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The Legal Content Curator: Four Hints for Improving Your Negotiation Skills

Atticus Finch, the lawyer in the well-loved novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, says to his daughter, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." Sometimes, as lawyers, that is our job. We are always expected to advocate for our clients, but sometimes we need to do more than that, and put ourselves in the shoes of the other party to understand where they're coming from. If we want to settle cases, or to negotiate an agreement, or to mediate between…

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The Legal Content Curator: Encouraging Advice from the Women of the Supreme Court

With final exams upon us, it can sometimes be hard to keep sight of the reasons why we're at law school in the first place. What am I doing here? Where will my next career move take me? Will I be able to succeed? Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a New York Times article from October of last year, offers some "Advice for Living." She reminds us of the importance of work-life balance in providing us with "a sense of proportion" that others, focused on one thing alone, will likely not find. [My father-in-law gave me advice] during my gap…

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The Legal Content Curator: How Does Neil Gorsuch Approach Legal Questions?

Neil Gorsuch, the U.S. Supreme Court nominee slated to replace the late Justice Scalia, is no stranger to questions of life and death. His 2009 book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, looks carefully at the historical trajectory of the current movement in the United States for the right to die, and argues "that all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong." Gorsuch, who completed his doctoral degree in philosophy at Oxford, bases his argument on secular moral theory and common law. Much of Gorsuch's way of thinking about…

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The Legal Content Curator: Opening Lines from 7 Successful Harvard Law School Application Essays

          The law school application essay is one of the most daunting tasks a law school applicant faces in the process of getting into law school. How do you begin? How do you encapsulate enough of your life into one sentence, enough to really capture the reader's attention? Is this the right way of expressing your identity as a person?           Published by Harvard's daily newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, 55 Successful Harvard Law School Application Essays offers sample essays and analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of each one. What follows are seven opening lines…

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The Legal Content Curator: Top Five Tips for Effective Legal Writing

          A practicing lawyer, to be successfully persuasive, must write well. Law schools across the United States - and across the world - drill this into their students' heads, and attempt to prepare and train them adequately for a career filled with briefs, memos, and other forms of written communication. Most schools include a required Legal Writing class in the curriculum for first-year students.           Plain English for Lawyers, by Richard C. Wydick, is a solid introduction to the basics of legal writing. The tips Wydick offers in this short guide, however, are invaluable for almost any writer. Reminiscent of The…

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The Legal Content Curator: Bessie Margolin and the Working Woman

          Work is not a new theme for women around the world. With the Industrial Revolution and the wars of the twentieth century, the forms of work available to women may have changed, but the struggles inherent in them have remained the same. In "weaponed woman," Gwendolyn Brooks writes of the working woman and her struggle:   Well, life has been a baffled vehicle And baffling. But she fights, and Has fought, according to her lights and The lenience of her whirling-place.   She fights with semi-folded arms, Her strong bag, and the stiff Frost of…

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The Value of Reflection in the Law

In a 2014 study on how reflection improves performance, a team studied employees at a tech support call center in their first few weeks of a type of training. Dividing the employees up into a reflection group, a sharing group, and a control group, the team found that the employees did much better when they spent the last fifteen minutes of each day writing and reflecting on the lessons they had learned. In addition, the employees that spent an additional five minutes explaining their notes to a fellow trainee did 25 percent better than the control group! We all stand to benefit from more reflection in our legal…

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What is Law School Really Like?

You may be a junior in college, looking into law school applications for next year, or preparing to take the LSAT. Maybe you’re still in high school, and thinking about whether you want to become a lawyer one day. Or maybe you’re a paralegal, and you know exactly the area of law that interests you, and how a J.D. can help you gain the skills you need. Regardless of where you are in your academic or professional career, you may be wondering what the law school experience is actually like. What kinds of classes do you take in your first…

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