1L Study Schedule: Perfecting It

1L Study Schedule

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin,
1L at University of Arizona

First, let me say that everyone is different. You really have to find the 1l study schedule that works best for you. Ultimately, it has to be a schedule that you will follow. Over the summer I attended a BARBRI Law Preview course, and one of the most useful things they shared with us was a recommended 1L study schedule. Here are some of the highlights and an explanation of what has worked well for me and what has not.

Scheduling Reading Assignments

Law Preview recommended that we always stay 2 days ahead on reading. So on Monday, you are reading for Wednesday, Tuesday for Thursday and so on. While this was great in theory, I have Fridays off (yes, I know thank you UofA) and my Mon/Wed schedule is 8:20-3:30, with Legal Writing, Civ Pro and Contracts. It is an overwhelming amount of reading, and we have a quiz every Monday in Legal Writing. Because my Mondays are so loaded, I only have Torts on Tues/Thurs afternoons.

I decided that I would stay 2 days ahead on Civ Pro, Contracts, and Torts but only one day ahead on Legal Writing. This adapted schedule has worked much better for me, and I have a much more manageable reading load.

Scheduling Review

I am sure you have heard that you should not wait for the reading period to start writing your outline, and if not… now you know. It is best to start an outline after you’ve finished a topic and add to it throughout the semester. In Law Preview, they shared with us the importance of using the outline as a tool to help review and memorize the key points of each topic. Sure, most of our exams are open book, BUT they are also timed, and you do not want to waste precious minutes looking through your book when you could have the rule memorized.

This is where scheduling review time is vital. You should add blocks of time dedicated to reviewing in your 1L study schedule, just like you have for reading. I currently use the weekends and some of my free time on Thursdays for this purpose.

Scheduling “Me Time”

Just because you are a law student, doesn’t mean you’re ONLY a law student. You need to try to maintain your hobbies, friendships, and relationships. It is SO easy to be focused on school that you might go the entire week without noticing you haven’t talked to anyone outside of school all week.

This is where “Me Time” is key, and yes, it needs to be scheduled. Doing this is giving yourself permission to take a break. I am a huge fan of playing “HQ.”  If you don’t know, it’s a trivia app where you can win money, or at least discover how much useless knowledge you do or don’t have.  During the first 2 weeks of school, I missed playing it every single day, even though I was not in class. This week I added it to my schedule and didn’t miss a single game. All of my friends play, and it was great to be connected to them even for that brief time.

I am sure you have something that you enjoy doing. Do not neglect it. Add it to your 1L study schedule to make sure it is as much of a priority as your Torts reading. You’ll thank me later.

I’d love to hear from you about your favorite study schedule tips. Or if you try these tips let me know how they work out for you! See you next week!

3L Study Habits

Back To Law School

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

3L Study Habits – I’m Already Changing

I’m a 3L. WHAT?! How insane does that sound? I feel like I JUST got acclimated to the beast that is law school. I feel like just last week I’d sent out my applications. My, how times have changed. 

Reminiscing…

Last year this time I’d evaluated my 1L year and decided that I need to change my study habits. In fact, I did just that. During my 1L year, I’d often take work home. During my 2L year, however, I determined that I wouldn’t bring books home and I would, instead, finish all of my work at school before leaving.

Looking back, I’d say that worked quite well for my schedule, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that this semester.

Homework in Library

Looking ahead…

I’ve been in school for about a month, now. Two weeks in I saw that the “No homework” stuff might not work. After being assigned two completely different 25-page papers I QUICKLY realized it WON’T work…at least not this semester.

I have no choice. Back to my 1L ways, I go.

Luckily, however, I know how the game goes. So, I won’t have a lot of that anxiety and worry that I had my 1L year. If there’s anything that I’ve learned in this law school journey it’s that flexibility is key! Sure…you may have an elaborate, aspirational plan, but, as I’m sure you already know, that plan may not always work. So, remember to stay flexible!

Nonetheless, here’s to our final hurrah! Let the countdown begin!

Internship Takeaways: 1L Summer

1L Summer Internship

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

Every freshly minted 2L waltzes back on campus with a summer’s worth of work experience and a handful of stories to tell. So, let me share mine! I had the privilege of working at Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) as an Equal Justice America Fellow in the housing and benefits department. And while I had no particular interest in housing or benefits law, I nevertheless came away from the internship extremely satisfied.

Here are my main takeaways for getting the most out of your 1L summer when it rolls around.

