Heather Squatriglia

My own worst enemy? Choosing to practice family law was harder than it should have been

I am a woman who has chosen to enter a practice area that is dominated by women--Family Law (more specifically Juvenile Rights). As an older student (I'll be 37 in July), the whole reason I decided to go to law school was to work with youth in the juvenile justice system. I never considered this to be a gender specific area of the law (in the way that teaching and nursing have traditionally been women's professions) but apparently a lot of people do. I'm not really sure how I feel about that. Everybody hates to be stereotyped, especially when one…

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Sarah J. Dreisinger

My Mothers, My Mentors, My Sisters… My Strength

I have been surrounded by intelligent women for much of my life. Perhaps the most inspiring is my mother. An educator, administrator, and consummate professional, my mother has seen it all. From being a young teacher in the New York City public school system to receiving her doctorate just last year, she has come far. More than her academic and professional achievements, however, my mother is most proud of her motherly achievements. Despite her demanding schedule, family came first. My mother has taught me to value the time I spend with those I love. Although my mother has had little…

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My mentors in juvenile justice: Julie Darnieder and Tanner Kilander

I find it exciting and invigorating to be entering a profession that for centuries was dominated, if not entirely occupied by males. Strangely, entering the legal profession did not strike me as a momentous accomplishment until I received my first law school acceptance letter and my parents were beaming from ear to ear. Especially my mother, because she never had the opportunity to complete her undergraduate schooling, let alone study at the graduate level. But I realize she gave up her education to stay at home to give my brother and I the life that she never had. Without my…

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CurlieTea

Hearing Voices

I grew up as the second of three daughters born to "working-class" parents. When I was younger, it was rare to see either of my parents come home from work unexhausted. Growing up, most girls my age weren't expected to contribute the type of chores my sisters and I were; my father had no sons and, as children, we did all we could to help, regardless of gender roles. Consequently, as time went on, I became quite an "atypical" young woman. I was often outspoken in the classroom. When policies or discussions concerning gender, class or ethnicity seemed illogical or…

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Jessica L. Burke

Growing up into a lawyer

As I edge towards entering the legal profession, I am consistently reminded that I am no longer a child. My high-backed leather chair, my bun knotted hair, and my black suit make me appear to be an adult. This summer I was thrust into the hectic world of legal aid. Unaccustomed to such poverty, anguish, and despair I have alternatively felt grave despair and waves of purpose wash over me. Rather than let the tides carry me away I fold them beneath and practice my professional face.This movement from girlhood to womanhood is slowly progressing. The first day was researching…

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Julie Schaffer

Being female is a non-issue

As a woman entering the legal profession, I am hopeful and encouraged. Thus far in my legal education and externship experiences I have been surrounded by capable and confident women. I am encouraged to see that being female, at least in my legal experience, is essentially a non-issue. In applying for jobs, positions on law review, research positions with professors, and other competitive ventures, as well as in signing up for classes, my female colleagues and I have never once discussed our being female. Rather, our conversations focus on our individual qualifications and interests. I simply have not seen women…

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Sabrina Ross

From Rural Nicaragua to Corporate America, Women Change Landscapes

My experience as a woman entering the legal profession is perhaps as much about history as it is about the future.In part, my entrance is shaped by my pre-existing commitment to using the law to advance equality where the nexus of race, gender, disability, and other qualities currently locates inequality, both de facto and de jure. I will start with an example of this commitment, and the view it affords: working in Nicaragua, I would often assess the results of our organization's small grants to feminist projects. One day on such an assignment, equipped with a two-minute brief on the…

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Emily Lambert

We have a duty to use our law degrees to advance women’s rights

As women entering the legal profession, I believe we all have the duty to use our law degree to help advance the rights of women in some way. Before I even started law school at Catholic University, I knew that I wanted to use my law degree to advance women's rights. Since I have started law school my desire to provide legal services to the poor and underprivileged women has only strengthened. My commitment to this line of work is evidenced through my legal internships, volunteer work, and clinical work. During my first year of law school, my friend at…

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Anna Czapla

Between Barbie Dolls and Bitchy Lawyers

Anna wonders how aggressive to be in her legal career. When she was little, she only played with Barbie dolls as makeshift footballs. These days, that would probably get her labeled "bitchy" just like her oral arguments do. "Toughness doesn't have to come in a pinstripe suit."-- Diane Feinstein as quoted in Time magazine, June 4, 1984. I am so thankful for all of the women that opened up the doors of the law profession to the women of my generation. I don't know how they did it. So many double standards and tough choices still exist for women lawyers…

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Heather Aquino

My road is my own

We are sitting at the booth in the far right hand corner of the restaurant, our "usual" table we like to call it. It's been nearly seven years since high school yet the four of us still continue to request this table, just as we had when we were sixteen years old. I sit farthest from the wall, slowly sipping a cherry coke, looking at the faces of the women I have grown up with. Looking at my childhood friends. I am the last to arrive after my train was delayed 30 minutes at Penn Station, and by the time…

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