About Shirlene Brown

Shirlene Armstrong is a first-generation student in her last year at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan. At Wayne, Shirlene has been involved with numerous organizations and clubs, including mock trial, LexisNexis, the Women's Law Caucus, and the Journal of Law and Society. Shirlene enjoys mentoring others and sharing what she has learned on her legal journey and continues to work hard in accomplishing her dreams.

Young Lawyer Perspective – My First Year Practicing In Review

Young Lawyer Perspective - My First Year Practicing In ReviewThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Brown to talk about her first year as a practicing lawyer!

That’s right, I have officially been a licensed attorney for over a year now! Holy cow! It honestly seems like a dream. I am an attorney at a small-medium law firm that specializes in personal injury. Although I have been a lawyer for just over a year, I actually started at the firm in my first year of law school as a law clerk/paralegal. Once I passed the bar and was sworn in, I became my firm’s youngest and least experienced lawyer. Thus, the baby attorney was born! Now that I have hit my first lawyer-versary (I’m coining the phrase), I have been reflecting back on the year and the experience and skills I have developed. Thus, here is my first year of practice in review. [Read more…]

Young Lawyer Perspective – Budgeting for the Young Lawyer

Young Lawyer Perspective – Budgeting for the Young LawyerThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Brown to discuss how to budget as a new lawyer.

Congrats! You have graduated from law school, passed the bar exam, have been sworn-in as a practicing lawyer, and you landed your first “big girl/boy/gender-noncomforming” job! With a new job and more income comes additional responsibilities, including (but definitely not limited to) managing your finances! Personally, I am an attorney at a small-medium sized law firm that specializes in personal injury. I have been officially working at the firm as an attorney for about a year now, however I started at my office in my first year of law school as a law clerk/paralegal. I am also a first-generation college student and the only lawyer in my family. My husband and I both come from very working-class backgrounds and have had jobs since the age of 16. So it should suffice to say that we “ball on a budget.” When I graduated from law school and passed the bar, I started working as an attorney and made more money than I had ever before in my life.

However, I also had to start paying my student loans and managing all my other finances. So what are some tips and tricks to budgeting, especially after you first become an attorney? And how can you best manage your finances at your new lawyer pay rate? Here is my advice to young lawyers on how to budget and be a financial all-star!

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Young Professional Perspective – Thoughts on How Our Professional Lives and Looks Are Affected By Social Media

Young Professional Perspective - Thoughts on How Our Professional Lives and Looks Are Affected By Social MediaThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Brown to talk about your social media and your professional image.

When you enter law school and later when you get sworn in as an attorney, you take an oath of professionalism. This oath even covers situations not relating to the practice of law or situations outside of the lawyer’s traditional duties. In general, lawyers are expected to look, act, and be professional. However, the oath doesn’t necessarily mean you need to dress professionally 24/7 or cannot have a personal life outside of your professional career. Not only are people looking at you and how you present yourself in person, they are also looking at your social media. In the last few decades, the rise of online platforms and social media has allowed people to connect and share posts with people from all walks of life. With this comes an “online presence” and questions surrounding professionalism online. How does social media affect an attorney’s or law student’s professional life? Do you need to keep your personal life completely off social media? What can you do to “be professional” but also “be yourself”? Today I am trying to tackle these very complicated but sensitive topics. [Read more…]

Young Lawyer Perspective – How To Keep Yourself Organized

Young Lawyer Perspective - How To Keep Yourself OrganizedThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Armstrong to talk about staying organized as a newly admitted lawyer.

Are you a newly admitted or “young” lawyer? Are you overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do? Are you not even sure where to start or how to get yourself organized? You’re in luck! I am a young associate who has a passion for organization. I am an attorney at a small-medium law firm that specializes in personal injury. I started at the firm in my first year of law school as a law clerk/paralegal (the only one for quite some time too) and became an attorney after I graduated and passed the bar. Because of this, I was able to learn how to manage assignments and cases and figured out very quickly I had to keep myself VERY organized. When you first get into practice, you are kind of just thrown into things. No one sits you down and tells you, “hey this is how you should keep yourself organized” or “here is a comprehensive guide on how to manage your caseload.” While I may not know everything there is to know about practicing law (yet), I still want to use my experience to help you keep yourself organized. Here are some tips and tricks that have helped me in my practice. [Read more…]

How To Deal With COVID-19 Disrupting Your Plans, Career and Everything In Between

How To Deal With COVID-19 Disrupting Your Plans, Career and Everything In BetweenThis week we’re hearing from guest writer Shirlene Armstrong about how to handle the changes and upheaval due to COVID-19.

