October 24, 2015

2 Months of Law School Down

Advice from women lawyers for future women attorneys. How many cases you'll read in law school. How to make friends with students from other sections | brazenandbrunette.com

Women's Law Association

We had our and WLA meeting, and this time it was a panel of three women lawyers. The classes they said that helped them the most were writing intensive classes that prepared you for the motions and memos that you'll have to write and mock trial/moot court that prepares you for public speaking in the legal field. They also touched on how as a young and single female lawyer, you will have people being prejudiced against you such as confusing you as a court reporter or opposing council trying to personally attack and intimidate you. They how mentioned how unsure of yourself you'll fell until you win your first first case. Their advice on balancing children and a work life was to scale back at work initially, and then don't be hard on yourself if you have to hire help to make sure that your kids get the attention they need.

Cases on cases

I loved HTGAWM before I came to law school, and I still do but I definitely feel like it's not realistic at all. My professors spend a good majority of the time going over the cases that were assigned and the main rules of law they want us to know for their tests, like in Legally Blonde when the professors were always discussing the cases with their class. And there's no way I'm believing that these guys have time to get their readings done while covering up murders. 
This got me thinking, so I counted how many cases I've had to read  just in my two short months here. Granted some where only half a page, but others were several pages long. So far I've read 29 Contracts cases, 26 Civ Pro cases, 62 Torts cases, 31 Property cases, and 14 cases for LR&W. That's 162 cases so far. I still laugh at my undergrad self for sliding by barely opening the books.

Related: How to manage your time in law school 

Section C love

While waiting to get my fingerprints scanned for the Dec ($10 more to this stupid thing) I met a lot of people outside of my section. I haven't really been clicking with anyone in my section, and the ironic part is that when I met them they were talking about how my section wasn't that close. This was confirmed when 10 minutes later a woman from my section stood in line right behind me and when I talked about our Civ Pro professor she asked if I had him too and I was like Yeah I'm in your section.... 

Everyone I met from Section C was very friendly and they all seemed to really get along. After chatting with them while we had to wait for a whole damn hour, they went so far as to add me to their section's Facebook group because apparently they all hang out a lot. I'm glad I met them because they're really so much nicer than the people in my section and I'm glad to have more friends here. 

October 16, 2015

Law School Admissions Timeline

Law school admissions timeline. What to do your freshman year of college to prepare for law school. What to do your sophomore year of college to prepare for law school. What to do your junior year of college to prepare for law school. What to do your senior year of college to prepare for law school. | brazenandbrunette.com

I have a friend who just took her LSAT and all we talk about is her applications, and I realized that there's actually a lot that you need to do before applying to law schools and thought I could right some down. 

Freshman year


Sophomore year

  • contact at least 3 possible professors about writing a rec letter
  • look into the different methods of preparing for the LSAT and start saving up to pay for a class
  • attend any roundtables that visiting law schools put on at your school. even if you're not interested in that school you'll still learn a lot
  • register for the required Law School Admissions Council 


Junior year


Senior year

law school admissions timeline | brazenandbrunette.com


October 13, 2015

Getting Called On in Law School

What to expect for a law school Socratic Method, what is the Socratic Method, what is a cold call in law school, law school cold call tips/ law school Socratic method tips | brazenandbrunette.com

Murphy's Law

Well it finally happened, and it wasn't that bad but honestly it kinda sucked. Of all the times, I was called on when we were behind the syllabus but I wasn't. So I was asked about a case that I had read 5 days before and I couldn't remember all of the details. That was embarrassing enough. 

Then my professor asked me to explain to the class an equation for the value of a future interest that I didn't understand at all. Super embarrassing. Since I was struggling, my professor moved on to the next student and asked him about the cases that I had just read last night.

Freaking Out

Not going to lie, I went home right after class and maybe chugged a glass of wine. I started freaking out thinking that my professor would consider this when working our final grade into the curve. And this may be true, but at least I struggled and hadn't blatantly not read or had not been in class when he called on me. 

Just gotta beat 7 people to be average right? A few classes ago my professor called on a girl and she had even less of a clue than I did and I feel like none of us judged her because we've all been there. At least I know that my class isn't too competitive to be friendly. Several people were nice enough to tell me good job after class!

Final Thoughts

As time goes on and I'm not called on in my other classes, I realize that my chances are increasing even though the material is getting harder. Being called on itself wasn't that bad. It was a little stressful knowing that the whole class was focused on me and that there wouldn't be anyone to step in and save me. Professors are using this as a way to have a conversation to teach you instead of just lecturing at you, and this isn't a definitive pop quiz that you either pass or fail. 

October 6, 2015

The Worst Law Students

After six weeks in, I've noticed that there's a few students who I just am not sure are going to be here next semester. We've even had such a problem with people showing up an hour late or taking coffee breaks in the middle of class that the dean had to send out an email telling people not to do this! I take law school very seriously, but it really feels like a few students aren't doing this at all.


Thinning out

I've noticed that my 8 am class is particularly empty, especially the first hour before our break. And already we've had the awkward moment when my professor calls on someone and they're not here. I just don't get how people are ok with skipping class. I'm paranoid to miss class because even when I think I have a good grasp on a concept, I always learn something more when I go to class. This is definitely different than undergrad because just getting the notes off of someone or just reading the book really won't cut it. 


