Erik Kundu ’19

Hometown: Lake Stevens, WA
Education: University of British Columbia 2016; 1L year at William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai’i at Manoa
Affiliations: Articles and Essays Editor, California Law Review; Environmental Law Quarterly; Boalt Football Club

One of the reasons I initially decided to go to law school in Hawai’i was because of my interest in environmental law. Honestly, I had not really thought about transferring until after my first semester of 1L. When I started to look into the transfer process, I was very attracted to the courses and opportunities offered at Berkeley Law.

Berkeley’s admissions team was very helpful and informative during the transfer process. They answered my questions, provided resources, and helped make the transfer application process a breeze. The admissions team was also really great about providing information—before we even got here—about Early Interview Week and California Law Review’s Write-On Competition. For me, applying as a transfer student was not as daunting as applying to law school initially because I had already been through the application process once and had just survived my first year of law school.

It is part of the law school experience to form close relationships during first year, so at first I was pretty intimidated coming in not knowing anybody. But transfer students immediately have a network in each other and everyone else is very open and welcoming. I would say the best thing you can do as a transfer student is get involved. Join journals, clubs, and social organizations that align with your interests. I ended up joining the Boalt Football Club and felt like part of their community right away. It was nice because peers went out of their way to invite me to things because they knew I was a transfer student and did not know anyone.

As far as doctrinal knowledge, I believe 1L curriculum is pretty similar everywhere, so I did not feel like there was any gap for me, personally. But the caliber of discussion in some of the classes, and the viewpoints and backgrounds of some of the students, was immensely different than my 1L year. All of which has been beneficial to my legal education as a whole.

One thing that is a little challenging about being a transfer is the shortened time you are here. There are so many classes that I am interested in, and clinical work that I would like to do, that I do not think I will have time for. Even though there was a lot I wanted to take advantage of here on campus, this spring, I decided to accept a full-time externship with Judge Marsha Berzon ‘73 at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.

It has been an immeasurable experience. I have been exposed to a broad variety of topic areas and directly involved with the creation of the law. I meet with the judge and clerks daily, so I have been able to get pointed insight into their decision making processes. The clerks were also recently in a similar spot that I am in now, so they have given me career advice and information about the clerkship application process. It is also a very exciting time to be working at the Ninth Circuit, with a lot of monumental cases coming across our desks.

One of my favorite things about my transferring experience has been the people that I have met. Getting involved with groups helps make connections and build a network that will support and give you advice, whether it be what classes to take, what professors to talk to, or anything else. The students here are some of the most intelligent people and successful people I have ever met. They will all go on to do great things and change the world in many different ways. Definitely take advantage of the great Berkeley Law community.