Long Distance: Can it Work?

Long Distance Relationships

[ Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania ]

Maybe you spent your summer working in a new city and found love only to come to the realization that returning to law school means you need to break up, or try long distance. Or maybe, alternatively, you started a relationship during law school, or prior to law school, but now know that you’ll be moving to a different city without them come graduation.

Both scenarios bring the famous question “can long-distance work” to the surface. Or better yet, “is it worth it?”

To assist all of you facing this unfortunate decision, I sought advice from numerous friends and colleagues who’ve had a long-distance experience – both successful and not. So here’s their take.

Evaluate

First, you need to evaluate your relationship and your own feelings honestly to determine whether they are strong enough to withstand all the trials that come with a long-distance relationship. While it is possible for distance to strengthen a new or relatively ‘weak’ relationship, when you take into account your heavy work/school schedule and the stress levels you already face, most seemed to agree that long-distance was only worth it when the relationship was already somewhat serious, and when your feelings were relatively deep or growing rapidly.

Will a Long Distance Relationship Work?

Be Realistic

Second, you need to be realistic about the timeline. Long-distance is possible, but it’s not possible forever. At some point you need to be together, it’s just human nature. Having a confirmed timeline – whether it be the number of years until you graduate, or the six months it takes for them to transfer jobs – you need to know that there is an end in the foreseeable future. For many of those whose long-distance relationships failed, changing timelines or a lack of an end date was what ultimately broke the relationship.

Likewise, you need to have a plan. It’s fine and dandy to have an end date marked on a calendar for a few months or years down the line, but you also need to know how you’re going to progress in your relationship during that time. That means talking about what your communication will look like, how many times you will visit one another, etc.

Notably, nearly all the people I talked to said communication was easy in the beginning when your sadness over missing them was still fresh. But as time progressed it became more difficult. Those in the successful relationship category said they eventually discussed the wane in communication with their partner and created a schedule of sorts (i.e. two phone calls a week, or skyping on Tuesdays at 8 pm). Alternatively, those in relationships that failed reported that as the communication dwindled they allowed their frustrations to fester until they boiled over, resulting in a nasty argument and even worse communication afterward.

Prioritize

Finally, and most importantly, you need to decide whether you can put someone else first. While this is a general principle in all relationships, it’s especially important as a legal professional and in a long-distance relationship. There is a tendency to view our schedules as more important because we’re in law school and that’s incredibly hard, or because we’re lawyers and that’s incredibly important. But when it comes down to it, our partner’s cannot be the only ones responsible for finding time in their schedules for our relationship. Their lives are just as important as ours (yes, even if they’re not in grad school, law school, or working as a lawyer or in some other ‘busy’ profession), therefore the burden needs to be shouldered equally, and sometimes you will have to sacrifice your needs/wants for the good of the relationship. As one individual said, “if you’re not ready for that, you’re not ready for long-distance.”

So, in conclusion, the consensus was 50/50 on whether long distance can work. Everyone agreed that the shorter the long distance, or the closer you are in terms of weekend trips, the easier it is. Having an end date and a plan are as essential as having consistent, and honest, communication.

But the most important factor is actually you – you need to decide whether the relationship is one you’re willing to fight for, whether you trust the person enough to be separated from them, and whether you have the time, energy, and mental capacity to put the work in to make a long-distance relationship work.

Tips to Save Money and Time During Law School

Tips to Save Money During Law School

[ Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona ]

School is expensive; we all know this. Even if you have a scholarship, most of us take the maximum amount of student loans to ensure that we can survive while we are not working in law school. I usually considered myself frugal, but I was not well disciplined with my 1L first-semester money (I have my loan distributed both semesters rather than all at once in the fall). So, beginning with my second semester, I returned to my best spending habits, and have maintained this through 2L.  Here are my top three tips to save money and time on common law school expenses.

Rent Your Textbooks

I recently shared this advice with a 1L, and they couldn’t believe how much you can save by renting your textbooks online. Sure, many of you know this already, but did you know if you shop for books in early December or July, you can rent the books for half price, in many cases? Why? Supply and Demand. For example, my books for last semester to rent were $12 to $32. In early August, these same books were $44 to $107.  When the Fall semester started, these rental books cost even more, or no rentals were available. This strategy also works in February and late September. Why? Again, supply and demand. The shops are dealing with returns from people who dropped the classes that they needed the books for, so you can often pick up cheap rentals during this time.

