Being enrolled in law school as a part-time student is an experience unlike any other. Not only must you navigate the rigors of law school, but in all likelihood, you’ll also be balancing that with a full-time job. Add to that kids and a family for many students, and things can quickly feel overwhelming.

But worry not!

There are several ways to help manage your time and keep yourself mentally vigilant:

  • Take Classes Seriously – Even though you won’t be taking a full course load, you should still treat it as such. After all, part-time students typically only take one less class per semester than their full-time counterparts.
  • Talk to Fellow Part-Timers – Sharing experiences and learning how others maintain a work-school-life balance creates a support system unique to part-time students. Only people who have gone through this experience can truly relate to the hardships and unique challenges part-time law students face, so developing a support system among your classmates creates an environment of irreplaceable insights and empathy.
  • Join Student Organizations – McGeorge has several organizations for law students to join and share their passions. Joining one or more of these allows both part-time and full-time law students to engage in activities they’re passionate about and collaborate with fellow classmates to share and grow ideas about today’s legal issues and nuances. In addition to student organizations, there are several evening events hosted by the CDO which part-time students are encouraged to attend whenever possible (these can also be found on McGeorgeCareersOnline).
  • Create a Routine – In order to remain focused on the task at hand and prevent yourself from falling behind in school, it’s best to create a routine that you can follow on a daily basis. For instance, due to how busy weekdays are between working, law school, and family life, many former part-time students recommend saving reading assignments and outlining for the weekend. This will prevent you from stretching yourself too thin on days that you’re also working, while simultaneously allowing you to focus more intently on the material you’re taking in. If you commute to and from work and class on public transit that is a great time to catch up on reading or audio supplements, as well. It can be tempting to use that time to nap or simply let your mind wander, but those hours (particularly in the morning, before you’ve really done anything at all) are best used for chipping away at the myriad readings you’ll need to do to stay on top of your classes.
  • Acknowledge and Avoid Distractions – No matter where your academic or professional life lead, there will inevitably be things that distract you from the tasks that you should be focusing on. As a part-time law student, these distractions can be exponentially more damaging to your success because of how many aspects they can potentially impact. Falling behind in school will cause stress that bleeds into your performance at work, in turn fostering frustration at home and further distracting you from school assignments, and so on and so on in a vicious cycle. It’s best to identify possible distractions early and actively avoid them. If you know that TV, video games, or other kinds of home entertainment are among your vices, try to do your school work away from home so that you’re not tempted by them.
  • Network Through McGeorge – Making connections with attorneys in the various courts, agencies, and firms in your desired practice area can be difficult due to the lack of time you have to attend networking events. However, you’d be remiss to ignore the plethora of resources available to you as a McGeorge student. Many professors are practicing attorneys and judges who love helping law students advance their careers – that’s why they’re here and teaching despite putting in a full day’s work in the office. Even if they are no longer practicing, they certainly have a wealth of knowledge from their years in the field and can provide connections to active attorneys whom you should meet. Speaking with professors, meeting over coffee, and probing them for career insights are simple tactics that can quickly put you on the inside track to a coveted job. The best part? You’re already on campus for classes, so you won’t necessarily have to go out of your way to meet with them.
  • Consider Daytime Courses in Your 3rd or 4th Year – After having a couple years of experience under your belt and understanding how to balance competing priorities in your life, it may be beneficial to enroll in daytime courses near the end of your academic career. Many employers will work with you to accommodate your work schedule if it’s only for a semester or two, and doing so will give you the opportunity to engage in more on-campus events and clubs at McGeorge.
  • Make Time for Breaks – Not to be forgotten among the freneticism known as life as a part-time law student is the need to make time for yourself. True, you should dedicate as much time as you can to studying and work, and it seems to be at odds with everything outlined above. However, it’s just as important to take a step back to breathe, relax, and take your mind off of the law. Do what you can to stave off burnout from your 4-years long balancing act. Exercising is a great way to reset your mental state while simultaneously taking care of your physical health, or schedule time in the evening to watch a show or movie with your family. After all, the need for multi-tasking doesn’t end after law school – if anything, you’ll be asked to do even more balancing once you’re handling cases, researching legal issues, writing motions, and counseling clients. Getting an early grasp on how to manage your time between work and your personal life will be invaluable for your future satisfaction and success as a lawyer.

