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…]

5 Takeaways from My In-House Legal Internship

5 Takeaways from my In-House Legal InternshipThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about her experience at an in-house internship over the summer.

Over the summer, I had the great fortune of working as an in-house legal intern at a multinational computer software company. With this opportunity, I made it a priority to understand what it means to be an in-house lawyer, especially in contrast to working in private practice.

Here are some of the lessons I learned through shadowing and chatting with in-house lawyers:

[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.

[Read more…]

How To Find The Area Of Law That’s Right For You

How To Find The Area Of Law That’s Right For YouThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about finding the right fit in a legal practice area.

I am one of those people. You know the kind, the kind that can’t try a new recipe without posting a picture on social media with a lengthy write-up about how the food was prepared, where, and why. The kind that will go to a restaurant and snap copious amounts of pictures of the meal before finally sticking a fork in it. The kind that leaves a #foodie on post after post. I proudly grocery shop like a tourist in a new city. I love scanning the shelves every week for some new product, some new, exotic ingredient I can use to bring my culinary creations to a higher level of deliciousness.

In fact, I love food so much, during my first year of law school I considered leaving to go to culinary school. A fellow classmate did just that and became a pastry chef, and to be honest, I have always been a bit jealous of her path.

I did finish law school, but when it came time for me to decide where I wanted my own career to go, I wasn’t as sure as I thought I was when I first decided to get a law degree. I knew I wanted to help people. I wanted to do something altruistic. I thought I would go to Washington, D.C. and lobby for a nonprofit. But, I wasn’t quite sure what specific road to take after law school.

If you’re unsure of your career path, or what area of law is right for you, here are a few tips for you to find your way.

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7 Law School Resolutions For The New Year

7 Law School Resolutions For The New YearThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about starting fresh in the new year with some resolutions.

Being a law student is not easy. There is always room for improvement—to make things more efficient, to grow your knowledge, to hone your legal skills. This year, consider adopting some of these new year resolutions:

[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…]

How to Maintain your Law School Connections

How to maintain your law school connectionsThis week we welcome back guest writer and 2L Tiffany Lo to talk about keeping up with your law school connections.

Making and maintaining connections during law school are important. The legal profession is a small universe, and you may encounter your classmates as the opposing counsel, as a client, as a judge, as an academic, or as a public servant. Having a personal connection with people in the legal field can help you develop business, craft a litigation or negotiation strategy, and find new career opportunities.

Making connections might be easy, but maintaining them takes work. Here are my thoughts on how to do that: [Read more…]

Emailing Your Professors for Help with Work-Related Projects: Proceed with Caution

Emailing Your Professors for Help with Work-Related Projects: Proceed with CautionThis week we welcome guest writer and tutor Raneta Mack to talk about getting help from professors with work projects.

You’ve just finished your first year of law school, and you’re about to embark on your first legal job: a coveted summer clerkship. You did well in your first year classes and now you’re eager to make a good impression on everyone in the office.

On your first day, shortly after getting comfortable in your new office, you’re given your first research project. You vaguely remember hearing something about the research topic in your Contracts class. Or was it your Torts class? During the meeting, you were a bit too intimidated to ask the senior attorney any questions, and if you go back now with questions, maybe she’ll think you’re not up to the task. [Read more…]

Juggling Kids in Remote School and Law School Life

Juggling Kids in Remote School and Law School LifeThis week we welcome guest writer Emily Carter to talk about managing your kid’s remote schooling and your own law school responsibilities.

As I type these very words, I am remote schooling my children. Now, rest assured, I say this with no pride, no smugness, not even a hair of belief that I am succeeding in this balancing act that somehow, the confluence of a virus, parenting, and work responsibilities has loaded on me and many others.

No, please, be assured, my floor is dirty (macaroni, cheerios, and freshly snipped paper cuttings from an elementary schooler’s project are in the current floor assortment). My meal choices lack nutritional value (hot pretzels for lunch, anyone?). And my oldest son, having just emerged from the bathroom at this very moment, reports that the hand towel is soaking wet, soap scum coats the sink, and, in his words, “it stinks in there.” I blame the toddler, who having quickly graduated from potty training to mostly independent bathroom use, lacks a full respect for cleanliness. [Read more…]

My Law School Morning Routine

My Law School Morning RoutineThis week we welcome back guest writer Cathlyn Melvin to talk about her morning routine to get ready for law school.

My earliest class this semester is 9am. Hallelujah. I like to have time to myself in the mornings: I’m happiest when I can accomplish a few things before I get started with my work or school obligations.

Oh, and also: before I look at my phone (gasp!).

That’s right: when I go to bed at night I plug my phone in and put it face-down on my nightstand. And in the morning, I try not to touch it until my “morning routine” is complete, and I’m ready to work.

So here’s what I do instead.

[Read more…]