[ Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona ]
What was supposed to be an interview with Mackenzie of the @The3LLife about expectations and advice for 3L year, quickly evolved into over two hours of conversation between her, Mara of the @The1LLife and myself. I don’t think either of us expected that this was the community and the conversation we really needed at just that moment.
We took turns talking about what was happening with our classes, assignments, jobs, life and more. It was interesting to discover that even though we approach our blogs each week with unique perspectives, the three of us are similar in many ways. It was downright surprising. And I think an excellent reminder that we all have more in common than we often realize. When I talked about reaching out earlier in the semester to get to know the people in my class better, it never occurred to me to also reach out to those I am connected to in other ways.
We, of course, finally got on task and asked each other a lot of questions. Here are a few of the tips Mackenzie provided to help 2Ls effectively prepare for 3L:
Take classes that teach skills
I was relieved that this was the first bit of advice that Mackenzie provided. She said she started taking these classes as a 2L student and the partners at her firm really appreciated how they helped make her “practice-ready.” Advanced writing and research classes were really beneficial. Her firm recognized that she knew how to research and that allowed her to assist with even more assignments. I had heard the advice about taking advanced legal writing but was encouraged that the aspect of advanced legal research also worked in her favor.
Time bar-related courses wisely
Mackenzie offered another piece of advice, which had been passed on by first-year and second-year associates at her firm: time your bar related courses wisely. For example, they encouraged her to take Evidence in her last semester because that would benefit her most for bar prep. In fact, you might want to check out the BARBRI website for everything you need to know about the bar exam – that will definitely help you know what to expect and how you can plan your classes.
Pick classes to meet employer needs
Mackenzie also suggested taking a mix of classes, specifically based upon the needs of a firm. If you know you are going to be hired into a certain practice group, you should likely add related classes into your schedule. I know right now that this is a bit difficult because we all do not know what is taking place with our summer positions. I was notified in late March that my firm was exploring a variety of avenues that could potentially impact my summer associate program, and that we would be alerted by the end of April. I know many of you are in similar situations. But I also know that some of you have already been informed as to what is happening. For instance, some programs have been modified, others have moved online and while some have been canceled, those cancellations also came with a guaranteed job. Consider reaching out to your future employer or someone who is in the field you desire to practice for class advice.
I could go on and on with the valuable advice that Mackenzie provided, but perhaps the greatest lesson I learned is that new friendships and communities are all around us waiting to be discovered. We just need to reach out. As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me at the @The2LLife.