The Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Involved Around Campus

The Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Involved Around CampusThis week we’re welcoming back guest writer Aleena Ijaz to talk about why you may want to get involved around campus and what are some best practices.

You’ve probably found out by now that “law school” is more than just school. It’s a lifestyle. To ensure that your lifestyle is as balanced as humanly possible, you may choose to get involved around your law school campus. You may want to fill your days with something more than reading and briefing cases. But while getting involved is a great way to make the most of your law school experience, extracurricular involvements (or the lack thereof) can quickly snowball into your biggest regrets. Before you pay another membership fee or sign up for another journal, keep the following in mind: [Read more…]

What on Earth is a Clerkship and How Do I Get One?

What on Earth is a Clerkship and How do I Get One?

This week we welcome guest writer Aleena Ijaz to talk about, and demystify, the clerkship process.

I had absolutely no idea what a “clerkship” was before I started law school. So, if you are reading this post and don’t even know what a clerkship really is, don’t stop reading. I will explain.

[Read more…]

Three Things I Learned About The French Lifestyle That Changed How I Practice Law

Three Things I Learned About The French Lifestyle That Changed How I Practice LawThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about what she learned from the French lifestyle and how this helped her as an attorney,

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by the French lifestyle. My childhood bedroom had an Eiffel Tower clock. My traditional birthday cake was chocolate mousse. I took a French language class as soon as my school offered one. I have nearly a dozen French cookbooks (and counting), but what has really inspired me is the French philosophy on work life balance.

I first started to really delve into the French lifestyle when I read French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. The whole book is an ode to the French way of life. Essentially, the book explores how French women are able to eat decadent foods like buttery croissants, creamy custards, and cheesy sauces without seemingly gaining any weight whatsoever. Take a walk around Paris, and you’ll notice most locals are svelte and chic.

Mireille Guiliano, a native Frenchwoman, explains that the French allow themselves to indulge in their favorite foods, even dessert, without guilt, without reservation. To balance out the indulgence, they simply eat a little cleaner the next day. The key is, they indulge without guilt, but more importantly, they savor what they indulge in. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Why deny ourselves a crème filled éclair? Or a glass of red wine? Or a study break from our Torts outlines?

What can the French teach us about lawyering? Turns out, quite a lot.

[Read more…]

Tips for 1Ls to Prepare a Strong Transfer Application

Tips for 1Ls to Prepare a Strong Transfer ApplicationThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about how to go about preparing the best transfer application you can.

Are you a 1L thinking about transferring law schools? If so, this post is for you! As a transfer student myself, I remember putting together my application as a worldwide pandemic raged on and interpersonal relations were developed and maintained through a computer screen.

Current 1Ls are in a similar predicament – many of them have not been able to go on campus or form close relationships with their professors and classmates. Under these constraints, campus culture has become difficult to discern. With travel restrictions, they cannot go visit other schools or sit in on classes. All of this has compounded the stress of the transfer application process.

I recently spoke to a 1L who is considering transferring. His questions spoke to the challenges with the process itself and concerns about being a transfer student, especially given the state of the world. Here are my tips for preparing a strong transfer application: [Read more…]

How To Find The Area Of Law That’s Right For You

How To Find The Area Of Law That’s Right For YouThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about finding the right fit in a legal practice area.

I am one of those people. You know the kind, the kind that can’t try a new recipe without posting a picture on social media with a lengthy write-up about how the food was prepared, where, and why. The kind that will go to a restaurant and snap copious amounts of pictures of the meal before finally sticking a fork in it. The kind that leaves a #foodie on post after post. I proudly grocery shop like a tourist in a new city. I love scanning the shelves every week for some new product, some new, exotic ingredient I can use to bring my culinary creations to a higher level of deliciousness.

In fact, I love food so much, during my first year of law school I considered leaving to go to culinary school. A fellow classmate did just that and became a pastry chef, and to be honest, I have always been a bit jealous of her path.

