Podcast for New Law School Students

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students, All Articles 2 Comments »

podcastA new podcast series for incoming law students was annouced here: CALI’s Pre-Law Blog. A podcast is an audio show for listening on your iPod, another mp3 player, or your computer. You will find the podcast here: J.D. Confidential

How to Outline a Law School Class

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students, All Articles 3 Comments »

CALI’s Pre-Law Blog (a site with many useful articles for incoming law students) has some great advice regarding how to outline a course in preparation for law school exams: Outlining in Law School.

How to Get Published in a Law Review – Part 2

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

Recently we mentioned an article discussing How to Get Published in a Law Review.

We found another good article on the topic. A former editor of the Columbia Law Review published it: How to Publish Your Work in Law Reviews.

You may also be interested in the Standford Law Review’s Note Writing Guide, in Microsoft Word .doc format or Google’s HTML version.


Law School Pressure — When Does it Hit? How Do I Cope?

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students, All Articles 7 Comments »

ExamsKansas City School of Law Professor Barbara Glesner Fines wrote a great article discussing the sources of Law School and Stress, such as—Stress

  • feeling pushed to learn massive amounts of information quickly
  • the requirement to learn on your own
  • the fact that there are often no right answers
  • exam pressure
  • being socialized into a profession
  • and more

It also presents personal sources of stress for law school students, such as—

  • lack of time
  • lack of money
  • lack of exercise (too much time sitting)
  • unhealthy eating
  • and these sources of stress during other life challenges (engagement, medical treatment, marriage, divorce, raising a family, etc.)

Next, the article also discusses symptoms of law school stress, such as—

  • sickness
  • worry
  • relationship problems
  • poor choices
  • anger
  • depression
  • and more

Finally, the article presents a valuable four-point plan to deal with law school stress. I wish I had read Law School and Stress before my first year of law school. I believe it would help incoming law students and their loved ones to know what they will be going through and ways to deal with it.

New Law School Students: Frequently Asked Questions

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students, All Articles 3 Comments »

I came across this article — Incoming 1L FAQ — which seemed especially helpful for admitted students wondering about starting law school in the fall. The Incoming 1L FAQ (frequently asked questions) covers a number of questions common to new law students, such as: » FULL STORY

Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams

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How I Improved My Exam Writing Skills, Legal Writing Skills, and Law School Grades

In my first semester of law school, my legal writing tutor recommended this book: Getting to Maybe.

After reading it, my grades went up, which I believe was in large part because of how this book helped me improve writing law school exams. It helps new law students understand what it means to “think like a lawyer.” That is, it gives students a framework for analyzing complex issues.

Reading this book also significantly increased my performance in our legal writing class. At the end of my first year, my professor said my writing went from below average to the best in the class. This progress was a direct result of » FULL STORY

How New Law School Students Can Benefit from WestLaw and Lexis

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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?

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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:


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.

Blog of Interest to Law Students

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

Here is a blog that may interest many law students: Legal Underground. I especially liked the Weekly Law School Roundup reviewing notable law student blog posts, the discussion regarding a paperless office from an article written by the same author, and his review of the most interesting posts for the month. The blog covers exams, advice from students, jobs, and much more.

Summer Jobs for the Jobless Law Student

1L Students, 2L Students, All Articles, Law Job Hunt 2 Comments »

The increasing number of law students often makes the hunt for a summer law job more difficult.

Whether you are a 1L, 2L, or 3L, your job hunt can be difficult in today’s legal job market.

Here are a few tips for quickly lining up a 2L or 3L summer legal job so your resume doesn’t have a gap:

  • Visit your school’s job office to get their advice and learn about current job openings.
  • Visit your school’s legal volunteering office. While these jobs don’t pay, the experience is often just as valuable on a resume as a paid job.
  • Offer to work at a firm as an intern (no pay). Many smaller firms will still accept interns in May or early June.
  • Volunteer for a legal aid group, charity, or your state bar association.
  • Offer to assist one of your professors on their projects this summer.
  • If all else fails, sign up for summer classes so at least your resume doesn’t have a gap.

For more tips and websites with law job openings, check out our law jobs section.

Best Study Aids for New Law Students – Part 2: Subject Guides

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students 1 Comment »

There are three types of Study Aids, which students informally call law school outlines. The first was case summaries. The second is what I call subject guides. These provide a comprehensive outline of subjects. Here are examples of Emanuel Law Outlines and Gilbert Law Summaries » FULL STORY

Best Study Aids for New Law Students – Part 1: Case Summaries

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There are three types of Study Aids. The first will be discussed here.

There are books that give you a summarized version of the cases that are probably in your textbook in a particular class. Some of these study aids are customized to the most popular textbooks, so they present the cases in order. You can see some examples from Amazon.com, which normally has the best prices:

Often these are “keyed” to a casebook, which means the order of cases and topics in the study aid will be the same as your particular casebook.  If a study aid is keyed to a casebook, it normally will say “Keyed to (author name)” on the cover. A keyed study aid is nice because it saves a little time finding a case, but it is not always available, nor is it necessary.

Advice for Soon-to-Be Law Students

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The best advice for students starting law school in the fall is to buy this book: Law School Confidential.

But here is another article I thought was valuable reading for people wondering what law school will be like: Advice for First-Year Law Students.

Law Students Share Their Tips and Advice

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This is a great conversation among law students giving each other advice and talking about bad advice they’ve received.  advice to the 1L’s out there.  It may be useful for law students seeking to refine their approach to law school.

Free Lexis Study-Aid Outlines

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Lexis has free law school outlines for first year courses: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Property, Torts, Trusts and Estates. They are available in html, word, and pdf formats. They are a great review before exams. Get them here: Lexis Law School Outlines.

Reward Yourself & Double Your WestLaw and Lexis Points

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

Finals are over.  Are you ready to reward yourself by spending your Lexis and WestLaw points?  Why not get a head start on the Fall semester and double your points at the same time: Both companies let you double your point’s spending-power when buying their study aids.

The Importance of Preparing an Exam Schedule

1L Students, 2L Students, 3L Students, All Articles, Law School Exams 1 Comment »

ScheduleThere is often so much to do before exams. The crunch causes many students to focus too much on some subjects to the neglect of others. Many students find it helpful to make a schedule right now of their exam preparation plans. That way, as they get closer to exams, they stay on track.

An exam schedule would include planning which days you will outline particular classes, days you will go over flashcards, days you will do practice exams, etc.

For a step-by-step guide to preparing an exam schedule, visit How to Prepare an Exam Schedule.

To Outline or Not to Outline

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students, 2L Students, 3L Students, All Articles, Law School Exams 1 Comment »

The general rule is an outline should only be done if it helps you prepare for the particular exam you will be taking. For example, many students do not outline for a take-home exam if they have plenty of time to work on it, because they would rather focus their time preparing in other ways. On the other hand, an outline is normally useful in preparation for in-class exams. The point is, consider what type of exam you will be taking (it helps to review the professor’s old exams), and prepare for the exam in way that is best for you.

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