I’m a 1L/2L, Why Should I Care About the Bar Exam?

I'm a 1L/2L, Why should I care about the Bar?Please welcome back Shirlene Armstrong, guest writer and future bar exam taker, to discuss why it’s never too early to think about your bar exam preparation!

The bar exam is usually considered the most dreaded exam a law student must eventually face, but you also must pass in order to become a licensed attorney. This exam is usually taken after your 3L year following graduation. So, if I’m a 1L or 2L, why should I care about the bar exam until my 3L year? I have PLENTY to worry about law school-wise, worrying about the bar exam is just not on the top of my priority list. I have PLENTY of time to prepare, so it shouldn’t matter if I wait. Well, actually you don’t. Despite popular belief, law school does not last forever. Eventually you will finish and have to take the bar exam. Law school goes much faster than people think, which is increased by the craziness of all the projects and activities in between. Thus, the sooner you can accept the inevitable (i.e. the bar exam), the better. [Read more…]

Advice from the Trenches for Incoming 1Ls: On the Importance of Self-Care  

Advice for Incoming 1Ls Part II (Importance of Self-Care)Please welcome back guest writer Kala Mueller, Director of Public Interest Programs at the University of Nebraska College of Law. Kala has been talking to her upperclassmen students about advice they would offer incoming 1Ls, and, this week, discusses the importance of self-care.

This is the second in a series of posts exploring the themes that emerged when I asked some of the law students I work with 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. If you’ve already read the first post on the rigors of law school, you know that you’re going to be challenged in ways that you’ve likely never been challenged before.

The demands of law school can have a tremendous mental and physical toll, and unfortunately, self-care is often put on the back burner. The number of law students that struggle with anxiety and depression is staggering, so it’s important that you take care of your mental health. If you’re not convinced that self-care is something you should prioritize over the next three years or can’t fathom how you’ll do so, I hope the advice below will enlighten you.

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Learning to Love the Socratic Method

Something about the socratic method for GGPlease welcome back guest writer John Passmore to talk about how to learn to love an aspect of law school which is certainly not everyone’s favorite – the Socratic method.

The Socratic method is a unique and, for many, a frightening aspect of law school. It can be one of the toughest parts of transitioning from undergraduate to law school life. An introvert myself, the idea of the cold-call (being unexpectedly called on and peppered with questions by the professor) terrified me well into my 1L year. But later in law school I came to truly appreciate the Socratic method. It makes you engage the material in a deeper way. By actively participating as the professor builds concepts through questions and answers, you absorb the material in a way you never would through passively listening to a lecture. You may never love a class with a tough professor who employs a strict form of the Socratic method, but if you can at least come to appreciate the method, you can move beyond fear and reap some of the benefits that it offers. [Read more…]

Where to Study for the Bar Exam: Environment Matters

Where to study for the bar exam: environment matters (talk about using a co-working space to study, interview friends about where they studied and what the pros/cons were)This week we welcome guest writer Allison Pincus, tutor for the Law School Toolbox and Bar Exam Toolbox. Allison discusses why it’s important to pick the right location for your bar study, and what her personal experience was finding a place to study.

“Where have you been for the past few days? We were so worried!” This was the response I received from the greeters when I signed in at my co-working space the day after I took the bar exam.

Of course my family and friends all knew I was sitting for the bar at the end of July. And the employees at my co-working space knew I had been studying, and studying hard – but they hadn’t known exactly when the exam was taking place. I hadn’t shown up to study as I had been doing every day, and they were afraid that I had given up.

There is lots of advice out there about how to study for the bar exam, including useful tips like knowing if it’s too early to begin, and creative strategies for how to study. The prevailing wisdom is to limit distractions and other obligations while studying for the bar, but how does this apply to your study environment? What about where to study for the bar?

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Reflections of a 2L: How to Use Your Experience to Plan Ahead for 3L Year

Reflections of a 2L and How to Use Your Own to Plan Ahead for 3L YearPlease welcome our 2L guest writer to discuss her own personal reflections on 2L year and how she’s looking and planning ahead to 3L year.

