Reflections on First Semester From a 1L

A 1L’s Reflections on First SemesterThis week we welcome guest writer Briana Borgolini, current 1L at Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law, to discuss her experience going into second semester 1L year.

No matter how prepared you think you are, the first semester of 1L year is a challenge. Anyone who is beginning law school has most likely been a great student for most of their lives, but there is just something different about the pedagogy of law school that makes it a little bit harder to figure out. Even if you think you have the perfect plan, first semester will probably be a bit of trial and error. For me, this definitely held true – there are things that I will continue to do, and there are things that I will certainly change. [Read more…]

A Fresh Start…Getting Ready for a New Beginning Second Semester

A Fresh Start…Getting Ready for a New Beginning Second SemesterPlease welcome back guest writer and 3L Mark Livingston to talk about coming back fresh for a new semester and making the most of your preparation for it!

Law school is not easy. As a father, husband, and non-traditional law student, the pain of late-night study sessions, hours at the library, classes, copious amounts of reading, and the perpetual preparation for finals are all hurdles for both me and my family to overcome. Nothing leaves a worse taste in a law student’s mouth than a mediocre, or even bad, semester. It seems to me that you have two options: 1) you can blame everyone but yourself and play the victim; or 2) spend some time confronting yourself and choose to take steps to start fresh second semester. The great thing about law school is this: although material in a single class may be cumulative, the many classes you will take each semester are not collectively cumulative. This means that you have the opportunity to make adjustments and become a qualitatively different law student each and every semester of law school. How amazing is this? [Read more…]

Tips for Living Your Best Winter Break Life

Tips for Living Your Best Winter Break LifePlease welcome back guest writer Kala Mueller,  Director of Public Interest Programs at the University of Nebraska College of Law, to discuss how to make the best use of your winter break during law school.

Now that you’ve (hopefully) emerged from your post-exam stupor, let’s talk about what to do with yourself during the glorious respite known as winter break. I’ve provided some guidance below and, personally, would strive to strike a balance between fun/relaxation and productivity. However, a different and equally good approach is to think about what you need from your time off to feel as good as possible going into the next semester, and then do it. [Read more…]

Legal Writing Mishaps You Should Avoid Like the Plague

Legal Writing Mishaps You Should Avoid Like the PlaguePlease welcome back attorney Christen Morgan to to talk about some important reminders about legal writing!

God bless my 1L legal writing professor. Although I am now two years removed from law school and five years removed from my first semester of legal writing, I maintain this statement with the utmost conviction. This professor deserves special blessings as she has had to endure reviewing hundreds of memos and briefs proposed as exemplary writing but fraught with blatant error. She has also spent countless hours in her work day trying to explain to each student (me included) about why their writing is in fact not exemplary. Finally, she has on numerous occasions had to maintain the “patience of Job,” as she did her very best to take charge of the debate each student assumed was necessary to prove that they were in fact writing experts after their first three weeks of law school. [Read more…]

Navigating Law School as a Non-Traditional Student

Navigating Law School as a Non-Traditional Student Please welcome back guest writer Kala Mueller, Director of Public Interest Programs at the University of Nebraska College of Law. She’s discussing how to handle law school if you’re not a “traditional” student.

Most people equate “non-traditional” with being older, but if a “traditional” student is one who has gone straight from college to law school, then “non-traditional” might encompass anyone who has not. Still, I typically think of a non-traditional student as someone who is entering law school after at least a few years out of an educational setting. I worked full-time for one year between college and law school, and while that might technically mean I was a non-traditional student, I certainly wouldn’t have felt that the label was fitting for me.

Part of the reason is that I don’t really think my experience was unique from that of my classmates coming straight out of college, whereas most non-traditional law students feel that their experience is different, at least in some respects, whether it is due to the fact that they spent a few years in the workforce, are significantly older than many of their counterparts, or have children. Although maturity and life experience are usually beneficial, it probably will not come as a surprise that life as a non-traditional student is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are both positive and negative implications of the characteristics we often associate with non-traditional students.

[Read more…]

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…]

What To Do If You Start 3L Year With No Job – Advice From a Fellow 3L

What To Do If You Start 3L Year With No Job – Advice from a fellow 3LPlease welcome back guest writer and current 3L Shirlene Armstrong to discuss some options if you find yourself in your 3L year without a job offer.

You did it. You finally get to your last year of law school and you are already looking forward to never going back to classes. You are excited about the next step in your journey and can’t wait until this last year is finished. All you need to do is survive this year, study for the bar exam and sit for everyone’s favorite two-day exam then you will be on your way to becoming an attorney. (Right??) However, something else lingers in the distance: you have to get a job. It is great to have that “Esq.” after your name, but you have to find some sort of placement beyond law school to utilize it to its full extent. But what happens if you don’t have a job when you start your 3L year? Should you panic? What should you do to make sure you snag a position for after graduation? Here are some tips from a fellow 3L in order to help you in your job search at the beginning of your 3L year. [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…]

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…]