Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired: How to HALT and Reverse Before Getting to Work

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired: How to HALT and Reverse Before Getting to WorkThis week we welcome back guest writer Cathlyn Melvin to talk about how to get back on track with your work when you’re having a tough time – and sometimes that means taking a break first!

It’s been a long day of classes and reading. You’re not finished with the cases that are due tomorrow, and it’s been awhile since you’ve been on call, so you just know you’re due for it.

You’re feeling burned out, and you’re having trouble concentrating, but you’ve just gotta push through, right?

Well, not really.

It might seem counterintuitive, but if you’re feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, the best thing to do, actually, is to take a break.

When your brain is flooded with hunger, anger, isolation, or exhaustion, your ability to concentrate decreases, as well as limiting your capacity for critical thinking and retention.

So before you force yourself to push through, HALT. Take up to 30 minutes to regroup and reverse those overwhelming emotions so that when you get started again, your mind is clearer and more ready to work. [Read more…]

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…]

Why You Should Celebrate Your Birthday in Law School

Why You Should Celebrate Your Birthday in Law SchoolThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about why celebrating life events is important – even if you’re busy in law school!

My birthday falls at the end of April—smack in the middle of finals season. My first year of law school, as my birthday approached, I couldn’t find anyone who was willing to take time out of studying to help me celebrate my birthday Understandably, especially that first year, all my classmates were thinking of their finals. Friends, family, and any other personal matters just weren’t a priority.

Not to be deterred, I decided to go ahead and celebrate on my own. My traditional birthday dessert has always been chocolate mousse cake, so I baked myself a dozen chocolate mousse cupcakes to enjoy while I studied. I set the finished cupcakes on a plate in the kitchen in my third floor Boston apartment and went back to my room to study. I planned to reward myself with a cupcake after getting through my civil procedure outline.

When I went back to the kitchen a few hours later, I realized I hadn’t been the only one interested in my cupcakes. Tiny little nibbles were missing from every single cupcake on my plate. A little mouse came to my party. All my birthday cupcakes were inedible.

It may seem like the worst birthday, ever, but I actually think of that birthday as one of the funniest ones I’ve ever had. More importantly, I am proud of myself for trying to celebrate. Here’s why it’s important to continue to celebrate life’s milestones even while in law school and studying for finals.

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Personal Mission, Vision, and Values Statements in Law School

Personal Mission, Vision, and Values Statements in Law SchoolThis week we welcome back guest writer Cathlyn Melvin to talk about finding a personal mission and figuring out your values as a law student and future lawyer.

Standing at a gas pump, your eyes glaze over at a posted paragraph about the fuel supplier’s mission to be “the world’s premier petroleum company.”

Okay.

Corporate mission statements, according to former Forbes contributor Len Sherman, “all say the right things about management’s deep concern for customers, employees, shareholders, communities and even planet Earth.”

Since they all sound kinda alike, and we’re all kinda jaded, business mission statements just don’t matter that much to consumers. [Read more…]

How To Avoid Burnout

How To Avoid BurnoutThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about what to do if you’re facing burnout as a law or bar student.

Going to law school, studying for the bar exam, and practicing law (or doing much of anything, frankly) has been a stressful experience since 2020 began over a year ago. To say the least, right? Law school and the bar exam are stressful enough to begin with let alone without the added issues 2020, and now 2021, bring to us.

I can relate. Since the end of 2019, I have taken the bar exam, changed jobs, almost lost my brother to a mysterious illness, renovated a house, started my own law practice, moved into a new house, been pregnant, gave birth, had my stepson move in with my family, and had a newborn…all during the pandemic, and all while caring for a toddler.

Honestly, one thing I can say with certainty is I fully understand stress.

Here’s the thing about stress: when you don’t even realize it, it can become too much. It piles on incrementally until one day you don’t feel like doing anything. Not one thing. But, that stack of papers, those practice exams, none of that goes away so easily. You still have to do your job, take care of your family, and get through your day. Now into 2021, stress is still going to be around.

But, there are healthy ways to deal with stress so you don’t get burned out to a crispy crunch.

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Summer 2021 Job Search Tips for Law Students in the New COVID-19 Landscape

Summer 2021 Job Search Tips for Law Students in the New COVID-19 LandscapeThis week we welcome back guest writer Christen Morgan to talk about what to consider if you’re a law student in a job search during the pandemic.

