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.

What You Need to Know About the UBE

Six new states have recently adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE). Illinois (effective July 2019), Maryland (effective July 2019), North Carolina (effective February 2019), Rhode Island (effective February 2019) and Tennessee (effective February 2019). On the horizon is Ohio effective July 2020.

Why does the UBE matter?

The UBE is uniformly administered and graded, resulting in a portable score that may be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction independently determines the rules for who may sit and be admitted, passing scores, portability restrictions and other jurisdiction-specific admissions requirements.

Questions? Check out our What to Expect On the Bar Exam video or get in touch with your BARBRI Director of Legal Education.

Upcoming UBE Dates: February 26-27, 2019 and July 30-31, 2019

Classes to consider if your state utilizes the UBE? Although not required, these courses can help you prepare: Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Business Associations, Secured Transactions, Family Law, Conflicts of Law and Remedies.

PRO TIP: Remedies is ALWAYS a must-take. It will be tested on the bar in basically every subject, so study up!

#The2Llife: The “Gavel Gap”

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
2L at UCLA School of Law

I went to a discussion at lunch the other day on the “Gavel Gap.” 

Sponsored by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, the Gavel Gap website (gavelgap.org) gives the following description of the study:

In order to address [the] serious shortcoming [of lack of knowledge of state court judges] in our understanding of America’s courts, we have constructed an unprecedented database of state judicial biographies. This dataset—the State Bench Database–includes more than 10,000 current sitting judges on state courts of general jurisdiction in all 50 states. We use it to examine the gender, racial, and ethnic composition of state courts, which we then compare to that of the general population in each state. We find that courts are not representative of the people whom they serve. We call this disparity The Gavel Gap (emphasis added).

The Gavel Gap in my state, California, is unfortunately very pronounced. Overall, California was given a “D” grade. The state population is 31% women of color, 30% men of color, 19% white women, and 19% white men. However, the representation of each of these groups as judges in the state court is much lower.  Women of color make up only 10% of state court judges and men of color are 17%, while 23% of state court judges are white women and a staggering 51% are white men. 

As a woman of color, and person who generally cares about diversity and equity, especially in the court system, these statistics are disturbing. I think law schools can be better about encouraging people of color to aspire to the bench, and lawyers that are people of color need more models to look up to.

#The2Llife: Planning for Spring Classes

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
2L at UCLA School of Law

It may seem way too early to write a post about this, but actually, it may be late.

I planned the spring schedule I thought I wanted during the summer, when I was signing up for fall classes. Well, to be honest, I planned the rest of law school to make sure that I would be fulfilling all of the requirements for my program and specialization, as well as taking the electives I want to take. I will personally be taking Civil Rights, Constitutional Criminal Procedure, and an Immigrant Rights Policy Clinic. I was going to take Professional Responsibility, but I may decide to work or volunteer at a local nonprofit or immigration firm instead. As I’m trying to solidify my schedule, here’s what some of my classmates have said about some of the classes they’re taking:

Advanced Legal Research: You don’t get a lot of opportunities to do research outside of the first-year required course, so this is a great way to supplement your legal education with practical skills.

Business Associations: Take it, even if you’re not interested in corporate law. First of all, it’s a bar class, and second, it’s useful knowledge. 

Constitutional Criminal Procedure: Bar class. Definitely take it if you’re interested in criminal law. Focuses primarily on the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

Evidence: Another bar class. Take Evidence if you want to be certified as a law student to appear in court. (Sidenote: one of my friends is certified now, as a 2L in the fall! In California, must have completed the first year of law school and taken Civil Procedure, in addition to completing or being enrolled in Evidence.)

Professional Responsibility: This is required, so definitely take it. When you take it doesn’t really matter, but be sure you take the right amount of credits for the state you want to practice in, because different states have different requirements.

What classes would you recommend 2Ls and 3Ls take? Let me know on Twitter @The2Llife!

Twinning the Bar Exam with BARBRI

GUEST BLOG by Taylor Friedlander, Esq.
Director of Legal Education

Great minds think alike – especially when they belong to identical twins!

Sarin and Talin share more than just their DNA – they went to the same excellent law school – USC’s Gould School of Law – and also secured positions at the same top tier law firm, Proskauer Rose. Given their track record of going after the best, it’s no wonder they chose BARBRI to prepare them for the most important test of their lives.  “My personal research indicated that BARBRI is the most effective bar review course,” said Talin.

Their decision to go with BARBRI was easy given its extensive resources, which no competitor could offer. A game-changer for them was the BARBRI-exclusive Personal Study Plan. “The personal study plan was exceptionally helpful,” said Talin. “The material tested on the Bar Exam is so vast that having a tool designed to identify weaknesses and focus your attention on them is invaluable.”

