From the blog

The Public Interest vs Big Law dilemma

Hello Ms. JD. Ready to run the world Stronger together. Let's face it. Our personal statements to law school and our current career paths don't always align with each other. For me, the 1L experience was such a whirlwind because I learned about opportunities like on-campus-interviews, clerkships, and law review for the first time. Two different things helped me gain perspective. What helped me grapple with the pushes-and-pulls to Big Law or public interest was a piece of advice from a mentor: "You'll have 50-or-so years left of your life to work. You'll get to do everything you'll want to…

read more


Stronger Together: Lessons from An Honoree

I am excited to attend Stronger Together in support of Kate Kimpel, a recipient of the Women of Inspiration Award. I had the privilege of working with Kate for four years at Sanford Heisler Kimpel, a public interest litigation firm that combats gender discrimination in the workplace.  Kate, like the other honorees, does the impossible.  She manages the firm’s DC office; serves as lead counsel on class action cases and individual matters; teaches a class at Yale Law School; runs a blog that produces weekly original content surrounding women and work; and somehow still manages to offer endless support to those around…

read more

Susan Smith Blakely

Time to Get Started on Federal Court Clerkship Applications

The season for pursuing the perfect federal court clerkship is right around the corner.  Well, sort of.  Even though the high season is not until the Fall, do you remember Fall?  It is hectic and overwhelming.  So, work in some time now before you become like a deer in headlights in the Fall.  You will be glad you did. It also now appears that rising 2Ls can apply for federal court clerkships in the summer before their second years in the new judicial application system known as OSCAR.  PLEASE check with your Career Services Department to make sure this is…

read more


Law Law Land: How to Succeed in Law School (by Really Really Trying)

When I started law school, many years ago (2.5), I decided that my one and only focus was my grades. To me, that was success. That was how I was going to win this game -- and law school is a game, don't let them tell you otherwise. It's a game where nobody knows the rules upon entering, a game in which you have to fend for yourself in a desolate world where the A's are few and the hungry are many. A brief disclaimer, or explanation, or something: I'll admit that I hesitated in writing this post because in…

read more


Dining in San Francisco—Town Favorites and Hidden Gems

San Francisco is an eater’s paradise. The first part of this post includes a variety of options within one mile of UC Hastings. Several of these places are known throughout the city as “must try.” Others are not as well-known, but just as tasty. The second part of this post is for those that want to step away from the area surrounding campus and explore the rest of the City. These are the places I choose for dinner with friends, a special occasion, or just a break from the books. Bon Appétit! I. Top picks near UC Hastings: Coffee Sightglass…

read more


Mommy, Esq.: Finding Your Match without Losing It - Tips for Surviving Your Job Search

Let’s face it: there is a lot of discouraging news facing pre-law students, law students, and new lawyers. Everywhere I look there’s an article arguing that law school is a mistake, citing terrifying job statistics, or highlighting the devastating impact of student loan debt on young lawyers who can’t get decent jobs. As a law student, articles like this terrified me. I had a child to support! I pictured myself packing up C and moving back in with my parents. I couldn’t stand the thought (no offense, mom and dad). There is some truth to the bad press. The job…

read more


Three Myths about the LSAT Experimental Section

We talk a lot with students gearing up for the LSAT about the ideal way to take an LSAT practice test, and one of the pieces we stress the importance of including is the Experimental Section. If you want a thorough discussion of the experimental section, go here, but for now here's a very brief description: Every officially-administered LSAT since 1991 contains four, 35-minute scored sections--2 Logical Reasoning, 1 Reading Comprehension, and 1 Logic Games--as well as an additional 35-minute, unscored "experimental" section. This section will be either a third LR, second RC, or second LG, and is designed to pre-test questions that could…

read more


Masks of Venice

Mardi Gras!  Fasching!! Carnevale!!!  Yes, it is that time of year again.  Time for revelry, parades, dances, and dressing in costume.  If you have ever stood among the families catching beads in the Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana; or been crushed in a throng of Germans watching Fasching floats; or watched the regally dressed people with masks walk by at Carnevale in Venice, Italy – you know the true meaning of Carnival! I recently visited Venice, Italy with my family.  It wasn’t the first time I have visited and hope it won’t be my last.  No matter how many…