Another tip, to be extra frugal is to use the Reserve Books

One of my friends has yet to buy a law book. They complete all of their readings using the books on reserve in the library. I am not sure if every law school does this, but if they do, this is another option to save a ton on your books.

Timing Matters to Save on your Wardrobe too

If you’re looking for a great deal on professional outfits and suits, do not overlook Goodwill. I wrote about this last semester, but it is important to mention again with Spring OCI interviews coming up, since your wardrobe may need to be refreshed. Now is the perfect time to hit consignment and thrift stores. Why? People have received or purchased new outfits with their holiday money, so these stores are full of suits and outfits that people replaced. If you have tried shopping at one of these stores before and did not have great results, it’s the perfect time to try again.

Skip Postmates and try Delivery or Scheduled Pick up Groceries instead.

While food delivery services are convenient, you are often paying astronomical amounts for a single meal. Instead, try grocery services like Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Fresh, Walmart Delivery, or whatever your local grocery store is. Usually, delivery is free if you spend a minimum amount, but you can order what you need and stop spending extra money on things that end up in your grocery cart. You can add things to your cart as the week progresses and then set up delivery for a time you know you will be home from school. This can save you both time and money. Or, set up a free pickup from a grocery store right after you leave class. Unlike Postmates, the prices are the same as if you actually went into the store, and you will save time because you don’t do the shopping yourself.

How do you like to save money and time on law school expenses? Let me know over at the @The2LLife on Twitter and Instagram.

Surviving the 1L Job Search

1L Job Search

[ Mara Masters, 1L at Emory Law ]

It isn’t even the end of January and I already feel like I am so behind on everything in my life. Classes are grueling enough, but now we have job search and job fairs and interviews and cover letters and callbacks. Each task that I accomplish spawns two or three more tasks. Law school is like a hydra – you cut off one head and three more grow back. That look on Hercules’ face – yeah that’s me right now. So, as per my usual, I reached out to those who came before me on this epic law school journey for advice on how to make it through the perplexing job search process.

Disney's Hercules

Be yourself:

I asked a few 2Ls and 3Ls who got their dream jobs 1L summer for their best job search survival tips. The number one piece of advice I got was to be yourself. One of my 2L friends who has a strong public interest background and hopes to work in public interest in the future applied and interviewed for an in-house position at a large corporation (in case you didn’t know, Atlanta is home to a plethora of corporate headquarters). During his interview, it became clear that one of the reasons he got the interview was because of his public interest leanings, but when the interviewer asked if he hoped to continue working in public interest, thinking he should demonstrate commitment to the type of organization he was interviewing with, he said no.

Reach out to Friends:

I know that in some places it is taboo to have your peers read over your materials but having a variety of people who are in the field look over my cover letter has helped me to hone my story and has boosted my confidence considerably. I tend to undersell myself, but my friends are good at pointing out where I am omitting things because I am downplaying them. Reading through friends’ cover letters has given me a cool opportunity to get to know more people’s backgrounds and interests. Also, aggressive affirmation is my worldview, so I jump at any chance to apply it. If you have friends inside the law school who would be willing to sit and listen while you do practice interviews, do it! Eat the watermelon and spit out the seeds (i.e. take the feedback that is useful and leave the rest). If you can’t practice for other people, record yourself answering interview questions and play it back. I did this with my master’s thesis defense, and it helped so much when I got in front of my committee and my mind went blank. Check out other tips for interview season here!

If you know where you want to apply, see if other people from your law school have worked there in the past and reach out. I have asked probably a hundred 2Ls and 3Ls about how they got their previous jobs and for all the dish on what it was like to work where they worked. I have even asked a couple of them for specific language that might be helpful to include in my cover letter or interview. Everyone I have asked has been so helpful and supportive and I feel so much more confident now that I understand a little better what organizations are looking for.

