January 23, 2017

Keeping Up with Long Distance Friendships in Law School

One thing that I noticed this time last year was how much effort it can be to be a good friend while you're in law school. Going from living a few minutes away from your friends and seeing them all the time to graduating and moving apart is a big change. Even though I was really busy my first semester at law school, I really missed my friends and talked to them all the time. But as it got closer to the second semester, I noticed that me and my friends would talk less and less and I felt like we were slowly drifting apart. So I decided to put forth just a little extra effort so that law school wouldn't isolate me from all of my college friends. If you feel like you're starting to have that problem, here's a few things that I tried and worked.

Schedule time

It sounds overdramatic to "pencil in" a conversation with your friends, but sometimes it can really help. For example, my sister had a lunch break at the same time that I did last year so we got in the habit of just calling each other on our way home. This worked out perfect for me because I had someone to talk to while I ran home for lunch but it was only like a 10 minute drive so it never ended up being this long conversation. I know a lot of people in our generation hate talking on the phone but a quick daily chat was a good way for me and my sister to keep in touch. 

Do something together

One day me and my friend were both talking about how we wanted to get in better shape, so we decided to do a workout plan together. This turned out great because I had someone to keep me accountable/complain about this to. It wasn't the same as going to the gym with a friend but it was nice to have someone doing this workout plan with me and gave us a reason to talk every day to make sure the other was sticking to it.

Snap streaks

This is the easiest/most frustrating thing I've done. With a few of my friends we've really gotten in to having snap streaks. Because you have to snap someone every day, you end up sharing even the boring parts of your day because what else do you have to snap. It sucks when you get busy for just one day and have to start all over, but it forces you to remember to say hey to your friends every day. And usually we end up having a whole conversation about our days so it makes the long-distance thing easier.

Netflix & text

Lol yeah not Netflix and chill. Me and one of my friends both really like movies, so usually about once a week one of us will pick a movie (we swap turns) and then we'll call each other and do a countdown so we start the movie at the same time. Then we end up just texting the entire movie about it. I've grown to love this tradition because watching movies alone sometimes makes me feel like a loser all by myself so it's nice to kinda have someone watching it with you. But you definitely have to find someone who isn't bothered by talking during a movie or they'll probably hate you for this. 

Plan trips

Last year, basically all of my college friends were still at our college either working on a masters degree or finishing up undergrad. This was super convenient for me because I could plan a road trip once a semester to go back and see all of them in one weekend. If your friends are scattered out, you might try making a plan to meet up with one in the middle of where you to are. Another thing you could do is have her come visit you the first semester and then you go to her the next. This way you at least get to see each other twice a year (it sounds low, but this can be hard with 2 busy schedules) and you only have to pay for one trip. Having a getaway weekend is great during the stressful months because you have something to look forward to and then you can get a full weekend off. Just make sure that you plan in advance to study more that week so that you can have a stress free weekend and don't let these trips overdo your budget.

Get a show

This is kinda like the Netflix concept. A friend and I both got really in to Scandal in college so now its our show. I always make sure to get my reading done early that day so that when its Scandal time I can sit down with a glass of wine and live text OMG to my friend for the next hour. Another spin on this is that me and my guy friend are both Cowboys fans so we'll always try to watch the game together. Little things like this give you a reminder/reason to text them at least weekly and then also gives you something to talk about more than just "how was your day" kinda stuff.


This is another one of my favorites because it helps me forget that my friends are so far away now. Me and my friend will FaceTime the other every other week or so just to talk about our day and catch up. I like this better than talking on the phone because if I'm not looking directly at someone, it can be hard for me to not get distracted. 

Final thoughts

Just remember that if your friend doesn't go to law school/has no interest in the law, watch yourself so you don't bore them to death. Idk why, but it seems like all law students can talk about are cases, classes, and professors. Use your non-law friends as a way to keep yourself normal and talk about anything else. These are more suggestions just to get the ball rolling and keep it rolling if you've been finding yourself neglecting your friendships and need a way to make yourself be a better friend.

January 20, 2017

Bouncing Back from a Bad Grade in Law School

4 things to do to overcome a bad grade in law school | brazenandbrunette.com

I know I just got done bragging about my grades, but it was a struggle to get there. To be real with y'all, I got a few C's my first year of law school. Luckily mine were at least C+ and I got more B's than C's so I was content with that. But I know realistically some of you reading this didn't do so hot your first semester. First off just know that I'm here for you if you want to vent or talk about your grades or anythings else. I hope y'all feel free to email me whenever you have something to ask me. So here's what you can do. 

