There are many ways to improve your focus as a law student, but sometimes the simplest things can be a huge help. Fidget spinners boomed in popularity a few years ago, and though their presence has faded, other fidget toys have entered the market. Fidgets are well documented as a tool to help people with disabilities such as anxiety or ADHD focus in environments like a classroom, but even if you don’t have one of these disabilities, a fidget may help you cope with the lack of focus that comes from ordinary law school stress. [Read more…] about Feeling Fidgety? Use Different Tools to Focus
Stop. Breathe. Are you still holding yourself to perfectionistic standards? We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. The world has changed, and we have to change too. Law students are no exception. Your priority right now must be adjusting, keeping your sanity, and surviving. This load is doubled if you are a law student with kids. You are trying to process massive changes while also maintaining some normalcy. [Read more…] about Law School Parenting in the time of Covid-19
The federal judicial clerkship hiring path is mysterious for most law students. If you’re lucky, your school has an office dedicated to helping you find a post-law school clerkship, but if that is not an option, you may feel unmoored in your search. Let’s talk a bit about applying for a clerkship as a law student with a disability. [Read more…] about Can I Clerk with a Disability? (Short answer: YES)
Law school time defies logic. The first semester can be both a whirlwind and a total slog. Ideally, you have been briefing and outlining to prepare for final exams, but if you are a student with a disability, there is something else that you need to address before finals approach: exam accommodations. Your first-year grades can have an outsized impact on your job and clerkship search, so getting yourself in the right position to succeed on your exams is critical.
The best time to apply for accommodations is the summer before 1L begins, but if you find yourself in the middle of your first semester (or even later!), don’t panic. You would not be the first law student to realize that you need exam accommodations later into the school year, and you’re not even likely to be the only one in this boat this year.
Exam accommodations can range from extended time on all of your exams to a scribe to makeup tests for an unanticipated illness or sick family member. Different disabilities require different accommodations, but for the purposes of this post, we will focus primarily on requests for extended time.
Casebooks are important for more than building up your biceps. Though they are cumbersome, you will need them for every class your first year, and for most classes the final two years. Everyone knows how expensive law school is – students routinely take on six figures of debt just for the three years of tuition alone.
The sticker shock does not stop once school starts. There will be quite a bit to purchase before classes start, including your casebooks. The weeks before 1L classes begin, you will either get access to a book list or all of your class syllabi. Your default reaction may be to place an order with the campus bookstore. This is easy. You hand over hundreds of dollars (if I had gone the bookstore route my first semester, I would have paid north of $500), show up before classes start, and haul the books home. Here’s some good news: You don’t have to do this.
You made it through your first year! If you are like most law students, your mind has turned toward looking for a post 2L summer job. The job search is complicated for many students, but for students with disabilities, the process can sometimes feel extra overwhelming. In 2011, the American Bar Association reported that 6.87% of its members identified themselves as having a disability. Many lawyers before you have confronted the issue of how and when to disclose their disabilities in professional settings.
Because each person with a disability has unique circumstances, the answer of how and when to disclose will vary. There are many potential upsides to disclosure, but concerns about the downsides are normal.