June 29, 2016

Summer Internship(s)

summer internships | brazenandbrunette.com

Unfortunately, this summer I'm not clerking at a law firm because it turns out that those jobs get filled way earlier than I expected (like around Spring Break). So after finals I pretty much spent almost a whole month doing nothing/sending out résumés/stressing I won't find something to give me experience. And somehow I ended up having two internships. 



Money Issues

One thing you need to know is that right now there is a high supply of law students looking for experience, and a low demand of firms looking to pay for a student. What this means is that you should expect any internship you get to be unpaid. I'm mentioning this now because figuring out how to stretch a 9 month budget to 12 months has definitely been difficult. I wish I would've been thinking about this back in August so that I could've reduced my monthly spending just enough to have money left over for the summer rent. Right now, I'm considering taking Summer 2 classes because it would give me a little more money to finish out the summer (but also another loan so, ugh) and make my fall class load a little easier. 


Related: How to Make and Stick to a Budget in Law School

Legislative Side

Although my school has a job bank website, I actually found my internship through a family friend. This is why networking is so important! His office wasn't hiring any more interns, but he had their HR send me links to other internships that were still available. One thing I found out is that a reason why it took almost a month for me to find a job is that a lot of places like to wait until grades come out before they start hiring, and unfortunately law professors like to take about a month to grade the finals. 

So this summer I'm working at the Capitol for one of the Representatives. I've come to learn that Reps are really chill to work with, and because I'm paying to come to Austin out of my own pocket, they only make me come in two days a week and let me come in a little early/leave a little late so that I can beat the traffic. Mostly what I'm doing is like one long Legal Research and Writing class. At first all I was doing was research for case law/articles that support what my Rep wants to change in a statute for the next session. And when I'm not working on that, I'm doing more research for other issues. A lot of times what will happen is that constituents will email my Rep about an issue so I'm the one who finds the case law/statute that answers their question. I'm basically a Lexis pro at this point. 



Besides just getting really good at my research skills, one of my favorite things about this job is networking. I've been learning about all of the different roles you can take on at the legislative level. Because I still don't know exactly what kind of lawyer I want to be, it's nice meeting people who went to law school but still don't do the typical "lawyer" job because they're busy passing laws. I also feel like a badass having clearance to go all over the Capitol in underground tunnels and passing Elementary tours while I'm in my suit on my way to a committee hearing meeting. 

Judicial Side

On my off-days when I'm still in San Antonio, I spend it shadowing a judge. My school has this thing called judicial observership which is a really cool thing. They matched me with a judge (who was also really chill about my schedule) and I just spend the whole day learning from her, along with another student from Section C. 

A photo posted by Nikki (@oh.nikki.you.so.fine) on

From like 8-11, she does this thing called Docket Call. This is like when people who've been arrested have their court day. One lawyer described it to me as a "hurry wait" because the court is packed with people who have bonded out waiting in the "audience" area of the court, people who are still in jail wait in the jury's seats, and then lawyers are just running around between both sections talking to their clients. There's also a table where the District Attorney's office just kinda sets up shop because they have about 5 prosecutors who are the ones having charges against everyone that's there that day. Like 85% of what my judge does is accepting plea bargains between these guys. 

Here lately, in the late afternoon she has to shut all this down because she's presiding over a murder trial. They either send the leftover people to another court or tell them to come back the next morning, then the DA's table clears out so that the 2 prosecutors for the trial can take over, the defense attorneys and their client set up, and then the jury is finally allowed in. It's crazy how much slower this trial is compared to what you see on TV. Most of the time is spent establishing a record, so having the crime scene investigator coming in an testifying to her background/credentials and then explain to the jury what she examined, etc. 

My judge is super nice so any time there's a lull during any part of the day, she'll come over and explain to us what is going on and making sure that we understand what the lawyers are doing. One day she even took us to lunch and told us how she got started after law school, what it's really like being a lawyer, and how to balance having kids and this kind of a job. 


Final Thoughts

Sorry this was such a long post, but I wanted to share a little bit about other internships you can have besides clerking. Obviously I want to clerk some time in the near future so that I can get experience through that, but as the saying goes, you gotta have a job to get a job. My advice to anyone thinking about internships is start early, work your contacts, prepare your budget in case you don't get an income. 

