Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Lawyer Who Clips Coupons

Have you heard of the extreme couponing craze?  I am a lawyer who likes to clip coupons.  I love finding a sale and then matching it with a coupon and getting the item for a low price or sometimes even for free! I cut coupons from the newspaper, get coupons from my parents, print coupons online and follow several blogs that identify deals.  I do not have a huge stock pile, nor do I buy unhealthy food, but I am able to save at least $50 a month with coupons. And I am not alone. I have other attorney friends who like to coupon. It does take time to organize my coupons. I got a little expanding file to organize them and I go through the newspaper, blogs, grocery ads on a regular basis to try to find the best deals.  Often I pay little or nothing for staples such as milk, eggs, even vegetables.It is not for everybody, but as for me, I just do not like paying full price if I don't have to!

Here is a caveat. There is NO way I would have had time to do this in law school.  But I remember spending a lot of money on groceries in law school. Couponing would have helped me save money back then. But now I coupon and I try to do it strategically.  Using coupons saves money if you use them on items that you would buy anyway.  I think those of you who are law students could save some money by using coupons, but it can take a lot of time and you have better things to do with your time.  However,  if you have graduated from law school and do not have a job yet, couponing might be for you. Even if you are an attorney, you might want to make time to do it.  You could use your savings to make extra payments to your loans or save up for something that you want.

Below are buttons from a couple of the blogs that I subscribe to. You can check them out for more couponing tips.  Maybe do some couponing over Christmas break to create a small stockpile for when you go back to law school next year!

    Living Rich With Coupons

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Living Life with No Regrets

I do not regret going to law school. I would not be the woman I am today if it weren't for what I learned and experienced during those three arduous and memorable years. There were many invaluable things that I learned in law school, but I just wanted to discuss three things I learned during my tenure as a law student. You might also check out my very first post describing ten things I learned in law school.

1. I learned to think and read critically

Law school taught me how to dissect what I read and think critically about the why something was written the way it was. I learned the significance of understanding the intent or reasons why something is written. This critical eye has served me well after law school. As a side note, sometimes I think lawyers write in "legalese" just so that we are the only ones that can interpret it! Even if you work in a non-legal position, the ability to clarify legal language is an important skill. I have used my legal skills to read and interpret statutes and write policy documents to make the law more understandable to a layperson.

2. I learned how to network and market myself.

Law school taught more about the importance of networking and provided me with several opportunities to network and learn how to "sell" myself. Studying is important, but many students fail to learn how to network and market themselves. Once you leave law school, your intelligence might get you the interview, but your personality and networking skills will get you the job. The ability to market yourself is a skill that must be practiced. Think of yourself as a walking advertisement for yourself... The way your present yourself to your classmates, professors, and potential employers shows them what they will expect from you. Also keep in mind what you put on your facebook or twitter account. How you display yourself online also advertises to others what kind of employee you might be. It might paint an inaccurate picture, but you might not even get a chance to prove someone wrong.

3. I learned to live a life with no (or few) regrets

So maybe I learned this lesson once I graduated, however I believe any experience you go through teaches you something and therefore is a valuable experience in itself.  I think it is unproductive to have regrets, unless they motivate you to make positive changes in your life. For instance, although I wish I had not listened to the financial aid office when they advised me to borrow the maximum amount I could, it taught the importance of making a reasonable budget and living within my means. Some lessons you learn the hard way, but those are the lessons that you tend not to forget.  I do not regret the three years I spent learning a new way of thinking, challenging myself academically, and being part of a profession that holds itself to a high standard.

I don't see how anyone who successfully graduates from law school would regret it. If you use time in law school well, you should have all the necessary skills to utilize your education, intelligence, and experiences to obtain a job. You might have to be creative, flexible, and persistent, but I believe you will ultimately be successful once you realize how you can make a positive and valuable contribution to a potential employer.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Practice Networking Early and Often

It is never too early to work and foster your networking skills.  I recommend using your Christmas, Fall, and Spring breaks as an opportunity to go out into your city or to the city where you wish to work after law school and network.   Contact local law firrms or use your career services office to build a list of potential networks.  Once you complete that list, email the lawyers and try to set up an informational interview.  Try to attend as many networking events at your law school and practice your networking skills.  A friend recently recommended the book, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi, which highlights the importance of building and maintaining relationships. This is a skill that every successful lawyers needs to have whether you work in the private or public sector. It is also a skill that you have to continue to practice (unless you are a natural social butterfly!)  But like my dad always said, "practice makes perfect!"