Location, Location, Location

Your career planning office will likely tell you that your 1L summer is the year you can do anything. It’s true, but know your limitations. It’s great to work abroad if you’re planning to work abroad, or in a big market like NYC upon graduation. If you’re targeting a smaller market, find summer employment in that area. Here are a list of reasons:

  1. Networking 

    It is easier and/or possible when you’re located in your target area. This is important regardless of whether you’re targeting a big or small market. However, it’s important for small markets where associate positions are more competitive.

  2. OCI

    Interviewers from small markets also notice where you spent your summer. In every single interview, I was asked: “why Boston?” Since I’d spent the summer there was a huge plus in proving my interest in the city.

  3. Future Planning

    Also made easier when you’re located in your post-graduation target area. Knowing I wanted to live in Boston after graduation I utilized my weekends to explore areas where I might want to live after graduation. Likewise, when attending networking events I was able to make note of commute times, neighborhoods nearby, and other local resources which helped me narrow my bid list for OCI.

  4. Face Time 

    Time with your significant other, friends and family also largely depends on where you are located. Your summer internship is no walk in the park. You often work long hours so you’re free time normally falls on the weekend. If you know you have family obligations, weddings to attend, or some other important events then it’s worth considering how your summer internship location will impact your travel abilities. For instance, I was only an hour flight from home. I was able to make it back for a friend’s baby shower.

Internship Preparedness

You need to be prepared with the required documents and requested materials when entering the office on the first day. Though, it doesn’t end there. You need to always be prepared to take notes, talk about your ongoing cases, or assist your supervising attorney. So how do you do that?

  • Always, always, ALWAYS have a notepad and pen.

    While you may think you’re just dropping a memo off, there’s a good chance you’ll receive feedback or a second assignment.

    • Side Note: If your supervising attorney likes to use your pen to edit your work like mine did, I suggest always having a second pen so you can take notes too.
  • Make sure you thoroughly review every case you have before unit meetings, client meetings, or really any meeting.

    You might expect to only talk about two out of five cases, or simply be sitting in, but you really never know when you’ll be asked to present.

  • If your supervising attorney gives you research do it promptly and take notes!

    Chances are they’re assigning you reading because the information will be essential when you become more active in the cases. You don’t want to get stuck re-reading because you forgot to take notes the first time around.

  • Always review your notes after meeting with clients.

    Often clients will throw a lot of details at you … most time in some unorganized fashion. If you simply throw your notes in the client folder without reviewing you’ll likely be confused two weeks later when you need to refresh yourself on the timeline. If on the other hand, you take 10 minutes to review your notes and draft up a coherent timeline of events, you’ll thank yourself later.

  • When/if you meet with opposing counsel, clients, etc., make sure you have all required documents and a few extras.

    When meeting to review a large file I suggest you tab everything so it’s easy to find during the meeting!

View Everything as a Learning Experience

Life as a summer intern can easily become overwhelming. You might hand in a memo and get it back only to see a page full of red edits, causing you to feel defeated. Keep in mind the purpose of your 1L summer is to learn – your supervising attorney understands that so most of their critiques are aimed at improving your skills, not a result of them undervaluing you.

Summer programs are specifically designed to teach you certain skills. Your office will likely arrange for you to interact with clients, do some form of legal writing, observe court or some type of negotiation, and take part in at least one engaging case. The learning opportunities don’t stop with the formal programming though. I for one learned an excessive amount of case-specific, attorney tips, and just general professionalism from my supervising attorney. I also learned a good amount of useful technical tips from the office’s fantastic paralegals and professional staff members. Main point: don’t limit your learning “resources” to your supervising attorney and formal summer programming.

Apps to help you stay organized and sane during your 1L!

Apps to help you stay organized

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin,
1L at University of Arizona

HI! I’m Stephanie, a 1L at the University of Arizona and I am excited to share this next year with you! I have been an LSAT tutor for a few years, so I have a lot of friends in law school. I was lucky enough to have them share tips for success, and they all recommended setting a study schedule that worked for me and not allowing law school to take over my life. Here are the apps I am using to follow their advice!

