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…]

5 Benefits of Having a Career before Law School

Post about the benefits of having a career before law schoolPlease welcome our guest writer and 1L Briana Borgolini to discuss why having a career before starting law school could be beneficial and how to use what you have learned in the workforce to be a better law student.

The decision of if and when to attend law school is a highly personal one, and often only becomes more difficult the further away from undergrad you get. After spending just a few (or many more) years in the workforce rather than in the classroom, it can be daunting to think about returning to a student lifestyle. If you’re anything like me, you might wonder how you managed to learn so many different things in such a short amount of time in college when it took you nearly two years to (almost) fully understand the nuances of your current job. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that your previous career likely prepared you to handle the rigors of law school, even if you don’t know it. [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…]

I’m a 1L/2L, Why Should I Care About the Bar Exam?

I'm a 1L/2L, Why should I care about the Bar?Please welcome back Shirlene Armstrong, guest writer and future bar exam taker, to discuss why it’s never too early to think about your bar exam preparation!

The bar exam is usually considered the most dreaded exam a law student must eventually face, but you also must pass in order to become a licensed attorney. This exam is usually taken after your 3L year following graduation. So, if I’m a 1L or 2L, why should I care about the bar exam until my 3L year? I have PLENTY to worry about law school-wise, worrying about the bar exam is just not on the top of my priority list. I have PLENTY of time to prepare, so it shouldn’t matter if I wait. Well, actually you don’t. Despite popular belief, law school does not last forever. Eventually you will finish and have to take the bar exam. Law school goes much faster than people think, which is increased by the craziness of all the projects and activities in between. Thus, the sooner you can accept the inevitable (i.e. the bar exam), the better. [Read more…]

Items to Consider Adding to Your 3L Year To-Do List

We’re welcoming back Jaclyn Wishnia to talk about going into 3L year and how to be prepared and think ahead to post-grad as well.

An old law school adage states, “1L, they scare you to death; 2L, they work you to death; and 3L, they bore you to death.” This maxim isn’t entirely accurate. While the former two hold true for many law students, the latter certainly doesn’t. Each year of law school presents its own unique set of challenges. Though finals will no longer seem as daunting as they were during 1L, there are plenty of other obstacles that dispel the notion that 3L will be “boring” – like the bar. [Read more…]

Alternative Careers – Investigator for Workplace Complaints

Please welcome Joanna Sattler, Law School Toolbox tutor, to discuss her alternative legal career as a workplace investigator.

I’m the child of no fewer than three lawyers (if you count my stepmother, that is). All three practiced law upon graduating from law school and pursued “traditional” legal careers (two at large firms, the third in-house). As such, I had a certain view of what lawyers did and a (fairly) certain path I planned to pursue: work at a large law firm after graduating and then, maybe, try to work in-house. (At the time, I didn’t realize I could go in-house straight from law school; I truly thought there was one path and one path only!)

A planner by nature, I followed my plan. I worked hard in law school. I summered at a large firm and received an offer of post-graduation employment. Although I didn’t take that job (I didn’t love the firm’s satellite office in the city where I planned to live), I took another firm job soon after passing the California bar.

[Read more…]

Are You Going to Law School Because You’re a Good Writer?

Are You Going to Law School Because You're a Good Writer?This week we welcome back Law School Toolbox Tutor Whitney Weatherly to discuss how writing in law school can be very different from writing you’ve done before (and how to best learn how to write for legal practice).

I can’t even pick out one specific memory of this conversation, because I had it so many times with so many people. Here’s the rough transcript:

Me: So, why did you decide to go to law school?

Law Student: Well, all of my professors at [university] said that I was such a good writer that I should go to law school. So here I am!

Me: Right. OK…so how’s that working out for you?

Okay, so maybe that last reply was (usually) internal. When I first started law school, I certainly didn’t realize what was expected of me from a writing perspective. Like most of my fellow classmates, I usually did well on writing assignments in undergrad, but I’d had the benefit of working for an attorney before law school. Just the fact of working for her helped me shift my mode of writing from “creative” to “professional”, but she also gave me some tips along the way that made me more open to input once I got to my legal writing class. If you’re going into law school with the confidence of a good writer, consider this your wake-up call.

[Read more…]

I am a Rising 3L and STILL Haven’t Taken the MPRE

Help: I am a rising 3L and I haven't taken the MPRE yet!This week we welcome back guest writer, and rising 3L, Shirlene Armstrong, to talk about the MPRE and why she’s taking it her 3L year.

If you were about to listen in on many 2L’s minds, you would hear a variety of topics. “I need to practice for my upcoming mock trial…” or “After evidence, I need to run to the office to complete some interrogatories and meet with a client…” or “The MPRE is only a week away and I’m freaking out…” are just some of the daily conversations 2Ls have with themselves. As I close out my 2L year, I think back to all that I have accomplished, the stress of the year, and countless hours that I studied or worked. There is one quintessential 2L experience that I have yet to accomplish: taking the MPRE. [Read more…]