Is Law School for Everyone?

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Law school is one of those life-altering decisions that many people face, whether it’s a decision in their early years or later on, as a second career choice. In either case, it’s a major commitment that must not be entered into lightly.

The Cost

Unless you are independently wealthy, be prepared to pay a lot of money to get your law degree. After paying for four years of undergraduate school, there are still another four years of law school to pay for, in addition to exam fees ranging upwards of $200. The honest truth is the better the law school, the higher the likelihood of a decent clerkship and job offer upon graduation.

The Time

Getting a law degree takes time. Although any type of undergraduate degree is accepted in order to apply for a law school degree, there are some that provide a better backdrop than others. Degrees in history, philosophy, criminal justice, and political science are the areas of focus that will give you the best head start in pursuing a law degree. In addition to requiring an undergraduate degree and real-world law experience, a law degree demands a passing Law School Admission Test (LSAT) grade before getting into grad school. This is a test that measures analytical thinking, critical reading, and verbal reasoning in order to determine whether you are eligible to attend law school. Once accepted, plan on at least another four years of schooling. If you are working at the same time, you should budget accordingly. In many cases, it takes longer than eight years to achieve combined undergrad and postgraduate studies.

The Actual Job

Unhappiness is so common in the law industry there are blogs, books, and counselors solely devoted to soothing the souls of former attorneys. The main areas of contention are stress and discourteousness among colleagues as well as clients. Some people ended up choosing the quickest job opportunity after graduation, not prioritizing the type of industry they are truly seeking. Some are stunned to learn they aren’t hired by their dream job immediately after graduation. Some only wanted to make money but lacked any passion at all for this industry. There is an element of empathy and compassion for the human race that must be in place in order to pursue the field of law. Otherwise, a growing resentment will cause nonstop stress and hatred towards not only coworkers but the clientele you are supposed to advocate for.

By definition, the nature of the judicial system is going to be adversarial. Having a tough outer shell is paramount if one is to succeed as an attorney, regardless of which side of the opposing counsel fence they base their career choices on.  

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Law Schools Near Milton, Massachusetts

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Some of the finest law schools in the nation can be found in the northeast, namely in the state of Massachusetts. For those pursuing a legal education, the Milton area (a suburb of Boston) offers a variety of law schools, each with unique assets and specific criteria.

One of the most prestigious includes Harvard University whose law program has been accredited since 1923. Nearly 600 students graduate per year, and the acceptance rate is at 18-percent. Harvard Law School boasts the biggest academic law library around the globe. The estimated tuition and fees round out to about $59,000 per year.

Boston University offers an excellent number of programs including American law, banking and financial law, intellectual property law, tax law, and others under its JD and LLM departments. BU’s law program has been accredited since 1925, and about 210 law students receive their diplomas yearly.

Northeastern School of Law is another leading institution for those interested in legal education. The School of Law is highly regarded for its public interest law and cooperative legal education programs. Northeastern doesn’t have grades; instead, a narrative evaluation from professors replaces the traditional student rankings and letter and number grades.

Boston College Law School has an acceptance rate of 25-percent and has had an accredited law program since 1932. Estimated tuition and fees total about $50,000 per year. BC Law takes pride in ranking among the top 25 for graduates who pass the bar and secure full-time/long-term positions. Approximately 250 law students receive diplomas yearly.

Suffolk University Law School features a law program that has been accredited since 1953. Suffolk Law counts 23,000 graduates engaged in every area of legal practice globally, including all 50 states and 22 countries. Estimated tuition and fees run about $47,000 per year.

New England Law Boston graduates about 340 students per year, and the institution offers students an expert faculty, practical experience, and flexible programs. Students can participate in clinics featuring public interest law, criminal law, family law, immigration law and more.

Massachusetts School of Law offers a JD law degree program and has a 65-percent acceptance rate. It takes pride in being one of the most affordable and diverse law schools around. Estimated tuition and fees round out to about $1,000 per year.

from Marilyn Gardner Milton and Education http://bit.ly/2UOAhv8

How Attorneys Can Give Back This Holiday Season

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Who knows what exactly it is, but we can all agree that there is a particular type of magic in the air during the holidays. People gain patience, offer compassion, and smiles can be seen in all directions. So naturally, the holidays are a time when people want to give back to their community and to those who are less fortunate.

The feeling of giving back is so widespread that many states have created different coalitions, programs, and opportunities for attorneys to give back through pro-bono work. For example, just last December, over 50 lawyers came together to learn about becoming pro bono volunteers in Baltimore at the American Bar Association’s Homeless Youth Legal Network Pro Bono. Equipping attorneys of different types of law with cultural competency training on youth issues, such as trauma, homelessness, and more, the Homeless Youth Initiative (HYI) provides ongoing support to lawyer-client relationships in efforts of creating sustainable change.

