September 12, 2018

Why You Should Make Friends in Law School

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Happy humpday everyone! Today I wanted to talk about a message for all the baby 1L's out there: don't try to go at law school alone. 

When I first started law school I didn't put too much emphasis on finding friends. I mean, I already had my high school friends plus my college friends so really how many more people did I need in my life? But the reality is that law school friends are totally different than non-law friends. The truth is, your non-law friends just won't get it. Even the pre-law friends can only empathize so much because they haven't actually gone through the rigors that is law school. Your law school friends will totally understand what you're complaining about, can help explain a concept that you're not understanding, and can give you peace of mind when they tell you that they also haven't got a call back about that journal/team/job yet so you're not alone. 

A big misconception about law school is that it's every man for himself. People will wrongly think, oh if I give my neighbor my notes from yesterday, then I'm helping her get ahead of me and am screwing myself over. This can't be more wrong! Look, the girl next to you is either going to get a better grade than you or not all on her own. You helping her out one day isn't going to make or break you. 

Remember, basically your entire grade comes down to the final. Do you really think helping out a classmate here and there is somehow going to make their answers on their final that much better than yours? If y'all really were that close on the curve, then there's a very big chance that because of the curve you're going to both end up with the exact same grade. So why bother wasting your time being rude? 

Related: Putting the law school curve into perspective

Storytime from my 1L year... we had a research assignment for my writing class so my entire small writing section were all in the library at once, doing the same assignment at once. Since everyone was waiting to use the same books I decided to just work from the last question up so I wouldn't be there all night. About halfway through I was again working on the same questions as the rest of my classmates. So when one of my classmates asked me where to find an answer, I gave them the book I had just used. A few minutes later I asked the same person if they knew what one of the questions was asking about, and they told me that I should just work on the assignment myself! Guess what happened? I had some strong feelings about that person and one day when I happened to be sitting beside them and they were having trouble with a case, I opted not to help even though I could.

The moral of all this? You're not invincible and you'll learn that you're going to need help in law school at some point. Don't think of it as you against everyone, think of it as y'all against law school. These people are your teammates and can help you in countless ways throughout law school. And beyond! You'll hear so many lawyers talking about how they've gone out of their way to help an old law school friend get a job, but also some people are in the position I was in during class and can help you but choose not to because you've burned them before. 

I'm not saying you have to go and befriend the whole school, but do make an effort to be nice. And constantly seek out people to add to your little study group. These are the times where truly, the more the merrier! This isn't like Survivor or The Bachelor where there can only be one person at the end. Sure, there's only one valedictorian, but there's plenty of people in the top 10, 20, 50%. If you try to cut everyone down you're going to be extremely lonely and I promise you're just making law school harder than it has to be. 

Related: How to find a law school study group

As far as cliques go, try to rise above them. One of the things that shocks 1Ls the most is how law school feels like high school all over again. I've seen several cliques who basically have Mean Girls-level rules in law school and it's ridiculous! Don't get too tied down and insist on it being you few til death do you part. These kinds of cliques can be just as isolating and therefore counterproductive as if you cut out everyone else from your life yourself. Try to keep some fluidity in your friend group and it'll help y'all survive all 3 years. 

I know I sound just like my mom right now, but go in with an open mind! A lot of people have totally different in-class and out-of-class personas so just because you wouldn't exactly want to sit by them every day right in the middle of the front row doesn't mean that y'all couldn't get along during breaks when you're venting about your days. 

September 10, 2018

Finding Meetups & Study Groups in Your 1L Year of Law School

Hi friends! I'm super excited today because I'm back with another guest post!! I was so excited to find out that TestMax wanted to collaborate on today's post because I've been following their Twitter all of law school and think they're such a cool company! In case you're not super familiar with them, TestMax provides comprehensive test prep courses (mobile and web) for LSAT, Bar Exam, and most recently, a product called the 1L to help students get through their first year of law school. As you'll see below, TestMax really knows law school and have great resources for 0Ls and 1Ls. Today, they're helping you get your study group up and running!

How to start a law school study group. Should you join a law school study group? The benefits of a study group in law school. How to find a law school meetup group. Why you should go to a law school meetup. What is a law school meetup. law school advice. law school tips. 1L tips. 1L study tips. | brazenandbrunette.com

Getting through your 1L year can seem incredibly daunting. You're adjusting to a new, rigorous program and are probably working harder and longer than you ever have before.

To balance this out, it can help to find study partners or groups to break up the work, help each other out, and make your law school experience more manageable. Another benefit to these groups is the networking factor. The law school students of today are the associates, partners, and network of the future in the field of law.

Here is a look at different online and tradition methods to make your 1L year a little less of a solo journey:

Student Organizations and Clubs

Possibly the most obvious place to being searching for a group setting of fellow law students is a list of your law school organizations. The positives here are that many clubs may not expect 1L students to take on too much responsibly. So, this could be a way to meet others, learn from them, and set yourself up for a leadership position as your progress through law school without over-committing yourself in your first year.

Organizations exist for eeeeeverything imaginable. There are clubs for different ethnic backgrounds, spiritual backgrounds, social justice interests, etc. At the University of Virginia, there's even a student organization called Mindfulness in Law which aims to use a mindful approach to improving legal work and relationships.

Check with your school and do some digging to see what's available. You may find some really interesting clubs to partake in!

Online Law School Forums

Online forums provide a great opportunity to start or join a conversation with other 1L students (or students of any year) when you want to discuss experiences with others in the same boat. These can be questions you want answers to, advise you seek, opinions you're collecting, dealing with stress, etc. Even though this is a little bit more old school, online forums, such as Top Law School's TLS Forums, let you reach out to and connect with other law students you may otherwise never come across or have contact with. This can give you greater reach and accessibility to different resources and ideas. These kinds of forums have made the world a VERY small place, in many ways.

The downside to these forums is that, as anyone can join most of them, you may not have ways to truly vet all the contributors. It's always important to use your best judgment and to not accept things on blind faith.

Meetup Websites

Technology to the rescue once again! These days, there are so many websites dedicated to organizing group meet ups. You can start the listing yourself (just remember the extra responsibilities that come with this!) or find one and join in.

Some are done virtually, giving you the flexibility to not worry about it being local, while others let you list by physical location, allowing you to find others in the area. One of the most popular of these sites is Meetup.com, which boasts hundreds of meet ups each minute in locations across the globe. Here, you can find or create opportunities to build study groups, meet with people to discuss specific interests or topics, etc. In our most recent search, there was a current lack of 1L-specific study groups already listed, but consider that the opportunity to create a dream group exactly as you'd like. For quick reference, take a look at the Law School groups here: Law School Groups.

Other options are seeking out meet ups through event websites, like Eventbrite, where you can not only get your knowledge on, but also find other students to connect with. There's also sites geared more towards casual local hangouts, like CitySocializer, in case you want a hang out that's not law school centric.

Online Study Groups

Along with the above options, you can find different sites that encourage and facilitate online study groups. These are a bit few and far between, but you can consider something like GoConqr and see if it works for you! Again, remember that you need to use your best judgment when working with strangers (and soon to be study buddies) online, to make sure you're working with motivated, focus students.

The journey through law school is challenging, and adapting during your 1L year is crucial to your overall success. Don't allow yourself to become over-committed or feel isolated in your experience. There are tons of people just like you looking for meet ups, study groups, and forums on a local, notional, and even global level. With so much connective capability, you can certainly find the right fit for you. The benefits are emotional, educational, and network-enhancing!