Reflections on First Semester From a 1L

A 1L’s Reflections on First SemesterThis week we welcome guest writer Briana Borgolini, current 1L at Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law, to discuss her experience going into second semester 1L year.

No matter how prepared you think you are, the first semester of 1L year is a challenge. Anyone who is beginning law school has most likely been a great student for most of their lives, but there is just something different about the pedagogy of law school that makes it a little bit harder to figure out. Even if you think you have the perfect plan, first semester will probably be a bit of trial and error. For me, this definitely held true – there are things that I will continue to do, and there are things that I will certainly change. [Read more…]

How to Prepare for Class as a 1L

How to prepare for class as a 1LThis week we welcome back Shirlene Armstrong, rising 3L, to discuss some great advice for getting ready for class as a 1L.

Sharpen your pencils and get your notebooks ready, school is just around the corner. Starting law school is a daunting experience. In general, beginning something new can feel uncomfortable. However, law school is an entirely new experience that is unlike anything you have experienced before. Thus, you are probably feeling nervous and worried about what to expect, especially when it comes to classes. Fortunately, you are already being proactive and trying to prepare prior to classes. Here are some tips to help you prepare for class as a 1L. [Read more…]

The Types of Professors You’ll Encounter in Law School

The Types of Professors You’ll Encounter in Law SchoolPlease welcome back Jaclyn Wishnia, 2L guest writer from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She discusses the different types of professors you will inevitably meet in law school.

Society has assigned a stereotype for the majority of industries within the workforce. For example, the legal profession is considered notorious for breeding individuals who run the gamut of pejorative adjectives: aggressive, conniving, snobby, conceited, serious, boring, etc. Hopefully, most of you are striving to discredit these labels for our industry. Those inside the profession, however, understand that different types of law are better suited for individualized personalities. For instance, someone who enjoys dynamic discourse, public speaking, and writing briefs is more likely to be found working at a litigation firm, than a person who cares deeply about solving environmental issues, likes writing policy as opposed to briefs, and rather educate others about the relevant laws, and consequently, will instead probably be found working for a governmental agency, such as the EPA.

Since many law professors practice law before they teach, and often teach the subject they have already practiced in, it follows that their personalities will resemble those associated with their chosen legal sphere. Thus, certain characteristics will transfer from the workforce into the classroom, which is why there are specific archetypes of professors that every law student will recognize; predominantly identifiable in 1L courses.

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The Case Against Dating in Law School: 5 Antagonistic Arguments

The Case Against Dating in Law School: 5 Antagonistic ArgumentsPlease welcome back Jaclyn Wishnia, our now 2L guest writer from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She discusses the counterpoint to her previous dating post, and offers reasons why you may want to hold off on dating in law school.

When it comes to law school, the topic of dating often conjures up cringe-worthy images such as potentially facing a loath some ex as your future adversary; or becomes associated with words like, unprofessional. Despite the unsavory connections that dating in law school brings to mind, law students, no strangers to a challenge, dismiss these notions and forge ahead confidently assuming their relationship will be an outlier or that maybe their relationship is the stress reliever they deserve. While the chances are slim for accidentally running into your ex as opposing counsel in court (only a small portion of cases result in court per year), there are much stronger reasons available that build a case for why it might not be the best idea to date someone in law school. [Read more…]

Reflections on 1L Year, From a Rising 2L

1L going on 2L: A Rising 2LToday, we welcome back Shirlene Armstrong, guest writer and now rising second-year law student, to share some of her thoughts on making it through her 1L year.

Finally, the dreaded 1L “work-to-death” year is over! Looking back, 1L year really flew by. It feels great to have the hardest year of law school in the books and be able to enjoy downtime without feeling guilty about reading for tomorrow’s class. Now, I am a rising 2L. Here are my reflections on what it is like to be a 1L going on 2L, and how to prepare for your upcoming 1L year.

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The End of the Academic Year: A 1L Perspective

end of school year examsPlease welcome Shirlene Armstrong, first-year law student at Wayne State University. Today, she’s giving us the 1L perspective on what law school life is like as the second semester draws to a close.

Another semester is coming to an end and a new law school season is about to begin, Studying Fever. This was a phenomenon that I discovered last semester: when everyone suddenly realizes that exams are less than a month away and go into overdrive mode. These are some of my reflections on what a law school looks like toward the end of the year. [Read more…]

1L Exams Start in a Week! What Should You Be Doing?

Law School Exam StressBelieve it or not, December is here! Which means most law schools start exams in the next week or so. Scary thought, right?

When you stop hyperventilating, let’s talk about what you should be doing now to be ready for your first exam. (Hint: It’s not adding an extra 20 pages to your 100-page outline.)

#1. Make Sense of What You’ve Learned

The weird thing about law school pedagogy is that your professor doesn’t just come out and tell you what you need to know for the exam. Neither does the casebook. So…you’ve got a problem! Where in the world are you supposed to find out what you need to know?

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Hey, 1Ls! It’s Okay to Use the Internet

Law Student BlogI can’t believe I’m actually writing this — in late 2013 — but I’ve heard the same thing from enough new law students that I feel compelled to address it.

Namely, if your school tells you not to blog or use social media IGNORE THEM. This is incredibly stupid advice (and you can tell them I said so).

Why? Let’s count the ways:
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Tips from a Legal Recruiter on Finding a 1L Summer Job

1L Summer JobIt’s December, which means that 1Ls can look for summer work. Just what you have time for, right?

To set you on the right path, please welcome back Angela Kopolovich a former BigLaw litigator who’s now Managing Director of Alegna International, a boutique attorney recruiting firm.

Without further ado…here’s Angela.

Finding a 1L Summer Job

During your first few months of law school, the National Association for Law Placement (aka NALP, you’ve heard of them already right?) has paternalistically lovingly kept you from worrying about what you will do this coming summer.  

Now, just as everyone is recovering from their tryptophan-induced comas, the clock strikes December, and your cushy cocoon is suddenly shaken by the realization that you’ll have to start looking for your first legal job.

The process can be stressful, but if you properly manage the things that are within your control, you’ll be way ahead of most other 1Ls scrambling in the spring.

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Surviving the October 1L Freakout

October FreakoutSomething’s in the air, and it’s not just the crisp beginning of autumn. It’s time for the collective October 1L Freakout. Yes, this is a thing.

I was reminded of it recently, when a couple of different 1Ls furtively told me that they’d unexpectedly burst into tears while talking to professors. The look of “This doesn’t happen to anyone else, does it?” was clear.

Well, put your mind at ease — it’s quite normal, and there’s a very good reason for it, I think. I’ll get into my theory about why this happens soon, but first a story.

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