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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Assorted Randomness 

I have lots of little thoughts rolling around in my head today, so here's a sampling:

First, go out and buy/rent The Lake House. It came out on DVD today and it's phenomenal. I saw it in the theater and again on pay-per-view in my hotel room a few weeks ago...love it! It has officially replaced The Notebook as my favorite love story and I can't wait to watch it again.

I can kind of segway from that into my next topic: old loves. I came across some emails buried in the 3-year-old depths of my inbox from my last serious boyfriend. I just saw his parents during a trip I made to California to visit my friends from 1L a few weeks ago. (Fabulous trip by the way, I miss the heck out of those friends!) So, I've been thinking about him the past few weeks. Not still pining for him or anything, just thinking. Then I saw these old emails from when we first started dating. They made me realize just how much I've changed in 3 years. Back then, I had already tried to get into law school once and failed and was working as a legal secretary in a small firm in South Carolina. Not only have I come a long way from that (getting into law school and then transferring from a T4 in California to a T1 in Florida), but I'm a very different person. Obviously, I've grown up and become more mature as a product of age, but it seems like more than that. My life has completely changed and I've grown and changed as a product of that. The things I said to this boyfriend back then are things I wouldn't say now, ways I wouldn't react to things now. A little fun to see how I've changed and realize that if he and I had stayed together it probably wouldn't have worked - he's a very different person now too. I emailed him today, as I do once every few months, but I did it out of friendship, not out of a longing to be with him. I'm feeling good about it and actually enjoyed looking back on our relationship without longing for what might have been.

So, next...my ode to to-do lists. Nothing feels better to me than putting a little checkmark next to something on my to-do list (even if only mentally). I never realize how much little things weigh me down until they're out of the way. I took care of a few of these little things today and it really felt great. Add to that the dance and kickboxing classes I've started taking and I feel like my mind and body are cleanly running on all cylinders. I have tons to do (as usual), including a seminar paper due in less than two weeks, but I'm feeling pretty stress free about it. Ask me about it again in another week though as that paper deadline looms closer!

I guess that's about it for now. Hope everyone else is doing well!

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Myths and Tips about Summer Jobs 

For the past couple of weeks, my 1L and Spring Admit friends have been asking for interview and summer job advice. After talking to several of them and answering questions, I decided there are a lot of myths out there, both about interviews and summer jobs. So, here is my list of myths I'd like to debunk:

Myths

1. You can only wear a black or navy suit to an interview. Wrong! My aunt, who is a recruiter at a big firm (a very conservative one at that) said other dark colors and even pinstripes are fine. Try a dark brown or grey suit to be a little different. Occasionally, I came across a firm that was ultra-conservative and was afraid to vary from the black or navy suit with a white button-down, but for the most part I tried to mix it up a little bit. See #2 for more.

2. You can only wear a white button-up shirt under your suit for an interview. Wrong! I think other pastel colors are fine for most interviews: light pink, light blue, light yellow, etc. My aunt said other dark colors like brown and grey are also perfectly acceptable. I wore a chocolate colored suit with a light pink button-up to several interviews last year and got tons of compliments. My aunt said the most important thing is to wear something that you look good in - the brown and pink were great colors on me. Plus, it makes you easier to remember when they can talk about you later say "You know that girl with the brown suit..." And yes, they will talk about you like that because they met so many people that day they aren't going to bother with names.

3. Interviews are serious and you should never kid around or tell a joke. Wrong! They've already seen all of your academic credentials and work experience on your resume. The interview is more about seeing whether or not you fit in with the firm. Good research (especially with those who have summered there before or know someone who has) on the firm will give you an idea of how stuffy the firm might be, which can help you gauge what you can get away with in the interview. If they joke around with you though, don't just sit there stiff or smile and say nothing. Some easy banter back and forth can break the ice and can make you someone they would love to have working next to them. This is easier when it's a younger associate interviewing you, but most of my interviews both on campus and during call-backs was with young associates. These people have to work next to you if you get hired, remember that. One associate told me last year that he does the "pizza on the floor" test. If he wouldn't want to be stuck at the office at midnight, sitting in the floor of the office eating pizza with you while working on a big case, then he passes on you. Be appropriate, it's a fine line, but don't be so stiff and/or nervous that you don't let your personality come out a little.

4. Once you get a summer associate position, you're in! Wrong!! The summer is just one extended interview. Your work product has to be good, you have to act appropriately in social situations, mesh well with the attorneys and find a team who needs you. While the ratio of summers up for a permanent offer to those who actually get a permanent offer is usually pretty high, you're never guaranteed a permanent offer.

