Preparing for Your 1L Summer Position

Male hands holding cell phone looking at his LinkedIn profile

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona

We are in the last week of class, still need to work on outlines, take practice exams, and make sure everything is lined up for our summer positions. Whew… We can do this! While the summer job, still feels far off there are some things you can do now to help make sure everything is in line so you can start your 1L summer job with ease.

Complete Any Required Paperwork

This summer, I am working for a government agency, but they do not require the same level of background checks that my fellow classmates are enduring, so they have been very accommodating with my paperwork. Even though I have had had the position since March, they just reached out this week with all the forms I need and said to not worry about it all till after finals. All they wanted from me was to provide a start date and possible end date. I have been fortunate. A few of my fellow 1Ls are still trying to get everything figured out with their future employers before it becomes a distraction during finals. My advice is, if you haven’t heard from them yet, check in and make sure you know all of the requirements you have to meet or can meet those deadlines after finals.

1L Summer

Confirm Your Start Date

Most employers seem to be flexible, so do not over commit yourself to a tight start date deadline. Do not forget that we need to plan for finals, moving (in some cases), the write-on competition for law review and maybe a short vacation before starting our summer positions. You might also need a little bit of extra time if you are working an unpaid job and need to find a part-time position, so you have income over the summer, or if you are taking summer school classes. Be realistic, and set your start date accordingly. Also, if you need any time off during the summer, be sure to discuss that before starting.

Confirm the Dress Code

You do not want to show up every day in business suits if you are working in a casual work environment. You’ll make other people uncomfortable, and you might feel out of place. Likewise, you don’t want to be unprepared and wear the same suit every day because you don’t have the right wardrobe. See if you can visit the office before your start date so that you can get a good feel for the environment, and go shopping as needed.

Get Your LinkedIn in Order

Yes, you did this while you were applying for positions, but it’s time to add your first 1L summer job, and perhaps update your intro! We are about to be “rising 2Ls”. You will likely be networking a lot this summer and connecting on LinkedIn is an easy way to make these connections. After a brief talk, ask if you can add them on LinkedIn and then you can send them a quick thank you.

Talk to the 2/3Ls

I am going to Phoenix for my internship, as that is where I want to practice once I graduate. I discovered that a 2L worked at this office last summer and I asked her for details like the culture, dress code and asked her for recommendations about things I could do to the make the most of my summer experience. She was so helpful and provided me with a lot of useful information. Because of her advice, I feel even more confident in starting my position this summer. If there isn’t a person at your school, you can use LinkedIn to find people that had the role previously. Reach out and make a connection!

What other suggestions do you have for someone preparing to start their first legal internship? Let me know over at the @The1LLife on Twitter and Instagram!

The Types of Bar-Preppers to Avoid on Social Media

GUEST BLOG by Ifeoma Ukwubiwe
Assistant District Attorney at Bronx Country District (New York City)
Rutgers School of Law-Newark, Class of 2015

I’m a big proponent of Social Media

If you’re anything like me and choose to keep your social media account active during bar prep, you’ll want to avoid these following Bar-Preppers:

“The Pessimist”
Misery loves company. So if you come across a Pessimist Bar-Prepper, “Unfollow” or “Unfriend.” The Pessimist Bar-Preppers are easy to come across. They are scared they will not pass the bar exam, and want you to be scared with them. They post things such as: “I’m going to fail the Bar Exam,” “I can’t do this,” and “I’m freaking out.” You do not need to subject yourself to their social media rants. You should just avoid them like the plague. Of course, we all have doubts about our abilities, but keep positive. You can do this as so many before us have.

“The Play-by-Player”
You know the excessive poster — you can’t miss them. They. post. all. the. time. And tell you every frickin’ thing they do or are not doing. Let me tell you this, there’s nothing worse than an excessive Bar-Preppers. They will tell you that they woke up and did 50 MBE Torts questions followed by a run in the park followed by 50 more torts questions followed by a contracts essay followed by… I’m sure you get the point. No moment of their Bar Prep life is too mundane for them to broadcast. “Unfollow” or “Unfriend.” Do you really have time to keep up with their daily schedules?

