Bar Exam Tips — from those who have been there

Recent grads! As you gear up for the bar exam, the Office of Career & Professional Development has compiled a list of favorite tips to help ease the stress of bar prep…..

Keep up whatever keeps you mentally healthy: exercise, eating decent meals, watching a favorite TV show.  It’s all about time management, and it’s important to build in time for those things that keep you sane.

Treat bar review as a full time job: bar review classes may be 3-4 hours a day, then completing all the assigned work will make it a full work day (or longer).  On the plus side, it will get you prepared for entering professional life as an attorney!

You are paying a lot of money for your bar prep course, so take full advantage of their expertise.  They’ve done this for a long time and there’s a reason they charge so much — because they know what they’re doing.  The course will provide you with an easy-to-follow calendar, just stick to it and plan ahead.  If you know you have an event coming up during the summer (like a wedding), budget your time accordingly.

 Practice makes perfect: nothing gets you prepared like doing the practice essays and practice multiple choice tests.  Force yourself to sit down and write out essay answers.  If you can get your hands on past bar exam questions, do them too (hint: several states have been known to repeat questions).

Don’t listen to anyone else (well, except us!).  Some people will tell you that you MUST study 23 hours a day to pass. Some people will tell you that you don’t need to start studying until after July 4.  You have successfully completed law school and you know what study method works for you — stick with it. Don’t worry about what “everyone else” is doing.

Remember, you don’t need to know EVERYTHING about secured transactions.  You just need to have sufficient grasp of the subject to be able to spot issues and craft an intelligent response.  If you have perfectionist tendencies, keep this in mind: you don’t need to make an A, you just need to pass.

That said, if you’re a procrastinator, keep this in mind: the bar exam requires knowledge of a LOT of information. Much more than the average law school exam.  It is VERY difficult to cram that amount of information into a short period of time.  If you’re a last-minute crammer, at least be sure to give yourself enough time to get it all in!

When the big day comes, do whatever you need to do to go in confident and relaxed.  You may want to focus on nothing but the exam, and review your notes up to the moment you enter the exam room. You may need to build in time to take a break (some of us may have gone out for ONE beer between test days).  You may feel better having your meals planned out ahead of time.  Again, you know how to make yourself successful.  Give it some thought and plan ahead so that all you need to worry about is the test itself.

Best of luck from all of us in the OCPD!

Free Webinar: Getting the Most from Your Summer Public Interest Experience

On Wednesday, May 23 at 3:00 PM EDT, NALP is presenting “Summer Success: Getting the Most from Your Summer Public Interest Experience.”

During this free webinar, you’ll learn practical tips on how to develop professionally and personally while interning at a public interest office this summer. Also, you’ll get insider advice from public interest attorneys and community leaders.

Deb Ellis, the Assistant Dean of Public Service at NYU Law School, and Lindsay M. Harris, Tahirih Justice Center’s Equal Justice Works Fellow and Immigration Staff Attorney, will be leading the webinar.

Don’t delay, register today!

Register here:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/824680642

Equal Justice Works SummerCorps Application is Open!

Don’t miss out on this summer funding opportunity!

Summer Corps is now accepting online applications for the 2012 program.  The deadline to apply is March 23, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Summer Corps is an AmeriCorps-funded program that will provide law students with the opportunity to earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award for dedicating their summer to a qualifying legal project at a nonprofit public interest organization. Summer Corps members may also serve at organizations that currently host Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Legal Fellows and traditional Equal Justice Works Fellows.
As part of the 2012 Summer Corps program, 711 members:

  • Gain first-hand experience and legal skills in areas such as client intake, representation and legal research and writing;
  • Earn a $1,175 AmeriCorps education award voucher upon completion of 300 hours of service that can be used to pay current educational expenses or qualified student loans;
  • Have access to Equal Justice Works’ network of alumni, experience and expertise as the nation’s largest provider of public interest opportunities for law students and attorneys; and
  • Become an official member of AmeriCorps, one of the largest national service networks in U.S. history.

For more information, or to apply, visit http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/law-school/summercorps/more

FREE Webinar: The Summer Public Interest Job Search

NALP and Equal Justice Works have teamed up to offer students this FREE webinar with insight into the key elements of the summer public interest job application process.  Attorneys with years of experience will highlight do’s and don’ts, explain how and why public interest application materials may differ from law firm materials, and explore the dynamics of personal interactions in interviews and networking situations.

If you are looking for work in the public sector, don’t miss out on this valuable information and advice!

