A social life in law school? You gotta prioritize and plan.

Trying to go to law and simultaneously live a normal life is like trying to ride a bike with no hands … underwater … while juggling. Sure, that may seem a little over-dramatic, but it rings true with so many first-year students. You may be having a hard time managing your time. You may want to have some fun on the weekends with family and friends and that usually leads to some struggle to complete homework before class. How do you stay on top of homework in an attempt to still have a social life? Is it possible? Here’s some insight on the matter:

tumblrHomework > Social Life. During the first semester of law school, a lot of students treat it like college. Everything else came before homework. In law school, it’s the exact opposite. Homework is too important. You must prioritize it. Your 1L grades, when you get to those final exams, carry too much weight. Flipping your priorities can be quite the adjustment but you need to do it. At every opportunity, really. Focus on homework as soon as you get home from school, during breaks in your schedule (see more on this in the next bullet) and even on the weekends. Get the work done, then see what time’s left for the fun. Doing this will lower your stress out and you’ll able to have a life. Kind of.

Do homework during the breaks in your schedule. If you have breaks in your schedule during the day, stay at school and do homework. This is the best way to stay on top of your reading for the next class. You may even be able to get ahead. Sure, lunch or coffee with classmates will tempt you — big time. But staying put in the library to do reading will have a major impact on effectively managing the workload and stress.

Plan, plan, plan. Would you really like to go to the gym this week? You can do it. You just have to plan for it. Do you need to take a trip to the grocery store? Yes, you guessed it. Plan for it. Want to go out for dinner or a movie? Plan, plan, plan. You can’t really do any of these things on the fly. Once you are able to get a handle on your homework situation for the week, plan out the rest of your schedule. If you have a plan to finish your homework by a certain time so that you can go to the gym later, you will be more likely to accomplish both. When you don’t have a plan, especially to keep you accountable on school assignments, you may find yourself watching TV or online shopping instead of doing homework. Then there’s less or no time for the gym, groceries or dinner with friends. Create a plan daily and stick to it.

Make the time to have fun. If you’re planning your day, you’re in more control of what you do and when. So you can make time for some fun. It’s not against any law school rules. For example, you may like to keep it simple with trivia game/pizza night with friends every Monday. Just remember it all goes back to focusing on homework first, getting it done and having some sense of a normal life still. Homework is important. A social life is important, too. It’s possible when you prioritize and plan.

Make school easier, less expensive — without the trial-and-error.

When entering law school, many students don’t know what to expect. They haven’t been able to attain relevant advice and aren’t sure of the ways, if any, law school varies from undergraduate. Most students plan to dive in — and hope to succeed — using trial-and-error. That’s not really the wisest approach. Here are several more proven ways to help make law school life much easier.

STARTING FAST AND GETTING AHEAD.

First year law school grades are by far the most crucial. A high GPA is a requisite for big firm jobs and many law reviews and journals. If you fail to do well your first year or even just your first semester, it is incredibly difficult to bring up your GPA.

There’s always the opportunity to catch on faster and get ahead for what’s coming next, what to do and how to do it. At any point during 1L year, you can still take BARBRI Law Preview to better position yourself for success. In just a week, it teaches proven academic strategies and how to take law school exams. It also gives an overview of 1L classes and offers personal service and support throughout law school. Essentially, to use a metaphor, students who use Law Preview are typically the first out of the gate, while other students are still learning to run.

SAVING MONEY ON SUPPLEMENTS.

Many students will wait until the last minute to enroll in or think about a bar review course. But keep in mind all that you’ll be getting: BARBRI offers a laundry list of study aids and resources. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of first-year students who spent an extraordinary amount of money on supplements. You don’t need to do that. Simply enroll in BARBRI and sign up for the 1L Mastery Package (free for a limited time) to start using highly-effective study tools — ready-to-use outlines for all first-year classes, on-demand video lectures for all 1L subjects, plus essay and multiple-choice practice questions. Download the BARBRI Mobile App, too, for added convenience and flexibility in how and where you want to study.

MAKING SURE YOU GRASP THE MATERIAL.

In school, there are always a few professors with whom you might not mesh well. In those situations, you’ll often feel that you don’t fully comprehend the material after lecture and must teach yourself the information. BARBRI professors delivering online video lectures (with 1L Mastery) offer a third alternative. Chances are that if a professor at your school does not fit your learning style for a particular subject, a BARBRI professor will.

STAYING ON TRACK EVERY YEAR.

