Posts Tagged ‘Law School’

Reconsidering Your Law School Dreams

When I first started thinking about this article, I knew it would be controversial. As a law schools student I’m supposed to make you feel like there’s nothing in the world that you can’t accomplish, including going to law school. Law school is supposed to make you feel as powerful as possible. After all, law school is something that’s very hard, and it’s supposed to make you feel like a champion if you survive. That’s true — law school is one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done, and it’s nice to know that I will eventually be getting out of law school and moving on to bigger and brighter things. Graduation is always something that puts you in a good mood — especially when it’s yours.

What you need to make sure that you do from here is to think about how to get in — as well as whether or not you even want to go.

Purpose

You have to have a reason. No, I’m not talking about the little reasons that we give other people. If your father always told you that you never would amount to anything, throwing yourself into law school is a Very Bad Idea. You don’t want to work within the legal profession, you want to show your father that he was wrong. Knowing the difference between these two emotions can really save you a lot of money.


Resources

Money. Money. Money. Yes, we have to talk about money. Law school is a lot of money. I never really realized how much a law school education would cost until I really started looking at it in a major way. It was something that led me through a lot of loans, but I was lucky and also had merit-based aid to go off of.

If you are going to go through law school, you really want to make sure that your skills are going to be as sharp as it possibly can be. Look into absolutely everything and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as it takes to get the job done. Some people will say that is being a little opportunistic, but we really don’t think we. We don’t think that there’s anything wrong with digging into the bottom of things so that you know what’s going on.

Roadmap

You have to have a plan. A lot of people go to law school thinking that it’s going to give them a plan, and that’s really not a good reason to go to law school at all. You are a lot better off thinking about the type of work you want to get through the law school process. It’s all about strategy, and a lot of people think I’m being mean when I say it.

A lot of people are trying to sensationalize the process, yes, but they aren’t lying about the high cost of going to law school. If you are truly looking for a way to maximize a great career, law school can get you there. Even if you don’t want to directly be a lawyer, there are a lot of positions that do require you going to law school. Being able to help the legal industry in other capacities is a good thing.

Yet what you need to do here is be strategic. Floating in with a thought of doing “something” within law really isn’t enough. You will need to learn more about the types of legal careers out there. Some people want to go to law school but they really don’t want to be a lawyer. I don’t blame you. You might want to be something else, but you won’t know unless you explore. You won’t know unless you unplug from everyone and anyone that’s telling you all about the glories of law school. Everything in life is really what you make of it.

All I’m asking is that you really think carefully about law school. It’s kind of one of those decisions that once you make it, you really can’t just decide to turn around and not do it. If you’re going to do it, you need to get through all of it and make some good connections along the way. Networking is really the heart and soul of law school, so don’t skip out on that either!

Setting Goals for Law School Is Critical!

law-school-expiriance

A lot of newcomers to the world of law school write me for advice, and I definitely appreciate the feedback. These questions help me really reflect on my own law school experience, and it causes me to come up with some good advice for you from every angle.

One of the first questions that people ask me is what is the one thing that has made it so easy for me to stay at the top of my class. I’ll tell you without even charging you anything for the answer: it’s the fact that I set goals.

You have to understand that I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, that I knew I was going to law school the way some girls know that they want to be married and start a family. I knew that I wanted to do it, and so I’ve never let anyone keep me from that goal.

However, I wasn’t stupid — I knew that “go to law school and do well” isn’t a very specific goal, and it’s certainly not one that I could track. So I started thinking bout all of the different things that I could do in order to really make sure that I stayed on track.

Setting goals in law school is absolutely critical. Why? Well, it’s the reason I say all the time: law school is a winner-takes-all system. If you don’t strive for the top, you won’t get it. And you won’t have a chance at the top legal jobs if you don’t work on getting the best all around grades possible in law school. It’s sad to think that grades and performance matter so much, but if you really can’t handle that — you need to find a new career track. Law school is only the beginning — everyone is competing with you through every stage of your law career. If you aren’t competing for the top spots in law school, then they’re competing for the partner track. It’s really all about being the best, and I thrive on that type of environment.

So if you do too, here are a few tips on setting goals:

First and foremost, you really don’t want to try to have Rome built in a day. Break down your goals into steps and you will prosper. This might mean thinking about each and every thing that you have to do from a value standpoint. “Is what I’m about to do valuable? Will it help me reach the greater goal I want to achieve?” If you can’t answer those questions in a meaningful way, then you really don’t need to do the activity.

