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Insecure at Work: Being Authentically You Without “Switching It Up”

A friend of mine introduced me to the HBO hit Insecure and it became my Sunday guilty pleasure. For those who have not seen it, Issa Rae stars as Issa, a black woman who works at a non-profit and spends most of the season re-evaluating her career and love life. Her best friend Molly, played by Yvonne Orji, is a black woman navigating Biglaw who is also struggling in the dating world. In one scene, Molly’s law firm partner approaches her about talking to the new summer associate who is an outspoken black woman named Rasheeda. The more seasoned lawyers…

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Ms. JD Pre-Law: Interview with Ani Torossian, Ms. JD Pre-Law Program Director 2015-2017

Today’s interview is with Ani Torossian, who served as Ms. JD’s Pre-Law Program Director from 2015-2017. Ani is currently a 1L at the Pepperdine University School of Law, and is a graduate of both Columbia University and UCLA. She previously interned at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, CNN and the Foreign Policy Association. Welcome, Ani! We'll start with a bit of a silly question. You're currently a 1L at Pepperdine University School of Law, in gorgeous Malibu, California. Have you managed to spend any time at the beach at all, or has the notorious 1L year mostly kept you…

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NYC Bar “Launching Your Career” Week 1: Orientation and Fireside Chat

This week, I had the pleasure of volunteering at the New York City Bar Association's Launching Your Career seminar series, chaired by the wonderful Van Ann Bui (Director, Law Program at SEO; former Proskauer associate). The series comprises of 5 professional development workshops targeted at pre-law undergraduates and recent graduates, on topics including: networking, finding a mentor, office etiquette, interviewing, and more. At this week's kick-off workshop, hosted at Hogan Lovells, the pre-law audience had the opportunity to hear from Jasmine Wade (Assistant District Attorney, Bronx County District Attorney's Office) and Karume James (Staff Attorney, The Bronx Defenders). Tahir Boykins…

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Susan Smith Blakely

Why Should Women Lawyers Have to Ask?

Two things converged for me in the last week, as they rarely do.  For starters, I have been writing a speech on women lawyers as effective negotiators for a conference of health care lawyers later this month.  In that speech, which focuses on the fact that women lawyers can be very effective negotiators on behalf of others but are not so effective in negotiations for themselves, I discuss some of the profound reasons for this disparity, which are cemented in cultural, societal and gender-based learned behaviors.  I have developed this particular presentation as part of the Best Friends at the…

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Swimming Lessons for Baby Sharks: Practical Advice for New Lawyers

Q: Are there lessons for new lawyers from the recent Academy Awards “Envelopegate” snafu involving PwC? A: Oh yes. The more obvious lessons are that even with straightforward assignments, the consequences of mistakes can be huge and “do-overs” may not be possible. I discuss these and other lessons below. “Envelopegate” is the moniker many media outlets have given to the Best Picture snafu at the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, February 26, 2017. To set the stage (for the approximately zero percent of readers who have not had any Internet or other news access in the past week), a…

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Dear Law Students: Your Peers Are Your First Professional Network

If you are in law school, you have probably heard that your peers are your first professional network. This is especially true for law students who do not have attorneys in their families or who simply have never interacted with attorneys. A good way to get to know your peers and be known in law school is to get involve in different students' organizations, on the board or be a member of your law school lawyering skills competition (e.g., national moot court, ABA Representation in Mediation, Client Interviewing and counseling etc) and/or get on one of your law school journals.…

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Hillary Clinton, Respectability Politics, and the Crisis of Modern Feminism

The results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election represented a failure on many fronts. It was a failure of the American commitment to diversity, openness, and refuge. It was a failure as a check on corporate greed, wealthy interests, and predators of the poor and vulnerable. It signified a societal sickness— with our obsession with celebrity culture and worshipping of money as status. It displayed a majoritarian callousness to the calls for equal dignity by marginalized groups – by racial and ethnic minorities, the transgender community, immigrants, religious minorities, the gay and lesbian community, the disabled community, and women –…

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Divorce and the House - How a Divorce Lawyer Can Help

A family home has much more than monetary value. Unfortunately, when a family breaks up, or unlucky event of a divorce occurs, this is not considered. Property will be central to a divorce settlement. What happens to an existing home and where one or both partners go? How can a divorce lawyer make the process easier? A divorce lawyer will cover all the issues at hand. Splitting assets is where a lawyer’s help can really aid the process. All assets will need to be identified and valued as part of working out what there is to divide up. The usual…

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2017 Ms. JD Honors Awardees Spotlight Series: 5 Q&A with Lieutenant General Flora Darpino

U.S. Army Lieutenant General Flora D. Darpino 2017 Ms. JD Road Less Traveled Award  The following questions were formulated based on U.S. Army Lieutenant General Flora Darpino's profile. 1. Your path is certainly not the one most law students take or even think about as an option. How did you decide to pursue a career in the Army? I often, half-jokingly, tell people I joined the Army because of a boy.  My husband was an Army officer and I needed an employer that would allow me to travel around the world with him, without having to take a bar exam…

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Is Success Possible for Women Attorneys in Hollywood?

One can sometimes hear that movies have long ago became a secondary, accompanying product of Hollywood. The primary one is, of course, lawsuits. Hollywood stars, their retainers, cast members, support staff, janitors and random passers-by seem to be existing in a constant state of anticipation, only jumping into frantic activity when an opportunity presents itself to sue somebody rich and famous. In such a situation, a question presents itself: can a woman attorney succeed in such an environment? What does it entail? Let’s take a closer look. 1.    Is the Question Right? First of all, the question itself isn’t quite…

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