“So…what have you learned?”

Mariesha Keys is a 1L at the University of Houston Law Center

This question, among others, has been asked of me many times by friends and family. With the perfect amount of enthusiasm and genuine honesty, I reply, “A lot. I have learned a lot.” So, as a show of good faith (I’ve learned this term as well), I am going to share a few things I have learned as a first semester law student.

  1. Headings, Subheadings, and Outlines (oh my!)

Outlining is strongly encouraged in law school. Not only is this a useful technique to keep organized, but structured outlines function as personalized encyclopedias that can be updated as needed. In addition to having an outline in law school for reviewing and note taking purposes, structuring your outline to have headings and subheadings is extremely helpful. In law school, your grades are determined by essays, typically written in I.R.A.C. (Issue, Rule, Application, and Conclusion) form. As you address your issues, it is very useful to add headings. Headings function as guidelines for both you and the professor, and they make the writing process easier.

Think of headings and subheadings as friendly tour guides leading you on a trip. Imagine you have a tour guide for the University of Houston Law Center, and this tour guide is extremely general with directions. She says, “Just go through those doors, you can’t miss it” (whatever “it” may be). Guess what – you’ve missed it, and now you’re lost. Let’s change this scenario. You have a fantastic tour guide who knows the Law Center like the back of her hand, and she tells you, “Go through the first set of double doors, then make a right, and go down the stairs.” See the difference?  Specifics help! Similarly, guiding your professor through your final exam and guiding yourself through a personalized outline can only benefit you in the long run.

*Tip – I.R.A.C. is a great method to use for analyzing the cases you’ll read in class. Find those four components, in addition to writing a brief summary of the facts, and you’ll be good to go!

  1. Law School is READING

This should go without saying, but law school is mostly reading. You will have so much reading for all of your classes that you might forget you once had a life. Some classes have entertaining cases that remind you of short and sweet “Buzzfeed” articles. Other readings will remind you of the reading comprehension section on the LSAT. Don’t despair. If you feel like this is a lot to balance, know that you are not alone – I work at this every day!

*Tip – Try crafting a schedule for yourself; carve out a few hours on the weekend to read for the upcoming week!

  1. Remember your reason for applying

As time sails by, and the first semester comes to a close, I find myself focusing on why I applied to law school. Many people have different purposes for applying, but remember why YOU want to be a lawyer. Do you want to work for big firms, small firms, governmental agencies? Whatever your passion, whatever your reason, hold on to it as you go through this process. Remember your best motivation comes from within!

*Tip– this tumblr for some studying inspiration: http://studying-student.tumblr.com/

So, those are my three takeaways and tips! To those of you considering law school, I hope this post gives you a realistic perspective from someone just starting the journey. Until next time!



Full-time student, full-time mom

Rachael Thompson is a 1L in the full-time program at UHLC.

People keep asking me what it’s like: fellow students, friends and family, other moms at the baseball fields. I’m a mom who until very recently stayed home with her kids and did all those things stay-at-home moms do like volunteer for church and the PTA, go on field trips, and have lunch with friends. Now I’m a full-time 1L. It’s crazy. I’m crazy! I felt called to start a new career in law, and somehow it worked out that I’m here at UHLC, working alongside fellow students many years younger than myself. So, what it’s like to be a full-time law student and a mom of two adolescent boys?

My tasks as a mother have not changed. Dinner needs to be made, laundry piles up, and homework needs to be checked. Oh, and carpool—lots of driving my kids and other kids all over. Now I get to add in about four hours of homework a night and lots of work on the weekends, too, not counting the hours spent in class. Thankfully, my husband is very encouraging and, more practically, enjoys cooking.

To keep up with the student side of my life, I need to be fairly organized. I have to look ahead each week and plan out what needs to get done each day. I’ve been able to keep up and get my work done. If I know I have an important event at my son’s school one evening, I’ll work ahead the weekend or day before so I can take care of my motherly responsibilities. I fit in reading when there are breaks in some family event. I’ve read Torts in the car during a rain delay at a band competition. I’ve read Torts during baseball practice. I’ve also read Torts between games at a basketball tournament. I’m not sure why, but Torts seems to be my go-to choice to bring along to kid events.