Related: How to Get an A in Law School

Calm down

I know that's the easy thing to say right now but I'm being serious. Don't be too hard on yourself. Yes you didn't do as well as you had expected and even if you did slack a little, what's done is done and beating yourself up isn't exactly going to help you stay positive next semester if and when school gets hard again. In law school, you really do have to learn to be your own cheerleader or this can get really overwhelming. Sure a little kick in the rear might be what you need to get yourself together and get motivated, but seriously don't waste your energy tearing yourself down. 

Also, know that in law school it's super common to get a C so even if you got a D you're not that far behind everyone like you might be if this is undergrad. And don't you dare start trying to find out what your friends made or compare yourself to them! It's toxic and it literally won't help your self esteem at all. Even if you did better than your friends thats not going to help you at all when you're trying to improve yourself

Figure out what happened

If you got a bad grade then something went very wrong and you're going to have to figure out what it was. If timing was your issue and the test simply ended before you had time to finish, then this semester you need to work on doing full length practice problems until you get faster. If you had okay answers but got your grade because of the curve, you'll need to start strategizing on how to point chase better. If you had a nervous break down and just couldn't (you think I'm kidding but this actually happens), then you need to get to know yourself and learn what you can do to keep yourself calm, cool, and collected. Of course, most of the answers to your questions will come from when you meet up with your professor to review your test/grade. Trust me, I know that it's embarrassing to go in there and feel like an idiot but you can't expect to improve your grade when you're not certain about what your test grader is looking for. 

Be careful with asking for help

Not to talk badly about anyone's job, but through undergrad and going to two different law schools I have learned that academic support is either a hit or miss. Sometimes they will basically just say what I said in my last point but will know of resources that your school has, such as tutoring or subelements for subjects in the library or old tests to practice on. Other times they might just scare you in to thinking that if you do not wake up at 6 am to study before class and then study from after class until midnight then you will definitely for sure absolutely flunk out. I advise you to ask around to any upperclassmen that you might've met to make sure that they're the first type before you make an appointment.

Also be a little careful asking a new friend to help. You don't know for sure that they actually did well on their tests so it could just be the blind leading the blind. And their study methods might not even help you. For example: I like to zone out on review days right before finals because other people's questions tend to confuse me on topics that I already understand, but for other people these are the classes where they can get some last-minute learning in. Everyone is different so don't think just because your study style is different that it's any worse. What's more important is working to find what study style does work for you!

Power on

If there is one thing that I learned last year is that "fake it 'til you make it" should be the mantra for all 1L's. Seriously, even the top people in your class are probably still confused about a lot of legal concepts. You gotta keep pushing on. You might not realize what it was that was detrimental to you at once, but you still need to be trying to improve yourself. If you wait until you're the perfect student to start studying then you're going to miss most of this next semester and seriously screw yourself over even worse. Again, the bad grade happened, it sucks, but you still gotta get through this next semester.

And remember, C's get degrees. Realistically, only like your first one or two employers will care about your grades. The rest will care more about your legal skills and reputation. Getting a bad grade in law school doesn't necessarily mean you'd be a bad lawyer, it just means that the other students that you went up against just so happened to do better than you on that one particular test.

Related: How to save your law school GPA

January 18, 2017

My First A in Law School

how to get an A in law school | brazenandbrunette.com

If you were reading about this post from a college blogger, it would be full of advice about studying a little every day instead of cramming, getting a good night's rest instead of pulling all nighters, and reading the textbook instead of just reading the slides. Unfortunately, even if you do all of that in law school you'll probably only get a C+ or maybe a B- if you're lucky. Yes the studying in law school and college has the same concept, but that's like saying that a chicken is a dinosaur — they might be related but one is much meaner and scarier. 

Here is the truth on how I managed to pull off this feat. I got my A in my writing class, which is typically one of the easier law classes. I had already taken this exact class my 1L year, getting a B+ the semester I wrote my memo and a B the next semester when I wrote my appellate brief. The only reason why I had to retake it was because I was lacking credits for 1L writing when I transferred. Except for the one other transfer student, everyone in my class was a foreign student there for their LLM. Out of those students, only 3 were native English speakers. I also happen to be really really good looking at writing (hence why you're here reading my blog). Basically, the stars aligned in my favor.

