Written by Brett McKay
I started blogging at the Frugal Law Student during my first year of law school. When I started it, I just thought it would be a fun way to share with my friends and family the ways I’m saving money in law school.
But my foray into blogging has actually helped advance my legal career. That’s why I think every law student should have a blog. Here are two specific ways a blog can help you.
1. It’s a great job marketing tool. A blog is the ultimate marketing tool for law stuents. When you go into a job interview, employers are looking for what distinguishes you from the dozens of other applicants they’re interviewing. On paper, most applicants look the same, especially when you apply for large firms. You and everyone else will be in the top of your class, you’ll all be on law review, and you’ll all be active in extracurricular activities.
One of the questions you’re guaranteed to get during the interview is “What do you do when you’re not doing law school?” You could give a vanilla answer that everyone gives like “I like to exercise” or “I like to read.” Or you could give an answer like this: “I author a blog that focuses on international environmental law; I’ve done guest contributions to the blogs of several environmental law scholars; and I’ve managed to attract a large enough following that I have commercial sponsorships for my blog.” Which answer do you think will stick in your interviewer’s mind?
The second answer packs in a lot more information than the first one. By blogging, you tell your interviewer that 1) you’re serious about environmental law; 2) you’ve networked with other attorneys and legal scholars in that field; 3) you know how to leverage technology; and 4) you know how to market yourself.
When you leave, the person who interviewed you is going to check your site out. They’re going to be thinking about you after the interview, which is good. By checking your blog out, they can get a better idea of who you are because your personality will show through your writing. They’ll probably send a link to the other attorneys in the firm.
All things being equal, who do you think is going to get an offer for a summer job? The person who just said they like to read or the person who said they blogged? I think the answer is obvious.
A blog can be a successful marketing tool even if you don’t write about law related stuff. Find something you’re passionate about and start writing. If you like to run, (one of those vanilla answers) start a blog and track your progress and share your tips on running. Then when you’re asked what you like to do outside of law school you can say, “I enjoy running and I write a blog offering tips on how runners can improve.” Your interviewer will be impressed with your tech saviness. When they check your site out, they’ll get a better idea of who you are.
Of course the effectiveness of a blog as a marketing tool depends on a few factors. First, while you can be less formal on a blog, remember that potential employers might be reading it. So don’t use vulgar language, don’t post pictures of you after a Thursday night partying, and don’t discuss your sex life. Be personal, but stay professional.
Second, edit! Your blog is basically another resume for employers to use to determine whether to hire you or not. If your blog posts are full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, it reflects poorly on you.
2. It improves your writing. Blogging has definitely helped my legal writing. When you write for a blog, your audience consists of internet users who have the attention span of a gnat. You have to capture their attention and maintain it through good solid writing. When you write on a blog, you want to use short sentences and paragraphs; you want to tell a story that draws people in; and you want organize your writing with headings that make it easier for the reader follow.
Do these tips sound familiar? It’s the exact same thing you’re supposed to do in legal writing! By blogging consistently, you can improve your legal writing immensely.
Also, knowing that hundreds or even thousands of people may be reading your posts forces you to edit it carefully. Producing content that’s free of mistakes shows you respect your reader. When you prepare a trial brief or a research memo, you’ll want to show that same respect. Blogging can help you get in the habit of editing more carefully.
Written by Tony Marrone
Welcome to the February 25, 2008 edition of twenty something finances hosted by The Frugal Law Student. There were many great submissions for this edition, and I’d just like to thank all of the authors for their submissions.
Steve Faber presents – Credit Score Ranges – Getting to the Next One Up Could Pay Off Big Time posted at Debt Free.
Sagar Satapathy presents How To: Manipulate Del.icio.us to Drive Visitors and Dollars to Your Site, 20 Tips and Tricks posted at Smart Shopper: Personal Finance Advisor.
Theories of Frugaltivity
Personal Finance Claims presents How You Might Soon End Up With A Blocked Credit Card posted at Personal Finance Claims.
The Investor presents The secret to investing when stock markets are falling posted at Monevator.com.
FIRE Finance presents $25 Signup Bonus from Revolution Money Exchange! posted at FIRE Finance.
Aussie Investor presents How To Start Investing In The Stock Market posted at Stock Market Investing For Beginners.
The Happy Rock presents Free 80 Hour Dual Tuner Series 2 SD Tivo Promotion Through Kidzone posted at The Happy Rock.
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
twenty something finances using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. Be sure to check out the carnival in two weeks, which will be hosted by Her Every Cent Counts.
Written by Brett McKay
Photo by DRB62
Law students not only need supplements for their classes, they need supplements for their health.
Law school is taxing both on your mind and body. A law student can easily put in a 12 hour day of non-stop studying. When I was working on my law review article last semester, I often worked from 7 AM to 10 PM to get it done. If you’re not taking care of your body, all this work and stress can land you in the hospital. (Note: That’s what happened to me last year.) A law student cannot afford to miss a week of classes and studying!
In addition to exercising regularly and eating well, law students should consider taking a few nutritional supplements to help them make it through the law school experience. Vitamin/herbal supplements used in conjunction with exercise and diet can not only keep you from getting sick, they also might help you perform better come exam time.
Here’s a run down of supplements that I’m currently taking to keep me healthy and to boost my brain power:
- Vibrant C. Vibrant C is a drink mix full of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. I start drinking this during cold season in order to boost my immune system. I don’t have time to be sick in law school, so any way I can prevent coming down with something is welcomed.
