The2Llife: Reflecting on 1L Summer

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
Attorney Advisor at Los Angeles Immigration Court
(written as a Rising 2L entering the start of the fall semester, exclusively for BARBRI)

It’s time to take stock of what happened during the summer.

I worked for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (a component of the Department of Justice) in Immigration Court. The Court was attached to a detention facility, so all of the respondents in court were detained. I served as sort of the clerk to the clerk, since there was only one law clerk for the four Immigration Judges. Since there were only two of us, I got tremendous legal research and writing experience, and also learned substantive criminal immigration law along the way. I also made really meaningful personal connections. All in all, I had the best 1L summer job experience I could have hoped for.

Did you have a great summer, too? Tips to keep floating on Cloud Nine:

  • Thank your supervisor and those who made your experience possible. An email is nice for a coworker with whom you worked a couple of times, but I recommend a handwritten card for your supervisor. After all, taking on an intern is a lot of extra work for an organization and for the person supervising you. Furthermore, let them know that you really enjoyed yourself.
  • Keep in touch and follow up. If someone in the office offered their help to you in the form of a letter of recommendation, reference or just making a connection, be sure to follow up. While you are back in school living the good life, they’re still on the work grind and may already have another intern. Send an email to confirm their willingness to be a reference or remind them of the connection you were hoping to make.
  • Be introspective. Did you expect to like your work? If so, was it the content of the work or the type of work? Did you enjoy an aspect of the work you didn’t expect? How does this inform the types of work opportunities you will look for in the future?

Was your summer not as great as you had hoped? Consider this:

  • Thank your supervisor and those who made your experience possible. An email is nice for a coworker with whom you worked a couple of times, but I recommend a handwritten card for your supervisor. Even if it was not the best experience for you, taking on an intern is a lot of extra work for an organization and for the person supervising you. Furthermore, just because you left with a bad taste in your mouth does not mean you should leave the organization with one in theirs.
  • Keep in touch and follow up. If someone in the office offered their help to you in the form of a letter of recommendation, reference or just making a connection, be sure to follow up. Although the organization you worked for may not be the best fit, if you are candid with someone there, they may be able to refer you for a job better suited to you. Send an email to remind them of the connection you were hoping to make.
  • Be introspective. Did you expect to like your work? If so, what made you dislike your experience? Was it the content of the work, the type of work, the environment, the people? Did you enjoy any aspects of the work? How does this inform the types of work opportunities you will look for in the future?

If you didn’t cheat and read both sections, you’ll notice I gave the same advice, although worded slightly differently. This is because I firmly believe that it is just as important to learn what you don’t like as to learn what you do like.

You’re not married to your 1L summer job or your 2L summer job or the first job you get after graduating. Thus, every experience gives you more information about what work makes you happy and what gets you down in the dumps, leading you ever closer to the job that is right for you. I hope you’re able to view your summer experience in this light.

Major OCI missteps to avoid

By Samuel Farkas,
BARBRI Curriculum Architect and Instructor

At some point during law school, every student will attempt to dazzle potential employers as the perfect candidate. Here are few common missteps that will get your resume tossed quickly after you exit – and what you can do to avoid them.

“Surely you’ve heard of ME.”

You may have a stellar resume, grades and smile, but no one – most of all, future employers – find cockiness appealing. They do, however, like to see confidence. You’ll want to deliver “in the middle” with cautious confidence. Remain humble and ready to soak up precious legal knowledge. Present a firm handshake, make eye contact, sit up straight and be assertive in your responses and questions. Showing gratitude for your achievements and accolades, while underscoring how receptive you are to learning and growing professionally, will help you make the right impression.

“I want to work for you because I need a job and money!”