If you are like me, you are a planner. You think ahead to the future and have a plan of what you want to do and how. I am a very “Type A” kind of person, and I constantly have a well thought out plan. I have numerous short-term and long-term goals, which I have taken methodical steps to reach. However, COVID-19 has completely altered my plans for 2020. Instead of killing it in the office and courtroom, I am working from home and worried about the safety of my loved ones. I am obviously not the only one affected by this pandemic. People’s lives have been turned upside down because of COVID-19. Your life has also been affected by this pandemic. While I don’t have all of the answers, I am hoping to help guide you in how to deal with the pandemic disrupting your life by sharing how it has affected a big portion of mine and what I have done to get myself through it. [Read more…]

Young Lawyer Perspective – A Day in My Life, Working From Home

Young Lawyer Perspective - A Day in My Life, Working From HomeThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Armstrong to talk about starting out as a new lawyer and working from home in the age of COVID-19.

If someone told me that I would spend my first year in practice working from home for numerous weeks (potentially months), I would think they were trying to pull my leg. However, this is the reality that we are living in. I have been working from home for several weeks now due to the current health crisis. Personally, I am fortunate that I am able to work from home and continue to advocate for my clients. However, this is a new world for me (and I am sure it is for you as well). In an interesting turn of events, my bar prep period kind of prepared me for this. During that time, I had to find a balance between studying and my personal life in order to maintain my sanity. However, how do you find a work-play balance when you are stuck in your home for both? Here is a look into my life working from home as a first year associate. [Read more…]

Bar Exam Perspective – Advice and Reflecting Back on the Bar After Passing

Bar Exam Perspective - Advice and Reflecting Back on the Bar After PassingThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Armstrong to discuss her experience taking (and passing) the bar exam and what insight she’s gained since then.

That’s right, I passed the Michigan bar exam! After lots of hard work, sweat, and tears, I officially passed the bar, got sworn in, and I am now a licensed attorney! Okay, I’m done breaking my arm patting myself on the back. To be honest, even though some time has already passed, I feel like I am in a dream. How was I able to do that? (Jury is still out!) Now that I am on the other side of the bar exam mountain, I have been doing some reflecting back on my journey and how I got to where I am today. So here is some advice I have for you as I look back to one of the toughest times in my life. [Read more…]

Falling in Love With Law School (Again) – Mindful Reminders to Get Through the Semester!

Falling in Love With Law School (Again) - Mindful Reminders to Get Through the Semester!This week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Armstrong to talk about keeping up your momentum during second semester of law school.

Do you remember the start of the school year or even the start of law school? When you were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? When you were excited for what this school year would bring you? When you were looking forward to the next steps of your legal journey? Ah, those were the days, right? Now you are a seasoned law student, hardened to the outside world and just chugging away to the end of the school year. It is the law school slump. The time of year when the end of the semester seems so far away, but you are already burnt out. I get it, I have been there too.

Law school is a stressful and difficult time. There are so many cases to read, activities to be a part of, and classes to attend. You fall into a pattern of just trying to make it until Friday (trust me, that doesn’t end with law school either) But there is a reason you went to law school, and you once had joy and excitement about being a law student. Allow me to give you some mindful reminders and tips on how to keep yourself going and help you fall in love with law school again!

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Your Frequently Asked Questions, Answered – Exam Season

This week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Armstrong to answer all of those burning questions about exams.

You spend all semester reading cases, attending lectures, and trying to learn the law. Countless hours spent trying to master your different classes and applying the law to real factual situations. And now it is time to show your professors what you’ve got! It’s final exam season yet again, one of the most daunting parts of law school. Final exams are a major cause of stress and anxiety for many law students. After all, most classes base their grades solely on the final exam! So what are finals like? How should you prepare for finals? And when will I ever get my grade? Fret not my friend! I have successfully maneuvered through 6 rounds of final exams and am here to spread my wisdom to help you be successful yourself. [Read more…]

Law School SOS: Help! I Might Fail My Final!

Law School SOS: Help! I Might Fail My Final!!We welcome back guest writer and current 3L Shirlene Armstrong to talk about dealing with finals approaching and what to do if you’re worried you won’t do well.

One of the most daunting parts of law school for many students are final exams. You spend an entire semester trying to learn the law and apply it to real life facts. However, the law is confusing, and it is very easy to be left frustrated at the end of the class, still trying to figure out what the heck you were just taught. So, what happens if you feel like you are going to fail your final exam? And what should you do? You probably are feeling extremely stressed and no matter how much you prepare, you believe your grade is a lost cause. While it is understandable to feel discouraged, you don’t have to give up and feel like you’re going to fail! Instead, here are some tips to help you through this exam season and help you get back on the success track. [Read more…]