Five Foundational Principles of Good (Legal) Writing

Five Foundational Principles of Good (Legal) WritingThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to discuss some important basics in legal writing.

Have you ever gotten a headache from reading a statutory provision that went on for ten lines? Or a sentence in a court opinion featuring too many dependent clauses? Or a legal brief with too much jargon or unnecessary words like herein or thereafter?

As a student of the law, I have always been puzzled by why legislators, attorneys, and judges express ideas in convoluted ways. I am also delighted when a legal brief or court ruling is clean and concise, without compromising on sharp and compelling analysis. [Read more…]

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…]

Summer 2021 Job Search Tips for Law Students in the New COVID-19 Landscape

Summer 2021 Job Search Tips for Law Students in the New COVID-19 LandscapeThis week we welcome back guest writer Christen Morgan to talk about what to consider if you’re a law student in a job search during the pandemic.

The year 2020 is now behind us, and as law students gear up for their summer 2021 job search, it’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the legal job market is here to stay. At least for a while.

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the legal landscape into a virtual arena. Gone are the days of in-person networking events and in-person interviews including OCIs, etc.

So, what now? How does one navigate this novel landscape in an industry that has been entrenched in an “old-school” culture?

Like the legal industry has done over the past year, law students will need to adapt to these new measures. However, a successful job search will require that law students are strategic in their approach, as the industry is still adjusting.

Here are some job search tips to help you in summer 2021 and beyond.

[Read more…]

7 Law School Resolutions For The New Year

7 Law School Resolutions For The New YearThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about starting fresh in the new year with some resolutions.

Being a law student is not easy. There is always room for improvement—to make things more efficient, to grow your knowledge, to hone your legal skills. This year, consider adopting some of these new year resolutions:

[Read more…]

Calming Your Nerves for a Virtual Job Interview

Calming Your Nerves for a Virtual Job InterviewThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about staying calm and in control during a virtual job interview.

Job interviews themselves are nerve-wracking enough. This year, law students seeking a job, whether for the summer or after graduation, face the additional challenge of interviewing over the internet. No shaking hands, no direct eye contact, no walking around the office space in between interviews.

Having done some of my 1L summer interviews online and experienced two remote summer programs, I am familiar with the challenges of connecting with strangers over a computer screen. It is entirely normal to feel nervous and stressed.

Here are my tips for calming your nerves for a virtual interview:

[Read more…]

What to Expect When You’ve Landed a Clerkship with the Public Defender’s Office

What to Expect When You’ve Landed a Clerkship with the Public Defender’s OfficeThis week we welcome back guest writer Raneta Mack to talk about what to expect with a position at the public defender’s office.

If you’re like many students, you entered law school not quite knowing how you might use your law degree and perhaps thinking that you wanted to somehow make a difference. Your first year classes are designed to provide you with a strong legal foundation across a broad area of interests. In many instances, these classes help students discover their passion.

For example, Criminal Law, a required course in most law schools, takes you through the workings of the criminal justice system, focusing on crimes, mental states and defenses. While taking this class, many students realize for the first time that a career as a public defender might fulfill their desire to make a difference while also engaging in very challenging legal work. These students often take a further leap into this area by applying for summer clerkships with public defender offices to see if this is where they’d like to launch their legal career. Once the job offer comes in, there is the usual excitement about a new job opportunity, but there may also be some doubt. Doubt? Read on. [Read more…]

How To Navigate Law And Politics During The Holidays

How To Navigate Law And Politics During The HolidaysThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about managing some difficult topics at the holidays – including politics!

Several months ago I applied to work as a contract attorney for a bankruptcy firm. I needed to be admitted to a federal bankruptcy court, however, and another attorney in the firm offered to sponsor me for admission to the federal bankruptcy court. For over an hour, I chatted with this attorney, and we had a lovely conversation. He sponsored me for the court, and we said goodbye.

A few weeks after I was admitted to the bar, I had a legal question in this attorney’s jurisdiction. I called him, he took the time to talk with me and answer my question, and then out of the blue, he asked, “What’s your opinion on wearing masks?” [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!

[Read more…]

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…]