#The2Llife: Internships

GUEST BLOG by Lauren Rose,
2L at the University of Detroit Mercy

Internships are important. They are important because this is probably the only time you get to learn about practical, real-world, lawyer things.  Over the summer, I was fortunate enough to have two different internship experiences.  Both experiences were very different, albeit very rewarding.

First of all, I split my summer between two different places.  This is pretty uncommon.  However, I did it based on unique circumstances.  Many law students will intern at one place, which is completely normal and fine!

For the first half of the summer, I interned with a circuit court judge.  This was an eye-opening experience because the judge had both a civil and criminal docket.  I learned the ins and outs of the courtroom.  To make everything run efficiently and smoothly during a court session, there are many things that go on behind the scenes.  Sitting with the clerk and learning about her job and the importance of filing documents properly was incredibly enlightening.  Also, I learned the importance of being courteous to the court and to the court staff.  I saw way too many attorneys get mad over things or act unprofessional.  Remember, the staff of the court are humans too.  They can be your best friend or your worst enemy!

During the second half of the summer, I was awarded a fellowship to work at a non-profit.  This non-profit focused in child welfare law.  Working for a non-profit was not only a rewarding but also a great teaching experience.  I was able to draft many documents, observe court hearings, and meet with clients.  Being at a small non-profit allowed me, and the other interns, to experience the setting of a law firm with the presence and oversight of attorneys who cared about a common cause.  This was a unique experience that provided me with an array of legal knowledge that I will use throughout my career.

Once you find an internship, or start work as an intern, remember that you are the intern.  You still have a lot of learning to do and you need all of the help that you can get.  Here are the three main takeaways from my summer internship experience: a smile will get you a long way; be humble; work your butt off.

#The3Llife: What I Am Doing Differently

GUEST BLOG by Harrison Thorne,
3L at UCLA Law

(1): Hand-Written Notes

Last year, I transferred to UCLA Law.  I met new people, learned a lot, and had a great time.  However, I found myself wasting a lot of time and wondering what I could do differently.  I was frequently distracted by Facebook, Gmail, Gchat, iMessage, and the other usual culprits while I was supposed to be reading or paying attention in class.  I knew something had to change, but I did not know what steps to take.

This year, I decided I had had enough with these distractions.  A lot of people can use willpower to avoid surfing the web during a particularly boring class.  I am not one of them.  My solution—leave my computer in my office and bring only a notebook and pen to class.

At first I was worried that I would miss so much of the lecture trying to force my hand to keep up with the lecturer.  However, I have found the opposite to be true so far.  I am also retaining a lot more from lectures, and it is significantly easier to stay focused.  I have even begun taking reading notes by hand.  I use my computer a lot less, which has helped alleviate the constant headache I get when staring at a screen all day.

(2) Week-Ahead Reading

This semester, I plan on reading for the following week on the weekend.  So on Saturday/Sunday, I will re reading for my courses the coming Monday-Thursday.  I have found that reading before class causes me a lot of anxiety—I read slowly, and sometimes can’t put enough attention into a reading assignment if I know class beginning in 30 minutes.  By reading ahead, I can avoid that worry.

Another benefit is that by reading for my Monday-Thursday courses, I can dedicate Friday to outlining for the previous week.

(3) Work Cut-Offs

This year, I am in four classes, I am the Editor-in-Chief of the Entertainment Law Review, I am mentoring another transfer student, and I have various other commitments.  It would be easy to become bogged down in all this.  However, I have decided to stop working/studying at 5:30 pm, unless I absolutely need to push the deadline a bit further.

If I can successfully read for the following week, then there should be no need to work past 5:30 pm.  I have found that law school breeds a culture of constant, around the clock “half-work,” in which people are always reading or writing something, but always with a lot of distraction.  I have decided to work really hard during the day, leaving my nights open to spend time with my family, girlfriend, or friends.  I typically exercise at 6 am before beginning my day, so this plan leaves my nights wide open.  I might even pick up some new hobbies this year.