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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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Find Your Passion & Don’t Let Go

One piece of advice I got leading up to law school that I’ve dwelt on is this: If you plan on having kids, do it while you’re in law school. While I haven’t followed this advice yet, it has made me think a lot about what law school and a law degree does to people and to women in particular. During my conversation with this experienced attorney and mother I was warned that having children early in my career would set me back, and that professors are much more forgiving than partners. She told me that going to law school,…

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How to Fuel the Fire

I have been privileged to have a number of incredible mentors who have, since I first decided to become a public interest lawyer, provided me with invaluable wisdom for my career and for my life.  These mentors have supported me through the difficult transition to law school and the legal world as a whole.  While the legal world was once a foreign and unfamiliar environment for me, they have helped me find my footing.     My mentors have doled out advice at every turn of my transition, but there is one piece of advice I wish someone had told me:…

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Walk a Mile in My Heels: The Joker

I'm sitting in a mediation, when a male attorney across the table launches into a joke--one of those obscenely long jokes that contains way too much backstory. The mediator and the attorneys sit and listen, all of us waiting for the punchline.   As the joke nears the finish and as I prepare to laugh (or fake-laugh while wishing I could roll my eyes, anyway), it starts to become very clear that the punchline is going to be completely sexist. And, sure enough, there it is--an offensive and inappropriate sexist joke finale.   What I did was: I didn't laugh.  I guess not…

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