Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel attorney John Christensen new law student advice

It’s nearly August, and upcoming law students across the country are carefully preparing for their first semester of law school (or the 1L year, as it’s commonly referred as). I graduated 27 years ago from the University of Puget Sound School of Law with a Juris Doctorate degree. Although it’s been a while since I’ve been in a classroom, I still remember a thing or two about law school.

Law school is going to challenge you mentally, physically, and emotionally if you’re not prepared. Here are my top tips to help you enter your 1L year with confidence. Your journey begins now.

1) Networking 

During the summer before law school, take the time to connect with current students and recent graduates. Find out if your school has a Facebook group you can join, or reach out to your professors if you have any questions. It’s never too early to begin networking as a new law student.

2) Sharpen reading and writing skills

You’ve been warned: there will be a lot of reading and writing in law school. Reading this summer will help prepare you for the amount of reading you will be doing during the school year. Many law schools will provide a suggestion list with recommended books and resources as an introduction to the legal world. I suggest even reading books you enjoy, especially since you won’t have much time to read leisurely during school. It’s important to learn how to convey your thoughts clearly and concisely on paper. Sharpen up your fundamental writing skills this summer through plenty of practice or studying resources.

3) Develop healthy habits 

Before beginning law school, take the time to develop healthy habits that can carry over through the upcoming school year. Yes, law school is a lot of work. The study habits you had as an undergrad may not necessarily serve you as a new law student. Research different study and time management techniques to develop a routine that works best for you.

Skip the late nights and even later mornings this summer – I suggest sticking to a consistent sleep schedule to get your body prepared early school mornings in the fall. Also if you’re not eating healthy, now is the time to start. The rigors of law school can easily lead to high junk food consumption and daily fast food outings. Learning how to whip up quick and healthy meals will help you save both dollars in your pocket and inches off your waistline.

Whether it’s working out at the gym, making art, or playing sports, explore different hobbies and activities that can help you manage the inevitable anxiety and stress that comes with law school. I personally enjoy playing the guitar and practicing Taekwondo as my outlet for stress. Not only does it help clear my mind, I feel good knowing I’m doing something productive and beneficial for myself.

4) Last but not least, enjoy your summer

Don’t forget to have some fun before law school starts! You’ve worked extremely hard to get where you are today, and you deserve time to relax. Don’t get too caught up on preparing for law school that you miss out on your summer vacation. Take a road trip out of town, explore some of Washington’s beautiful hikes, or enjoy a concert or two. Learning to find a healthy balance between work and play is not only critical to academic success, but also to staying sane as a lawyer.

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As a Taekwondo black belt who also competes in Olympic sparring, I’m very conscious of my health and wellbeing along with my fellow competitors’. Taekwondo strengthens both the mind and body, teaching you how to properly use technique and form for self-defense while causing the least harm on yourself. Through practicing Taekwondo, I’ve seen firsthand how poor training and lack of knowledge can lead to severe injuries.

By participating in certain high risk activities and sports, we are assuming the risk of injury. This is especially true when it comes to contact sports such as Olympic sparring, skiing or football, where injuries are commonplace. However, negligent actions can easily occur when participating in sports and recreational activities that cause injuries that are not commonplace in the sport. Examples of negligence include poor facility maintenance of facility, improper training of personnel, or faculty equipment, in which a person, organization, or company can be held liable for your injuries.

When it comes to you or your families’ health and wellbeing, understanding the risks and how best to avoid injuries during these activities can prevent a fun outing from turning into tragedy. However, if any injury does occur, here are three quick tips to follow:

1) It goes without saying that you need to get medical care immediately. If you participate in a team contact sport, it’s important to understand the signs of a concussion, a common yet potentially life-threatening head injury. A few examples of concussion symptoms are headaches, lethargy, nausea and vomiting, balance problems, dizziness, and difficulty communicating. No matter how minor your head injury may be, be sure to get evaluated by a medical professional before returning to your sport or activity.

2) Make sure to report the injuries sustained at the time of occurrence. If your injury happened at a facility such as a gym, swimming pool, or city park, alert any coach, instructor or personnel available. It’s important to report with a detailed and accurate account of what took place as soon as you can.

3) Get in contact with a personal injury attorney with experience in sports-related and recreational accident cases for guidance on moving forward. My team and I at Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel are prepared to support you and your family during this stressful situation and make sure you have someone fighting for your rights. We will investigate all possible factors of negligence in your accident, including faulty equipment manufacturing, improper training or hiring of personnel, failure to enact proper rules for concussions, and get you the justice you deserve..

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May is National Bike Month. Here in the Pacific Northwest, bicycling is both a popular means of daily transportation and a great outdoor activity the whole family can enjoy. Whether you’re an avid cyclist or the occasional cruiser, it’s important to be educated on Washington State bike laws before heading out the door this summer.

Unfortunately, there are unavoidable dangers when it comes to bicycling. The bicycle crash statistics are alarming. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were an estimated 48,000 bicyclists injured and 743 killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States in 2013. The number of bicycle crash fatalities have been steadily increasing the past decade. Although bicycle crashes involving motor vehicles are the most common, road hazards also present a great danger to bicyclists as well.

The best way to protect yourself from bicycle crashes is to be prepared. While there is no statewide law requiring helmet use, you should ALWAYS wear a helmet and other protective gear when riding. This safety tip might seem like a given, however you’d be surprised by the number of fatalities and injuries due to bicyclists not wearing proper safety equipment during crashes. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2009, 91 percent of bicyclists who were killed in collisions that year were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash.

As an attorney for Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel, I’m here to support and help guide you in the event of a bicycle crash. We recently resolved a multimillion dollar case in which a promising young professional sustained a permanent traumatic brain injury due to the city’s failure to maintain safe roads designated for bicyclists. Cases like this one ultimately make our streets safer because real changes are made. They also provide much needed security to our clients who are often out of work due to their injuries. If you suffer an injury while riding a bike, or know anyone who has, don’t hesitate to contact me. We’ll fight make sure you get the justice you deserve.

On behalf of the team at EPIC, have fun and stay safe this summer.