• Law School

    Summer Series: Learning from the Past

    Our Summer Series continues! This series highlights different Latina students and law grads as they embark in their summer jobs and/or bar prep all across the country. We hope to provide a variety of work experiences, options for a healthy work-life balance, and general motivation through different guest contributors to help you to take charge of your summer and professional goals!  Today, Linette, a rising 2L in California, describes how she’s using lessons learned from her internship last summer to start her current children’s rights focused internship on the right foot!   Before starting law school, I had a lot of fears and insecurities about my abilities. I had heard “horror” stories of people having…

  • SideBar

    Sidebar: Where to Even Start

    The title says it all. I have been hemming and hawing since the beginning of the year about work. I didn’t really know where I was heading and I was a little nervous about the outcome. Let me start at the beginning. For New Year’s I made getting a new position one of my goals. I had hoped it would be something new at work, but wasn’t sure and I was pushing myself that if nothing was coming I would start looking for other work outside my agency. I wanted to stay but knew that even though I loved my agency, my clients, my team, and the work that I…

  • Issues,  Legal Practice

    Play to Win: Using Respectability Politics as a Tool

    I think one of the biggest things I struggle with here is how much I seem to push assimilation and accepting business norms. I dislike that I do it because when we abide by certain business norms set by those in power, we may end up believing (or portraying to others) that those norms are better than our own cultural standards. Or worse, we fall into a trap of believing that we’ll be accepted by those in power.  I try to find a balance of discussing how most norms and ideals are created and enforced to advance those in power while at the same time, I take up a lot…

  • Legal Practice

    Working Goals

    Not to add more things on your plate, but if you’re on the resolution bus then I strongly encourage adding goals for work on your to-do list. When you start practicing, it is so easy to get into a day-to-day routine. Actually, that’s normal and what most people want! But the risk in this is that there is nothing that breaks up this monotony and suddenly you find yourself three or four years in with only minimal increase in skills or progress on your career goals. It bears repeating the career growth requires active participation, so why not take the opportunity of a new slate to figure out what you…

  • Law School

    What Kind of Lawyer Will You Be?

    Some of us know going into law school what we want to do, but many others just know we want to be a lawyer without a specific idea of the area or type of law we want to practice. And going through law school can make things even blurrier because suddenly we’re so overwhelmed with feeling miserable that we just want to get through it. But regardless of whether you’re in school with a laser-like focus about what you want to do or are just kind of going through the curriculum, hoping something sticks–there are two things you have to do to help form the lawyer you will be: 1)…

  • Issues,  Legal Practice

    Make Yourself Heard: Increasing Your Skills as a Litgator

    This article about a 96 year old judge making a rule to help encourage women attorneys to speak up more often in court is making the rounds. It’s a great piece and great example of how people in power can use their position to make a difference. Lost in the discussion (maybe ironically) is that the catalyst for this was a mentor/friend of the Judge’s; retired judge, Shira Scheindlin. Judge Scheindlin wrote an Op-Ed earlier this month about just this issue: the dismal percentage of women litigators speaking before the court. Judge Scheindlin discusses a study she conducted in New York that asked judges to observe when and how often…

  • Legal Practice

    Old & New: Balancing Your Idealism with Your Senior Colleagues’ Experience

    I joke that I am #foreveryoung and will always attend young alumni events (though I think in all honesty I probably have one more year left on that 🙁 ). Regardless, of how I feel, the truth is that I’m not a super young attorney. Yes, I’ve been practicing for less than ten years, but I’ve done enough of the same thing to really know what I’m talking about, which has led to an interesting situation when I interact with younger attorneys. Often new attorneys will come, bright-eyed and idealistic, and present ideas that I know will not work. And it sucks to be a Debbie Downer; to lay out…

  • Legal Practice

    Be the Boss: Exuding Grace Under Pressure

    A while ago, I attended a panel of local Latinas who are also General Counsel in their jobs and they had a ton of advice to offer. One of their big pieces of advice, that they all agreed on, was the need to exude confidence and grace under pressure. This is easier said than done—especially if you practice in a field where everything is high risk or you’re in a firm where people act like everything is a crisis. How can you cultivate this skill? Being calm and exuding confidence takes practice. It’s mindful and purposeful. It requires working on your reactions and demeanor both in and out of the…

  • Legal Practice

    Career Advancement: Are You Blooming?

    I’ve been really fortunate that a lot of my job duties and focus have changed about every two years. This has kept me interested and learning new areas of laws and skills, which is really fortunate because there’s a risk that we get stuck in the day to day and accidentally become stagnant in the work we do. And that is a disaster for your career. We should be constantly growing and looking for new opportunities, and I don’t mean job-hopping, I mean really growing in  your craft.  Of course, when you’re new to practicing everything is challenging and new, obvi, but a few years in you need to make…

  • Legal Practice

    Quirky or Unprofessional: Spend Your Capital at Work Wisely

    I recently read a comment online about a young woman who was new to her job and doing really well, but had been getting looks from people because she was taking notes on her arms. She realized she was using up social capital at work by doing that and decided to opt for a notebook to look a little more professional. As I was reading this I kept thinking–what are some ways we use up social capital at work that hinder us? I’m defining social capital as the goodwill people have towards you at work. You want to accumulate enough of it so that people take you seriously, are willing…