Part 1: Wednesday, January 25  at 3pm: Best Practices in Drafting Cover Letters & Resumes

Part 2: Wednesday, February 1 at 12pm: Best Practices in Interviewing & In-Person Networking

 

To register, go to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/953896682

For more information, visit http://www.nalp.org/

Finding & Funding Your Summer Job – Tuesday, January 24 at noon

Don’t miss this presentation next week:

Want to get details on the summer PILO grant application process or hear from students about how they found and funded their summer jobs last year?  


Finding & Funding Your Summer Job

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

12:00 – 12:50 pm in the Courtroom

 

A panel of six students will discuss their summer job search process and methods of financing their summer work experience. The summer grant application process for PILO and work study grants will be described, along with other financing options/resources. Lunch will be served to those who RSVP in Symplicity by 3pm Friday, January 20th,  but please bring your own drink.

**This is a required program for 1Ls; you do not need to RSVP.


The panelists include: 

Tiffany Chadwick (’12) US Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, Intermountain Regional Office, Salt Lake City, UT

Melissa Evett (’13) Lee County District Attorney’s Office, Sanford, NC

Allison McCowan (’13) Judicial Intern for the Honorable Chief Justice Myron T. Steele, Supreme Court of Delaware, Dover, DE

Brittany Speas (’12) Forsyth County Public Defender’s Office, Winston-Salem, NC

Villy Stolper (’13) Legal Aid of North Carolina, Winston-Salem, NC

Scott Villarreal (’12) Dallas County Public Defender’s Office, Dallas, TX

 

Grant application forms will be available in the Office of Career & Professional Development as well as on the Intranet, after the program.

Don’t miss these deadlines!

The OCPD has compiled a list of job postings on Symplicity with late December and early January deadlines.  As you leave town for winter break, don’t miss out on these job opportunities!

You can find a list of employers in our Winter Break newsletter below.  Check Symplicity for detailed job postings.

Winter Break Deadline Reminders

Making the Most of Your Winter Break

As the semester is winding down, it is important to think about ways to make the most out of your time off over winter break. These few weeks off provide a great opportunity for you to work on your career plans without the time demands that you face throughout the semester.

Here are several things to do over winter break to make effective use of your time.

Finalize your resume and cover letter. You’ve probably already met with your career coach (and if you haven’t yet, try to fit it in before break!). Use your down time to make sure your resume and cover letter are polished, incorporate suggestions from your career coach, and be ready to hit the ground running in January.

Set up informational interviews. Winter break is a great time to meet with professionals in the field(s) that interest you.  Start researching employers as soon as possible, then contact them to set up a time to meet during your break.  Keep in mind that many people take time off over the holidays, so the sooner you contact them to schedule a meeting, the better.  Also, try to be as flexible as possible as to the day and time of your meeting to make it convenient for the professional.  Don’t forget to follow up by sending a personal note to the person who took the time to meet with you.

Set up a job shadowing opportunity. Ever wonder what asset securitization lawyers do all day? Following one around might be the perfect opportunity to determine what type of practice you’re drawn to.

Join professional associations. Affiliating with professional associations provides access to networking contacts, educational opportunities, and information about local job markets.  Consider a student membership to the American Bar Association, your local bar association, and other specialty bars such as the American Intellectual Property Association or an association of women attorneys.  Most groups have a minimal cost for student membership.

Create a master job search “to do” list and develop a job search tracking method. This can be as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or Word chart, including the name of the employer, contact information, date of application, and notes on follow-up.  See page 41 of your Career Planning Guide for an example.

Visit prospective employers – If you are applying for jobs at home, your winter break is a good time to follow up in person with potential employers.  An in-person visit to the employer’s office can leave a lasting impression and can make you stand out from other candidates.  Of course, you want to make sure that you are leaving a positive lasting impression, so be sure to dress professionally and be considerate of the employer’s time.

Check e-mail and Symplicity over break. The OCPD staff will continue to update job postings over break and may send out emails with important announcements.

This article and more detailed advice can be found in the OCPD weekly newsletters:

1L Newsletter4

2L Newsletter11

3L Newsletter11

REMINDER: Application Deadline for PAID NC State Government Internships

Applications for the North Carolina Summer 2012 Internship Program must be postmarked by December 5, 2011.

North Carolina residents attending a college, university, technical institute or community college can apply for one of up to 55 paid state government internships available for summer 2012. The 2012 State Government Internship Guide describing all available opportunities and rules is now online at http://www.doa.state.nc.us/yaio/interns.aspx.

The State Government Internship Program offers students real-world experience in a wide range of state government workplaces. Internships provide opportunities for students to work in their chosen field and to consider careers in public service. More than 3,500 students have participated since the program was established in 1969.

Paid summer internships are available in locations across the state. They provide North Carolina students with a compensated professional work experience that integrates education, career development and public service. Opportunities exist in numerous recognized fields of study, from architecture to zoology.  Interns earn a stipend of $8.25 per hour and work 40 hours per week for 10 weeks in the summer.

