• Issues,  Legal Practice

    To Be or Not to Be: The Problem With Gender Roles & Sexism in the Courtroom

    I just finished reading two articles that I recommend people read about women litigators and issues they face at work. One is from The Atlantic and the other is a response in the ABA Journal. Each article tackles how women, who make up a dismal percentage of lead counsel/first chairs in trials, can push back against sexism in the courtroom to win for their client. The article in The Atlantic, written by Lara Bazelon–a former Federal Public Defender and Clinical Professor, suggests that women face such systemic sexism in every area of the courtroom that it behooves us to abide by gender roles so that we’re not seen as too…

  • Legal Practice

    Surviving the Gaslight: Microaggressions at Work

    Imagine, you’re in the middle of a networking event and a partner at a firm casually mentions that they’re so impressed with how well you speak English…cue record scratch. Or you’re starting a new job and your new boss says they’re so excited to have you because they really need someone to spice up the office. …que que?! You’re likely no stranger to these micro aggressions. You know what it’s like when people keep asking where you’re from, are surprised you speak English, or assume you’re not capable just because of the way you look. Believe it or not, there will be many incidents where people act way out of pocket…

  • Issues,  Legal Practice

    Is Your Work Glamourous?

    A recent article from Harvard Business Review discussed how women and people of color (so especially women of color) are often assigned tasks that while necessary to keep a business running are not assignments that help propel your career. We are often assigned to doing “Office House Work” where white men are more often assigned “Glamour Work.” Glamour work gets you noticed and can be used to show growth and your success and experience with glamour work can be used to push for a promotion or more plummy assignments. I highly encourage people to read the HRB article especially because it discusses what managers and companies should do to take…

  • Issues,  Law School

    Your Goals Matter

    First, sorry not sorry, but I can’t get off the Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter train–it was just such a good book! But it definitely has kept me thinking–in the novel, the imperfect daughter, Julia, struggles with meeting the standards her family sets and is more focused on creating a life for herself that’s different than what her small neighborhood has to offer–she wants to be a writer, go to college, see the world. Her parents don’t get why she can’t be happy to have a steady job and stay at home with her family. There were so many scenes where I was rooting for Julia and became just as…

  • 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…

  • Issues,  Law School

    How Much Should You Bare: Law School Essays

    Recently, the discussion made the rounds about how students of color feel forced to discuss their trauma to receive admission or financial aid or some other form of access to higher education. Most of us have a general sense that we have to discuss something bad in our history to show why we’re “worthy” of admittance. It seems to be a trend in higher Ed to have to show your grit,  which almost always comes from some negative experience. It’s bogus to have to reveal such personal and troubling histories to strangers and if you have to do it frequently (scholarship apps, different applications, etc) it can take a toll…

  • Issues,  Law School,  Legal Practice,  Work Life Balance

    Grit is not Enough

    Are you gritty? Do you persevere above all obstacles to reach your goal? Chances are, if you are heading to law school, the answer is yes. We are so full of grit, y’all! Grit (perseverance and passion) is a quality characteristic–and students of color, living in poverty have it by the boatload. Yet, we place too heavy a burden on students of color when we focus on grit as the sole reason of why they succeed. Because when we only focus on the individual, we take away the responsibility schools and other systems of power have to help our communities. And grit isn’t enough for students to overcome those barriers.…

  • Issues,  Law School

    Open Letter to “Mediocre” Latinx Students: Go Where You’re Not Wanted

    Yesterday, I saw the article on WaPo about the University of Maryland professor who accidentally sent an email to his mock trial class that included a coach’s (the prof’s daughter) remarks on the students who had tried out and her concern about whether or not to include the Latino students for the sake of diversity even though she thought they all performed poorly and that the best one was “mediocre.” I read that article and it was gut-wrenching. So often students of color have a sense that some professors, admins, or people in power within academia don’t support us because they have a preconception of our “inferior” capabilities, but rarely…

  • 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…

  • Issues,  Law School

    When Your Professor is Racist

    Hello! It’s been a minute and really this entire week I have been watching and reading about the attacks in Virginia. It has made me more guarded and angry. And I really don’t know what the solution will be, but I guess we can only take it one day at time or whatever. Anyway, the best way for me to refocus this energy is to connect with this community and I want to talk about ignorance in the classroom, which seems like it will be especially prevalent now. We’ve discussed reacting to ignorant comments by classmates before, but we haven’t discussed what happens when your instructor holds ideas that put your…