Next, you will want to become ruthless with your time. I hate to be cruel, but law school really isn’t the time for heavy socialization. There’s a lot of work to be done, and you will need to make sure that socialization doesn’t take over your life. It’s far too tempting to think that you’re networking, but you might just be wasting time. There re ways to network effectively, but they don’t always mean going out to clubs and bars. You might want to wait until you’re sober to really schmooze properly.

Finally, you will need to pace yourself and notice when you’re actually progressing. You don’t want to just think that you won’t be able to get things done simply because you think that you aren’t moving forward. Take a moment and celebrate the little victories, and you’ll have enough energy to stick it out until the big victories come through. It’s really only a matter of time anyway before you get what you want, so don’t be afraid to dig down deep and reach for all of your law school goals!

Coping with Depression in Law School

Depression in Law School

Where does depression hurt? All jokes about commercials aside, depression hurts law students everywhere. People form all walks of life go through moments of depression, and law student really are no different. If you’re in law school and starting to feel the sharp pangs of depression, don’t worry — you are not alone. In fact, you’re actually in good — albeit silent — company. There are a lot of law student struggling with depression as they try to get used to a new world that will demand more of them than they could have ever imagined.

I say this a lot on this blog, but the truth is that law school is definitely a winner take all system. You don’t want to walk into law school thinking that you will be able to just skate by and still get a top paying law firm job. It just doesn’t happen that way. When people realize this, they become depressed at the level of work necessary to be the best.

Of course, there are plenty of law blogs that say that your efforts are always going to be rewarded — I strongly disagree, and I challenge other law students to step up and admit that it really does take giving your absolute best in order to get anywhere. The students that have the best grades and the best overall package are the ones that are going to look forward to a six figure salary at the end of the whole ordeal. The ones that focused more on partying and making friends are not going to make it out with that type of cash. The truth hurts, but you have to know this going in so that you plan your attack better. Read more »

3 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me About Law School!

Law School

It’s said that hindsight is 20/20, and no one knows that better than a law student. While I’m glad that I did make the choice to go to law school, there are numerous mistakes I made that I wish I had been able to fix. I can’t go back in time to fix them, but I can share with you the three big things that I wish someone would have told me about law school!

First and foremost, I wish that someone would have told me how intense law school is compared to undergrad. I mean, you hear it a lot that law school is hard, but a lot of people brush this off as just scarce tactics. I’m really here to tell you that law school is very difficult, and very intense. You will do a lot more studying than you did in undergrad, because you are competing with a completely different group of people. You aren’t just dealing with people that are fresh out of high school and unsure about the world. You are dealing with people that have already had jobs, already had lives, and already have a good sense of what they want to do in life. When you strip away the money and the prestige, law school is a trade school. You are studying to become a lawyer, and that definitely attracts a specific type of person to the school.

What this means is that everyone is really trying to compete with you. You need to make sure that you are handling yourself appropriately, because you don’t want to end up stressing out over something that is much more avoidable than you think.

From here, I wish that someone would have told me that things in law school are a lot more expensive than I think. Aside from the law school books I had to pick up, I also had to try to figure out how to eat, how to shop for clothes, and how to essentially take care of myself when everything seems to cost so much. A lot of people go into law school thinking that loans will save the day, but you will still need to wait for those loans to actually come in. The time before that can be pretty stressful, but it really doesn’t have to be that way at all. You just need to know where you stand and go from there.

This is also a great time to invest in making a little spreadsheet. If you already have the Microsoft Office suite of software, then this is actually a lot easier than you might imagine. You just need to make sure that you will be getting things done in a big way all the time, because that’s the only way to keep the progress up.

One other thing that you will need to keep in mind when it comes to law school is that you will want to pace yourself. Even though law school is pretty intense, you still don’t want to feel like it’s impossible to get anything done in college. You just want to set goals and follow them to the fullest. Of course, if you ever need help this is the perfect time to reach out and get the help that you deserve. It’s tempting to bottle everything up in law school and not tell anyone, but how will anyone help you if you take this path?

All in all, law school is a great time to find out exactly what you can handle, exactly what you can’t handle, and little ways to make the impossible become impossible. Jump right on in, you’ll be just fine!