BARBRI doesn’t just offer material for your 1L year. We also have all the same resources for many of your 2L and 3L classes, such as Evidence, Constitutional Law, and Criminal Procedure. Additionally, BARBRI has a free MPRE Review course to help students pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) that’s required by almost every state and jurisdiction.

Getting a head start on law school by using Law Preview and then using BARBRI’s materials can help you lower your stress and financial expense, get you on the right track immediately and help you stay ahead of the curve throughout your law school career.

Advice: Slow. Down.

Guest Blog by Courtney Boykin
3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

Want some advice? Slow down. This summer I had the AMAZING privilege of interning at a local school board in their general counsel’s office. It was such a great, enlightening, and enriching experience. Everything about the placement was wonderful!

On my last day, I met with the chief counsel. After we talked about my Summer experience, she asked me about my upcoming year. I told her about my 6 different courses, my extracurricular activities, my dual degree program, and my jobs.

After going down my list of “to-dos,” she told me about her law school regrets. Surprisingly, it wasn’t about studying, classes she didn’t take, or the people she didn’t meet. Her biggest regret was that she didn’t take a day off and go to the movies, the gym, or something of that nature. She regretted that she didn’t take a day off.

After reminiscing, she sat back in her chair and gave me a piece of advice I’ve heard my whole life.

“Don’t be afraid to slow down.”

My family and friends tell me this all the time and this semester, with my packed schedule, I realized the necessity of slowing down. We’re approaching a long-awaited finish-line, but we’re also about to embark on a new journey.

So, here’s to slowing down. Here’s to taking a day, or watching a movie or going to the gym. Work hard, but also remember you’re human and even you…yes you…need a break.

5 Reasons You Should Start Studying Early

By Mike Sims, BARBRI President

Every year, students ask me if they should begin studying early for the bar exam. Does it hurt or does it help? Our experience and data tells us that students should begin studying for the bar exam early if at all possible. Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. You are more likely to pass the bar exam.
    While plenty of students do very well following their Personal Study Plan during their BARBRI Bar Review course, we have found that those who engage with BARBRI Early Start Bar Review 67 days or more before the course begins are statistically even more likely to pass the bar exam the first time. Since BARBRI Early Start is included with your BARBRI Bar Review course, there’s no reason not to start early.
  2. Bar exam pass rates are lower than they were in the past
    While National Mean MBE scores have recovered a little over the past couple of administrations, they still remain much lower than they were several years ago. That’s one reason why we make Early Start Bar Review available to committed BARBRI Bar Review students several months prior to the BARBRI Bar Review course start date.
  3. Spreading the work out now avoids burnout
    Studying for the bar is a marathon, not a sprint. Time spent learning early is time saved during your bar review course. If you can devote about 24 total study hours to BARBRI Early Start before your bar review course starts, you’ll take a little stress out of your bar exam preparation.
  4. Early learning is not forgotten – it’s foundation
    We’ve all crammed for a final exam, and sometimes it worked. Cramming won’t work for the bar. Learning will. BARBRI Early Start is an on-demand, self-directed experience that teaches you the law faster and helps you retain it longer. BARBRI Early Start helps you build a solid foundation of Multistate mastery – a foundation that will stay with you throughout the bar exam.
  5. Studying smarter, not harder, makes a difference
    BARBRI Early Start focuses your study on the 25 most frequently tested bar exam subtopics. Students who complete this early work have a head start on the areas of law that are most frequently tested on the actual exam.

Simply put, people who start early and study smart, don’t just pass the bar, they #OwnTheBar. BARBRI Early Start Bar Review is included at no additional charge with BARBRI Bar Review.

On Campus Interviewing (OCI) Checklist

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way,
2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

2L begins for most of us with a week of nonstop on-campus interviews, resulting (hopefully) in stellar summer associate offer(s). Since we’ve all likely heard enough OCI success/horror stories to fill a short novel, lets instead talk about the items you’ll need, and the things you will want to do, to make OCI a “breeze.”

