Successful Time Management = Law School Success

flickr photo by Leticia Chamorro

flickr photo by Leticia Chamorro

By Blake Williams

By now we all know that law school is time consuming, and we can also agree that it’s a full-time job.  Therefore, an important factor for law school success is the ability to manage your time wisely.   Time management is important not only because you must be able to manage your time effectively in order to get everything done in law school, but also because it can help you reduce stress and keep your priorities in focus.

GET ORGANIZED!

Organization is the key to conquering law school.  Start by analyzing your study habits to determine what works best for you.  Next, acquire a planner that you will always keep with you.  Making and following a schedule is the most effective way to manage your time.  You should approach law school as a job with regular hours.   Set aside time for everything you need to do during the day: classes, work, and non-law school commitments.

TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS

Here are some tips that will help you take advantage of your time.  Remember, time management is a learned skill, and if you are on top of your time, you will be successful.

  1. Study in short segments
    • Don’t study for more than a three hour stretch.  Plan your breaks.
  2. Take study breaks
    • Schedule breaks instead of taking them every 15 minutes.  Treat yourself to a fun activity that is not law related when you complete a difficult assignment.
  3. Limit your distractions.
    • Turn off your wireless.  Find a study place free of distractions.
  4. Learn to say “No”
    • Don’t overload yourself with outside activities that will encroach on your study time.
  5. Study on the go
    • Make use of otherwise wasted time.  For instance, listen to study tapes when you’re driving, or study flash cards when you are in the doctor’s office.
  6. Be systematic with your review
    • Review cases before and after class.  Review your class notes daily or at least on a weekly basis.  These reviews will improve your retention and make exam preparation less stressful.
  7. Track your study time
    • Keep track of the amount of time you spend studying each subject.  This will help you estimate the amount of time it will take to complete future assignments, as well as help you create a more realistic schedule.
  8. Treat law school like a full-time job.
    1. Come to campus for class and stay on campus.  Study between your classes.  The more you complete during the day, the more free time you will have at night.
  9. Make sure to eat well and exercise
    • Retain your energy by eating well and exercising on a regular basis.  These activities will keep you focused and alert.
  10. Balance you time wisely
    • Law school requires sacrifice, but make sure to find time for some of the things you enjoy.  Make time in your schedule for family, friends, and other activities.  Balance helps you feel positive and remain productive.
  11. Get some sleep!
    • Make sure to insert sleep into your schedule.  Rest is important to your health and keeps your mind sharp.

 

Summer Prep Before Your 1L Year

flickr photo by Aftab Uzzaman

flickr photo by Aftab Uzzaman

By Zach Dalton

It can be a nervous time the summer before your first year of law school.  Many students are having fears of what lies ahead, and some are already having pre-exam jitters.  There are, however, steps you can take to improve your law school experience in the fall.

First, relax and know you are not the only one feeling this way.  Law school is a new experience for everyone, and although some may feel slightly more prepared, it is going to be tough for pretty much all who enter.  Even if you come from an undergrad program in which you did not do large amounts of reading or writing, legal reading and writing is an entirely different animal which very much levels the playing field.

Second, try to resist the temptation to begin accumulating and reviewing study aids.  Without taking any classes, you are likely to frustrate yourself and increase your anxiety already believing you are behind the curve.  If you really must get a study aid prior to the start of fall classes, I would suggest the Emanuel’s Guide for Torts, as it is somewhat simplistic and easy to follow.

Third, consider reading one of the many books available about the law school experience and improving your ability to take law school exams.  The exams you will take in law school are different than any you have taken so far in your educational career, and require a different way of thinking.  I would suggest “Getting to Maybe” by Richard Michael Fischl and Jeremy R. Paul, which is incredibly helpful in conveying the idea that there is typically no one true answer on an exam.

Fourth, read other things that you actually enjoy and find interesting.  It doesn’t really matter what it is, although you can find a list of suggested fun reading from our law school faculty in a previous post on this blog, “Law Faculty Offers Summer Reading Suggestions.”  Getting in the habit of reading every day can be very beneficial to your 1L experience as you don’t have to go from zero to one hundred your first couple of weeks in the fall.

