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Beginning the last semester of law school….. – Thoughts from 3L Amira Khan

January 11th, 2013 No comments

As classes start again, I asked our work study, Amira Khan, to share her thoughts about her final semester at Widener Law.  Here’s a glimpse in the life of a 3L!

 

It seems like I have been waiting for three years to finally get to this point… I am FINALLY in my LAST semester of law school! As I finished off all my prerequisite courses last semester, I am left with a pretty light schedule, only taking 10 credits and switching from regular to extended division.

The drive to school Wednesday morning felt surreal. I couldn’t believe this was my final first day of school. The past two and half years seemed like a blur. I vividly remember my first day of law school back in 2010. I was a scared, nervous 1L and did not have any idea what to expect. Looking back, it is amazing how quickly I acclimated to law school. I became accustom to the routine of going to class, doing the assigned reading, and praying that I was not going to be called on that day in class. One thing that I never got used to, however, was the Socratic method. I spent most semesters living in fear each day, keeping my head down and avoiding eye contact with the professor in hopes that I could dodge the bullet. I found that when I got called on early in the semester, I got it over with and it was not actually as bad as I had made it seem in my head. I often felt relieved to get it over with.  But in those classes where I had not yet been called on yet, it was painful waiting each class, anticipating that today could in fact be “my day”. However, by my third year of law school, I had surprisingly gotten used to the Socratic method. It did ensure that I was prepared for class each day, and after being in classes with the same students for three years I no longer feared getting inevitability of getting called on.

People often ask me if I knew back then what I know now, would I do it all over again? My answer is always yes. My experience here at Widener has been great. The staff and faculty are eager to help and the professors always respond to my frequent emails during the reading period before finals. The people are friendly and there are so many networking events and student organizations to get involved with. While law school in itself is tough, Widener Law is a wonderful place to attend, as there are small classes and several job opportunities in the legal community in Wilmington as well as Philadelphia. Widener Law also offers a bar preparation and strategies course that I am currently taking to prepare for the Bar exam. Overall, Widener Law is a great place to attend law school as the faculty and administration are helpful and friendly and the school does its very best to prepare students to take the Bar exam and to become skilled attorneys.

Thanks for sharing your experience, Amira!  Happy last semester to you.  Do you have questions for Amira?  Email asdelpuerto@widener.edu, call 302-477-2703 or post a comment below!  She’ll respond to you directly.

 

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What to Do During Your Law School Visit

August 17th, 2012 No comments

As we start a new school year, some of you may be scheduling campus visits as you apply.  Here’s a few suggestions to make the most out of a visit.

  • Do your homework first

I understand that some people prefer talking to someone rather than doing research.  But you give off a much better impression toAdmissions representatives if you visit a law school knowing the basics.  Research is a major aspect of law school after all, show that you are already savvy with it.  Take a look at Widener Law’s website before you stop by.  All of our application requirements and procedures are listed there.  Create an account through our portal and see what the process looks like.  Also, visit lsac.org for information about the LSAT and creating a Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report.  These are the basic application procedures.

  •  You interview us, not the other way around

Widener Law does not interview applicants so do not consider a visit as an interview for Admission.  No, a campus visit will not sway the Committee’s decision.  We will gladly help improve your application but any requests for reconsideration or clarification should be submitted in writing (email or letter).

On the other hand, this is your opportunity to gauge whether Widener Law is a good fit for you.  Make a list of questions that you feel are important and ask them during your visit.  If anything is unclear, ask again!  We are here to give you a full picture of our programs and atmosphere.   About.com has a good list of questions to ask, but ask anything you want!  If your tour guide can’t answer a questions, then someone else probably can.  Feel free to request another contact for further information.

  •  When should you visit?

Widener Law welcomes visitors any time of the year.  But I usually suggest waiting until you receive a decision.  I recommend applying to a wide variety of law schools (if you can afford it).  After receiving piles of acceptances (hopefully), narrow down your most likely choices.  Then visit those schools.

  • Meet students, faculty, staff, etc.