That didn't mean that my A was given to me. Oh hell no. 

I worked just as hard and stressed just as much as I did the first time I had to write these papers. The only difference was that I was already starting out being pretty good so I took this opportunity to find where I could improve and work on that. If you've written a memo or brief already, then you know that they both really suck and take up so much time and energy and it wasn't any different doing it again. If anything, it was a little more challenging this time around because I didn't have a full semester for each paper to research, draft, and revise.

The best part of getting an A in this class was that my GPA started over as a transfer and this was my first grade posted, so for a glorious few days I went around obnoxiously bragging to my parents that I had a 4.0 in law school. Literally, I tried convincing them that I was a genius lol. It was the best of times. But eventually the rest of my typically average grades came in and lowered that GPA because this is law school and it's here to crush your self esteem. 

The truth is that thanks to the curve, A's in law school are rare. Even students who make the top grade in your class probably only got like 70-80% of the questions right on the final. Law school finals are just set up to be that way. I don't mean to be bursting people's bubbles, but I feel like it's my duty to warn y'all about unrealistic expectations. If you have a 2.5 in law school then you're doing just fine.

January 15, 2017

Understanding Your Law Student

5 things law students want you to know | brazenandbrunette.com

We are experiencing a new level of stress 

You'd have to be here to understand what this stress feels like but trust me everyone, even the normally confident and calm student, is feeling stressed more than we ever have before. So please don't ask us about grades or a job. There's a chance we'll just scream in your face and start hysterically crying. But please do tell us that you're proud and that we're going to make good lawyers. We could use a little TLC after getting mind fucked by our professors. 

There aren't majors in law school 

Law school is set up so everyone takes the same basics their first year and then for the next two years you can take whatever classes you want. Technically yes a law student might take trial procedures and evidence if they're hoping to be a prosecutor, but they also will be taking family law and estate planning so that they're prepared for the bar. So don't ask us what we're studying in law school, because the answer is law. Literally. All of the law classes we can- from criminal to civil, from litigation to transactional. We're studying it all. 

Our readings are different 

The reading isn't fast like in a fiction book. Yes law students are typically nerds so you might be used to them finishing a 300 page book on one flight, but this isn't just reading, it's studying. We have to pay attention to what we're reading, stop and take notes over the concepts of the chapters, and commit to memory what we're learning. This also isn't like reading an undergraduate text book where you can skim through or just read the summary at the end of the chapter and understand what is going on. Most of these concepts are brand new and hard to understand when you're first learning about them. When a law student says they have readings to do, expect that it will take them several hours

We're obsessed with the law 

After taking 5 different versions of the same subject all semester, law is literally all they can think about now. We spend class time developing our own opinions on certain laws. We are trained to discuss a major case at the drop of a hat. We are eager to correct you when you mention that the infamous McDonald's hot coffee case was just about some greedy lady trying to make money off her own stupidity. We realize that you don't understand and don't care, but we just can't stop talking about our passion. Spoiler alert: it's probably going to only get worse so just get used to it now. 

We are not lawyers 

Legally we cannot give you legal advice. Moreover, we probably haven't yet learned about whatever your legal issue is so we have no idea. If anything, we might be just a little better at Googling it for you because we know the proper terms to search for but we have 0 lawyer experience and just can't help you. Also know that the joke about "bailing you out" isn't that funny because we're aspiring lawyers, not bail bondsmen so you don't even need us to get you out. Sorry ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

January 13, 2017

Preparing for Spring Semester of Law School

3 things to do to prepare for the spring semester | brazenandbrunette.com

Ugh it feels like Christmas break just started but that hasn't stopped that nagging feeling that I'm getting, reminding me to get my life together in the next week before school starts. For those of you who are 1L's, congratulations you made it past the hardest semester of law school and believe it or not your classes will get easier! (a fair warning though, that does not necessarily mean that you will be less busy) Even in undergrad I've always loved Spring semester because it's a fresh start in your school year but isn't completely new like Fall semesters. So, my friends, here's what I'm doing to get started on the new year! PS - Happy 2017!

Get finances in order

New year, new loans amirite? It sucks I know. Although I don't have to fill out another FASFA for this semester, I went ahead and double checked with my school to see when my tuition is due and if I'll need to request my refund or if it's automatically deposited in to my account. And since my government loan wasn't enough to cover my school and living expenses, It have to re-apply for another personal loan for this semester, too. If I had extra money left over from last semester, I definitely would think about taking out a smaller loan next time so because the less I initially take out (the principal) the less I'll have to pay later (the principal + interest). 

