TopLawStudent.com has a New Website Design

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Don’t be surprised if LawStudent.tv looks a little strange. We are upgrading the design to make the website–

  • easier to read
  • simple and clean
  • capable of providing you with exciting new features

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 3 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.

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.

 

For Incoming Law Students: Why Law Schools Weigh Your LSAT Score so Heavily

0L Pre-Law, All Articles No Comments »

First, congratulations on your admission!

If you wondered why law schools focus more on LSAT scores than GPA, this article will answer your question.  In short, this Fordham Law School professor explains that 1) nearly all students look equal (like saints) based on their personal statements alone, 2) a strong GPA at some schools represents greater academic performance than at others, so GPAs alone are not an accurate measurement, and 3) LSAT scores are the only standardized way to compare students.  However, I think it is unfortunate that students with years of strong academic performance can be hurt by simply having a bad testing day.  But maybe this is a necessary evil.

Best Study Aids for New Law Students – Part 3: Nutshell Subject Reviews

0L Pre-Law, All Articles 3 Comments »

There are three types of Study Aids. The first was case summaries. The second was what I call subject guides. The third is Nutshells—or, books in the Nutshell Series. These are different from subject guides because subject guides are presented in outline format—these are not outline format. Nutshells are like reading a book explaining the law. It is a fairly thorough review of a subject. Here are examples » FULL STORY

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

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students, All Articles No Comments »

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.

Don’t Start Fall Classes Cold — Get a Head Start

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

This is one of the best, little-known tips to getting an advantage in law school that I’ve seen: Listen to lectures for all your classes this summer, and when you enter class this fall, you will already have a general understanding of major concepts, terms, and policies. You can listen to these tapes and CDs while you are exercising, driving in the car, or other convenient times. Then when you start class, you already have an overview of the subject, and you can focus on the finer details of the law, while most other students are trying to understand the general concepts.

The Sum & Substance series by West Publishing is one of the best. (The Law School Legends Series is also good.) » FULL STORY

Law Review Tip 2: Online Legal Dictionaries

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Here is a nice list of online legal dictionaries.  See also other free online dictionaries for law students.

Law Review Tip 1: Use WestCheck.com

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WestCheck.comSome students are crazy enough to go from finals into trying out for Law Review in their law school’s write-on competition. For those students (I am one of them), a few tips will be posted here.

The first tip: Before you submit your law review article, consider submitting it to westcheck.com to see if all the cases you used are good law. It’s fairly easy and can prevent big mistakes.

The Best Way New Students Can Prepare for Starting Law School

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One law school preparation book stands out above all others: Law School Confidential.

It covers a wide range of important subjects, including how to brief a case, study strategies, job hunting, and much, much more. One of the aspects I liked most about the book is how each section is for a different period in law school. At each point during a student’s law school career, the author provides practical advice needed for that period.

Some students may hesitate to spend any more money on law school—You’ve already spent enough. But if this books helps raise your grades, reduce your test anxiety, and get a better paying job, its worth to you will far exceed its cost.

Law Students Share Their Tips and Advice

0L Pre-Law, 1L Students, 2L Students, All Articles, Law School Exams 4 Comments »

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.

How Reading This Blog will Help You

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As a review for new readers, this blog is for law students. I will provide tips and advice that I learned or others passed on. The advice will be posted here exactly when law students need it. In this way, it is like a good friend giving you advice about something you are going through just as you encounter the challenge.

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