• Issues,  Law School,  Legal Practice

    Am I Dumb? Combating the Microaggressions at Work that Question Your Intelligence

    First, I’m so glad we have a space here to talk about this because I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. And, recently, when I read this article about how “well-meaning” liberals often dumb themselves down for our supposed benefit it all kind of clicked… Let me start at the beginning—tell me have you ever experienced any of the following: You’re really good at your job, but it seems almost impossible to be assigned complex cases, important clients, or other glamour work and you’re not sure why? You give guidance, advice, input on cases, but colleagues, even subordinates, question or push back on your correct analysis? Or You’re…

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  • Issues,  Legal Practice

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

    A funny thing happens after you’ve been practicing law for a few years. While you are developing your skills and growing more confident about your talent, you start to sense other people being surprised at how great you perform. Almost too surprised… This is a phenomenon the Harvard Business Review calls “prove it again.” A cycle women experience where we’re not given credit for our potential. Instead, our capabilities are questioned more harshly and when we do deliver, those in charge need you to “prove it again” because obviously you’re past success was a fluke… It is exhausting and disheartening. A punch to the gut when you realize a respected…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

  • 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…

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