During On-Campus Interviews (OCI), you’re going to get asked over and over again: “Why do you want to work for us? Why would you like to be in [insert city name]?” Unless you’ve had your eye on a firm for a while, you’re probably looking for any good employment opportunity, wherever it may reside. But be honest with yourself. Do you really want to live in the office’s location permanently? If not, don’t waste your time interviewing with that firm. Sure, you can make up stories of relatives who’ve relocated there. However, you’ll do yourself and the employer a disservice. And if the actual office where you are interviewing does not practice the law you are interested in, keep looking. Pick firms where you would actually like to live, and then narrow down the firms you would actually like to work for.

“My apologies … I was actually raised in a barn.”

If you’re lucky, you may have the opportunity to interview with potential employers over a meal or call-back interview. Even though these may feel informal, maintain a respectable level of etiquette. Most students think they have good manners already, even if they don’t – because it’s in bad taste to point out bad manners, you’ve probably never been told that you chew with your mouth open or hold a fork incorrectly. Do yourself a favor, read an etiquette book or take a friend to dinner for a critique of your manners.

“You know like cellophane… ”

One of the worst things you can do in a job interview is to leave no impression at all. Many students try to morph into some expected version of the ideal candidate. This is not a good strategy. Try to stand out in some way. Wear a unique accessory, work in an interesting story or discuss a special hobby. Don’t veer into the bizarre, yet communicate something memorable. Simply allow your true self to shine through, keeping in mind that you need to filter it through a professional lens.

“What firm are you with again?”

The surest way to ruin your chances with a firm is to come unprepared. Knowing the firm name, office locations and practice areas are necessary but not sufficient. Do additional research on your interviewers and read any press the firm has recently received. Talk to former summer associates or clerks to get their experiences. Look at LinkedIn, the Martindale-Hubble Law Directory and other online resources to gather some data.

Be sure to reach out to your BARBRI Legal Education Advisor for additional help and advice on how to refine your job interviewing skills.

Summer Bucket List for 2L’s

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

We did it! 2L is under our belts, we are officially 1 year away from graduating and entering the legal profession. But before we enter 3L we have ten weeks of summer employment, and a month of vacation.

Now that we’re incoming 3L’s, how should we spend our summers compared to 1L?

  1. Establish at least one mentorship relationship with someone from your firm, or in your target location.
  2. Work on a case, or in an area of law, that really reminds you of why you went to law school in the first place (even if it’s pro bono).
  3. Branch out and visit a law school friend in another city.
  4. Escape the office for a weekend and go to the beach; work on that summer tan!
  5. If you’re located in your target city, explore your soon to-be-home: find a favorite diner, an ideal neighborhood, and a great after-work bar.
  6. Plan some form of post-employment trip, even if it’s just a road trip.
  7. Make at least one solid friendship with an incoming associate at your firm.
  8. If you worked in big law this summer, splurge and buy yourself something you’ve always wanted (though keep in mind you still have one year of school left).
  9. Make at least one friend in your city who isn’t involved in the legal profession.
  10. Set aside an afternoon, or ideally a weekend, to just reconnect with old friends or family and relax.

Without a doubt, 2L has been a whirlwind. Try not to forget all you’ve accomplished this summer. Embrace the opportunities that are thrown your way, and remember, this is our last summer before Bar prep and true career responsibilities take effect. Make the most of it while you can! And don’t forget, when you’re spending hours in the office this summer, it’s your friends and family who will get you through it all, so send them a little love, and find time to see them.

Quotes to get you Through Finals


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

Motivational Quotes

My Littleton fellow in 1L (a type of student teacher and mentor at my school) began our first class by having each of us say one motivational quote. When 1L exams came around our “class mom” printed the quotes and gave one to each of us as motivation to make it through finals. Since 1L I’ve learned that sometimes you really do just need that little extra motivation to get you through.

With that in mind, here are some motivational quotes to get you through finals! Write them on your mirror as a reminder, text them to a friend in law school as a pick me up, or use them as a catchy caption for your finals Instagram posts.