All internships will begin on May 29, 2012, and conclude on Aug. 3, 2012. Interns also participate in seminars, tours or other activities designed to broaden their perspective of public service and state government.

To be eligible for the program, a student must be a permanent North Carolina resident with an overall grade-point average of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 scale.  Applicants must be continuing their education in the fall following their participation in the program.  To qualify for a position designated for law interns, a student must have completed at least one year of law school before the beginning of the internship.  Students having previously held paid internships at the Youth Advocacy and Involvement Office are not eligible to apply.

Interns are selected through a competitive process overseen by the N.C. Internship Council. Selection is based on a review of applications by the Council, student interviews with prospective supervisors, academic records, participation in extracurricular activities and interest in state government.

Note that applications for summer 2012 internships are due earlier than in previous years. Applications must be postmarked by Monday, Dec. 5 to be considered. For details, visit http://www.doa.state.nc.us/yaio/interns.aspx or call the Youth Advocacy and Involvement Office in the N.C. Department of Administration at 919-807-4400.

Use Thanksgiving to Help Your Job Search…

If you’re going home for Thanksgiving, here are three effortless things you can do to further your job search.

You might be asking, how can Thanksgiving dinner help with my job search? Can’t I just enjoy my turkey and football and not think about the job market for one day? Of course you can.  But there are a couple of simple things you can do that don’t require leaving the comfort of your home – you never know what might pay off!

First, tell people that you are looking for a job. You should be doing this anyway.  Your kooky Aunt Sally might just happen to know someone in the field of your interest.

Second, share what you’ve been learning.  You can pull this off without seeming obnoxious.  For example, if the turkey is dry, don’t start talking about what section of the UCC you can sue under.  But if there’s a subject you enjoy, getting into a debate with your cousins about it might just highlight an area of practice that interests you and help you focus your job search.

Finally, manage the expectations of your family and friends. Are you feeling pressure from them about the job search? Do their expectations seem unrealistic? Be up front about your plan and tell them about your strategy.

Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy the holiday! Take the time to listen to what’s going on in other people’s lives and get some perspective on life outside of law school.

More information is included in the OCPD weekly newsletters, available here:

1L Newsletter2

2L Newsletter9

3L Newsletter9

Networking 101

This is a recent article from our OCPD Weekly Newsletter, sent to 2Ls and 3Ls.

You’ve heard it over and over again.  Networking is the key to success. Networking will help you find a job.

If one more person tells you networking will solve all your problems, you’ll scream!

Take a step back. Think about all that networking entails.  It is a skill – much like analyzing a case or presenting an argument.  Like all skills, these take education, practice, and time to develop.

Networking is not just about finding a job. It’s about building relationships.  This is a skill that you will use throughout your professional career.  Employers – whether law firms, government, or public interest – expect law graduates to not only have excellent analytical skills and writing ability, but also be able to develop connections with coworkers, clients, and potential clients.  By building rapport with colleagues, community members, and other professionals, you begin to establish the trust that is the foundation of a business relationship.

You already do a lot of networking. Are you on Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? These sites are about building relationships.  People who are active in social networking generally enjoy personal engagement, enjoy getting to know people.

Nevertheless, you’re not going to get very far if you limit yourself to online networking.  You have to get out there, attend professional events, volunteer, take part in community activities.  Just show up.

Once you’re there, here are some tips for “working the room.”  The more events you attend and the more actively you participate, the more skills you will build.  As you get more comfortable in this type of environment, you will see that building relationships gets easier. Who knows, it might even turn out to be fun!

Have something to talk about. If you’re going to an event sponsored by a specific group, see if that group has been in the news lately (it’s easy to run a news search on Lexis or WestLaw). If you know who is going to be there, read up on their bios. Keep up on what’s going on locally – what are people talking about outside of the law school bubble?  None of these things may come up in conversation, but you’ll feel more at ease knowing you have something to break an awkward silence.

LISTEN.  This may be the most obvious, but hardest to do. You’re nervous, you’re thinking about the next thing you want to say in the conversation. Focus on what the person is saying and let the conversation flow naturally.

Get over your distaste for “small talk.” Small talk is the foundation of any relationship. How did you meet your significant other? Chances are you didn’t immediately start out with discussion of serious issues like money and children. Small talk allows you to find the connection on which you will build a deeper relationship.

Finally, DON’T check your Blackberry/iPhone, text anyone, or look at your phone in the middle of a conversation. Nothing says “I’m not interested in what you’re saying” more than this.  If you check your messages out of nervous habit, leave the phone at home (or in the car, at the very least).

This week’s student newsletters are available in their entirety here:

 

3L Newsletter6

2L Newsletter6