Extending Your Legal Education

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

For most, three years of law school is more than enough. By the time 3L rolls around we’re ready to kick down the educational door and begin our careers – or at least start making money, instead of just spending it.

But some want – or need – more than a “simple” JD. In which case, extending your legal education requires thoughtful consideration, after all, we can’t stay in school forever … can we?

The Business Path

Commonly, those seeking jobs in business require, or benefit from a combined JD/MBA program. If you’re a 1L you can likely apply for the joint MBA program through your school and graduate on time. However, if you’re a 2L or 3L you’ll have to stick around for at least an extra year if not two.

Thankfully, many firms that push for the joint degree are open to letting law students defer job offers for a year while they complete the program; just make sure to talk to someone in recruiting early.

Explore International Qualification

Did you know that U.S. qualified attorneys are eligible to qualify as a Solicitor in England and Wales? If you completed your JD in the USA, passed a bar exam and have the dream to work abroad, you can pursue dual qualification by taking the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) and become a Solicitor in less than a year!

The English legal profession is relatively open to international lawyers seeking to qualify as a solicitor and it does not impose restrictions to admission on grounds of nationality or residence. This might be a great opportunity to internationalize your career, broaden your options, and increase your employability in the U.S. market and abroad.

Note, however, that the QLTS will be replaced by the SQE in 2021. It doesn’t mean that U.S. qualified attorneys will not be able to pursue this path. Instead, the SQE will be a harder and longer exam.

Legal Specialties

Contrary to popular belief, LL.M. programs are not just for foreigners. Select universities offer targeted LL.M. programs that allow students to specialize in specific areas of the law. The most common area in this regard is tax law.

LL.M. aside, if you’re planning to work in an area of law that draws heavily on certain advance fields (i.e. accounting; biology; chemistry; engineering; etc.), and do not already have a degree in the area, then you may want to pursue a secondary bachelor’s degree, a master’s program, or a certificate program to ensure you have the required knowledge, and to appease employers.

If you’re interested in a niche area of the law you may want to reach out to mid-level associates and partners at your firm, or contact your student employment office to see if a specialty LL.M. program or secondary degree/certificate will benefit you.

Teaching Route

Finally, if you always loved school and want to make a career out of it – i.e. want to teach – then you’ll likely need to pursue a Ph.D. and fellowship. Notably, Ph.D. programs are often completed on a part-time basis, so you may be able to continue working throughout your studies. If you plan to teach in the legal field, then some experience in practice is likely beneficial anyway.

Self-Care During Finals

Take Care of Yourself During Law School Finals

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

Finals have arrived *insert panicked screams here* Likely, you’re reading this during your school’s reading period, or you might already be into your first weeks of finals. Last year I wrote about self-care tips to help you prepare for finals. All of these recommendations still apply, but here are some self-care tips you can use as you study during finals and as you sit for your exams.

Give yourself permission to take a break

Research has shown that taking a short break every 50-90 minutes will actually increase your productivity. How long should these breaks be? 15-17 minutes seems to be the recommended consensus. During these breaks, you should do anything but work. Eliminate screen time (put away those phones), get up, and move.  The goal is to distract yourself and stop concentrating. By giving your brain a short break, it will actually be able to retain more information and be better prepared for finals. If you are not sure what to do, Mackenzie from the The3LLife wrote something great this week that features a variety of short self-care breaks… basically things you can do in 1, 5, 15, and 60 minutes. Longer breaks can also be helpful, but if you only take 15 minutes… maybe use those breaks to meal prep!

During a final → Take a minute before you begin just to breathe

Remind yourself that you’ve got this. Before you start your exam, take a moment to breathe in for 4 seconds… hold it for 7 seconds and breathe out for 8 seconds.  This helps calm your nerves and allow you to concentrate on the question at hand. This is also a good thing to do as you move between final exam essay questions or each turn of the page for multiple-choice tests.

Meal prep

Meal prepping during your study breaks can be a form of self-care. You can use one study break to prep the food and the next break to cook. You can also take some time this weekend to meal prep for the rest of the week. Create some healthy meals to feed your brain or cook some comfort food. Your choice! Last week Mackenzie posted some great multiple-choice and quick recipes that take 15 min or less to prepare!

