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A Week in the Life of a 3L

In fall 2021, we asked Shawn Hogbin to chronicle a week in his life as a law student.

WVU Law student Shawn Hogbin in class

Shawn Hogbin is a very busy 3L from Hedgesville, West Virginia. He is President of the Student Bar Association, Executive Notes Editor for Volume 124 of the West Virginia Law Review, a Magistrate Court Mediator, a Peer Academic Consultant, Treasurer of the Federal Bar Association-WVU Chapter, Secretary of Environmental Law Society, a member of the ACLU-WVU Law Chapter and  WVU Student Grotto editor. During his 2L year, Hogbin worked as a program assistant for West Virginia Continuing Legal Education. In Summer 2020, he was a summer associate at the Skinner Law Firm in Charles Town, West Virginia. Hogbin graduated from WVU in 2018 with bachelor's degrees in Political Science and Multidisciplinary Studies with emphases on philosophy, communication studies and business administration.

"This week was an exceptionally busy week for me. I have a collection of meetings, interviews, extracurricular responsibilities and other tasks that fall outside my regular schedule of reading, attending class, and writing notes," Hobgin said.

WVU Law student Shawn Hogbin walking into the law school


7:00 - 8:20 AM  – I wake up, shower, and begin getting dressed for the day. My apartment is a short walk from the College of Law, and I enjoy my walks to and from class. I have one roommate, a friend from high school and undergraduate, who I've lived with for seven years.

Once I get to school, I spend a few minutes talking to friends in the Lobby about the upcoming week and the prior weekend. Throughout the day, the College of Law’s Lobby sees a lot of student traffic and is where we often hang out, visit with friends or prepare for class.

8:20 - 10:00 AM – I arrive at my 8:30 a.m. Income Tax course a few minutes early to get settled as Professor Wilson is doing the same. We discussed 26 U.S.C. § 162, which is the deduction for business related expenses.

10:10 - 11:35 AM – After walking back to my apartment, I complete and print off some case briefs for my Constitutional Law II and Criminal Procedure classes this week. Case briefs are quick summaries of the cases read for class. Although they take time to create, they (1) help me answer questions in class, (2) give me a helpful study tool to review and (3) force me to take a second look at the material.

I have a personal policy of ignoring my inbox on the weekends, so I also answer all the emails I’ve missed. I begin reading the submitted briefs for a U.S. Supreme Law Clinic (SCOTUS Clinic) moot court session. Then I walk back to school.

11:45 AM – I sit down for meeting with the Student Bar Association (SBA). I spend some time going over my meeting notes and make sure to mark topics of “new business” in preparation for the 12 p.m. meeting. The SBA meeting begins, and I run through my points of business. Other members update us as to what is going on with their responsibilities. Some of these members include the Vice President, representatives from the different Classes, Community Service Chairperson, etc. We talk about an upcoming padfolio sale, fundraising for Barristers Ball, upcoming events like a Holiday Sweater Party, trivia and a community service project, and prior events like Fright Farm and the Halloween Party.

Barristers Ball is held by law schools all across the country - it is a large dance where students, faculty and their guests all celebrate another completed year of law school. Formal wear is typical. In short, it is law school prom.

12:45 - 2:10 PM – I grab a lunch from the bookstore café and stop to talk to some friends in the hallway about their weekends. I walk back to my apartment, and then again review SCOTUS clinic documents to assist in mooting.

I also give feedback to members of the West Virginia Law Review on their most recent submissions. Members of the Law Review write their own legal scholarship on a topic of their choosing, and the recently turned in an assignment. I gave them feedback on their choice of sources, the structure of their writing and arguments, as well as general commentary. By January, members will have completed the first draft of a 25–35-page article.

I leave my apartment around 2:10 p.m. and head back to the law school.

2:30 - 3:15 PM – I have Constitutional Law II class with Professor Bastress. This course is almost solely on the First Amendment. In class we discussed the constitutionality of laws that regulate the time, place, or manner of speech.

3:15 - 5:00 PM – I talk with friends in the Lobby, have a brief meeting and walk back to my apartment. Back home, I finished my work preparing for the SCOTUS moot. I also answer and send out a handful of emails for SBA.

5:00 - 8:00 PM – I go on a futile hunt for a replacement laptop charger. I had lost my laptop charger the prior weekend at a conference. Despite not being able to find a compatible charger, I was not totally hobbled. I do most of my work using a desktop, so I was able to just switch over to exclusively using my desktop. Then I eat dinner, which I picked up while on my hunt for a charger.

8:00 - 10:30 PM – I continue to give feedback to Law Review members on their written work product. I also send a few emails organizing a Finals Panel with SBA for 1Ls and handling other SBA business. A substantial portion of our course grade in law school comes from the final exam, and sometimes the final counts as much as 100% of your grade. Appropriately, Finals Week is a stressful time, and it is especially stressful for the 1L’s, who have never faced a law school final before. The purpose of our Finals Panel is to give tips, tricks, and general advice from upperclassman to the 1Ls.

10:45 PM – Bedtime

WVU Law student Shawn Hogbin studying at home


7:00 - 9:50 AM – Rise and shine! I do some housework, manage my finances, shower and get dressed. I try again to find a laptop charger online, with no immediate avail. I even got on the phone with technical support. Then it’s off to school.

10:00 - 11:00 AM – I participate in the interview of a Criminal Law professor candidate. This involved a two-way conversation with the candidate asking them about how they would be as a professor, prior experience, etc., while the candidate asks myself and other students about what it means to be a student at WVU College of Law.

