April 14, 2017

Where to Study for Finals

5 new study spaces for finals - a park, the pool, your apartment balcony, your apartment's study lounge, your friend's place | brazenandbrunette.com

Happy Good Friday, everyone! As excited as I am for this 4 day weekend, honestly a little bit of me died on the inside when I realized that I'd have to be packing my backpack along with my Easter dress because I have to study a little while I'm at home. Ugh, law school finals. However, the optimist in me saw this as a fresh studying scenery so I decided to make a post about study space options because I feel like everyone always forgets that you don't have to go to the library. Sometimes a change of location can shake up your attitude when you've been feeling blah going over law and more law and law again for so long.


Park

This is my favorite place to study! Not only is the fresh air sooo much better than being inside a library, the atmosphere always makes me feel better! There's this big park that I love going to because I can find a huge tree to set up under that's far enough away from the playsets that I can focus without the screams of little kids. I take a roll up beach mat with me to sit on because it's thick enough to be comfortable on the hard ground and has a lumbar pillow with back support. The absolute best part about studying at a park is that you don't have wifi on your computer so it automatically takes away the temptation to slowly sneak over to Pinterest or any other distraction. And without being on wifi, you'd be surprised at just how long your laptop's battery can last! So it ends up being okay that you don't have an outlet to plug it in to.


Pool

The first rule of this is avoid the "party pool" — the pool at my friend's apartment is like a spring break pool party every day so that's definitely not the place you want to be studying. Luckily my apartment isn't brand new like hers so my pool is much quieter. I love to save all of my outlines to my iCloud docs and then lay out in a lounge chair and go over them or my flashcards on the Quizlet app on my iPad. Jumping in the pool during study breaks is amazing because the water is so relaxing and swimming around is great after being so still studying. I just make sure to bring two towels so that I can have one to dry off with and one to keep my iPad safe, but if you want to be extra safe you can always get a waterproof iPad case and then hey I guess you can study in the pool which would be pretty amazing! I also like to bring a few beers with me and then when I'm done studying for the day me and my friend have a little pool party 😎


Balcony

In case you haven't noticed, studying outside is my favorite study trick. It's honestly really peaceful and I just love it. I recently got this patio coffee table set and outdoor rug for my apartment balcony and honestly I've been living out here ever since. In fact, right now I'm out here making this post haha. Even if your apartment doesn't have a balcony or a patio, I almost guarantee that it has some outdoor lounge area that you could use! Really the idea here is to just trick your mind into thinking that you're just lounging and relaxing so that studying for finals doesn't seem so bad. 



Apartment study lounge

I live in student housing so my apartment building has a little study lounge that is always empty. It's perfect because it has little study rooms you can lock yourself in with a huge table and computers and a dry erase board. Last semester, me and a few friends took total advantage of this and basically just camped out here for a few days. Two of them weren't in law school so I'd stay and save the space and study while they were taking a final and then they'd come back and do the same for me. It was also really nice being so close to my apartment so it wasn't some big waste of time if I had to go back to my room to get a jacket or find more highlighters. 

Your friend's place

This has a little of the best of both worlds because you're not at your own house so you don't instantly go into I'm-at-home lazy mode, but you're still in the comfort of a home. It's kinda like the mutual motivation you get when you have a workout buddy because you're like oh I gotta work as hard as her while she's thinking the same thing about you! It's also great because you're not out in public so you can spread out everywhere and if y'all don't want to wear pants, then you don't have to haha! Bring a bottle of wine with you for when y'all get done and I promise your friend will love you.

April 7, 2017

One Month Finals Study Schedule

6 things to do a month before your finals to help you study | brazenandbrunette.com

Ok guys don't freak out, but now's the time to get down to business [to defeat the Huns]. If this sends you into a whirlwind of stress like it always does to me, stop, take a deep breath, and remember that you have a month to study and you'll do fine. So, here's how I tackle this last month.


Go MIA

Remind your friends and family of your life. Unless they've gone to law school or some other really hard school, they won't get it. I've had a few people be like "chill you have a whole month!" because they don't understand how much I have to know for these tests and how little time a month really is. I know this sounds like something stupid that a blogger says to do but doesn't really do it (ugh I hate when I can tell that when I'm reading a blog), but I really do this. 

I do this and let them know in a way: 1. I can't hang out. I'm not ditching you, I'm just seriously busy. 2. I can't help you. Whether it's telling my sister I can't babysit or a friend that I can't help her pick an outfit for a date, they need to know that I seriously don't have time for that. 3. I'm stressed AF right now. TBH the closer it gets to finals, the more irritable I get, so I have to let them know that if I blow up (whether that's getting mad for no reason or crying for no reason) it's because of the stress. Does anyone else think stress is worse than PMS?

Organize your game plan

Make a giant to-do list. Again don't let this overwhelm you because you have a month to slowly chip away at this! What I do is take a paper and divide it into however many classes I'm taking. Then under each class I make a to-do of everything that I need to get done, like: Evidence- type up written class notes for chapter 1, outline chapter 1, make flashcards for chapter 1, make case list for chapter 1. This helps me keep track of everything that I need to get done so I don't miss anything when I get scatterbrained. This what I model mine after.

