Minimalism in Law School: How Paring Down Can Help You Succeed

Minimalism in Law School: How Paring Down Can Help You SucceedPlease welcome back guest writer Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to discuss how minimalism may help you to succeed in law school.

In college I often joked that I could fit all of my possessions into a single duffle bag. It wasn’t much of an exaggeration – between relocating each summer, traveling, or moving to new apartments, I had definitely learned to let go of nonessentials. Limiting the items I was sentimentally attached to didn’t just make it easier to move, however, it also brought a sense of simplicity and orderliness to my life that I found gratifying.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely acquired more possessions – a house, a car, a million items for my kids! – but I still make a concerted effort to limit the clutter as much as possible. I’ve also learned that my natural instinct to pare down and simplify is actually part of a bigger lifestyle movement: Minimalism. Numerous books and blogs have been written about minimalism in recent years, and, as I’ve learned more about the concept, I’ve started to embrace its principles in a more deliberate way. During my most recent minimalist motivated clean out, it occurred to me that many law students could benefit from incorporating a little minimalism into their lives.

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Learning to Love the Socratic Method

Something about the socratic method for GGPlease welcome back guest writer John Passmore to talk about how to learn to love an aspect of law school which is certainly not everyone’s favorite – the Socratic method.

The Socratic method is a unique and, for many, a frightening aspect of law school. It can be one of the toughest parts of transitioning from undergraduate to law school life. An introvert myself, the idea of the cold-call (being unexpectedly called on and peppered with questions by the professor) terrified me well into my 1L year. But later in law school I came to truly appreciate the Socratic method. It makes you engage the material in a deeper way. By actively participating as the professor builds concepts through questions and answers, you absorb the material in a way you never would through passively listening to a lecture. You may never love a class with a tough professor who employs a strict form of the Socratic method, but if you can at least come to appreciate the method, you can move beyond fear and reap some of the benefits that it offers. [Read more…]

Making Your Notes Work for You

Note TakingPlease welcome back guest writer John Passmore to discuss some great tips for note taking in law school!

Everyone agrees that note taking is important in law school. But are you getting as much out of note taking as possible? After a semester or two of struggling to find value in my class notes, I finally started to think more critically about my note-taking style. I realized I was just playing the stenographer—writing down as much as possible with the hopes of understanding it later. This is a very bad approach. As you develop your personal note-taking style, think about what you hope to get out of your notes. Once you have a clear idea of your objectives, you can take notes with purpose and be more effective. The tricky thing about law school note taking is accomplishing multiple objectives at once. Here are some of the key deliverables you might want from your notes — [Read more…]

The Ultimate Guide to the Law in Pop Culture Part III: Travel Media

The Ultimate Guide to the Law in Pop Culture Part III: Travel MediaThis post contains affiliate links, meaning we may be (minimally!) compensated if you purchase after clicking the link.

Please welcome back rising 3L Jaclyn Wishnia to finish up her series on the law in pop culture by discussing some media that can be enjoyed on the go or during breaks!

In our final installment of the ultimate guide to the law in pop culture series, the focus is on forms of media for law students that are easily transportable and non-intrusive, making them great for either travel or those lulls in-between classes. Specifically, those mediums include: books (print, e-book or audio editions), blogs, and podcasts. Keep on reading for a more enjoyable law school commute! [Read more…]

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…]

Where to Study for the Bar Exam: Environment Matters

Where to study for the bar exam: environment matters (talk about using a co-working space to study, interview friends about where they studied and what the pros/cons were)This week we welcome guest writer Allison Pincus, tutor for the Law School Toolbox and Bar Exam Toolbox. Allison discusses why it’s important to pick the right location for your bar study, and what her personal experience was finding a place to study.

“Where have you been for the past few days? We were so worried!” This was the response I received from the greeters when I signed in at my co-working space the day after I took the bar exam.

Of course my family and friends all knew I was sitting for the bar at the end of July. And the employees at my co-working space knew I had been studying, and studying hard – but they hadn’t known exactly when the exam was taking place. I hadn’t shown up to study as I had been doing every day, and they were afraid that I had given up.

There is lots of advice out there about how to study for the bar exam, including useful tips like knowing if it’s too early to begin, and creative strategies for how to study. The prevailing wisdom is to limit distractions and other obligations while studying for the bar, but how does this apply to your study environment? What about where to study for the bar?

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Reflections of a 2L: How to Use Your Experience to Plan Ahead for 3L Year

Reflections of a 2L and How to Use Your Own to Plan Ahead for 3L YearPlease welcome our 2L guest writer to discuss her own personal reflections on 2L year and how she’s looking and planning ahead to 3L year.

In looking back on 2L year, it was a unique and very individualistic experience. Unfortunately, mine was a harrowing one, but that will not be the case for every 2L because the curriculum creates such vastly different scenarios, based on the choices each student selects for themselves. The rest of this article focuses on some personal thoughts concerning 2L year in general, and, stemming from them, changes or items to plan ahead for when thinking about 3L year.

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The Ultimate Guide to the Law in Pop Culture Part I: TV Shows

Ultimate Guide to the Law in Pop Culture Part I - TV ShowsPlease welcome back guest writer, and current 2L, Jaclyn Wishnia, with her list of top tv shows to watch as a law student – you might learn a little while unwinding and binging some tv!

Want to unwind, but feel guilty about binging more lowbrow reality shows instead of studying? No problem. We have you covered with the ultimate list of legal entertainment to mitigate that conscience-stricken feeling. [*Cue Law & Order, et. al. sound].

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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…]

Parental Leave: What to Expect When You Return to Work

Maternity Leave Part 2: What to Expect When You Return to WorkPlease welcome back guest writer Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to discuss some strategies for a smooth transition when returning to work following parental leave.

Life as a first time parent is filled with questions and uncertainty. Am putting this baby wrap on correctly? How much should the baby be eating? Is that a rash? Is this normal? Will I ever sleep/go to the bathroom by myself/finish an entire television show again? Babies change and develop so rapidly, especially during the first few months, that it seems like there is always something new and unexpected around the corner. What you can expect, however, is that eventually your parental leave will end, and you will need to return to work. If, like me, you live in a state without any parental leave laws other than the Family Medical Leave Act, that means you could be returning to work as early as six weeks after the birth of your baby (or sooner). Whether you’re returning to work after a few weeks, a few months, or even a full year, resuming your professional life as a new parent can be a difficult transition. Everyone will face different challenges depending on their work requirements, financial situation, and family support, but there are a few common scenarios that you can expect to encounter upon returning to work from parental leave. [Read more…]