#The3Llife: Six Steps for Spring Break Success

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law, J.D. Candidate 2018

Spring break is generally thought of as being a much-needed break from the hectic law school schedule.

It’s a time to relax, maybe take a vacation, and enjoy not having class. While I do believe you should use your spring break to de-stress, I encourage you not to check out completely. There are a few things that you can do during spring break to make the end of the semester a bit easier.

Get going on those outlines

I know outlines are probably the last thing you want to think about over spring break, but trust me, you’ll be glad you did. Just taking a few hours to get organized and get started (or make some progress) will help you feel less stressed when exams come around.

Update your resume

Whether you’re a 3L looking for a post-grad job or a 1L/2L looking for a summer position, spring break is a great time to make sure your resume is up to date and ready to go when a job opens up. As the end of semester gets closer and you get busier this will be one less thing on your plate. If you’re feeling really ambitious, visit job boards and set some job alerts so you’ll get notified when new jobs are posted.

Get caught up

If you’re behind on reading or some assignments, this is the time to get back on track. You don’t want to wait until the end of the semester or you’ll end up cramming and feeling overwhelmed.

Make a plan

Take a look at what you have coming up in the next few weeks and what you’d like to accomplish before the end of the semester. Need to finish your note? Want to schedule a time to talk to career services? Have a big final paper that will be assigned soon? Make a note of these things and set aside some time in the coming weeks to work on them. By planning now, you won’t forget about something and have to rush to get it all done.

Take care of “housekeeping” tasks

No, I don’t mean laundry or cleaning, but you can certainly do that too! I’m talking about administrative things or necessities. Get your car serviced, go to the doctor, do your taxes. Those things may not be fun, but you’ll feel better once you can check them off your list.

3Ls, prep for graduation

By spring break, you’ve probably gotten emails about ordering your cap and gown, applying for a concentration, choosing the name for your diploma, etc. This is a great time to double check that these have been done. It’s also a good time to plug away at your bar application!

How will you be spending your spring break? Let me know! Tweet me at @The3LLife!

#The3Llife: How to Ace Your Interview!

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law, J.D. Candidate 2018

It’s that time of year again: interview season!

Whether you’re a 1L or 2L applying for an internship or a 3L looking for a post-graduation job, you’ll definitely be doing some interviews in the coming weeks and months. The interview is such an important part of the hiring process. It’s your first (and likely only) chance to meet your interviewer/ future boss face-to-face before a hiring decision is made. With that being said, you want to make a good impression. I spoke with some law students and internship supervisors to see what makes a good interview. Here’s what they had to say:

Dress professionally

You may end up working in a more laid-back office, but you should always wear a suit or dress and blazer to the interview. It shows the interviewer that you take the position seriously and that you’re able to look put together and professional. Take time a few days before your interview to try on your outfit and look at it critically. Make sure your pants are an appropriate length and your shirt isn’t pulling at the seams. Fit goes a long way when trying to look professional.

Be confident

Interviews can be stressful and it’s common to be nervous, but don’t let it show. There are some little things you can do that will mask your nerves and come across as poised and confident. Make sure to stand and sit with good posture, give a firm handshake, and make eye contact. That’s all it takes to start the interview off on the right foot.

Be early

My former boss once said to me, “Ten minutes early is early. Five minutes early is on time. On time is late.”  You want to aim to walk into the office 5-10 minutes before your interview is supposed to start, so keep that in mind when planning your morning. Build in some extra time in case you have car trouble, hit traffic, or get lost. It’s better to sit in your car and wait until its time to go in than to be running late.

Bring copies of everything

You likely sent a resume, transcript, and maybe a writing sample when you applied for the job, but that doesn’t mean the person interviewing you has it in front of them. It may be buried in their inbox or lost in a stack of papers on their desk. You’ll look well-prepared if you’re able to hand them a fresh copy.

Write down questions

At the end of pretty much every interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for him/her. Nothing kills an interview faster than not having questions. Before you go in for the interview, write down a handful of questions and stick the list in your pocket or bag. You may remember your questions and not need your list, but if you get nervous and can’t remember you can pull your list out. It’ll give you a chance to gather your thoughts and the interviewer will likely be impressed that you took time to prepare.

Follow up

Whether the interview went well or not, you should always follow up and thank the person for meeting with you. Some people recommend writing handwritten notes, but I prefer email since it will arrive faster. Whichever way you want to go, you should write and send the thank you within 24 hours of the interview.