Create your game plan 

Find out when your finals are (check your syllabus or school website). First things first, make a reminder in your phone for the date, time, and room that your final will be in and set reminders for 1 day before and 1 hour before the test time. This will help you be at ease later on when you start being paranoid that you missed a final and will help you not get your finals mixed up. And while you're checking your syllabus, it's a good idea to double check if you're able to bring in your book or any other study materials. 

Now then, prioritize your finals. I make two lists. On one I number them 1-5 in reverse order of when they are (so my first final is 5 and my last final is 1, because I have five finals). Then I number another 1-5 of which final I dread the most (1 is easiest and 5 is most) and for that I consider both is the subject a tough one or one that I understand pretty well and do I expect my professor to make the test impossible or okay. Then I combine the two lists and know how to generally make a study schedule - and I start tackling my to-list from step two in order of which subject ended up having the highest number. 

Study a little more each day

Be that try hard person. Here's how I ramp up my study schedule. If I have four weeks to go, I'll spend about 2-3 hours on Saturday and another 2-3 hours on Sunday studying (when I say studying I mean studying for the finals not preparing/reading/studying for class). I also make myself study an hour after school. Three weeks to go, I add an hour so now it's 3-4 each weekend day and 2 on a week day. Two weeks to go, I add another hour so it's 4-5 each weekend day and 3 on a week day. And by the time I have one week to go it's dead day/week so then I go more and basically study 6-8 hours a day, every day.

Yes I know this is A LOT but hear me out. You have 24 hours in a day so if you're at school for 8 hours and then even if you add 4 more hours for finals studying, that still gives you 12 free hours in a day, 8 to sleep, and 4 to either prepare for class or just do whatever. Also, I cannot stress to y'all enough how much it helps to study a little at a time over a month instead of trying to cram. There's just so much to remember that your brain literally can't cram all this. 

Practice test problems

Try to get yourself set up to review/practice as fast as you can. What I mean by that is spend the first week or so wrapping up your outlines and flashcards. That's why I start "studying" so early. Writing out an outline or making flashcards does help you a little, but that won't get you the best grades. Want to know what will? E&E books! Guys I just learned about these last semester and they boosted my GPA. I can't say this enough. In my opinion, E&Es are right up there with outlines as far as what you have to be doing for finals.

E&E stands for Examples and Explanations. Last semester my commercial law professor didn't even use a text book, just had us slowly work through these and I got a B+ and was very close to getting an A because of these. You can go to your library and ask to check these out and study with them there, or if they're always taken (because they're seriously a key to success) or if you want to write in them, it's worth the buy. They have E&Es in every subject, don't worry.

All they are is practice problems and answers. The practice problems will really help you see how to best answer a question. And yes they're a "commercial supplement" but y'all my commercial law professor had us doing Bar prep questions as practice problems and I could easily tackle them because I remembered what the E&E had taught me. 

Another way to study that I always do is go to Quimbee. This is another thing that really helps me get the big-picture for each class. I watch each video and then later come back and take the quiz for the video (I don't take it immediately because I like to test myself on what I retain/understand more than what I know from my short-term memory) and then I take the section quizzes. 

Understanding the big picture is also another key thing to help you do better than your classmates and rack up points. On those big essay questions that take you like an hour to do, the question will be complex and this is where you need to know big-picture. Not only will you need to be able to spot all of the multiple issues (usually there's an issue per chapter that you learned), but you need to be able to connect these. This is where the big picture comes in. You'll need to know how one issue affects (or triggers) another issue and the broad videos on Quimbee helps with that. 

If you spend the majority of your time going through these practice problems, it will really help you understand your outline as your review it. When I study, I do about 50% practice problems, 30% memorizing flash cards, and 20% reviewing my outline.

Make an attack outline

This is what you should do about a week before each test. Take your outline, and condense it to one page. By the time you get to an attack outline, you should pretty much have everything on your outline memorized, and this will just help you memorize it.

Sorry I never kept one of these to show you what I do but I'll update this with one after this semester. What I do is make a an outline with Roman numerals for each chapter, and then capital letters under those for the main points. 

For example, my Property attack outline had 
I. Land Transaction
A. Transfer - req
B. Brokers - 2
C. Listings - 3
D. Commission - CL/m 
II. Contract 
A. SOF
B. Deed - req
... ok you get it

This is exactly how I memorize it (I just write it down lots of times to do that) and exactly what I put on the back of my test or a scrap paper when I get into the test. This is so I don't forget anything. The numbers remind me how many things are associated with that (so 2 types of brokers or 3 types of listings) or how many elements there are and the abbreviations do too (req = requirements for that, def = definition, M = majority rule, m = minority rule, CL = common law, TL = traditional law, and ML = modern law). Sometimes if there's a lot of capital letters, I'll make a mnemonic to put by the roman numeral to remember all of them. 

