December 29, 2017

Top Blog Posts of 2017

Here's a look back on the top 10 posts of 2017 that got the most reads and greatest feedback! Favorite law school blog posts of 2017. Most popular law school blog posts of 2017. Top 10 law school blog posts of 2017. law school blog. law student blogger |

Happy end of the year everyone! My new years plans are packing and moving because Dallas is right around the corner, but I hope y'all have a more fun NYE planned. This year I wanted to start a new B&B tradition where I recap and reflect over the top posts of the year. As a blogger, it's always so intriguing to see which posts are the most popular because every time I publish a post I just hope y'all like it and then when one has a tremendous I'm relieved that y'all found it useful. Plus it's always surprising when I post that I quickly write in like 30 minutes turns out to be one that y'all really loved because I never know what your reactions will be!

1. 16 Great Law School Finds from Etsy

top blog posts of 2017 #1 - 16 great law school finds from etsy |

Okay guys so I'm an Etsy addict and this post has actually grown to 23 (and counting) law school finds! But honestly some of this stuff is so cute and I love supporting small businesses so I'm glad this has been the top post I've written this year. The She Wants The JD coffee mug is seriously still the funniest thing I've seen in a while! And TBH, I'm obsessed with the Hidden Owl Boutique that I discovered when working on this post.

2. The Law School Binder System

top blog posts of 2017 #2 - the law school binder system |

This is one of those posts that I'm talking about when I say that I was surprised at how many reads it got! It actually was a guest post by my little Jordin of Petite Thoughts and was one of her first blog posts to write. I was so excited to snap her and show her that it had thousands of reads and be able to help her get her new blog off its feet. Plus, we had some amazing feedback from y'all about how much this helped y'all, which is always a win for any blogger to get to help your readers! And now that it's been all over Pinterest, I roll my eyes for choosing pens for the photo when the whole post is about binders haha.

3. Professional Post-Grad Planner

top blog posts of 2017 #3 - professional post-grad planner |

I'm so glad that I stumbled upon Plum Paper Planners my 1L year and have been able to help so many of y'all find a planner that's super customizable so that it can be just right for you. It's funny because now I have planner buyer's guide posts Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4! I think planners help not just with school but with organizing your life as well so I love seeing y'all hop on the planner train with me too. And I will just quickly throw this out there that if you're wanting to get a 2018 planner or a planner for next semester, my 10% off code BRAZEN10 is ending soon at the end of this January so order now to save a little!

4. Perfect Movies for Law Students

top blog posts of 2017 #4 - perfect movies for law students |

The summer after my 1L year I wrote a post about my Favorite Law TV Shows that was a huge hit so almost a year ago I wrote this as a follow-up post and it's also been super successful! They're fun as a pre-law to watch to get you pumped to get to go to law school and they're fun as a newly cynical law student to point out everything they get wrong or quiz yourself to see if you can spot an objection before the actor calls it. Plus like who doesn't love a good movie binge?? And now I'm randomly craving popcorn....

5. A Law Student's Study Schedule

top blog posts of 2017 #5 - a law student's study schedule |

This was a fun post for me to write because I got to show y'all a behind-the-scenes look at what my day is actually like (hence why it was originally named 2L Year They Work You To Death). It was a little stressful getting a snapchat right on the hour, but I still am proud of that idea. I also just realized that I've been majorly slacking on saving and uploading snapchats of a law student so I'm going to try to get better about that in 2018 but in the mean time you can catch some by following me on snapchat. Anyways I think why this post was so successful is because I always get emails and comments of people wanting to know what law school is really like and this is a pretty good glimpse for them to prepare!

6. Understanding Your Law Student

top blog posts of 2017 #6 - understanding your law student |

This is just a post that I wrote after my friend voiced frustration when her parents said oh you only have to read 80 pages tonight? so you'll be done in like an hour right?? because people who aren't in law school just kinda don't understand. I hope that if this got shared with any of your friends or family, it helped them get just a little better idea of what you're going through. Like I said when I first shared it, nobody understands us except us haha.

7. Why I Decided to Go to Law School

top blog posts of 2017 #7 - why I decided to go to law school |

I got an email from a reader on the fence about law school because she didn't already know what kind of law she wanted to practice or anything like that yet and so she felt that maybe she wouldn't belong or would be starting off behind. This post just goes to show you that sometimes you can just fly through life by the seat of your pants and you'll figure it out along the way! It was fun getting to do a personal post because I don't often get the opportunity to share very personal posts with y'all. Lol I'm also surprised that it took me until I was halfway done with law school to share with y'all how I even decided to come here in the first place.