Keep Practicing Self Care:

I have to be really honest. I hate the phrase “self-care.” It feels a little too gushy for me. The idea behind it though is crucial. We all know by this point that law school can be a constant barrage of blows to your self-esteem, and with the competitiveness of the job market, and the short winter days, the 1L summer internship search can be rough. Keep utilizing your mental health resources. Make time to connect with people outside of law school. Make a gratitude or accomplishments journal. Find a hobby that makes you happy and relaxed. Volunteer in a non-legal capacity in your community. If you need more ideas for self-care, the 3L Life has some brilliant ones, broken down by how much time you have.

Think Outside the Box:

The scarcity mindset is rife in the legal profession, and perhaps for good reason. Big Law and Big Public Interest jobs are few and competitive, but there is a whole world of interesting legal jobs out there if you look for it. Rural counties are notoriously short on qualified attorneys and often provide broad, hands-on experience. Non-profits, universities, and municipal governments may not advertise legal internships but often have legal departments that would be thrilled to have an intern. Google is your friend here!

Most of all, remind yourself as frequently as possible that you have made it this far and you are capable of success.

via GIPHY

The Best Spring Break for YOU!

Spring Break For Law Students

[ Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania ]

Alas, we are about to embark on our final spring break trip as students. Though we have a few months left until we need to pack our bags, travel discounts are popping up left right and center, so now is the time to plan! With that said, how should you spend your final spring break trip?

Local Vacation

Just because we spent the summer working does not mean we are by any means rich. The end of law school also means the beginning of student loan payments and other ‘adult’ financial burdens. By this point, you may be feeling a bit strapped for cash, in which case, a costly international flight and resort is probably off the table, but don’t fret!

Consider a road trip to a nearby city with friends. Split the cost of gas and an Airbnb to make it even cheaper! Soak in some sights, hit the museums, and maybe splurge for concert tickets! According to where you’re located, some great road trip destinations (or cheap domestic flights) include: Texas, Tennessee, New Orleans, Las Vegas, D.C., Miami, and beyond!

Beach “Resort”

If you’ve been feeling a bit stressed about all things law school-related, consider taking a relaxing vacation to a beach-side town. If you want to keep it moderately inexpensive you could aim for someplace domestic, like Miami or San Diego.

If you’d like to say goodbye to the USA and hello to somewhere more tropical for a week, then I recommend you start looking now to ensure you score an awesome flight deal – often you can get roundtrip flights for under $400 to places like Mexico, Cuba, Chile, etc. Likewise, accommodations are usually inexpensive if you book as a group, or if you go the Airbnb route.

European Explorer

If you’re feeling the urge to soak in some culture, then why not book a destination trip to Europe? You can opt to spend the entire week in one location, or take advantage of the cheap domestic travel options (Ryan Air flights and/or trains) to hit a few different locations. When it comes to Europe you really have it all, from beaches to mountains and everything in between.

To save on flight costs, check out Student Universe for some crazy student deals! Europe may be comparatively expensive, but it doesn’t have to completely break the bank!

Service Trip

If you’re panicking about the pro bono requirement for graduation or the New York Bar, consider taking a service trip to pull in some extra hours during your time off. Options will, of course, vary based on your university, but it’s worth looking into!

Note, if you can’t find any service trips, you may still be able to participate in a remote project that will allow you to take a trip and complete your hours.

New Semester Resolutions

New Semester Resolutions

[ Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona ]

Since we have entered a new year and semester, I thought it was appropriate to make some new semester resolutions. Like typical new years resolutions, these are things I know I should do, but haven’t been doing consistently, or at all. The new year is a great time to start new habits, so here are my five new semester resolutions to help me be a well-rounded 2L!

#1 – Update Outlines Every Weekend

I know that this is a best practice, but it something I have never been able to do. This semester, it is essential that I do it! Why? Because the University of Arizona launched a brand new Phoenix externship program that I am participating in, and this program follows the quarter system. This means that I take my first final in just seven weeks, so I have no time to procrastinate. Outlining each weekend will allow me to be well prepared for my quickly approaching final.

#2 –Get To Know My Classmates Better

I am pretty tight or at least have socialized with most of the people in my small section. I also have a few close friends in other sections. But there are 130 people in my class and in the Phoenix program, there are at least ten students that I do not know very well. So this semester, I want to make it a priority to get to know my fellow 2Ls better.