read more


Surviving and Thriving in the Early Years: Tackling Legal Research and Writing

I’ve known very few people who made an “easy” transition from law school to practice—I certainly didn’t. Law practice requires many skills you weren’t taught in law school. As a young attorney, you’ll frequently be researching and drafting memos and briefs. You practiced these skills in law school during your legal writing courses, but research and writing aren’t as simple once the stakes are higher and your clients’ interests are on the line. Below are 10 tips to survive and thrive in your research and writing assignments. 1. Take thorough notes and read any written assignment carefully. If you receive…

read more


Life as a Law Student: The Sports Talk

A 1L's Delayed Gratification: Learning that it's the gray areas that give us our jobs.  During the fall semester of 1L year, the law school threw us a fancy, business professional dinner for us to meet our faculty advisors. So there I was, the one woman sitting at a table full of men, going through the usual meet and greet/Q&A session. It was going pretty well, if I say so myself. Our faculty advisor, who happens to be a renowned scholar in property and environmental law, asked me about the water crisis when he found out that I was from California.…

read more


5 Things I Love About DRI’s Women in the Law Seminar

The 2015 Women in the Law Seminar is coming up soon – February 25-27 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. If you’re not sure whether you should come, read on – below is my list of the top five things that make this seminar so great: 1.     It’s a no-whining zone. This is not a seminar where we sit around complaining about how hard it is to be a woman lawyer. Who has time for that? I have hours to bill, client relationships to maintain, and a life to live, thankyouverymuch. The Women in the Law Seminar gives me strategies and tactics I…

read more


5 Local Favorites Within Walking Distance of the Ms. JD Conference

Philz Consider yourself a coffee connoisseur? Go here! Voted best coffee in the city by SF Weekly, each cup is made to order… and delicious! My personal favorite is the Ginger Snap Iced Coffee. Five stars! Saigon Sandwich This place often has a line because of its popular banh mi, but it’s worth the wait. Also very affordable! Get it to go and walk over to the park on Turk and Gough for a picnic-style meal. Tommy’s Joint A true local favorite, Tommy’s Joint has been featured in numerous foodie magazines, as well as TV specials. Great ambiance, great BBQ,…

read more


Through the Looking Glass—Observations from Five Years Out: Confidence

As a young female attorney, both confidence and authenticity are essential to survival. Early in my career I struggled with both—and even do now—until I figured out that without the latter, you simply cannot find the former. As a young lawyer, I found confidence elusive. I was constantly worried I made a wrong decision, said something inaccurate or foolish to a partner, or looked ridiculous to opposing counsel. I would make a decision, act on that decision, and spend the next week second-guessing myself. I consistently looked to external sources—colleagues, friends, superiors—to affirm my confidence. It was a never-ending cycle.…

read more


Getting In

I’ve been doing my homework over here in the frigid Minnesota winter.  And I keep reading one thing over and over again:  The ranking of your law school is sometimes the most important factor in whether or not you’ll be hired as a lawyer later.  They don’t teach you that in Legally Blonde, where Elle Woods had no trouble getting into Harvard Law (what, like it’s hard?). Well, it is hard.  And it’s something that is constantly on my mind when I think about the possibility of law school. Looking back at my time in college, it’s all a blur. …

read more

Ms. JD Weekly Roundup

Ms. JD Weekly Roundup: Week ending February 27, 2015

Congratulations to Marci Eisenstein! Ms. Eisenstein has been appointed managing partner at Schiff Hardin, making her the first woman managing partner in Schiff Hardin's 150-year history. If you're hoping to follow in Ms. Eisenstein's footsteps, it might be worth moving to Denver, Detroit, San Francisco, or Seattle. While if you're struggling to take those steps you know will set you on the path to partner, consider these tips for shattering your internal glass ceiling. In a world first, female Irish solicitors now outnumber male solicitors practising in Ireland. Going email-free for a whole day may not be possible, but there are…

read more