September 30, 2015

My Favorite Law School Blogs

other law school blogs | brazenandbrunette.com

In my search for law school blogs, most seemed to be either written by schools or people who had turned their blogs into professional ones but hadn't been in law school for a while. However, I did find some that were worth my time to read through and see some different perspectives on law school. I thought I'd share these because I always want like 8 different opinions on something before I make up my mind about it. 

If you're getting ready to go to law school or are already here, I encourage you to start your own blog! It's super easy, not very time consuming, and a good way to reflect and immortalize your experience here. I really believe in passing down these experiences to new generations of law students so they can see how vastly different it is from TVs and movies and how much easier it is than the rumors.

(this is a professional blog but still very resourceful) 

The Shrewd Millenial

What I Wish I Would Have Known

Whitley's Law And Order

If you have a blog, comment below or email me (brazenandbrunette@gmail.com) with a link and I promise I'll check it out! Also, feel free to comment or email with any suggestions to any law school blogs that you've found to be helpful :) I've also created a Pinterest board for law school blogging so make sure you email me so you can be added to that! 



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September 29, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Law Student

managing your time in law school | brazenandbrunette.com

As a follow up to my post about how law school really isn't that bad, I thought i'd give a sample of what a typical day is like for me. (PS - you can get my planner here)


*update* see my new daily schedule in A Law Student's Study Schedule


Weekday

On Mondays and Wednesdays I go to class from 10:30-3 and on Tuesdays and Thursdays it's a little longer form 8-2. Both days I have a long lunch and I get Fridays off :) Here's my day for today: 

7
Get ready

7:30
Drive to class

8-10
Civ Pro
I get a 10 minute break at the hour so I pack breakfast to eat then

10-11:15
Property

11:30-12:30
Lunch
Always while I eat, I read The Skimm which is a daily email about what's going on in the world but simplified 
This is also where on TR I do any reading and notes for my legal research and writing class because those are usually easy readings
During MW this is where I finish my readings for Torts and brief my cases because my lunch is from 11:30-1:30

1-2
Legal Research and Writing 

2:30
I try to do a small workout as soon as I get home to give me a break from law

3-5
Read pages 140-154 for Contracts tomorrow 

5-6:30
Make, eat, clean up supper

6:30-8:30
Read pages 157-178 for Torts tomorrow

8:30-9
Shower

9-10
Relax/watch TV

11
Bed



My readings take me so long to do so little because I read 10 pages and then watch 10 minutes of Netflix, and I also get bored and take phone breaks. I also space it out where I try to do my briefs right before class so that the information is fresh on my mind by the time I get there. You'll see that I actually have a lot of free time compared to how much reading I have to do.


law school reading list | brazenandbrunette.com

Weekend

My weekends are mostly for chores— take out the trash and recycling, sweep and swiffer my entire apartment, dishes, and laundry. Again, I like to space out my readings because I can get burnt out when I try to marathon them. Right now my readings aren't too much so I take off almost all of Saturday to watch college football and drink. You gotta enjoy yourself ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ This was my last weekend:

Friday
Ready pages 123-140 for Monday's Contracts
Read pages 137-157 for Monday's Torts

Saturday
Read pages 191-206 for Tuesday's Civ Pro
Do briefs for what I read yesterday 
🏈 and 🍻

Sunday
Read pages 144-164 for Tuesday's Property
Update outline for Contracts and add highlights from book to notes
Same for Torts - because I've already read for my Tuesday classes, I save updating those notes for Monday evening

Time management

Law school has really made me mature in terms of managing my time. It's a lot easier to do a little every day instead of piling it all onto one day. I think part of what helped this is the necessity of having to read every single day. It also helps having a three-day weekend so that I really have a lot of time to get myself organized. Honestly if it weren't for my planner I'd have a hard time staying on top of this.


