• 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

    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…

  • 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,  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…

  • SideBar

    Sidebar: love and hate

    August is over. That means summer is over fr fr. But I guess Summer 17 ended with a bang? I mean, how do we get over what happened in Virginia? Wait, let me back up so this month my cousin returned to Florida to start her fall semester and I miss her so much!! 🙁 She left the weekend of E’s birthday, so we did some mini farewell/bday meals before she left.       Of course, the day after E’s bday we woke up to the protest in Virginia and it really shook me. Not because I don’t think the country is racist (it is) but because how impossible…

  • 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…