Pre-OCI to do List

  • (If possible) modify your OCI schedule so you don’t have huge breaks and/or back-to-back interviews
  • Research each and every firm you’re scheduled to interview with and craft specific questions for each
    • Note: I invested in a small leather notebook where I tracked all my research/questions so I could bring it into my interviews
  • Reach out to alumni from firms you’re especially interested in
  • Practice behavioral answers and general interview questions
  • Review your resume, writing sample, and any cover letters multiple times
  • Have someone else review the abovementioned for good measure before printing 20+ copies out!
  • Invest in resume paper and learn how to insert it properly in the printer so the watermark is facing up
  • Organize your materials by clipping them, or putting them in folders
  • Plan your outfits and have them organized and ready to go
    • Note: Keep track of what outfits you wear during OCI so you don’t wear the same one to the callback
  • (If applicable) break in new shoes, because … well … blisters suck

OCI “Packing” List

  • Professional looking padfolio or notebook and a pen
  • Your notes and interview questions for each firm
  • Change of shoes to walk in
  • Umbrella – even if it’s not predicting rain
  • Water bottle
  • Mini deodorant
  • Extra resumes, writing samples, and transcripts
  • Portable phone charger
  • Mini lint roller
  • Safety pins (for good measure)
  • Small reusable bag to put your firm swag and/or spare shoes in
  • Extra bobby pins
  • Band-aids for the unavoidable blisters
  • Blotting paper to reduce that summer induced shine

Post OCI to do List

  • Write notes after each OCI screener to utilize during callbacks
  • Follow up after 2 weeks if it’s been radio silence
  • Wash you suits immediately so they’re ready for callbacks
  • Buy and send thank you notes to each person you interview with during a callback
  • (After getting an offer) cancel callbacks that you’re not interested in
  • Connect with your career planning office if you’re not getting the level of interest you were hoping for, and begin applying independently to firms that didn’t participate in OCI

I could go on, but in a nutshell, these are the things you can do and bring to make OCI less stressful. But as always, remember to be yourself, have confidence in your abilities, and have some fun – after all, when else do you get to talk about yourself for a whole week?

The Bar Exam Curve: It’s Real

Even after years of published MBE results and graphs, there are still people who try to convince others that the bar exam curve is not real. Those people must not have studied the MBE every year since its inception in 1972.

If you look at the 2017 MBE National Scaled Score Distribution from the National Conference of Bar Examiners, you will see that MBE results fall in a pattern that looks like a bell curve. This happens Every. Single. Administration.

This is also why you often hear of people who fail the bar exam by just a few points. Look at the distribution.  A large number of examinees are clustered right around the top of the curve – right around the score you need to pass the bar exam. This also means that just a few additional points can tip many people over into the “pass” category.

Many students begin studying for the bar exam as they would for any other exam for which they’ve prepared in their life. They are focused on their percentage correct in every area – or getting an “A” or a “B” on everything. Studying this way for the bar exam can hurt you and focus your attention in the wrong areas for the result you want – which is an overall passing score of course.

The bar exam is a pass / fail exam that covers a ton of material. The key to passing the exam is doing well enough, in enough areas. For a lot of students who have focused on excelling at everything they do, that isn’t intuitive, and it doesn’t feel right. They want to ace every section and can’t mentally move on if they have a 60% or a “D” for example. Well, for the bar exam, that may be good enough to pass.

So how do you know you are doing well enough in enough areas? This is where percentile rank comes in. Percentile rank is simply the comparison of how you are doing vs everyone else. Or in other words, what percentage of students are doing better than you and what percentage of students are doing less well than you. Depending on your state, the bar exam pass rate is typically around 60-80%. Therefore, your goal is to do better than 20% to 40% of other bar takers, or to be in the 20th to 40th percentile or above in each subject – that’s how you know you’re on track to pass.

If your percentile rank is already high in a particular subject– let’s say in the 50th percentile or above- it likely won’t benefit you to spend much more time on that particular subject. To raise your overall score, your time is better spent on a subject with a lower percentile rank to move you over that peak into the passing score range.

An important note about percentile rank: The only way percentile rank is reliable is to have a large enough sample size to make it a valid “real world” comparison. Since the majority of students sitting for your state’s bar exam study with BARBRI each administration, BARBRI Bar Review is the only way to get this statistically valid and meaningful view of where you sit on the bar exam curve before you actually take the exam. It’s one of the key reasons why year after year, most students choose BARBRI.

As you progress through BARBRI Bar Review and answer MBE practice questions, your percentile rank will build by subject and allow you to see where you stand throughout the course. Then, just a few weeks before the actual bar exam, you’ll have the opportunity to do a full simulated Multistate Bar Exam. This is critical.

This simulation mentally and physically prepares you for the exam. In fact, just the experience alone statistically increases your chances of passing your bar exam. After the simulation, you will also get a Pass Predictor score report that shows your overall percentile rank – where you sit on the bar exam curve compared to everyone else preparing for your state exam – as well as your percentile rank in each subject and subtopic. With enough time to act upon the results.

