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…]

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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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…]

Public Speaking Tips from a Work in Progress

Public Speaking TipsPlease welcome back Jennifer Warren, attorney and Academic Achievement Coordinator at Oklahoma City University School of Law, to discuss how to work on your public speaking skills – something she’s personally been working on since law school.

Like most law schools, the second semester of my first year legal research and writing course involved a class wide moot court competition where I had to make an appellate argument based on a current legal issue. I found myself looking forward to the competition. Although I still had many moments of self-doubt, by the second semester of law school I felt like I had started to find my footing, at least academically. I had done well during the first semester and was keeping up in my current courses. I hoped that with the right amount of practice and preparation I would do just fine during the moot court assignment. So I prepared, and I practiced, and I prepared some more. My scheduled day arrived, I presented my argument, and…it was terrible! I spoke too quietly and too quickly, I forgot key points, I stuttered, I looked at my notes too frequently – I made pretty much every public speaking mistake out there. Despite what I thought was a sufficient amount of preparation, I had done miserably. [Read more…]

My First Mock Trial – A 2L Perspective

Mock Trial

Please welcome back our 2L guest writer, Shirlene Armstrong, to discuss her first mock trial experience. She discusses everything from the preparation through the actual trial, and tells us what she learned.

As a 2L, I have the opportunity to participate in “professional experience” activities for credit, extracurriculars. These include (but are not limited to) moot court, mock trial, law review, journal, and/or contract drafting. Since high school, I always wanted to do mock trial but unfortunately never attended a school that had a program. Thus, I was really excited to have an opportunity to join the team. I tried out for mock trial at the end of my 1L year and was fortunate to receive a spot on the team. As such, my first trial experience was in the first semester of my 2L year during our in-house competition. [Read more…]

A Review of the Better Habits App

Better Habits App ReviewPlease welcome back guest writer, Christen Morgan, attorney and Real Estate Specialist at a wireless infrastructure company, to discuss the new app, Better Habits.

Does it really take 21 days to form a habit? I sure thought so. Although I’ve never completely followed through with any of my New Year’s resolutions and tried and failed at numerous fad diets, I’ve always thought this concept to be true; think about a habit you want to form, commit to developing it over a course of 21 days, then voila, the habit will become a part of you for the rest of your life. I just always thought that I struggled to develop habits because I could barely commit to it for 10 days, much less meet the 21-day requirement. [Read more…]

A 2L’s Guide to 1L Year: How to Go From Surviving to Succeeding

SucceedPlease welcome back Gabriella Martin, our now 3L guest writer from Quinnipiac University School of Law. Now that you’ve got your bearings, she offers some great insight on what to expect and how to thrive!

So you’ve gotten through the first couple weeks of 1L year—you know where your classes are, you know what the professors are looking for, and you’re probably starting to breathe a little easier. But of course, because you’re a fast paced person like the rest of us, you’re probably thinking . . . now what?

Well now, baby shark, now that you’ve discovered your legal super powers, it’s time to start learning how to navigate the waters and begin your journey to becoming a legal superhero. To get you started, here are a handful of tips I wish I would have known just over a year ago. [Read more…]