If you’re like me, and cooking isn’t really your thing (other than what I learned to cook during spring break as part of my self-care routine, head to the store and grab enough food to last you for finals. For me, I am going to head to Trader Joes to stock up on some easy to cook already prepared meals!

During a final → Don’t forget snacks!

Be sure to pick up some blueberry’s, almonds, or walnuts to snack on during your finals. During a 3-hour final, your brain begins to run out of fuel, so it is smart to have a small snack pack to have available during your final.

Take time to laugh

Legally Blonde's ElleLet’s be honest, finals are miserable, stressful, and unpredictable. Taking time to have a good laugh breaks the tension and can be an excellent form of self-care, according to Mayo Clinic. Laughter provides both short-term and long-term benefits. Not only can it relieve stress, but laughter also helps with oxygen intake and allows your brain to release endorphins…

Plus…. Laughter also helps to improve your immune system, improves your mood, and can relieve pain. One of my favorite ways to get a good, quick laugh is to read the posts on the Law School Memes for Edgy T14 facebook page… Yes… this brings in screen time… but… it is important to have balance, AND we need our phones to reach out to friends…

Meet Up with your friends

Take time to surround yourself with people. Studying for finals can be extremely solitary, and it is important to be around people too! Your law school friends also know what you’re going through. Sure it can be helpful to study with others, but take a moment to just check in with each other too. Enjoy a coffee break or meal together. Perhaps meeting up at the gym for a quick game of pick up or yoga is more your speed, but check in with your friends! You will all benefit from the break!

Take advantage of any programs your school offers during finals

Some schools bring in puppies, others host yoga classes, or cook breakfast for their students. Whatever it is, take the time to attend one of these events. It will help you see that you’re not alone and is a great way to use school resources for self-care!

Best of luck with finals! You’ve got this! Let me know what you like to do for self-care during finals week over @The2LLife on Instagram or Twitter!

Breakfast and Other Important Last Minute Exam Prep

Breakfast is Important

[ Mara Masters, 1L at Emory Law ]

Well folks, here we are at the end of the semester. You have read and read until you thought you could read no more, but you did it. Now, it’s time for some last-minute suggestions to read. 

The week before:

1. Get your flu shot

Ok, this is only tangentially related to taking exams, but the flu is no joke and law school is a germ cesspool with everyone in close quarters and stress-compromised immune systems. Chances are you can get it at school for practically or literally nothing. Please, I beg of you. Get your flu shot.

I digress.

Time to Get Your Flue Shot

2. Stop Comparing yourself

We all want to know if our outline is adequate and to gauge if we know as much as our peers, but this strategy tends to be counterproductive. We all work at different paces and with different methods, so the data you gather and use for comparison will inevitably be misleading.

Everything about law school is built to tell you that your success is relative to your peers’ success. As problematic as that system is, and as gross of a culture as it creates, it likely isn’t going to change in the near future. So it’s up to you to take steps to guard yourself against the anxiety inherent in the system.

Do some research on how to ace exams. Set goals for yourself in terms of what you would like to accomplish leading up to the exam, and trust that your preparation will serve you well.

3. Get Some Rest

I know this is my schtick, but only because it’s true. Make sure you are getting enough sleep not only the night before your exams, but the weeks leading up as well. Your brain needs it. Really. It does.

On exam day:

All of our school’s exams are at 2:00 pm, which is awesome for me because that is my most alert time of the day. I feel for those of you who are in your afternoon slump at 2:00 pm though, so here is my fifth-grade-EOG advice for you:

1. Eat a complex breakfast and HYDRATE

I’ve written before about what a huge fan of rituals I am. I am also a huge fan of food, so this semester I am going to experiment with an exam day breakfast ritual – something that feels festive, but still has a little bit of protein, some carbs, and a lot of water. If you choose something festive, let me know!

2. Deep breathe

Diaphragmatic breathing lowers your heart rate and blood pressure and can flip your anxious lizard brain back into a human brain. To do it, sit with both feet on the floor, one hand on your chest, and one on your belly. While you are breathing in, imagine that you are blowing up a balloon under the hand that’s on your belly. Breathe in for three, hold for one, breathe out for three.

