Sentencing and Life After

Since this is my last Ms. JD post, I want to share with you the way that my 6.5-year federal criminal case concluded.  I had been convicted of a crime I didn't commit. I heard the prosecutor call my case "contentious". I knew I was completely biased, but how odd for a prosecutor that needs to prove my guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to refer to my case as contentious.  It doesn't compute which was like most of the case.  Now, I was sitting in the Courtroom waiting to be sentenced. My co-defendant was with me. Our families filled the…

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Am I wearing too many hats? Learning how to juggle it all: Find reasons to be happy!

Life might feel like it’s in shambles right now. At least it did for me, I’ve noticed, there were situations that made me unhappy. Bumps were appearing on my face due to whatever reason, my father’s health seemed to be declining, COVID-19 numbers raced to an all-time high, I hadn’t figured out what God had called me to do, I have to “re-learn” my best friend after she survived from being declared brain dead, my clients were setting unrealistic expectations. Did I mention my daughter got caught watching her favorite YouTubers all hours of the morning, on school nights? I…

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An In-House Counsel’s Maxims for 2020

Editor's Note: This post from a former Writer's in Residence was featured last year to highlight four maxims for in house counsel lawyers in 2020. I believe that many of these maxims hold for both in house lawyers and Ms. JD community members alike. I encourage our readers to develop their own maxims as we enter 2021.  As I prepared for my last column as a Writer in Residence for Ms. JD, I decided to conclude with something that reflects my own personal approach to my in-house practice.  Although I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, every December…

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Desi Advocacy: Spotlight on Juvaria Khan, Founder of The Appellate Project

This month, I had the opportunity to interview Juvaria Khan, founder of The Appellate Project. Ms. Khan's nonprofit aims to empower law students and lawyers of color in the appellate field through educational outreach, a Civil Rights Clinic at Howard University School of Law, and a summer fellowship incubator program. Prior to her role at The Appellate Project, Ms. Khan clerked for the Honorable Michael P. Shea in the District Court of the District of Connecticut. She also worked at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, maintaining a heavy pro bono practice focusing on racial and religious discrimination claims. Finally, she has served as…

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Everything Nobody Ever Told Me: How to Stop Office Gossip in Its Tracks

“What you don't see with your eyes, don't witness with your mouth.” -Jewish Proverb My friend Jen used to describe her best friend since childhood, Tracy, as a complete screw-up.  Every time she would mention her, she would roll her eyes and bring up Tracy’s latest failed relationship or the crazy man in her life.  I had never met Tracy and I have to admit, without any other evidence to the contrary, I began to think of Tracy as a screw-up too.  I attended a social gathering at Jen’s house one evening and was speaking to a woman who was…

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How do you deal with difficult clients?

As lawyers we all work with people. Doing so, we come across difficult people from time to time and we have to learn how to deal with them. My favorite story (that was quite entertaining for my then colleagues’ too) happened in my previous job. I was a lawyer of a government funded organization in the construction industry (I wrote about it here). There were (at least) two parties in a case, meaning what this always means: unless there is an agreement reached, one of them is essentially dissatisfied in the end. One such person called me on this particular…

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Finding Your People

One of the pins that inevitably pops on Pinterest is “You will be too much for some people; those aren’t your people.” As I reflected on what to write about for this month’s post, I thought about how generally draining the past few weeks have been. It seems like just when you don’t think 2020 can bring any more surprises, the hits just keep coming. And the small escapes of an hour-long stroll through the Target dollar section come at the price of ensuring your safety and the safety of others. I originally set out to write this blog to…

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Conflict Resolution Vis a Vis Outer Space Activities

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has adopted rules for the arbitration of disputes relating to outer space activities.  The rules are “optional”. As such, parties in a space related dispute may choose to use them or not. Pursuant to the Rules, standing is very broad.  Hence, states, intergovernmental agencies, NGOs, corporations and private parties may use them as a forum. The Rules provide a forum for various methodologies to be used by parties. For instance, parties may select a panel of arbitrators or just one. Most importantly, awards of the Court are final and binding, which creates…

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Desiree Goff

Protecting Agricultural Advances

As my local CSA order ends and colder weather arrives, now is a great time to evaluate what protections can be put in place for agricultural and plant innovations. Plant patents, the zebras of the patent world, have experienced somewhat of a resurgence in the last few decades with advances in genetic engineering.   Pursuant to MPEP 1600, the manual of patent examining procedure, all plants are patentable except those which are bacteria or tuber-propagated. Tuber-propagated plants examples are potatoes or turnips - plants by which the propagated part is what you eat. The plant must either have been invented or…

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Practice Pointers – Assessing Your Career Progress

              We’re officially in the holiday season… which means peppermint hot chocolate, Hallmark movies, and oh wait, annual reviews. Sorry to ruin the festive mood, but annual reviews? They’re just as important and browsing all those Black Friday deals. (I know I’m not the only one.)               Obviously, annual reviews matter because they factor into your potential bonus, pay raise, and overall standing wherever you work. But they also matter because they force you to take stock of your career progress over the past year – to assess what you’ve worked on, learned, and could use more experience in. That…

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