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere 
with what you can do”
—John Wooden
“There’s a light at the end of every tunnel”
—Ada Adams
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. 
The most certain way to succeed is always 
to try just one more time”
—Thomas A. Edison
“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination 
if you’re going to go to  bed with satisfaction”
—George Lorimer
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. 
You have exactly the same number of hours per day 
that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, 
Michelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, 
Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein”
—H. Jackson Brown Jr.
“Your positive action combined with 
positive thinking results in success”
—Shiv Khera
“The best way to finish an unpleasant
task is to get started”
“School is tough, but so are you”
“Don’t stress, do your best and forget the rest”
—Tony Horton
“You are so close to the victory, don’t you 
dare give up now”
“If you believe in yourself anything is possible”
—Miley C

Dating in Law School … is it Possible?

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

Dating in Law School? Are you Serious?

Law school has a reputation for being the place where love comes to die.

In general, law students are notorious for being strapped for time, overflowing with stress, and unreliable when it comes to social commitments. Obviously, 1L is the worst when it comes to juggling your academic and professional responsibilities with a relationship, and the general ‘proceed with caution’ warning for 1L relationships is pretty spot on; but many law students still question whether a relationship is feasible in 2L or 3L.

As an upperclassman, you have moderately more time, or maybe it’s just less pressure, which lends itself well to dating. At the same time, we’ve all heard familiar warnings: “don’t date someone in your friend group;” “don’t date someone in the law school at all;” or the classic “just don’t date while in law school.” What truth if any rests in these warnings? Better yet, what are the pros and cons of dating as a law student … or dating a law student?

First off I believe there are three important divisions when it comes to law school dating:

  1. beginning a relationship in law school, versus maintaining a pre-existing relationship;
  2. dating a law-student versus a non-law student; and
  3. committed/exclusive dating in law school, versus more casual dating.

When it comes to maintaining a pre-existing relationship in law school I think it really depends on the circumstance of the relationship – i.e. are you long distance, married, long-term, short-term, are they a student, a professional, etc. However, as a general rule of thumb, if your relationship survived 1L it probably stands to reason that law school won’t be what ends the relationship (if it ends).

With that said, after entering law school, most dating concerns regard beginning a relationship in law school. It’s here that I think the second and third division really come into play. So let’s dive in!

Dating a fellow law student has both its advantages and its drawbacks.

Generally speaking, a law student will better understand your life; they know when the busy times are, what the stress is like, and likely share some similar interests. If the individual goes to the same school as you then you have some added “scheduling” benefits – for instance, instead of having to arrange a specific time to go to dinner outside of school hours, you can grab a quick 15 minute lunch together in between classes, chat during your breaks, or study together in the library. Essentially, with a law student at your school, you get more face time without necessarily having to sacrifice your class/study time.

Remember though, that facetime perk can work against you when you’re in a fight, or if things end poorly since it means you’re going to have to see them and, to some extent, interact with them. Likewise, dating someone at your school is bound to attract some level of attention amongst your peers, so if you like your privacy this may not be the route for you. Finally, dating someone at your law school, or a law student generally, may just be too much law school.

By the same token, dating a non-law student has its perks and downfalls as well.

Most obviously, dating outside of the law school lets you separate your personal life from your academic/professional life. You don’t run the same risk of delving into crim con pro, or reminiscing about those 1L civil procedure cases. A non-law student can help ground you, and remind you that there is an outside world. At the same time, a non-law student may not understand the commitment level that law school entails, which may result in them pushing you to give more than you are able. Likewise, you may find it hard to relate to non-law students, since they likely won’t understand your fascination with SCOTUS cases, or nerdy legal subjects.

Law student versus non-law student aside, another sincere debate involves committed versus casual dating.

Obviously, given the strain of law school, casual dating is technically easier. You don’t need to worry so much about being selfish when it comes to prioritizing your school and other time commitments. You still get the benefit of companionship. Though, casual dating, especially within the law school, can result in added stress if you’re not fully prepared to be non-exclusive.

