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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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…]

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…]

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…]

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 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…]

Lessons Learned While Preparing for Parental Leave

Maternity Leave Part 1Please welcome back Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to discuss her own experience preparing for her second parental leave and the lessons she learned after her first leave.

During my first pregnancy I was working in-house as a litigator for a governmental entity. I was extremely fortunate to work in a family friendly environmental with other lawyers who were willing to help cover cases or issues that arose during my maternity leave. But even in a supportive office like mine, I remember feeling guilty about taking such a long leave (11 weeks!) and potentially causing my colleagues more work. I completed as many assignments as possible prior to taking my leave and rearranged scheduling deadlines to compensate for my absence, but I knew there would be at least a few seemingly minor tasks that would arise while I was away. No problem, I thought, I can manage a few small assignments while on maternity leave.

Flash forward to a month later, only 2 weeks post-partum, and I find myself cradling my new baby with one hand while typing emails on my phone with the other hand at 4:00 a.m. My precious bundle of joy was adorable, but I was an exhausted, emotional mess. What had seemed like some fairly routine work tasks a few months ago when I was sitting in my office (and still sleeping eight blissful hours a night) was now an overwhelming obligation.

I learned a lot from my first experience with parental leave and now appreciate that good advance planning can make the unique, fleeting challenging experience of caring for a newborn more enjoyable. Here are a few lessons I learned that may help you prepare for your own parental leave.

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Struggling with that Lengthy Writing Assignment? 7 Practical Strategies to Help You Get It Done!

Legal Research/WritingPlease welcome back Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law. She’s talking about how to survive a legal writing assignment you may be struggling with (or just to offer some encouragement).

I have a love/hate relationship with writing. While it’s extremely satisfying to finish a writing assignment, the process of getting to that point can be a real struggle. Most law students seem to feel similarly about the legal writing assignments and research papers assigned in law school. These assignments tend to be time consuming, complex, and require a significant amount of concerted effort (unlike, say, passively highlighting your case book). On top of that, law school writing assignments aren’t even necessarily that interesting. But as frustrating as these assignments may be, they’re actually a fairly realistic preview of what you’ll likely be doing as a lawyer: researching, writing, and writing some more. Whether it’s drafting a brief, a contract, or even just a memo, nearly every practicing lawyer has to write on a regular basis. So it’s helpful – no, necessary – that you develop some strategies to manage lengthy writing assignments and avoid procrastinating. Below are a few techniques I’ve relied on to help me complete difficult projects and that may help you manage your own lengthy assignments. [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…]