The Self-Promoter”
OK, so we’ve probably all posted at least once about some Bar Prep achievement. And sure, maybe your friends really do want to know that you got 21/25 correct on a Contracts Questions set. But when almost EVERY post is about how well you are doing in Bar Prep, you sound like a bragger. “Unfollow” or “Unfriend.” These Bar Preppers will have you doubting your own abilities and you will soon compare their success to your shortcomings. “Don’t compare your progress with that of others. We all need our own time to travel our own distance.” So if your only getting 15/25 correct, then work smarter to get your score up but do not compete with other students.

“The Complainer”
The Complainer is pretty self-explanatory: they are a pessimist through and through, complaining about every little thing about Bar Prep. Many of these people are passive aggressive sorts. Don’t let this person’s complaining get to you. Whether it be on social media or in person. “Unfollow” or “Unfriend.”

“The Cool One
I’m sure your wondering who “The Cool Bar-Prepper” is! Well, they are the folks who post pictures of themselves doing some fun activity with a hashtag or a caption describing the activity as their #BarPrep. You’ve seen them before, during final exam season posting about all the wine they’re drinking when they have 3 finals and a paper coming up. “Unfollow” or “Unfriend”

Hopefully this little rundown has opened your eyes to the various types of Bar Prep Social Media posters. Maybe this even brought you to an immense realization that YOU ARE one of these types of posters. If you had an epiphany, consider journaling them away!

Random Reflections: When You’re The Only One in The Room

Single red umbrella amid black umbrellas

Guest blog by Courtney Boykin, 3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

As an African-American woman, I am accustomed to moving throughout social spaces that are predominately white. Growing up in relatively small West Tennessee town, my schooling atmospheres were typically predominantly white. Moving off to undergraduate school at a state school in East Tennessee, the demographics didn’t change. Now, in law school, it’s a bit better, but it’s still predominantly white.

I’ve always been aware of my schools being “PWIs” (Predominantly White Institutions). In fact, whenever I went into a classroom or a school event, I, almost instinctively, canvased the scene to get a quick overview of the racial breakdown. It just became a norm for me.

Recently I sat down at a dinner with a group of area attorneys interested in my particular interests. They’d invited a few students to attend the dinner, and, not being one to give up a free meal at a fancy restaurant, I decided to accept their invitation.

The dinner went on without a hitch. The conversation was light-hearted with advice about the legal profession being thrown here and there.

About 45 minutes into the dinner, once all of the guests arrived, I did my typical canvas of the room. At my table of 11, there was one African-American, me. When I glanced around the entire restaurant, there was one additional black person, a man sitting by himself at a table that was slightly behind our table reading what seemed to be a newspaper of some sort.

It was in that moment that I started to feel what I always knew. The majority of lawyers aren’t African-American, Latino, or even Asian. It’s no secret that most lawyers aren’t people of color. Interestingly, however, instead of my “loneliness” in the room making me feel sad or defeated… or even honored and proud… I felt a sense of responsibility.

I felt like my occupying of the space was not for my own gain. My being in the room was, in part, to make room for others who do look like me.

At first glance, it seems like such a daunting responsibility…if not impossible altogether. Honestly, I don’t know where to begin, but I do know this much. Something has to change and I won’t stop…or feel comfortable until it does. Not only that…but…in my heart of hearts I know that I’m up for the challenge.

10 Stereotypical People You’ll Meet in Law School

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

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

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

The Gunner

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

The Involved One

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

The Frat Bro & Sorority Sister

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

The Activist

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

The Parent / Spouse

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

The “slacker”

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

The Secret Gunner

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

The Philosopher

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

The Fed Soc Member

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

The Eternally Stressed One

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

Apps to Help You Prepare for Finals

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona

Finals are weeks away. Did I just say that!?!?

Ok well, there is no way to avoid the truth… Finals are coming…

To help you get prepared here are some recommended apps, to help you study, relax, and bring some balance to the remaining days of our second semester.