5. The summer retreat is just for fun - when the attorneys go out drinking with us at night it's not about the job or the interview, it's just about having some fun. Wrong!! A young associate came up to us just before we boarded the bus for our retreat and told us that no summer ever gained a permanent offer on the retreat but that plenty had lost one because of the retreat. Rumors circle every summer about the catastrophes that have happened in the past at other firms. The ones I've heard (that I actually know are true) involve drinking games, sleeping with other summers or even attorneys, passing out in bars, etc. This is still an interview!! You get to let loose a little on the retreat, but many a summer has lost their permanent offer because of their horrible behavior. Remember that while alcohol will flow at every event over the summer (really, there was always an open bar), they're looking at how you handle yourself. One day you might be having drinks with a client and they want to know that you can handle yourself, limit your drinks, still carry on intelligent conversation and not get loud and obnoxious. Everything you do over the summer, fun or not, is part of the interview.

Most of my tips I've given above, but here's an important one that didn't fit into the discussion above. I think it's important to hitch your wagon to the team you want to be on. The key to insuring you get an offer (at least in my experience and that of a few of my friends) is to make a team feel like they can't live without you. Those of us who got an offer from my firm this year each had a team we kinda attached ourselves to. The people who didn't get offers just did their work on each team they rotated on and then moved on to the next one. I made sure that even after I rotated off my team, I went back and got projects for them when I had some downtime. I made it very clear that theirs was the team I wanted to be on. When I left, they told me there would be a definite void without me because I had been like having another attorney on the team to bear the load. In the end, I got an offer for that team. The theory worked for two of my other friends at the firm, each of whom ended up with the team they "attached" themselves to all summer. Perhaps it was just a fluke thing at my firm, but the theory in general can't hurt. Make a team, or some other portion of the firm, feel like they can't live without you, or make it so they miss you when you're gone, and you stand a really good shot at getting asked back. Other things come into play and their space may be limited, but in general I think it's a good theory.

I'm happy to answer any questions or have any of you leave comments about how your summer might have been different.

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Of Jobs and Classes and Other Things 

Since my last post much has happened. Number one on that list is the phone call I received about a week ago offering me a permanent position with the firm I summered with. As if any kind of offer isn't great, this one was terrific because it was an offer to join my favorite team at the firm. I couldn't be happier! It's certainly a relief to start my last year of school knowing that I have a job (and one that I think I'll enjoy) after graduation. While I feel like I've worked hard over the years to make this happen, I also recognize that I'm incredibly lucky and blessed to receive an offer before I even got started back to school for my third year.

So, after celebrating non-stop all weekend, I started classes on Monday. I have four classes (one of which doesn't meet most of the semester), one independent study and an externship, which translates to three papers and two finals. I much prefer papers to finals, so I'm fairly happy. I've already picked my three paper topics and am pretty excited about some of the things I'm going to get to research and write about. I've managed to tie sports into all three papers, so at least I'll perhaps enjoy the research. I don't want to reveal my topics though because I'm hoping to get one published. So far the only law school goals I've set and not accomplished yet are getting published and graduating with honors...I'll work on those this year!

Hope everyone else is getting off to a good start!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Summer, Second Half 

I spent the second half of my summer working in sports law with one of the professional leagues. I've always wanted to eventually be a lawyer somewhere in Major League Baseball, so being offered this experience in sports law was incredibly exciting.

I have to say that it's not exactly what I expected. An attorney I met at The Firm told me that there are two types of people: those who want to be a jack of all trades and those who would rather master just one. Accordingly, there are practice groups for both these types of people. There are some where you get to do lots of different types of cases, or where you get to do a little transactional and a little litigation. Then there are some where you master one small niche of the law. Well, after this summer, I think I'm the latter. I'd rather be the best at one area of the law than know just a little about lots of different areas. Luckily, there are people who feel the other way around, so we all balance each other out, and together we can all work in one law firm and be spectacular.

Well, being in-house counsel requires you to be a jack of all trades. I've spanned many areas of the law this summer as an intern in the General Counsel's office: intellectual property law, contract law, property law, business law, liability issues, etc. I found that switching gears every day is frustrating for me. I'm sure some people love this atmosphere and thrive in it - these are people who would get bored doing the same thing everyday and would love this environment. However, I am a creature of routine. And like I said, I'd like to master one area. So, this hasn't exactly fit my personality. (This is also the reason that one of the three practice areas I was in at The Firm didn't fit my personality. Luckily, the other two were perfect for this!)

At The Firm most people had a niche area of practice once they got in their later associate and into their partner years. This fits my preference for being a master in my area.

However, being in-house counsel is completely different. You have to span nearly every area of the law and also have to be quite the business person. Answering to the Board is not always a fun task. And I've always heard that in-house counsel have it easy, that they work far less hours than their law firm counterparts. Not true! At least not at this office. They work long hours, travel quite a bit and are constantly dealing with the Board.

I've had a great time at this job for the summer, I've had terrific sports law exposure, and I've learned quite a bit. However, I don't think it's somewhere I would want to work permanently.

It's caused me to rethink my goals and I'm not sure I want to work in baseball anymore...but that's a post for another day.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Summer, First Half 

So, I spent the first half of my summer in my hometown working a firm I've wanted to work for since before I even started law school. Some say that when you build something up so much, there's no way the real thing can ever live up to it. Well, tell this omnipotent "some" that they're wrong!

