Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Build a Professional Wardrobe, Part IV

By Lynnette Baclig
Graduate Fellow
Law Career Development  


Looking for good quality attire that fits properly can be a challenge when you’re on a budget. Ordinarily, fully customizable posh suits can come with a lavish price tag.  Do not fret!  There are plenty of retail stores and organizations that provide professional attire for less.  You can also find more information on where to shop for discount professional clothes by reading “How to Dress Professionally on a Budget.”   (These recommendations are from alumni.)

¾     Nordstrom Rack: This is a clearance outlet retail store offering significant discounts on original department store apparel coming from Nordstrom.  Nordstrom Rack also provides in store affordable alterations and tailoring services.  (See pricelist here.)
¾     Nordstrom: This is a luxury department store.  Even though Nordstrom’s prices can get costly, its annual anniversary sale and half-yearly sale are quite reasonable, especially for quality attire.  Nordstrom also has reasonable alterations and tailoring programs here; offering free alterations on full priced items and yearly $100 alteration credit for Nordstrom card members.  
¾     Dress for Success San Francisco: This organization provides free professional attire to unemployed women who are looking for employment or who are participating in an internship program.  To access their services, make an appointment with GGU’s Law Career Development.  Then, LCD can complete and send a referral form to the organization.  After the organization receives the referral form, someone will directly call you to set up an appointment.  You will meet with a personal shopper from the organization to help you find professional attire complete with a suit or separates and accessories (handbag, jewelry, and shoes).  The organization further helps you build a working wardrobe once your employment is secured.  For more information visit their website here.

Build a Professional Wardrobe, Part III

By Lynnette Baclig
Graduate Fellow
Law Career Development  


What is business casual?
Business casual is less formal than business wear.  If you’re unsure about what’s appropriate, it’s always best to be slightly overdressed than slightly underdressed.While in the workplace, the point of business casual is to dress comfortably while maintaining a professional image.  You can get away with showing more of your creative side and personality so long as your outfit adheres to your office’s dress code and culture.  Initially, you want to dress more conservative until you can observe the office environment.  If you’re still unsure, mimic what your colleagues wear on the job. 

Business causal is also appropriate for networking events.  These events are often more fun because there is often food or drinks involved.  It’s acceptable to show your sense of style and personality, but you still want to portray yourself professionally.

The Look
You can also break your formal suits into separates for more options going to formal business wear to business casual.  Especially when you invest in neutral color suits.  It becomes more versatile with other fun patterned tops or sweaters.

For Women
The possibilities are endless!  Women can play around with ruffles, prints, and unexpected cuts while remaining polished.  You can mix your formal business wear with a blouse, cardigan, jacket, or sweater in a variety of colors and prints if you need to “dress down” your look.  Wear a work dress so long as it is not too tight, too short, or overly revealing in general.  Sleeveless looks are generally too casual in a legal setting, but toss on a cardigan and you’ll likely be fine.

For Men
Men can get away with not wearing a tie or a jacket.  However, if you’re unsure it never hurts to wear one.  For business causal wear, a pair of solid navy, grey or even charcoal dress pants with a dress shirt neatly tucked into it is a perfect choice to begin with.  Although not required, a blazer, sports jacket or even a sweater are appropriate to finish your outfit.  Furthermore, tennis shoes or athletic shoes are not appropriate, but dark shoes with a matching belt are appropriate.


Lastly, accessories are a great way to distinguish you from the pack.  Accessories also convey that you respect the details while adding a pop of color and personality.  But, proceed with caution; your accessories should not appear overly distracting in a way that it undermines your performance, especially when you’re required to wear formal business wear.

Up next: "Build a Wardrobe, Part IV" Where to Find the Right Fit For the Right Price.

Part I - Build a Professional Wardrobe.
Part II - Staple Pieces For Business Formal - The Power Suit.

Build a Professional Wardrobe, Part II

By Lynnette Baclig
Graduate Fellow
Law Career Development  


What is Business Formal?
Law school is designed to prepare you to become a professional.  While it might be easy to dress casual and comfortable for class, other legal settings are often more formal.  When out in the professional world – always err on the conservative side and stick to a fitted suit.  The legal profession is conservative, better to look the part.

The Power Suit
A power suit includes a matching jacket and dress pants or a dress skirt in neutral shades such as black, gray, or navy; the darker the suit, the more formal.  While building your professional closet, it is best to initially start with two suits, and three to five dress shirts that pair well with your suits.  

As a general rule, your clothing should be clean, pressed, and wrinkle free.  It is also important to maintain the condition of your shoes by frequently taking them to a cobbler or shoe cleaner once a year. 

Get the Right Fit
Suits should be close-fitting.  Fitted suits are more comfortable and give you a boost of confidence you need to perform stellar in any legal setting.  All suits and skirts should be tailored to fit close to the body, but not tight.  You should shop in the petite section or tall section if those sizes would fit you better.  This could also help you avoid spending on tailoring or alterations.  (See Part IV: Where to Find the Right Fit for the Right Price.)

