How to Keep up with the Law

How to Keep up with the LawThis week we welcome back guest writer Zoila Sanchez to discuss how to keep yourself informed about what’s going on in the legal field.

If you are interested in going to law school, you have likely learned about the various steps you need to take to successfully get there. For example, you must take the Law School Admissions Test (“LSAT”), write a personal statement, and obtain letters of recommendation.

While you are in the pre-law process of exploring the possibility of attending law school and familiarizing yourself with the requirements to be a successful applicant, it can sometimes feel like you are not engaging with the reason why you wanted to attend in the first place. For example, in my own personal experience, I spent so much time carving out hours to study for the LSAT aside from my full-time job and other commitments, that I did not have the time to connect with the social justice issues that inspired me to attend law school. I discovered through an incredible pre-law program that there are easy ways to quickly plug into legal issues in the world today. [Read more…]

Law School Affinity Groups – What They Do And Why You Should Join

Law School Affinity Groups - What They Do And Why You Should JoinThis week we welcome back guest writer and 3L Tiffany Lo to talk about what affinity groups are and why you may want to participate!

Law school affinity groups are created around a common identity and allow their members to connect and learn from each other. Some of these groups are Outlaw, Black Law Students Association, Asian Pacific Islander Law Students Association, Latinx Law Students Association, Native American Law Students Association, Jewish Law Students Association, Women of Color Collective, First Generation Law Students, Middle Eastern Law Students Association, and many more.

So why should you join one or multiple? Here are some things to think about:

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Following Your Own Law School Timeline

Following Your Own Law School TimelineThis week we welcome guest writer Zoila Sanchez to talk about how to focus on your own law school experience and adapt to what you need to in order to make it through school.

As you may have already realized, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to experiencing law school as we are all different and rarely fall into the “traditional” law student mold. For example, some students are parents and attend school full or part-time. Some students are returning for a second or third degree.

You may have experienced feeling “behind” in some way. For example, you may feel late on securing an internship merely because someone else has already interviewed or secured one.

As a law student, I remember representing a bar prep program and promoting a prescribed schedule to help students stay on track. Specifically, there were dates on when to complete the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). While the recommendation seemed to emphasize starting early to set yourself up for success, I came to realize how so much of the real-life law school experience for many is set to a totally different pace than what was on the schedule. [Read more…]

Intern Turned Prosecutor: How My Internship at the DA’s Office Led to a Career

Intern Turned Prosecutor: How My Internship at the DA’s Office Led to a CareerThis week we welcome guest writer and Law School Toolbox tutor, Sara Beller, to discuss how she turned an internship in the DA’s office into a career.

By the end of my internship at the DA’s office, I felt like a full-blown prosecutor. As an intern, I conducted numerous preliminary hearings, drafted and argued countless motions in court, and even completed a real jury trial from start to finish (by myself!). Everything was going according to plan, and I was about to receive a snazzy job offer…or so I thought.

I’ll never forget the day a supervising attorney told me that the office wasn’t able to make any job offers because the county was in a hiring freeze. To say I was heartbroken is an understatement. My Type-A brain went into immediate panic mode. Did all of my hard work go to waste? Should I have invested my time at a private firm instead? Was it a mistake to put all of my eggs into the DA office’s basket? The short answer is absolutely not. Here’s how my internship led to a career as a prosecutor: [Read more…]

How To Respond To Questions About The Law From Friends And Family Members

How To Respond To Questions About The Law From Friends And Family MembersThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about how to respond to family and friend questions about the law when you’re a law student.

It is a rite of passage for law students. At a family gathering, over a messaging app, or just out of the blue, a friend or family member asks you: [insert legal question here]? This can be a very general question: “what does divorce mean for property division?” or something much more specific: “how do I deal with my landlord who is trying to evict me because they want to sell the house?” “how do I contest a traffic ticket for failure to stop at a red light?” “how do sue someone in small claims court for not paying me for a job?” I have gotten a range of questions related to landlord-tenant laws, traffic violations, personal injury claims, family law, and business law, and have heard similar stories from fellow law students.

Perhaps you’ve studied the exact topic in a class, come across the issue while working at your summer job, or have knowledge based on your past academic research and work experiences. But more likely, you do not know the general area, let alone the relevant laws. You are probably hesitant to give information and advice, worried that it might turn out to be incorrect and lead someone down a wrong path. Moreover, since you are not yet a licensed attorney, you don’t want to be engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

Law students are all different, with varying obligations, interests, and bandwidth. Each person would handle a situation like this differently. This blog post is not meant to provide a one-size-fits-all approaches, but suggests three approaches you can consider when responding to such a question.

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Carving Your Own Path in the Legal Field

Carving Your Own Path in the Legal FieldThis week we welcome back guest writer Zoila Sanchez to discuss how you can find your own, unique area of the law.

When I was an undergraduate, it seemed to me that most students fell into either pre-medical school track, psychology, or business. I recall our career center heavily focusing on business opportunity events, however, none of these paths seemed to spark my interests. We did not hear much about other possibilities.

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Your Guide to Landing a Research Assistant Position

Your Guide to Landing a Research Assistant PositionThis week we welcome guest writer and attorney Hannah Myers to discuss how you can go about finding a Research Assistant position as a law student and what you can gain from this role.

Before we can get into how to get a Research Assistant position, you should know what a Research Assistant actually does. Research Assistants work for a professor as basically exactly what it sounds like–research. This could range from helping out with courses that a professor teaches, long-term projects they’re working on (like a law review paper, a book, or a presentation), or even doing your own project that they oversee. It varies depending on what the professor needs, what your law school encourages faculty to take part in, and what time of year you’re working. [Read more…]

Experiential Learning in Law School: Presenting to a Tribal Council

Experiential Learning in Law School: Presenting to a Tribal CouncilThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about experiential learning in law school.

Before I was in law school, I remember hearing about stories of law students making a difference in the world, whether through exonerating death row prisoners, assisting small businesses, or working on immigration and deportation cases. Inspired and motivated, I wanted to do that myself someday.

Flash forward to law school now, and I finally got my chance. This fall, I joined a policy practicum where I had the chance to assist the Yurok Tribe’s Office of the Tribal Council with some of their current legal issues. The Yurok Tribe’s reservation is located in Del Norte and Humboldt counties in North California, sitting on a stretch of the Klamath River. I worked on two different projects: one, advising on a potential discrimination suit and two, preparing a whitepaper to describe the process of tribes contracting with the federal government in order to gain funding and coordinate in wildfire prevention and management. [Read more…]

3 Things I Learned From Writing My Personal Statement

3 Things I Learned From Writing My Personal StatementThis week we welcome 1L Justine Huang to talk about the process of writing her personal statement.

If you are applying to law school for the next cycle, chances are you’re working through or putting the finishing touches on your personal statement. For me, the personal statement was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but I can now appreciate the process as a continuous lifelong journey of growth and self-reflection. Here are three things I learned from the writing process.

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Misconceptions About Law School: What Law School Is Really About

Misconceptions About Law School: What Law School Is Really AboutThis week we hear from law student Justine Huang about what she’s learned in her first semester of law school about what law school really is.

The main expectation I had going into law school was that it was going to be a lot of reading. While that turned out to be true, life as a law school student wasn’t exactly as I had imagined. Having been through one semester of law school, I hope to give you a sense of what 1L year is like.

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