One of my friends at school recently exposed me to and its app. It is fantastic. It allows you to create flashcards easily and then provides a graded response about your study session so that you can track your progress. This is ideal for learning rules and more to prepare for finals.

Before being exposed to this site I also used Cram, but I prefer this one more. Another great option is Quizlet. I would look at all three of these and see which one fits your study style best.

Music is a must for when I am studying, and Spotify has been really great for supplying me with terrific playlists. I’ve turned into a fan of pop instrumental for my study music. I know, not for everyone, but my favorite one to currently listen to is here. You can also check out an article I wrote last semester for more playlists recommended by myself and other students.

We all need some calmness in our lives, and my favorite meditation app is Meditation Studio. It even has a section dedicated to students with really short 3-5 minute meditations that are easy to listen to between study sessions or even before an exam. It also has longer, more traditional mediation offerings, that are really useful.

The BARBRI Study Plan app has study videos for ALL of our 1L classes. I used this heavily for Civ Pro last semester, and in many ways, it’s the reason I received as good of a grade as I did. I plan to start listening to these lessons this week, so I can take extra notes to supplement my outline and lecture notes.  You can also find outlines in the app to help you build your own. I like the fact that the app allows you to watch a video or to download just the audio version of each lesson. This makes it very easy to listen to these lessons while doing tasks around the house or working out.

I love Life Cycle because it lets me see how I am spending my time each day, week and month. I have it set to automatically log where I am and what I am working on, but you can also do this manually. Often, I post this on Instagram and people always ask about the app. I like it because it lets me see how much time I am doing homework at the law library, in classes and more

2L Summer Checklist

2L Summer Checklist

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

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

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

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

2L Summer Checklist


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

Freedom! Time to Pick our 2L Classes!!

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona Law School

The time has arrived my fellow 1Ls. We finally have some freedom, and we get to pick our 2L classes for the Fall semester! I cannot believe how fast this year flew by. My class registration day is just around the corner, and I am sure yours is quickly approaching too. So here are a few tips to help you as you pick your 2L classes.

Talk to current 2Ls and 3Ls

Sometimes multiple sections of a class are offered, sometimes in the same semester, but usually in Fall and Spring. As you are aware teachers often take a very different approach not only in teaching styles but also in grading. For instance, at my school, one section of a class has a multiple choice exam as the final, and the other has the option of a paper instead of taking a final. Depending on which you prefer this could be a deal breaker.

You have to take this into account as you plan your schedule and the BEST resource for this information is the people who have gone before you. They can provide you insight to class structure, professor demeanor and more.  You don’t want to look back and wish you’d known, so now is the time to ask!

 2L Classes

Take 2L classes related to your focus

One of my professors talked about how if you’re interested in Immigration law, in addition to that you should also consider taking administrative law, which may seem obvious. However, they also said you should consider related classes like family law and employment law since they share similar elements. This will help you be a well round attorney in your field.

Plan beyond the Fall Semester

I am very excited to be participating in the very first Phoenix Externship program offered by UofA in Spring of 2020, so I need to be really focused on completing as many of the business litigation certificate courses I can in the Fall. Maybe you plan on doing a study abroad or will be participating in an externship in another city as a 2L or 3L.  You have to keep that in mind as you select your classes for Fall; otherwise, you might discover that you come up short. You also need to make sure you keep track of graduation requirements especially if you plan on taking the February Bar exam.

Plus…Talk to the Registrar

In addition to planning ahead, you should also stop by the law school registrar, to find out when certain classes are offered. For instance, if a professor is visiting and hosting a special seminar class, it might be your only chance to take that class.

Bar Focused Classes

Some people plan their entire class load based on if the class is tested on the exam. For some, this might be a great approach, but for others, they might be taking a class they have to relearn during bar prep anyway and perhaps those credits could have been spent elsewhere. It really depends on your personal preference.

I hope you get all of the classes you want next semester and if you have any other suggestions let me know over at @The1Life on Instagram and Twitter!

