By Molly Timko • December 30, 2019•Ms. JD, Writers in Residence, Careers, Law School
As a 2019 Ms. JD Writer in Residence, I had the privilege of interviewing some truly inspirational first-generation lawyers/lawyers with blue-collar roots. I learned about their unique paths to law school and the legal profession, and the challenges associated with becoming the first person in their family (or possibly in their community) to become a lawyer. These women also shared some great advice, which I compiled below. It is my hope that first-generation attorneys will continue to share their stories and mentor and support other trailblazers who are climbing up the ladder.
Collective Wisdom of 2019: You Can Do It!
“You deserve to be where you are. You may need to look a little harder for mentors but they are out there. You don’t need to be the child or grandchild of an attorney to be an excellent attorney!”
“Work hard, aim high and be kind to everyone. You can do this. Just because your dinner table conversations growing up didn’t include an analysis of constitutional law as it applies to the news or current events, doesn’t mean that you’re not capable of learning it and doing it. Law School is intended to work your brain, test your confidence and stretch you beyond your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid of it. You can do it. On your journey, be kind and be sure to collect friends along the way. The world is getting smaller and smaller these days . . . You never know who may be in a position to hire you or grant you the adjournment you’ll need one day.”
“One piece of advice I have for a first generation law student is to not feel like you do not belong in the legal profession. No matter how people treat you, remember that lawyers come from all walks of life and your life experience will bring an important view point to the profession.”
“Remember, you deserve to be at your law school. You can compete. Visit your law school professors during office hours. More than once. Cultivate those relationships. You don’t have to attend every happy hour. Be kind to everyone while you’re in law school, because you never know who you will run into on the other side of the bench.”
And my final thoughts…
You’re a trailblazer. You’re resilient. Your lived experience will add new perspectives to your law school classrooms. With your grit and determination, you will undoubtedly add value to your workplace, your community, and the legal profession. Keep climbing!
Thanks for reading!