In Brief

Vol. 41 No. 6

Practice now for a better bar exam result later

When Lee Burgess, an adjunct law professor and one-on-one bar exam tutor, talks to a potential new client who has failed the bar exam, one of the first things she asks is how much the would-be lawyer practiced for it. Not just studied—practiced.

In a post at solopracticeuniversity.com called “We all need practice to perform at our best,” Burgess writes that students often neglect to answer enough practice questions and work on their plan of attack for essays and multi-bar exams.

Why? For one thing, Burgess says, it’s just not fun to practice. And many students believe that because the bar exam is about the law, it’s more important to memorize the law than to work on test-taking strategies.

But practicing your test-taking can help you learn the law, Burgess notes—after all, “it takes law to answer a question”—and also gain valuable feedback, from a tutor or by comparing your answers against sample ones.

 

Thinking about a career in legal research? Think twice

Legal career expert and author Richard L. Hermann says many lawyers in transition and soon-to-be lawyers look to the field of legal research because it appeals to them more than walking into a courtroom or approaching the negotiating table.

The problem, Hermann writes in Part XXII of his series “What else is out there?” at legalcareerweb.com, is that there aren’t many jobs in the area of legal documents/information/research. Those that do exist, he adds, are often in the government sector and subject to budget cuts, and they’re also on the decline because of advances in technology and the recent boom in outsourcing.

But if you have a passion for legal research, take heart. Of the 800-plus law-related positions that Hermann discusses in this series of blog posts, he estimates that at least 600 require extensive legal research and writing skills.

“That means that you will always be able to have a healthy proportion of legal research opportunities and responsibilities in virtually any law-related position or career you choose,” he notes.

 

What traits are interviewers looking for?

In the January issue of Student Lawyer, we looked at some job interviewing mistakes that are often made by Gen Y/Millennials. On a more positive note, recent Golden Gate University JD/MBA graduate Chandani Patel offers “Top 5 traits employers love most.”

At the university’s Law Career Services blog, Patel shares what she learned from a Forbes article by Meghan Casserly. In research that looked at 1,200 different companies, these were the top five traits sought by hiring managers:
  • Professionalism (86 percent). Your handshake, your posture, and your attire are all great ways to make a good first impression in this area, Patel notes.
  • High energy (78 percent). Patel cites advice from a director of an executive search firm who says you should enter the room with your hand already outstretched for a handshake.
  • Confidence (61 percent). Survey respondents ranked this trait as the one in which applicants were most lacking. Be confident, Patel says, and you’ll already have “a leg up.”
  • Self-monitoring (58 percent). Make sure your résumé gives plenty of concrete examples of times your own initiative led to success for your team and for you.
  • Intellectual curiosity (57 percent). If you have a genuine desire to learn, it’s much more likely that you will adapt well to changing work conditions, technologies, and responsibilities.

But how applicable is this to the legal profession? Patel recently had a chance to road test this advice for herself; at one firm, she interviewed with five different attorneys, “all of whom I felt were looking for exactly the traits indicated above.”

 

 

 

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