Resolutions for Myself in the New Year


   Hey you, this year is going to be filled with lots of changes. You are aging out of your mom’s insurance (gotta pay those doctor bills yourself now!), you will be graduating law school, moving to a new city, and looking for your first big girl job. This new chapter is going to be pretty scary at first but I know that you can do it because you’ve made it through so many other crazy things in 2013. Keep being you but be the best you that you can be. Continue reading

First Year Associate: Week 3

Tomorrow I argue my first Motion to Dismiss.

I was worried until I spoke to the attorney who prepared the written motion. The argument is valid, challenges current practices, and is founded in good law; however, the chances of success are slim. Even though I was told this is the first attempt at argument on this amendment and it will probably be an uphill battle, the thought of losing – even when expected – terrifies me. Fear of failure. Yet, if I am afraid of losing, how can I ever expect to win?

As a baby lawyer, I struggle with feeling like I truly belong. Somehow, I still feel like a summer intern trying to play attorney. Am I really going to have my own case load? Clients? Billable hours?!

At what point in life do we wake up and feel as though we belong? Not just “fitting in” but an honest to God feeling of belonging?
Maybe never.

Now, the work load is starting to pile up. We have been given about five cases each week, so far, in addition to covering about 10 hearings for motion calendar. To a seasoned attorney, the work seems like a vacation. To me, it’s a full ten hour day of preparation. With that being said, I am still enjoying it. During the day, I seem to wander around looking for bread crumbs of work or nuggets of new case law to digest… then, like clockwork, 1:30 pm rolls around and the workload suddenly increases exponentially. Today I was handed eight case files to prep for the upcoming hearings calendar. Luckily, I was tipped off that I may be covering half of our firm’s hearings tomorrow so I fit in an hour or so of preparation to go over with my supervising attorney right before he officially assigned it. This helped me feel more prepared and look less like a deer in headlights.

Tomorrow will come and pass no matter how much or little I prepare, whether I win or lose,  the hearings will end and new work will be assigned no matter what occurs between 8 AM and 12 PM. All I know is that I will represent my clients diligently, to the best of my ability, and I will not go down without a fight.

How have you kept your passion alive in your given profession?

Did you ever experience a time that made it harder to feel good about what you were doing?

What happened?

Bar Exam Prep: How to Complete Applications during Bar Prep

How to Complete Job Applications during Bar Exam Prep

You will have 10-12 weeks to study for your respective bar exam. Each day will be filled with 8-10 hours of studying. So, how do you fit in sending application packets during this period?

The correct answer is you would have submitted a handful (or more) of packets prior to graduation. Nonetheless, unless you have gone through on-campus interviews (OCI) or had an internship during law school, it is likely you have not applied to many positions to this point. I created a sample cover letter that could be manipulated to fit different types of positions (criminal, intellectual property, prosecution, defense, government, private, etc). This sample cover letter took me a few hours to perfect – I’m sure some people could have one done quicker but I was taking my time. And, I updated my resume to reflect my graduation and pending bar exam date, and had it reviewed by my school’s career development resume guru.

You should create a plan to send out at least 5 resumes each week. It is do-able. By the end of the prep period, you’ll have at least 50 resumes sent out and will be able to enter the bar exam with a little less stress about the impending job search.

To fit resume packets into your schedule make life easier. Purchase a pack of letter or legal sized manila envelopes, computer paper, and ink. To save time compile a list of at least 20 potential employers with firm name, mailing address, and name of person in charge of hiring into an excel spreadsheet. This will allow you do complete a simple mail merge in MS Word to speed up the addressing issue exponentially.  Also, remember you’ll have to schedule one trip to the post office each week, or have a family member go for you if that’s an option. A resume, reference list, and cover letter usually costs between $1.00 – $1.40 to mail via UPS ground if within the same state.

The most important thing to remember is that this is a process. There is no magic number of resumes to send or interviews to attend. Some people will have success on the first batch, others may take months. The job market now is very uncertain but do not ever sell yourself short and accept a position you do not want – unless you have no other option.

What advice would you give to current law students? What do you wish you were told? 

Bar Exam Prep: Managing Finances during Bar Prep

bar prep expense

From the first year, my school preached to us about preparing our finances for the three to four months of bar preparation. I listened. I swear I did. And, I thought I was prepared. The five months prior to graduation, I … Continue reading