Top reasons to get as involved as possible during 2L year

You’re going to hear this time and time again: It is so very important to get involved, beyond the classroom, while you are in law school.

Of course, you’re here to learn the law. You’re also here to meet other people and, perhaps most importantly, broaden your network of potential career contacts. The ultimate goal, after all, is to pass the bar exam and find a job practicing law in some capacity. Making an effort to get involved with school organizations will lay the foundation to form bonds with peers and legal professionals, from attorneys to judges. Those who my be able to open a few doors, get your name in front of the right decision-makers or offer you a position outright.

Sure, 2L year is a grind and finding the time to get involved may be difficult. It’s easy to let it slide by. But here are some compelling reasons to consider as to why you really should:

You’ll feel more connected to the entire law school community. Being involved with organizations is a great way to meet your classmates. Not only will you interact with students from your year, you’ll also get to know law students from all years.

Your connections to the legal community will grow. Many lawyers are involved in law school organizations or volunteer in the legal community. The more you put yourself out there, the more connections you’ll make. You never know (and it bears repeating), joining an organization could lead you to a future job.

You’ll find a sense of belonging. Law school is tough because it’s pretty much like high school but with older people. Cliques are present and everyone is competing to be on top. Joining an organization will make you forget all of that nonsense. How? Everyone who joined that organization did so to fulfill a common purpose. You’ll feel a sense of belonging. You and everyone else will be devoted to a set of goals and driven to meet them. (No unnecessary drama.)

You’ll have new experiences. When the times comes and you look back on your law school years, you’ll fondly recall cherished memories from student activities. By joining an organization, you’ll experience things you otherwise would not have. You may even gain some new skills, too (like party planning for Barrister’s Ball or creating a symposium).

Important skills will carry over into your professional career. The skills that you learn from being involved, like networking and time management, will carry over into your professional life. Being involved as an attorney is a great way to maintain relationships and form new connections with the legal community.

Negotiating Your First Job Offer: Salary, Benefits, Reviews and More

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

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for since you started going on job interviews. You got a job offer!

There’s nothing more exciting than landing your first job after law school graduation. But once the excitement wears off, you realize that you need to evaluate the offer and decide whether or not to accept. I know it can be tempting to just say yes immediately, but there are a few things you should consider before committing.

Evaluate your expenses

Take some time to sit down and make a list of all the expenses you have: rent, car payment, insurance, food, student loans, utilities, etc. Add up all these expenses and see how much you actually need to spend on a yearly basis. Chances are it will be higher than you thought. At the very least, you need to make sure that the offer will give you enough to cover all of these expenses with some left over. You’ll want a bit of a cushion for unexpected costs (I’m looking at you, cracked windshield).

Research salaries at comparable jobs

You want to see how your offer compares with the industry standard. Sites like Glassdoor, PayScale and USA Wage have helpful ranges that take into account your location, experience, firm size and type of law.

Play around with these sites and see where your offer falls. If you feel comfortable, you may also want to ask a friend who recently graduated about their starting salary. More information is always better.

Look at benefits

Salary isn’t the only part of your offer you’ll want to evaluate. Does your employer pay for health insurance? How much will they contribute to a 401(k)? How many vacation days do you get? Think about the things that are important to you.

You may be willing to accept a salary that is a bit lower in exchange for great health coverage or the opportunity to work from home and spend more time with your kids.

Be aware of the possibility for re-evaluation

This is a starting salary and you’ll want to have the opportunity to get a raise based on your performance. Be sure you know when your firm will be doing evaluations or performance reviews and when you’ll have the opportunity to get a raise. Setting up an opportunity for re-evaluation up-front will set expectations and save your from a potentially awkward conversation down the road.

At the end of the day, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to job offers. If the offer works for you, and you’re happy with it, then accept. It’s all about what you want in a job and whether the offer is meeting your needs and goals.

