Mahira Siddiqui

Ms. JD Fellowship: One Year and Looking Back

As a recent law school graduate, a little over halfway into my first year in the big, bad legal world, I’ve recently been reflecting on my most important and fulfilling law school experiences. Not surprisingly, Ms. JD’s prestigious fellowship falls at the top of the list. As a 2013-14 Ms. JD fellow, I was fortunate to work with a wonderfully diverse and passionate group of women nationwide, each with their own unique experiences that will undoubtedly add to the ever changing legal profession and the advancement of women in the workplace.

Each year, the Ms. JD fellows are responsible for developing a fun and interactive project that will serve to aid women jumpstarting their legal careers. My class bounced around a few ideas ranging from creative outreach to co-sponsoring different types of events in various regions before finally deciding to create an e-book “Acing Law School”. Our vision was to create an 'A-to-Z guide' addressing several aspects of the legal profession from networking to finding and maintaining the appropriate work-life balance. What I liked most about this project is that it was compiled by a diverse pool of experiences and perspectives from women around the nation. The product was a testament to the knowledge, aspirations, and passion of my fellow-fellows. I could not be prouder to have worked with a vivacious, powerhouse of future trailblazers.

Another cherished aspect of the fellowship is the beloved mentor-mentee program. I was paired with an incredible mentor, who I aspire to be like in many ways. She was a former civil rights attorney who fought alongside and continues to battle for gender equality and the promotion of women in the legal profession specifically. Our initially formal relationship blossomed into one I will forever value. Since then, my mentor has invited me to prominent luncheons promoting civil rights and diversity, cozy lunches at her beautiful home, and everything in between. Lastly, as a mentor-facilitator, this woman taught me about grit and growth and constantly reminds me how thrilled she is to see me, a woman of color, embark on this journey. 

For these reasons, the Ms. JD fellowship, in addition to my other connections with Ms. JD as a 2012 Writer in Residence and helping with the Global Education Fund committee, was an integral part of my law school experience. Throughout law school I continued to stay involved with Ms. JD and at my graduation ceremony I was the recipient of the 2014 National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Student Award for contributing to the advancement of women in society, promoting issues and concerns of women in the legal profession, and exhibiting motivation, tenacity and enthusiasm.

The fellowship solidified my reasons to join the conversation regarding women and diversity in the legal profession. Taking from these experiences, I joined a newly formed Race and Equity Inclusion Committee at work in hopes of continuing the conversation in my own professional environment.

I encourage you to apply for this unique fellowship which will expose you to a new network, build lasting relationships, and allow you to grow with each other and through each other. I look forward to seeing the wonderful work of future fellows to come. The deadline has been extended to March 27th. Apply today!

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