Monthly Archives: October 2012

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Project Management Series: The Six Types of Procrastinators

I came across a helpful infographic that posits that there are six different types of procrastinators, and suggests different ways for each type to overcome those reasons for proscrastination. I have to admit that I had never contemplated that different … Continue reading

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Project Management Series: How We Procrastinate & How to Solve It

I heard an interview today with Harvard lecturer Robert Pozen, at http://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-professor-robert-pozen-on-productivity-2012-10. The whole video is worth watching. Pozen gives advice about identifying goals and priorities, setting up your day to spend the most time on your highest priority goals, how … Continue reading

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Project Management for Lawyers – First in a Series

Lawyers (and law students, who are proto-lawyers and just starting to develop the skills they will need as lawyers) are frequently under time pressure to complete complex writing projects such as memos, briefs, contracts, and other transactional documents. Completing our … Continue reading

Student Guest Post: Summer Public Interest Jobs

[Today I have another terrific guest post from one of my former students, Ginger Tanton, who worked in a public interest job last summer and loved it. Ginger plans to go into public interest work after law school, and believes there are many benefits for students from working in summer public interest jobs regardless of their career plans following law school.]

Summer Public Interest Jobs

By Ginger Tanton, 2L at Northwestern University School of Law

Summer jobs are obviously a common topic for 1L’s and 2L’s alike.  For students who plan to work mainly in the public interest after law school, public interest 1L jobs are often an obvious choice.  However, 1L public interest jobs offer many benefits for students regardless of their post-law school career plans.

A few disclaimers: I’m writing for myself, a student who came to law school with very specific public interest law goals for the future.  I worked in a large nonprofit over the summer, and the following is based on my own experiences and those of friends who spent their 1L summers in nonprofits as well.  While working in a nonprofit is clearly not the only way to do legal public interest work, that’s my experience and what I speak to in this post.

The Benefits of Public Service Work

  • Real clients with real problems right now.  Everyone I know who has worked in a public interest job in the summer was put to work immediately.  Most public interest organizations have more demand than they have time, so even 1L’s step up to the substantive plate right away.  In my first week, I did client intake solo.  In my first month, I represented a client at a hearing in front of an ALJ.  By the end of the summer, I had written an appellate brief for the Illinois Supreme Court.  At times, it was close to overwhelming, but my supervisor was extremely good about providing a reasonable amount of guidance, and I learned more than I would have thought possible.
  • Close, helpful supervision.  In a related point, my level of supervision was terrific.  I was given a lot of work to do, but I generally watched a task once, then did it under close supervision, and then did it on my own with the understanding that help was always close by.  It was a good way to build comfort level with new material but still get to work almost immediately.
  • Mentorship.  In addition to great supervision, my organization provided good mentorship.  I had regular meetings with my supervisor, and I was welcome to talk to her about work or school or career questions.  She was great about helping get projects tailored to my specific interests, and she’s been helpful in making career contacts too.
  • Observe/participate in decision making.  The last really helpful point from this summer was the opportunity to sit in and participate in collective decision making.  Many public interest organizations have case acceptance meetings (or “CAMs”) to decide which cases to take on for representation, and I was made a part of these meetings, literally at the table.  Since I took over my supervisor’s intake responsibilities for most of the summer, I did presentations at almost all of these CAMs and then got to observe the process of lawyers making decisions.  It was a great window into the function of the organization.

Doing Public Interest Work Well

Just a few final thoughts on doing public interest work well if you do end up in a nonprofit.  Remember that you are there to zealously advocate for your clients- they are not there to provide you with interesting problems or to give you a chance to practice your skills (although these things are happy bonuses).  Also, take it easy with the “when I’m at a firm” talk.  First, you don’t have a firm yet, and second, you don’t want to insult the people around you who love their jobs.

Podcasts on Outlining, Exam Preparation, and Other Law Student Concerns

I’ve just become aware of a useful set of audio podcasts created by the academic support program at Suffolk University Law School. These podcasts are free for anyone to use, and can be found on iTunes U at https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/law-school-academic-support/id388453052. Each podcast is about five to 10 minutes long.

