3L Study Habits

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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!

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!

#The3Llife: The Art of the Follow-Up

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

Around this time of year, I see the same question popping up on law school message boards and in law student’s conversations. “How do I follow up?”

The question applies to so many scenarios: job and internship interviews, networking events, bar association conferences, etc. You go to the event or the interview, you have a great time, you go home, and then what? The next step is to send a brief follow up message. Exactly how does that work? Check out the tips below!

For an event…

Events are less formal than job interviews, so your follow up message can reflect that. The easiest and most convenient way to follow up is either via email or LinkedIn. I’m personally a big fan of using LinkedIn, especially if you’re just looking to add the person to your network. As a LinkedIn connection, the person will be able to see your updates and stay in touch easier.  When you send a connection request on LinkedIn, accompany it with a brief personal message reminding the person how/where you met.

If you have a specific request (ie. you want to get coffee or do an informational interview) its better to send an email. Once again, make sure to remind the person how you met to refresh their memory and then make your request.

Neither the LinkedIn message or the email need to be long or complex. Start with “It was great meeting you at the [X networking event] on [Y date].” And then follow up with your request. For example, “I’d like to add you to my network and keep in touch.” Or  “Would you be available sometime next week to grab a cup of coffee and talk more about [Z]?” Simple as that!

For a job/ internship interview…

You’ll likely want your interview follow up to be a bit more in-depth than an event follow up. Start by thanking the person for taking time to meet with you and discuss the position. If it’s applicable, highlight a part of the conversation the piqued your interest or an aspect of the position you find especially intriguing. If the interviewer asked for any additional info, like references or a writing sample, be sure to include that in this email as well. And last, but certainly not least, express your enthusiasm for the position.

Since your employer is likely doing other interviews and looking to make decisions in a short time frame, it’s recommended that you send your follow up email within 24 hours of the interview. If you interview with multiple people, make sure you collect all of their business cards at the end of the interview and send each one a personalized email. An additional tip: Keep a template, like the one below, bookmarked so after your interview you can easily pull it up, edit, and send it out!

“Dear XX,

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today about [X position]. It was great to meet you and learn more about the position. The work your firm/company does with Y and Z is impressive and I’m very excited about the opportunity to join your team.”

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like any additional information.

Thank you again for your time!”

#The3LLife: Making Your Schedule

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

As this current semester wraps up (we’re over halfway through!) it’s likely that you’re thinking about what classes you’ll take next semester.

I always felt a bit overwhelmed during the scheduling process. There were so many classes I wanted to take and only so many hours in my day. To make the process a bit easier for myself I came up with a few questions to consider when evaluating classes. Take a look and let me know how you decide what to take!

Is this class required?

It might not be the class you’re looking forward to most, but if it’s required for graduation you may want to take it. By getting your required classes out of the way, you’ll free up your last year or last semester for electives. Plus, it’s always a good idea to get requirements out of the way as soon as possible. You don’t want to have to delay your graduation or take an unexpected summer class because you didn’t get something done.

Is this class known for being difficult?

I’m not suggesting you shy away from challenging classes–some of my favorite classes have been the most difficult. However, I do recommend that you avoid loading up on classes that are known for being time consuming or hard. You want to be able to enjoy the class and actually get something out of it, not feel insanely stressed and fall behind due to a crazy workload.

Am I interested in the topic?

You won’t be able to completely avoid subject matter that you don’t find interesting. Sometimes a class that doesn’t seem interesting will be the only thing that fits into your schedule or will be a requirement. With that being said, if you have the option, choose something you think you’ll like. Having an interest in the material makes it a lot easier to focus in class and get the assignments done.

Do I like the professor?

The professor can make or break a class. Look at who is teaching the class before you sign up.  Think about the last time you took a class with that person. Did you like their teaching style? Did you feel comfortable asking questions or going to office hours? If you haven’t taken that professor before, ask your classmates for their opinions.

Are there other options?