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September 27, 2015

First Research Assignment

first law school research assignment | brazenandbrunette.com

The Assignment

This was part one of an assignment for my legal research and writing class. Our assignment was that we were given a client who had called off an engagement after her fiancé wasn't loyal, and she wanted to know if she could keep her ring. We had questions that we had to turn in such as identifying the legally relevant facts, identifying what it is that our client wants us to do, and where we could look. The first part of the assignment was strictly books only—no WestLaw or Lexis. This was a real pain because I started to do this assignment one night after I got done reading, but I realized I would have to go to the library to do this so it got postponed another day.


The Research

Even more problematic, was that my entire class all needed the exact same books so once I got to the library I sat around waiting in line for books which wasted a lot of time. The research part was frustrating since we had to do it old school. First I had to find the Descriptive Word Index of the Texas Digest. This is basically just an index for all of the cases for Texas; it's so big that it's separated alphabetically into books like an encyclopedia. So first you have to find your book, then your word, then look for any cases. It's very time consuming. 


Texas Digest

I looked up conversion, broken contract, broken engagement, engagement ring, reclamation of a gift, and finally while I was in gift I found conditional gifts and in that section I found engagement rings. Then I found a Texas case about engagement rings and had to go find that case summary in the Southwest Reporter. This is a similar system of multiple books alphabetically but you get the exact book and page number from the DCI so it's much simpler.


Shepardizing

But since this is an assignment over research, I then had to go online to Lexis and Shepardize it. This is basically where you check to make sure that this ruling hasn't been overturned by a more recent case. So then I had to use the Green Book, which is a book over how to cite Texas-specific cases, to cite the case I found and then the Blue Book, which is a general citation book, to cite two cases that had mentioned this case when they went against the ruling because these cases weren't from Texas. Originally I had thought I could get by without these books to save money, but there really was no way I could not buy them.  


ALR

Lastly I had to look up annotations in the American Law Review. This was the same research process all over again, just with a different species of books. Instead of dealing with real cases, ALRs deal with scholarly writing over cases. This was time consuming because the pages on just engagement rings went on and on with different rules and their cases and exceptions to those rules and their cases. Again I had to cite this using my Blue Book, but I'm not quite sure I did this correctly so I guess I'll see when I get my paper back to do the corrections. 


Final Thoughts

This seemed the closest to what I've been used to doing in undergrad and high school. It can feel like busywork but I understand that it's practice because this is what I'll be doing in the real world as a lawyer. Just faster because I'll have WestLaw or Lexis. My next assignment is to write up a memo using the information I've found. I'm pretty confident about this because in undergrad I ended up taking two writing classes, Professional Report Writing and Technical Writing, that were basically just how-to-write-a-memo classes. These were required as part of my legal studies minor, and I'd definitely take them if you can because they're super helpful for almost any career. 


first law school research assignment | brazenandbrunette.com

September 24, 2015

Law school outfits

Basically what I've been wearing has been more on the casual side of business casual. My classmates wear everything ranging from jean shorts and a T shirt to sundresses to slacks with a blazer. I think the worst that I saw was a girl wearing yoga pants that she was trying to pull off as dress pants along with way too much blue eyeshadow and a pinstriped vest that didn't match at all. 


It's tough because on one hand it's just class so why should I dress up just to sit and take notes all day, but on the other hand last week I got an email in the middle of my first class saying that our first Women's Law Association meeting was during lunch that day and there was going to be a local lawyer speaking. 

Overall, it's best to err on the side of looking nice. Dresses, rompers, and skinny jeans are my favorite because they're simple yet don't look too sloppy. But I am working to slowly build up my collection of blouses that would look professional with a suit so that I'll be prepared for my future without having to spend a lot of money all at once.