Prof. Herb Ramy, who directs the academic support program at Suffolk Law, just posted a podcast on how to predict exam questions. With midterms and finals coming down the pike, this is a topic that students will find of interest. On the legal writing professors’ listserv, Prof. Ramy recently explained the goal of this podcast: “The central point of the podcast is that students can learn a lot about the kinds of fact patterns that will appear on their exams by looking for the ‘tension points’ in the law when they review material.  By ‘tension points’ I mean factual circumstances where it is difficult to determine whether the rule will or won’t apply, and cases and hypos from class should be used to find those tension points.”

Other podcasts in the series cover topics including: How Reading Strategies Affect Law School Grades; Creating a Course Outline; The Days Before Final Exams; Exam Writing; Exam Tips; Study Aids and Study Skills; and Stress and What To Do About It.

A Partner Gives a Dozen Suggestions for New Lawyers

As part of its career center column, the legal blog Above the Law has posted a guest column by Joshua Stein, a Manhattan real estate partner, prescribing 12 pieces of advice for attorneys in their first year of practice. His recommendations include pieces of advice such as:

  1. Remember It’s a Business
  2. Work Hard
  3. But Don’t Work Too Hard
  4. Understand What They Want
  5. Learn to Get Your Own Clients
  6. Do Good Legal Research
  7. Know That You Are Always Being Evaluated, and
  8. Be Nice

The column can be found here.

Chicago Bar Association Pro Bono Week

October 22 – 26 marks the 8th Annual Pro Bono Week of the Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation. This week provides opportunities for attorneys and law students to help those needing legal services in our community, while gaining practical legal experience.

Complete information and registration, including for complimentary CLE programs that students are welcome to attend,  is available on www.chicagobar.org/probonoweek.    A short schedule of events is below.

Monday, October 22

Everything You’ve Wanted to Know About Representing People with Disabilities But Were Afraid to Ask (and how to get involved with pro bono)
Monday, October 22, 2012/3:00 – 5:00 p.m./CBA Building (2 IL PR or MCLE Credit, subject to approval)
This program will provide practical guidance about representing clients with disabilities on a wide range of topics.

Tuesday, October 23
19th Annual CBA Young Lawyers Section’s Pro Bono and Community Service Fair.
Co-sponsored by the Chicago Bar Foundation & Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Tuesday
, October 23/ 5:00 – 7:00pm/ Kirkland & Ellis LLP, 300 N. LaSalle
This is a great opportunity to meet with representatives from almost 50 of Chicago’s legal aid, pro bono and community service organizations to network with lawyers throughout the legal community. If you have questions or would like to register by email, email yls@chicagobar.org.

Wednesday, October 24

Using Legal Skills to Protect Voting Rights
Wednesday, October 24, 2012/9:00 – 11:00 a.m./CBA Building (2 IL MCLE Credit)
An overview of the essential election laws, including the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, the Help America Vote Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Thursday, October 25

“Walk a Month in My Shoes.”
Thursday,
October 25/ 2:00pm – 5:00pm/ St. Peter’s in the Loop, 110 W. Madison
This unique, interactive program is designed to help the legal community better understand the challenges faced by low-income clients and to help evaluate how legal services are delivered.
****Volunteers are also needed
to play community roles in the simulation. 25 Volunteers will be trained one hour in advance of the program. If you would like to volunteer, please register here.

Friday, October 26

Illinois Legal Aid Online LiveHelp Operator Training

  • Northwestern University School of Law
  • Friday, October 26, 2012
  • 12:00-1:30 P.M.
  • 357 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
  • This training is for students who are interested in volunteering as an Illinois Legal Aid Online LiveHelp Operator.  LiveHelp operators provide direct, person to person assistance to individuals seeking legal information.  LiveHelp volunteers are asked to volunteer 1-2 hours per week.  LiveHelp volunteers schedule their own shifts and can work from anywhere as long as they have access to a computer and the internet.
  • For more information, contact Katie Anderson or Adenike Kadri, ILAO Live Help Program Coordinator at akadri@illinoislegalaid.org.
  • TO REGISTER for this training, email Adenike Kadri at akadri@illinoislegalaid.org.
  • ****ILAO will be doing a tabeling in the 2nd floor student lounge at JMLS on Wednesday, October 10 from 11:30 – 2:30 PM to register students for this training and answer questions about volunteering as a LiveHelp Operator*****

For the full schedule of events, program details and to register visit www.chicagobar.org/probonoweek. If you have questions please contact Kelly Tautges at ktautges@chicagobar.org or 312-554-8356.