Disruptive peers

the one with the pictures- there's a woman in my class who holds up her phone and takes a picture of every damn slide that my professors put up on the screen

the one trying to impress the professor- there's a man in my class that will bring up irrelevant topics legal and just go off for several boring minutes on them 

the one with too many questions- one woman in my class raises her hand and asks no less than 5 questions per class, and a lot of these are time-wasting questions that really should be saved for after class or during office hours

the one who talks to themselves- this is like sitting by someone who talks during a movie because you can't hear what any other students are saying to the professor since this person is trying to complete a professor's sentence

the one who has no concept of raising your hand- the problem with this is that during the socratic method a professor is trying to have a conversation with one student and is directing his questions to that student, so it's very annoying when someone just blurts out their answers before the student had a chance to answer

the one who clicks- it's pretty distracting when your professor is lecturing and someone beside you is clicking on their mouse 800 times like what you do when you creep through a Facebook album



October 4, 2015

First Legal Memo

Law school legal memo tips and law school legal research and writing tips | brazenandbrunette.com

Research

I knew the actual writing part of this would be easy, but coming up with the information I needed to write the memo has been more time consuming than I'd like.This is even more boring than reading the cases in my books because it isn't slimmed down to just the main points so I have to read all of the non-relevant parts to find out what is relevant. Just overall time consuming. I tried shortcutting it through finding a brief online but now I know that only the major cases are briefed for you. This makes sense because theres hundreds of thousands of them, but I thought it was worth a shot. 


What goes in a memo

If you haven't had this drilled into your head yet, here are some basic components of the body of a memo. Just remember that there's more that goes into a memo than just the body, so make sure you get the style right.
make sure to make memos informative and objective, but not persuasive 

    • give the client’s issue 
    • identify the legally relevant facts of the case
    • cite properly
    • give holding
    • what will happen if our court will apply this law to our case
    • what the opposing council probably will argue 

Writing

It ended up taking me about 3 hours to do the pre-writing and writing, probably because I'm a perfectionist. As I read all three cases, I took notes over pretty much every relevant rule that each case had. Then I made a list of which rules my client should use and which rules her opponent could use. Then I made a sublist under these of rebuttals for the other side. Then I made a outline of the memo with my talking points in order. Finally I expanded my outline into the actual memo.


Final Thoughts

The hardest part was discussing both sides of four cases, because I kept having to look at what I'd already written to make sure that I wasn't contradicting myself and was being consistent. Also time consuming was making sure that I was tying in my cases in a relevant, and clear way. 

October 2, 2015

Little Tips


Here's a few more tips that I've been introduced to lately.



Black's online

If your school pays for you to use Westlaw, there's no need to buy or rent Black's Law Dictionary
  • Go to WestlawNext
  • Under the Browse Area, All Content Section, click Secondary Sources (7th link)
  • Look to the far right for an area titled Tools & Resources 
  • Click on the first link, Black's Law Dictionary
  • Save this page as a favorite to your browser and boom —> free dictionary always available to you

Reading hard cases

My general rule is that if you go to do your reading assignment and see that a case was written prior to 1915, that case is going to suck to read. The case is usually written in legalese, sometimes in Old English, won't clearly state the issue and rule, and will be overall confusing. 

I know a lot of people say oh yeah read every case at least three times, but honestly who has time for that?? I'm all about working smarter, not harder. So if I see a case that I know is going to be a pain, I'll look it up before I read it. 

This is actually advice I got from a guy who made Dean's List his first year at law school. The three main places I go to are Quimbee (subscription required), Oyez (free) and Casebriefs (free) because these are the simplest cases. I'll read their brief and know what is going on before I even start reading. It saves a lot of time from reading an entire case and not knowing what the hell is going on (Pierson v. Post I'm talking about you). 

Related: How I Use Quimbee

You can also look up cases through WestLaw or Lexis, but these are much more thorough so they're not as easy to skim through. My goal is for this to only add on less than 5 minutes to my readings. 

Improved Notes 

If you still takes notes on Microsoft Word, I highly suggest you switch over to Evernote. It's an app that works with phones, tablets, and computers and syncs between them all. All you need is the free version and you can make a notebook for every class and then notes within those.

I currently have 30 notebooks because I save my notes in case I need them later. This was super useful when my sorority Little took the exact same class I did with the same professor I had a year after me in undergrad. She was complaining about how she was failing this professor's class and I realized that I still had all of my notes and study guides that I shared with her through an email. (perfect for study groups)

It's also handy because it syncs instantly. I actually had my iPad die on me mid-class one day so I synced it with 2% battery left, and picked up right where I had left off on my phone. Having it on more than one device means that I can be working on my study guide on my laptop and have my iPad also opened up right beside it and see my daily notes so I can copy them over. Then it's really great to whip out your phone real quick before a test and skim over the study guide you had finished typing up the night before. 

Lastly, I like how you can look up something through either the entire app, a specific notebook, or a specific note. It's really handy once your classes start overlapping subjects. For example, I was typing up my property notes and came across a latin term that I had remembered looking up, but not what class it was for. One quick search later and I found it in my contracts notes, so I just copied and pasted it over in my property notes. Also, it's a much simpler design than Word so it's really easy to use. 

Related: How I take notes in law school 


Final Thoughts

If you're looking for lots of law school advice in one place, then head on over to the Law School Blogging Pinterest board to find blog posts about law school tips from many different law school bloggers.

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