All posts filed under: Student Advice

Financial Literacy for Law Students

Congratulations! You’re almost done with your first semester of law school. Like many students, you may have borrowed student loans to cover your tuition and living expenses. I know you have a lot on your mind these days; your LRW brief, outlines, EXAMS! , but if you haven’t thought it about yet, now is a great time to create a financial plan to budget the money you have borrowed. Maintaining a budget and monitoring how much you borrow/spend during your time in law school can be a daunting task. Budgets can be difficult to stick to and hectic schedules can cause you to easily lose track of how much you spend on a day to day basis. While the Law School Financial Aid Office is here to help you with questions and needs related to financing your law school enrollment, we also want to make sure that you are getting the assistance and support you need on matters and concerns related to your personal finances. Temple Law School has partnered with AccessLex Institute, a non-profit …

Summer Bar Prep: Midpoint Gut Check

The Pennsylvania bar is on the horizon (July 25-26), making it about the half waypoint in your preparation for the exam.  Now would be a good time to do an honest self-assessment of where you are in your studying and what you need to do going forward to set yourself up for success. Ask yourself: am I behind? Am I on track? Am I going to burn out?  There is time to course correct depending on your answer. You have time to push and be prepared for the exam, but you have to start working hard now and really prioritizing your studying over everything else.  Most of your waking hours should be dedicated to bar prep. If you are behind, take a look at how far behind.  Make a list of things you need to do to catch up – perhaps all the skipped assignments from your bar course, including midterms, quizzes, graded essays, lectures, etc. and/or outlining, making notecards, or other study materials.  Categorize each item as “critical” or “non-critical” in terms of completing.  …

Advice for Prospective Public-Interest Fellows

Most public-interest employers do not participate in any OCI-type process for post-graduate hiring. Rather, public-interest minded students usually apply to post-graduate fellowships. Fellowships are typically one or two-year commitments to do a particular project with a public interest law organization. These fellowships are often funded by third-party boards or charities, so prospective fellows have to win over both a host organization and the funder before being awarded a fellowship. If you’re like me, having to wait until your 3L year to apply for your first attorney job is nerve-wracking enough, let alone having to go through multiple rounds of interviews where you know you are being compared to some of your most impressive and dedicated peers. Hopefully, the pieces of advice I give below will help to ease some of your anxiety as you maneuver the process. 1L and 2L year During this time you should be trying to get as much experience at Philadelphia public interest law organizations as possible. Even if you had some experience working with a public interest organization before school, …

Why I Chose a Fellowship as My Path to the Profession

This March, I was honored to be selected as a Federal Fellow as part of the Reproductive Justice Fellowship Program sponsored by If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice. I will complete a one-year policy fellowship at Unite for Reproductive Justice and Gender Equity (URGE) in Washington, D.C. I am currently on the Board of Temple’s chapter of If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, where we advocate to ensure that people can decide, if, when, and how to create and sustain families. URGE is a youth-based reproductive justice organization that advocates parenting with dignity, abortion access, health and wellness, sex positivity, and civic engagement. In this Voices post, I’ll discuss why I decided to pursue policy work instead of direct service work, why I pursued a fellowship, and the pros and cons of fellowships as the next step after graduating from law school. Fellowships are well worth the effort because they are an excellent way to start a legal career, and place you within a network of other fellows with whom you can build relationships. Direct service or …

My Philly Neighborhood: Chinatown (Podiatric Residence Hall)

As someone who was born and raised in suburban St. Louis, I wasn’t sure what I would find when I left my parent’s house to head to a big city on the east coast. Living in a big city like Philadelphia is noisy, smelly, expensive, and crowded. It’s also a whole lot of fun. I landed in Chinatown, just northeast of center city, in Temple’s graduate student housing. The building is on the campus of the School of Podiatry at 8th & Cherry Street. Most of those in the building are podiatry students, but there are a fair number of law and business students as well. Coming from half way across the country, I appreciated that Temple had graduate housing so I didn’t have to rush to find an apartment or a roommate before classes began. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a solid option if you are coming from out of state. Chinatown is wedged between Center City and Old City, which gives you the best of both of those neighborhoods, as well as …

Hanging Out Your Own Shingle

Throughout the year, the Career Services Office invites speakers to share their experiences with current students. Recently two members of the Temple Law Alumni Association, Ken Spivack (’93) and Brad Shuttleworth (’04), joined us to offer some encouragement, suggestions, and advice for young lawyers interested in opening their own practice. What does it take to be a solo practitioner? “Fire,” says Brad. Striking out on your own is not easy. If it’s something you’re considering after law school, it’s crucial to have a clear idea of why you’re doing it. There’s a certain degree of risk involved in starting a firm. You may never have regular pay or have time to take a vacation, but if the idea of being your own boss appeals to you, this may outweigh the fear that comes with an unstable situation. You’ll need that fire to keep going when times get tough. It’s also helpful to gain some experience by working in the field before starting your own practice. Brad clerked for a judge before striking out on his …

What Joining the Expungement Project Did for Me

Among other things, my first semester in law school was immediately overwhelmed by emails. Coming into Temple Law as an overly eager, wide-eyed 1L, I struggled with wanting to join every student organization I read about. Knowing that’s not possible, I shamelessly let the provided lunches dictate which meeting to attend each day. By this method, I fell into the Expungement Project by accident. During the general body meeting for the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) committee chairs spoke about their subcommittees and projects. Expungement Project instantly stood out to me. Having worked in several clinics and volunteered at a maximum-security facility prior to coming to law school, Expungement Project sounded like an activity that would keep me grounded and sane throughout my first semester. My first expungement clinic took place in North Philly at the Village of Arts and Humanities. The colorful buildings were unlike those on Temple’s campus—so vibrant and quirky—but before I had time to take it all in, Community Legal Services quickly put each of us to work. The prerequisite training taught …