8. The Time I Almost Almost Dropped Out of Law School

top blog posts of 2017 #8 - the time I almost dropped out of law school |

This post is probably the most personal/vulnerable I've ever gotten with y'all. I really didn't want to share it because it was a really rough story and I would hate to scare someone off from following their dream of being a lawyer when they read about the dark side of law school. It was also hard for me to open up because who I am to write advice about law school when I was struggling so hard with it myself. But I think the moral of the story is that law school is hard at some point for everyone and it's better to just admit that than to pretend like everything's fine and you're fine and school's fine. I also am really happy that it helped those of you who were at that rough part of being a 1L feel reassured that you're not alone!! (side note I really like how it came out that my why I came and why I almost left stories ended up back-to-back on this list)

9. Law School Books: Buying New v. Buying Used v. Renting

top blog posts of 2017 #9 - law school books: buying new vs. buying used vs renting |

I wish I would've thought about writing this post last year or the year before just because I think it's a really handy post! Some people say buy new all the way and others say rent all the way so this post was more to help y'all learn the advantages of both to make an informed decision for yourself. Plus, it always helps to save and find some stuff for free online!

10. How to Find Law School Scholarships 

top blog posts of 2017 #10 - how to find law school scholarships |

First off let me say how stupidly proud I was when I made this post about taking a screenshot of the post and then putting that on the laptop in the image and making it a picture-within-a-picture concept haha. I know, I'm lame. This post is for those of us who are smart enough to get into law school but we just quite didn't have what it took to get a full-ride or significant scholarship to law school. And that's okay! Lots of little scholarships can add up and end up being a big help towards your overall school debt and that's what this post was all about. 

But to be honest with y'all, my favorite post of 2017 was my Giving Tuesday post! I've been wanting to find a way to brag on my sister and share her story with y'all and hopefully inspired some of y'all to give back in some small way or another. Anyways, it's been another fun year of blogging and I'm so grateful for y'all sweet readers coming back here to hear what I have to say and for all of your emails and comments! Have a great NYE and I'll see you in 2018!

December 27, 2017

Time Balancing in Law School

How to juggle your time as a law school. How to balance your time in law school. How to manage your time in law school. Law school time management. law school blog. law student blogger |

I sent out a calling the other day for post requests from y'all and the overwhelming theme of every request I got had to do with managing your time in law school, which I totally get because that's one of the things that can be the most overwhelming to figure out as a 1L and also one of the things that I feel like all law students complain about.

Manage your expectations

College did not prepare you for law school, time-management wise, at all! In college, your day was like 3-4 hours of school and then 20-21 hours of free time. This led to lots of parties and opportunities for part-time jobs and just a whole bunch of Netflix. Coming from this to law school can make you feel like you have no free time at all when suddenly you realize you're spending like 14 hours a day either in class or reading for class or preparing for class. It's a big life-style change! So if you're not in law school yet, you might as well go ahead and accept your fate that your daily schedule is going to change.

Your free time isn't really free time

Another big change is how you actually spend your free time. In college, in between classes gave you plenty of time to go out and be social with friends or run errands all over town. In law school, by the time you are finally done with class and reading, you're exhausted. Mental exhaustion is a totally new feeling that probably up to this point you've only really felt after you're finally done with finals and therefore a string of all-nighters. But in law school it can be like an every day thing. So instead of being productive when you finally have nothing to do and cleaning your apartment, or being social and meeting up with friends, all you have the energy to do is just lay on your couch for like an hour and stare at your ceiling, not really thinking about anything because your brain is exhausted (this literally happens to me). All this to say that it just gives this allusion that you have no free time in law school because you never feel like you have free time to get shit done.

Make your time efficient 

I will preach time management as one of the keys to sanity in law school until I am blue in the face. I'm telling y'all if you aren't good at time management before law school, you'll learn fast. This is kinda a trial-and-error thing because what works for one person might not work for you and what works for one semester/year might not work for the next. Whatever system works for you, if you schedule out your day you will feel like you have so much more free time because you will get a block of a solid 6 hours or whatever of free time to truly relax instead of an hour here and 30 minutes there, which will feel like you never actually have time to just take a break.

