Techlegality: Reflection

In true end-of-the-year fashion, I find myself in a time of reflection. Some of my thoughts have centered around my journey as a 2020 Writer in Residence. I remember when I first discovered the Ms. JD platform as a nervous law student. Constantly in search of inspiration, I often found guidance in reading various articles from the blog. As a result, I was elated when the opportunity arose for me to serve as a columnist. Never in a million years could I have anticipated that this experience would coincide with one of the most notable years in modern history. As…

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Everything Nobody Ever Told Me: People Skills Make All the Difference

Yesterday my colleague called me up for a vent session.  She had prepared a really complicated tax filing for a client and the client responded by sending a list of about fifteen things she thought was wrong with it.  Well, the clients concerns were all unfounded and my colleague patiently and politely addressed each and every complaint.  The client apologized for her snippy e-mail and stated that taxes made her anxious.  It was really nice to get an acknowledgement from the client that her behavior was unacceptable.  Everyone gets snippy once in a while and its entirely forgivable.  Unfortunately, this…

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Space law governs space related activities. Space law is considered international law because like general international law it is comprised of treaties, conventions, general assembly resolutions as well as the rules and regulations of international organizations.  National legislation is relevant vis a vis space law because of the increase of private actors in the exploration and travel to space.  It is estimated that private actors will spend close to 1 trillion dollars, this year alone, in conducting space related activities. These private actors need to be regulated. The treaties mentioned above cover only state activities in space, not the actions…

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Practice Pointers – Charting Your Own Path

My first post of 2020 was about avoiding a haphazard career. Kind of a strange blog post title and topic for someone who’s changed jobs and even careers a few times over… But to come full circle, there’s a difference between haphazard and intentional career moves. What may seem haphazard to others is far from that if your career decisions all align with what YOU want and need. The more you experiment and iterate, the better you get to know yourself, and the more intentionally you can chart your own career path. Take me, for instance. I started out in…

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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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