In Chicago, the Young Lawyers Section (YLS) coordinates several volunteer programs for lawyers to give back to the community and gain pro bono experience. Current programs include the Dear Santa Letter Campaign, Law Week, Wills for Heroes, Serving Our Seniors, and more.

The DC Pro Bono Center has a volunteer interest form where attorneys can sign up to receive monthly emails announcing pro bono training and opportunities in D.C. The website also offers pro bono programs for individuals, firms, non-bar members, and more.

The Massachusetts Bar Association boasts the importance of volunteering to Massachusetts attorneys. On the MassBar website, there are currently 15 programs listed for attorneys to give back and increase connections within the attorney volunteer community. MassProBono.org is another website designed to help lawyers efficiently find pro bono work that fits their schedule.

The avenues for giving back are endless. Outside of enrolling in state and company programs, here are a few more ways to get involved and share the holiday spirit:

  • Sponsor a cause. This could mean donating money or time to a foundation or charity or recruiting the whole firm to do some meaningful work for a worthwhile cause.
  • Get On Board. A great way to give back to the community is by volunteering to serve as the legal professional for a non-profit organization. It is a fundamental role that every nonprofit need.
  • Immigrants. Nothing reminds you of the importance of family like the holidays. Use those fuzzy-good feelings to help get a detained immigrant home to their family. The American Immigrant Lawyers Association is seeking volunteers to represent undocumented citizens in immigration court.

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Volunteerism in Action: Ashley Hrenak

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The Ebenezer Foundation is a United States-based 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization which provides support to the Ebenezer Child Care Trust in Zambia, Africa. This organization serves impoverished and orphaned children living in Livingstone through the assistance of donor contributions. Its mission not only carries out the work of saving, raising, and educating children, but also works to provide the children the opportunity to live a better and more productive life. The foundation serves the community by supporting and operating an orphanage, primary school, and farm.

Volunteers all over the world comprise the Ebenezer Foundation; they provide funding and also volunteer their time. While some volunteers are already based in Africa, many travel to Zambia to provide service and to cultivate relationships with the volunteers and children in Livingstone.

Texas A&M University student, Ashley Hrenak, recently joined the organization’s cause and traveled to Zambia to volunteer with the Ebenezer Child Care Trust.

When describing her visit Ashley shared the impact of her experience: “This past July, I traveled over 24 hours to a small school called Ebenezer. I didn’t have the slightest clue what to expect upon arrival, though there would have been no way to prepare my heart for all of the love, joy, singing, dancing, beauty, and smiles that would greet me with open arms. Ebenezer has completely changed my life. I came to Livingstone, Zambia knowing no one and somehow left with over 400 beautiful, compassionate, smart, humble, God loving friends.”

“These kids have given me far more than I could have ever given them. They have touched my heart and taught me more than 14 years of school could have ever taught me. God has blessed me in the most beautiful way possible and I thank Him, with all my heart, for showing me this oasis of love. I am in love with Ebenezer and cannot wait to return.” She concludes fondly, “Zikomo Ebenezer.”

Foundation volunteers support all of the U.S-based Ebenezer Foundation’s administrative costs. As a result, the organization takes pride in its ability to pledge all of its donations to the Ebenezer Child Care Trust.

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Inspirational Commencement Speeches: Ellen DeGeneres

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Marilyn Gardner Milton - Inspirational Commencement Speeches - Elle DeGeneres

A few weeks ago, I came across a list of the greatest graduation speeches of all time. They were inspiring and made me reflect. Last month, I wrote about Joyce DiDonato’s speech at Juilliard’s 2014 commencement ceremony. This month, I’m writing about Tulane’s 2009 commencement speech by Ellen DeGeneres.

When Ellen DeGeneres graduated high school, she didn’t attend college like many of her other classmates. Instead, she began working odd jobs such as shucking oysters, bartending, painting houses, and selling vacuum cleaners. She didn’t know what she wanted to do and didn’t have a clear plan.

When she was 19, a tragedy struck her life. She was living in a poor, basement apartment with barely any belongings to call her own. Her mattress laid on the floor and the place was flea-infested. One day she was driving down the road, she passed a horrific car accident. Later that night she found out it was her partner that was in the crash and she had passed away.

She didn’t understand why this was happening to her, so she began to do some soul-searching. She thought, wouldn’t it be nice if she could just pick up the phone and ask God why? Instead, she decided to start writing. She wrote what her phone call with God would be like if she was able to give him a ring. Little did she know, this is what would become her big break. A few years later, she was on the Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show performing this one-sided phone call.