#1 Google Calendar

I’ve always loved the idea of using a day planner, but it has never worked for me. I would always forget to add things, leave the planner at home or I wouldn’t notice a deadline. However, Google Calendar changed all of that. Once I had access to the syllabi for all of my classes, I got to work:

  • First, I created a few new calendars. (If you’re not sure how to do this, check out this link: https://support.google.com/calendar/answer/37095?hl=en). I created one calendar called “class schedule,” and then a calendar for each of my classes.
  • Next, I added each class time, every assignment due date and every reading assignment to my “class schedule” calendar. I also set up reminders anywhere from two days to a week ahead for important items.
  • Then, I copied the entries from my class schedule to the respective class calendar. This allows me the freedom to see my entire schedule at once or to focus on an individual class. I can also share these individual calendars with my study group for each topic!
  • Finally, on my main calendar, I scheduled “Me time” and extra events. Each week we get an email of the weeks upcoming events, so I can easily add these to my calendar with a simple click.

apps

 

#2 Meditation Studio

Mindfulness helps to relieve stress, boost working memory, improve focus and more (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/07-08/ce-corner.aspx). I first discovered the Meditation Studio App (https://www.meditationstudioapp.com/) when I was studying for the LSAT, and it helped me a lot. Some of my favorite meditations are only 6-8 minutes long. They include “Taking Exams,” “Being Fearless” and “Releasing Self-Doubt.” Of course, if you have more time, the 30 min “Fierce Focus” is fantastic!

#3 Prime Student

Ok… sure, this is more than just an app, because you get Prime Video, Prime Reading, Prime Music (hello study music) and free 2-day shipping on textbook rentals and more from Amazon with your Free 6 month trial for Prime Student (click https://amzn.to/2wOEZ1P to learn more).

For me, this is an absolute necessity. I rented almost all of my books from Amazon and have had school items and apartment necessities sent to an on-campus Amazon Locker. Who has time to shop in law school? It’s so convenient, AND if you set up a Wishlist, people can send you things that you need too! Here is mine as an example! http://a.co/cfh0tWc

I hope these three things help you get off to a tremendous 1L start! Do you have other suggestions? Feel free to share with me on Twitter or Instagram: @The1Llife!

What You Need to Know About the UBE

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

Why does the UBE matter?

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

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

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

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

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

#BarPrepLife is Over

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law Graduate

WE’RE DONE WITH THE BAR EXAM!!!! Cue the confetti!

#BarPrepLife is over!! I am so proud of all of us. We worked so hard to get to this point and our hard work has paid off. I don’t know about y’all, but I am SO excited to have the next few days to celebrate, relax, and enjoy the summer before I start my new job. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my chest and I’m going to take advantage of that awesome feeling!

While I’m beyond thrilled that my time as #BarPrepLife blogger and bar exam are over, there is that little voice in my head that’s wondering if I passed. Waiting for the results is going to be killer, but I encourage all of you to put the results out of your head. The exam is over. What’s done is done. There’s no point in stressing about it. I know that’s easier said than done, but I want us all to really try!

Take time to enjoy your summer! Go to the beach. See your family. Take a road trip. And whenever you start stressing about the results, have some faith in yourself. You made it through law school. You studied hard for the exam. And you did your best.

So put the bar exam out of your mind and have some fun. You deserve it! Also, thank you for following my #BarPrepLife journey.

The Final Countdown to the Bar Exam: #BarPrepLife

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law Graduate

The bar exam is JUST A FEW DAYS AWAY! (Cue freakout!)

I can’t believe we’re finally at the end of this crazy bar prep journey. The last couple of months have been challenging to say the least and I’m beyond excited to put this exam behind me and start working as an attorney!

Since I know these next few days are going to be crazy, I made a to-do list for myself so I make sure I’m not forgetting anything important and I’m staying as stress-free as possible. I’m sharing it with the hopes that it helps you stay calm, cool, and collected leading into the exam.

Visit the site. If possible, check out the testing location. How do you get there and how long will it take? Where should you park? Is it warm or cold inside the building? You may not be able to get into the specific testing room, but having a general idea of where you’ll be taking the test is helpful. You don’t want to get lost the day of the exam or feel like you’re running late because you can’t find parking.

People lined up at New York City’s Javits Center July 25 for the first day of the New York Bar exam. (Photo credit: Suzanne Tullo)

Get your materials together. Make a list of everything you need to bring with you the day of the exam and set it all out. A couple of days before the exam, make sure you have pens and pencils, tissues, etc. and make a run to the store if you’re missing anything. Then, the night before the exam lay out your clothes, ID, car keys, water bottle, etc. You’ll be stressed enough the day of the exam, you don’t need to be hunting for your car keys or struggling to find pencils.

Do a final review. Run through everything one more time. Don’t quiz yourself, don’t beat yourself up if something is confusing, just absorb the information. I spoke with my professor today and he gave me some great advice, he said “If you don’t know it now, you won’t learn it in the next few days.” And he’s right, we’ve learned a lot and we’ve taken the time to commit a significant amount of information to memory. There’s no way you’ll know 100% of the information that will be on the exam, so don’t stress yourself out trying to cram it all in. Do one more cursory review to refresh your memory and then be confident in what you know.