11:05 - 1:30 PM – I buy and eat lunch at the law school café and walk back to my apartment, where I start my reading assignment for Wednesday’s Constitutional Law II class, send emails, and continue to give feedback on Law Review research. Then I walk to school, chat with friends in the hallway and give the winner of an SBA fundraising raffle their prize – it was a custom Blenko Glass that includes the “Flying WV.”

1:30 - 3:00 PM – Criminal Procedure class. This course mostly discusses the Fourth Amendment, and today’s class was focused on a (in)famous case, Terry v. Ohio – we learned specifically what the definition of “reasonable suspicion” means. 

3:10 - 8:00 PM – I finish my Constitutional Law II reading for Wednesday back at my apartment, and continue to draft emails, clean and start my Income Tax reading for Wednesday. Dinner is home-made cauliflower-crust pizza.

8:00 - 12:00 PM – I finish the Income Tax reading for Wednesday, and I look at circuit splits for SCOTUS Clinic. “Circuit splits” occur when the courts sitting directly below the Supreme Court have differed on how to interpret a law. Typically, identifying a circuit split is identifying an issue that the Supreme Court will eventually have to resolve (if Congress does not solve the issue first).

I also prepare to get my driver’s license renewed and finish writing a report for a caving trip I took a few weeks ago. One of my favorite pastimes is caving, and it’s something I have been doing since high school. There are a lot of organizations that support caving, and I try to remain an active member while in law school. Trip reports are common procedure and include what we did in the cave, what we saw, and how long we were in there, etc. This trip reports get circulated in publications distributed by caving organizations.

WVU Law student Shawn Hogbin caving


12:00 AM – 6:45 AM – I finish my Criminal Procedure reading for Thursday, type up notes and outline information from the past three weeks in Criminal Procedure. The notes you take in class are rarely in an organized format that is easy to understand at a quick glance. In undergrad you probably put your notes into a single document, gave it structure, and eliminated unnecessary parts. You created a study guide. In law school, student-made study guides are called “outlines.”  I was three weeks behind on doing this, and I prefer to do it every week. It felt good to catch up.

I also read a draft brief for SCOTUS Clinic client that has a case pending before a United States Circuit Court.

6:45 - 7:30 AM – Lay down and check social media on my phone. Shower and get dressed, then back to outlining. This time, I type notes and reduce them to an outline for Constitutional Law II.

8:10 - 10:00 AM – Walk to school and stop to talk to Mary Jo at the WVU Law bookstore (which is also the café) about ordering some books for finals preparation. Income Tax class starts at 8:30 a.m. We discuss 26 U.S.C. § 167, which is called the “depreciation deduction.”

10:00AM - 2:15 PM – I walk back to my apartment and continue to type notes for Constitutional Law II. I type my notes for a few reasons. First, I have truly horrible handwriting and my notes become illegible to even me after a few passing days. Second, some classes do not allow laptops, so notes cannot be transcribed in class. Third, I prefer to write my notes on the first pass and type them on a second pass. This forces me to look at the material twice.

I treat myself to an extra big lunch from Chick-fil-A, and then I walk back to class.

2:30 - 3:45 PM – Constitutional Law II class. We continue to go over time, place, manner regulations of speech and begin a discussion on laws regulating public fora.

3:50 - 5:20 PM – I stop to talk with Mary Jo at the bookstore again before walking back to my apartment, where I answer emails and begin reading for Friday’s Constitutional Law II class. I ordered delivery for dinner.

5:30 - 7:30 PM – SCOTUS Clinic class. We mooted our professor, discussed more upcoming moots next week and how our client cases are doing, our new cases and assignments for the next week.

7:45 PM – Early bedtime.  

WVU Law student Shawn Hogbin in class


8:00 AM - 12:00 PM – Wake up. I respond to emails, finish the Constitutional Law II reading for Friday, and begin to type Income Tax notes from this week. I also treat myself to some online Christmas shopping.

12:00 - 1:15 PM – I make lunch at the apartment, which is pork pot stickers. Then it’s time to shower and get dressed before walking to school.

1:30 - 3:00 PM – Criminal Procedure class. We talked about Terry again and its extensions.  

3:00 - 4:30 PM – At the law school, I type notes from multiple classes from this week and send some more emails.

4:30 - 8:00 PM – I go on a walk around town because the weather is exceptionally nice, and I want to enjoy it while it lasts. Then I go on a short grocery shopping trip to Kroger. Back home, I help my girlfriend with cooking a new dinner: pecan breaded pork chops, mashed sweet potatoes, baked Brussel sprouts. It was excellent and worth the minimal preparation time.

8:00 - 10:00 PM – I spend the evening watching the movie Snowpiercer with my girlfriend, who is a second-year graduate student at WVU.


7:30 - 11:45 AM  – Wake up. I work on typing class notes, responding to emails and reading for Tuesday’s Crim Procedure class. Then I shower, get dressed and walk to school

12:00 - 2:00 PM  –  Constitutional Law II class. We talk about regulation of public forums, the doctrine surrounding prior restraint, and whether there is special press-related privileges under the First Amendment.

2:00 - 5:00 PM – Walk back to my apartment, where I finish typing up my Criminal Procedure notes from this week and do my Constitutional Law reading for Monday.

5:00 - 6:00 PM – I pack for a weekend trip around Davis, West Virginia, to visit with longtime friends and spend some time outside.

I had a great time with my friends doing some short day-hikes in the perfect amount of snow. Additionally, at the end of this week I had scheduled some time to visit with some of my friends from undergrad. We have all gone our sperate ways professionally and geographically, so it was important to me to schedule some time with them when we could all come together.

WVU Law student Shawn Hogbin hiking near Davis, WV

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