I did finish law school, but when it came time for me to decide where I wanted my own career to go, I wasn’t as sure as I thought I was when I first decided to get a law degree. I knew I wanted to help people. I wanted to do something altruistic. I thought I would go to Washington, D.C. and lobby for a nonprofit. But, I wasn’t quite sure what specific road to take after law school.

If you’re unsure of your career path, or what area of law is right for you, here are a few tips for you to find your way.

[Read more…]

How Empathy Can Increase Your Success in Law School

How Empathy Can Increase Your Success in Law SchoolThis week we welcome guest writer Cathlyn Melvin to talk about developing empathy as a law student.

Law school is competitive.

Shocker, I know.

Put 75 mostly-Type-A personalities into a “small section,” tell them that the students who score the highest reap the rewards, and see what happens. (Hint: there won’t be a lot of meditative chanting and handholding going on).

The competitive culture of law school is strengthened by the structures it upholds: the on-the-spot Socratic method makes us judge ourselves and others, “relentless public competitions” rank students from “success” to “failure,” and there is a severe lack of feedback and growth-minded communication. And then, of course, the culture “is locked in by its resonance with the currency of success—money.” [Read more…]

A Stranger in a Strange Land: Taking the Leap from Small Firm to Government Attorney

A Stranger in a Strange Land: Taking the Leap from Small Firm to Government AttorneyThis week we welcome back guest writer Mark Livingston to talk about making the move from practicing law at a small firm to becoming a government attorney.

I was a later-in-life entrant to law school. At 40 years old, I had already built a strong resume and worked in many good jobs, mostly in the public sector, when I started law school. I never set out to work for the government, per se, it just turned out that way. Fast forward many years and many satisfying government jobs at both the state and local levels, and I, unlike most of my law school colleagues, anticipated working for the government after passing the bar exam. I sought out and secured clerkships at the state and local levels while in law school, and even did two semesters at a county prosecutor’s office. Unfortunately, you may not have as many options, post bar exam, as you would have hoped for, and you may land in a totally different place than you expected. This is the story of making the transition from a small family law firm to a job as a government attorney. [Read more…]

How to Decide Whether To Take A Gap Year Between College and Law School In Light of COVID-19

Whether To Take A Gap Year Between College and Law School In Light of COVID-19This week we hear from guest writer Mihal Ansik to discuss how to handle a gap year in the midst of COVID-19.

In a pre-COVID-19 world, the short answer about whether to take at least a year before law school would have been “Probably.” There are so many benefits to working before going to law school, which we’ve discussed before, including positioning yourself to be a more holistic candidate, building a resumé that tells a story, developing perspective around grades and law school success, creating lasting connections, and contextualizing the law. [Read more…]

Changing Paths: Becoming an Attorney as a Second Career

Changing Paths: Becoming an Attorney as a Second CareerThis week we welcome back guest writer Mark Livingston to talk about his path to becoming an attorney after another career.

During the 20th Century, it was common for people to have one job for a lifetime. People would begin working for one company, and decades later, retire from that same company with a gold watch, a handshake, and a hearty thank you. In 2020, the trends have changed. People change jobs, career fields, and industries, in some cases, every few years. My professional journey has been unique, but admittedly my mid-career shift to the law was not unusual. After several years working for a variety of state agencies, I made the decision to go to law school and become a lawyer. The following is a glimpse at the challenges and rewards of this change in career paths. [Read more…]

Being a More Effective Communicator

Being a More Effective CommunicatorThis week we welcome back guest writer Stephanie Nweke to talk about learning to become a better communicator, a crucial skill for any lawyer.

“Communication” is a word we throw around all the time, especially when it comes to the job search. At one point, I used to think that communication meant my ability to get in front of a crowd and give a presentation on a topic I wasn’t passionate about. But I’ve learned that’s not an accurate depiction of communication. What does it actually mean to have good communication skills, and why is it that communication is a skill that seems to pop up in every application? In this post, I explore six different aspects of effective communication and how to incorporate better communication into our everyday lives. [Read more…]