With the Pass Predictor, you will know exactly where to spend your remaining study time before the actual exam to ensure you are doing well enough, in enough areas, to pass the exam.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About BARBRI Bar Review

By Mike Sims,
BARBRI President

Year after year, tens of thousands of graduating students choose BARBRI. As they are making that choice, there are a few questions that arise more frequently than others. Knowing that your time is valuable, I want to take this opportunity to answer the most frequently asked questions.

If you’d like to learn more or have other questions, please reach out to your BARBRI Director of Legal Education, or to me directly at mike.sims@barbri.com.

Q1: Can I do my BARBRI lectures all online? If I choose to go to a classroom location, can I still access lectures online?

A: Only BARBRI offers online, mobile and in-class study options for no additional charge. You can do 100% of your BARBRI course online or can you choose to go to a classroom location for all or a portion of your lectures. If you select a classroom location, you still have access to all lectures online. BARBRI lets you mix and match what works best for you throughout the course – go to class your most challenging subjects, revisit specific topics and subtopics online afterward or speed through your best subjects online at 1.5x speed. You can also stream or download video or audio lectures in the BARBRI Mobile App to watch or listen on the go.

Either way – all online or attending a classroom location– you’ll get the same great lectures from the same renowned U.S. law professors. It’s your time, your preference and your choice as to what works best for you to reinforce and recall the material you need to know to Own the Bar.

Q2: Aren’t BARBRI’s Lectures Long and Boring?

A:  While I’ll admit that it’s hard to make Fee Simple Subject to Condition Subsequent exciting, I can tell you that year after year BARBRI students rave about BARBRI’s faculty. Our faculty are all gifted teachers who have the fantastic ability to make the law memorable and understandable.

BARBRI’s faculty understands that you can’t learn everything all at once. That’s why our both our classroom and online MBE lectures are divided into short segments, all of which include a professor-led review activity at the end of each topic. No long, boring, 3-4 hour lectures here.

After each subject, you’ll work a quick set Knowledge Check questions that will increase retention and help ISAAC customize your Personal Study Plan.

Q3: How many graded essays are included with BARBRI Bar Review? Can I have unlimited essays graded at no additional charge?

A: The short answer is, yes, we will grade as many essays as you want to submit. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

Before we talk about the right number of essays to be graded, let’s first talk about the strategy of essay writing for the bar exam. During bar study, your goal is to learn to write the best bar exam essays possible, as quickly as possible. And writing essays for the bar exam is very different than writing essays for law school.

As we’ve worked with students, we’ve seen that submitting practice essay after essay with no initial guidance and delayed feedback reinforces bad habits and wastes time. For this reason, a purely “unlimited” essay grading system can actually stunt your progress. We don’t want that for our students so BARBRI has a better answer with proven results: Directed Essay Grading.

It starts with Essay Architect, our exclusive online instruction platform that takes you through a series of steps to learn to critically read bar exam questions, enhance the speed of your essay writing and construct strong, winning answers. Essay Architect provides immediate feedback to build your essay writing skills quickly.

Then, we assign a carefully selected series of past bar exam essays and performance tests for grading and feedback from trained bar exam writing experts. You’ll also receive many more essays for practice and self-grading. If after taking advantage of those assignments you want additional essays graded, we’re happy to grade more. You can simply work with a BARBRI Director of Legal Education to get personal, 1:1 help, all free of charge.

Q4: How many MBE practice questions do you provide? Are they REAL released MBE Questions?

A: The short, direct answer to this question is that you’ll have access to over 2,000 MBE questions throughout your BARBRI Bar Review course. That being said, we don’t believe that this is quite the right question– or at least not the entire question – to be asking.

As with many things, it’s not just the quantity, it’s the quality and the methodology that matters. This is such an important topic, that we have another entire blog dedicated to this topic that you can read here if you’d like to geek out.

When it comes to real released MBE questions, BARBRI has released questions – but we don’t assign those questions and we don’t recommend focusing on them.

Questions that have been released by the examiners will not appear in any future MBE because the scoring data for those questions would not be reliable. And, because only about 80 questions per subject have been released in the past 10 years, released questions don’t provide a good representation of the topics that are most likely to actually appear on the exam. Focusing primarily on real released MBE questions is another way some bar preppers misuse precious, limited study time.

The vast majority of BARBRI’s questions have been developed by BARBRI subject matter experts to test on the most important, most frequently tested topic areas – the same way the bar examiners do. These questions have been drafted after careful review of actual MBE questions and have been approved by professors who are experts in those subjects.

