How to Transition From A Career to Law School – It Doesn’t Have to Be a Painful Experience!

How to Transition From A Career to Law School – It Doesn’t Have to Be a Painful Experience!We’re welcoming back guest writer and 3L Mark Livingston to talk about the transition from a professional career to law school.

Most people agree, change is hard. Kakuzo Okakaura said, “the art of life is constant readjustment to our surroundings.” Gone are the days of working at the same factory, day in and day out, for your entire adult life, only to be rewarded for your life-long commitment with a cheap gold watch. There are moments in life when we must choose to change course and start anew. Transitioning from a career, benefits, steady paycheck, and relative stability to run the gauntlet of law school is a tricky proposition, but one that is manageable and rewarding. Here are a few tips from a fellow life-course changer. [Read more…]

Navigating Law School as a Non-Traditional Student

Navigating Law School as a Non-Traditional Student Please welcome back guest writer Kala Mueller, Director of Public Interest Programs at the University of Nebraska College of Law. She’s discussing how to handle law school if you’re not a “traditional” student.

Most people equate “non-traditional” with being older, but if a “traditional” student is one who has gone straight from college to law school, then “non-traditional” might encompass anyone who has not. Still, I typically think of a non-traditional student as someone who is entering law school after at least a few years out of an educational setting. I worked full-time for one year between college and law school, and while that might technically mean I was a non-traditional student, I certainly wouldn’t have felt that the label was fitting for me.

Part of the reason is that I don’t really think my experience was unique from that of my classmates coming straight out of college, whereas most non-traditional law students feel that their experience is different, at least in some respects, whether it is due to the fact that they spent a few years in the workforce, are significantly older than many of their counterparts, or have children. Although maturity and life experience are usually beneficial, it probably will not come as a surprise that life as a non-traditional student is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are both positive and negative implications of the characteristics we often associate with non-traditional students.

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5 Benefits of Having a Career before Law School

Post about the benefits of having a career before law schoolPlease welcome our guest writer and 1L Briana Borgolini to discuss why having a career before starting law school could be beneficial and how to use what you have learned in the workforce to be a better law student.

The decision of if and when to attend law school is a highly personal one, and often only becomes more difficult the further away from undergrad you get. After spending just a few (or many more) years in the workforce rather than in the classroom, it can be daunting to think about returning to a student lifestyle. If you’re anything like me, you might wonder how you managed to learn so many different things in such a short amount of time in college when it took you nearly two years to (almost) fully understand the nuances of your current job. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that your previous career likely prepared you to handle the rigors of law school, even if you don’t know it. [Read more…]

Advice from the Trenches for Incoming 1Ls: On the Rigors of Law School

Advice for incoming 1Ls Part I - What I Wish I Had Known When Starting Law SchoolPlease welcome guest writer Kala Mueller, Director of Public Interest Programs at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Kala is looking at what some of the students she works with wish they had known going into law school.

For incoming 1Ls, the weeks and months leading up to law school are usually filled with excitement, fear, anxiety, and a lot of questions. I could regale you with tales of my law school experience, but alas, it was more than ten years ago and the details are blurry. Lucky for you, I have the privilege of working closely with a lot of really exceptional law students who are much wiser than me. I asked a few of them to tell me what they wish they would have known as they prepared to enter law school or what advice they would give to new students. [Read more…]

5 Things I’ve Learned as an “Older” Law Student From My Younger Colleagues

What I've Learned as an "Older" Law Student from my Younger Colleagues.

Today we welcome back Jaclyn Wishnia, rising 2L at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and aspiring entertainment law attorney, to discuss the generation gap at law schools and how to work together at any age.

Like most law students, I felt both nervous and excited on my first day of law school orientation. I also shared many of the same thoughts my colleagues have mentioned as well, such as would I make friends easily? Or would everyone be as cold and competitive as the rumor mill suggests? They were the typical questions of doubt anyone entering a new social situation, would ask themselves. Unlike many of my colleagues though, one major concern was dominating my nerves that day: my age.

It took me six years to finally apply to law school after college; the bulk of my twenties. I had lived through almost a decade of failures and triumphs, worked for prominent firms and attorneys, networked with top CEOs of reputable companies, and best of all, was now certain that I belonged in law school. Why was a petty number destroying my confidence? [Read more…]

Perspective on Being a First Generation College Student and Lawyer

Being a First Generation College Student and Lawyer: A First-Hand Perspective

Today, we welcome back Shirlene Armstrong, guest writer and now rising second-year law student to share her personal reflections on her experience as a first generation college and law student.

From a young age, my parents encouraged my sister and I to work hard and be successful at school. Ever since I can remember I knew that I would eventually go to college and get a degree, no matter what obstacles I had to overcome. With the love and support of my family, I became a first-generation college student. [Read more…]

Are You Willing to Look Stupid to Learn?

shutterstock_121961872Lee Rosen once said something interesting to me, which is that he runs across a lot of solo and small firm lawyers who are more concerned about looking like lawyers than they are in doing the non-glamorous work that’s required to get enough business to actually be a lawyer.

At the time, I found this sort of amusing and ironic, but didn’t think much about it. However, I’ve realized this principle applies more broadly, and is applicable to all types of students, too. (As a struggling Spanish-language learner, I count myself in this group, too.)

Are You Too Focused on Looking Smart to Actually Learn?

How often do you do the thing that makes you look (or feel) smart, rather than admitting you don’t know something and really diving in to try to understand it?

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Is Starting Law School Like Moving to a Foreign Country?

Starting Law SchoolPeople always say that law school is like high school, and — while there’s some truth to that (cliques, lockers, backpacks, and gossip!) — I think it’s actually more like moving to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, don’t know anyone, and don’t understand the culture.

Given that I recently moved to Mexico City for the summer (where I don’t speak the language, don’t know anyone, and don’t fully understand the culture), I’m amazed by the similarities to those first months of law school. Here’s what I’ve realized, which might help with the transition to law school.

At First, Everything is Exciting and New

By the time you arrive at law school Orientation, you’ll have been anticipating the moment for months, or even years. It’s really happening! After all of the LSAT prep, application stress, packing, moving, thinking, wishing, worrying — you’re really doing it! You’re starting law school.

Similarly, the first days in a foreign country are so fun and exciting. Who cares if you can’t communicate with anyone! Just look at this adorable cafe you can sit in and daydream about how awesome your life is going to be. All the new friends you’ll make! How quickly you’ll be communicating fluently! This is going to be awesome.

Then, Reality Sets In

Then, a few days in, things start to shift.

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Law School Myth #4: Life as a Lawyer is Exciting and Intellectually Challenging

StressIf you believe pop culture, life as a lawyer is pretty exciting.

Jury trials take half an hour and there’s an ongoing highlight reel of witty cross-examination and bombshell surprise evidence. Sadly, that’s not the way things work in reality.

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Law School Myth #2: Student Loan Debt is Good Debt

Cut up the credit cardsPeople often say you shouldn’t worry about student loan debt — that it’s “good debt.” In some cases, this might be true.

Taking out student loans is an investment in your human capital.

To the extent they enable you to do something you couldn’t otherwise do, i.e., afford to pay for law school so you can become an attorney, student loans might be justifiable.

However, it depends on the specifics:
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