As you prepare for your role as a summer associate or intern, you may be wondering how to navigate the nuances of office culture and expected work product. It’s a daunting prospect for many law students, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little preparation, you can make a strong first impression and immediately
First-generation law students often find themselves facing unique challenges and difficulties that many of their peers do not. From the general environment and structure of law school, to financial matters, networking, and even simply feeling like you belong with your cohort, it can be extremely taxing to try facing these issues by yourself. However, first-generation…
Law school is not easy, and every student experiences it differently. Here are some tips on law school essentials. In addition to pulling from my own experience now as a 3L, I’ve included thoughts from some of my classmates.
What’s in your bag?
When we discuss professionalism in class, we associate it with preparedness. Here are some essentials to keep in your bag:
- Pens/pencils/highlighters: This goes without saying, but it is always good to have a few of these handy in your bag.
- Notebooks and loose paper: These are good for taking notes.
- Organization tools (binder, notebooks for each class, etc.): You will likely end up with several handouts or notes for each class. This helps keep them organized and easier to retrieve later.
- A planner/to do list: This helps keep track of your schedule and manage your time effectively.
This can really vary for each person depending on how comfortable they are with technology.
Continue Reading Now that you’ve been admitted to law school, what do you need?
You got accepted to Law School! Congratulations! Now, I want you to take a deep breath and buckle up for an information dump, because that is what the 1L Orientation is. Once you get through that, you will go straight into trying to figure out what a case brief is and how you can possibly get through all your reading assignments. You will likely feel as though you cannot focus on anything else because if you do, for even a second, you will forget everything you just learned in class and will fall desperately behind in your reading. So, I want to take a moment to point out some things I missed in my first semester.
Everyone’s first semester is the same to some extent. None of us have ever encountered anything like law school–and we will likely never encounter anything like it again. But law school is not only about learning the law; it’s about networking and building connections, finding out more about yourself, and discovering the type of law you want to practice after law school. I didn’t realize there were opportunities to advance these facets of my life running in the background during my first semester.
To start, let’s talk about an acronym that you will see in early emails that may make no sense to you (Was that just me? Oh well, I’m going to tell you anyway.) “CDO” stands for “Career Development Office” and it was my number one missed opportunity; not that it’s too late–I am still a 1L after all–but I wish I had understood what it represented, not just what the letters stood for, earlier. I cannot stress enough how useful their website is. I highly recommend starting here: Create Your Career Plan. From there you can find awesome timelines to assess what you can do for your career during each year of law school.…
A couple years ago we shared a post about law student business cards. Since that time, a rather large event has occurred that may affect the demand for law students to carry business cards: the COVID-19 pandemic. With many people still wary of transmitting and catching the virus from contact with physical surfaces, not to mention the slough of new variants that seem to be discovered every other week, it’s fair to wonder if law students should bother getting business cards. However, it looks like the business card is one of those things that just won’t go away – after all, business cards have been around since the 17th century and survived through many epidemics already.
While many people may still be wary of handshakes and touching public surfaces, an old-fashioned business card is still an important tool for successful professionals, lawyers included. There have been a few waves of “digital business cards” throughout the years that would have been great for today’s world, but none of them were able to stick around for long (remember Bump?). One of the problems with these products is that there will always be security risks involved when connecting two smart devices; but likely the biggest inhibitor to going with fully digital business cards – at least for the time being – is…
Continue Reading Did COVID-19 Kill the Business Card, and Do Law Students Still Need One?
Are you looking for a unique post-bar opportunity? 2Ls, 3Ls, and recent graduates should consider using the summer to apply for project-based fellowships, that typically begin in the fall (often one year out). Fellowships are highly competitive and provide a unique opportunity to jumpstart a career in law, so it’s never too early to start…
For many, the first months of being in the part-time program at McGeorge can feel overwhelming. You may have thought that “part-time” meant “half-time” (and that you would be doing half the work of the full-time students), but this isn’t the case. Virtually the whole of the part-time cohort had spinning heads during the fall semester, as we pushed and clawed to keep up the pace. We hope the future incoming part-time 1L’s can learn from our struggles. The following are some tidbits of wisdom that my cohort wanted to share:
- Stick to your schedule to make sure everything gets done. This includes work, school, personal time (if you can fit it in), and office hours (office hours are crucial: you will learn things that you cannot get during regular class time because students often have insightful questions they are too shy to ask in class). You must be self-disciplined, and be prepared to be exhausted.
- One of the biggest challenges is accepting that your social life will be the biggest area in which you are going to have to make cutbacks. While this is also true for full-time students, it seems especially true for part-timers because what little free time we had after work has been consumed to make room for school.
- Build in time to decompress, even if it is only 30 minutes. It shows in your work if you don’t. While it doesn’t have to be exercise, remember endorphins are great for battling depression, and some days you are going to feel depressed.
Lawyers come from all walks of life. For some, the law is in their blood – their father was a lawyer, their mother was a judge, their grandfather was a police sergeant, etc. For others, the life of a lawyer became the ultimate goal after witnessing injustices in their community and wanting to make a…
You’ve made it into law school and are now wading through each semester. The question you face now is, what will you do next? It’s ok to be unsure of what kind of career path you should pursue. You’re certainly not alone – many 2L and 3L students (and even some practicing attorneys) have yet…
Figuring out what career you want to pursue can be one of the most difficult decisions you make during law school. There are myriad options available to JD, MSL, MPP, and MPA graduates; so how do you choose the right career path for you? How do you know that you’ll truly enjoy the profession you choose to pursue without having any firsthand experience? If you’re the type of person that wants to use your legal expertise to protect the American people, perhaps you’ll find your calling at the FBI.
Special Agent Justin Lee is a 2004 McGeorge alum currently working in Cyber Squad at the FBI Sacramento Field Office, and has been with the Bureau since 2005. While the mission of the FBI (“To protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States”) is enough to make anyone proud of the work they do, Lee also notes that his career has had very positive impacts on his personal life, too. Not only did he meet his wife on the job (while they both worked in the FBI San Francisco Field Office), but he also has time to do things that he is passionate about outside of work – such as coaching soccer, basketball and baseball for his kids, acting as a Cub Scout den leader, and being able to take time off to visit his family’s favorite vacation spot in Hawaii. As much as the FBI values hard work and a commitment to justice, it also promotes a healthy work-life balance for all employees.…