Managing Finals

Image credit: topgold via Flickr, Creative Commons

Image credit: topgold via Flickr, Creative Commons

“Finals are here! Hooray!” said absolutely no one.  Exams stand as one of the defining moments in every law student’s academic career.  Everyone remembers them.  Nobody likes them.  I mean, what’s to like?  Three hours of cumulative hypothetical essay can shake even the strongest constitution.  Many students ride a two-week merry-go-round of stress, unhealthy eating, and sleeplessness that can negatively affect them for a considerable amount of time.

However, these mal-affects are not inevitable.  Here are a few things I believe every student should do, or at least keep in mind, to help manage exams.

  1.  Don’t tie your self-worth to grades.  Yes, grades are important, but they are not everything.  Some people are good exam takers and some are not. At the end of the summer, look at your finals grades along with what skills you learned at your job.  Use this cumulative information, instead of just your grades, to self-evaluate.  If you focus on what you’re learning and make conscious attempts to gradually become a well-prepared lawyer, you’ll leave law school better off than your counterparts who crammed their way to a B+ instead of your B.
  2.  Don’t overdo it.  Law school is a self-perpetuating circle of misinformation.  People who pull all-nighters love to talk about how much time they spent in the library, or how much sleep they lost.  This is completely unnecessary.  Study the way that works for you.  Just because someone else is being ridiculous, and loud about it, doesn’t mean it’s the normal or most effective way.
  3.  Learn from your mistakes.  Next semester, figure out what went poorly for you last time. If you were still compiling information at the last minute, next semester start outlining earlier.  If you knew all the relevant law in your exam but faltered in your exam writing, make sure to do more practice exams.  The bottom line is that law professors don’t care if you can regurgitate everything they said in class.  Unlike undergrad recall exams, your grades will depend more on your analysis and not your memorization.
  4.  Finally, keep things in perspective.  In the law school bubble, everything seems like a huge deal.  In five years, you’ll look back on all the self-inflicted stress and punishment and chuckle at your younger self.

Good Luck!

Carrel Keys Due by May 8th

SONY DSCStudents, please remember to turn in carrel keys by May 8, 2015.  Deposits will be forfeited if keys are not turned in on time.  Please make sure that you clean out your carrels by May 8th as well; any items left in carrels after May 8th will be discarded.

If you are going to be around this summer and want to retain your carrel over the summer, stop by the Circ Desk and fill out a summer extension form!

Getting to Know Your Law Library: Megan Brown

Megan and her awesome feline friend, Ziggy

Megan and her awesome feline friend, Ziggy


One of the most public faces in the law library is Megan Brown’s.  Not only does she help fulfill all of your ILL requests, but she (wo)mans the Circulation Desk to help you with anything you need from!  We asked Megan a few questions to get to know her a little better.


1.  We’re librarians, so the obvious first question:  demonsWhat’s your mobydickfavorite book?
Just one?  How about two because they’re so different and I’m indecisive.  Demons, by Dostoevsky & Moby-Dick, by Melville.

2.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Astronomer

3.  What profession would you not like to do?  Eh, corporate banking?


4.  What’s your favorite form of exercise/outdoor activity?  Commuting by bicycle and running.

5.  If you could go on a road trip with any person (living or dead), whom would you choose?  Josh Smith

6.  If you could visit any place in the world for a two-week vacation for free, where would you go?  Algiers… Or maybe a secluded oceanfront spot on Nantucket.


7.  When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?  Detach from technology.

Charleston_Peninsular_Charleston_Edmunds_Oast_Andy_Henderson_Jayce_McConnell_The_Red_Wedding_American_Brewery_Inline_Overlay8.  When was the last time you had an amazing meal and where did you have it?  Last month in Charleston–Edmund’s Oast.

9.  If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?  Cthulhu.  Ph’nglui mglw’nafh. R’lyeh wgah’nagi fhtagn….

10.  What’s your best (legal) research tip?  Google…Just kidding!  Ask one of our lovely law reference librarians for help!


Who Are These People – Nicholas Trott

There are a lot of paintings in the Coleman Karesh Law Library.  Personally, I find this week’s subject, Nicholas Trott,  one of the most interesting.  Trott was an 18th century judge and legal scholar.  He wrote a number of books, most notably an account of the famous pirate Sted Bonnet in Bermuda.

Trott also holds strong connections to South Carolina.  In 1699, he became Attorney General and Naval Officer of South Carolina, the colony.  At one point, he was removed from office and arrested due to his religious views and strong criticism of the new governor, Joseph Blake.  However, he was reinstated and eventually became Chief Justice of the Colonial Assembly of South Carolina.

The painting itself is located on the far wall of the law library conference room.



This Week In Legal News

news icon for blogOn Tuesday, a Texas county court judge was indicted on charges of illegal gun sales.

On Wednesday, the Obama administration spoke out in support of banning sexual orientation conversion therapy.

Also on Wednesday, a committee of the California Senate approved a bill that would ban the parents’ personal belief exemption to immunizing school children.



National Library Week!


Did you know that National Library Week is next week?  We’ll be celebrating by posting a trivia question on Facebook on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week!  The prize:  a promo code for a Q&A Study Guide of your choosing, to help you prep for exams!

Keep your eyes posted!


a3ff3fa8fc90bb71272c73e6ba88396b53684b68621418aacbd35707c702f1c7A few years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts threw some unsolicited vitriol towards academia and law professors.  At the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference, Chief Justice Roberts stated  “Pick up a copy of any law review that you see, and the first article is likely to be, you know, the influence of Immanuel Kant on evidentiary approaches in 18th Century Bulgaria, or something, which I’m sure was of great interest to the academic that wrote it, but isn’t of much help to the bar.”

