About Mark Livingston

Mark earned a B.Sc. in Criminology and Sociology from Ball State University, a M.Sc. in Criminology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and a Master of Philosophy in Russia, Central, and Eastern European Studies from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Mark earned his JD at Valparaiso University School of Law in May 2019 and passed the Indiana Bar Exam in July 2019. Mark worked for more than ten years in state and local government in the areas of emergency management, law enforcement, and probation. Mark is a veteran of the United States Army Reserve. Mark is a family law attorney at a firm in Zionsville, Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis.

Cultivate Relationships with Faculty After Graduation

Cultivate Relationships with Faculty After GraduationThis week we welcome back guest writer Mark Livingston to all about maintaining relationships with your professors and other faculty after school.

Law school is all about connections. Connections with your classmates, faculty, and supervisors and colleagues at internships, externships, and clerkships throughout law school. The people you interact with in law school represent the foundation of your legal community. If given the right amount of care and attention, you can cultivate these relationships and feast on the fruits of your labors for years to come. [Read more…]

Take Two: Learning From Our Mistakes and Regrouping For Another Round

Take Two: Learning From Our Mistakes and Regroup For Another RoundThis week we welcome back guest writer and recent law school grad Mark Livingston to discuss how to learn from your mistakes and move forward.

Fortunately, law school is only three years long. Unfortunately, law school is a long three years. Although you only have a finite amount of time to get things right while earning your JD, there is room during those three, long years to make mistakes; learn from those mistakes, regroup for the next exam, paper, or semester; and grow as a law student. When I began my law school journey as a non-traditional student, I was certain I knew how to study, what my learning style was, and that all of the things I learned from my previous career had provided me with all I needed to reign supreme in class. I was in for a painful surprise. My initial feedback was less than I had expected, but exactly what I deserved. I needed to regroup and adjust if I had any hope of avoiding failure. Here are a few tips that apply as well to life as they do to law school. [Read more…]

Riding the See-Saw: Maintaining Support at Home and Finding School/Life Balance

Riding the See-Saw: Maintaining Support at Home and Finding School/Life BalanceThis week we welcome back Mark Livingston, current 3L, to discuss how to balance your personal life with your law school career.

I knew from the start that law school was going to be a long and arduous journey. There are innumerable articles on the internet in which law school survivors detail the demise of their friendships, marriages, and romantic relationships because the weight, stress, and burden of law school place too much strain on most relationships. I started law school in the second year of my marriage to my third wife. Already, the odds were stacked against us. Despite that, we agreed that law school as a mid-life career change was a good idea. As I race through the last seventy days of law school, my marriage remains intact. There have been rough patches at times, but we have managed to survive the gauntlet. We definitely have battle scars, but even battered and bruised, I think that we are stronger as a couple because of the challenge. This post is an attempt to help all of my law school colleagues preserve their most important relationships throughout the law school journey and beyond. [Read more…]

Coping with the Death of My Law School

Coping with the Death of My Law SchoolThis week we welcome guest writer Mark Livingston, current 3L, to talk about what it was like to find out his law school was closing.

In 1879, my law school opened its doors. In 2019, or possibly 2020, it will close its doors forever. Over the last nearly 139 years, many have learned the practice of law here; many have gone on to attain significant influence and important positions within the legal community, both nationally and globally. When I started my journey in 2016, there was no indication that the future of my law school was in jeopardy. When the announcement was made during my 2L year that the school was “not closing” but only looking for partners, or maybe a possible relocation to a less saturated market (we are just outside of Chicago) the feeling of panic began to settle in. This year, when a relocation out of state fell through, the hallowed halls seemed more like the decks of the Titanic post-iceberg. This post is about how I am coping with the realization that I will graduate from a law school that will soon no longer exist. [Read more…]

How to Transition From A Career to Law School – It Doesn’t Have to Be a Painful Experience!

How to Transition From A Career to Law School – It Doesn’t Have to Be a Painful Experience!We’re welcoming back guest writer and 3L Mark Livingston to talk about the transition from a professional career to law school.