I had a absolutely fabulous summer at "The Firm," as I'll call it. Really, the only way it could have been better is if they'd let me stay the whole summer instead of just half. I truly liked every attorney I met there. Some I liked better on a professional level, and some I liked better on a personal level, but everyone was terrific.

I rotated through several practice groups at The Firm, mostly transactional, which is what I wanted. I went into the summer positive that I wanted to do Corporate work, specifically Securities. I tried to pretend I was going to be open-minded, but I really wasn't planning on it. Then a funny thing happened. Another team changed my mind. In the end I put the Real Estate team as my first choice, Corporate as my second. I liked the work on both teams, and I liked the people on both teams, but I felt like I had found my place on the Real Estate team.

I know I've posted this analogy once before (in the context of OCI), but I can't resist drawing it again. The rotations at the firm reminded me a lot of sorority rush. Each team thinks they're the best. You rotate around the teams, shaking hands, chit-chatting about what they do on their team, what you're looking for in a team, etc. When I went through sorority rush 7 years ago (wow, I can't believe it's been that long), everyone told me that when you got the right house, you'd just know it. You'd feel like you were home. Sounds cheesy, but it was mostly true. Just like with the law firm, I went into sorority rush sure I knew which house I wanted. Again, I wasn't planning on being open-minded, my mind was made up. Then in the end, one house felt more like home and I chose it. I got the same feeling at the firm. While each team had it's strengths and it's appeal, one just felt like home.

All that being said, I no longer have any control over which team I land on. At this point, I just want to get an offer from them and land on any team. I can't imagine being with another firm, this one has set the bar too high for anyone else to match. (Perhaps I'll blog later about the specific things I liked about this firm, but this post is already too long.) I think I have a few more weeks until I find out if I received a permanent offer and, if so, which team it's for. Luckily, I've been busy with my job second half and have done lots of traveling on the weekends, so I haven't had much time to think about it. However, as OCI is gearing up, I'm thinking about it more and more. I can't imagine how I'll feel or what I'll do if I don't get an offer from this firm. So, let's just hope it doesn't come to that.

Oh, and for those who haven't had a shot at summering with a big firm yet...boy, do you have something to look forward to! You get taken to lunch everyday, go to concerts, wine tastings, sporting events, the beach, the mountains, you name it. It's the ultimate wining and dining experience! You feel special, you feel important, you feel wanted. Must be what it feels like to be in a relationship, but I don't remember! :) Anyhow, it's fantastic. I highly recommend trying out the big firm lifestyle for at least part of a summer, just so you don't wonder what you're missing out on. True, there are big firms that do the dog and pony show to cover up the fact that they're a soul-stealing sweatshop, but there are those who mean well and are only trying to compete to reel in the big talent. Just gotta go with your gut on that one.

In my next post, for a little compare and contrast, I'll share what it was like to intern with the General Counsel of a sports entity (ie, what I did the second half of my summer).

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One Last Shot at a Comeback 

I've decided to break the silence and try once again for a comeback...

I can't really explain why I haven't posted, or why I hid (but not deleted) my archives. Something about this summer just made me rethink bearing my life on the internet, especially the parts that inspire all sorts of outrageous comments. However, I love to write, and I've really loved keep this up, so I'm going to give it one last shot.

My fear is that one day I'll be a newstory...one of those bloggers who upset their employer and subsequently ended up fired. I would never want to jeopardize my career, whether by getting fired, scaring off potential clients, etc. I can just imagine a whole array of things that could happen (and have happened to others).

So, I'm going to return and try and say all the things I want to say without jeopardizing the legal career that I've worked so hard to build. Sounds like a tall order!

I'm planning a series of posts over the next 24 hours (before I lose my nerve or my urge to write). The first will be a look back on the first half of my summer. Next, I'll tackle the second half of my summer. Then I'll work on a post about how I feel about transferring schools now that it's been a year. I'm also going to throw in a post somewhere about baseball, as that passion has seen new life this summer.

Not sure if anyone is out there reading this anymore since I've been gone so long, but here goes...

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

The New LawSclBarbie 

I know it's been awhile, but I am back. I have lots to share about the first half of my summer, but I'll split it into several different posts over the next week or so. As for now, you may have noticed that all my archives are gone. I've discontinued archiving and deleted the links to my old posts. The past is the past and I'm ready to move on. Hopefully things will be a little less heated around here. After working in a big firm this summer I finally feel like an adult and like a lawyer (or at least a lawyer-to-be). I'm going to try to keep that in mind as I post from here on out.

I hope everyone has had a lovely summer so far. I'll be back soon with more about what I've been doing the past 8 weeks!

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

2/3rds Down! 

As of today, I am 2/3rds of the way through law school. I can hardly believe it. The whole thing has flown by, especially this past year. Sometime soon I'll do a post on how I feel about transferring a year later, and also the one I promised the past about getting a job, but for now I need to recover from finals. Moving back home this weekend, next time I post I'll be in the ATL!

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