Wow. I cannot believe that I have not written in such a long time. This year showed me that people are completely right when they say your second year in law school is the hardest. I have been deciding what to write my blog about after being gone for so long. What better to come back than to address a recap of my 2L which is why I was gone for so long. Let me begin.
I did believe people when they said 2L year was the hardest year, and I braced myself for what was to come. However, nothing I did, actually braced myself for the year. This year has been the most trying emotionally, physically, emotionally, and financially. So much stress rolled up into one year. BUT, I made it through. Without the support of friends, family, and #lawtwitter, I probably would have not made it out of 2L saying the same thing. So, what did I learn on this journey?
Picture this. You are a full-time 1L and for the entire year, you most likely focused solely on grades either by choice or because a school policy did not allow full-time 1Ls to work their first year. It is now the end of 1L and you have been out of work for a year due to this first year, maybe joined no clubs or just a couple to dip your feet in, and you do not have to worry about the bar until ideally two years from now. What do you between finishing 1L and studying for the bar after 3L? You guessed it! GET INVOLVED.
What does getting involved mean? Well, it can mean many things. I think people should get involved with things they truly have an interest in or that can help them get a handle on the type of law they want to do. I know students have joined the International Law Society because that was their interest and organizations often bring in attorneys in that field of law to discuss their journey and give insights into what it is like being in that field. This is a great way to build a network and get the inside view of your potential life as an attorney in that field of law. These organizations also more often than not have national conventions that the members are invited to attend. Some people join moot court, trial advocacy, and a law journal. From my understanding, law journal and moot court will help you better write and advocate because you are submitting articles/notes/comments to a journal and submitting an appellate brief to moot court and actually arguing in front a panel of judges. Trial advocacy is great because you get to learn the skills needed to be in a courtroom to be a better advocate. You can join organizations such as the Black Law Students Association or Latina/o Law Student Association. There are so many organizations out there for people and you have to decide which is best for you.
How did I get involved?
Being on two law journals, holding the position of social chair for the Latina/o Law Students Association, holding the position of National Alumni Relations Chair for the National Latina/o Law Students Association, being the Alumni chair for the Black Law Students Associations, and working part-time at a law firm are ways how I got involved with the legal community and my school community on top of taking 17 doctoral credits. Do I recommend 17 credits and doing all of this? No. A caveat to that is that I am glad I did it because now for my 3L year I can chill with 12 credit or fewer each semester as a part-time student 3L.
My Advice for 2Ls?
Good luck. Haha I am just kidding… but kind of serious.
Definitely, get involved as much as you can. It is a good way to build your network and get to know some really amazing people that are at your school or at other schools if have get the opportunity to attend a national conference. Additionally, figure out what study habits work for you and determine if you want to change how you study. I did well my first year of law school, but I found that certain classes 2L I needed to study a little bit differently for. Whether you do well or not so well or anywhere in above or in-between, always question if you need to change study habits. It is never too late. Also, find a mentor if you do not already have one. Reach out to rising 3Ls, alumni, professors, and faculty and staff about what classes to take, ask if they have outlines they can provide, what are/were their study habits? What do they wish they had changed? How did they balance everything they had going on.
Which brings me to my next point… BALANCE. You know yourself better than anyone else. Know what you can and cannot handle. If you think your plate is too full, then don’t add more. However, if you can squeeze some mashed potatoes on the plate, then make some room for the mashed potatoes but be prepared for all the stuff you put on your plate. The goal when you put stuff on your plate is to eat. You also do not want to add so much on your plate to where it interferes with your mental health or your ability to put your best foot forward in the other things you are involved in. Honestly, 2L was bad, but I learned a lot about myself and gained a great support system through it all and that I am grateful.
In my own opinion, 2L (at least for me) was getting involved in organizations, working to build or add on to lawyering skills needed, maintaining grades, building lasting relationships with my peers, and building a network in the legal community.
What am I doing now and What is next?
Well if you have my social media, you probably know that I am currently in New York at my dream job at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, BUT that is all I will say for now as I plan to go into non-confidential detail about my internship experience in August. So stay tuned!!!
3L is what is next for me. I took 17 credits fall and spring of my 2L year and so I have fewer credits to take and dropped down to being a part-time student. This means I am currently in 12 credits (what!?) for the entire semester. I am signed up to take Negotiations, Public International Law, Secured Transactions, Criminal Trial Practice, and Administrative law. As much as I said I was not going to be involved 3L, I somehow found a way to be involved. So my 3L year I will be the Secretary of the Black Law Students Association, Social Chair for the Latina/o Law Students Association, Editor-in-chief of a law journal and Student Works editor of another law journal, and National Alumni Relations Chair for the National Latina/o Law Students Association. I am very excited about this year!
As always, I am here for any and everyone. I had to reflect on why I started this blog in the first place. “Legally Complicated” came into existence because I remember what it was like to be poor trying to pay to get a school to accept me into their program to live my life long dream of wanting to be an attorney. I remember struggling through the law school admissions test (LSAT), and I know some of the struggles of being a law student and to be the first in my family to pursue this type of degree. I want to serve as a resource for people coming in. I know the journey can be discouraging but I want to assist in any way I can. When I say reach out to me, I truly mean it. If I do not have the answer, then I will try and find it. My mentor had my back through all the stages of the process of trying to be an attorney and it has honestly helped tremendously in my journey.