Law School Affinity Groups – What They Do And Why You Should Join

Law School Affinity Groups - What They Do And Why You Should JoinThis week we welcome back guest writer and 3L Tiffany Lo to talk about what affinity groups are and why you may want to participate!

Law school affinity groups are created around a common identity and allow their members to connect and learn from each other. Some of these groups are Outlaw, Black Law Students Association, Asian Pacific Islander Law Students Association, Latinx Law Students Association, Native American Law Students Association, Jewish Law Students Association, Women of Color Collective, First Generation Law Students, Middle Eastern Law Students Association, and many more.

So why should you join one or multiple? Here are some things to think about:

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Following Your Own Law School Timeline

Following Your Own Law School TimelineThis week we welcome guest writer Zoila Sanchez to talk about how to focus on your own law school experience and adapt to what you need to in order to make it through school.

As you may have already realized, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to experiencing law school as we are all different and rarely fall into the “traditional” law student mold. For example, some students are parents and attend school full or part-time. Some students are returning for a second or third degree.

You may have experienced feeling “behind” in some way. For example, you may feel late on securing an internship merely because someone else has already interviewed or secured one.

As a law student, I remember representing a bar prep program and promoting a prescribed schedule to help students stay on track. Specifically, there were dates on when to complete the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). While the recommendation seemed to emphasize starting early to set yourself up for success, I came to realize how so much of the real-life law school experience for many is set to a totally different pace than what was on the schedule. [Read more…]

How To Respond To Questions About The Law From Friends And Family Members

How To Respond To Questions About The Law From Friends And Family MembersThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about how to respond to family and friend questions about the law when you’re a law student.

It is a rite of passage for law students. At a family gathering, over a messaging app, or just out of the blue, a friend or family member asks you: [insert legal question here]? This can be a very general question: “what does divorce mean for property division?” or something much more specific: “how do I deal with my landlord who is trying to evict me because they want to sell the house?” “how do I contest a traffic ticket for failure to stop at a red light?” “how do sue someone in small claims court for not paying me for a job?” I have gotten a range of questions related to landlord-tenant laws, traffic violations, personal injury claims, family law, and business law, and have heard similar stories from fellow law students.

Perhaps you’ve studied the exact topic in a class, come across the issue while working at your summer job, or have knowledge based on your past academic research and work experiences. But more likely, you do not know the general area, let alone the relevant laws. You are probably hesitant to give information and advice, worried that it might turn out to be incorrect and lead someone down a wrong path. Moreover, since you are not yet a licensed attorney, you don’t want to be engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

Law students are all different, with varying obligations, interests, and bandwidth. Each person would handle a situation like this differently. This blog post is not meant to provide a one-size-fits-all approaches, but suggests three approaches you can consider when responding to such a question.

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Experiential Learning in Law School: Presenting to a Tribal Council

Experiential Learning in Law School: Presenting to a Tribal CouncilThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about experiential learning in law school.

Before I was in law school, I remember hearing about stories of law students making a difference in the world, whether through exonerating death row prisoners, assisting small businesses, or working on immigration and deportation cases. Inspired and motivated, I wanted to do that myself someday.

Flash forward to law school now, and I finally got my chance. This fall, I joined a policy practicum where I had the chance to assist the Yurok Tribe’s Office of the Tribal Council with some of their current legal issues. The Yurok Tribe’s reservation is located in Del Norte and Humboldt counties in North California, sitting on a stretch of the Klamath River. I worked on two different projects: one, advising on a potential discrimination suit and two, preparing a whitepaper to describe the process of tribes contracting with the federal government in order to gain funding and coordinate in wildfire prevention and management. [Read more…]

Misconceptions About Law School: What Law School Is Really About

Misconceptions About Law School: What Law School Is Really AboutThis week we hear from law student Justine Huang about what she’s learned in her first semester of law school about what law school really is.

The main expectation I had going into law school was that it was going to be a lot of reading. While that turned out to be true, life as a law school student wasn’t exactly as I had imagined. Having been through one semester of law school, I hope to give you a sense of what 1L year is like.

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Tips And Ideas For Commuter Law Students

Tips And Ideas For Commuter Law StudentsThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about life as a commuter law student.