#3 – Become More Involved In the Legal Community

Last semester I became a school representative to the Arizona State Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Division (YLD). Because I was in Tucson, I teleconferenced to each meeting. Now that I am in Phoenix for the semester, I want to attend the meetings, as well as become more involved with local chapter events. This will help me build my legal network in the city I plan to practice in once I graduate.

#4 – Better Utilize Office Hours

Office hours are a great way to gain a better understanding of class materials, that I have greatly underutilized in the past. This semester, since I will be outlining weekly, it will be easier for me to recognize gaps in my understanding that I normally wouldn’t see until the end of the semester. Attending office hours consistently throughout the semester will help me fill in these gaps.

#5 – Pick Up a Hobby

Law School can be all-consuming, so it is good to have an outlet where you can meet new people and do something enjoyable. I used to have many different hobbies that I have completely abandoned since I began law school. Now seems like a great time to return to the golf course or the driving range. Not only will this give me an escape and a chance to socialize with friends, but it will also help me be ready if I get invited out for a round with my firm over the summer!

Have you made any law school-related new years resolutions? If so, let me know over at the @The2LLife on Twitter or Instagram.

Ten Law Podcasts for 2020

10 Law Blogs for 2020

[ Mara Masters, 1L at Emory Law ]

We are into the third week of the semester at my law school and I have to be honest: I am already a little burned out on reading and class lectures.  So what does one do when they would like to continue increasing their legal knowledge but is running low on energy? Podcasts, of course. Here are a few of my favorite legal podcasts, sorted by average running time just in case you only have a fifteen-minute class break to catch up on your listening.

1. Bloomberg Law

Average Run Time: 12 minutes

Bloomberg Law is a pretty typical news-style podcast. It’s perfect if you want a short but thorough summation and analysis of current legal happenings. It’s not so good if you don’t want your news to sound like news.

Recommended Episodes: Justices Struggle with International Child Custody and Carlos Ghosn Puts Japan’s Legal System on Trial

2. Law to fact

Average Run Time: 25 minutes

Started in 2017 by law professor Leslie Garfield Tenzer as a supplement for her students, this podcast has everything from res ipsa loquitor to getting the right law school accommodations. Professor Garfield Tenzer manages to pack a ton of information into short 25ish minute blurbs, but be warned that if you care about production value, this podcast might drive you crazy.

Recommended Episodes: Rule Against Perpetuities and Thinking about Punishment and the Criminal Law

Podcast being created

3. ABA Journal: Modern Law Library

Average Run Time: 30 minutes

I love this podcast. My fondness for it may be a result of my prior career in a university library system or because the hosts discuss relevant new (and sometimes old) books and talk to incredible and brilliant authors. Regardless of the reason though, I have learned more from this podcast than I probably did in all of high school combined.

Recommended Episodes: How to Become a Federal Criminal and Networking for Introverts

4. ABA Journal: Legal Rebels

Average Run Time: 30 minutes

Legal Rebels hosts a variety of thinkers and experts who specialize in law and technology and are working to innovate the legal profession. I enjoy listening to this podcast, but I am also a little bit of a technophobe, so sometimes I have to take a break from listening and pretend like I don’t know that people are working on AI that can draft contracts from scratch.

Recommended Episodes: Reinventing the Staid Field of Legal Academic Writing and Young Lawyers Can be Technophobes Too

5. Above the Law Thinking Like a Lawyer:

Average Run Time: 30 minutes

Above the Law is probably the most cynical podcast on this list, but it is cynical in a way that is refreshing and filled with profanities. The hosts Elie Mystal and Joe Patrice are the perfect combination of sweet and salty as they discuss current events and legal happenings and have conversations with legal experts and authors.

Recommended Episodes: The Roberts Court is Here and The Many, Many Obstacles to Biglaw Diversity 

6. Law School Toolbox

Average Run Time: 35 minutes

Law School Toolbox is hosted by Lee Burgess and Alison Monahan, both of whom are attorneys. Side note, Alison Monahan also started The Girl’s Guide to Law School, which is also a fantastic resource. Most episodes are conversations about the day to day experience of law school, with occasional “Listen and Learn” episodes sprinkled in.

