Legal Practice

  • Legal Practice

    Goal-Getter: On Setting Goals as a New Attorney

    We’ve discussed goal setting before (a lot!) but today I wanted to share a little more on why goal-setting is so important, especially when you’re new. Because when you’re a new attorney and new to the professional world, it’s easy to think that your firm or boss will always keep your career growth in mind. And some might! Some firms are really good at performance evaluation and career development, but your career is too important to leave in the hands of others. It’s important to set long-term and short term goals for yourself so that regardless of what your firm does or doesn’t do, you are developing as an attorney…

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  • Legal Practice

    Whose Gate are You Keeping?

    A few days ago I posted about the quandary I often feel in discussing professional norms and how to abide by them while understanding that those norms are rooted in classism, sexism, and racism. As always, my goal with teaching “how tos” is not to push for assimilation but rather to uncover these unspoken rules so people can decide which, if any, to follow. And how one abides by those norms is wholly dependent on your own career goals, current needs, and other obligations. Ok, but say you quickly learn and adapt to these standards, what does that mean? It means that while you’ve figured out the way to advance…

  • Legal Practice

    What If I Hate Practicing?

    So lately I’ve been thinking how it’s probably not helpful that I’m always like BEING A LAWYER IS THE BEST THING EVAR! Because I get that not everyone feels that way and in encouraging folks to enter this field I don’t want to make ppl feel like there’s something wrong with them if they don’t enjoy practicing. Yes, it’s totally normal to actually not enjoy being a lawyer. I mean maybe that’s not a huge surprise when you look at the data that shows how badly our profession suffers from depression and addiction but only pointing to that can feel extreme. There can be moments in your career where you…

  • Legal Practice

    Who is the Imposter? Not You.

    I recently read a new article from Harvard Business Review discussing how imposter syndrome is often blamed for our self doubt and lack of growth in our career, but that ignores outside factors (i.e. work culture) that actually influences your growth, more than your own confidence in abilities. Essentially, the report lays out that everyone—everyone—experiences doubt when they are starting something new, but most work environments are structured so that it tends to help one group of workers over others. Meaning, men may feel self-doubt but are given access to mentors and sponsors, both formally and informally, to help them grow and feel more secure in their work. So as…

  • 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;…

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  • 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…

  • Legal Practice

    Who’s the Daddy? Managing Clients

    So there’s so much to discuss when it comes to the #SohoKaren situation and let me say emphatically her behavior may have stemmed from a lot of issues, but the most troubling one is the racism. Y punto. But what I want to talk about here is her hat. Ok, not just the daddy hat, but everything that led to an interview with a daddy hat and the importance of client management. Managing clients, especially difficult ones, is a skill set we must develop sooner rather than later. A common misconception is that we say yes to every client whim, but that is a disservice to the client. While we…

  • Legal Practice,  Work Life Balance

    Lessons Learned During Ten Years of Practice

    So, in early November I passed the ten year mark. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been practicing for ten years, but at the same time, I’ve been able to pack so much in the past decade. There was so much happening in early November, I didn’t feel like there was space to discuss this milestone but there is no way I can reach this anniversary and not say something! I thought it would be fun to share some big and small lessons that have made the difference in my career. When I graduated law school, it was at the height of the worst recession (ha!) and no one–NO ONE–in my…

  • 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…

  • 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…

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