To the Classroom and Beyond
Adrian Ordoñez is a current 3L from El Paso, TX. He attended Pepperdine University, where he majored in Business Administration and Political Science. Prior to coming to TU, he spent three years living and working in Shanghai, China. His interests include transnational energy issues and corporate legal practice.
If you are considering law school—I doubt you read Admissions Blogs otherwise—there’s a good chance you’re familiar with movies like The Paper Chase and Legally Blonde (not the sequel). Those movies portray one of the most daunting parts of law school: the lecture hall. For prospective and first-year law students, the Socratic Method is a constant source of anxiety, and rightfully so. Most attorneys, and certainly all 1L students, remember the first time a professor called their name in class. No matter how prepared you are (or think you are), the experience is nerve-wrecking. If you’re fortunate like me, you get that out of the way your first day of law school.
But I’m not here today to talk about my experience in the lecture halls of the University of Tulsa’s College of Law. I want to tell you a bit about my academic experience outside the classroom. My experiences can be grouped into two areas: journals and experiential learning.
Although there are other student-led publications at TU, joining the Energy Law Journal seemed like a no-brainer given my interest in transnational energy issues. ELJ is sponsored by the Energy Bar Association in Washington, D.C. and has thousands of subscribers around the world. As a member and editor of ELJ, I’ve had the opportunity to work on articles by leading practitioners, scholars, judges, and government officials on topics dealing with all sorts of environmental, energy, and resource law issues. I spent countless weeks researching and writing about the impact the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act has on American contract service providers operating in the oil and gas industry in foreign countries.
Additionally, in my 2L year, I had the opportunity to serve as Executive Editor of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ 2015 Year in Review. Year in Review is a “comprehensive annual summary of judicial decisions, new legislation, and regulatory developments” in these complex fields. Through my experience on ELJ and YIR, I gained invaluable research and writing experience, as well as insight into the energy industry.
I have also had the opportunity to supplement my classroom learning with practical, hands on experiences. As a clinical student in the Boesche Legal Clinic’s Immigrant Rights Project, I was able to represent clients (under the supervision of Professor McCormick) on immigration matters such as U-Visa petitions. Through the clinic, I learned about interviewing clients, preparing case plans, and empathy.
This semester, I am a Judicial Extern to the Honorable Judge John E. Dowdell of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma. As an extern, I have the unique opportunity to draft orders and opinions as well as observe judicial proceedings in civil and criminal matters—all for class credit! The Office of Experiential Learning does a wonderful job placing students in externships that match their interests, whether it be with a judge, a law firm, or in house with a major corporation.
So, yes, being cold-called can be intimidating, but your fears quickly fade and turn into hope that you too can survive three years. My point is, there is much more to law school than the Socratic Method you see in movies (although there is plenty of that). Whether it be through a law review, externship, moot court competitions, or student organizations, there is something for you at the University of Tulsa College of Law, and I encourage you to come find out what that is!
Written by Adrian Ordoñez