3. If you have a study ritual, implement it.

You obviously won’t be able to implement every facet of it, but any memory trigger you can activate will help spark those deep archives in your marvelous brain.

Most importantly, remember that you are a whole and magnificent being regardless of how you do on exams. You may not do as well as you hope, and that may force you to reassess your goals, but your grade on an exam is not actually an indicator of your future ability as a lawyer, nor is it an indicator of your worth as a human.

Not feeling super prepared? Check out some outlining tips here and some self-care tips here!

The Law Student’s Guide to Self-Care

Open the Windows to Self Care

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

Law school is busy, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely let yourself go. Self-care can take any form, it can take a few seconds or it can take a few days. As the driver of this thing called life, you get to decide what you have time for, but word from the wise (my grandma, not me) make sure to work it in!

After all, caring for yourself is a great way to ensure you thrive during law school – and beyond. We’re not machines, sometimes we just need a break from all things school-related.

Under 60-Seconds Ideas

  • Light a candle and breathe in the fresh scent
  • Open a window to air your apartment out
  • Drink a glass of water – hydration is key
  • Text someone who has the ability to make you smile

5-Minute Ideas

  • Apply a face mask
  • Listen to your favorite song(s)
  • Make yourself a tea, coffee or hot chocolate
  • Give yourself a foot, hand or shoulder massage – bonus points if you invest in one of those little massage devices
  • Meditate or do some focused breathing
  • Write down 10+ things you’re grateful for
  • Write down 5+ things you love about yourself
  • Have a mini dance party
  • Clean some small part of your house (i.e. sweep the floors, wipe the counters, clean the bathroom)
  • Clip and file your nails

15-Minute Ideas

  • Have a relaxing shower or bath
  • Go for a short walk
  • Stretch or do some yoga
  • Have a nap
  • Call someone who makes you happy
  • Watch a short YouTube video or scroll through social media
  • Fold your laundry and/or put it away
  • Make a snack
  • Read a chapter of a non-assigned book

An Hour Plus Ideas

  • Watch a TV show or movie
  • Go out with friends or family
  • Hit the gym
  • Splurge and get a massage or pamper yourself some other way
  • Listen to an engaging podcast
  • Read a book
  • Go to a nearby park and enjoy nature
  • Do a yoga or exercise class
  • Do your laundry and/or household chores
  • Buy groceries
  • Cook a fantastic meal or go out to your favorite restaurant
  • Go to the movie theatre or see a live play
  • Listen to music at a live concert
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter

Outlining Season Has Arrived…

The Beginning of Outlining season and Starbucks red Cups

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

While everyone else is excited for Starbucks Red Cups… it is a signal that law school finals are coming… this means one thing… it’s time to outline. As 2Ls, we likely have our system set, and we know what we need… but I remember last year as a 1L feeling lost, even though I knew best practices from my law preview class. When it came to outlining, there were somethings that I just did not understand how to do effectively my first semester. I learned a lot from my first experience, and I did much better during my second semester. So 1Ls this blog is for you, and maybe it can help some 2Ls as well. Here are 4 tips to help you outline effectively.

1 → DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THANKSGIVING TO OUTLINE!!!

Yes folks, if you are reading this and you haven’t started your outline, you need to. Last year, Thanksgiving was this week, so we had a nice buffer to start working on completing our outlines. My school had midterms, so many of us already had outlines that just needed to be updated. Thanksgiving was a great time to work on updating these… Or starting them… cough… So… if you haven’t started, do it this weekend!!

Don't wait to start working on your outlines

2 → Understand HOW to use your outline

When I was a 1L… I saw my outline as a security blanket rather than a tool. I put so much on my outline that it was hard to use effectively. Part of this was because I did not practice with my outline enough, but really I didn’t fully comprehend that my outline was a tool to help me memorize the material and allow me to be very familiar with it. When I did use my outline on practice tests, my practice focused on how to use my outline efficiently, rather than how to answer the questions effectively.  It sounds silly now, but It was so easy to get caught up in the process of answering, rather than mastering the material to create a good answer.

