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Jamie Bence

From the Seat of Power: Alexa Chappell

From the Seat of Power will focus on interviews with women lawyers working in the federal government. This column will explore the unique challenges and rewards of government work, including why these women chose their paths, how they got there, and what they hope to do next. The interviews will focus on balancing personal and professional goals as well as advice for aspiring civil servants.This month's column features Alexa Chappell, Associate Director in the Office of the Intergovernmental and Public Liaison at the United States Department of Justice. Alexa received her bachelor's in public finance from the School of Public…

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jessie

Congratulations to Fernande Duffly, Nominee to the Massachusetts Supreme Court!

Yesterday, Governor Deval Patrick nominated Massachusetts Appeals Court Justice Fernande Duffly to sit on his state's Supreme Judicial Court.  Duffly is Indonesian-born and, if confirmed, would become the court's first Asian-American justice. Duffly is a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former attorney at K & L Gates.  She was first appointed to the Family and Probate Court before being promoted to the court of appeals.  She has been a tireless advocate for equality in the profession and is a past president of the National Association of Women Judges.I've had the privilege to work with Justice Duffly through the American…

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Ms. JD

An Interview with Sandra Swirski: Lawyer, Lobbyist, and a Juggling Success Story

Sandra Swirski co-founded two public policy/government affairs companies, advised 2 senior U.S. Senators, was an executive at a Fortune 10 company and advised multinational clients at one of the largest professional services companies. At Urban Swirski & Associates, LLC, a public policy and government affairs firm in Washington, D.C., Ms. Swirski's practice focuses on advising Fortune 500 executives and leaders of non-profit organizations about public policy and government affairs issues.  Other private sector experience includes running the Washington government affairs office for Mobil Corporation, and advising multinational clients on economic and tax issues while at Ernst & Young. Ms. Swirski’s…

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jessie

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference will take place in Washington, D.C. this September 15th - 18th.  The schedule of events and speaker lineup promise to make this a fantastic event.  In conjunction with the conference the National Black Law Students Association will also be hosting a number of great events, including a panel discussion with Maxine Waters and two networking cocktail parties.  Here are the highlights:Thursday, September 16th4:00 pm-5:50 pm Judiciary Issues Forum with Congresswoman Maxine Waters Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Room 146-B 801 Mount Vernon Place Northwest Washington, DC 200016:00 pm-9:00 pm Happy Hour in…

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jessie

From Perspectives:  The Importance of Gender on the High Court

In this month's issue of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession's Perspectives magazine, Stephanie Goldberg has an interesting piece on the difference Elena Kagan will have on the Court by virtue of her gender.  Acknowledging that seeing gender as a determinative factor in judicial decision-making is "prickly," Goldberg finds examples of how O'Connor and Ginsberg's gender influenced their jurisprudence.Yet even [Ginsburg] conceded that her life experience as a woman may have helped educate her fellow justices to hold in Safford v. Redding (2009) that a strip search by school authorities of a 13-year old girl, suspected of having…

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jessie

Reflections on a Run for Office

This spring I ran for a volunteer position on my neighborhood council.  As elected positions go, these are the very smallest potatoes. Nevertheless, the election was competitive. There were four opposing candidates splitting roughly 2,000 likely votes, and I was the only woman running for my seat. I won (woohoo).There were a number of surprises in the campaign: how nasty it was, how much fun I had anyway, and - relevant to Ms. JD - how much my gender mattered. Here's how:My gender changed the way other candidates treated me.  The men who were running against me treated me with…

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jessie

DOJ Survey Deadline Extended

The ABA has extended the deadline to register for their DOJ survey. If you are currently employed as an attorney at the Department, or if you have been employed as an attorney with the Department at any point since January 1, 1994, please complete the registration process. Registration must be completed by August 15, 2010.It is critical we generate a robust response rate. The study will provide the data for a ground-breaking analysis of the role race and gender play in professional experiences within DOJ. We need all hands on deck for this one, so please forward this along to…

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Ms. JD Staff

My First Year as…a District Court Law Clerk

This is the fourth "My First Year..." post. Each month we feature interviews with women as they begin putting their JDs to work in a variety of fields all over the country.  Today we bring you the interview of a federal district court clerk.How did you decide to pursue this position--was this something you envisioned yourself doing when you applied to law school, or was this something you learned about in school or during your summer? I had not planned on clerking, I had always envisioned going directly into private practice.  But after hearing the complaints of recent grads that they spent…

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Ms. JD

Avenues to Government

Editor's Note: Ms. JD's annual conference, Avenues to Advancement, was held November 20-21 in Chicago. These are six pieces of advice from the Avenues to Government panel. Although lawyers in the public sector often make far less than lawyers in the private sector, that is not an indicator of the difficulty of the job or of getting in the door. The panelists on our Avenues to Government panel offered some myths and truths about working for the government and offered some tips to help you get public sector job. Below are two of these myths and three tips to help…

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ashenoy

The Question Rephrased: Are There Some Jobs Women are Just Intrinsically Better at than Men?

It's an age old question - one that has been heavily debated in recent times: are there intrinsic differences between women and men that make each sex better suited for different jobs? One of my aunts and I recently had a conversation about this idea of intrinsic differences between men and women. She noted that studies have repeatedly shown that there are certain things women and men are better or worse at, on the whole, that can be traced back to our "hunter and gatherer" days. For instance, the fact that men often cannot see food in the fridge that…

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