As the end of law school is fast approaching, I think it is an appropriate time to pass on some words of advice on how to make the most of your last few weeks as a student. I appreciate that a significant amount of your time will now be spent preparing for final exams, but I have flagged three steps you can take that will make your transition out of student life as smooth as possible.
Build a Network
If you have not realized this already, the relationships you have made with your peers and faculty during law school (and before) are the foundation of your professional network. However, the reality is that after graduation, you will no longer see your peers or faculty on a regular basis. In order to maintain and build on this professional network, you should consider creating a LinkedIn profile. Take the time now to update your LinkedIn profile because you will inevitably forget to add some of your connections as time passes. I have set out below an example of how I was able to leverage LinkedIn during my last year of law school.
As president of the MBA/JD Club at the University of Windsor, I worked closely with the Director of EPICentre Uwindsor, and the Deans of the Faculty of Law and Odette School of Business to launch the first annual MBA/JD Alumni Celebration. Although the Faculty of Law and Odette School of Business had alumni databases, I was able to reach out to many other MBA/JD alumni through LinkedIn. Interestingly, after I started connecting with alumni on LinkedIn, I was able to review their connections and locate other alumni that did not appear in my initial search.
Collect and Organize
Over the past three years of law school, you have collected a significant amount of resources that can assist you after you graduate. Unfortunately, due to the excitement of starting the next chapter in your life, you may misplace or lose some of these resources. You should consider collecting and organizing your textbooks and class summaries before you graduate. Although Harrison Pensa has its own library, as do many other law firms, I have found it useful to refer to my textbooks and class summaries from time to time as a starting point when working on research memorandums.
Pay it Back
In order to pay down your student loans as quickly as possible, it is important to understand the repayment process. If you use the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), you should consider reaching out to your school’s Student Awards and Financial Aid Office (or the equivalent) in order to clarify the repayment process. You should also consider alternative repayment plans by discussing it with your bank. Once you know how to repay your student loans, you should create a spreadsheet with your current expenses, including your student loan repayment, and your future income as an articling student. By accurately reporting your expenses and income, you will be able to determine what your monthly surplus or deficit will be and can adjust your spending accordingly. Take comfort in knowing that there are no more tuition payments!
Although you will be extremely busy over the next few weeks, these tips will help you be more prepared for your transition out of student life.
As the end of law school also triggers the start of studying for the Ontario Bar exams, I suggest that you read my previous post “Three Steps to Passing the Bar” for tips regarding same.