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Zooming Through Law School
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Zooming Through Law School

Author: Rachael Andersen-watts, Chris Meyers, Cat Moon

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Bring us your Zoom-weary law students, your sheltered-in-place future attorneys, and let’s talk about this upside down moment. The hosts of this show, hailing from the frontlines of the overnight-online Vanderbilt Law School, meet to talk about the issues facing law students right now. The discussions are aimed at: helping make sense of the pressing challenges, how to best cope with the academic and personal wellbeing landmines, and giving practical, positive advice on how you might find some value or growth in the experience. We are learning along with you, because (wait for one last law pun…) this moment has no precedent.
12 Episodes
For this final episode of 2020, Cat, Chris and Rachael bring stories of optimism and strength from our law school community. Law school success looks different during a global pandemic. The masks, the distancing, the quarantining, the endless screen time, all make for an experience that moves up and down the spectrum between dystopian and absurd. But underneath these challenges lies a community which continues to thrive and grow.So, tune in to hear stories of triumph, from the day-to-day classroom experience to career dreams realized, as shared by Vanderbilt Law students and VLS’s Associate Dean for Equity, Inclusion and Community, Yesha Yadav.Check out the show notes!
Cat, Chris and Rachael talk to two law students from Vanderbilt about how this COVID year is treating them so far. Lindsey is a 1L and Olivia a 3L. Lindsey is here in Nashville, masked up, studying hard, and dreaming of a day when she can sit in the law library. Olivia is doing school remotely, two time zones away, all the while participating in student leadership and keeping up with law school friends. While their experiences differ, both want the same thing: educational and social value for the time (and money!) they are spending on law school. And both are making it happen (while thinking about how we could keep on improving).It’s a weird, wild world, and no planning or life hacking can make the hardships disappear. Tenacious, reflective and conscientious students like Lindsey and Olivia demonstrate that law school during a pandemic is anything but simple, and (most of the time) worth it nonetheless.At the top, Chris and Rachael go over the thorn-bud-rose of the week. We give our words of gratitude and grief over the loss of SCOTUS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, suggest a helpful summary of what this whole “bar-maggedon” (aka “barpocalyse”) is about for our bud, and we end by celebrating the rose of making it through this semester so far.Check out the show notes!
In this episode, Cat and Chris speak to Alyson Carrel, professor at Northwestern Law and legal innovator extraordinaire, about what it means – empirically and practically – to be a high functioning lawyer. Alyson and our very own Cat Moon are co-creators of the Delta Model which is a multidimensional paradigm of what it takes to practice law. Of course, it takes knowledge of the law itself. But it also takes a human who knows how to take charge, play well with others, and to self-reflect and assess. This model is not merely descriptive, however, but is itself a call to action. This discussion will give law students a vital glimpse into the skills and behaviors that they need to cultivate not only to be a good law student but to be competently prepared for the real thing once these three years fly on by.At the top, Rachael, Chris and Cat give a rundown on the thorn-bud-rose of the week, talking about law firm deferments, why bad midterm grades are a great opportunity, and we brag on our fantastic students here at Vanderbilt Law.Check out the show notes for all things Delta!
It’s always wine-o-clock somewhere when you have law school Zoom classes with people around the world. But should you indulge in a quiet glass of Sauv Blanc, and maybe some pithy Etsy tea towels to really commit to this life of a semi-shut in law student? Or, do you need to reduce or avoid alcohol intake in order to stay healthy? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. And there is definitely no universal taste in tea towels (but Rachael likes this one a lot). There are, however, realities we all need to reckon with. Namely: law students statistically suffer from mental health issues and substance abuse at a far greater rate than the general public. What does that mean for you in this particular time of heightened stress on so many fronts?Cat, Chris and Rachael talk to author, speaker, lawyer, recovery coach and podcast host Lisa Smith about her life as a recovering high-functioning alcoholic. Lisa brings her own story to bear as an enlightening, personal entry point to a frank discussion on how law students can take care of themselves as they live, study and adjust to life during a pandemic. Check out the show notes for more information on Lisa Smith as well as free, confidential resources for substance abuse and mental health concerns that are available to law students:
Welcome, law school class of 2023! And welcome back 2L and 3L students! This year’s law school journey begins amid a public health crisis that will present unique challenges to you as a human and as a future lawyer. The delivery of your education will be different. And your opportunities to find your place in this outstanding community will, more than ever before, require a commitment to engage in and embrace this experience. Your law school’s commitment to you remains the same, but with your professors and administrators have their eyes wide open about the myriad ways things are not law-school-as-usual.  With all of this in mind, we are coming at you with a podcast episode to share a personal message at a social distance. Chris Meyers, Cat Moon and Rachael Andersen-Watts have joined up for Season 2, this time to reflect on what law school connection and community will look like in 2020-21.