For more information about how to make the most of your years as a part-time law student, be sure to make an appointment with a CDO advisor by emailing lawcareers@pacific.edu.

Are you ready to take on the February 2020 California Bar Exam? We’ve previously outlined four ways you can optimize bar prep while simultaneously taking care of your mental and physical health, and the earlier you start preparing the more successful you will be. After the last handful of years spent in law school, you’re just inches from the end goal – you got this!

 

 

Be sure to register by November 1 to avoid late fees, and keep in mind that the final filing deadline is January 2, 2020.

“The pressures of law school are intense, leading to inordinate amounts of stress and mental health issues for law students. So how can students remain productive without losing themselves in the heavy workload?”

In this podcast, “host Ashley Baker welcomes licensed professional counselor Dionne Smith to discuss strategies for law students to manage their mental health and well-being through the rigors of law school.”

Carmen-Nicole Cox, class of 2011.

On October 26, 2019, McGeorge alumna Carmen-Nicole Cox (’11) will receive the American Inns of Court’s 2019 Sandra Day O’Connor Award for Professional Service. Ms. Cox currently serves as the chief of legislative affairs for administration at the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“I am so proud and humbled to receive the 2019 Sandra Day O’Connor Award. More than a celebration of the professional and pro bono work that I’ve done in my short career, I see this award as a celebration of persisting American values. Despite what we see in the press and social media, America continues to value humanity, humility, and unity in our diverse society. I am truly honored to join so many of my peers and colleagues at the U.S. Supreme Court as we honor these values in society, generally, as well as civility, ethics and professionalism in the practice of law, specifically.”

The university’s full press release may be viewed here.

We are also thrilled to welcome Carmen-Nicole back to McGeorge as she prepares to teach a course in 2020. Congratulations, Carmen-Nicole, for all you’ve accomplished!

“Right place, right time.” That’s how Ronald Ussery, a McGeorge J.D. candidate in the class of 2021 who is interested in sports law, landed his new job with sports management firm, Accelerate Sports LLC. While attending a weekly event as part of the SCBA 1L Diversity Fellowship this past summer, Ronald was approached by a visiting lawyer. They chatted and exchanged stories from their student-athlete days and he was offered a job at the end of their conversation. There’s no way to anticipate something like this happening. All you can do is try to be prepared. “Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe that,” says Ronald, who’s been preparing for a day like this his whole life, and he’s taken the necessary steps to ensure that when an opportunity presented itself, he’d be ready.

Having established the goal of becoming a sports agent prior to attending McGeorge, Ronald knew what he wanted but needed guidance to achieve it. Encouraged by his GLS I professor, Prof. Leah Adams, Ronald applied and was accepted to the SCBA 1L Diversity Fellowship at Carothers, Disante & Freudenberger, which was the perfect opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a law office and develop impactful relationships in the labor and employment law field. Through the fellowship, Ronald was able to apply what he learned to his goal of becoming an agent.

“[J]ust like labor and employment law, you’ll find issues with athletes’ wages and discrimination, so [sports law] is really a broad area. My job has more to do with sports investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, transactions, negotiations, and league expansions; so, it’s really more on the business-side of things,” explains Ronald. Many law students might consider sports law to be strictly athlete-centric—negotiating a player’s contract, getting them onto their preferred team, etc.—but as Ronald has learned, sports law is much broader than that and can involve many areas of law. That kind of versatility has Ronald excited for the challenges ahead.

One thing that Ronald says has helped him on his career path is his diligence in attending as many networking events as possible and following up with each individual that he meets. Following up with an email or two will keep those relationships growing and show that you are serious and passionate about a legal career. Alternatively, following up with a phone call may be even more effective, as Ronald has discovered. With an infectious smile and self-confidence to go toe-to-toe with attorneys and partners in every networking opportunity, it was easy for Ronald to see the benefit a phone call can make. “It’s a lot more personal than just words [on a screen], and I’ve actually been told by a lot of partners that getting calls is what they prefer [after networking events],” says Ronald. Whatever method makes sense to you, be sure to include it in your standard networking procedures and you’ll greatly improve your chances of landing a job, too.

Students interested in a career in sports law are encouraged to join McGeorge’s Sports and Entertainment Law Society. All students should also keep an eye on your Pacific emails for announcements about upcoming networking events, including networking workshops designed to help you perfect best-practices before heading into the networking events themselves. CDO events can also be found on the Events tab here.

