• Issues,  Law School,  Legal Practice

    Let Them Underestimate You: What Julian Castro Teaches Us About Expectations

    First, this is not an endorsement, but we have to talk about Julian Castro. He killed it at the debate stage on Wednesday and was a surprising star of the night. It seemed obvious that his performance was a surprise to everyone but Julian Castro. I noticed how cool, calm, collected he was after he delivered it. He acted like he did exactly what he had planned to do, even acknowledging that “a lot of people were surprised” by his breakout performance. That’s when it clicked. Julian Castro, I’m sure, has a life experience of being a Brown attorney who is dismissed as someone who is incapable of delivering and…

  • 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,…

  • Issues,  Legal Practice

    Do It Again: Overcoming the “Prove it Again” Bias at Work

    After you’ve been practicing for a while you become accustomed to people being wary of your ability and then you become super accustomed to them being blown away by how great you perform. This is a phenomenon known as “prove it again.” A horrible cycle women experience where we’re not given credit for our potential, instead our capabilities are questioned more harshly and when we deliver, those in charge need you to “prove it again” because obviously you’re past success was a fluke…   This is exhausting–seriously nothing annoys me more than seeing the ~shock~ when I do a killer job, like I’ve been killing it for years, how are…

  • Issues,  Legal Practice

    Drawing the Line: Pushing Back Against Problematic Standards in the Law

    Of the million and one things that were incredibly wrong with the Kavanaugh confirmations, one of the stories that jumped out at me was a story involving Amy Chua. Chua, of Tiger Mom fame, is a Yale Law School Professor and is um, well, somewhat problematic, to say the least. The story that made the rounds detailed how Chua allegedly instructed women law students on how to dress and style themselves to please Kavanaugh because he liked his clerks to look “a certain way.”  She denies this, but many people have heard similar advice in their own school settings. And so this type of advice does happens to various extents–that…

  • Issues,  Work Life Balance

    American Like Me: A Book Review

    On one of my first days of school in the U.S. a young boy approached me and asked: What color are you? I had never been asked this before and remember showing him my arm, confused that this poor boy didn’t know his colors and answered:  I’m tan.  Later when I told my mom what happened, she laughed and said if someone asks you that again just say you’re Mexican. Easy enough. However, as I grew up, I realized the complexities of race in the U.S. I grappled with my own cultural identity and picking the right “label.” It’s all so complicated and made more so by the fact that…

  • 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,  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…