Visit a class, request to meet a student, stop by our cafeteria (Crown Court) and stroll through the library on your own.  Make sure to meet as many people as you can to get an accurate picture of student life.  We regularly schedule class visits and have an active Student Ambassador group to answer your questions.  US News offers a great suggestion:

“During your visit, try not to let the awe-inspiring (or underwhelming) facilities distract you; stay focused on what really matters. While a grandiose library may be impressive, pay closer attention to how happy and collaborative the students are and how involved they are in the school and in extracurricular activities. Is there a sense of community, both within the law school and within the broader university?”

  • Don’t rush to judgement

Just as when you visited colleges (if you didn’t then, you should visit law schools now), don’t rush to judgement.  I was highly disillusioned with my college visit.  It was a dreary, rainy day.  The campus was enormous and overwhelming.  The food was barely edible.  The location was not exactly “happening”.  And I had trouble really seeing myself there.  Despite the visit, they had great programs and a good price so I chose that school anyway.  I had some of the best years of my life there and I would choose that school again – I’m glad I didn’t rush to judgement!  Sometimes visits don’t give an accurate picture of three or four years worth of education.  Weigh your options.  We all have bad days, classes are not always lively and interesting, and rainy days happen.  Remember what’s important and take visits into account along with the bigger picture.

  • Now you’re ready to stop by!  

I hope you can all take a look at both the Harrisburg and Delaware campuses.  They both offer more than just a building, it’s an entire community.  For the full experience, call 717-541-3903 to visit the Harrisburg campus or 302-477-2100 to visit the Delaware campus or email lawadmissions@widener.edu.  Further details are available on our website.

What do you think?  What additional advice can you offer?  Comment below!

Meet Jason Ploppert – Rising 3L

April 27th, 2012 No comments

Jason Ploppert, Widener Law Student

My name is Jason Ploppert, and I am going into my third year of law school at Widener.  I am Penn State alumnus, where I majored in Crime, Law, and Justice.  Since coming to Widener I have become an active member of the Moe Levine Trial Advocacy Honors Society and the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law.

As an incoming 1L my biggest fear was the immense amount of reading, and the inherent competitive nature of law school.  Your first year in law school is unlike any other experience you have had in your life.  The pressure you face your first year is palpable, however, the professors and students at Widener make first year a much less harrowing task.  Professors and other students are more than willing to lend a helping hand, and unlike other schools there is less of the typical “me-first” mentality.  In my first year I had some of the best teachers I have had in my entire life.  My civil procedure professor, Patrick Johnston, was able to take a subject that many consider the hardest in law school and make it much less convoluted, while adding in a great deal of humor.  Another personal favorite of mine, Leslie Johnson, makes students feel so comfortable by being so approachable and teaches in a way that could make the most complex subject seem like third grade math.

At the end of the day law school is what you make out of it, in my two years here I have probably learned more than I did in the other 23 years of my life combined.  If you come here willing to put in the work, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.

Thanks for your thoughts Jason!  Learn more about him on our Student Ambassadors Page.

Welcome to our Student Blogs- Meet Our Former Bloggers!

September 1st, 2011 Comments off

Meet Our Former Bloggers!
{tab=Tom} Tom TrettleTom: My name is Tom Trettel. I am a regular division (full time), second year (2L) student at the Delaware campus. My plan at this point is to graduate in May 2013, then work as an associate for a few years before opening my own “small-town” practice in Delaware. Being a few years older than most students, I had two careers before law. I counseled teenagers at an in-patient psychiatric hospital and then moved on to running a small retail business. After enjoying that for many years, I decided that it was about time to get my doctorate, so here I am. For me, it was a great decision. Follow my posts!

{tab=Jonathan} JonathanSuzukiBlogger400xp-300x288Jonathan: My name is Jonathan Suzuki and I was born in Tokyo, Japan. Since the summer I graduated high school, I’ve been in and around the music industry, and my first foray was translating for major label bands performing at the Fuji Rock Festivals. Because I got a taste for being around musicians, I pursued an undergraduate degree in Music Technology (sound engineering). I found a job at a music publisher after I quickly realized that I wasn’t equipped with the requisite patience to be at the bottom of the studio totem pole. While working for the publisher, I was exposed to onerous songwriter agreements, publishing agreements, and international royalty-collection agreements but in all honesty, I didn’t understand most of it. Not understanding led me to endeavor in law school. Read more on Jonathan’s Blog Posts!

