• Law School,  Legal Practice

    Pick your Passion: Big Law or Public Interest?

    I have noticed a trend that I want to help stop. Recently, I have met with multiple people interested in public interest jobs, but have no public interest background. The thing with public interest is that we really like seeing people “committed” to the cause. As in, experience, and rightfully so because this work isn’t easy. Yes, all lawyering is difficult, but in PI you are dealing with the most vulnerable, marginalized groups and we need to know you’re capable and have an interest in advocating for these groups.  So when I ask people with no PI background why they’re interested in legal aid–imagine my anger when they tell me…

  • Issues,  Legal Practice,  Work Life Balance

    Learning to Navigate Big Law as an Attorney of Color

    Laywering is hard. Regardless of your practice area or type of office, the requirements and commitments are demanding and the lack of diversity in all areas lead to feelings of isolation for most attorneys of color. That’s just the nature of the career. But it often seems that Big Law is just harsher than average towards us. It’s harsher because, for better or worse, Big Law is still considered the most prestigious career-path within our industry so the gatekeepers make a point to make entry extra difficult. Those gatekeepers are usually also more conservative, privileged, and vested in the status quo remaining the same—i.e. they want to make sure they…

  • Legal Practice

    The Lack of Diversity in Big Law

    I just read this article on the New York Times about the difficulty Black lawyers face in Big Law. Since the representation of Latinos (let alone Latinas) is far fewer than Black attorneys, I can confidently say that the struggles in making partner are very similar.  I don’t want to get down on Big Law because every area of law, whether it’s public interest, government, solo, has obstacles one must face in regards to ethnicity, race, and gender.  In short, no area of law is diverse. Even in my agency the representation of Latinas lawyers is lacking.  But Big Law is different–I’m going to come out and say that it’s…

  • Legal Practice,  Work Life Balance

    Never Making Partner: Can You Be a Happy as a Lawyer?

    The ABA recently issued a report on Women of Color in the law on why they leave or stay in the profession. The results are …stark. It was nothing surprising, but even still, it was disappointing to know the same issues I’m struggling with for a decade are issues women who have been practicing twice as long have endured. It’s like, ya, guey. Please stop. The study (which is worth reviewing) discusses the bias and stereotyping the participants (all women practicing for more than 15 years) experience. They discuss the prove it again bias; the othering we experience as attorneys; how we are never seen as equals by those in…

  • Issues,  Law School

    Can I Even Do This? How To Determine If You Can be a Lawyer

    Deciding to go to law school is difficult. There are so many factors everyone considers–is the cost worth it? will I be happy? should I move out of state or stay close to home? The overwhelming question many would-be applicants ask is “should I go to law school?” and more often than not, money is the factor. Can you manage the debt and will you earn a living that makes the debt worth it? But…for many of us, even before we get to “should I?”  we experience a ton of self-doubt that asks not should you, but can you? Can you even go to law school and become an attorney?…

  • Law School

    Is Law School Worth It?

    We’ve spoken before about how law school isn’t really for anyone–it’s a difficult experience for almost everyone. But here I am pushing all lawtinas to reach this goal and for what? We definitely hear about all the downsides of law school (primarily the debt), but what are the real tangible, benefits you receive once you earn a JD? One of the reasons I encourage more of us to become attorneys is because being a lawyer isn’t just another career option. Lawyers are leaders. They are the ones looked to during crisis. They are the ones that help create, set, and executive policies and laws that impact our loved ones’ daily…

  • Law School,  Legal Practice

    Law School Lingo

    Starting law school is excited until you feel like a fish out of water–you’ve never read so slowly in your life, you’re confused about the process, and often you’re confused about terms and phrases that other people just seem to know. I’m not talking about the latin phrases in case law, but rather a classmate talking about joining a white shoe firm. Like, what even is that? No fear, today, we’re sharing some law school lingo to review and refer to that will hopefully help explain this new world you’re joining.  As you review these phrases you’ll notice I mention “prestigious,” “elite,” and “competitive” a lot. And well, welcome to…

  • Legal Practice,  Work Life Balance

    50 Lessons for Women Lawyers, a Review

    A few weeks ago I received a copy of 50 Lessons for Women Lawyers by Nora Riva Bergman. This book is a compilation of contribution from 50 successful, accomplished women lawyers in the U.S. and Canada. The attorneys are in different stages in their life, have had different careers, experiences—it is a really great group of people offering guidance. What I appreciate is that many of the contributors share vulnerable moments in their personal life and careers that are experiences many of us can relate to—the attorney who opts to take a break to take care of children, the one who experienced domestic violence as a child, and the most…

  • Issues,  Law School

    What Law School is Not

    Recently someone interested in pursuing a more academic career asked me about the nature of law school and the ability to discuss ideas and social issues along with cases. It reminded me of my own experience when I first started law school and how incorrect I was when it came to the purpose and focus of law school. The summer before my 1L year I was really lucky to participate in a program for low income students to prep them for law school; like a mini-boot camp. I was stationed at Notre Dame and was bright eyed and ready to go on my first day. The program had three courses,…

  • Law School,  Legal Practice

    If Kim Kardashian Can Do It, So Can You? : Alternative Paths to Becoming a Lawyer

    By now most have heard about Kim Kardashian’s plan to become a lawyer without going to law school. There was some confusion because a lot of people don’t know of California’s apprenticeship exception that allows you to circumvent law school and instead learn the law in a non-traditional manner. People assumed she was “buying” her degree rather than doing it the “right” way. While I am not one to support or defend the Kardashian conglomerate, the path she’s pursuing is clearly an option that’s available to people. But the real question is, is this a realistic option that will result in a practical, useful, and successful career for those of…