Weights and Measures

From the Rural Lawyering 101 videos:

This particular clip was the result of a bit of serendipity; I had recently been in an e-mail conversation with a pre-law student interested in eventually starting a rural practice and how one might choose a suitable law school to achieve this laudable goal.

Dear Students, Caveat Emptor. Love, “Your” ABA

In her January 25 post, my friend and fellow blawger Susan Cartier Liebel asks “what obligation does the ABA owe to law students?” Susan’s post and the November 2009 report, The Value Proposition of Attending Law School by the ABA Commission on the Impact of the Economic Crises on the Profession and Legal Needs she mentions should be on every prospective law student’s must read list.

While I agree that the report should have wide distribution among prospective law students, I respectfully disagree with two of the post’s underlying assumptions: (a) that the ABA owes an obligation to prospective law students and (b) that the sole reason d’être for not quickly disseminating the report is simple greed. Continue reading

Herd Bound

Perhaps it was the 3 articles in the ABA Journal’s weekly e-newsletter expressing astonishment at the success of lawyers going solo, or perhaps it was the odd looks I got at  yesterday’s County Bar’s New Lawyers Meeting when I introduced myself a SOS (solo out of school), but I been contemplating about herd bound horses and the practice of law.

I’m in the long process of gentling a young mare – a process made a bit more difficult by the fact that she’s herd bound. Now, for those of you who don’t know, a herd bound horse has a strong “emotional” attachment to its herd. Now, if this attachment is great for long term survival in the wild – for the wild horse, the herd provides direction and protection (straying to far from the herd tends to get one eaten). However, for the domestic horse whose biggest challenge is waiting for the 6:00 PM bucket of oats this attachment can be both a source of amusement and a source of frustration for its human servants – there’s nothing quite like trying to have a quiet ride when your horse is screaming, prancing, and whinnying simply because you’ve walked out of sight of the other horses. Continue reading

SOS – Solo Out of School

Make voyages! – Attempt them! – there’s nothing else… (Tennessee Williams)

So, you are thinking of going solo right of school – great! Here’s some things to keep in mind:

  • If you can pass the bar exam, you are (or at least yourState Bar thinks you are) competent to practice law. Period, end of discussion. So never doubt that you are sufficiently prepared to go out there and commit random acts of lawyerism. That nagging doubt, that fear that sneaks up in the quite hours of the night does not feed on your lack of competence, it feeds on your lack of experience. The good news is that there’s a cure for that – time. Continue reading

Thinking About Law School – Part 4: Years 2 & 3

Your 2L year is the easiest of the lot. By now, you should have a handle on hows, whats, and whys of studing cases and you have left most of the intro courses for the more interesting ones. Now’s the time to start looking for that first legal job (if you can find volunteer work during the summer between year 1 & 2 so much the better). Finding that first job is going to be all about networking, so even if you aren’t interesting in a job with BIG LAW, participate in the on campus interviewing program and start talking with other lawyers – you’ve little to lose and could even gain summer employment. Moot Court and law review are good resume builders, but you can gain a great deal more practical experience by volunteering with a local legal aid organization or a local judge – you can open a lot of doors by with the simple phrase “I’m looking for some practical legal experience, could you use some volunteer labor?”

A brief word of advice, if you didn’t do it during your first year, sign up for your bar review courses during your second year. This will save you money down the road. I used two review courses, one that concentrated on essay preparation and one that concentrated on the multiple choice portion.

Year 3 is tough – the end is in sight and the urge to just coast is strong. Here is where time management really plays a big part because you’ve got to do 3 things – complete your courses, keep up the job search, and complete your bar exam application. I allowed 4 months to complete my bar application and that was barely enough time to track down all the necessary supporting documents, letters of recomendation, etc. If I were to do it again, I’d start 6 months before the deadline.

Once law school is over, take a day off and congratulate yourself. You deserve it, because tomorrow you are going to start reviewing for the bar exam.