The Ultimate Guide to the Law in Pop Culture Part II: Movies & Documentaries

Ultimate Guide to the Law in Pop Culture Part II - Movies & DocumentariesPlease welcome back 2L guest writer Jaclyn Wishnia to discuss the best movies and documentaries to look for when you want to find some legal entertainment.

In the first installment of our ultimate guide to the law in pop culture series, we curated a list of top TV shows that involve various legal themes and span multiple genres. For law students who either prefer full-length films to hour-long episodes, or are simply looking for some good legal entertainment during a law school break, the second part of our series focuses on the law found in the forms of movies and documentaries. [Read more…]

The Challenges for Women in In-House Legal Roles

Challenges of being a woman and an in-house attorneyThis week our guest writer, an in-house attorney, discusses the unique challenges of being a woman attorney in an in-house legal role and how she has dealt with these challenges.

Even as more women graduate from law school than ever before, carving out a successful legal career as a woman can be an extremely challenging undertaking. A recent report showed that women make up just 35 percent of lawyers at law firms. There are few comprehensive studies about the overall percentage of women in in-house roles, but one statistic paints a stark picture: as of 2015, just 22% of Fortune 500 companies had a woman in the top legal position.

An in-house legal career offers some enticing advantages over the traditional law firm track. Compared to their counterparts at law firms, in-house lawyers generally enjoy an improved work-life balance, have more leadership opportunities, aren’t under pressure to bring in new clients, and are free from the billable hour (and all of the paperwork that goes with it). But even with these perks, there are many challenges faced by women in in-house legal departments. If you’re considering taking an in-house legal position, here’s what you can do to confront these challenges head-on. [Read more…]

Lessons Learned While Preparing for Parental Leave

Maternity Leave Part 1Please welcome back Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to discuss her own experience preparing for her second parental leave and the lessons she learned after her first leave.

During my first pregnancy I was working in-house as a litigator for a governmental entity. I was extremely fortunate to work in a family friendly environmental with other lawyers who were willing to help cover cases or issues that arose during my maternity leave. But even in a supportive office like mine, I remember feeling guilty about taking such a long leave (11 weeks!) and potentially causing my colleagues more work. I completed as many assignments as possible prior to taking my leave and rearranged scheduling deadlines to compensate for my absence, but I knew there would be at least a few seemingly minor tasks that would arise while I was away. No problem, I thought, I can manage a few small assignments while on maternity leave.

Flash forward to a month later, only 2 weeks post-partum, and I find myself cradling my new baby with one hand while typing emails on my phone with the other hand at 4:00 a.m. My precious bundle of joy was adorable, but I was an exhausted, emotional mess. What had seemed like some fairly routine work tasks a few months ago when I was sitting in my office (and still sleeping eight blissful hours a night) was now an overwhelming obligation.

I learned a lot from my first experience with parental leave and now appreciate that good advance planning can make the unique, fleeting challenging experience of caring for a newborn more enjoyable. Here are a few lessons I learned that may help you prepare for your own parental leave.

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Collaboration vs. Competition

Collaboration vs. CompetitionPlease welcome guest writer, Whitney Weatherly, to discuss how to balance the competitive legal world with the need for collaboration and working together.

A student recently requested my help with something, and I declined, deferring to a colleague who specializes in the type of help that she needed. It was a positive interaction, though, and I told one of my coworkers about it. She suggested that I could have done the work, but I insisted that I was right to decline. In a way, my coworker was right. With training, I probably could provide the help that the student needed. But would that have been the best way to serve her and my company?

We live in a world where people are too apt to claim expertise for fear of appearing weak or inadequate. As lawyers and law students, our culture seems to reward all-around experts rather than people who are willing to acknowledge their limitations, defer to the superior knowledge of others, and collaborate when appropriate. It’s time to think about the spectrum between competition and collaboration, and how attorneys can move the industry standard in a way that fosters information sharing for the benefit of clients. [Read more…]

How to Go In-House Straight from Law School

MotivationToday’s guest writer discusses how you can make the jump from law school to an in-house position without stopping at a law firm first!

If you’ve been following news coverage of the legal job market lately, you may be aware of a new development in legal hiring. In recent years, more and more companies have been willing to hire early-career attorneys to work in their in-house legal departments who are either new graduates or have just a few years’ experience. Gone are the days when landing an in-house position requires several years of prior law firm practice. So how can law students take advantage of this emerging trend and best prepare themselves to go in-house immediately or shortly after graduation? [Read more…]

5 Ways to Prepare for a Job Fair

5 Ways to Prepare for a Job FairPlease welcome back guest writer John Passmore, an assistant managing legal editor in Houston, Texas, to offer advice on how to get ready for a job fair. These can be great opportunities to find positions from 1L summer employment all the way through post grad positions.