Likewise, casual dating can lead to drama – in the case of internal law school dating, just remember someday your peers will be your professional connections; you likely don’t want to be remembered at alumni events as the classmate who spent fall semester hooking up with Jess from section 2 only to throw a fit at bar review and spend the rest of the week crying and/or arguing in the hallway. Finally, casual relationships can be financially burdensome since they often require you to eat out, take Ubers, and pay for other date related expenses.

Committed dating, on the other hand, can be seen as somewhat more difficult.

You really need to commit to balancing law school and your relationship. Though your partner should understand that law school is a top priority, you also can’t be completely selfish.  After all, you’re a unit. The security of a committed relationship is nice since stability for some law students is hard to come by. Unlike many casual relationships, in a healthy and stable relationship, you’ll benefit from having someone to rely on emotionally and beyond. That emotional support can be paramount in keeping your mental health at a good level throughout law school.

On the other hand, committed relationships take time and energy that you may not have to give. Jealousy can be a real factor, especially if your relationship is long-distance. And while you shouldn’t plan for a break-up, it’s probably good to note that a committed relationship ending generally hits harder than a casual relationship ending. Finally, entering into a committed relationship in law school may result in you having to rethink your post-graduation plans, since your partner may not want, or be able to go to your desired city/country.

That’s all a longwinded way of saying, dating in law school is certainly possible … it just may not be for you, or what you’re used to. However, if I could offer some limited advice on dating in law school it would be the following:

  1. Be reasonable, know yourself and what you can and can’t handle. Don’t compromise that just because of the law school culture and norms.
  2. Know what you want and seek clarity from others. If you want to be casual then make that clear so you don’t end up saddled with unnecessary drama. If you want commitment, but don’t have it yet, ask. Don’t stress yourself out and inadvertently relocate time and energy that should be devoted to your studies.
  3. Try to keep your dating life and academic life separate, especially if you date within the law school – not to say you don’t bring your person around, just have some level of division. For instance, don’t register for a class just because your current fling or partner is taking it if you’re not otherwise interested in the topic; don’t pick your post-graduation job or city based on someone unless the relationship is sufficiently serious to warrant it; and don’t let your relationship drama becomes the talk of the town within the walls of your school.

Surviving Finals as a 2L


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

How are you surviving finals? We’ve been here before, we faced these same exams in 1L, so we don’t need to stress … right? Likely not. Even though 1L grades are the most important for job security purposes (tack on first-semester 2L grades if you were aiming for a post-graduation clerkship) the nature of most law student personalities makes us aim for perfection.

The curve may be less harsh, or not in play at all, but we all still want to do the best we can. There’s also the added stress that 2L exams often differ from the stereotypical issue spotter exams introduced in 1L. For instance, in 2L you’re likely to have a combination of in-class issue spotter exams, lengthy multi-part take-home exams, papers, presentations, and/or group projects.

Considering the variety of exam options, how can we as 2L’s best prepare to ace these classes? This list isn’t exhaustive, and I’d love to hear what works best for you, but here are some ideas to help you towards finals success!

In-Class Issue Spotter Exam

Prepare like you’re a 1L! Find or create an outline that covers all the important parts of the course.  If your exam is open book, transform that outline into an attack sheet for maximum efficiency. Make use of flashcards for memorization. And most importantly, take practice exams to familiarize yourself with the exam style and to refamiliarize yourself with spotting issues quickly and accurately.

Lengthy Multi-Part Take Home Exam

Just because it’s a take-home exam doesn’t mean you can slack on studying. It just means you study in a different way. Again, find and print a good outline and attack sheet.  For take-home purposes, I also recommend that you add a table of contents to your outline so you can easily navigate it electronically. Tab your books and/or organization and label your electronic readings so you can get maximum use out of them during the exam. Finally, consider where you want to take the exam. If it’s outside of your house, try to reserve a spot to ensure there are no last minute hiccups.

