• SideBar,  Work Life Balance

    Side Bar: the wind down

    Last we spoke, I discussed wanting to shift some of the content here and then went silent. Sorry about that. Work, as always, became really hectic at the end of the year and into January. Then last month was the election in Chicago. Unfortunately, that means the administration I work for is coming to an end in May. What does that mean? I’m not sure—there are lots of moving pieces and lots of opportunities to consider. The good news is that at the beginning of the year my loans were finally forgiven. I did ten years deep of public service so all of it was wiped away. This means I’m…

  • SideBar

    Sidebar: 2020 Vision, lessons for the new year

    It’s still early enough in 2020 to share the vision and plan for the new year, right? Just asking because the new cycle moves fast & we’re basically on the brink of god knows what but trying to not live in terror, you know the vibezzz. #hidethepainharold 2019 was such a year of growth for me and I want to share some lessons I learned (some the hard way!) and hopes for the new year. One. Have the courage to change. Easier said than done! But 2019 was when I realized that if I wanted to grow in my career I needed to seek new challenges. It would have been…

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  • Work Life Balance

    A Spark: Books that Empower Latinas

    So, the sad truth is there are many Latina authors, but they are not supported and very rarely get the same backing as other authors. That’s why it feels rare to read a book by Latinas. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve edited my social media followings to include mostly & primarily women of color. When I think about it, I realize it stems from my reading habits. Like most of you, I love reading and when I was little, the library was our refuge. My mom would take me to the local library and it would provide solace and peace away from homes that were, at times, tumultuous. I was…

  • Legal Practice

    Working Goals

    Not to add more things on your plate, but if you’re on the resolution bus then I strongly encourage adding goals for work on your to-do list. When you start practicing, it is so easy to get into a day-to-day routine. Actually, that’s normal and what most people want! But the risk in this is that there is nothing that breaks up this monotony and suddenly you find yourself three or four years in with only minimal increase in skills or progress on your career goals. It bears repeating the career growth requires active participation, so why not take the opportunity of a new slate to figure out what you…

  • Issues,  Legal Practice

    Make Yourself Heard: Increasing Your Skills as a Litgator

    This article about a 96 year old judge making a rule to help encourage women attorneys to speak up more often in court is making the rounds. It’s a great piece and great example of how people in power can use their position to make a difference. Lost in the discussion (maybe ironically) is that the catalyst for this was a mentor/friend of the Judge’s; retired judge, Shira Scheindlin. Judge Scheindlin wrote an Op-Ed earlier this month about just this issue: the dismal percentage of women litigators speaking before the court. Judge Scheindlin discusses a study she conducted in New York that asked judges to observe when and how often…

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  • Law School

    Networking Basics: The Importance of Follow Through

    As the new school year starts there will be a lot of opportunities to network and meet members of the legal community. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to interact with so many new people–especially when you’re brand new and may not have a clear networking goal (other than “find a job”). But it’s vital that you make yourself part of the legal community and get into the habit of cultivating new contacts. As a new law student–or an upperclassman that really wants to up their game–here are some things to focus on:  One. Participate. While obviously studying and getting used to your new program is necessary, don’t avoid all networking…

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  • Legal Practice

    Be the Boss: Exuding Grace Under Pressure

    A while ago, I attended a panel of local Latinas who are also General Counsel in their jobs and they had a ton of advice to offer. One of their big pieces of advice, that they all agreed on, was the need to exude confidence and grace under pressure. This is easier said than done—especially if you practice in a field where everything is high risk or you’re in a firm where people act like everything is a crisis. How can you cultivate this skill? Being calm and exuding confidence takes practice. It’s mindful and purposeful. It requires working on your reactions and demeanor both in and out of the…

  • Legal Practice

    Why You have to be Twice as Good

    It’s not fair. It’s not fair. It’s not fair–I know. It’s not fair that we have to be twice as good to get the recognition and acclaim and basic respect as some mediocre/average people who happen to sit in positions of power and privilege. If we do twice the work, we should get double the rewards! But sadly, we’re not there yet. A resounding common-thread of advice that successful Latina lawyers share is that you have to be doubly prepared to exceed expectations and gain traction in your career. The reason for that is two-fold. One, we want to blow dumb asses that question our abilities out of the water.…

  • Legal Practice

    Quirky or Unprofessional: Spend Your Capital at Work Wisely

    I recently read a comment online about a young woman who was new to her job and doing really well, but had been getting looks from people because she was taking notes on her arms. She realized she was using up social capital at work by doing that and decided to opt for a notebook to look a little more professional. As I was reading this I kept thinking–what are some ways we use up social capital at work that hinder us? I’m defining social capital as the goodwill people have towards you at work. You want to accumulate enough of it so that people take you seriously, are willing…

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  • Legal Practice

    Be the Boss: Latinas as General Counsels

    I made the right decision to attend at a panel last month hosted by my local Latina bar association. The topic was on Latinas as General Counsels and it was so great! First, the panelists consisted of four talented, committed, intelligent, and successful Latina lawyers so I knew it was going to be a win already, but the advice and stories they shared were fantastic. I want to share some of the gems I picked up from them. Basically, a General Counsel is HB(oss)IC of a group of attorneys. They not only have to keep the best interests of the firm/company in mind, but also have to manage a team…