BARBRI draws on data compiled by tens of thousands of students enrolled in the course in order to tell students – with unrivaled accuracy – exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. No other course has enough enrollees to provide precise percentile rankings the way BARBRI does.

Based on BARBRI’s percentile rankings, Sarin and Talin discovered that they had the same strong subjects (Criminal Law and Torts), as well as the same weaker subjects (Evidence and Property). Having this information empowered them to attack their studies and work smarter – not harder. “The personal homework geared my studying toward my personal weak areas, which helped boost my confidence,” says Sarin. “I was studying in a smart and efficient way by following my personal study plan.”

Once BARBRI identifies a student’s weak areas, they are assigned BARBRI AMP memorization modules. Using Nobel-prize winning software, BARBRI AMP turns memorizing the black letter law into an interactive game. It learns what you know, and tests you on what you don’t – until you’ve demonstrated a solid grasp of the essential points of law.

Sarin said, “I used all of the BARBRI AMPs that were assigned. It was an interactive way to learn the rules. I found that I better retained the information using AMP than if I had simply read the outline.” Talin agreed with her sister, “It was a more approachable way to study and it provided for variety, which was helpful when I was studying for so many hours each day.”

I used all of the BARBRI AMPs that were assigned. It was an interactive way to learn the rules. I found that I better retained the information using AMP than if I had simply read the outline.” – Sarin Haroutounian

“I used all of the BARBRI AMPs that were assigned. It was an interactive way to learn the rules. I found that I better retained the information using AMP than if I had simply read the outline.” – Sarin Haroutounian

Another resource that gave the twins a competitive edge was the Essay Architect software. “Essay Architect was such a useful tool,” said Sarin. It operates by taking you through a series of steps so you learn to how to read bar exam essays and craft the exact kinds of answer bar examiners are looking for. Using drag-and-drop features, students can build a practice essay, and then get immediate feedback reinforcing organization and structure. Talin said it was “extremely helpful in organizing a response to a typical essay answer.” The foundation provided by Essay Architect accelerated Sarin and Talin’s essay writing ability. By the time they submitted full-length practice essays for grading by a trained BARBRI attorney, they were miles ahead of the competition.

Essay Architect is available as part of BARBRI’s Early Start Program, an entirely self-directed program that trains students in the most highly tested topics of the bar exam. All before the BARBRI Bar Review course begins. Statistically, students who engage with Early Start 67 days or more before the BARBRI course begins are more likely to pass the bar exam the first time. Plus – much like the BARBRI Bar Review course – Early Start is designed for flexibility, making it easy to fit into your schedule, and make your studies less stressful.

Sarin and Talin agreed that the flexibility of the BARBRI course let them study in comfort. While they could take advantage of the live professor classroom at Loyola Law School, they could just as easily watch the lectures from the comfort of their home. When asked if they would recommend BARBRI to a friend, Salin and Talin responded with a resounding “yes.” “I can’t imagine how I would be able to study all of the material on my own,” said Talin, “and BARBRI helped me study efficiently.”

Special thanks to Sarin and Talin Haroutounian for sharing their experiences!

The2Llife: Reflecting on 1L Summer

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
2L at UCLA School of Law

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? Here are some 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 in 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?

On the flip side, was your summer experience not as great as you had hoped? Consider these points for a moment:

  • 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.eirs.ermore, just because you left with a bad taste in your mouth does not mean you should leave the organization with one in theirs. 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!

#The2Llife: Where The Going Gets Tough

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

*Cue the horror movie music*  Finals are almost here.

This is where the going gets tough.  The entire semester leads up to the end, the final exam, the finale. Now is the time to buckle down and start hitting the books. Here are a few of my tips for final exams.

  1. Ask for outlines. It is so beneficial to ask other students for outlines. Ask students who took the class before you for a copy of their outline. Your school may even have copies of outlines in an outline bank. As always, make sure to edit the outline with updated cases and class notes!
  2. Review BARBRI videos. I cannot stress this enough for your main courses. Barbri finds a way to condense an entire semester worth of information into short, informational videos. During 1L year, these videos were a lifesaver.  I am currently watching the evidence video and it has been very helpful.
  3. Review commercial supplements. If you’re in need of more information, check out a commercial supplement. These books break down the subject into incredible detail. I find it helpful to look at supplements when I am unclear about a topic or want to learn more about it.
  4. Find what works for you. I like to write things down. I study by writing, rewriting, and rewriting my outlines 17,000 times. I also make flashcards to memorize big topics. However, I know a lot of people do not like to write things down. Figure out something that works for you and stick to it!

Good luck on finals! Do you have any tips or tricks for law school finals? Tweet me @The2LLife!

#The2Llife: Tips for Effective Study

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

Classes are over and final exams are here!

This semester really flew by. By now, you should have your outlines complete and study questions ready. It is obvious that you should work on memorizing the rules and how to apply them, but what else should you be doing to prepare for exams?  Here are a few suggestions.

