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 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Letters of Recommendation for Clerkship Applications (and Beyond!)

5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Letters of Recommendation for Clerkship Applications (and Beyond!)Please welcome guest writer Kelsey Russell, a recent clerk for the Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York, to discuss how to get letters of recommendations, an important aspects of clerkships applications.

If you are considering a judicial clerkship, you are likely well aware that your letters of recommendation are an essential component of your application.

As someone who decided to apply for a clerkship pretty late in the game, getting quality recommendations felt like a tall order. Many of my classmates had already taken advantage of opportunities such as research assistant positions, which led to relationships with professors who, in turn, could write personalized recommendations. By the fall of 3L year, no single professor stood out in my mind as a natural recommender. So I started brainstorming: Should I start with the professor who gave me my highest grade? Or the professor who ran my pro bono project? What about employers prior to law school? Given that I was trying to compile my materials in relatively short order, I was also working against the clock. [Read more…]

I’m Sorry to Say This but We Need to Stop Saying I’m Sorry

I’m Sorry to Say this but We Need to Stop Saying I’m SorryPlease welcome back guest writer and attorney, Christen Morgan, to talk about the ways that women find themselves apologizing more than they need to in the workplace and knowing when to really say I’m sorry.

If you walk through the halls of many office environments, you can almost count on hearing the buzz and the ding of all the office machinery and stationery. If you listen even closer, you’re bound to hear the clicks and the clacks of shoes tapping through the hallways and the whirrs and creeks of portable chairs and office doors. Amongst all these familiar sounds, it maybe difficult to make out the defined statements within the conversations of passersby. However, pay close enough attention to these conversations and I’m sure the words “I’m sorry,” will emerge as a frequent repeated utterance. Whether, it’s an apologetic employee who is sorry for messing up an assignment, a supervisor who’s sorry for sending out the email request that she had every intention to send or the nervous intern who’s sorry for spilling coffee on the floor in the mere presence of others, “I’m sorry”, is the uniform verbal tick of many human beings. Furthermore, and, I hate to say this, but the words I’m sorry are even more of a verbal tick for women. [Read more…]

Transitioning to a Non-Traditional Legal Career

Transitioning to a Non-traditional Legal Career

Please welcome guest writer Kathryn Blair, law school tutor and PhD student, to discuss the transition from a traditional law career to something different.

It has been about two years since I left a successful career as an attorney and turned back to academia for the start of what I hope will be my third and final career. This was a difficult transition for me. The joke about law school being an escalator — seamlessly delivering you to a career in Big Law — is funny because it is true. But jumping off that escalator was a big and hard decision, and, despite the support of family and friends, it still felt a bit lonely. But it shouldn’t feel that way. Many attorneys face and make these decisions, and the shared experiences of others can be helpful as you think about these questions. [Read more…]

3 Skills of Top Lawyers that You Can Start Developing as a Law Student

3 Skills of Top Lawyers that You Can Start Developing as a Law StudentOur guest writer this week discusses some skills you’ll need as a practicing lawyer and how you can start working on them as a law student.

Here’s the bad news and the good news. The bad news: law school doesn’t show you how to be a real lawyer. The good news: top lawyers have three skills that you can start developing in law school, so you can hit the ground running. [Read more…]

Losing the Fear of Being Stereotyped: Surviving as a Young Woman in a Position of Authority

Losing the Fear of Being Stereotyped: Surviving as a Young Woman in a Position of AuthorityPlease welcome our guest writer this week to discuss an issue than many women in positions of power in the workplace can experience – a fear of being stereotyped in a certain way.

“You need to look and sound intimidating and scary.” That was one of the most popular versions of advice I received when I accepted a position of authority as lead litigation counsel at a law firm at 26 years old.

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What I Did Differently my 2L Year and How I Raised my GPA by .5 – A Rising 3L Perspective

Rising 3L Perspective: What I did differently my 2L year and how it raised my GPA by .5Please welcome back 3L Shirlene Armstrong to discuss how she improved her GPA between 1L and 2L years and the lessons she learned.

At the end of my 1L year, I was a bit disappointed in myself. I had always been an overachiever and school came naturally to me. I enjoyed learning and studying, for which I was rewarded with excellent grades. Law school was a little different. In my first year I felt like no matter what I did, I was not capable of achieving all As or even one solid A. I was so overwhelmed. I am a first generation law student, so I felt completely lost and was trying to figure out the whole law school thing. However, my 2L year felt like a flip of a coin. I was enjoying classes, understanding the material, and despite being extremely busy, managed to increase my GPA by .5 by the end of the year. Here are my reflections on what I did during my 2L year in order to boost my GPA. [Read more…]

Tips to Boost Your Confidence and Release your Inner Extrovert to Speak Up in Class

Tips to Boost Your Confidence and Release your Inner Extrovert to Speak Up in ClassThis week we welcome back Christen Morgan to discuss some ideas for speaking up more in class – even if you’re a natural introvert!

There’s no doubt in my mind that one of the utmost fears that wrangles many law students is the fear of speaking up in class. If you’re an extrovert, this task may be a no brainer for you, but if you’re an introvert, the mere thought of engaging in the Socratic method may give you literal nightmares. Speaking from experience, I can tell you firsthand that being an introvert added an entire layer of stress to my first year of law school. [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…]

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…]