Three Tips For Networking During The Pandemic

This week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt, to talk about how you can still work on your networking skills, even when you’re stuck at home during COVID-19.

Most of us know how important networking is, particularly when you’re in law school and aspiring to a legal career. Having good grades and published law journal articles will absolutely make a difference in your job prospects. But, having quality connections is a significant advantage.

If you are looking to get hired by a firm, agency, nonprofit, or other employer, having connections may help you learn of unposted job openings. Your connections may provide meaningful letters of recommendation. Your connections who are “in the know” may help steer you away from employers from whom you wouldn’t want to work. Or, they may help you and mentor you even after you get hired. [Read more…]

How To Practice Law Virtually

How to Practice Law VirtuallyThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about how you can achieve success as a lawyer with a virtual practice.

I once worked for a law office (very briefly) where when I spent an evening in the ER, sick, pregnant, and absolutely miserable, I offered to work from home. One of the managing attorneys told me that it was impossible for a new attorney to work remotely and grow as an attorney.

Well, since the Coronavirus pandemic shut down law offices in several states, lots of firms are finding out that it is not only possible but sometimes advantageous to have attorneys work from home. Yes, there are special considerations.

After that job didn’t pan out, I started my own virtual law practice. Here are some things to consider if you, too, would like to strike out on your own, virtually speaking.

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How Coronavirus Uncertainty Is Good Practice For Working In Law

How Coronavirus Uncertainty Is Good Practice For Working In LawThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about lessons learned during COVID-19 and how these are useful to practicing law!

The last few months have certainly presented numerous challenges for law students and legal professionals alike. With many firms closed, others still considered essential, and still more in a gray area trying to figure out where they stand, the legal profession has been significantly impacted (like other industries) by the Coronavirus pandemic.

I’ll admit, when the pandemic hit, and my state (New York) closed all court houses, I was nervous to say the least. My law practice in New York was only a few weeks old, and suddenly I couldn’t go to court for any of my clients or pursue the court appointed work I expected I could complete to make ends meet.

However, as the weeks went by, I learned how to adapt my law practice in ways I never anticipated. The result was a much stronger practice, a much more confident attorney, and a happier lifestyle all around. Here are a few lessons I learned about practicing law in a pandemic.

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Young Lawyer Perspective – How To Keep Yourself Organized

Young Lawyer Perspective - How To Keep Yourself OrganizedThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Armstrong to talk about staying organized as a newly admitted lawyer.

Are you a newly admitted or “young” lawyer? Are you overwhelmed with the amount of work you have to do? Are you not even sure where to start or how to get yourself organized? You’re in luck! I am a young associate who has a passion for organization. I am an attorney at a small-medium law firm that specializes in personal injury. I started at the firm in my first year of law school as a law clerk/paralegal (the only one for quite some time too) and became an attorney after I graduated and passed the bar. Because of this, I was able to learn how to manage assignments and cases and figured out very quickly I had to keep myself VERY organized. When you first get into practice, you are kind of just thrown into things. No one sits you down and tells you, “hey this is how you should keep yourself organized” or “here is a comprehensive guide on how to manage your caseload.” While I may not know everything there is to know about practicing law (yet), I still want to use my experience to help you keep yourself organized. Here are some tips and tricks that have helped me in my practice. [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…]

Use Your Law School Skills During COVID-19

Use Your Law School Skills During COVID-19This week we welcome guest writer and tutor Elizabeth Knox to talk about how to give back as a law student during the pandemic.

If you ask the members of a 1L section why they chose to enter law school, you will get a solid mix of answers. Among those answers will certainly be desires to impact their communities and the world. It may feel like COVID-19 has robbed you of the ability to keep that momentum going this summer because of job and internship cancellations, but with a little bit of creativity, you can still make significant contributions. [Read more…]

How To Overcome A Difficult Economy As A Solo Practitioner

How To Overcome A Difficult Economy As A Solo Practitioner

We’re welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about starting your own law practice during an uncertain economy.

I have been thinking about starting my own law practice for well over a year now. It’s kind of a joke among my friends, because all throughout law school and even when I worked for other attorneys, I couldn’t understand why someone would want to hang their own shingle. 

But, as a new mom, I really wanted a job that offered as much flexibility as possible. And, I wanted to work in a career where I could help people and do it my way. [Read more…]

Motherhood as a Law Student

Motherhood as a Law StudentThis week we welcome guest writer Rigien Bagekany-Jackson, a recent law school graduate, to talk about how she has balanced motherhood and law school the last three years.

Do you ever reflect on how you got to where you are now? I do.

Sometimes you can pinpoint that moment or decision that brought you to where you are. For me, that moment was in June 2016. I was 35 weeks pregnant with my first child working at a bank when an armed man walked in and held me up at gunpoint. This was the point when I decided to start law school. I had initially thought to postpone my offer of acceptance, but at that moment, I knew that there had to be a way to make law school work with having a newborn child. [Read more…]

How To Deal With COVID-19 Disrupting Your Plans, Career and Everything In Between

How To Deal With COVID-19 Disrupting Your Plans, Career and Everything In BetweenThis week we’re hearing from guest writer Shirlene Armstrong about how to handle the changes and upheaval due to COVID-19.

If you are like me, you are a planner. You think ahead to the future and have a plan of what you want to do and how. I am a very “Type A” kind of person, and I constantly have a well thought out plan. I have numerous short-term and long-term goals, which I have taken methodical steps to reach. However, COVID-19 has completely altered my plans for 2020. Instead of killing it in the office and courtroom, I am working from home and worried about the safety of my loved ones. I am obviously not the only one affected by this pandemic. People’s lives have been turned upside down because of COVID-19. Your life has also been affected by this pandemic. While I don’t have all of the answers, I am hoping to help guide you in how to deal with the pandemic disrupting your life by sharing how it has affected a big portion of mine and what I have done to get myself through it. [Read more…]

Did your Summer Job Fall Through? Become a Better Writer Anyway

Did your Summer Job fall through? Become a Better Writer AnywayThis week we welcome back guest writer and tutor Elizabeth Knox to talk about working on your legal writing skills this summer, whether or not you have a legal job.

Some lawyers find that the value of law school isn’t found in the coursework, but rather in the summer work most students do. Summer jobs allow students to practice tailoring their legal writing and then get real feedback from practitioners. There’s nothing like going through a brutal feedback process to help new attorneys become stellar legal writers.

COVID-19 has changed the summer landscape for most law students. Jobs have been canceled or postponed because of stay at home orders, leaving many students in the lurch. This would normally be a red flag for future employers, but because this is happening on an unprecedented scale, you don’t need to worry about that right now

This does not mean you should do nothing this summer. Employers are still going to wonder how you spent the summer, and you’ll want a good answer. If you don’t have to work or care for family, this summer holds a fantastic opportunity to improve your legal writing. It can be daunting to do this without the promise of feedback, but it’s worth doing anyway.

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