Paper Finals

Organize your research within folders so you can easily find the article you’re looking for when you come to that part of the paper. When conducting your research create a working “thoughts” sheet where you include the source name, key facts, synopsis of the article, and how you plan to use the article. If the paper is lengthy, set a daily word or page count and stick to it … 30 pages seem less daunting when it’s broken up into 5 pages daily. Finally, try to finish your paper early so you can submit it for review either to your professor or to a trusted advisor if permitted.



If public speaking isn’t your strong suit then practice, practice, practice! Even if you are comfortable speaking publicly, you should still practice. For example, run through your presentation with someone else, and/or time yourself. Avoid the urge to actually script out what you want to say because you’ll end up reading directly from the page; if you do script out your speech, make sure to memorize it to best avoid the reading phenomenon. If required or allowed, make a professional looking presentation with Prezi or PowerPoint, for bonus points, print the slides and provided them to your professor. Finally, create a one-page points list for yourself that you can quickly reference during your presentation to remind yourself of key points and to keep yourself on track.

Group Projects

Likely the most dreaded form of final, after all, it requires you to trust someone other than yourself with your final grade. If you get to pick your group, avoid the urge to simply pick your friends. Instead pick your group members based on (a) trust, (b) participation in class, and (c) personality and work style. Distribute duties early on so there is no confusion over who is doing what. Set timelines for people to finish their portions. Make sure you leave a grace period between when group members will finish their portion, and when the project is due to ensure you have time to review and edit. On the note of editing, make sure one person is assigned to edit the entire piece, this will help ensure that the project appears cohesive instead of like 4 different parts. Finally, create a shared folder or Google doc so everyone can share their research/contributions with the group.

Just Generally

No matter what exam you have, remember to take a moment to breathe. As exam period approaches it’s easy to begin to feel overwhelmed and burnt out. Try your best to schedule breaks, even if that break is just one episode on Netflix. Remember that a healthy diet and adequate hydration is key to efficient brain capacity. So, don’t slack on the meal front. Likewise, a comfortable atmosphere will help you remain motivated and reduce stress. If you haven’t already, find your ideal study spot or exam taking spot! Finally, have something to look forward to post-exam period so you don’t get lost in the exam time stress.

10 Stereotypical People You’ll Meet in Law School

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

CAUTION this article contains stereotypes and is not intended to be taken (all that) seriously.

But having said that, if you’ve made it through your first year of law school you’ll likely have met someone on campus who fits the mold.

The Gunner

This is the person who aims for the straight A’s. If they get to pick their seat then you’ll see them stationed front and center, likely with their hand up. As a 2L they’ve probably made it onto law review, and all the other prestigious groups at your law school. They show up to class early, prepared, and with a working outline. When finals season starts to roll around they’re the ones who whip out their flashcards weeks before anyone else.

The Involved One

This is the student who seems to do so much that you have to question when they have time to sleep. Not only are they taking a full course load, but they’re actively completing pro bono hours, researching for a professor, and attending events. They’re also a board member of every single student association. Also, they are likely the person who lights up your Facebook feed the most with invites to student events and is running for class president (as if they’re not doing enough already).

The Frat Bro & Sorority Sister

They still like to travel in packs and look like a more polished version of the Greek life members we all remember from undergrad. They attend every single bar review and normally host the pre-game before any and all major events. They’re not afraid to come to school slightly hungover if it means they had a good time … it’s all about making those memories!

The Activist

You’ll find these students roaming the halls wearing political statement T-shirts. They fill the ranks of student organizations dealing with social change, affinity relations, and other important topics. They likely had a lot to say in Constitutional law, and are continuing to take topical courses in areas of social importance. They’re edgy and not afraid to call a professor (or fellow student) out if they think the wrong stance is being advocated for, or if a topic is being undervalued.

