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November, 2013:

The List: Professional Development for Law Students and other Young Professionals

I wrote most of these posts with law students in mind, but the information works for any young professional who wants to network effectively and stand out in their professional community.

Photo by AJ Grucky

Photo by AJ Grucky

Don’t Lose Your Personality When You Get Your JD

How Networking Works

LinkedIn for Law Students

Twitter – The Untapped Resource for Law Students

Business Cards for Law Students

Lawyers’ Bad Reputations Start with Arrogant Law Students

Top 3 Tools for Establishing a Name for Yourself

Top 10 Blogging Tips for Law Students

Scheduling Lunch with a Litigator Made Me Never Want to be One

Why Are Lawyers so Bitchy?

Going Pantsless was the Best Thing I Did in Law School

I hope these have been helpful!

Other Lists:
Law School Survival
Bar Exam Survival and Domination

The List: Bar Exam Survival and Domination

I’m not going to sugar coat it: the bar exam is hard. Studying for the bar exam can be brutal. But you can kick its ass and pass it. Here are the post I wrote about the bar exam during my experience before and after the July 2011 Arizona Bar Exam.

Hand Hearts by Krystal T, Ruth Carter

Hang in there!
Hand Hearts by Krystal T

Guidelines for Studying for the Bar Exam

A Day in the Life of Bar Prep

Send Love to Stressed Out Bar Exam Candidates

Bar Exam Wisdom from BarBri Instructors

Bar Exam Wisdom from Arizona Lawyers

Bar Exam Wisdom from Legal All-Stars

I Passed!

Love and Support for Bar Exam Takers

If a bar exam is in your future, good luck and stick to your study program. I know it’s hard, but you’ll be fine.

Other Lists:
Law School Survival
Professional Development for Law Students and other Young Professionals

The List: Law School Survival

My law school experience was pretty well documented via this blog. These are the posts where I share what worked for me and the tips I wish I’d known sooner in my law school career.

Law GeekSurvival Tips for Incoming 1Ls

Maintaining Perspective in Law School

Top 10 Ways to Annoy Your Fellow Law Students

Law School: My Grades Can’t Tell You Who I Am

Poolside Studying

Law BooksTop 3 Money Savers for Law Students

Study Break: Time to Smile

Unexpected Benefits of Law School

Seven Layers of Academic Hell

How to Survive Law School Finals

Law School: If I Could Do It Again…

I hope the wisdom I gleaned from my law school experience helps make your life in law school a little easier.

Other Lists:
Bar Exam Survival and Domination
Professional Development for Law Students and Other Young Professionals

LinkedIn for Law Students – The Follow Up Questions

I had the pleasure of being part of LexisNexis’ webcast on how to use LinkedIn for law students. I was there to talk about how I use LinkedIn in my professional life. We had over 1000 students tune in for the webcast and they had the option to ask questions during the show, but we didn’t have time to get to all of them, so here are my responses to some of those questions.

LinkedIn Chocolates by Nan Palmero from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

LinkedIn Chocolates by Nan Palmero from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

How Important is it to Include my Photo in my Profile?
Very important. If you don’t have a photo on your profile, I will assume that you haven’t been active on LinkedIn since the day you created your account. Why would I want to connect with someone on a platform where they don’t want to connect with anyone? I don’t. So yes, you need to put your photo on your profile, and make a picture of you, not your pet or your kids. This is a professional forum. (And some of us are really bad at remembering what people look like so having your photo on your profile is a big help.)

I’m hesitant to Enable Endorsements because of the potential Ethical Problems. Any Advice?
I enabled endorsements but I don’t give them a lot of weight in general because people can endorse you for skills that they have no actual knowledge if you have them. If someone tries to endorse me for a skill I don’t have or a topic that is outside my areas of practice, I don’t allow it.

How much of a Job Description should I include for each Position that I have held?  I do not want it to be a Restatement of my Resume.
I think mine are basically cut and pasted from my resume. If you don’t want to do that, be as brief as you can while giving an accurate description of each job.

How do I Tailor my Profile to keep my Options Open and Not Turn Off Potential Employers or those I am looking to Maximize Opportunities with even when they Conflict?
Keep your descriptions focused on your skills and interests that will appeal to most people. Avoid the specifics that might make you a turn off to a particular audience. For example, you can say you’re interested in a certain practice area without stating which side of the fence you’re on.

How do you Feel about the “Request an Introduction” function in LinkedIn?
Introductions are basically endorsements so definitely ask for introductions if you know someone who knows the person you want to meet. On LinkedIn, I connect with anyone who doesn’t look like spam, and a lot of other people do the same. Don’t be upset if you request an introduction and the person responds that they can’t help you because they don’t actually know the person you want to meet.

My LinkedIn Connections as of Nov. 17, 2013

My LinkedIn Connections as of November 17, 2013

How Often should I Post to LinkedIn?
As often as it’s relevant. It may not be relevant to post on a regular basis. I do because I post links on my blogs and videos, but not much more than that.

How do we Connect when we Don’t Know the Person? LinkedIn requires you know the person as a Friend, Colleague, etc. when attempting to Create a Connection.
I’ll say I’m a friend even if I don’t know the person but I personalize the request to connect so they know why I want to connect with them. This appears to be a generally accepted practice.