Next on the list: budgeting! I make sure I have enough money to pay for the next 5 months of rent (or maybe even 7 months in case I end up with an unpaid internship). I also look in to see how much my books will cost and go ahead and order those ASAP so that they get in before my first day of class.

With any extra money left over in my budget, I look and see what supplies I need to replenish. I typically need some more highlighters and other basic school supplies. I am still going to use my planner, but if you're needing a new planner for the new semester you should check out this post and also this one :)

Make a game plan

Now that I've been through a semester, I like to look back and think on what I slacked on the most so that I can make goals to fix those problem areas. One semester I struggled to actually read all of the cases, so I set a goal to make more time to read them. My first semester I procrastinated on my outlines, so then I made an effort to try to work on them a little each week. My goal is always to just try to improve on myself a little.

These goals are nice but I consider about what I'll need to do to achieve them. One thing that really helps me with that is creating a study schedule and planning out to study a little every day but also planning out some R&R time. Another thing I've tried is changing my study methods if what I did last semester didn't quite work out for me. 

Most importantly, I make appointments with my professor's office hours so that I can sit down with them and go over my finals. It's important for me to see what my strengths and weaknesses are! Also I go back through anything else that was graded and absorb any notes that were on my papers. I realize that this sounds like the type of advice that a guidance counselor would give but no one actually take or even what only suck-up students do, but I'm playing the law school game now and this is one of my cheat codes. 

Another big thing that I think really helps is that I review my notes from the previous semesters. Everything in law school builds on other topics so I know I will be screwed in my upcoming classes if I already forgot what I've been learning (plus it's a good little start for the Bar). All I do is start with my Fall 1L outlines and just read through them once, and then read through my Spring 1L outlines, and now I'm adding my Fall 2L outlines to that as well. My favorite law school quote is your rate of learning has to exceed your rate of forgetting.

Get organized

Déjà vu. Print out my syllabus. Color code my classes to my planner. Add due dates to my planner. Find where my classes will be (thank God law schools have less classrooms than college campuses!!). Find out when organization meetings are and if/when dues are due. Find out when try outs for any competitions are. Do a little internship hunting. This semester I bought cute file folders and a desk organizer and made a folder for: syllabi; financial aid documents; pro bono time sheets; internship paperwork; documents for tax purposes (FYI that's coming up soon); and textbook rental paperwork. Something I started last semester was adding my classes to my iCal with the classroom in the location so that I can easily remember it, and my section number and professor's names in the notes of the event. I set the events to repeat either M/W or T/R and have the repeat end for finals. I also set a reminder to go off "at time of event" just in case I'm grabbing a drink or something so I'm reminded to get back to class.

I also make sure that I'm getting my daily schedule organized too. This is probably my put-too-much-thought-into-everything coming out again, but I find that getting back into a daily schedule while I'm on break helps me be more productive when I'm back at school. I'll start going to bed earlier so that I can eventually be waking up as early as I do for school. Then I'll go ahead and actually not look homeless before meeting up with my friends or someone for lunch. When I get back in the afternoons, I'll make myself be productive by doing some laundry or helping my mom clean or cook. Because I'm not at school, I allow myself to watch a ton of TV but try to set a time to stop and stick to it. Then I read or do something else that isn't just bumming around. By the time I get back to school, it seems like my body is already on autopilot and used to the motions of being productive throughout the day. Just something to try maybe. 

January 11, 2017

Deciding Whether to Retake the LSAT

Why you shouldn't retake the LSAT, why you should retake the LSAT, and tips for retaking the LSAT | brazenandbrunette.com

A long, long time ago in my very first post I briefly talked about how I retook the LSAT after getting a slightly-below-average first score and wanting to raise my score by 4 measly points. Unfortunately in my case, my second score ended up being 12 points lower than my original so safe to say that plan backfired on me. I haven't really thought much about those two scores until recently I've had a friend ask me for advice on whether or not to retake the LSAT (lol yes I've surrounded myself with generations of future law students). So if you're contemplating retaking the LSAT, here's my insight on that. 