PS - here's a post with more about what to wear to during law school


law school outfits | brazenandbrunette.blogspot.com

law school outfits | brazenandbrunette.blogspot.com



law school outfits | brazenandbrunette.blogspot.com


September 23, 2015

Better Than I Thought

how hard law school really is | brazenandbrunette.com


Law school isn't as hard as you think it will be

Today I again ran into my friend from studying abroad and her friend. We got to talking about how as soon as anyone hears that you're in law school they'll start asking how incredibly difficult it is or mention that their cousin or someone goes to law school and they know how hard it is. This might change, but my overall opinion is that law school isn't that hard. Really. Your professors will say read these 10-20 pages, and write summaries about what you've read. That is not hard at all and anyone who could went to high school knows the skills of how to do this. 

And the part how people always comment that you have no social life and are always studying and blah blah... yeah how is that so bad? Forget all of the wonders of higher education, I went to college to have a damn good time and get a degree that I may or may not one day use to get a job. I came to law school to study and learn law. That's it. I never anticipated law school to be full of going out to the bars every night and partying by the pool every summer. Law school is just school. Probably the hardest part is learning how to analyze thoughts, and anyone can do that if they work on it. 


It does take up a lot of time because you can only read so fast

If anyone out there is scared of going to law school, absolutely don't be. I'd describe law school just like I'd describe joining a sorority: it's a big time commitment and you get out of it what you put in it. Does that seem so impossible to you? 

I'm not saying you won't be busy. During my lunch break my sister called to give me a run down of the wedding dress that she had just picked out, but I had to tell her I couldn't talk because I had to write up the briefs for my next class since I didn't have time to the night before. And I had to talk to her on my drive home because I knew that as soon as I got home I'd have to work on my research assignment and readings and briefs for tomorrow. 



Manage your time, and it's no big deal

Modern family is having it's season premiere tonight and I literally put it in my schedule so that I could be able to watch the new episode and still make sure I got everything done. I'm actually typing this during a commercial break because now I'm pretty much a master at utilizing and maximizing my time. 

The biggest hurdle to law school is learning damn good time management, and I suggest that everyone buy a thorough life planner before they come. I schedule my readings to take twice as long as they should because I account for the time that I know that I will distract myself lining up my highlighters first by rainbow order, then by preference order, then by pairs... 


Law school requires effort, but not your soul

My point here is just anticipate that you will actually have to work for your classes, and law school isn't bad at all. "The first year they work you to death" is crap because they don't give you a crazy amount of work, but they do expect you to do your work. I'm done with classes by either 2 or 3 every day. I usually have 20-40 pages to read for both of my classes combined, every day. I usually try to go to bed around 11, so thats 8 whole hours to get every thing done. Plenty of time! 

Plus I have the weekends where I can get a head start on my readings so usually I read a little less than 20 pages a day, every day. If you think of this as just a regular fiction book that you're reading, that's actually a really slow pace. And while the finals seem daunting, it's nice that I'm not having 3 midterms all pile up or being stuck with a paper, quiz, assignment, whatever all due for different classes but on the same day like in undergrad.
 


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September 20, 2015

Survived a Whole Month of Law School!

Survived a whole month of law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Student organizations

Well this week we had our student org fair and when I was on my way there it started down pouring so I turned around and ended up missing it. I've added a lot of organizations on Facebook so hopefully I can still get involved with them. And PAD sent me a form to transfer from pre-law to law which is pretty nice because I paid $100 national dues to join in undergrad and this was only $65. They also sent me letters for my car which I love because I never got any in undergrad. I'm hoping to run for some positions in these organizations pretty soon so that I can start building my resume since I only have 3 years here. 


Month milestone

Well I've been here a month and only questioned my life choices about three times so I'm feeling pretty good right now. I still haven't been cold called in any of my classes, so that's nice. Just like with my responses from law school, each one of my professors has a different way of handling that. One professor literally puts all of our names two times in a hat and will draw at random who he'll call on to discuss cases. Another professor uses an online random number selector and will let us know one class in advance that we'll be called on. Another professor simply looks down at the class roll and will call someone from there to be up that day. And yet another professor doesn't call on anyone at all. I can't decide if I'm happy to not be called yet because this gives me time to get really good at briefing before I'm called, or I'd rather have been called already because the cases seem to be getting harder as we go.


