A young lawyer, starting up his private practice, was very anxious to
impress potential clients. When he saw the first visitor to his office
come through the door, he immediately picked up his phone and spoke
into it," I'm sorry, but my caseload is so tremendous that I'm not
going to be able to look into your problem for at least a month. I'll
have to get back to you then." He then turned to the man who had just
walked in, and said, "Now, what can I do for you?"

"Nothing," replied the man. "I'm here to hook up your phone."

Last weekend I finally posted my LSAT prep books on Amazon. It took 24 hours to sell three books. CHA-CHING! Well, not exactly since I used the funds to purchase another type of law school prep books, namely those on legal research and writing. I'll admit it, I am terrified of writing. So I've made it one of my many goals for the summer to explore legal writing and hopefully become more comfortable with the idea of it. I purchased the following writing aides:

  • The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style
  • The Elements of Legal Style
  • A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage
All of which are authored by Bryan Garner. I don't know who this man is but I'm thinking his name is worshiped somewhere in the legal writing world, and likely has a fan club. I also realized that he is involved in Black's Law Dictionary (which I bought used now versus waiting later and paying a higher price). Mr. Garner also wrote my new favorite workbook: Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises. He recommends doing the exercises with a group but all I have is The Janitor who has agreed to work through them with me. If anyone else out there wants to work through this book with us HOLLA BACK! I really like the format of this book and so far the exercises are good, however The Janitor has had to explain certain terms and I have had to use Black's already.

It may seem to some of you that I am over-prepping myself for the fall. (Or it may not and I am just blabbing to blawg.) I've been out of school for awhile and so I'm trying to retrain my brain for the classroom and homework experience. I'll also admit that I am intimidated by the rumor of how competitive law school is. I guess I just want to make sure I have no summer regrets come fall. Stay tuned for book reviews and a compiled summer reading list!

I just came across this ABA Journal article. It was published back in January so I apologize if some of you have already read this. It brings up an excellent point, where has the professional look gone?

One of the many Q & As I recently came across was how to dress for law school. It recommended a suit by your second year but for the most part it suggested business casual for classes. I chuckled at this because from my experience with law students they usually fall into two categories: those who dress up for law school daily and those who treat it like undergrad. Granted I haven't attended law school yet and can only base my opinion off of the fact that
I've watched three dear friends go through law school and am quite familiar with their school's environment. I also had a roommate from hell who is a law student. My roomie started out wearing yoga pants and board shorts to class everyday. I was happy when she moved to dressy jeans but her lack of underwear and the resulting ass crack drove me crazy. Honestly, who wants to see that? There were also women who judged other women for not wearing the latest styles. Honestly, who has time to keep up with fashion in law school? Are you crazy? I do not plan on wearing heals everyday for three years when flats will be sufficient. There were those who wore baseball hats and warm-ups. And those who dressed normal as in, jeans-a nicer shirt and casual shoes, and dressing up when the occasion arose. I will be falling into the later category. I won't be wearing Crocs to class everday. I won't wear pajama bottoms to lecture. I'll try not to wear jeans too often as well. I'd like my professors and classmates to say, "she always looks nice but doesn't overdo it." We've all judged someone by the way they look so why would you want to risk your image by dressing lazy? I just don't get it.

I used to work for my state's Department of Labor and was requested (albeit in a somewhat sexist manner) to dress professionally every day. I was fine with it at first but after awhile I realized that there was no point in it since I wasn't in meetings all day and rarely saw anyone. I kept a pair of Uggs under my desk and wore them in the winter to keep warm and nobody said anything. Granted, this was the state I was working for. I still took time out to look nice though because I believe looking clean and put together still says something about the kind of person you are.

June is just around the corner, which also means the LSAT is too. So I thought I would discuss my relationship with Le LSAT. I hated it. The first time I took it, (yes you read that correctly) I studied approximately two hours a day for a month prior to the Dec. exam. Looking back I don't think I took it seriously as an exam.

Some things to know first: I received a fee waiver to take the LSAT twice and register with LSAD which made my day because at the time I didn't know if law school was a serious option. I am still unable to say that I am 100% confident regarding my choice for law school but I can say that I'm now 80% confident. So the fee waiver was huge for me. They also sent me a free copy of The Official LSAT SuperPrep which wasn't great but had some actual LSAT exams. I also borrowed study guides from friends and purchased two recommended guides: The Powerscore LSAT Logic Games Bible and The Powerscore LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible. I found the format of these two guides easy to follow and understand. I experienced several AHA! moments with these two guides. I should mention that I wasn't bad at logic games, however this guide trained me on how to get near perfect scores in the logic games section. My worst section was logical reasoning by far! I had a difficult time dealing with my poor performance in this section and wished it didn't make up such a large portion of the exam.

So I took the December exam and felt confident until I learned how poorly I did. And I don't mean poor in terms of a 160 or high 150s. I'm talking worse than those. Knowing that I could take the Feb. exam free of charge (with the exception of the opportunity cost of studying) I decided to sign up for a paid study course. I chose Powerscore because I liked how they covered the material in their books and only used actual previous LSAT questions. For the month of January my life was the LSAT. I studied at least twenty hours a week, took twelve practice exams and saw major improvement throughout the process. I was skeptical regarding studying but can firmly say that it worked. My second LSAT score was much better and I attribute it to all the hard work I put into studying for it. The Powerscore online class sessions didn't benefit me a great deal but I did complete every lesson in their books which is an accomplishment in itself since I averaged 3-4 hours a lesson and there were ten lessons.