In this final episode before we come back at you this fall, Chris, Cat and Rachael talk J.O.B.’s. This summer is probably not what you banked on, law students (and if you did bank on it, please contact us to talk stock markets and lottery numbers). Nevertheless, there are things to do! We discuss summer opportunities related to building expertise that will differentiate you in the post-pandemic legal marketplace and possible avenues for finding meaningful legal projects. In an interview with Devin Lintzenich, Director of Professional Development and Retention for Nashville law firm Bass Berry & Sims, Cat and Rachael talk about the challenges and strategies for keeping associates productive and engaged during the pandemic. Devin’s thoughtful and innovative approach to meeting this humdinger of a challenge will leave you with a much-needed glimmer of optimism for the legal marketplace.Show notes at:
Hey, law students, have you been wondering whether legal jobs and bar exams still exist in this alternate reality? We think these are extraordinarily relevant questions! At the top of the episode, Cat, Chris and Rachael talk about the thorn-bud-rose of it all when it comes to bar exams. The current climate in which public health needs stand in opposition to the needs of the July bar exam of yore has left us with a mixed bag when it comes to what the future holds. We get into what we know, and what we don’t. Then, in part one of two in our discussions about law careers during COVID-19, Chris and Cat virtually sit down with Nick Alexiou. Nick, career columnist on Above the Law and Associate Director of Career Services at Vanderbilt Law School, gives us his expert take on what’s going on with summer programming, how to deal with law firms who are less than forthcoming with details, and more.Show notes at:
Your head pounds, your eyes can’t focus, and you aren’t sure what day it is. Sadly, there is no raucous adventure to account for your state: it’s just that learning-law-pandemic-style feeling. Cat, Chris and Rachael are here to talk to you about the trials and tribulations of remote learning, and shed some light on how to get through it with your brain intact. Plus, special guest and 2L Sydney Seabaugh schools us all on how to keep your sights on the real prize.Show notes at
In this inaugural episode, Cat, Chris and Rachael take on why law school matters right now. And why it matters for varied, urgent reasons: your mental health, your academic future, and your personal path as a future attorney. Oh, and it’s arguably more true for those of you finding yourself in a pass/fail regime.Full show notes with links to resources and references:
Remember that two-week school break in March that turned into an episode of Black Mirror-meets-higher ed? Yeah, we do, too. Nevertheless, we didn’t call off learning and in spite of all of the Zoom cold calls, saliva testing, and nightmares where you can’t find the “down” stairwell, you all are doing it. Guess who’s doing it, too? Lawyers! They are working from home, going to court in masks, and Zooming the day a way.What does that mean for your future legal job?We bring back Nick Alexiou, VLS career counselor and jobs contributor at Above the Law, to chat about how the pandemic-as-baseline moment has changed recruiting and job prospects. And first time guest, Kelly Bahiraei, joins us to offer her perspective of head of attorney recruitment at a large law firm. Nick and Kelly share advice and wisdom on what to expect and how to adjust your strategy. We also get a chance to experience a slice of Nick’s work at home life, which involves a seemingly massive collection of grandfather clocks. It’s a feast for the ears!Rachael leads us off with a short intro, wherein she reads you a Zen proverb borrowed from a children’s book. (She’s definitely not losing her grip on reality on account of working 100% remotely. Definitely not.)Check out the show notes!
There is a lot of downside, to be sure. But what if this moment of extreme adversity gives you a unique window for growth? What if you could emerge more empathic, focused, and able to withstand life’s stressors? This isn’t a pipe dream: it’s a reality! Listen to Cat and Rachael’s interview with attorney and founder of the Stress and Resilience Institute, Paula Davis-Laack, as they break down why you should look forward to the “you” who will emerge from this experience. Expect lots of advice and insight into how to best harness this opportunity, and to take good care of yourself in the process.Show notes at:
It’s that special time of year when you get to climb the mountain of legal coursework that it took you 3 months to climb all over again in a matter of days. Except – plot twist! – now you have to do it with no printer, law library, or Starbucks. (And maybe you’re a little hungry because suddenly you live with your caloric-blackhole 18 year old Cross Fit-enthusiast brother.) Let Cat, Chris and Rachael talk you through the strategies and even the opportunities during this time. With special guest Madie Carpenter stopping by to offer a window into how Vanderbilt Law Review’s incoming EIC is approaching finals during the pandemic.Full show notes with links to resources and references:
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