• Legal Practice

    Elephant in the Room: Sexism in the Court Room

    If you have any interest in the criminal justice system or being a litigator then please take a moment to read a report called “Toughen up buttercup vs. TimesUp: initial findings of the ABA women in criminal justice Task Force.” It’s a report on the task force findings after having discussing with different women in the criminal justice system and in summary–things aren’t great. I really urge folks to take some time to read it or the summaries so you can get a sense of what it’s like to be a women in the criminal justice system. There are issues with overt sexism from coworkers, judges, and opposing counsel; enforced…

  • Legal Practice

    Know Your Limits: Setting Boundaries to Better Serve Clients

    A few weeks ago when we discussed the train wreck interview and the need to manage clients, a point was raised about paternalism. And honestly yeah, there is a such a problem with attorneys thinking that managing clients means they know what’s best in all aspects of a client’s life. And in certain segments of the legal industry, primarily legal aids and in sectors where we worked with marginalized communities, there is a risk of falling into a paternalistic behavior. We may often hear of this when we’re critiquing non-profits whose leaderships tend to not look like the community they represent. But I have seen situations with attorneys of color…

  • SideBar,  Work Life Balance

    Side Bar: What a year

    I don’t even know where to start. This year was just beyond and I know I’m not sharing any huge revelation here because we’ve all been through it, but I do want to take a moment to just acknowledge what occurred. At the beginning of 2020, I was six months into my new job in local govt and to put it plainly—I was ex-haust-ed! The pace of the work was a huge jolt to my system. And while I felt like I finally was getting it, I was still barely home and barely sleeping. Additionally, there were constant threats that ICE could descend at a moment’s notice—remember when they threatened…

  • Legal Practice

    Managing While Managing Your Own Stress

    So by now we’ve maybe gotten into a groove of working from home, and overseeing projects, but if you’re a new supervisor (whether it’s full time staff or interns) finding a way to manage while managing everything else that comes with a pandemic can feel like a bit much. In these situations, when it feels overwhelming, we may end up doing one of two things: completely letting go, which is not great or micromanaging to an extreme, which is never good. So what can you do to ensure you’re still being a good supervisor while dealing with everything else? One. Scream. Seriously! We may not recognize how anxious we are…

  • Law School

    Tough Choices: How to Know Which Law School is Right for You

    Like everything else in life, picking a law school is complicated. If it was a science, then you would just go to the highest ranked school, but that is not always the best choice. And what if you got into schools all similarly ranked? How can you really know which one is the better option? Thankfully, with just a little extra research you can make a decision that best fits your goals and plans. One. What’s the vibe? It’s important to visit your schools if you can. Visiting will let you get a feel of the school, the lectures, the students, and the nearby businesses. Of course, it may not…

  • Issues,  Work Life Balance

    What’s Next? Life After the Election

    Wow. All weekend I was at a loss for words because of how HAPPY I felt about the election. Not going to lie, some days before election day, I was going to sleep super worried about what another term would mean and how devastating it would be in so many ways and how the Right has decimated the justice system even further and well… I can’t put into words how relieved and happy I am!  What an incredible moment for grassroots organizing and people power. One thing I also wanted to say is how grateful we should be to organizers and communities who are often the most harmed who still…

  • Issues,  Legal Practice,  Work Life Balance

    Stressed Out: Managing Vicarious Trauma and Work-Related Stress

    We’ve spoken about vicarious trauma before–it is essentially the mental impact we experience by being exposed to other people’s trauma. Generally, we may think this is something we see with EMTs or other first-responders, but this type of trauma seeps into legal work as well. It’s the prosecutor that has to stare at murder scene pictures, the guardian ad litem that has to work with abused children, the immigration attorney that hears about the atrocities their client experienced–all those instances, and many others, do a number on us and it’s not a question if we will be impacted by it, but when and how. First, a disclaimer: nothing, not better…

  • Issues,  Law School

    Responding to Racist Comments in the Classroom

    I wrote a post years ago about responding to racist comments and when that was written the discourse and awareness of racism in law school was not as out in the open as it was now. When I was in school (yikes that makes me sound old!), if someone complained about racist comments by other students, the students of color were told to grow thicker skin. There were few recourses for things that weren’t over the top overt so the idea was that you just grit and bear it, for the most part. And even though there is more self-awareness within some schools about implicit bias and space for students…

  • SideBar,  Work Life Balance

    Side Bar: One Year

    I haven’t done a side bar in a while. Things are just so routine, working from home, and also tumultuous, that it’s hard to keep track! But I did want to take a moment to acknowledge this milestone. I survived one year in city hall! And holy wow–what a year. I can’t even get into the nitty gritty of it, but just the growth (along with the growing pains) has been tremendous. Early on, a colleague who has been there for a really long time told me the work would flow between the ridiculous and the sublime and I think that captures exactly what it is like to be in…

  • Law School,  Legal Practice

    Summer Series: Trusting Yourself

    Wow. In what I hope is the wildest summer of our lives (because no one needs a 2020 repeat), I am still sad to see this year’s Summer Series come to an end. But the end of something isn’t always bad, especially when we get a gem like today’s guest writer. Genesis Palma is a law school grad who planned to grow this summer. And she did just that. I am so excited to share her piece, which discusses coming to terms with the damage law school can cause, taking a moment to reflect on what is best for you and our mental/financial help, and always, always recognizing the strength…