Q5: Do bar exam results really fall on a curve? Why should I care?

A: Even after years of published MBE results and graphs, there are still people who insist that bar exam results do not fall into a bell curve. For those who do believe what they see, there are also still many who feel that this fact is not meaningful. If anyone ever tries to convince you of either one of these things, there is only one thing to say: They’re wrong.

If you look at the 2017 MBE National Scaled Score Distribution from the National Conference of Bar Examiners, you will see that MBE results do in fact fall in a bell curve pattern. And they fall into this pattern every single administration. Since BARBRI prepares the vast majority of law school graduates this year, the BARBRI Simulated MBE with Pass Predictor is the best way to know where you are on the curve before you sit for the exam.

We have a lot more to say on this topic and why it matters. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the blog: THE BAR EXAM CURVE: IT’S REAL.

1L Study Schedule: Perfecting It

1L Study Schedule

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin,
1L at University of Arizona

First, let me say that everyone is different. You really have to find the 1l study schedule that works best for you. Ultimately, it has to be a schedule that you will follow. Over the summer I attended a BARBRI Law Preview course, and one of the most useful things they shared with us was a recommended 1L study schedule. Here are some of the highlights and an explanation of what has worked well for me and what has not.

Scheduling Reading Assignments

Law Preview recommended that we always stay 2 days ahead on reading. So on Monday, you are reading for Wednesday, Tuesday for Thursday and so on. While this was great in theory, I have Fridays off (yes, I know thank you UofA) and my Mon/Wed schedule is 8:20-3:30, with Legal Writing, Civ Pro and Contracts. It is an overwhelming amount of reading, and we have a quiz every Monday in Legal Writing. Because my Mondays are so loaded, I only have Torts on Tues/Thurs afternoons.

I decided that I would stay 2 days ahead on Civ Pro, Contracts, and Torts but only one day ahead on Legal Writing. This adapted schedule has worked much better for me, and I have a much more manageable reading load.

Scheduling Review

I am sure you have heard that you should not wait for the reading period to start writing your outline, and if not… now you know. It is best to start an outline after you’ve finished a topic and add to it throughout the semester. In Law Preview, they shared with us the importance of using the outline as a tool to help review and memorize the key points of each topic. Sure, most of our exams are open book, BUT they are also timed, and you do not want to waste precious minutes looking through your book when you could have the rule memorized.

This is where scheduling review time is vital. You should add blocks of time dedicated to reviewing in your 1L study schedule, just like you have for reading. I currently use the weekends and some of my free time on Thursdays for this purpose.

Scheduling “Me Time”

Just because you are a law student, doesn’t mean you’re ONLY a law student. You need to try to maintain your hobbies, friendships, and relationships. It is SO easy to be focused on school that you might go the entire week without noticing you haven’t talked to anyone outside of school all week.

This is where “Me Time” is key, and yes, it needs to be scheduled. Doing this is giving yourself permission to take a break. I am a huge fan of playing “HQ.”  If you don’t know, it’s a trivia app where you can win money, or at least discover how much useless knowledge you do or don’t have.  During the first 2 weeks of school, I missed playing it every single day, even though I was not in class. This week I added it to my schedule and didn’t miss a single game. All of my friends play, and it was great to be connected to them even for that brief time.

I am sure you have something that you enjoy doing. Do not neglect it. Add it to your 1L study schedule to make sure it is as much of a priority as your Torts reading. You’ll thank me later.

I’d love to hear from you about your favorite study schedule tips. Or if you try these tips let me know how they work out for you! See you next week!

3L Study Habits

Back To Law School

Guest Blog by Courtney Boykin
3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

3L Study Habits – I’m Already Changing

I’m a 3L. WHAT?! How insane does that sound? I feel like I JUST got acclimated to the beast that is law school. I feel like just last week I’d sent out my applications. My, how times have changed. 

Reminiscing…

Last year this time I’d evaluated my 1L year and decided that I need to change my study habits. In fact, I did just that. During my 1L year, I’d often take work home. During my 2L year, however, I determined that I wouldn’t bring books home and I would, instead, finish all of my work at school before leaving.

Looking back, I’d say that worked quite well for my schedule, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that this semester.

Homework in Library

Looking ahead…

I’ve been in school for about a month, now. Two weeks in I saw that the “No homework” stuff might not work. After being assigned two completely different 25-page papers I QUICKLY realized it WON’T work…at least not this semester.

I have no choice. Back to my 1L ways, I go.

