Carol Simpson

Playing “the gender card” in the courtroom

This past week I attended court for the first time in my three years in law school. Actually attending a real court has not been part of any of my courses to date, so this was an event that was particularly interesting. I was attending an evidentiary hearing in federal court, after having written the analysis of an important change of facts in the case. The hearing was before a female judge, and both the plaintiffs’ attorneys are female, as well. When the defendant’s attorneys arrived, there were two men and one woman. It was obvious that their plan was…

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Carol Simpson

Avoiding burnout on the Death Row defense bar

Each week during our internship, the legal staff has an “Intern CLE,” or some sort of legal lecture. Sometimes we watch a video on some aspect of public interest law, followed by a Q&A with an attorney practicing in that field. It may be someone working in criminal defense, legal aid, a lobbyist, or a legislative aide. We even watched Good Night, and Good Luck. The interns get to learn a little about other areas of public interest law, and can network with attorneys in other non-profits. And it serves as a little break in an otherwise intensive work week.We…

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Heather Aquino

The Navy JAG Corps

This summer I interned with the United States Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. All JAG’s are graduates of ABA accredited law schools, and have passed the bar examination in at least one state. After law school they attend Officer Indoctrination School, where they receive military leadership and physical training, and Naval Justice School, where they learn the many facets of military law and procedure. During the course of my internship I had the opportunity to meet many JAG attorneys, as well as many other military officers, the majority of whom are male. A few weeks into my internship, when I…

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jessie

Reflecting on the Bar Exam

Last week I sat for the California Bar exam. Like other law school exams and traditions the bar exam has been criticized as being insufficiently gender-neutral. It's a racehorse style exam, which rewards quick thinking and automated recall rather than reflection. This is not the best measure of many women's abilities or knowledge of a topic. You know what, though? I'm used to dealing with whatever possible disadvantage that test format might create for me. Here's what I'm not used to: having to carry my tampons in a clear plastic bag for inspection by my proctor, not to mention having…

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jessie

Can Dad Boil the Water?

Leslie Kaufman's article in The New York Times, entitled "Mom Puts Family Back on the Table," left me so confused. Cannabalistic title aside, her solution to the basic work-cook conundrum was baffling. She details how, despite working full time and not getting home until 7:30pm most nights, she is able to put a healthy and varied menu on the table for her family. The solution? Spending her Sunday planning, shopping, and preparing. Also her babysitter pitches in.   I can relate to the desire to sit down with family each night. It was a priority in my house growing up,…

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Emily Snider

The Power of One

The more experience I had consciously trying to "change" things, the more I realized that in order to affect big changes, a person simply needs to take individual action. My individual action, I decided, was to become a lawyer.I think a lot of women learn from their mothers how to behave in the world. Sometimes we learn from talking, sometimes from just watching. My mother was a woman who made her own decisions. She didn't make a big fuss about something before she did it. She would think about something, make a decision, and act. When I was in the…

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Corinne M. Croucher

Shooting for the Stars

When I was eight years old my brother and I were in our shared bathroom getting ready for bed. We were discussing what we would do when we were "grown up," and I declared that I wanted to be an astronaut. My brother looked at me and told me that "girls cannot be astronauts." Upset and confused I immediately went to tattle tell on my older brother. My mom then sat both of us down and told us that we could do anything in this world that made us happy and that nothing could stop us. As an eight year…

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The Rhode Island legal community has work to do

It was difficult not to notice the gender breakdown in the room. Rhode Island's Senate Judiciary Committee had convened to hear testimony and vote on a proposed bill to grant judges the authority to order firearm relinquishment when issuing permanent restraining orders. Among the eleven legislators present, one was a woman--she was also the co-sponsor of the bill. While forty states and the federal government have all enacted essentially the same law, the bill, titled "Homicide Prevention Act," had never successfully left the Judiciary Committee in the past three years' attempts at passage. Aside from the lone legislator, all of…

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Geeta Naidu

“Opting in” means choosing legal culture over Indian culture

After finals, after the end of school year celebrations and the spring barbeques, I drive to Illinois to start my summer of living with my parents and working at Prairie State Legal Services. I have a few days before my internship begins and I spend it running errands for my mother and grandmother. I spend long afternoons driving around the suburbs of Chicago, stopping at the houses of family friends to drop off mango pickle, pick up pan leaves and Telugu VHS movies that have been copied and re-copied until the movie has a clear picture or a clear sound,…

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Tahanie Aboushi

The Expectations Game

As a woman, the most important expectations to fill are my own. I vow to never compare myself to a man and to never make him my standard.As a child my parents always told me there was nothing I could not do. They also told me to never let anyone say or convince me I could not do something. More importantly, I was taught to always look for a challenge and never take the easy way out. Being a woman has become synonymous with challenge. As a woman entering the legal profession I am a reflection of our entire race,…

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