Why do this? 1. It'll speed you up. Time is your worst enemy in a final so this helps you defeat that. 2. You'll give better answers. If your classmate says "the rule is X" and you say "traditionally the rule was Y but now the rule is X," you just got 2 points for that sentence and your classmate got 1. Both were the right answer, but you point chased. 3. You won't forget anything. When you get in a rush during you test (which you will) it's easy to forget little things. This is like a little check list to go through to make sure you didn't forget anything. My general rule is include all relevant information. For example, if a question mentioned anything out of Roman Numeral I, I would include all of the other the information related to it, so here A-D. Again, this helps you point chase.


Other tips

Don't try to study for long periods of time without breaks! The little breaks help your brain stay more focused while you're studying and prevent you from burnout. I use this app to study for 20 minutes and then take 5 minute breaks. 

During your breaks, make sure to get up and walk around a little. I literally will be scrolling through Instagram but still make myself stand up while I do it. This will be a great relief for your neck, back, and butt when you're sitting a lot.

On that note, try to move while you're studying. One thing that I like to do is record my outline on my phone and then listen to it while I take a walk. Saying the outline helps me to understand it, hearing it helps even more, and hearing it while walking around makes me pay attention to what I'm hearing. So go to a park!

Also, check out my Finals Posts Round Up post for more tips to help with your finals!

March 24, 2017

Law School Vlog Roundup

11 law school video bloggers from YouTube to watch before law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Hey everyone so today I was a little bored and I wound up on YouTube and of course I ended up watching like hours of videos about law school 😂 So I thought I'd share with y'all some of the videos that I found! For the most part, the vloggers are mostly just on YouTube for fashion/makeup or whatever and just happen to be in law school and share their experiences so that's why I'm sharing specific videos rather than their whole channels. These are all a theme of why law school/law school advice/what law school is like. Just because I'm sure y'all get tired of reading so much so here's a break from reading!


Jessica of Victoria's Closet


Mae of MaeBad


MyDailySweet



Ashley of Ashley Aloha


Kayla of CutesyGirl09


LawSchoolAdviceGuy


Krystina Christiansen


InnMyHumbleOpinion




Amber Irene



Lynnea of LoveLynnea


Lily of LilyLike




March 20, 2017

Law School vs. College

A little reality dose of how law school classes differ from college classes | brazenandbrunette.com

This is for all you 0L readers out there who probably are in the middle of hearing back from the law schools that you applied to. I know that this is a stressful time, so hopefully if you already know what to expect and prepare for, this will be one less thing to worry about. I'm writing this post as a little reality check for all y'all wanting to come to law school because I always see future law students not really knowing what they're getting in to, and it upsets me. I see people who are super concerned and think that law school would make them too busy to even have a pet; so if you're one of those people, I hope this helps you see that you won't be that busy constantly. On the other side, I see people who have the "What, like it's hard?" attitude and as much as I love Legally Blonde, if you watch it closely it actually kinda is hard for Elle; so if you're one of those people, I hope this helps you see that you're not signing up for College 2.0.

Also, check out my What Class is Like post, 1L Day in the Life of a Law Student post, and 2L Day in the Life of a Law Student post for a more step-by-step review of what goes on every day.


Before your morning class 

College - You wake up like 15 minutes before class starts, throw on some Nike shorts and a comfy t shirt, throw your hair in a messy bun, and head to class. This is the extent of preparing for class. Your backpack has only your laptop in it and that's it. Honestly probably you show up a little late and sneak in to the back row.

Law School - You wake up several hours before your first class to get to school. You try to at least do your hair and makeup and look nice because you never know who important will be dropping by the school or if you'll have all of the class looking at you. You head to class with a backpack full with your laptop, folders, and books. Your books are probably too big to all fit in your backpack so you have to carry a few. 


During your morning class

College - Your laptop is set up to a split screen between Pinterest or Facebook, iMessage, and your note taking app. You just copy down the slides into your notes because you know that your professor only tests you over the slides. When scrolling on your computer gets boring and your friends aren't texting you back fast enough, you'll half-heartedly listen to your professor. It wouldn't be unsurprising if your professor just directly reads the slides to you and you're not hearing anything new since that's exactly what you just copied.

Law School - You've already read your casebook, highlighting as you go. You also probably have taken some pre-class notes about what you read so that just in case your professor calls on you, you'll be prepared. You add to your pre-class notes the notes from the slides. You also have to listen to your professor because he's likely adding more substance to what the slide says. 

Your professor puts up a practice problem, say on Evidence. From the facts given you know that the evidence would get in, so you eliminate the two options that say it wouldn't get in. The other two options saying it would get in both are equally as plausible to happen, so you just pick one that you think sounds good, but honestly you don't know. The professor asks everyone to raise their hand to vote for what they picked and most of the class chose what you chose. The answer is one that no one voted for and the whole class groans. The correct answer says that the evidence wouldn't get in and it's the right answer because the reasoning it gave was the "most correct." You possibly throw your pen down in frustration.

Lunch

College - You meet up with your friends and spend an hour (or more) eating and chatting. You talk about the guys you're talking to and are already making plans for your next night out. If it's a long lunch, you might even leave campus.

Law School - Both of my law schools were small enough to have everyone have lunch at once. This means you might have a student organization meeting during this time, or a guest speaker might be at your school, or you have a "lunch and learn" where you get information about a program your school has while you eat. 