Related: What I wish I knew before taking the LSAT

Why you shouldn't retake the LSAT

I'll start off by being frank. I regretted retaking it. Think back to the pressure that you felt as you took it the first time, knowing that your future career came down to this one test. Now imagine that pressure on top of the disappointment and self doubt you're carrying around because of your first score. Add to that the pressure of now you're going to have to wait to submit any of your applications until you get this next score back. It's a lot of pressure so just because you've taken it before doesn't mean that the second time is any easier.

I got my first score back and then only had a week to decide whether to take the leap of faith and apply then with that score or to risk cutting it close to application deadlines in hopes of getting a higher score. Because of this, I really only had what felt like two good weeks to study for the second round. I thought I could be strategic and just work on improving my worst section since I didn't have time to try to improve my better sections. Obviously this plan did not work out for me. 

I studied originally with Kaplan and they have some guarantee about how if you're not satisfied with your score you can get more classes for free when you try to improve it. However, I couldn't find out how to try to get these free classes since I had taken online classes (which I don't recommend) so I didn't even know who to talk to. I tried to go back through my books and re-read and try to get a better grasp on what it was saying but if you don't understand something in the first place it's really hard to try to teach yourself to understand it.

I really thought that retaking it a second time would be easier because in high school I retook the ACT every year and each time I got faster and better on it. The LSAT is not like the ACT in this way. I underestimated how hard it would be to not only be as smart and efficient as I was the first time, but also how to somehow improve more than I was that first time.

Lastly, this test is fucking expensive. I felt like I wasted $200 and definitely did not feel like I got my money's worth. It didn't help that I procrastinated on deciding whether or not to retake it so I ended up having to pay the late fee. 

Why you should retake the LSAT

However, that's not to mean that you shouldn't consider retaking it. For starters, law schools only consider your highest score, so if you do worse it won't hurt you. Not only will a better score increase your chances of getting accepted, it will also increase your chances of getting a scholarship or increase the amount of scholarship that you will get. This means it's a low risk and potentially a high reward so you might as well try, right?

PS - here's data on what people's second scores were when they retook it

Also, it takes 4 years to earn your GPA but only 4 hours to earn your LSAT score so this is the easiest way to bump your chances of getting in because by now your GPA is pretty set in stone. If you truly did have a bad day the first time you took it, then now is the perfect time to try to make up for that and make you a stronger candidate. And even though I personally regretted retaking it, I will admit that it was less intimidating the second time.

If you do decide it's worth the cost to retake it, my advice to you is to decide fast so that you can avoid the late fee and so that you can get started on studying ASAP. Like I said, I focused on trying to improve my weakest section, but if I could go back what I would probably focus on instead is improving my speed. The time crunch seems to be everyone's biggest hurdle when taking the LSAT (sad truth: this is also one of the hardest parts of law school finals). You'll probably only have a couple of weeks to get ready for your next test and that's not a lot of time to master a section that you don't understand. I personally think it's a better strategy to try to get a little faster so that you can quickly get to the questions you do know how to answer so that you don't have to risk guessing on those, and then just give up on the confusing ones and save those for your guessing.

One warning about that though is that after focusing on my weakest sections I had already started to forget little things about my better sections because I didn't spend hardly any time reviewing that. Make sure that you still skim back through your notes and are practicing all of the sections, not just your problem ones. 

Not to call anyone out, but if for your first test you thought oh this isn't too bad, I don't have to crack down on studying, then now is the time for you to crack down studying. Just like with finals, it can be really beneficial for you to go to a quiet library a couple of evenings a week and study for several hours.

What to do if you still have a low score

In the end, if you still find yourself stuck with a not-so-hot score then you might consider writing an addendum about it. A note on this: I don't think you should write an addendum if you made a slightly-less-than-average score. I'm talking about if it's like bad. Don't try to make it a sob story or make excuses because admissions committees are over that. Own up to it and admit that it was bad, but then focus on why they should still seriously consider you and why you're still a strong candidate. 

No matter what, don't give up on your law school dreams just because of a bad LSAT score. Plenty of people haven't gotten in to law school with a meh score. And even if you have meh grades and a meh score, you can still go to whatever law school will take you and then work hard to transfer (they don't really care about your LSAT when you transfer). Don't listen to any of the negative blogs or articles that talk trash on badly ranked law schools. Yes, if you go to these law schools you probably won't be balling like Harvey Specter on Suits, but if you're just in it for the money and don't even like the law or being a lawyer then you might consider other careers. Just because you won't be going to a topped ranked school and having a starting salary of $200k doesn't mean that you won't make a great lawyer. Have faith in yourself!

