Intern Turned Prosecutor: How My Internship at the DA’s Office Led to a Career

Intern Turned Prosecutor: How My Internship at the DA’s Office Led to a CareerThis week we welcome guest writer and Law School Toolbox tutor, Sara Beller, to discuss how she turned an internship in the DA’s office into a career.

By the end of my internship at the DA’s office, I felt like a full-blown prosecutor. As an intern, I conducted numerous preliminary hearings, drafted and argued countless motions in court, and even completed a real jury trial from start to finish (by myself!). Everything was going according to plan, and I was about to receive a snazzy job offer…or so I thought.

I’ll never forget the day a supervising attorney told me that the office wasn’t able to make any job offers because the county was in a hiring freeze. To say I was heartbroken is an understatement. My Type-A brain went into immediate panic mode. Did all of my hard work go to waste? Should I have invested my time at a private firm instead? Was it a mistake to put all of my eggs into the DA office’s basket? The short answer is absolutely not. Here’s how my internship led to a career as a prosecutor: [Read more…]

How To Respond To Questions About The Law From Friends And Family Members

How To Respond To Questions About The Law From Friends And Family MembersThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about how to respond to family and friend questions about the law when you’re a law student.

It is a rite of passage for law students. At a family gathering, over a messaging app, or just out of the blue, a friend or family member asks you: [insert legal question here]? This can be a very general question: “what does divorce mean for property division?” or something much more specific: “how do I deal with my landlord who is trying to evict me because they want to sell the house?” “how do I contest a traffic ticket for failure to stop at a red light?” “how do sue someone in small claims court for not paying me for a job?” I have gotten a range of questions related to landlord-tenant laws, traffic violations, personal injury claims, family law, and business law, and have heard similar stories from fellow law students.

Perhaps you’ve studied the exact topic in a class, come across the issue while working at your summer job, or have knowledge based on your past academic research and work experiences. But more likely, you do not know the general area, let alone the relevant laws. You are probably hesitant to give information and advice, worried that it might turn out to be incorrect and lead someone down a wrong path. Moreover, since you are not yet a licensed attorney, you don’t want to be engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

Law students are all different, with varying obligations, interests, and bandwidth. Each person would handle a situation like this differently. This blog post is not meant to provide a one-size-fits-all approaches, but suggests three approaches you can consider when responding to such a question.

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Carving Your Own Path in the Legal Field

Carving Your Own Path in the Legal FieldThis week we welcome back guest writer Zoila Sanchez to discuss how you can find your own, unique area of the law.

When I was an undergraduate, it seemed to me that most students fell into either pre-medical school track, psychology, or business. I recall our career center heavily focusing on business opportunity events, however, none of these paths seemed to spark my interests. We did not hear much about other possibilities.

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Experiential Learning in Law School: Presenting to a Tribal Council

Experiential Learning in Law School: Presenting to a Tribal CouncilThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about experiential learning in law school.

Before I was in law school, I remember hearing about stories of law students making a difference in the world, whether through exonerating death row prisoners, assisting small businesses, or working on immigration and deportation cases. Inspired and motivated, I wanted to do that myself someday.

Flash forward to law school now, and I finally got my chance. This fall, I joined a policy practicum where I had the chance to assist the Yurok Tribe’s Office of the Tribal Council with some of their current legal issues. The Yurok Tribe’s reservation is located in Del Norte and Humboldt counties in North California, sitting on a stretch of the Klamath River. I worked on two different projects: one, advising on a potential discrimination suit and two, preparing a whitepaper to describe the process of tribes contracting with the federal government in order to gain funding and coordinate in wildfire prevention and management. [Read more…]

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.

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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.

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How to make the most of a Legal Job or Internship – Setting Goals and Meeting Them

How to make the most of a Legal Job or Internship - Setting Goals and meeting themThis week we welcome back guest writer and law student Tiffany Lo to talk about why it’s important to have goals at a legal job.

Wondering what to expect in your legal job or internship? Hoping to set yourself up for success and make the most of your experience? Then you are in the right place!

A legal job or internship is a great opportunity to understand how law is put into practice. You will get the opportunity to work on real cases and issues, supervised by legal professionals who have experience and knowledge in the field.

Having worked as a legal assistant, summer associate, and in-house legal intern, I have been able to learn from different legal work environments and assignments. One of my takeaways from these experiences is to set goals. [Read more…]

5 Takeaways from My In-House Legal Internship

5 Takeaways from my In-House Legal InternshipThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about her experience at an in-house internship over the summer.

Over the summer, I had the great fortune of working as an in-house legal intern at a multinational computer software company. With this opportunity, I made it a priority to understand what it means to be an in-house lawyer, especially in contrast to working in private practice.

Here are some of the lessons I learned through shadowing and chatting with in-house lawyers:

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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.

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