If there's nothing on your schedule, you can meet up with a classmate to eat. You and your friends likely spend all lunch talking about your classes. Or you might take this chance to start reading for your next class. If you get done preparing for one class and still have time before it starts, you get preparing for another class.

Before your afternoon class

College - You went home and napped and now your alarm is waking you to get back to campus. If it's a really pretty day or you just don't feel like going all the way back to campus, you skip it for some Netflix time because most college classes either don't take attendance or give you a ton of absences to use.

Law School - Again it's likely that you're spending this time reading, whether that's at home or at the school still. You wouldn't dream of skipping class for no reason like in college because class participation is super important. Also, your professors give you like 4 absences so it's not like you get a lot of opportunities to do so anyways.

During your afternoon class

College - If you ended up going to class, you again just sit there on your computer most of the time. If your professor asks a question about something you were assigned to read, everyone is quiet because no one read. There's a good chance that you don't even have the book. Sure your syllabus said to "read" before every class but that's more of a loose suggestion than something that anyone takes seriously.

Law School - If you're a 1L, you have all of the same people in your class as you had before. Even if you're a 2L or 3L it's super common to have the same people in your classes over and over again. If you get called on, you'll likely stand and tell your professor a summary of what you read the night before. Even though you can sit now, he'll continue to ask you questions about the reading. Then he might change the facts of the case that you just discussed and ask you what would be the holding in this hypothetical case. If your professor asks a question to the class, multiple hands shoot up and he'll go through a lot of them looking for the right answer. It takes several people because it's a tough question so the answer isn't that obvious.

After your last class

College - School is officially done for you now. You have nothing school related to worry about until tomorrow in your next class.

Law School - If you got all of your reading in today, then you are done for the day. More likely, you have a few hours in the evenings to do nothing but still will have to read anywhere from 50-100 pages before you go to sleep.

Before a test

College - You have a test about once a month. The test is almost always over the chapters that you covered from the last test until now. The test probably only counts for like 20% of your grade. You wait until the day or so before your test to even care about it. Then you and your friends all get a table together at the library for your all-nighter. Thanks to all of the energy drinks, you stay at the library for like 14 hours in a row studying the slides and your notes and you skim through the book to read the headings. It turns out okay that you waited until the last minute to study because the material was still fresh in your mind for the hour-long test so you get a good grade on it.


Law School - Most likely, you won't even have a test. If you do, it's only a midterm. You have been reading the book all along and paying attention in class so you're not learning any new information before this test. At this point you have no other grades in the class so you aren't even sure if you truly understand the material or just think you do. You ask around to your classmates and friends to see if anyone has taken this class with this professor, and if they have you ask for an outline and about what to expect on the test. You start studying at least a week in advance to work on memorizing case names and statutes. The test is multiple choice and essays and is 3 hours long. You miss several multiple choice questions because you chose a correct answer, but not the "most correct" answer. You end up with a C+ because several of your classmates just had a better essay answer.

Before a final

College - Your final is probably no more than 30% of your grade. It's also highly likely that it only covers the last chapters of your book. It's all multiple choice. You use the same last-minute study tactics as before and cram right before each final. When you're exhausted in the middle of the night, you calculate your grades so far and figure out that you only need an 82 on the final to get an A in the class, so you decide you know the material well enough for that grade to stop studying and sleep. The test was three hours long but only took you an hour and a half, and that's because you went back and double checked all of your answers. Two days after your test, you find out that you did indeed get an A on that test. You never see that professor again.

Law School - Your final is probably 99% of your grade. I say 99% even though the syllabus says 100% because that other 1% is made up from class participation and attendance. The test is cumulative and if anyone were to ask your professor what will be on the test, he'd just reply with "everything." You've been lightly reviewing your notes all semester, but you really start cranking it up the last month or so before the test. You have an outline covering everything you've learned so far that's long enough to be a short story. Now you spend more hours on the weekend studying so that you can do practice problems. You have mild panic attacks because your whole grade for your semester rides on this one test. And your grade for that test could be impacted by how well your classmates do, too, because of the curve. The test is 4 hours long and you furiously write about the issue, rule, analysis, and conclusions for every question. Your grammar and spelling are terrible, but it's okay as long as you're applying the law to the facts correctly. You finish with only ten minutes remaining. You get your grades back the day before Spring semester starts and luckily you got a B-. You go visit your professor's office hours and see where you could improve on, and if you like the professor, you sign up for another one of his classes hoping that now you can get a B or better since you know what he's looking for on a test. 

Final thoughts

Law students - if you read this I hope you went "yasss" that's what my life is like right now. If not, comment below and better explain it for all of my wide-eyed readers! College students - if you read this and thought OMG this is too hard, calm down. You know how now when you see high school kids talking about how hard their studying is and you think LOL just wait college is much harder? yeah that's what law students think about college. But if you can survive the adjustment from easy HS classes to college classes, then you can survive the adjustment again from easy-ish (in hindsight, I promise) college classes to harder law school classes. Just remember that the biggest difference with law school is now you're going to have to put in actual effort and really earn your grade.