In looking back on 2L year, it was a unique and very individualistic experience. Unfortunately, mine was a harrowing one, but that will not be the case for every 2L because the curriculum creates such vastly different scenarios, based on the choices each student selects for themselves. The rest of this article focuses on some personal thoughts concerning 2L year in general, and, stemming from them, changes or items to plan ahead for when thinking about 3L year.

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The Ultimate Guide to the Law in Pop Culture Part I: TV Shows

Ultimate Guide to the Law in Pop Culture Part I - TV ShowsPlease welcome back guest writer, and current 2L, Jaclyn Wishnia, with her list of top tv shows to watch as a law student – you might learn a little while unwinding and binging some tv!

Want to unwind, but feel guilty about binging more lowbrow reality shows instead of studying? No problem. We have you covered with the ultimate list of legal entertainment to mitigate that conscience-stricken feeling. [*Cue Law & Order, et. al. sound].

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Taking Advantage of Academic Support

Taking advantage of academic supportPlease welcome back guest writer Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to discuss how you can find the academic support you need in law school.

You may not realize it, but now is actually a great time to be a law student! The days when law schools would expect 1Ls to jump into the deep end without any instruction or guidance are gone. Now, many (if not most) institutions have academic support services in place to help you have a positive academic experience in law school. Some schools have robust services that include teams of professionals and fully integrated programs while others operate as more of a one person show. However, at any law school that provides academic support, you’re sure to find someone who is knowledgeable about learning techniques and dedicated to helping you do your best. If you haven’t visited your academic support office, make an appointment and keep these suggestions in mind to help you benefit the most from your visit.

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The Positive Side of a Negative Outlook: How Embracing Your Natural Pessimism Can Work to Your Advantage in Law School

The Positive Side of a Negative Outlook: How Embracing Your Natural Pessimism Can Work to Your Advantage in Law SchoolPlease welcome back Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to discuss how being a pessimist might not be such a bad thing.

I sometimes describe myself as a “glass half empty” type of person. I tend to be a little on the cynical side and generally assume the worst will happen. This sort of innate pessimism is often seen as a character flaw – something that should be stamped out with positive affirmations and an attitude adjustment – but I’ve often felt that my skeptical outlook can actually be beneficial in certain situations. As it turns out, there’s plenty of research showing that negativity does, indeed, have some positives. [Read more…]

The Difference Between 1L vs. 2L Stressors

The Difference Between 1L vs. 2L StressorsPlease welcome back 2L guest writer Jaclyn Wishnia to discuss the differences between the stress of 1L and 2L year.

As duly noted by the majority of law students, the first year of law school carries a notoriously dreadful reputation that spans continents, even decades. It is characterized by infinite amounts of reading, a highly stressful, anxiety-inducing environment, and often referred to as one of the worst educational gauntlets that a student could scarcely fathom conjuring until personally immersed in the experience. What most law students eventually learn, however, is that this myth is quickly displaced by the juggling acts required to actually survive the second year of law school. Keep that in mind as you read through the discussion. [Read more…]

How to Combat Stress and the 2L Law School Slump – Top Ten Suggestions

A 2L's Top Ten Suggestions on How to Combat Stress and the Law School SlumpPlease welcome back our 2L guest writer Shirlene Armstrong! She discusses the 2L perspective on combatting stress and the inevitable law school slump.

You are an overstressed, overworked law student. You have worked hard in order to get into law school and now you are in the middle of your legal journey with the work continuing to come with no end in sight. You’re slowly losing steam, and it is beginning to affect your social, work, and school life. You are in the middle of your “law school slump.” This is a period of time when a law student has been in school long enough to become comfortable but not long enough to see the graduation finish line in sight. This time is plagued with procrastination, apathy, and longing for freedom. However, there is a way to combat this slump and help you push through to the end of law school. Here are my ten suggestions on how to get out of the grind and back into a better mindset: [Read more…]