Related: What to Do if You Still Don't Have a Summer Internship


summer internships | brazenandbrunette.com

summer internships | brazenandbrunette.com

summer internships | brazenandbrunette.com

June 22, 2016

Preparing for Day 1 of 1L

preparing for day 1 of 1L | brazenandbrunette.com

This time last year, I was a mess. I had finally realized that I couldn't just wait around all summer to see if I got pulled from the waitlist and accepted that I would basically have to call the one school that did outright accept me and basically beg them to let me have my spot back. After that, I was in full-on panic mode as I rushed to get everything situated for the fall with only a little over two months until orientation began. If you're like me and tend to put things off until the last moment, here are some things that you'll need to start doing.


Housing

Now is the time that you need to find a place to live. You'll need to consider if you want to live in on-campus housing like a dorm, or if you want to get an apartment, or even if you want to rent a house. You'll also need to think about location, like would save gas living closer to campus or maybe consider nicer apartments further away from your school that aren't cheaply made for students. Do you want roommates? Because if so you'll need to find them. If you think you might end up wanting a pet, you'll also need to be considering that. The neighborhood you live in might also be important because if you're planning on studying at your place, then you might not want to live by a bunch of loud college kids. You'll also probably need to set up mail forwarding from your last house to your new one to make sure that you're still receiving all of your mail.

Loans

This was absolutely the #1 thing my mom was always on my ass about. Unfortunately, there's not really a lot of scholarships available for law students except what your school can offer, and there's also no law school grants available either.Most likely you're going to have to figure out how to get a loan. The nice thing about a loan is that whoever you get your loan from isn't going to be running out of money anytime soon so I was able to put this off until August and still get my money in time.

Check Law School Website

Your professors might have posted the syllabus for the class already or at least the first few reading assignments. Don't assume that this will be like college and they'll send you nice little emails letting you know what to do because most assume you already know how to check for assignments already. This will also be how you'll know what books you'll need for class and how to buy a parking pass, etc. 

Buy Books

In college I always waited until after the first week of class to buy any books because I wanted to find out which classes I could get by without even having the book. Not the case here. In law school you'll use your books in every class, every day. If you're ordering your books online through Chegg or through Amazon, you'll need to order them early enough to make sure that they arrive before the first day of class (or maybe even orientation, if your school gives assignments for that). 

**update** get free shipping on textbook orders with the code WOWCHEGGTHX now through 9/30/2016

I'd personally recommend NOT renting your books, because if you highlight for your IRAC, then chances are that you'll end up paying fines for writing in them too much. Also, because you will most likely end up using the exact same book for both semesters, you're not going to want to have to return a book after Fall finals and then a different one for your Spring semester. However, there's nothing wrong with buying used books—just as long as you make sure that whoever had it before didn't practically turn it into a coloring book.

Visit the Campus 

You might've already toured the campus when deciding which school to go to, but you need to go back for another visit. Figure out the fastest way to get from your apartment to class and remember how long it took you so that once school starts you know how early to leave. Even though law schools are tiny compared to a college (mine only has like 10 classrooms), you should still figure out where your classrooms, mailbox, and locker will be.

This is also a great time to stop by financial aid and see if there's any way you can negotiate your scholarship. One girl from my section didn't receive a loan initially but after finding out that the rest of us did with similar GPA/LSAT scores, she marched herself into financial aid and got a little scholarship out of it. Or if you did get a scholarship, you might see if there's any way they could bump it up just a little. 

Talk with Current/New Students

Whether it's someone you ran into while on campus or someone you've met through your school's admitted students' Facebook group, it's great to start meeting people from your school. Even though incoming 1Ls likely don't have any advice to give like the upperclassmen, they still can answer questions like Where do we meet for orientation? or Who knows our professors emails? The more people who can answer your questions, the more at ease you'll be on the first day of class


Book Flights

If you're going to law school far enough away from your family that you'll be flying home, now is a time to consider getting flights for holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any major family events like your parents' birthdays or a wedding. I've heard that the best time to book domestic flights is 6 weeks before because of pricing, but I completely forgot to do this last fall and ended up having to pay a lot more for a last minute ticket home for Thanksgiving because I was so busy with finals just around the corner. Another reason you might consider booking flights in advance is that if you have proof that you've already had something booked for a while, you're more likely to get an extension for a deadline or days off work if you need it.

