• Law School,  Legal Practice,  Work Life Balance

    Life After Law School Finals

    This is re-post from last year, but it still holds true! Enjoy your break! And for those of us practicing, take advantage of the season to indulge in self-care! Seven years ago, my husband (then boyfriend) and I celebrated our first Christmas together after finishing my first semester of law school.   I recently stumbled across a picture of our tree: I have to smile at the sparseness of the apartment; the newspaper wrapping paper; and the window treatments because the apartment was always freezing!  The struggle was real!  Aside from upping my decoration game, this picture reminds of the difficulties of  that first semester. During the midst of my first…

  • Law School,  Work Life Balance

    Creating Good Habits in Law School

    I’ve never felt a constantly physical ill feeling until I started law school and neared finals. It felt like such a do or die period and I was so 1) completely ignorant of the process and 2) incredibly nervous. I started having a lot of physical symptoms (b/c that’s how I manifest stress) that resulted in making a lot of bad choices because those brought instant-gratification and would quell my stress. But of course, that became a vicious cycle because often that bad choice would eventually make me feel worse–and did little to help my stress.  I’m sure many of you who are starting finals are beginning to feel that…

  • Legal Practice,  Uncategorized,  Work Life Balance

    Stress and the New Lawyer

    When you start a new job as an attorney it’s super exciting. Not only are you working at a job that likely pays more than what you’re used to; you are also working as an attorney–hello?! a major goal you’ve accomplished. It’s normal to be excited. But it seems that soon enough that excitement fades and it turns into stress. Yes, you’re being paid more but you’ve got student loans. Yes, you get to be an attorney, but maybe it’s not exactly how you envisioned; plus you’re working hard cases, long hours, in possibly tough atmospheres. How do we handle the realities of the day to day mental stresses? The…

  • Legal Practice,  Work Life Balance

    Rules and Limits as you Practice Law

    It’s no secret being an attorney is tough. Most often, clients need you at their most worst: accused of crimes; financially destitute; dealing with divorce; scared of immigration; angry with neighbors, employers, former friends. The list goes on and on. For most Latina lawyers, we practice in these emotionally heavy areas, and all attorneys working in these high stress areas experience what’s called vicarious trauma–a sort of second-hand stress from these stories and interactions.  It’s a dirty secret that we don’t talk about for fear of seeming weak or unable to advocate like all the other attorneys who seem to be cool with what they’re hearing.  But other attorneys experience vicarious…

  • Law School

    Law School like High School: Overcoming the Unhealthy, Competitive Environment

    One of the rumors regarding law school is that it’s a lot like high school. Think about it—you have lockers, you have the same schedule as other classmates, you have prom—add high stress, fear, and competitiveness and it’s basically adolescence all over again. Ok, not really but kind of. The reality is that the environment of law school can create a breeding ground for petty behavior. It may seem surreal—you’re working with adults, how can this be?! But human nature is a pretty predictable thing: put a group of people together that have to stop being polite and start fighting for limited good grades and it can get testy. I…

  • Law School,  Legal Practice

    Three Harsh Truths to Remember the Last Two Weeks Before the Bar Exam

    The last two weeks of Bar prep oscillate between wishing the Bar exam were tomorrow so you can get it over with versus freaking out that you’ll never learn everything by the day of the test.  The last two weeks are grueling, high paced, yet filled with hours that don’t seem to end.  It really sucks.  There’s not much you can do at the moment to alleviate the stress and anxiety.  During this time, even I don’t recommend taking large chunks of time off to exercise or cook or to relax. Why? Because all the time you spend not studying will be mostly time stressed about the fact you’re not…

  • Issues,  Legal Practice,  Work Life Balance

    Controlling Emotions at Work: Anger

    When we talk about women and emotions at work, the discussion usually revolves around whether crying is ok or not.  I’d like to have that discussion some day, but I thought I’d start with a more common emotion that lawyers tend to experience at work: anger. I remember the first time I got really upset at work with an opposing counsel.  We were having a telephone conversation and they were being so aggravatingly condescending.  I was still a brand new attorney so I know now that part of my reaction was due to my pride.  But o.m.g. was I pissed at how he was talking to me! He got nasty,…

  • Issues,  Legal Practice,  Work Life Balance

    Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable: How to Approach Legal Practice

    The other day I was trying out a new workout DVD and the instructor encouraged/yelled at us to, “get comfortable with being uncomfortable!” and that hit me with a sudden realization that this is the perfect way we should approach our legal practice—especially when it comes to being in awkward situations; whether they be networking, teaching, or participating in public forums.  The idea of embracing discomfort means that we seek out things that challenge and push us so that we can take our skills and practice to the next level. In my case, I really wanted to increase my public speaking skills because I am transactional attorney 95% of the…