The Parent / Spouse

A little older than the average law student, this individual heads home after class to join their family. They’ll likely show you photos of their kid(s) on their phone, and seem to bond well with the professors. They don’t come out to many events. When they do it’s normally the family-friendly ones hosted by the law school. You question how they manage to juggle the responsibilities of home life and law school. Yet, they always seem to have it surprisingly together.

The “slacker”

You never see them actually doing school work, in fact, you’re not sure if they even bought the case books. They show up to class and spend half the time on their phone or browsing through Facebook on their laptop. In between classes they can be found sitting in the common spaces chatting with friends, seemingly without a care in the world. Who knows if they even know where the library is?! At the same time, you’re pretty sure they’re a low key genius.

The Secret Gunner

Not to be confused with the slacker. This individual comes to class bragging about how they didn’t do the reading, and yet magically has all the answers when called upon. You never actually see them in the library or doing work, but if you’re in their friend group then you know they spend half the night prepping for class the next morning. They’ll pretend they don’t care about grades when in reality they really, REALLY do.

The Philosopher

You know they studied philosophy because they make it a point to tell you. Somehow they try to introduce philosophical concepts into every question and debate, resulting in long-winded stories that leave the rest of us questioning what is going on. They’ve likely enrolled in a number of seminars, and maybe an independent study. They seem super intelligent, but also you’re not sure if they want to be a professor or a lawyer.

The Fed Soc Member

They’re conservative and proud of it (no judgment). They host weekly events, and poster around the school and on the social media sites constantly. They like to engage in controversial subjects at the bar, and usually, like to hang out with their own. They’re also big into networking and seem to have connections everywhere.

The Eternally Stressed One

You’ve likely seen them crying in the halls as a 1L, maybe as a 2L too. They never seem to be standing on steady ground and always appear to be rushing through the halls like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Often they’re in loungewear and look like they haven’t slept in a few days. They’re the one who is constantly texting you to make sure the group project is going to be done on time, or triple checking the due date for your final paper. During exam time they really seem to break down, and you’ll often find them pacing about the library at all hours of the day.

2L Summer Checklist

2L Summer Checklist

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

The countdown has begun until we trade in law school for our summer jobs.

Do you have a 2L Summer Checklist? Considering how fast-paced these next few weeks are likely going to be, it may be helpful to start considering how to prepare for your summer (that way you’re not overwhelmed at the last minute).

I’ve always been someone who likes to physically check items off as I complete them so I can track my progress. Thus, I’ve found it super helpful to compile a ‘2L summer checklist’ with things I need to complete before I leave in May!

2L Summer Checklist


Summer Checklist
Confirm your employment dates with your employer
• Immediately inform your employer of any conflicts or required “off” days
Fill out and submit all required documentation with your employer
Apply for work authorization and/or residency visas (if applicable)
Apply for summer funding if working in public interest
Secure housing for the months of your summer employment (try to negotiate half months if your dates line up that way)
Find a subletter for your apartment if you’ll be working out of city
• Inform your landlord of your sublet plans and complete any required paperwork
Locate a storage unit for your personal belongings (if subletting or moving)
Begin to slowly pack and/or clean out your apartment
Have your suits dry cleaned (if necessary)
Schedule an appointment to get required vaccines (if working abroad)
Book train tickets, plane tickets, or car rentals for your move to/from your summer job
Purchase necessary business clothing, shoes, or accessories that your wardrobe is currently lacking
Reach out to junior associates at your employer to see if they have any tips for success

Combating Homesickness as an International Law Student

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

Coming to America as a law student, whether as a JD or an LLM, is a big step.

Maybe the flight home is just a few hours, or maybe it’s a long haul; either way, at some point during your American law school experience you’re bound to miss home. So what do you do when the homesickness sets in and your class schedule prevent you from booking an emergency trip home?