Lastly, and most importantly, enjoy yourself and do things which will add to your life.  The next three years in law school are going to be tough, and some activities you wanted to accomplish are going to have to be pushed aside.  Take this time to be happy, relaxed, and do something cool.  This will help you be prepared for the big push and hard times ahead.

Dealing with the Stress

Alan_Cleaver

flickr photo by Alan Cleaver

By Andrew Vazquez

We’re in the final stretch of the spring 2015 semester. Finals start on April 30, a mere twenty-three days from now. This is both exciting and terrifying. The end of the semester is a very stressful time because it seems that everything is due at the same time. Nevertheless, there are several things you can do to reduce stress during this period. The Mayo Clinic offers four tips that they have coined as the “4 A’s.” These stand for Avoid, Alter, Accept, and Adapt.

Avoid, according to the Mayo Clinic, means to plan ahead better. If you have a deadline, start it earlier than you normally would to ensure that you finish in time. Being able to complete tasks with enough time will help reduce stress because you will not feel as rushed. This tip is especially helpful when studying for finals. Don’t wait to start studying for finals too late.

Alter means to avoid negative things in your life. Identify the things that make you stressed and figure out why they make you stressed. You cannot change some things, but make the best out of them. When studying for finals don’t think to yourself that a topic is too tough and that you can’t learn it. Instead, flip it and use it as a motivator to learn it better.

The next tip is to accept the things you cannot change. Dwelling on things that cannot be changed is counterproductive because, well, you cannot change it. Instead focus on the positive things that you can control and you will be less stressed. You can’t change the grade you got in Contracts or Property last semester, but you can do better this semester. Learn from those mistakes and you’ll do better this time around.

The final tip the Mayo Clinic suggests is to adapt. Keep your expectations reasonable and keep the big picture in focus. This is important because if you focus too closely on the minute details of one particular subject, it will be to the detriment of everything else. Keep everything in focus.

Additional suggestions that I would add is to remember to keep up with friends and family. Moreover, make time to go out and have fun, like going to see a movie or a Braves game (although that may more frustrating and stressful than school).

Things to do in the Springtime in Atlanta

by Murtaza Khwaja

atlanta by flickr user laceybordeaux

image by flickr user laceybordeaux

Springtime in Atlanta! One of the most beautiful times of year in the city is marked with not only a re-blossoming of flowers and return of color but also a vast array of events, festivals, shows etc. From the time-honored traditional festivals and sites to the newer up-and-coming, there is something for everyone to do.  While this is definitely not a full list, here are just a few things to get you started as you look for ways to enjoy the warmer weather and take some time away from work and studies. Go with a group of friends, your kids, family, or even by yourself to enjoy all of Atlanta’s finest food, music, culture, artists, and exhibits while also getting to spend time outside in the warm spring weather.

Atlanta Film Festival (March 20th- 29th)

“The Atlanta Film Festival, now in its fourth decade, is one of the region’s largest and longest-running preeminent celebrations of cinema in the Southeastern United States and one of only a handful of Academy Award® qualifying festivals in the country. More than 25,000 festival attendees enjoy independent, animated, documentary, and short films each year.”

Attendees can immerse themselves in the Atlanta Film Festival experience through Festival Genius, which allows participants to watch movie trailers, schedule screenings on the their personal film festival calendar and rate them after they have been viewed.

In addition to top notch independent films from around the globe, movie enthusiasts can mix and mingle with filmmakers and industry professionals during a variety of Atlanta Film Festival events including awards ceremonies and workshops. Past honorees of the IMAGE Film Award Gala include Cicely Tyson, Spike Lee, Burt Reynolds, Ozzie Davis and Ruby Dee.

The Atlanta Film Festival is held in the historic Plaza Theatre located in the Poncey-Highland area, 7 Stages Theatre in Little Five Points, Goat Farm Arts Center and Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.”

Via: http://atlantafilmfestival.com/2015/films

Atlanta Dogwood Festival (April 10th-12th)

dogwood festival by flickr user bruhsam

image by flickr user bruhsam

“Originating from a showcase of blooming trees and accomplished artists, the Dogwood Festival has evolved into one of the largest events in the Southeast. You’ll find the country’s best painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelry makers and glass blowers, as well as live performance art exhibitions, interactive music workshops and a food.”