Study smarter, not harder

Speaking of time efficient, here's the thing I'll let you in on... it's literally not worth your effort to spend 5 hours preparing for one class. Yes you should be be reading for class, and book briefing will help, and making a case brief (IRAC) will help, and there's always more that you can do. But once you get down the basics, you can slowly stop doing so much because it doesn't take as much effort for you to understand what the legal concepts are. I'm not saying start slacking, but I am saying start figuring out what gives you the most help and stick with that. If you start to feel like you're slipping behind, just use some supplements to fill in the gaps to make sure you're fully understanding what's going on. I promise you that if all you do is kill yourself trying to study every waking moment, you're going to end up burnt out on law school and hate yourself.

Tackle things in pieces

You will basically have two assignments your 1L year of law school— readings every day and then a big memo or brief (an appellate brief, not a case brief) for your writing class. Some people prefer to get their readings out of the way on the weekends and some people prefer to do a little reading each day. Try out both and don't just assume that one is better than the other because reading is your life for 3 years. Just whatever you do, don't get behind on your readings!! 

Which brings me to the big writing assignment. Start early because this is seriously harder than anything you've ever written before. I don't care if you whipped out a 30-page paper one time in college by pulling an all-nighter and still got an A. This has lots of case researching, argument brainstorming, argument organizing, and lots of citing to figure out and you will have a full panic attack if you wait. Plus, it's easier to squeeze in just a little extra work on top of your every day assignment for a few weeks instead of being that person stuck choosing between reading for class or working on your paper. 

let's be friends!

December 20, 2017

Putting the Law School Curve Into Perspective

4 truths about the law school curve that no one else will tell you, 3 tips about beating the law school curve, and why you shouldn't be afraid of the law school curve as a 1L. how do law school grades work? what is the law school curve? explain how a law school curve works. law school grading curve. how to understand the law school curve. does the curve help or hurt your law school GPA? how does the curve affect your law school GPA? law school curve grade distribution. what 1L's need to know about the law school grading curve. law school blog. law student blogger |

It's me again! Sorry I accidentally took like a month off from blogging but honestly with finals and then Christmas coming up it really felt like I only took 2 days off! But I know that right now is the hardest time of the year to be a 1L. You took your finals that were probably harder than you anticipated and now you just sit back and wait for your grades. I remember coming home from my first semester of law school and family friends would ask me how school was and my honest answer would be, "I don't know. I could've flunked out or I could be on the Dean's list so we'll find out once grades are posted." And it takes like a month for your grades to be posted! 

It's so nerve-wrecking because for almost all of your classes, your grade comes down to that one test. None of this oh if I make an 83 I'll get an A in this class math because you don't have any other grades to calculate and because of the curve, you don't know what you'll get in the class. I feel like the curve can be a major source of anxiety for anyone who isn't used to it, so I thought I'd dedicate a whole post to it since I've just mentioned it in passing before.

It's not as bad as you think

The curve was explained to me once as You don't have to outrun the bear, Just the other campers. This is the curve at it's most basic part, but isn't really the whole truth. I mean, yes, technically, if you do better than everyone else, you'll get a good grade. And yes, technically, this didn't really happen in college because if everyone else did just as good as you, then you'd all get a good grade. But here's the thing I've come to find out, the curve doesn't punish you like you'd think it would. 

In all actuality, law school is generally made up of some of some really smart people to begin with. The curve can show you who really understood the material (beyond just word vomit) and who really worked for it. The people who get A's actually do write a really great answer and the people who get F's actually do write a really blah answer. And the people who get B's/C's (whatever the curve median is set to) actually do write really average answers.

Most people know the right answer

Here's a very basic difference in the curve:
Dan punched Paul. Discuss the potential outcome of a lawsuit between D and P.

F answer: Paul can't sue Dan because it's totally legal to punch people.
D answer: Paul will win.
C answer: Paul will win because this is a battery by Dan. The elements to battery are... 
B answer: Paul will win because this is a battery by Dan. The elements to battery are... The elements of battery where met when... 
A answer: Paul will win because this is a battery by Dan. The elements to battery are... The elements of battery where met when (applying the facts to the rule)... This is similar to case X; there, the Defendant slapped the Plaintiff and the court found that the slap was a battery because...

F completely gets the answer wrong. D just barely answers the question. C answers the question and gives a rule and some elements. B does that plus applies the facts of the case.  See, up to this point, all answers that were right technically passed. A just goes that extra step and shows that they truly do understand and know everything they've learned about battery. There's nothing wrong with B but between the two responses, it's obvious who deserves an A. And there's nothing wrong with C but between the two responses, it's obvious who deserves a B. Law school doesn't just hand out 4.0's; you have to really work hard to earn them.