Before committing to a schedule, look at all the options. Maybe you want to work in an internship/ clinic time or you might want to do an independent study if you’re a credit or two short. Your school likely has a lot of different ways you can get your credits. Talk to the registrar or your advisor about your goals and what you’d like to learn. Part of their job is to help you, so take advantage of it!

#The3Llife: Negotiating Your First Job Offer

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

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for since you started going on job interviews–you got a job offer!

Congratulations! There’s nothing more exciting than landing your first job after graduation. But once the excitement wears off, you realize that you need to evaluate the offer and decide whether or not to accept. I know it can be tempting to just say yes immediately, but there are a few things you should consider before committing.

Evaluate your expenses

Take some time to sit down and make a list of all the expenses you have: rent, car payment, insurance, food, student loans, utilities, etc. Add up all these expenses and see how much you actually need to spend on a yearly basis. Chances are it will be higher than you thought. At the very least, you need to make sure that the offer will give you enough to cover all of these expenses with some left over. You’ll want a bit of a cushion for unexpected expenses (I’m looking at you cracked windshield).

Research salaries at comparable jobs

You want to see how your offer compares with the industry standard. Sites like Glassdoor, PayScale, and USA Wage have helpful ranges that take into account your location, experience, firm size, and type of law. Play around with these sites and see where your offer falls. If you feel comfortable, you may also want to ask a friend who recently graduated what their starting salary was. More information is always better.

Look at benefits

Salary isn’t the only part of your offer you’ll want to evaluate. Does your employer pay for health insurance? How much will they contribute to a 401(k)? How many vacation days do you get? Think about the things that are important to you. You may be willing to accept a salary that is a bit lower in exchange for great health coverage or the opportunity to work from home and spend more time with your kids.

Be aware of the possibility for re-evaluation

This is a starting salary and you’ll want to have the opportunity to get a raise based on your performance. Be sure you know when your firm will be doing evaluations or performance reviews and when you’ll have the opportunity to get a raise. Setting up an opportunity for re-evaluation up front will set expectations and save your from a potentially awkward conversation down the road.

At the end of the day, there are no hard and fast rules when it coms to job offers. If the offer works for you, and you’re happy with it, then accept! It’s all about what you want in a job and whether the offer is meeting your needs and goals!

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#The3Llife: Six Steps for Spring Break Success

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

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

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

Get going on those outlines

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

Update your resume

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

Get caught up

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

Make a plan

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

Take care of “housekeeping” tasks

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

3Ls, prep for graduation

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

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

#The3Llife: How to Ace Your Interview!

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

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

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

Dress professionally

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

Be confident

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

Be early

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

Bring copies of everything

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

Write down questions

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

Follow up

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

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

#The3Llife: Five Tips for Internships

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

I’ve loved a lot of the experiences I’ve had in law school from interesting electives to engaging club events.

However, my favorite experience has been my internships. I was fortunate enough to be able to do a handful of placements throughout my time in law school and I found them to be invaluable. For those of you who are considering internships, I wanted to share some tips for making the most out of each opportunity.

Know your limits

First of all, I want to acknowledge how challenging it can be to accept an unpaid internship. I worked part-time in law school and had rent, utilities, etc. that needed to be paid each month. It was certainly a budgeting struggle for me to be an unpaid intern, but the experience was worth the struggle. However, it’s important to know what you can and can’t handle. Be honest with yourself about the amount of time you’ll be able to commit and your other obligations. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Apply anyway

When I applied for my first internship I had just finished the first semester of my 1L year. I was certainly not the most qualified candidate, but I applied anyways, and I got the position. Don’t shy away from applying because you aren’t familiar with the type of law or don’t have the experience you think you need. You have more skills than you think and employers are happy to teach what’s missing.

Be open to new opportunities

An internship I thought I would love ended up being my least favorite, and one that I was on the fence about helped point me down a new career path. If an internship sounds remotely interesting, take a deeper look. Internships are a great way to try out different areas of law and see what you like and what you don’t like. You may be surprised!

Always learn

Unfortunately, not all internships are awesome, but they are all learning experiences. You may learn how to stand up for yourself or how not to be a supervisor when you are an attorney. Either way, you get something out of the internship that you can bring to your next internship and your future job. And if you’re not happy, think about why. If it’s something you think could be fixed, approach your supervisor or talk to a mentor.