March 17, 2017

Choosing Law School Classes Wisely

What to Think About Before Signing Up for Law School Classes | brazenandbrunette.com

Hi guys! Long time, no talk! After I came back to blogging about this time last year, I've made it a goal to be pretty regular for you guys but then life happened these past few weeks. First I had a pretty tough midterm, then I've been interviewing for a possible externship (more on that later), then it was spring break, and oh yeah my sister is moving to my city (YAY) so I've been house hunting with her. But now my life has slowed down a bit so more posts are coming your way :) 

The time after spring break is when things really get moving and part of that whoosh that you're about to feel is registering for classes. You may recall that I kinda already did a post like this, See Registering for 2L Classes (haha a little Bluebook humor). But now I'm older and wiser so I have more to say about registering for classes. By the way, the post is more about planning classes, but if you want to know what classes to take, go check out that post!


Think ahead

Without trying to stress you out too much, the best way to go about thinking what classes you should take next semester is to go ahead and plan out all of your classes until you graduate. I know this is hard to do if your future is uncertain like mine was last year because I was planning on transferring and wasn't sure what kind of law I wanted to practice, but it really would've helped me if I came in knowing what all classes I aimed to take before I graduated.

Going off that, think about what you want to do your 2L and 3L years. If you are interested in taking a clinic at your school, try to take classes that are relevant to that clinic. If you're looking into getting an internship or an externship, same thing. Things like these are very competitive so it will help your application stand out if you can show that you're highly interested in this position and that you're prepared for it. 

Stock up on required classes

The last thing you want is to be denied from a program or have your graduation delayed because you forgot to take your required classes. Check with your school and see what classes they require you to have for graduation, and also if they have any time requirements (ex. must take so many per semester/year). Also, ask around to any upper-level students you know and see what classes fill up the fastest. This will help keep your whole planned schedule from getting thrown off if you go to register for classes and half of them are full.

Take PR early on

Also, as a personal opinion, I would say try to take your Professional Responsibility class sooner rather than later. It's an ethics class that the ABA requires all law students to take and *surprise!* you have to take and pass the MPRE in addition to passing the Bar to get a law license. The good news is that you can take this whenever so if you get this class out of the way early, you can take this test as a 2L whenever it's convenient for you and have that out of the way.

Besides all this, any job or program you get in to really likes it if you've already had this class. Sure they'll have you sign non-disclosure forms, but it also gives them a little peace of mind to know that you know what would cause them to be sued for malpractice and will avoid doing that. I'm sure you already know about lawyer-client confidentiality (which is different than lawyer-client privilege, bet you didn't know that), but there are a lot of other ethical duties that lawyers have that are super important to know. Oh and wondering why the ABA requires everyone to take the same class and has its own test for it? You can thank all of the lawyers who did some not-so-ethical things during the little scandal referred to as Watergate. 

Don't be afraid of summer classes

Let's have some fun (jk) and break down the math. You'll need 90 credits within 3 years to graduate. That's 30 credits a year. That's 15 hours a semester. This might sound do-able because you got about 30 hours done your 1L year, but how did you feel about it? Did you feel swamped with reading and as if you were always in class? Now think about how bad that will be trying to take 15 hours a semester in upper-level classes, where professors expect even more reading to be accomplished in a night and the material is even more complex. Sounds like a recipe for disaster doesn't it?

This is why I recommend you consider summer classes. Not only will it help alleviate your schedule for future semesters, it also can open up more possibilities for you later down the road if you don't have a cramped schedule. For example, I'm planning on doing a program in the spring of my 3L year that's 12 hours and doesn't allow you to take any other classes. If I didn't take a summer class, I would be stuck trying to take 18 hours the other semester to stay caught up. It also might give you a more flexible daily schedule so that you can work a few hours a day instead of going to a class. Or you never know, you might just get burnt out your 3L year and want to take only the minimum hours ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

A few answers to questions that I had about summer classes at first:

If I can barely keep up with the reading for a class that spans a full semester, how will I survive when that schedule is condensed? Am I going to be reading 200 pages a night to compensate? No, professors aren't that mean and so they don't just take a semester-long syllabus and cram it into a few weeks. Instead they modify it to be reasonable. Although, you probably will be in classes for a lot longer at once so don't think just because it's summer classes it'll be super easy. Maybe just a little easier.

What about a summer job? How would I have time for both?? Most employers are very understandable about you having a job, so it shouldn't hurt your job prospects. You can work during Summer I and take classes during Summer II (or vice versa). You could also agree with your employer that you take a Tuesday/Thursday class(es) and work Monday Wednesday Friday. Another option is to take all morning classes and then go to work afterwards. Just let them know upfront when you're interviewing and then be prepared to be flexible with your hours.

What about paying for all of this? I only got a loan to cover spring semester? There are loans for summer school, too. Don't stress too much about having to take out yet another loan because generally summer classes are a little cheaper.

What if I'm planning on going back home for a few weeks during the summer? Your school probably offers some classes online so that won't be a problem.