For Women
Women can make the most out of a suit by purchasing dress pants and a skirt that coordinate with a jacket in a similar shade.  This breaks one suit into two.  With a buttoned-up conservative blouse, freshly pressed and always tucked in.  The neckline should not plunge to reveal too much.  Wear scuff free shoes with heals or flats in a neutral color.  They should be comfortable while remaining stylish and professional.  Also, close-toe heels ranging from 3 to 4 inches are preferred for formal business wear. 

Traditionally for women, skirt suits were formerly the rule. Now pant suits are more acceptable.  In the event that you opt for a skirt suit, remember you can’t go wrong by remaining conservative.  It should come to at least to the top of your knees.  Skirts should also be worn with sheer or seamless hosiery in a neutral color.

For Men
In addition to matching pants and jacket, men should wear a button-up collared shirt paired with a simple tie. Avoid distracting patterns and bright colors. You want to be remembered for your personality, skills, and qualifications, not for the brightly patterned shirt you wore to the interview.  Men should also wear polished shoes in either black or brown with a matching belt. Wrinkled ties and shirts or poorly fitting suits can convey that you don’t have good attention to detail. Make sure, whatever you wear, that it looks like you took the time to clean and press before you went out into the world.

Up next: "Build a Wardrobe, Part III" Staple Pieces For Business Casual – Mix Business Formal With Everyday Clothing.

Part I - Build a Professional Wardrobe.
Part IV - Where to Find the Right Fit For the Right Price. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Build a Professional Wardrobe, Part I

By Lynnette Baclig
Graduate Fellow
Law Career Development  

As a law student your main focus is likely attending class and spending long grueling hours in the library studying.  Perhaps, your appearance reflects an “I don’t care” attitude because your primary goal is to excel on your law school exams.  You neither have the time nor energy to consider what you’re wearing.  However, the way you dress affects how others perceive you.  Even within the law school community, you are being evaluated by your peers, professors, and even law school administrators.  Your reputation depends partly on your fashion choices.  It conveys your attitude and commitment to becoming a professional.  Also, dressing appropriately can help build your confidence and self-esteem.  So, why not dress to impress! 

In addition to dressing appropriately for class, you should be prepared to dress for off-campus professional experiences such as: an interview for an internship; first day on the job; court appearances; law school events; or even networking events within the legal community.  This can be a challenge because coming up with multiple professional outfits for different situations can get expensive on a limited budget as a law student.  How do you balance the need to “dress like a lawyer” with a bank account that says “you are still a student?”

Build a Professional Wardrobe, Part II to Part IV, discusses how to build a professional collection of quality attire for any business formal or business casual setting while keeping your financial limitations in mind.

Up Next:
Part II discusses business formal attire. 
Part III discusses business casual attire. 
Part IV discusses where to shop for less

Friday, March 31, 2017

Managing Your Expectations after Law School

Angela Giang 
Graduate Fellow 
Law Career Development 

Made it all the way to the final semester of law school career and still feeling stressed? Ever wonder why you’re feeling this way when you took all your required courses and purposefully made your last semester easier?

You may be feeling stressed in terms of what the future looks like. Whether it’s preparing for the bar or searching for a post-bar position, stress can take a toll on you if you let it. The key is not to funnel the stress from one chapter of your life to the next. Once you close a chapter of your life, let it remain closed, and begin the next chapter of your life with a fresh start. For example, once you graduate from law school, don’t take the stress you had in law school with you to bar preparation. Once you take the bar, don’t take the stress from the bar with you to your job search.

To prevent stress from controlling you, figure out early on how you deal with stress. For more information on how to handle stress, read my blog post on How to Handle Stress in the Legal Profession. As a law student, we are trained to analyze, come up with arguments, and counterarguments. While this tool is useful in our legal profession, it could be harmful for our personal lives.

I, for one, can analyze and re-analyze a situation ten-fold, which ultimately drives me crazy. Doing so leaves me feeling stressed and I carry that stress around with me. However, I learned to manage the stress by letting go of it. There are situations that will always be out of your control, so let it remain that way. Don’t try to control or obsess over the little details that you have no control over.
A good example is the bar. Know that you prepared for the bar and did the best that you could. Regardless of whether you passed or not, it’s not the end of the world. You simply have to retake the bar if you don’t. It’s easier said than done, but you didn’t go through 3-4 years of law school to quit now. In addition, don’t let your fear of not passing the bar prevent you from your job search. You can still do everything that an attorney does; the only difference is that you can’t appear in court. Keep your head up high and keep moving forward! 

Employment Report & Salary Survey (ERSS)

Shortly after you take the bar, you’ll receive a message via phone call or email from Law Career Development (LCD) in regards to your employment status. The purpose of this inquiry is not to harass you. The ABA and the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), which require that all accredited law schools to report employment information for each recent graduate. Failure to provide accurate and complete employment information could subject GGU to an ABA audit that may impact GGU’s accreditation. Your individual response is confidential and only the aggregate data is reported to the ABA and NALP.