Working on my outlines

Now that I have a month worth of notes for my classes, I've started making my overall outlines for each class. It hasn't gone unnoticed to me that if I would been preparing for my finals this early during undergrad then I probably would've had a 4.0. My method is to follow the themes for each chapter and then to give the rules that we've learned so far and their cases and then also the exceptions to the rules. So far I have about a page and a half worth of outlines for each class, but I think that's because of the spacing. Here's a real rough draft of page one from what I have so far.

creating a law school outline | brazenandbrunette.com

Final thoughts

I've realized that probably the reason why I'm enjoying my classes and working so hard for them is that law school is the first higher education I've really gotten so far. To me, college was really just the most expensive party I ever went to. College was learning a little about a lot due to all of the random classes I took to get my major like History of Jazz and Walking. And law school is learning a lot about a little. Already a lot of my classes are overlapping themes! I like this a lot better and really feel like I'm not wasting my time on bullshit classes. Except for CivPro. I really dislike that class because I can read the book and cases watch the Quimbee videos, pay attention in class, and I still get easily confused on topics so idk what I'll end up doing about that :/ 

**update** get 10% off your first month of Quimbee with the code BRAZEN now through 9/30/2016 code has expired


Also, this declaration for the Texas board of law examiners takes forever. With $190 application fees you'd think they'd have a website that doesn't look like its from 2002. Oh and you have to have SIX character references that can't be relatives or past employers and I really kinda am struggling past 3, so keep that in mind before you get here. They also require you to send in your official birth certificate or an official copy, so if you're still keeping that kind of important paperwork with your parents, make sure you pack it with you so you don't have to last minute call your mom and make her overnight it to you like I had to. Lastly, I'd suggest buy a used book because it's cheaper and chances are the last person highlighted everything you need.

September 13, 2015

Birthdays in Law School

life in law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Twenty-three during week 3

This was actually the first time since I've came to college that I didn't blow off class for my birthday. I did have a glass of champagne during lunch to celebrate, though. I also skimmed through my readings that night faster than usual so that I could have some time to myself, because in law school it's almost guaranteed that you'll have reading every single night of every single day of you life. 


Test prep

In my contracts class, my professor sent us home with an old test question with three short essay answers and then we went over it in the next class. I'm glad he did this because I would have missed almost half of the available points on the test if it was the real deal. I made the apparently common mistake of diving into the answer without giving any explanation. 

My professor said the way to score the highest on the test is to answer an essay question like you're explaining it to your mom by giving the rule and its elements, tying the facts to the rule by stating how they're relevant, and then giving the final answer. Another mistake my professor said that is common is that students will bring in irrelevant rules just to show what they've learned, and he said this kills people because they're wasting their time and end up skimming on the end questions since they spent so much time overelaborating and more importantly that people can get too caught up in all of this extra fluff and end up not even answering the question. 


Questions for questions

One thing that I have noticed is that law professors prefer for you to answer your own question, and they do this by asking your question back to you. I can see how this is helpful because they're making you critically think but it can be frustrated when you're confused and then become even more confused when you don't get a straight answer. Usually though they'll eventually let you know why you're wrong. This happened to me when I asked a question this week and at first I was kind of flustered being put on the spot, then I was okay with it and I was glad for the little practice at the socratic method before I'm finally called on in one of my classes.


Mental obsession

At this point, I've actually learned a lot about the law. This is probably because I usually have between 3-8 cases per class, per day and each of those cases might have about the same amount of cases mentioned that I look into. So now the law is all I can think about. I've noticed that I will now slip cases and rules into every day conversations like how you do when you really like a new guy. Before I came here I got my windshield replaced and in this hot Texas heat the glue holding my rearview mirror melted and it fell down. Habitually, I began to analyze whether I could hypothetically sue for a good or a service and whether this would fall under common law or the UCC. 