Combating Homesickness as an International Law Student

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

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

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

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

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

Bar Application Tips

Guest blog by Courtney Boykin, 3L at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

This week I started my application for the bar.

Can we just talk about how extensive this application is? These questions dive DEEPLY into our history. One question even asked about my employment 10 years ago. I read that question and thought…”10 years ago I was a freshman in High School. My focus was literally basketball, academics, and making sure I had time to hang out with my friends at the movies. I had no job.” (Interestingly, there’s an option to indicate that you were “unemployed” and you have to explain why you were unemployed.)

I’ve reviewed all the questions and have answered most. If you haven’t started your application, here’s what you might need to know.

  1. Previous addresses
    If you’ve lived in multiple places within the last 10 years, you have to indicate the addresses of each location. That includes dorms, apartments, and even your parents’ house. For me remembering the addresses of my dorms was a bit difficult, but nothing Google couldn’t help me with.
  2. Employers
    Remembering this information was a doozy as well. Fortunately, I was able to go through my old emails and find out most of the information. My email-trail was SUPER helpful here.
  3. References
    Last year a bar representative came to explain the application process. She told us that we didn’t need references from other attorneys. To me, that translates into “You don’t need any references.” Turns out, for my state’s application I need 6 non-familial references (other than your previously-mentioned employers) from each place I’ve lived who have known me for at least 5 years (Yes, THAT specific). Fortunately, I was able to figure out 6 people that met that description….but just a heads up…you’ll need the contact information for at least 6 unrelated people.

All in all, the application process can be dense, but on the positive side…we’re about to graduate and close a super cool chapter of our lives.

You Never Forget Your First Oral Argument…

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 1L at the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law

Image from the ABA for Law Students

First, we had research projects, then memos, and finally we’ve reached the oral argument stage of our law school careers. For most, this is a stressful time, especially for those who do not like to speak in front of others. Even if you have a lot of public speaking experience, it is not uncommon to be nervous, but our professor has reassured us that the nerves can actually be helpful. Here are some tips I’ve learned as I prepare for my first graded oral argument.

Handle the Nerves

A 2L told me if I wasn’t nervous before my oral argument “I wasn’t doing it right.” It was also reassuring to have our professor share that even experienced attorneys, with decades of experience, still get nervous before an oral argument. The “good part” of nerves is that they keep us on our toes. The “bad part” is, if not managed, they may impact our performance. Great…

The best advice I can give is to find a coping mechanism for your nerves. Some people like to visualize their performance, and others wear a favorite clothing item or hold something in their hand. For me, it’s applying pressure to my pinky finger. I know it sounds weird, but I acted as a kid, and this was a trick an experienced actor showed me. It’s easy to conceal, and I can’t even explain why it works, but it does. It is a small thing that helps me overcome my nerves and helps me focus.

The point is, you just need to discover what works for you. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it helps you to stay focused and calm. The ABA also has a great article for students here about managing your nerves.

Make A List of Questions

Make a list of questions you might be asked during your oral argument. You may have done this in class, but if you haven’t, I found it REALLY helpful! To make your own list, think of 3 questions you want to be asked, 3 questions you assume you will be asked, and 3 questions you hope you don’t get asked. You can then use these question to practice your oral argument and shore up any weaknesses you might have.

Find the Organization Method that Works for You.

There are a lot of different methods to use during your oral argument to help you stay organized, and they usually involve some type of folder system. Some recommend multiple folders, others a single folder system. In my class, we watched this video from UMKC about how to use a single folder with notecards. I liked this method, and it is what I will be using.

Practice! Present Your Argument To Someone

As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. You can present to yourself by recording your argument and reviewing it. I also recommend practicing in front of other people. Consider working with someone familiar with all of the facts. Since they know the material, they might not pull punches and ask tough questions. The other option you have is to work with your opponent. Some people might think this is crazy and unrealistic, and it might be off limits at your schools. At mine, it is encouraged, as it will challenge the way we look at our arguments and allow us to improve our memos before we submit them.

Best of luck with your oral arguments! Let me know how they went over @The1LLife on Twitter and Instagram.