When you receive an inquiry from LCD, answer the ABA survey completely. If the survey is incomplete, you’ll get additional emails and/or phone calls until it is complete since the ABA does not accept incomplete surveys. The survey questions are quick and painless, so I recommend getting the survey done and over with.

Lastly, don’t be discouraged if you don’t have a job lined up because you’re not the only one. Start by checking LCDonline for job postings or make an appointment with a LCD counselor. They’re there to help you!

The Battle between STEP and HLP

Angela Giang 
Graduate Fellow 
Law Career Development 

It’s almost that time of year again; summer. As undergrads we jumped for joy when summer was fast approaching, but law students know that summers in law school is a different story. Instead of making plans with friends or planning a vacation, law students can be filled with dread if they don’t have an internship/externship lined up for the summer.

This blog post focuses on additional options for 1L students, STEP versus HLP. Both are excellent programs for first-year law students. However, there are questions regarding the difference in the programs and which program would be a better fit. Although many students interested in either program attended the STEP/HLP Information Event, this blog post dives into the heart of each program. Since I was in STEP, I have first-hand knowledge of what STEP’s rigorous program entails. I am also currently HLP’s Graduate Fellow, so I have a solid understanding of HLP and what it consists of.

Summer Trial & Evidence Program (1st STEP) 

STEP is like a litigation boot camp over the period of 8 weeks (7-week summer session plus 1 intensive immersion week). This includes taking a course in evidence, which is specifically tethered to trial advocacy and theater training. STEP is a great program not only for students who know that they want to be a trial attorney, but also for students who want a taste of litigation.

I was in the latter category. I had a basic understanding of what litigation was but didn’t know to what it encompassed. One thing that I did know was that litigation meant public speaking. Since I wasn’t a big public speaker, STEP allowed me to experiment, make mistakes, learn, and grow. STEP also helped me with my first internship at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (SFDA). At the SFDA’s Office, I was placed in the preliminary hearing department, which seriously put my litigation skills to the test. 

Immersion week is intense. It consists of GGU students who are currently enrolled in STEP as well as students from other schools. During immersion week, you basically get a preview of everything you’re going to learn over the following 7 weeks (voir dire, motions in limine, opening statement, direct examination, cross examination, and closing argument). Each day is packed with activities, typically starting from 9 am to 5 pm. The activities consist of group exercises, demonstrations, and one-on-one meetings with professors.

You’re going to get constructive criticism, so take it with an open mind. The professors are there to help you learn even if their criticism appear harsh. I still remember my first constructive criticism in STEP. I felt like I was on American Idol being ripped apart by Simon Cowell in front of all my peers. Although I was embarrassed, the feedback got me fired up. I came back, ready to prove myself , and I did. I received the positive feedback that I wanted to hear. 

The purpose of taking evidence with trial advocacy is to apply what you learned in evidence to your daily exercises. The rules of evidence are important when it comes to objections, which is a useful tool in oral advocacy. In addition to oral advocacy, you’re going to learn how to write motions. Eighty percent of litigation consists of research and writing so now is the time to learn how to do it effectively.

Lastly, have fun with STEP. Like everything else, you’re going to get burnt out quickly if you’re stressed and not having any fun. Litigation consists of strategic thinking, so think of it as a game. Experiment, make mistakes, and just have fun.

Honors Lawyering Program (HLP) 

HLP integrates practical learning with substantive, client-focused work. This summer, rising 2Ls are taking Advanced Legal Research, Evidence, Constitutional Law I, and HLP Client Representation. While non-HLP students are capped at a total of 8 units, HLP students are taking a total of 11 units. As such, HLP students are in an accelerated program, which frees up their fall semester for a full-time apprenticeship. This full-time availability makes HLP students desirable employers seeking law clerks.

During the summer, HLP students are getting core classes out of the way in a small group setting. At the same time, they’re getting practical experience with the substantive material. During their 1L summer, HLP students get the experience of real world legal practice and learn the importance of professionalism when they represent clients in a landlord/tenant dispute under the supervision of a practicing attorney.

This practical experience makes HLP students marketable to employers during their 2L fall semester. While other 1Ls are applying to internships/externships without any legal experience, HLP students are applying to their fall apprenticeships with experience under their belt. It’s also less competitive seeking fall semester work because you’re not competing against all the other rising 2Ls from other law schools.

When HLP students take their summer courses, there’s no curve to worry about. There’s less pressure and/or stress since there’s no competition between you and your fellow colleagues, which allows you to enjoy your law school experience.

Build a Professional Wardrobe, Part IV

By Lynnette Baclig Graduate Fellow Law Career Development   WHERE TO FIND THE RIGHT FIT FOR THE RIGHT PRICE Looking for good ...