Regardless of your opinion of this statement (I think it unfairly stereotypes academic writing just a little), you might be interested to know that at the time of the comment no such article existed.  No article, let alone the first in every issue, was written about Kant and Bulgarian evidence.   That, of course, is no longer true.  In response to Justice Roberts’ comments, Orin S. Kerr from the George Washington University Law School recently completed an article titled The Influence of Immanuel Kant on Evidentiary Approaches in Eighteenth Century Bulgaria.  And how exactly did Kant influence evidentiary approaches in eighteenth century Bulgaria?  In short, he didn’t.

Emmanuel Kant was born in 1724 and died in 1804.  He lived in Prussia, over 1000 miles north of Bulgaria.  Kant didn’t even become influential in Bulgarian philosophical circles until the second half of the 19th century.  Even then, Kerr writes, there is little to no evidence that Kant influenced evidentiary standards.  Kant’s legal writings focus mostly on legal philosophy, and never even broach the topic of trial procedure.

So, I think there are a few things to learn from this exchange.  1. Chief justice Roberts does not think highly of philosophical legal writings.  2.  Emmanuel Kant did not think highly, or even possibly at all, of trial evidentiary standards.  3. If you are the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, people are going to listen and quite possibly take offense to everything you say. 4. It is probably wise to avoid picking historic, academic, or philosophical fights with people who research and write articles for a living.

In case you are interested in reading the article in question:

10 Things to Do in Columbia in April

With exams looming ever nearer, it’s especially important to take an hour or two now and again to clear your head and escape the law school bubble.  So, we’ve put together this great list of activities happening in April!

1. Get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny and hunt some for some eggs at the Annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Village at Sandhills (April 4, starting at 11am11).

2.  Remember your favorite movies by listening to the South Carolina Philharmonic play their famous tunes during “At the Movies” at the Harbison Theatre.  (April 11 at 7:30pm, $28).

3.  Are you an opera fanatic?  Check out USC’s Evening of One Acts.  (April 11 at 7:30pm and Sunday, April 12 at 3:00pm, FREE!).

Image result for film4.  Check out the Indie Grits Film Festival, the Southeast’s premier film and culture festival.  Held April 15-19, a five day pass is $100, but the opening night party on Wednesday April 15th from 6:00-11:00pm is free in the Columbia Museum Art plaza on Main Street.

5.  Love fashion?  Attend Girls Night Out 2015 to see the latest fashion and accessories from Tibi and enjoy cocktails and food from local favorites.  (April 16, $75, proceeds benefit EdVenture).

6.  One for all, and all for one!  Check out the USC Theatre Program’s production of the Three Musketeers (April 17-25, $12 for students).

7.  Take FIdo to Bark to the Park, a 1.5 mile walk fundraising event that benefits homeless pets in the Midlands.  (April 18, registration is $30, and includes a t-shirt and entry to the after-party and activities following the walk).

8.  Find some tasty international cuisine at the 20th Annual Columbia International Festival‘s International Food Court.  It’s located at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds on April 18-19).  Admission is $5 at the gate.

9.  Join the art gallery crawl for complimentary beverages and hors d’oeuvres at Artista Vista 2015 (April 23 from 5-9pm, free!). 

10.  Celebrate the successful completion of your LRAW exam by doing to see Camelot at the Koger Center.  (April 28-29, ticket prices vary).


Get out there and explore some of what Columbia has to offer!


This Week In Legal News

news icon for blogOn Tuesday, an advocacy group filed a civil rights suit on behalf of deaf and hard-of-hearing inmates in the Michigan prison system on the grounds that their communications needs were not being accommodated by the state and the prison system.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister of Thailand announced an end to the martial law that began after last year’s military coup.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court held that lifetime GPS monitoring of a North Carolina sex offender constituted a search the triggers Fourth Amendment rights.  It is now up to the defendant to prove on remand that the search is unreasonable.

Indiana legislators have proposed an amendment to their religious freedom bill to counter perceptions that the bill allows discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  Arkansas has amended its religious freedom bill to mirror the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Career Resources in Bloomberg Law

All law students know the stress of prepping for exams, often while multitasking to find a summer job.  While you’re all aware of the many exam prep resources available in or through the library (study aids, flash cards, CALI lessons!), did you know that your Bloomberg account can help you prepare to find and succeed at your summer job?

Bloomberg’s Career Resources Center has information on how to find connections at the places you want to interview, how to rock your interview, and how to be an awesome summer associate.

To find the Career Resources Center, look under the Law School Success heading, just under the Getting Started section on your Bloomberg homepage, and select the Career Resources link.


Inside the Career Resources Center, you will find sections in Interview Preparation Help, Networking Tips, Job Search Tips on Resumes & Cover Letters, and Summer Associate & Internship Success Tips.  There are also tools to help you research judges, attorneys, and firms to find out more about the people and places with whom you want to interview.  Of particular value is the People Search, which allows you to search for alumni from U.S.C.

For example, you could do a search of people who went U.S.C. who are now judges.


The list of results will bring up a list of judges who are U.S.C. School of Law Alumni.  Having a connection like this can help you immensely in your job search.  Of course, you can also run this search using your undergraduate Alma mater or any other number of factors.

Many of the articles on job searches, networking, and succeeding as a summer associate are written by hiring managers at law firms, who know first hand what makes an interviewee or a summer clerk stand out in a good way–or a bad way.

Good luck with your job hunt and your summer work experiences–you got this!