SaveSave

SaveSave

5 Things Successful Attorneys Did Not Learn In Law School

By Sam Farkas, Esq.,
BARBRI Product Development Manager

1) BECOME AN EFFICIENT PROBLEM SOLVER

Law school may have taught you the framework and skills to solve legal problems, but it did not teach you how to solve them efficiently. Successful attorneys are acquainted with two basic principles: The Pareto Principle that states 80 percent of the effects stem from 20% of the causes and Parkinson’s Law that states work expands into the time allotted for its completion. Focus on investing time on the 20% of your work that brings the most value and reduce the time to complete the remaining work by half. By implementing these two principles, you will work more efficiently, hone your focus and free up more time to live your life.

2) EMBRACE MINDFULNESS

You initially learned law school is a “marathon and not a sprint!” and indeed law school teaches you how to push yourself past your limits and challenge you in a whole new capacity. While such sustained mental and physical exertion is acceptable for a couple of years, most attorneys only ramp up the pace once they begin their practice. Life cannot be one continuous race and also well-lived. Successful attorneys have learned how to become more mindful of stress and negative emotions. They have learned to appreciate life more by controlling time spent on work and developing healthy tools to manage stress.

3) REJECT THE SCARCITY MENTALITY

You learned in law school how to be a scrooge. You learned that to give another student missed notes will mitigate your own success. You learned that one person’s failure is another’s summa cum laude. Successful attorneys, though, have learned to shed this belief in favor of a broader recognition that when you devote yourself to serving others, you get it back two-fold. If you want more, you have to give more. It’s that simple.

4) DEVELOP YOUR “SOFT SIDE”

Law school may have taught you to “think like a lawyer” but it certainly did not teach you how to act like one – well, a good one at least. Most business people are trained in “soft skills” early in their careers. Unfortunately for attorneys, such training is up to you after graduation. Soft skills are essentially people skills or the kinds of personality traits that are associated with a person’s Emotional Intelligence. Attorneys must effectively communicate, offer advice and inspire relationships of trust and confidence with clients. Indeed, soft skills are personal attributes that enhance your job performance and career prospects. Your ability to deal effectively and politely with clients, opposing counsel and even your colleagues may become more important to your success than the hard skills.

5) BE SOLUTION ORIENTED

From your first day in law school, you were effectively trained to identify and analyze all risks to a given problem. What you were never taught, though, was how to pursue a goal while minimizing risk. Attorneys often say, “There’s too much liability here to pursue this,” or “that is not prudent,” when a client wants to pursue a new venture and the project carries some risks. A successful attorney understands how to account for risk by identifying them, while working with the client to accomplish the goal.

#The1Llife: Internships and Summer Positions

GUEST BLOG By Lauren Rose,
1L at the University of Detroit Mercy

Now that the crazy midterm studying madness is over, I was able to attend a few events hosted by my law school.

One of these events was hosted by the law school’s career services department. Even though the leaves are changing and the air is getting colder (and it will be probably snow next week – thanks Michigan), summer is not that far away. In about 7 months, us 1Ls will be working at a law office, or with the public defender’s office, or for a judge. Now is the time to start researching positions and figuring out where you would like to be spending your summer.

One tip that the career services department recommended was to begin looking into legal fairs.

For example, if you are interested in patent law, look into fairs for patent law. They said that these fairs offer opportunities to network with law offices from a specific region and even from around the country.

The event also stressed the importance of connecting with friends, family, neighbors, and professors for networking purposes.

A simple conversation with your long-lost aunt may help you land an awesome position for the summer. Reach out to those that you believe may have connections. This will open a gateway for amazing opportunities. Remember to always send a thank you card (or email) to those who have helped you with this process!

Also, the department suggested perfecting your resume now.

Make it a point to stop into your law school’s career office to make yours amazing. It is a good idea to go sooner than later because you will avoid the rush of other law students and you can send your resume to people in your network.

Take your head out of the contracts book and step away from civ pro for a while and start planning ahead for summer positions. You never know where a simple google search, family connection, or career services consultation will take you!