The Positive Side of a Negative Outlook: How Embracing Your Natural Pessimism Can Work to Your Advantage in Law School

The Positive Side of a Negative Outlook: How Embracing Your Natural Pessimism Can Work to Your Advantage in Law SchoolPlease welcome back Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to discuss how being a pessimist might not be such a bad thing.

I sometimes describe myself as a “glass half empty” type of person. I tend to be a little on the cynical side and generally assume the worst will happen. This sort of innate pessimism is often seen as a character flaw – something that should be stamped out with positive affirmations and an attitude adjustment – but I’ve often felt that my skeptical outlook can actually be beneficial in certain situations. As it turns out, there’s plenty of research showing that negativity does, indeed, have some positives. [Read more…]


The Difference Between 1L vs. 2L Stressors

The Difference Between 1L vs. 2L StressorsPlease welcome back 2L guest writer Jaclyn Wishnia to discuss the differences between the stress of 1L and 2L year.

As duly noted by the majority of law students, the first year of law school carries a notoriously dreadful reputation that spans continents, even decades. It is characterized by infinite amounts of reading, a highly stressful, anxiety-inducing environment, and often referred to as one of the worst educational gauntlets that a student could scarcely fathom conjuring until personally immersed in the experience. What most law students eventually learn, however, is that this myth is quickly displaced by the juggling acts required to actually survive the second year of law school. Keep that in mind as you read through the discussion. [Read more…]


How to Combat Stress and the 2L Law School Slump – Top Ten Suggestions

A 2L's Top Ten Suggestions on How to Combat Stress and the Law School SlumpPlease welcome back our 2L guest writer Shirlene Armstrong! She discusses the 2L perspective on combatting stress and the inevitable law school slump.

You are an overstressed, overworked law student. You have worked hard in order to get into law school and now you are in the middle of your legal journey with the work continuing to come with no end in sight. You’re slowly losing steam, and it is beginning to affect your social, work, and school life. You are in the middle of your “law school slump.” This is a period of time when a law student has been in school long enough to become comfortable but not long enough to see the graduation finish line in sight. This time is plagued with procrastination, apathy, and longing for freedom. However, there is a way to combat this slump and help you push through to the end of law school. Here are my ten suggestions on how to get out of the grind and back into a better mindset: [Read more…]


New Years Resolutions: Law School Edition 2018

New Years Resolutions: Law School Edition 2018Please welcome back 2L guest writer Jaclyn Wishnia to discuss her plans for the new year and making a fresh start for spring semester.

For law students, the holiday season is often a blur. By the time finals end, there is no recuperation period, the actual holidays have arrived, and family is knocking at your door. Moments later, the new year has begun and right around the corner is spring semester. This leaves law students no time to reflect on the past year to determine what parts of their life need improving; in other words, no formation of a “New Year’s Resolution.” While this phrase commonly connotes a pledge or promise to either commit or refrain from conducting a particular action, in essence, it is simply another synonym for the term, “goal.” Since law school plays such a dominant role throughout a typical law student’s year, aside from personal resolutions, law students should also strive to create one primary law school “goal” to focus on for the year as well. [Read more…]


Three Things I Learned in Law School That Weren’t in the Curriculum

Three things I learned in law school that weren't in the curriculum.As we start off a new year, please welcome back guest writer Christen Morgan, attorney and Real Estate Specialist at a wireless infrastructure company, to discuss what three major lessons she learned from law school (and no they were not on any class syllabus).

It has almost been two years since I’ve graduated law school, and I kid you not, my experience is beginning to become a blur. An experience that was essentially the cornerstone of my life for three years, is beginning to become nuggets of memories that I struggle to piece together. I’m forgetting the names of former classmates and don’t even get me started on the course curriculum, that vanished right after taking the bar exam.

Now don’t get me wrong, my faded memory is by no means an indication that law school was a waste of time. While I can’t recite the Rule Against Perpetuities Theory, law school completely restructured the way I think. Law school taught me more than the nuts and bolts that were embedded within the 90 credits of coursework I completed. It taught me more about myself and the personal limits I had to institute for survival. It taught me that law professors aren’t necessarily the dry, authoritative characters that are portrayed in tv/film, but that they are in fact normal human beings with incredible minds and great senses of humor. Law school taught me that it is in fact possible to balance a social life in what seems to be a period of optimal stress and it gave me the inexplicable feeling of what it means to be an advocate for someone regardless of whether it was in a mock simulated setting or just a one-line contribution to a successful motion during a summer internship. It’s probably evident that I could go on and on with this list, but I’ll spare you and just cover my three favorite takeaways that weren’t included in the curriculum.