The Atlanta Dogwood Festival is Atlanta’s annual celebration of the blooming of its native dogwood trees. For more than 75 years, the Dogwood arts festival has filled Midtown Atlanta’s Piedmont Park with live music, arts and crafts, food booths and family-friendly activities. In 2012, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival was ranked No. 35 in the Sunshine Artist Magazine Best 200 fine arts festivals in the United States.”

A juried art competition recognizes artistic achievement in such categories as sculpture, painting, jewelry and photography. The Kid’s Village features arts and crafts, face painting, rock climbing and huge inflatables that are sure to please kids of all ages.

Another highlight of the Atlanta Dogwood Festival is the U.S. Disc Dog Southern Nationals, a world-class competition starring the top Frisbee dogs in the nation. Musical entertainment at the Dogwood arts festival ranges from bluegrass and country to rock and soul. Food options include funnel cakes, kettle corn, gyros and more.”

Via: http://www.atlanta.net/events/festivals/spring/

Inman Park Festival (April 24-26)

“Widely regarded as Atlanta’s most spirited and eclectic event, the Inman Park Festival offers wild and crazy experiences. Visit Atlanta’s biggest street market, offering everything from antique furniture to handcrafted wares. The city’s quirkiest parade kickstarts the weekend of family fun and a juried art show, live entertainment and dance festival are just a few more of the things you’ll find.”

Via http://www.atlanta.net/events/festivals/spring/

Taste of East Point (April 26th)

“Think local on the last Saturday in April when the soft spring air blows in tasty good times at Taste of East Point. The event showcases the food, art and music created in the south metro area. Patrons arrive hungry to nosh at tents hosted by area restaurants, local artists show off their handmade wares and a host of singer-songwriters perform a mix of funk, soul, blues, dance tunes and folk.

Each year downtown East Point comes alive for one of the most premiere cultural events in Georgia – the Taste of East Point and the South Metro Area. Hosted the last Saturday in April, this event is a leisurely stroll past local art displays and talented musicians, while partaking in an array of wine and food “tastes”.

Taste selections from area restaurants that take pride in their annual display. View the work of artists that live and work in the East Point, Hapeville and College Park area. Find paintings, prints, handmade jewelry and more! Kick back and relax to the sounds of bands from the Tri-City area. From rockin’ blues to high energy funk, there is something for everyone!

“Local restaurants, local artists, local bands and local flavor-the Taste of East Point and the South Metro Area and the South Metro Area is more than a cultural event in Georgia, it is a ‘can’t miss’ occasion!”

Via: http://www.downtowneastpoint.com/tasteofeastpoint/

Atlanta Jazz Festival (31 Days of Jazz +May 22-24)

“THE ATLANTA JAZZ FESTIVAL is regarded as one of the country’s largest FREE jazz festivals. It is an annual musical showcase that celebrates jazz legends and up-and-coming jazz greats in venues throughout metropolitan Atlanta during the entire month of May. The festival culminates each Memorial Day weekend with show-stopping performances at Piedmont Park.”

“Celebrating more than 35 years of soulful expression, the Atlanta Jazz Festival is the perfect way to start your Memorial Day weekend. Explore Piedmont Park and visit vendors displaying some of the city’s finest arts and crafts, food and drink and merchandise.”

Via: http://atlantafestivals.com/

Decatur Arts Festival (May 23rd-May 24th)

“An annual tradition, the Decatur Arts Festival celebrates culture, community and creativity with a weekend exploding with artistic expressions. The weekend starts with the ArtWalk, a leisurely stroll through the city as local shops host free receptions for new art shows. Throughout the day you’ll find music, performance art, dancing and special events just for kids and teens.”

Via http://decaturartsfestival.com/

Georgia Renaissance Festival (Open Saturdays, Sundays, and Memorial Day)

joust by flickr user foleymo

image by flickr user foleymo

“Join hundreds of colorfully-clad characters for a medieval European Country Faire. Stroll through the multi-acre kingdom while feasting on hearty food and drink, shop for hand-crafted treasures and become mesmerized by artisans at work. Ten stages of music and comedy keep you enticed well into the night, while performing animals and games ensure fun for the entire family!”

