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August 2013 Archives

If you are fortunate enough to have on-campus interviews lined up, then these interviews could be some of the most important, as they will establish the foundation of your legal career. If you're not participating in OCI, these tips will still help you with any law firm interview.

According to Forbes, most interviews are decided in the first 10 seconds, so first impressions are immensely important. First, make sure you look the part (our "what to wear to OCI guide" should help). Next, you probably know this already, but let's go over the basics: no gum chewing, practice your hand shake and look people in the eye.

Assuming you made it past the first 10 seconds, here's how to ace the rest of your interview.

Hey 2Ls: 5 Things You Can Do With Your Time Besides OCI

So, we get it. It's OCI time. There's no moot court competition going on and yet more than half the 2L class seems to be running around the law school in suits, or waiting anxiously in the halls for their interviews.

Don't feel left out if BigLaw isn't the track you want to go down. In fact, some would tell you -- good call, friend. (Seriously, good call.)

But, still, if you're feeling a little anxious about the fact that you should be doing something more productive with your time while many of your classmates sit in on nerve-wracking interview after interview, don't fret there, either. Here are 5 other things you can do with your time besides participate in OCI:

It's OCI season and you've gone over the first hurdle -- submitting your resume. Now that you have your interviews scheduled, the next big question is: what to wear?

Remember in high school, how the smartest teachers would always be really hard on you at the beginning of the year, then ease up as you gained their trust? Well, professional dressing is just like that. You need to be very conservative in the beginning and then once you have the job, you can think about matching the firm culture with what you wear.

So, read on for some easy tips on appropriate law firm interview dressing. Here's a hint: you can pretty much ignore everything you read in fashion magazines.

Roundtable: Our Bloggers' Favorite Law School Study Supplements

Supplements, much like beauty, are in the eye of the beholder. Just as one may debate the beauty of a wrinkly-faced bulldog, many will debate the usefulness of study supplements. Even amongst those who favored the books, there is disagreement over which ones are the most handy.

Some prefer long outlines. Others prefer weighty tomes of treatises intended for practitioners (we call those people gunners). And of course, others think that supplements are for suckers who'd rather waste $20 on a book than study the materials provided for class. Here are a few assorted opinions, courtesy of the FindLaw bloggers:

Obama Joins Calls for Shorter Law School; Bad Idea?

Let's start with this assumption: the system is broken. It's a good assumption. Law school takes three years. For decades, the joke has been, "third year, they bore you to death." For students at most schools, the joke is reality, the third year is spent sleeping through class and desperately seeking post-grad employment, and maybe, just maybe, doing clinical work. It also means another year of tuition, books, and living expenses.

Late last week, President Barack Obama, a Harvard Law grad and former University of Chicago law professor, echoed the calls of many to shorten law school, citing cost to students and the diminished returns of a third year of classroom work as compelling reasons to consider the idea, reports The Wall Street Journal. Of course, such an idea also carries significant drawbacks.

Yesterday, my esteemed colleague William Peacock, Esq. gave you the "glass is half-empty" view of OCI. But we all know, where there is a glass half empty, there is also a glass half-full.

So, if you will bear with  us, here is another take on good old OCI.

OCI Week: 5 Mistakes Made in Legal Resumes

Full disclaimer: On Campus Interviews are almost certainly a complete waste of your time, unless you are either the editor of the Law Review, or are on the magna cum laude path. But, you can always take these tips and apply anywhere and everywhere else.

Then again, I may be a bit jaded. My school, which required a horse, two camels, and three days of travel to reach from any major metropolitan area, had a bit of a tough time during the Great Recession, OCI-wise. If your school actually has firms show up, go ahead and give it a shot -- it may not result in a job, but hey, it's interview practice, right?

Of course, you won't even get that interview if your resume doesn't pass muster. Avoid these common mistakes when curating your curriculum vitae.

Yes, we know, you went to law school to save the world. "Saving the world" is a dandy goal to have, and more likely achieved if you take baby steps getting there. Knowing what you want out of law school is important at the outset so you can hit the ground running to achieve those goals.

So, keep the dreams of saving the world alive, and know that you'll probably need to do some of the following to do just that.

When people ask me what first year of law school is like, I answer without hesitation: boot camp. I haven't been in the military, but I've heard enough about it (and seen enough movies) to know that it's no fun -- and neither is being a 1L.

Though preparing for what are two different objectives, here are five reasons why being a 1L is like being in boot camp ...

5 Truths to Help You Survive 1L (That You Might Not Know About)

Are you really ready for your 1L year of law school? Otherwise known as "1-Hell," the first year of law school is usually... an experience, to say the least. Being prepared always makes a world of difference. The more you know, the less you'll be unpleasantly surprised, and maybe the smoother the ride. Maybe.