Recommended Episodes: More on Accommodations in Law School (w/ Elizabeth Knox) and Navigating Networking Events as a Law Student

7. ABA Law Student Podcast

Average Run Time: 20-45 minutes

The ABA has several great podcasts, but this one is unique because it is hosted by law students! It covers topics ranging from what the ABA Law Student Division Council is working on to the O.J. Simpson trial.

Recommended Episodes: What Can you Do with Your Law Degree? and Space Law: The Next Frontier for Lawyers

8. Lawyerist

Average Run time: 40 minutes

Lawyerist is a weekly podcast where the hosts, Sam Glover and Aaron Street, chat with lawyers and legal experts. This podcast is a great resource if you don’t know yet what kind of law you would like to practice or if you are hoping to practice in a small firm.

Recommended Episodes: JDs and ADHD, with Marshall Lichty and Training the Lawyers of the Future at Emory Law, with Nicole Morris

9. Oyez

OYEZ Podcast

 

Average Run Time: 1 hour

Oyez is probably one of my favorite things to listen to when I can’t sleep – Supreme Court oral arguments. I have been listening to this (on 1.5 speed) in preparation for our legal writing oral arguments this semester.

 

 

10. Opening Arguments

Average Running Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Opening Arguments – hosted by a legal expert and comic – is the perfect combination of legal analysis and jokes. Even though the episodes are a bit longer and I often have to listen to them in two or three sittings, I always learn a lot and almost always chuckle a little bit.

Recommended Episodes: Pennhurst and the Voter Purge in Georgia and Who is Jonathan Turley, Anyway?

What law and other podcasts are you listening to? Find me on Twitter and Instagram at @the1lLife and let me know!

Tips to Review Law School Exams

Review exam privately

[ Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona ]

Congratulations on surviving another semester of law school. No matter how you did, reviewing your exam is a great idea. It is especially important to review your exam if you did not perform well or get the grade you thought you were going to. This is especially critical for 1Ls, as you head into your second semester. But it’s also important to 2 and 3Ls, especially if it’s a bar-related exam topic. Reviewing your exam is an important step because even though you cannot change your grade, you can use what you learn to excel on future law school exams.

At my school, I have yet to meet a professor that is not willing to sit down with you to review your test, which is fantastic, but through talking to my friends last year at other schools, this isn’t always the case. Even if your professor does not sit down with you, you can still learn valuable information to help you with future exams. Here are my three tips for reviewing your exam successfully.

First, Self-reflect on your performance

Before going to check out your exam for review, self-reflect on your performance. For me, my first semester, I knew that I had messed up badly on one of my exams while I was taking the test, so it was easy to diagnose where I went wrong. I knew I had not answered a long essay question properly. Before I went to go look at my exam, I outlined what my answer should have been, from what I could remember of the prompt. This was a great exercise because it let me see if I went wrong because of my approach to the question or if there was actually a blind spot in my understanding. If it was a multiple-choice test, and you feel like you missed one topic over and over, brush up on that before going in to see if you can answer those questions correctly. For me, this was an important step, because in some cases, I did very well on areas of the test I thought I had done poorly, and I missed areas I thought I had mastered.

Once you have finished this, be sure to take this with you to review the exam. In future semesters, write your self-reflection soon after the exam is over, so that way it is fresh in your mind.

Next, review your exam privately

You should review your exam privately before sitting down with your professor. At our school, there is a special room you can go to, and you can check your test out at any point in time. When you check your test out, in addition to your test, you will often find that the professor has provided model answers.  To review your test properly, set aside at least a half an hour. Use the self-reflection notes to help guide your review. I like to review and critique my own work first to see where I could have improved before looking at the model answers. Some professors will write detailed notes; others may just assign points. If the grading scale for the curve is not provided, be sure to ask about this when you meet with your professor.

Again, take notes about what you could have done better, and what you did well. Pay attention to both negative and positive notes that the professor wrote. You might begin to see a trend with your exams. I know I did, and it is a big reason my grades improved.

Once you have reviewed your test privately, you should make an appointment with your professor to go over your test.

