Sarah Villanueva

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Last month I ran the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco.  You learn a lot about yourself over 26.2 miles.  You learn what motivates you, how determined you are, and how strong you are over those 26.2 miles.  (Not to mention, all the aches and pains that develop; and who knew skin chafed so dang easily??)When I started at my law firm, my mentor said to me, “Sarah, the one thing you have to remember is that this is a marathon, not a sprint.”  I heard his words, nodded in agreement, but did not truly understand him. I just celebrated…

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Sarah Villanueva

Life and death, but mostly death

I was hoping to write something profound this month.  Something about Marissa Mayer and her decision to take only a week maternity leave.  (My point would have been this:  Back off, people.  The whole point of the feminist movement was to have choices.  The point was to have the ability for all of our lives to look vastly different.  If we wanted homogenous lives, Betty Friedan never would have had the impact that she did.  Support everyone during these difficult decisions they have to make.  Then, we win.) But, instead, my mind has been otherwise occupied as my last three…

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Sarah Villanueva

The Reactions to “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”

You can’t read Ms. JD, work in corporate America, or – really – be a woman, without having someone say to you this last month, “Have you read that article in the Atlantic Monthly?”  It has been all the buzz, and rightly so.  Because Ms. Slaughter’s article is directly on point with my blog topic, I have felt a lot of pressure this month about what my response to the article was going to be.  After all, I didn’t want to let anyone down. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was more interested in…

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Sarah Villanueva

Really?  YOUR plate is too full?

(Before I begin, I want to thank Ms. JD for being so patient with me.  After moving twice in the last three months, running two half marathons, and being a first year associate at a big firm, I put a little too much on my plate.  But now that the moves are done and I am settling into my new home -- yay! -- life should be manageable again.  Busy and crazy, but at a level I am used to.  So thank you Ms. JD for your support.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.)Each month I sit…

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Sarah Villanueva

Gendered Assumptions: They can happen to the best of us

It’s election season here in Oregon. And an exciting one at that. We have three open seats between the state’s two high courts and two of those elections are contested. When you work at a large law firm during judicial elections that means you are going to get visits from the candidates. Sure, the end goal is to get the attorneys to open their checkbooks, but it is also a good time to get to meet important people who may soon be making decisions that impact you and your clients.I am fortunate enough to know one of the candidates running…

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Sarah Villanueva

So, how did we get here?  One story of the creation of an unhappy associate

So, how did we get to so many unhappy and overworked associates at our “big” firms?  Here is one anecdotal version:  The legal profession says, “If you work at a “big” firm, you are going to have to work all the time, at the whim of the partners, and you’re just going to have to accept that.”Associate responds, “Well, if that’s how it is going to be, I want to be paid for it.  And paid a lot.” After further consideration, the associate adds, “And I would also like to know what parameters I’m going to be measured against.  Something tangible…

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Sarah Villanueva

Too Legit to Quit:  Life Happens and Keeps Happening…

As much as it pains me, I have to admit it.  I’m not prepared to write this month’s column.  I had great aspirations.  Women I was going to interview, questions I was going to ask, books and articles I was going to read.  It was going to be epic.Then life happened.I’m a first year associate.  We all know what that means:  long hours, lots of work, and the constant stress of not knowing what the heck you are doing and worrying that you are screwing everything up and committing malpractice at every turn. In addition to that, I coach (and am…

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Sarah Villanueva

Too Legit to Quit: Renovating the Big Firm Model for Mr. and Ms. JD

I started at my "big" firm job this last October.  (I say "big" in quotes because I'm in Portland, Oregon, not New York City.  Size is relative.)  My husband had a two-year head start at his big firm, while I did a two-year judicial clerkship.  We were feeling pretty damn good.  What was not to like?  We had both finished at the top of class, got top jobs--at a time when jobs were getting hard to come by, though not yet as impossible as they soon would be.  We were ready to start our careers and the rest of our…

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