January 6, 2017

What it's Like to Transfer Law Schools

What it's like to transfer law schools. What to expect when you transfer law schools. | brazenandbrunette.com

In case you're new here, I went to one school for my 1L year and then transferred to my current school for my 2L year. Some of you have mentioned to me that you want to transfer for the next semester, and I'm sure some of you are considering or will consider transferring after this year. These are my un-sugarcoated thoughts on that.

Who are you??

My very first realization about transferring is that it can be awkward. When I went orientation at my new school, at least once an hour an eager 1L would ask me what section I was in with hopes of making a new friend in their class. Each and every time I had to explain to them that I was actually a 2L who transferred. Sometimes they would ask me about my experience or for advice regarding the 1L year and I got to go full on Brazen and Brunette on them and share my knowledge (I never ended up telling them about this, though, because I couldn't think of a non-tryhard way to be like check out my blog). 

Even in my upper-level classes, people will be talking to me and realize that they don't know me so 2L's will ask if I'm a 3L or what section I was in and again I have to explain to them that I wasn't here last year. I'm pretty sure why this keeps happening is because law schools are usually like 200-300 people so it's pretty easy to spot faces after only a year. 

Another thing that happens a lot when I'm talking with other 2L's or 3L's is that people will joke about a professor and I miss out on the joke and when I don't laugh I again have to explain that I wasn't here last year. I just never considered how many times I would have to say "I transferred," but damn if I had $1 for every time I did... 

And of course, because people like to show that they're interested in your life story, every time I mention that I transferred I always have the same followup questions of Where did you transfer from? and Why did you transfer? and often What did you think about your old school? Which do you like better? I have a friend who goes there, do you know so and so? Im not complaining or saying that these questions bother me, I'm just pointing out that it was definitely something I hadn't even thought of. 

Missing your old school

Whether you loved your old school or not, you're going to miss it. It just happens. I think it's because you spent a year (or at least a semester) integrating yourself into a certain school atmosphere, and now you have to leave it all behind and start all over again. Right now I'm taking a class that I had registered for at my old school with one of my favorite professors, and now every time I get confused in my current class I can't help but wonder if I'd be doing better with my old professor.

People transfer for all kinds of reasons

While I obviously transferred as a way to move on to a better school, that's not always the reason why people transfer. Through seeing other students from my old school transfer and meeting transfer students at my new school, I've seen people transfer because they got married and want to live with their spouse, or their spouse got a job opportunity too good to pass up so they had to move, they wanted to move back closer to family, they wanted to move out of the state to get away from family, they decided they'd rather take the bar/practice in another state, or they just realized that their first school wasn't for them. Moral of the story, there's no reason to be embarrassed about transferring. 

Other transfers are a great help

I've ran in to a few great transfer students this semester and it's been such a help. I thought because I was transferring back to my alma mater that I'd adjust instantly. I was wrong. Law school is a whole new animal from undergrad so it helps to have someone else who has been where you have been to catch you up on things that you only would've learned through experience if you spent all 3 years at one school. It's nice to have these people to ask for and give help, like when one of my transfer friends came from another state to Texas and had no idea what to do about the Dec (which is what made me want to do this post).

Missed opportunities

Probably the hardest part about transferring schools is that you miss a lot of opportunities. I was planning on trying to write-on for one of the journals at my old school, but quit the application as soon as I was accepted into my current school. This also means that I missed the window to try to get on to any journal at my new school so now I feel like I'm not doing as much as I can since journals are such a big thing in law school. (PS journals are also referred to as Law Reviews, so don't be confused).

I also had to give up employment opportunities when I transferred. The week after I received my acceptance to my new school, my LRW emailed me that I had gotten the (paid!!) job of TA for his class for the next semester. It was really sad for me to be giving up this opportunity to earn good money while gaining insight and advice from a practicing attorney and gaining a potential great rec letter. I also was in the middle of the interview process for an externship for credit for the spring semester of my 2L year when I was accepted. 

It just sucks having to give up these opportunities to build my résumé. Also, any clout that you've been building up so that you could take on a leadership position in a student organization flies out the window once you become a newbie again at a new school (and also you might miss the elections for these, too). And you also lose any chance to be a class ambassador, or be on a mock trial/moot court/arbitration/negotiations/any other Board of Barristers team. 