While it's true that everyone handles certain situations differently, the first year of law school tends to bring some of the same experiences and feelings for most.

So, with that said, here are five points about a typical first year of law school that all 1Ls may want to consider:

This is the moment you've been waiting for -- you're a 1L. Four years of college are done and you are about to start law school. Take everything you learned about studying in those four years and throw it away -- studying for law school is unlike any other you've done.

Most law school classes are taught in the style of the Socratic Method, named after the Greek philosopher Socrates. Essentially, your law professor will engage students in discussing and distilling ideas by asking many questions.

This approach to teaching and learning lends itself to a unique study style.

3L Tips: Practical Experience and Post-Grad Planning

This is the year that they are supposed to "bore you to death." Remember that little nugget of wisdom, "scare you to death, work you to death, bore you to death"? It's only half-true today. We'd venture a guess that you'll be more stressed than bored during your final year of law school, the year of uncertainty.

What's on your plate? Unless your 2L summer led to a permanent gig, you'll need to line up post-grad housing, pick a bar prep class, apply to anything and everything, and if you can, get some practical experience before you graduate.

Bored? We think not.

2L Tips: Grades, Jobs, and Externships

1L hell is in the books. Ten percent of you were in the top 10 percent of the class. Ninety percent of you weren't. Over the next two years, it will be difficult to improve your class standing (though oddly enough, it's quite easy to fall into complacency and let your standing drop).

What should your priorities be during this upcoming year? GPA and the job hunt, with networking and a social life set aside for that ever-so-rare spare time.

Summer is coming to an end, you just got back from backpacking across Europe and Asia and you're getting ready for your first year of law school. With so much going on, the last thing on your mind is what you should wear to law school.

Which is precisely why you should be thinking about it now.

On the first day, when the alarm goes off the last thing you want to do is start rummaging through your closet figuring out what to wear. So, we're going to make it easy for you and tell you.

Just follow these tips to avoid looking like a dork on the first day.

5 People You May Meet in 1L Hell

Welcome to hell, young first-years. We made that decision once, and if you haven't heard, the economy made a fool out of us upon graduation. You're entering a depressed field, full of depressed surplus graduates, at a very depressing time. And now, you're about to meet the weirdest batch of anal retentive folks you've ever seen.

Just remember, none of these people will harm you, even the ubiquitous gunner. Also note that most people don't fit neatly into tiny boxes -- they may be a gunning butterfly or a burned-out scholar. And if you (gunner!), think we've missed a category, tweet us.

Without further ado, or scare tactics, are 5 types of fellow students you are likely to come across in Hades your 1L year.

How to Be a Rainmaker: 5 Cold Hard Truths (and Tips)

How does one become a rainmaker? Because let's not kid ourselves, some of us went to law school with only one goal in mind: to make it rain.

Of course not all of us did, but for those of you who are upfront about your desires to practice law while raking in the dough, remember that it still takes work.

So with that said, here are five truths about being a successful rainmaker:

Between "leaning in," "opting out" and opting back in, women are getting conflicting advice about their careers. One thing is for certain -- each year, Flex Time Lawyers and Working Mother magazine release their annual survey on the 50 Best Law Firms for Women.

Though working at one of these firms won't guarantee you'll make partner, the survey highlights law firms with "best practices in retaining and promoting women lawyers." Unsurprisingly, many of these law firms have many things in common.

Here's a quick look at some of the similarities that make these law firms excel at retaining female talent:

4 Things You Can Do, Job-Wise, While Awaiting Bar Results

Limbo: the miserable time period between when you take the bar exam, and when the results are finally released.

Will you pass? Will you fail? Will it even matter if there aren't any jobs to apply for? Now that you've taken the exam, and drank Brass Monkeys to suppress the pain unwind after a stressful summer, guess what? The fun is just beginning.

As a delusional bar taker, I was convinced that, if I passed the exam, that jobs would come. After all, I went to a good school, I'm not a sociopath, and the state's low bar passage rate would decrease the supply in the already depressed market. Things worked out (eventually), and they will for you too, but there are a few things, over the next month (or three, for Californians), that you can do while waiting:

5 Requirements for Becoming a Lawyer (That You Might Not Know)

What are all the requirements for being a lawyer? There are, of course, some obvious ones (like passing the bar), but aside from that, are there more?

There are, but they may not be conveniently handed to you on a neat checklist. Until now.