Final Thoughts

This is just another post of me overthinking things, but once again I'd rather y'all be over prepared rather than have a mental breakdown because you didn't plan out. Also, remember these are all just my little musings so in no way think that you're doing your scheduling wrong or are behind if you don't do it exactly how I do it. Hope y'all get in to all of the classes you want for next semester 😊 

PS - I also think this is a great post about Choosing Law Classes. I really agree with them and honestly in hindsight I think I would've been fine not taking Family Law and instead just learning what I need to know in a Bar course. Then I could've taken a class that is more relevant to what I want to do or at least one that I think would be a harder subject on the bar for me.

February 27, 2017

How to Skip Class

10 things to do before you skip a law school class | brazenandbrunette.com


I know I'm supposed to be encouraging y'all to have perfect attendance, but sometimes life happens and you need to miss a class. Yes, it is possible to miss a law school class. In college this was nbd but if you're going to miss class in law school, you should be strategic about it so it doesn't end up hurting you.

Try not to skip

I know this isn't exactly step one of skipping class, but I have to caveat this post with my own opinions about skipping. Law professors go over a lot of information in each class so you really are missing out if you miss class. So really, the best way to be able to skip class for something important is to go as much as possible when there's not an important reason to skip.

Read the syllabus

I know you already read your syllabus at the beginning of the year, but double check to make sure you know exactly how many absences you get! And make sure you read it carefully – does it say 4 absences and then your grade gets docked, or your grade gets docked on your 4th absence? See, this is a big difference! 

Try to convince yourself to go to class

Not to be a mom, but sometimes you don't want to go to class and staying in bed all day sounds amazing and on those times you need to give yourself a kick in the butt and make yourself go. If you want to read about how I would end up going to class even though I wanted to skip, check out my 1L in Review post

Don't use up your absences too fast

One thing that helps me go to class is that my professors generally allow 4 absences and there's about 4 months worth of school, so I try to limit myself to one time a month. Because of this, I usually save my absences during the first week or so of each month juuuust in case I end up needing it more later in the month. Seriously, the worst thing that you want to happen is have something big like an interview that you need to skip to get ready for but you can't because the week before you were hungover or something.

Keep track of the days you miss

In all of my classes so far, attendance isn't "for a grade" but your grade is negatively affected if you miss too many classes. I highly recommend that you keep track of what classes you miss and on what days so you don't end up missing 5 MWF classes because you thought you remembered one of your absences to be on a TR day. You can see an example of how I use my planner to keep up with these in my The Best Planner for Law School post

Study ahead

In college if you missed class, it'd be fine because you probably wouldn't miss anything important but that's no longer the case here. By the next time you go to class, you'll be completely confused and then now you're behind. As soon as you can, try to do the readings for the class that you're going to miss so that you're not stuck doing double reading (which could be almost 100 pages!) for your next class. It also wouldn't hurt to try to check a supplement like Quimbee or something to try to watch a video over what you missed.

Don't skip the hard days

If you do your readings and are completely confused, then really you should go to class unless there's an emergency reason for why you're skipping. Most people have the light bulb go off as someone is explaining it to them. Also, make sure that the day you're skipping isn't anything important like the day a professor has a quiz or a handout planned.

Email your professor

If you do have an important reason to miss, it is just courteous to email your professor and let them know what class you will be missing and why. Since it's super common for law professors to cold call during class, this just lets them know to not bother calling on you that day. I wouldn't recommend asking them to tell you what you're missing in class because they'll probably just be annoyed and tell you to ask a friend. But I do recommend you ask them to let you know if they make any special announcements or anything like that. Here's what I said once —

Subject: Monday's Wills and Trust Class

Professor James,

I just wanted to let you know that I won't be in attendance for Wills [here you can specify either your section or class time just in case your professor has more than 1 of the same class] tomorrow because I have a summer internship interview and the only time that they would be able to see me is during this class time. I've already read pages 253-277 for that day, but I would appreciate it if you let me know I miss any important announcements from class. I'll see you on Wednesday! 


Ask for notes

The #1 rule at the beginning of each semester is to make sure that you have the number for at least one person in every class that you have. Luckily this is easy as a 1L because you have the same people in all of your classes. Text them ahead of time if you can letting them know you won't be there and ask them for a copy of their notes. I say do it before instead of after class because for me personally I take kinda sloppy notes but when I know that someone else will be looking at them later, I'll make sure they're more easily understood. 

Don't panic and think that they won't help you out or will try to sabotage you in some way because really law school isn't like those crazy rumors and if they do try any of that crap then cut that person out of your life because it takes a village to do well in law school. But really though, most decent human beans won't mind taking a picture of their notebook or copying and pasting their notes into an email for you. They'll have your back because they want to know you'll have their back if they ever have to skip too.



Also, make sure that after class you double check with them after class to see where they're at in the readings. It will help when you come back to class if you know whether your professor fell behind or got ahead on the syllabus.

Check for slides

I know this sounds like a lot, but it's just because law classes go over a lot of material in one day and if you're not being this extra then you could start to fall behind. If you do the readings on your own, get a friend's notes, and check the slides, then it should be almost like you didn't miss at all. I suggest getting the notes and looking at the slides because sometimes one will explain what you read in the other better. For example if in the notes they have the answer to a hypo problem that your professor went over, then reading that hypo off the slides is a must. Remember that you're trying to get a complete picture of everything that was covered that day in class.

