By Claire Crowley • January 06, 2017•Writers in Residence
It’s that time of the year again - that time of the year when we make resolutions to transform ourselves for the better over the next twelve months. While New Year’s resolutions are a fun and traditional part of ringing in the New Year, many resolutions focus on outward appearances such as dieting, losing weight and getting in better shape. It’s easy to lose focus and motivation when trying to fulfill these types of resolutions, especially as the holiday season is slowly replaced with the drudgery of our daily routines. Unfulfilled resolutions can lead to feelings of frustration and failure. I believe it’s better to set realistic resolutions for yourself and that’s why, whether you’re a prospective law student or practicing attorney, resolve to make 2017 the year of the adventure.
If you’re a practicing attorney consider fulfilling your adventure resolution by attending a legal conference. There are legal conferences on just about every topic imaginable with many conferences offering the benefits of CLE credits and scholarships to offset the costs of travel and lodging. Last year I was lucky enough to attended the National Consumer Law Center Conference in California. It was my first time attending a legal conference and my first visit to Southern California. The conference itself was a great experience with plenty of networking opportunities, activities and helpful seminars. While I enjoyed meeting attorneys from different practice areas from across the country, I was able to benefit from some leisure time as well. A tour of celebrity homes and hotspots in Hollywood lead to an idea for a post for my law blog, Legal Travels.
If you’re a law student, make 2017 the year of the adventure by enrolling in a study abroad program or an exchange program with another school. If studying abroad for a full semester seems too long, many law schools offer study abroad programs that are less of a time commitment at one week to one month long. As a law student I participated in a month-long study abroad program in Ireland, which was one of the most valuable experiences of my life. I was able to learn about international law and I attended classes with law students from Europe, Australia and other schools in the United States. Many law schools also offer exchange programs with other law schools. Exchange programs allow you to spend a semester attending a different school to study an area of law outside of your current school’s offerings. Both study abroad and exchange programs are great ways to explore the world while enhancing your education and your law school experience.
If you’d prefer to stay closer to home, volunteering your legal skills is another way to make 2017 the year of the adventure. Step outside of your comfort zone by volunteering at a legal clinic or for a legal hotline or by taking on a pro bono case. Volunteering is an excellent way to learn a new area of law while improving the lives of those in need - just because you’re staying close to home doesn’t mean that you can’t have an adventurous year.
I hope these ideas are a helpful start to make 2017 an exciting and adventurous year. Cheers to the New Year and new adventures!