What are your interview tips? Tweet them to me @The3LLife!

#The1Life: Why Spring Semester of 1L is Worse Than Fall

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way,
1L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Spring semester carries it with the additional burden, and stress of the job hunt.

It seems to be a universal feeling amongst my classmates that spring semester is undoubtedly worse than the fall.

You would think spring semester would be better, after all you have one semester under your belt; you’ve established a network of mentors, friends and colleagues; and you’re (hopefully) settled into an apartment and finished unpacking your many boxes. However, for some reason the spring semester is more dreaded than the fall. And while I’m not exactly sure why that is, I do have my suspicions.

  • Spring semester carries it with the additional burden, and stress of the job hunt. Unlike fall semester where our only (law school) worries related to our doctrinal classes and passing exams, spring semester had all that plus the additional burden of job applications, interviews, and waiting for callbacks.
  • Since the job hunt is upon us, our school and seemingly every firm in the city, decides to “help” us by hosting countless networking events each and every week. Yes, many of these events include free alcohol and food! But at the same time, they eat up anywhere between three and six hours of your evening, cutting into time previously spent preparing for class.
  • You get your first set of grades in the spring semester, and trust me, no matter how well you did the waiting for grades produces enough anxiety to fill multiple helium balloons. And then even after receiving your grades your left questioning what they mean. Does the A in civil procedure secure you a summer job at firm, or does that B in contracts mean you need to look to public interest?
  • And finally, because I have to end this post somewhere, spring semester is worse because your legal practice skills professor all of a sudden decides you’re ready to independently research, master the bluebook, write a twenty-page brief, and then participate in oral debates on the subject … all while taking your regular classes and searching for a job.

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5 Things Successful Attorneys Did Not Learn In Law School

By Sam Farkas, Esq.,
BARBRI Product Development Manager

1) BECOME AN EFFICIENT PROBLEM SOLVER

Law school may have taught you the framework and skills to solve legal problems, but it did not teach you how to solve them efficiently. Successful attorneys are acquainted with two basic principles: The Pareto Principle that states 80 percent of the effects stem from 20% of the causes and Parkinson’s Law that states work expands into the time allotted for its completion. Focus on investing time on the 20% of your work that brings the most value and reduce the time to complete the remaining work by half. By implementing these two principles, you will work more efficiently, hone your focus and free up more time to live your life.

2) EMBRACE MINDFULNESS

You initially learned law school is a “marathon and not a sprint!” and indeed law school teaches you how to push yourself past your limits and challenge you in a whole new capacity. While such sustained mental and physical exertion is acceptable for a couple of years, most attorneys only ramp up the pace once they begin their practice. Life cannot be one continuous race and also well-lived. Successful attorneys have learned how to become more mindful of stress and negative emotions. They have learned to appreciate life more by controlling time spent on work and developing healthy tools to manage stress.

3) REJECT THE SCARCITY MENTALITY

You learned in law school how to be a scrooge. You learned that to give another student missed notes will mitigate your own success. You learned that one person’s failure is another’s summa cum laude. Successful attorneys, though, have learned to shed this belief in favor of a broader recognition that when you devote yourself to serving others, you get it back two-fold. If you want more, you have to give more. It’s that simple.

4) DEVELOP YOUR “SOFT SIDE”

Law school may have taught you to “think like a lawyer” but it certainly did not teach you how to act like one – well, a good one at least. Most business people are trained in “soft skills” early in their careers. Unfortunately for attorneys, such training is up to you after graduation. Soft skills are essentially people skills or the kinds of personality traits that are associated with a person’s Emotional Intelligence. Attorneys must effectively communicate, offer advice and inspire relationships of trust and confidence with clients. Indeed, soft skills are personal attributes that enhance your job performance and career prospects. Your ability to deal effectively and politely with clients, opposing counsel and even your colleagues may become more important to your success than the hard skills.

5) BE SOLUTION ORIENTED

From your first day in law school, you were effectively trained to identify and analyze all risks to a given problem. What you were never taught, though, was how to pursue a goal while minimizing risk. Attorneys often say, “There’s too much liability here to pursue this,” or “that is not prudent,” when a client wants to pursue a new venture and the project carries some risks. A successful attorney understands how to account for risk by identifying them, while working with the client to accomplish the goal.