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Messages - aryeal

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Current Law Students / Re: Outlining...
« on: July 08, 2005, 08:15:50 AM »
Working on outlines every week is a must in my opinion.  I put off outlining until I was preparing for finals and my grades were mediocre.  My reaction time on exams was slower than it should have been because I didn't have data firmly entrenched in my brain. This year it's a whole new ballgame.


I bought commercial outlines out of sheer panic and then hardly looked at them!  Crunchtimes are nice for supplementing outlines, but not necessary.  I used commercial briefs occasionally - particularly in ConLaw when the cases were just out of sight long.  However, I always read the cases first and worked my way through.  The commercial briefs in all honesty were only cracked when I was behind on reading.

My conclusion - no study aids next year because in the big picture I hardly used them.  If I'm wrestling with a particular issue that's frying my brain, I can always look at one of the reserve supplements in the library.  But, struggling with the cases on my own is the very best approach.

Current Law Students / Re: What do you use your laptop for?
« on: July 08, 2005, 08:02:26 AM »
I find my laptop most useful for profs that use slide presentations and move along quickly.  Most profs will post their slides, but I find typing out the notes myself works much better than staring at a slide because it keeps me engaged.  It's also very nice when a prof sneeks in a quick comment like "attend yourselves to note 50 on page 454" and then moves on without batting an eye.

Also, for outlining I love my laptop.  However, I can't say that I love using any "automatic" outlining software.  I usually do my outlines without any "help" from the horrors of Word's crappy outlining feature.   I usually create one huge comprehensive outline, one medium sized outline, and finally a mini-outline. 

Definitely get one as light as you can afford with tons of battery time.  Wireless is a must.  I work on my research papers with my junk piled around me on a table as opposed to squeezing into a spot in the computer lab.

Current Law Students / Re: Family Law
« on: July 08, 2005, 07:54:47 AM »
Where do you work if you do family law? Is it possible to work in a firm? And is the salary really as low as they say?

I'm sorry, I haven't been here in a while and missed your question.

I work in a firm for a partner who created the family law practice herself in the firm.  Unfortunately, I don't know much about salaries.  I can say that I've noticed a lot of small firms that seem to do very well.  There are also some BigLaw firms that have family law practice groups.

For a sole practicioner it can be tough because collections can be a problem.  Splitting up the finances from one household to two creates a strain and the attorneys are always the last to be paid.  Plus, angry clients can be difficulty with collections because very often what the client wants they can't get (as in blood drawn or the person completely out of their life when they share children).

My advice would be to check out some of the BigLaw firms in the locations you want to practice in to see if they have partners who practice FL or practice groups for FL. And don't discount to boutique firms - sometimes the salaries and chances for advancement at those smaller firms are better than BigLaw.

Current Law Students / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: June 22, 2005, 08:02:29 AM »
It took me twenty years to decide to go to law school after working as a paralegal for that long.  Here's the deal:

1.  You will work very, very hard.  Your life will be dictated by billable hour requirements and deadlines on your calendar.  You will have to sacrifice a lot.

2.  Your clients will at times turn on you because you are often the messenger of bad tidings.

3.  You will hold the lives of your clients in your hands (financial lives most of the time).  The responsibility will keep you awake at night.

My opinion on the key to happiness for a lawyer is twofold - organization and discipline.  Know ahead of time that 10-12 hour days and weekends are part of the package.  On the other hand, don't get sucked into making your work life your LIFE.  Get some downtime.  Learn to say "no".  The word "no" will be hard to get out of your mouth at times because you'll be convinced that your entire career depends on taking on more work than you can ever accomplish. 

The lawyers I've met who regretted their decisions started out with the erroneous assumption they would work banker's hours and wear pretty suits.

I decided to become a lawyer because I topped out in my career financially and intellectually.  I no longer wanted my hard work to stop at the printer.  I wanted to "play" as it were.  I also looked around at the comfortable lifestyles lawyers can achieve.  Of course, the trade-off for that comfortable lifestyle is hard work - lots of it.  But, if you enjoy the law, like making a difference, and like the law enough to eat chinese take-out at your desk, it's worth it.   

Current Law Students / Re: Family Law
« on: June 22, 2005, 07:42:12 AM »
I've worked in family law for many years as a paralegal and I plan to go into the practice. It takes A LOT of patience because the clients are naturally not at their best emotionally.  On the upside you get a lot of time on your feet in the courtroom.  Family law is motion heavy with a lot of time honing your argument skills.  And the issues that spring from family law cases are fascinating.  One day you'll be learning about psychological testing on children and the next you'll be learning how to split up a dozen business entities.

Current Law Students / Re: Best software for note taking and/or outlining
« on: November 16, 2004, 07:58:25 AM »
I see ppl using WORD all the time, and they have a seperate file for every case, or for every class. That would be an organizing nitemare for me. I like things organized, and easy to find.

Separate files for every case would be really inefficient.  I have my notes and briefs for each class in one document.  That way I can cut and paste into my outline without opening a million documents.  I suspect the "one for each case" people will change their methods after their first outline. 

Current Law Students / Re: Best software for note taking and/or outlining
« on: November 06, 2004, 10:30:02 AM »
I've been through OneNote, Outliner, and Flashlaw.  I returned to Word for simplicity.  I just posted my reasons on my Blog.

Some of the applications I abandoned may work very well for someone else.  My best advice is to try them out if you can get them for free.  If you find yourself spending too much time dinking with the software, run for the hills. 

Current Law Students / Re: How many hours a day do you study?
« on: September 11, 2004, 09:49:57 PM »
My study habits have changed since my first post in this thread.  I'm now up to about 2-3 hours on weeknights and anywhere from 4-6 Saturday and Sunday.  Of course, this ebbs and flows.  Although it doesn't "ebb" much  :o.  More often than not, I actually spend more time.

Current Law Students / Re: I don't care anymore
« on: September 11, 2004, 09:44:18 PM »
I think it's fairly common to hit the "I don't care" anymore stage.  I hit it myself a couple of weeks ago but got over it after a good night's sleep.  I plan to hit the same wall many times in the next 3 years. 

It's overwhelming, it's horrible, it's inhumane!  But it's a great exercise in mental toughness.

Are you giving yourself real downtime or are you feeling like you are spinning your wheels? Get some downtime and see if your perspective changes.  We all need rest.

And to answer the real call of the question, I think you're toast if you don't pull through this phase.  Hang in there  ;).

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