The Environmental Law Section is pleased to announce its Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship program for Summer 2020. The program provides law students an opportunity to spend 8 to 10 weeks over the summer practicing environmental, energy, land use, and/or natural resources law at a participating government agency or public interest organization. Each Fellow receives a $6,500 stipend, thanks to the generous contributions from our sponsors. The Section also matches the Fellows with mentors who practice in the field, coordinates gatherings and provides opportunities for the Fellows to meet other Section members, and invites the Fellows to attend the Section’s Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite® in October following the Fellowship with free conference registration.

The Fellowship program is designed to help foster diversity within the Environmental Law Section, which is one of the core principles in the Section’s Mission Statement. The Section strongly encourages applications from law students from diverse or underrepresented backgrounds (including but not limited to diversity arising from the applicant’s sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, color, race, religion, ancestry, national origin, familial status, marital status, mental or physical disability, or genetic information); as well as from students from backgrounds that may have presented obstacles to accessing the legal profession, such as family financial hardship while growing up, being the first in one’s family to go to college, or geographical circumstances such as coming from a rural or inner-city background that limited social interaction with lawyers. The Section will consider such information, as described in the applicant’s personal statement, as part of the selection criteria. Other selection criteria include interest in environmental issues, personal and leadership qualities, and academic record.

Further information about the Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program, including how to apply, can be found here and on the Environmental Law Section’s homepage. Please help us spread the word about the program by forwarding this information on to any law students you may know who may be interested in applying. Applications for the Summer 2020 Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship Program are due October 28, 2019.

In addition, the Section is seeking governmental agencies and public interest organizations whose work involves environmental, energy, land use, and/or natural resources law who may be interested in hosting a Fellow over the summer of 2020. If your agency or organization would be interested in learning more about participation in the program, please email the name of the agency or organization, and the name, phone number and email address of a contact person, to Julia Byrd, Section Coordinator, environmental@calawyers.org.

“Under the law, all people are created equal” – that’s the idea, at least. In a society saturated with tabloids, news outlets, and social media platforms, it’s nearly impossible to go a single day without coming across some kind of racially-charged issue. Much of the spotlight is given to issues of discrimination, and rightly so as many people need to see that these problems are real and flourishing in the volatile political climates around the world. But just as important are the people attempting to bridge the gap and fight the injustices levied against minorities. Among this group is the California District Attorney Association Foundation and their initiative, the California Prosecutor’s Diversity Project.

Minority under-representation in prosecution offices has led to a perceived legislative-bias against individuals of color, particularly as lawyers in the public sector often help advise elected leaders in matters of public policy. The Diversity Project works to increase the population of minority prosecutors, improving the perception of fairness under the law in the surrounding communities. Their website provides resources for minority law students and lawyers interested in a career as a prosecutor, including a job board, several internship opportunities, and minority associations. While diversity issues still loom large and heavy, initiatives like these are taking steps to a brighter and more equal future.

McGeorge students considering a career in prosecution should explore the Diversity Project’s website, as well as the various student organizations on campus, and utilize its resources to better prepare for the road ahead. For more information about how best to utilize the resources and opportunities available (such as the SCBA 1L Diversity Fellowship), make an appointment with a CDO advisor today.

The SCBA 1L Diversity Fellowship is a unique opportunity for first-year law students from McGeorge and UC Davis who are looking to gain practical hands-on experience in a law firm and are members of a racially or ethnically under-represented group, LGBTQ+, disabled, or are otherwise under-represented in the legal profession. According to a recent NALP study, less than 20% of equity partners are women and only 6.6% are racial or ethnic minorities. Statistics for associate-level positions are even more alarming: less than 4.5% of associates are Black/African-American; however, minority representation in the legal profession as a whole has seen slight increases over the past decade, particularly the representation of women in firms, showing that strides are being made to a more level playing field – albeit slowly. If you’re a 1L and are hesitant to apply because you’re not sure what practice area you want to pursue, or what type of firm or agency is right for you, don’t let that stop you from applying for this fellowship.

Adriana Garcia, class of 2020.