{tab=Chelsey} ChelseyCrockerBlogger400px-300x279Chelsey: “I am currently taking Torts, Criminal Law, Property, Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Legal Methods. To assist you in your understanding of the life of a law student, I intend to blog about my experiences in and outside the classroom at Widener, so you can get a real feel for what it is that we do as students of law. My hope is that as you choose where best fits you for law school, that this may be something that could assist you in that decision. If I could answer any specific questions for you, please don’t hesitate to email me at cdcrocker@mail.widener.edu. Best of luck in the process!” Read more from  Chelsey’s Blog.

{tab=Jana & Jennifer}
Jana DiCosmo and Jennifer Perez are students on the Delaware campus of Widener Law. Jana is an Extended Division student while Jennifer is enjoying her experiences as a First year law student. Click on the slides below to meet Jana and Jennifer! {slide= Meet Jana} Jana & Jennifer’s Blog:

leftSpiffJanaJenAdmissions185pxJana DiCosmo, is a second-year law student in the Extended Division day program. Before joining the Widener Law community, she attended the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. She majored in Political Science, focusing on civil rights law classes and statistical analysis in social science research.

Feel free to email any questions about the first year, or the transition from the first to second year: jrdicosmo@mail.widener.edu. She looks forward to sharing her experiences with you! Read More from Jana

{/slide} {slide=Meet Jennifer} MEET JENNIFER: Jennifer writes that her life experiences and cultural background are greatly responsible for her professional and personal passion for United States Immigration Law. As a child of Latino immigrants living in Camden, New Jersey, the struggles that immigrants in her community overcame were just part of life. As she grew older and looked at her surroundings, Jennifer realized that she could make positive change. For years, Jennifer has relied on the prospect of “giving back” to my community by serving its immigrant population. Thus, from a very young age, Jennnifer has strived to join the ranks of lawyers and judges who also believe that character is forged by helping others. Read more from Jennifer
{/slide}
{tab=Kathleen & Meghan} Kathleen and Meghan are both   First year regular division law students on the Delaware campus. They share what it’s really like to be a first year at Widener Law! Click on the slides below to meet Kathleen and Meghan!
{slide= Meet Kathleen}
KathleenHi! My name is Kathleen Hubbert and I am a first-year law student in the Regular Division. Prior to arriving at Widener, I attended Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA (Go Dips!). There, I majored in Sociology and minored in English. I am from Blue Bell, PA (outside of Philadelphia), but I live on campus in one of the dorms.
I was originally drawn to Widener because of the professor’s reputations, and of the campus’ proximity to both Philadelphia and downtown Wilmington. Now that I’ve been on campus for some time, I know for certain that I made the right decision by coming to Widener.
Through this blog, I hope you’ll be able to get a feel for law school life, and you will get a feel for what life at Widener is like. If I can help you in any way possible, please don’t hesitate to email me at kmhubbert@mail.widener.edu with any questions.
{/slide} {slide= Meet Meghan}
MeghanHello everyone, my name is Meghan Harp. I’m currently a 1L regular division student at the Widener University School of Law and loving it! I’m also a recent graduate from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey where I majored in Political Science. I became interested in the study of law while in my junior year of undergrad after taking a course on civil liberties. I was particularly drawn to Widener Law for its friendly and welcoming environment. In particular, I was interested in their nationally recognized Health Law Certificate Program. Follow along in my blog as I experience what it’s truly like to be a first year law student!
Thanks for reading!
{/slide}

{/tabs}
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As the semester comes to a close…

April 7th, 2011 No comments

As the days left in this semester start to dwindle, student’s stress levels have started to rise, and time seems to move substantially faster than it did in January.  The 1Ls have an appellate brief due next week (see Meghan’s previous post for more information), which also includes oral arguments, and I must say that I am actually looking forward to the arguments.  I feel as though my Legal Methods II professor has prepared me remarkably well for the situation in which I will find myself, and I am hoping that the comments from the “judges” (Widener Law alumni) will help me to improve my speaking skills for future competitions.  Although a majority of 1Ls are stressed beyond belief regarding the briefs, there seems to be a general excitement among my classmates for the oral arguments.  I hope that they all turn out as well as our professors say they will.

This semester has progressed more quickly than I anticipated, even though people kept telling me how fast the semesters go.  I can’t believe that it is already April, and that finals are just around the corner.  Hopefully, now that I have one set of finals under my belt, these upcoming tests will not be as stressful, especially because I have a better idea of how teachers are testing us.  Regardless, I am looking forward to the summer, during which I will work for a local law firm and also study abroad through Widener’s study abroad program (I’m going to Switzerland and Italy!).

Best of luck in the upcoming weeks to all of my classmates, and to the rest of the Widener community, and I am looking forward to writing about my study abroad experiences this summer!

A Much Needed Spring Break…

March 12th, 2011 No comments

Hey There!

After a week of some much needed sunshine and rest I’m ready to hit the ground running, literally! Unfortunately, spring break went all too fast as all breaks in law school seem to do. I was able to escape the cold DE weather and retreat to Florida. Unlike my previous spring breaks, I made sure to pack my carry-on luggage with casebooks and supplements. However, the only book I cracked open was one called “Getting to Maybe” by Fischl and Paul. It was recommended to me by many so I’m passing it along to you…but I recommend you read it prior to entering law school.

Now, with just two days left of spring break I find myself preparing for the busy weeks ahead of me. As Kathleen mentioned, our schedules increased by one class. I know…it doesn’t sound like much but it has really taken a toll. There seems to be alot less “me” time and much more reading. It took some adjusting to get used to but it’s really not all that bad, you simply need good time management skills. I’m also learning that I am much more comfortable here at Widener as a second semester 1L. Your first semester you truly feel like a guppy in an ocean! However, this semester I find myself feeling like an old pro…well not quite, but things seem to come a little easier.

On my agenda for the next few weeks is the ususal outlining and research/writing for my appellate brief. I’m actually excited to be working on this brief because it is your first taste of advocacy. Legal Methods II will conclude with oral arguments which allow you to put your advocacy skills into play!

I’ll keep you posted!

Second Semester…so far.

January 23rd, 2011 No comments

Hello, everyone!

So now that break is officially over, it’s time to get back into work mode and crack down on my studies.  Grades came out a little bit over a week ago, so I am able to breathe a little easier now.  Meghan covered the general atmosphere of school around finals, so I’m not going to repeat what she said, but if you haven’t read her post, please do; she offers readers some great insights into life during finals.

Let me start off by saying that second semester is…different.  I have a better grasp on the workload, which is making life easier, but I also have one additional class compared to last semester, so time management is at issue right now. It has been hard trying to adjust to studying as opposed to relaxing (which is all I did over break).

Side note: if it’s possible, take at least one week during the winter break and do absolutely nothing.  Trust me.  As someone who has worked since she was 16, I thought it was going to be hard for me to do nothing while off from school; I was incorrect.  My brother (who is a sophomore at the University of Dayton in Ohio), and I literally sat on the couch for a week like bums, and I enjoyed every second of it.  I also worked at the law firm where I have worked for the past two years, just to balance out my laziness with some form of productivity.

Back to the present:  All of my classes (fortunately) start at 10am each day, so I have one more hour to sleep in as compared to first semester (which means one more hour of work time at night!).  The girls on my hall and I have continued to be good about studying together and helping each other get through this semester, which has helped to make the transition easier.  My classes (Contracts, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Property II, and Legal Methods II) are all interesting thus far, and I’m looking forward to seeing what this semester holds in store for me.  I’ll try to be better at keeping you all updated with any interesting observations, so I hope you continue to follow the blog!  Have a safe January (hopefully there will be more snow in the near future!), and please feel free to comment with any questions!

Winter Break

January 7th, 2011 No comments

Hey All!

Sorry it has been so long since my last blog! November was quite overwhelming and left me with little time for anything but school work. But no worries, a few weeks of some much needed rest and relaxation has left me feeling renewed and ready for “round two.”