- Daily Vitamin Supplement. While eating a well balanced diet to get all the vitamins and nutrients you need is ideal, sometimes law students don’t have time to eat healthy. That’s where a daily vitamin supplement can come in. You’ll get all your daily recommended vitamins in one little pill.
- Ginkgo Biloba. Studies have shown that regular consumption of Ginkgo helps improve thinking, learning, and memory. In law school, that’s all you do. Taking Ginkgo won’t turn you into a super genius, but every little thing helps. Studies also show that ginkgo helps ward off depression. This is particularly useful in law school where depression is unfortunately quite common.
- Fish Oil. Fish oil is full of omega 3 fatty acids. Research has shown omega 3 fatty acids have several health benefits. The benefits that law students should be interested in include better brain function and less depression. Omega 3 improves memory, recall, reasoning, and focus; all important skills on law exams. There is some evidence it boosts the immune system as well.
- Yerba mate. Yerba mate is a tea made from a shrub in South America. The benefits of yerba mate are similar to those of green tea. I’ve been able to kick my soda habit by switching to yerba mate. I get the benefits of the energy boost from the natural caffeine, along with health benefits from all the antioxidants. Plus it energizes you without the jittery feeling coffee or energy drinks can give.
- 5 Hour Energy. If this stuff was cheaper, I would take it everyday. It is an energy drink that actually lives up to its claim. It makes you feel energized, focused, and ready to take on the world. All without the jitters or the crash when it wears off. I take one of these shots before all my final exams and they power me through those stressful 3-4 hour periods.
Written by Brett McKay
Photo by Vicki
I know many FLS readers have blogs of their own. I try to check out the sites of those who comment and I’ve been really impressed with all of them that I’ve seen. I’m curious how many of you all have a blog of your own. If you have a blog, please post a link to it in the comments. It doesn’t have to be about personal finance or law school. Even if its about your family or your dog, I’d love to check it out. This is a great opportunity to brag about your blog and spread the word about it.
I’m looking forward to checking out all your sites!
Written by Brett McKay
Wow. January went by fast. Classes started three weeks ago and I think I’m finally back into the swing of things. I’ve got full schedule this semester. I’m taking Evidence, Civil Procedure II, Advanced Torts, Estate Law, and Legal Drafting. Plus I’ll have some law review responsibilities thrown in there.
FLS welcomed new a contributor, Tony Marrone, last month. He’s cranked out some great material for the site. Tony’s also writing at Wise Bread, so make sure to check him out there as well.
I mentioned a few weeks ago about my new project, The Art of Manliness. We’ve had very successful first month. We were fortunate enough to get a post on the Digg front page which brought in TONS of traffic. There’s already 559 subscribers at the site. It took me about year to get that many on FLS. Hopefully it can keep up its momentum.
FLS had 24,592 visitors during January. That’s down from the 26,000 we had in December, but in December FLS was lucky enough to have 10 Ways to Be an Excellent House Guest featured in Lifehacker. That brought in lots of traffic.
RSS subscriptions are up to 894. We peaked at 904 during January. Just one hundred more and we’ll have 1,000. Thank you to all my loyal readers who subscribe and have shared FLS with others.
- 12 Meals That Are Cheap, Easy, and Healthy.
- 180 Money Saving Tips to Turn Your Life Around 180 Degrees.
- Frugal Experiment: Brushing Teeth With Baking Soda.
- Free Groceries (or, A Step in the Right Direction)
- Everything I Need to Know About Personal Finance I Learned From Carlton Banks
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Written by Mrs. FLS
Did you make a New Years Resolution to be fitter in 2008? Are you currently working out 5-6 times a week? Do you want to simplify your workout and save money at the same time?
Working out will keep you healthy and being healthy will save you money in the long term. But it is a big commitment and requires a lot of time and energy. If you are currently working out 5-6 times a week, and especially if you alternate cardio and weightlifting days, I highly recommend switching to a program in which you work out every other day for a longer period of time.
How it works:
Let’s say you currently workout 6 times a week. On MWF, you do 40 minutes of cardio. On TTRS, you do 40 minutes of weightlifting. If you switch to an every other day program, you would do both cardio and weightlifting on MWF for an hour and a half (with stretching) total, and the rest of the days you have off. Do your weightlifting first, and then the cardio, as this burns more fat.
There are several advantages to working out every other day for a longer period of time:
1) It saves you lots of time. Let’s say it take you 15 minutes to get ready for the gym and 10 minutes to drive to the gym. Then it takes you 10 minutes to drive home. If you work out 6 times a week, this means you are spending 3.5 hours every week just getting to the gym! It’s madness to drive 10 minutes to a gym, work out for 30 minutes, and then drive 10 minutes back. By switching to an every other day plan, you can cut this time in half. That could mean an hour and 45 minutes more time a week, or almost 4 full days a year! What would you do with 4 extra days?
2) Save money on gas. See above.
3) Save money on laundry detergent and workout clothes. By working out every other day, you cut your dirty exercise clothes in half. Which means less loads of laundry and less detergent and water costs. Also, depending on how often you do laundry, working out every other day means you only need 1-2 workout outfits. And they’ll last longer because you are washing them fewer times.
4) It keeps you from getting burned out. I love to go to the gym, but even I sometimes get burned out. Going to the gym every other day makes it seem like less of a drag. And on the days you do workout, it motivates you to hit it hard, since you know the next day you get a break.
5) It gives your body a full day of rest. Having your muscles recover is an essential part of building them up.
The only downside of this plan is that getting motivated for your cardio after a tough session of lifting weights is sometimes difficult. But you can push through it. The benefit of extra time and money make it worth the effort.