I also scanned the internet for LSAT tips and in general found what Ann, over at Law School Expert, had to say helpful. More on her later! Knowing that I never have to take that exam is such a relief! For all those who are gearing up for the LSAT ride good luck! But try to remember, it's not everything!

I came home to an e-mail congratulating me on my acceptance to my first choice school. I was shocked! It was a follow up e-mail; one meant to be received after the acceptance letter. This made us wonder if my acceptance letter really was lost in the mail but sure enough it came the next day. The best part is that I was offered a very nice scholarship! I was hoping for one but thought it was a long shot. So our weekend was spent looking at housing, the employment market for The Janitor (my loving partner who is an attorney) and reviewing the school's program. And now onto the little things. We are planning on flying down to visit the school next week. I have several questions regarding student life and the city in general. It's a large city with a population of approximately 500,000, much larger than where we currently live. One aspect that bothers me is that there are no images of students on their website. It is important to me to see students interacting with each other and have some idea of the academic environment that I wish to partake in.

So these are my questions:

  • What are your thoughts regarding your first year?
  • Is the faculty friendly, open, and available for questions?
  • On a scale of 1-10 how competitive do you feel the environment is?
  • Do you have any recommendations for new students to this school? Any thing you would do over again?
  • Where will you be working this summer? Were there several opportunities to choose from?
Anything I'm potentially overlooking?

I've been playing this game for the last two months and it's not fun. I am still waiting to hear from two schools, one of which is my top pick. I have had to withdraw from some schools and send in a seat deposit to my second choice. Everyday I eagerly check the mail only to find nothing. There are some who say that this year is a crazy one in terms of the application process and waitlists. I don't know what I think.

Some things you should know about me: I applied to only five schools due to a very tight budget. I am strongly leaning toward my state school due to in-state tuition and the growing legal market in the area. I'm not sure whether I'd prefer the public or private sector but I do know that having less student loans upon graduating would be wonderful. I'm also aware that most of the law school experience comes from what you make of it; what you strive to achieve and the opportunities that you work to create for yourself.

What I would really like now is to have closure with my application process. I'd like to move forward in my number 2 choice, secure housing, and notify friends and family of my decision. I'd also like to do this so I can begin my next steps, which involve pre-1L reading, setting up mentorships, and relaxation. As I tell remind my students daily maybe I should "just exercise my patience!"

An interesting piece popped up today on The XX Factor, How the Billable Hour Hurts Women and Families. There is not much I can disagree with regarding how the structure of billable hours hurts women and families. However I did disagree with the author in that half of graduating law school classes are women and that women make up half of the top class rankings. Every law school I applied to has more male students than female. This is also true of the top five law schools according to the current rankings via U.S. World News and Reports. I'm positive that if I were to continue analyzing the data for the rest of top fifty schools I would find the same. Is there a law school out there where women outnumber the men?

One of the questions I have for my number 2 school is how they are tackling female retention (which is significantly higher than male retention). There is also a disproportion in faculty with 75% men for this school. I know that other schools have better statistics regarding these areas but I can't help but disagree that women make up half the class and half the top rankings. It has even been said that the LSAT is biased toward the way men think.

As a woman I am concerned about these statistics, what they mean and how I fit into the larger picture. The billable hour is a huge aspect of the job and possibly a determining factor in why women choose to have children during law school and not afterward. Interesting issues to ponder over while I still wait to hear from other schools.

I came across an interesting article on networking today. The Top Ten Myths about Networking made me feel better regarding my ability to network. I'm not the greatest and as I move closer to law school I know that networking is a skill I must strengthen. Yes, MUST! I already have plans to set up informal mentors prior to leaving for law school. As I am not from a family of lawyers, nor work in a legal area I feel that I should put myself out there, say hello, and firmly state that I am looking for mentorship and networking opportunities. You never know when networking may bring you rewards and it's never to early, (or late), to start meeting people in your field. My hope is that by networking early I may be able to create an interesting summer externship for myself more tuned to my needs. I also know how powerful networking can be when looking for work and applying for clerkships. Even though I have yet to start law school, time flies and I want to make sure that I'm taking steps to benefit myself after law school.

Also, let's face it, law school isn't going to teach you skills like networking. It's one of the many skills that I'll have to develop on my own.

The last couple of months have been hectic. I've taken the LSAT twice (more on this later), sent out law school applications, and researched long and hard the schools I have been accepted to. It has been a long, stressful process and it's only going to get harder here on out.
The idea of law school was one I did not take lightly. I already have three degrees: two BAs and a MS. My Master's thesis emphasized law so in some ways law school seems like a natural extension of my master's work. But let's face it, who wants to still be in school in their late twenties? Over the last nine months I have interviewed several attorneys, law students, and discussed in depth law as a field. I've also spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on whether this would be a good decision for me. What I have realized is that I have a lot to share regarding this journey. In the next couple of weeks I intend to post on my LSAT experience, my application process, the waiting game, and the various things I am doing to prepare for an unpredictable first year. If only one other person reads this blog and finds it helpful I will be happy.

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