Final Thoughts 

I know this is probably overkill, but being in law school makes you take all of these extra steps so you're not screwed. And although I said to try not to skip when you can, remember that you do have these absences and you shouldn't feel guilty for using them! Even if it's just because you're feeling stressed and need to take a day off, that's ok! Honestly sometimes I realize that I haven't used my monthly absence so I'll decide to take a 3-day weekend and I look forward to it all week 😊

February 24, 2017

Law School Podcast

Hey guys so today my "guest post" comes from a collaboration between me and Chance from Law School Outlines! Recently he reached out to me and invited me to be apart of his weekly podcasts (find those here) and obviously I was super excited to do it. Some things we talked about:

How the LSAT relates to law school finals and the Bar exam 
The one surprising thing I encountered when I was transferring law schools 
And how to stay humble through the good grades and motivated through the bad grades 

A little about today's collaborator Chance, an attorney in Fort Worth
Created Law School Outlines to connect with and tutor law school students
Law School: Oklahoma City University School of Law, Class of 2015
Undergrad: Texas State University
Major: Communication Studies
Minor: English

You can click below to hear our conversation, but you can also find all of his podcasts on iTunes! I hope y'all enjoy it 😊 (P.S. -- if the podcast doesn't work, you can use this direct link)




February 20, 2017

Why I Decided To Go To Law School

why I decided to go to law school and what I love most about law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Hello again! Today I finally decided to share with y'all my story of why I decided to go to law school just for any undergrad who is still considering signing up for this major life change or anyone out there who was just generally curious.

Why Law School

My "why law school" story actually isn't all that great so I hated trying to work it in to my personal statement and still kinda hope that no one asks me about it in an interview because truthfully, I just kinda decided law school on a whim. It wasn't exactly like a Legally Blonde "I think I'll go to law school today" whim but also I definitely am not one of those people who had this great moment in my life that impacted my decision to come here. 

My freshman year I was an extreme type-A person who had my whole life planned out. I was going to be married by 21, a doctor by 26, a mom before 30, and have my own practice by 35... But by the end of the first semester of my freshman year, I was heartbroken and had failed chemistry so my life plan kinda fell apart. I realized that the only reason I was upset was because I had set all these unattainable goals for myself so I decided to become a go with the flow kinda of person. 

The next semester I was complaining to a friend about retaking chemistry and she told me that she didn't have to take that class because she was going to be a lawyer and there were no prerequisite classes for law school (ironically she actually ended up switching to pre-med). My mom had always joked that I'd make a great lawyer because I'm very argumentative so I started to consider law school a little more seriously.

I joined the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta and loved it when we had lawyers come talk about what they actually do. One day we had a panel of current law students come talk to us and I remember this one 3L talking about how she decided to go to law school because she's a lesbian and one day decided that participating in rallies wasn't enough for her so she decided to be a lawyer to work for her cause from the inside. Obviously my story isn't as great as hers, but I loved the idea of the real power that comes from being a lawyer.

And that was kinda that. By the time that I was applying to law schools, I just had this gut feeling that I was doing what I was supposed to be with my life and that being a lawyer was meant for me. Two years later, I'm still just going with the flow and have kinda decided that I want to do business/commercial law but have absolutely no reason except for that I just like it so why not. 

Why I Stay in Law School

First things first, I have come to realize this week that there are two kinds of people in law school — ones who love it (me) and ones who really really don't like it. At first I just thought it was 3L's having senioritis and wanting to be done with school already, but recently I met a girl who was explaining why she sincerely doesn't like it and now I realize that there actually are a lot of people who would drop out but they want to be a lawyer that bad that they stick it out for 3 years. I mean remember how Nick Miller from New Girl dropped out his 2L year because he hated it? I respect their commitment to being lawyers and really feel bad that they're not enjoying it as much as I am. 

I think the reason why I enjoy it so much and kinda have the attitude that everyone should go to law school is that I genuinely love the challenge of it. That's not to say that I love law school all the time because I definitely don't. Some days I cry because I'm stressed and other days I have to scream into a pillow because I'm so frustrated. Frustrated at professors, frustrated at classmates, frustrated at the casebook author, at the majority's opinion, at the dissenting's opinion, at a certain subject, at the deadlines. It's hard most of the time, tbh. Think of it like college except for you're studying for finals all semester instead of just two weeks and there aren't any frat parties for you to go to after a bad week.

On the flip side, I love that I'm finally learning something that new all the time. Not to be braggy, but in college I felt like most of what I was learning was something that I could figure out on my own. For example, one time I took anthropology and honestly I already knew most of the things we learned from reading an article about it or watching an episode of National Geographic. But here in law school, almost everything I learn is brand new. 

The self-satisfaction you feel after the challenge of learning some hard concept is amazing. And I love that what I'm learning is real-world applicable. I mean honestly I'll probably never use what I learned in most of my undergrad classes again, but I can use my legal knowledge all the time! That's another thing I like, that the legal profession is one where you're always learning. I like this because I still am a perfectionist so I'm always wanting to improve myself.

