• 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,  Law School,  Legal Practice

    Everyone Has Help: Why Kavanaugh’s Denials are a Detriment to our Profession

    I got into Yale Law School. That’s the number one law school in the country. I had no connections there. I got there by busting my tail in college. You’ve probably heard that re-play of Kavanaugh’s hearing in his attempt to become a Justice. There are so many things that were a sloppy mess in this hearing, but for me, this was such an eye-opening statement. This is a man that comes from wealth, working and living with DC-elite, is a legacy student (aka White Affirmative Action) and yet he sat there and screeched he did this all on his own. He ignores every leg-up, privilege, assistance given to him…

  • Issues,  Law School

    Don’t Hustle Backwards: Using Every Opportunity to Land Your Summer Job

    As we get closer to job application season for 1Ls and 2Ls, it’s vital to remember that you must use every tool at your disposal to get the job you want. First, let me start by saying this profession and law school (and this country) does a fantastic job of claiming we succeed through merit. Success is given to those that earn it and deserve it, right? No. The idea that people get ahead by bootstrapping is a farce. People get ahead because systems are in place to ensure they get ahead. Then when people like us, women and people of color, push ourselves into this system they try to…

  • Legal Practice

    What Beyonce Teaches Us About Power

    Have you heard the Good News? Beyonce is on the cover of Vogue, September Edition. Not only that, she discusses so much of her private life that makes me love her even more. Not only that, but she had complete control and decided to use that control to hire a relatively unknown young, Black photographer to shoot the cover. The first black photographer in the magazine’s entire history (embarrassing). Beyonce said: If people in powerful positions continue to hire and cast only people who look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in, they will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from…

  • 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

    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…