About Mihal Ansik

Mihal is a tutor for the Law School Toolbox and Bar Exam Toolbox. Teaching has been integral to Mihal’s work for over a decade. Prior to law school, she led creative workshops and academic classes in prisons, tutored elementary school students struggling with reading comprehension, and spent five years working as a Court Advocate in Brooklyn, NY, where she developed trainings and advocacy tools for incarcerated and system-involved youth.

While at Harvard Law School, Mihal continued incorporating education and mentorship into her law school experience. She was a mentor and team leader with Harvard Defenders, chaired the Community Building Committee for the Prison Legal Assistance Project, and joined a research paper team exploring the context and impact of legal education. Mihal graduated with a Harvard Public Service Venture Fund Fellowship and Berkeley Law Foundation Fellowship, went on to receive an Equal Justice Works Fellowship sponsored by Morrison and Foerster, and currently provides legal services and educational tools to women working to reunify with their children and families after incarceration.

Law Students Deserve Better Than “Get Tough or Get Out”

ABA Report on high levels of depression, anxiety, and substance useThis week we welcome back guest writer Mihal Ansik, tutor for the Bar Exam Toolbox. She discusses the latest statistics on mental health issues and substance abuse in the legal profession.

In 1986, the year that I was born, Dr. Andrew Benjamin published the first in a series of studies focused on law student wellbeing and mental health. His widely cited reports found that “law students have higher rates of psychiatric distress than a contrasting normative population or a medical student population” and that 40% of surveyed third-year law students reported symptoms of depression. In 2016, the year I graduated law school and entered my first year of practice, a comprehensive study of law student wellbeing found that 42% of respondents thought they needed help for emotional or mental health issues in the past year, but only about half had gotten that help. In the same year, the American Bar Association commissioned a study of attorneys finding that “between 21 and 36 percent qualify as problem drinkers, and that approximately 28 percent, 19 percent, and 23 percent are struggling with some level of depression, anxiety, and stress, respectively.” [Read more…]

Confronting Injustice On The Bar Exam

Reconciling Social Justice With Bar Exam SuccessPlease welcome guest writer, Mihal Ansik, tutor for the Bar Exam Toolbox, to talk about how to balance personal feelings about justice with bar exam questions.

I can’t count how many times I died a little inside answering bar exam questions upholding doctrine that was legal, but, in my opinion, unjust. With fact patterns that require us to justify long term solitary confinement and concede to the flimsy 4th Amendment protections at border crossings, the bar exam demands complicity—fleeting as it may be—from those of us who feel responsible for challenging these very laws. So, when faced with an MBE question requiring me to affirm the constitutionality of deplorable prison conditions, did I engage in an act of resistance and fill in the answer aligned with what I knew to be true in practice, even if it was the wrong bubble? The honest answer is, I didn’t. [Read more…]