• 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…

  • 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…

  • SideBar,  Work Life Balance

    Side Bar: What a year

    I don’t even know where to start. This year was just beyond and I know I’m not sharing any huge revelation here because we’ve all been through it, but I do want to take a moment to just acknowledge what occurred. At the beginning of 2020, I was six months into my new job in local govt and to put it plainly—I was ex-haust-ed! The pace of the work was a huge jolt to my system. And while I felt like I finally was getting it, I was still barely home and barely sleeping. Additionally, there were constant threats that ICE could descend at a moment’s notice—remember when they threatened…

  • 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 are…

  • Law School

    Tough Choices: How to Know Which Law School is Right for You

    Like everything else in life, picking a law school is complicated. If it was a science, then you would just go to the highest ranked school, but that is not always the best choice. And what if you got into schools all similarly ranked? How can you really know which one is the better option? Thankfully, with just a little extra research you can make a decision that best fits your goals and plans. One. What’s the vibe? It’s important to visit your schools if you can. Visiting will let you get a feel of the school, the lectures, the students, and the nearby businesses. Of course, it may not…