I’m sure you’re wondering how finals went…well let’s just say I survived ha! Actually it wasn’t all that bad. There were definite good days and bad days, but that was to be expected. In the beginning I found myself to be driven by my nerves for the unexpected and by the end I was working of straight adrenaline and excitement for the holidays and winter break. For me, it was the middle exam that was the toughest because I knew there was still an up-hill climb ahead of me. The last 2 to 3 weeks of my semester were spent alternating between studying in the library, Barnes and Noble, on-campus study lounges and my dorm. You see, the finals crunch brings on this sense of cabin fever and leaves you in some-what of a “study hop” in order to keep both your scenery new and your sanity. However, the best piece of advice I can give, after surviving my first semester of finals, is to remember that everyone is in the exact same boat as you. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed and as if YOU are the only one struggling but you must keep in my that there are a couple hundred 1Ls feeling the very same way.

Classes will begin in just a few short days and I’m actually looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. As I studied for finals, I found that I could have definitely made things easier on myself if I had approached things differently. So in a way, I’m looking forward to putting my improved techniques into play and seeing what results come my way!

I’ll be sure to update everyone on my first week of classes, but until then I’m going to enjoy my last few days of winter break!

“Lawyers, I suppose, were children once”

January 5th, 2011 No comments

My first semester as a 2L at Widener Law was a constant reminder that law school will end and, one day, I will be a practicing attorney. Every time a 1L asked me for advice, I felt one step closer to graduation. Every time I signed up for a competition that I was now eligible to participate in, my gut reminded me that, soon enough, I would be taking the bar. It’s surreal! The most important question I asked myself this semester was this: Jennifer, what type of attorney do you want to be and how do you make that happen?

As my classmates (sorry, “colleagues”) mature into seasoned law students, I am inadvertently beginning to imagine what they will be like as attorneys. That’s when I begin to wonder what type of reputation I am building for myself at Widener Law. Am I prepared for class? When I develop an opinion, am I mechanically applying the law without regard to public policy or ethical concerns? Am I always late? Will the activities I am partaking in really help my low-income clients in the future?

This moment, right now, will be the first (of many) defining moments. Not my first job. Not my first case. Not my first brief. Law school. For that reason, I have boldly calculated my movements in law school, to mold myself into the lawyer I want to be. For instance, I am interested in constitutional law and civil rights. Attorneys in this field appeal, appeal, appeal!  I’m confident that Moot Court Honor Society will train me to be an excellent appellate attorney. Also, I was “once” told that I could be aggressive in adversarial settings. Alternative Dispute Resolution has taught me that, in most settings, you can attract more bees with honey than with vinegar. Last but not least, my faith was a catalyst for my pursuit of a career in public interest law. Christian Legal Society has surely been supportive of this.

In the words of Charles Lamb, “Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” Believe it or not, lawyers aren’t born lawyers! Our first words aren’t “reasonably prudent person.” We all start somewhere and have an opportunity to mold ourselves into the lawyers we want to be. By graduation, all of us will have experienced law school, but will have taken away different lessons. What will you choose to take away?

Jennifer R. Perez

Tips for 2011

December 30th, 2010 1 comment

After another semester of rigorous law school coursework, I thought I would share some insights for you future law school stars. 

1.  Start studying for exams the first week of school.
It may sound outrageous, but the most successful law students are the ones who take copious notes and begin outlining as early as possible… even during the first week of classes.  Law school is unlike any other academic endeavor you have encountered thus far.  Cram sessions in college just plain do not work here.  Start studying early!

2.  Get outlines from 2Ls, 3Ls, and 4Ls.
Law school is hard enough.  Do not reinvent the wheel.  Get outlines from upperclassmen who have taken your professors.  These outlines are NOT a substitute for creating your own, but they are a good way for you to make sure you’re on the right track. 

3.  Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
Sleep is your secret weapon.  To do well in law school, you must make long-term memories of what you learn.  Research consistently shows that the only way what you study can transfer from short-term memory to long-term memory is through adequate sleep.  

4.  Maintain a regular workout schedule.
If you work out already, keep up your routine.  If you don’t work out regularly, start!  You will be sitting for hours upon hours doing your work.  Regular exercise helps battle the bulge you will likely face from your new sedentary lifestyle.  Besides, it’s a great way to reduce stress.

5.  Eat healthy.
This should be self-explanatory.  Your brain needs fuel to function at maximum capacity.  Avoid the temptation to eat junk food.  

Good habits will make law school much more doable.  These tips worked for me, and I hope they work for you, too.  Best of luck to each of you in the New Year!