After a few years in the industry, she came out to the public, not for any political reasons but to free herself from the heaviness of living in shame and hiding her secret in fear of displeasing others. Through this, she experienced another incredibly difficult hardship. She lost her career, became isolated from friends and family, and wasn’t able to secure any job offers. During this challenging time, she was receiving letters from people, kids, who were ready to commit suicide because of who they loved, and it was Ellen’s bravery that had stopped them. One of the hardest times in her life showed her that she had a purpose on this earth.

In hindsight, Ellen wouldn’t change a thing that happened to her. She had to lose everything to make her realize what was truly the most important thing in life: being true to yourself. She no longer lives in fear and doesn’t carry any burdens of hiding secrets.

When she was young, she thought success meant becoming rich and famous, but she realized that the image of success changes as your grow. She sees success now as living your life with integrity, being an honest and compassionate human being, and finding a way to contribute to the world around you.

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Volunteering in Boston, Massachusetts

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The magic of this time of year often leads us to feel a personal responsibility to help others in need. Whether you’re volunteering your time or donating your hard earned money, the feeling of helping others is a feeling like no other. If you’re looking for ways to volunteer this holiday season in the Boston area, consider these local charities.

Christmas in the City (CITC)
This non-profit organization has been bringing smiles to the children of Boston since 1989. For the thousands of kids and their families who are experiencing the stress of poverty and homelessness, the volunteers of Christmas in the City, along with Santa, throw an annual holiday party to bring the holiday magic back and give the kids the “best day of their lives.” If you can’t fit this volunteering opportunity into your busy holiday schedule, the CITC hold fundraising events throughout the year for the next holiday season.

Boston Children’s Hospital
The vision of the Boston Children’s Hospital is simple: “Dream, Dare, Deliver.” With over 275,000 patients each year, this hospital dreams of curing each child, dares to ask the hard questions that don’t have an easy answer, and delivers with new ways of healing. There are many ways to give to help make a world of difference.

The Greater Boston Food Bank
As a member of Feeding America, the Greater Boston Food Bank has fed over 142,000 people on a monthly basis across 190 cities and towns throughout Eastern Massachusetts. Sign up to volunteer as a group or an individual to help work in the warehouses to inspect, sort and package foods for the hungry.

Cradles to Crayons
Cradles to Crayons is another non-profit organization looking to help the 400,000 children in the state of Massachusetts who live in poverty. They sponsor local drop-offs where people can donate their lightly used clothing, shoes, toys, and books. If you’re looking to volunteer your time, you can make a difference at The Giving Factory, where volunteers inspect, sort, and package the donated goods.

The Ebenezer Foundation
As one of the board members, this organization holds a place near and dear to my heart. The Ebenezer Foundation is a not-for-profit U.S.-based organization that provides aid to the orphaned children living in the city of Livingstone in Zambia, Africa. The foundation operates an orphanage, a school, a farm, and a community food program. If you wish to donate to this cause, you can visit the website here.

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Millennials are Impacting Higher Education

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Millennials are Impacting Higher Education - Marilyn Gardner Milton1Millennials, also known as Generation Y, have grown up in the era of technology. With the internet always at their fingertips, it’s no wonder they have adapted to learning differently than the generation that came before them. Educational institutions are beginning to take note of this however they are not adjusting quickly enough. Generation Z is only just around the corner from entering into higher education, and they will be even more plugged-in than the Millennials. So what are the Millennials doing to change higher education and what do these educational institutions need to do to adjust for the future?

Increase in the Popularity of Master’s Degrees

Millennials are not satisfied with just an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s degree anymore. With limited job opportunities awaiting these [people] when they finish their undergrad, many are opting to stay in school to complete a Master’s program before entering the real world.

According to Pew Research Center, professionals with a Master’s degree are earning 23% more today than their counterparts back in 1984. In comparison, those who only hold a Bachelor’s degree have seen an increase of just less than 13%. Bottom line: if a Millennial has their goals set on earning more money in their career, they are going to be looking for a Master’s program.

A Comfort in Online Learning

Some may argue that today’s youngsters know more about the internet than we do. With that, there is no surprise that they find learning online to be comfortable and natural. Roughly 6.7 million students are taking at least one online class during their time in college. And that doesn’t account for all the classes they’re taking that use online portals such as Blackboard to submit work, collaborate with classmates, and even complete quizzes or exams. Millennials have helped build this switch from learning in the traditional classroom setting to online, and Generation Z will demand it.

Flipped Classroom

Getting Millennials to participate in the traditional classroom setting can be difficult. The flipped classroom allows the student to become the teacher, encouraging high involvement and collaboration with their classmates. According to a study performed by NYU, the retention rate of students soared to 90% when they were put in a teaching role. The flipped classroom puts students in control of their educational journey and provides a more hands-on learning perspective.

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