Final Thoughts

I came into law school not dead set on what kind of law that I wanted to practice, but I was considering intellectual property. After getting my toes wet during just a broad overview of IP in my property class, I'm pretty much over that already because it's a very muddled area of the law right. I also am not a big fan of torts (personal injury and personal property damage) because in a way it doesn't make sense to me. Battery doesn't require someone actually being harmed and assault doesn't even require someone to even touch you. For some stupid reason, contracts really appeals to me because it just makes sense and so it's easy for me. Who knows, maybe I'll end up doing a lot of contracts in my future. 


September 6, 2015

Getting Used to Law School

getting used to law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Read everything, skip nothing 

So I finally fucked up this past week and it was the scariest thing of law school so far. The night before class, I was tired and I was trying to finish my 60 pages of readings so I skimmed over the last few pages of my last readings. In the notes of one case, another case was mentioned. I highlighted the main point of the case and finished. In class, my professor called on another student and had them stand up and brief the case. Had that been me, I definitely would've stammered through it trying to remember who was suing who and why, therefore definitely pissing off my professor. 

The moral of this story is to brief every case, not just the main ones. At least I had read through the notes of the main case, which you should always do. And read the footnotes. It's awkward in class when the girl besides you asks a question and the professor just says, "If you read the footnotes you would've known the answer." I'm just super happy that I wasn't called on and I hope my professor didn't pick up on my initial oh shit panicked look when he brought up the case. 


About living alone

I've wanted to live on my own for a year now, and law school was the perfect excuse to. There's definitely some pros and cons to it.

Pros
  • You can study comfortably at home without being bothered
  • Your house is just as tidy or messy as you want it to be
  • No one will steal your food
  • No one will keep you up or wake you up before you want to
  • No one wasting electricity 
Cons
If you do live by yourself, your main concern should be to not be on the ground floor and if you do to not face the street. My window is at ground-level, right by the street and I'm still not comfortable with that yet. Sometimes I'll stay up until 2 AM because my AC kicks on and the rattle makes me paranoid that someone is trying to break in, even though I know the AC is on. 

Also, your bills won't necessarily go down as much as you think they will. The city will charge you for basic amenities such as garbage disposal and sewage in addition to your utilities. You also won't have anyone to split the cable and wifi bill with. I've found the easiest way to save money is to unplug all your crap! Little things like leaving your straightener plugged in all day still uses electricity, even if it's not on. In my living room, I have a power strip with my TV, DVD player, cable box, wifi, and printer all plugged in so I can easily flip off the switch on my power strip before I go to bed and flip it back on when I get home from school the next afternoon because I use none of that in the mornings.

It can be pretty lonely at first. When you first get to a new town and know no one, you get home and might not talk to anyone unless someone happens to call you. This doesn't exactly help you adjust to your new life. 


Getting in reading shape

My classes are thinning out a little. The first day of class there was only maybe 10 seats empty in each class, and now there's almost complete rows that are empty. Twice already a professor has called someone from the roll sheet and they weren't in class. And when signing in, I noticed that a good number of people had only signed in only 1 or 2 times. I don't know if people are dropping like flies because they decided that law school isn't for them or if they're already skipping class. 

Also, did I mention that 80% of law school is reading


getting used to law school | brazenandbrunette.com

I'm an avid reader and have even been in a book club before, but I've never done this much reading in my life. I've heard the advice to start reading scholarly books and other hard books the summer before law school to get you used to it, but honestly I think that'd just burn you out. Reading for class every day is like making yourself get in shape. You run and you run and think wow I must've ran like 2 miles by now at least, and then you realize it's only been two blocks. There should be a term for getting in reading shape. 