Most people agree, change is hard. Kakuzo Okakaura said, “the art of life is constant readjustment to our surroundings.” Gone are the days of working at the same factory, day in and day out, for your entire adult life, only to be rewarded for your life-long commitment with a cheap gold watch. There are moments in life when we must choose to change course and start anew. Transitioning from a career, benefits, steady paycheck, and relative stability to run the gauntlet of law school is a tricky proposition, but one that is manageable and rewarding. Here are a few tips from a fellow life-course changer. [Read more…]

A Fresh Start…Getting Ready for a New Beginning Second Semester

A Fresh Start…Getting Ready for a New Beginning Second SemesterPlease welcome back guest writer and 3L Mark Livingston to talk about coming back fresh for a new semester and making the most of your preparation for it!

Law school is not easy. As a father, husband, and non-traditional law student, the pain of late-night study sessions, hours at the library, classes, copious amounts of reading, and the perpetual preparation for finals are all hurdles for both me and my family to overcome. Nothing leaves a worse taste in a law student’s mouth than a mediocre, or even bad, semester. It seems to me that you have two options: 1) you can blame everyone but yourself and play the victim; or 2) spend some time confronting yourself and choose to take steps to start fresh second semester. The great thing about law school is this: although material in a single class may be cumulative, the many classes you will take each semester are not collectively cumulative. This means that you have the opportunity to make adjustments and become a qualitatively different law student each and every semester of law school. How amazing is this? [Read more…]

It’s More Than Presents and Overeating: How to Make Winter Break Work You

It’s More Than Presents and Overeating: How to Make Winter Break Work YouPlease welcome back Mark Livingston, guest writer and 3L, to talk about some strategies for making the most of your job search during winter break.

As we approach the pain of finals and the euphoria of the end of the semester, it’s time to think about the big picture. Of course, you have earned some R & R (rest & relaxation) after a challenging semester, but don’t miss the opportunity to make some invaluable connections and start positioning yourself for work during and after law school. It’s time to push away from that sticky-figgy pudding and start networking over the winter break.

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There Is Never Enough Time: Tips to Manage What Little There Is

There Is Never Enough Time: Tips to Manage What Little There IsThis week we welcome back guest writer and 3L Mark Livingston to talk about how to manage your time in law school.

Life is not easy. There is never enough time for everything that needs to be done on any given day. Time commitments are more acutely felt when in law school. I am a non-traditional law student with a wife, one pre-teen and one infant daughter, a big dog, and I live two-and-a-half hours away from home at law school during the week. My wife and I often embark on our weekends with grand designs of getting so much accomplished: meal prep, family time, grocery shopping, a date-night stroll through the Super Target, housework, and (if we are lucky) some romantic time. Without fail, by the time we get to Sunday night, we realize we have failed to complete most of the planned activities, have to scramble to get ready for the week, and inevitably ask where all of the time went. This article is designed to help the beleaguered law student manage his or her time a bit more effectively, both in law school and in life. [Read more…]

How to Maintain the Connection With Your Significant Other While in Law School

How to maintain the connection with your significant other while in law schoolPlease welcome back guest writer Mark Livingston, 3L, as well as husband and father, to discuss managing a relationship and your law school career.

I remember the day that I made a promise to my wife that law school wouldn’t adversely affect our marriage. “I promise that I will maintain balance.” My wife is an amazing woman, and she supported me with cautious optimism. In truth, every day, since the first day of my 1L year, I have struggled to maintain that promise. It has been a rough ride at times and our marriage has some significant battle scars to prove it. Whether you are married, co-habitating with someone you just like a lot, or are committed to your significant other, here are a few tips to help keep the passion alive and prevent you from getting the boot from your bae. [Read more…]

Avoiding The “Slings And Arrows” Of Outrageous Case Briefing Misfortune And Getting To What’s Important

Reading/briefing casesThis week we welcome guest writer and 3L, Mark Livingston, to discuss how to get started with case briefing as a new law student.

I remember, not so fondly, the first case I tried to brief in law school. It was Todd v. Danner, 17 Ind. App. 368, 46 N.E. 829 (1897). I remember briefing this case, and because it was from 1897, it involved an incident with an unruly steer, and I had no idea how to brief it. The language used by the court was archaic and convoluted. I had no idea what was important or what I needed to include in my brief.

That first brief was awful. Despite the brevity of the court with its two-and-a-half-page decision, my brief weighed in at a cool six pages! I was way off course, and if all of my case briefs had turned out like that one, I would have been briefing my 1L cases after my retirement. I have since developed a few skills and approaches that have helped me streamline the process and cut through my cases like a champ.

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