Via http://www.atlanta.net/events/festivals/spring/

‘Wifredo Lam: Imagining New Worlds’ exhibit @ the High Museum of Art (Till May 24th)

“This exhibit will be a retrospective of the work of Wifredo Lam, featuring more than 40 paintings and drawings and prints as well. Visitors will trace Lam’s career from his time in Madrid and Paris to his return to Cuba. Lam’s work was known to be a strong influence on artistic figures like Picasso, Federico Garcia Lorca and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, among others.”

Via http://www.atlanta.net/events/festivals/spring/

Braves Baseball Game (Opening Day April 10th)

Visit picturesque Turner Field to enjoy America’s pastime in the heart of downtown!

Biking the Beltline

beltline by flickr user laceybordeaux

image by flickr user laceybordeaux

 

A relatively new but already hugely popular addition to Atlanta, the beltline has several different walking, biking, and running trails fresh for you to explore from the Old 4th Ward to Midtown to the Eastside. While the trails themselves are ever expanding, they already go straight through some of Atlanta’s most interesting and hip neighborhoods (not to mention are right next to many of Atlanta’s newest and most popular restaurants, markets, bakeries, and other eateries).

Stone Mountain

While you are enjoying the outdoors, don’t forget to visit Stone Mountain for a great workout and equally great view (whether by yourself or with a group). After hiking up and coming back down bring a Frisbee or football to throw around while you wait for the start of the Laser Show. You can set out your blanket in front of the mountain for a picnic as you enjoy some tunes, the lights and some great company.

 

Clinical Opportunities

10419609_10155143114463125_6181435800920296402_nBy Andrew Vazquez

Starting in the 2015 Fall semester, the in-house clinics will expand from 3 credit hours to 4. This includes the Philip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Legal Services Clinic, and the Investor Advocacy Clinic.

On Wednesday, February 11, 2015, from 12 PM – 1 PM and 5 PM – 6 PM, the College of Law will be hosting an experiential fair to inform students about the clinics. This event will be held in the second floor lobby and will feature representatives from each of the clinics. This is a good opportunity to ask the professors and students any lingering questions you have about the clinics.

As a former Tax Clinic student I can attest that it is well worth the time to join. Clinics are great because they allow you to put to practice what you have learned in the classroom and put it to actual use. Also, you are able to help real life clients and make a real difference. In the Tax Clinic, for example, I was able to help resolve tax issues that my clients had with the IRS. This included writing legal briefs, negotiating with representatives from the IRS, learning how to interact and interview clients, and file and time management. Even if you realize that you have no interest in tax or health law, the clinics still help you develop the skills that are important to being a lawyer.

When you get into the clinic and have to start doing research, make sure you check out the Law Library’s Research Guide to help you through it!

 

Upcoming Events

Clinic and Experiential Course Awareness Fair February 11: 12 PM – 1 PM & 5 PM – 6 PM
Tax Clinic Information Session February 12 : 12 PM – 1 PM
HeLP Clinic Information Session February 17: 12 PM – 1 PM
Tax Clinic Open House February 19: 11:45 AM – 1:15 PM
Investor Advocacy Informational Session February 25: 12 PM – 1 PM

Smile!

by Meghan Starr

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Photographers will be making the rounds next week (February 9th – 15th) in an effort to document how the law school building is being used.  Student volunteers will be taking approximately 100 pictures each hour.

This Photographic Survey is part of a 3-year research project to evaluate the impact of the new building on law students and faculty, as well as the community in general.

We’re still in need of law student volunteers too, especially after 4 p.m. on weekdays and on the weekend. If you are a law student and wish to volunteer, each shift will follow a set route which takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.  You will be provided with a map that reflects each photograph location.  For each shift you take, your name will be entered into a drawing for a (yet to be announced) prize. To volunteer, submit your name on the Google spreadsheet linked to in your email from Dean Sobelson.

For more information about the project, you can also contact Prof. Doug Yarn.

Articles of Confederation

 

flickr photo by annalynnc

flickr photo by annalynnc

By Nirvi Shah

On January 30, 1781, Maryland was the thirteenth and final state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, which took effect on March 1, 1781.  In comparison to the current U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation designated less control to a central government, leaving most of the power with state governments.  Due to the need for a stronger central government, the U.S. Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation on March 4, 1789.

Here are a few books in the Law Library where you can learn more about U.S. History and the Articles of Confederation:

Here are some additional links to online sources: