Tag Archive: law school life

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4 Things to Do Before You Start Law School

Today, we’re happy to welcome Alison Monahan, founder of The Girl’s Guide to Law School and co-founder of the Law School Toolbox, Bar Exam Toolbox, and Trebuchet Legal, to the blog. She’s here to share some tips on starting off on the right foot in law school.

In these last few weeks before law school orientation, what – if anything – can you be doing to set yourself up for success as a law student? Reading the Constitution? Brushing up on the Federalist Papers? Yeah, probably not so helpful.

Here are a few things that might help!

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How to Spend Your Last Summer of Freedom

If you’ve completed the LSAT, applied to schools, and accepted an offer of admission, congratulations! This post is dedicated to answering a very common question from rising first-year law students—how should I spend my summer before beginning law school? My answer, in a nutshell, is: “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.”

The summer before I started law school, I went on vacation. I busied myself with watching movies, playing videogames, exercising, reading, and fishing. I tried to spend as much time as possible with my brother and my best friend, and I tried to put the thought of law school out of my mind entirely (with a couple exceptions that I’ll get to later). And I have no regrets.

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How I’m Preparing for Columbia Law School

Some incoming 1Ls are trying to get the jump on everyone else by reading hornbooks or briefing cases before classes start. But here’s how I’m getting ready for law school at Columbia.

After two months of careful training, I’ve managed to increase my alcohol tolerance. Sure, I’m still a mere shadow of my former undergraduate self, but my social reputation should survive all the debauchery orientation week has to offer.

Holding down my alcohol will help, but making friends and networking is so important that I’ve finally taken my unopened copy of How to Win Friends & Influence People off the bookshelf and placed it on my bedside dresser. I’ve had the book for years, and by the time classes start I’ll manage to knock it behind the dresser, still unopened, and settle for reading the Wikipedia page.

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Life Lessons Learned in Law School

As law schools continue to grapple with issues of relevance in the changing educational landscape, those who work for these institutions have taken to considering the raison d’etre of law school in general. One professor at Michigan Law has opined that going to law school is about more than mere professional training. It is his opinion that law school equips its graduates with “tools of inquiry” that can help law students lead “a richer and more meaningful life.”

Beyond what appears to be ivory tower intellectualism, I actually tend to agree with the professor. Law school isn’t just about learning the mechanics of lawyering. Law school is about learning to think in a particular way about problems and issues. More than any other intellectual pursuit in my life, law school taught me to explore the reasons for, motivations for, and possible outcomes of different courses of action.

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New Law School Rankings! Based on…Social Lives?

At first blush, most of you wouldn’t exactly consider law school and social life being in the same sentence, let alone the same physical space. After all, law school is meant to be the abandonment of all things social, forsaking fun for long evenings spent poring over casebooks and briefs. And yet, GraduatePrograms.com decided it’d


Satisfy Your Hunger to Know Food Etiquette in Law School

With the schedules most law students keep, eating can often take a backseat. Between reading, briefing, class and whatever recreational time you can find, you’re often stuck grabbing what you can and eating it when you can. Sometimes the “when” portion of that equation has to occur during class. While I’m not against sneaking a snack or beverage in the cozy confines of the lecture hall, one must be aware of the effect one’s eating has on the other members of the class.

Here’s how to avoid being that student:

Law School Eating Etiquette Tip I: Avoid crunchy items

Pretzels are out. Chips are out. Nuts are probably a no-go as well. There is nothing worse than hearing the constant sound of crunching in your ear while trying to take accurate notes.

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Today we Celebrate our (Law School) Independence Day!

For many, going to law school will be the first real taste of independence. Gone will be the days of driving home on the weekend with laundry for mom or leaning on one’s sorority or fraternity mates for support. With our nation’s independence day coming tomorrow, it seems appropriate to show you future law students how you can truly declare your independence as a law student.

1. Don’t get taken in by every offer of free food you see.

As a law student, there will be plenty of opportunities to accept free pizza (or burgers, or burritos, or donuts, etc.) for attending a brief seminar put on by Lexis or Westlaw. You have to learn to use these research programs anyway, right? So why not get some free food from the deal? While these opportunities sound great in theory, they are, in reality, your ticket to the freshman fifteen redux. Cook at home. Pack a lunch. Grab a Subway sandwich on your way to class. Declare your independence from free food.


Who Says You Can’t Have Fun in Law School?

When one thinks of descriptors for law school (or anything related to the legal world for that matter) the word “fun” isn’t often at the top of the list — assuming it makes the list at all. If you’ve talked to anyone who’s attended law school, I doubt they’ve told what a blast it is. You’ve probably heard a lot of griping about mountains of reading and having your entire grade determined by a single test. So it goes.

That said, there is certainly room to play in law school (or at least distract yourself for a bit).

My first bit of advice is to get away from campus as often as you can. Even if it’s just to study somewhere other than the law library. The mental respite one gets from not having to see the same walls and the same faces cannot be understated. You might even be inspired to do something besides study once you get out and about. You know, stuff like talking to people who aren’t law students and doing things that aren’t reading.

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How to Spend Your Final Days of Summer Before Law School

July is always an interesting time in the world of law school. Those who have recently graduated are nail-biting their ways through the home stretch of bar exam study. Those who have yet to begin law school are nail-biting their ways through days leading up the start of their 1L year. For those of you in the latter group, I’m here with some (hopefully) useful advice on what you ought and ought not to do before you plunge head first into the 1L abyss.

What You Ought to Do in Your Final Days of Summer Before Law School:

– Whatever the hell you want.

I mean it.

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Advice on Going to a New York Law School

I grew up in the great state of New Jersey. Yes, great state. We put Camden and Newark there to scare off the people who are just visiting, especially from New York and Philly. Go down to the Jersey Shore and it’s just like on TV – awesome. If you don’t like it, screw you.

Growing up in New Jersey, I know the appeal of New York. It’s like your cooler, older brother. Sure, you’re a little more laid back, but you always want to hang out with him. New York’s cultured. New York’s got more ladies. New York’s the person you look up to.

So I understand why a lot of you have a dream of moving to New York for law school.

Before you pack up and move (or pack up and stay, for you native New Yorkers), you’re going to have to understand a few things about New York.