Julie Schaffer

Being female is a non-issue

As a woman entering the legal profession, I am hopeful and encouraged. Thus far in my legal education and externship experiences I have been surrounded by capable and confident women. I am encouraged to see that being female, at least in my legal experience, is essentially a non-issue. In applying for jobs, positions on law review, research positions with professors, and other competitive ventures, as well as in signing up for classes, my female colleagues and I have never once discussed our being female. Rather, our conversations focus on our individual qualifications and interests. I simply have not seen women…

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Sabrina Ross

From Rural Nicaragua to Corporate America, Women Change Landscapes

My experience as a woman entering the legal profession is perhaps as much about history as it is about the future.In part, my entrance is shaped by my pre-existing commitment to using the law to advance equality where the nexus of race, gender, disability, and other qualities currently locates inequality, both de facto and de jure. I will start with an example of this commitment, and the view it affords: working in Nicaragua, I would often assess the results of our organization's small grants to feminist projects. One day on such an assignment, equipped with a two-minute brief on the…

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Emily Lambert

We have a duty to use our law degrees to advance women’s rights

As women entering the legal profession, I believe we all have the duty to use our law degree to help advance the rights of women in some way. Before I even started law school at Catholic University, I knew that I wanted to use my law degree to advance women's rights. Since I have started law school my desire to provide legal services to the poor and underprivileged women has only strengthened. My commitment to this line of work is evidenced through my legal internships, volunteer work, and clinical work. During my first year of law school, my friend at…

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Anna Czapla

Between Barbie Dolls and Bitchy Lawyers

Anna wonders how aggressive to be in her legal career. When she was little, she only played with Barbie dolls as makeshift footballs. These days, that would probably get her labeled "bitchy" just like her oral arguments do. "Toughness doesn't have to come in a pinstripe suit."-- Diane Feinstein as quoted in Time magazine, June 4, 1984. I am so thankful for all of the women that opened up the doors of the law profession to the women of my generation. I don't know how they did it. So many double standards and tough choices still exist for women lawyers…

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Heather Aquino

My road is my own

We are sitting at the booth in the far right hand corner of the restaurant, our "usual" table we like to call it. It's been nearly seven years since high school yet the four of us still continue to request this table, just as we had when we were sixteen years old. I sit farthest from the wall, slowly sipping a cherry coke, looking at the faces of the women I have grown up with. Looking at my childhood friends. I am the last to arrive after my train was delayed 30 minutes at Penn Station, and by the time…

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Mel Sullivan

We will be the women who shift the balance

Two things struck me during my first year in law school. The first was that every individual in a class hypothetical, whether judge, victim or villain, was referred to by a feminine pronoun. The second was that the preferred conservative dress for female attorneys was a skirt suit. There was also an accompanying rumor that judges had ordered attorneys out of court for transgressing this unwritten rule. This seeming contradiction codified the contradiction I saw within the law itself: a profession professing to act in the interest of equality and justice while at the same time being dominated on every…

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Melanie Black

We still need the support of our elders

The idea that women do not belong in the legal field is a sentiment that my generation grew up knowing only as an ancient belief captured in our history books. As a child of the late eighties and early nineties, I was constantly told that the sky is the limit, to pursue my goals, that no obstacle was too high, and that nothing would prevent me from being whomever I pleased. It is easy to take law school for granted, to view it as just another hoop in the journey to being fabulous. But it wasn't that long ago that…

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Peg

I can do anything you can do better!

So there's an article in the NYlawyer.com yesterday about women and law firm recruiting. The article is titled: Generation XX . (I'm not sure what that's about. Hey, NYL, is that some sort of reference to pornography?) Anyway, you can find it here but it requires a registration.The article reports that a high percentage of law firms are reporting that their summer classes have equal or higher numbers of women than men. To me this makes perfect sense because law school classes are close to equal. So why is this news?"Just from talking to attorneys at other firms, we all…

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Lori Boozer

Me, Myself, and I: Reflections on my journey as young woman in the legal profession

I never wanted to be an attorney, but ironically, I have always wanted to be a judge. As a high school student, I had several opportunities to observe "the bench" at work. I also had the opportunity to be an acting New York Chief Justice during a mock government program held at the state capital in Albany. I wore a black robe and sat in the honorable chambers, meted out decisions on the rule of law, subjected student legislators to Judicial Review, swore in the student Governor of New York and made up my mind that this was the path…

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Carol Simpson

Generation gap or gender gap? Mother and son enroll in law school together

Being an older woman in entering the legal profession has been an interesting experience. It is difficult to determine if my experiences are more a factor of my gender or my age, but I know that my experiences have been significantly different from those of my son, with whom I am attending the same law school in the same class. Having a background as a professor in another professional school dominated by women, I see considerable differences in how women are treated and welcomed to the profession.The first difference is in how novices are hired and trained. In my previous…

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