Why Yes, Everyone in Law School is Competing with You

There’s a subject on this law school blog that keeps coming up, and that subject is competition. When a lot of people apply to law school, they think that they will be just fine. After all, didn’t they already endure four to five years of undergrad?

Aw, how cute. You think that you know everything there is to going to law school because you went to undergrad. I hate to be smug, but you really have no idea what waits for you in law school until you’ve either heard the war stories of actual law students, or that you’ve gone through the process yourself. It sounds odd, but trust me — there’s so much that I know now that I really didn’t know when I first entered law school.

Now, back to the topic at hand. Competition is al around you. There are a lot of people talking about competition, and it’s something that you will need to make sure that you’re aware of in order to do your very best.

I don’t mean to harp on the subject — I’ve probably made some enemies as a result of my comments. But you have to understand what you’re walking into. Law school is all about being the best, getting the best grades, getting into the spotlight at every turn and …oh yeah, and being the best!

You have to understand that no matter how good your grades from undergrad were, there’s someone better than you. Even if you had a perfect 4.0, there’s somebody that not only carried a perfect 4.0, but they were also in a fraternity or sorority and led countless service programs over the course of their college career. That’s hard to compete with. No matter how many activities you think you have under your belt, there’s bound to be someone that’s dug a little deeper and came up with more activities — where they had leadership positions, not just membership. It’s something that you will need to cope with early on, unless you like running the risk of burning out and failing miserably, of course. Read more »

Can You Find a Company to Pay For Law School?

If you’re already employed by a major company, then it’s safe to say that you have some work experience. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a little more experience by going back to school. It’s all about staying in motion if you’re really serious about your career, and this means that you must make sure that you look into anything and everything that can help you move to the next level.

If you’ve thought about law school, then you definitely wouldn’t be the last employee to think about it. There’s usually the assumption that it will lead to a better career than what you have, with a lot more money. However, will your employer pay for law school? That’s a question that I get asked a lot, since I’m in law school now.

From everything that I’ve looked at, very few employers are going to pay for you to go to law school. For starters, law school is a deep investment, and your employer has to make sure that you’re actually going to follow through with it. If you’re not someone that’s going to finish the schooling, then they have just wasted good money trying to give you another skill.

On the other hand, if you work for say, the military, you might be able to get your law school education for free. Even if you haven’t joined the army yet, you might be able to get enough money to go to law school essentially for free. Now, keep in mind that if you pursue this type of track you will end up serving in the military for a set number of years, in order to pay back the military for sending you through school. It’s really a catch 22, in a way. If you really don’t want the required service contract, then you will need to find another way to pay for law school.

However, here’s some food for thought. While a lot of people think that it would be the end of the world to serve in the military, this is actually a great chance to pick up some work experience that no one can deny. You will be getting your education for free as well as getting valuable work experience, two things that can set you up for a great life. Now, because you will be part of the service, you will still be held to the same honor code that any other solider would be. This is just something to think about. You don’t have to feel like a second career automatically means heavy loans and other problems — it could be the best thing that you could ever do for yourself! Read more »

Law School to Kick Off a Second Career – Yes, You Can!

If your first career isn’t making you happy, don’t worry — you are definitely in good company. A lot of people find that they followed a certain script — go to school, get a good job, and try to raise a family. While that works out for many people, you shouldn’t be surprised if you find that your life could use a few improvements. For example, if you’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, you might have settled for something different in hopes that you will be able to get your life together. Maybe you got a Masters degree online and are really looking for that JD.  In other words, sometimes we do things different in life because it’s what is required to take care of our families.

However, you might be at a point in your life where you’re thinking about doing something simply because it might lead to a more exciting second career and that’s perfectly okay too. If you want to become a lawyer, your best bet is to go to law school. Now, you might think that you don’t have a chance at law school because you went off and got a different career path. However, this is actually not as bad of an idea s you might think.

First and foremost, you will need to remember that it’s really all about getting a well balanced profile in the eyes of other people. If you went off to the allied health field and now you want to be a lawyer, you have unique medical experience that other people do not have. If you went into computing, then you have technological experience that the average lawyer would not have. These are all things that can pay off in the long run, especially if you’re willing to build your resume a certain way to get those points highlighted properly. Read more »

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