Home Law School News Law student authors e-book on balancing law school, parenthood

Law student authors e-book on balancing law school, parenthood

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Last year, Drake University law student Hope Wood learned many lessons about balancing parenting responsibilities with the rigor of earning a law degree.

Now in her second year at Drake Law School, Wood, mother of a 17-month-old son, Graham, is doing all she can to share her experiences with other parents studying at the law school and beyond.

Wood is the author of an e-book titled Law School Mom, a frequent blogger and mentor to first-year Drake Law School student Shawna Johnson, a Des Moines native with an office cleaning business, spouse and two young children.

Wood and Johnson met through a mentor/mentee program organized by the Delta Theta Phi professional law fraternity at Drake Law School. The program pairs first-year law students with upper-class peers.

When Johnson needs guidance on balancing her myriad responsibilities, she knows that all she needs to do is pick up the phone.

“For me, the content of law courses hasn’t troubled me as much as the question of whether I was spending a reasonable amount of time both as a parent and a student,” Johnson said. “Hope is a great sounding board to let me know I’m on track. She’s always been there for me when I send her a text or give her a call.”

A Culture of Mentorship

Collaborative learning is at the center of the Drake Law School experience. Approximately two-thirds of law school students are members of the Delta Theta Phi fraternity, which has the motto, “We don’t succeed until we all succeed.”

“The Drake Law School community fosters civility, because it is a professional requirement of the legal profession,” says Bill Hennan, assistant dean of Drake Law School. “Once our students become lawyers they may find themselves in adversarial conditions, but the friendships they develop in law school last a lifetime. Those bonds forged in law school are a benefit to the judicial system and do assist them as lawyers.”

Wood, a native of Maynard, Iowa, has taken her mentorship beyond the classroom with a blog and a book. Wood wrote Law School Mom, telling her personal story, after completing her first year of law school. The book also includes studying tips, time- management strategies and advice on parenting dilemmas.

Her experiences and advice on time-management strategies, parenting dilemmas and studying tips are especially appropriate at this time of year, when many people have made New Year’s resolutions to further their education.

A System of ‘Pay it Forward’

Wood says the friendships she developed with other students helped her to become more confident in her studies. Her own mentor, now a third-year law student, keeps in touch. She also networks with other mothers she’s met in her courses.

“It is a system of ‘pay it forward’ … you become really close friends with the people to whom you lend support,” Wood writes in her e-book. “I was able to find other parents just by getting to know my classmates.”

Wood’s e-book is available for purchase at www.lawschoolmom.com. The entire e-book costs $7.99 and the first two chapters combined are $4.99.

Hope Wood’s Top Ten List on How to Survive Law School and Parenting
1. Be nice to yourself and avoid self-criticism, because you are your own advocate.
2. Adapt and change your study habits each semester.
3. Be flexible, and cut yourself some slack in your schedule.
4. Prioritize — but know when your priorities need to change.
5. Make a date, and plan ahead for fun time with a friend, spouse, partner or your kids.
6. Quality vs. quantity — Give your family and friends your undivided attention.
7. Socialize, and get to know your classmates.
8. Get over it; learn from your mistakes and move on.
9. Ask for help, because we all need it sometimes.
10. Know yourself, and follow your instincts.

Read Hope Wood’s blog.