  • Keep track of your study hours. This may sound a little crazy, but it is helpful to hold yourself accountable. There are a few ways to do this. You can write down the amount of hours you will study on a calendar. This is a good idea so that you do not schedule anything else during that time. You could also create a spreadsheet to track the amount of time you studied and to track what material you studied. One of my friends used the “tracking” method for her study hours and felt incredibly accomplished after finals. By writing down the amount of hours that you studied, you are able to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment after finals are over. This may also help to create efficient study habits for other exams or even for the bar exam! (This is also great practice for the future when you will be billing clients!)
  • Ask questions. This is pretty self-explanatory, but it is has taken me a long time for me to figure this out. I usually refrain from asking questions in class and I normally do not go to office hours. This semester, I’ve tried to change that behavior. I have attended review sessions and asked questions. It is so important to ask questions while you are studying because you do not want to memorize the incorrect rule. So, go to your professor’s office hours, shoot them an email, or bounce questions off of your friends!
  • Find a study method that works for you. It is pertinent to determine the best study method early on in law school. You may find that studying in a large group is helpful. Or you may find that you like the complete opposite. Personally, I like studying with one, or two, other people because I find it helpful to ask questions while I am studying. However, it is incredibly easy to get distracted when studying with others, so make sure you try to stay on track.
  • Find a study area that works for you.As important as it is to find out what the best study method is, where you study is almost equally as important. Studying at your house or apartment may be convenient, but it may be full of distractions such as roommates, pets, or TV. You may like studying in the library, a coffee shop, or somewhere else where you can zone in and optimize productivity. This could take some trial and error, but by this time in the semester, you should have a few options to use if your main spot is unavailable.
  • Sleep. I cannot emphasize this enough! All-nighters have a bad rap and it is for a good reason. You will retain much more information if you have a decent night of sleep. It is so, so, so important to give your brain a rest from rules and cases!

Do you have any other study tips? Tweet me @The2LLife!

#The2Llife: Managing Your Time

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

One of the keys to being successful (really, I’m just equating success with not losing your mind) during law school is time management.  While arguably this is a key to being successful in life, it is really, really necessary during law school.  Mastering time management during my second year has been essential to my overall plan.

I am involved in two school organizations and I have two jobs.  While I’m not on moot court or law review, I felt the need to push myself into finding two different jobs.  I work better when I am busy because I am forced into managing my time.  While this is often stressful, it is what helps me find balance.

I live by my Google calendar and I use it for everything.  I use it to track midterms, reading assignments, finals, meetings, my work schedules, and outings.  If an online calendar is not your thing, I would suggest getting some type of calendar or agenda to keep track of your life.  I even write down my workouts.  As law students, we are expected to remember the facts and holdings of cases so make it simpler on yourself and write down the date your paper is due instead of trying to remember it.

As horrible as this sounds, I try to avoid watching T.V.  Really, I do this because I don’t have time.  However, I also avoid T.V. because I have been sucked into a binge where I don’t move for four hours.  I will try to watch an episode of How To Get Away With Murder or another show, but I usually record it so that I can watch it when I actually have time.

The point of this post is that managing your time, especially with the use of a calendar, is incredibly important.  If you write something down, you will feel more pressure to actually do it.  While that sounds a little harsh, it is true.  Writing it down will hold you accountable.  So, take it from, someone who learned the hard way, that managing your time efficiently will be crucial to your success in law school.

What are your thoughts? What time management strategies do you use? Tweet me @The2LLife!

#The2Llife: Outlining — Start Early

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

Outlining is not fun but it is a key component to exam preparation.

We are officially halfway through the semester (eeek!) and now is the time to start outlining. You should start now, and by now I mean you probably should have started a few weeks ago. December will be here sooner than we know it and if you have your outlines started or finished, you will be way ahead of the game. You will have more time to devote to learning and memorizing everything in those outlines, instead of trying to figure out what you should put in and what you should leave out.

During 1L year, I tried to make my outlines as comprehensive as possible. That worked pretty well for the fall semester but didn’t work out so well for the spring semester. I was bogged by details and random facts from cases. This year, I’m trying something new.

For my midterms, I tried to make my outlines short, simple, and to the point.  Instead of focusing on all of the details from each case, I focused on the important plot pieces from the case. Also, I focused on learning the rules instead of the random details about the opinion. Memorizing and understanding the black letter law from cases will be essential to success on your exams!

Even if you do not have midterms, I suggest that you start outlining now.

As I stated earlier, this will put you ahead during finals time.  Instead of creating your outline, you will be able to review it.  Also, by starting early, you will have enough time to consult supplements, professors, and your classmates if you have any questions. If you are having difficulty creating your outline, consult a commercial outline, like BARBRI.  BARBRI saved me during 1L year.

What are your thoughts on outlining early? Tweet me @The2LLife!