Starting off behind

Luckily for me, all of my classes transferred so I didn't lose any credit by changing schools. But that didn't mean that I started off at my new school caught up with everyone else who had been there for their 1L year. I ended up having 5 credits for my core classes of Property, Torts, and Contracts because I took those for 2 semesters, but my new school only required 4 hours for each of these so now I have 3 elective credits more than everyone else. So of course that means I came in lacking at least 3 hours less than everyone else. My new school required all 1L's to have 6 hours worth of "legal practice" and I came in with only 2 from my 2 semesters of a 1-hour legal research and writing. But I needed I think 4 hours of that plus another class worth of legal practice. 

What all of this ended up meaning was that I had to take LRW again (yep, another memo and another brief). At least they put me in the LLM class so it was only a one semester condencsed version with the international students who already were lawyers in their own country instead of me having to be with all of the 1Ls and starting all over again. This was a little frustrating for me because I already had passedthis class so I didn't see the point of retaking it, but it turned out to be advantageous for me because I had already taken this exact class and they hadn't so I already knew all of the rules and requirements. I had one other transfer student in that class with me and he'd already taken it too so it was pretty obvious from the beginning that it would be us two gunning for the A grade in the class.

For my other "legal practice" class, I was signed up for a Negotiations workshop. I guess my school makes all of the transfers take that because I was in there with two other transfer students and the guy from my LRW class is signed up for it for this next semester. Other non-transfers were in there too, but mostly 3L's who want to go in to corporate law or are already on the school's negotiation team through BOB. I probably wouldn't have thought to sign up for this class on my own but I ended up really enjoying it so if you ever need an elective, you might try to take something like that.

You'd think spending my first semester taking these classes (which was half of all that I was registered for) would catch me up but nope I'm still behind :/ I already had my Spring semester full with 16 hours when the registrar emailed me and informed me that I'm still lacking an "experience" class so sometime or another I'm going to have to get in to a clinical program or something and then I will finally be caught up as if I'd been going here all along.

Learning a new school

Like I was saying earlier, you come to a new school and start to get that fresh-faced-1L nervous feeling because again everything is a mystery. Not only did I spend this last semester catching up in my classes, but I also feel like I've been catching up on the school atmosphere as well. At my old school, I knew which professors were great in which subjects and which professors were easy and which were hard asses. So again I had to ask around and find out which professors to take for which class and who to avoid.  

And I had to figure out the curve all over again. Not only do different schools have different curves (ex. a C+ is the average at one school vs a B- is the average at another school), but also it's super normal for schools to have different curves for different levels (a C is the average for 1Ls to weed them out but it goes up to a C+ for 2Ls). So when you're asking your classmates what the curve is, make sure to also ask them what it will be for you for the next year too.

Grades start over

More about grades again, but this time it's good news :D I didn't realize this until mid-semester but when you transfer your grades start over! Yes, I'm sure this sucks if you had a fantastic GPA at your last school, but for the majority of us this is a great opportunity. Let me explain-- at my old school the curve for 1L's was a B- but at my new school the 1L curve is a C+. That means that even if the grades didn't reset I would have started out an average of a quarter grade above everyone else.

The curve for 2L's at my new school is a B so even if I'm just perfectly average this year, my GPA will be a B while everyone else who is average (majority of them) will have a GPA of a B- because their C+ will bring them down more than me. So just starting off, I'm in a really good position to be on the top half of my class rankings! Once I realized this is was kind of a motivator for me because it's hard to imagine yourself getting even a B+ as a 1L, but it's a more realistic goal as a 2L once you know how things work a little. 

Final Thoughts

Too long;didn't read of transferring- you start out behind in credits and being accustomed to the school, but you can use it to your advantage for the "law school game." This past semester has felt like a waste just catching up and I am stressing that I might not graduate in 3 years, but I still don't regret my decision. I ended up learning to love my old school, but all along I always knew that my new school was were I was supposed to be so for me all of this adjustment has been worth it. 

January 4, 2017

Perfect Movies for Law Students

7 movies for law students to watch. Law school movies | brazenandbrunette.com

We survived finals!!! My professor always jokes that sleep is a mini-mester class that you take over Christmas break, so enjoy it while you can! I recently got an Amazon Fire Stick so here's some law movies that I've been binging on (these are all on either Amazon Prime Video or Netflix). 