Whether it is an internship fair your first semester of law school or a job fair your last semester, such events present a high stakes speed-dating-like opportunity to meet with potential employers. These events are made tougher because they inevitably fall during a hectic law school week, on a crazy law school day. Finding the time to actually prepare for a job fair that carries no GPA weight may seem like a waste of time, but some upfront effort could pay big dividends in the long run. A little preparation can make you stand out among your peers. Here are a few ideas for putting your best foot forward: [Read more…]

Law School Study Abroad: To Go or Not To Go?

Pros and Cons of Study Abroad During Law SchoolPlease welcome back Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to discuss what you should consider when deciding if studying abroad during law school is a good idea.

If there’s anyone who appreciates the value of studying abroad in college, it’s me. During my sophomore year, I spent a semester in Madrid that was truly a life changing experience. For me, studying abroad turned out to be so much more than a chance to travel and live in a new place. I was in Madrid in spring 2004, when, just days before Spain’s general elections, al Qaeda inspired terrorists bombed four commuter trains. The bombings were so close to my apartment that the explosions woke me up. Over the following days and weeks, I not only participated in the deep mourning for the victims of the attacks but also witnessed the significant political reverberations that played out in the Spanish elections. It was a significant occasion for Spain – and the world – that influenced my own beliefs and views.

In addition to experiencing this historical moment, studying abroad had a huge impact on my personal and professional life. I met my husband (another American student) while studying abroad and found myself completely altering my plans so that I could follow him to his home state of Oklahoma. As a native Californian and recent New York City resident, this was a drastic change, to say the least. Studying abroad set me down a path that I never contemplated, but it’s one I have never regretted.

So, if studying abroad is so fulfilling and life changing, it only makes sense to pursue that same type of experience in law school, right? Well, maybe, maybe not.

[Read more…]

A Review of the Better Habits App

Better Habits App ReviewPlease welcome back guest writer, Christen Morgan, attorney and Real Estate Specialist at a wireless infrastructure company, to discuss the new app, Better Habits.

Does it really take 21 days to form a habit? I sure thought so. Although I’ve never completely followed through with any of my New Year’s resolutions and tried and failed at numerous fad diets, I’ve always thought this concept to be true; think about a habit you want to form, commit to developing it over a course of 21 days, then voila, the habit will become a part of you for the rest of your life. I just always thought that I struggled to develop habits because I could barely commit to it for 10 days, much less meet the 21-day requirement. [Read more…]

Can I Be an Introverted Attorney in a Profession that Seems Made for Extroverts?

Being an introvert in a profession that seems made for extrovertsToday we welcome back Christen Morgan, guest writer and foreclosure attorney, to discuss how to handle the legal profession as an introvert.

In a culture that’s permeated by visuals of “the outspoken attorney,” we’ve developed a concept that all attorneys should aspire to be the Johnnie Cochran, Robert Shapiro or Perry Mason type. It has been drilled into our minds that attorneys at the very least must be outgoing in an effort to fight the good fight and win the toughest legal battles within the courtroom. So if you’ve always been a quiet, reserved and overall introverted individual, it’s understood if you feel intimidated about pursuing this career. You may be passionate about the law, but you don’t see yourself arguing a major case before a judge and a jury. Also, while you can envision yourself communicating with clients on a one on one basis, you could never see yourself heading a client meeting with several attorneys and staff members involved. If you’ve experienced these thoughts at some point or another, I implore you to not give up on your attorney dreams just yet. Being introverted is by no means an indicator that you’re not a good lawyer. The stereotypes that we’ve been fed about this profession are simply just stereotypes and is in no way an indicator of a dominant attorney personality trait. The legal profession is filled with individuals from different backgrounds, personalities, and mindsets. I assure you that as an introvert, you are not alone. [Read more…]

Applying to Law School? Need Some Expert Advice?

Interview with Ann LevinePlease welcome guest writer John Passmore, assistant managing legal editor in Houston, Texas, who interviews Ann Levine, expert on law school admissions.

Talking with Ann Levine, author of The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert (3rd ed.)

The law school experience begins far before you sit down for your first class. First comes the law school admissions process. With a to-do list including the LSAT, your personal statement, letters of recommendation, scholarship applications, and much more, the process can quickly become daunting. If the process has you looking for some expert advice, you may be looking for lawyer, law school admissions consultant, and author Ann Levine. Formerly a law school admissions director, after founding Law School Expert, Ms. Levine helps students navigate the admissions process as an admissions consultant. She has recently published the third edition of her popular title The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert. We were able to ask Ms. Levine some questions about her work and why her book The Law School Admission Game: Play Like an Expert could help you on your law school admissions journey.

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