Do you Recommend putting Less ‘Formal’ Forms of Contact (such as Twitter) on LinkedIn?
I would put all your contact information for all the forums where you want to connect with people. Always include an email address and they it’s your choice to add your phone number, Twitter handle, blog, etc.

When should I get a LinkedIn Account?

Always remember that LinkedIn, like all social media platforms, is a communications tool. Having an account is not enough; it’s what you do with it that matters.

I hope this has been helpful. If you want to connect with me on LinkedIn, feel free.

Giving Schwag Without Giving Crap

As a business owner, I know that having schwag is one way to promote the company. The right schwag can help keep you top of mind with your customers if it’s something they’re going to look at on a regular basis. In my first year in business I went to a schwag expo where I saw dozen of vendors who could put my name and logo on just about anything – pens, Frisbees, shirts, water bottles, notepads, mouse pads, toys, etc.

Carter Law Firm Lip Balm

Carter Law Firm Lip Balm

Here’s my challenge with schwag: a lot of companies have crappy schwag that’s either cheap or something I’ll never use. When I go to business expos, the most common thing I take from businesses’ tables is candy. I refuse all company literature and schwag unless it’s something that I think will benefit me in some way. Because of this, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what type of schwag I would want to give out.

I belong to Local First Arizona and they have an annual Fall Festival where they give out schwag bags to 500 attendees. It seems like a good opportunity to create some schwag and see what kind of effect it would have. I have my company postcard, but I wanted something that was more useful on a day-to-day basis. A fellow Local First member, HP2, is a schwag company and they have thousands of options. I poured through their catalog and ultimately decided on company lip balm because it’s something I use several times a day. I rarely leave the house without it.

I went to the Fall Festival and I got there early to make sure I got a schwag bag. I wanted to see what other people were giving out, and to be honest, I only had 500 lip balms made, so I had to get a schwag bag to get my own schwag. Local First promoted the fact that the schwag bags had 60+ pieces of schwag so I was excited to get home to see what was in the tote bag. I was mostly disappointed by my fellow contributors’ lack of creativity and usefulness.

Total Contents of my Fall Festival Schwag Bag

Total Contents of my Fall Festival Schwag Bag

Local First did a good job of encouraging companies who were contributing to the schwag bags to give something other than a flyer or business card, so I was surprised by the amount of paper that was in my bag. Not all paper is bad – there were some coupons, business cards, and flyers in there for places I want to visit. (Some came in the bag and I picked up some at the tables during the festival.) I also kept the notepad, my company lip balm, soap samples, matches, and the Local First Small Wonders Maps.

But not all tangible schwag made the cut. Into the give-away-or-throw-away pile, there went a beer cozy (don’t drink), a dinosaur toy (don’t need a toy), a bottle open (don’t need), a tape measure (already have 2), and two regular pencils (I use mechanical ones).

Divided Schwag - Keeping the stuff on the left, Getting rid of the stuff on the right

Divided Schwag – Keeping the stuff on the left, Getting rid of the stuff on the right

I will probably always have a mental conflict related to schwag. I want my name to be out there, but I don’t want to give people crap they don’t need, especially since I’ve started integrating minimalistic ideas into my life. Having schwag is probably part of the cost of doing business, but I hope to never be someone who pushes it on people who don’t want it.

The Unexpected Benefits of Law School

When you’re accepted to law school, you can expect to obtain an incredible education, have the opportunity to meet phenomenal people, and take on a mountain of debt. No one tells you about the other benefits that come with being a law student.

Photo by Sheila Dee

Photo by Sheila Dee

New Glasses: Don’t waste your money and get Lasik right before starting law school. If you don’t wear glasses when you start law school, you’ll have them when you finish. If you’re already a four-eyes when you start, you’ll have a stronger prescription by graduation day. I had to get new glasses twice in law school.

Night GuardNew Wardrobe: It seemed like everyone in my class either lost 10 pounds during law school or gained 15 pounds or more depending on what happened to our appetites when we got stressed. I think every law school should do an annual suit exchange for students need a bigger or smaller suit and donate whatever’s left to charity. Whatever size you were when you started law school will not be your size by the time you graduate.

Night Guard: I promise you’re going to be stressed out. Some of you might start grinding your teeth in your sleep. Your dentist might recommend a $500 custom night guard. I opted to get a Sleep Right night guard instead. It cost less than 90% of what a custom-fit guard costs and works just as well. Don’t bother with the over-the-counter night guard that you boil and mold to your teeth. If you’re like me, you’ll bite through it within weeks.

Rolling BagDorky Rolling Bag: You might think these bags are super dorky. I did when I first started law school. I was perfectly happy lugging my books and laptop around in my backpack . . . until I was in a car accident. And then I couldn’t carry my books on my back. I swallowed my pride and bought a rolling bag – and it’s great. It’s a bit bulky, but it made dragging around two books, my laptop, and almost everything else I needed in a day much easier. If you’re going to get one of these bags, look for function over fashion. Some of my classmates got really cute bags, but they barely held anything.

New Signature: I don’t know when it happened but law school ate my signature. I can sign things with my old signature if I really think about it, but otherwise it’s a squiggle at best.

I asked some of my legal eagle friends what unexpected benefits they got from law schools. Here’s what they said:

  • “One heck of a collection of highlighters.” – Hal
  • “My husband.” – Christine
  • “Law school launched my triathlon career!” – Adam

What about you? What were some of the unexpected “benefits” that you got during law school?