One thing that I've noticed since coming to law school is that I get really in to the legal aspects of these movies. I get proud of myself when I recognize a term and then get annoyed when the movies aren't realistic. But still, gotta love law movies because now I'm obsessed with all things law.

PS if you want some ideas on binge-worthy law TV shows, check out this post!

Legally Blonde

Duh. At this point, you gotta give props to Elle Woods for putting the thought of being a lawyer in our heads and making it look like a fun career. Even though I'm adamant that no 1L will no enough about Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure to actually help out with a case, I still love this movie because Elle is such a kick ass law student. This movie will never get old.

Erin Brockovich

For some reason I had never seen this movie until this summer but damn is it good. Erin makes you want to get good at research and kick some ass for your client, even though she is only a paralegal. The best part is that it's based off a true story so it's extra inspiring. If at this point you're starting to lose excitement about being a lawyer, this movie will definitely motivate you.

The Paper Chase

I love this movie because it's actually super realistic! From the hardass professor that you're bound to have, to how nerve-wrecking being cold called can be, to how insane you feel when you're trying to remember everything for your finals. If anyone asks me what law school is like, I tell them to check out this movie (especially you 0Ls!).

12 Angry Men

This movie is so old school that it's in black in white, but it has stood the test of time. I first heard of this movie because the pre law program at my undergrad school was playing it for a meeting. After spending this summer at a court house sitting in on real trials, I really appreciate the plot of this movie. It's basically about the standard that juries are held to and how important the 6th Amendment is.

Hot Coffee

One of the first things we talked about during orientation with my professor was about the infamous McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit. Most people know the mainstream story about this case, but this documentary really goes in to all of the real facts and legal theories of it. It's super interesting to think about from a law student's perspective. And if you're thinking about going in to personal injury law (also known as Torts) then this is a little bit about what you'll actually be doing as that type of lawyer.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Such a classic, amirite?? We actually had to read this book in one of my high school English classes so I've gotten an extra dosage of Atticus Finch. But the movie is definitely worth a watch or a rewatch! 

My Cousin Vinny

I liked this movie because it's kind of making fun of the fact that law school gives you practically no legal practice experience and you kinda just learn as you go once you get out in the real world. It's a comedy too so if you watch it with a non law student, they won't hate it. Just an FYI I could only find this on HBO. Also, this has some great examples for FRE 602 and 702!

Indictment: The McMartin Trial

Another movie from HBO. If you liked the OJ miniseries on Fox, you'll like this. It's basically set up the same to take you all the way through the trial and it's also about a real case. What's interesting about this case is that it lasted 7 years and cost the state $15 million to prosecute so it holds the record for the longest and most expensive criminal case. Also, the facts of this case are just crazy

John Grisham's The Rain Maker

Ohmygod Danny DeVito! I love your work! Ha ok sorry just had to throw in a Mean Girls reference with all these other good movies. It's the newbie-lawyer-that-no-one-believes-in of My Cousin Vinny meets the unexperienced-yet-zealously-representing-your-client of Erin Brockovich. Unfortunately you can't watch it on Netflix or Amazon Prime but you can rent it on iTunes, but it's worth the $3 to get all excited about being a kickass lawyer. Shoutout to guest post blogger Jordin for recommending this to me!

The Firm

Basically it's about the world of big time lawyers. It's about Tom Cruise being a top graduate from his law school so he gets recruited by this super nice firm and then of course shit goes down. It also is about the pressures that are put on lawyers, so it has some realistic parts of it.

The Judge

This was another one that I could only find by renting it on iTunes. Honestly guys, sometimes people have these really bad concepts in their heads of defense lawyers because they "get the bad guys off" but after spending this summer working in a court room, I can tell y'all that it's anything but that! This movie is great because it shows how much pressure they're under because if they mess up, their client could lose years off their life. Plus I watched this movie right after we learned about FRE 701 so I appreciated the scene where he throws his legal pad to make an objection 😂 Shoutout to Ashlyn for the recommendation!

Mommy Dead and Dearest

This is a documentary that's only on HBO. If you liked the style of Making of a Murderer, then you'll like this too. Basically it follows a girl who planned for her boyfriend to kill her mom. I like it because it brings you through the real trial and brings up some real questions and policy considerations that we actually talked about in my criminal law class. Shoutout to Reese from Law School Roundup for alerting me about this.