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Women Lawyers and the Media

Many people in, and out of, the legal profession still wonder why female attorneys are underrepresented in influential and powerful positions. The disparity of pay between female partners and their male colleagues is chasm like and female attorneys still find themselves shut out of the prime assignments and limited access to major clients. The statistics can be startling: The percentage of female equity partners in the country’s 200 largest firms has remained unchanged at 15 percent since the National Association of Women Lawyers started surveying in 2006.   Female equity partners earn 89 percent of the pay earned by male…

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Kristin Holland

Mentors Matter: How to Say Goodbye (or Aloha) to Your Mentor

I’m moving from Los Angeles to Hawaii.  This is a dream come true for me.  I’m excited and scared and thrilled and pretty much dumbstruck that it’s really happening.  Despite all of my joy and amazement, telling my mentor at work this happy news was the hardest work phone call I’ve ever had to make.   He had no idea that I was planning the move, because I didn’t tell him or ask for his advice.  I had already made up my mind.  My decision was based on many factors, and nothing he could have said to me would have changed…

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valerie lherrou

No Longer Extraordinary: court dress

Shortly after I graduated from law school, I was getting ready for a job interview one day, wearing a suit with pumps, and my young son exclaimed "you look like a real lawyer!" Since I didn’t feel like one yet, it was great to hear that I at least looked like one! (It also freaked him out the first day I went to court wearing a long skirt with boots: he was worried I would be found in contempt.) While my then eight-year-old son perhaps had a simplistic view, it's true: lawyers wear suits. Everyone knows that.  Except that it's not that simple. What…

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Law School through My Lens: Advice for the Creative Law Student

When I received my acceptance letter, my mother and I did a happy dance in the living room. My dream came true – I was going to law school! I started my photography business about 2 years earlier and so naturally I packed my things along with my camera gear, without batting an eyelash. I was determined to continue being creative and moved from Toronto to Ottawa to begin my journey. The choice wasn't a surprise to the ones closest to me. They believed I could do it all. Before law, I managed extra-curricular activities while studying since elementary school. To them…

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Stop Calling Us Bitches

Yes, I went there.  But I'm over it. If I had a nickel for every time one of my colleagues referred to a female attorney they are dealing with as a “bitch,” I would be a rich woman. Having been referred to by that word myself, I can safely say that the vast majority of female attorneys that my male colleagues disparage in this way are actually lovely people. The definition of this word demonstrates how grossly it is misused. I actually dusted off the dictionary looked it up online and here’s how Merriam- Webster defines that word: 1 :…

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The Disappearing Female Attorney (Part 1)

Female lawyers. We are a bit of a novely, it seems.  I'm not going to whine about the difficulty of achieving a work/life balance (although there's no doubt it's hard). I'm not going to talk about a glass ceiling (because, quite frankly, I'm compensated far better than many of my male colleagues, which is a testament to my boss and the great fortune I've had to work with him). Rather, I want to explore an issue that I find troubling given how far we've come as a gender in the last century: the disappearing female attorney. When I graduated from…

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Five Movements that We Wouldn’t Have without Brown

Ten years ago, I was lucky enough to hear the Honorable Constance Baker-Motley talk about her role in the Supreme Court decision Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka. While the mood was festive for the 50th anniversary—which Yale Law School celebrated in style—Judge Baker Motley was a bit solemn when presaged that in a few years we will no longer be on a first name basis with Brown and many will ask, “What is Brown?” As Brown turns 60 years old this year, I am on a mission to prove your honor wrong. The landmark decision, which ended…

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Personal Branding Corner: Five Ways To Stay In Balance, Lower Stress and Maximize Your Personal Brand

Since my post last week was about the top three ways to kill your brand, I thought this week we'd tackle how to maximize and optimize your personal brand.  The biggest issue I find with all my clients is that everyone is out of wack. You know, we can't seem to find balance in anything in our lives it seems.  Between work, family, parents and a social life, where can we draw a healthy line and thus, have a healthy personal brand? My documented research has shown a direct, inverse correlation between stress and your personal brand.  The higher your stress, the lower…

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Networking is more than an event—it’s an educational opportunity that can start with your textbook

            Networking is not just about getting a job. It’s a powerful way of learning about fields you know nothing about and understanding the context in which your work fits into the rest of the legal community and professional world. It allows you to hear about the fields you do and do not want to pursue without necessarily spending an entire summer practicing in it. And if nothing else, networking allows you to practice speaking professionally without the pressure of a performance evaluation at the end of the summer or semester.               Still, networking gets…

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3 Essential Tips for Women Embarking upon their Law School Journeys

FIND MENTORS OUTSIDE OF YOUR LAW SCHOOL EARLY ON As a woman, and especially as a woman of color, it is sometimes difficult to trust women within your law school who may be competing for the same opportunities. You may begin to doubt if such women have your best interests at heart, and peer mentoring can at times seem disingenuous. Moreover, 2Ls and 3Ls who may have not been accepted to the firm of their choice or may not have gotten onto the journal of their dreams may unconsciously discourage you from applying to certain opportunities. Since they could not…

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