3 → Create an attack outline

This was perhaps the biggest difference between my first and second semesters. My outlines second semester all had an effective attack outline that had only the key components on them. Rather than using my big outline, I for the most part exclusively used an attack outline. The attack outline had just enough information to trigger my memory which enabled me to be able to write what I needed. An attack outline might just be a flowchart, the elements, or a bullet point of the needed cases per topic. It really is up to you, and you discover this through practice. Click here to view BARBRI’s suggested outlines.

4 → Practice with your outline

Here, practice tests can be your best friend. Most schools have a database of tests and if they do not, a quick google search will provide some examples. ALWAYS try to get practice exams from your professor. Practicing with your outline is good for a few reasons. It helps you learn the material, and this will allow you to go faster on test day. Additionally, practicing will help you decide what to have on your attack outline. Do you forget elements? Do you need a checklist to make sure you hit all of the cases? Has your professor walked you through the way they want questions answered? Practicing will help you see what you overlook and these are all great elements to include on your attack outline!

Best of luck! Remember to keep it simple, aim for understanding with a goal of mastery, and keep it simple! Do you have any recommendations for outlining? If so, let me know over @The2LLife on Instagram or Twitter.

The Productive Art Of Study Rituals

Listening to Music while studying

[ Mara Masters, 1L at Emory Law ]

I have been listening to the same album for almost every single study session for the past two years. I know this sounds boring but hear me out. I am the kind of person who struggles to transition from the outer world where life happens, and where shiny things distract me, into the inner mental world where productive studying happens. It took me almost 18 years of education to realize this, but when I finally did, my study life was revolutionized.

Here’s what it looks like:

Noise-canceling headphones

I prefer over-ear ones because, for whatever reason, having my ears covered distances me from the outer world in a kind of perplexing way. I prefer headphones, but if I don’t have them, a hoodie sometimes does the trick. (Is this weird? Anyone else like this?)

Music

My go-to study music for a very long while has been Sleeping At Last’s Atlas: Space Deluxe, the second half of which is all instrumental.

Recently though, I have branched out a little bit and started listening to Yo-Yo Ma’s Six Evolutions – Bach: Cello Suites.

And, this one is a little weird, but it has been working for me: The Monks of the Abbey of Notre Dame Gregorian Chants. I have no idea how I started with these, but they make everything feel a little magical.

Organize work surface

I lose focus pretty easily when I am studying, especially if I am tired. If I get distracted for something even as simple as finding a pen, it sometimes takes me 20 minutes to get back into focus mode. So, I lay out writing utensils, my book, and my clipboard with fresh notepaper on the table and cross my fingers that I didn’t forget anything that I might have to go hunting for later.

Set Tree

After everything is laid out and my Gregorian Chants are playing, I set a tree. (Check out this post if you have no idea what I’m talking about)!

Scents to study by

Scents

Gregorian chants are weird, but the olfactory/memory connection is definitely weirder. I have a tiny roller of essential oils that are supposedly meant to help you with focus, but really I just think they smell nice and I have been using the same one for so long that every time I smell it, I get a boost of study-adrenaline. Before that, I would chew spearmint gum a spearmint mint, which had the same effect.

Obviously this gangly, kind of unwieldy ritual isn’t always possible, but I try to implement as much of it as possible, as frequently as possible if I need to get deep work done. I’m pretty sure I listened to Atlas: Space two hundred and fifty times while I was finalizing my memo draft.

Do you have any unique study rituals? I’d love to hear about them. Reach out at @the1lLife on Twitter and Instagram!

Brain Breaks

[ Mara Masters, 1L at Emory Law ]

Something happened to me last week that has only happened to me a couple of times before.

After many days of 10+ straight hours of deep mental work, my brain just collapsed from exhaustion. I tried to push through it. I drank more coffee. I drank so much coffee. I worked on the less intellectually-demanding tasks while I waited for my brain health gauge to replenish, but the truth was that I had overdone it. The inner-workings of my mind resembled what my house looks like on weeks that I have multiple events at school: absolute disarray. The longer I delayed taking a break, the worse the mess got and the more difficult even the simplest tasks became.

It’s a vicious and inefficient cycle, really. I work slower and less efficiently instead of taking a break, which makes me even slower and less efficient. On and on it goes until the pace is really more like standing still. The time and work would have been better off if I had just stared at the wall for thirty minutes, or better yet – watched some 30 Rock.