Life with my family while I’m in school has had its ups and downs. There have been quite a few times when I’ve forgotten something important my son asked me to do or we’ve run out of bread again because I had no time to go to the grocery story. I missed my youngest son’s first home run in a baseball game. I wanted to finish some studying before heading to the game, and next thing I know, my husband is calling me to tell me the exciting news. I haven’t missed everything, though. The highlight of my weeks lately has been watching my oldest march in the band at Friday night football games, and I’ve been to lots of other good baseball and basketball games my youngest has played in – with my Torts book in hand, of course. Through it all, my kids are learning to be a little more independent and are taking on new chores to help around the house, which is good for them to do regardless.

Back to the oft-asked question: what’s it like? Life is busy and challenging. I work hard to do what needs to be done, one day at a time. I get my homework done, and I take care of my kids. It’s not perfect. My house may be messier than it used to be, and the laundry piles a little higher, but I’m thankful each day that I get to embark on this crazy adventure.


Houston earns #2 spot on America’s Favorite Place list

Student author Christina Gonzalez is a rising 3L at the University of Houston Law Center, and is a student worker for the Admissions Office.

The decision of which law school to attend comes with many questions, and one will find that the process of answering them involves weighing just as many factors. One of the biggest factors is the city in which you think you will want to practice after graduation (although things can certainly change, so being flexible is also important). If Texas – and more specifically Houston – is on your short list for law schools, a recent article published in Texas Monthly might help persuade you. This article contains the results from a survey conducted by Travel + Leisure, inviting readers to vote for America’s Favorite Place on their website. Survey participants voted on a variety of subjects, including the best burgers and wine bars, festivals, attractions, and the friendliness of the locals.

Other factors in the rankings included the locals in each city, (considering their quirkiness, hotness, or charming geekiness), affordability (Houston is one of the most affordable metropolitan areas in the nation), and walkability. Warm, sunny weather also played a part, and Houston has this in spades. Three cities in Texas landed in the top ten cities listed in the survey as the friendliest, with Houston coming in at number two. Whether you live here or have simply visited, I think we can all agree that Houston is well deserving of its silver star ranking.

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The article can be found here: http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/howdy-survey-finds-texas-friendliest-cities/, along with the Travel + Leisure article here: http://www.travelandleisure.com/americas-favorite-places/friendliest-cities.

If you are considering making the University of Houston Law Center your destination for law school and have questions that need answers, please contact the admissions office at lawadmissions@uh.edu.

Cougar Athletics and UHLC – an update

More than two years ago, I blogged about the current state of athletics at the University of Houston.  See what’s new around campus since then with this update!

In 2014, after completing TDECU Stadium, the University of Houston made the decision to part ways with football Head Coach Tony Levine and brought in former offensive coordinator and Broyles Award winner, Tom Herman.  In Coach Tom Herman’s first year, UH not only gained its first conference championship since 2006 but also beat the Florida State Seminoles in the “New Year’s Six” Peach Bowl on December 31, 2015.

In men’s basketball, 2016 saw a return to post-season play with the team receiving a bid to pay in the NIT.  While still looking for a return to Phi Slama Jama glory, the 2016-2017season will see construction start on the next generation of basketball facilities.

2014 saw the addition of the women’s golf team to Cougar Athletics.  Not only was an invitation received to the NCAA San Antonio Regional received in its inaugural year but woman’s golf received a follow up invitation to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional in year two.

It’s no secret that the University of Houston is working hard to put itself in the best position possible to attract one of the “Power Five” athletic conferences should the winds of expansion blow through college athletics, once again.

With the increased interest in Cougar Athletics, it’s positive to note that tickets to athletic events remain free to all Cougar Card carrying students!


Completed TDECU Stadium.

Campus Recreation and Wellness Center

The University of Houston Law Center is located on the University of Houston’s main campus.  As a law student, you have access to all of the amenities the main campus has to offer.  This includes the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC).  As a current student, you are automatically a member!


The CRWC is a 264 thousand square foot facility available to all students, faculty/staff and alumni.  The following video provides a short tour of the facility: https://youtu.be/fSYCEk5-O9M

The CRWC offers group fitness classes, personal training, intramural sports, and outdoor adventures.  In addition, you will have access to both the indoor natatorium and outdoor leisure pool.  Not a strong swimmer? No worries, sign up for adult swim lessons at both the beginner and intermediate levels. American Red Cross certifications are available in CPR, AED and first aid. You can also participate in lifeguard training classes.

To learn more about the CRWC or schedule a tour, please visit: http://www.uh.edu/recreation