My Law School Morning Routine

My Law School Morning RoutineThis week we welcome back guest writer Cathlyn Melvin to talk about her morning routine to get ready for law school.

My earliest class this semester is 9am. Hallelujah. I like to have time to myself in the mornings: I’m happiest when I can accomplish a few things before I get started with my work or school obligations.

Oh, and also: before I look at my phone (gasp!).

That’s right: when I go to bed at night I plug my phone in and put it face-down on my nightstand. And in the morning, I try not to touch it until my “morning routine” is complete, and I’m ready to work.

So here’s what I do instead.

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Three Tips For Networking During The Pandemic

This week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt, to talk about how you can still work on your networking skills, even when you’re stuck at home during COVID-19.

Most of us know how important networking is, particularly when you’re in law school and aspiring to a legal career. Having good grades and published law journal articles will absolutely make a difference in your job prospects. But, having quality connections is a significant advantage.

If you are looking to get hired by a firm, agency, nonprofit, or other employer, having connections may help you learn of unposted job openings. Your connections may provide meaningful letters of recommendation. Your connections who are “in the know” may help steer you away from employers from whom you wouldn’t want to work. Or, they may help you and mentor you even after you get hired. [Read more…]

How Empathy Can Increase Your Success in Law School

How Empathy Can Increase Your Success in Law SchoolThis week we welcome guest writer Cathlyn Melvin to talk about developing empathy as a law student.

Law school is competitive.

Shocker, I know.

Put 75 mostly-Type-A personalities into a “small section,” tell them that the students who score the highest reap the rewards, and see what happens. (Hint: there won’t be a lot of meditative chanting and handholding going on).

The competitive culture of law school is strengthened by the structures it upholds: the on-the-spot Socratic method makes us judge ourselves and others, “relentless public competitions” rank students from “success” to “failure,” and there is a severe lack of feedback and growth-minded communication. And then, of course, the culture “is locked in by its resonance with the currency of success—money.” [Read more…]

How To Practice Law Virtually

How to Practice Law VirtuallyThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about how you can achieve success as a lawyer with a virtual practice.

I once worked for a law office (very briefly) where when I spent an evening in the ER, sick, pregnant, and absolutely miserable, I offered to work from home. One of the managing attorneys told me that it was impossible for a new attorney to work remotely and grow as an attorney.

Well, since the Coronavirus pandemic shut down law offices in several states, lots of firms are finding out that it is not only possible but sometimes advantageous to have attorneys work from home. Yes, there are special considerations.

After that job didn’t pan out, I started my own virtual law practice. Here are some things to consider if you, too, would like to strike out on your own, virtually speaking.

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3 Tips for Socializing During Remote Law School

3 Tips for Socializing During Remote Law SchoolThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about how to still socialize during a global pandemic.

Many law schools have announced that the upcoming term will be fully remote or partially remote—or what is called “hybrid instruction.” In light of this, students are understandably grappling with many decisions: whether to take a hybrid course, whether to move to the area of their school, how to ensure a stable internet connection during live classes, and whether they can fully focus on their studies in their family home. [Read more…]

3 Lessons From Quarantine I’m Taking to Law School

3 Lessons From Quarantine I’m Taking to Law SchoolThis week we hear from guest writer Cathlyn Melvin to discuss what she’s learned from her time so far in quarantine and what she will be taking the law school as a lesson from that time.

We’re more than halfway through 2020, and I think we can all agree on at least one thing: this has been a year of creative solutions, building new systems, and forming new habits.

After a couple of weeks quarantined alone during Second Winter (Chicago’s third of 11 seasons, which comes just before “Spring of Deception”), I knew I’d need to make some major adjustments to my initial quarantine schedule. (For clarification, my initial quarantine schedule included a lot of snacks. And not much else.)

With a few weeks of experimentation, I finally found a groove that allowed me to tackle tasks and complete projects that had been languishing earlier. Now I’m preparing to start my first year of law school, and there are a few lessons I’ve learned in quarantine that I’ll be taking along with me when I move across the country this fall. [Read more…]

How Coronavirus Uncertainty Is Good Practice For Working In Law

How Coronavirus Uncertainty Is Good Practice For Working In LawThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about lessons learned during COVID-19 and how these are useful to practicing law!

The last few months have certainly presented numerous challenges for law students and legal professionals alike. With many firms closed, others still considered essential, and still more in a gray area trying to figure out where they stand, the legal profession has been significantly impacted (like other industries) by the Coronavirus pandemic.

I’ll admit, when the pandemic hit, and my state (New York) closed all court houses, I was nervous to say the least. My law practice in New York was only a few weeks old, and suddenly I couldn’t go to court for any of my clients or pursue the court appointed work I expected I could complete to make ends meet.

However, as the weeks went by, I learned how to adapt my law practice in ways I never anticipated. The result was a much stronger practice, a much more confident attorney, and a happier lifestyle all around. Here are a few lessons I learned about practicing law in a pandemic.

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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…]

Two Ways to Begin Prioritizing Your Mental Health Over Productivity During a Pandemic

Two Ways to Begin Prioritizing Your Mental Health Over Productivity During a PandemicThis week we welcome back guest writer Christen Morgan to talk about why keeping your mental health as a priority is important in this time of COVID-19.

When you’re stressed about something, how do you react? Do you: a) face the stressor head on, determine the cause of this stress and try to relieve it through mindful or various other therapeutic measures; or do you, b) avoid the stressor completely, simply pretend as though it does not exist and instead justify your ignorance by filling your calendar with an overload of tasks that give you the false sense that, “you’re doing just fine sweetie?” I for one fall right into the latter category. I do try my best to make it to category A at some point, but my default is undoubtedly category B. In fact, I’m doing it right now. This morning I learned some news that wasn’t so great, so I filled my day with the most random tasks to avoid facing the stressor head on. I went and bought a new rug for my bedroom because the rug I had for the past two years for some reason just didn’t work anymore and then I got to work cleaning my front porch. A porch that I never use because of my fear of bugs, but it just had to be cleaned today. However, here I am hesitantly venturing into category A and writing this post. Slowing down to face our stressors head on is never fun. But it’s necessary. Where do you land on this spectrum? [Read more…]

Make Applying to Outside Law School Scholarships a Habit

Make Applying to Outside Law School Scholarships a HabitThis week we hear from current law student and guest writer Tiffany Gee Ching Lo about how to approach applications to law school scholarships.

It is no secret that attending law school is a massive financial undertaking. While many schools provide need and merit-based scholarships, most students still need to pay a large sum of tuition and living expenses. As a student, I feel this pressure acutely, as do many of my classmates. During the summer before starting law school, I was curious to see whether there were scholarships I could apply for. I started with a simple google search, but quickly ended up with tens and tens of tiny tabs in my browser. I realized that many law firms and legal organizations offer awards ranging anywhere from $100 to $30,000, averaging at $2,000-$2,500. Many scholarships are recurring on an annual or semesterly basis. There were so many opportunities that I created a document to store all the hyperlinks and to organize them. I now call this list my money maker. [Read more…]