Reviewing exam with professor

Finally, review your test with your professor

Be sure to go to the meeting with an open mind. Your goal here is not to change your grade, but to learn how to write a more effective law school exam from their perspective. You also want to make sure you understand any concepts that gave you issues on the final exam.  Think of this meeting as a way to understand exam writing and use this information to improve this semester on new exams. Sure, it won’t be the same topic, but law school exams, for the most part, are the same, from teacher to teacher. Use your notes to help guide the conversation and ask for feedback about how you can improve on future exams. It has been my experience that professors are always willing to help you, and I saw positive results from reviewing my exams.

What tips do you have for reviewing exams? Let me know over at the @The2LLife on Instagram and Twitter.

Journal as a 3L

Law Review & Law Journal Offices UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW SCHOOL | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

[ Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania ]

While a select few law journals – I’m looking at you Law Review – require a two-year commitment, the vast majority require only one-year commitments. In such cases, 2L members have the option to apply for, and serve on, the board during their final year of law school.

If you’re currently serving a one-year journal commitment, and are considering applying for the board, you may be interested in knowing what such a decision will entail. Obviously your exact responsibilities will depend both on your specific law journal, and the position for which you apply, however, at a basic level you can expect the following:

  • Supervisory & Leadership Responsibilities:
    Regardless of your exact position on the board, serving as a board member means that you are putting yourself forward as a resource for all non-board members. Members, and the public, will expect you to be knowledgeable on the journal processes and rules, the board composition, and board-related resources – should you receive questions on these items, you’ll be expected to answer them to the best of your ability, or guide the individual to the appropriate source or person who can. Additionally, you may be expected to oversee a group of junior editors or journal meetings.
[ Both Images ] Law Review & Law Journal Offices | UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW SCHOOL
  • University Accountability:
    All members of the journal are tied by name to its publications, but remember, if something goes wrong it is the board who will be held to the highest standard. Likewise, it is the board who will be expected to resolve any issue(s), and/or make statements on behalf of the journal.
  • Author Contact:
    As a junior editor, you generally do not have direct author contact aside from making edit suggestions. As a board member, you can be expected to have some form of author contact – whether it be in the form of article solicitations and outreach, article acceptance communication, editing oversight, publication scheduling, etc. You’ll, of course, be expected to act professionally, and in the best interest of the journal during all stages of author communication.
  • Article Selection:
    Akin to your increased contact with authors, as a board member you will also assume increased responsibilities relating to article selection and approval. While some journals leave article selection up to their membership as a whole, most designate the board as the primary source for article selection.
  • Credit Allocation:
    As a board member, you will likely receive academic credit for your service, and it may be up to you as a group to decide how those board credits will be allocated amongst you. Likewise, as a board member it is your job to ensure that all non-board members are doing the appropriate level of work to warrant academic credit. Though it may feel awkward to refuse credit or issue warnings/discipline to your fellow peers, as a board member you are required to work with the university on such matters.
  • Board Selection:
    Finally, in most cases, the incoming board is selected by the current acting board. As a board member you will, therefore, be expected to participate in the board selection process, and to assist in transitioning the incoming board members once selected.

The Reality of First Semester Grades

Getting Your First Semester Grades

[ Mara Masters, 1L at Emory Law ]

So by now, you’ve probably gotten your first semester grades back. If your law school is like mine, you probably had to wait many agonizing hours on a straggler professor to submit. Hopefully, you were thrilled with your grades, but since only 10% will be in the top 10%, you might be disappointed.

Here are some tips for dealing with disappointing grades:

Give yourself time to be disappointed

If your grades were not what you hoped they would be, it’s definitely important to let yourself go through the grieving process. Go get a tub of cookie dough and curl up in your bathrobe and watch “You’ve Got Mail” or whatever politically incorrect but glorious movie you love. Don’t put on your big girl pants just yet. Wallow for a minute if you need to.

Talk to somebody about your grades (like a professional)

Talk to someone (like a professional)

People outside of law school have a difficult time understanding that getting a B in a law class is not like getting a B in undergrad. The legal profession is crazy competitive, and you spend all of first semester hearing about how important your grades are in determining what jobs you can be competitive for. You may have gotten your grades back and felt like you just saw the future you have been planning for your whole life collapse in front of you. It’s easy to take your grades as a cosmic sign that you are not cut out for the law and that you should just quit now before you incur any more debt.