I am a law student who commutes to school, and I know a few students who do so as well. While commuting can be challenging at times, it is also manageable. Having commuted both by car and public transit, I have picked up some tips and tricks along the way, which will be helpful for any student in the same boat, or who may be considering living off-campus in the future.

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Ideas For Staying In Touch With Summer Supervisors and Mentors

Ideas For Staying In Touch With Summer Supervisors And MentorsThis week we welcome back guest writer Tiffany Lo to talk about how to stay on top of your connections from your summer jobs.

You had a fantastic summer working at your judicial externship, law firm, nonprofit organization, or government office. You shadowed attorneys, observed meetings, wrote memoranda, pleadings, contracts, merger documents, whitepapers, maybe even argued in court or presented at a client conference, and much more. You made connections with attorneys at different stages of their careers and heard many war stories from practicing lawyers every day. You learned a lot from your supervising attorneys and summer mentors. You made an excellent impression. At the end of the summer, you wrote a note or email thanking everyone you met for a wonderful experience, and then returned to your busy life as a law student, as attorneys do to their normal, law-student-less schedule.

In the back of your head, you think, will they remember me one year later if I return full-time? How can I keep these relationships strong? What do I need to do and how much do I need to do it? I certainly asked myself these questions during and at the end of my summer jobs.

Whether you end up returning to that workplace or not, knowing your fellow attorneys in the profession will be helpful in many ways. So, here are some ideas for staying in touch with the attorneys from your summer.

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How To Balance Your Child While You Work

This week we hear from guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt about balancing parenthood with a legal career at home.

Covid has brought significant attention to the need for childcare for working parents. Many of us have been trying to tend to work while simultaneously tending to children at home, and the result has been massive burnout, frustration, and chaos (at least at times in my household).

At the start of the pandemic, it was wonderful having my two-year-old son home with me. I don’t begrudge parents who happily rely on daycare, but for me, I struggled leaving my son with a caregiver. I wanted to be with him. I wanted to watch him learn and grow and play and laugh. I wanted to be there to comfort him if he fell and scraped a knee.

Despite my idealistic expectations for caring for my toddler son while building a virtual law practice, the reality of trying to manage both roles, mother and lawyer, at home at the same time proved more challenging than I anticipated.

Nearly eighteen months into this new lifestyle, I’ve learned a few tricks to keeping now both of my children (age 3 and 1) entertained while also keeping my law practice afloat. Here’s what you need to know:

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Bookkeeping For Law Students

Bookkeeping For Law StudentsThis week we welcome back guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt to talk about keeping your expenses in order as a law student.

With the frequent use of online banking, it’s easy these days to put our finances on autopilot. We create automatic payments for our bills. We get billing statements sent to inboxes and probably move them directly to the trash without even opening them. In short, we’re not paying attention to our money or our budget.

That can be a big problem down the road. As a law student (especially if you’re going to law school straight from undergrad), you probably aren’t worried yet about buying a house or perhaps getting a business loan to open your own practice.

There are numerous expenses and financial goals that can be impacted by poor financial habits in law school.

Trust me, I understand how completely time-consuming law school can be. Sometimes I feel like I’m still briefing cases, and it’s been more than ten years since I was in law school! However, your future is waiting for you. It’s important to establish good financial habits now before you start making the big lawyer dollars later.

Here’s how to manage your money now to set yourself up for success later.

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How To Save Time On Meal Prep To Have More Time To Study

How To Save Time On Meal Prep To Have More Time To StudyThis week we’re hearing from guest writer Hillary Vaillancourt about how meal prep can be a useful tool to save you time during law school.

Truth be told, my idea of a great Saturday afternoon is spending the entire time in the kitchen rustling up some quality grub. I’m talking scratch-made biscuits baked with real butter, sliced open while still steaming to spread a layer of homemade tomato jam, then finished with a sprinkle of fresh herbs from my garden.

Sadly, there are days, weeks, heck sometimes whole months when life doesn’t afford me the opportunity to spend so much time experimenting with recipes and concocting scrumptious three-course meals for my family.

Multitasking can take a little of the stress out of preparing food while also being able to study, but sometimes it’s not the most practical or desirable option. Instead, here are a few ways you can simplify your meal prep in order to spend more time on your studies. [Read more…]