How New Law School Students Can Benefit from WestLaw and Lexis

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students, All Articles 1 Comment »

Often, new students are not introduced to WestLaw or Lexis in the beginning of their first semester even though they have free access to the services. I’m not sure why this is, but I’ve heard some schools don’t want students to know how to use these services right away out of concerned that students will do online legal research rather than learning traditional legal research methods. Regardless, WestLaw and Lexis can be valuable to new students for many reasons:

1. WestLaw and Lexis allow students to lookup entire cases. Casebooks often include only excerpts of cases. Including the entire case would be too long. However, sometimes the case losses so much text that it becomes unclear. Students benefit from having the entire case accessible.

2. WestLaw and Lexis provide case summaries. Some students use these to replace reading cases for class. That’s not smart because the summaries may not include the lesson the casebook is intending to emphasize. However, the case summaries can be very helpful providing an overview of the case. Some students read the case summaries from WestLaw or Lexis before each case in their casebook to get a preliminary overview of the case. » FULL STORY

Why Consolidate Your Student Loans?

1L Students, 2L Students, 3L Students, 4 Graduates, All Articles 3 Comments »

Students are often too busy to worry about loan consolidation. But after graduation, when student loan payments become due, student loan consolidation becomes even more important. Unfortunately, the loan consolidation process can be overwhelming for some. This page seeks to inform students of their options.

If you don’t consolidate your student loans, you are missing out on a number of benefits.

Student Loan Consolidation Benefits

By consolidating your student loans, you can benefit in a number of ways. Most peoople think they should shop for the best interest rate when consolidating their student loans. This isn’t entirely true. All lenders use the same interest rate when consolidating your federal student loans, but some lenders offer discounts once you start paying on your loan.

Student Loan Consolidation Discounts

The student loan discounts include a discount for timely payments over a period of time, such as timely student loan payments for the first six months of your student loans.

Student loan discounts may also include a rate reduction for setting up automated payment from your bank account. These discounts can become substantial over time, making student loan consolidation a popular option for law students after graduation.

Finally, law students benefit from loan consolidation if they have multiple student loans with multiple lenders. It is inconvenient to make payments and receive bills from multiple student loan lenders each month. By consolidating, you can reduce the headache of all this paperwork.

Disadvantages of Student Loan Consolidation

There are a few reasons not to consolidate your student loans.

  1. More Interest Due for Extended Repayment Periods.
    If your loan consolidation allows you to pay less each month, you are probably extending repayment period of the loan, and this may increase the total interest charged on the loan.But you don’t have to extend the loan repayment period when you consolidate. This is merely an option, but you should know the consequences if you choose this option. In short, you can reduce your payments now, but you will pay more interest in the long run.
  2. Grace Period. Borrowers who consolidate in the grace period will lose any grace period that would otherwise remain if they had not consolidated their loan.
  3. Rate Decreases. You would not want to consolidate your student loans if (1) your student loans are on an adjustable interest rate, and (2) that interest rate is going to go down. If the interest rate is going down, you would want to wait until it went down to consolidate your student loans.

Generally, there really is no reason not to consolidate your loans, unless (1) you are within a grace period because you graduated in the past six months or so, or (2) you believe the rates on your student loans will decrease in the future, so you want to wait to lock in at a lower rate.

Student Loan Consolidation Interest Rates

As you might imagine, guessing the rate increases and decreases is part science, part witchcraft. For this reason, many law school graduates consolidate within the first year or two after graduating from law school. It makes sense to lock in a fixed interest rate so you know what you will be paying, reduce the law school student loan bills you receive, and hopefully benefit from some other discounts offered by student loan consolidation lenders.

Student Loan Consolidation Lenders

For law student loans, I use and recommend Access Group because its loans have no fees, plus it offers discounts after graduation for timely payments and automatic payments. I doubt there is a better place for law students.

Of course, there are many quality online lenders that offer student loan consolidation, and I recommend you compare what they have to offer to find the best program for you.

My Student Loans

The U.S. Department of Education offers a website where students with student loans in the United States can see a list of all their student loans. Students with a lot of student loans are often confused about how many loans they have and which lenders their loans are with. This website is a great way to find out what student loans you have and which lender you used for each student loan. Visit My Student Loans to find out more.

Summer Associate Tips for Law School Students

1L Students, 2L Students, 3L Students, All Articles 1 Comment »

The Law Career Blog has a good list of “Do’s and Don’t's for Summer Associates.” Here is a summery of its useful tips:

  • Be on time—always, for everything
  • Understand each assignment fully
  • Learn about the assigning partner’s style
  • Explore new ways to clarify the assignment
  • Evaluations of you are largely based on your work product
  • Find a mentor
  • Recognize your summer is only “law practice lite”
  • Pay attention to your gut feelings about the firm

Read the full article for additional insights and ideas.

 

Start Your Own Law Student Blog

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students, 2L Students, 3L Students, 4 Graduates, All Articles 1 Comment »

Thinking about starting your own law school student blog, but not ready to jump in yet?  Consider being a guest writer at LawStudent.tv.  You get your own account and can post tips for other law students (subject to approval in the beginning).  It’s a way to give something back while having fun.

If you are really interested in starting your own blog, leave a comment here.  If at least a few people are interested, I’ll post about how to get started without spending too much time learning the blog world.

Anyone who wants spend some time learning the world of blogging will enjoy this outstanding blog that helped me: Problogger.net.  You can start with What is a Blog or Blogging for Beginners.

Law Student Blog Directory

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students, 2L Students, 3L Students, 4 Graduates, All Articles 5 Comments »

Interested in reading other law student blogs? Check out The Law Student Blogger Directory. You can look-up blogs by school and see if your school is represented.

Here are a few good law student blogs:

Advice For Parents Heading To Law School

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A mother who just completed her first year of law school writes this Advice For Parents Heading To Law School. The article is more focused on managing life than law school, but it offers some very practical advice for all students, regardless of their family status.

How to Get Published in a Law Review

2L Students, 3L Students, All Articles 4 Comments »

The Concurring Opinions blog has some good advice for students interested in getting their writings published. If this interests you, don’t miss the comments by other readers at the end of the page.

Zimbio – A Live News & Blog Website for Law Students

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students, 2L Students, 3L Students, 4 Graduates, All Articles 1 Comment »

ZimbioHere is a new website with a section for law students: Zimbio. It gathers news, blogs, and information of interest to law students. What’s especially nice about it is that as readers rank the information on the site, it “learns” what interests readers and improves the information it displays.

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