Yes, what follows is a real list, and not a cheeky "best shoes for ambulance-chasing" type of list that waxes poetic about cliched attorney traits. But seriously, and especially if you're thinking about law school (or if you're currently in law school), here are some requirements for being a lawyer that you may not know about:

Attorneys Under Arrest: 3 Dos and Don'ts

The ABA's Annual Conference is now underway in San Francisco, giving seasoned lawyers as well as newly minted attorneys a chance to collect some pearls of wisdom from the upper echelons of the legal profession.

Role models are important, but sometimes you can learn more about being a lawyer by examining attorneys at their worst.

It is in that spirit that we present three (allegedly) misbehaving advocates who can teach you the dos and don'ts of being an attorney under arrest.

The Southern California Institute of Law (SCIL) is suing California Bar officials for violation of its First Amendment rights. According to The Wall Street Journal, the law school claims that the bar's requirement that SCIL let students know where to find bar exam passage rates on its website is unlawful.

The school brief states that the California bar examiners "have no right to foist their ideology onto SCIL and compel it to refer or disclose bar passage rates of its graduates." While bar officials counter that "[s]chools have no legitimate interest in hiding that information," reports the Journal.

Our love for coffee at FindLaw runs deep. Some of us have been inspired to poetic heights for our love of the java. From haiku to odes, the ways we can express our love for coffee is limitless.

I am not much of a poet myself, but I am a top-notch list-maker. Thus, here are five reasons why you should drink coffee as much as we do at work, in court, on the road ...

Sharks And Other Unusual Pets: What Does This Say About You?

Even lawyers need a little love from their furry, scaly, and/or fuzzy companions. While the type of dog or cat may be telling enough as is, what about other pets? Like, maybe camels, anyone?

In honor of Shark Week, we thought we'd celebrate the other lesser appreciated animals in the kingdom. Here are some unusual pets, including sharks, and what this may say about the type of lawyer owning them:

As lawyers, we tend to think we're indispensable. Maybe the economy would grind to a halt if we went on vacation. Come on, let's be serious. Yes, you're special, but do you think it makes a difference to BigLaw partners which lowly associate is performing document review? The answer is no.

We're not saying don't show up for work -- but you should feel free to take the vacation you've earned. We know come summer, we start singing the Go-go's to ourselves: "Vacation, all I ever wanted."

It may seem impossible to get away from the office, but if you follow these eight easy tips, your dreams of vacation can become a reality. (Cue dreamy harp music.)

DWI Attorney Gets Drunk, Walks Into Wrong Courtroom

Here's a situation for you: a lawyer walks into a bar. Heard that one before, right? Okay, a lawyer drinks. Just another day that ends in 'y' right? How about this, a lawyer gets drunk. Okay, still, nothing out of the ordinary. Let's just bring it on home, now: a lawyer drinks, gets drunk, and then shows up to court while inebriated. Allegedly.

Was it mentioned that he not only showed up to court drunk, but it was the wrong courtroom? And, let's not forget the ultimate clincher -- he's a DWI attorney.

At FindLaw, we're a little tired of the negative "lawyers are sharks" jokes, so we're reclaiming the word. As Run-DMC would say, it's "Not bad meaning bad, but bad meaning good."

When people are making all those jokes, they seem to forget that lawyers are also the people defending their civil liberties. So, in honor of the Discovery Channel's Shark Week, we thought it would be fun to highlight some of the most bad-ass lawyer sharks throughout history.

Five Cheap Cocktails to Celebrate the End of the Bar Exam

That was fun, wasn't it?

Say what you will about 1L year, but for me, bar study and California's three days of pain trumps a little bit of Socratic hazing. When I walked out of the exam, my friends and fellow test-takers bee-lined for the bar across the street, drank a single beer, and then headed home and slept ... for a long time.

You'll also probably feel like celebrating. The problem is, after three months of studying, and thousands of dollars sunk into the prep course and the exam, and the legal job market, you're probably a little short on cash. No worries though, we've got a few ideas that can help:

Ugh, it happens every day like clockwork. It's about 3:00 p.m., you're fighting back yawns and your eyelids are heavy. You can actually feel yourself turning into Jabba the Hutt in your Aeron chair.

What's a lawyer to do? Snap out of it! Here's how.

5 Things You Should Know About Post-Bar (That You Might Not)

The bar exam is finally over (for now, but let's not be Debbie Downers too soon). So, what now?

You've devoted the last 3, maybe 4 years of your life to pursuing your legal degree, and then more recently, the last 2-3 grueling, hellish months to the grueling, hellish process that is bar-study.

First things, first -- congratulations! There is, indeed, much to celebrate. Now go ahead and enjoy with many, many libations. Also, though, here are 5 things to keep in mind about the post-bar period: