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Messages - rhapsody

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71
5. Don't be an meanie.

Actually he wrote "don't be an a$$hole," but I'm pretty sure y'all figured that out already...

72
I came across this blog and thought it had some great advice, especially on the use of new technology, which doesn't seem to be discussed much on this board.  Point 5, on the other hand, most people here (and on the Students & Graduates side) seem to agree with.

There are a lot of links in the original that I didn't put back in; but here is the link to the blog itself:
http://www.legalunderground.com/2004/08/tech_tips_for_l.html

Five Indispensable Tips for Law Students and New Lawyers

by Matt Homann
Matt Homann, an Illinois lawyer, is the author of the (non)billable hour.--Ed.

Evan was kind enough to ask me to be one of his guest posters here at NFT(L)U, and since Evan participated in my weblog's Five by Five feature, I am excited to be able to return the favor.

Evan is expecting just a quick guide to a few non-legal weblog sites here, but as I am about to return to teach another semester of Pretrial at Washington University Law School (only as an adjunct), I thought I'd give my five tips to law students and new lawyers. In no particular order, here they are:

1. Learn to use legal technology now. I know you have a far better understanding of technology than your professors and future bosses do. Use that to your advantage. Mastering these technologies will enhance your productivity as a law student and give you a leg up on your classmates when you enter the workforce.
**Get a Tablet PC. If you are shopping for a laptop, the tablet form factor is the only way to go. It is impossible to overestimate the leap in productivity you will experience with a Tablet PC. I take all of my notes (in handwriting that is searchable and convertible to text) on my Toshiba M205 and am quickly making the yellow legal pad disappear from my desk. Some great tablet-focused resources are here, here, and here. If you have a Mac, good for you. I wish I'd bought Macs when I started my firm. However, in the Windows environment, the Tablet is as good as it gets.
**  Keep your stuff all in one (electronic) place. FranklinCovey PlanPlus or Agilix GoBinder are both programs built on the same platform. The first is an elegant incorporation of the Franklin Covey system, and the second is geared towards students. The calendering and to-do management of both of the programs is first-rate. Both have free trials and work well on both the TabletPC and regular windows notebooks.
**  Save time and keystrokes. Use Activewords. Buzz Bruggeman, who is blogging through the hurricane, created this utility with some other really smart people. Download it. Check out this weblog, and take the time to learn the software. Trust me on this one.
**  Learn to organize your case. The Casemap group of programs, and most particularly, NoteMap. If you are a litigator to be, you absolutely must try these programs and learn them. Download them for a free trial, schedule a free demo with one of the tremendous salespersons, and use the program in your trial or pre-trial class. Your school should get at least one free license, if they don't have one already. One small part of the suite is Notemap, a little outling program that far exceeds anything I've ever used for outling and note taking. You can pick up a free license of Notemap from Dennis Kennedy's site.
**  Use a brainstorming/mindmapping tool daily. The best on the market is MindManager Pro, but it is a bit pricey (but especially worth it if you use a Tablet PC). A great (and free ) alternative is FreeMind. You will not find a better method for organizing your ideas and brainstorming sessions. Both programs also work great for organizing your thoughts before you write that big brief or law review article.
**  Use the software lawyers use. With the exception of Casemap, not a lot of lawyers use the software I have listed. A lot of lawyers do use legal-specific practice management software like PCLaw, Timematters, Amicus Attorney, and others. Download a trial version, try managing a fictional case, and keep track of every six minutes of your day for a few weeks.

[Below the fold: Four more key tips.]

2. Learn how most lawyers work. Sixty percent (or more) of lawyers work in a small firm environment. Odds are, you will too someday. Go work for a sole practitioner (even just a few hours per week). Seeing the other side of law practice will give you valuable insights into how most lawyers work, and help you determine if small firm life is a viable alternative to the big dollars/long hours/no life that often accompanies working in a big firm.

3. Learn Time Management. I'm not just talking about skipping Oprah to read for tomorrow's civil procedure class, I'm talking about true system-based time management. David Allen's system is great, and the Franklin Covey system also works well. Get over your procrastination habit now, or it will kill you in law practice. Some good time management-related blogs are here, here, here, and here.

4. Learn the business. Law is a profession, and law is a business. In law school, you generally get one class on ethics and none on law practice management (and certainly none on marketing). For the thousands (hundreds of thousands?) you'll pay to become a lawyer, the fact that you'll get no instruction on how to be a lawyer is absolutely shameful. Since this is the self-study portion of your curriculum, I'd suggest the following:

Read these five books:
Clients for Life
Creating Customer Evangelists
Firm of the Future
Million Dollar Consulting
The Seven Day Weekend

Visit these six blogs regularly (or add their RSS feeds to your aggregator):
Gaping Void
Sandbox Wisdom
Seth's Blog
the [non]billable hour
The Occupational Adventure
Worthwhile

5. Don't be an a-hole. Nobody likes the student who always volunteers, and tries to show how smart he or she is. We called those students gunners. Believe me, if they don't like you in law school, they won't like in law practice. There was a student in my law school class who constantly bragged about herself, her job, and her grades. She would constantly put others down in an off-handed way. If I saw her today, and told her I was just appointed by the Pope to personally find his successor, she'd respond by telling me she was asked first, and turned down the job because the money wasn't half of what she's making now. Do you know how many cases other lawyers have referred to her? I'm guessing zero. Your reputation as a lawyer begins now. So don't screw it up.

There you have it. It's been great. Good luck in school. See you next year.

73
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Start dates for law school
« on: June 03, 2005, 12:00:23 PM »
Orientation at Catholic starts August 15.  LR&W starts that week and all other classes start August 22.

74
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Who has studied for LSAT on their own?
« on: June 03, 2005, 11:57:11 AM »
I didn't take a prep course.  I did Master the LSAT starting a month before the test (took Oct. '04) and worked through sections of the first book of Official LSAT PrepTests.  I never actually completed an entire test before taking the real exam.  I did well, and I'm happy with the school I will attend and my scholarship. 

75
That is amazing.  According to this article,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minesweeper_(computer_game)
the chance of that happening if you start in the corner is just 0.00119%!

Also, here's an interesting article on the mathematics of Minesweeper,
http://www.claymath.org/Popular_Lectures/Minesweeper/
though the middle made my brain glaze over.  (That's why I changed majors after that math class.)

76
I don't doubt you- I really don't... but your numbers (especially on Expert level) would place you in the top of the world.

I hadn't thought about that before!  It's been a long time since I've played so I guess I better start practicing and maybe enter a competition or two.  (You know, with all this free time before law school starts.)  ;)  The 3 seconds on beginner was pure, awesome luck.  The expert time:  I had a goal of getting my expert score sub-100 and I punted a lot of real homework to get there.  ;)  When I did, it felt like I had just beaten the final boss on my favorite video game or something!

I'm a Minesweeper nerd...  I actually wrote a paper about it for a math class in undergrad.  (No joke.  It was about whether Minesweeper is NP complete.  I don't even know what that means anymore.)

77
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: New Laptop Models??
« on: June 02, 2005, 10:45:09 PM »
my school does not discriminate against Apples..

i'm just torn between a Tablet PC and an iBook...

I love the tablet functions.. i REALLY REALLY want one.. but i really want a lightweight small laptop..

The iBook seems to be the best for this latter feature..

never been an Apple person.. but I i wouldnt mind having one of those little suckers..

so Tablet PC or iBook? help?

There are tablet PCs (convertible notebooks) that weigh less than 5 pounds.  The one I'm looking at is the Fujitsu LifeBook T4010.

78
3 seconds on beginner
31 on intermediate
97 on expert
;D

79
General board for soon-to-be 1Ls / Re: Tablet PC's for Law School
« on: June 02, 2005, 12:41:55 PM »
I definitely want to get a convertible tablet PC.  There are many more appications out there besides OneNote that look great.  Even though they may cost a little more, I expect that the increased functionality (for how I plan to use it) will be worth it for me.  Right now I'm leaning towards the Fujitsu LifeBook T4010:
http://store.shopfujitsu.com/fpc/Ecommerce/buildseriesbean.do?series=T4&ptype=TB

There's also an event going on called DemoDays:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/tabletpc/demodays/default.mspx

A couple of other sites with useful information are:
http://www.tabletpcbuzz.com/  (has a couple of articles on using tablet PCs in law but is down right now, supposed to be up in a day or two)
http://studenttabletpc.blogs.com/

80
Even though it has been my dream for such a long time, I worry about how much time this will force me to take away from my kids. Is anyone else struggling with this?

I am a new mom and have been home for 10 months.  I struggled with the same worry until about April, when I attended the Admitted Students Day at my school.  I still have days when I return to that struggle and I'm sure there will be many more while I'm in school and afterwards.  My husband and I believe that my going back to school will be good for the family, and that my pursuing my dream will be a good example for our child(ren).  In deciding to put our daughter in daycare, I had to accept that it's okay for there to be other people who love my daughter taking care of her on a daily basis.  (Of course, I had to find the right daycare.)  I think the quality of time I spend with her is ultimately more important than the quantity, though I don't know yet how I will live that out while at school beyond arranging my LS schedule around maximizing the time I can spend with my family while my daughter is awake.

I realize I have a lot less experience than you in the mom department, but I hope it may help you a little bit anyway to know you're not the only one struggling with this.  I wish you the best, especially when school starts.

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