education journey, Tyler Schembri, 3L, knew that criminal prosecution was where he wanted to be. He graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Criminology and, after graduation, was commissioned into the U.S. Army on active duty, where he was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. As part of his transition out of the Army, he was able to intern for the Riley County Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, Kansas, and it was there where his passion for criminal law began to grow.

The Criminal Prosecution Field Placement is one of KU Law’s oldest hands-on learning opportunities and is also one of the few placement programs in the nation that specializes in criminal prosecution. Students in the Criminal Prosecution Field Placement gain significant courtroom experience working side by side with prosecutors in federal, state and local offices in virtually all phases of the criminal justice process.

Schembri shared his experience working with the Nashville District Attorney’s Office in Tennessee during the summer before his 3L year.

Can you describe where you worked and what kind of work you did while in the program?

I spent this past summer interning for the Nashville District Attorney’s Office in Tennessee. I spent every single day in court practicing with my Rule 7 permit under the supervision of a licensed attorney. I was primarily responsible for handling felony preliminary hearings, where I routinely conducted direct examinations of police officers and victims, cross-examinations of defense witnesses and closing arguments in front of a judge. I also had the opportunity to participate in numerous plea negotiations with defense attorneys. The work was fast paced, with more than 15-20 cases on our docket every day.

Were there any specific skills that you developed or improved through this program?

Absolutely. This program helped improve the necessary advocacy skills to be a successful attorney. Preparing for court every day strengthened my confidence to speak in front of others, my knowledge of the law and my ability to create strong relationships with defense attorneys, victims and police officers. One of the best parts about this program was learning from all the experienced prosecutors who showed me the ropes and were always willing to give me advice.

How do you think this experience will impact the rest of your time in law school?

This program provided me with invaluable experience by giving insight into the inner workings of a courtroom which you cannot learn from the typical law school environment. There is no substitute for real-world experience. I can now draw on my time in the courtroom to help better myself for classes such as mock trial. I also use this experience to give advice to 1Ls and 2Ls who are considering enrolling in the field placement programs.

What has been your favorite part of working in your field placement?

My favorite part of working in the field placement program was being given the opportunity to make the Nashville community a safer place, helps the victims of criminal offenses, all while gaining real courtroom experience in an area of the law I am truly passionate about. My time with the criminal prosecution field placement has been one of my best memories so far during my time at KU Law.

What would you say to law students considering enrolling in the field placement?

I would recommend enrolling in the field placement if you are interested in becoming a litigator, improving on your advocacy skills, and helping protect your community.

-By Emma Herrman

Chief Justice, Justices and May it Please the (Moot) Court

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez! Reporting live from Green Hall Room 201 – it’s In-House Moot Court Competition week.

Karen Campbell, 2L

KU’s nationally ranked Moot Court program is more than just a trophy-stocked room on the 5th floor. It’s an opportunity to engage deeply with an important issue, work closely with a partner (shout out to Leah Stein, who has been keeping me sane for the past three months!) and see what an oral argument on the highest stage looks and feels like (spoiler alert: stressful). It’s also one of the most rewarding, hands-on experiences I’ve had in law school so far. Even if you have no interest in litigation, you should check it out!

There are two ways to qualify for KU’s Moot Court Council. This is a little complicated, so I’ll break it down:

  1. Students can qualify as 1Ls under the Shook, Hardy & Bacon Scholars Program, which awards membership (and a generous scholarship) to the best oral advocate from each 1L Lawyering Skills class. These advocates participate in at least one national competition throughout their 2L year and have the option to participate in Moot Court Council as 3Ls as well.
  2. Students can also qualify, as here, by participating in the In-House Moot Court Competition Class, offered for one credit hour each fall. The class itself is open to both 2Ls and 3Ls. As part of the class, each student writes a brief with a partner, practices arguing that brief in front of a Moot Court Council member, and prepares arguments on both sides of that brief for presentation at oral argument.

This week, 17 teams will compete in the Preliminary, Octofinal, Semifinal and Championship Rounds of the In-House Moot Court Competition. The stakes? A place on Moot Court Council next year. This entails:

  1. The chance to participate in (and maybe even travel to a cool location for) a National Moot Court Competition as a 3L.
  2. The chance to grade briefs, judge rounds and engage with 2Ls as a 3L Council member.
  3. First priority for a coveted seat in Professor Keller’s Writing for Law Practice class.
  4. The chance to be part of the number ten–ranked Moot Court program in the nation.
  5. If you’re lucky, a pretty sweet scholarship!

Congratulations and good luck to all Moot Court participants for fall 2023!

– Karen Campbell is a 2L KU Law Student Ambassador from Lawrence, Kansas

Calling all cat (or animal) lovers!

KU Law Ambassador explores new cat cafe in Lawrence

Desiree Duke, 3L

If you haven’t heard the news already, Lawrence had its very first cat cafe open in late July 2023. Located on Mass St., Espurresso Cat Cafe is the perfect place to get your coffee and cat fix in.

Espurresso Cat Cafe is partnered with the Lawrence Humane Society to help with the adoption of kittens and cats. All of the kittens and cats in the café are adoptable. If you aren’t in a position to adopt, the kittens and cats are always there for you to simply visit and love on. In order to avoid overwhelming the cat parlor, reservations are highly encouraged – it is $10 for 30 minutes and $15 for an hour. The cafe area is always free with no reservation necessary.

Of course, I cannot neglect to mention the other half of the cat cafe – the cafe! Espurreso Cat Cafe offers a variety of drinks and pastries. This ranges from lattes, chai tea, americanos, lavender lemonade, muffins, biscotti, scones and so much more. Plus, the cafe offers an array of alternative milks and vegan pastries. If you aren’t interested in getting too up close and personal with the cats but would like to watch from a distance with your coffee and pastry, there is wall-to-wall plexiglass with bar seating separating the café from the cat parlor which allows you to do so. This is also great option for those who want to admire the cats but are worried about potential allergies.

For those who are looking for that forever friend and are interested in adopting, the adoption fees are $125 for kittens and $60 for cats – this includes their spay/neuter, microchip and vaccinations. The adoption fee goes directly to Lawrence Humane Society to help cover medical and care expenses.

For those—like me—who love cats but just aren’t in a position to get one, Espurresso Cat Cafe has been the perfect addition to my little life. I can come in, sip my coffee surrounded by some fun, cuddly cats, and leave with some serotonin that I didn’t have before. The people are kind, the space is great, the coffee and pastries are yummy and it’s perfect for a law school study break (or study session if you can avoid the cat-parlor temptation)!

Espurresso Cat Cafe is located at 1014 Massachusetts St., Lawrence, KS 66044 (map and directions). Check out their website for more information:

– Desiree Duke is a 3L KU Law Student Ambassador from Albuquerque, New Mexico