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…]

How to Figure out Which Type of Law to Practice

How to Figure out Which Type of Law to PracticeThis week we welcome back guest writer Briana Borgolini to talk about how to decide what kind of law you want to eventually practice.

Of the many challenges law school presents, identifying which area of the law you’re interested in can be one of the largest. While some students may come to law school knowing what type of law they want to practice, many students won’t have a great idea of their exact interests. Further, interests may change for many students once they are exposed to different courses and areas of the law. While deciding which area is best for you may seem like a daunting task, there are some things you can consider doing to help you make the best decision possible.

[Read more…]

How to Pick Classes for 2L

How to Pick Classes for 2LThis week we welcome back guest writer Alexandra Muskat to talk about the best way to go about choosing your 2L classes for next year.

When you first start law school, you are required to take a specific set of classes – criminal law, contracts, civil procedure, legal writing and research, property law, constitutional law, and torts. But, towards the middle of your second semester 1L, you’ll be able to pick your own classes for the following year. [Read more…]

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Law School

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Law SchoolThis week we welcome back guest writer Briana Borgolini to talk about what to keep in mind when making the decision of which law school to attend.

If you’re trying to decide which law school to attend, take solace in the fact that the largest hurdle to law school (admission) has now been cleared. However, the decision of which law school to attend can seem equally imposing. While choosing a law school is a highly personal process, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to ensure you make the best decision possible. [Read more…]

Are You An Entrepreneur Lawyer?

Are You An Entrepreneur Lawyer?This week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about whether you may be suited to take a less traditional attorney path as an entrepreneurial lawyer.

I don’t watch a ton of t.v. shows. But, one show I never miss is Shark Tank. I love seeing innovative new products and learning about price elasticity, franchise models, or advisory shares. I like to read business magazines, and I’m always tinkering with new business ideas.

After years of watching Shark Tank and reading business publications, I’ve noticed that a lot of businesses are founded by lawyers. It makes sense. Lawyers have a certain skillset that lends itself well to founding businesses. And, lawyers also tend to rise to challenges and be quality problem-solvers.

Could you be the next great legal entrepreneur? Here are signs you might make a great business-founder:

[Read more…]

Post- Semester Blues: How to Bounce Back from a Bad Semester

Post- Semester Blues: How to Bounce Back from a Bad SemesterThis week we welcome guest writer Stephanie Nweke to talk about how to recover if first semester didn’t go well.

It’s a new year, and a new decade. Congrats on making it through another semester, or if you’re a 1L, your first semester of law school.

Things happen unexpectedly during the semester, and it’s unfair that your class grade is usually the sum total of your performance on one exam. That’s why law school grades aren’t always indicative of how great of an attorney you will be.

Regardless of your satisfaction with your grades from last semester, you should always take time to reflect and prepare for the upcoming semester.

So, from my personal experiences, I want to share some of the things that have helped me bounce back!

[Read more…]