Take care of yourself. It can be tempting to devote every last minute to studying and reviewing material. I’m not telling you to stop studying, but make sure you’re reserving time for self care. Get enough sleep. Eat healthy meals. Take time to go to the gym or take a bike ride. Don’t neglect yourself to get in a few more hours of bar prep videos or practice essays. Trust me, it won’t be worth it.

Have fun. You want to go into the exam confident and relaxed. Being stressed to the max will only hurt your performance on test day, so take some steps to de-stress and have some fun before the exam. The day before the exam go to dinner with your friends, spend the day with your family, or relax at the local beach. Just do something that will take your mind off the exam and help you get in a relaxed headspace. 

GOOD LUCK to all of you taking the bar exam! WE CAN DO THIS!

Law School Graduates ‘Fairly Certain’ They’ll Fail the Bar Exam

Mike Sims, BARBRI President

An Answer to the Recent “Above The Law” Article

A recent headline on Above the Law said, “Law School Graduates ‘Fairly Certain’ They’ll Fail the Bar Exam.” If you’re feeling that way, let me assure you that, based upon my 26 years of working with bar preppers, your feelings are normal. The first weeks of July are typically the hardest weeks of bar study. In early July you draw near to the end of the lecture phase of your bar review course. In early July the sheer volume of the law you have to learn becomes a stark reality. And in early July you get your first real sense where you are sitting on the curve when you sit for the Simulated MBE.

The first weeks of July are justifiably scary.

However, this year there is also good news in the first weeks of July.

Dr. Dave Clark, BARBRI’s Senior VP for Learning (and chief data wrangler), recently completed an analysis of more than 86,000 BARBRI students over the past four years. Here’s what he found:

At this point in July, the current class of BARBRI students has completed more of their bar review course assignments than in any of the three previous years prior (a measure highly correlated with pass rates and overall scores on the bar examination). Also, scores from the recently administered BARBRI Simulated MBE indicate that this current group of students is as prepared and equipped to be successful on the bar examination as any class prior, and significantly more prepared than those who sat for the bar three years ago.

According to the data, the BARBRI class of 2018 is on track for success this summer.

To be sure, the last weeks of July mean there’s more to do. You have practice questions to answer, essays to write and lots of rules to learn. But you have the tools and now hopefully a bit more confidence.

It’s important to remember that every July, in every state, more first-time takers pass the bar exam than not – even in California. I’m sure that will be true this year too.

As Stacy Zaretsky said in the Above the Law post I referenced above, “keep studying, think positive thoughts, and keep the faith. We believe in you — you just need to believe in yourselves. You can do it!”

Keep up the great work!

Practice Makes Perfect: #BarPrepLife

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law Graduate

We’ve all heard that practice makes perfect, right?

As I write this, there are exactly 2 weeks left until the bar exam—yikes! I’m definitely nervous. There’s still so much information I need to learn. As I’ve been studying, I’ve found that the saying “practice makes perfect” really rings true during bar prep. With each set of MBE questions and each essay I write, I feel myself getting more comfortable with the material and the structure of the questions.

It’s such a great feeling to read a question and think “I know this!” and that happens more and more as I practice. I know at this point you never want to see another bar exam question again—trust me, I feel your pain—but these questions are one of the best ways to prepare for the exam!

I highly recommend that you treat these questions the same way you would on exam day: put away your notes, set a timer, and pretend it’s go time! When the exam rolls around you’ll feel confident in your ability to answer the questions correctly and within the time frame. Plus, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and even how to handle a question that you don’t know the answer to.

So as you open another set of MBE questions or read another MEE essay or MPT, remind yourself that practice makes perfect. Or maybe more appropriately in our case, practice makes passing!

Handling Your Simulated MBE Results: #BarPrepLife

GUEST BLOG Katie R. Day,
Quinnipiac University School of Law Graduate

Simulated MBE? Okay, I want to be real with y’all.

This week was my simulated MBE. I’d love to sit here and write that I’m thrilled with how I did and that I feel amazing heading into the exam. But that’s not the truth. The Simulated MBE results were eye-opening and I have a lot to work on before exam day.

I’m sure many of you are feeling the same way, but instead of feeling frustrated I want us to use these practice scores as motivation! It’s great that we were able to take a practice test and gauge our progress before we sit for the actual exam. Now that we’re aware of our problem areas we can study in a way that is more focused and more efficient.

I know that’s easier said than done, so I’ve included a few of my favorite quotes to help you get in the right frame of mind and #OwnTheBar!

“Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.”
COLIN POWELL

“The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”
BARACK OBAMA

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
PELE