A few months back, I met Briony. She’s a fellow law student from the UK. I love that she enjoys my recipes and advice, but – even more – she shares the same law school struggle and writes about it, too! I find it increasingly harder to come across female law bloggers, and am thrilled to have met Briony. We opted to collaborate on this blog post and decided to share our perspectives on law school preparation. You can check out her posts HERE.
Do you type or write your  Law School Notes?
I prefer to use the dual method. I write my notes down and then later type them into a full outline for the course. After taking notes in class, I (try) to type them up later in the day. But I regularly fail at that, so I end up typing them up by the end of the week. I blast instrumental pop music and review my notes after typing them. 

What kind of Law do you intend on practicing? 
After working two Federal clerkships this summer, I honestly think Criminal Law is a great option. However, I still hope to use my Biology major in some way. That said, I haven’t completely ruled out Patent Law and Intellectual Property Law. It’s safe to say I am split between these two career paths. Let me just say, I don’t know many students who have a clear idea of what they plan to practice and it’s completely alright if you’re still deciding. You may not figure out what you want to do until you’re practicing! Don’t freak out – you’ll find your niche.

How do you study for a subject that you hate? 
This one’s easy. I talk about it! I thought I was going to love the structured order of Federal Civil Procedure, but I did not! So, early on in my 1L year, my fiance figured out that (since I couldn’t sit and read about it for too long) he could get me to learn the law by teaching it to him. The guy was stealthy about it too. He started with “so, what’s the deal with subject matter jurisdiction, does it affect your outcome of a judge or something? Why does it matter?” From then on, he asked tons of questions and helped me build flow charts on massive flip chart notepaper. Freaking incredible!

Will you be practicing Law in the same city as your Law School?

I’d like to say, YES! However, making plans (in my experience) tends to have hilarious outcomes. For practical reasons, I will say that I’d love to practice in Dallas. We’ll see what the fates decide.

Is your favorite subject to study, the subject you intend on practicing?

My favorite classes so far are Criminal Law and First Amendment, with Constitutional Law coming in for a close third. So I guess it’s very possible I will practice in the subject areas I find most fascinating. I’ve enjoyed criminal work (both defense and prosecution) and think that appellate work is chock full of challenging opportunities.

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What’s the favorite class tool or online learning study aid/guide etc.? 

I really love note cards. It’s old-school, and they work for me. One of my law school besties and I created a bit of a tradition where we start an outline together and then break the info down into notecards to study/review before our exam.
[If you’re the type that loves pre-canned study aids, I recommend Short & Happy Guides. They’re concise and really helpful!]

What’s a difficult law school experience that you wish other students knew to prepare for?
Law school is full of pitfalls and awkward situations. Study groups fail to meet on time, there’s too much free food and so many extra pounds to gain, and then you forget to read for class…so many things I wish I could prepare you for. I think the best thing to prepare you for is the diverse group of people you will meet. Prepare yourself to view the world through an open mind. Prepare yourself to try new foods at networking events, learn new facts to stay current and enable yourself to discuss a wide range of topics, and practice a firm handshake.

How do you deal with stress in law school?
This is a question I get often. There are so many ways to deal with stress, but I do two things: read for fun and exercise. I love rock climbing and running; I’ve been climbing for a few years now and do my best to go twice a week. This summer, I also took up 5×5’s (weightlifting). Everything is about balance. Dealing with stress is all about managing tasks and making time for yourself.

Or, if all else fails – play with puppies.



What’s the best advice you’ve been given so far?
Be kind. It’s simple, but so many people forget it. The Founding Dean of our law school recounted a story about one of his previous law clerks. This guy was hired because he interviewed well, was at the top of his class, from a great law school, and then put his fat foot in his mouth while working as a clerk for the Dean who was a Federal Judge. This guy was asked by the Judge’s court coordinator to move some boxes, and this dunce replied, “I didn’t go to law school to do clerical work.”


The coordinator told the Judge and, well, he never forgot how crappy this guy treated his staff. He obviously didn’t get a recommendation letter. What’s worse? Any firm calling the Judge was going to hear the truth, and no one wants to work with someone who is not a team player.

All he had to do was be kind, agree to move the boxes, and then ask if there was anything else he could help with. Clearly, he wasn’t raised in the South. ::major eye roll::

So, remember to be kind. Use those manners, say please and thank you, and never (seriously, NEVER) say that office work is beneath you. No one cares that you went to school for 7 years to become an attorney. They do care about what kind of person you became within those seven years. It’s these men and women that will remind the attorneys of your work once you leave, they’re the reason you will likely get a glowing recommendation letter – so don’t be a jerk.

What drives you to keep grinding on down this law school path?
The best motivation is a HUGE family. These amazing people push me forward on days where I feel lazy or scattered or just, not plain good enough. My family acts as my true North, and my life is all the better because of them. Law school difficulties are nothing compared to the stare down from my grandmother. I can’t disappoint her, or any of my other family members, which means I keep grinding down this path.


Pieces of my Familia

I hope this year is a wonderful one for you. Find your balance, your motivation, and all the reasons why you’re putting yourself through law school. Keep those close at hand for the nights when your eyelids feel too heavy to study, on days when the sun’s out, and the pool looks terribly inviting, or when you want to slack off on those notes and go to the movies instead.
Do amazing things with this law school life so you can be a phenomenal attorney!