How to Avoid Burnout

It’s the time of year when law students are finishing their final exams and many are returning home for a few weeks of R&R before spring semester starts. This year, my students seemed more stressed than usual, probably in part because the pandemic won’t seem to go away. We powered through for awhile, but many people – including me! – are hitting a breaking point.

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Law School Clinics

You will likely register for spring classes soon, and you may feel unsure about what courses to take. Let me reassure you that for the most part, it doesn’t matter what you take in law school after you get your required classes out of the way. Sure, taking “black letter” courses might be marginally beneficial for the bar, but you’ll need to relearn it anyway. And while many seminars will be interesting, they are rarely essential to your future practice as a lawyer. But there is one type of course that you absolutely must take, the earlier the better. It is likely to be one of the most influential courses you take in law school, and will have a lasting effect on your career. That course is a law school clinic.

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Surviving the First Year of Law School

 

If you are a public interest student, you might have had this experience. You went to law school because you thought a law degree would help you contribute to the world. But after the heady excitement of the first few weeks wears off, you find yourself disappointed. Your classes barely touch on anything related to your interests at all. Instead, you spend hour after hour reading old, crusty cases written by dead judges about legal principles you couldn’t care less about. You are surrounded by students who seem to have been born to go to law school and who always know the answers in class. You quickly get sucked into the competition for grades, even though everything you are learning seems pointless. Suddenly, everyone is competing for summer associate jobs, and even though you never wanted to work at a law firm, you start to feel nervous. Maybe you should be applying too? You alternate between feeling like you are already falling behind to thinking that maybe law school was a mistake.

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Should Public Interest Students Do Law Review?

Welcome to back-to-school season! Most law schools have either already started or will in the next few weeks. At this point in the semester, most 1Ls are just trying to keep their heads above water, learning how to read cases and survive the Socratic Method. But when you come up for air, you may start to wonder what activities you should participate in outside of classes. Yes, in law school (unlike many graduate programs) there are a plethora of “extra-curriculars.” Some of these activities include law review, moot court, affinity groups, student government, and volunteer opportunities. As a public interest student, you may wonder which activities are worth devoting yourself to and which are just a waste of time.

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Want to Become a Public Interest Lawyer? Focus on the LSAT

By Mikaila Smith

Mikaila is a rising 3L at the University of Chicago Law School. The subject of this post -the LSAT – is an important one for aspiring public interest lawyers. Your LSAT score is one of the most important factors in law school admissions decisions, and where you go to law school is one of the most important factors in determining your options after law school. This post is especially useful for people who cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars on LSAT prep courses and tutoring. If you are in that position, you need to study more, not less. Mikaila explains how she did it.

If you want to work as a public interest lawyer, you should try to get the best LSAT score you possibly can. Pursuing a public interest legal career requires commitment at every turn. The vast majority of your classmates will follow well-tread, lucrative pathways into firm work. If you have a six-figure debt piling up, it will be really difficult to forgo a firm job to follow your passion.

That’s where the LSAT comes in. A high score will not only help you get into a top law school, but also increase your chances of receiving merit aid. The hours you invest in studying for the test could literally save you thousands of dollars in law school debt. The below guide outlines the method that I used to self-study for the LSAT. My test-day score was 12 points higher than my first practice test.

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