• 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…

  • 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…

  • Law School

    What to do with a Gap Year

    For those planning to attend law school, you may hear about the importance of a gap year. A gap year, generally speaking, is a year+ long break between undergrad and law school. I like to encourage them even though I went straight through. What is the goal of a gap year? It can be anything you want it to be, really. You can spend the time getting your money right so you can afford to apply for law school; you can spend the time getting more information about the legal profession/meeting lawyers so you can be sure the law is for you; and/or you can spend the time strengthening your…

  • Law School

    Law Student Don’ts: Mistakes to Avoid as a Law Student

    I’ve spoken often about how weird law school is and how common culture shock can be—and that’s because not only is the Law a foreign concept but the process of law school itself is also really weird. And it can be easy to stumble, especially when you’re new or when you’re not event sure of what are the expectations.  In fact, that’s how I feel I went through law school—one stumble after the next and thankfully I never fell flat on face enough to not get back up, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t have to be that difficult. You shouldn’t feel like you’re fumbling in the dark to figure out…

  • 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…

  • Issues,  Law School

    When Misunderstandings Feel Like Accusations

    I remember the first time I was accused of wrong-doing in law school and how enraged I felt. When I was weeks away from ending my first year of law school, one of the editors for one of the journals emailed me and unceremoniously told me they were rejecting my application and then offered me the “advice” to be honest in my resume going forward. It was a complete shock to my system. I was incredulous and shocked, how could they accuse me of lying on my resume of all things?! So, as a true aries, I pushed back, hard. Demanding meetings and clarifications and probably made enough of a…

  • 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; enforced…

  • 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…

  • Law School

    Bounce Back: Saving your GPA after 1L Year

    So, I love this community because I posted this on Insta and how excited I was to have other low-ranked law graduates represented in the White House. That’s my type! Mostly joking (I have no clue if MY PRESIDENT graduated in the bottom half of his class, but if he did, then I’m in good company). The reality is that I STRUGGLED my 1L year and when grades came out, I was disappointed but not surprised that I didn’t do so hot. More Bs and Cs than I had expected. I really didn’t know what to do, I was to embarrassed to go to the TAs and didn’t even know…