You'll still get the grade you deserve

I say this because it can be really easy to either be completely afraid of the curve or blame it for your grade. But just like in my example, it's usually pretty obvious who deserves the F and who deserves the A so it's not like people aren't getting the grades that they deserve. And actually, the curve can really help you. For example, in undergrad if there was a really hard test and most of the students got like 30-50% wrong, then they'd all fail. But in law school, if a test is really hard and most of the students got that, well then what do you know getting 50% correct is a C! That's right, sometimes the curve can pull you up!

It get's better after 1L

Here's another glimmer of hope about the curve: it gets easier after your 1L year (but also double check with your school before you rely on this). A lot of schools see the 1L year as a way to test out the class. Some people are only in law school because it was there backup plan (yes this is a strange concept to those of us who dreamed of only this for years). Some people are only in it because they were pressured by their parents to be a lawyer. Some only are here because they just want to be rich. Law school will test you to see who really will dedicate their time and effort to it and who will ultimately need to be weeded out because they just don't need to be a lawyer. And future interests in property are a way to haze you just for fun! Back to my point, once you survive to be a 2L and your school knows you're in it to win it, they don't have to test you as hard. This means that hopefully your GPA will go up just a smidgen. 

Related: A breakdown of the 1L curve and An example of the 1L curve

Beating the curve: review your finals

So, how do you beat the curve? The easiest way is to point chase, my friends. In the spring when you get your grades back, go to office hours and review all of your finals! While you're there, hopefully your professor will offer to let you see the best responses to each question. If he doesn't offer, ask to see it! If they don't allow this, then ask them to go over your final with you and see where you can improve. Usually really all you need is to just explain yourself just a little bit more!

Beating the curve: point chase

The secret key to point chasing is attack outlines! Condense all of the material from each chapter down to the main topics that you can fit on one page. So for this, I would have battery, the elements, and a relevant case name if there's one. If it's a closed-book final, memorize this and then write it down on scrap paper during the first minute of your test. This way, you have a little checklist of everything relevant to include on any one issue so that you can make sure you're covering your basis.

Beating the curve: be time conscious

Another tip is to use your time wisely. If you read a fact pattern and realize that you don't really see any issues, skip that question and move on. It's better to spend your time answering questions that you truly know the answer for and get all the points on that one than to waste your time thinking shitshitshitshit for 20 minutes and then only having time for a half-hearted answer to the question that you do know the issues.

And unless your professor specifically tells you he wants a lot of info about the cases, don't get caught in a case time-trap. Hit the cases hard and fast. For example, just say Pennoyer instead of Pennoyer v. Neff. And spend no more than one sentence stating the facts and comparing/contrasting them to your facts, and no more than one more sentence stating the rule/holding and applying that to your facts. Lots of points in just a few sentences, and then move on. 

Related: How to point-chase in a final and More finals tips

How not to think of the curve

But ultimately, you're not going to have peace with yourself until you accept the curve. Yes, there are people who actually have perfect 4.0's in law school (my friend is one of them and I'm amazed). However, most likely you're going to be a B/C student and there is nothing wrong with that! Reread that sentence again and again until you can accept it. It's really hard for law students to accept this statement because usually we've always being overachievers and we've just come accustomed to have stellar grades. But if you're sitting there embarrassed about your 2.5 GPA, you're worrying and stressing over nothing. If anything, take comfort that a majority of your classmates are sitting right in the same boat with you. 

Also, don't waste your energy being jealous of the people with better GPA's than you. As you saw above, the people getting C's and the people getting A's generally understand the material the same amount, one just did a little better job explaining how she understood the material. And I swear if I ever find out any of my readers are trying to sabotage their classmates because you're in the mindset of "the worse they do, the better I'll do," I will save what little money that I make off this blog to personally fly out to your school and yell at you. Seriously though, that mindset is what leads to "if I hide this exculpating evidence then I'll for sure get a guilty conviction" behavior. It's just a slippery slope and if that's the only way you're getting good grades then brutally and honestly you didn't deserve that grade. I'm not saying bend over backwards to help your classmates study, but I am saying that a much more realistic and sane way to approach the curve is to just put your nose down and try your hardest.

Why the curve won't kill you

Which brings me to my last point (getting off my soap box now), I said it in my podcast episode and I'll say it again: all you need to do with the curve/finals is to try your hardest and have faith that your hardest was enough. You'll pass; you'll survive; you'll move on to the next class that you think will be your law school career; and then you'll graduate. Law school  is just about learning how to ride out the storm, my friends. 
let's be friends!