  1. When you’re visiting home for the holidays make sure to buy some of your favorite snack foods that are unavailable in America. When you begin to feel homesick delve into your emergency supply to make yourself feel a little more normal.
  2. Facetime your parents, siblings, family, or friends back home and have them catch you up on what’s going on in your “old life.”
  3. Find a restaurant in your current city that specializes in your home’s cuisine – as a Canadian I was overjoyed when I found a poutine shop in Philadelphia.
  4. Keep photos of home on your laptop and phone. Quickly scroll through them when you’re feeling a little down.
  5. Join a club or student organization that focuses on some aspect of your culture to keep those ties strong.
  6. If possible, have friends and family visit you while at school, that way you don’t have to drop that ball class-wise, but you still get the benefit of seeing a familiar face.

What ways have you found to combat homesickness in law school, we would love to hear them!

The Transition From 2L to Rising 3L: Setting Up Final Year Success

The end of 2L year is right around the corner. True to form, it’s been B-U-S-Y. You’ve worked your tail off. You’re more than ready to call yourself a 3L student. But it’s important to finish strong on upcoming 2L final exams, and then you can look ahead. Here are some things to do before fall semester begins, which can set you up for easier sailing through 3L year.


Stay focused on spring finals. BARBRI 2L/3L Mastery can help you with challenging subjects – Evidence, Taxation, Corporations, Wills, Trusts, Secured Transactions, Criminal Procedure, Constitutional Law and Family Law. Access to 2L/3L Mastery is one reason you might want to commit to bar review early. Find out more reasons here.


Consider registering for 3L courses that will help prepare you for your state bar exam. Check out this list. Just remember to meet all the requirements for graduation. Be sure to get with your advisor to make absolutely sure you complete (and have completed) the right courses.


If you want to go after a judicial clerkship, you’ll need to ask professors to write you a letter of recommendation. Don’t be shy and don’t wait. Most judicial clerk applications require three letters of recommendation and at least two should be written by a law professor. Try to meet with each professor personally to let them know enough about you to write a great letter.


Keep building valuable practical experience. Check with your school for externship or clinical opportunities available. Think about what you’d like to do and during which semester of 3L year. Start by thinking about the kind of law you want to practice and then research the options. Be aware, too, of any special student licensing or course requirements.


Start now, if you can. Many states/jurisdictions require you to submit a character and fitness application before you take the bar exam, and some allow it afterward. You can save yourself hundreds of dollars by completing this portion of your bar application early, but you need to know the state in which you are taking the bar to begin the process. It’s also extensive and time-consuming – you’ll need to gather details about your academic, work, financial, any criminal history … maybe even provide fingerprints. Getting started as early as possible is key.

Be mindful, too, that the character and fitness application is just one of the many requirements you need to have ready to take the bar exam. Follow our 3L Bar Admissions Checklist to stay organized and ahead of the game.


Get noticed. Whether or not you’ve landed a job offer by now, keep your name circulating through our Law Preview Job Network website. Put your resume in front of legal recruiters, as well as our BigLaw and AMLaw 200 partners, who actively scour the site to connect with law students. Take a few minutes to create a free profile.


If you didn’t take (or pass) the MPRE during 2L year, your next chance is in August. Pay attention to the “regular” and “late” registration deadlines, which usually fall within the second and third weeks of June. Registering by the regular deadline date will save you a little money, too.


No job offer yet? You’re still in the game. There are both private and public sector employers out there that participate in OCIs with the intent to hire 3L students. These firms may not have extended as many offers to summer associates as expected or have an increased capacity to hire.


Your legal career may not begin as a straight line to a single destination. It could potentially lead to prospects in more than one state/jurisdiction. It’s smart to familiarize yourself with the bar exam for all of them. You can start by downloading our comprehensive BARBRI Bar Exam Digest. Know the deadlines and fees, subjects tested, scoring, reciprocity and local content knowledge required, for example. Find out if you’ll be taking the Uniform Bar Exam and what the UBE means to your job search and career marketability.

Remember you can always reach out for guidance from your BARBRI Director of Legal Education, who is still with you every step of the way.