Lastly, I just love the power that the law gives you. Just like the girl who visited my pre-law meeting, I can change laws one day if I want to, or I have the chance to help someone be righted for a wrong. The other day this very rude man in a Walmart parking lot got heated at me and yelled "I'm going to sue you!" (it was really over nothing, don't worry) and I turned right back around and said "Oh yeah? Under what theory??" If I hadn't gone to law school, I probably would've cried when a huge man was yelling at little 5'2 me, but I wasn't intimidated by him because I knew better. And when my old landlord initially didn't want to give me my deposit money back, I wrote him a nice little letter like I'd learned in my legal writing class and informed him of the various statutes he was violating and he suddenly changed his mind about keeping my money. Again, if I hadn't gone to law school there's no way that I would've had the confidence to stand up for myself against a business owner. 

Final Thoughts

I know my story isn't exactly going to motivate anyone to come to law school, but I hope it helps anyone out there not be dissuaded from coming here. Sure some students' parents and grandparents are lawyers and that's all they've ever dreamed about being, but you don't have to have this big compelling reason to decide to come to law school. Sometimes you just know. So if you're up for a challenge (and no, I don't use that word lightly here), then maybe you'll end up loving law school, too.

February 17, 2017

The Law School Binder System

how to use a binder system to study in law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Today I'm back with another guest post! I'm especially excited for this one because its actually by my DG little (yes obviously I had to find the pre-law girl lol). I've been bugging her to guest post on here ever since I found out that she was going to be taking a law class and I'm glad she finally caved! If you have a great law school experience you'd like to share, use the contact form (on the bottom right) and let me know!


A little about today's writer Jordin from Petite Thoughts

School: Texas Tech University (Junior)
Major: Public Relations

This is the system I developed (or claim to) for my first ever law school class. I personally believe this to be the most fool-proof way to do well in any law class.
To preface, the Texas Tech Honors College allows their undergraduate students to either enroll in an early acceptance program to Tech Law or allows juniors and seniors to take law classes pass/fail for upper-level seminar credit and the possibility to “test out” of law classes at Tech.
I can honestly say this was one of the most daunting experiences of my life. I took an actual law class (holler at me Torts Section 2) with an actual law prof, for actual law credit. Sitting in a room four days a week with a bunch of actual law students who are actually smart and a retired JAG attorney, made me want to have a nervous breakdown weekly. Also, as an MCOM major, I am not particularly used to classes with heavy reading or that rely on tests- most of my classes are essay and project based so this was a whole new challenge for me.
Even though I only had to make a D in this class, there was still a lot of pressure to do well. For starters, what if I was actually so stupid that I didn’t even make a D? And if I couldn’t do well at Tech, I probably wouldn’t do well anywhere. Honor’s professors talk and my prof was the interim dean, so if I applied some day, he’d probably remember I was an idiot.
I was honestly shooting for that C+ to not have to take Torts at Tech someday, and I would’ve been satisfied with that. However, I received one of the highest grades in that class, with one of the hardest professors, AS AN UNDERGRAD. While I will not disclose my actual grade, I received a glowing commendation from my professor. I can 100% guarantee that my success in this class (and domination of actual law students) was due to my system that I have outlined below:
  1. I started by reading every night, which got me ahead in the early weeks where my prof was going slow and I didn’t have a lot going on. Just keep doing the assigned reading- it’ll pay off.
  2. I read each case all the way through and did nothing
  3. Next, I go back and highlight with a color coded system and read the case notes along with the cases.
  4. Next, I added a sticky note to every case with the issue and conclusion. If your teacher cold calls, the highlight system with a sticky note will be pretty foolproof.
  5. Last, I go through and brief every case. (At this point I’ve read or skimmed each case about 4 times)
  6. Make your outlines as you cover each topic. Not only are your notes fresh, it is a good way to review before moving on to the next section. Also, if you want to wait to make your outlines in November… well good luck figuring that out.
  7. This last step seems excessive, but I found it EXTREMELY effective come finals time: take all of your briefs and your outlines and organize them in a binder as you go through the course. I had my outline, then all of the cases I briefed that related to the outline topic after for reference. Then I added tabs so I could navigate quickly from battery to negligence.
  8. Over Thanksgiving break I went through the binder and highlighted (again by a system) the important info and any cases that would be pertinent to reference on the final.
  9. After this, I flipped through the binders MAYBE twice a week and sort of forgot about Torts since it was pass/fail and I wanted an A in my other classes. By this time I legitimately knew the material, all I had to do was memorize my attack outline and I killed it.
(Side note: I highly recommend Evernote, it made it really easy to organize my notes)
I realize this seems like the most excessive 9-step plan to take a law class, but I barely studied for the final and made one of the highest grades… as an undergrad. I will admit, I probably had more time to read than most law students, but that being said even a modified version of this would probably get you close to where I did.
I’m not here to brag, I just wanted to share the system I thought worked the best for me and hopefully works for you too! If you have any questions, want my notes etc., want to talk about Tech law, or any thing else legal related, feel free to reach out to me!

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