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Published January 8, 2018

5 New Year’s Resolutions That Can Level Up Your Lawyer Skills

New year, new me!

At least, that’s what we’d all like to think. Creating a “new me” requires leaving some things in the previous year while picking up new habits in the new year - resolutions, one might call them. However, most new year’s resolutions fail because (surprise) we lack the follow through to make them happen.

The following resolutions will also fail if you don’t follow through (sorry). But they provide a decent starting point to level up your lawyer skills.

1. Identify a personal roadblocks and make a plan to address it

What’s preventing you from reaching your goals? Are you a chronic procrastinator? Do you get distracted by Netflix when you should be studying? Do you put in less effort than you think you should?

Step one is identifying your biggest issue. Step two is learning how to fix it so you can be a better student (and lawyer).

Google will be a big help in this endeavor - whatever your roadblock, there are certainly others who have experienced it and overcome it. Learn how they leveled up and try it for yourself!

2. Start practicing work life balance now

Don’t wait until you’re drowning in your career to try to balance your life. Work life balance takes practice. The sooner you start, the more control you’ll have when it really matters - when you have a family, need to take care of your health, or face a major life event.

3. Follow a legal podcast

One of the best ways to absorb information is to hear it in colloquial terms. Legal podcasts take important legal information and famous cases and translate them into easy-to-digest segments.

You can take podcasts anywhere and listen to them while you do other things, which makes them easy to integrate into your life.

4. Make a habit of writing articles

Usually, it’s a good idea to take multiple LSATs. With early decision, you may not have that luxury.

Writing is inescapable in law. If you want to be a good writer, you need to practice constantly. Write articles for your school, for a personal blog, or on topics you’re having trouble with in class. This will make you a better write AND help you work through difficult topics.

5. Get involved on and off campus

Getting involved provides opportunities for networking and building your reputation. These skills are especially useful in the legal field. You can connect with people and make a difference in some of the following:

  • On campus: clubs, student councils, activities, events, forums, conferences, tutoring, clinical legal education.
  • Off campus: volunteering, internships, local business events.

6. Visit your law school before you apply

Pretty self-explanatory. Check out the school and see if you vibe with the environment & culture. Don’t go in blind!

7. Handling applications for other schools

Get your secondary applications ready, but be prepared to drop them if you get accepted to your early decision school.

Early decision isn’t a guaranteed acceptance, so it’s in your best interests to have a backup plan. However, if you get accepted to your early decision school, you also need to be able to let your backup plans go!

8. Mark the date & set reminders

Do it on your calendar, on your phone, wherever you track your schedule!

The deadline will ambush you if you’re not ready. Since certain application items can take a while to gather, don’t wait until the last minute. MARK DOWN YOUR DEADLINE, and set milestones and reminders along the way!

Resolve to be the best future lawyer you can be

The things you do in law school are the foundation of your legal career. These resolutions improve your lawyer skills and challenge you to:

  1. Break a bad habit
  2. Practice balancing work/school and your personal life
  3. Think about law in context
  4. Build good writing skills & habits
  5. Get involved & network

These are only a few resolutions that can help you level up. What other ways can you improve your lawyer skills in the new year?

Photo of Ashley.

Guest blogger Ashley Wilson-Rew is Content Strategist & SEM at protocol 80, Inc.


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