You are invited...

Studying for the bar? Join me this Saturday, see your invitation just below.

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This presentation focuses on the non-black letter law essentials for passing the bar and I will be talking about the importance of the following:

  • practicing self-care,
  • stress management,
  • mindfulness, and
  • organization

as you continue to study hard and prepare yourself for the bar exam.

Together with the ICE Foundation, and, specifically, G.C. Murray we are creating a lively, light, and fun space to discuss the above topics (which also happen to be extremely close to my heart). Practical tips will be shared and I will speak a little about my experience preparing for the Florida bar - yes, all three times - and I am certain it will bring a smile to your face :) 

So I invite you to take a little study break, make yourself a cup of tea or a smoothie (coffee - anything you like!), and tune in!

I look forward to seeing you there. 

All of these pictures were taken directly by me during and throughout my prep experience.

Moving Past Failure And Towards Success On The Bar Exam

The news is still settling - you did not achieve your goal of passing the bar exam.  You might feel mad, angry, sad, disappointed, or anything under the sun that does not feel good. As someone who sat for the bar exam three times, I am quite familiar with the way it feels and what thoughts you might have running through your mind.

I encourage you to let yourself work through your thoughts and feelings and to be kind to yourself. Below are a few practices that can help you move through this time period and towards success on your next attempt.

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1.    Accept the results. Although the result is not what you had hoped for know that you gave it your all.  Nobody prepares for this exam with failure in mind so you should feel comfort in the fact that you worked hard, showed up, and made it to the other side. To even be eligible to sit for the bar exam you have had to work hard. Relish in your achievements up until now and remember – this does not define you and this does not make you any less of a human being or lawyer. 
 

2.    Deep breathes. You might be thinking what can deep breathing do for me and why now? When we take time to mindfully be aware of our breathing by taking five to ten deep breathes, it signals to our internal fight or flight mechanism that we are safe, calm, and results in a calming effect on our body. Deep breathing at this stage will not only help you collect yourself and your thoughts about how to move forward but it will equip you with a great tool you can utilize at any time when you feel overwhelmed or stressed whether it is bar exam related or not. 
 

3.    Become aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Not only in your study habits but in your knowledge of the law. Are you extremely strong in Contracts but do not feel as comfortable in Property? Do you struggle with time management on the exam? Do you need to write more practice essays under timed, test-like conditions? Ask yourself these uncomfortable questions.  Honest self-observation and self-reflection can help you fill in your blanks and be an extremely informative guide moving forward. If you have a professor familiar with your performance and whom you trust, reach out to them. They might be instrumental in giving you those few words of encouragement that you need to strap your boots back on and make your way!
 

4.    Be kind to yourself. I saved the best for last and for good reason. This time period can be exceptionally unsettling and stressful so I propose that you be as kind to yourself as possible.  Of course, this can take shape in many different forms.  Whether it means giving yourself time (unlimited or not) to let the results sink in and decide what to do next, spend more time doing something you really enjoy or even taking a family member or friend to your one of your favorite places or restaurants, these actions are important and signal to yourself that life will go on and that you are taking care of yourself. 

Although at times not passing the bar can feel as if all of your hard work over the years did not pay off, rest assured that you can overcome this challenge if you aspire to and that the result of this exam is not a reflection of your work ethic, persona, or character. May you incorporate what above practices resonate with you into your current life experience and may you keep yourself in good spirits.  

Successfully practicing gratitude and law in 2018

In the New Year, resolutions are made, aspirations are high, and we each have the intent to have the best possible coming year.  What about making gratitude an integral part of your life this year?

 

So. What is gratitude? And how can I incorporate it into the practice of law?

 

Gratitude is giving thanks, feeling and being thankful and appreciative for what you have, where you are, and what is now - the present. Gratitude makes everything you have enough. 

 

Incorporating gratitude in the practice of law can easily be folded into your everyday routine. Consider the following tips and remember, be patient with yourself and take one step at a time.

 

1. Start the day - either mentally or physically - recounting what you are grateful for. You can be grateful for the warm, quiet rest you just had, to the roof over your head and anything in between. If you like to write, get a special journal, and make a list of what things you are grateful for each morning. Make it a morning ritual. If you have a busy morning before you get out the door with kids or walking the dog, consider taking a few seconds once your alarm rings to put in your mind and heart what you are grateful for. 

 

2. Spread your gratitude. Say thank you, open doors for others, and do one kind thing for a colleague or even for a stranger. You never know the difference you might make in someone else's day by just slowing down and being a little kinder than usual.  As a litigator, go out of your way to be extra thoughtful to even your most dreaded and despised opponent. Compliment your adversary on a job well done, forget your ego, and, for a change, be courteous to the other side. As a non-litigator, emphasize the importance of your employees’ work to your practice and let them know you appreciate their contribution to the overall administration of justice.

 

3. Practice present-moment appreciation. Put down your electronics, push back from your desk, lean back in your chair, look up at the ceiling, and bring the moment into your consciousness and awareness. Take a deep breathe and be thankful for your life, its meaning, and your contribution and service to others. By staying in the present, you slow down, and can truly appreciate what you are experiencing - from preparing for a trial, writing a brief to meeting with clients. 

 

 4. Observe your surroundings, especially the natural environment.  What do you hear, smell, sense, feel? As lawyers we spend nearly all of our time inside at a desk immersed in the demands in the tasks before us so it can be difficult to pull away, observe, and even take in fresh air.  If you have just five minutes to pop outside for fresh air and sunlight it will contribute to your feelings of calm and wellbeing.  If you do not have any time during the workday to get outside, try to incorporate a pre-work or even post-work routine that includes spending time outside, observing and, if possible, exercising. 

 

May this be a gentle reminder of the positive contributions that you can each make in the legal profession and, on a larger scale, the world by practicing gratitude. It is never too late to show kindness, be gracious, and start to practice gratitude. May you seamlessly and successfully practice gratitude and law in 2018.