We’ve talked before about how learning new information and processes creates and repaves your neurological pathways. The more new information you are taking in, the more “paving” work your brain is doing. As you are paving and repaving these neural pathways, your brain is simultaneously engaged in sorting and organizing all of the new information to relate to the pre-existing information. The more you repeat those same processes and that same information, the more well-trod those pathways become, but only to a point.

Why?

Because brains, like bodies, get tired. We all know this from our primary school days, right? Eat a healthy diet to give your brain energy. Exercise regularly to give your brain energy. Get enough sleep to give your brain energy.

Here’s the law school addition to that: give your brain breaks so that it can do all of that work without turning into a puddle of mush. I am finding that this is harder work than I care to admit. Even when I am not doing school work, my brain is still in on mode – somewhere in my mind I am rehearsing the definition of proximate cause. I am afraid that if I stop rehearsing it to myself, I will lose it.

In a sense, that’s true.

But if I give my brain actual breaks, it will take the definition of proximate cause and organize it. And I might lose it for a bit. But then when I find it again, I will be able to see what folder my brain put it in and then finding it will be that much easier next time.

This is especially important with exams coming up when the temptation to cram study is very high. We study more, sleep less, and retain less.

It’s very difficult for me to take real brain breaks, but here’s what I have found that helps me: boxing, running, and cycling; listening to really loud, fun music; watching trashy sitcoms; reading an engrossing novel; going on a hike with my camera; eating really good food without any other distractions.

I’d love to hear what you do to give your brain a break! Reach out on twitter and Instagram @the1lLife!

A Summer Associate Wardrobe on a Law Student Budget

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

Like most of you, I worked for free this summer, and like the rest of you have been living off of my student loans for the most. Money is tight, and I think that is just a simple fact for most of us. For me, I was very lucky, and I worked for a government agency this summer that had a very casual dress code. In fact, jeans were highly encouraged. The causal environment was perfect, not just because it made it easy to dress for work, but because it was very friendly to my budget since I could just wear what I already owned.

However, this summer, I will be a summer associate at a big law firm in Phoenix, and the wardrobe demands of that job will be very different. I need to build a summer associate wardrobe without causing too much damage to my budget. Before law school, I owned zero suits. Right before school started, I was lucky enough to buy a few professional outfits from The Limited when they were liquidating their inventory, for only $14.99 apiece. But that was it. So, for tips on how to build my summer associate without breaking the bank, I turned to my friends, fellow interns, and mentors.

Here is what I learned…

First, Know What You’ll Need.

Once you know the culture of your firm, courthouse, or workplace you can start understanding the dress code you’ll be expected to adhere to. You can do this by arranging for a visit to the firm, meeting with your firm’s mentor, or reaching out to the previous summer associates. The associate class from last year, took all of us out for a happy hour to give us great tips about succeeding at the firm, and what to wear.

Next, Plan to Mix and Match

Now that you know what to shop for, make it a goal to build a wardrobe that you can mix and match easily. One of my friends recommended building a wardrobe of pieces that all complimented each other and could easily be mixed and matched. She recommended picking a color theme, and this would allow you to easily repeat clothes by simply varying the shell, jacket, or skirt. For many of you, this is likely common sense, but for those of us that are more fashionably challenged, this was an important tip.

Where to Shop

First Stop, Goodwill.

My amazing friend and fellow 2L intern at my government agency swears by Goodwill and proudly professes that she has built her entire professional wardrobe through frequent visits. She has impeccable style, and you would never know that her items were picked up from Goodwill. Her best tip is to shop right after the holidays, as that is when she has been able to pick up the highest quality suits. A few other people also recommended Goodwill, so I began to hit up my local store once a month, and have been able to pick up some great jackets and shells. However, my best score occurred this weekend! I found three brand new Anne Taylor suits that were gorgeous, but unfortunately, not in my size. However, since they were only $10, a piece I knew they would be useful to someone that size in my law school class. I posted a photo and quickly had a request to purchase them. You’d never believe it, all three fit her perfectly like they had been tailored for her!

Shop Consignment Stores

Next, try consignment stores.