[Read more…]


Law Students Deserve Better Than “Get Tough or Get Out”

ABA Report on high levels of depression, anxiety, and substance useThis week we welcome back guest writer Mihal Ansik, tutor for the Bar Exam Toolbox. She discusses the latest statistics on mental health issues and substance abuse in the legal profession.

In 1986, the year that I was born, Dr. Andrew Benjamin published the first in a series of studies focused on law student wellbeing and mental health. His widely cited reports found that “law students have higher rates of psychiatric distress than a contrasting normative population or a medical student population” and that 40% of surveyed third-year law students reported symptoms of depression. In 2016, the year I graduated law school and entered my first year of practice, a comprehensive study of law student wellbeing found that 42% of respondents thought they needed help for emotional or mental health issues in the past year, but only about half had gotten that help. In the same year, the American Bar Association commissioned a study of attorneys finding that “between 21 and 36 percent qualify as problem drinkers, and that approximately 28 percent, 19 percent, and 23 percent are struggling with some level of depression, anxiety, and stress, respectively.” [Read more…]


Memoirs of a Staff Editor: What They Don’t Tell You About Law Journals

Memoirs of a Staff Editor: What They Don’t Tell You About Law JournalsPlease welcome our 2L guest writer, who discusses her personal experience being on a law journal – the good, the bad and the things that you may not hear from others before you make the commitment.

Writing for a law journal is an intense experience. Aside from writing your actual note and conducting peer edits, there are many responsibilities attached to the role that often are not publicized until you are offered a position. Some of your tasks may include: attending mandatory events, holding office hours, and joining one of the journal’s subcommittees to perform relevant, specified functions.

The write-on process for a law journal varies by law school and sometimes, per journal. At my law school, law students partake in a legal writing competition, which is the event that initially qualifies individuals to be considered for one. It is a grueling three-day process that is held the day after your 1L finals have ended and consists of bluebooking, grammar editing, and crafting a written argument concerning a set topic, designated by the competition rules. [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…]


Why Mental Health and Sleep Are Important for Law School Success

Why mental health and sleep is important for law school successPlease welcome back 2L guest writer, Shirlene Armstrong, to discuss why self care is so important in law school (she learned the hard way)!

So it’s the start of my 2L year, and I’m really excited to get the year going. I’m in my “work to death” year at law school, so I knew that I would be busier than last year and I would have to strategize how I tackle my work-school-life balance. However, I didn’t do a great job of that in my second week of 2L year. Unfortunately, I neglected my health and wound up sick. I hope you learn from my mistakes and realize that your health (and sleep) are important in order to be successful in law school. [Read more…]


The Types of Professors You’ll Encounter in Law School

The Types of Professors You’ll Encounter in Law SchoolPlease welcome back Jaclyn Wishnia, 2L guest writer from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She discusses the different types of professors you will inevitably meet in law school.

Society has assigned a stereotype for the majority of industries within the workforce. For example, the legal profession is considered notorious for breeding individuals who run the gamut of pejorative adjectives: aggressive, conniving, snobby, conceited, serious, boring, etc. Hopefully, most of you are striving to discredit these labels for our industry. Those inside the profession, however, understand that different types of law are better suited for individualized personalities. For instance, someone who enjoys dynamic discourse, public speaking, and writing briefs is more likely to be found working at a litigation firm, than a person who cares deeply about solving environmental issues, likes writing policy as opposed to briefs, and rather educate others about the relevant laws, and consequently, will instead probably be found working for a governmental agency, such as the EPA.

Since many law professors practice law before they teach, and often teach the subject they have already practiced in, it follows that their personalities will resemble those associated with their chosen legal sphere. Thus, certain characteristics will transfer from the workforce into the classroom, which is why there are specific archetypes of professors that every law student will recognize; predominantly identifiable in 1L courses.

[Read more…]