Final Thoughts

These are a lot of little details, so make sure you don't get overwhelmed trying to figure everything out all at once! Think of what needs to happen ASAP and what can wait until later on in the summer, and work on getting everything in order a little at a time. Of course, if there's ever anything else that you're unsure of as you get ready this summer, ask away and I'll try my hardest to help you!
SaveSave

June 15, 2016

What I Learned About Law School

what I learned about law school | brazenandbrunette.com


After my 1L in Review post, I received lots of wonderful comments and emails from both excited 0L's and experienced 1L's, which naturally keep me thinking about all of the ups and downs of this past year. To share a little more about this past year, I thought I'd jot down just a few things that I've picked up along the way that might be helpful to you.





  1. You will have to re-learn how to be a great student again
  2. You actually have to go to class
  3. Your times of going out on a school night are over
  4. You can't get away with not buying the book anymore
  5. Any school supplies you used in college will pretty much be exactly what you use again
  6. Law school is a graduate school, so people dress like it
  7. It takes effort to stay connected with your friends after you graduate
  8. There's a lot more people than you'd think don't go straight from college to law school so you might be amongst the youngest 
  9. "I'm in law school" is a great excuse when you don't want to go out
  10. You will forever think of things as a lawyer (I use Learned Hand's BPL every day)
  11. 2L's and 3L's are a great resource
  12. Law professors love to talk about themselves, so go to them for legal-field advice
  13. Going to office hours doesn't make you a suck-up
  14. Staying organized is the key to your sanity
  15. The quicker you confront your stress, the better
  16. Feel of failure is a great motivator
  17. You're going to think you'll flunk out a lot more frequently than you did in college
  18. You can still make good grades without overworking yourself
  19. Being ahead of the curve isn't as daunting as it seems
  20. Everything gets better after you finish your first final and you know what to expect


Feel free to comment below if you have anything else that you learned about law school. Oh and good luck to everyone in the Fall :)

June 8, 2016

The Best Highlighters for Law School

the best highlighters for law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Before I begin, let me say that I realize how absurd it is that I'm about to write an entire page over highlighters (haha get it?). But by now you've probably heard about how law school is the place where highlighters go to die, so if you're an incoming 1L you might be stressing about them like I did. The truth is, what highlighters you'll need depends on your own personality. Note: This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure by clicking here.




IRAC-er

Keeping up with 10 highlighters not your style? Not in the mood to color-coordinate every. single. fact? That's fine, lots of people are like you too. I'd suggest getting see through highlighters. If I didn't go so overboard, this is what I'd get because I think being able to see where to stop highlighting would be a great feature. But, alas, I need a rainbow and these only come with 4 colors (which coincidentally gives you one color for each part of your IRAC). 

Forgetful

If you lose things easily, I have two suggestions for you. One is to buy two packs of regular highlighters. These are cheap so if you lose one, it's nbd to replace. Or you can get click highlighters if you're really bad at losing the lids, because a dried out highlighter is useless. 

There's also gel highlighters out there which I like because they can't dry out and are twisting. But I would only recommend using these on computer paper, because in my experience law books have a glossy coating on the pages which makes these rub off easily. 


OCD

If you're over the top like me, a multiple color pack is the way to go. I personally prefer this so that when you're called on to talk about a case, you can know the answer to your professor's questions just by looking at the case. My professor asks what the plaintiff argued, I know to scan for the pink and there's my answer. I'm currently obsessed with these highlighters because the colors are so vivid and pretty!



the best highlighters for law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Lazy

Look, you know how you study and you know what you will and won't actually use. Get something like this writing essentials pack, and you're all set. On top of coming with every pen and pencil you'll need this fall, it also comes with 6 highlighters so you're basically done shopping for all of your writing utensils. 

Clumsy

Erasable highlighters are another that I would seriously contend if it came in more colors.  No lie, there's been lots of times when I accidentally highlight the wrong thing and have to write JK! in the margins so I know to ignore the coloring. So when I saw my Moot Court partner do the same thing and then erase the highlighter, I freaked out! These rub off the highlighter and don't even smear!