This is where I personally have had the best luck when it has come to purchasing actual suits. The prices here can range dramatically, but you’re more likely to find designer suits at a store like this. However, the prices can sometimes still rival that of Goodwill. In Phoenix, we have My Sister’s Closet, and I have found great suits for as little as $20.

You can also find amazing deals on Poshmark (if you need a referral code, mine is @stepharizona). One of the jackets I bought from The Limited has turned into my “go to court outfit,” and I desperately wanted to find it again. Luckily, I was able to on Poshmark!

Don’t Forget Chains and Online stores too

Nordstrom Rack is an obvious go-to for many, but do not forget Target, Amazon and even Costco.com, who all have professional wardrobes available. You can pick up pieces for less than $20 in most cases. Just make sure you can “mix and match” with the pieces you have already found. Now is also a great time to check out the clearance racks at department stores too. The clothes you can wear to the office in the summer will now be on clearance!

Finally, consider renting.

This final tip comes from one of my friends, who is a lawyer in Los Angeles. Sure, she is no longer on a law school budget, but she has substantial loans to repay, so she tries to keep her budget similar to what had in law school. Her favorite tip was to rent your wardrobe! She said for about $100 a month she can subscribe to a clothing rental service that provides her with 3 outfits at a time. She loves this because she gets new clothes that fit her style profile, and she never has to worry about dry cleaning! She simply wears an outfit to work, changes into gym clothes before going home, and ships the outfit back that night. Usually 2 days later, she receives a new outfit. She simply keeps this cycle going, because the service has unlimited returns and you get a new outfit shipped out as soon as the old one is received. Because of the system that she has, she really only needs a few staple items of her own, like the suits she wears to court. She has found this has worked really well for her and would be cheaper than her dry cleaning bill.

So those are my tips for creating a summer associate wardrobe on a law school budget! What tips do you have? Let me know over at the @The2LLife on Instagram and Twitter!

Mealtime for Law Students

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

It’s a known fact that law students are strapped for time. Our schedules are usually filled with school responsibilities, and when they’re not we’re normally too exhausted to take advantage of the break.

With limited time and energy to devote to non-school related activities, law students often become closely acquainted with the nearby restaurants and delivery services. Unfortunately, while eating out may be easy, but it’s not necessarily the most healthy option, and it certainly isn’t the most financially practical one.

Luckily, cooking your own meals doesn’t need to take hours (contrary to what some cooking shows seem to indicate). Personally, I love to cook so it’s never been an issue for me, but when I’m strapped for time I usually opt for one of the following recipes, because they’re quick, simple, and tasty! PS. Investing in a crockpot will save you loads of time and help you expand your efficient culinary possibilities!

The 15 Minute Chicken Stir-fry

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli, sliced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
Instructions:
  • Pan fry your vegetables over medium heat for approximately 5-6 minutes. Once cooked remove from heat.
  • Pan fry your diced chicken and minced garlic for 3-4 minutes per side over medium heat. Add the cooked vegetables to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, honey and say sauce. Pour the mixture over the chicken and vegetables and cook for 1 minute.
  • In another bowl, mix the 2 tsps of cornstarch with 1 tbsp of cold water. Pour the mixture into the pan and let it simmer until the sauce thickens.
  • Serve on its own, or with rice.

The Five-Ingredient Enchilada

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb cooked chicken, shredded or finely chopped
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce
  • 8 regular sized soft flour tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded four-cheese Mexican cheese (1 bag)
Instructions:
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F and lightly grease a large casserole dish.
  • Spread ½ of the enchilada sauce along the bottom of the casserole dish.
  • Fill each tortilla with approximately ¼ cup of chicken and tbsp of cheese. Roll the tortilla’s and place them into the dish with the seam facing down.
  • Pour the other half of the enchilada sauce over the tortilla’s and sprinkle any remaining cheese on top.
  • Cover the dish in tin foil and bake for 30 minutes.

The Fifteen Minute Alfredo

Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Grilled chicken, diced
  • Cooked spaghetti
Instructions:
  • Add noodles to boiling water and cook until tender, stirring occasionally (pour 1 tsp of oil into the pot to avoid the noodles sticking together). At the same time, pan-fry your chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Melt butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute before whisking in the flour, half and half, and chicken broth.
  • Once the dry ingredients are absorbed, add the parmesan cheese, stirring constantly until it is fully melted and then remove from heat.
  • Combine the cooked chicken and spaghetti, and pour the sauce over top. Add salt, pepper, or parsley for extra flavor.