The year 2020 is now behind us, and as law students gear up for their summer 2021 job search, it’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the legal job market is here to stay. At least for a while.

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the legal landscape into a virtual arena. Gone are the days of in-person networking events and in-person interviews including OCIs, etc.

So, what now? How does one navigate this novel landscape in an industry that has been entrenched in an “old-school” culture?

Like the legal industry has done over the past year, law students will need to adapt to these new measures. However, a successful job search will require that law students are strategic in their approach, as the industry is still adjusting.

Here are some job search tips to help you in summer 2021 and beyond.

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What to Expect When You’ve Landed a Clerkship with the Public Defender’s Office

What to Expect When You’ve Landed a Clerkship with the Public Defender’s OfficeThis week we welcome back guest writer Raneta Mack to talk about what to expect with a position at the public defender’s office.

If you’re like many students, you entered law school not quite knowing how you might use your law degree and perhaps thinking that you wanted to somehow make a difference. Your first year classes are designed to provide you with a strong legal foundation across a broad area of interests. In many instances, these classes help students discover their passion.

For example, Criminal Law, a required course in most law schools, takes you through the workings of the criminal justice system, focusing on crimes, mental states and defenses. While taking this class, many students realize for the first time that a career as a public defender might fulfill their desire to make a difference while also engaging in very challenging legal work. These students often take a further leap into this area by applying for summer clerkships with public defender offices to see if this is where they’d like to launch their legal career. Once the job offer comes in, there is the usual excitement about a new job opportunity, but there may also be some doubt. Doubt? Read on. [Read more…]

How To Navigate Law And Politics During The Holidays

How To Navigate Law And Politics During The HolidaysThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about managing some difficult topics at the holidays – including politics!

Several months ago I applied to work as a contract attorney for a bankruptcy firm. I needed to be admitted to a federal bankruptcy court, however, and another attorney in the firm offered to sponsor me for admission to the federal bankruptcy court. For over an hour, I chatted with this attorney, and we had a lovely conversation. He sponsored me for the court, and we said goodbye.

A few weeks after I was admitted to the bar, I had a legal question in this attorney’s jurisdiction. I called him, he took the time to talk with me and answer my question, and then out of the blue, he asked, “What’s your opinion on wearing masks?” [Read more…]

Young Lawyer Perspective – Budgeting for the Young Lawyer

Young Lawyer Perspective – Budgeting for the Young LawyerThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Brown to discuss how to budget as a new lawyer.

Congrats! You have graduated from law school, passed the bar exam, have been sworn-in as a practicing lawyer, and you landed your first “big girl/boy/gender-noncomforming” job! With a new job and more income comes additional responsibilities, including (but definitely not limited to) managing your finances! Personally, I am an attorney at a small-medium sized law firm that specializes in personal injury. I have been officially working at the firm as an attorney for about a year now, however I started at my office in my first year of law school as a law clerk/paralegal. I am also a first-generation college student and the only lawyer in my family. My husband and I both come from very working-class backgrounds and have had jobs since the age of 16. So it should suffice to say that we “ball on a budget.” When I graduated from law school and passed the bar, I started working as an attorney and made more money than I had ever before in my life.

However, I also had to start paying my student loans and managing all my other finances. So what are some tips and tricks to budgeting, especially after you first become an attorney? And how can you best manage your finances at your new lawyer pay rate? Here is my advice to young lawyers on how to budget and be a financial all-star!

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Young Professional Perspective – Thoughts on How Our Professional Lives and Looks Are Affected By Social Media

Young Professional Perspective - Thoughts on How Our Professional Lives and Looks Are Affected By Social MediaThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Brown to talk about your social media and your professional image.

When you enter law school and later when you get sworn in as an attorney, you take an oath of professionalism. This oath even covers situations not relating to the practice of law or situations outside of the lawyer’s traditional duties. In general, lawyers are expected to look, act, and be professional. However, the oath doesn’t necessarily mean you need to dress professionally 24/7 or cannot have a personal life outside of your professional career. Not only are people looking at you and how you present yourself in person, they are also looking at your social media. In the last few decades, the rise of online platforms and social media has allowed people to connect and share posts with people from all walks of life. With this comes an “online presence” and questions surrounding professionalism online. How does social media affect an attorney’s or law student’s professional life? Do you need to keep your personal life completely off social media? What can you do to “be professional” but also “be yourself”? Today I am trying to tackle these very complicated but sensitive topics. [Read more…]