If this is where you are, trust me, you are not alone. If you know me, you know I am a huge proponent of mental health support in every arena of life, but especially for law students. According to research done by the Dave Nee Foundation, depression among law students is 8-9% prior to matriculation, 27% after one semester, 34% after 2 semesters, and 40% after 3 years. Stress among law students is 96%, compared to 70% of med students and 43% of graduate students. Lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression than non-lawyers.

The reasons for this are myriad but if you are struggling now, talking to a professional will help to set a healthy trajectory for the future. If you don’t know where to turn, start with the Lawyer Assistance Program in your state or reach out to your campus counseling center.

Make a plan for moving forward

After you have given yourself a little time to work through your disappointment and any associated self-feelings, there are two very important steps to take. First, figure out how to talk about your grades in cover letters. Meet with your career advisor, your writing professor, your acquaintance who is a lawyer. Ask them for advice on how to frame your grades in a way that demonstrates why you are an excellent candidate despite what your grades may imply.

Second, troubleshoot your methods. I did a semester review at the end of last semester, based on what I anticipated my grades would be. I averaged right around where I thought I would but ended up doing better in one class and worse in another than I anticipated, so I might go through the process again with that new data. Also, remember that BARBRI 1L Mastery is still available for all your 1L courses.

Most importantly, remember that you are a whole and complete human regardless of your grades.

I know this is often easier said than done, especially when there is definitely still truth to the fact that many 1L jobs do hire based on grades. But you have overcome numerous challenges to get where you are, and you are remarkable regardless of how you performed on a set of tests. If you are in need of more affirmation of how remarkable you are, reach out @the1lLife on Instagram and Twitter!

10 Gifts the Law Student in Your Life Will Love

Gifts Student will Love

[ Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania ]

The holiday season is upon us; sales are about to appear, and as a result, you may be wondering what to get that over-stressed law student in your life this year.

1. Bookstore Gift Card

Law school textbooks are expensive, every time we have to swipe our card to purchase them it breaks our heart. Imagine how amazing it would feel if we knew a few of our textbooks would be “free.”

2. Meal Kit Subscription

Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and other similar food subscription services save law students a lot of time (plus they ensure we’re eating a relatively healthy diet). No student in their right mind is going to turn down free food.

3. Coffee

Late nights + early mornings = COFFEE. This can come in any form, seriously, we don’t discriminate. Buy a box of fancy coffee; a tin of your regular run of the mill coffee; or a $10 gift card to Starbucks – we’ll take it.

4. Laptop Cover

We spend a lot of time on our laptops, sometimes a funky cover (you know, those ones that snap on) can brighten up our day.

5. Travel Mug

Let me tell you, an actual leak-proof travel mug is a rarity. If you find one, buy it immediately – there’s nothing worse than having your coffee/tea soak through your rented textbook.

6. Backpack

Sure, we probably already have one, but a new one’s always nice – especially if it’s a bit fancier than the one we’re currently touting around. If we’re 3L’s then a briefcase might be a nice touch as we’ll be entering the workforce soon.

7. Restaurant Gift Cards

Again with the food! Sometimes we don’t have the energy to cook, or maybe we just want to escape our apartment for a night. The price of eating out may deter us, but with a gift card on hand we’ll surely enjoy a meal or two!

8. Movie Tickets

I’ve yet to meet a law student (or really, a person) who hates all movies. 2020 has a good line-up of releases so you can rest assured that your movie tickets will go to good use.

9. Travel Ticket

Most law students have to travel at least an hour or two on a train/plane to visit home, this is just another expense that we have to budget in. If it’s reasonable, buying a one-way or round-trip ticket, or pitching in for a flight home can be a wonderful gift. If your law student lives too far away, another good option to consider is an Uber/Lyft gift card, or paying for their monthly transportation pass.

10. Comfy Clothes

We spend a lot of time studying in leggings, sweat pants, and baggy sweaters. I sincerely believe that you can never have too many comfortable articles of clothing, so don’t hesitate to buy the law student in your life that oversized knit sweater, or those super soft stretchy pants.