Be confident

I get it. Especially at your first internship, you’re nervous. You don’t want to say something wrong or come off the wrong way. It’s okay–everyone makes mistakes and your supervisors know that (they were interns once too). Don’t shy away from asking questions and sharing your opinion.

#The3Llife: Making An Effective Outline

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

Today is my last day of classes!

While I no longer have to sit in class, I can’t totally put the semester behind me yet. The next week is going to be full of outlining for all of my law school final exams, some open book and some closed.

Outlining can be a challenge and a lot of law students are tempted to make a “template” outline that they can fill in with class-specific material. While that sounds like a timesaver, it’s actually really detrimental. Every class is different, every exam focuses on different things, and therefore each outline should reflect those differences.

Think about how the professor organized the class.

You should have the most information in your outline about the topics that were discussed the most. Don’t get caught up trying to thoroughly analyze something your professor just mentioned in passing. If you’re unsure if you understand something enough, meet with a classmate or your professor and talk it through. You can also ask if your professor will review your outline. I’ve had several who are happy to take a look and make note of things that are missing or over-emphasized.

Aside from tailoring your outline to the structure of the class, also tailor it to the structure of the exam. Open-book exams require very different outlines from closed-book exams. For a closed-book exam an 80-page outline isn’t going to do you much good since it’s unlikely you can memorize that much info. Try to condense the rules, cases, and concepts as much as possible so they are easy to memorize. Depending on your learning style you may want to make flashcards or create mnemonic devices.

Since you’ll have your outline with you in an open book exam, it can be a little longer and more substantive. The key to using your outline effectively during the exam is organization. The answer may be in your outline, but that’s not helpful if you had to spend 20 minutes flipping through to find it. Organize your outline in a way that makes sense for you and then think of some other ways you can make it easy to search through. For a longer outline, you may want a skeleton outline or table of contents you can quickly skim. I’m a big fan of adding tabs that note the different rules and highlighting key cases or concepts.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you’re thoughtful about how you’re making your outlines and what will work best for you. It may seem like a lot of work–and it is–but the benefits of having a strong outline are well worth the trouble!

What are some of your tips for outlining? Share them with me on Twitter @The3LLife!

Why Every Law Student Should Have a LinkedIn

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

When I was in undergrad I constantly heard people talking up LinkedIn.

Every time I attended a networking event or a career tips panel, people were touting the benefits of the “professional” social networking site. I confess, I was skeptical. Despite my side gig as a social media manager, I’m not obsessed with social media. I understand their importance for brands, but I didn’t really understand the importance for my future career.

Flash forward a few months, I’d jumped on the bandwagon and set up a LinkedIn profile. I filled in my experiences (or what few experiences I had as a student), I added a nice headshot, I wrote a succinct summary, and then I waited. When I didn’t get 100s of connections or job offers out of the gate I felt a little discouraged. It seemed LinkedIn was helpful for everyone but me.

As time went on, I continued to build my page

I uploaded projects I had worked on, made note of awards I received in school, and shared articles about topics that interested me. And just as everyone said it would, my LinkedIn started generating job prospects.

At first it was just job opportunities popping up in my news feed. I started applying to those that interested me and ended up starting my social media management career before I even graduated from undergrad. As I kept building my profile and making more connections I started getting LinkedIn messages from recruiters and HR reps who thought I’d be a good fit for an open position. Not every lead worked out, but so far I’ve gotten two jobs that I’ve really enjoyed (and never would’ve applied for on my own) through people who reached out on LinkedIn.

I know, I know, I’ve turned into one of those people who talks up LinkedIn, and I promise to step off my soapbox soon, but I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t let you all know how important this resource has been to me.

I really believe that every law student should be on LinkedIn. You may not have extensive experience or high profile connections, but you have internship experience, extracurriculars, and classroom awards that deserve to be shown off. Make yourself visible to other attorneys and potential employers. You never know who you’ll impress or what opportunities might come your way!

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