The One Pot Beef and Broccoli

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 3 cups white rice
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce
Instructions:
  • Cook the beef in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. At the same time, cook the broccoli in boiling water, and cook your rice according to the instructions.
  • Once cooked, add the broccoli and rice to the pan with the beef. Pour the teriyaki sauce over the mixture and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes.

What are your go-to law school meals? Share them with us on social media, we’d love to try them out!

It’s Clinic Time

Clinic Time

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

Can you believe it my fellow 2L’s, we are starting to pick our classes for the second semester of our 2L year!?! Once we start those classes, we will we halfway through our law school journey. Some of you might be even closer to crossing the finish line if you’ve completed summer school, or taken a full load of classes. While I’m not a fan of attending summer school, I am a huge fan of clinics.

Law school clinics allow students to be 38D certified (it might be some other title for your state), but it basically means that a law student can conduct “limited practice” under supervision of a licensed attorney. This attorney could be your professor or someone outside the law school. By being certified this means you can do all the things a bar-certified lawyer would do, for the most part.

All clinics are a little different, so it’s important to research all of the clinics available to you.

At most schools, it’s a competitive process. This means that you bid on the clinic you want (often by ranking them), or perhaps you might interview for the clinic to be chosen since there are limited spots. Depending on your school this could mean that you are not able to do a clinic while you were in law school. Other schools guarantee you’ll be able to participate in at least one clinic and that is how my school works.

So for all you pre-law students and 0Ls out there who are deciding on where you’re going to go to law school, make sure you look into this before you make your final decision. I know it played a role in my law school process. I knew I wanted to participate in clinics, so I picked a school that guaranteed at least one clinic, possibly even more. Some people at my school do clinics every semester in their 2L & 3L years.

There are lots of different ways to select a clinic, but here are my top 3 recommendations for picking a clinic.

First, pick a clinic in the field you want to practice

If you have an interest in family law, participating in a related clinic is a great way to find out if this is what you want to do for your career. You’ll interact with the same type of clients you will upon graduation, and the clinic gives you this experience while still being supervised and that is the key thing… it’s okay to make mistakes. Everyone knows you’re still learning and the supervising attorney is there to help catch those errors.

Family Law

Pick a clinic in a disliked or unfamiliar area.

On the flip side, you might want to pick a clinic for something you don’t think you want to practice in. This might seem like a recipe for disaster; however, you might surprise yourself and discover something you really enjoy and love. If you know you’d never want to practice in a can field, maybe skip this option, but if your doubt is just because you don’t know a lot about it, why not give it a try. A clinic offers the perfect opportunity to “dip your toe” in the practice area, with little risk.

Pick your clinic based on the skills you’ll gain.

Finally, you might want to pick a clinic, just based on the experience you’ll gain from it. And that’s the approach I took when I decided to participate in the prosecution clinic. While I did not plan on practicing criminal law when I picked this clinic as a 1L, I knew I wanted to be a litigator, and this clinic would provide a ton of litigation experience. I also knew for my criminal procedure class, that criminal law was something that I might have an interest in, so this allowed me to explore that interest. However, my primary goal was to be in court as much as possible, and this was the best clinic to meet that goal.

At my clinic, I get to prepare cases and try them in court. I prepared for six bench trials in the past two weeks. My first three trials all concluded in plea deals that were reached immediately before the trial began. Yesterday, I had my first opportunity to proceed with two cases. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I was able to have an attorney be by my side and help guide me through the process of responding to objections, making objections, and speaking to the judge.

While there are classes that can help us do that, such as basic trial advocacy, to me is nothing like real-world experience. I learned so much and this experience will not only help me with my future cases but in my classes like evidence as well. It’s also helped me realize that pursuing a career in criminal law may be an interest as well.

So if you’re on the fence about doing a clinic or you’re not sure which one to select I hope you find these tips useful. I would love to hear about your clinic experience. Let me know, over at the @The2LLife on Instagram or Twitter.