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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How to Maintain your Law School Connections

How to maintain your law school connectionsThis week we welcome back guest writer and 2L Tiffany Lo to talk about keeping up with your law school connections.

Making and maintaining connections during law school are important. The legal profession is a small universe, and you may encounter your classmates as the opposing counsel, as a client, as a judge, as an academic, or as a public servant. Having a personal connection with people in the legal field can help you develop business, craft a litigation or negotiation strategy, and find new career opportunities.

Making connections might be easy, but maintaining them takes work. Here are my thoughts on how to do that: [Read more…]

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…]

Emailing Your Professors for Help with Work-Related Projects: Proceed with Caution

Emailing Your Professors for Help with Work-Related Projects: Proceed with CautionThis week we welcome guest writer and tutor Raneta Mack to talk about getting help from professors with work projects.

You’ve just finished your first year of law school, and you’re about to embark on your first legal job: a coveted summer clerkship. You did well in your first year classes and now you’re eager to make a good impression on everyone in the office.

On your first day, shortly after getting comfortable in your new office, you’re given your first research project. You vaguely remember hearing something about the research topic in your Contracts class. Or was it your Torts class? During the meeting, you were a bit too intimidated to ask the senior attorney any questions, and if you go back now with questions, maybe she’ll think you’re not up to the task. [Read more…]

How To Practice Law As A New Mom

How To Practice Law As A New Mom

This week we welcome guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about balancing a law career and a new baby.

As a new attorney starting out, I had gone straight from undergrad to law school to private practice. I was in my early 20’s, single, and willing and eager to work as much as possible. 

I happily put in long hours at the office including weekends and on holidays. I enjoyed my work and the feeling of being needed by clients and my boss. 

After a six-year break in practicing law, I got back into the industry. This time, I was sworn in to the New York Bar on my son’s second birthday with my husband by my side. Needless to say, my day-to-day life is extremely different this time around now that I’m married and have a child (and one on the way!). 

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Juggling Kids in Remote School and Law School Life

Juggling Kids in Remote School and Law School LifeThis week we welcome guest writer Emily Carter to talk about managing your kid’s remote schooling and your own law school responsibilities.

As I type these very words, I am remote schooling my children. Now, rest assured, I say this with no pride, no smugness, not even a hair of belief that I am succeeding in this balancing act that somehow, the confluence of a virus, parenting, and work responsibilities has loaded on me and many others.

No, please, be assured, my floor is dirty (macaroni, cheerios, and freshly snipped paper cuttings from an elementary schooler’s project are in the current floor assortment). My meal choices lack nutritional value (hot pretzels for lunch, anyone?). And my oldest son, having just emerged from the bathroom at this very moment, reports that the hand towel is soaking wet, soap scum coats the sink, and, in his words, “it stinks in there.” I blame the toddler, who having quickly graduated from potty training to mostly independent bathroom use, lacks a full respect for cleanliness. [Read more…]

Courage is Rehearsed: Managing Fear During Public Performances

Courage is Rehearsed: Managing Fear During Public PerformancesThis week we welcome guest writer Paul Dumont to talk about lessons learned from coaching gymnastics and how those can apply to law school and the bar exam.

From 1988 until 2016, for fun, income, and my own development, I devoted more than 10,000 hours to coaching boys in the Junior Olympic Competitive Program, primarily at Redwood Empire Gymnastics in Petaluma, CA (1988 – 2002), attending approximately 150 competitions and leading 9 teams to state championship titles. During the same decades, I earned degrees in liberal studies, English composition, and law, passed the CA bar exam, and went on to a 20-year career in family law while teaching legal writing on the side. Both journeys were intimidating for a young professional.

Both professions required years of disciplined training and participation in challenging public contests showcasing a performer’s ability to perform competently under myriad pressures. Both professions required management of serious risk. Risks of injury. Liability risks. Risks to self-esteem, reputation, employment, and finances. Risks to ego and id. Success was measured through timed performances evaluated by neutral licensed examiners. All of the results were published. Glad I got into coaching before my legal training scared me away.

This post distills essential lessons gained over 30 years competing in two disparate public arenas, specifically the concrete steps I followed to manage fear during important performances.

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Navigating Law School and a Long-Distance Relationship

Navigating Law School and a Long-Distance RelationshipThis week we welcome back guest writer Christen Morgan to talk about how to manage a long-distance relationship in law school.

Starting law school does not have to mean the definitive end of your relationship.

It does not always mean making a choice between the one you love and the career you’re destined for, and it does not mean feeling guilty about the balancing act of studying and relationship that will now become a part of your law school experience.

Contrary to popular belief, navigating law school and a relationship can actually be beneficial. Despite the success or failure of your relationship, this experience can set you up with essential time-management, decision-making and preparation skills that could benefit you in your personal or professional development. [Read more…]

Alternative Careers: Career Clerkships

Alternative Careers: Career ClerkshipsThis week we welcome guest writer Tina Arroyo to talk about her transition from law firm life to being a career clerk and why this career path works for her.

After years of legal practice, like almost every woman I know in the legal profession, I found myself searching for that ever so elusive work-life balance. And I found it in a place that you often do not hear about in law school – in a career clerkship.

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4 Ways to Seek Feedback in Law School

4 Ways to Seek Feedback in Law SchoolThis week we welcome back guest writer and 2L Tiffany Lo to talk about how to get feedback in law school.

In law school, a final exam is often the sole determinant of a grade in a course. For many students, this is an uncomfortable shift from undergraduate classes in which there are multiple assessments, whether as quizzes, group projects, or short papers. I have felt exasperated by not knowing whether I was grasping the materials, whether I was applying concepts correctly, and whether my legal analysis is on point. Unfortunately, the burden falls on us students to take the initiative and seek feedback. Here are four of my ideas for how to do that: [Read more…]