Luckily, however, I know how the game goes. So, I won’t have a lot of that anxiety and worry that I had my 1L year. If there’s anything that I’ve learned in this law school journey it’s that flexibility is key! Sure…you may have an elaborate, aspirational plan, but, as I’m sure you already know, that plan may not always work. So, remember to stay flexible!

Nonetheless, here’s to our final hurrah! Let the countdown begin!

Internship Takeaways: 1L Summer

1L Summer Internship

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way,
2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Every freshly minted 2L waltzes back on campus with a summer’s worth of work experience and a handful of stories to tell. So, let me share mine! I had the privilege of working at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) as an Equal Justice America Fellow in the housing and benefits department. And while I had no particular interest in housing or benefits law, I nevertheless came away from the internship extremely satisfied.

Here are my main takeaways for getting the most out of your 1L summer when it rolls around.

Location, Location, Location

Your career planning office will likely tell you that your 1L summer is the year you can do anything. It’s true, but know your limitations. It’s great to work abroad if you’re planning to work abroad, or in a big market like NYC upon graduation. If you’re targeting a smaller market, find summer employment in that area. Here are a list of reasons:

  1. Networking 

    It is easier and/or possible when you’re located in your target area. This is important regardless of whether you’re targeting a big or small market. However, it’s important for small markets where associate positions are more competitive.

  2. OCI

    Interviewers from small markets also notice where you spent your summer. In every single interview, I was asked: “why Boston?” Since I’d spent the summer there was a huge plus in proving my interest in the city.

  3. Future Planning

    Also made easier when you’re located in your post-graduation target area. Knowing I wanted to live in Boston after graduation I utilized my weekends to explore areas where I might want to live after graduation. Likewise, when attending networking events I was able to make note of commute times, neighborhoods nearby, and other local resources which helped me narrow my bid list for OCI.

  4. Face Time 

    Time with your significant other, friends and family also largely depends on where you are located. Your summer internship is no walk in the park. You often work long hours so you’re free time normally falls on the weekend. If you know you have family obligations, weddings to attend, or some other important events then it’s worth considering how your summer internship location will impact your travel abilities. For instance, I was only an hour flight from home. I was able to make it back for a friend’s baby shower.

Internship Preparedness

You need to be prepared with the required documents and requested materials when entering the office on the first day. Though, it doesn’t end there. You need to always be prepared to take notes, talk about your ongoing cases, or assist your supervising attorney. So how do you do that?

  • Always, always, ALWAYS have a notepad and pen.

    While you may think you’re just dropping a memo off, there’s a good chance you’ll receive feedback or a second assignment.

    • Side Note: If your supervising attorney likes to use your pen to edit your work like mine did, I suggest always having a second pen so you can take notes too.
  • Make sure you thoroughly review every case you have before unit meetings, client meetings, or really any meeting.

    You might expect to only talk about two out of five cases, or simply be sitting in, but you really never know when you’ll be asked to present.

  • If your supervising attorney gives you research do it promptly and take notes!

    Chances are they’re assigning you reading because the information will be essential when you become more active in the cases. You don’t want to get stuck re-reading because you forgot to take notes the first time around.

  • Always review your notes after meeting with clients.

    Often clients will throw a lot of details at you … most time in some unorganized fashion. If you simply throw your notes in the client folder without reviewing you’ll likely be confused two weeks later when you need to refresh yourself on the timeline. If on the other hand, you take 10 minutes to review your notes and draft up a coherent timeline of events, you’ll thank yourself later.

  • When/if you meet with opposing counsel, clients, etc., make sure you have all required documents and a few extras.

    When meeting to review a large file I suggest you tab everything so it’s easy to find during the meeting!

View Everything as a Learning Experience

Life as a summer intern can easily become overwhelming. You might hand in a memo and get it back only to see a page full of red edits, causing you to feel defeated. Keep in mind the purpose of your 1L summer is to learn – your supervising attorney understands that so most of their critiques are aimed at improving your skills, not a result of them undervaluing you.

Summer programs are specifically designed to teach you certain skills. Your office will likely arrange for you to interact with clients, do some form of legal writing, observe court or some type of negotiation, and take part in at least one engaging case. The learning opportunities don’t stop with the formal programming though. I for one learned an excessive amount of case-specific, attorney tips, and just general professionalism from my supervising attorney. I also learned a good amount of useful technical tips from the office’s fantastic paralegals and professional staff members. Main point: don’t limit your learning “resources” to your supervising attorney and formal summer programming.