Trendy

If you've ever seen an Insta-worthy photo of someone's study space, chances are you've seen these chunky highlighters laying on the table. Because I've seen everyone and their dog posting pictures with these, I'm assuming that they must be pretty good, so I'm considering trying them out. 

Final Thoughts

Whatever highlighter you end up using, just remember to use it as an aid and don't go overboard! If you're highlighting the text in between cases, it really shouldn't be more than about 2 sentences worth when combined per page. A good way to check yourself is to ask yourself if this is important enough to go in your outline—if not, then leave it alone! Another thing to keep in mind is try to come up with a system (like that ^) and stay consistent throughout your book and your other classes. 

Related: How to Highlight Efficiently


the best highlighters for law school | brazenandbrunette.com
How many highlighters can I have? The limit doesn't exist!

June 1, 2016

Favorite Law TV Shows

the best tv shows to binge watch the summer before law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Hello lovelies! Now that it's after Memorial Day, the summer has unofficially started. If you're anything like me, this means that you're about to start a summer-long Netflix binge (or at least have several lazy days). Since a lot of you are eagerly waiting to be 1Ls this fall, I thought I'd give you a little list of my favorite law TV shows to get you excited for law school! Pro tip: invest $40 and get an Amazon Fire TV Stick and then you can watch all of these on your TV because this comes with Netflix and Amazon Prime.


The People vs OJ


I'm putting this first because my Criminal Law professor actually emailed the class and recommended that we watch it and we talked about it in class just because it's such great lawyering. Even if you know that you have no interest in being a criminal lawyer or a prosecutor, it's got some legendary lawyering in it. The law nerd in me seriously got so excited when a side would come up with an out-of-the-box argument that it definitely will get you pumped to start your law career.

Making a Murderer

This is also a great series to get you nerdy-excited about the law. It starts off slow but I promise you there will be points when you're in awe at the lawyering skills. When Steven's lawyer would come up with a unique way to gather evidence, I was seriously inspired. Because this is a documentary, you begin to see just how valuable a lawyer can be.

Better Caul Saul

If you liked Breaking Bad and you like the law, then you'll love this series. My favorite part about it is how it portrays the honest side of what it's like having to hustle to get work as a lawyer. It also is very real about how people perceive law school rankings. If you're thinking of maybe starting your own firm after law school or even working at a tiny firm, it shows the dedication and work ethic that you'll need to be successful.

Suits

(it's not on Netflix but is on Amazon Prime Video)

I'm actually watching this right now, thanks to a recommendation by one of my friends. So far, I like how it makes you want to get good grades so that you can be a powerful lawyer who's not only a playmaker, but also a badass. It has some great business profession attire inspiration and also some great quotes about being a lawyer. The only downside is that it's a tad ridiculous because most people work in those big corporate law offices for years before getting a junior associate title or an office, so if you go this route just expect to be stuck in the bullpen. 

How to Get Away With Murder

I'll start right off and say that this show isn't really all that realistic. Don't expect your 1L year to be you jumping right in on how to defend a client. You gotta ease in to it and first learn the basics, like the difference between the levels of murder and manslaughter for example. But I like how this does showcase some of the pressures that you're under when you have outlines and readings to do on everyday. And again, you need to be able to think on your feet to be a killer lawyer.

Drop Dead Diva

This show is more about this girl's life than it is about lawyering, but I still like it. Again, just watching people fighting zealously for their clients can really get you pumped about wanting to be a lawyer and help people. I also like it because it has a little bit of Legally Blonde attitude in it because she breaks the mold of what a typical lawyer is presumed to be. 

The Good Wife

Ok, confession—I haven't watched this yet, but it's at the top of my list to watch because another one of my friends told me that I'd love it. It's supposed to be loosely based on the Bill Clinton scandal, but the main character is also a lawyer so I'm betting that it will be pretty great. 


Have a favorite law show that I missed? Comment below and let me know! I'm always looking for a new show to watch and geek out on! And if you're more in a movie mood, I have some suggestions for law movies to watch too :) 
SaveSave

Follow