“I went into law school not knowing what to expect in any regard. When I heard about this fellowship, the idea of working at a BigLaw firm… was never on my list because I never thought I’d have any way of getting into [a place] like that,” says Adriana Garcia, a 2018 participant who did her fellowship at Carothers, DiSante & Freudenberger. The Diversity Fellowship not only opened the door to an opportunity that was considered a “long-shot,” but it also gave Adriana a better idea about the different career paths available to law students. For students that are still figuring out where and what they want to practice, the fellowship provides an opportunity to branch out and experience a side of law that may have previously seemed out of reach or not on their radar at all.

Most 1L students do not have much experience working in a professional office setting, if any at all, before starting the Diversity Fellowship. Even among students who previously had internships or other undergraduate work experiences in law firms, it is rare to have had the level of responsibility that comes with being a fellow. It can be a daunting task to prepare for: overcoming any nervousness you might have, maintaining a sense of self – often the very thing that makes you diverse and qualified for the fellowship – while adhering to company policies, and managing the flood of tasks coming from your supervisor and other attorneys in the office. But that’s why it’s important to remember the purpose of the program: to provide law students with real-world experience and promote diversity in the legal profession. Law firms that participate in this fellowship know that the selected students are there to learn and may not be able to do as many tasks on their own. While fellows will be treated like regular employees (e.g. being invited to work outings, writing briefs, attending client meetings, etc.), no one is expecting them to have the knowledge and skills of a Bar-certified and experienced lawyer, or even someone in their second or third year of law school.

For Adriana, it helped to have a few mentors to guide her and be available to confide in. “I found a mentor in my office the first day I was there, and… we were able to share experiences and she made me feel more comfortable because we were the minority; that’s why this program exists.” She continues, “I also contacted a former fellow who worked at the same firm so that I could ask her how I can be better prepared. That really eased my anxiety about what to expect and feeling more comfortable to ask for help from my supervisor and the other attorneys in the office.” We’ve mentioned how impactful a good mentor can be, and taking the time to talk to past fellows is arguably the best way to ease any anxiety you may have when preparing for or actively participating in this program. At the end of the day, the SCBA Diversity Fellowship is about teaching under-represented law students and helping them be better prepared for a career in law, and gaining the perspectives of students who have recently gone through the program will assuredly ease your mind if you’re hesitant about applying or anxious to start.

“Even if you’re unsure if you’d qualify or if [participating in the fellowship] is right for you, I’d highly recommend applying because there is no other opportunity like it,” Adriana concludes. “It’s not like any other internship or program out there. It gives you the chance to take on a certain level of responsibility and interact with practicing attorneys that you really can’t find outside of this fellowship.”

We’d like to congratulate the students who were accepted and participated in the SCBA Diversity Fellowship this past summer, and for anyone interested in learning more about the program and applying for the 2020 summer cohort, please contact the CDO at lawcareers@pacific.edu.

A new school year is getting underway, and that means you’re one day closer to reaching your professional goals. Whether you’re targeting a career in advocacy, litigation, water law, or something else (maybe you don’t even know yet!), it’s never too early to make a plan.

Incoming students should keep an eye out for emails regarding individual orientations with a CDO advisor, while returning students should continue preparations for their ongoing job hunt. Even though the summer semester just ended, you’ll need to start thinking about your summer-/post-graduation job search for next year. Applications for experiential learning programs (clinics and externships) should be submitted well ahead of time in order to participate next spring and summer (take a look at the Externships Libguide for deadlines).

To ensure you’re on track and developing an efficient plan, make an appointment with a CDO advisor. We can review your application materials, hold mock interviews, help you prepare a job-search plan, and answer many other career-planning needs you may have.

Months of studying, sleepless nights, and (probably) an unhealthy amount of caffeine is about to pay off. You survived your clinics and externships, you survived law school – one more test and you’ll be a certified lawyer. As you finish your preparations for the bar exam next week, just remember: You got this.

Hopefully you’ve been able to take advantage of some of the bar prep tips we shared earlier, but if not, there’s still time to implement some changes! Over the next few days you’ll likely be trying to cram those last bits of information that just don’t quite seem to stick in your brain, and that’s ok. Just make sure you don’t fry your brain and mentally overwhelm yourself in these final days leading up to the exam.

So go ahead and have that extra coffee, read over your attack sheets, and get ready to pass the bar. We’re looking forward to celebrating with you at the post-bar reception on Wednesday night!