2L Preparation: Preparing for my second year of law school

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Hello, World.

I am heading back to Virginia to begin my 2L year. While I’m sad to be leaving California, I am excited to get back to law school and my academic-year routine. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my summer job and have learned an immense amount (mostly on the fly!). As 2L approaches, I wanted to share what I’m doing to prepare for my second year of law school. I’ve heard from many people that while 1L is the hardest, 2L is still difficult but in different ways. For example, if you serve on a journal you have an extra commitment that is time-consuming and important. I don’t want to be stressed this semester (or at least not really stressed) so I would like to prepare as much as possible.

This semester I am taking Federal Income Taxation, Evidence, Business Associations, and Mergers and Acquisitions. I am also on the William and Mary Business Law Review. This semester feels very full because all of my classes are relatively new information. I’m a bit nervous about the quantity of new information, but I think the key is studying consistently with weekly review sessions. I personally find figuring out how all the parts of a course work together is the key to succeeding in the course. In Torts, my professor would constantly say “it’s a seamless web, see?” And I would think, ‘no, I don’t.’ However, the more review I did and the more I studied for the final, the more I saw he was actually correct. While I don’t encourage outlining super early or trying to “study” for the final from day one, I do think reviewing new material at the end of each week makes studying at the end of the semester much more seamless. You will have already built a strong foundation from which to study!

So, to prepare for my classes, I’m setting the goal of spending Friday mornings reviewing the previous four days of material. I am also going to buy the Acing supplement series for Federal Income Tax, Evidence and Business Associations. I may end up buying for Mergers and Acquisitions, too, but we will see. One of my close law school friends showed me the Acing series and so I got the Property course book. It was a game changer! Honestly, I had an older professor who has taught property for a long time and didn’t take a ton of questions. The course was designed to mainly learn on your own. The Acing Property book saved me and I ended up with a fairly high grade in the course. I also found this supplement easy to follow and I appreciate that it is designed with test taking in mind. It doesn’t just tell you the information, but rather it shows you exactly how to approach a problem once you spot it in a fact pattern.

Additionally, I am hoping to get back into a regular workout routine. Being home this summer I haven’t worked out as much as I would have liked. I was really into working out last spring, but then I came home and started working and just couldn’t figure out a time to make workouts happen. I’m definitely putting my health first this semester, though. This means I will work out regularly and I’m hoping to eat healthier (one too many cookies have been consumed this summer). I miss the way I ate in college – greens, protein, and more greens!

Another way in which I am preparing for 2L is by trying to lay a lot of the groundwork for my 2L summer job search while I’m not in school and while I’m home in California. I’m hoping to return to California (but I cannot control the job market), so I am trying to send out apps and network while in the state. I’m hoping the more work I do now, the sooner I can figure out what my 2L summer job will be and then I can check a major item off my ever-growing to do list.

The final big preparation I’m doing is spending time with my family. There is a huge possibility I won’t see my family again until December. Last fall I really struggled with not seeing them and homesickness. This year, I’m putting all my energy into focusing on wellness and classes. I want to make sure I’m physically and mentally healthy. I also want to make sure I’m excelling in my courses! I never quite thought I’d say it, but I’m excited to get back Williamsburg. I think that’s just a testament to the friend group I’ve developed there, though! I’m looking forward to a good semester with my two roommates, one of my good friends (who was a former RA, obviously), my wonderful Texan friend, and all the other people who make Williamsburg feel like home!

Though I’m naturally a little nervous about my second year of law school, spring semester of 1L went so much more smoothly than the first and I feel ready to tackle my courses. I also finally feel like I mastered the best study habits for myself and that really grew my confidence as a law student.

What are you doing to prepare for the upcoming year?

Truly,

Callie leigh

 

Law School: Letters of Recommendation

letters of recommendation

Hello, World.

Since I just spent a majority of the last academic year applying to law school, or preparing to apply, I wanted to share some insight on the application process. Though I am by NO means an expert on the process or have any idea what actually goes on inside the admissions offices on various campuses, I did a ton of research, and learned as I went in terms of applying. The first installment in my law school series will be focused on letters of recommendation. If you are currently a freshman or sophomore, start building or solidifying relationships with professors, staff, or mentors. Try to think of some people you would eventually want to write your letters of recommendation, and get to know them better. The being said, don’t vet recommenders, recommendations should be natural. You should be able to ask the person, and they should be able to comfortably write you a strong letter without a ton of information coming from you last minute.

If you are currently a junior or senior, think about who you work with currently, or worked with in the past, that knows you well and can advocate for your work ethic or other skills. You want to pick people who know you well and will write strong letters so that you stand out as an applicant. Most applicants have strong letters of recommendation. The people who don’t typically asked the wrong people. To give you an idea, I asked my thesis adviser who is the chair of my department, an attorney I interned for, and the administrator who oversees the Honor Council. I knew that the three people I asked would write me good letters, but I also knew that the three people represented three different angles of who I am as a student or worker. I wanted admissions offices to get a strong sense of who I am, and having a diverse group of recommenders seemed like a good idea to me.

Now, the important question that gets asked often too little is who to ask. Most people assume they have a great idea of who to ask, but you should also try to be strategic about who you ask. While I had a few professors that likely would have written great letters of recommendation, I knew my thesis adviser was the best choice because I worked really closely with her, and she knew my work ethic, especially pertaining to my major. While you may believe titles are important, you don’t want to ask the president of your college to write you a letter if it’s going to say something like, “great student, strong credentials, blah blah blah I don’t actually know this candidate well.” I went to a panel with the Deans of Admission for Stanford, Duke, and NYU, and they all said that titles are not important if the letter is super generic and doesn’t actually represent who the applicant is well.

When you ask people for recommendations, you should provide: (1) your resume, (2) any significant achievements you feel they should know about related directly to their field that isn’t present on your resume, and (3) statement of purpose/reason for applying. Some people will say they don’t need the aforementioned things because they know you well enough to write your letter without, but if they don’t say anything, it’s safer to give them too much information than not enough.

So, if you’re ahead of the game in terms of preparing to apply, think about recommenders early. If you’re about to start applying, do some thinking about who would be a good sampling of recommenders.

Please let me know if you have questions specific to you. Do you know who you would ask?

Truly,
Callie leigh