More money, more problems

So I finally got approved for another loan, and it's making my head spin. I'm very upset that I would be borrowing $27,000 and paying back almost $50,000. And that's not including the government loan I already took out! Or my other two years of school!! Holy crap I'm going to have to sell my soul and be a corporate lawyer just to pay off these loans. My sister mentioned that after I get a new car, my parents will be putting the title in my name so maybe next year I could put the title of my car up to get better interest rates. But gambling with a new car is scary too! These are my rate and payment options from the Sallie Mae site, and that's with my dad cosigning.

getting a law school loan | brazenandbrunette.com



Snapchats

getting used to law school | brazenandbrunette.com

September 4, 2015

Law School Week 2

week 2 of law school | brazenandbrunette.com

If only reading burned calories 

52 pages just for Civ Pro and another 22 pages and those briefs for Property. And a research assignment and case briefs for Legal Research & Writing. All due tomorrow. Yeah my life revolves around reading, highlighting, and briefing cases. That's it. I think when people say that law school is hard, what they really are saying is that law school is very time consuming and requires more dedication than you'd like to put into school. 


In undergrad I got A's in without even opening my book, or only opening it the night before a test or two days before a final. In law school, you can't get around this because just like in Legally Blonde and The Paper Chase, a professor will usually just pick a name and have you talk about what the reading was about so there's no way to BS your way out when they're asking you stuff like "what was the plaintiff's defense, and what was the defendant's argument against that? 


week 2 of law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Faster notes

I've found that I like book briefing/ highlighting better because it's easier for me to just highlight as I go instead of rewriting and paraphrasing what the book says. If my professor asks what's the plaintiff's defense, I just look for what I underlined in pink. And for the defendant's argument, I look for what's underlined in baby blue. This is easier than awkwardly skimming through my note's for what I wrote about them.

I can't tell if I'm getting more innovative or just more lazy, but I'm really working to streamline my note-taking process because when you have this many pages to read on a Wednesday you kinda have to get a system down so that you don't waste hours writing down what you just read. I've fallen victim to the Apple cult, and it's really helpful to have my laptop and phone on the same page. What I did was on my phone go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement and set up some shortcuts that sync to my laptop. Or on your laptop, go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Text and add them there. All I have to do now is type the shortcut and press space and my word pops up. And although I have "dd" to say defendant, if I type a word that has that in it like "add," it won't do it. It's the little things that really help. I'm sure I'll add lots more, but here's what I have so far:


amt - Amendment 
ac - appellate court
bc - because
cl - common law
cr - copyright
dd - defendant
fed - federal
gov - government
hs - hearsay
info - information
jt - judgment 
jx - jurisdiction 
k - contract
lgs - legislature
mgr - majority rule
mnr - minority rule
neg - negligence
njc - injunction
pj - personal jurisdiction
rap - rule against perpetuities
rs - Restatement Second
sc- Supreme Court
sof - Statute of Frauds
sol - statute of limitations
st - state
sm - statement
smj - subject matter jurisdiction  
tc - trial court
tt - testator
wt - witness
week 2 of law school | brazenandbrunette.com

The Bar has an expensive cover charge

Yesterday, we had people from the Texas Bar come talk to us about submitting a Declaration of Intention to Study Law. I didn't expect to be filling this out so early, but the way they explained it to us is that they do this so that if you have any problems you can get them fixed before you apply for the bar. The application seems pretty daunting considering that you need rec letters and everything. Oh and it costs a nice $190 so that's cute that I have a month to come up with that. I know I keep going on about money, but I swear that every time you turn around in law school there's another fee for something somewhere. 


2 week milestone!

But hey, it's ok because I've made it a full two weeks and only cried once! And that was because I was homesick and missing my old school. Luckily though, this weekend is a 4-day weekend and just so happens to be the weekend before I turn 23, so that's enough for my best friend to come visit me so I'm super excited. Having four-day school weeks is really nice because I get done with my Tuesday classes and realize that I'm halfway done for the week. Then I get done with my Wednesday classes and just have one more day left. Any I spend all day Thursday telling myself that I just have to make it until 2 and then I'm home free :D

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