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Student Lawyer’s top posts of 2016 (and then some)


It’s the time of year where blogs and other news outlets like the ABA Journal look back on 2016 and tell you what their greatest hits were. At Student Lawyer, we’re tackling the task in the same fashion – and giving it our own twist.

See, we’ve only been online since the end of November 2015. So “Top Stories of 2015” wasn’t really our thing. So we’re going back to the past 13 months and change of our site’s existence.

And when we did, we realized we had to dig even deeper since our blog includes the archives of Student Lawyer magazine. Many of our most-read stories for the year included content on practical tips for lawyers from the past issues.

So, unlike 2016, some things never go out of style.

Check back tomorrow for the top Student Lawyer posts of 2016. For now, let’s start with …

Top 5 guest posts

Computer Bookshelf

5 fascinating books for lawyers and law students
We kick off our recap with Nashville personal injury attorney Keith Williams and his suggestions for reading material for aspiring attorneys. “I spent almost a month going through all of the books that I have read. I put together a list of books, then deleted anything that I thought would not add value to your legal practice, or your professional life as an attorney,” he wrote. “I also eliminate any book that I thought was simply mediocre. And when I was all done, I had what I believe to be five of the most fascinating books ever written for, or about, lawyers.” His list includes two classic works of fiction – “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Bleak House” – with a contemporary work of fiction and two non-fiction selections.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence

What the election results mean for student loan borrowers
Student loan law expert Adam S. Minsky contributed some great pre-election analysis of the future of Public Service Loan Forgiveness and other issues for student loan borrowers. Following the election of Donald Trump to the nation’s highest office and the continued control of Congress by the Republican Party, Minsky looked into his crystal ball on the future of student loan issues. “Now more than ever, it is time for student loan borrowers to be engaged, to stay on top of what is going on in Washington, and fight like hell for your interests,” Minsky wrote.

Ask the Hiring Attorney: How do I show my bar status on my resume?
We loved that Shauna Bryce shared her knowledge from her How to Get a Legal Job® series and Bryce Legal® Career Advice for Lawyers with our students. She answered the question – “I’ve taken the bar exam, but I haven’t been admitted yet. As I send out resumes to law firms for entry-level attorney positions, how do I show this?” – with a bullet-point guide to how to do just that. And even better, Shauna engaged with one commenter further on the topic while another asked to reprint the article in their law school’s newspaper! It’s great seeing a connection made in realtime.

Top 5 mobile apps for law students
Oh? Canada? University of Toronto Faculty of Law 2L Rebecca Borkowsky shared advice that crosses borders and connects law students to tools that increase their productivity. “While law school is certainly an exercise in discipline,” she wrote, “mobile productivity apps can help ease your pain!”

What’s wrong with plaintiff’s lawyers?
Let’s clear the air – we never said there was anything wrong with them. But as Houston personal injury attorney Ernesto Sigmon stated, “I feel like this ‘greedy plaintiff’s lawyer’ sentiment keeps a lot of law students from choosing this side of the bar.” He went on to bust some myths about plaintiff’s lawyers and why law students should consider this area of law.

Top 5 posts by the Law Student Division

Legal Career QuizTake the Legal Career Quiz
Don’t know what kind of lawyer you’d like to be? We’re here to help. The ABA’s Legal Career Central teamed up with us to launch the Legal Career Quiz – a series of questions designed to give law students more information about the areas and types of law that you’re interested in. The quiz came in as our #1 post of the year. Each question gives you a bit of advice on how to achieve your goals and what that area of law entails.

Pokemon GoCatch them all – Pokemon Go and the law
It started out as an idea for a roundup of where the chase for Pikachu and Co. had led normal, everyday citizens into cemeteries, delivery rooms, the middle of the ocean, and the Westboro Baptist Church. It then allowed Student Lawyer blog editor Adam Music to put the little lightning monster in Abe Lincoln’s lap. A subsequent guest post on the first wave of Pokemon Go lawsuits also wound up in our top 50.

The Uniform Bar Exam is coming to Massachusetts
Six of our top 50 posts of 2016 covered the Uniform Bar Exam, from an op-ed piece by Christopher Jennison on why it should be adopted to one from Kelly Swan Taylor outlining seven potential problems with the UBE. At year’s end, 25 jurisdictions and Washington, D.C. had adopted the UBE as their bar admission test. What will 2017 bring? Illinois is considering adoption – will they be first to announce? Whatever the year brings, we’ll be ready to fill in a few states on the map.

ABA sues over PSLF denials
In December, the ABA sued the Department of Education to honor PSLF benefits after they were retroactively denied to lawyers – including many attorneys who work for the ABA on behalf of other attorneys and law students. “Paying off what can often be substantial student debt while working a public service job is difficult,” said ABA President Linda A. Klein. “The PSLF program promised these dedicated lawyers a chance at financial stability in return for doing public service work. After following the rules, these people had the rug pulled out from under them. We cannot tolerate these actions of the Department of Education.” Check back with us for updates on the suit in 2017.

Student Lawyer guidelines
OK, this would be lower than top 5 if we didn’t lump all the Uniform Bar Exam posts into one. But this came in 33rd, which shows a lot of people helped us this year by sharing their talents in guest posts, which got us onto the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 in our first year. If you want to write for BTB, read on. Then talk to Adam Music about a topic you’d like to cover. This year, we’ll be focusing on Law School 101 – the basics of what students need to know from prelaw to law school to passing the bar to becoming a successful attorney. You’ve got the experience our audience is looking for!

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ABA Law Student Division The Law Student Division empowers law student by providing them with meaningful connections to practicing professionals, job resources, relevant programming, and practical skills competitions. We represent the law student community by advocating for policies that improve legal education, champion diversity, and strengthen public service.